I’m sorry but this week we simply have to talk about Brexit planning.
Over the last two years the only thing that most people have been certain on with Brexit is that the day of departure is 29th March 2018. Now the politicians may this week, or next, attempt to change this but with 67 days to go, it makes sense to plan.
Good business planners look at any situation and attempt to work out the absolute worst scenario, the best scenario and the others in between. For UK catering businesses these vary widely, but most can find a sensible middle ground for their own business with a little thought now.
Shutting Up Shop
Option number 1 is that the situation on 29th March and the weeks that follow that the best option is to shut down for a month. This is an approach that a number of car manufacturers are taking such as BMW and its mini production in Oxford.
If you’re considering this option you conserve all your resources and then make an orderly grand re-opening in May. The positives may also include allowing you to do that refresh of paint that you’ve been putting off. The negative that there may be a trust or reputational hit to your business in your local area or those to whom you supply.
Whatever happens after over 40 years of increasingly integrated trade and an international focus on just in time delivery, delivery times will spin quickly out. If the Manston lorry trial in January proved anything it is we are still underprepared for the impact on freight. However the Brexit food packs of freeze dried ingredients is an overreaction the other way.
Big food manufacturers have been quietly stockpiling key ingredients for the last few months. This is why UK warehouse space is now almost at capacity. Time for regular catering businesses to consider:
- How many of your ingredients are locally grown and sourced. Over the last few years AC Services has showcased various regional providers to provide choice.
- The key word in the point above is grown. We often assume that we can just ask our supplier for x not thinking that x must come from abroad. With the extremes of weather, we have increasingly seen shortages of basic products like lettuces or potatoes. Time to ask yourself if I run out of vanilla pods what will I do?
- When did you last have your machinery serviced? Catering equipment is an international business so the part that is needed may have to be shipped from elsewhere in Europe. It’s a good idea to do this in February so you’re ready.
Brexit provides an opportunity for an event. Not least because it falls the same weekend as Mothering Sunday and the beginning of British Summer Time. We’ll leave the menu choices to your personal preferences. But whatever you do start thinking and planning now for March 29th to minimise the adverse hidden effects Brexit could have on your business this spring.