Story of the Day:
Drake & Morgan to open second Manchester city centre site
Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, is to open The Anthologist this summer for its second venue in Manchester city centre and 23rd in the UK. The 6,000 square foot, 185-cover bar and restaurant will be at One St Peter’s Square, part of a £185m development of the area. The Anthologist will feature a large statement bar, a mix of traditional dining and lounge seating, banquettes and booths, and distinctive dining and lounge areas. The venue will offer breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with seasonal dishes, flatbread and sharing boards, small plates, gourmet sandwiches and burgers. An extensive wine list will accompany premium spirits, craft beer and cider, and an evolving cocktail list. There will also be “zero-proof concoctions” including super skinnies with fewer than 50 calories. Drake & Morgan managing director Jillian MacLean said: “I’m delighted to be launching our second site in Manchester on the back of The Refinery in Spinningfields. Manchester is a modern and vibrant city Drake & Morgan loves being part of and we are confident The Anthologist will provide the city with a refreshingly independent bar with new, exciting additions.” Drake & Morgan also operates The Anthologist in Gresham Street in the City of London where the company held its most recent launch – The Listing in Bush Lane – in November.
Jamie Rollo – gap is widening in trading performance between value operators and mainstream peers
Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has argued the gap is widening in trading performance between value operators and their mainstream peers. He said: “In the burger space McDonald’s recently reported +6% like-for-like sales in international, driven by the UK, whereas Byron was minus 6% last year. In pizza, Domino’s reported acceleration in like-for-like sales to +7% year-to-date, whereas PizzaExpress was +1% in the first half last year. In coffee shops, Greggs recently reported +3.2% like-for-likes, whereas Costa Coffee reported minus 1.5% in its most recent quarter. In pubs, JD Wetherspoon recently reported +3.8% like-for-likes (+5.8% excluding the snow), whereas Greene King was minus 1.4% in its most recently reported quarter. Finally, in hotels Travelodge recently reported +3.7% revpar in its fourth quarter, whereas Premier Inn was minus 1.5% in its most recently reported quarter. While data limitations mean these comparisons are not perfect and the time-frames not always comparable, we do think there is evidence of a growing gap between value and mainstream propositions in the UK being seen in other sectors such as retail (for example Primark and B&M doing well), likely caused by weak consumer confidence and a squeeze on disposal income. This is backed up by a recent survey by our strategy and retail teams on consumer attitudes to Brexit, suggesting a modest increase in headwinds for the consumer given an increased proportion of respondents reporting some financial stress, and an increased proportion reporting they expected to cut back on spending as the UK gets closer to leaving the EU, now just a year away. Finally, while supply is coming out of the restaurant market following a wave of chains getting into financial difficulties, our restaurant tracker suggests this will amount to a maximum 1% reduction in restaurant outlets, partly as the Company Voluntary Arrangement process enables many outlets to stay operating at reduced rents, funding further discounting and thus exacerbating the oversupply.”
Prezzo has had its Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal approved by creditors, which will see the closure of 94 of its 300 UK restaurants and rent reductions at others. More than four-fifths (88%) of creditors voted in support of the move during a shareholder meeting, with the restaurants identified for closure likely to shut in April and May. Prezzo said staff would be made aware of the exact dates “as soon as they were confirmed”. The restaurant chain said “every effort” would be made to redeploy team members affected by the closures, although the CVA involves a requirement to make redundancies. Under the proposal, rent reductions will range from 25% to 50% across 57 sites, with the CVA lasting two years. CVA documents show Prezzo owes secured creditors including Barclays Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland £154m, while scores of unsecured creditors are owed a total of £65.7m. Among those, Prezzo owes about £600,000 in unpaid electricity bills to British Gas, £364,000 to fruit and vegetable wholesaler Reynolds Catering Supplies, and almost £120,000 to furniture company Boston Interiors. The 94 restaurants that will shut, which includes the entire Chimichanga brand, are Abergavenny, Alton, Amersham, Arundel, Barnet (High Street), Barnstaple, Bedford (MEXIco), Belfast (Victoria Square), Belfast (Boucher Square), Beverley, Blackpool, Blandford, Bournemouth (Chimichanga), Braintree (Freeport Village), Brentwood, Bromley (Chimichanga), Canterbury, Cardiff (Chimichanga), Carlisle, Carmarthen, Catterick, Chatham (Chimichanga), Chelmsford (Baddow Road), Chester (Chimichanga), Cobham (Cleaver), Cramlington, Crawley (Chimichanga), Dalton, Darlington, Deansgate Manchester, Derby (MEXIco), Ealing (Chimichanga), Eastleigh (Chimichanga), Edinburgh (Pier Place), Falmouth, Fareham (Chimichanga), Glasgow Fort, Gloucester, Guildford, Halstead, Haywards Heath, Hereford, Hereford (Chimichanga), Hornchurch (Chimichanga), Ipswich (Chimichanga), Kettering, Kingston, Leicester (Silver Street), Lewes, Lincoln, Maidstone (MEXIco), Midhurst, Milton Keynes (Chimichanga), New Brighton, Newbury, Newcastle, Newquay, Northwood, Norwich (Thorpe Road), Nottingham (Low Pavement), Penarth, Peterborough (Chimichanga), Port Solent (Chimichanga), Poulton, Ripon, Sheffield (Valley Centertainment), Sheffield (Ecclesall Road), Silverburn Glasgow, Solihull (Chimichanga), South Woodford (Chimichanga), Southampton, Southampton (Chimichanga), St Annes on Sea, St Austell, Stamford, Stevenage (High Street), Stratford-upon-Avon, Sudbury, Taunton, Telford (Chimichanga), Tewkesbury, Wandsworth, Wandsworth (Chimichanga), Warrington, Watford (Chimichanga), West Bromwich, Wokingham, Woodley, Yate and Yeovil. According to the terms of the CVA, leases on the 94 restaurants will be terminated in the next eight weeks. Prezzo chief executive Jon Hendry-Pickup said: “I would like to thank our creditors and landlords for supporting our transformation plan. While we continue to be profitable, the pressures on our industry have been well documented. Despite this being a tough decision, the support given today by our creditors shows they believe we have the right approach to transforming Prezzo in the eyes of teams, customers and stakeholders. It has been a challenging time during the CVA process and I would like to thank our suppliers, colleagues and customers for their patience and support.” Prezzo embarked on massive expansion after it was bought by private equity house TPG Capital in 2014 for £300m. Directors blamed a significant increase in costs from wages and business rates for its financial difficulties. The CVA document stated: “It is envisaged that by the exit of loss-making and marginal sites, capital investment can be focused on the core estate where the largest return potential exists. This will improve multiple key indicators, including an average sales ratio of £15,000 per week and FY19 group Ebitda margin by up to 5%. The like-for-like performance of the core estate is expected to remain broadly flat in FY18 and improve to 5% by FY20.” The company’s like-for-like sales fell 8% in 2017. AlixPartners is advising on the restructuring deal.
