Sales increase on the horizon

Restaurateurs predicting growth

• A third of restaurateurs (34%) anticipate “large increases” in food sales, the report said.

CHEFS and restaurateurs are more confident about future trading in 2014 than they were last year, according to a new report from data firm Horizons.

The company’s Eating Out-Look report – a quarterly online survey of operators in the sector – found 86% of respondents anticipated an increase in sales over the next year.
Restaurateurs were the most optimistic about future trading, with 34% of respondents anticipating “large increases” in food sales. A quarter of hoteliers and 20% of pub and bar operators were said to expect strong growth.
The survey also highlighted a decrease in the number of operators planning to implement cost saving measures compared to this time last year. In spring 2013, 73% of respondents said they would be ‘re-engineering’ menus to reduce costs, compared to 67% making similar plans this year.
Operators also said they were planning fewer cost-cutting measures in terms of staffing. Last year 44% of respondents planned to reduce the number of hours their employees were working, while in spring 2014 this had dropped to 38% of respondents.
Emma Read of Horizons said the results “support our previous research that shows consumers are beginning to increase their spending on eating out”.
“Operators are much more optimistic about future food sales than they have been, and are now confident to scale back on the cost-cutting measures they implemented last year,” said Read.
“While operators reported that customers were still opting for meal deals or promotions and are trading down to lower priced dishes, this is in sharp decline compared with 2013.
“Consumers are still cost-conscious, and are likely to remain so, but with average spend rising operators are feeling much more optimistic for the future.”