The hospitality sector is bracing itself for a challenging first few months of the year as people rein in their spending, a lobby group has warned.
Many venues are deciding to cut capacity by 20 per cent as the cost of living crisis continues to bite, according to Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer of UKHospitality.
“Government support could be the difference between surviving and not for so many businesses,” she urged.
“So we need that to come as early as practically possible.”
Pubs, hotels and restaurants are worried financial support for energy bills might be reduced when the current business aid scheme ends in March.
They are already being hit by spiralling energy bills, food inflation and staff shortages – as well as the ongoing rail strikes which have affected trade.
A survey carried out within the hospitality industry towards the end of last year revealed that one in four people would not go out as often or spend as much because of the increased cost of living.
“The fear is that people will tighten their belts quite considerably,” Kate told the Guardian.
“That’s when the cost of living will bite. And you’ll see customers not going out as frequently.
“There’s no doubt quarter one is going to be tough. What we’re hearing is that around half of our members are restricting their opening hours, their capacity and the days of the weeks that they are opening.
“We’re hearing lots of people talking about curbing their capacity by about 20 per cent, just simply to be able to match supply and demand.”