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Mon 27th Sep 2021 - Tasty reduces losses and hails ‘supportive’ landlords
Tasty reduces losses and hails ‘supportive’ landlords: Wildwood operator Tasty has reported revenue £11.6m (2020: £8.7m) for the 26 weeks ended 27 June, an increase of 33%. Loss after tax for the period was £2.7m (28 June 2020: loss of £11.0m). It is currently trading from 49 of its 54 restaurants. Staff shortages have also forced temporary closures and prevented the re-opening of some of the group’s sites. However, trading post period end to date has exceeded management’s expectations. Chairman Keith Lassman said: “The start of 2021, like 2020, has been a very challenging time but thanks to our dedicated teams, who have worked tirelessly to sustain the business, Tasty has been able to navigate its way through the issues caused by the pandemic. This included lockdowns, re-opening with restrictions and staff shortages. Tasty has managed to adapt to the changing environment, the different UK government guidelines whilst at the same time responding to customer preferences and feedback. Since re-opening for dine-in in May 2021, sales have been encouraging. However, we remain cautious in our approach as we are mindful that performance has been assisted by VAT and rate support, staycations, pent-up demand and a higher level of disposable income. Tasty is now in a good position to take advantage of the opportunities in the sector due to reduced competition and vacant restaurant and retail space. The group has been successful in achieving rent reductions and lease concessions across most of the estate. Landlords have, in the main, been extremely understanding and supportive. The group will continue to review its existing estate to consider further sales of underperforming restaurants. It is likely that certain underperforming sites will not re-open and may be sold or surrendered back to the landlord in future. With the support of the majority of our landlords we have managed to avoid a Creditors Voluntary Arrangement within the group. However, with the potential of rising infections as we head into the colder months, we will continue to monitor the situation closely in the coming months. As we have re-opened for dine-in we have been delighted to be creating new jobs. However, like many in the hospitality industry, recruitment and retention has proved to be very difficult, and this continues to be the case. With the increased sales volume and recruitment not keeping up with the needs of the business, our teams have played a huge part in ensuring that we continue to operate as ‘normal’ as possible. We have been overwhelmed by the dedication and diligence of our teams. From the onset of the pandemic the board acted quickly to secure the survival of the business and the long-term financial position of the group, whilst protecting the health of our employees and customers. We have also retained our focus on sustainability and the environmental impact of the business, and we are an equal opportunities employer.”

Four days to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 74 companies being added: A total of 74 new multi-site companies, operating 418 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday (1 October), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes international growth concepts making their UK debut, expanding vegan brands, regional coffee operators and a number of brands growing through franchise. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,200-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the third edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 6 October, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. Premium 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 plus 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to sign up.

Furlough did a great job but thousands now face the sack: The furlough scheme prevented “catastrophic levels of unemployment” by supporting 11.6 million people and subsidised 2.3 billion working days, analysis has found. The coronavirus job retention scheme, which closes this week, has been a “huge success during the crisis”, the Resolution Foundation says. The Times reports that the think tank said that the total cost to the state had been about £70 billion, about the same as the schools budget for 18 months, and was “worth every penny”. It had helped to “limit unemployment during the sharpest economic contraction in over 300 years to just 5.2% at its peak”. There is uncertainty about the fate of about a million people expected to be on the scheme on the day it closes. Some could lose their job. Resolution said that most of them would return to work, particularly those on a part-time version of the scheme who account for the majority of remaining furloughed workers. However, it expects hundreds of thousands more workers will be looking for new jobs by the end of the week. Older workers, who are the most likely to still be on furlough, face the greatest risk of unemployment. There are labour shortages, raising hopes that many will be able to find new work. The Office for National Statistics reported 1,034,000 vacancies in June to August, the first time it has counted more than a million job openings. Despite this, there is likely to be some degree of mismatch between the skills of those made redundant and the nature of the vacancies. Dan Tomlinson, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: “Furlough has been as critical to fighting the covid crisis as nationalising the banks was to fighting the global financial crisis ... The scheme has prevented the UK experiencing catastrophic levels of unemployment, and its extension to 18 months has been worth every penny. As we prepare for a post-furlough jobs market this autumn, hundreds of thousands more workers will be looking for work and older workers in particular face the risk of unemployment and early retirement as they are most likely to still be on furlough. Record levels of job vacancies should hopefully mean this mass job search is relatively short-term, but Britain is set for a bumpy autumn.”

Fuller’s confirms Adam Councell to step down at the end of this month: Fuller’s has announced that, subsequent to announcements on 26 February 2021 and 11 June 2021, Adam Councell will step down from his role of finance director, and from the board, on 30 September 2021. The company added: “As previously announced, we are delighted to have secured a highly experienced successor to Adam in Neil Smith. In order to ensure a smooth handover to Neil, Adam has agreed to provide appropriate support to the business on a consultancy basis until Neil joins the business on 30 November 2021.”

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