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Mon 28th Sep 2020 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Starbucks to receive £85m of support from US parent over three years – £45m related to covid-19: Starbucks UK is receiving £85m over three years from its parent company as it moves to an increasingly franchised estate – and gets though the problems that have arisen from covid-19. Starbucks UK received a £40m capital injection from its US parent company in the year to 29 September 2019 – “the company relies on the support of its ultimate parent company”, newly filed accounts state. A further £25m credit facility was provided in May 2020 to provide liquidity as a result of the impact of covid-19. The company added: “We have revised our projections as a result of covid-19 and estimate a further cash shortfall of approximately £20m will arise over the period to September 2021, which will require funding from Starbuck Corporation.” The accounts for the year to 29 September 2019 show a loss before tax of £6.6m, compared with a loss before tax of £17.2m the year before. Turnover reduced to £361.7m from £387.6m the year before, having closed 52 company-operated stores. However, 61 new stores opened with 55 of these across its license and franchise partners. The company paid £15.1m to exit leases of company-operated stores in the year – and made a £2.3m impairment charge against 14 underperforming stores, with a £700,000 onerous lease provision against six of these stores. There was also an additional onerous lease provision of £3.4m in 2019 for office space within its support centre that it is no longer occupied. The ratio of company-operated sites to licensed sites was 32/68 in the year. Starbucks UK waived royalties for franchisees between 1 April 2020 and 30 June 2020, extended credit terms on all amounts owed to 30 June 2020 and allowed product orders to be adjusted for summer 2020 openings. “We did not take advantage of the government funded furlough scheme in our operated sites,” it stated. Starbucks had 910 UK stores on 29 September 2019, compared with 906 the year before – the number of company-operated stores had reduced to 288 from 334 the year before. Average number of employees was 4,920, down from 5,271 the year before – this does not include staff employed by franchisees and licensees. 
 

Industry News: 

Sponsored message – leading hospitality brands embrace digital in response to crisis: Digital marketing tactics are being used to great effect to fight back against the onslaught of threats from covid and the latest government restrictions. As rules on venues tighten, and consumers turn online, digital is proving highly effective at delivering much-needed revenue. Smart operators know marketing is an investment, not a cost, and the best returns on marketing investment can be found online. Highly targeted, performance campaigns can deliver up to 75 times return on your investment. E-commerce for hospitality – gift vouchers, click and collect, meal kits and delivery – is booming. The best thing is you don’t need huge budgets to be in the game. “Digital is all about getting maximum bang for your buck”, said Ignite chief marketing officer Naomi Davies. “But a lot of people don’t know where to start. And that’s where we can help; recommending the best digital tactics to implement, determining levels of budget investment and – crucially – what results you can expect to get in return.” If you’re thinking of investing in digital marketing, but not sure where to start, get in touch with Ignite. If you have information you would like to feature in a sponsored message, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com
 
Pub operators warn of ‘polo mint problem’ as sector expects up to three years before normal trade levels return: UK pub operators have warned of a “polo mint” problem emerging in the sector as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll – and it will take up to three years to get back to normal trade levels. Findings by research firm Third Bridge revealed sector bosses believe the first and second quarters of next year are going to be “very tough” as VAT goes back up, suspended payments become due, unemployment bites, business rates return and rent relief tapers away. Ross Hindle, UK pubs and hospitality sector analyst at Third Bridge, said: “Some say a so-called ‘polo mint problem’ has already emerged, with inner-city pubs fighting for survival, while community and suburban pubs, typically serving food, do better. Overall, experts say, the UK is likely to lose between 1,500 and 2,000 pubs over the next 12 to 18 months. We’re told many pubs only become profitable at between 70% and 80% capacity, yet social distancing regulations and the rule of six mean many public houses are now capped at about 50% to 60% capacity – and so unable to break even. The usage of outdoor space can bolster that percentage but its impact is expected to fade as the winter months draw in. We’ve been told, in 2019, UK pub revenues were about £25bn. However, in the second half of this year, pubs are expected to deliver just 55% of last year’s revenue level and that’s without another national lock-down. Experts are telling us that even by the end of 2021, UK pubs should deliver only 92% of 2019 revenue levels. In real terms that would mean many publicans making only half of their usual profits. That said, executives say pubs will over-index or gain market share against the hospitality sector in general – winning against full-service restaurants, hotels, plus travel and leisure establishments. Overall, we are hearing the pubs business will get back to 2019 levels of revenue in late 2022 or 2023.”
 
