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restaurant consultant

We need your help!

Dear Friends,

First of all, we apologise for reaching out like this but we need all the help we can get at this time.

As you are aware, through COVID, hospitality received assistance from the Government and our VAT was reduced to 5%. This allowed us to raise the wages of our staff and maintain the same prices for you, our valued customers. Sadly, we now have no choice but to raise our prices, as many of the ingredients’ costs have increased. Some  up to 40%.

On October 1st, VAT was increased to 12.5%.  In March 2022, the Government will again increase VAT, this time to 20%.

VAT has always been a burden for the hospitality industry as food doesn’t have VAT and, unlike other industries, we have nothing to claim against VAT. (In Europe VAT for the hospitality industry is between 5 and 9%)

We need your support to help us convince the government that VAT should remain at 12.5% and not be raised to 20%.   Help us, please, so that the food prices at your favourite restaurants do not go up and so that our staff can be paid normal wages!

Write to your MP

UK Hospitality, that we are member off have created a template letter for you to send to your MP. This campaigning tool will mean that within 2 minutes you will be able to easily find your MP and edit a letter to personalise it before sending to them. Dead line for this campaign is 30th October.

Click here to write to your MP

We would appreciate if you can forward this to some of your friends.

there is not enough staff, Brexit and Hospitality

Have you been to the restaurant and been told we do not have availability, yet you can see half restaurant empty?

That is a new norm. It is happening more and more.

Or have you found out that your favourite restaurant now closed earlier and opens later?

Many restaurants now are closed one day per week and may have reduced opening hours.


Why is this?

Why are restaurants forced to reduce their opening hours? Turn away prospective customers with tables available? Well, there is simply not enough staff.

When this issue was raised to the attention of the government, their response was evasive at best. Pointing to the COVID economic policies in place they  said that until the furlough scheme comes to an end. It is difficult  for them to know exactly if the UK are  short of staff or not. They also suspect that when in September, government help comes to an end there will be many people looking for a job. 

But what do we do until September?

Maybe. We do not know. But what do we do until September? This summer is an opportunity for businesses to serve the public once again, after an extraordinarily difficult year. Everyone, hospitality as well as the government is losing money until then. And the current hospitality team that is working is very overwhelmed and tired. The less staff we have available the less customers we can serve. 

But I am not completely sure that we will see a rush of staff looking for a job in September. I believe our qualified hospitality workers have left –  as unfortunately COVID hit just in time for Brexit and Hospitality, and they are not coming back. 

I believe our qualified hospitality workers have left –  as unfortunately COVID hit just in the time for the Brexit, and they are not coming back. 

Employee’s did not return to the hospitality industry

They are not coming back as they hear horrible stories from their friends who have tried to come into the UK and they had so many complications and so many of them have been returned. It is not a welcoming image, few would be enticed to return to such a stressful experience.

This feels so wrong. It feels as if we have gone back instead of forward.

We do not need to even talk about the impact on our food bills – it is all gone up. Well, use British products! But guess what, British products have  also gone up in price as they need to import materials from Europe to grow the products in the first place! It is a vicious cycle where the hospitality industry is squeezed tighter and tighter.

In today’s world, when Google is at your fingertips, we do not want to go back to the UK in the 1980’s, when we had tomatoes that tasted as plastic, and we did not have any European products. 

British people travel a lot and we all like to experience  at home some of the pleasures that we had on our holidays. Yet the capacity to offer this moment of foreign flavours is being curtailed.

I am really not sure where we are heading, I hope there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. The problem is that we cannot see it at the moment.

Are you struggling with your business?

Take a look at my services and get in touch today!

Government’s help 

The British Government helped businesses. Hmmm….

Yes, they did but businesses now must pay big time to stay afloat and open. There was a hefty price tag attached to their aid. 


As far as I am aware nearly every business received some grants and if your business still showed a profit at the end of financial year (COVID time) you need to pay tax on that. Fair enough. It seems reasonable, but the balance sheet hides the added burden on business.