Drinks manufacturer and distributor Global Brands has reported turnover increased 16% to £42m for the year ending 30 September 2017. The Derbyshire-based company saw gross profit up to £11.8m, compared with £10.8m the previous year. Its premium range of tonics, mixers and soft drinks, Franklin & Sons, recorded a 281% increase in volume sales, while the company added ready-to-drink (RTD) brand VK now accounted for more than a quarter of all RTD sales in the UK. Global Brands said it had experienced a “strong start” to the current financial year, with total volume sales up 20%. The company said it aims to launch new products and distribution partnerships during 2018. Founder and chairman Steve Perez said: “Consumer demands and taste preferences sit at the heart of what we do and are really driving our growth to keep pace with a fast-changing market. Understanding what people want, whether that’s premium-tasting mixers made using only natural ingredients or something different to sweet-tasting fruit ciders, has seen us trail-blaze. We created the alcoholic soda drinks category and established ourselves in the highly competitive premium tonics, mixers and soft drinks market. We never sit still when it comes to product development and there’s no greater buzz than working with supermarkets, bars and restaurants to answer their call for innovation.” The company, which has a portfolio of 19 brands, saw total exports for the year grow 50%. Global Brands currently distributes to 59 countries.
Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has reported an Ebitda boost as sales surged past £100m. The company saw turnover increased 56% to £112m for the year ending 31 December 2017 compared with £79.1m the previous year. Ebitda was up to just under £9m compared with £6m the year before, which BrewDog said validated its strategy of investing heavily in new capacity to scale the business while maintaining healthy profitability. The group said it expected to see continued international expansion and further strong UK revenue growth in both the on-trade and off-trade channels. In 2017, BrewDog sales in the UK reached £89.9m, up from £58.5m the year before. In its annual report, the company, which has seen an average growth rate of 63% over the past six years, acknowledged it accounted for only 0.8% of the total UK beer market. In Europe turnover increased to £13m compared with £9.8m the previous year. Rest of the world sales grew to £4.7m compared with £3.6m the year before. In a year that saw the company valued at more than £1bn following a £213m investment from private equity firm TSG Consumer Partner, pre-tax profit dipped to £1.4m compared with £3.8m the year before as it ramped up expansion. The report also showed the company has disposed of its interest in coffee shop operator Third Wave Coffee. BrewDog acquired a 33% stake in the business in 2016 in attempt to win more daytime customers to its bars. During the year, BrewDog opened a second brewery, in Columbus, Ohio as it headed to the US. The first batch of beer was produced in June, and helped drive North American sales to £4m, the first time the company has separated out the US and Canada sales. BrewDog said it was “forecasting further strong revenue growth for 2018” as it takes advantage of a full year contribution from its Columbus brewery in the US. A lease has been signed on a site in Brisbane, Australia for a third brewery, which BrewDog said would open sometime in 2019. It is also looking at sites in Asia, noting the scale of opportunity in China. In addition, it launched a new spirits division in the year. Sales of these Lone Wolf products were described as “exceptional” in the first few months of distribution. This year will also see the launch of a sour beer brewery after BrewDog hit a £10m target in the fifth incarnation of its Equity for Punks crowdfunding campaign. The fund-raise has so far raised £13.8m. Writing in the accounts, co-founder James Watt, said: “2017 saw us shifting it up a gear across planet earth. The past 12 months were an absolute rollercoaster of a ride as we sought to build a brand new blueprint for business. We continue to re-invest these profits in our beer and people to underpin future revenue growth and solid profitability.” Part of its investment will pay for a hotel, which is being planned as part of a wider expansion of its Ellon base. The DogHouse, as the hotel will be called, is scheduled to welcome guests in the first half of 2019. BrewDog said it aimed to grow sales globally by pushing distribution further this year, continuing with an aggressive expansion plan, which will be aided by the new breweries. It added: “The wider we cast this net, and the more countries we can extend into, the greater our opportunity to thrive worldwide.” Wages increased to £22m compared with £14.8m the year before as staff numbers increased to 777 from 593, with 155 staff employed in production. There were six directors in the group, who earned total remuneration of £1.1m. The highest paid director saw their remuneration increase by 16.3% to £214,000.
Just Eat chief executive Peter Plumb was appointed on a salary of £230,000 more than his predecessor David Buttress, the company’s annual report has revealed. Plumb, who joined Just Eat in July last year having previous been boss of Moneysupermarket.com Group, has a salary of £695,000 while Buttress was paid £465,000. Remuneration committee chairman Gwyn Burr said in her report the level was considered “appropriate and necessary in order to secure his appointment”. The report showed Plumb received total remuneration of £458,293 for the year ending 31 December 2017. This consisted of £200,481 salary and fees, £7,212 in taxable benefits, £240,576 annual bonus and £10,024 pension. Buttress, who moved to a non-executive director’s role, received total remuneration of £927,968. Meanwhile, chief financial officer Paul Harrison, who was appointed in September 2016 on a salary of £400,000, had his pay increased to £450,000 from September 2017. Burr said the rise was to a level “consistent with his experience and performance, as demonstrated through acting up outstandingly as interim chief executive”. She added: “The new salary levels for our executive directors place them at a broadly median level of salary for similarly sized FTSE companies.” Both executives’ salaries will remain the same in 2018. Harrison received total remuneration for 2017 of £989,203. This consisted of £452,500 salary and fees, £19,264 in taxable benefits, £434,400 bonus, £5,763 in long-term incentives, £24,446 pension and other payments of £52,830. For 2018, Harrison’s annual bonus participation level will be increased from 120% to 150% of base salary with his performance share plan award rising from 160% to 200% of base salary, which were the same levels as the chief executive. Meanwhile, Just Eat has put its advertising review on hold until the autumn, to ensure its “advertising approach was aligned with the brand’s long-term strategic plan”, and will continue to work with Karmarama in the meantime. It called the review in February, less than two years after appointing Karmarama, reports Campaign.