Sector pleads for more support as job losses loom: A letter has been sent by sector leaders to local MPs asking them to push pressure on chancellor Rishi Sunak to offer more help as job cuts loom. “They are all looking at job cuts,” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls told the Mail on Sunday. “It is no longer a question of if, but when and how many.” London pub retailer Young's is making up to 500 of its 4,200 staff redundant and a major late-night operator, which asked not to be named, will on Monday (28 September) make a third of its 750 staff redundant. Meanwhile, Tokyo Industries, which runs 45 clubs and late-night bars across the UK, said it may have to “hibernate” the entire business, with the loss of about 1,800 jobs. Nightclub operator The Deltic Group will start consultation on a second round of redundancies within two weeks. The letter to MPs said the chancellor's new Job Support Scheme “fell short of what was needed” to protect jobs and said the government must pick up the cost for “all unworked hours” while restrictions – such as the 10pm curfew for bars and restaurants – remain in place. It also called for a new round of targeted grants to get hospitality businesses through the winter, plus extensions for the sector's VAT cut and the business rates holiday. Part of the letter stated: “The most critical action is to extend the VAT cut beyond March, until the end of 2021. This will get people into venues, stimulate economic activity and sustain employment. The business rates holiday must be extended throughout the year 2021-22. The proposed level of cost to business is simply not achievable after the year of turmoil we will have faced. We need to minimise costs to make sure we can continue to employ our staff and recover our businesses. On top of this support package it is critical covid restrictions imposed upon my business at either a national or local level are reviewed regularly, at least every three weeks, to make sure they remain appropriate. When the time is right these must be eased to allow us to return to growth at the earliest opportunity.” Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis said the Job Support Scheme “will make no difference” to his pubs, which have been hit by the 10pm curfew and the “U-turn on the work from home message”. He said: “From November, we will only employ and pay the staff for the hours that are needed.” Meanwhile Night Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: “Feedback from more than 300 night-time economy businesses on Thursday and Friday night across the country reported a catastrophic drop in trade, showing on average 62% down on previous weeks, believed to be solely due to the implementation of the new restrictions. The sector has been very explicit in its feedback to the government regarding the impact of a 10pm curfew, but we are yet to see the scientific evidence to substantiate the decision to implement this.”
 
David Lammy questions science behind 10pm curfew: Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has said the introduction of a 10pm curfew for pubs in England has led to people “bubbling out of pubs” at the same time. The Labour MP said drinkers were “hanging around towns and they're potentially spreading the virus”. Lammy questioned the “science” behind the new restrictions, saying: “It's not clear where that came from.” But culture secretary Oliver Dowden said: “There is definitely science behind it.” Speaking on BBC One's Andrew Marr Show, Dowden said: “That's why we're requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar. We are reducing the closing times to stop people staying later and drinking. And the point about all of this is everyone has their part to play. If we all play by the rules, we can ensure there are not further, more draconian restrictions.”
 
New restrictions will cut hospitality visits but won’t end socialising: Consumers will significantly reduce their visits to pubs, bars and restaurants in the light of new government restrictions but many plan to continue socialising elsewhere after curfew, according to a snap poll. CGA’s latest Consumer Pulse Survey, conducted on Tuesday (22 September) after the announcement of requirements, including 10pm closures and mandatory table service, revealed two in five (40%) said they will go out less often as a result of the measures – almost three times as many as those who will go out more frequently (14%). The research showed tighter regulations are set to have the biggest impact on consumers who have been slow to return to hospitality – especially those in older age groups. They appear less likely to affect the behaviour of previously regular visitors, who largely indicate they will maintain their frequency. But the curfew might not have the government’s desired effect of reducing late-night contact, the survey suggested. A third (34%) said they would be likely to invite friends back to their house after 10pm, and almost as many (30%) admit they would seek out alternative locations to continue socialising. The survey indicated the measures may have further important impacts on behaviour, including shorter visits and an even greater reluctance to visit city centres. Among people who often go out late, three quarters will either stay for a shorter length of time (43%) or stay away in the late evening completely (34%). Of those who typically visit city centres, half (48%) said they are now less likely to visit venues – much more than those in rural areas (29%). The regulations may also spread visits more evenly across the week – continuing a pattern of behaviour set in August by the popularity of the Eat Out To Help Out promotion on Mondays to Wednesdays. Two in five (41%) consumers, who previously went out on Saturdays, said they are less likely to do so now, compared with 29% of weekday visitors.
 
