Exclusive – Bistrot Pierre filing notice of intent to appoint administrators: Bistrot Pierre, the Livingbridge-backed group, is to file a notice of intent to appoint administrators today (Friday, 3 July), Propel has learned. The 25-strong company has been working with adviser KPMG on its options, with a sales process generating interest from serial sector investor Luke Johnson and London-based investment firm Inspirit Capital. Propel understands TriSpan and RCapital also ran the rule over the Nick White-led business but it is clear no deal could be agreed. It’s thought an administration process could see current backer Livingbridge agree a deal on the group’s debt pile and continue to back the business through a pre-pack administration. It could also lead to the company trimming its estate. The business, which Livingbridge invested £9.8m into in 2015, posted turnover of circa £35m in the year to June 2019 and Ebitda of about £6.5m. Propel understands none of the group’s sites, which are spread across England and Wales, are loss-making. There are thought to be no onerous leases or sites tied to corporate landlords. However, it’s understood the company has increasingly struggled with the size of debt built against it. A source close to the business told Propel: “The company is working with stakeholders to find a positive solution for the business to go forward.” The company recently reopened its site in Mumbles, Swansea, for takeaway, with the business understood to be encouraged by the level of trade achieved. However, it has yet to announce details of a reopening strategy for dine-in. In November, the company opened its latest site at Eastbourne’s Wish Tower. It also has plans to open a beachside restaurant and bar in Worthing, West Sussex. School friends Robert Beacham and John Whitehead founded the business in 1994.
Fuller’s to undertake phased reopening of estate: London-based pub and hotel operator Fuller’s is to undertake a phased reopening of its estate. The company will open 27 of its managed pubs tomorrow (Saturday, 4 July), with further pubs opening in groups in the weeks ahead. Fuller’s said more than 80% of its managed pubs and hotels would be open by the end of July. The company said it expected the majority of its tenanted sites to reopen during July. Fuller’s announced a second delay to its full-year results this morning (Friday, 3 July) as a result of auditor Grant Thornton requiring additional time to complete the process. The auditor blamed “complexities surrounding covid-19 and related abnormal working arrangements”.
Hall & Woodhouse to begin phased reopening of managed pubs on Tuesday: Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse will begin a phased reopening of its managed pubs from Tuesday (7 July) after polling more than 10,000 regular guests. Table service will be provided in its pubs’ restaurants, bars and gardens with tables spaced two metres apart. Guests will have to reserve a table, with a maximum of six people and for 90-minute periods at a time. All managed pubs will accept contactless payment and order and pay via smartphone. A reduced menu will allow social distancing in kitchens, while there will be one single-use menu per table that will be disposed of after each booking. Pubs will feature designated entrances and exits, with multiple hand-sanitising stations throughout. Enhanced and more frequent cleaning will also take place throughout venues during the day. Hall & Woodhouse managing director Matt Kearsey said: “We have been working tirelessly to prepare for our reopening and all team members have undertaken extensive training to feel confident with our adapted ways of working. We have also completed a risk assessment in line with the coronavirus secure guidelines issued by the government to consider all aspects of our guests’ safety. We decided to reopen our managed pubs in a safe and controlled way for our returning teams and guests to prioritise their welfare.”