Admiral Taverns has strengthened its senior team with two new appointments, underpinning its ambitious growth plans. Ian Ronayne has joined the company as managing director, bringing with him a wealth of industry experience. Ronayne has held senior leadership roles at Molson Coors and more recently was operations director at Punch, prior to becoming managing director operations at Ei Group. Ronayne succeeds Admiral Tavern’s operations director Andy Hodgson, who will be retiring in April following a career spanning more than 30 years in the pub industry with seven years at Admiral Taverns. Meanwhile, David Wigham has joined as interim commercial director, leading the group’s commercial, sales and marketing activities. An experienced sales and operations director, Wigham’s career spans more than 17 years in the sector with his most recent roles including the posts of operations director and sales, marketing and development director at Punch. Admiral Taverns chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “On behalf of the entire team I would like to welcome Ian and David to the group. They bring with them a wealth of industry experience that will be invaluable as we continue to accelerate our ambitious growth plans, developing our position as the UK’s leading operator of community pubs. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Andy Hodgson for his significant contribution to our business during what has been a transformational period for Admiral Taverns. We wish him the very best for a long and enjoyable retirement.” Ronayne added: “Admiral has built an enviable reputation in the industry for their unique culture and approach, developing strong working relationships with their licensees. Its growth trajectory is impressive, and I am delighted to be joining this progressive team during an exciting phase in the group’s history.”
An increasing number of restaurants in the UK have unpaid debts of up to £5,000, new research has revealed. More than 11,000 eateries are showing “significant” signs of distress ahead of quarterly rent payments, which are due at the end of this week, according to restructuring adviser Begbies Traynor. This marks an increase of 8% on the same time last year. The number of restaurants experiencing distress has increased faster in London. More than 3,000 in the capital are in “significant” financial distress in the first quarter of this year, up 9% on last year. The businesses in question have either had minor County Court Judgments filed against them for unpaid amounts of fewer than £5,000, or have been identified as having a deterioration in key financial indicators. Begbies Traynor partner Julie Palmer said: “As rising inflation continues to hit real wages, UK consumers are proving increasingly cautious when it comes to their discretionary spending, meaning there is even more pressure on restaurants to put on margin squeezing meal deals to entice diners through their doors. Unfortunately for those restaurateurs experiencing both declining sales and rising costs, the upcoming quarterly rents payment this weekend could be too big a financial hit for many to swallow.” The warning comes just weeks after bosses of major restaurant companies warned a double whammy of lower footfall and soaring business rates is putting pressure on already struggling outlets. Companies such as better burger brand Byron, Prezzo and Jamie’s Italian have either put or are putting Company Voluntary Arrangements in place and closing sites.
Charles Rolls, co-founder and non-executive deputy chairman of Fever-Tree, the world’s leading supplier of premium carbonated mixers, has sold three million shares in the company – twice the number expected. Rolls initially planned to offload 1.5 million shares but due to “significant institutional demand” has sold three million, representing about 2.6% of the issued share capital of Fever-Tree. The shares were sold at a price of 2,750p each, pocketing Rolls about £83m. Rolls now has 9,927,505 ordinary shares in the company, representing about 8.6% of the company’s issued share capital.
Edinburgh-based multi-site operator Mike Christopherson is launching a new recruitment app that features a “video pitch facility” for employers and job-seekers. Christopherson, who is originally from Sweden and founded the six-strong Boda bars in 2004, told Propel he is bringing My Job Pitch to the market because “you can’t assess personality on a CV”. Christopherson, who started creating the app in 2016, is working with Tim Gibson, former lead regional business manager in Mitchells & Butlers’ premium divisions, who has launched TCG Consultants, on the project and has agreed a number of trials with major hospitality companies. He said: “It was taking us so long to find the right candidates for jobs so something had to change. We are a service industry and you can’t see a smile or someone’s personality through a CV and I felt there needed to be a better connection between employers and job-seekers.” My Job Pitch allows potential employees to upload a 30-second pitch while there is also a facility for companies to introduce the job in question. It works in the same way a dating app could be used with operators swiping until they find a suitable candidate and then clicking to connect. The candidate will also have uploaded their CV, National Insurance details and references. Christopherson added: “Everything is all in one place so it makes the whole process faster and more efficient. It means when it comes to interview you know each candidate is what you are looking for. The other thing it does is to give companies the chance to pitch themselves. Prospective staff are not just looking for good pay, they want to work in a good environment and this gives operators the chance to show how great they are. I’ve done it for my own business and now I want to help other companies to be able to do the same.”
Ross Shonhan, founder of Japanese ramen bar concept Bone Daddies, is to open the second site of his bao bun restaurant Flesh & Buns, in Fitzrovia. Shonhan is opening the new venue in the Copyright development in Berners Street in late June. It will differ from the original Flesh & Buns, which was launched in Covent Garden nearly five years ago, in that it will also explore Nikkei Peruvian cuisine and drinks. The menu will feature a new ceviche and tiradito offering, and hot dishes. Flesh & Buns’ signature frozen yuzu margaritas will remain on the menu, with an expansion into the Peruvian Pisco Sour, which guests can push a button at their table to order. The 170-cover restaurant will sit across one floor and will be divided in to three sections. Through the centre of the site, raised booths will divide the bar and the two parts of the restaurant. At the back of the site, there is additional seating leading to an open kitchen, with counter dining. There will also be a secluded semi-private dining room. Shonhan said: “Almost five years ago, we were the first dedicated bao restaurant to open in London. It was met with mixture of surprise, intrigue and interest, and I vowed I would never open another one! Half a decade later, we have a fantastically loyal following and my wounds have healed! We refurbished Flesh & Buns Covent Garden last year to improve the izakaya look, in the aim to begin to separate the Flesh & Buns brand from the ramen bars – and the new launch in Fitzrovia will be its flagship.” Shonhan operates six Bone Daddies as well as Asian fusion restaurant Shackfuyu in Soho.