Furloughed staff. The government was publishing all the time about how we can ‘save’ staff and not make them redundant, and government encouraged us to put workers who were made redundant back on the pay roll as the UK government would help pay wages. Great! So generous! As a result, many businesses, signed up to the scheme and put workers back on the payroll. During the first lock down the government informed they are paying NI but after that it was clear we have to pay NI and it was our choice to keep staff. 



Now many are having end of year accounts for last year, that was Covid year, where hospitality did not operate for 5.5 months. Almost half of the time we were in forced closure and the rest of the time was 3 months normal, and 3 months was on various restrictions. Clients are in shock to learn that now they must pay corporation tax on furloughed wages they received from the government for their employee’s. 

Many of these employee’s did not return to the hospitality industry – statistics are showing a 1/3 of employees over the time either did not come back or changed the job to Ocado or Amazon jobs.

Many of these employee’s did not return to the hospitality industry – statistics are showing a 1/3 of employees over the time either did not come back or changed the job to Ocado or Amazon jobs.

Government’s help. What happened to the hospitality industry?

They must pay 20% tax received on their wages. 

The British government is saying we did this to save your business – really? I do not see the deal very clear and fair. It appears like the midas touch, gold but at a heavy price. 

I have taken calculation of one client’s business – they have received in their last tax year 2020, which ¾ of it was COVID,  a £10,000 grant,  money paid directly in their business as well as they relief on the council tax (which in their case was very little as they had small business relief  for the council tax and they were paying £250 council tax per month). They have also received approximately £100,000 for the staff wages. As business was profitable before and very well managed during COVID, they did not show a loss in their books. But now they have to pay approximately £20,000 in tax on the grants and furlough wages they received. They were forced into a position where they had no choice but to accept government aid – and then charged for the privilege. 

What happen to ‘Linda’ who was receiving furloughed wages while employed by this business?

During the first lock down, she received 80% of her wages, then she had the choice in later months to work for Amazon while still on furlough. A few months later she decided  to pursue her career with Amazon. Her previous employers are still paying tax on her furloughed wages. 

Many employees were just waiting at home,  and returned –  it is thanks to them and their commitment, you can go out and have your dinner or your coffee!

How fair is this? Who has lost here?

I am very much against Brexit, but I thought people of the UK voted for it in order to be able to keep control of their country. One of the comments were – we do not want socialist Europe to control our economy. Sorry? Did they say Europe was socialist? Or I got it wrong, and they meant to say UK is the best socialist country.

Sorry? Did they say Europe was socialist? Or I got it wrong, and they meant to say UK is the best socialist country.

That is all great, but for you to order that cappuccino you need to have that business  employing a  ‘Linda’. And where is this boss now? Crying to HMRC over the repayment scheme. Bank of course would not help records are not good for last year, and they do not take Covid in consideration. 

The question remains will this boss be able to survive all the repayment schemes that the British government’s help gracefully offered?

Thank you, Rishi Sunak. You played your cards well, but I prefer fair play.

Are you struggling with your business?

Take a look at my services and get in touch today!

We need to be heard – COVID19

The British hospitality industry, which accounts for 35% of all employment in the UK, must make noise if it is to receive the help it needs.

We are currently seeing some restaurant chains reopening to offer takeaways – most chains are opening only 3-4 locations. My experience in the industry tells me that they will lose money by doing this. However, it is a move that is worth the loss for them, as reopening will serve an important marketing purpose – they will keep their brand name in the public consciousness.

Unfortunately, this puts even more pressure on individually-owned restaurants, that would like to follow the example of chains, but cannot afford to do so. Most restaurants do not have the centralised kitchens that chains benefit from.

This, added to a much more limited budget, means opening would kill their business and endanger staff.

A forecast I have prepared for one of my clients is telling. Based on the assumption that his revenue will be 50% of what it was before the crisis, he would lose 4 times as much money by opening, than he is losing while staying closed. 4 times! This is a particularly stark result because the owner in question does not have any outstanding loans or other debt; this was a very profitable business prior to COVID 19.

