Pubs urged to be disciplined with Christmas ordering

By Rebecca Weller contact

- Last updated on GMT

Christmas dinner: keep descriptions flexible
Christmas dinner: keep descriptions flexible

Related tags: Christmas, Supply and demand, Food, Finance

Beef, pork, and salmon are set to be in short supply over the festive period this year while turkey has made a comeback following the CO2 supply problems.

Lynx Purchasing has advised hospitality operators can avoid food supply shortages this Christmas and New Year through better buying discipline and close communication with suppliers.

The buying expert’s advice comes as Lynx published an Autumn/Winter Market Update​ to support customers as they plan for the peak trading season.

Lynx Purchasing managing director Rachel Dobson said: "The challenge in the supply chain currently is that as soon as one gap is plugged, another one opens somewhere else.

"For example, there were fears of a turkey shortage as British producers deal with labour shortages and the problems with CO² supply, but it now looks like suppliers will be able to meet demand through imports.

Safeguard surprises

"However, there are similar issues facing producers of beef, pork, salmon, and other staples of festive menus, and it's not always clear exactly where and when shortages will become an issue.”

Lynx Purchasing advised the hospitality sector to keep talking to suppliers to safeguard sudden surprises on demand or availability, to ensure core ingredients are in freezers and dry stores in order to keep the widest possible selection of dishes on the menu, order in the morning and on a day one for day three delivery basis rather than next day and be aware that Mondays and Fridays are suppliers' busiest delivery days.

Dobson added: "Sadly, this is not going to be the best Christmas for operators who like to use particular cuts in dishes or highlight provenance on their menus.

“The best advice currently is to keep descriptions flexible, whether it's the dish of the day or the house wine, and work with suppliers to get the best, in terms of quality and value, from what's available.”

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showed restaurant prices paid by customers were up 5.9% year-on-year in September amid rising inflation.

Challenge to forecast 

Dobson said: "Every food and drink product operators buy, as well as essentials such as equipment, disposables, cleaning & hygiene, workwear and packaging, is affected by higher costs to some extent.”

Lynx works with more than 2,200 accounts in the hospitality and catering sectors leading suppliers, these include specialist fresh food suppliers, wines & spirits, catering equipment providers, utilities, and specialist service providers such as telecom, business rates consultancy and waste management.

Dobson concluded: "Forecasting is always a challenge, especially when many customers are cautious about committing to spending, but the sooner operators can confirm orders, the easier it will be for suppliers to meet demand."

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