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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 3rd Mar 2014 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Douglas Jack – 3% minimum wage increase removes greatest source of immediate forecast risk: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has argued the proposed 3% rise in the minimum wage in October removes the greatest forecast risk to quoted operators with the outcome particularly good for JD Wetherspoon, Spirit, The Restaurant Group and Mitchells & Butlers. He said: “The National Minimum Wage (NMW) will rise by 3% to £6.50 on 1 October. This increase is at the bottom end of the range (3-4%) that we expected, following the Chancellor’s statement that the NMW should rise to £7.00 in 2015-16, up from £6.31. We believe pub and restaurant operators will be able to manage this increase without risk to margins, removing what was the greatest source of immediate forecast risk. Labour is usually the largest cost in restaurants and the second highest cost (after cost of sales) in managed pubs. For example, it equates to 27.6% of sales at The Restaurant Group and 23.3% at JD Wetherspoon. NMW increases affect the vast majority of outlet labour costs, partly through the maintenance of wage differentials. This NMW outcome is better than expected. Some commentators had considered the implications of a much higher increase, but even under those circumstances one has to adjust for: the fact that operators are used to living with 2% increases; and have the option of increasing prices to compensate. On this occasion, extra price increases are unnecessary, in our view. An increase in labour cost inflation to 3%, from 2%, later this year should be largely offset by wholesale food cost inflation halving to 2% over the last six months and, for the more wet-led operators, January’s increase in machine prizes (to £100 from £70). Overall, we estimate 2.5-3.0% like-for-like sales are required to hold margins this year, subject to pricing. In our view, this outcome is particularly good for JD Wetherspoon (‘Add’; TP 925p), Spirit Pub Company (‘Buy’; TP 110p), The Restaurant Group (‘Add’; TP 725p) and Mitchells & Butlers (‘Add’; TP 525p) as these are the companies that would have been most affected by a larger increase. However, there is no room for complacency: the Low Pay Commission said that this is the start of a ‘new phase of bigger increases’.”

Industry News:

Court of Appeal overrules Luminar administration rent decision: The Court of Appeal has overruled a recent ruling in the Luminar administration that allowed the company to enjoy a rent-free period thanks to the timing of the administration. The ruling means that rent will now be charged on ‘pay-as-you-go’ principle. The decision appears to be an attempt to put landlords on an equal footing with suppliers of other goods and services used by a company while it trades in administration. Property landlords will now know they will be paid the full rent for the property for the period it is used for the benefit of the insolvency. Previously, if a quarter’s rent became due before the appointment of administrators, no part of that rent was payable as an expense of the administration. The Court of Appeal refused permission to appeal. The case was brought by a consortium of property landlords.

Caffe Nero to enter US market: Caffe Nero is to enter the US market with a first opening in Boston, Massachusetts next month and other openings in the city to follow, according to The Times. The brand will add “drip coffee” – filtered coffee – to its menu to suit US tastes when it opens near Boston Common. Caffe Nero chairman Gerry Ford said: “America has been, for some time, a destination we are interested in exploring and we feel now is the right time to enter the market. We’ll focus on New England for a few years. I think we’ll be seen as a European concept rather than a British one.” Caffe Nero wants to open a total of six sites in the Greater Boston area in the first year. The company underwent a £275m refinance at the start of this year. Caffe Nero has expanded to more than 600 stores in five countries since it was founded in 1997.

Somerset pubs – we are open for business: Somerset pubs are fighting a battle to persuade people that not all of the county is underwater. Trade has been drastically hit at many businesses in and around the flooded areas, with some pubs reporting a loss of 75% compared to this time last year. Landlady Leonie Browning, of The Rose and Crown at Stoke St Gregory, said: “It’s a case of survive at the moment – the past two months have been the worst on record for us.”

Chipotle introduces first menu addition since 2005: Chipotle Mexican grill, the most successful restaurant launch of the past two decades, has introduced its first menu addition since 2005 when it added salads. The company is rolling out its tofu-based Sofritas nationwide as a protein option in burritos, tacos, burrito bowls and salads served across its 1,600-unit estate. The goal of the Sofritas offering is to be vegetarian and vegan-friendly, while also appealing to meat eaters. “Many of our customers, we’ve realised, are vegetarian or vegan, or generally meat-reducers or concerned about their diet and questioning about how the animals are raised and how much meat they should be eating,” Chipotle founder and co-chief executive Steve Ells said. “And the amount of vegetarian burritos that we serve at Chipotle has increased over the years.” With the introduction of the option in New York and Boston areas this week, it will be available in more than half of the chain’s restaurants.

