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Surviving Brexit

Since the Brexit vote was announced there has been tireless scaremongering by the press for all industries. From banks threatening to move their headquarters across the pond to articles proclaiming that half the working force in the U.K. will be forced out.

Us in the hospitality industry have also been affected and it's mainly down to the huge unknown: At this point, there are no concrete agreements in place to put anyone’s mind at ease.

We’re not writing this post to scare anyone any further. Rather, we’re writing to reinforce the idea that preparedness is key when dealing with so many unconfirmed factors.

Here we list the best steps your business can take right now to prepare for Brexit.

Monitor Negotiations

Like we said, there are no solid agreements right now and negotiations are still taking place. The press are doing their best to report on this but at the moment can only report on parts of the negotiation that have been discussed, not necessarily agreed upon.

Your best step here is to continue monitoring the talks, see what trends are emerging from these and prepare your company as much as possible.

Skills Losses

Last year the British Hospitality Association released a study they had commissioned which found that “75% of wait staff, 25% of chefs, and 37% of housekeeping staff” were E.U. citizens.1 That is a huge amount of staff in any business and our clients are right to be concerned about this as a block on EU movement would see a loss of up to 60,000 staff per annum.2

Staffing is something the industry already battles with. We’ve spoken before about the high turnover in the hospitality industry and the loss of staff would have a huge effect when there is already a shortage of 200,000 staff.3

While we can’t give a solid answer on how to prevent any business from losing staff we can reiterate a message we’ve sent out before: train and upskill your staff. Have a solid roadmap in place for all career paths you can think of in your business and work with your staff to get them as upskilled as possible.

Consider extensive training programmes from apprenticeships to a small training school as well as management training. Be sure to take up our latest training offer before time runs out so that your management team can train their staff and ensure that everyone is on the same page. All of these will assist in plugging the gap with the local skills shortage.

Your efforts won’t be in vain, that we can promise you!

Contracts

This is a tricky one as we have no solid answer about how the U.K. will operate with regards to trade with the rest of the E.U. Our advice? Explore a variety of options now while understanding the nuances of trade with each country dealt with in the E.U. If you have non-U.K. suppliers then it’s a good idea to start this conversation now.

Although there will be a buffer period for companies to familiarise themselves with the new regulations it would be a good idea to table the various trade options with your suppliers so that neither of you are caught off guard once U.K. trade regulations are announced. Your suppliers will thank you for preparing them and everyone concerned will be in a better position to agree to and understand a new contract that suits both U.K. and E.U. trade sanctions.

The Silver Lining

Thankfully it’s not all doom and gloom. As mentioned earlier on in this post, there is an existing skills shortage in the U.K. that could potentially be compounded by the loss of skills due to Brexit. It’s a big unknown right now but we are hopeful that it will push businesses to be proactive about training and developing new staff. In the long term, this would limit the effects currently felt by the skills shortage and could, hopefully, see a boom in employment in the hospitality industry.

Another aspect to consider would be a boom in U.K. holidays. We’ve already seen prices being hiked up across verticals since the announcement of the Brexit vote so it makes sense that people are looking inside the U.K. for their next holiday. This could result in increased demand for the local hospitality industry which, for those who have anticipated and prepared for this, would boost the economy greatly.

The reality right now is that a lot of what is being negotiated for Brexit is out of everyone’s control. However, taking as much of a proactive approach as possible by preparing for it should help minimise any negative effects for as short a period as possible.

Looking for an EPOS solution for your business? Contact TISSL now.