Independent Welsh hospitality businesses ‘will not benefit from Job Support Scheme’: The Welsh Independent Restaurant Collective (WIRC), which represents more than 300 businesses, has argued independent hospitality businesses will not see any benefit from the new Job Support Scheme. It highlights it “does not make financial sense” for hospitality to pay staff 55% of their wages for 33% of their time, against a backdrop of being unable to trade at normal incomes. The WIRC argued chancellor Rishi Sunak’s statement “showed a deep lack of understanding of the increasingly fragile financial position of the sector” and the industry has been “hung out to dry”. The WIRC said: “Our members have already demonstrated how creative and adaptable they are at dealing with the restrictions placed on them. The Welsh economy needs these businesses to stay alive. The UK government has clearly failed to support the hospitality industry. We call on the Welsh government urgently to support our businesses, as pillars of the foundational economy, supporting thousands of jobs and skilled trades in our supply chains right across Wales. We need to prevent deep and long scarring at the heart of our communities.”
 
Scottish university students banned from pubs and restaurants to stop coronavirus spread: Students studying at Scottish universities have been banned from going to the pub to help stop the spread of coronavirus. Higher education representatives implemented temporary rules to try to combat the number of outbreaks on campuses. As well as being banned from pubs and restaurants, students will be required to download the Protect Scotland tracing app. If they do not follow the rules, they will face a “yellow card, red card” discipline system that could see them being removed from their studies. First minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: “To all students – I’m so sorry covid is making this special time of your lives so tough. But it won’t be forever and the more we get the virus back under control now, the sooner you’ll get a bit of normality back. So, please do what’s being asked of you.”
 
New York makes outdoor dining initiative permanent: New York's initiative that allows operators to offer outdoor dining on the city’s streets will be permanent and year-round. Mayor Bill de Blasio said a combination of “Open Streets” and “Open Restaurants” will be permanent and affects 87 roads city-wide. The “Open Restaurants” programme allows individual businesses to apply and self-certify to use the pavement outside their premises while “Open Streets” allows restaurants in the area to join together to apply online for weekend-only outdoor dining on roads closed to traffic. De Blasio said: “I believe this will make it a lot easier for restaurants to survive. This will really help us, it's an important part of how we recover as a city.” De Blasio revealed in August that 9,000 restaurants were taking part in the programme, saving an estimated 80,000 jobs. The NYC Hospitality Alliance stated: “Outdoor dining has transformed New York City's streetscape for the better and has been a critical lifeline for thousands of small businesses and jobs throughout the five boroughs during the covid-19 pandemic.”
 
Marseille bar and restaurant closure set to be challenged in court: The closure of bars and restaurants in Marseille by the French government is set to be challenged in court. Regional president Renaud Muselier said he would contest the decision as hundreds of protesters gathered outside the city’s courthouse on Friday (25 September) to vent their anger about the restrictions. Muselier described the decision to close all food and drink outlets in the second most populated urban area in France as “a punishment”, “a catastrophe”, and “disproportionate”. The government has said it made the move because the three crucial measures – infection rate, hospital emergency bed occupancy and overall number of infections – are all beyond the limit considered manageable. Businesses affected by the new regulations will be exempt from all social charges for the entire period of closure or reduced trading. Grants of up to €10,000 will be made available to cover rent and other fixed charges. A special solidarity fund has been created by the finance ministry, aimed specifically at helping small independent businesses. All employees who have to be laid off will have their entire salary paid by the state, an increase on the 85% due to come into effect at the end of October.
 
Survey reveals hard work and frustrations on the front line: Four in five hospitality staff are back at work – and training has helped the large majority to feel safe and satisfied, according to new research. The “Hospitality Professionals: Returning to the Sector” report from CGA and CPL Learning showed 81% of staff are back working in their venues, though a quarter (24%) said they remain concerned about their long-term job security. A total of 89% are satisfied with the covid-19 measures in their workplace. Nine in ten (89%) said they had received covid-specific training before returning to work, and almost as many (87%) were satisfied with it. The training and hard work of front line teams has helped hospitality to show consumers it is safe to eat and drink out since lock-down. We Hear You research from CGA, Yumpingo and UKHospitality showed 96% of guests have been satisfied with the level of hygiene and cleanliness in venues they have visited, and 89% with the way team members have followed precautions. The latest survey also revealed the frustrations staff have experienced since lock-down, including the challenge of ensuring guests respect guidelines around social distancing, one-way systems and staying seated. There is also disappointment about the pandemic’s impact on operations, and in excess of half (58%) of staff think safety measures have had an impact on the level of service they can provide, especially by reducing personal interaction. Those concerns don’t appear to be reflected in the views of customers though, since almost nine in ten feel their interaction with staff has been better (29%) or the same (57%) as on pre-lock-down visits.
CPL Learning is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 
Job of the day: COREcruitment is supporting a restaurant business that is seeking a management accountant. This position, based in London and paying up to £45,000, will support all general finance for this multi-site operation. The individual will manage a timely month-end process to produce quality financial information and analysis for leadership and the board. The management accountant will be responsible for the preparation and review of monthly and annual management accounts, including full balance sheet reconciliations. The ideal candidate will be a part or fully qualified accountant (ACA, ACCA or CIMA), with management accounting and financial reporting experience as well as being an innovative and hands-on individual. Advanced Excel, numerical and analytical skills are also essential. Anyone interested can email Oliwia@corecruitment.com
COREcruitment is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
 

