Story of the Day:
MPs – business rates are not fit for purpose: The current system of business rates is not fit for purpose and is in need of “fundamental reforms” in order to help retailers and boost local economies, a group of MPs has stated. A report from the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee yesterday said the property tax should be the subject of a “wholesale review”. In its report, the Business Committee said there should be an examination of whether retail taxes should be based on the value of sales. It also suggests a separate system of business taxation for the retail sector and an increase in the 50% relief given to occupiers of empty property in the first six moths. “Among the many challenges they face, business rates are the single biggest threat to the survival of retail businesses on the high street,” said committee chairman Adrian Bailey. “Since the system was created the retail environment has changed beyond all recognition. A system of business taxation based on physical property is simply no longer appropriate in an increasingly online retail world.” The committee calls for an interim 2% cap on increases in business rates until the government brings in fundamental reform. Bailey added: “British retail is a global success story but its traditional home, the high street, is struggling under a system of business rates that comprises one of the highest forms of local property tax in the European Union.” The British Retail Consortium director general Helen Dickinson said: “This report must be the final nail in the coffin of the question: Do business rates need to be reformed? They do. Business thinks so. A committee of Parliament thinks so. We very much hope the government will think so too.”
Whitbread and Restaurant Group chief executives criticise above-inflation minimum wage rise: The chief executives of Whitbread and The Restaurant Group have both criticised the proposed above-inflation 3% rise in the National Minimum Wage (NPW). Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison said the 3% increase would add about £10m to the wage bill of the group. He argued that the Low Pay Commission recommendation was “at the top end of what the regional economy could bear at this early stage of the economic recovery” – he described the regional economy as patchy and fragile. “There are real dangers to increasing the NPW too fast too soon,” he told The Financial Times. “It could damage the employment prospects for those people it is designed to protect.” Andrew Page, chief executive of Restaurant Group, said “hefty” increases to the minimum wage could lead to slower openings, or even the closing of stores. “If we go back to the noughties when it rose by 9% in 2005 and 6% the year after – with those (kinds of) hefty increases, we would have to think carefully about rationalising,” said Page.
£44.1m funding secured for redevelopment of London’s Shepherd’s Market: Orion Shepherds Bush Limited, a joint venture between Development Securities and Orion Land & Leisure, has announced that Pramerica Real Estate Investors has signed a £44.1 million agreement to fund the first phase of regeneration at Shepherd’s Bush Market. The six-acre site in Shepherd’s Bush has outline planning consent for a £150 million mixed-use regeneration project that will include a revitalised market, up to 211 residential units and over 14,000 square feet of retail and leisure space. The process of land assembly around the historic site is well-advanced with the acquisition of the market site from Transport for London representing one of the final necessary purchases. A Compulsory Purchase Order inquiry has taken place which, pending its successful conclusion in Quarter Two 2014, will secure vacant possession of the remaining part of the site, allowing the redevelopment to commence in the Summer.
Adam Hyman – London house price bubble has parallels in the restaurant sector: Restaurant consultant Adam Hyman has argued that the London house price bubble has parallels in the sector’s restaurant scene. He said: “Last week saw the average price of a London home hit another new high. Getting on the property ladder is an impossible dream for many young people – and there are parallels in the capital’s restaurant industry. One person who secures sites for restaurants has told me the market is experiencing a bubble that is likely to burst. Only a few wealthy investors, many of them foreigners, can afford the £1m rents on some West End sites. One effect of this is that nearby restaurants face dramatic increases when their own rents come to be reviewed. Perhaps, in the long term, we could all do with the bubble bursting.”
McDonald’s to re-launch Mighty Wings in the US 40 cents cheaper: McDonald’s is to re-launch Mighty Wings in the US at a 40% discount per wing to the original price last summer. Last summer, McDonald’s unveiled the new deep fried chicken wing at a sale price of almost $1 each. McDonald’s franchisees were left with over ten million pounds of unsold wings – 20% of the original order of 50 million pounds. Now, for a limited time, Mighty Wings will be available at all participating locations at five wings for $3, or 60 cents per wing.
