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Tue 24th Mar 2020 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greggs no longer expects to make year-on-year profit progress, cancels dividend: Food-to-go retailer Greggs no longer expects to make year-on-year profit progress as a result of the pandemic. The company had been providing a takeaway service but had already decided to close all sites ahead of the government lock-down. The company said it intends to maintain employment of colleagues at full contract hours for “as long as practicable” with support from the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The company stated: “At our preliminary results announcement on 3 March we disclosed company-managed shop like-for-like sales grew 7.5% in the nine weeks to 29 February 2020. For the two weeks that followed, like-for-like sales growth averaged 4.1% and, in the most recent week to 21 March 2020, we saw a 9.9% decline. The rate of decline has been increasing each day as more and more customers heed the government advice on social distancing and we would expect this to increase further if we were to continue to trade. Greggs has always maintained a strong balance sheet and at the end of this week we expect to have cash at the bank of £60m, having made our normal payments to staff, suppliers and landlords. Assuming there continues to be material disruption, we will ask our landlords to accept a monthly, as opposed to quarterly, payment basis from June. To protect our financial position, we are reducing cash expenditure to protect our liquidity in the short term while continuing with key long-term strategic programmes. We have re-evaluated our capital expenditure plans and only intend to complete existing shop projects while deferring shop openings and planned refurbishments. Overall, we expect to remove £45m from this year’s planned capital expenditure programme. We won’t now pay the previously announced final dividend for 2019, which was due to be paid on 21 May 2020, and have stopped the programme of share purchases by our Employee Benefit Trust. These two actions will avoid about £40m of cash outgoings this year. We are in the process of arranging financing to cover the possibility of a closure period of anything from six weeks to three months. Providing forward guidance is impossible in the current environment but the board no longer expects to make year-on-year profit progress, which we stated was our expectation at the time of our preliminary results announcement on 3 March 2020. As and when we are able to provide further information, we will do so.”

Industry News:

Propel launches BeatTheVirus campaign: Propel has launched a campaign called BeatTheVirus to help operators through the coronavirus crisis. We have teamed up with Propel Multi Club conference series partners to offer the sector their expertise. Partners will offer more general advice and highlight some of the initiatives they are doing. Companies supporting the BeatTheVirus campaign include Airship, Bums on Seats, CACI, Christie & Co, COREcruitment, CPL Learning, Cynergy Bank, Elliotts, Hastee, haysmacintyre, John Gaunt & Partners, KAM Media, Prestige Purchasing, S4labour, Startle, Ten Kites, The NPD Group, Toggle, Trail, Venners, Wireless Social, Yapster and sector trade body UKHospitality. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “It is amazing to see how the industry has come together during this crisis and here at Propel we want to do our bit. This is why we are working with Multi Club partners to offer expert support and advice to our readers and to answer their questions at what is a tough time for everyone.” Readers can email questions for our experts to paul.charity@propelinfo.com. Please use BeatTheVirus in the subject line.  

Transport for London cancels first-quarter rent payment: Transport for London (TfL) has cancelled rent payments for small and medium-sized businesses on its estate from 25 March to 23 June. The company has about 2,000 retail units and 800 arches, with the majority (86%) of its tenants being small to medium-sized businesses. TfL customer performance manager Tom Atkinson said: “Even before we announced this rent relief our tenants in F&B were mobilising to help their communities during this crisis. Two examples were Berber & Q keeping its kitchen open to send free meals to NHS hospitals for workers and 58 Gin making hand sanitiser for Humberside Police and more for sale, with 10% of each sale going to The Drinks Trust.” On Monday (23 March), Network Rail announced it was cancelling all first-quarter rent payments due from tenants in its commercial estate portfolio, providing significant relief for small businesses worried about footfall during the pandemic.

