The Prime Minister’s intervention yesterday was “the final nail in the coffin” in terms of the government’s approach to the hospitality industry, Honest Burger MD Dorian Waite has told MCA.

Waite said the ambiguity of the statement had left his business and others in limbo and unable to make a decision with regards to sites and staff.

He praised Kate Nicholls for her lobbying efforts, but said the industry needed to be more aggressive in making the case for its economic contribution to the UK.

Speaking ahead of the chancellor’s anticipated announcement of a new package of measures, Waite told MCA: “We were all waiting for proper leadership from the government, and that’s the one key area that’s missing at the moment

“Yesterday was the final nail in the coffin, in terms of their approach to our industry, and sums up the way we’re thought about in our economy, as second-class citizens, and bottom of the list when it comes to contributing to society.

“I think we need to be more aggressive in the way we talk about these things because we’re sometimes too polite as an industry I think.”

On the need for immediate action, he said: “The industry is desperate for help. What’s confusing is why this wasn’t joined with yesterday’s announcement. It’s ridiculous they would say that without a support package ready to go. Make the announcements together and give everyone clarity in dealing with this problem – because no one knows what to do and when to do it.

“We just need guidance. Two or three more months of this and the high street will be decimated.”

Waite said Honest was modelling 10 or 12 different scenarios, which may or may not happen, and was pulling away resources from dealing with immediate problem solving.

Every restaurant is being assessed individually, with a view to limiting damage to profits, cash flow

He said while Honest’s cash position was solid, other operators were not so fortunate.

He added: “I’m speaking to others who are releasing staff left right and centre. We have a bit more time, we are in a different position cash wise. But for lots of business they don’t have time to wait and see if it will improve.”

Waite said Active Partners stablemates Caravan, Leon and Chick n Sours were sharing best practice with one another.

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