UK catering industry continues to grow with a reported worth of £1bn

The catering industry is thriving in the UK, with revenue for the market sitting at £1bn, according to new data from IBISWorld.

A specialist in business information and market research, IBISWorld has shown how the market has experienced an annual growth of 1% since 2013 and now has a workforce of over 28,000.

In addition to this data, a report by the British Hospitality Association (BHA) in 2017 discovered that the contract catering market is anticipated to increase 1.9% a year until 2020.

The BHA went on to discover that the hospitality sector is labour-intensive and not capital-intensive, meaning it relies more on manpower than cash to operate.

The sector also has the highest labour productivity increase across the UK economy and has managed to decrease its capital output by 10%, suggesting it is refining its use of investment.

The Nisbets’ spring 2018 Pulse Survey, which surveyed 600 UK catering industry professionals found the main concerns for 2018 are: reduced footfall, finding staff, and increased business rates and competition.

Only one in ten catering professionals surveyed said that the government is doing a sufficient amount to support the sector, while 34% have found an increase in the cost of raw ingredients, and 22% believe there has been a rise in the price of labour.

To counter the concern about finances, 46% of those asked said that they’d push up prices and 25% said they’d reduce portions, both of which may stifle growth if customers don’t agree with the changes.

Consequently, 18% from this survey claim that they will cut staff in a bid to absorb extra costs, and although 42% of professionals have no difficulty with recruitment, a quarter find it hard to source and take on chefs.

It also found that as Brexit looms, out of the 600 professionals in the survey, 61% have seen no change in footfall since Britain decided to leave the EU.

This could suggest that, although the future is unclear regarding the EU divorce deal, its effect on the expansion of the catering industry has not become an issue yet.

Despite some worries and grievances, the general outlook of the catering industry from a professional perspective appears good with 73% of survey-takers have a positive outlook, which is a good sign for the sector’s future development.

However, it’s clear that practical answers to the most pressing issues are still needed if the industry is going to grow at the same or greater rate than it has been.

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