Brits are expected to spend £129bn on leisure activities this year – a 17% increase compared with five years ago, according to a new report from Mintel. The research showed this figure is forecast to rise to £141bn by 2022, while ten-pin bowling is also enjoying a resurgence with growth up 28% since 2012. Kids’ favourites are capturing the imagination of Britain’s adults as Mintel found trampolining and outdoor assault courses are proving popular among adventure-seeking Brits. Almost three in ten (28%) adults have tried trampolining, with a further quarter (24%) interested in trying it in the future. While interest in this activity peaks among 25 to 34-year-olds (37%), almost one in ten (8%) over-55s said they would also be interested. Other new leisure activities capturing Brits’ interest include immersive theatre (with 13% having tried it), virtual reality theme park rides (11%) and escape room challenges (10%). In contrast, nightclubs was the worst performing area, suffering a 18% decline between 2012 and 2017. Some 30% of UK adults (rising to 48% of millennials) who have taken part in a leisure activity in the past year said they are spending more money on leisure activities than they were a year ago. Mintel associate leisure director Helen Fricker said: “The UK leisure market is in robust health benefiting from consumers seeking more experience-led activities. After years of decline, ten-pin bowling is enjoying a surprise renaissance with operators reaping the rewards of investing in sites and more appealing food menus, while some bowling sites also offer a choice of multiple activities, such as live music and karaoke. There has been a rise in trampolining parks and ball pits that cater to adults. Other kids’ party favourites, such as bouncy castles and slides, are also getting the grown-up treatment. This includes adult-only inflatable assault courses, accompanied by craft beer, DJs and street food markets. Whether it’s trampolining, outdoor assault courses or escape room challenges, there is a clear drive towards activities that are more active in nature. Nightclubs are still struggling to overcome the challenges they face as the result of changing consumer habits, including young adults drinking less, and many more alternative night-time activities such as immersive cinema or indoor street food markets.”
Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has signed to bring its Cosy Club brand to Guildford. The company will open the site in June at Tunsgate Quarter, the new 80,000 square foot retail and leisure development in the town centre, after agreeing a deal with owner Queensbury. Loungers has taken a 7,935 square foot unit for its first Cosy Club in Surrey. The company already operates Lounges in the county. As well as the restaurant, the venue will have a private dining room and a feature balcony, overlooking Guildford High Street and the Clock Tower. Cosy Club managing director Amber Wood said: “We’re delighted to have signed at Tunsgate Quarter and can’t wait for the restaurant to open in June. Queensberry’s vision has really come to life now the centre is open and visitors can experience the fantastic space that has been created. Cosy Club will really add something new to the centre, complementing the food and beverage offer due to open over the coming weeks and months.” Cosy Club will join Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho and a brasserie from The Ivy Collection at the development.
Funds raised from the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, held earlier this month, have already passed the £100,000 mark with money still to come from more than half of the 2,200 pubs that took part. Now in its third year, the event is gathering industry support, with the number of pubs hosting a quiz up by more than 200% on 2017. Pubs can choose to support PubAid’s charity partner Prostate Cancer UK or another worthy cause. Pub Aid said it hoped the quiz would have raised more than £200,000 once all money was recorded. Co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “We’re delighted more than 2,000 pubs hosted a quiz this year and excited about the impressive sum of money this has raised. More than 500 great charities are benefiting including Prostate Cancer UK. Pubs raise more than £100m for charity every year and we’re pleased to see this message getting through to consumers, MPs and others, helping to shape positive perceptions of the great British pub.” Prostate Cancer UK director of fund-raising James Beeby added: “We are thrilled to have partnered with PubAid for the second year and delighted so many pubs have raised money for Prostate Cancer UK. It will fund vital research into this disease, which affects one in eight men in the UK.”
Curious Restaurants, which operates The Jones Family Project in Shoreditch, is to open its first Jones Family Kitchen site, in Belgravia. The company is opening in Eccleston Yards in May. The venue will have 90 covers inside as well as a 60-cover terrace. Signature steak dishes and the truffled macaroni cheese will make the journey from Shoreditch to Belgravia while there will be new additions to the lunch menu such as seared scallops with cauliflower and wild garlic gremolata. The wine list will have more than 25 by the glass, sourced from places such as Lebanon and the slopes of Mount Etna. There will also be barrel-aged cocktails and a range of gin ‘n’ tonics. Developed by Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, Eccleston Yards, which will also be home to Tart London’s debut restaurant, Eccleston Place, is a new destination for creative enterprise and co-working with 19 units for food, fashion, retail, co-working and well-being. Curious Restaurants co-founder Duncan Watts said: “We are thrilled to be part of the regeneration of this historic area and to be part of Grosvenor’s vision for a destination which showcases and champions creative, independent talent.” Last year, Curious Restaurants launched a £600,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open its first two Jones Family Kitchen sites. It ended the campaign after realising it would not secure the investment it was looking for but said at the time it would still open the first site as the funds were in place to do so.
Restaurant operator D&D London is to start expansion of its Bluebird brand in April by opening a second site, at the Television Centre development in White City. Bluebird has been a popular restaurant in Chelsea’s King’s Road for the past 20 years, with the opening at the former home of the BBC the first of a planned expansion of Bluebird cafes, including one in New York. The 5,000 square foot site will include a cafe, bar, deli and outdoor terrace. The interior will incorporate a mix of British styling from the 1960s and “modern Bluebird Chelsea glamour”. The artwork will include pieces by young British artists as well as designs inspired by Bridget Riley and Celia Birtwell. The modern European menu will include dishes such as Calabrian nduja crusted yellow fin tuna with grilled onion and green sauce, and crispy Goosnargh duck and watercress salad. The venue will join other brands at the development including Indian small plates concept Kricket, pizza company Homeslice and better burger brand Patty & Bun, alongside a Soho House members’ club, hotel and an Electric cinema. D&D London was founded by Des Gunewardena and David Loewi in 2006 following a buyout of Conran Restaurants.
