Ministerial resignations, cabinet reshuffles and uncertain negotiations are casting a dark shadow over Brexit at the moment.
In amongst all the in-fighting and instability, it’s easy to overlook the fact that the UK’s impending exit from the EU has already begun to influence the country’s economy.
For the restaurant industry, these reverberations are being felt fairly acutely, even if many insiders are putting a positive spin on how the future will pan out.
Clash of opinions
What’s perhaps a little surprising is that professionals in the restaurant biz are not all that convinced by claims about Brexit doom and gloom.
A survey from Preoday found that just over two thirds of industry pros believe that big chains are simply latching on to Brexit as an excuse for their current struggles in a bid to deflect attention from the real issues of restaurant oversaturation.
Thirty-eight per cent said that the challenging market conditions currently being faced were caused by nothing more than sheer competitiveness.
Meanwhile, just nine per cent said that rising rents were driving restaurants to the brink, while three per cent claimed that eateries were being hampered because of a poor choice of premises.
Brexit? What Brexit?
For restaurant industry professionals, Brexit is not currently the top ranked concern; that honour goes to staffing costs.
Of course, with many prospective employees from within the EU either returning home or simply not bothering to consider the UK as a suitable place to live and work with Brexit on the horizon, it may be staff shortages that take centre stage from 2019 onwards.
Around a third of survey respondents fear that if consumer confidence remains as low as it is currently, they may struggle to keep table bookings at a sustainable level.
Economic and political upheaval is destined to continue hammering dents into the industry’s confidence, with Brexit undoubtedly being the biggest culprit for the current turmoil facing the UK government.
In a way, writing off this issue while also complaining about its symptoms seems like the sort of denial that could hurt big chains.
Some in the restaurant industry seem intent on ignoring the needs and expectations of consumers, and instead focusing their attentions on factors that don’t matter quite so much to the average diner.
A panel of consumers were also questioned in this survey, with ninety-one per cent putting the impact of the menu offered by a restaurant at the top of the agenda when deciding where to book a table.
Eight-five per cent said that food quality was a big selling point, which shows that considerations about price are less pressing or relevant than many restaurant owners might assume.
It’s obvious that big chains and independent restaurants shouldn’t bury their heads in the sand when it comes to Brexit.
The country’s attempt to reclaim its sovereignty isn’t something that should impact day-to-day operations or decision-making. Restaurants need to cater to consumers and worry about their needs now – not about how Brexit will play out in the coming months and years.