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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 18th Sep 2020 - Update: Welcome Break, Everyman, Pret, Eagle Eye, Escape Hunt
Welcome Break boosted by staycation trend: Welcome Break has seen a sharp recovery through the summer thanks to government stimulus, increased traffic volumes and staycations, its owner Applegreen has stated. Chief executive Bob Etchingham said: “The first half of 2020 has been an unprecedented period due to the covid-19 pandemic and I am immensely proud of the tremendous efforts of our people in supporting our customers and local communities throughout this challenging period. Applegreen carried good momentum from last year and traded strongly for the first ten weeks of the year, however, we saw a sudden and significant impact on the business from mid-March, particularly in our motorway service areas. This was most pronounced in April and May, but volumes recovered well by the end of the second quarter. To help mitigate some of this impact, the group took swift and decisive action in managing our cost base and tailoring our retail offer for changing consumer needs. Encouragingly, this recovery has continued over the summer months with the further lifting of restrictions, government stimulus packages and the staycation trend, all of which has improved traffic volumes. This performance further demonstrates the resilience of our business model and of our sector. We have learnt a lot during this crisis and are confident that we will emerge as a stronger organisation that is well positioned to benefit from future opportunities across all of our markets.” Group revenue was €1.1bn in the six months to 30 June, reflecting a sales reduction of 26.6% from the impact of covid-19 lockdown restrictions (H1 2019: €1.5bn). Group adjusted Ebitda was €25.3m (H1 2019: €58.9m). 

Crispin Lilly steps down as Everyman Group chief executive: Crispin Lilly has resigned as chief executive at cinema business Everyman Group after almost six years in order to pursue personal interests. The company stated: “Whilst Crispin will step down from the company’s board of directors with immediate effect, he has agreed to stay until the end of September to conduct an orderly handover. Paul Wise, the group’s executive chairman will assume day to day leadership of the business until a suitable replacement is found. The board is commencing a full search for a replacement.” Paul Wise, executive chairman, said: “We would like to thank Crispin for his enormous contribution to Everyman. During his time as chief executive he has overseen our growth from ten venues to the national footprint that we have now established, with thirty-five venues. He leaves the business well placed and with a strong leadership team capable of continuing the recovery and restoring the business back to growth. Crispin has the best wishes of all of us at Everyman and we wish him well in all that he chooses to do in the future.” Crispin Lilly said: “It has been a great privilege to be chief executive of Everyman, and I have huge affection for the business and my outstanding colleagues. I believe I will leave Everyman in both a strong place to continue to weather the effects of covid-19 and well-placed to secure significant growth opportunities in the future.”

Pret A Manger partnering Eagle Eye for coffee subscription offer: Eagle Eye, the technology company that creates digital connections enabling personalised, real-time marketing through coupons, loyalty, apps, subscriptions and gift services, has announced that Pret A Manger is using Eagle Eye’s AIR platform as part of the foundation for its digital transformation with a pioneering new coffee subscription service. The company stated: “’YourPret Barista’ is the first in-shop, flat subscription service to be launched by a hospitality operator in the UK. Subscribers can enjoy up to five barista-prepared drinks per day for a fixed monthly price, where the first month is free for all subscribers as part of national launch. Pret rolled out the service nationwide earlier this month following a rapid development process and a successful trial in Manchester. Built on the Eagle Eye AIR digital marketing platform as part of Pret’s new digital infrastructure, its new in-shop digital service capability will allow it to launch insight-led customer propositions more quickly and at scale.” Ciara Chellun, global head of digital product, Pret A Manger, said: “Working with Eagle Eye has helped us accelerate our customer loyalty strategy and their integration with Oracle Simphony enables us to bring together in-shop customer and transactional data. We now have the building blocks to establish Pret as a digitally-led, multichannel business, and YourPret Barista is the first big launch we’re able to deliver through our new digital technology platform.” Al Henderson, chief sales officer, Eagle Eye said: “We are excited to welcome such a well-known brand onto the Eagle Eye AIR platform. We’re extremely proud to have helped Pret A Manger develop and launch this really game-changing digital initiative in such a short time. Pret’s newly created ability to tie sales analysis to a view of where and who its most frequent customers are will also enable the business to develop new ways to foster greater loyalty at a time when the High Street needs a much-needed boost.” The service costs just £20 per month for up to a maximum of five drinks per day (at one redemption every 30 minutes). After signing up to YourPret Barista, customers are emailed a unique digital voucher issued by the Eagle Eye AIR platform, which can be downloaded into Apple or Google Play mobile wallets on their smartphones. Customers can then redeem their drinks by presenting their voucher for scanning at the till to identify themselves as subscribers and receive their barista-prepared drink, including all its 100% organic and 100% Arabica coffee products. All Pret’s organic teas, hot chocolates, smoothies and frappes are also included. 

Escape Hunt and Netflix launch Print and Play game: Escape Hunt has announced its new game launch for the anticipated release of a Netflix Original Film. The company stated: “Escape Hunt are creating a Print and Play game for fans to enjoy and continue their at home immersive entertainment experience. This is a free one hour experience suitable for two to six players aged 8+. The game can be played via video chat by friends, family members or colleagues and will be available exclusively on Escape Hunt’s website,” Richard Harpham, chief executive of Escape Hunt, said: “We are delighted to have produced a game for Netflix to support their upcoming film release. It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase how our approach to Print and Play immersive gaming adventures can enhance all touchpoints of entertainment.”

Whitbread non-executive to stand down: Whitbread has announced that Deanna Oppenheimer, non-executive director, will be stepping down from the board with effect from 31 December 2020. Adam Crozier, chairman of Whitbread, said: “In the light of the covid-19 pandemic, Deanna wants to rebalance with more time spent in North America and has therefore decided to step down from the Whitbread board. I would like to thank Deanna for her contribution to Whitbread over her four years on the board, including three as chair of the remuneration committee. Deanna’s counsel has been of great benefit to me and our colleagues on the board and she leaves with the best wishes of the whole board.”

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