Owners of a popular cafe say they will do everything they can to survive – despite an “insane” hike of more than £30,000 expected to their energy bill.
Anna and Chris Vidler, from The Lane in Deal, say their current £11,500 yearly payment is expected to rocket to £42,000 when their renewal kicks in in January.
It comes at a time when hospitality businesses are still recovering from the devastating effects of the pandemic, and now face the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.
The pair opened the business in South Street eight years ago and say they will do all they can to avoid closing down.
Mr Vidler said: “The first quote went up to £32,000.
“Five days later we had a requote which went up to £42,000, another £10,000.
“It’s just insane. We have put our hearts and souls into this.
“Our gas contract is nearly up too and I can’t even begin to think about managing that.”
The couple say they don’t have any plans to let staff go and are trying to come up with creative ways to ease the pressure.
Mrs Vidler described the bill as a “bombshell” which the couple will have to find a way to pay among other rising costs.
“That’s just electricity so we still have everything else alongside that,” the 35-year-old said.
“Our cooking oil has gone up from £17 for 20 litres to £40.
“Every item on our suppliers list has gone up.
“It would be so sad, after eight years of trying our absolute hardest, to give up because of an electricity bill.
“We have decided we are going to try everything, be more inventive with our menu, and try and work out some offers so people still come in. But how much of a difference it will make, I really don’t know.”
The Vidlers, who also run The Lane Bakery in Queen Street, are calling for more to be done to support businesses and would like to see a price cap introduced for companies like there is for households.
“It’s not just us, a lot of businesses and households will be in the same boat,” Mrs Vidler added.
“The recession is around the corner but if there are no businesses, there are no jobs…”
“If there is a change in leadership something might happen, but we really don’t know.
“The recession is around the corner but if there are no businesses, there are no jobs.
“With household bills, they are being capped but they haven’t mentioned anything for business as of yet.”
Last month the owners of The Dog at Wingham feared rocketing energy costs could be the “final nail in the coffin” for many in the industry.
Marc Bridgen, who runs the pub said its annual utility bill is set to almost triple to £101,000 this autumn.