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Now CURRIES could cost £30 a dish and fish and chips £20

Now CURRIES could cost £30 a dish and fish and chips £20: Restaurants and takeaways bear inflation brunt after Gaucho boss warned steaks could go up to £100 and pubs say pints could hit £20

  • Diners facing ‘eye-watering impact on prices’ as curry houses struggling to survive amid skyrocketing costs
  • Fish and chip shops now warn they are facing an ‘extinction event’, with £20 dishes just to remain profitable
  • The combination of soaring energy bills and increasing prices of fish, potatoes and oil has led to perfect storm
  • Chief executive of Gaucho steakhouse chain says it would charge £100 for steaks if passing costs to diners
  • Pubs across the UK also currently fear having to hike the price of pints to £20 or close altogether this winter

Curries could soon cost £30 and fish and chips up to £20 as restaurants and takeaways pass on soaring energy bills and inflation onto their customers – after pub bosses warn of £20 pints and a steakhouse chain says its dishes could reach £100.

Shale Ahmed, who represents restaurant owners in Birmingham, says diners are facing an ‘eye-watering impact on prices’ as curry houses struggle to survive amid skyrocketing costs.

Speaking at the Farm-to-Fork Food Resilience conference, he described how the industry is in a ‘dark place’ and warns many businesses will have to close without immediate government help.

Mr Ahmed told the BBC: ‘The sector’s in a spiral effect and it’s going down. We’re really, really struggling.  Especially with the most recent price increases, I think it’s not going to be sustainable come winter, never mind next year.

‘Historically we’ve had an issue with staff and skill shortage and the pandemic didn’t really help. Then you’ve got the rise of the cost of ingredients, which have gone sky high.’

He continued: ‘If you charge accordingly, a curry, even in Birmingham where curries are cheaper than most places in the country, would have charged at about £25 to £30, which is not sustainable.

‘People are not going to come through the doors and we’re going to have empty restaurants and takeaways.’

Businesses that were previously profitable are now facing ‘crippling’ losses with energy prices having at least doubled for most following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The conflict has pushed up European gas prices by nearly 400 per cent in the last six months, sending electricity costs soaring.

It comes as traditional British fish and chip shops now warn they are facing an ‘extinction event’.

The combination of a surge in bills and an increase in prices of raw ingredients such as fish, potatoes and oil has resulted in a perfect storm with businesses left in the financial mire.

David Wilkinson, owner of the The Blue Fin restaurant in Skegness, Lincolnshire, said he would have to charge £20 for fish and chips if he wanted to remain profitable.

Andrew Crooksley, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers and owner of the Skippers of Euxton restaurant in Chorley, Lancashire, said he has had no choice but to absorb soaring costs

Martin Williams, the chief executive of Rare Restaurants which owns steakhouse chain Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses are at risk collapsing

Andrew Chisholm, who runs Christie the Baker, which operates multiple shops in Scotland, said he can no longer calculate day to day costings because ‘everything is going up so often’.

He added: ‘We are a very traditional business in the community. We do not usually do price increases. 

‘We find that we are much cheaper because we are here for the community, but in the last 18 months, we have had no choice but to put our prices up. 

‘Normally we do this about once a year, but we have had to do it three or four times.

Our best selling products are pies and breads, but they have had to go up 30 per cent. I cannot do a day to day costing because everything is going up so often. 

‘We are a bakery, so we use a lot of energy – our ovens are on 12 hours a day.

‘It has been a massive increase. We are all doomed. We need some help to remain open and it is the same for every business. 

‘We won’t be here in six months if something is not done. My electricity is up 200 per cent and my gas is up 600 per cent. It is desperate.’ 

But he has been left with no choice but to take a hit because customers will go elsewhere if he raises prices.

Mr Wilkinson told MailOnline: ‘There is a limit that people will pay, so we have to keep prices as low as possible. To remain viable, we would want to charge £20 for fish and chips – some places across the country already are. 

‘Most of the shops around here are the same price. We do not want to close, but we may have to at this rate. I was paying around £300 per month for my energy last year, but my last bill was more than £1,000 and it will likely go up. 

