The director of French restaurant group Le Bistrot Pierre has spoken of his reluctance to pass on rising food prices to customers, instead relying on quality staff and culinary creativity to see the company through the economic slowdown.
Food costs rose by 9.3 per cent for foodservice operators in June, with restaurants – due to a reliance on fresh food – seeing prices rise by 11 per cent.
In an online poll, 71 per cent of BigHospitality users said they had already been forced to raise prices at their establishments due to rising food costs and 7 per cent said they were thinking of doing so soon.
However, John Whitehead, whose business operates restaurants in Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Leamington Spa, said he would be looking at other ways to save cash rather than passing on costs to his customers.
“We are experimenting with other cuts of meat which in my view are much tastier anyway,” he said.
“Raising menu prices wouldn’t be fair to a consumer who is already feeling the pinch.”
The restaurateur also said recruiting and retaining the right staff was the best way to save money at any time with the company relying on hospitality recruitment agency Management Connections to find staff.
In a difficult economic climate, restaurants need dedicated staff to give good service to customers to ensure they return and don`t want to have to pay unnecessary fees to recruit again, so choosing the right candidate is essential, advises Leila Hughes of Management Connections.
"In this market people aren`t going out as much so they want a great experience and feel looked after, so it`s vital a restaurateur is confident in their recruitment," she said.
Whitehead added: “We all know the cost of getting it wrong, so good agencies are well worth their fees if you find the right candidate."
Last month, market analysts Horizons warned that restaurants may have to swallow rising food costs to keep customers coming through the door.
Market Analyst Peter Backman said: “Because consumers are also feeling the pinch in the current climate, food operators are having to take a hit on their margins rather than raising prices to mitigate costs. For many this potentially wipes out profits altogether.”
Restaurants face profit drop as food prices rise