While the nation is still coming to terms with the referendum results and the ensuing financial volatility, the UK catering industry has been quick to assess the implications on the decision to leave the EU:
- Catering equipment prices look set to rise: We’re dependent on a large volume of equipment and components supplied largely by Italy and Germany
- Investment in UK real estate might be more difficult and therefore, less attractive to overseas investors setting up food businesses here
- Food and drink prices look set to rise: This article reports that we produce only 60% of our food; 27% of the remainder comes from the EU. Prices are predicted to rise by as much as 11%.
- Weakening of demand for ‘eating out’: The pound has already taken a blow from the vote and if this leads to a weaker economy and lesser buying power, Britons are likely to limit their spending. However, a better exchange rate will bring in more foreign visitors to our shores.
- Labour issues: The workforce currently is made up of between 30-60% of migrant labour. Keeping and attracting talented staff will probably have the strongest implications on the industry. There might be a lengthy process of processing work visas. While this means more jobs for Britons, training them is not something that can be achieved overnight.
As with all the challenges we face in our work, the catering industry will no doubt meet these issues head-on. What are your own concerns about life after Brexit?