< Back to news 30 January, 2017

Ones to watch: Identifying what will have an impact on your business in 2017

As January draws to a close, we look back on 2016. A year which brought significant change to the landscape of the UK and international economy with Brexit and the US election result, Beacon, Britain’s leading purchasing company has identified four key issues the hospitality industry needs to be aware of as we continue into February 2017 and beyond.

Paul Connelly, Managing Director at Beacon, commented:

“After a year that has seen uncertainty and market turbulence, we are looking forward to 2017, but understand that many businesses may be wary of what’s to come, with Article 50 still to be triggered and various changes to legislation being discussed. As we look ahead to the next 12 months, we expect a number of issues to affect the hospitality industry, and encourage business owners to speak to their suppliers to ensure that they are aware of not only the government’s plans, but also to ensure that costs can be managed despite potential fluctuations in the market.”

Minimum alcohol pricing
Plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland have been backed by courts despite a series of legal challenges following the policy being passed by MSPs in 2012[1]. If the plans were rolled out in 2017 a price of 50p per unit of alcohol would be implemented, therefore linking the price of alcohol intrinsically with its strength presenting a challenge for pubs, bars and restaurants. The Scottish drinks industry may still challenge the ruling, but it is one to be aware of for Scots and the rest of the UK, as Public Health England made a call earlier this month for minimum pricing to be introduced in England too[2].

General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
The GDPR applies to ‘controllers’ and ‘processors’, which means that if you are a processor of data, the GDPR places specific legal obligations on you, however, it is no longer clear how this will be implemented following the decision for the UK to leave the EU on 23rd June 2016[3]. Once GDPR is implemented in the EU, it will be relevant for businesses operating internationally, so there is a need to be aware of the changes. Working closely with your IT supplier, such as Beacon supplier Stonegate IT, will be essential during this period to ensure you are fully aware of any new regulations relevant to your business.

Water deregulation
In April 2017 the commercial water market will become deregulated, providing opportunity for businesses in England to generate savings. Working with its expert water and utility suppliers, Three Sixty and Pulse Business Energy, Beacon has identified its top tips to ensure businesses are ready for the change – collate your previous usage data, check current efficiency measures and review historic billing information ensuring there are no errors recorded. The full effects aren’t likely to come into action until 12-18 months after the market officially becomes deregulated, but by creating efficiencies in water usage now, businesses will be able to generate savings when the time comes.

National Living Wage
The Government’s National Living Wage was introduced in April 2016 for all working people aged 25 and over, set at £7.20 per hour. In the Autumn Statement, a rise of 30p per hour was announced to come into force April 2017. The cost implications of the NLW for businesses have been huge - a 7% increase equivalent to £910 per year for a full time employee. There is no clear roadmap at the moment for future increases, so businesses really need to be aware that costs could increase with little notice.

Paul continued:

“Beacon represents around 2,000 independent hospitality and leisure businesses, and as such we are able to work incredibly closely with our customers to guide them through changes within in the industry. This year has undoubtedly been one of the most uncertain and turbulent years in recent history. As 2017 continues, we will continue to work hard to help our customers and suppliers navigate difficult times with confidence, in order to help their businesses prosper in what we anticipate could be a challenging business climate.”

To find out more about Beacon, click here or call the team on 01904 695588.

[2] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38181443
[3] https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/data-protection-reform/overview-of-the-gdpr/