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Tue 3rd Nov 2020 - Update: Jonathan Neame, Pret, MeatLiquor and Boxpark
Jonathan Neame – There is zero trust within hospitality about the government’s strategy: Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Kent-based brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame, has said that there is zero trust within hospitality about the government’s strategy at this moment in time and a sense that the latest lockdown could run through to March. Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Neame said: “There is, I’m afraid, zero trust within hospitality about the government’s strategy at this moment in time and there’s a real sense that we’re going into lockdown for what is purported to be one month but in reality could be through to March. That would be absolutely catastrophic for the sector.” Neame said news of the latest lockdown filled him with “anger, soul-destroying, disheartening, disillusioned”, and called for the government to review its restrictions on not allowing takeaway beer immediately. He said: “This is the fourth change of strategy affecting hospitality within the last six weeks, and I don’t think it will be the last. I feel there will be a substantial number of more redundancies and particularly in city areas. It’s difficult to see how city centres are going to be revived any time soon. During lockdown one, there was terrific support for local pubs from local communities. People want their pubs, they came back in droves. They want to see the pubs survive and thrive. They want them to be there for their children’s generation, so they bought into the take-home thing. We’re now being told that we cannot even sell a pint of ale as a takeaway. So, we have got to tip that all down the drain.”

Sponsored message – Use Bums on Seats to drive your Christmas bookings: Outsource pre-booked hospitality sales agency Bums on Seats is ready to help drive Christmas bookings for your business. A spokeswoman said: “Our highly trained hospitality sales experts can remotely manage all your inbound calls for bookings and reservations. We can access your booking system with a maximum one-hour customer response time. We will call your database and get those bookings in for December – we are business-to-business sales experts. We can set you up with suppliers to sell gift vouchers to a wider target market. When it comes to gift boxes, home delivery and click-and-collect sales, we have the tools and the product innovation. We can show you how to run virtual Christmas parties and we can sell these on your behalf. We will drive crucial Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve/Day sales for you. We can run a quick festive sales audit across your brand and tell you how to improve now. We are your sales experts who have the connections that you need to drive revenue into your business.” Email Abby on contact@bumsonseats.org to set up a Teams meeting with chief executive Amber Staynings or call 0117 369 0100.
Bums on Seats is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Pret to stay open for takeaway: Pret A Manger has said it will stay open for takeaway during the latest lockdown. At the same time, the company is offering any customer who has signed up for its coffee subscription the chance to pause their subscription until they’re ready “to be reunited with their favourite hot drinks”. In a message to its customers the group wrote: “This lockdown, we’re not going anywhere. We’re open for takeaway so you can still enjoy your endless morning ‘go-tos’, afternoon pick-me-ups and everything in between. But if you won’t be popping by for a while, on Wednesday we’ll email you a handy guide for how to pause your subscription until you’re ready to be reunited with your barista.”

MeatLiquor to permanently close King’s Cross site; new opening in pipeline: Scott Collins-led concept MeatLiquor will permanently close its site in London’s King’s Cross this Wednesday (4 November). The company tweeted: “We, alongside the rest of the industry will be closing at 10pm this Wednesday. Unfortunately, this will be our final service at King’s Cross and we will not be reopening the site after Lockdown two.” Propel understands that the company, which will operate ten sites after the closure of the site in Chad’s Place, is close to securing a new site in the capital, with a site in Bloomsbury mooted as a possible location.

Boxpark to waive rent and service charges during lockdown: Boxpark is to waive rent and service charges during the second lockdown that starts Thursday. Boxpark will also be retaining its staff by putting the majority on the government Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) to ensure they receive 80% of their current salary. Boxpark will not be offering a kitchen only delivery service from their food traders throughout lockdown. The decision was taken in order to protect the safety of the teams who would still need to come into work and operate the sites for deliveries, and to ensure the most financially feasible option for everyone. Roger Wade, chief executive of Boxpark, said: “The past few months have been one of the most difficult times for the hospitality and retail industries and it feels like we were just getting back on our feet. This isn’t what anyone wanted, but we are optimistic about our return in December and Boxpark along with our traders, will continue to remain flexible and agile. Our people and our tenants are very important to us so we are grateful to be able to keep our staff with the furlough scheme.”

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