Well we’re almost at the end of another 12 months of ups and downs across the UK catering equipment industry. The picture throughout has been decidedly mixed, with more recent dealer losses such as Hopkins and Pico Catering Projects tempered by positive financial results from C&C, Lincat, Pentland Wholesale and others.
But one thing that will remain certain for the year ahead is the amount of uncertainty affecting the whole of UK plc. The draft Brexit deal has been compiled, but utter chaos continues to trail after this whole sorry process.
I still hold out the vestiges of hope that Brexit will be cancelled, because it seems that no-one is happy with the deal, the EU won’t revise it, and both this option and the no-deal exit from the EU will damage the UK financially. As CESA Conference moderator and BBC business broadcaster Simon Jack told the assembled delegates at this year’s event, many more economists predicted that Brexit would be bad for the economy than good. And I for one am not “sick of experts” – they have studied and experienced their field of expertise!
Even if there are eventual advantages brought about by exiting the EU, the vast majority of these experts have analysed that the country will have to go through a lot of pain to get there. There really could be a lost ‘Brexit generation’ in the meantime.
So with disruption showing no sign of abating, what can everyone do? Well it was another expert speaker at the CESA Conference who provided concrete advice for the catering equipment sector. The association’s director, Keith Warren, revealed that CESA has published a ‘Brexit toolkit’, advising of specific impacts to this sector and clear actions that can be taken to ameliorate the effects, or even take advantage of new opportunities presenting themselves. It covers the areas of business strategy, operations, innovation, sales and marketing, finance and people and management.
I think this is a hugely positive step, as while many companies have no doubt carried out as much planning as they can (which considering the unpredictability of the situation can never go the full way to accounting for every variant), it always helps to have solid and proactive actions set out in black and white.
Look out further coverage on Warren’s presentation and the rest of the conference in the January issue of Catering Insight.
But in the meantime, the festive season approaches and hopefully this will give many of you a chance to wind down, spend time with family and friends, and take stock of 2018. Catering Insight Awards winners will have an extra reason to celebrate, so a special congratulations to all of you, but to all readers I wish a joyful and peaceful Christmas and New Year. See you in 2019!