Confidence among bosses in the UK's bar, pub and restaurant sector has dived since the referendum, according to research by CGA Peach.
The effect of the vote on consumer confidence, rising product costs and staff availability are leading short and long-term concerns for senior executives, the survey of 80 board-level directors found.
Just 15 per cent of respondents said they were upbeat about market prospects in the second half of the year, a nosedive from the 75 per cent who said they were optimistic in January.
“Looking longer term, the picture is slightly brighter, but only slightly, with 30 per cent of operators optimistic about the market over the coming two years,” said Charlie Mitchell, senior consumer research manager at CGA Peach’s parent company, CGA Strategy.
Two in five leaders (40 per cent) said they were pessimistic in both the short and long-term, while nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) believe Brexit will have a negative effect on their operations.
"Not a single operator has increased their expectations after the referendum, either in the short of long term – 44 per cent have decreased business expectations for the rest of 2016, with 53 per cent lowering forecasts for the next two years," Mitchell added.
Most bosses said they were worried about the increase in cost of raw materials and ingredients (76 per cent), while a drop in consumer confidence (74 per cent), decreased staff availability (73 per cent), the falling pound (71 per cent) and a skills shortage in the industry (69 per cent) all weighed heavily on the minds of the industry heads surveyed.
Companies are now likely to invest in staff training, employee engagement and digital marketing in an effort to mitigate these concerns, CGA Peach said.
The eating and drinking out market was sluggish in June, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, which CGA Peach contributes to.