The main issue with Brexit is that nobody knows exactly how it will wash out. Brexiteers, by and large, are confident that things will go well, that the UK is shrugging off an immense load of unnecessary legislation and will be free – able to make preferential deals with other countries, including individually with other EU members. But even Brexiteers cannot be absolutely certain that this will happen, and most financial and political experts – those who have watched the tide of the global economy and its responses to drastic political action over the decades and centuries – are fairly certain that things will not go as easily as might be hoped. When it comes specifically to the hospitality industry, there are a number of factors to take into account.
Hospitality work, especially in the lower echelons, tends to be hard work performed at unsociable hours for the national minimum wage or thereabouts: few British people are willing to work these hours for so little money. Seasonal workers from the EU have traditionally filled the gaps left by the British workers, happily coming in for pre-sunrise starts or whiling away the quiet, dark hours behind the 24-hour reception desk as this means that they can pay their way, and get to thoroughly explore their temporary home country. Many of these temporary casual workers have already stopped coming into the UK, preferring to gain their travel and work experience in countries that are still firmly in the EU and that have proven themselves welcoming to foreign workers. After Brexit, this decline will most likely increase sharply, leaving enormous gaps in the hospitality market.
Ingredients and dishes
A large proportion of the UK’s food is imported from the EU under very favourable agreements, making it possible to have a fully cosmopolitan menu without the excessive costs that this would previously have given rise to. After Brexit, it is almost certain that prices of products will fluctuate quite wildly, probably shooting up at first – or perhaps being marked by instances of non-availability as any available stocks will be earmarked for existing EU members before third-parties can be satisfied. Once things have settled down, the UK may find itself having to accept deals on products that are available due to surplus crops rather than being able to choose which goods it wants. This may drive restaurant menus to change more often than would otherwise be desirable.
The hospitality industry, almost always, depends on spare money being available for leisure travel, and sometimes even for business conferences and meetings. In the event that the economy suffers as much as experts seem to be saying that it will: the hospitality industry will almost certainly suffer losses, with only those outlets with strong business practices, good financial reserves and a plan for the future already being actioned promised the chance of survival.