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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Where are all the guests & staff? All gone?

No, not all of them, but there have been noticeably fewer. Who can still afford to go to a restaurant and how long can the industry survive?

With low profits, it has never been easy to make money and pay staff.

Staff shortages, bad salaries, bad sales, skyrocketing energy costs and persistent inflation will keep us busy in the future.

Many of our guests from before the pandemic no longer have the money to afford to visit a restaurant, and pensioners in particular who were frequent guests used to have more money. For a coffee, a cake and a bit of lunch. That seems to be over. The numbers here are very frightening. In Germany 50% percent of the pensions are below 1000 euros?

“Roughly every fifth pensioner in Germany receives a pension of less than 500 euros a month. This emerges from a response from the Federal Ministry of Social Affairs to a request from AfD MP René Springer, which the dpa has received.

Around 3.4 million old-age pensions were less than 500 euros at the end of 2020, which was 19.8 percent, according to the information. Around half (49.5 percent) of the pensions were less than 1,000 euros a month. A particularly large number of small pensions are paid in the West and to women. Springer spoke of “decades of irresponsible pension policy”.

(Weser Kurier 01/21/2022)

The shortage of staff is the next problem and with fewer and fewer people who understandably can no longer afford the catastrophic salaries in the catering industry, the willingness to return to an industry that will fire you again at any time is almost zero. However, most companies can no longer afford steep salary increases. The dispute between DEHOGA and the union just proved that.

"Dehoga offered the union wage increases of up to 21.4 percent and speaks of a "historically unique" offer - which the NGG rejected as insufficient. The companies in the hospitality industry are still "in the middle of the biggest crisis of the post-war period," says Dehoga general manager Nathalie Rübsteck, and next winter could also be a "corona winter" again. Against this background, "we did our best". The demands of the NGG "cannot be financed," said Rübsteck.


Calculating well is more important today than ever before, but so are negotiations when it comes to rents, leases and other costs that can quickly break your neck.

According to a recent Dehoga survey of around 200 member companies in Berlin, the decline in sales in January was around 50 percent in the catering trade and 60 percent in the hotel industry compared to the same month in 2019 before the corona pandemic. Almost two thirds (63.3%) of the companies assessed their situation as threatening their existence, according to the general manager of Dehoga Berlin, Thomas Lengfelder, on Thursday.

Before Corona, the number of short-time workers was 134,000 in February 2020, in March it had jumped to 2.6 million and in April 2020 it had reached a record 6 million. That was not even the case during the 2008 financial crisis, according to the ifo Institute.

aghz February 2022

The sad thing, however, is that the main part of the costs consists of taxes and fees (Gema and broadcasting fees, etc.) which are higher than in other industries. So the state could very easily and very quickly ensure the survival of an industry and make jobs attractive. But the opposite is happening at the moment. Global companies such as MacDonalds, which do not pay taxes in Germany, offer take-out food of the cheapest kind to the people, the estimated sales during the lockdown were reimbursed from German taxpayers' money. Competing with this is difficult or impossible.

Author: Stephan Busch, for many years Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality and the Swiss International University earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA. He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.,

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