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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 8th Jan 2014 - Breaking News - Yummy reports 30% like-for-like rise despite flooding
Yummy reports 30% like-for-like rise in December: The Yummy Pub Co, the four-site multiple founded by Anthony Pender, Jason Rowlands and Tim Foster has reported like-for-likes up 30.2% over the month of December, with increases at all four outlets despite severe weather conditions and flooding at two sites over the week of Christmas. At the same time, changes at the Somers Town Coffee House in North London have boosted turnover at the site past £60,000 a week. The company’s two country pubs, The Wiremill and The Grove Ferry, did not escape the ferocious weather of the past fortnight. Foster said: “The beginning of the year has been quite a challenge, we now have a new ‘non-purpose-built lake’ instead of a garden at The Grove and 30 tonnes of fallen trees to season into firewood. Our lovely lakeside pods at the Wiremill have taken a total battering, but we’re surviving.” The company has secured a fifth site, but is keeping the details under wraps for now. Foster said: “It’s top secret on location, name, who with or not with, when, how and why, but she’s a beauty.” At the same time, Yummy has a new operations director. Foster said: “Matt Ward has started 2014 as Yummy operations director and will end 2014 owning a share of his own Yummy pub with us. He is stepping up from a site manager to director to co-owner in one swift, painless move – impressive stuff for a 24-year-old.” At the Somers Town Coffee House, Pender said: “The introduction of The Cosy Kettle cocktail bar allowed guests to remain in the venue and increase SPH both during the day and late into the evening, unlike the previous year where guests had to leave because of lack of space and table turn times. With the completion of all three trading levels at the site, we were able to deliver record days and consistently reached a turnover of in excess of £60,000 per week.” The development also incorporated Yummy’s first purpose-built office and reception, which was used to drive events that in one day alone generated bookings worth £30,000 during November. Pender said the team from Yummy had taken lessons from the success of Christmas trading, with internal processes that were now delivering a food margin of 71% over the last quarter across three of the sites and had worked closely with the company’s epos provider to generate more insightful reports and controls around stock and staffing levels. For the past six months Yummy has also been developing a fully integrated online platform for guests and advocates to the brand giving the company’s already established database of more than 25,000 individuals exclusive opportunities to what Pender and Foster recently called “accessible premium events’”. Advocates will now be able to buy tickets to supper clubs and events in advance as well as see current menus, order meals online up to an hour prior to arrival at the venue and book exclusive weekend offers in the Country Inns. 

Individual Restaurant Company sees losses fall 37%: The operator of the Piccolino chain, Individual Restaurant Company, has reported reduced losses in the year to 31 March. Turnover, reported through parent company W2D2, rose 32% to £55.27m from £41.97m the year before. Losses before tax were £2.3m, down 37% from £3.67m the year before. The company signed a new five-year £11m facility with Nat West Bank in August last year. Loan repayments under the facility are due to start in July 2016. The wage to sales ratio was reduced to 38% in 2013 from 41% the year before. Gross margin was 71% and the overheads to sales percentage was reduced to 73% from 75% the year before.

Losses climb 27% at A to Z Restaurants: Losses have widened in the most recent financial year at A to Z Restaurants, operator of Memories of China and Zafferano. Turnover dropped 12% to £9.16m in the year to 31 March from £10.4m the year before. Losses before tax were up 27% to £1.11m from £874,000 the year before. The company said: “The group operates in a highly competitive market and given recent economic conditions in the restaurant industry, the group has been subject to greater pressures during the year. One loss-making restaurants has been closed. New management has been introduced and has implemented a significant re-organisation of the head office function to reduce costs.”

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