Caffé Nero to enter 14th most concentrated US coffee shop market: Caffé Nero’s decision to open its first US site in Boston, Massachusetts means it is entering the 14th most concentrated US coffee market. Research firm NPD Group found that the greater Boston area has 489 coffee shops, or roughly one shop per 9,500 residents. Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst of the NPD Group, said patrons will flock to Caffé Nero early on. The chain’s ability to retain those customers and gain market share against other strong coffee brands depends on convenience and cost, he added. “I’m certain this will be a market share battle,” Balzer said. “The question is what’s the cost, what’s the wait time, and which coffee shop will be more convenient to me?”
Craft beer production in the US mirrors UK growth: Craft beer production in the US is mirroring UK growth with a 9.6% rise in 2013, while overall beer production fell 1.4%, according to Technomic’s “2014 Special Trends in Adult Beverage Report: State of the Industry” report. “Over the last couple of years, the number of new brewery openings has been at near unprecedented levels,” said Bart Watson, staff economist at Brewers Association, a craft beer industry group. “We’re seeing breweries open at about a rate of 1.2 per day.”
ALMR disappointed with Islington late night levy decision: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has expressed its disappointment and concerns about the move to introduce a late-night levy in Islington. The levy will apply to all licensed premises in the borough from midnight until 6am and will apply from 1 September at the earliest. ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “It is very disappointing for the Council to resort to the introduction of a Late Night Levy without first exhausting all other options. Last year’s crime statistics showed record low levels of crime, particularly in anti-social behaviour around licensed premises. It is a shame to see the Council penalising local businesses without first exploring the various voluntary schemes that are available. There is also concern that the introduction of such a measure may impact negatively on the funding for Angel’s Business Improvement District. There is a danger that businesses will not vote in favour of the BID for fear of paying twice. The Council’s decision to pool revenues generated by the Levy for the funding of a late-night security force also sets a dangerous precedent. There is no guarantee that money raised in Islington will have any beneficial effect on businesses or customers operating in or visiting Islington.”
Lincoln restaurants, pubs and cafes seek to extend cafe culture: Lincoln restaurants and cafes are trying to improve “cafe culture” in the city with longer outdoor cafe licences. Businesses on the High Street are applying to Lincolnshire County Council to get longer pavement cafe licences so customers can sit outside until 9pm. At present, businesses can only have chairs and tables outdoors until 4pm in the city to make way for delivery vehicles. However, businesses in the area found that deliveries in Lincoln take place along the High Street before 10am. The businesses want to enhance the “ambience and vibrancy” of the evening economy and are asking customers to support them by signing a petition to back the extended hours, available in stores. Those brands behind the extended license application so far include PizzaExpress, Slug & Lettuce, Walkabout, Caffé Nero and Carluccio’s.
100 MPs sign EDM calling for beer duty freeze: Calls for a freeze in beer tax in the Budget now have more support than any other tax measure among early day motions (EDMs) signed by MPs, as the number supporting has reached 100. The milestone follows a strong campaign from Britain’s pubs and brewers, the British Beer and Pub Association, Camra and SIBA, which includes the publication of a new report showing that 900,000 jobs depend on beer and pubs – and almost half (44%) are younger workers aged 16-24, who need these vital jobs the most. Andrew Griffiths, the Burton MP and chairman of the all party Parliamentary Beer Group, who has spearheaded the campaign in Parliament, said: “The Chancellor’s cut in beer duty last year was a historic, confidence-building measure for this vital sector. But with beer tax having risen by 42% over the previous five years, more action is needed. It will take many years to undo the damage and at the very least, a freeze is needed. At very little cost, the Chancellor can protect 2,400 jobs in a great British industry. It is a win-win situation.”