Company News:

Pure launches CVA process: Healthy food-to-go concept Pure has become the latest sector operator to launch a company voluntary arrangement (CVA). Propel understands the 22-strong company is working with advisors RSM on the proposals and expects the CVA process to complete on Wednesday, 7 October. Co-founder Spencer Craig told Propel: “We really did not want to do a CVA. It was the last option we considered. We took every other possible measure but in the end, the lack of people in central London has led to an unsustainable position for us. And with government guidance on working from home changing again last week, there is now unlikely to be any improvement until 2021. We have been a little surprised by how many people have not wanted to return to see their colleagues or enjoy the wonders of central London. We love both of these things. London is an ecosystem of the demand created by the people that work here, visit from its suburbs, and international tourists. There are so many wonderful restaurants, shops, theatres, museums, live events and a public transport infrastructure to support this demand. But if you remove office workers from this system, there will be far, far less for everyone to enjoy and then we are into self-fulfilling decline. But we have faith in London to return. Landlords have been very supportive. They recognise we are in this together. We have been talking for more than six months and their support has got us to this point and will continue to allow us to recover. Although we had no option other than a CVA in the short-term, we are confident about what the future holds. In February this year, Pure was an award-winning, high growth food-to-go business opening our first site in an airport. We had invested significantly in our older estate with refits and had an ambitious expansion plan over the next 24 months. Over the medium and long-term we will find a solution to this crisis because of our incredible team. Their spirit during the early stages of lock-down and their desire to improve since our estate has reopened has been inspiring. We will innovate and come back a stronger business over the next few years.”

Polpo files notice of administration: Polpo, the restaurant business founded in Soho in 2009 by Russell Norman and Richard Beatty has filed a notice of administration, according to The Times. The restaurant chain, which operates sites in Soho and Chelsea, declined to comment on the report. Last month, Norman stepped down as director of Polpo. The business underwent a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) last year. Propel had exclusively revealed the business was seeking a CVA and would sell two loss-making central London sites as it faced a £500,000 tax bill and a deteriorating trading position. Earlier this year, Propel revealed the business had placed two of its sites in the capital, in Farringdon and Covent Garden, on the market through property adviser CDG Leisure. It also closed its remaining regional site, in Brighton. Last year the company put its Polpetto site in Soho’s Berwick Street and eponymous restaurant in Notting Hill Gate up for sale, with the former taken over by all-day concept The Breakfast Club. 

Andrew Wong's City restaurant Kym's Bloomberg Arcade closes permanently: Andrew Wong's Kym's restaurant at London’s Bloomberg Arcade has closed permanently after just two years trading. Backed by the White Rabbit Fund, Kym's was an attempt by Wong to move into more mainstream territory. A spokesman for the business said: “It is with a heavy heart we have decided not to reopen Kym's. The decision comes after careful consultation with all partners and staff. We're extremely proud of the Kym's team and everything we've achieved since opening our doors in the City. It has been a fantastic journey and we're grateful to Bloomberg for their support.” Wong's other restaurant, the Michelin-starred A Wong in Victoria, which he opened in 2012, remains open.

