The Year in Review – What dominated the news in 2018

As always, we find ourselves scratching our heads wondering where the time has gone and how it can possibly be December already. As we edge towards the new year, it’s always good to reflect on the past year and plan for what’s to come. Here is our summary of what dominated the hospitality news in 2018.


With Theresa May’s announcement that Brexit would end free movement for EU passport holders, the hospitality industry has been in a flat panic awaiting confirmation of whether or not it will go ahead. Under the plans, those earning over £30,000 and considered high-skilled would be prioritised however this does not make allowances for “low-skilled” workers.The industry remains concerned about the willingness of British talent that could fill this skills gap if Brexit goes ahead, as well as, the possibility of rising wages due the high demand for staff and low supply. Only time will tell but, in the meantime, businesses are doing all they can to source talent from everywhere and anywhere.

The shortage of staff

The candidate shortage in the hospitality industry is not a new topic or concern but it is still very much in the forefront of everyone’s minds. We conducted some research using the Office of National Statistics data and found that there has been a 17% drop in the number of chefs working in the UK and a 6% fall in the number of people working in hospitality in the UK overall in 2018. A survey conducted by also found that 65% of people working in hospitality plan to move jobs and of those, 59% plan to move in the next six months.

Gender pay gap

 The hospitality industry has a gender pay gap of approximately 7.3% based on analysis of all the candidates that registered with The Change Group in 2017. This equates to men earning approximately £2000 more each year than women. Although pay equality should always be the goal, it is promising that the pay gap is only 7.3% as this is low compared to other industries. As a company, we are committed to narrowing this gap.

Mental health awareness

It feels like the hospitality industry turned a metaphorical corner in 2018 in its approach to dealing with mental health issues. Thanks to the likes of Andrew Clarke, chef-director of St Leonards and Brunswick House who has founded the Pilot Light campaign, which is devoted to combating the stigma surrounding mental health in hospitality, there seems to be a real desire within the industry to support those suffer from mental health issues. Many organisations have made inroads into reducing working hours for their employees or making them more socially acceptable, highlighting the need for a good work/life balance and the impact that substance abuse can have on one’s health both mentally and physically.

Casual Dining feels the pinch

The casual dining sector has faced a tough year with margins being squeezed, increased competition from smaller independent brands and rising costs. We have seen large scale closures of big brands like Jamie’s Italian, Carluccio’s and Prezzo, indicative of what is happening in the market.

London restaurant closures are highest in 28 years

According to data released by Harden’s, London has experienced its highest level of restaurant closures in 28 years. Although restaurant openings continue at a steady pace, due to increased competition, many of these openings are not making it long term.

Vegan and Vegetarian is a trend that’s here to stay

For those who thought the vegan and vegetarian movement was merely a trend, they’d be sorely mistaken. We are seeing a huge focus on dairy free, egg free and meat free offerings, with the quality of products available in the market improving hugely over the past year. We predict that this trend is here to stay and there will be even more growth and development in the “free from” area in 2019.

Looking for a new job?

If you are one of the 59% of people who plan to move jobs in the next six months, why not give us a call on 02079236021 to discuss your career. We have some amazing Back of House, Front of House and Business & Commercial roles available, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.