How the cost of living crisis has hit cafe hard

Friday 2nd September 2022 11:00 am
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A stargazing event at the Sound Cafe hosted by astronomer Howard Parkin - (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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The Sound Cafe at the southern tip of the Isle of Man has revealed that its bills for oil have risen by 139% since December 2021 and its bill for gas has risen by 93% in four months.

The popular venue currently pays a projected £61,179.09 per year in diesel and £17,778.52 per year in gas.

The cafe, voted one of the best cafes with a view by the Guardian, uses diesel generators for electricity as they are too far away from the mains line for receive mains electricity.

The Examiner spoke to Adrian Christian, director of Riverside Cafes, about the increasing issue of utilities payments for the Sound Cafe.

‘We run three diesel generators,

‘On April 1 the UK government changed the law so that you couldn’t use red diesel anymore for anything bar agriculture so we’ve had to move from red diesel to white diesel.’

‘That doubled our prices almost overnight and that was before the Ukraine-Russia war, which almost doubled our prices again.’

The Isle of Man follows the UK rules for diesel.

Mr Christian also expecting to pay higher costs for heating oil.

In order for the cafe to switch to the mains for electricity, Mr Christian has said it would take ‘in excess of £500,000’ to put mains power into the building from Cregneash.

‘Back in April, the fuel and oil prices were very unstable as they were climbing and climbing and climbing.’

‘We tried to come up with a formula so that we didn’t have to print the menus all the time. Rather than increase all the prices on the menu, we thought we would try this fuel surcharge.

‘Initially we thought it was a good idea, because it was a fair system and also we were saying to people that it is like a service charge, we could remove it if people objected to it.’

This idea received negative feedback from customers and was never implemented, and as fuel prices stabilised and the idea has been scrapped by the cafe.

The company intends to remove this message from its menus when it reprints them and is now telling customers the idea has been dropped.

‘It’s something that we can implement but we never have, it’s not something we’ve passed onto customers at all.’

In this last financial quarter, the Sound cafe’s gas bill has gone up by £2,146 (93%) and this is strictly for cooking gas alone.

Riverside Cafes has looked at putting in solar panels in the area to help generate a third of the establishment’s electricity to help with the company’s dependency on oil.

Despite these issues regarding gas and oil prices, the business has reported an increase of 7% in sales compared to 2019, the last year before the pandemic restricted tourists from visiting.

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