Nearly three-quarters of restaurants have been affected by rising food costs

Restaurants across the UK are struggling to make substantial profits due to the rising cost of food and produce, according to a new nationwide report by Livebookings.

In the latest Livebookings European Dining Index, 74 per cent of restaurants have revealed that food costs are now the factor which has affected menu prices in the last six months. This means that food prices are taking up more business overhead than both rent and business rates, whilst only staff wages remains the top eater of business profits. The problem is so severe that 90 per cent of the sampled restaurants have highlighted a rise in their food bill.

Industrial analysts have suggested that the extreme weather in recent months may have been the key driver behind the rising costs. Not only has the cold weather prevented people from eating out but it has impacted the global price of dairy, meat and wheat. This has forced many restaurants to change their menus, increase their prices and lower overhead costs further. Analysts worry that this may have a lasting effect on the number of hospitality jobs that are created in the rest of the year.

Livebookings’ chief executive Colin Tenwick said: “They have survived the recent economic decline, and are seeing improvement in the number of customers through the door, but many restaurants operating today are still facing a daily mission to maintain a sustainable profit margin. The rising cost of produce creates a need to constantly reassess their supply chain, and what they offer to customers."

The report highlights that ways in which restaurants have tried to reduce costs is source local produce, forge relationships with their suppliers in order to make them immune against price changes, and develop communications with customers over menu changes.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing chef recruitment solutions.