‘If we do not get some sort of relief, we will have to close. We are all finding it hard.’ 

Andrew Crooksley, president of the National Federation of Fish Friers and owner of the Skippers of Euxton restaurant in Chorley, Lancashire, said fish and chip shops have had no choice but to absorb increasing costs.

He said: ‘It is a very worrying time for everyone. With rising energy costs, I would now need to charge £15 to remain at the same level prior to the start of the year. We are having to absorb it because people will undercut you.

‘My big fear is the question of why anyone would want to now run a business. We are going to have an exodus of small business owners. I am paying eight times as much for energy. Those levels will kill a business. 

‘And you can’t sell your business because no one will want to buy it. We are also uniquely affected by the [Russia-Ukraine] conflict. 

‘I love this industry. We are all so passionate about it. But we need immediate help and a long-term plan – a plan that gets us through the next decade.’ 

It comes after the boss of Argentinian steakhouse chain Gaucho warned the restaurants would be charging £100 for a steak if they passed on their increasing energy costs to diners.

Martin Williams, chief executive of Rare Restaurants, which owns Gaucho, says small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across Britain are at risk collapsing.

Mr Williams told The Telegraph: ‘At Rare Restaurants we fixed our energy prices. Had we not, across our 22 restaurants the impact of rising costs would have resulted in a £3.5m hit on our profitability.

‘To maintain margins this would mean steaks would have to triple in prices to beyond £100.

‘Unless energy prices are addressed, restaurants across the sector will be unable to viably open and many SME’s will sadly collapse.’

Meanwhile, a former Michelin star restaurant in a wealthy cathedral city is being forced to close due to its own rising energy bills. 

Chef Phil Storey and publican David Nicholson pictured outside the former Michelin star restaurant the Black Rat in Winchester, Hampshire

Andrew Chisholm, who runs Christie the Baker, which operates multiple shops in Scotland, said he can no longer calculate day to day costings because ‘everything is going up so often’

David Nicholson, owner of the popular Black Rat in Winchester, Hampshire, says energy costs have jumped five-fold from £20,000 a year to a staggering £100,000.

The restaurateur, who held a Michelin star for more than 10 years before losing it during the pandemic, said spiralling costs are making running restaurants ‘an unviable business’.

Mr Nicholson, who opened the restaurant in 2007, said: ‘The main reason behind its closure is the impact of the increasing energy bills.

‘It’s going up from £20,000 to between £80,000 and £100,000.

‘There are also problems with staffing, which includes front of house and chefs. Wages and food prices have gone through the roof.

‘We never set out to make lots of profit, but we certainly didn’t want to make a loss. It was becoming an unviable business. The winter won’t be a happy time for many.

‘The costs at The Black Rat were the highest across my businesses.’

Pubs across the UK also currently fear having to hike the price of pints to £20 or close altogether this winter.

James Allcock, 36, once poured his life savings into the Pig & Whistle bistro in Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire, but warns ‘out of control’ inflation and energy costs are ‘strangling’ small businesses such as his.

While his annual electricity and gas bill once cost him £2,900, he says the cheapest quote he has been given will now see him spend more than £22,000 on energy.

Mr Allcock added that the forecasted bill is now more than his rent and will be the third highest cost after VAT and wages.

He told Sky News: ‘I’ve just found out it will cost £125-a-day just to turn the heating on in winter. That will turn a small profit-making day into a huge loss-making day.

‘I do feel a bit like the band on the Titanic, or that I’m re-arranging the deck chairs to stop it sinking’.

Bakers have also been hit by soaring bills, with one bakery owner revealing that his energy costs have soared 600 per cent.

Andrew Chisholm, who runs Christie the Baker, which operates multiple shops in Scotland, said he can no longer calculate day to day costings because ‘everything is going up so often’.

He added: We are a very traditional business in the community. We do not usually do price increases. We find that we are much cheaper because we are here for the community, but in the last 18 months, we have had no choice but to put our prices up. 