UKHospitality, the new unified voice for the sector following the merger between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Hospitality Association, has backed a report from a group of MPs investigating the impacts of the sharing economy. The interim report from the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tourism has been heralded as a step towards better understanding of local and national economic and social impacts, to inform measures to ensure a more level playing field between competitors. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said: “UKHospitality has been calling for action in a number of areas the government must address. Many online platforms are headquartered abroad and pay comparatively little UK corporation tax as a result. They often pay far less in business rates, given they do not own many physical assets, compared with traditional accommodation providers, who are also subject to a rate of VAT of 20% – among the highest in Europe and making UK hospitality businesses uncompetitive compared with their European competitors. Visitors and communities are being put at risk when legal safety requirements are reliant on the goodwill and compliance of hosts rather than independent checks and enforcement. We are pleased this report highlights these disparities and recommends a level playing field for all accommodation providers in terms of regulatory compliance and taxation. We look forward to liaising with policymakers to make this a reality.” Meanwhile, UKHospitality has backed the European Commission’s publication of proposals aimed at a fair taxation of the digital economy and online platforms. The proposals are designed to ensure online platforms, including “collaborative” economy related platforms and online market places, pay proportionate taxes in Europe, corresponding to the value created in the different European markets in which they are operating.
Searcys is putting sustainability at the heart of its business with a series of new pledges. The company said having introduced a new waste management system at the end of 2017, it was confident it could reduce its food waste by 20% by early 2019. Together with its parent company WSH, Searcys has pledged to procure 100% of its directly purchased electricity from renewable sources by 2020. By the end of this month, Searcys will have eliminated the use of plastic straws across all their venues and events. It has also pledged to work with British farmers to ensure up to 90% of all seasonal fruit and vegetables used in its menus is grown in the UK. Managing director Matthew Thomas said: “Creating a sustainable business is one of today’s greatest challenges, but it is essential to doing business the right way in today’s market. It is something we are all responsible for and we hope the implementation of our pledges will not only show our dedication, but encourage others in the sector to do the same.”
Takeaways should think twice before throwing in a bag of salad with an order because “literally no-one” eats them, according to new research. The findings by UK waste management company BusinessWaste.co.uk showed takeaway salad is Britain’s biggest source of food waste. It said 99% of bagged salads given away by takeaways are never eaten, with many thrown into waste bins unopened, and operators should ask customers if they actually want it. BusinessWaste.co.uk spokesman Mark Hall said: “In our opinion, they’re nothing but a huge waste of food – thousands of tons going to waste. A plastic bag’s probably not the best way to present a salad, to be honest. Customers have a mental image of the food being stuffed in there by bare hand, which it most certainly isn’t. But it’s a hard image for most people to shake. Asking customers if they want the salad will save food establishments money and puts an end to the thousands of tons of food wasted every year.”
Mitchells & Butlers has reopened a pub in Northampton town centre under a new model following a £500,000 refurbishment. The company has revamped the former Fox & Quill in St Giles Street and relaunched it as The Optimist. The new food menu features stone-baked pizzas, 21-day aged steaks, “low and slow” meat and rib options, as well as mix and match tapas. Drinks feature a selection of craft beers, ales and ciders. Live sport is shown and there are regular entertainment nights. General manager Gareth Smith said: “It’s been fantastic seeing the pub come together over the past couple of weeks. There have been some big changes and we’re confident they’ll go down well.”
Fruit cider is bringing a new audience to the on-trade as sales grew 41.4% last year to drive the segment despite cannibalising original apple cider brands. The brand is helping to attract a younger and more female-driven audience to the sector. Cider-producer Westons’ annual report forecast fruit cider sales would represent 48% of the total segment by 2023. As part of the company’s growth plans, Westons will launch its first premium fruit cider within its Stowford range next month following a regional trial. Stowford Press Mixed Berries will be a 4.0% ABV fruit cider featuring real fruit juice. The drink will be launched as a draught cider in April nationwide. Stowford Press brand manager Holly Chadwick said: “Sales of fruit ciders are flourishing driven by the vast number of consumers seeking sweeter, refreshing flavours. In total, 25.7 million fruit pints are being drunk in the on-trade and it’s clear to see fruit ciders are broadening consumer interest in the wider category. By appealing to younger female consumers who are often new to the category, fruit ciders are also driving incremental sales. It’s clear there is a fantastic opportunity for the on-trade to drive greater value into the fruit cider category, with a new premium mainstream offering. Thanks to the substantial interest in fruit cider nationwide, within five years we expect it to account for almost 50% of all cider sold.”
London pub retailer Young’s has completed the refurbishments of its bedrooms at The Brewers Inn in Wandsworth. Following the refurbishment of the pub in 2015, the bedrooms have now been transformed into 16 boutique-style rooms. The rooms have been updated to reflect the history and heritage of the pub. There are 11 boutique doubles, three boutique twins and two feature rooms complete with their own sofa beds. Each room has a colour palette of blues, greens and creams with natural wood and vibrant furniture and soft furnishings. Young’s product marketing manager Tom Elliott-Frey said: “We are committed to developing and investing in our hotel estate and are delighted The Brewers Inn can now offer, alongside our other properties, a boutique hotel experience.”
The European hotel industry saw strong revpar growth in February with increases also recorded in average daily rate and occupancy levels. STR data showed the continent’s revpar rate for the month rose 4.7% to €65.43, while occupancy levels increased 2.1% to 65.5% and the average daily rate rose 2.5% to €99.87. STR’s data focused on three countries – the Czech Republic, France and Malta. Occupancy levels in the Czech Republic were the highest for any February on record, increasing 3.6% to 56.5%. However, revpar growth was limited to 1.6% as average daily rate declined 1.9% – its second monthly drop in a row after nine consecutive months of increases to close 2017. In France, the country reported its highest occupancy level for a February since 2008 (up 6.2% to 59.6%) and highest revpar level for a February since 2014 (increasing 15.4% to €62.62). Average daily rate rose 8.6% to €105.08. STR analysts said Paris, which saw revpar increase 12.7% to €135.18, continued to regain its attractiveness as a destination following the terror attacks of recent years. In Malta, there were declines in revpar (-10.5% to €52.71), average daily rate (-7.6% to €90.56) and occupancy (-3.2% to 58.2%) with the Malta Informal Summit having taken place last year, which brought together 28 EU heads of state of government. Demand actually rose slightly (+0.3%) year-on-year, but supply growth (3.6%) pulled down occupancy levels.