McDonald’s to expand customised burger trial: McDonald’s is to expand a customised burger trial that began at a location in California. In addition to its traditional menu, the restaurant in Laguna Niguel offers tablets on which people can tap out the bun, patty, cheese and toppings they want on their burgers. Kevin Newell, US brand and strategy officer for McDonald’s, said in an interview that the offering is a “huge driver”. He said the offer is attracting a different type of customer and more of a dinner-time crowd. The expanded trial will involve as many as 100 restaurants in Southern California.

Fast casual leads US restaurant growth: Fast-casual chains led the US restaurant industry’s unit growth through 2013, expanding the total number of locations in that segment by 6%, according to The NPD Group. The market research firm found, in its Fall 2013 ReCount report, that the fast-casual segment also outpaced the unit growth of the entire quick-service segment, which encompasses fast-food and fast-casual outlets. Overall, the unit count across segments in the restaurant industry rose by 4,179 locations, or 0.7%, to a total of 633,043 restaurants during the 12-month period ended 30 September, 2013. “The restaurant recovery continues to move slowly, and as a result, operators are taking a cautious approach to expansion,” Greg Starzynski, director of product management for NPD Foodservice, said. “This conservative approach to restaurant unit expansion will continue into the foreseeable future.”

Operators – you need to take a discerning approach to new fads: Gourmet hotdogs are just the latest in a string of food crazes hitting the casual dining and fast food scene, but operators at the Casual Dining show last week warned against jumping on the next food bandwagon. Jens Hofma, chief executive of Pizza Hut, said it was a mistake to dilute a concept by reacting to the latest trends, and cited the chain’s move into Italian dining as one such mistake, explaining that the business’s former Italian offer lacked authenticity and credibility with consumers. “Pizza Hut lost it way by trying to react to every trend hitting the market, and two years ago we had the realisation that we were an American pizza concept.” He added: “So we’ve added fries to the menu (pizza and fries does work!) and spare-ribs and more American-style pizzas.” Simon Stenning, strategy director of Allegra, said: “You can’t jump on every trendy food bandwagon. Gourmet hotdogs are everywhere, but in consumer research we found that only 4% of consumers have tried gourmet hotdogs. So you have to ask, it is just a fad or here to stay? I’m not sure.” Anthony Pender, of Yummy Pubs, a speaker on the Propel panel said he tried not to follow, but to be a trend-setter. “I’ve seen concepts that have been over-worked and failed epicly,” he added.

Company News:

Douglas Jack – it’s High Noon at Punch Taverns: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack, issuing a ‘Hold’ recommendation and an 11p Price Target, has described the current situation at Punch Taverns as High Noon. He said: “Trading remains ahead, but it is insufficient to prevent at least one of the two bonds defaulting by 15 May if a consensual debt restructuring cannot be agreed with the bondholders. Punch’s restructuring proposals would have offered material equity upside, but have been rejected. The bondholders are working on an alternative plan, which has a “broad base of support from senior and junior lender groups across the different classes of debt”. A default would be expected to have a material negative impact on the business, including material dis-synergies and disruption, in management’s view. This stance has been reiterated, hoping it will encourage a consensual agreement. A successful resolution should materially reduce future financial risk, but it is increasingly likely to require a debt for equity swap.”

Marco Pierre White signs branded restaurant deal: Marco Pierre White has signed a deal that will see an anticipated 50 branded restaurants bearing his name open across the UK in the next five years, The Mail on Sunday has reported. The chef has signed a franchise deal with hotel developer Sanguine Hospitality in respect of his Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill and Marco’s New York Italian brands. The first new restaurant under the deal will open as a Marco’s New York Italian at Intercontinental Hotel Groups Hotel Indigo in Manchester at the end of 2015. Sites will follow at Hotel Indigo developments in Cardiff and London.

