The impact of the cost-of-living crisis is hitting us from all angles – at home, at work, on the high street, city centres, on our travels – the list goes on.

According to research from behavioural science think tank, The Decision Lab, we make around 35,000 decisions every day. Most of those will be impacted by the current crisis in some way – jumper vs heating, brand vs own label, restaurant vs takeaway, takeaway vs home cooking.

The challenges for hospitality have been relentless in recent years. COVID-19 closures and guidelines, social distancing, staffing and now energy prices and the cost-of-living crisis have all impacted their customer base.

The Caterer recently reported that 300 hospitality businesses had written to the government to warn that the industry would not survive without support to deal with the crisis. It was signed by big names including Pizza Hut, Merlin Entertainment, Marriott International. Imagine the challenges faced by smaller groups or independents.

At the time, September’s mini budget went some way towards protecting the industry’s future but as The MA reported, it wasn’t enough. The situation is now critical. A joint report by UK Hospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) and Hospitality Ulster revealed a third of hospitality firms ‘could go bust by next year’.

With this ongoing uncertainty and while the sector lobbies for change, some savvy operators are evolving their businesses. Hospitality boasts some of the best entrepreneurs in the country and we’ve heard many ways they are investing for success.

These include solar panels, using more candles, increasing the use of plant-based ingredients to avoid uncertain meat prices, reducing opening hours – again that’s another list that goes on.

Outside of government, operators are also turning to their suppliers or brand partners to help them navigate the challenges this crisis presents. We’ve been working with our clients to identify practical advice and solutions that could help.

Offer value options. This isn’t just about providing the most affordable solutions but offering something that adds value to operators whether that be in taste, innovation, health, or sustainability. These turbulent times may have moved value up the agenda for consumers, but we all still want to do the right thing when it comes top health and sustainability. We’re working with our clients to find these solutions for operators to tick all the boxes for their diners.

Be creative. It seems a strange world where this is advice, but the sector will be looking for creative ways to survive. Is there a faster way to cook your product? Does your product cook faster than others? Can they use less but still create a dish with impact?

Offer tangible support. Suppliers and brands are facing their own challenges, but a collaborative approach can benefit all. Ideas include free samples to remove risk, menu development and training support, which can all take the pressure off for operators and make it easier for brands to get traction.

We’ll be watching and supporting as the sector continues to lobby for the extra help it needs but, in the meantime, we’ll continue working with our clients to advise and create campaigns that will add value for all stakeholders.