By David Richmond, Partner, Armstrong Watson Accountants, Business and Financial Advisers

WHILST the recent four-day Jubilee celebrations brought a welcomed increase in trade for many businesses in the hospitality sector, it was a very hard-earned slog for most within the industry, as staff shortages resulted in long, long hours, unattainable for any prolonged period, and with the holiday season now revving up, how can business owners tap into the increased appetite for socialising when faced with pressing challenges like recruitment?

1. Closure coordination: It’s a sad reality that in many areas there just aren’t the staff to go around and to avoid a ‘ghost town’ on specific days in the week, some restaurateurs are joining forces to coordinate closures to ensure that there are still venues open on any given day of the week.

2. Service charges: Adding a service charge to the bill which results in a direct uplift to staff pay is something that can provide an attractive perk when recruiting staff and might give a business owner the upper hand over competitors.

3. Avoid reducing room rates too soon: The upsurge in the attraction for foreign holidays left many UK accommodation providers feeling nervous, and this led to some prematurely reducing room rates. However, the sudden crisis around airport capabilities could mean a potential resurgence of the ‘staycation’.

4. Use data to invite returning customers: Whilst it’s tempting to rely on booking platforms to hold customer data, savvy operators are taking the opportunity to collect email addresses independently – with permission of course – enabling them to directly communicate with previous guests to encourage repeat business.

5. Change your menus quickly: The throw away menu has been commonplace in restaurants since Covid reopening as a means of maintaining hygiene standards, however, it is also a useful way of ensuring you can quickly update your menu as prices fluctuate.

6. Consider consolidating loans: For those who have taken CBILS or other loans to help with cashflow, now might be the time to consult with your accountant to consider consolidation or even fixing interest rates to provide some certainty over outgoings.

7. Check you’re getting the best deals: Armstrong Watson partner with a handy comparison provider called Reducer who can review energy costs and merchant services amongst other things to see whether there are better prices out there. With prices increasing so rapidly and good deals hard to find, there’s never been a better time to check you’re on the best tariffs.

These are just a few of the many options you might choose to take to assist with the pressures of operating in the current environment. If you’d like to discuss cashflow management or business strategy for your business, phone 01756 620000 or email