Liam Humphreys, our Managing Director, talks through the highs and lows of the year, reflecting on a challenging but exciting period for the catering industry.
2018 was a record-breaking year for Berkeley Scott, as we delivered our strongest year since 2006, helping place hundreds of mid to senior managerial roles across the country and consistently delivering over 5,000 temporary shifts each week. Our footprint was spread across hotels, the high street, contract catering, fine dining, pubs/bars and leisure, and the level of change and innovation across the industry we saw was truly breath-taking.
Whilst consumer/business spending across travel and experience was strong, the spectre of an unruly Brexit has gradually dampened consumer confidence and business investment, which has begun to affect sentiment, reflected in a number of recent negative PMI’s. The negative effects of these headwinds were exacerbated by a variety of rises in business operating costs: minimum/living wage rises, apprentice levy, rising employer pension contributions, food cost inflation, rent rises and growing business rates. As a business owner, whilst I thoroughly approve of a number of these initiatives, I sometimes feel that government policy is at best misplaced and seems to be creating a steady stream of challenges for us all to overcome. I continue to work with the REC to lobby government on how they can improve life for both workers and businesses and continue to ensure the voice of hospitality is well represented in several round tables with the DWP, Home Office and other government bodies.
The overall unemployment rates continue to tumble and the acute problems of quality labour supply, particularly in the kitchen, are the number one challenge which business owners talk to me about. A number of our clients are investing heavily to develop talent for the future of the UK hospitality industry which is a true global leader. Finding the right people to drive any business forward is a key challenge and I hope the guidance outlined within this document will help, however, we are always happy to give more specific guidance if required.
The high-point of 2018 for me personally was being able to present the Life Time Achievement Catey to the fantastic Diego Masciaga. He embodies all that is good about hospitality professionals and it was an honour to share the moment with him, not to mention England’s victory in the penalty shoot-out against Columbia. I look forward to this year’s event. We will be there again this year – please pop over and say hello.