Earlier this month, Compass chief executive Richard Cousins fired a shot across the bows of food service suppliers considering further price hikes. Speaking at Arena's Savoy Lecture, Cousins warned that "those of us towards the bottom of the chain can only absorb so much inflation to our cost base … if prices go too high, virtually everyone loses out".
This week, we explore the global commodity trends driving food costs higher and higher - and conclude that it's hard to see the pressure on menus easing in the foreseeable future.
Few operators, if any, have the clout of Compass when it comes to squeezing suppliers on price. But what can the rest of the industry do to manage soaring food bills? Our focus on food prices is packed with practical tips you can apply in your business today - from menu engineering to monitoring portion sizes and from using cheaper cuts to seasonality.
Along with rising food costs, bureaucracy is one of the biggest problems facing operators, one that costs them time and money.
Despite sounding more game-show than government initiative, Prime Minister David Cameron's Red Tape Challenge promises to alleviate the burden placed on UK businesses by rules, laws and regulations.
The initiative offers all industry sectors, on a turn by turn basis, the chance to highlight online the regulations they deem useless, outdated, badly designed or implemented.
Based on this feedback, ministers will decide to retain, simplify or scrap them. They have been told to work on the basis that regulations will go unless someone has a good reason for them to stay.
Next week, hospitality businesses get their chance.
Will ministers really listen to us? Or will this prove another example of hollow, sound-byte government? Who knows? One thing's for sure: if we don't air our views on deregulation stridently, they cannot take account of them. To register your views, go to www.redtapechallenge.cabinetoffice.gov.uk.