Understandably in this most turbulent week of UK politics, Brexit has been on the discussion menu for breakfast, dinner, tea and every meal occasion.
It’s still early days to make any kind of accurate forecasts for foodservice and hospitality but as with any situation, there is always a silver lining for someone.
A sinking pound means a number of things for hospitality – it’s cheaper to visit the UK – so more hotel visitors, which is good news for hotel operators. They need to act swiftly and get their marketing positioned to make the most of this unexpected turn of events and attract foreign visitors. A sinking pound also means it’s more expensive for Brits to holiday abroad, so there is potential to grow this market too. There could be a late surge in ‘stay-cation’ bookings and anyone in the UK holiday market from hotels to guest houses to B&B, campsites, lettings, holiday parks and holiday destinations all need to make the most of situation. On the other hand a falling pound means more expensive food imports – leading to increased menu prices.
The Horizons Viewpoint highlighted that although there are winners in the situation, everyone needs to be prepared for uncertainty, which could last for up to five years as the UK works out its new position in the world and sorts out trade agreements. Threats come from several quarters – financial instability, reduced consumer confidence, increased costs and reduced sales, with consumer confidence taking some time to re-build. Investment decisions are also likely to be postponed until the outlook is clearer.
The Times highlighted another area of uncertainty that particularly impacts the foodservice and hospitality sector, which relies on large numbers of migrant workers. Jeremy King, of Corbin and King, warned of “fear and uncertainty amongst staff”. As many as 94% of EU workers currently employed in Britain’s hotels and restaurants would fail to meet visa entry requirements if a skilled-based points system were introduced claims The Times.
So, as we see it at the moment, the outlook is ‘good in parts’. The foodservice and hospitality sectors proved in the recent recession that they were resilient, flexible and innovative – and no doubt will prove so again.