Trade already feeling brunt of Brexit

SCOTTISH hospitality businesses are already feeling a negative impact from Brexit, according to the most recent SLTA survey.

The trade group’s On-trade Market Review for Christmas and new year found 17% of businesses had already felt a negative impact from Brexit, including fewer bookings and a loss of staff.

Additionally, 40% of respondents anticipate they will lose staff members they have trained and invested in and 65% expect wider staffing issues to continue.

Festive trading was said to have been widely positive, however, with 48% of respondents in growth, versus 39% at the end of 2017 and 28% at the end of 2016.

SLTA managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said: “Our survey is based upon quantitative research from 500 outlets covering the length and breadth of the country and is supported by many of the major chains and our partners in the Scottish Bartenders Network. After a number of years of decline, our summer report indicated a recovering market and this trend has continued over the festive period, with 69% of outlets either growing or stable at Christmas versus 59% for the whole of 2018.

“Amongst the key drivers of the performance were locally sourced gins and beers, whilst our industry also benefitted from embracing digital trends. With recent research indicating 71% of foreign tourists visit Scotland’s pubs and bars, we are proud of our continuing support for Scotland’s Food and Drink 2030 Ambition.

“However, there are concerns, particularly around Brexit and in rural outlets, where pubs are critical to the community, and key employers.”