ONE hospitality venue in Penarth said you could sense the atmosphere when the cost-of-living crisis began, while another said it’s a gamble passing price hikes on to customers.

It comes after two restaurants in Penarth told of fears for their future as they face what could be the hardest January and February for hospitality in living memory.

Fuel costs, energy prices, international wars, and the aftermath of Covid have all congealed to place financial pressures on the public and a threat to the future of the high street like never before.

The Golden Lion pub on Glebe Street has just been through what has to be one of the quickest refurbishments in recent pub history, however despite this owner Jon Bassett says there are still concerns going forward.

Mr Bassett highlighted three issues he is particularly worried about.

“Energy costs going up,” he said, “which for us will go up double when our contract’s up. The living wage is going up so we have to mitigate that across our business, and the costs of goods are going up.

“Coming into the second quarter of the year there are a lot of prices going up.”

Shelling out almost double for bills sounds similar to the stories at Mint and Mustard and Bar 44 Tapas, whose owner Natalie Isaac said in an explosive interview with the Penarth Times, they were seeing their energy bills go up from £2,000 to £10,000 a month.

Mint and Mustard manager Ram Sapkota went to the point of saying he was unsure if the restaurant would even be in Penarth in two months.

Penarth Times:

Jon Bassett, owner of the Golden Lion on Glebe Street, said he's concerned for later in the year - pictured is landlord Paul Harper

At Home, the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant that recently shot to fame on the Hairy Bikers’ latest TV series Going Local, owner James Sommerin and daughter Georgia, who he works alongside, say they have seen the price of everything shoot up.

“It has gone up huge,” said Mr Sommerin, “everything has gone up.”

Mr Sommerin mentioned costs of some items rising at least a third in recent months.

Penarth Times:

James Sommerin and daughter Georgia, of Home, remain optimistic for the future despite price rises in recent months

Many restaurants are finding customer spending habits have changed over concerns for personal finance – people are still going out, but spending less. For Home it’s a little different, being a destination restaurant for special occasions their customers' spending roughly stays high.

While spending remained strong, one thing Mr Sommerin did notice was an initial change in mood of his customers, who he serves himself, with the concept of Home being a dining experience in the comfort of your own home.

“When the cost of living started you could see there was a nervousness in the atmosphere and it did impact people at the table,” he said.

“Everyone felt knocked, but so far people have been pretty happy and I hope that continues. Me and Georgia are eternal optimists.”

Watch Mint and Mustard GM Ram Sapkota invite people to dine in January and February

For Mr Bassett at the Golden Lion, he says while there are concerns, for now they have to wait and see.

“It’s a gamble if we put the prices up because customers might not come,” he said. “We’re just keeping an eye and seeing how things go.”