According to the latest monthly Restaurant Barometer survey from Business Link, the UK’s emergence from the recession at the end of last year resulted in a lifted mood for restaurateurs.
Almost 60 per cent now expect an increase in takings in 2010 compared to last year, with 70 per cent expecting to avoid the action of laying staff off. In fact, 19 per cent said they intended to recruit more staff over the year.
January snow causes heavy losses
However, the optimism for the year ahead was not reflected in the January trading results of many restaurateurs, who suffered ‘heavy losses’ as a result of heavy snowfall during the month.
Almost half of operators reported losses in takings, covers and customer spend compared to January 2009, despite 54 per cent offering promotions during January.
Earlier this month, the Coffer Peach Business Tracker blamed heavy snowfall for a 5 per cent fall in restaurant sales for the month, while many businesses lost business through absent staff, booking cancellations, and forced closures.
Sharon Clarke, finance operations manager at Michelin-starred Deanes who were forced to temporarily shut after a frozen pipe burst and flooded the restaurant, told BigHospitality at the time: “Its not really something you want in January – it’s a bad enough month. We had everything turned off and heaters in to keep the room warm but we’re in a very old building and just not used to these temperatures.”