Hospitality bosses warn of looming triple whammy of headaches businesses face

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Britain’s battered hospitality industry is facing another triple-whammy of headaches since April, as it battles to recover from the pandemic, a host of owners of London-listed firms have warned.

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Andy Hornby, the former HBOS boss who leads Wagamama-owner The Restaurant Group, led the chorus of voices, pointing to a “fundamental shift”.

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It will come next year with higher wages, and an end to VAT support and rent deferment.

Those changes add to existing pressures, from staff recruitment challenges to supply chain difficulties.

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Hornby said: “I consider myself very fortunate to be running a business on a large scale that has been through refinancing.”

He told hospitality news site Propel: “I have real sympathy for some of the players who will be looking at Q2/Q3 next year, especially Q2, when three things will happen in one day … it’s a lot for the whole.” There’s going to be a fundamental shift in the sector, so you have to put your capex where you’re pretty sure it’s going to benefit.”

He also added: “But you have to spend it, because if we’ve learned one thing as we reopen, consumers want to be in an environment where they’re enjoying socializing again.” , and the place has been taken care of.”

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nichols told the Evening Standard: “With rising inflation on food, beverage, utilities and insurance, the cost of doing business is already going to rise sharply, but to make matters worse, VAT will increase.”

Clive Watson of Citi Pub Group said: “The hospitality sector is still recovering and April next year is too soon to withdraw some government support.”

Young’s Patrick Dardis warned: “Pretty much everything [overheads] Increasingly, price increases in drinks and food are an inevitable consequence.”

Nightmare in London’s New Deal

Bar business Nightcap, founded by former Dragons Den judge Sarah Willingham, has unveiled a £4.9 million deal to buy London-based firm Barrio Familia.

The purchase will see Nightcap become the operator of an additional five locations, most of which are Latin American-inspired tequila-led cocktail bars. Buyer thinks there is “a significant UK roll out opportunity”.

The AIM-listed Nightcap said the purchase would mean that by July 2022 the results would be well ahead of the city’s expectations.


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