We can expect the next 12 months to be hugely significant both politically and economically. The decisions made in Westminster in 2019 will have a long-lasting and profound effect on our businesses. Next year will not be quite as dramatic as the world of science fiction would have us believe – both Akira and Blade Runner are set in 2019, but there will certainly be challenges and opportunities for pubs.
Businesses should approach the year with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead and a chance to grow and evolve. It will be an interesting year, even if it doesn’t involve telekinetic children or rogue criminal replicants.
The debates around allergens, calories and labelling are not going to go away and venues should expect an increased level of scrutiny in 2019. So far, we have been successful in holding back unwieldy legislation, highlighting the great work that your businesses already do to provide transparency, accuracy and choice. The
Government is going to want to appear to be acting decisively in this area, however, so we should perhaps expect some form of regulation regarding menu labelling. The key thing for pubs is that any new requirements are manageable and proportionate. Pubs and bars are already hard at work in this area, so Westminster’s and Holyrood’s drive towards openness and clarity on menus may actually be a great opportunity for the sector to show that it is leading the way.
Brexit will almost certainly continue to cause some level of confusion, but pubs have plenty to look forward to in 2019. Major sporting events on home soil include the Ashes, the Cricket World Cup, the first ever regular season Major League Baseball games as well as the prestigious Eurocup tractor-pulling finals at Great Eccleston, Lancashire. Added to this, the Rugby World Cup and Women’s World Cup with both Scotland and England scheduled to face Argentina in their opening group fixtures. There will be plenty of opportunities for pubs to capitalise on live sport and fill their pubs with fans looking to enjoy the drama in the unique atmosphere of the pub.
The tourism sector deal was announced recently after months of lobbying from UKHospitality and other bodies. Tourism and hospitality are intimately connected and the support to facilitate recruitment in tourism should provide opportunities for pubs. This support is coming at a crucial time, as we look ahead to life outside the EU.