Tasty opens fifth Wildwood Kitchen: Tasty, the restaurant company where ASK co-founder Samuel Kaye is joint chief executive, has opened its fifth Wildwood Kitchen outlet, in Oakham, Rutland. The restaurant, which started trading yesterday (Sunday), is in premises formerly occupied by a furniture store on the High Street. It offers freshly made pizzas, pastas and grilled dishes, along with a children’s menu. Manager Jack White said: “Wildwood Kitchen offers quite a small, simple menu but everything is freshly made on the premises with good quality ingredients. We are family friendly and pride ourselves on consistency – you know exactly what you will get.” The restaurant will open from midday until 10pm every day and has a play area upstairs. Other Wildwood Kitchens are in Didcot, Stratford upon Avon, Barnes in south west London and Shaftesbury Avenue in Central London. Tasty also runs six Asian restaurants under the Dim T fascia, five in London and one in Winchester – and 17 Wildwoods.

Surrey businessman buys Jamaica Inn: Surrey businessman Allen Jackson has bought the 17-bedroom Jamaica Inn on Bodmin Moor, on the market through agent Christie + Co, for at least £250,000 more than the £2m asking price. He told The Times: “I went to see it and an hour later I pulled over to a service station on the motorway and called and made an offer £250,000 over the asking price.” The deal was completed last Friday after he increased his offer even further. Vendors were John and Wendy Watts who had operated the business for 40 years.

Pub and restaurant freeholds offered at Allsop auction: A number of pub and freehold restaurant investments are being offered for sale at an Allsop auction on Monday 24 March. The 128-year unexpired virtual freehold of a Frankie & Benny’s on the Stoneside Retail Park, Merseyside is offered for between £675,000 and £700,000 – The Restaurant Group’s lease expires in 2027 and rent of £71,225 per annum is paid. The freehold of a pub tenanted by JD Wetherspoon, The Roebuck in Rayleigh, Essex is offered for £1.4m plus – the company pays a rent of £87,600 on a lease expiring in 2028. A PizzaExpress tenanted site in Slough, Berkshire is offered for £1m plus – PizzaExpress pays £64,004 per annum on a lease expiring in 2029. A second freehold tenanted by PizzaExpress in Hamsptead, London, is offered with a guide price of £1.5m to £1.7m – the company pays a rent of £84,500 per annum on a lease that expires in 2020. The freehold of site tenanted by Prezzo in Norwich’s Tomblands area is offered for between £1m and £1.1m – Prezzo pays £71,300 per annum on a lease expiring in 2024. A McDonald’s tenanted 107-year unexpired virtual freehold in Plymouth city centre is offered for a guide price of between £1m and £1.25 – McDonald’s pays £104,650 per annum on a lease that expires in 2032.

Jamie’s Italian opens in Newcastle today – with match day hog roast plan: Jamie’s Italian opens in Newcastle’s Monument Mall today with a plan to offer match day hog roasts to football fans. Senior head chef Gareth Howard said the plan is to offer something for passing Newcastle United fans as they make their way to St James’ Park. “We want to cater for the football crowd. We’re talking about getting a big barbecue and hog roast going out the front on match days. We think everyone would love to grab a pork sandwich or something on the way to the ground.”

Wetherspoon names new pub after newspaper: JD Wetherspoon is to name the pub it is opening in the former offices of the Stamford Mercury newspaper in Lincolnshire the Stamford Post after the newspaper’s original name. The Post was launched around 1710 and renamed the Mercury in 1712. It has been published continuously since. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The Rutland and Stamford Mercury is at the heart of the community and our new pub, being built on its former offices, will reflect the newspaper’s important contribution to the town.” Front pages from the Mercury’s history will be used in the decor of the new pub, and information about the newspaper will be on the walls. Work on the new pub, in Sheep Market, Stamford, began in early February, and the Stamford Post is due to open on 27 May. Opening hours are from 8am to midnight Sunday to Thursday and 8am to 1am Fridays and Saturdays. The original opening hours of 8am to 11.30pm Monday to Saturday and 8am to 11pm on Sundays, imposed by South Kesteven Council, were extended after the company argued it should be given a level playing field with other pubs.

Star Pubs & Bars to invest £1.7m in Scottish estate – I&G Events takes second site: Star Pubs & Bars is investing £1.7 million into its Scottish pubs this year as it seeks to ramp up food sales across its 150-strong estate. The company has earmarked Edinburgh’s Royal Oak folk music bar and The Criterion in St Andrews for investment under the first phase of its strategy. The Spider’s Web on Morrison Street in Edinburgh will see a £75,000 investment from leaseholder I&G Events with Star Pubs & Bars providing a further £390,000. Iain Pert, managing director of I&G Events, said the project was its second with Star Pubs, having completed the transformation of the former Ale House on Edinburgh’s Clerk Street into McSorleys bar in December. Pert, who was previously operations director at Festival Inns and runs I&G Events with Gordon Gilhooley, said: “We added food and, since reopening, have increased turnover by 30%. Together we’re turning under-performing sites into successful venues that people want to spend time in.”