Yapster becomes free for companies with more than 100 staff on temporary leave: Mobile messaging app Yapster has been made available free to companies that have been severely affected by the government’s coronavirus containment measures. Hospitality companies with more than 100 staff on temporary leave can sign up to use Yapster’s instant messaging for free so their teams can stay connected throughout the crisis. This service will remain in place until the current restrictions are relaxed to allow venues to start trading again. During this time there will be no obligation to buy and companies can cancel at any time. Chief executive Rob Liddiard said: “We met the wage support package announcement with the same relief expressed across the sector. We have been inspired by the leadership, resilience and generosity shown by so many people in the industry we love. We’re following chancellor Rishi Sunak's lead and doing our part to help operators keep their teams together in these impossibly tough times.” 
Yapster is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 

More than two-thirds of consumers plan to return to previous behaviour patterns when pandemic ends: More than two-thirds (70%) of people aim to return to their previous patterns of behaviour when the coronavirus pandemic ends, while 5% plan to increase their spend, according to research by marketing, technology and data company CACI. Its report highlighting the outbreak’s impact on the property and retail sectors also showed the crisis is likely to accelerate underlying consumer trends such as increased digital and social engagement; rising localism and local delivery; and a greater connection to community. The report said these evolving consumer trends would, in turn, accelerate industry trends such as the merging of physical and digital; the growth of the online halo effect; and the changing role of outlets to connect brand and customer. CACI said there was an opportunity to capitalise on the rapid changes with retailers and landlords working together to deliver a cohesive, community-led offer. CACI director Alex McCulloch said: “Our findings reflect that despite the extraordinary times we are in, people are focused on coming out the other side. At these early stages, with government restrictions being put in place across the country, it can be difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel. However, this is also a time of opportunity, with the biggest winners being local shops and online shopping. The property and retail sector has the opportunity to capitalise on the rapid changes. When restrictions lift, the industry needs to listen and adapt to changing consumer trends.” 
CACI is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member 

S4labour announces help for operators, halves cost as team takes pay cut: S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality, has announced help for operators during the pandemic. It is developing a “furloughed” pay type to enable customers to track costs and supply all data required to process payroll and retain teams. S4Labour is also developing a “furloughed” cost report, which will include those costs supported by the government. The company said it would calculate all costs based on average hours and shifts worked and applied costs such as employers’ National Insurance. S4labour will also maintain teams’ holiday accrual based on those payments. It is also halving the cost of S4labour with the exception of payroll service. The company said the discount would be automatically applied on future invoices during the closure as long as an account was up to date and paid in full. To enable the discount, S4labour directors have taken a 45% indefinite pay cut while the rest of the company’s team has agreed a 10% cut. S4labour said: “This is our best view of the world as it stands today. Given the speed of change in the past few weeks, we will continue to monitor the situation. By working together we can get through this challenging time of uncertainty. S4labour looks forward to seeing you when this is all over.” 
S4labour is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

COREcruitment to host webinar on pandemic impacts: COREcruitment is to host a webinar discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry. A panel of speakers will give an overview of the situation and their recommendations before answering questions at the event, which takes place on Wednesday (25 March) at 4pm. Speakers will include Corbin & King managing director Zuleika Fennell, CG Restaurants chief executive Scott Matthews, former HR Consultant at Bill’s, Leon and Black Sheep Coffee Marco Reick, and Springboard chief executive Anne Pierce. Questions can be emailed to Krishnan@corecruitment.com. To register for the webinar in advance, click here
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

SIBA urges government to cancel beer tax bill: Pressure is mounting on the government to cancel Wednesday’s (25 March) beer tax bill as breweries struggle to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic. The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which represents about 750 independent craft breweries in the UK, said the monthly tax bill due to be automatically taken from brewers’ bank accounts must be cancelled to help businesses survive. The amount of beer duty paid by brewers is relative to their size but SIBA said the average amount would be about £5,000 and, for larger independent craft breweries, could be as much as £500,000. Chief executive James Calder said: “We have 24 hours left to save our independent breweries. The chancellor has announced a range of measures to help people and businesses make it through the covid-19 pandemic and it’s vital independent breweries aren’t left behind or forgotten.” SIBA and the Campaign for Real Ale launched a campaign last week to link local beer businesses with consumers. The #PullingTogether campaign highlights pubs, breweries and taprooms providing takeaway or local delivery services as well helping to link beer drinkers who may feel isolated during the outbreak.

Borough Market launches online shopping service: Borough Market has launched an online shopping service – supposedly the first produce market in the country to do so. The London market has teamed up with Bath-based company Good Sixty, which is running the system. The name Good Sixty comes from research showing every pound a consumer spends with a local independent producer has a 60% greater benefit to their community compared with spending it at a large supermarket. Borough Market currently features 29 stallholders that are part of the initial project, including Cannon & Cannon, Ted’s Veg, and The Parma Ham & Mozzarella Stand, with more set to join the initiative. Customers can pick up their shopping at the market or have it delivered to any location inside the M25, Hot Dinners reports.

