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Fri 25th Sep 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector voices concerns chancellor’s economic measures ‘don’t go far enough’: Sector operators and trade bodies have voiced concerns the economic measures announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak “don’t go far enough” to protect jobs in the industry. Sunak has announced the creation of the Job Support Scheme, which aims to keep employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant, as well as an extension of the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality businesses until March. But industry bosses have warned further help will be needed if job losses are to be avoided. British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said she was “not confident” the Job Support Scheme is enough to protect jobs in the current trading conditions while the chancellor has missed “a golden opportunity” to extend the VAT cut to include alcohol. She added: “It is very concerning to see the chancellor not extend the business rates relief for pubs. Pubs now face a cliff-edge come March 2021 where they will have to pay on average £25,000 each per rate paying pub. That’s a cost of £800m to the sector, which will be the final straw for many pubs.” Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said: “Earlier this week, the prime minister effectively put many pubs into hibernation for six months, and so we needed a package of measures to protect jobs until the spring. This announcement completely misses the mark and will give little comfort to any of the three million, mainly young, people that work in hospitality. The government will need pubs, hotels and restaurants to kick start the economy in the future – but for the second time in a week, it has failed to see our sector as part of the solution.” Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame, said: “We are proud we have not made redundancies so far. But these new restrictions continue to impact the full operation of the business and will make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to perform certain functions. It is with great regret, therefore, that some job losses now look inevitable. We will strive to keep this to a minimum and to look after our teams to the best of our ability and protect the company for the long term.” Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “The industry is still dealing with the crippling after-effects of the nationwide lock-down and the cumulative effect of the new restrictions, combined with the singling out of pubs, mean the measures announced by the chancellor don’t go far enough, especially for drink-led city centre pubs. More targeted support is needed to help those people whose pubs remain closed, or businesses that were starting to recover that have again become unviable.” St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel said: “The vast majority of hospitality businesses are still losing money or struggling to break even. Paying our teams to work part time only adds to this challenge.” David McDowall, chief operating officer at Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, tweeted: “The hopes of our sector have been crushed. Just not enough to avert a crisis facing thousands of businesses and hundreds of thousands of livelihoods. It all stems from a curfew that is seriously misguided and not based on any concrete evidence.” Nic Wood, owner of Edinburgh-based Signature Group, said: “We need hospitality to stay open as a source of employment but also as part of the support system for our collective mental health. The scheme is a step in the right direction, and offers some hope, but we need further measures moving forward.” Deliveroo chief executive Will Shu said the VAT extension would make a “huge difference” to thousands of restaurants across the country. But he added: “The sector still faces significant challenges. Should more stringent lock-down measures be required, this could have a devastating impact on restaurants and the government must be prepared to put in place an even stronger financial package in future.” Hospitality Professionals Association chief executive Jane Pendlebury said: “Even viable businesses that will manage to survive the next few months and beyond will no doubt need to make cuts to staff. But as for those previously viable businesses hoping to just about limp through the pandemic and make it through to the other side the end of furlough, this may prove to be one hurdle too far.”

Industry News: 

Propel launches Friday Wrap video series with first guest Loungers chairman Alex Reilley: Propel is launching its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (25 September) at 3pm. The new series, sponsored by leading payment app OrderPay, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing that week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by Alex Reilley, chairman of AIM-listed cafe bar operator Loungers, which operates circa 170 sites across the UK under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, to discuss the impact of the 10pm curfew, why the chancellor’s latest support measures for the sector haven’t gone far enough, and where the industry goes from here.

