Finance company Shire Leasing Plc has seen increased positivity in the hospitality and catering sector of its client base, with over 62% of those asked predicting better things over the next 12 months.
Shire Leasing provides finance, insurance, funding, debt recovery and marketing support to over 50,000 businesses in the UK, ranging from small independents through to larger, multi-site organisations. As part of its commitment to providing business services, Shire Leasing regularly surveys its clients to gauge their thoughts on how business is today, and how they see it developing in the next 12 months. The most recent surveyed 300 catering and hospitality businesses, and revealed some surprisingly positive results.
When asked about the key issues that affect their business, some responses were relatively predictable – high taxes, cautious consumer spending, competitive pricing and, as expected in the hospitality sector, the weather are among the key factors.
However, despite a tough few years, many businesses are now seeing the green shoots of recovery. 49% of those surveyed said that business had been good over the last 12 months, and 62% expecting improvements in the coming year. Many are, quite rightly, concerned about the economic downturn, with 68% saying their business has been directly affected, but over half are now seeing evidence of the recovery.
Banks’ continuing reluctance to lend
Reports continue about how banks are reluctant to lend to businesses, despite the Government’s pledge to fund business lending. 49% of those surveyed by Shire Leasing said they felt it was not getting any easier to secure funding from their banks, with 70% looking at alternative sources of finance when needed.
Alternative funding sources
Alternative finance for hospitality sources are on the increase, with much coming from friends and family, from precious cash reserves, or from independent financers.
As for future investment plans, an overwhelming 83% of respondents said they would consider leasing their equipment, asset and refurbishment projects, rather than tackling the banks for funding. “We’d definitely consider leasing for future investment. We already lease equipment and it makes the finance much more manageable than using the cash from the business. It also saves us the hassle of approaching the banks who, quite frankly, have made it really difficult for us to ask for the money we need,” said the owner of a hotel in the north west of England. “If we’re to grow, and get our business back to the levels it was before, we need to provide our customers with the best service possible. That means the best equipment, the best environment and that costs money. Leasing is a great alternative finance, and we know exactly where we are each month.”