Lean times ahead for contract caterers

18 April 2006 by
Lean times ahead for contract caterers

Last year was the toughest in a decade for the UK's contract caterers - and the hard times are set to continue.

According to the British Hospitality Association's annual Food and Service Management Survey, overall turnover dropped 0.8% to £3.86b in the sector, thanks to declines in the number of outlets, the number of meals served and employee numbers.

The report predicts that the sector faces more sluggish growth, tight margins, skill shortages, rising labour costs and growing levels of risk built into contracts.

Contract caterers were adversely affected by bad publicity over school meals and the turmoil surrounding leading player Compass, which was hit by a series of profit warnings, top-level changes and a United Nations investigation.

However, the report added that this provided opportunities for intermediate players such as BaxterStorey and Charlton House.

By Angela FrewinClick here to see Caterer's latest market snapshot, giving you an up-to-date analysis of the sector.

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