Monthly figures showed a 0.7% growth in January while February saw no growth with a 0.1% contraction in March, compared to an overall increase of 8.7% in the first quarter of 2021.
This comes as last week saw the Bank of England announce the biggest increase to its base interest rate from 0.75% to 1%, its biggest increase in 13 years, amid soaring food, business, and energy costs for operators.
Licensee of the Dog at Wingham, Canterbury, Marc Bridgen said: “[Food prices] are a major issue and a huge concern going forward.
Little to no margin
“Every cost we have is going up significantly and then you add to that the 1st of April VAT increase on food and accommodation.
“My gut is telling me there is little to no margin in what we do at the moment and it doesn't look like it's going to get any easier.”
On top of rising costs across the board, inflation and the cost-of-living cost crisis are expected continue to increase and worsen for both the hospitality sector and consumers.
Furthermore, consumer confidence has decreased by 7.6 percentage points compared to this time last year according to a recent study from YouGov and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).
The Bath Pub Company managing director Joe Cussens said: “On top of the tsunami of other price rises, all of our suppliers building up their prices, we've got this massive increase in costs, with no help or support at all, or even words of encouragement from the Treasury.
“At the same time, you've got customers who are feeling squeezed because of their energy prices.
“It may well be we don’t do much more than break even this year, which, when you consider we’re forecasting sales of £6.5m for four pubs is pretty depressing.
“Like everyone else, we’re putting up prices; but of course, there is a limit to how far you can increase prices before people stay away as they’re too high.”