Economic Times – Costa Coffee may end exclusive India franchise agreement: The Economic Times has claimed that Costa Coffee may end its exclusive franchisee arrangement with Devyani International after the Indian franchise partner declined to commit more investments in a slowing economy to a business that has not yet turned in net profits. Costa Coffee, which entered India in 2005 through an exclusive deal with the Ravi Jaipuria Group firm, is likely to appoint other franchisees as well to grow the business rapidly. RP Gandhi, president at RJ Corp, which owns Devyani International (DIL), said the two partners will meet soon to decide whether his company will remain Costa Coffee’s exclusive franchisee. In the UK, Costa has begun an advertising campaign to thank customers for voting it the ‘Nation’s Favourite Coffee Shop’ for the fourth consecutive year. Research company Allegra’s annual Project Cafe13 UK report for 2013 found 48% of consumers named Costa as their favourite coffee shop, a figure that has increased by almost 10% on last year’s result. The coffee shop chain also increased its popularity in the typically more competitive London region with 38% of those surveyed naming Costa as their favourite coffee shop an increase of 7% on its previous year’s figure. The coffee shop was also considered the most ethical coffee shop brand in the UK.
BrewDog Tokyo opens: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened BrewDog Tokyo. The new bar located in the Roppongi district of the city is the third international bar opened by the company, bringing the total estate of bars to 15. A special keg of BrewDog beer was flown from Scotland to the Japanese capital, before it was delivered to the new bar in a Union Jack Mini as part of the grand opening. BrewDog Tokyo is the third international bar to be opened by the company, having launched a bar in São Paulo at the end of January this year, and Stockholm in June 2013. The 120-capacity venue will host 20 beer taps showcasing the BrewDog range as well as guest beers from around the world including Mikkeller, 8-Wired, Yeastie Boys, Minoh, and Shiga Kogen. Launching with a bar menu of cheese and meat platters, the team intend to develop a full beer-matched tasting menu. The brewery now has 12 bars in the UK, most recently launching its third London site in Shepherd’s Bush. BrewDog plans to open at least six new sites in the next six months, including a new bar in Sheffield later this month. The brewery was also recently granted licences for sites in Cardiff and Liverpool.
JD Wetherspoon buys its Boston freehold at auction, lines up Maldon site: JD Wetherspoon has bought the freehold of its The Moon Under Water in Boston, Lincolnshire for £1.1m at a CBRE auction held last week – the guide price was £1m to £1.1m. Wetherspoon had been paying a rent of £72,000 per annum on a 40-year lease that expired in March 2038 and is subject to five-yearly rent reviews. The pub was sold on behalf of receivers. Meanwhile, the company is set to buy The Rose and Crown on Maldon High Street from Punch Taverns. Last June, the company scrapped plans to buy the old post office next to Moot Hall. The Rose and Crown was closed by Punch Taverns in December. The freehold of the property has been advertised for £350,000. Wetherspoon’s interest in the post office was halted by Maldon District Council, which stipulated in the original plans that two rear windows had to have opaque glass.
London’s biggest nightclub opens with a capacity of 3,000: London’s biggest nightclub opened its doors on Saturday, a venue with a capacity of 3,000 with an outdoor terrace next to the Blackwall Tunnel. Studio 338 is located in Greenwich, south east London, and has hot air pumped into the outside space to heat it up in the winter. Dan Perrin, 338’s musical director, said the venue will feature “brands and artists that fanatical early-20s club kids would walk barefoot to Kent to go and see,” citing respected US deep house crews Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb, Berlin club Watergate, and London’s Secretsundaze. Perrin says house and techno are “90% of the musical character of this place”, but drum’n’bass brand Hospitality will also appear. The founder wants to remain anonymous and wouldn’t disclose financial matters, but Perrin describes him as owning “specialist places in and around Bow, mostly eastern European cultural type places, if you will”.
