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Tue 26th Oct 2021 - Pret A Manger agrees Canadian expansion deal
Pret A Manger agrees Canadian expansion deal: Pret A Manger and A&W Food Services of Canada have reached an initial agreement to introduce the Pret brand and products to A&W restaurants in Canada. A spokesman said: “Through the terms of the agreement, A&W Food Services will be able to bring Pret food and coffee to customers in A&W restaurants in Canada during an initial two-year trial phase. If the pilot is successful, A&W will be granted the exclusive right to expand the Pret brand across Canada, depending on an agreed development plan. A&W is one of Canada’s fastest growing food businesses, with over 1,000 restaurants across the country, from Vancouver Island to Newfoundland. The business is entirely Canadian-owned and is currently the second largest hamburger restaurant company in Canada. The agreement follows Pret’s announcement last month that it would aim to double the size of the business within five years, including launching into five new markets by the end of 2023.” Pano Christou, chief executive at Pret A Manger said: “We’re still at the early stages, but we’re really pleased to have agreed terms with A&W to bring our freshly made food and 100% organic coffee to Canada. Last month we said our aim was to expand into five new markets, and Canada is a fantastic country to start. Over the past year, we delivered more change than in thirty years of Pret history – and it’s all about bringing Pret to more people in new markets around the world. The pandemic has shown that even at the darkest moments, more people want to experience Pret and I’m looking forward to working with A&W and seeing how Canadians take to the great taste of Pret.” Susan Senecal, chief executive A&W Food Services, added: “A&W guests come to us for great tasting food, made by people they trust. I’m delighted to embark on this exciting pilot, to bring the best of Pret to Canada, offering our guests even more delicious choices to love.”

Three days to go before release – 67 multi-site companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-site Companies: A total of 67 new multi-site companies, operating 448 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-site Companies, which will be released on Friday 29 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of brands growing through franchise, regional pub and hotel operators and expanding seafood brands. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,200-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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fourth edition of the New Openings Database, which Is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 3 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fourth edition will now include a 12,800-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. 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.

Whitbread – there is potential for a full recovery at some point in 2022: Whitbread has reported that Premier Inn’s recovery in its First Half, the 26 weeks to 29 August, was ahead of expectations – and there is potential for a full recovery during 2022. The company stated: “Recovery in UK demand was very strong post 17 May when leisure overnight stays were permitted with total accommodation sales improving from down 60.9% and 9.6% respectively in Q1 and Q2 vs FY20, and up 10.5% in August. Leisure demand remains strong in the UK into H2, with business demand improving, resulting in September total accommodation sales up 9.7% vs FY20. Occupancy in Germany grew to 47% in Q2 and over 60% in August and September. Covid-19 restrictions materially impacted the performance of the UK business in the first quarter. Only essential business guests were permitted to stay overnight until 17 May, at which point overnight leisure stays were permitted. Our restaurants were also not permitted to open for indoor service until the same date, with the majority remaining temporarily closed until then. The majority of our hotels and restaurants have operated restriction-free from 19 July. This resulted in UK statutory revenue being down 39.4% compared to H1 FY20. The adjusted loss before tax of £56.6m benefitted from £141.6m of covid-19 related government support schemes in the UK and Germany, and the statutory loss before tax of £19.3m also benefitted from £37.3m of adjusting items credits (£28.6m profit in property disposals and £8.7m VAT claim).” Chief executive Alison Brittain said: “Whitbread traded significantly ahead of the market in the UK during the first half of the year, with our regional hotels trading ahead of pre-covid-19 levels in the last six weeks of the half. This strong performance has continued into the second half, with sustained high levels of leisure demand and resilient demand from tradespeople. Whilst some uncertainty remains over the speed and timing of the market recovery for office-based and international demand and the evolution of the pandemic in the winter months, we believe that UK like-for-like RevPAR run rates have the potential to reach full recovery in at some point during 2022. The operating environment during the summer and into autumn has been challenging largely as a result of our very high occupancy levels, market-wide supply chain issues and a tighter labour supply in the hospitality sector. Although we are not immune from these challenges, we are well placed to respond. Our £100m efficiency programme is well underway and we are ‘investing to win’ in our teams, our hotels and our marketing, in order to continue to grow our market share as demand recovers and as our competitors continue to be under pressure. In Germany, we are well on the way to building a business of scale with a growing national presence. Our open and committed hotel network now stands at 73 hotels, and we continue to look for opportunities to grow our footprint at pace both organically and through acquisitions. The budget hotel market is recovering ahead of the overall market and we are seeing growing demand and occupancy levels in our open hotels, alongside encouraging customer scores. Our strong balance sheet enables us to continue investing in hotel growth in both the UK and Germany and in commercial initiatives and refurbishments, strengthening our market position and driving further market share gains. In the UK, our performance is underpinned by our uniquely advantaged and market-leading position, built on our scale, direct distribution, and the strength of the Premier Inn brand. In Germany, we believe the opportunity to create value is significant and our commitment to that market will be substantial, delivering good long-term returns. Our strategy of ‘investing to win’ has driven a strong relative performance through the first half of the year, and we have the market position and platform to continue this level of performance into the second half of this year and beyond.”

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