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More than half a million people can rest in Moscow cafes and restaurants at the same time. Today it is one of the most important sectors of the city’s economy.

Sergei Sobyanin awarded the workers of the capital’s restaurant industry. Among them are executives, chefs, sushi, confectioners, technologists, managers and other specialists in the restaurant business. The award ceremony was timed to coincide with the Moscow restaurateur’s Day, a new professional holiday. It was approved in 2018 and is celebrated annually on June 7th.

“This is one of the largest industries in the city of Moscow, about a quarter of a million people work, and in those industries that are directly related to you, there are about half a million people. And of course, this is the most important component of our city, which changes with you, becomes different, ”said Sergei Sobyanin.

According to him, in the difficult conditions of coronavirus restrictions, the capital’s restaurateurs have shown high professionalism. “Last year the situation was such that, it would seem, there was no time for smiles. During this time, most catering establishments were closed. Most of them, however, worked preparing take-away products. And many, including the enterprises you represent, worked for the health care system, doctors, nurses, social protection in order to help them, to provide quality food in their workplaces, ”said the Moscow Mayor.

At the first opportunity, the city allowed the opening of summer verandas, restaurants and cafes, which are still open today, despite the difficult situation.

An important part of Moscow’s economy

The development of the restaurant business is a significant indicator of the high quality of city life and the attraction of tourists. Compared to 2010, the number of catering establishments in Moscow has approximately doubled. Today, the city has over 15 thousand cafes, bars, restaurants and eateries, in which more than half a million people can rest at the same time (they have more than 540 thousand seats).

Approximately every fifth restaurant (more than three thousand) has a summer terrace. For 10 years, their number has grown 2.5 times. Also, the number of employees in bars and restaurants has increased by 2.5 times, today it reaches 200 thousand people.

From 2010 to 2019, tax revenues to the Moscow budget from public catering enterprises increased 3.6 times, and payments to the federal budget tripled. Moscow restaurants and cafes provide 40 percent of federal tax revenues from the Russian catering sector. Their share in the tax revenues of the Moscow budget is about one percent, and taking into account the influence of the restaurant business on related industries (trade, tourism, recreation and entertainment), this figure is much higher.

Gastronomic districts and clusters

In recent years, gastronomic districts with many trendy cafes and restaurants have emerged in the capital, including Kamergersky Lane, Bolshaya Dmitrovka, Bolshaya Nikitskaya, Pyatnitskaya and Nikolskaya streets. Modern markets with food courts have opened (Danilovsky, Moskvoretsky, Velozavodsky, Zelenogradsky, Central) and gastronomic clusters such as Depo, which is the largest food mall in Europe.

The tallest restaurant on the continent is also located in Moscow – in the Moscow City complex at an altitude of 354 meters. The gastronomy of the Russian capital is very popular among the townspeople and tourists.

The Moscow Mayor thanked the owners and employees of the restaurants for the high service that helps to attract tourists: “First-class courts and restaurants are one of the trends in Moscow today. Many tourists come here not only to visit museums, admire beautiful views, but also to visit first-class Moscow restaurants. It’s very nice”.

Moscow restaurants in world rankings

In 2018, three Moscow restaurants were included in the main international rating of TheWorldaus 50 BestRestaurants: WhiteRabbit, TwinsGarden and Selfie. The rating is annually compiled by the British magazine Restaurant on the basis of a secret ballot of more than one thousand restaurateurs, chefs, food and gastronomical journalists.

In 2020, three Moscow establishments entered the top 50 best pizzerias in Europe: LaBottegaSiciliana (12th place), Scrocchiarella (43rd) and Pizza 22 cm (46th). This ranking is an annual Italian independent award – a guide to European pizzerias. Last year, 500 institutions from different countries took part in the competition.

A landmark event for the restaurant industry and the entire tourism industry in Moscow last year was the appearance in Russia of the Michelin Red Guide. Obtaining the highest rating from the guide’s compilers will provide additional incentive for the restaurant business after the pandemic and will serve to develop Moscow as one of the world’s gastronomic centers.

Support during the peak of the pandemic

The catering sector is one of the most affected sectors of the urban economy, which is now successfully recovering. From January to May 2021, the turnover of enterprises in the industry amounted to 147 billion – 46.6 percent more than in the same period last year.

