Is the worst of the crisis that has threatened the existence of so large parts of the catering industry since the beginning of the pandemic finally over?
New profitability numbers today suggest that might be the case.
Analysis by accountant Hacker Young shows that the UK’s top 100 restaurant groups made a combined profit of £241.8m in the six months to March, a 12-fold increase on the £19.9m surplus they posted in the previous half-year – and in the years before – had generated total losses before reducing. We are still a long way from boom times.
Those gains represent a relatively slim 3% margin — but far healthier than the barely bearable 0.5% before.
The restaurant business has always been a precarious business, vulnerable to fickle shifts in public tastes, intense competition, fluctuating costs and a shortage of skilled workers. But it’s been particularly bad in recent years as energy, food and staff bills have skyrocketed and years of lockdowns and other Covid-induced trade restrictions have to be coped with.
The report reveals how restaurateurs have responded to the biggest drop in trade in living memory by taking tough measures like cutting working hours and cutting costs like sourcing cheaper ingredients.
Many peripheral locations were also closed. The Hacker Young report focuses on the larger chains that had the internal financial and human resources to respond to the restaurant recession.
It’s still relentless hard work for the smaller independent players who help make London such a rewarding and interesting place to live.
The test will come in autumn, the high season for new openings in the run-up to Christmas.
The number of starts has decreased significantly in recent years.
An impending rebound would be the most reassuring indicator that hospitality is no longer thriving on waste and can look forward to healthier eating in the year ahead.
https://www.standard.co.uk/business/restaurants-recovery-covid-pandemic-rebound-profit-food-dining-hospitality-b1099065.html Are restaurants finally showing signs of recovery?