Social Entertainment Ventures remains committed to expansion: Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV), the US and UK experiential leisure operator, has said it remains active in pursuing new opportunities for its brands in both countries. The company, which saw revenue for the 12 months to the end of 2019 increase year-on-year by 27% to £19.1m and adjusted Ebitda up 39% to £1.8m, said it continued to review opening plans for its pipeline of new sites in the US and UK. The group’s latest update includes the first full year’s trading from Flight Club Chicago, which SEV operates under licence in North America. The company opened its second Flight Club in Boston in December 2019, which pre-pandemic had traded “very successfully”. In the UK, its new bingo concept Hijingo was set to open in mid-March but its launch remains on hold due to coronavirus. SEV chief executive Toby Harris said: “What happened in 2019 seems a lifetime ago but it was a great year for us. Current trading during this period appears to be in line with our peers and both our US and UK teams are working very hard to navigate their way through all the challenges. London and Chicago have been tough given the lack of city centre action and we have only this week reopened in Boston. On a positive note the spacing between playing areas and the spaciousness of our venues certainly means that our guests feel safe and can still have fun.”

Robinsons sees increased managed investment and external sales fuel growth: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reported an increase in continued operations turnover of £4.4m, with total group turnover of £75.0m for the year ended 31 December 2019. During the year Robinsons sold its free trade business to LWC, allowing it to focus on its tenanted and managed pubs, contract brewing and bottling businesses. The company – which operates 257 pubs, inns and hotels across the north west – had a “progressive” year in which it acquired seven pubs, including the Individual Inns business in December. This acquisition has contributed towards the doubling of the number of managed pubs to 20 by the end of the year, with 165 bedrooms. Additionally, following a record investment year in the pub estate during 2018, the company invested a further £7.6m including significant investments at 19 pubs alongside many smaller developments. Robinsons also reported an increase in total group operating profit of 13.5% to £3.7m. The company said results were boosted by a strong trading performance and effective cost management across the business. In particular, the managed pubs increased their turnover contribution by 28.8% to £14.3m. Turnover in the tenanted estate grew 2.0% and profit by 2.5% despite a reduction of nine in the number of pubs, through one disposal and eight transfers to the managed estate. The year saw modest like-for-like growth across wine, spirits and soft drinks as well as the beer category. William Robinson, managing director (pub division), said: “Over the past five years we have developed a managed estate with pubs in exceptional locations; we remain acquisitive for the right opportunities. However, the ongoing development and success of our tenanted estate underpins our business. Our family business is well-funded and we secured independent bank funding outside the government backed loans. Presently the hospitality sector looks towards this autumn and winter with understandable concern and we will have to plan for 2021 with caution. Longer term, we remain optimistic about the opportunity for growth while remaining committed to supporting our great licensees and team members at the brewery and within our pub estate as much as possible.”

Japan Centre to open Heddon Yokocho ramen bar: Japan Centre is to launch Heddon Yokocho ramen bar in Mayfair on Monday, 12 October. The group said its new site, which is taking over the spot of former Japan Centre restaurant Sakagura in Heddon Street, is inspired by the yokocho alleyways of Japan and will have a 1970s feel through its use of retro signage and bright coloured lanterns. The menu will showcase ramen broths from across Japan, including tonkotsu; Sapporo Miso – miso-based chicken and pork; Hakodate Shio – salt and miso-base; Vegan Napoli – tomato-based with grilled tomato and mushroom; and The Yokocho – soy-based chicken and pork with slices of barbecued pork, topped with manma bamboo shoots, naruto fish cake, nitamago egg and nori seaweed. Also on the menu are karaage, buns, gyoza and maki roll sushi. Drinks include Japanese draught beer, highballs, sake and chu-hi – traditional Japanese alcoholic drinks made with shochu.
 
Decimo and Le Comptoir Robuchon among 1 October reopenings: Peter Sanchez-Iglesias’ restaurant Decimo is set reopen on Thursday, 1 October. Decimo, located on the tenth floor of The Standard hotel in central London, will initially open for dinner only on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, with the full à la carte menu available from 6pm to 10pm. Mayfair restaurant Le Comptoir Robuchon, which endorses the legacy of “chef of the century” Joël Robuchon who died in 2018, will also reopen on 1 October. It will continue to showcase modern, innovative and seasonal recipes – now through new head chef Dario Avenca, who will also oversee Le Deli Robuchon. Executive chef David Alves has developed the menu at the Clarges Street site, which includes highlights such as Le Thon – smoked tuna tart with avocado guacamole and citrus dressing, while the Plates Degustation a Tendance Japonaise comprises a selection of five sushis, a salad of green beans with sushi rice and girolles and a flat-iron steak glazed with soya sauce, aubergine and garlic. Yopo at The Mandrake hotel, near Tottenham Court Road underground station, is also set to reopen on 1 October. It will have a new menu inspired by executive chef George Scott-Toft’s travels through Argentina, Chile and Peru, in South America in late 2019. Dishes include octopus, artichoke and olive empanadas; and prawn ceviche, tepache and nasturtium. Larger sharing plates include roast pork belly, grilled spring onions, salad of pickles and onion seed taco; while desserts include Guatemalan chocolate mousse, coconut, buckwheat and almond.
 