Pickles picks up Punch pub: Pickles Pubs, which operates six outlets across Yorkshire, has taken on the leasehold of The Bay Horse in the village of Cowling, near Keighley. The new leaseholder will now spend £250,000 refurbishing the pub in a co-investment with Punch. Managing director Neil Pickles said: “The plans look fantastic – we want to take it back to the good old days and restore it to its former glory for the local community to enjoy.” Punch Taverns’ partnership development manager Ian Lester said: “We essentially want to reposition The Bay Horse as one of the leading pubs that can provide great drinks and quality food for residents in Cowling and the surrounding areas.”

McDonald’s joins Snapchat: McDonald’s in the United States has joined Snapchat, the photo messaging application launched in 2011 that automatically deletes messages after a few seconds. The restaurant chain is using Snapchat’s “Snapchat Stories” feature, launched in October 2013, which allows users to create links of shared content that can be viewed an unlimited number of times over a 24-hour period. So far it has used Snapchat to launch its new Bacon Clubhouse product, with special features for people who had signed up to be the brand’s Snapchat friend. Research by the online marketing insights company Sumpto found 69% of US college students would open a Snapchat picture from a brand, and 58% would be likely to purchase a brand’s product or services if they were sent a coupon on Snapchat. McDonald’s use of Snapchat comes four months after Taco Bell joined the service, the only other dining brand to have a Snapchat account so far.

Scottish multi-siter to make £600,000 boutique hotel co-investment with Punch Taverns: Scottish multi-site operator Martin Young is to make a £600,000 co-investment with Punch Taverns in The Ythan Hotel, situated on Newburgh’s Main Street. Young, who also operates the multi award-winning Mains of Scotstown Inn and The White Cockade, said: “We want to maximise the hotel’s prime location by increasing the amount of bedrooms to 11 and creating a larger restaurant with locally-sourced food. We will be providing a family-friendly, welcoming pub for local residents as well as great function and wedding facilities. The hotel will be renamed as The Newburgh Inn with new décor typical of a country inn. The hotel will be very eco-friendly and sustainable, there will be an emphasis on using local suppliers to create a new menu featuring traditional pub classics and some innovative twists on regional favourites.” Punch Taverns’ senior partnership development manager Gavin Stevenson said: “We will reposition the new-look Newburgh Inn as one of the leading boutique hotels in the area, with a focus on great accommodation for visiting business travellers, tourists and golfers.” The hotel is expected to reopen in mid-April.

New Elbow album get first play in Marston’s and Nicholson’s pubs: The new album by rock band Elbow is to receive its first play in Marston’s and Nicholsons pubs. The band has partnered Marston’s and Mitchells & Butlers’ brand Nicholson’s to create a two day pub playback event in over 250 pubs nationwide this Wednesday and Thursday (5 and 6 March). Believed to be the biggest ever pub playback event run in the UK, Elbow will preview its sixth studio album ‘The Take Off and Landing of Everything’ at three different time slots on both days, which will subsequently be released on CD, vinyl and download through Fiction/Universal Music on 10 March. There will also be exclusive ticket giveaways to Elbow’s upcoming tour on the Nicholson’s Pubs Facebook and Twitter channels to coincide with the playback. Guy Garvey, Elbow lead singer, said: “We’re proud to support pubs with these events.” 

Aurelia Leisure re-open two Greene King pubs: Aurelia Leisure, led by Gary Pyatt, has re-opened two Greene King pubs in Bury St Edmunds and Elmswell. Pyatt said he hoped to make Tollgate in Bury his ‘flagship’ pub and planned to introduce a ‘value for money’ food menu within the next couple of weeks. A Greene King spokeswoman said: “Garry Pyatt is now at the helm of The Fox pub in Elmswell, having also taken over the running of The Tollgate in Bury this week. Garry is an experienced multi-site operator who has lots of plans for The Fox. He will be re-introducing a classic pub food menu shortly.”

