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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 24th Jan 2019 - The Restaurant Group reports like-for-likes down 2% in 2018, a ‘pivotal year’
The Restaurant Group reports like-for-likes down 2% in 2018, a ‘pivotal year’: The Restaurant Group has reported like-for-like sales down 2.0%, with total sales increasing by 1.0% in the 52 weeks ended 30 December 2018. The company stated: “The group has delivered like-for-like sales growth since the World Cup, with our  pubs business continuing to consistently trade ahead of the pub restaurant sector and our concessions business trading strongly. Our leisure business exhibited improved like-for-like sales momentum through 2018, but was impacted by weaker cinema admissions in December. We opened a record 21 new pubs (inclusive of acquisitions) and a record 21 new concessions units during the year. We expect to deliver an adjusted PBT outcome for the 2018 full year in line with current market expectations. As previously announced, the acquisition of Wagamama formally completed on 24 December 2018. Wagamama has continued to trade well over the festive period and we look forward to delivering the benefits of the acquisition as outlined in the “2018 Prospectus” and creating significant long-term value for our shareholders.” Chief executive Andy McCue, said: “2018 has been a pivotal year for the group in which we have opened a record number of new sites in both our  pubs and concessions businesses as well as acquiring an extremely high quality business in Wagamama. The enlarged business is now orientated strongly towards growth with a number of exciting opportunities ahead. We are focused on executing on our multi-pronged growth strategy and plans for the site conversions and cost synergies are progressing well.” 

Fever-Tree reports 39% revenue growth in 2018: Fever-Tree has reported revenue for the year ended 31 December 2018 is expected to be circa £236 million, reflecting growth of 39% on 2017. The company stated: “(This was) driven by: very strong revenue growth of circa 52% in the UK with robust rate of sales growth in both the on and off trade channels. The UK enjoyed an outstanding summer trading period and finished the year with a strong performance over Christmas. The group further strengthened its position as the number one mixer brand by value in the UK off-trade whilst continuing to broaden its distribution across the on-trade; significant operational progress in the USA in our first period of direct management of the region, with growth in the second half accelerating, resulting in full year revenue circa 21% ahead of 2017. The relationship with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits continues to develop well and the group is confident that the exclusive on trade agreement signed with them in the second half, alongside the positive progress seen in the off-trade, provides an excellent platform for further growth in 2019; acceleration in sales growth in Continental Europe in the second half of 2018, with full year revenue anticipated to be circa 24% ahead of 2017. The group saw positive momentum across a number of key territories, and we remain at the forefront of the premium mixer category across the region; encouraging performance in the Rest of the World with full year revenue expected to be circa 48% ahead of 2017.” Tim Warrillow, co-founder and chief executive of Fever-Tree, said: “We have seen very strong momentum across the business during 2018. The UK delivered an exceptional performance while Europe has seen positive performance resulting in growth accelerating in the second half. We are particularly encouraged by the progress to date in the USA and the strong platform for further growth this provides. The progress we have seen during the last 12 months means we enter 2019 very well positioned and remain optimistic about the long-term global opportunity ahead. Drinking habits are changing. The rise of premium spirits and the advent of premium mixers has reinvigorated and re-established the quality and enjoyment of the long-mixed drink, be it a gin and tonic, vodka and ginger beer or whiskey and ginger ale to name but a few. Fever-Tree is at the forefront of this trend, broadening the appeal of the spirits category, drawing in new consumers and with it providing a genuine alternative to the beer and wine occasion.”

Leadership Summit open for bookings: Propel is launching the Leadership Summit, which will see a select group of the sector’s most experienced bosses share their expertise on leadership. The full-day event, in partnership with Elliotts, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February at One Moorgate Place and is open for bookings. Speakers will include Will Stratton-Morris, UK chief executive of Caffe Nero, who will talk about building high-performance teams. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King, speaks about the role of leadership in business turnarounds. Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, about the lessons of leadership he has picked up in his career in the sector. Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Ten Entertainment, will give his views on leadership and the customer experience, while Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron, will talk about empowering people and trust and getting the team to “buy in” through clear communication and vision. Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s, will explain how the company is building the quality and skillsets of its general managers to lead the business out of decline. Simon Townsend, chief executive of Ei Group, will give his views on the challenges of leadership during a period of immense change and Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress, will give her top ten tips on leadership. Meanwhile, Loungers founder Alex Reilley will talk about the adaptations involved in growing a business from one site to more than 100, celebrating success and the art of succession, while Ann Elliott will give her views on the power of mentoring to grow talent in organisations. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “With the industry facing such challenging times, effective leadership has never been more important. This is an unmissable opportunity to learn from high-profile leaders in our sector.” Prices are £295 plus VAT for Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book, email

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