On-trade future will have more diverse food offers

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Looking forward: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls offers her opinion on the future
Looking forward: UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls offers her opinion on the future
The future for pubs will include operators diversifying their food offer, using technology in their businesses and increasing sustainability, according to UKHospitality (UKH) boss Kate Nicholls.

Nicholls predicted there will be a lot more diverse food offerings as well as measures to use tech to increase productivity without losing the ‘human touch’.

She added: “There will also be a more sustainable approach to operations as a moral duty and because that’s what customers demand and expect.”

The UKH chief executive also highlighted the biggest issues pubs are currently facing and what UKH is doing to help tackle them.

Some impact

Nicholls said: “The biggest issue that affects everything, including pubs, is obviously Brexit. The effects are going to be felt all around the UK and it is difficult to see any aspect of hospitality that will not feel some sort of impact.

“We attend weekly Brexit meetings with the Government as the voice of the UK’s pubs, ensuring the people at the heart of decision-making understand the opportunities and challenges the sector faces and how they might be magnified by Brexit.”

Nicholls went on to outline exactly what UKH has been doing to highlight the importance of pubs to Government.

She added: “We have also been pushing head with the latest round of our MP Skills Challenge, most of which, so far, has taken place in pubs.

“We have been inviting MPs to venues to talk to staff members and get an idea about what goes into a day working in a pub and the prospect for a career.

“We have been challenging MPs to try their hand at the job to show them the sort of skills required to work in a busy pub environment.”

Redoubling efforts

It is no secret that business rates are a big issue for pubs and UKH has recognised this and is lobbying the Government to look into the system.

Nicholls said: “We will also be redoubling our efforts to get the Government to bring forth its long-promised review into business rates.

“Despite extensive lobbying, the business rate system has still not been properly revamped and high street businesses are at a disadvantage.

“As the due date for Brexit gets close, there are still concerns about what a post-exit migration system might look like. We are working to ensure any future immigration system continues to give businesses like pubs, the access to labour they need.”

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