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Hospitality bosses increasingly optimistic, despite challenges

In spite of difficult trading conditions, optimism among leaders in the UK’s hospitality sector continues to rise, according to the new Business Confidence Survey from CGA by NIQ and Fourth.

The polling reveals that 62% of hospitality leaders feel optimistic about their business’ prospects for the next 12 months – an 8% increase from the figure recorded in the previous survey in May. The proportion of those leaders who are optimistic about the hospitality market in general has also risen, from 40% to 45%, in recent months, but is still a relatively low figure.

The most dramatic confidence boost has been seen among leaders of independent operators, with the current proportion of those who are optimistic sitting at 38% – 15% above the figure from May. The overall proportion of those who believe that their business is at risk of failure is now 11%, 3% below the previous survey’s findings.

But, though there is an overall trend of more and more figures in the industry having a positive outlook, concerns about operating costs in particular are still rife. All of those surveyed expressed concern over food and drink price inflation, 96% over energy prices, and 91% over interest rates.

Karl Chessell, CGA by NIQ’s director of hospitality operators and food, commented on the findings: “It’s encouraging to see businesses of all sizes looking to the future with such confidence, and with strong underlying demand for pubs, bars and restaurants the outlook is good. However, ongoing high inflation and staffing issues mean trading conditions will remain challenging until at least the end of the year. There is no room for complacency, and operators will have to work very hard to mitigate costs and protect sales over the rest of 2023.”

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