Post budget, the focus appears to be on the future but is it as predictable as it used to be?

The UK’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic has so far proven to be less of the V-shaped forecast but appears to be on the right road. There is though still a long way to travel. As is well documented, some sectors are thriving, others are struggling. Hospitality is facing some serious issues which will take time to overcome and which will potentially change the face of the sector.

Over the winter, the challenges will deepen as there will be a combination of public health concerns, income losses and supply issues to all cause concern. Add in the labour market crisis and the recovery still seems a long way away. The events sector is naturally nervous of any future restrictions. Hotels want to see the return of international business but this seems still a long way away. Can the city centres support the same level of restaurants that existed in 2019?

There are many who argue that the UK is also experiencing an economic correction with a stronger move towards sustainability than was forecast and many changes, yet to be fully seen, in the behaviours of consumers; their patterns will have changed in ways yet to be seen. The question then arises as to whether the UK will see new economic patterns emerge? How will these impact on hospitality?

· Will working patterns have changed for good?

· Will regional restaurants prosper at the expense of city centre?

· How will city centres rebuild?

· Without the spend of International business, how can so many top restaurants and hotels survive at the level they once did?

· How will consumer eating out habits have changed?

· Are the delivered in models set to grow?

· How does the industry solve the labour issues it is facing?

· Inflation has clearly returned as an issue but is this short term or a long term problem which will continue into 2022?

Without the return of International business to any great level, then naturally the domestic market becomes increasingly important and the way that working & consumer patterns have changed will need to be understood.

The answers will emerge in time but it is likely that there is a new economic model emerging. Does it matter whether it is a correction or an evolution? Probably not – what matters is how we can understand the trends and adjust accordingly.

The economy is simply not what it used to be.