Foodservice Equipment Reports

U.K. Market Should Begin to Grow In 2013, Says Horizons

It’s been a very tough slog for foodservice operators the past two years in Britain. The austerity regime of tax increases and benefit cuts put in place by the current Conservative/Liberal Democrat government has cut consumers’ disposable income and confidence, led to higher unemployment and kept interest rates at rock bottom.

But Peter Backman, managing director or Horizons FS Limited, the London-based foodservice consultancy, thinks the worst may be over. Noting the “slow decline of the sector over the last few years,” he said, “Some sort of bottom has now been reached or will be in early 2013. At some point during 2013 we expect consumer confidence to start returning and spend on eating out will start to rise again.”

He noted the downturn has had some benefits. “Operators across all sectors and within the supply chain have learned to cope,” he said. “They have developed the systems and mindsets that are effective in exceptionally tough times, and invested money in businesses that can actually deliver profit and growth.”

The current climate will require operators to “attract customers with innovation in terms of food offers and new service styles, which might include a more embracing return to all-you-can –eat buffet styles of service.” He also expects a continuation of discounting, which has been extensive during the downturn. Bue he thinks operators “will be careful about how they target these offers,” focusing on schemes that build stronger relationships with customers and build their interest with special offers.

For more information on Horizons FS Ltd. Research, see www.hrzns.com