More than 200 operators register for Propel Multi Club free live digital webinar focusing on delivery, open for bookings: More than 200 operators have so far registered for the next Propel Multi Club Conference, taking place on Thursday, 8 October, which will take the form of a day-long digital live webinar and will focus on the opportunity offered to operators by delivery. The event, which starts at 10am, is free for operators, who can claim two places by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Speakers include NPD Group foodservice director Dominic Allport talking about the growth of the delivery market, the key trends that are developing and where the sector goes from here. Elton Gray, commercial and operations director at Creams, will discuss the challenges and considerations of delivery working within a franchised business model. Thom Elliot, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims, will discuss the evolution of the concept’s delivery strategy, plus the development and success of its pizza at home offer. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King UK, will talk to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about being an early adopter of delivery during his time at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, the challenges and opportunities, and how delivery is working for Burger King. Just Eat managing director UK Andrew Kenny will discuss the key trends Just Eat is currently seeing; the key things it has learned since setting up its delivery operation; and how it is using data and insights to help operators improve the delivery experience. AlixPartners director Steve Braude will talk about the delivery market across the Pond and the differences with our own here. Susan Martindale, group HR director at Mitchells & Butlers, will look at building a delivery strategy for pubs, the company’s use of virtual brands and a possible move into dark kitchens. Andre Johnstone, the former Wagamama executive and founder of Delivery Insider, will give his views on how business can navigate through the confusing world of food delivery, from menu set-up to aggregator management. Richard Morris, chief executive of Tortilla, will explain how delivery has forced an evolution of the business for the better. Deliveroo’s director of national accounts Matt Ring will talk to Mark Wingett about how the business continues to innovate, its use of data to create virtual brands and the challenges it faces to stay ahead in terms of growing its consumer base. There will also be a panel session involving JP Then, founder of Crosstown Doughnuts; Johnnie Tate, founder of Yard Sale Pizza; and Christa Bloom-Burrows, co-founder of vegan fast food brand Biff's Kitchen; on launching, operating and growing in a delivery-focused world.
 
Mark Wingett examines an eventful week for the hospitality sector, which can expect a difficult six months ahead: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett looks at the fallout from another eventful week for the sector, which has a long, difficult six months stretching ahead of it. There will also be the latest sector rumblings from Premium Diary. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has grown to 1,600 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com
 
Tim Martin slams curfew as ‘another random move that lacks scientific credibility’: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has claimed the introduction of a 10pm curfew at hospitality sites is “another random move” by a “narrow band of politicians”. Martin claimed the move reduces sales for an already suffering sector while also hitting the tax that would be generated from such sales. He said: “The main problem with the 10pm curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the government, which lacks logic or scientific credibility – it’s part of their “don’t just stand there, do something” approach. It will reduce sales for hard-pressed pubs and restaurants, reduce employment and reduce government taxes as a result.” The boss of the 861-strong managed chain explained his sites are being successful with their covid-safe measures. He added: “The curfew will also increase the level of unsupervised socialising in the UK, as customers leave pubs and restaurants earlier. There are about three million people employed in the hospitality industry and they are doing their conscientious best, with considerable success, to ensure that social distancing and hygiene standards are observed – 90% of Wetherspoon pubs, for example, have had zero reported cases of the virus – the great majority of the remaining pubs have only had one case. In contrast, one sandwich-making facility in the Midlands has had far more reported infections than all Wetherspoon’s 861 pubs combined.” Martin also stated homes are where most transmissions of coronavirus take place and pointed to the Swedish model to how the UK should be acting. He said: “Decisions are now being taken, under emergency powers, by a very narrow band of politicians in government, in league with advisers with equally narrow backgrounds. Many people strongly believe the Swedish approach, which avoids lock-downs and authoritarian measures is superior. Parliament needs to step up to the plate to end this authoritarian and counterproductive approach.”
 
HOSPA scheme to offer hotel guests incentives in exchange for their custom: Not-for-profit educational organisation Hospitality Professionals Association (HOSPA) has launched a scheme to encourage customers to use hotels while owners give a little something back too – with a planned start date of Thursday, 1 October. HOSPA’s #SleepOverToHelpTurnover scheme has recognised the government 10pm curfew – among other social gathering restrictions – has put hotels and other hospitality sites on the brink of collapse once again and wants to give the industry a boost. HOSPA chief executive Jane Pendlebury said: “The latest preventative measures are set to squeeze an industry that is already at breaking point. Curtailments on revenue, no matter how seemingly small, have serious knock-on effects – from job losses to whole businesses having to close. Just this week, we’ve seen Whitbread warn of 6,000 job losses. This serves to underline how perilous the current situation is for the industry. To try and counteract this, we’re looking to provide a boost to hotels’ recovery through #SleepOverToHelpTurnover, which has a primary aim of encouraging the public to enjoy overnight stays. We want to make people aware that, by enjoying a hotel stay and eating in the restaurant, guests will be providing a huge boost to hotels and the UK economy. We see this as a two-way initiative and are encouraging our members and others to incentivise potential guests by offering appreciative extras, such as an inclusive breakfast, complimentary bottles of wine, free Wi-Fi upgrades, car parking, half-price cocktails and more to reward those who engage with the #SleepOverToHelpTurnover scheme.” Those backing the initiative already include Tregenna Castle Resort in St Ives, Cornwall; Coombe Abbey Park, in West Midlands; and bookings specialist Profitroom.
 
