UK hospitality businesses are refusing to take the credit crunch lying down, research revealed today.
Although a third of the senior hospitality managers questioned for the third annual American Express Hospitality Monitor admitted they were less confident about economic prospects over the next 12 months, four in 10 vowed to work harder to soften the impact of the slowdown.
Almost two thirds said they would be focusing on reducing the costs of goods and services, making this the second priority behind growing the customer base (70%).
The 90 hotel, restaurant and pub managers questioned also confirmed they are bucking the current trend of passing overheads such as the rising price of fuel onto consumers.
Prices remained static and restaurants specifically only saw an increase of 2%, according to respondents. The number of businesses increasing prices (47%) was down on last year (49%) and the sector was also less likely to want to pass on tax rises to customers (16%) than absorb them (56%).
"Like any other the hospitality sector is not immune to prevailing economic conditions, so it comes as no surprise that the UK's hospitality industry feels more circumspect about business prospects than it did last year," said Kathryn Pretzel-Shiels, head of hotels and restaurants at American Express.
"The economy is forcing the agenda to a certain extent but the industry is fighting back," she added. "There are still opportunities to make money by providing a quality product and memorable service, as consumers are still willing to dine out and are doing it more than ever before."
By Daniel Thomas
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