The Wine Cellar team opens 163 Upper Street wine bar and kitchen: The team behind The Wine Cellar on Highgate’s Swain’s Street – Jay Turner and Oliver Beetlestone – opened 163 Upper Street wine bar and kitchen on Friday (25 September). The Islington site serves a broad choice of wines, priced from £14 to in excess of £100, reports Hot Dinners. Turner and Beetlestone previously worked at Wild Food Cafe and Cafe 41. At 163 Upper Street, customers can expect bar snacks such as homemade Scotch eggs and hasselback potatoes, plus small plates such as beef tartare and burrata with black truffle. Other drinks available include cocktails and eight beers on tap.

Burger specialist Truffle opens permanent site in Soho: Truffle has opened its first bricks-and-mortar burger restaurant in Soho. The Tom Bickers-run pop-up burger site located in Seven Dials Market now has a permanent fixture in Bateman Street, Soho – a location that used to be home to Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack. On the menu is the classic Truffle burger – beef and smoked bacon patty, fig jam, crispy onions, raclette cheese and truffle mayo – at £8.50. Also included are aged beef burger (£9), double patty cheeseburger (£10), a vegetarian version of the Truffle burger using a Beyond Meat patty (£9) and Truffalo chicken burger (£9). Extras include Truffle and Parmesan chips as well as a range of drinks. 

Shoot The Bull to convert York pub to Solita brand: Yorkshire-based event and food and beverage operator Shoot The Bull is converting its Old House pub in York to Solita having acquired the brand earlier this year. The venue in Low Petergate is being transformed to the bar and grill format having originally opened under the Old House concept in February, reports York Mix. The Solita business fell into liquidation in February 2019. Shoot The Bull subsequently acquired the Solita brand and its restaurants in Manchester’s Northern Quarter and Didsbury while it has since opened a restaurant in Hull Marina. Shoot The Bull also operates The Old House pub in Hull, Shoot The Bull in Hull Truck Theatre and the Rotisserie & Grill at the Kommune food court in Sheffield.
  
Pizza Hut Delivery partners with Startle to take over Rock and Roll Bingo as it bids to increase brand engagement: Pizza Hut Delivery has partnered with Startle to take over the interactive music provider’s Rock and Roll Bingo for a month as it looks to drive more brand engagement. The takeover will see promotions of Pizza Hut Delivery displayed to players and graphical adverts will run in and around the game. All players during this time will be eligible for 50% off pizza when they spend £30 at Pizza Hut Delivery, with overall winners being awarded “Hut Rewards Slices” that can be used to unlock free items from the Pizza Hut Delivery menu. The fully digitised Rock and Roll Bingo game gives a new twist on bingo by replacing the standard format with much-loved music clips. Mandeep Kaur, digital customer acquisition – assistant manager at Pizza Hut Delivery, said: “This link up with Startle’s Rock and Roll bingo game gives us an opportunity to drive more brand engagement through dedicated exposure during the games, develop brand loyalty through trackable campaign codes and increase the chance of potential uplift in midweek sales through impulse buying.” Since lock-down, Rock and Roll Bingo has launched four games every Sunday, live at 8pm, 8.30pm, 9pm and 9.30pm. Each game lasts an average of 15 minutes with winners required to successfully mark off a line or full house.
Startle is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Park Leisure appoints new chief executive to team as sales soar: York-based holiday park operator Park Leisure has appointed Richard Bates as its new chief executive as sales are growing. Park Leisure has seen a 74% boost in summer holiday bookings and a 47% rise in the sale of caravans and lodges. Bates joins the group – which has 11 parks across the UK with its headquarters at York Business Park, Nether Poppleton – with 30 years’ experience under his belt, including 16 years at Haven Holidays and managing director roles at both Butlins and Warner Leisure. Bates said: “The business has a unique five-star business model and is recovering well following the restrictions, offering families a true sense of safety and security in uncertain times for travel. I look forward to working with the team to complete this recovery and further develop the huge potential in the business, to the benefit of all our stakeholders.” Park Leisure chairman Andrew Bracey added: “Richard has a wealth of experience in the sector and I look forward to working with him as we take Park Leisure to the next stage of its development.”

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