“We need to modernise our businesses and our outlook“
It is not just a pleasure but a privilege to have the opportunity to contribute to this year’s BCA Awards brochure, as the newly elected Chief Treasurer, which is an event that is now in its 12th year, which reflects just how successful this event has become in this industry’s calendar. These Awards acknowledge and reward the nominated chefs and restaurants whose commitment and enthusiasm brings the very best cuisine and service to their customers. This is an industry that incredibly, contributes £4.2 billion to the UK economy, and that’s in spite of very tough and uncertain times politically. Including thedifficult times,we are facing in this sector. The challenges we have are numerous, from finding skilled chefs, to high business rates, over-heads and the issue of VAT. This year BCA wants government to understand that for restaurants and takeaways, the current flat rate VAT threshold is £150,000, where we as caterer’s pays 12.5%, if the yearly turnover is £150,000 or less. We want this threshold raised to £250,000; as VAT rate of 20% is extremely high and unaffordable. As for most of us caterers, our annual turnover is between £150,000 and £250,000. BCA has taken a resolution to lobby government to raise the threshold to £250,000! As your Chief Treasurer, my job is to look at future projections, the numbers and the figures. I have been thinking about how do we go forward as an industry and I believe it comes to one word – modernise. We need to modernise our businesses and our outlook. We need to ensure that we are inclusive and diverse. It’s these factors that will engage us with the next generation who are our customers.
We all need to be more engaged on social media, reaching out to new potential members, the media and of course our customers. Our customers are online, but where are we, if they cannot find us. We need to be outward thinking, we need to be inventive, energetic and most of all entrepreneurial. If our curry houses want to change with the times, then they need to invest in the future and not rest on the laurels of our forefathers. We must remember that BCA members have created a legacy here in Britain where this love for this cuisine is down to our forefathers, who worked hard for this success that we have inherited and prospered from. Now more than ever we have to fight for survival by being better than the supermarkets and competing with fast food; and winning. We need to remember that we have been champions and can be champions again. We are stronger together and this is why BCA has such an important role. It gives us one loud roaring voice. I wish you all a wonderful evening tonight. Take in this atmosphere, the glamour of the evening, the strength of this catering community who have come together on this one night. Clap and cheer loudly for our winners; as we are all champions.