To take such a step, according to Sergei Sobyanin, allowed the widespread use of testing, as well as the powerful work of the health care system, which includes the creation of outpatient and inpatient centers for the treatment of patients with COVID-19.

“I see this year, at the beginning of the year, that the restaurant business began to grow actively, returning the volumes that were before the pandemic,” he said.

Positive dynamics is also observed in tax revenues from catering companies. In four months of 2021, they grew by 56.2 percent compared to January – April 2020 and by 9.4 percent compared to 2019.

During the peak of the pandemic, the Moscow Government implemented a set of measures aimed at supporting the food industry. The first and main measure is the ability to work in difficult conditions, albeit in a truncated format. During the restrictive measures in 2020, more than 4.5 thousand cafes and restaurants took advantage of this opportunity – in the form of food delivery and their take-away sale. This made it possible to preserve enterprises, pay salaries to employees and deliver finished products during the period of restriction of movement in the city.

As the epidemiological situation improved, restaurants began to gradually return to their normal operating hours: from June 16, 2020, summer cafes opened, and from June 23, all of them could work in full, observing epidemiological requirements.

Catering organizations have extended the deadlines for the payment of advance payments for the first quarter of 2020 for corporate property tax and land tax until December 31, 2020. In addition, they were exempted from paying rent payments under lease agreements for land plots owned by Moscow and land plots in the city, the state ownership of which is not delimited. They did not pay for rent from March 1, 2020 until the last calendar day of the month in which the suspension of their activities ended in accordance with the decree of the Moscow Mayor, and began to pay no earlier than July 1, 2020.

Most public catering enterprises are small and medium-sized businesses, which means that they have access to all measures aimed at supporting this category of entrepreneurs. Compensation payments for franchise buyers, for costs and lease payments for the purchase of equipment, work with marketplaces, food delivery, employee training, advertising on the Internet, became especially significant for restaurateurs.

The provision of grants to the owners of buildings and premises that are used for the placement of public catering facilities also helped to overcome the crisis, provided that the rental rate for the tenant was reduced.

Representatives of the restaurant community were involved in catering for workers of medical organizations providing assistance to patients with COVID-19. Since April 2020, catering enterprises have supplied more than 1.6 million full three meals a day to doctors.

In the fall of 2020, catering establishments, at the suggestion of the professional community, introduced check-ins by QR code or SMS. This made it possible not to close restaurants, cafes, bars, keeping entrepreneurs in business and hundreds of thousands of Muscovites with jobs. Obtaining QR codes was organized as simply as possible for enterprises, and the check-in procedure for visitors took about a minute.

Moscow continues to support the restaurant business by providing free land plots for seasonal (summer) cafes. As of today, 3168 summer cafes are included in the city scheme, including 88 new addresses.

General Director of Sigma Investment Group LLC Emin Rafailov, on behalf of the restaurateurs, thanked Sergei Sobyanin for his support and awards: “Our site would never have survived if we had not all taken certain precautions, if we were not socially active. I would like to thank you for the fact that all the guests, residents of our beautiful capital, come to us. I believe that it is our duty with you today – to make sure that all our guests, all our employees, and we ourselves feel safe. “

Benefits for the restaurant business

In addition to the above support measures, there are a number of benefits for the restaurant business in Moscow. There are special tax regimes in the capital that allow small businesses, including catering enterprises, to individually select the most convenient and profitable schemes for paying taxes and legalizing business.

One of the simplest and most convenient is the patent taxation system. In 2020, as part of the provision of catering services, enterprises acquired more than five thousand patents.

Moscow restaurants and cafes can take advantage of the corporate property tax exemption in the form of a coefficient of 0.1 to the tax rate calculated on the cadastral value. For this, it is necessary that their premises are used only for placing catering facilities and be located on the first or second floors of buildings directly adjacent to pedestrian zones of city-wide significance or to streets with heavy pedestrian traffic.

In 2020, the Moscow Government supported the initiative of the Federation of Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Russia to reduce the tax burden for catering organizations by reducing or abolishing the VAT rate. These proposals were approved at the federal level.

In his speech at plenary session Petersburg International Economic Forum Vladimir Putin proposed to implement a pilot project on VAT exemption for catering enterprises starting from 2022 if their revenue does not exceed two billion rubles.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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