Nisbets quarterly Pulse survey, which aims to give an insight into the general sentiment of the hospitality industry, has shown that over half (53%) of all respondents still remain unsure as to how Brexit will affect their business. Of those that have decided, just 19% believe that it will be for the better.
One factor that is evident however, is the increase in the cost of raw ingredients since Britain voted to leave the EU, with 65% of operators highlighting it as their biggest increase in expenditure. Over a third of businesses (36%) indicated that this would ultimately have to be passed on to the customer through price increases, whilst 12% suggested that it would lead to them introducing stricter portion controls. Just 3% suggested this would lead to Staff Cutbacks. Interestingly, only 4% of respondents have noticed an increase in equipment costs, which suggests that manufacturers are currently absorbing additional costs.
With the uncertainty around Brexit, one third of operators were unsure as to whether they would be recruiting further in the second half of 2017, and of those that are, the positions being filled were largely front of house staff and general kitchen staff, rather than professional chef positions. Recruitment continues to be one of the biggest challenges, with 40% of those interviewed highlighting that they have been forced to hire untrained staff in order to fill roles, whilst 25% have opted to increase the hours of existing staff.
When it comes to general food trends, many believe that Healthy Eating (28%) and the desire for Locally Sourced Produce (23%) will continue to be the key factors for customers, along with the desire for Traditional, Home-Cooked options (17%).
Despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, over half of operators (52%) were ‘Very Positive’ about the year ahead with one operator highlighting their Tripadvisor ranking as a reason to be cheerful – “We have a good reputation; we are the number one restaurant in our area on Tripadvisor, and we continue to deliver high standards”.
Whilst the next 12 months has its challenges, overall there is a general optimism for the foodservice industry in the year ahead; a complete breakdown of the survey results is available at: https://www.nisbets.co.uk/pulse.