2016's Peach 2020 Wrap Up Report

One of the most telling, but probably not surprising, findings of CGA’s latest market confidence survey is that business leaders across the eating and drinking-out sector are markedly more optimistic about the prospects for their own companies than for the market as a whole.

Despite everything going on politically and economically, the majority (59%) of the 200plus senior executives in restaurant, pub, bar and café groups that took part in our poll in November were upbeat about their own operations’ prospects both in the short term, over the next six months, and for the coming year. They were distinctly more cautious about the
market – and therefore most of their competitors.

It reflects the can-do attitude of our best operators no matter how dire things may look outside – and that was also clearly evident among the 360-strong audience at this year’s CGA Peach 2020 conference.

There was no shying away from the problems and challenges facing the sector – rates, people, supply chain, costs and of course changing customer tastes. Most were thoroughly aired during the afternoon sessions.

But there was also an eagerness to look for solutions and embrace new ideas, with the food futures session in particular showcasing how young entrepreneurs are harnessing the power of technology.

There was plenty of encouragement and inspiration too, especially from our two star speakers – Urban Splash founder Tom Bloxham and leading business guru and now chair of Wagamama Allan Leighton. As the latter so pointedly remarked: “We’re in uncertain times… suck it up.”

The day culminated with our celebration of the best in the market with the annual Hero & Icon Awards, demonstrating just what can be achieved in this market with flair, innovation and determination.

Our top Icon awards went to Karen Jones and Rupert and Jo Clevely, with John Vincent of Leon picking up the Industry Leader award and Wetherspoon’s being named Power Brand – and with relative newcomer Franco Manca and the ever evolving Pret a Manger both picking up two trophies on the night. All our winners reminded those in the audience
of what excellence looks like.

Confidence is slowly returning to the eating and drinking-out market in the wake of the Brexit vote – although levels of optimism are still well below those at the start of 2016, as the latest CGA confidence survey results shared with conference delegates show.

It’s dead easy doing business when it’s dead easy. The test for everybody is doing business when it’s hard.
— Allan Leighton, Chairman, Wagamama

In all, half (50%) of those polled are optimistic about market prospects for the market in the next six months. However, optimism levels fall to just 36% when those same operators are asked about their confidence in the market over the next year, reflecting those longer term concerns and the continuing uncertainty in both the sector and the wider country
about the Government’s Brexit plans.

Operators are right to be cautious, but that shouldn’t stop them trading.  

If the sector’s business leaders – from big corporates to fledgling entrepreneurs – can deliver on the confidence they see in their own companies the coming year may yet throw up some surprises.