Ronnie Scott’s jazz club turns to profit: The iconic Ronnie Scott’s jazz club in Soho, now owned by Sally Greene, is now profitable, The Daily Telegraph has reported. Turnover has risen in recent years from circa £5m to £8.53m most recently according to the latest accounts to March 31, 2013 – up from £7.32m the previous year. Operating profit more than doubled to £1.07m, when the business was also back in the black at the pre-tax level, reversing last time’s £10,259 losses to post £973,126 pre-tax profits. Marketing director Simon Cooke said: “We need to be about 90% full. It’s a really expensive business to run. Someone said we should do the airline-pricing thing and put up the ticket price as the club fills up. But come on, this isn’t Ryanair.” Coke has a created a 150,000-strong database of visitors to the club and boosted membership from 450 to 2,600 people. For £195 a year, members get a 20% discount for up to four people and at least three days’ priority booking.
Bath Ales unveils two concepts under one roof in Bristol: Independent brewer and retailer Bath Ales has unveiled two new concepts housed in the south west’s most popular concert venue, Colston Hall, in Bristol. Comprising of two separate locations inside the building in Bristol city centre, the new venues include a charcuterie bar/restaurant called Gordito and Colston Street Bar & Kitchen, a cafe bar with a modern American and European themed menu. Whilst the cafe bar has always been trading, the restaurant was vacant at the start of Bath Ales’ lease and has since undergone a makeover at the hands of the brewer and its design team from Simple Simon. Robin Couling, managing director of Bath Ales, said: “Our retail division is now a huge part of our business. Over the past few years we’ve quickly expanded from being a local brewer to being a major retail operator in the south west as well as quality beer producer. We tailor every new venue we open to the surrounding area and consumer base whilst always trying to do something different which will genuinely excite people.” Bath Ales now run twelve venues across the south west ranging from cosy city pubs like The Salamander and The Hop Pole, to brasseries like Graze and or craft beer bar Beerd, which was the first of its kind to open in Bristol.
PizzaExpress founder’s autobiography to be called ‘Mr pizza and all that jazz’: PizzaExpress founder Peter Boizot’s autobiography will be called ‘Mr Pizza and all that jazz’ and will be published later this year. He told the Peterborough Evening Telegraph: “I have had two cookbooks written already but I felt as though, as my life draws to its end, I ought to write about the sort of life I have had. I felt why not pass on good parts to the world at large? I suppose that some people will learn things they didn’t know – and say “I didn’t know he was that sort of chap!”. I hope I’m someone that’s easy to get on with, that’s seen a lot of the world, and fun to be with.”
Faucet Inn re-opens former Bramwell site in Sevenoaks: Faucet Inn, the 22-strong London pub operator led by Steve Cox, has re-opened a former Bramwell Pub Company site, The Oak Tree in Sevenoaks, Kent. Faucet inn described the new-look Oak Tree as a “thriving pub with a strong traditional, yet contemporary food offer, following the ‘Chop House’ tradition.” Steve Cox, managing director of Faucet Inn, said: “Sevenoaks is an exciting venture for us and we look forward to ensuring everyone benefits from a family business that understands its importance as a part of a community.”
Harris + Hoole to add 500 staff as part of expansion drive: Coffee shop chain Harris + Hoole, part-owned by Tesco, is embarking on a recruitment drive aimed at adding 500 staff to its existing 500. The company declined to reveal how many stores it planned to open but the size of the recruitment drive suggests 30 more sites. “We have huge expansion plans and need shop managers who are keen to develop their skills and grow with us,” a spokeswoman said.
Jason Atherton takes on food and drink global role for Great Britain: Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton is to act as an international ambassador as part of VisitBritain’s Great campaign, which will see him presenting the best of Britain around the world to boost tourism. Atherton joins other high-profile Brits including Victoria Beckham, Jenson Button and Andy Murray as part of a broader international tourism drive. Atherton will focus on the country’s food, drink and tourism industries, and will be supported by representatives from VisitBritain who will shadow the chef’s scheduled overseas trips. A bus featuring Atherton’s image will carry the slogan “Food is Great Britain”. The first event will take place in Hong Kong early this month.