Derbyshire firm wins £4.5m Mitchells & Butlers contract: Derbyshire-based Alpha Maintenance and Building has landed a £4.5 million contract to maintain about 300 Mitchells & Butlers pubs and restaurants. Alpha, which was founded in 2006, already provides maintenance services to M&B’s Toby Carvery and brands a well as the Old English Inns and Loch Fyne brands owned by Greene King.

Wagamama Sevenoaks opens in former Slug & Lettuce site: Wagamama is due to open its fifth restaurant in Sevenoaks, Kent this Wednesday, (5 March), in the former Slug & Lettuce site in the town’s High Street. The building has been empty since the pub chain departed in 2009. Despite being a prime town centre location, a high lease cost is understood to have put businesses off moving in. Wagamama has been given permission by Sevenoaks Council to open from 10am until half past midnight Monday to Saturday and until 10.30pm on Sundays. The new restaurant will create 35 jobs.

Costa opens fourth Scottish drive-through: Costa Coffee opened its fourth Scottish drive-through outlet on Friday, at the Port Glasgow retail park. On Thursday evening the team completed their training with a ‘barista showcase’. The showcase provides them with the opportunity to showcase their new skills to friends and family. The drive-through service will be open from 5.30am to 9.30pm, Monday to Saturday and 6.30am to 7pm on Sundays. The in-store cafe hours are 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 7am to 7pm on Sundays.

PizzaExpress opens in Newport’s Spytty Retail Park: The latest PizzaExpress restaurant is due to open on Thursday, 6 March, at the entrance to the Spytty Retail Park off Spytty Road in Newport, Gwent. The restaurant can seat 127, and its opening has created 27 new jobs, including seven pizzaiolos and 14 waiters and waitresses. It is the first of a spate of openings for food outlets at the shopping centre: a Harvester is due to open later this month in a newly-built unit close to the Cineworld cinema, Caffe Nero is moving into half of the building currently occupied by Carphone Warehouse, which is staying in the other half, and Nando’s is taking 3,200 sq ft in a building next to the new PizzaExpress. The new Nando’s is expected to be open by the end of the summer. 

Taco Bell to launch breakfast menu for first time: Taco Bell, the Mexican-inspired fast food chain, is to roll out a breakfast menu across the United States for the first time. The launch, on 27 March, will see the chain’s stores open early in the morning for the first time. The menu includes items such as the AM Crunchwrap, made with eggs, cheese, hash browns, and a choice of bacon, sausage, or steak grilled inside a portable hexagonal tortilla; breakfast burritos and AM grilled tacos; a sausage flatbread melt; and the waffle taco, featuring eggs, cheese, and a protein enveloped in a waffle. Prices have yet to be announced. Taco Bell will also offer coffee to accompany its new breakfast items. The Yum Brands-owned chain’s chief marketing officer, Chris Brandt, said: “Great coffee, we think, is essential. We’ve worked with the Rainforest Alliance and have Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee. We think we can deliver a great coffee experience.” Taco Bell is running its largest marketing campaign in brand history for the launch of the breakfast offer, with in-store POP materials. TV and radio ads will follow, along with digital and social media marketing. Taco Bell president Brian Niccol said: “We want to win in all day-parts. We’re world famous for late night, or Fourth Meal; we’re world famous for dinner; we’re world famous for happy hour; we’re world famous for lunch. There’s one day-part we’re not world famous for yet – and I would say yet – and that’s breakfast.”

Bar entrepreneur opens pop-up pizza shop: A pub entrepreneur in Moseley, Birmingham has opened a pop-up pizza restaurant in his latest venue while he waits for licences to be secured and plans finalised. Keith Marsden, owner of The Prince of Wales in Moseley, has acquired the majority shareholder of the Cross cafe/bar in the town, and is filling a gap of three to four months before the bar re-opens with a restaurant called Mo Dough, offering woodfired pizzas and craft beers. The cocktail team at The Prince of Wales have compiled a list of drinks for Mo Dough with hard-to-find spirits, and the bar will serve a range of American-style canned beers, plus a range from a local brewery, Purity. The restaurant has been furnished with recycled wooden pallets and plans to have live music at weekends. It has challenged pizza eaters to come up with the ideal pizza topping combination, promising to put the winning pizza on its menu and award the winner a free pizza every week for as long as the restaurant is open.

