The Small Business Survey 2014 found that food service and accommodation businesses are most likely to be start-ups, where 38 per cent aged are aged up to five years.
While 32 per cent of small and medium-sized employers surveyed expect to be employing more people in 12 months’ time, research from the Association for Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) indicates that 57 per cent of pub and bar operators will be recruiting more staff this year than last.
ALMR CEO Kate Nicholls said: “The report shows the extent to which licensed hospitality is a bellwether for the wider economy – we were hit harder than most by the recession but as growth returns and wages increase, confidence is rightly high. 70% of alcohol retailers are small businesses and with the number of SME suppliers to the sector growing, the rude health of small businesses can only be a good sign.”
The results reinforce data obtained by CGA Peach's 2015 Business Leader's Survey, which found that that 90 per cent of hospitality business leaders, especially newer companies and those within a concentration of sites within the M25, are optimistic about 2015 trading.
Access to lending
The BIS research also highlighted a continuing difficulty in access to lending, with just 19 per cent of SMEs applying for finance, down from 24 per cent in 2012. Fourteen per cent did not apply for finance despite need, and 44 per cent expected rejection if they applied.
This contrasts with CGA Peach’s research, which found hospitality leaders increasingly confident of accessing lending, with two thirds saying access improved in 2014.
Nicholls continued: “While access to funding remains problematic for too many businesses, it is encouraging that hospitality firms are experiencing less trouble in this regard than many others. This indicates that our sector is increasingly seen as a good bet by banks and investors and we look forward to seeing their confidence repaid over the coming year.”
The BIS survey also found that hospitality businesses had a higher than average (11 per cent) proportion of social enterprises, where employers viewed their business as reinvesting surplus profits ‘in the business or community rather than mainly being paid to shareholders and owners’.
The survey interviewed 4355 UK businesses employing between one and 250 people between July and October 2014, including 462 businesses specialising in Accommodation and Food.