Prime Minister Liz Truss will announce a package of help for businesses facing catastrophe due to soaring energy costs today

‘Normally we do this about once a year, but we have had to do it three or four times.

Our best selling products are pies and breads, but they have had to go up 30 per cent. I cannot do a day to day costing because everything is going up so often. We are a bakery, so we use a lot of energy – our ovens are on 12 hours a day.

‘It has been a massive increase. We are all doomed. We need some help to remain open and it is the same for every business. 

‘We won’t be here in six months if something is not done. My electricity is up 200 per cent and my gas is up 600 per cent. It is desperate.’

The fears come as Liz Truss is already facing a make-or-break moment in her premiership today as she unveils a £150billion plan to freeze energy bills.

Getting to her feet in the Commons today, the PM will commit the government to keeping costs for households at £2,500 a year until 2024 – less than half the level many feared they would hit. Including other help most people should see little change from existing bills.

Ms Truss will admit the intervention is on the scale of the response to Covid, insisting the alternative is to stand by and see the economy suffer massive damage.

However, she will also declare that there must be change to ensure the country is ‘not in this position again’ – with the fracking ban set to be ditched and a new era of oil and gas exploration in the North Sea.

The move will lift the uncertainty hanging over millions of households. The freeze is set to last for at least 18 months and could cost taxpayers anything up to £150billion – more than double the cost of the furlough scheme.

There will also be a package of help for businesses facing catastrophe due to soaring energy costs. The details are not yet clear but it is likely to be in place for less time.

What is Truss’s energy rescue plan, how much will it cost, how will it be paid for? Your questions answered

By Jason Groves for the Daily Mail 

What is Liz Truss planning?

Britain’s new Prime Minister will announce a freeze on average energy bills of around £2,500. The freeze is more than £1,000 below the latest energy cap of £3,549, which is due to come into effect in October. Households will also still get a £400 rebate, a policy announced in the summer. Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has said the support package is likely to be needed ‘this winter and the next’, suggesting it will last at least 18 months.

How will it work?

Ministers will sign legal contracts with the energy suppliers requiring the firms to supply domestic customers with fuel at a fixed price. The taxpayer will then make up the difference between the fixed price and the market level.

Will businesses get support?

Yes. The PM yesterday committed to helping businesses facing soaring bills, saying firms will get help with the ‘immediate price crisis’ this winter. Ministers have been examining proposals to fix the unit cost of energy sold to businesses. But sources said the situation is ‘complex’ and that the full package may not be finalised until next week.

How much will it cost?

Estimates of the total cost vary wildly and will depend on the wholesale price of energy. A Whitehall source said £100billion would be at the ‘top end’ of expectations, but ministers admit privately it could cost £150billion or even more if gas prices continue to soar.

How will it be paid for?

The huge cost is set to be paid for out of general taxation. Miss Truss yesterday ruled out extending the new windfall tax on energy firms, saying it could hit investment in future supplies.

Will it reduce the risk of blackouts?

No. Experts have warned that the plan could increase the chances of power shortages this winter as consumers will have less incentive to cut consumption. With other European countries also considering price freezes and Russia threatening to further cut supplies, there are growing fears of potential blackouts if still weather conditions mean wind turbines cannot operate.

What is the long-term strategy?

The Prime Minister will also unveil plans to ‘radically’ increase the UK’s domestic energy supplies in a bid to make Britain less reliant on global markets. This will include a dash for gas and oil in the North Sea and a renewed drive to build more nuclear power stations. Miss Truss is also expected to lift the ban on fracking, potentially opening up huge new reserves of gas if communities can be persuaded to accept the controversial technology.

Will fracking be forced on local communities?

Fracking has been controversial and was halted in 2019 because of concerns about earth tremors. But the industry insists it is safe, and a recent technical study for ministers – which has yet to be published – is said to have opened the door to its resumption as long as environmental protections are put in place. Miss Truss and new Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg are open to industry demands to relax tight planning restrictions on the technique. And fracking firms are planning to offer local people discounts of up to 25 per cent off energy bills in communities where shale gas is extracted.

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