Watch the Innovation Studio: A taste of the future

3rd May 2023 | Jack Oliver

Employing staff is the biggest challenge for the food and beverage (F&B) industry, said the panel at Completely Retail Marketplace’s Innovation Studio session, ‘A Taste of the Future’.

“I think staffing remains a really big problem, and we’ve certainly seen operators pull back from growth, because they physically can’t get any staff”, said Thomas Rose, co-founder of P-Three.

He was joined by Ruvan Sangra, head of restaurant and leisure at Lunson Mitchenall, to discuss the issues the F&B industry is facing and how businesses are adapting.

“We’re seeing some operators actually close sites on certain days, whether that be a Monday or Tuesday, purely because they can’t get the right teams in place,” added Sangra.

When asked about demand, Rose said that it was “surprisingly robust”, despite challenges such as the cost-of-living crisis on consumer confidence.

Sangra was also optimistic: “Q1 2023 has probably been better than what was anticipated, which is great”.

Yet it could be “survival of the fittest” in a saturated market, the panel suggested.

“Brands don’t have cap ex (capital expenditure) to invest, but if you can’t invest, you won’t succeed”, said Rose.

When asked how businesses can navigate that challenge, Rose suggested that social media may be a cheaper solution to reinvigorate your brand if funding is tight.

Sangra said: “I feel that the B2C (business-to-consumer) relationship is absolutely huge and social media strategies [are] so important”.

He believed that brands like Popeyes and Wingstop have created a “cult following in the UK” as well as a buzz over new openings:

“That B2C element is absolutely huge going forward.”

However, Sangra argued that more must be done following a post-Pandemic shift towards hybrid working to help the F&B industry.

“The market has to adapt to people not being in the office five days a week, and I don’t see that coming back any time soon. But it’s about creating that community, having the right F&B, the right leisure, the right health and fitness to really curate and get the customers back in.”

Watch the full Innovation Studio session above.


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting