Loungers reports like-for-like sales down just 1.7%: Loungers, the operator of 165 neighbourhood cafe bars and restaurants across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has announced like-for-like sales have been -1.7% since re-opening. The company stated: “The board is pleased to update on current trading having now re-opened all 165 sites in the estate, with the exception of Cosy Club in Leicester which opens this Friday. Like for like sales have been -1.7% over the period from 4 July, when our phased re-opening commenced, through to 2 August. Whilst these are still early days, we are encouraged by the initial strength of our trading performance to date and remain confident the company will emerge strongly from this period. Loungers will next update the market in late September when we publish our preliminary results for the year ending 19 April 2020. The board hopes to be in a position to recommence providing fuller guidance to the market at this time.”
Ireland announces three-week delay to opening of bars and nightclubs: Ireland announced a new three-week delay yesterday to the full reopening of bars and nightclubs, and further restricted travel after a doubling of covid-19 infections left the country in what the government described as a “precarious situation”. Ireland has reported an average of 46 cases per day over the past seven days, up from an average of 19 the previous week. But it still has the 11th lowest rate of new infections of 32 European countries monitored by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, with nine infections per 100,000 people reported over the past 14 days. “We’re in a precarious situation in our battle with the virus,” Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar told a news conference. “We have lost some ground but it is possible to reclaim it.” Bars operating as restaurants have been allowed to open since the end of June, but those serving just alcohol must remain closed for at least another three weeks to 31 August, Prime Minister Micheál Martin told reporters. “I wish that I was here to share better news but I’m not,” said Martin. He said he could not guarantee bars would reopen this year, adding: “We’ve got to achieve a reasonable equilibrium.” The government has tasked the finance and spending ministers to look at additional funding for sectors likely to be impacted for a significant period of time, such as bars, the arts and entertainment sectors and aviation, Martin said.
London-based meal delivery company secures £250,000 funding to protect jobs: London-based meal delivery company The Pure Package has secured £250,000 of funding to protect jobs. The company has received the funds from HSBC UK through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The loan has enabled the company to protect 30 jobs and ensure it can continue supporting suppliers. The funding also has supported The Pure Package’s focus on its nutrition courses, which it has moved online during the past few months. During the pandemic, The Pure Package set up the online nutrition and culinary practice course that now hosts more than 60 students and is continuing to grow. Founder Jennifer Irvine said: “The past few months has had a huge impact and we anticipate the next few months will continue to be challenging, even as we start to gradually roll-out our food boxes again. The loan meant we could support staff and suppliers and continue with our online nutrition courses during the pandemic. We are now in a strong position to recover and rebuild the business.”
Bake Off: The Professionals winner to launch cookery school: Laurian Veaudour, owner of Cardiff-based Cocorico Patisserie, who this week won television show Bake Off: The Professionals, is to launch a cookery school. Veaudour launched Cocorico Patisserie in Whitchurch Road in 2010 offering French delicacies such as salted caramel-filled tarte au chocolat and hand-made macarons. Veaudour and Cocorico Patisserie head of pastry Thibault Courtoisier were also runners-up in Bake Off: Crème De La Crème in 2017. Veaudour now plans to launch a cookery school – Laurian At Home – in South Wales. He said: “I know a lot of people like to cook but don’t know how to improve or how to get organised, so that will be my next project.”