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On-trade overlooked by government says 62% of hospitality businesses

Published:  27 July, 2023

62% of hospitality businesses believe the sector receives less support and attention than other industries, new research from Peckwater Brands (PWB) has found.

The independent survey comprised 250 decision-makers in senior management positions within UK hospitality businesses (restaurants, takeaways, cafés and bars), as outlets struggle with rising overheads, staff shortages and falling consumer spending.

As reported by Harpers, Britain has lost around one in 18 of its licensed premises in the last 12 months – a total of 5,736 pubs, hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes. 

Since March 2020, close to 15,000 outlets have been forced to close, equating to 5% of the market annually, according to CGA.

When asked what support could be beneficial to the sector, 28% of businesses said employment incentive programmes would make a positive difference, with 21% wanting additional visa opportunities for foreign workers who could work in hospitality. 

Two in five (40%) would welcome an extension of energy bill relief, while 36% would like to see the return of ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ or a similar initiative.

To cut costs, 48% have renegotiated with or changed their supplier in the past year, with a further 44% planning on doing so in the next 12 months. 

Many are also reevaluating their business strategy: 26% have switched to a takeaway-only model, with 32% planning to do so, while 39% are planning a complete rebrand of the business. 

Sam Martin, CEO of PWP, said: “It’s no secret that the current economic climate for hospitality businesses is brutal. Between skyrocketing costs, huge staffing challenges and lower demand as customers tighten their purse strings, many businesses feel they can’t catch a break following the hardship of the pandemic.

“Signs that food price inflation is starting to fall may be welcome among business owners, but our research still shows they believe external support is the key to returning to their rightful pre-pandemic status. 

“While favourable taxes, support schemes and legislation would undoubtedly benefit hospitality businesses, such intervention is not guaranteed. So, decision-makers must remain prepared to seek out solutions themselves. Embracing innovation and optimisation could be the thing that separates the businesses which prosper in the future and those that don’t.”

PWB is a delivery franchising expert, working with partners across the hospitality spectrum. The market research was carried out between 1-10 May 2023 among 250 senior decision-makers within UK hospitality businesses by independent market research agency Censuswide.