Restaurants face a tough test

opublikowano: 27-02-2008, 10:24

Warsaw (Puls Biznesu) – The smoking ban will adversely affect restaurants and breweries while tobacco companies will be  the least affected ones.

The life of 9m Poles who smoke will soon change dramatically. In March, the Parliament is starting works over amendment of the health protection law which is supposed to limit smoking in public places. Many EU countries have already put similar bans. Experiences in Ireland, the UK or Finland shows that the ban very quickly adversely affects restaurant sector, which in Poland consists of over 50,000 outlets, including over 20,000 opened only in certain seasons. According to the report by British Institute of Innkeeping and the Federation of Licensed Victualler’s Association, the British organizations of licensed pub and restaurants owners, within four months since the smoking ban was implemented in the UK in July 2007, their revenues dropped by 7.3 percent on average. Sales of beverages, including beer, dropped most, by 9.7 percent. Bars and restaurants in other EU countries noticed similar or even bigger decreases. In result, many of them cut employment or ceased to exist.

Tobacco sales fell as well. In the UK, the decrease amounted to 7 percent, in Denmark to 4 percent. Representatives of tobacco companies believe that after the first shock, things get back to normal.

“There are so many elements influencing tobacco sales that it’s hard to isolate one and evaluate its influence. Our experiences in many markets show that putting a smoking ban in public places results in smaller consumption but after some time, it gets back to a level which is only slightly lower than before”, Hubert Zawadzki from Philip Morris Polska said.

Beer producers have similar views concerning beer consumption.

However, in Ireland, the number of pubs three years after the smoking ban was implemented, dropped from over 10,000 to 8,800. AmRest, the listed restaurant chain operator, decided in 2007 to implement the smoking ban in Pizza Hut, KFC and Freshpoint restaurants run in Poland. Rodeo Drive run by AmRest is the only exception.

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