Adnams, the Suffolk brewer, distiller and retailer, has reported sales up 6.2% to £74.8m for the 12 months to 31 December 2017, with operating profit down 45% to £2.2m after a year of investment. The company stated: “The investment included: transformation of the Swan Hotel, Southwold into an iconic destination; completion of a three year investment project in the brewery, giving the capacity, flexibility and adaptability to deliver the demands of today’s beer market; commencement of a project to install equipment to make low alcohol beer and pave the way for the introduction of an alcohol free version of Ghost Ship in May 2018; an IT systems upgrade that will continue into 2018.” Jonathan Adnams OBE (pictured), chairman, said: “2017 was a year of huge investment. We saw some inevitable disruption, but we delivered substantial change. We continue to focus on what matters most. To deliver a service and product which allows us to stand out from the crowd. To grow the business when and where appropriate, answering increasing market demand. And above all to delight our new and loyal customers in everything we do.” He added: “The markets in which Adnams competes have changed radically in recent years and it is essential that we invest appropriately to grow our business. We invested £9.3 million in 2017, an exceptional amount by Adnams’ historic standards. This spend, which was focussed in our brewery and in transforming The Swan Hotel, was flagged in recent reports and discussed at our 2017 AGM. I am pleased to be able to tell shareholders that these plans have been delivered and we are delighted with the results. Two other projects are in train, the installation of dealcoholisation equipment in the brewery and new core computer systems for the company. The former will be complete by the time you read this report and the latter will finish later this year. Such substantial change within a single year has had an inevitable impact on our results. Though turnover rose 6.4% to £74.8 million, operating profits of £2.2 million, before highlighted items, were substantially lower than the £3.9 million earned in 2016. We are highlighting £721,000 of extra costs most of which were the unexpected price of needing to remove asbestos from the Swan building. Our operating profit, before highlighted items, in 2017 was £2.2 million. This was well down on our 2016 result of £3.9 million. In a year of exceptional investment, there was inevitable disruption in our business. Most notably we lost over £1 million of income from The Swan Hotel being closed for the majority of the year. On top of this we incurred extra costs in the brewery from changes and disruptions as the three year investment project concluded and the new equipment was brought on stream. Computer system changes during the year, and which will continue into 2018, have also driven extra cost ahead of our being able to fully migrate to the new system. Our depreciation charge in 2017 was £358,000 higher than in 2016 as we started to depreciate our new investments. This will be higher again in 2018, though we will also be starting to benefit from the investments that we have made. 2017 was a challenging and busy year for Adnams, though one that it was imperative to face to orientate ourselves for the future. Our beer business has for a few years been adapting to the growing market for bottles, cans and kegs. We have invested to allow for our continued growth in these areas. A further move is happening in terms of an increased interest in low alcohol and alcohol-free beers, here too we are investing. The holiday hotel market has been challenged by cheaper competition and by a fast-expanding business in rental properties. Nonetheless, premium hotels offering unique experiences are much prized and we have invested to make The Swan such a destination. These changes and investments position us well for the future, however they have inevitably had an impact on our day-to-day operations. They have also made clear the need to have up-to-date systems to help us cope with a changing environment. Our investment in a new central system is focussed on this end. Our turnover is growing strongly, Ghost Ship continues its rise, Copper House Gin is cementing its position as a premium product, The Swan is looking at its very best and we believe that we are well positioned to take advantage of the investments that we have made.”
Premium and healthier soft drinks are set to “plug the alcohol gap” in 2018, according to Britvic’s latest Soft Drinks Review. Soft drinks accounted for £6.9bn in sales in 2017, with standout growth of 2.1% in the foodservice sector. However, the licensed sector saw a 1.5% dip in sales. In 2017, the category saw a continued shift towards healthy living, with sales of low and no-sugar soft drinks adding £104m sales to the category. The no-sugar cola market grew 57%, with Pepsi Max and Coke Zero adding a combined £63m. Food to go was one of the fastest-growing areas (7.4%) for soft drinks in 2017, with almost three-quarters (72%) of occasions including a soft drink, a 1.8% increase on 2016. More than one-fifth of consumers, however, either didn’t have a drink or drank tap water when eating out, a trend that has increased year on year. Premium soft drink sales grew 31% in 2017, adding £74m in value largely thanks to the growth in mixer sales. Fever-Tree led the way, growing sales by more than 65% as the brand enjoyed the “gin effect”, where mixer sales grew alongside that of premium spirits. One in five eating out visits involves children and the report said parents were looking for healthy soft drinks they “could trust”. Britvic said 90% of parents were looking to reduce their children’s sugar intake and operators should look to pure juice, smoothies and “softails” to provide more exciting menu choices. The company said operators should look at providing a range that suited different age groups as a “teenager wouldn’t want to be seen drinking the same brands as a five-year-old”. Britvic forecast the soft drinks category would increase 1.5% in 2018 to £89.2m, with trends including pairing soft drinks with meals, and a rise in infused water sales. Russell Goldman, commercial director, foodservice and licensed at Britvic GB, said: “By getting their soft drinks range right, tailoring it to their customer’s specific needs and creating premium experiences with sensational drinks, operators can grow their profits through the soft drinks category.”
Brighton-based Trading Post Coffee Roasters has opened its second site, in Lewes. The company has opened the venue in Cliffe High Street on a site previously occupied by The Real Eating Company. The company has acquired the leasehold for an undisclosed sum off a guide premium of £150,000 through agent Fleurets. Trading Post Coffee Roasters said the Lewes acquisition marked the first of a wider East Sussex expansion plan. The company offers a selection of its own artisan blends that are “crafted with two generations of knowledge from its coffee roasters”. Its original coffee house, which also houses its roastery and wholesale capability, is in Ship Street, Brighton. Operations manager Harry Woodhams said: “We are delighted to have secured this great unit in historic Lewes, bringing our unique blend of in-house roasted coffee and a great selection of tea alongside our organic and locally sourced food choice.”
