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Tue 12th Jan 2021 - Update: Byron, McDonald’s, click and collect
Byron paying all rents in full, as it changes its whole supply chain and closes in on six new sites: Simon Wilkinson chief executive of Byron, which was acquired via pre-pack administration by investment vehicle Calveton UK under newly formed company Famously Proper for £4m in August, has told Propel the brand is paying all rents due in full and on time as “we want to foster and develop the landlord/tenant partnership”. It comes as the group gears up to change its whole supply chain and closes in on securing six new sites. Wilkinson said: “Lockdown three is clearly massively impactful for our industry and for our business. We are doing all we can to keep as many sites open as possible for delivery as I believe we have a moral duty to have employees as gainfully employed as possible, however the government strategy has not been thought through properly. They incentivise you for closing by paying £9k per site on certain rateable values and also pay 80% of your employment costs through the furlough scheme, but if you stay open and keep people employed experiencing massive year on year decline in sites due to dine-in being closed you get nothing. Even though turnover is severely dented we are paying all rents due in full and on time as we want to foster & develop the landlord/tenant partnership we laid out within our negotiations under Famously Proper Ltd. We can’t stand still during lockdown so have two major changes on the horizon firstly we have been carrying out extensive research and taste testing on our core burger product since we re-opened in September and we are excited to announce that we will be upgrading our burger during February, not only in terms of its premium quality but also in size as we are moving to an Aberdeen Angus steak burger cut in partnership with our new field to fork butcher Dovecote Park, who among others are Hawksmoor’s current supplier. We have also taken this opportunity to increase the size of the burger patty by 1oz to give a bigger, better value for money quality product to our customers. However, we will not be increasing our selling prices (which we reduced back in September) which along with the fact that every burger comes with unlimited fries will make us the best value premium burger offer in the marketplace.” The business will change its whole supply chain during February, after recently signing contracts with new consolidated food supplier – The Menu Partners, which was formed during 2020 by Jason Tanner – Premier Foods Group and Nigel Harris former owner of Fresh Direct and more recently the Absolute Taste Group. At the same time, Gill Clements will step down as the company’s finance director this week, and be replaced, initially on an interim basis, by Gavin Cox. Wilkinson said: “Gavin has a wealth of experience within food manufacturing businesses and will enable us to improve our financial structure as potential acquisitions arise in the future. We are actively looking for the right acquisition after coming so close with GBK, until that happens, we are growing on a site-by-site basis, we currently have six new locations either about to legally complete or in final landlord negotiations. It’s a tough and difficult environment for everyone but we want to ensure when we come out the other side we are best placed to thrive again.”

McDonald’s starts click and serve at its drive-thrus to reduce waiting times: McDonald’s has introduced click and serve at its UK drive-thrus to reduce waiting times. UK chief executive Paul Pomroy said: “We have heard from some of you who have been unable to access our drive-thru lanes or McDelivery provision in recent days, and I am sorry for any disappointment that has been caused by this temporary change to our services. This week, we will begin reviewing our safety measures for walk-in Takeaway, working with third-party experts to assess any changes we could make to enhance the additional safety measures put in place since re-opening our restaurants last year. In the meantime, the click and serve programme has been rolled out at all drive-thrus to help reduce waiting times in queues and for those customers with vehicles deemed unsuitable for the drive-thru lane. Designated parking bays are present in all drive-thru restaurant car parks, enabling you to park, order via the My McDonald’s app, and have your order safely delivered to your vehicle in a numbered bay. We are reviewing how we might introduce a similar provision for customers on-foot and we will begin piloting this provision in the coming weeks. Once again, thank you for your continued patience. I know it is not the service you’re used to, but I do hope you understand the reasons why we’re taking these steps, slowing things down and reviewing our enhanced safety measures. I will continue to write to you regularly with updates as we review, pilot and reintroduce our services.”

Click and collect services under review – The Daily Telegraph: Click and collect services could be banned everywhere apart from supermarkets and “essential retail” under proposals discussed by ministers, The Daily Telegraph ha reported. The newspaper added: “It is understood that scaling back the use of collection services for restaurants and takeaway services, as well as non-essential retailers, was raised as part of the Cabinet sub-committee known as ‘Covid O’ on Sunday. A Downing Street source insisted they were not expecting changes in these areas. However, other Whitehall insiders said they had been tabled as ‘further measures’ for consideration, should current restrictions fail to bring down infection rates.”

Landsec updates on rent collection progress: Property landlord Landsec has reported it has granted £24m in rent concessions so far. It stated: “We continue to take a proactive approach to addressing the challenges the pandemic presents to our people, our customers and our business. In early April 2020, we established a customer support fund of £80m for occupiers who most need our help to survive. To date, £24m of rent concessions have been allocated to customers. £112m of rent was due on the 25 December payment date. 65% of this net rent (after CVAs, concessions and deferred payments) was paid within five working days, compared with 94% for the equivalent period last year. Of the £35m of rent outstanding, £14m relates to customers who have withheld payment pending documentation of agreed concessions. (Of) the rents which were due between 25 March and 24 December 2020. 80% of the net amounts due for this period have been received.”

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