Unfortunately, I also have to point out that this is the best-case scenario! With social distancing still in full swing, customers might not be eager to hurry back to restaurants, cafes and pubs – they might be

A) scared;

B) in the vulnerable category;

C) financially unable to since many people have not received their wages but still have bills to pay.

I do not think I need to state what restaurant losses would look like if potential earnings were limited to 30%.

And this is the outlook for healthy businesses. There are plenty of businesses out there that do not know how to reduce costs to near zero, or who understand how to access the help that has been made available to them.

And yet, the worst is still to come. Business owners, people who have saved themselves from the virus itself, may begin to experience serious levels of stress and anxiety. Many will wonder how they can survive.

We need to stand united in this fight.

I am writing to the government and I am updating journalists on the situation we are facing. I hope that the government will recognise the seriousness of the problem, and suspend VAT and other taxes until we have defeated the virus, or continuing issuing further grants. Another important thing to keep in mind is that deferring payments for owners in our industry does not help much – unless they can spread the cost over the next few years. We are talking about an industry where margins are already small.

Here is some more food for thought: by opening restaurants while social distancing is still in place, do we, in fact risk killing the hospitality trade entirely?

Why do your customers come to your restaurant? Is it just to eat quietly, keeping interactions to a minimum while worrying about whether or not being out will make them sick? Or do they go out to enjoy themselves and forget their worries?

Food industry business


So, you’ve successfully founded and run your first business in the food industry and you’re ready to expand. Your hard work has paid off. The time has come. 

A second restaurant? A take-away deli attached to your first business? A third street-food truck in a new location? Whatever the goal, the cohesive expansion of your brand will be a crucial turning point in your success story. 

Here are 4 important pointers on how to continue your concept when you’re expanding your business. 

1. Know your original target audience.

By now, you will hopefully have a good understanding of who your customer is and why they enjoy coming to your first premises: are they families or couples? What’s their pricing sweet spot? Do they crave elaborate food? Or do they come more for the atmosphere you’ve created?

2. And what about the new guy?

Take a step back and profile your customer again, like you may have when you opened your first business. Once you’ve done that, compare them to the target customer in your new venture. What do they have in common? More importantly, how do they differ? Will they have more/less spending power? Will they have less time to eat? Will they expect more value for money?

A clear understanding of your original customer


careful consideration of your new situation


successful concept continuation.

3. One philosophy to rule them all.

If you haven’t done so already, make time to nail down (and write down) your personal mission statement or philosophy. You are about to have businesses… plural. It is more important than ever that you understand why it is you do what you do. Why did you get into the food industry business? What is it that you love? 

Get your philosophy straight and then work hard to make sure it permeates your second venture as much as your first, as well as every reincarnation thereafter. 

4. Every ship needs a captain.

But a fleet needs an admiral. 

One of the most watertight ways to guarantee your concept continues from first location to second, is by having a solid manager on board: one who knows your business inside out, like the back of their hand, even better than you! This manager will run the FLEET: they will oversee the day-to-day at all your locations, keeping a keen eye on concept continuity and speaking with the brand’s voice, while deputising to location managers. If necessary, rob this admiral from the vessel they are currently steering; your original location should already be motoring full steam ahead.

There is so much to learn in the world of hospitality and restaurants. For expert advice and guidance, at every step of the way…

Get in touch with me today.

Yes, key to your restaurant success. 

By now, you will be very aware of the fact that your customers come to your restaurant for much more than a meal; they come for the experience. The fun and romance of eating out, of being anywhere but their own dining room. 

The success or failure of this experience depends upon your ability to suspend reality for a few hours, to provide a kind of magical setting where the customer can forget about the hard day they’ve had, or the one that awaits tomorrow. It is your responsibility not to break this spell, and so every detail must be meticulously cared for, right down to the humble bathroom.

