Industry voices, News

Restaurant owner says rising costs could destroy independent restaurants

A RESTAURATEUR is calling for more support for the hospitality industry as costs continue to rise.

Kaz Miah, who runs the Kassia group of restaurants around Portsmouth, is finding that the price of running a restaurant is continuing to rise, making it harder than ever to keep his businesses afloat.

The majority of the country has recently been hit with a huge spike in gas prices, which also affects businesses, with Kaz finding that his bill has more than quadrupled.

He said: ‘The gas is more expensive than rent now – around double the price of it. Running a restaurant is tough during the best of times but this just adds to it.

‘With VAT returning to the full 20 per cent from April and business rates returning to normal soon, things will continue to become harder.’

He has also found that the cost price of food and drink has increased significantly, with chicken going from £35 for 10kg to around £50 for just 10kg, oil going from £20 for a 20-litre drum to £37.

Kaz said: ‘Some suppliers are taking advantage of rising costs everywhere else and are using covid to make an extra profit where they can, which is completely damaging to small businesses. We’re at a catch-22. Businesses won’t survive without putting their prices up, but with the cost of living increasing too, people won’t be able to afford to dine out if it’s more expensive.

‘The customers don’t see the rising prices behind the scenes, and to them it looks like we’re just being greedy, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that we’ve got lots of staff that have families to feed who we need to pay, we have rising bills that need paying, we’re also struggling, but we don’t want to compromise on quality of the food or service to cut corners.’

Kaz and his teams hope that the support of loyal customers will see them through and said: ‘I would urge people to please dine out when you can – if you can afford it. Try to stick to local, independent establishments as it’s people in the local community who who will be affected when small businesses close their doors for good because they can no longer survive.

‘Hopefully this pain is only temporary, I’m hopeful that my restaurants, and other local restaurants can get through it with the right support.’

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