The combination of Covid-19 and Brexit is already causing delays in the supply of foodservice equipment, and the situation is likely to get worse once lockdown starts being eased, the FEA has warned.
“Covid-19 has limited the production capacity of manufacturers both in the UK and overseas,” says Steve Hobbs, chair of FEA. “Plus, there has been little stock holding going on. When the hospitality industry starts picking up, equipment suppliers won’t be able to respond instantaneously to a rapid increase in demand – there’s no magic tap they can turn on. Customers are going to have to wait.”
The problems will be exacerbated by the changes in April that will mean import controls come into stricter force in the UK, as part of the Brexit deal.
At the moment, there are no controls on the UK side of the border; this was part of the government’s ‘soft landing’ approach.
From April things harden up – for example, import paperwork will need to be 100% correct, otherwise there will be hold ups and delays getting product into the UK.
“The pandemic and Brexit are creating a perfect storm in terms of foodservice equipment supply,” says Hobbs. “For any operator looking to buy equipment the solution is clear: get your order in quick if you want to avoid potentially extensive delays.”