Hotel and brasserie owner urges operators to remain vigilant after thieves strip food supplies: A hotel and brasserie in Shropshire has had to cancel a planned community food delivery service after burglars raided its fridges and freezers. Food such as chicken, beef, lamb and fish worth £1,200 was taken from The Old Vicarage at Worfield, near Bridgnorth. The venue had already closed in line with government guidelines during the pandemic. The venue planned to allow nearby residents to order from a daily menu for the cost of ingredients only. The meals would have been delivered to those self-isolating or in need of a healthy dinner. Hotel and brasserie owner David Blakstad said: “We can’t believe this has happened. Times are really tough for us as a business and we closed our doors to customers in line with government advice. We were planning to start up a community food service where we would allow nearby residents to order meals and we would deliver it to their door. The people who have done this have not only stolen from us but have taken away the chance for the community to receive this help from us. We were trying to pay something back to our community and now it looks like that isn’t going to be possible. This serves as a warning to other business owners. With people stripping food and now the alcohol sections of supermarkets and shops, our bars and kitchens are a target.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is seeking an experienced financial director with extensive knowledge of the events, retail and hospitality sectors. This experience-based hospitality business has an excellent reputation and offers a dynamic work environment due to seasonal trade. Ideally based in the south east of England, the financial director will report into the chief operating officer and will be an essential member of the senior leadership team. The ideal candidate will have several years’ experience in an overarching senior finance position and extensive team leadership, strategy and growth experience within the events, experiential or entertainment segments of hospitality. Salaries of up to £100,000 will be considered. The position is shortlisting during the next month. Email your CV to Oliwia@corecruitment.com  

Company News:

EAT closes after 24 years of trading: EAT, the food-to-go brand founded by Niall and Faith MacArthur, has closed after 24 years of trading. The company was due to be run down after it was acquired by rival Pret A Manger last May in a deal valued at almost £60m. The brand, which made its debut in Villiers Street, London, in October 1996 operated 110 sites at one time. Pret acquired the by-now 85-strong brand with the intention to convert some sites to its core brand and others to its fledgling Veggie Pret concept. A statement on the EAT website reads: “After 24 years of creating, making and serving real food it’s time for us to say goodbye. It was our mission to deliver excellence and taste to you, our customers, day in, day out, and we believe we achieved this. Thank you to all our wonderful customers – from the morning coffee drinkers to the quick pit-stop shoppers and lunchtime regulars. We’ve loved every minute of our journey.” EAT will continue to operate in Paris Gare Du Nord under franchise partner SSP and Spain under franchise partner Ibersol.