CPL Online reaches 500,000 online training courses sector milestone: CPL Online is celebrating a major milestone having delivered 500,000 online training courses in the sector. The business, part of CPL Training Group, was launched four years ago and has grown rapidly to become of one of the largest training providers of its type in the UK. CPL Online already counts leading brands including Coca-Cola, Carlsberg and Heineken and almost all of the UK’s leading pub companies as key customers. David Dasher, managing director of CPL Online, said: “Whilst we recognised there was a definite gap in the market for a dynamic and technology driven online training provider, we didn’t expect this level of demand. Awareness of the business grew organically and began initially with the CPL traditional core customer base; the licensing trade. Diversification continued fairly quickly thereafter and we now operate across almost all sectors. Typically, we now deliver around 20 courses for each client, many of whom approached us initially with a single one-off project.” The CPL Online courses range from standard compliancy training to complete bespoke for customers needing specific training. All courses are fully interactive and contain graphics, animation, videos, audio and games. Meanwhile, one of the UK’s leading training companies, abv Training, has rolled out a range of 28 high quality e-learning courses designed for professionals in the licensed and hospitality trades who do not have the time to attend tutor-led programmes. The firm has partnered with CPL Training Group to offer courses providing qualifications in licensing, bar and cellar skills, safety and compliance, service skills and management.

Beannchor revamps for one of Belfast’s oldest pubs: Beannchor, the pub and hotel group behind the Merchant Hotel, The Dirty Onion and around 20 other venues in Northern Ireland, has reopened White’s Tavern, one of Belfast’s oldest pubs, after a refurbishment. The pub’s menu has been overhauled and its walls decorated with pictures, while shelves now feature barrels for ageing whiskey, port and fortified wine. The upstairs floor at the pub has also been revamped, and will now host gigs. Beannchor’s operations director Sorcha Wolsey said: “White’s Tavern is one of Belfast’s most iconic pubs and has long been a part of the fabric of the city’s social scene. Following the success of our latest launch, The Dirty Onion, we can see that there clearly is a real appetite for traditional Belfast pubs that offer an authentic local experience.” The refurbishment came after former tenants Stephen and Kris Nixon left the pub earlier this year, blaming the toll that flag protests and other disruptions had taken on their business.

Matthew Clark unveils novel twist to tastings event: Matthew Clark has unveiled a novel twist to its Discover the Unexpected tasting next month. A series of intimate and exclusive tastings of ‘Unexpected Surprises’ will offer visitors a once in a lifetime opportunity to taste fine and rare wines from some of Matthew Clark’s most prestigious suppliers. Each visitor to the tasting will be assigned their own unique code which will be entered into a prize draw, and at intervals throughout the day the Matthew Clark team will invite ten lucky visitors at random to experience one of the secret ‘Unexpected Surprises’ tastings. Stephen Gill, London regional managing director for Matthew Clark, said: “The ‘Unexpected Surprises’ tasting enables us to gain feedback from our customers, and lets them discover some of the quality wines on our list while also adding a bit of intrigue to proceedings.”

Islington introduces London’s first Late Night Levy: Islington Council has voted overwhelmingly to introduce a Late Night Levy on all premises selling alcohol between midnight and 6am. The annual fee, set to be introduced in September this year, could be as high as £4,400 for premises with a rateable value above £125,000. Judged on current opening hours, the levy will be payable by more than 450 of the 1,328 licensed premises in the borough. However, responses to the council’s consultation suggested two out of five pubs, bars and restaurants could cut their opening hours to avoid the levy. Members of a “best practice” scheme designed to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder, such as Best Bar None, will be eligible for a 30% reduction in the levy. Hotels serving only guests after midnight, and premises open late on New Year’s Eve only, would be completely exempt. A report to the council said that the levels of anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol, and the difficulties in addressing it with limited policing “has led to the council having to establish an expanded anti-social behaviour team operating across Islington. This all points to needing a street-based presence at night to address crime and disorder.” Of the 369 responses received to the council’s consultation exercise, only 66 were from premise licence holders. Almost two thirds of the responses supported the proposal. The council estimates the levy will bring in up to £500,000, of which 70% will go to the Metropolitan Police. Some will be used to create a local security force to assist the police in patrolling the borough late at night. Islington Council estimates it currently spends £215,000 a year on licensing, anti-social behaviour and CCTV teams in connection with late-night drinking, and £465,000 on waste, litter and street cleansing in connection with late-night drinking in the borough.

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