Consumer confidence in hospitality in the UK has been steadily growing since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted. However, the continuing recruitment and retention challenge, increasing cost of living and the return to the 20% rate of VAT means that a robust financial strategy has never been more important.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Spring Statement introduced reforms that should help hospitality businesses in the long run, but those who have been unable to move out of survival mode post-pandemic may continue to struggle as the rate of VAT increases.
“In short, the longer-term measures in the Chancellor’s statement will be positive for those businesses equipped to survive the coming months” - Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive of UK Hospitality.
An experienced, focussed and creative financial leader, who is able to anticipate the market and adapt strategies to protect profit is probably the single most important asset a hospitality business can have at this moment.
At FM Recruitment, our network of financial leaders are reporting the two biggest challenges that they are currently facing are rising costs and the lack of available talent.
The rising cost of living and doing business is affecting just about everyone right now. The crisis in Ukraine has further exacerbated the surging energy prices and a 30-year high rate of inflation in the UK is set to rise further from April 2022.
While cost savings may not be easy to secure right now, many businesses are benefiting from smart decisions made in the past couple of years to protect themselves now. Those businesses that have taken the time to build a network of trusted suppliers, may have helped them anticipate changes and adapt their purchasing strategies accordingly.
Innovation and creativity, if embedded in an organisation’s culture, will have helped financial leaders to tap into the expertise within their supply chain to put themselves in the best possible position for the post-pandemic recovery.
“Working smarter, recognising and minimising risks and exploiting opportunities will mean having to be constantly creative”. Howard Field, founder of FM Recruitment commented as he shared his views on strategies for finance as the industry continues its post pandemic recovery.
A recruitment and retention crisis has enveloped the hospitality sector. The pandemic drove many employees away as they were placed on furlough or made redundant. Many found alternative careers by the time hotels, bars and restaurants eventually reopened. Thousands of school leavers, who would usually take jobs in hospitality for their first taste of work life found themselves having to find alternative options.
Employee trust in many hospitality companies waned but those businesses that stood up, pivoted and were seen to be doing everything they could to protect jobs and keep the business afloat were best placed to continue the recovery once lockdown ended. These businesses that have managed to retain their employees and stay open showed great resilience then and will feel confident taking on the upcoming challenges.
Successful hospitality businesses have always had to be flexible. Whether this pertains to a guest that is never told “no” or refers to the staff rota that changes throughout the week as employees cover shifts or the business demands change. Flexibility in 2022 demands a little more, no more so than with employees.
The pandemic forced hospitality to experiment with a more flexible workforce and in many cases this has been very successful. Many businesses have been able to leverage a new reserve of experienced, flexible interim talent who have entered the market having recently decided to move away or retire from full time hospitality jobs. This has helped flexible businesses tackle short term projects with all the expertise they need without the long-term financial commitments these would have ordinarily needed.
With these challenges likely to remain for some time yet, the role of financial leaders within the hospitality industry looks set to be a crucial one and may increasingly be seen as a natural route to more senior general management positions.
At FM Recruitment, we are passionate about doing everything we can to support the hospitality industry. We nurture long-term relationships with employers and candidates and are proud of our relationship with HOSPA that shines such a positive light on this business we love. The importance of building relationships and mentoring the next generation of hoteliers as they develop their careers cannot be underestimated and is essential to the long-term success of the hospitality sector.
For support with your talent strategy or to speak to us about several UK and International roles across all levels of hospitality finance, please talk to us today on: