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Hake and sirloin off the menu as pubs fight surging inflation

·2-min read
Steak and chips
Steak and chips

Hake and sirloin steaks are being taken off pub menus as inflationary pressures ripple across the UK.

Jonathan Lawson, chief executive of Liberation Group, which operates 119 pubs and inns in Jersey, Guernsey and the south west of England, said the business had been hit by "huge inflation" on some ingredients on its menus and is being forced to swap out expensive items as a result.

He said: "I think people would be surprised how much inflation has already come through.

"Hake is a good example of this. It's massively popular at the moment and very expensive so we don't have it on the menu. Sirloin steaks are another, so we have to think, ok, can we develop a really good rump product and change the way we cook it to deliver a really good premium beef product to a customer who wants that?"

It comes as costs spiral for hospitality bosses, with official figures showing prices had jumped 4.2pc in the 12 months to October.

The Bank of England has suggested that inflation will reach 5pc by next spring, whilst Citibank has forecast it could even hit 6pc.

Mr Lawson said the company, which trades under the Butcombe brand in England, is constantly assessing the impact of rising costs but that a jump in utility bills after energy prices rocketed had made the biggest impact so far.

His comments echo those of pub operator Mitchells & Butlers which last week said cost rises were piling pressure on the sector. The chain's chief executive Phil Urban said that utility costs are on track to double this year, costing the business up to £70m.

Mr Urban, whose company runs the Harvester and All Bar One chains, said he would struggle to offset those cost increases if they spike as much as expected.

However, he said it would prove difficult to simply pass the increase along in full to customers.

Mr Urban said: "The notion that you can just pass this through is just wrong, because customers will vote with their feet."

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