Famous Brands ‘attempts’ to keep some GBK and Wimpy sites open for delivery: Famous Brands has said it’s “attempting” to keep a select number of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) and Wimpy sites in the UK open for home delivery. In a voluntary trading update, Famous Brands stated: “Initial indications are sales have deteriorated steadily over the first three weeks of March as government measures take effect on restricting consumer activity. Those markets in which the virus has been prevalent for longer have been most affected, including England, Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. Select GBK and Wimpy restaurants in the UK will attempt to remain open to service the home delivery market, but the viability of that option is unclear at this stage. Management will monitor the situation closely for both operations. Given the prevailing instability in our trading markets, it is difficult to project with accuracy the impact of the pandemic on the business. Across our business we will continue to enforce the necessary disciplines and protocols required to curb and slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Operators shutter sites ahead of government lock-down: The Restaurant Group-owned brand Wagamama was one of a number of operators that decided to temporarily close all its UK sites ahead of the government’s decision to put the country in lock-down. Wagamama closed its sites for dine-in options last week but the latest decision means sites will no longer operate as a delivery or takeaway venue until “further notice”. Chief executive Emma Woods said: “We would like to thank our teams and guests for their loyal support and look forward to opening our spaces again soon.” Subway closed all its UK branches at 5pm on Monday. A spokesman said: “We believe this is the best thing to help support social distancing and keep everyone as healthy as possible for as long as possible.” Surplus food will be donated to front-line workers. In an update on its UK website, KFC stated: “We have decided, together with our franchise partners, to begin closing our restaurants to help protect the well-being and safety of our teams and guests until further notice. We’ll find safe and efficient ways to distribute unused food.” Tom Barton and Phil Eeles, founders of Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers, wrote on the company’s website: “We hoped this time wouldn’t come but for the time being we are closing our doors for all eat-in and delivery at all our restaurants. The day we put on our aprons and fire up our grills will be the start of a new frontier for Honest.” Meanwhile, Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca has closed all sites until further notice. In a message to customers, founders Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby wrote: “Wahaca has not only been our livelihood but our lives and an extension of our family since we opened our first restaurant in Covent Garden in 2007. We set out to bring the sunshine and tacos of Mexico to the UK and, although things may not feel quite so full of sunshine right now, our focus is to make sure Wahaca survives to welcome you back in sunnier times. Azzurri Group closed all sites for its Ask Italian and Zizzi brands. It had already closed all venues for Coco di Mama. In a message to Ask Italian customers, managing director Chris Holmes wrote: “We have received great support for our team and business over the past few days and are doing everything possible to look after our teams during these tough times.” Quilvest-backed fast-casual Mexican concept Tortilla emailed customers stating: “We have made the heart-breaking decision to close all our restaurants today – including for take away, collection and delivery. In the coming days we will work closely with community groups to responsibly distribute leftover food.” Chop’d, the Eddie Holmes-led salad bar chain, also closed all its sites from 2pm and said it would “reopen when we can”, while the message to customers from Asian quick service restaurant concept Chopstix included the promise: “We’ll be back even faster, fresher and tastier than before!”

BrewDog to take bars online: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is set to open its 102 bars online. The company will open its virtual doors to over-18s at 6pm on Friday (27 March). The virtual bars will host a series of events such as home-brewing masterclasses, pub quizzes, live music and comedy. There will also be question-and-answer sessions, giveaways and exclusive merchandise available from the BrewDog online shop. Every BrewDog bar in the UK, Germany, Australia and US will host its own online session as a chance for regulars to keep in contact. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Community has always been at the core of what we do and the role community and great beer play in our society is more important now than ever.” Meanwhile, BrewDog has started using its trucks and drivers to deliver free school lunches to pupils in isolation.

Ten Entertainment Group has liquidity ‘comfortably beyond end of 2020’, still expects group adjusted Ebitda to be in line with market expectations: Ten Entertainment Group has said a combination of its own self-help actions, finance facility and government support will provide liquidity “comfortably beyond the end of the calendar year”. The company also said it still expected its group adjusted Ebitda, on a going-concern basis, to be in line with market expectations, the consensus of which is about £23.6m. It stated: “We currently have cash balance of £20.5m, a further overdraft facility of £2m and undrawn revolving credit facility funds of an additional £2.8m. This totals a liquidity headroom of more than £25m. In addition, we are pleased the generous set of measures the government has confirmed, such as rates relief and support with employee pay, will further strengthen our position. We are currently reviewing the detail of these measures. We are already in close discussions with our bank, landlords and key business partners, with whom we have worked for many years and who are already demonstrating keen support. The board has already ceased all future capital investment on projects that aren’t already under construction and put its property acquisition strategy on hold. In accordance with the government’s announcement on Friday (20 March), the vast majority of the company’s employees will be furloughed. Other cash conservation measures are being developed and these will be deployed as soon as possible. The board is confident a combination of our own self-help actions, our financing facility and government support will provide liquidity comfortably beyond the end of the calendar year. Trading in the first 11 weeks of 2020 had been strong and was expected to continue before the impact of government measures as a result of covid-19. Sales for the 11 weeks to 15 March were up 12.7% compared with the same period last year and 9.3% on a like-for-like basis.” As per the Financial Conduct Authority request that all listed companies observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks, the company has delayed its results that were due on Wednesday (25 March). Chairman Nick Basing said: “Our business has been growing year-on-year for eight consecutive years. It is strongly supported with relatively low levels of gearing and a conservative balance sheet. We look forward to welcoming our customers back and have no doubt the need among friends and families will be stronger than ever.”

