Mr. Kamal Yakub

Former President of BCA @ BCA1960

Kamal Yakub
Former President of BCA

We all know that the hospitality
sector had been one of the most
affected by the pandemic- mostly
because of lockdowns. The sector
has also been affected by Brexit
although it is difficult to identify
exactly by how much, because of its
timing alongside the COVID19
During pandemic and lockdowns,
Government help like the furlough
scheme, Self-Employment Income
Support Scheme (SEISS), grants,
cheap loans, reduction in VAT,
business rates relief etc helped the
industry to a great extent. Also, the
‘help out to eat out’ incentive by
the government did help the
restaurants when restrictions were
relaxed, but this incentive was
Since May 2021, spending in
restaurants started to increase, but
sales still remain much lower than
2019 levels not forgetting that UK
has lost about 10% of its restaurants
After the relaxations of lockdowns
and social distancing, the
restaurants have been facing staff
shortage. The reason for that issome
staff during and after furlough
scheme ended, looked for and went
for other jobs. The shortage caused
changes in opening times, opening
for dinner only rather than lunch
and dinner; also, shorter hours
avoiding staff’s reluctance to stay
too late into the night. All this has
become more or less the new
normal now. The shortage of staff
has also resulted in higher pay.
Restaurants have already been
forced to increase menu prices after
Brexit. Ingredients, energy prices
have jumped up to a level that it has
become a nightmare. All these
factors have had an impact on the
catering sector.
To come out or recover from the
turmoil left by the COVID19
pandemic and lockdowns, the
restaurant industry will need to
adapt to many changes in order to
survive. Delivery services have kept
the businesses afloat and creative
dining approaches have recently
become more popular. Also, vegan
food has been dominating the
dining out sector in the recent
times. Having vegan food on the
menu should bring in more
customers. We have noticed that
Plant-based food chains and
offerings of vegan and cultivated
meat alternatives continue to rise in
popularity as many of the younger
generation are concerned about
doing their bit to mitigate climate
We know that online marketing
saved many food and drinks outlets
over the pandemic period. Now,
restaurant owners realise the value
of a strong online presence
together with using multiple
delivery platforms. So, gaining
knowledge about how to go about
strategising a solid online marketing
plan is integral to success.
Technology, contactless payments,
high engagement websites, social
media presences and superior
delivery services are expected to
spearhead the future of the catering
industry. Of course, high-quality
products are the most important
part of all business strategies.
While no one can predict what the
future holds for the catering
industry, what we do know is that
there will be new challenges with
new rewards. So far 2021 and 2022
have seen major adjustments which
we can expect to continue for some
time to come.
However, despite the many
changes and challenges that the UK
restaurant industry does face, also a
recession looming, many experts
maintain a positive outlook for the
future and believe the economy will
repair over time and the catering
industry will prevail.