Supply chain challenges continue to plague the industry, with Searcys struggling with stocks of Champagne.
A month's supply of the venue and event caterer's house label Champagne is stuck in a UK port due to the ongoing HGV driver crisis, fuel shortages and paperwork problems.
Managing director of Searcys Paul Jackson, told The Caterer that 700 cases are stuck at a UK port, with the brand unable to serve its own champagne at its flagship St Pancras Champagne Bar and the Gherkin on a number of occasions in recent weeks.
"Champagne is a little bit challenging at the moment – we're just holding on in there – which is an interesting first-world problem to have," he said. "Our own house label is stuck in the port at the moment, we've had a month's supply, which is around 700 cases of six bottles, stuck there for a couple of weeks."
Jackson said while it has good stocks of champagne, if the supply chain problems continue this could be more challenging as Searcys approaches its busy Christmas events period.
He added: "It's a new challenge, but something we will solve. While we're very confident to deliver a sparkly Christmas, we may need to be flexible with specific champagnes that we may use."
Jackson said the delays were down to a combination of a lack of HGV drivers, current fuel shortages and paperwork problems at the border. He added that a number of the Champagne houses across the channel are also struggling to get their products into the UK.
"Supply chain issues are an industry challenge, so it shouldn't come to anyone as a surprise. We have a good number of suppliers, so we can jump from one to another, but there may be something that isn't being able to be delivered and we need to be ready for that with different dishes or wines."
Jackson said Searcys, which is approaching its peak events season with booking levels already at around 60-70% against pre-pandemic levels, is focused on maintaining communication with clients.
"We're focused on communication with our clients. And our clients are accepting and supportive – the biggest challenge is if you haven't communicated it properly, then there is no surprise that clients will be upset," he said. "Whilst we're in a good place right now and supply is OK, the reality may be that we have to come back and tweak menus, so we need to talk to them about what they could look like."
Read The Caterer later this month for the full interview with Searcys MD Paul Jackson.
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