A perfect storm challenges food service operators and will force change

When we look back at 2018, we will talk of a tough year when snow days and the hot summer hardly helped operators. But the picture is even harder as fully employed home working numbers continue to increase and of course there is the National Living Wage and the threat of quite threatening food inflation.

All together this creates a perfect storm that, in turn, makes the operators feel under constant pressure with no clear let up on the horizon.

The consumer is changing with more and more seeking healthier diets and great food produce. It is estimated that today there are 3.5m vegans in the UK, rising from 540,000 in 2016 and 150,000 in 2006. This is a dramatic change and the trend will continue. It is estimated 22m people are reducing their meat intake in the UK alone.

Food inflation in June stood at around 2.3%, slightly higher that the overall picture in Europe where the figures stands at an average 2%. The reality is the weather this year will see an increase in prices.

“It is estimated that today there are 3.5m vegans in the UK, rising from 540,000 in 2016 and 150,000 in 2006.”

Over the last few months, EP has argued for the importance of bringing together a consistent message for the food service sector as food today plays such an important role in daily life. Yes the operators feel pressurised and understandably desire calmer waters.

All fair but, until we find some clarity on Brexit, then there is a need to simply work through the issues. Given Boris Johnson’s articles and statements, it is clear that the war on what Brexit looks like will continue for a time to come and as this happens, so the landscape for business is not eased. It really has been a demanding landscape that the operators have been asked to face.

At the same time, there are many companies that do understand how important a role that food service plays and would like to see better but everyone is being affected by the perfect storm that has come together.

It is therefore logical that we need to find new ideas, thinking and innovation to solve some of the problems and there are many that are growing. There are many delivered in models that are growing and showing impressive results. There is new technology that is coming to the fore that will change much in food service. But still more is needed. Change is happening and the food service sector needs to match the speed of change with new thinking and solutions. The sector needs to work together to discuss new ideas.

It is interesting with the #FuellingProductivity campaign that EP has launched as hotel understand the argument and are engaging as they understand the simple promise that great food = engaged customers = increased revenues.

We need to think with new eyes, a new perspective. We need to maybe work together to find new solutions?