The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers today launched its first ever ‘Casual Dining Manifesto’, aimed at lobbying the government to cut the bureaucracy that it believes is holding the market back.
The manifesto highlights the dynamism and diversity of casual dining in the UK and calls upon the government to address issues surrounding property and investment to ensure continued growth in the sector.
Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR, said: “The UK’s licensed hospitality offerings have evolved immeasurably over recent years with casual dining outlets driving new trends in the eating out market.
“Faced with tightening margins and increasing levels of red tape, many of this country’s licensed hospitality outlets have looked to new and exciting ways to entice customers and drive trade. Businesses have increasingly turned to food and we are seeing a fantastic depth of choice in our high street brands but the benefits of this are not recognised collectively at either a national or local level.”
The ALMR Casual Dining manifesto calls upon both local and national authorities to:
– Promote a free, fair and flexible property market by implementing a root and branch reform of business rates and updating the Code for Business Leasing Premises.
– Cut unnecessary costs of doing business by ensuring that authorities have a regard to economic growth for planning and licensing decisions.
– Unlock the potential for growth and investment in communities by scrapping NICs for under-25s, direct funding for apprenticeships and bonuses for businesses each time they take on an apprentice.
Nicholls concluded: “Eating out businesses serve over 42 million meals each year and contribute £209,000 per restaurant to their wider local communities. This is a significant contribution that can be capitalised on if the conditions for businesses permit it.
“Cutting costs and providing businesses with opportunities to invest is crucial and the ALMR will continue to push for a fairer, flexible market, particularly in respect of property, that allows our casual dining businesses to flourish.”
The ALMR is the only national trade body dedicated to representing the interests of licensed hospitality operators. Its membership, which includes pub, club, bar and casual dining operators, account for 17,500 outlets and employ more than 375,000 people.