Cask Marque issues warning for sector as Cask Ale Week launches: Cask Ale Week launched on Thursday (24 September) on the same day the government imposed a 10pm curfew on pubs across the country. Cask Marque director and instigator of Cask Ale Week Paul Nunny said: “Cask Ale Week couldn’t come at a better time. It encourages licensees to spread the word about their great asset: fresh pub beer. [But] to survive in the long run, pubs and breweries need people to visit now. Going to the pub for a pint of real ale helps keep pubs – so often the hearts of their communities – open. It supports desperately needed jobs in hospitality, many among young people, who are the hardest hit, economically. Drinking cask ale also helps keep the country’s wonderful craft breweries open. Each pint you drink supports the jobs of farmers, maltsters, hop growers, engineers, marketeers, sales people – as well as skilled, talented and experimental brewers. Publicans and staff are working tirelessly to offer a warm welcome, great beer and a safe, sociable environment in the face of significant challenges.” 
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a restaurant, retail and wholesale business that is recruiting for a senior applications analyst. The position is based in London and will pay between £45,000 and £55,000. The senior applications analyst has overall responsibility for IT application support activities including maintenance, administration, and second and third-line support. They will work closely with the service desk to provide second and third-line operational support and to ensure timely and efficient resolution of IT application-related incidents and service requests. The application support analyst will also support the process of impact assessing and planning IT application changes, and will then implement, test and monitor required changes in line with agreed plans. Ideally, the hiring business would love a candidate from the food wholesale, food retail or restaurant sector as well as the mentioned skill set. Anyone interested can email Luke@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

Mexican restaurant brand Chilango acquired out of administration for £1m: Mexican restaurant brand Chilango was acquired out of administration last month by investment group RD Capital Partners for £1m, Propel has learned. The deal secured ten of Chilango’s 11 restaurants and preserved about 130 jobs, with managing director Richard Franks, who took over running Chilango in February, continuing to lead the business. The £1m paid for the business includes £829,991 in goodwill (£402,407 consideration, £427,584 secured debt rollover). The administrator’s report showed ten parties made an offer for the business, which underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) at the start of this year, but that follow-up conversations were held with just six of these. Interested parties in all or part of the business were thought to include RCapital, Imbiba and Tortilla. Following further discussions, administrator RSM concluded the preferred bidder was RD Capital Partners. The report stated: “It was subsequently confirmed by the secured creditors and, as such, they would only look to roll over their debt in respect of this offer.” It also states the purchaser had committed a further £375,000 investment to assist with the business’ working capital requirements following completion of the deal. Pre-administration, the company had engaged Harper Dennis Hobbs to liaise with landlords in an attempt to consensually negotiate a reduction in its current CVA rent levels and associated arrears. However, they were unable to gain the “required traction”. The report stated: “The directors were of the opinion they would not be able to trade out of this situation and a further restructuring was required. This was due to levels of debt, which were considered unsustainable. Management reported the following debts: HMRC £1.6m, landlord to September 2020 £579,000, and other unsecured creditors circa £6.4m. The directors anticipated that once the current government protection/moratorium ended, the company would have been subject to creditor action from which it could not recover.”
 
Eataly plans winter opening for first UK site: Eataly, the Italian food emporium, plans to open its first UK site this winter, complete with three restaurants, four bars and a gourmet grocery market. The opening at 135 Bishopsgate, in the City of London, will feature the Terra restaurant, which is described as the “jewel in Eataly London’s crown”. Terra will be a wood-burning Italian grill restaurant inspired by “earth, gin and fire”. The store will also feature fresh market Italian restaurant Cucina Del Mercato and quick service restaurant Pronto. There will also be fresh counters and a bakery. The London store will host around 400 employees. Founded in 2007, Eataly is the world’s largest artisanal Italian food and beverage marketplace. In 2018, it signed a deal with British Land to open a 42,000 square foot venue at 135 Bishopsgate. The food market will occupy a double-fronted unit on the ground floor of an office building in Bishopsgate, which is located close to Liverpool Street station. Eataly’s market will be on the ground and first floors of the building.
 
