Bristol restaurant chain forced to put up prices to avoid closures
The owners of a Bristol restaurant chain have said they will have to raise their prices across the board or run the risk of being forced out of business.
Ben Harvey and Dom Borel of Bianchis Group operate six restaurants across the city.
But the duo have issued a lengthy statement about the pressures facing their sector due to the soaring cost of ingredients, energy bills and rents.
The hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit by the cost of living crisis. Notable casualties in Bristol have included the Klosterhaus and more recently the Wild Beer bar in Wapping Wharf.
The Bianchi group have revealed that profit margins currently stand at just one per cent and if they fail to act they will be forced out of business.
The restaurants they own include Bianchis, Pizza Bianchi and Cotto.
The statement said: “Reopening all of our sites was one of the hardest feats we had ever experienced, but it soon became clear that this new pasture was not to be as green and happy as we’d hoped for.
“We trusted it would be beneficial in the long run. ‘The long run’ was, and is, much much longer and harder than we ever expected. Once it seemed to all that we were out of the woods, the price increases began.”
“The cost of our ingredients have increased drastically across the board, but we know the independent suppliers we use are facing the same hard times as us, so there is very little we can do.
“It takes a lot to produce a quality meal and serve it to customers, and those doing so are highly skilled people that have been working the job for many years to get to where they are now.
“Regrettably the skills inherent in our industry are neither valued or revered like other sectors, which generally revolve around monetary transactions and not meaningful human interactions.
“In real terms, if we were to use our actual costings to calculate menu prices, this would shock even the most loyal of our customers.
“We have recently completed our financial review of 2022 and although our turnover backs up the fact that we are one of the busiest restaurant groups in Bristol, our profit was less than one per cent.
“That profit margin means we are now operating in a high-risk zone, with an inadequate financial safety-net in a tumultuous financial environment.
“We want to continue, we love what we do and we believe we can survive this with radical action.
“We feel a huge sense of responsibility for all those we work with, staff and suppliers alike. And we believe our customer base needs to be informed about the crushing economic reality we are facing.
“So, in order to maintain our philosophy, our working practises and our survival as a business, we are raising our prices across our sites. You will be seeing a significant price increase across food and wine between now and the spring.
“We trust that you understand the predicament that we find ourselves in; we have no other option, it’s this or we shut our doors for good.”