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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 1st Oct 2020 - Update: Fuller’s job losses, EOTHO and 100,000 free drinks
Fuller’s considers 500 job losses: Fuller’s has revealed at least 10% of its circa 5,000 staff are facing redundancy. Chief executive Simon Emeny said the government’s decision to encourage people to work from home where possible will hit Fuller’s city-centre pubs hardest and result in job losses.“We are doing everything possible to minimise that, but sadly it is inevitable,” Emeny told the BBC. He also criticised the introduction of a 10pm curfew as “illogical” and “ill-conceived” as the government try to reduce covid-19 transmission. A significant number of Fuller’s 400 pubs and hotels in the UK are based in London, where job cuts are likely to occur. The company employs around 5,000 staff, meaning at least 500 people are likely to be let go. “The biggest challenge we have around job losses is in central London, because the current Prime Minister’s announcement last week to discourage people from going back to the office is having a big impact on city centres and in particular Central London,” Emeny said. Although the exact number of staff set to be laid off is not yet decided, he said “it will be at least 10%”. When questioned on the performance of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the Fuller’s boss said: “I don’t think he’s had a good few months. There are elements of the Prime Minister’s job that I don’t envy him, but I also think there are significant elements where he has made continual mistakes and we have seen the government do u-turns on five or six key decisions. In a business environment, his style of leadership wouldn’t work.”

Nicola Sturgeon claims Eat Out To Help Out may have spread coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the Chancellor’s £180m scheme to get people back into pubs and restaurants with discounted meals may have helped spread the coronavirus. Rishi Sunak last week denied his Eat Out to Help Out scheme had made the pandemic worse, calling the accusation “simplistic”. However in an interview for ITV’s Peston tonight, the First Minister was asked if the scheme had been a bad idea. She said: “I think with hindsight we can say all sorts of things, maybe it would have been better if it hadn’t happened.” The Treasury estimates more than 100m meals were eaten under the scheme, which gave diners a 50% discount on meals and soft drinks of up to £10 on certain days of the week last month. At a Downing Street press conference last week, Mr Sunak defended the scheme against claims it had contributed to the transmission of the virus. He said: “In terms of the spread of the virus, if you see what’s happening in our country... we’re following similar paths to other countries in Europe. So I think it’s probably simplistic to look at any one thing. What’s happening here is similar to what’s happening in many other countries. There are lots of things going on at the same time towards the last few weeks and as we get into a season for respiratory illnesses so there’s going to be lots of different factors at play as to why the virus is acting in the way it is.” But Ms Sturgeon said: “I know that scheme was about trying to incentivise people to help the economy, and we can’t be blind to the economic impact here. But we do know, and I think it’s really important that if there are two key drivers in recent weeks, obviously we’ve got university clusters just now, but in recent weeks we’ve got two key drivers, and it’s about the people coming together. Which is why in Scotland we’re asking people… not to visit other people’s houses right now and that’s really difficult, but also in hospitality settings, where people are coming together and mingling.” Scottish Tory economy spokesman Maurice Golden said: “Anyone who wants to know if the Eat Out to Help Out scheme was worthwhile should ask the pubs and restaurants that were ready to close their doors for good, and all the people working in those pubs and restaurants who were going to lose their jobs.”

Ei Publican Partnerships to offers 100,000 free drinks: Ei Publican Partnerships has partnered with Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I, Britvic, Diageo, Heineken, Molson Coors, and Sharp’s Brewery, to offer customers up to 100,000 free drinks, across more than 1,250 participating pubs in October. Running from today (Thursday 1 October) to Thursday 29 October, customers are eligible for one free drink a week which they can claim by downloading a voucher via the Great British Pubs website. The site also contains a search function to find out which pubs in respective areas are taking part. Ei Publican Partnerships has teamed up with Will Mellor, the Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps star, to launch the consumer campaign. Nick Light, managing director of Ei Publican Partnerships, said: “We are delighted to be running our free drinks campaign again. But this time, as a thank you, we’ve extended the offer so that our customers can have up to one drink a week throughout October on an exciting and wide range of products, including from the low and no category. Our customers have been fantastic in supporting their local pubs post lockdown, and this is our way of giving something back to them. It continues to be a difficult time not just for our industry, but for our customers, with local lockdowns and tougher restrictions feeding feelings of uncertainty and worry. This offer will allow our customers to continue to enjoy their local pubs in the safe and secure environment that our publicans and teams deliver while having a drink on us.”

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