@Pizza hits £820,000 crowdfunding target within six hours of campaign launch to support UK’s first drive-thru pizza concept: Edinburgh-based pizza concept @Pizza has hit its £820,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube within six hours of the campaign launch to support the UK’s first drive-thru pizza concept. The raise is taking the form of a convertible loan that will earn 10% interest per annum until it converts. Convertible loan holders will have an option to convert their capital into shares at a 25% discount if @Pizza raises equity within the next 36 months. The funds will be used to expand through a mix of permanent sites and semi-permanent outlets – the latter of which will be drive-thrus in the form of shipping containers. So far, 246 investors have pledged £905,430 and the campaign is “overfunding” with 30 days remaining. As previously reported, @Pizza – which currently has two restaurants, in Edinburgh and Birmingham – is looking to build a portfolio of 20 to 30 sites across the UK in four or five “clusters”. The shipping containers will occupy spaces of between 22 and 30 square metres. The drive-thrus would be able to make up to ten pizzas a minute, with customers offered unlimited options to customise. They would be able to order via an app with the option of collection or delivery to their vehicle. @Pizza is also due to open a site at the St James Quarter development in Edinburgh.
 
Rosa’s lines up Greenwich opening: TriSpan-backed Rosa’s Thai Cafe is looking to further expand its presence in the capital, with an opening in Greenwich. The 20-strong group is believed to be in talks to take the former Saigon restaurant unit on Nelson Road. The Gavin Adair-led business recently opened its 20th site, in Queensway, as part of the West Walk Estate next month. It will follow this with an opening in The Cut, Waterloo, in October. The company has reopened all of its restaurants for dine-in after keeping several open in the capital for delivery and collection during lock-down. It also operates two delivery kitchen sites with Deliveroo, in Blackwell and Crouch End. It also has a site lined up at the new Paradise development in Birmingham alongside Dishoom and Vinoteca.
 
Heavenly Desserts is sweet on Time Square development for 30th site: Artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts will open its 30th site, in the £142m Time Square development in Warrington. Heavenly Desserts has secured a 1,500 square foot double-fronted unit on the corner of Dolmans Lane and Bridge Street. Heavenly Desserts director Mohammed Imran said: “The vision of what is here at Time Square is exactly what we’re looking for and we can’t wait to open and serve the town.” Time Square has been delivered by Warrington & Co on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, with urban regenerator Muse Developments as the scheme’s development manager. Muse development director Leon Guyett added: “The signing of Heavenly Desserts highlights, despite these unprecedented times, there’s still confidence in the market for innovative mixed-use schemes delivered through strong partnerships with a shared vision that offer well-designed buildings, which all comes together to create a destination. We’ve got a thriving new market, The Botanist and the Cineworld cinema, Gravity to open towards the end of the year and two further units under offer too.” According to a report by marketing, technology and data company CACI, Time Square will increase Warrington’s catering market potential by 14% to £68.5m making Warrington a top ten dining destination in the north west. Metis Real Estate Advisors acted on behalf of Warrington & Co. and Muse Developments. Rawstron Johnson acted for Heavenly Desserts.
 
Goodbody – M&B fourth-quarter performance better than expected: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has said Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) fourth-quarter performance was better than expected. In its pre-close trading statement, M&B said total sales over the 51 weeks in the year to date have declined by 35.4%, which Ruddy said suggested full-year revenue of £1.45bn to £1.5bn versus his expectation of £1.38bn. He said: “This was driven by better like-for-likes than we anticipated during the reopening phase, particularly in September. Liquidity remains at a similar level to the July update with circa £100m of cash balances and £140m of undrawn committed unsecured facilities (£250m in July). We had expected a small cash inflow in the fourth quarter so this indicates that net debt is slightly higher than our expectations (£2.25bn pre and £1.7bn post IFRS16). We believe M&B can break even at between 60% to 65% of prior year sales so it should be cash flow-positive despite the curfew restrictions. In this context, the £240m of available liquidity is reassuring, but a further lock-down of the sector would create challenges. The group previously highlighted a £30m to £35m monthly cash outflow before debt service during the lockdown phase, but this included furlough benefits. We value M&B on 6.8 times EV/Ebitda and seven times price-to-earnings ratio both applied to FY22 forecasts and discounted by a year. This is one standard deviation below five-year averages to reflect the covid risks that will continue to impact the sector. M&B trades on ten times FY21 and five times FY22 earnings per share and eight times and six times EV/Ebitda so represents a value way to play the recovery in eating and drinking out.”

