The challenging trading conditions identified by most hospitality leaders are largely expected to continue into the next 12 months, according to the data.
Around a quarter of hospitality leaders are feeling slightly more optimistic due to easing inflation rates, expecting trading conditions to improve as consumers start to enjoy more discretionary spend.
The report also identified value consciousness as a growing trend as consumers continue to feel their household budgets squeezed.
The trend is taking priority over ethical consumerism, which has declined this year.
The growth in value consciousness perceived by grocery and hospitality leaders is in line with consumer psychometrics, with very value-led consumers increasing +4ppts year-on-year.
Meanwhile, staffing challenges persist – although they have eased year-on-year. These are felt most by the eating out market, led by the shrinking of the pool of potential employees post-Brexit.
The proportion of grocery retail and eating out leaders facing challenges in attracting and recruiting staff has declined by -8ppts and -10ppts respectively, year-on-year.
More than a fifth of business leaders also cited shifting attitudes within the workforce as a reason for staffing difficulties, leading to potential employees favouring flexible roles.
At the MA Leaders Club in Bristol last week, Chris Cartledge of recruitment firm Talent Hive advised operators on recruiting chefs overseas.
He outlined how Provenance Inns, of which he was previously operations manager, utilised recruiting chefs from overseas to help staffing issues the business was facing and mentioned how the multiple operator was paying almost £100 an hour to chefs for working Christmas Day.
He said: “[We] went down the sponsorship route, obtained a licence and sponsored chefs from India.
“It is relatively easy, took five weeks to get sponsorship licence then set about going to India to recruit some chefs.
“[We] had 100 chefs, [whittled them] down to 10. Asked them to do a cook off with our fish pie (the biggest selling dish) and a signature dish of their choice. [By] Christmas this year, all 10 of those chefs will be in Provenance Inns kitchens.”