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Thu 25th Jun 2020 - Update: Greene King, al fresco dining, Young's, Just Eat
Greene King to open two-thirds of managed estate on Monday 6 July: Brewer and pub retailer Greene King is to re-open 1,294 of its managed pubs from Monday 6 July, with the remaining one third of the managed estate following in the second phase, the date to be confirmed. A spokesperson for Greene King said: “We welcome the news that pubs, alongside other hospitality venues, can open their doors again from next month. Pubs play an important role at the very heart of their communities and have been sorely missed by customers as well as those who work in them. We have decided to open our managed pubs from Monday 6 July so we can open as many as possible with our PubSafe promises in place for the safety of our customers and team members. We look forward to welcoming back customers to our pubs and providing that great hospitable pub experience we all love. People wishing to book a table at their local Greene King managed pub will be able to do so via the Greene King app, which will be live for bookings from midday on Friday 26 June.”

Legislation planned today to fast-track al fresco dining: Ministers will announce new laws today to enable al fresco dining through the summer with every pub, restaurant and cafe given fast-track approval to set up outdoor tables, The Times has reported. The newspaper added: “The legislation to help the hospitality industry will also enable pubs and restaurants to use car parks and terraces as dining and drinking areas. The present 28-day consultation period required for permission to set up tables and chairs outside will be cut to five days, and every venue with an alcohol licence will be given the right to sell beer and wine for people to drink on the pavement or the street. Ministers will also allow people to set up outdoor markets, pop-up car boot sales and summer fairs without the need for planning permission. The government is working with councils to pedestrianise parts of city centres. Ministers are hoping to clear the bill through parliament so that the new law is in place early next month, shortly after the reopening of the hospitality sector. The government wants to change licensing laws to encourage more people to eat and drink outside, where the chances of spreading coronavirus are greatly reduced. Many pubs already have licences that enable them to sell alcohol for people to drink off their premises but they are less common for restaurants and cafes.”

Young’s raises £88.4m in equity placing: Young’s has reported the successful completion of an equity issue raising gross proceeds of £88.4 million. The Placing raised gross proceeds of approximately 85.5 million. A total of 4,263,453 A Placing Shares and 4,900,000 NV Placing Shares have been placed by J.P. Morgan Securities and Panmure Gordon. The concurrent offer made by the company for retail investors to subscribe for new A ordinary shares in the capital of the company via the PrimaryBid platform raised further gross proceeds of approximately £2.7 million.

Just Eat reports rise in orders; Greek dishes most popular: The number of takeaways ordered by Britons has risen sharply during the lock-down, with Greek food becoming increasingly popular, according to research by Just Eat. The Times writes that the company, part of the recently merged Just Eat, said that while Italian, Chinese and Indian foods remained the most popular, orders for Greek dishes were up 116%. Thai and Vietnamese food was the next biggest riser, with orders up 57%, narrowly ahead of Turkish food, similar to Greek cuisine. Andrew Kenny, Just Eat’s UK managing director, told the paper: “Lockdown conditions have really made a difference to UK takeaway habits and I’m sure the good weather has inspired our customers to think more about holidays and encouraged them to order dishes like Greek or Turkish meals to bring a ‘holiday mood’ to their tables.” The hot weather has also boosted demand for ice cream, with May recording the highest number of orders on record, while desserts generally are up 93%. Overall, Just Eat’s UK operations recorded a 33% jump in lockdown orders, as people missing their trips to pubs and restaurants reached for their smartphones for the next best option. Breakfast and lunch orders also rose sharply, by 50% and 80%, respectively.

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