Well, it never rains but it pours. Just when it seems as though the pandemic may be in the rearview mirror, rising inflation, energy hikes and now a horrible war affecting oil and food supplies, are upon us.
The support we’ve had from the Government since 2020 has been a huge help. The furlough scheme meant we were able to keep all our team employed, so when we could open our doors, we welcomed our guests back as soon as we could. One-off grants, business rate reliefs and VAT reductions have helped to save many pubs from potential extinction. Like others, we couldn’t have got through without the continued support of our guests and hard work of our team. Amazingly, we’ve been busier than ever since the end of lockdown as people show a renewed desire to meet up with friends and family and enjoy a great night out in the pub.
We want to remain affordable for all our guests, but in April, hospitality businesses will incur a whole set of extra unavoidable costs. VAT is due to revert to 20% (a rise of 7.5%) on all food and soft drinks. Discounts on business rates will be massively reduced, minimum wage (which we fully support) will go up, and employer National Insurance and pension contributions will rise too. And food and energy prices, as we all know, are rising fast too.
To get through, some businesses will look to cut corners, but we will continue to only buy the good stuff. We won’t pare costs by undermining quality or choice on the menu. More by judgment than luck, we enjoy long relationships with our food and drink suppliers because we have always sought out producers who share our values, supporting British farmhouse cheesemakers, sourcing native day-boat fish, free-range meat and only serving what we’re happy to eat ourselves. Our strong partnerships with our suppliers mean we serve great quality ingredients when they are at their seasonal best, and working together means we can minimise rises. But they too have increasing costs, and serving the good stuff means starting to pay more for what we buy. To off-set this, we are working hard to cut costs elsewhere – eliminating waste, reducing energy consumption and the number of deliveries – all things that also help our drive to Net Zero.
Our determination is to keep price increases to the minimum they need to be for our pubs to remain sustainable businesses, because that is crucial for the communities in which we live. Where prices have changed, this is simply to cover the costs of buying and serving the good stuff. We pride ourselves on quality, we pay our team well and we strive to make lives Peachy. Our dishes are prepared and cooked in-house, by a brigade of real chefs. We care about serving a well-kept pint. We have a short, smart wine list, and a team who love to shake cocktails. We hope you’ll continue to you choose a Peach Pub when you go out, because you can trust us to give you a great time. We might not be perfect every single time, but we certainly try. If we miss the mark, please talk to us. We are always listening and trying to make things right.
We want to be your favourite pub in town – a warm welcome, a decent pint or delicious glass and a good, honest plate of food. Every town deserves a really great pub. Please continue to support your favourites so they can be there for future generations to enjoy.