Bao group targets King’s Cross opening in November for fourth site: Shing Tat Chung, Erchen Chang and Wai Ting Chung, who founded Taiwanese steamed buns concept Bao are to launch their fourth site in November. Originally planned to open in May, Cafe Bao has been inspired by western-style cafes commonly found in Asia and will feature a counter specifically for Bao bakery goods. The all-day cafe will feature breakfast for the first time at any of the group’s sites too. The restaurant will take reservations and also offer home delivery and click and collect from its Pancras Square base. Co-founder and food art director Chang said: “The inspiration for Cafe Bao stemmed from Yoshoku cuisine, an interpretation of western food, seen through an Asian lens. This style of cooking is something that’s always resonated with us and made us feel quite nostalgic. After a recent trip to Taipei, Hong Kong and Osaka, we realised we wanted to bring it to life.” On the menu, diners can expect Hamburger Bao, Lobster Bao and Fried Chicken XO Butter Kiev. Desserts will include Lonely Pudding – Bao’s iconic lonely man embodied in a creme caramel flan and BAOfiteroles, featuring Horlicks ice cream with chocolate sauce. The bakery aspect will allow customers to take away goods such as Molten Chocolate & Salted Egg ‘Muffin’ Bao, Salted Caramel Bao Cookie and Pizza Bao, plus limited edition celebration items. There will also be a customisbale bao making service, as well as a series of workshops. The counter will also serve bubble tea and coffee to take away.

Former ASK Italian and KFC executive secures £1m funding to launch healthy eating app: Tech start-up Smash – the brainchild of former ASK Italian managing director Chris Holmes – has secured £1m in funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to launch an app that aims to fight obesity in 13 to 24-year-olds. The app, expected to go public early next year, will offer up to 20% off on healthier food options at food-to-go retailers. Holmes, who has London child obesity tsar Paul Lindley on board with the Smash (Save Money And Stay Healthy) scheme, came up with the idea of the app while working at KFC as a board member. He realised a system that bans the bad and doesn’t promote the good could be slow at effecting change. He said: “We are already actively engaged in conversations with a number of the UK’s leading food-to-go and restaurant brands in order to nudge Smash users into a surprisingly broad range of lower-calorie options with up to 20% discount on all healthier items. It’s a straightforward idea applied to a massively complex problem shaped by environment and income inequality. So we need to change the dynamic and make healthier food the cheaper and most accessible option – essentially we plan to be the Young Person’s Railcard for healthy food – albeit digital, free and fun.” Kieron Boyle, chief executive of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the London-based urban health foundation, added: “The places kids hang out are flooded with prompts to eat unhealthily – especially in poorer areas. We need new thinking like Smash to put healthier food centre stage.”

Cineworld revenues slump and may need to raise money if restrictions tighten again: Cineworld has warned further covid-19 restrictions or film delays may force it to raise cash as revenue plummeted. Although it had reopened 561 out of 778 sites worldwide as lock-down restrictions eased, its balance sheet has suffered a $1.6bn (£1.26bn) loss for the six months to June when cinemas were closed during lock-down. Cineworld said: “There can be no certainty as to the future impact of covid-19 on the group. If governments were to strengthen restrictions on social gathering, which may, therefore, oblige us to close our estate again or further push back movie releases, it would have a negative impact on our financial performance and likely require the need to raise additional liquidity.” Six of its theatres remain closed in the UK after being forced to shut in March. The closures meant group revenues sank to $712.4m (£560m) in the first six months of the year, compared with $2.15bn (£1.69bn) during the same period in 2019. Cineworld said it was still in talks with creditors to negotiate waivers on banking agreements, which are due in December 2020 and June 2021. It added recent trading had been “encouraging considering the circumstances”, with Christopher Nolan’s spy film Tenet, which was released early in September, being a highlight.
  
