The UK is suffering a national shortage of garden furniture, and suppliers are increasing prices due to higher UK import and shipping costs.
In 2019, the hospitality industry generated £59.3 billion gross, accounting for 3% of the UK’s total economic output, while providing 2.93 million jobs.
During 2020, the hospitality industry suffered a 92% fall in economic output due to the coronavirus pandemic. This fall in economic output accounts for 33% of the UK’s entire drop in GDP.
It is clear that the hospitality industry, including pubs, bars, and restaurants, has suffered from the pandemic, like no other sector.
The Outlook For Hospitality
So what does the future look like for the hospitality industry?
According to UKHospitality brand, between March 2015 and March 2020, the UK was already experiencing 24 drink-led pub closures per week. However, eateries were performing better, with the number of people eating out at least weekly (46%) remaining the same, according to a BrandTrack survey.
In response to the pandemic’s fallout, 36% of bar, pub, and restaurant owners are anticipating closing some sites permanently.
Today, 49% of consumers said they would feel confident about visiting a venue with an outdoor space when establishments reopen. This is twice the number prepared to visit small and intimate spaces.
The Rising Cost of Pub Garden Furniture
Pubs can reopen on the 12th of April 2021, providing outdoor services only. This means that breweries and independent pub owners must increase their outdoor seating capacity to achieve at least a reasonable level of trade and income.
As venues prepare for the reopening in April, the demand for outdoor pub benches has soared. Stocks of garden furniture were already depleted as homeowners took advantage of more time at home and in their gardens.
The shortage of outdoor furniture has been met by increased shipping prices, creating a perfect storm of sorts. According to the Leisure and Outdoor Furniture Association (LOFA), shipping costs for a container from Indonesia and China have gone from $1,200 to between $7,000 and $10,000.
The seller is now passing on the shortage and increased cost of shipping outdoor benches, chairs, and tables to the customer, including pubs and restaurants.
If any remnant of the hospitality industry is to survive, then finding a solution and sourcing outdoor furniture at a reasonable cost must be found to avoid further extending the journey to recovery.
Maybe the government needs to take action, or perhaps hospitality venues need to seek out UK manufacturers of commercial-grade outdoor garden furniture.