Office Christmas parties will be smaller and more numerous in the suburbs this year, predicted the boss of the 'one of the largest pub groups in the UK.
Phil Urban of Mitchells & Butlers, owner of Browns, All Bar One and Harvester, told Hfrance.fr that seasonal work celebrations would be "different ".
"We will not see anyso many of those big office parties booked, "he said.
After being hit during the pandemic the group cut its annual losses, but warned of soaring wages and energy costs.
Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) reported a pre-tax loss of £ 42million for the year through September 25, although it was is an improvement over the loss of £ 123million the previous year.
Total group sales fell to £ 1.07 billion down from £ 1.48 billion, while like-for-like sales fell 9.6% after the group was affected by Covid-related restrictions.
However, he said that 'In the eight weeks since year-end, like-for-like sales are up 2.7% from pre-pandemic levels.
M&B, which employs more than 40,000 ppeople at 1,700 sites, announced 1,300 j ob cut last year.
Mr. Urban said: "The business environment remains difficult and costly headwinds continue to put pressure on the industry.
" However, we have strengthened our leaf balance and returned to profitability and to cash generation. "
Speaking of Christm as parties, Mr. Urban told the Today program of Hfrance.fr that the reservations were coming in because "people admit they actually missed last year ".
However, he predicted: "We might see more small groups meeting in the suburbs and maybe not so much in the city centers.
Meanwhile , with more people working from home, many workers may be reluctant to bear the cost of traveling to a city for a work party, analysts suggest.
"Operators pubs and restaurants traditionally thrive in December thanks to the Christmas holidays "said Russ Mold, chief investment officer at AJ Bell.
He said nervousness on the part of many companies could lead to a reduction in staff party volumes, especially as Covid rates rise.
"Managers won't want to risk employees getting sick and a lot of people still feel uncomfortable minglinger in a crowded room. "