closed restaurant

Van Der Linde Restaurant in Linden, Johannesburg, has closed its doors for good. Image: Lorne Philpot

South Africa’s restaurant sector feeling the pressure again

The revised lockdown restrictions are having a dismal effect on eateries that were just starting to make a comeback.

closed restaurant

Van Der Linde Restaurant in Linden, Johannesburg, has closed its doors for good. Image: Lorne Philpot

The initial hard lockdown in 2020 placed the country’s food and hospitality industry under immense pressure for several months. South Africa’s restaurants hemorrhaged under the measures put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus in 2020.


At first, restaurants were unable to trade whatsoever during the initial months of the hard lockdown. With the shift to advanced lockdown Level 3, sit-down restaurants were permitted to reopen from 17 June, but they could not sell alcohol and were subject to limited trading hours due to the national curfew.  

Under these restrictions, many restaurants and eateries all over the country were unable to generate income, and were forced to close their doors for good. The mounting losses and lack of relief from the government caused many business closures in the hospitality sector.


Even though restrictions were then lifted, and restaurants were permitted to return to their usual operations (with the shift to lockdown Level 2 in August 2020), several restaurants were already facing bankruptcy as a result of huge losses incurred over many months.

Sadly, a number of restaurants that managed to survive the 2020 hard lockdown could not gain enough traction to recover in the months afterwards, and have since closed their doors permanently.

December saw two popular restaurants in the V&A Waterfront closing for good. After 24 years in the business, Balducci’s, a popular Italian restaurant, ceased trading. The award-winning steak and seafood restaurant Belthazar, one of the Waterfront’s oldest tenants, also closed its doors in December.


The restaurant sector is under big pressure again thanks to the newly implemented Level 3 restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on 28 December.  

While restaurants are able to keep their doors open under the revised Level 3 Lockdown restrictions, many are however, finding these conditions difficult for trading. Being unable to serve alcohol and having to close by 20:00 is not allowing restaurants to trade profitably.


Some restaurant owners have voluntarily chosen to close their doors temporarily amid the newly implemented restrictions. The curfew and alcohol ban are the big reasons for the temporary closures of several establishments.

Restaurateurs face huge losses once more if they cannot sell alcohol or offer evening sit-down meals. Most restaurants rely on alcohol sales and dinner service for the bulk of their revenue.


Many restaurants will incur huge losses under the current restrictions. Several owners have chosen to close temporarily or indefinitely while they wait to find out whether the current restrictions will be eased or tightened on 15 January.

Cape Town is seeing the start of restaurant closures as a result of the restricted trading conditions which have returned. Upper Bloem and La Mouette restaurants in Cape Town have closed indefinitely, while Lucky at the Piano Bar in De Waterkant closed permanently on 31 December.

The Chef’s Warehouse on Bree Street in Cape Town has indicated it has also closed indefinitely.