Budget News for Restaurant Owners

cashToday the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced his annual budget, and as per usual there are changes concerning taxes and government spending. As a restaurant owner you may not think that most of this will affect you, but there are actually many changes that will have an impact on the overall income of your business. Here we look at some of the changes in the Budget that will affect restaurant owners:

The Price of Beer

When most people go out for dinner they like to enjoy a drink with their meal, however the recent increase in alcohol costs put in place by the government has led to many pubs and restaurants struggling to attract customers. In order to combat this George Osborne has announced that the price of beer will be cut by a penny per pint, however this cost will be covered by an increase in the cost of wine and spirits. This is important for restaurant owners to consider when ordering stock, as it means that they will have to consider the change in prices when it comes to deciding what to order and how much it will cost.

Income Tax

One of the most important pieces of information that the Budget revealed today is that the UK deficit has not decreased by the amount George Osborne originally projected, meaning that the government will have to make more cuts and for a longer amount of time. However, it seems that income tax will not be affected; in fact in 2014 the tax free allowance will actually increase to £10,000, so that on average each person will have £700 more each year. You will need to keep an eye on these changes when it comes to paying your staff or filling out your tax forms each year, although help will be at hand through the HMRC website.

Cost of Living

It is well known that during times of financial difficulty most people have to give up certain luxuries like visiting restaurants which is bad for the industry. However, as one of the main aims of this years’ Budget is to reduce the cost of living for a large proportion of the UK those that work in the restaurant and leisure industries may start seeing an increase in customers. This is good news for restaurant owners who may start to see even more income each year that will also help towards the cost of running their restaurant, restaurant insurance payments and expanding as a company.

The Importance of Restaurant Insurance

cafeIf you own a restaurant you will know that you are typically rushed off your feet, and because of this no matter how careful you are accidents can happen. There are also occasions where damages occur through no fault of your own, which is why investing in restaurant insurance is so important. So how does restaurant insurance protect you and your business?

Everyday Risks

Kitchens are known to be dangerous areas where a myriad of things can go wrong. The most obvious danger in a kitchen is fire, which can often spread quickly and cause thousands of pounds of damage in a matter of minutes. However, there are also dangers that you probably haven’t even thought about, such as electrical wirings that can become worn down over time and can also cause a fire to start. As you never know what could happen, investing in more than the legally required amount of smoke and fire alarms is a wise decision; just don’t forget to test them all every month!

Outside Influences

Unfortunately, most restaurant kitchens contain equipment that is expensive and therefore is often targeted by thieves. Furthermore, even if you have an alarm system fitted, this doesn’t always deter vandals who may also damage your restaurant whilst it is closed for the evening. There is also the problem of bad weather that can damage your drains and ultimately force you to close until they are fixed, which is why having a comprehensive restaurant insurance policy can not only save you money but also get your business back on its feet as quickly as possible.

Human Error

What would you do if a member of staff forgot to put a ‘wet floor’ sign down whilst cleaning and a customer tripped and injured themselves? Well firstly, you would apologise, but unfortunately this is usually not the end of the matter as the customer could sue you for compensation. Restaurant insurance covers you for public liability, meaning that if you need to go to court or pay compensation you won’t have to cover the potentially expensive costs on your own.

When owning a restaurant it sometimes seems that anything could go wrong at any minute, which is why restaurant insurance is so important, as it not only protects your business but also gives you peace of mind!

Sub-letting and your Properties

two keysMany landlords do not allow their tenants to sub-let their properties due to the fact that it means you could end up losing money. Furthermore, if your tenant does sub-let your property without you knowing you could find that your landlord insurance will not cover the extra tenant, or even worse become void. Here we give you everything you need to know about sub-letting:

Make the Rules Clear

All your tenancy agreements should clearly state that your tenants are not allowed to sub-let your properties without your explicit permission. You should also advise your tenants that if you find out they are sub-letting your property illegally then you will expect them to pay all the profits they made directly to you. Furthermore, if the person who sub-lets the property causes any damages then they and the other tenants will have to cover the costs themselves or both face eviction. This may sound strict but if your tenants know you are serious about sub-letting then they won’t try and chance it.

The Few Exceptions

There may the odd occasion where allowing your tenant to sub-let your property could be beneficial for you both, for example if they are planning on moving out a few months before your tenancy agreement ends. Leaving your property it unoccupied for a substantial amount of time could leave your house open to all kind of risks, so knowing someone is there could give you some peace of mind. If you do decide to let your tenants sub-let for a short amount of time make sure that you create a contract stating the exact amount of time the sub-let will be for, and who will be moving in.

Social Landlords

Social landlords in particular are at risk of having their properties sub-letted by those that commit housing fraud. There are a few scammers out there who fake information in order to gain social housing and then let it out for profit, and unfortunately you will only find this out when it’s too late. If you do suspect any of your tenants committing housing fraud then you can talk to your local council who should help you with the case, and hopefully you will be able to evict the tenants quickly and let the property to those that truly need it.

Landlords usually have a gut feeling when it comes to their tenants and whether they are trying to hide something from you. Keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour and remember, you always have the right to ask for an inspection if you feel it is necessary.