Piano Works’ live-screened gigs attract more than 50,000 viewers, plans further fund-raiser: Dining, drinking and live music concept The Piano Works has reported more than 50,000 viewers watched the shows it live-streamed on social media on Friday and Saturday night (20 and 21 March). As at its 400-capacity live venues in Farringdon and West End, which are currently closed due to the pandemic, viewers could request their favourite songs. Viewers donated more than £4,000 to The Piano Works’ musicians and requested more than 2,000 songs. The Piano Works founder Alan Lorrimer said: “We feel a great responsibility as part of London’s live music community to make every effort to continue supporting our amazing performers. The Piano Works musicians will be back this Friday and Saturday from 7pm to 11pm. After the success of last week, we aim to raise £10,000 this week for our heroes in the NHS on the front lines, who are keeping us safe right now, and our talented musicians. The music industry in London is not only important to our society but also the source of employment for tens of thousands of performers, staff and suppliers. London has survived much worse threats and our community spirit, resilience and sense of humour have always turned adversity into triumph.” The Piano Works reported its venues grew like-for-like sales 19% to £9.2m net of VAT for the calendar year ending 30 December 2019.

Yum! China reports early stages of recovery: Yum! China said its business is in the “early stages of recovery”, weeks after having to close more than a third of its outlets at the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, which originated in the country. Yum! China, exclusive licensee of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell brands in China, said it was gradually reopening stores in the country, with 95% of its outlets now partially or fully open. Like-for-like sales were recently down about 20%, the company said, better than the 40% to 50% decline it witnessed during the Chinese New Year holiday period earlier this year. Yum China said customer numbers were recovering slowly but remained well below pre-outbreak levels. It said delivery sales grew year-on-year, driven by the launch of contactless delivery in late January. It also added contactless pick-up and corporate catering services as sanitary options for consumers and corporate customers. The declining number of coronavirus cases in China has encouraged some consumers to venture back into shopping centres and restaurants. The pandemic, which has infected more than 80,000 people in China and killed more than 3,200, had kept hundreds of millions stuck at home since late January. Yum! China was spun-off from Yum Brands in 2016 and operates more than 8,900 restaurants in more than 1,300 cities in the country.

Amber Taverns issues ‘three easy steps’ to stay safe and show solidarity: Amber Taverns has issued “three easy steps” to keep its staff safe while showing solidarity for its pubs’ communities during the government-induced closure. The steps are to display a home-made poster featuring the word SHINE (Stay Home, Isolate, No Excuses); decorating windows with Christmas lights – a symbol of “light, hope and good in the world; and following government health advice. Operations director Gary Roberts wrote to staff: “We are asking people to show their respect and support for the dedicated key workers who are working through this crisis. Stay safe, keep calm and bake – that way you can have your cake and eat it! Be aware isolation has a massive impact on some people. Reach out, give them a call, FaceTime or just be nice.” Amber Taverns operates circa 15 sites under its Hogarths brand and owns more than 140 pubs across England and Wales.

Free jobs portal launches for hospitality workers: Hospitality workforce platform Harri and industry veteran Peter Martin have launched a free jobs portal to help sector workers redeploy during the pandemic. Hospitality Unite, which is supported by UKHospitality, is designed to help sector workers find employment in other segments such as food and drinks retail and supply, healthcare and delivery, which require high volumes of staff to get through the coronavirus crisis. As well as helping those already made redundant or who have had contracts terminated, the new website will allow companies with underemployed staff to second them to work in other sectors. The service includes video screening to speed the recruitment process. Martin said: “While hospitality has received vital support from government, the sector is also trying to mitigate the hardship so many of our people have suffered and will suffer. This service will also help those parts of the economy that need extra labour to keep the country running.” Harri director Pete Willis said: “Hospitality Unite already has a commitment from the likes of Lidl, Amazon, Planet Organic, Just Eat, Co-op, Waitrose, Care UK, Morrisons, Balhousie Care Group and logistics companies that need additional staff and see skilled hospitality workers as ideal recruits. Right now we have 4,000 vacancies at Amazon and 2,500 with Lidl ready to go on the website. Any hospitality operator can also sign up for free resources and courses for employees on mental health and well-being in conjunction with Upskill People and the charity Mind. In the future, the Hospitality Unite site will become a resource to attract people back to the sector.” The portal isn’t visible to the public and can only be accessed through a link provided by participating companies. The initiative is part of an international effort by Harri to provide similar services in its global markets, including the US. For more details or to join, email hospitalityunite@harri.com

