Inflation threatens Sunday pub roast as Young’s takes chicken off the menu

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CEO Patrick Dardis said: ‘We will sell out the fresh chickens we’ve got in our fridges, and we won’t be ordering any more.’

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piralling inflation could be about to jeopardise a great British institution: the Sunday pub roast.

One of the UK’s biggest pub chains is to temporarily stop serving chicken because of souring prices.

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Young’s, which runs over 200 pubs and hotels across the UK, plans to remove chicken from the menu until poultry price pressures peter out.

Boss Patrick Dardis told the Standard: “We will sell out the fresh chickens we’ve got in our fridges, and we won’t be ordering any more.

“We can communicate to our pubs and say: ‘sell out the stock you’ve bought, don’t buy any more and swap out the menu’.”

The price of fresh chicken has soured 12% in the past year, according to the Office for National Statistics, adding around 45p to the cost on an average whole bird.

Co-Op boss Steve Murrells recently warned that chicken could soon become as expensive as beef, saying: “Chicken, which was incredibly cheap and great value for money, is rising quicker than any other protein.”

The boss of 2 Sisters Food Group and Bernard Matthews, which between them produce about a third of the UK’s chicken, warned last year that chicken had become “too cheap” and prices would need to rise.

“The days when you could feed a family of four with a £3 chicken are coming to an end,” Ranjit Singh Boparan said last October. “Food is too cheap, there’s no point avoiding the issue.”

Poultry is just one of the costs going up for businesses like Young’s, with the price of everything from salmon to electricity on the rise.

The pub group put up the price of a pint in March to help deal with rising costs and Dardis said: “If inflation keeps going up and wage demand does rise there is a risk of more price increases.”

Young’s today marked a return to profitability as sales more than tripled over the 12 months to March 2022 to reach £309 million. That was a 2.9% increase on pre-pandemic performance.

About one third of the company’s revenues are derived from the sale of food, according to Dardis.

Young’s took a £5 million knock from rising energy prices, and has hedged its utilities contracts till 2024.

“Our balance sheet is the strongest it’s ever been in our history,” Dardis said. “We feel confident we can ride this storm if it’s another 3 or 6 months.”

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Credit: www.standard.co.uk /

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