PizzaExpress launches two variants to its ‘Classic’ range to cook at home: PizzaExpress has boosted its “Classic” range by adding two nine-inch pizzas to its portfolio. The Fiorentina and Quattro Formaggi flavours will be available at Waitrose & Partners from Tuesday (29 September) with a recommended retail price of £5 each. The line-up available now comprises six nine-inch pizzas and four 12-inch recipes. PizzaExpress also claimed it sells 30 million pizzas in UK supermarkets every year. Head of retail Richard Mills said: “Since the launch of our retail business in 1998, we have gone from strength-to-strength, offering customers a selection of quality products across various categories that have proven to be incredibly popular. This is the first new launch for our Classic range for a few years and with an increase in customers recreating the restaurant experience at home, we’re confident that they will prove to be extremely popular with customers.” The Fiorentina is topped with garlic spinach, black olives, mozzarella and passata; while the Quattro Formaggi lists passata, mozzarella, mature cheddar, pecorino and provolone cheese as ingredients.
 
Honest Burgers expands ‘Honest at Home’ kit range: Active Partners-backed Honest Burgers has added two new kits to its “Honest at Home” range – the vegan Plant variant and signature Tribute burger have joined their Honest burger kit sibling. The Plant kit contain everything needed to replicate the restaurant’s best-selling vegan burger: plant-based patties, vegan smoked Gouda, Rubies in the Rubble chipotle “mayo”, mustard, red onion and homemade pickles. The Tribute burger set contains Honest beef patties, homemade relish and pickles, smoked bacon, burger sauce, French’s mustard and American cheese. Although the company said lettuce and chips have not been included because they do not travel well, it has included complimentary homemade rosemary salt to season customers’ own chips. Each pack is available as a pack of two or four burgers, the option of gluten-free buns and a reusable Honest Tote bag. The Plant kit costs £17 plus £6 delivery for a two-pack and £27 plus £6 delivery for a four-pack. Prices for the Tribute and Honest kits are £15 plus £6 and £24 plus £6, respectively. Deliveries are available nationwide and seven days a week.

Greene King raises funds for Macmillan with face mask drive: Brewer and retailer Greene King has introduced the sale of disposable face masks in its pubs, with all profits being donated to its national charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support. The move follows the government’s new rules introduced this week, which include the mandatory use of face coverings in pubs unless the customer is seated at a table and eating or drinking. The face masks will be offered for sale for £1 to those guests who arrive without a face covering. The company’s annual Macmillan May campaign was put on hold this year and transferred to September instead. So far, in just three weeks, Greene King has raised more than £400,000 for the charity.

Pizza Pilgrims lands award for DIY pizza kit during lock-down: Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria concept founded by brothers James and Thom Elliott, has won an award for its entrepreneurial take on DIY pizzas. The business has been named Pivot Entrepreneurs of the Year for London and the east of England at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards – and will now go on to a national final. Pizza Pilgrims realised its sales through Deliveroo were failing to break even during at the start of lock-down so the brothers launched a DIY pizza kit for customers at home and sales soared. Now in its eighth year, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in partnership with Starling Bank celebrate the hard work and inspiring stories of entrepreneurs in the UK, rather than the business’ balance sheet. The Pivot Entrepreneur of the Year category was added in response to the outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdown measures. It celebrates those who have adapted their business to ensure they survive and thrive after the crisis.
 
Bibendum signs up as official wine partner to London Restaurant Festival: Drinks distributor Bibendum will be the official wine partner of the London Restaurant Festival, which runs from Thursday, 1 October until Saturday, 31 October. Bibendum will provide the festival, which will take place in the form of restaurant takeovers and restaurant-quality food at delegates’ homes, with an exciting range of wines from its portfolio to pair with the menus of more than 60 culinary events. Simon Davis, founder of London Restaurant Festival, which has taken place annually across London since 2009, said: “We are extremely pleased to have a wine business of such distinction as Bibendum come on board as the official wine. Since the London Restaurant Festival experiences are now all paired with wine, it makes sense. We’re now working closely with Bibendum to select an inspiring selection of wine to star alongside menus at 50 of London’s leading restaurants.” Bibendum chief executive Michael Saunders added: “At a time where it is extremely difficult for wine producers to put their wines in front of consumers and the restaurant trade, we are delighted that we can provide an opportunity for them to showcase their wines at such an exciting series of events.”
Bibendum is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

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