Wadworth launches ‘virtual pub’: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has launched a “virtual pub” on Facebook. The company has opened The Henry – named after founder Henry Wadworth – to help people keep connected during the coronavirus crisis. The Facebook page streams live music and also offers a weekly quiz, cooking sessions, bingo, open-mic nights, a pets feature and fitness session “work-out Wednesday”. Chief executive Chris Welham said: “Pubs are at the heart of everything we do and there has never been a greater need to make sure we are there for each other. We want to keep pub-goers company, keep the conversations flowing and bring a smile. All the fun things happening at The Henry will help bring a pub community together in a virtual way.” At the weekend, The Henry hosted three live music sessions via Facebook live and gained 1,300 virtual pub followers in only three days.

Access Hospitality offers free set-up of delivery and click-and-collect services: Software company Access Hospitality, in partnership with Preoday and QikServe, is offering software that allows operators to set up delivery and click-and-collect services within 48 hours. Access is offering the first two months of the service and all implementation fees for free. The software can be used as a standalone system or alongside Access EPOS. The free two-month period will form the first phase of a 12-month contractual commitment. Managing director Henry Seddon said: “Many operators are turning their sites into dark kitchens enabling them to offer a takeaway, click and collect, or delivery option. This is providing a vital community service as well as avoiding business failure following compulsory closures.” Access Hospitality said it would also focus on enabling operators to sell vouchers on its sister platform, DesignMyNight, to help with cash flow so customers could support a business ahead of the industry returning to normal.

Sussex-based ‘mass market beer brewer’ Lister’s launches crowdfunding campaign to meet demand: Sussex-based Lister’s, the family run brewer that “unashamedly brews beers for the mass market”, has launched a £75,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Lister’s, founded by the Waite family at Ford, near Arundel, is offering 4.76% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £1.5m. The company aims to “satisfy the beer-drinkers that prefer traditional styles of beer they can return to time and again”. Lister’s reported revenues of more than £390,000 from 2016 to 2019, with more than £159,000 in its last financial year to April 2019. The pitch states: “Founded by father, son and daughter in 2014, Lister’s has come a long way after launching on a tiny scale, with an investment of just £10,000. Supplying customers across the south of England, north west and Yorkshire, Lister’s is more than just a pint for local people. Our Best Bitter is sold at CAMRA’s UK Pub of the Year, in St Helens, no mean feat when competing with 1,700 other breweries. At Lister’s, we’re passionate about quality, consistency and customer service. The brewery was hand-built and fully automated by head brewer Phil Waite, allowing us to produce more beer for less. However, with demand increasing our current facility is at capacity. We have agreed terms for a new site on the Duke of Norfolk’s Sussex estate that, with investment, will allow us to move sites and increase brewing capacity, increase the number of delivery hubs, grow and wholesale our own barley on the 6,700-acre estate, and bottle our beers in-house to reach new markets.” 

Loke cuts fees to help operators pivot towards takeaway model: Loyalty and payment app Loke is investing up to £300,000 to help the hospitality industry pivot towards a takeaway model. The company said it had removed contract periods and licensing fees to offer “cheaper rates than delivery aggregators”. Loke has deployed an option for companies to use existing staff to deliver food or leverage their delivery driver network. The company said click and collect was another good sales option, while pre-selling vouchers and offers was a “great way to generate revenue from customers”. Loke said rewarding customers for their support such as doubling or tripling loyalty points for the next month would incentivise them to spend more at a business. A spokesman said: “We are also working with industry experts to think about how technology can provide resilience for businesses in the current environment. We will continue to innovate and share best practice for hospitality in these challenging times.”

Diageo donates alcohol to make eight million bottles of sanitiser: Diageo is donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturing partners to allow them to create more than eight million bottles of hand sanitiser to help protect front-line healthcare workers. It will provide Grain Neutral Spirit (GNS) – a 96% strength ethyl alcohol used primarily in vodka and gin production – free to hand-sanitiser producers in a number of countries. In the UK and Ireland, 500,000 litres of GNS will be made available. “Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic and we’re determined to do what we can to protect them,” said Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitiser around the world.”

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