Operators emerge from challenges with the highest levels of optimism for more than two years, the CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey reveals.
Confidence is starting to return to the eating and drinking-out sector - despite a host of pressures on the market. But there remains a gap between the optimism that leaders of Britain’s restaurant, pub and bar groups have about their own businesses and their confidence in the market as a whole.
The latest CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey, carried out in May by business insight consultancy CGA in partnership with leading hospitality software provider Fourth, reveals that 75% of company leaders are now optimistic about the prospects for their own business over the next 12 months—11 percentage points more than at the time of the last confidence survey in February.
There is also an upswing in bosses’ confidence for the overall market, although the survey finds that less than half (47%) are upbeat about prospects for the wider eating and drinking out sector over the next 12 months. This also represents an 11 percentage points increase on three months earlier, and both figures are the highest recorded by the survey since February 2016.
However, they are still below the levels seen before the Brexit vote. In February, three quarters of leaders said their businesses had been adversely affected by the consequences of the referendum.
“The more upbeat tone of the survey appears at odds with the recent news of some high profile restaurant closures in the first half of this year, driven by business challenges including rising food, people and property costs and the uncertainty surrounding Brexit,” said CGA’s CEO Phil Tate.
“But it might be because of this market shake out, coupled with more stable food prices, that business executives are now gaining more confidence,” Tate added.
As one survey participant observed: “The [restaurant] market is sorting itself out like the pub industry did a few years ago. We are over saturated with some struggling brands. Once they leave, which is happening, there will be opportunities for better brands.”
And as another commented: “An unsettled market presents opportunities for established operators with a clear offer.”
Ben Hood, CEO of Fourth, said: “In the face of challenging external headwinds in rising costs of both labour and inventory, there remains a cohort of outstanding operators who are constantly looking inwardly at their businesses and investing in the marketing and technology they need to increase efficiencies and improve their offer and the customer experience. There will always be an appetite for spending on food and drink among UK consumers, it’s ingrained in our culture, and these slick, streamlined businesses are in pole position to thrive over the coming years.”
Tate noted that the continuing gap between market and individual business confidence was a cause for concern as it highlighted an underlying nervousness that might affect corporate investment and growth decisions. But with CGA data indicating that people continue to go out to eat and drink, the results show that there is plenty of room for distinctive, customer-focused brands to succeed.
Phil Tate concluded: “After a tough start to 2018, this latest Business Confidence Survey is a welcome reminder that hospitality remains an essentially upbeat industry. CGA’s research shows that like-for-like sales growth is modest, and that many restaurant, pub and bar operators have scaled back their new openings plans—but conditions that challenge some businesses can also bring opportunities for others.”
The CGA Fourth Business Confidence Survey is produced in partnership with Fourth and is based on responses from 160 leading figures from the industry, working at CEO, MD, chairman, board and senior management levels.
The race is on to find the ideas and innovations that have had the biggest impact on the foodservice sector in the last year, as well as the most sustainable foodservice business, as the Sustainable Restaurant Association's 2018 Food Made Good Awards is now open for entries.
The 17 Food Made Good Awards reward restaurants and foodservice businesses whose extraordinary accomplishments in the last year have driven progress in the industry and demonstrated that food can be made delicious, ethical and sustainable.
Andrew Stephen, Chief Executive of the SRA, said: “With almost nine out of ten diners wanting restaurants to create menus that help them use their appetites wisely, and heightened consumer awareness of issues like plastic and food waste, there’s never been a better time for restaurants to showcase the ways in which they’re addressing the major issues affecting the food system. The Food Made Good Awards provide the perfect platform for the best sustainable innovators of our time.”
To enter the Food Made Good Awards and for more information, click here.
Leicester Services Partnership are looking for an Operations Manager to manage all day to day catering and retail operations, vending, hospitality and event catering and the conference food delivery service, in accordance with relevant legislation regarding premises licenses, food safety and health and safety and all Company policies and procedures.
About Leicester Services Partnership
Leicester Services Partnership formed from the joint venture partnership between the University of Leicester and its Student’s Union and was the first of its kind in the UK amongst the Higher Education institutes to unify and deliver all catering, retail and bars operations across the campus and offering something entirely new for customers, starting with the launch of the visual retail brand ‘Here for U’.
‘Here for U’ is the visual brand of the equal partnership venture created to unify operations and deliver a consistent customer service experience as well as provide inspirational spaces to eat, drink, relax, reflect, learn and socialise here at the University of Leicester.
This partnership and brand identity will signal change; offering a fresh new start to all those operating within in it and therefore benefiting the customer by offering exciting, vibrant and current food options and trends, improve the efficiency across the board by streamlining operations and attract new and retain customers through a variety of offers and discounts as well as an enticing loyalty scheme.
Find out more and download the job specification here.