A commitment to navigating the market despite obstacles
The trading environment for the hospitality industry has remained challenging this year, with continued increases in the cost of living putting pressure on consumers. However, the resilience of trading in the year gives us optimism for the future, although we continue to remain mindful of the cost-of-living challenge facing our guests.
Throughout the year, consumers have been squeezed under the pressure of the UK’s cost-of-living crisis driven by rapidly rising food prices, domestic fuel bills and mortgage payments. However, despite these factors, consumer confidence has improved and eating and drinking out remains the affordable luxury that many consumers are looking to prioritise and have prioritised in the past.
Supply of pubs and restaurants has reduced since March 2020 before the Covid-19 pandemic, with the financial pressure of closures and significant cost inflation in the supply chain, especially across food and energy, forcing a large number of operators to close. Given our strong estate and portfolio of brands, we believe that we are well placed to continue to benefit from these changes in the competitive landscape.
The implications of Brexit still remain for the sector, principally around the supply and cost of products and skilled workforce shortages, especially in back-of-house roles. Risks in relation to procurement have continued to be well managed by mitigating for the potential lack of availability of products, reviewing and updating contracts and maintaining strong commercial relationships with suppliers. Our apprenticeship programme has been a key asset in managing the risk around workforce shortage and remains a key focus for the business going forward.
The global political and macroeconomic environments remain volatile and we will continue to monitor the impact on our sector. We remain focused on our Ignite programme of initiatives and our successful capital investment programme, driving cost efficiencies and increased sales, helping to offset demand and cost pressures caused by external factors outside of our control.
Despite the currently challenging environment, we’re continuing to trade within evolving circumstances and adapt through significant strategies.
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