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Tue 9th Oct 2018 - Update: Best UK bar and nightclubs revealed, sector champions high street, Greggs, Pret
UKHospitality names best UK late-night operators: UKHospitality has announced the winners of the 2018 Late Night Awards, held in association with Propel. The winners were announced at a gala ceremony at Café de Paris, London, last night (Monday, 8 October), with UKHospitality recognising the diversity of the UK’s innovative bar and late-night sector across eight categories. The winners were Best Late Night Food: New World Trading Company; Best Late Night Drinks: Dirty Martini; Best Late Night Entertainment: The Deltic Group; Best Service & Team Development: Stonegate Pub Company; Best Marketing & Promotions: Eclectic Bar Group; Best Late Night Bar: Impossible, Manchester; Best Late Night Club: Oceana, Southampton; Best Late Night Company: Stonegate Pub Company. The Icon award recognising outstanding contribution to the sector was given to Tokyo Industries managing director Aaron Mellor. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “These awards recognise the finest companies and brands in the UK late night bar and nightclub segment, a vibrant part of the sector where the UK has many world-class operators.”
 
Sector champions the high street as new research reveals cost pressures starting to take toll on industry: A total of 150 hospitality businesses from across the UK will today (Tuesday, 9 October) assemble at Westminster to champion the sector’s contribution to the high street as new research revealed cost pressures are starting to take their toll on the industry. Firms such as JD Wetherspoon, Caffe Nero and Stonegate Pub Company will meet with more than 60 MPs. The companies are backed by UKHospitality, which is launching its “Aim High” campaign. The campaign is calling for a digital sales tax to freeze business rates, doubling of the National Insurance Contribution for employers, a level-playing field for property and online business regulation, and delivering a Brexit that will allow the industry to meet its workforce needs without extra costs. The hospitality industry employs 3.2 million people across the UK and contributes £130bn to the UK economy – more than the automotive, pharma and aeronautics sectors combined. It ranks as a top-seven employer in every region of the UK, ranking the third-highest in some regions and accounts for up to 11% of the regional workforce. New research by Ignite Economics, also launched today, has predicted the sector’s workforce and contribution to the economy could begin to drop by 2022. The report notes recent cost pressures such as minimum wage increases, business rates, and a reduction in the supply of labour has started to take its toll on the industry. In the least optimistic “bear case” scenario, the report suggests there could be 312,000 fewer people directly employed in the sector, compared with 3.2 million in 2017, with the economic contribution the sector makes also starting to fall from its current level of £79bn. The report also notes with the right government support employment could grow by 66,000 to reach an employment workforce for 3.5 million and an economic contribution of £89bn in the next four years. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With more news of high-street closures across the country coupled with the new findings that the industry could see a fall in the number of people employed, our industry is feeling the strain of the unprecedented pressures it currently faces. It is time to stop talking and start taking action. Today we want to hear meaningful change from parliamentarians and the government to ensure we can all play our part to adopt and prosper from Britain’s changing high street.” Stonegate Pub Company chairman Ian Payne added: “Pubs are the heart and soul of our high streets and play an important role in our social fabric and local economies. Rising businesses rates combined with one of the highest rates of beer duty across Europe is leading to intolerable pressure on the sector.”
 
Greggs reports like-for-likes up 3.2% in third quarter: Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has reported company-managed shop like-for-like sales were up 3.2% for the 13 weeks to 29 September 2018, its third quarter. Total sales increased 7.3%. There have been 93 shops opened in the year-to-date and 35 closures. The company still expects about 100 net openings in 2018. The company stated: “Greggs traded well against strong comparatives in the third quarter, which was characterised by particularly hot weather. Total sales have grown 5.9% in the year-to-date and like-for-like sales have increased 2.1%. Our drink range and new focaccia-style pizzas proved popular over the summer months. We continued to see growth at breakfast time, helped by the expansion of our great value deals and our wide selection of freshly-ground Fairtrade coffees. In the year-to-date we have opened 93 shops, including 35 franchised units predominantly in transport locations. We have closed 35 shops, giving a total of 1,912 shops trading at 29 September (comprising 1,677 of our own shops and 235 franchised units). For the year as a whole we still expect about 100 net openings, of which around 60 are planned to be with franchise partners. Investment in our supply chain continues apace with the commissioning of new consolidated manufacturing platforms at our Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester sites progressing in the fourth quarter. As part of our strategic investment in systems we will be implementing the human resource and estate management modules of our integrated SAP solution in the months ahead, with payroll due to follow in early 2019. We were pleased with our trading performance during a period that included a long spell of hot weather, which made sales patterns more difficult to predict. This, and the resulting mix of sales led to a lower-than-normal trading margin in the first part of the quarter, offset by improved trading as we came into September. Overall our expectations for the full year outturn remain unchanged.”
 
Family of second suspected Pret A Manger allergy death customer want ‘answers’: The family of a second person believed to have died after suffering an allergic reaction to a Pret A Manger sandwich have said they want “answers”. Mother-of-five Celia Marsh died in December last year after eating a “super veg rainbow flatbread” containing a yoghurt that was supposed to be dairy-free, but was found to be contaminated with dairy. The family of the 42-year-old dental nurse said they want “answers to why she died after eating lunch with her family”. In a statement, they said: “We have kept a dignified silence since the death of Celia in December last year as the family has come to terms with her sudden and unexpected death. We are also awaiting the outcome of the investigations into how she died. She was a much-loved mother, daughter, sister and wife. We miss her greatly and we just want the answers to why she died after eating lunch with her family.” Marsh died at the Royal United Hospital in Bath on 27 December 2017. Avon Coroner’s Court said inquiries into her death are continuing and no date has yet been fixed for a full inquest hearing. The Food Standards Agency investigated supplier CoYo, which then issued an allergy alert and recalled its coconut yoghurts. But CoYo has denied that recall was linked to Marsh’s death and accused Pret of hampering its own probe by failing to provide vital information. “The claims made by Pret are unfounded,” a spokeswoman for CoYo said on Sunday (7 October). The circumstances around Marsh’s death emerged as Pret faced scrutiny over 15-year-old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who was allergic to sesame and died after eating one of its baguettes. Marsh collapsed and died after buying the sandwich in a store in Stall Street, Bath. Pret said it had been “mis-sold” a guaranteed dairy-free yoghurt by CoYo that was discovered to contain dairy protein. But CoYo has denied this was related to Marsh’s death, saying the contaminated raw materials had been supplied to it in January – after she died. “The dairy-free product we provided to Pret in December 2017, at the time of this tragedy, is not linked to the product we recalled in February 2018,” a spokeswoman said. “Pret’s inability to provide us with a batch code, despite several requests, has severely limited our ability to investigate this further.” Last week, Pret said it was to make changes to its labelling and has committed to work with bodies and industry peers to secure legislative changes to better protect people with allergies.

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