BULAWAYO, Friday, November 25, 1966 — The chairman of the Hotels’ Association of Rhodesia, Mr I Black, told the Liquor Board yesterday that there was gross overtrading in Bulawayo and nearly every hotel was struggling to make ends meet.
Only two hotels were making profit, but the return of their capital was very small. He was giving evidence on behalf of the Hotels’ Association who objected to the new Picola Italia restaurant being granted a liquor licence.
The application was postponed for further evidence to be heard on December 8.
Mr N Grant, chairman of the Board, asked Mr Black: “I am trying to reconcile your statement about overtrading with the fact that every time we come to Bulawayo there are more applications”.
A director of the Picola Italia restaurant, Mr A Fioramonti, said he had spent between £12 000 and £13 000 on alterations to the premises, fixtures, fitting as and equipment.
Many people had left the restaurant after they discovered that they could not buy liquor there. He said he was covering his expenses at present, but he was not making a profit.
Mr Fioramonti told the Board that he had paid £600 a month to his four-piece continental type brand for food, lodging and salaries. The application was opposed by the Victoria and Grand Hotels, the Tavern and Peking restaurants, and the New Warnborough.
The Granada Restaurant withdrew its application, perhaps, said Mr Black, because they might have taken the attitude of “live and let live”.
Mr Black stated that hotels in Bulawayo were averaging a below 40 percent occupancy and they had to rely very largely on bar, catering and banqueting takings.