UKHospitality, the new unified voice for the sector following the merger between the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Hospitality Association, has written to the minister for local government, Rishi Sunak, calling for an overhaul in the system of discretionary business rates relief and urging the government to undertake a full review of the entire rates system. The letter highlights “flaws” in the system, which was introduced last year, and raises concerns that relief distributed by local authorities may be in breach of EU state aid rules. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said: “The introduction of discretionary relief for businesses was well-intentioned but has caused hospitality businesses a number of significant headaches. Local authorities were in many cases slow to begin distributing the relief and we saw numerous examples of councils attaching arbitrary stipulations to the reliefs. These stipulations ran counter to the spirit of the fund and unfairly penalised businesses that were entitled to relief. We are also concerned the application of the relief may unintentionally breach state aid rules designed to avoid a distortion of competition in the EU. We have informed the government we believe discretionary rates relief should not fall into this category and hard-working hospitality businesses should not be penalised in any way for accessing relief to which they are entitled. We have called on the government to act to ensure hospitality businesses that contribute so much to their local communities are not punished and reiterated our call for a full review of the business rates system that is long overdue.” Meanwhile, UKHospitality has warned the government it must act to lower costs for businesses or risk further joblessness and loss of vital hospitality businesses. The warning came after new data showed an increase in unemployment of 24,000. Last month, sector-specific figures showed a decrease of almost 54,000 employed in the last quarter of 2017.
Frankie Goes To Bollywood has passed the 50% mark in its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open its second venue. The company, founded by Monty Bhurjee, who has run street food concept Popdogs for about four years, is offering a 16.67% equity stake in the business in return for the investment. So far, 121 investors have pledged £50,830 with six days remaining. Frankie Goes To Bollywood opened its first site in Deptford, south east London, in 2016 and has outlined plans for a five-strong estate in the next three years. The pitch states: “By the end of spring we plan to have our second fixed premises open. Using this outlet as our flagship, we plan to implement and tighten our Frankie Goes To Bollywood business model, which will ensure our expansion plans are successful. We aim to open our third site in Oxford by winter 2018/19, with a fourth and fifth site in the Greater London area within the next three years. We also plan to develop our spin-off concept Naania, which we are showcasing at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival this summer. We plan to open hatches around the City of London within the next two years.” Items on Frankie Goes To Bollywood’s menu include the Bacon Naanwich, Bhangras And Mash, and Poppadom Preach.
Easyhotel, the owner, developer and operator of super budget branded hotels, has signed a franchise agreement with Continuum Hospitality Group for the development of a 146-room hotel in Malaga, Spain. The hotel is centrally located in the popular port city of Malaga, less than five minutes walk from the cruise terminal and just 200m from Malaga high-speed train station. The city welcomed more than 1.2 million tourists in 2016 with tourism arrivals having grown by 6.7% on average every year since 2009. International tourism has been a key driver behind tourism growth in Malaga and represents more than half of the total visitors to the city. The hotel will be developed and subsequently managed by Continuum Hospitality Group, backed by investor Extendam and is scheduled to open in 2019. Easyhotel Malaga will be the group’s second hotel now under development in Spain. The group’s owned hotel in Barcelona is due to open in Summer 2018. The group has also opened a new franchise hotel in the Netherlands. The 87-room Easyhotel has now opened at The Hague Scheveningen Beach, one of Holland’s most popular seaside resorts. Guy Parsons, chief executive of Easyhotel, said: “We continue to expand our franchise portfolio in key international destinations and I am delighted that we are strengthening our presence in both of these important European tourist resorts, working alongside highly experienced partners. These additions will take our franchise portfolio to 1,728 rooms opened with 1,857 under development and the board looks forward to announcing further opportunities in due course.” Anna Cohen and Matthieu Dracs of Extendam, said: “We are delighted to be working with Easyhotel at this exciting time in their development. The brand offers Malaga’s visitors comfortable accommodation at highly affordable prices and we look forward to working together to develop their first hotel in this popular tourist destination.”
Fuller, Smith & Turner, the London brewer and premium pub company, has announced that Juliette Stacey (pictured) has joined as an independent non-executive director with immediate effect, replacing Lynn Fordham, chair of the Audit Committee, who is standing down after the full year results in June. Lynn Fordham has made a significant contribution to the company during her tenure through her excellent stewardship of the Audit Committee and her strong financial insight. Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Lynn for her hard work and wise counsel during her time at Fuller’s. She has been a great asset for us and I wish her every success in the future.” Lynn Fordham commented: “I have had seven enjoyable years at Fuller’s and I wish the company continued success. It has been an exciting time to be part of the team.” Juliette Stacey is chief executive of Mabey Holdings Limited, a family-owned leading international bridge and engineering services specialist. At Mabey, she has led a major programme of restructuring and refocusing on core growth markets. Prior to taking on the chief executive position, Juliette was Mabey’s chief financial officer and she previously held senior positions at companies including Savills and Ernst & Young. She commented: “I’m delighted to join the Fuller’s board. It’s a company I have long admired and I’m looking forward to making a contribution to the team.” Michael Turner added: “Juliette trained as a chartered accountant and she will bring a wealth of business experience with her. I am confident she will add depth and new strengths to our board and play a key role in working with our senior team to take the company on to further success.”
