The National Trust lost around two-thirds of its catering revenues due to the pandemic, it can be revealed.
The charity, which is responsible for over 300 properties in the UK, earned just £29.6m from F&B during the 2020/2021 period as many of its locations remained closed or only offered a limited food service.
The figure a represents a 65% decrease on the £87m that it generated from catering in 2019/20, according to accounts shared with ahead of its AGM next month.
Prior to the crisis, catering had grown to become the National Trust’s second largest source of revenue behind membership fees.
However, it dropped to fifth last year behind membership, rents, legacies, and enterprise and renewables.
Covid-19 has left a significant imprint on the organisation’s finances. Overall income dropped by £173m year-on-year and by £213m against the target it set before the pandemic.
The charity has implemented a number of cost-saving measures, including reducing project spend by £114m compared to its budgeted level.
The National Trust is one of the UK’s largest food and beverage businesses, covering everything from hill-top tearooms to rosette-awarded fine dining in converted barns and 61 pubs across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It serves food to 26 million visitors a year and relies on F&B for more than £20m of profit.
The organisation is currently looking to hire F&B staff as it seeks to expand its catering offer, with its website declaring: “If you think food and beverage at the National Trust is all quaint cafes and afternoon teas, you couldn’t be more wrong.”
The business, which is putting increased emphasis on using local and seasonal produce – much of it grown in its own kitchen gardens or by tenant farmers and suppliers – has numerous opportunities in food and beverage across its sites and regional and central offices.
These include head chef, F&B manager, commercial support consultant, F&B development manager, commis chef and development chef.