Brexit or Bremain? What the UK hospitality industry thinks about the EU referendum

  • RPBi survey claims 49% of UK hospitality operators want to leave EU
  • BHA survey claims 74% of hospitality businesses want to remain
  • Tim Martin prints anti-EU Wetherspoon beer mats
  • Al Murray prints anti-Tim Martin beer mats
  • Blog by Stephensons catering equipment suppliers

A survey by RPBi, a hospitality data and news specialist, has found that 49% of UK hospitality operators plan to vote leave in this week’s EU referendum.

According to RPBi, 43% of the surveyed voters will vote to remain in the EU whilst 7% are undecided. 1% did not respond.

The survey of 1,915 hospitality business owners and senior staff revealed that 44% of respondents think leaving the EU will have a negative effect on the UK economy whilst 36% think leaving will have a positive effect.

Keith Britten, Director of RPBi, said, “After analysing the comments and survey results, the one key fact that stands out is that whichever way people decide to vote, the majority believe that a leave vote would have a negative impact on the economy. However, those voting to leave suggest that the negative impact will be short-lived and the benefits will be reaped in the long-term.

In contrast to RPBi, the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have revealed results of their survey from 41 industry leading companies including Café Nero, AccorHotels and Casual Dining Group. The survey results show that 74% of hospitality firms plan to vote in favour of staying in the EU.

With 30% of the current hospitality workforce being made up of migrant workers, respondents to the BHA survey say that a Brexit vote would have a negative impact on staffing.

Elsewhere, JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has taken a pro-active approach to Brexit campaigning. Martin has printed 700,000 beer mats to encourage Wetherspoon’s customers to vote ‘leave’.

On one side of the latest batch of beer mats, Tim Martin has written an open letter to George Osbourne addressing the ‘undemocratic’ nature of the European Union. The reverse side accuses David Cameron and George Osbourne of trying to ‘fool the public using scare stories from cronies or subordinates.’

In response to Tim Martin’s Brexit beer mats, ‘Pub Landlord’ Al Murray ridiculed the Wetherspoon’s boss. Writing in The Guardian, Murray said that Tim Martin has broken ‘one of the all-time golden rules of pubs: never talk about politics.’

Mocking Wetherspoon’s drinkers, Murray writes that, ‘Wetherspoons customers are exactly the sort of people who will be susceptible to this line of argument: they are in these places because they are thrifty, they watch their spending.’

Al Murray even released his own light-hearted beer mats to counter-act those of Tim Martin.

Whichever way the voters decide, Keith Britten, Director of RPBi, says the hospitality industry needs to remain together. Britten says that, ‘It will be important for companies and trade bodies to watch the developments and the potential impact on hospitality and to react as one industry and not, as has too often happened in the past, as individual sectors.’

RPBi EU Referendum Survey:]

Brexit vote: Three quarters of hospitality CEO’s back Remain:

JD Wetherspoon Prints 500,000 More Brexit Mats Attacking George Osbourne:

Move Over Wetherspoons, here’s the Pub Landlord’s Brexit Beer Mats:

Al Murray Beer Mats: