DATA INSIGHT: Pub operators on debts, costs and staff wages

The George of Harpenden, Hertfordshire

The British Institute of Innkeeping has released the results of its most recent survey of operator members, detailing the impact that the pandemic has had on their businesses, the fragility of their pubs as they start their recovery and what support will be needed to safeguard their futures.

The organisation has over 9,000 members running premises across the UK. Here are the highlights of its survey, giving a snapshot of the challenges facing individual businesses:

55% of respondents have accrued pandemic specific debts of over £20,000 per site.

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More than one in four has debts of up to £80,000.

57% need more than two years to pay back these debts, and half of those say they need more than five years

42% of respondents are confident of returning to profit once all restrictions are lifted as increased costs and debt repayments impact their businesses.

72% will be facing full rent payments after 19 July.

50% are struggling to recruit the staff they need.

72% of operators are having to raise wages for front of house staff. 40% of these have had to increase wages by more than 10% to attract and retain staff.  

57% have had to raise wages for back of house and kitchen staff, with 48% having to increase wages by more than 10%.

43% have also seen a rise in the cost of food, with 59% reporting increases of between 11% and 50%.

41% say they have seen a rise in the cost of drinks, with 72% reporting a rise of up to 10%.

Utilities costs are also rising dramatically, with 30% reporting an increase from last year. Half of these have seen increases up to 25%, but a fifth have seen rises of up to 50%.

10% have either been refused supply, or had to pay up front for their gas, electric or water services.

Steven Alton, CEO of the British Institute of Innkeeping, said: “Pubs urgently need support from Government in the form of an extension of the Business Rates holiday to April 2022 for England to match the devolved nations, an extended VAT reduction, an immediate cut to duty on draught products specifically for pubs and an urgent reform of the entire rates system. 

“This support is an investment in the future of not only these vibrant and vital community spaces, but also in the economic recovery of the UK. 

“Our pubs are an essential part of our national heritage and will be needed now more than ever as we rebuild the social connections that we have lost over the last 17 months. With ongoing support, they can be at the heart of the economic recovery as well as at the heart of communities across the UK, bringing us all back together again.”

Tags : British Institute of InnkeepingPubs
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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