In a recent survey engaged into by Silver Service Recruitment, 59 percent of respondents feel that 2016 will be have a better performance of sales over 2016. Another 28 percent of respondents indicate that they feel that they will achieve the same performance during 2016 whilst 13 percent feels that their performance will be worse than that in 2015.
The same respondents have been asked to compare the Christmas season in 2015 to that of 2014.
48 percent say that 2015 was better than the comparative period the previous year whilst 33 percent say that business was approximately on the same level, and the rest feel that it was worst than the previous year.
The survey reveals that the grand majority of customers spend less than Euro 20 per head when they dine out. This has been mainly attributable to the level of salaries in Malta which although improving due to the type of jobs available remain a main concern in purchasing power. Tied to this respondents commented on the reduction of utility bills which may have helped on the purchasing power of businesses. Catering establishments commented that the reduction has helped their cost structure as well although it does remain a major concern in such cost structure.
The most concerning issue for the catering businesses has remained the procurement of human capital. Indeed, this issue seems to be an issue with all areas in Malta. The shortage is leading to lower quality staff at possibly higher salaries when compared with previous years. From one aspect this is positive in the sense that it reflects the increase in businesses. However, the industry cannot afford to be short of appropriate persons and skills in order to maintain the level of service which has a direct impact on the tourism industry. It seems that many business owners do look beyond our shores in order to source human capital. However, the bureaucratic procedures for permits are hindering this as well. In fact bureaucracy is the second major concern for businesses in its widest sense. Respondents apart from the working permits matters have commented on MEPA issues which dishearten owners in investing further on certain occasions. Certain respondents have also commented on the persistent administrative requirements that are due to requests from authorities including but not limited to statistics.
The level of salaries between locations are relatively comparative which defeats the general misconception that jobs in certain areas are paid less. Also the requirements of staff seems to be the same which varies from cleaners to waiting staff and from kitchen helpers to Chefs. The study has not evaluated the level of skilled staff available in different areas.
A main concern around the island from the sector was that they do not feel to be represented well enough by the constituted bodies in order to portray their interests with the authorities.