Spirit ranks 16th in list of 25 Best Big Companies to work for: Employees at Spirit Pub Company have voted it one of the best businesses to work for in the UK – the company ranked 16th in The Sunday Times ‘Top 25 Best Big Companies to Work For’. The Burton-based firm, which employs over 15,000 people, faced a challenge as they were up against brands such as Marriott Hotels, McDonald’s and Whitbread. The Sunday Times Top 25 allows colleagues to comment on eight specific areas, including employee opinions on their organisation’s leadership, their manager, immediate colleagues, pay and benefits, well-being, their organisation’s willingness to give something back, people’s personal development, and overall sense of affiliation with their employer. Mike Tye, chief executive of Spirit, said: “To be voted as 16th in the Top 25 Big Companies To Work For is a fantastic achievement that we’re extremely proud of. One of our key values is to develop a business that is ‘Best for Team’, and with this recognition I’m convinced we’re on the right path. With award winning learning and development programmes, and comprehensive reward and recognition schemes, I believe we’ve got everything in place to allow our teams to thrive and reach their full potential.”
Pret A Manger plans Boston, Massachusetts expansion: Pret A Manger, which currently has a presence at three locations in Boston, Massachusetts, plans to expand to at least a dozen sites in Boston and Cambridge during the next four to five years, according to a report in Banker and Tradesman. The company’s next opening is in space used previously by Men’s Wearhouse at 101 Arch Street in Downtown Crossing – the other locations have yet to be announced. Pret A Manger’s locations in Boston include two on Boylston Street in Back Bay and one in Post Office Square. “We would like to maintain a pace of opening a minimum of three new locations a year for the next four to five years,” said Joseph Lazzetta, vice president of store development for Pret A Manger USA. “Our growth plans as it relates to the Boston/Cambridge area is to seek out the best real estate opportunities at a measured, yet aggressive pace.”
Cote replaces Thai Square in Marlow: The French bistro chain Cote Brasserie is moving into a building in Marlow, Bucks being vacated by Thai Square. Cote, which is planning a minimum of 12 new openings this year, is already advertising for staff for its new Marlow outlet, on West Street, which is due to open in the spring. Thai Square will retain the freehold of the Marlow premises after Cote moves in. Thai Square director Haim Damous said the restaurant had traded successfully during its five years. He added: “We’re very sorry to have to close. One problem is we have a very successful restaurant not far away in Windsor. It is very difficult to get top quality Thai chefs and we have new restaurants opening in London soon where we need them.” At least eight former Thai Square Marlow staffers have been interviewed by the rival Thai restaurant chain Giggling Squid, which opened in Marlow three weeks ago, and Giggling Squid spokesman George Shaw said the company was hopeful most can be found jobs within the chain’s eight restaurants. The next Cote opening will be in Manchester on 9 April.
Mitchells & Butlers asks Harvester customers for feedback: Mitchells & Butlers has offered Harvester customers a £5 voucher for feedback on their eating out preferences. The digital survey follows a similar move at Crown Carveries, Mitchells & Butlers’ 115-strong budget carvery brand, where customers were offered a voucher for £3 against their next meal in return for providing information.
Online radio business plan Billericay bar brand extension: Businessman Ian Reading plans an upmarket bar for “mature discerning clientele” in Billericay as a brand extension for his online radio business, zeroradio.co.uk. He has taken over the former Vetro bar in Western Road, and plans to relaunch it as Bar Zero. He hopes to create up to 15 jobs and have the venue open in April. The former champagne bar went up for sale in January for £150,000, despite the previous owners spending circa £550,000 refurbishing it. Bar Zero will sell high-end wines, beers and spirits as well as an extensive list of cocktails.
Adam Hyman – Des McDonald to open third Fish & Chip Shop: Former Caprice Holdings chief executive Des McDonald is to open his third Fish & Chip Shop, on Sydney Street, Chelsea, restaurant consultant Adam Hyman has reported. The first branch launched in Islington last year and another is due to open at Dashwood House in the City this summer. McDonald also opened Holborn Dining Room last month in The Rosewood hotel.