Dealing with Motorhome Emergencies

emergencyThere have been a number of articles in the news recently concerning motorhome owners that have found themselves in dangerous situations, which is why we feel that it is important all motorhome owners have a plan of action before they head off if worse comes to worse. Here we look at some of the dangers you could encounter when it your motorhome and what you can do to combat them:

Fire

One of the biggest dangers to motorhome owners is fire, especially as in a motorhome it can spread quickly and destroy not only your vehicle but also your personal belongings. If you are in a caravan park then make sure you take precautions when cooking: never leave food unattended, make sure you have a fire alarm fitted, and never barbeque too close to your motorhome. If you are on the road and you notice smoke or fire coming from your motorhome then you need to pull over straight away, get as far away from the vehicle as possible and don’t attempt to collect your belongings. Call 999 as soon as you are safe and don’t go near the vehicle until you are told to do so.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous for motorhome owners; especially as in confined spaces it can damage your health extremely quickly. Furthermore, carbon monoxide poisoning can be caused by the gas appliances inside your motorhome and also from fumes coming from your exhaust. In order to stay safe make sure that you have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted in your motorhome and check it at least once a month. You should also make sure that if there is ever any damage to your exhaust that you get it fixed straight away – your motorhome insurance will generally cover the costs and keep you safe.

Theft

Even though nearly all motorhomes come with alarms and locks as standard, this is sometimes not enough to deter thieves. Thieves are also generally opportunists, so even leaving your motorhome unlocked for a short period of time is dangerous. Make sure that your motorhome is always locked if you are not in it, and never leave any personal possessions visible as thieves could smash the windows, leaving you not only losing your belongings but also having to pay to get your vehicle repaired. If you ever are the victim of theft make sure you call the police straight away, and create a list of everything that was taken from your motorhome.

Most motorhome owners go on trips so that they can relax and enjoy themselves, so taking a few precautions will ensure that you have a great time. Remember, if you are ever concerned with the safety of your motorhome you should take it to a mechanic before heading on the road – better to be safe than sorry!

Picking the right Caravan Park for your Holiday

caravan parkPart of the excitement of going on a motorhome holiday is the sense of adventure and the unknown. The fact that you can change your route on a whim is one of the main reasons many people invest in a motorhome in the first place. However, at some point or another you will need to park up, re-stock your vehicle or even do some maintenance, and caravan parks are the best place for this. So how do
you pick the right one?

Who are you travelling with?

Many caravan parks have strict rules when it comes to who they allow to stay in their sites. For instance, some will not allow you to bring pets unless they are guide dogs, whilst others may not allow children under a certain age. Before you head off make sure you check all the caravan park rules, both those written in black and white and unspoken – don’t forget even though some caravan parks allow children they may not be popular amongst their regular clientele!

What facilities do you need?

There is nothing worse than paying for a pitch at a caravan park and then finding that they don’t have everything you need, as not only is it an inconvenience but also a waste of money you could have spent at a better site. Most caravan parks these days list their facilities online, however if you have special requirements then it is always a good idea to call ahead. There are also online communities you can join and discuss the park’s facilities with previous visitors just to double check that the website isn’t promising more than it provides!

How much do you want to spend?

Cost is one of the main things motorhome owners think about when picking what caravan park to visit, however you need to make sure that the cheapest option is really the right one for you. Saving money is one thing, but making sure you are in a safe and well equipped site is even more important. Remember, if something happens to your motorhome whilst at a site you can always call your motorhome insurance, but the inconvenience could ruin the rest of your trip!

Picking a caravan park is easy as long as you do the research and make sure you are getting what you’ve paid for, and once you’ve found one you love we’re sure you’ll go there again and again!

Furnishing your Properties

Bedroom furnitureFurnishing all the houses in your property portfolio can sometimes feel like a daunting (and expensive!) task, however if you do things properly you will be able to not only make your houses look good but also save on money. The big question is where you should spend and where you should save, as sometimes investing your money can benefit you in the long term. Here we look at the best ways to go about furnishing your properties:

Think about your Tenants

When considering what types of furnishing you want to provide in your properties the first thing you need to consider is what type of tenants you have. For example, if you let your properties to students you will need to make sure each room has a desk and chair, but at the same time you probably won’t want to spend too much on things like sofas which will probably never be cleaned! Likewise, if you rent your properties to families they will need a good amount of storage facilities, so chests of draws and a large kitchen table may be a wise investment.

Knowing where to Save and where to Spend

There are some things you will have to provide in every property no matter who you let it out to such as white goods. There may be a temptation here to go for the cheapest option available, but since items such as fridges and washing machines get used on a daily basis it’s important you buy ones that are of good quality. At the same time there are some things that are always worth buying cheaply, such as small appliances like kettles, as well as other kitchen necessities like plates and cutlery. The best thing to do here is shop around and see what deals you can find!

Damages

Before you let out a furnished property you need to make sure you cover all the furnishings on your landlord insurance, yet make sure you advise your tenants that this may not cover any of their belongings. You should also list everything in an inventory before your tenants move in, and note the condition of each piece of furnishing. This way if something does break you can get a better idea of whether it was because of the age of the item or neglect from your tenants!