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Tue 10th Jan 2017 - Update: Deliveroo, Whitbread, Majestic Wine, Just Eat, Everyman
Law firm considers legal action against Deliveroo: Law firm Leigh Day has announced it is talking to Deliveroo delivery riders about a “potential legal action” against the food delivery firm, attacking its current business model as “absurd”. Deliveroo classes delivery staff as “self-employed”, but Leigh Day suggests they should be entitled to further rights like a minimum wage and holiday pay. The law firm is asking any riders interested in a potential claim to get in touch. Deliveroo has a valuation of £1bn following a $275 million (£226 million) funding round in August 2016 and provides a delivery service for restaurants in more than 100 cities in 12 countries around the world. In late 2016, Leigh Day won a major battle against Uber, the Californian ride-hailing company, when a London employment tribunal ruled that its drivers should be classified as “workers” and entitled to additional benefits. Uber is appealing the ruling In a statement, Leigh Day employment lawyer Annie Powell said: “The idea that Deliveroo riders are self-employed contractors in business on their own account and that Deliveroo is a customer of each rider’s business is absurd. Deliveroo riders carry out the sole function of Deliveroo – to deliver food and drink from restaurants to customers – and are tightly controlled by Deliveroo in what is clearly a dependent work relationship. We will argue that Deliveroo has no reasonable grounds to argue that its riders are self-employed contractors and that it should immediately ensure that its riders are paid at least the National Minimum Wage and receive paid holiday.” A Deliveroo spokesperson said in a statement: “Deliveroo has a strong relationship with our riders and we are proud to offer them the flexible work they value. On average riders earn substantially more than the National Living Wage and over 10,000 people apply to ride with us each week, which shows that working with Deliveroo is popular and valued by riders right across the country. We are proud to be a growing British tech company, and we will always work closely with riders so that we can continue to offer great work with the highest levels of safety and service.”

Whitbread apologises for pork lasagne mis-labelling: Whitbread has apologised for adding pork to its ‘beef lasagne’ without telling customers. Hundreds of Brewers Fayre, Table Table and Whitbread Inn restaurants have been serving up the altered dish for months. But menus at some outlets have not been changed. The revelation is likely to anger customers – particularly those who don’t eat pork for religious reasons such as Jews and Muslims. Packaging for the lasagne indicates it is made with ‘beef and pork ragu’. But menus at some Whitbread restaurants have not been updated. A whistleblower claims management have not updated the menus for three months. They told The Sun: “I spotted the packs marked ‘beef lasagne’ started coming in as ‘meat lasagne’. I looked at the ingredients and noticed it actually contains pork and beef. I queried it with management but they didn’t care. Three months on and the menus still say beef lasagne, and waiters have not been told to warn customers.” A spokesman for Whitbread insisted the company had not broken any food labelling laws but told the newspaper: “We would like to apologise sincerely to our customers for any concern or confusion this may have caused.”

Majestic Wine reveals Christmas boost: Majestic Wine has announced that group sales for the ten-week Christmas trading period ending 2 January 2017 increased by 15.3% versus the same period in the prior year. On an underlying basis the increase was 12.4%. The group delivers circa 30% of total annual sales during the Christmas trading period. Majestic Retail had its biggest ever Christmas with like–for-like sales up 7.5%, on top of 7.3% like-for-like growth in Christmas last year. Approximately 0.5% of the growth was one-off due to transfer of sales from closed stores. The group’s gross margin percentage was around one percentage point lower, versus the same period in the prior year, due to a combination of accelerated acquisition of new customers and the need to remain competitive in a heavily discounted UK market still coming to terms with recent currency movements. Our maintained focus on cost control means that profits are expected to be in line with market expectations. Chief executive Rowan Gormley said: “Delivering strong like for likes in a tough market is a tribute to the hard work that our people put in – right across the business. It is also particularly pleasing that both Naked Wines and Majestic Commercial traded in line with expectations and Lay & Wheeler has maintained its strong growth. Our transformation plan is working and we remain on track to achieve our £500m sales goal. We said that we would be better prepared for Christmas than ever – and the numbers show that we did what we said we would do. At this stage we are not predicting a change to long term margin expectations, but we need to retain flexibility to compete in a competitive market. Our business is about people and I must say a massive thank you to our teams across the world for their dedication over the peak trading period – they have made me very proud.”

Just East updates on 2016 orders: Just Eat, the online food delivery business, has reported group like-for-like sales were up 36% in 2016 and 31% in the UK. issues the following order update for the twelve months to 31 December 2016. Chief executive David Buttress said: “Just Eat’s reported order growth puts us in a strong position to deliver full year results in line with our previous financial guidance. We enter 2017 with continuing confidence in the business.” Just Eat is scheduled to report 2016 full year results on 7 March 2017.

Everyman says trading in 2016 “above expectations”: Cinema group Everyman has reported trading for the 52 weeks to 29 December 2016 has been above market expectations. The company stated: “A combination of factors have contributed to these results including the better than anticipated performance of some of our new venues and continued improvements in existing locations. 2016 saw the six new venues and two refurbishment projects from 2015 start to mature, and in addition the company opened four new venues. The most recent opening has been in Chelmsford in December (five screens) and the company’s 20th location – representing a 100% increase in estate size over the past two years. Other new venue openings during the year included Harrogate (September, five screens) and Bristol (May, three screens) as well as our temporary single screen “pop-up” venue at Kings Cross (ahead of our main venue opening there late 2017). The company has continued to find attractive new venue opportunities for future investment and the directors are increasingly confident of further growing this attractive pipeline. Since our last announcement in September 2016, contracts have now been exchanged on a venue in Edinburgh, a five screen location as part of the new St James Development bringing our total committed pipeline back to six after our recent openings. In addition to Kings Cross, we will open our new venue in Stratford-upon-Avon this year. The directors expect this momentum to continue into 2017 as more and more people enjoy watching films in an Everyman environment.”

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