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Free support for hospitality to safeguard record festive turnover

Warning issued: Rob Easton says sites should be prepared for a big rise in footfall
Warning issued: Rob Easton says sites should be prepared for a big rise in footfall

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Rob Easton, head of environmental health at Shield Safety, discusses the potential £4bn* revenue spike heading towards the UK’s hospitality sector during the 2022 festive period but warns venues could be at risk if they aren’t prepared for surging footfall.

“With less than a week until the kick off of the FIFA World Cup 2022, venues across the UK can claw back lost earnings from the 2020 and 2021 festive seasons, which were severely impacted as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. This period also comes at a time when the hospitality sector is struggling with rising costs, recruitment challenges and disrupted supply chains. The prospect of a bumper Christmas period could provide the lifeline that many businesses are seeking, however, if managed poorly, the rise in trade could tip an already rocky boat.

“If venues aren’t managing their safety systems in the right way, increased revenues could be hit by large penalties, due to a predicted lift in expedited reviews by police and licensing authorities throughout the festive period.”

To help the hospitality industry be prepared, stay safe and avoid fines, and in the spirit of England’s last (and only) success at the FIFA World Cup in 1966, Shield Safety is offering a free “Safety Net” – access to their RiskProof safety checklist software and Safety Advice Line for 66 days – the Safety Net businesses really need this festive period. You can access this here​. They have also produced a free XLMAS Guide and risk assessment template, which is available to access and download for free here​.

Golden opportunity

Easton continues: “There is a golden opportunity for the hospitality industry here, as Christmas and the 2022 World Cup coincide; people are going to turn out in record numbers and for UK venues this will be the first full trading festive period since 2019. This does however need to be managed carefully to avoid an own goal. A huge increase in visitors will take place against the challenges of varying staffing levels, adapted menus, venue layout changes, more outdoor presence to mention just a few. Venues need to be prepared to avoid heavy fines for health and safety breaches, so many of which are easily avoidable.

“For a venue with an average weekly turnover of £12k, fines for culpability or harm range from between £25k to £120k, with top fines equating to 6% of the entire year’s turnover.

“Statutory fines for hospitality vary according to the severity of the breach, but even if a venue is not hit with a fine, the review process can and does result in significant business disruption, even closure, while investigations are undertaken. So, in the event that there is no breach, a fine is avoided but the venue has still lost potential income from having to close its doors. We are campaigning to help venues avoid this situation.”

‘Confident’ of record footfall

He continues: “We can be fairly confident of record footfall in venues this Christmas. To put some context to this, during the last World Cup, spending in hospitality increased by 41% compared to the previous year and this shot up to 73% on the day of the England v Croatia semi final. Coupled with the Lionesses' victory in the European Championships earlier this year, there is huge excitement for the World Cup this winter.

“A recent survey from Access Hospitality found that 76% of football fans are looking for venues to watch the World Cup this winter and 30% of respondents said they would be happy to sit in a heated beer garden. This shows the scale of opportunity for hospitality but interestingly, if they have outdoor space they can adapt with patio heaters and can provide alfresco dining options such as barbecues or pizza ovens, there’s scope to really diversify, enhancing customer experience and bringing in vital revenue.”

Shield Safety also has a free webinar to help more venues learn how to prepare for the busy festive period, which can be viewed here:

* Predicted turnover modelled on annual turnover of the pub industry in the UK in 2021, MCA, Statista​:    

  • £3,203m, Tenanted & leased
  • £8,504m, Independent
  • £12,322m, Managed, branded & franchised

Shield Safety is a leading provider of health and safety, fire safety and food safety services in the UK. Operating for two decades, the business specialises in world-class training programmes, safety management and risk mitigation software and compliance guidance to support a range of sectors.

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