European hotel transactions reach post-crash peak: European hotel transaction volume in 2013 reached a new peak since the onset of the global financial crisis. The 2013 European Hotel Transactions article, published by HVS London to coincide with the International Hotel Investment Forum, reports that total transaction volume across Europe reached €7.7 billion in 2013, a 39% increase on the €5.6 billion recorded in 2012. The first quarter of 2013 accounted for more than half of the year’s total transaction volume, totalling €4.2 billion. “The European hotel industry has signalled positive trends throughout 2013. Most markets have seen occupancy and average rates grow with hotel transaction volume reaching its highest point since 2007. Financing for prime assets has become more readily available, both from domestic as well as overseas banks, changing the hotel investment landscape,” said report co-author Veronica Waldthausen, associate at HVS London. The UK was, again, the most liquid market in Europe, with transaction volume reaching €3 billion, accounting for 39% of total sales, while The Netherlands had the greatest increase in transaction activity in Europe last year with volume totalling nearly €500 million, compared with €118 million in 2012.
Jason Atherton to launch City Social in May: Chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton, in partnership with Restaurant Associates, with open the 90-cover City Social within iconic skyscraper Tower 42 this May. Head chef Paul Walsh (previously sous chef at Royal Hospital Road) is preparing the City Social menu to showcase the best of British ingredients. Atherton said: “I’m really excited to be working with Restaurant Associates and to be opening City Social within Tower 42. You will walk into my restaurant from the lifts and immediately see The Gherkin, The Cheesegrater, and all those iconic buildings that have shot up in London over the past decade, right in front of your eyes. The restaurant will serve beautiful cuisine in a glamorous environment.”
Wendy’s scores biggest advert hit in 30 years: US chain Wendy’s has scored its biggest advertising success in 30 years with its “Pretzel Love Songs” social media campaign ranking second only to its iconic “Where’s the Beef?” adverts from 30 years ago. The four humorous videos that promoted the chain’s limited-time offer Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger reached 85 million people – meaning viewers, not just total views. 75% of those impressions came on Facebook’s mobile platform during the campaign’s five-week run last July and August. Wendy’s officials said that the videos for “Pretzel Love Songs” had a high production value and featured a high-profile personality in singer Nick Lachey, but said the true key to the campaign’s success is that it sprang from current social media trends, including the dominance of mobile over desktop, the popularity of video, and a brand voice that is far more conversational than it is promotional.
London hotel manager buys New Forest freehold: South West hotels agent Colliers International have sold Sway Manor in the New Forest to hospitality veteran Tim Burton-Holloway. The 16 bedroom-hotel, just outside Lymington, was sold off an asking price of £1.25m freehold. Colliers director Simon Wells said: “The New Forest continues to punch well above its weight with increasing visitor numbers attracted in part by the area’s upmarket hotel offering. Top New Forest hotels do not come to the market very often and Sway Manor didn’t stay on the market long. It is ideally located in the heart of the New Forest but within easy driving distance of Bournemouth and Southampton.” New owner Tim Burton Holloway has extensive experience in the hospitality industry having managed the Boundary and Cadogan & Kensington hotels in London. This is his first venture as an owner.
Sevenoaks pub to re-open as a gastro-pub: The Snail, a few miles east of Sevenoaks, Kent will re-open this Friday (7 March) as a gastro-pub. It has been bought, off a £87,000 leasehold asking price, by local vet Graham Hines and his son-in-law Michael Morgan, a former head chef at Brands Hatch. Hines said: “Fine-dining will be re-introduced together with an extensive range of wines and cask ales.”
