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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 6th Aug 2021 - Government-backed insurance scheme for live events is launched
Government-backed insurance scheme for live events is launched: The government has partnered with Lloyd’s to deliver the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme as part of the Plan for Jobs. The scheme will see the government act as a ‘reinsurer’ – stepping in with a guarantee to make sure insurers can offer the products events companies need. The pandemic is not over, but with a sufficiently high proportion of the population vaccinated, the country can learn to live with covid-19 without the need for the strict economic and social restrictions. This scheme will support live events across the UK that are open to the general public – such as music festivals and business events. It will cover costs incurred in the event of cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to government covid restrictions. The live events sector is worth more than £70 billion annually to the economy and supports more than 700,000 jobs, including small businesses and the self-employed. A number of prominent insurers in the Lloyd’s market, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re are supporting the scheme which will provide events companies with the option of purchasing cover from next month, alongside standard commercial events insurance, giving them the reassurance they need to plan ahead while also ensuring value for money for taxpayers. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “The events sector supports hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country, and I know organisers are raring to go now that restrictions have been lifted. But the lack of the right kind of insurance is proving a problem, so as the economy reopens I want to do everything I can to help events providers and small businesses plan with confidence right through to next year. We have some of the best events in the world here in the UK – from world-famous festivals to your local fair. With this new insurance scheme, everything from live music in Margate to business events in Birmingham can go ahead with confidence, providing a boost to the economy and protecting livelihoods through our Plan for Jobs.” Michael Kill, chief executive NTIA, said: “I am extremely pleased that the government has decided to introduce an insurance scheme for the events and festival sector. It stands testament to a government that is starting to acknowledge the varying issues within the sector and through engagement, take the appropriate action to protect businesses and jobs. Over 700,000 people work within this sector, it will give some comfort and certainty to supply chain and freelancers that heavily rely on this industry for their main source of income, and we would hope that with this news many will feel confident in returning to work within the sector. It is devastating that the timings of this scheme could not have been earlier, as we have already lost many amazing festivals and events to the uncertainty that this pandemic represents, but I feel that this scheme will allow a beleaguered sector to start to rebuild and plan with confidence for the future.” The culture secretary, Oliver Dowden said: “We’ve been here for live events throughout the pandemic with billions of pounds of rescue funding. Today is an important next step as we develop live events insurance to give them the confidence they need to plan for a brighter future. Our events industries are not just vital for the economy and jobs; they put Britain on the map and, thanks to this extra support, will get people back to the experiences that make life worth living. This is one of the only insurance schemes in the world to cover such a wide array of live events and not put a cap on costs claimed per event. The scheme will be delivered through insurers with events organisers able to purchase cover for government-enforced cancellation due to the event being legally unable to happen due to government covid restrictions, alongside their standard insurance.” The scheme will be available from September 2021 and run until the end of September 2022. It comes on top of the extensive support already given to the cultural sector, including the £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund, and the £500 million Film and TV Production Restart scheme – which has seen 610 independent film and TV productions and more than 50,000 screen sector jobs supported by the scheme in the last 12 months. Sacha Lord, co-founder of the Parklife Festival, co-founder of The Warehouse Project events, and Night Time Economy Adviser for Greater Manchester said: “I’m really pleased that the government has decided to introduce an insurance scheme for the events sector. DCMS has worked alongside and listened to event organisers throughout the crisis, and I’m grateful that they have now been able to introduce this support today. The events sector has been in dire straits throughout this crisis and this move will not only save hundreds of upcoming events, but will support the thousands of freelancers behind the scenes who depend on the sector for their own livelihoods. We can start to rebuild the sector with confidence, and renew the UK’s status as a global leader in entertainment and cultural events.”

New companies appearing in Propel Blue Book of Turnover and Profitability to be named today: The 73 new companies appearing in the next edition of the Propel Blue Book of Turnover and Profitability, to be published at midday on Friday 13 August and produced in association with Mapal Group, will be named at 9am this morning. The August edition shows that 180 companies out of the 352 featured are reporting a combined loss of £5.9bn. A further 172 companies are in profit by a collective £1.5bn. The next edition will also feature Propel insights editor Mark Wingett’s Ones to Watch, his guide to outstanding smaller companies. The Blue Book features 352 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators with a total turnover of £29.6bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month – on the second Friday of the month – provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Last Friday (30 July), Propel premium subscribers received the updated database of multi-site companies for July, which is produced in association with Virgate. The latest edition of The Propel Multi-Site Database included 71 new companies, operating 477 sites between them, and increases the total number of companies on the database to 1,951. Subscribers received the database as a PDF and an Excel spreadsheet, they were also sent a 12,094-word report on the businesses added during July. The go-to database provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. It is updated at the end of every month. Subscribers also received a new database on Friday (30 July). The New Companies Database, produced in association with StarStock, focuses on the newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and will be updated at the end of every month. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Email to sign up.

Wagamama to restart US expansion with Atlanta opening: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned brand, is to restart its expansion in the US with an opening in Atlanta, Georgia. The company will open at the newly-built Star Metals District in West Midtown. This will be the company’s first location in Georgia and seventh location in the US. Wagamama made its US debut in April 2007 and currently operates three sites in both Boston and New York. The new Atlanta restaurant will be located at 1050 Howell Mill Road and will feature over 3,500 square feet of indoor space and boast a private outdoor patio. Richard Flaherty, the co-chief executive of Wagamama USA, said: “Wagamama is ideally suited for the Atlanta market. Our pan-Asian cuisine is fresh, flavourful and appealing to a broad audience. And our service approach delivers an engaged, social atmosphere. Together, our food and approach deliver a high-quality, high energy, differentiated experience to the modern consumer.” Last February, Wagamama entered a new partnership with Conversion Venture Capital (CVC2) as financial partners and Robert Cornog Jnr and Flaherty as operating partners, as part of a joint venture to aid its growth in the US. Under the terms of the agreement Cornog Jnr and Flaherty, who most recently led Punch Bowl Social, one of the “hottest” concepts in US, assumed majority ownership and lead operations of Wagamama’s existing US business as part of a 20:80 joint venture partnership, with TRG as minority partner. While the joint venture board will decide the scale of the expansion plans, Wagamama expected the new partnership to be opening between 30 and 40 restaurants over a five to six-year time period. TRG retains the option to repurchase the remaining 80% of the business starting in 2026.

Pingdemic on the decline as alerts drop by nearly half in a week: The number of alerts sent by the NHS covid-19 tracing app dropped by 43% last week, reflecting the fall in positive test results. The Times reports that the app sent 395,971 alerts to users in England and Wales in the week to the end of 28 July, telling them they had been in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus and should self-isolate for ten days. The figure, taken from NHS data, dropped from 690,129 alerts the previous week, the first fall since May. Sajid Javid, the health secretary, said this week that the “logic” behind the app was being tweaked, although the sensitivity and risk threshold would remain unchanged. Instead of checking contacts for five days before a positive test, the app will go back only two days. These latest figures came before the app was tweaked, but show that the number of people using the app to check into venues such as restaurants and pubs has also dropped sharply. The figures say that 2.4 million “check-ins” were made with the app in England and Wales, down from 6.7 million the previous week. These latest figures represent the first full week that it was not compulsory for venues to ask users to check in their details via the app or through their own test and trace system.

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