Energy prices have seen massive increases in recent months with some operators seeing energy bills rise by 250​% or even being refused contracts by suppliers, at the same VAT has increased from 12.5% to 20% today (Friday 1 April) on top of inflation​, cost-of-living crisis, supply issues, recruitment crisis and food prices​ continuing to rise​.

Licensee of the Onslow Arms, in Loxwood, West Sussex, Rob Barr said: “Rising costs are obviously a huge concern for us all, the real challenge is they are all coming at the same time and off the back of the pandemic allowing for no real breathing space for us all.

“As the pressures of cost of living start to filter through every aspect of our spending, as operators we need to adapt our thinking and look at what would motivate guests to come into our sites. 

“It’s also an opportunity for us to review spending across the board, the “do we need this?” question is being asked and also looking at our productivity and how we work with our team to the most out of our sites when it is busy.”

Very tough year

However, some operators have hoped questioning spending will result in being more operationally efficient despite barely breaking even. 

Bath Pub Company managing director Joe Cussens said: “It may well be we don’t do much more than break even this year, which, when you consider we’re forecasting sales of £6.5M for 4 pubs is pretty depressing.

“Like everyone else, we’re putting up prices; but of course, there is a limit to how far you can increase prices before people stay away as they’re too high.

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