New owners for three in-administration: Singer Inns and Taverns sites: Administrators from FRP Advisory have been appointed to the operating company of six pubs based in Somerset and Devon. Singer Inns and Taverns Limited entered administration following a period of ‘unsustainable pressure on the company’s cash flow’. The company is responsible for the operation of six pubs, three of which have already found new owners, securing the jobs of 46 staff. The Inn on the Shore in Torpoint (owned by Punch Taverns), The Cherub in Dartmouth, and The Kings Arms in Tedburn St Mary’s all continue to trade under new tenants. The Orchard Inn in Taunton, which employs 14 staff, continues to trade in administration as administrators seek a buyer. Both The Globe Inn in Sampford Peverell, Tiverton, which had 18 staff, and The Dartmoor Halfway Inn in Bickerton, Newton Abbott, which had 13 staff, have ceased trading with the leases for each premises reverting back to their landlord brewer owners, resulting in the loss of all staff jobs. Administrator Andrew Sheridan said: “Singer Inns operated well-known local community pubs and each enjoyed a history of good trading. Despite the strong underlying operational performance of the pubs the company had too much debt to service having paid significant premiums for some of their leases and for the freehold at the top of the market and ultimately they simply ran out of cash. We are pleased that already 46 jobs have been saved and we are confident that The Orchard Inn will be sold to new owners saving another 14 jobs. Trading continues as normal through the administration process and over the past two Sunday lunchtimes, all the covers were sold which is a reflection on the appeal of the pub, the quality of its food and testimony to the friendly and able staff front-of-house.”
Mitchells & Butlers pledges 1,000 new apprenticeships: Mitchells & Butlers has pledged it will recruit 1,000 new skills-based apprentices over the next two years, to work across its brands including All Bar One, Browns, Harvester, Miller & Carter, Toby Carvery and Nicholson’s. The pledge will add to the 1,500 apprenticeships currently on vocational learning programmes across the company and seek to inspire young people to build a credible career pathway in the retail hospitality sector, and the opportunity to earn while they learn right up to degree level. Alistair Darby, chief executive at Mitchells & Butlers, said: “Through our apprenticeship pledge we want to create opportunities for talented young people to make the step into the world of work with Mitchells & Butlers. Our apprentices can train with us, work with us, and build a career with us – helping us continue to deliver exceptional service to our guests.” In response to the announcement Matthew Hancock MP, Minister for Skills and Enterprise, said: “It’s becoming the new norm for young people to choose to either go to university or begin an apprenticeship. So it’s great that Mitchells & Butlers has chosen National Apprenticeship Week to announce that 1,000 new Apprenticeships will be created within their organisation. Apprenticeships lead to Great Prospects and I would encourage other employers to follow Mitchells & Butlers lead and use Apprenticeships as an opportunity to grow their own talent and improve the skills base of their workforce.” To recruit the very best people, Mitchells & Butlers is working in partnership with Believe in Young People (BiYP), a charity dedicated to bringing business and schools together, to help bridge the gap between education and employment. BiYP is supporting Mitchells & Butlers through an innovative programme which connects employers and schools at a local level, together with integrating vocational skills into the secondary school curriculum. This gives Mitchells & Butlers the opportunity to grow a sustainable, quality workforce pipeline into its apprenticeship scheme whilst also connecting the company and its employees to local communities across the UK. Tanja Kuvejic, chief executive of Believe in Young People, said: “Our partnership with Mitchells & Butlers is making a huge difference to young people around the country. The programme intends to inspire a generation by showcasing the credibility of the hospitality industry and help spot the talent of the future, as well as highlight the training and apprenticeship opportunities Mitchells & Butlers has on offer.” Mitchells & Butlers is providing tailored training and qualifications, beginning with a work experience offer for schools, leading on to Apprenticeships programmes in kitchen, retail or management skills as well as Foundation, Honours and Post Graduate degrees. Apprentices can earn while they learn, gain valuable retail management skills and build a degree qualification over time with a leading hospitality company. As part of National Apprenticeship Week, Mitchells & Butlers is holding a showcase event - ‘Developing a Youth Strategy’ at its Retail Support Centre in Birmingham on Friday 7 March. A number of Midlands schools, businesses, suppliers and education partners will be attending to hear more about the Mitchells & Butlers’ scheme, understand the training and career opportunities available and share best practice to encourage more businesses to take on apprentices in the future.