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41% of UK pub owners fear they could close within the year

young woman with glasses smiling
3 min read
AUTHOR: Fiona Holland
People outside the Red Lion pub at Avebury in Wiltshire, UK

Only three fifths (59%) of UK pub managers and owners think they will still be open in 12 months’ time, according to research from foodservice franchise company Peckwater Brands.

The new study, which includes responses from over 200 pubs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, shows economic trends are negatively affecting pubs across the country.

The survey also reveals that only 43% are optimistic about the future of their pub, and less than 39% have confidence in the Government’s support for the hospitality sector.

While the Government announced a business energy cap earlier this month, which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng says will prevent businesses from collapsing, few measures were brought in to support struggling hospitality businesses in the mini budget last week, says Peckwater.

The report shows that nearly 70% of those surveyed would like to see new PM Liz Truss and Kwarteng cut business rates for pubs. A similar number have also said they would like the Government to cut VAT rates.

Almost half of pubs reported supply chain issues, while 35% noted they are struggling to recruit and keep on enough staff to run their establishments efficiently.

In light of ongoing staff shortages, some two thirds of pubs also said they think the Government should change visa rules to open up hospitality roles to more non-UK residents.

Sam Martin, CEO of Peckwater Brands said: “Clearly, managing inflation, attracting customers and retaining staff are all pertinent issues. For me, it is the pubs that are proactively seeking ways to remain competitive, improve efficiency and offer a better experience to punters that will stand the best chance of weathering this storm.

“It will be intriguing to see how the pub sector responds, and hopefully our research can help owners and managers to steer their own path through this testing time.”

The survey marks the first release of The Local – a new piece of research to be published bi-monthly by Peckwater Brands. The next report will forecast the state of the UK’s pub sector in 2023.

Martin added: “Rising costs and reduced consumer spending pose serious threats to many UK pubs, and the results of our first The Local survey show just how challenging the current climate is. Confidence is low; the outlook for many pubs is somewhat bleak.

“Through this new research initiative, we hope to shed light on the sentiments, struggles and strategies of these businesses, from which action can be taken. And this is crucial. The pub is a British institution, a communal space that brings us together. It must be supported.

Find out what Food and Drink Federation Chief Executive Karen Betts thinks Liz Truss should do to help the food industry in this Food Matters Live podcast episode:

FDF Chief Exec: ‘New PM needs a plan to help food industry’


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