One of the most common mistakes made in this area by new restauranteurs is a lack of planning, and a poor sense of priorities. Opening a restaurant soon? Don’t fall into the trap of leaving your bathrooms till last, running out of money, and settling for launching with the bathroom that was there when you got the place. Imagine how the spell will be broken when your customer gets up from their softly-lit table, strolls past the lilies and tulips by the entrance, and pushes back the swinging door into… an offensively bright bathroom, with ill-placed mirrors and hand dryers from the nineties. 

The clock has struck midnight and Cinderella’s spell is no more.

Your bathroom must be a continuation of the experience created in the main part of the restaurant. Though this is common sense, it is worth stating blatantly and taking seriously: if you’ve gone for a romantic vibe in the dining room, keep the light soft and the flowers abundant in the bathroom. If you’ve gone for a clean, modern approach, keep the bathroom simple and fresh, too. 

The word you should be looking for here is seamless. If you are to protect the customer experience, the transition between all the areas of your restaurant need to be as smooth as possible.

REMEMBER: the amount of attention you pay to the details will determine your restaurant success. Never lose focus of that idea.

Beautiful Delicatessen place

In late summer of 2005, I opened a upscale, beautiful delicatessen selling fine food products. Although the business eventually became a roaring success, the first few weeks left me wondering if I’d made a huge mistake. Almost NOBODY came through the door.

Not one to give up without a fight, I rolled up my sleeves, put on my thinking cap, and listened to my intuition. The series of observations I made next, and the actions I took, are still some of the best lessons I’ve learned in business to this day. What’s more, they are universally useful.


Whatever your business (be it a restaurant or a spice shop), I am certain that they will help you. So, here they are:


Don’t intimidate your customer. 

Wanting to impress, I decorated the delicatessen, BEAUTIFULLY. It looked fancy, top-class… expensive?

On top of this, the line of food products I stocked was special. The kind of food that’s exclusive yet fairly priced, hard to source, desirable… or so I thought. I took a step back and thought for a moment of how I, myself, feel when I walk past a beautiful clothing boutique. Even if I like the clothes in the window, if the shop looks ‘too fancy’, I’m not likely to go in, unless it is very special occasion. “I won’t be able to afford anything in there…”, “The staff will be snooty….”, and on a deeper, subconscious level… “That shop is not for people like me…”. I realised that I had unwittingly intimidated my customers. Many paused and looked in, but few opened the door. A simple and affordable redecoration, and things began to improve.


Make sure your customer doesn’t feel exposed.

Often, when we go into a shop, the last thing we want is the swooping attention of the person working there. Nor do we enjoy feeling observed while we browse.

My lovely delicatessen consisted of a small, but open space. When a customer came in, we were immediately sharing that space. I decided to conduct an experiment: if I gave the customer a few nooks and crannies to move around in, a bit of intimacy for browsing, would they feel safer? Less exposed to my presence? Sure enough, the experiment paid off. I moved few pieces of furniture to create barriers between myself and the customer. More people came in, and even better, they stayed longer, asked questions and yes…. made purchases!


Try to fit in.

My vision had been a speciality delicatessen, one to which people would flock from all over the city of London, just to buy that tin of luxury crab meat that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

And yes, eventually I had some trade like that. But I quickly realised that I did not fit in to the neighbourhood, and that local footfall was going to be the making or breaking of me. It was time to get to know the neighbours. And I knew that I would have to do this in a meaningful way: paying lip service to the idea would not suffice. I got out into the neighbourhood, made friends, attended events, researched what people liked to eat and do, invited people into the delicatessen, and made changes to my line of products which better suited the location. 


Always, ALWAYS see your business with your customers eyes. Make sure you, the premises and the product are approachable. And perhaps most important of all, be adaptable, reactive and don’t give up.

Do you dream of having your own successful restaurant? Are you passionate about creating beautiful food, but need a little help with the business end?

Running a successful restaurant is a one of life’s most challenging and rewarding experiences. But no one can do it alone. 


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