Starbucks is aiming to eliminate pay disparities based on gender and race, a move it said would level the field for employees across the globe. The company said at its annual meeting it would achieve and maintain 100% equal pay for all its employees, known as partners, who perform similar work in company-operated markets. It did not give a timeline for the goal, which includes countries such as the UK, France, Canada, Japan and China. Starbucks revealed it had already hit the landmark target in the US. Starbucks chief partner officer Lucy Helm said: “It is important as a company of our scale to bring more attention to this critical issue. It is incumbent on us to do more.” In January, Starbucks expanded its parental leave to give non-birth parents up to six weeks paid time off. It also announced paid sick days for the first time and wage increases after a US corporate tax cut. The company also reiterated its target to increase earnings, excluding some items, by at least 12% annually over the next three years. It confirmed its goal to return $15bn to shareholders during the same period. To help sales, Starbucks said it was focused on expanding its premium Reserve brand with new Princi stores and Roastery locations. It pointed to a new marketing push to build “digital relationships” with its more than 60 million monthly customers who aren’t rewards members. It will open mobile order and pay to those who aren’t in its loyalty programme this month. Starbucks said it remained on track to open more than 5,000 stores in China by 2021. The number of stores in China has grown from 800 to 3,200 in the past five years. Meanwhile, one year after its commitment to hire 100,000 “opportunity youth” – the one in eight Americans aged 16 to 24 who aren’t in school or working – Starbucks revealed it had reached 50,000 hires and was on track to meet its goal by 2020.
Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has revealed it has cut water usage by 30% and carbon emissions by 10% at its UK breweries in the past five years as it unveiled new 2025 sustainability goals. The commitments include ensuring all packaging is returnable or made from majority-recycled materials, and reducing carbon emissions by 25% across its supply chain. Meanwhile, all its purchased electricity will come from renewable sources. AB InBev said the new goals built on the progress made through its previous environmental commitments. AB InBev said it had achieved “significant progress” to reduce the environmental footprint of its UK supply chain and breweries. The company now sources more than half its barley from British farms for UK-brewed Budweiser and has added the equivalent of 11,000 football pitches of barley to the UK since 2014. Its breweries in Magor in South Wales and Samlesbury in Lancashire have made 20% and 30% water usage savings respectively in the past five years. Meanwhile, more than 98% of UK-brewed AB InBev products packaged in bottles, cans, kegs and baskets can now be recycled. In addition to the new sustainability goals, AB InBev has announced the launch of the 100+ Sustainability Accelerator. The scheme, powered by ZX Ventures, AB InBev’s accelerator arm, will work with scientists, technologists and entrepreneurs around the world to build and develop solutions for sustainability challenges across the globe. AB InBev North Europe president Jason Warner said: “From investing in smart agriculture to help British farmers grow barley in areas where previously they couldn’t, to ensuring our packaging is recyclable, sustainability is a necessity for our business. We recognise climate change is the most pressing issue confronting our planet and could impact the natural resources we rely on to brew our beers to the highest quality. We’re excited to announce our new goals, as well as update on our progress in the UK, and look forward to working together with local partners to find new ways to protect our environment and communities.”
Baby Bull, which is behind Soho nightspot Circa, has secured a site in Victoria Embankment for its second LGBT-friendly venue. The company has acquired the former Opal Bar on a 25-year lease from 1999 through agent CDG Leisure, which sold the site on behalf of the previous tenant. The 7,089 square foot unit at Hungerford House will be transformed to house a club in the basement and an all-day dining and drinking offer on the ground floor. A variety of LGBT-friendly club nights will be hosted downstairs, starting with Circa – The Club, while the upstairs will have a more “casual, relaxed ambience”. Emma Cousins, leisure property consultant at CDG Leisure, who brokered the deal, said: “The popularity of Soho favourite Circa has illustrated a demand for more LGBT-friendly venues in the capital. This is why we are certain Circa – The Club and Hungerford House, with its high footfall and central location, is sure to become a much-needed addition to London’s nightlife scene and a unique offering among the city’s many bars and clubs.”
Brunswick House duo Jackson Boxer and Andrew Clarke are to open a restaurant in Shoreditch, east London, in May. Building on the success of Brunswick House in Vauxhall, the new venue in Leonard Street will be the pair’s first shared project since Clarke joined as a partner three years ago. Taking cues from south west France following a series of dinners Clarke developed under the Bastien name, the new venue, St Leonard’s, will feature an open-style kitchen based around a large, log-fuelled hearth and adjacent ice bar. The venue will feature a 70-cover dining room and a bar seating 50 that will serve snacks, charcuterie and shellfish, alongside a 200-bin wine list, cocktails and a broad spirits list with an emphasis on cognac and armagnac. There will also be a private dining room, seating 12. An ever-changing menu of vegetables, fish and shellfish will be served from the raw bar, while larger plates such as whole roast duck and ribs of veal will be cooked on the log-fired hearth. The pair have developed the menu while cooking outdoors at Pound Farm in West Sussex, where many of the kitchen’s vegetables are grown.
Social Media Strategy In A Day, an event aimed at allowing companies to develop and hone their social media strategy, has been launched – and is open for bookings. The event features all-new content and insights to allow companies to increase brand exposure and broaden their reach. Propel has partnered with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the one-day advanced workshop that will cover everything a marketing department should be thinking about when it comes to social strategy. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 26 April at One Moorgate Place in London, will open with Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell revealing updates from recent industry reports and analysing insightful statistics. Attendees will be among the first to hear what she took away from the SXSW conference in the US. You will also learn the “top ten principles of persuasion for hospitality businesses”, which will show you how to apply psychological principles to help people buy your products and services. Craig Hill will help you unearth your brand character and show you how to tell others about it in an interesting and engaging way. During the “inspiration session”, you will look at ten killer social media campaigns – what worked and why are people talking about them. The “interactive guide to content brainstorming” will force you to look at a campaign in a more emotional and engaging way, while the Digital Blonde team will also look at the changes Facebook made to its algorithm earlier this year and reveal what it means for your social account. The “understanding user behaviour” section of the event will answer key questions such as how do you engage with millennials and do Gen Z even use Facebook any more? Fewell will round up the morning session by sharing the latest updates on the incoming General Data Protection Regulation. The afternoon will start with a quick-fire round of 20 questions in 20 minutes, while Jamie Riddell, of pay-as-you-go analytics platform BirdSong Data, will reveal useful things about user behaviour in the hospitality sector. The “ultimate content toolkit” talk will reveal the tools you need to create engaging content cost-effectively from your mobile phone. Social copywriter Nicola Proud will share her top copywriting hints and tips and reveal how to write Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts that stop people scrolling. The event will also reveal how to use Instagram stories to drive revenue for your business and show the key differences between the social advertising platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Finally, the team will tell you where to find influential people, what to pay them and how to successfully build them into your strategy. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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7th March 2018
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