In this edition of News Bites, we’ll be talking about how the ongoing labour shortages and economic climate is still affecting the hospitality industry, and great zero-waste news from the Eurovision weekend.
Hospitality industry faces ‘record insolvencies’
As we’re all too aware, hospitality businesses are still going through tough economic times, and it means that collapses and bankruptcies could hit record highs this year. Figures provided by law firm Higgs LLP show 249 hospitality companies entered insolvency in February this year, up from 175 in February 2022. Lauren Hartigan-Pritchard, head of restructuring and insolvency at Higgs LLP says: “Unless the economic picture improves, high levels of business failures are guaranteed.”
Staff shortages continue to hold back growth
Latest vacancy figures from the Office of National Statistics show that vacancies in hospitality fell by 22% over the last year – but they’re still 48% higher than pre-Covid levels. UKHospitality chief Kate Nicholls commented: “The drop over the past year is significant, but it remains the case that vacancies remain stubbornly high.” Worker shortages are making venues reduce opening hours or trading days, and UKHospitality are calling for the government to add more hospitality roles onto the Shortage Occupation List.
Foodservice price inflation falls below 20% for the first time in five months
The food and drink sector got a bit of welcome relief as inflation dropped to 18.9% in March 2023. The CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index revealed “clear signs” that inflation is steadily slowing. But, Prestige Purchasing chief executive Shaun Allen added: “Prices do remain high and eight out of 10 categories are still reporting month-on-month increases.” It’s possible that foodservice inflation is finally softening, but conditions are likely to remain difficult for some time.
Huge amounts of Eurovision hospitality food saved and given out for free
Now for something a bit more positive. A huge amount of food was leftover at Liverpool Arena, and thanks to volunteers from Liverpool Zero Waste Community, it didn’t go to landfill but instead to families, schools, children’s groups and care homes across Liverpool and the Wirral.