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Thu 11th Nov 2021 - Update: Young’s, Wendy’s, M&B, Uber Eats
Young’s reports strong trading: London pub operator Young’s has reported total revenue for the 26 weeks ended 27 September was £149.6m (2020: £52.7m), with an adjusted Ebitda of £42.7m (2020: £1.5m). Pre-tax profit was £22.2m (2020: loss of £22.2m). The company stated: “For the same 24-week period since reopening on 12 April, total managed revenue was encouragingly only 1% lower than 2019, despite operating under significant covid-19 related restrictions up until 19 July. Throughout our successful reopening, we benefited from the major capex programme in our pubs, hotels and outdoor areas that was largely undertaken in the last financial year. We have invested £13.1 million during the period. However, our planned capex programme does not kick into full force until the Following the reopening of our pubs and positive cash generation in the period, the board has decided that it is appropriate to resume dividends, with payment of an interim dividend of 8.55 pence per share. Total payment of £5.0 million, the maximum allowable under current revised banking covenant restrictions Since the period end, managed house revenue for the last thirteen weeks was ahead of 2019 by 7.9%, and up 2.7% on a like-for-like basis. The period also saw Young’s sell its 56 tenanted businesses to Punch for £53m.” Chief executive Patrick Dardis said: “Trading has been strong since the reopening of our pubs, benefitting from our capex programme undertaken in the last financial year and the underlying pent-up demand. I am particularly pleased with the performance given restrictions were in place for a significant part of the period. This has helped us celebrate 190 years as a business in a position of strength. Starting the period in lockdown, our focus was firmly on how we could safely welcome back as many customers as possible when restrictions eased. Getting back to the pub has been a feel-good factor for both our customers and employees, and we were pleased to see all our pubs and beer gardens full again from mid-July. We have shown that our pubs are safe and attractive places, that we are ready to operate – and operate successfully – in both the challenging times, and in what we believe will be some very good times ahead. Above all, we continue to work hard to look after our customers, their loyalty has never wavered. We are well-positioned for future growth. The proceeds from the sale of the tenanted pubs further strengthens our balance sheet, ensuring we have sufficient funds to invest further in our current estate and capitalise on any attractive acquisition opportunities that present themselves. Following the disposal, we are now a focused operator of well-invested, premium managed pubs and hotels. We expect to benefit further in future years from the planned capex programme due to kick start in the second half and are well – positioned to deliver long-term sustainable growth.”

Propel to launch Premium video advent calendar: Propel is launching the Premium Advent Calendar, giving subscribers access to a great video each day in December from our autumn conference series. Each day in December in the run-up to Christmas, Premium subscribers will be sent a video featuring some of the sector’s leading operators, who will share insights, advice and expertise. They include: Azzurri Group chief executive Steve Holmes, Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe, JD Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin, The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy Hornby, Corbin & King managing director Zuleika Fennell, Giggling Squid co-founder Andy Laurillard and Sarah Willingham, founder of Nightcap, acquirer of drinks-led businesses including London Cocktail Club and Adventure Bar. 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. To subscribe, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com.

Penegor – Wendy’s seeing extremely strong sales across our UK restaurants: Todd Penegor, chief executive of Wendy’s, the third-largest quick service restaurant chain in the US, which made its return to the UK earlier this summer, has said the business is seeing “extremely strong sales across our UK restaurants”. The business has so far opened three restaurants and four dark kitchens in the UK since June, and Penegor said the business would have ten sites opened here by the end of the year. He said: “Our expansion into Europe through the UK continues to accelerate as we’ve opened several restaurants since the second quarter. We’re seeing extremely strong sales across all of our UK restaurants as customers are thrilled to have Wendy’s in the market, making us even more excited about our growth opportunity. We are extremely excited about the consumer response to our expansion into the UK, which drove better than expected sales in these new restaurants during the third quarter. We’ve now opened several restaurants in the UK since the second quarter, and we are in the process of bringing additional franchise partners into the family in the near future, which we are extremely excited about. We anticipate having ten restaurants opened by the end of the year, which is incredible given that we just opened our first location in June.” The company, which last week secured its first UK drive-thru site in Colchester, Essex, has so far opened bricks-and-mortar sites in Reading, Oxford and London’s Stratford. Further restaurants have been secured in Romford, Croydon, Brighton and Camden. It is thought that it is in talks to opened further restaurants in Watford, Ilford and Maidstone, with Savills aiding the brand’s UK expansion. The brand recently opened a further two sites under its fledgling franchise agreement with Reef Kitchens. In August, the brand signed up Reef as its first franchisee in the UK, agreeing a development commitment to open and operate 700 delivery kitchens over the next five years across the US, Canada and UK. Last month, it opened dark kitchens at Regis Road in Kentish Town and Blackwall in the Docklands area of east London. It has now opened dark kitchens in Hornsey and Twickenham too.

M&B launches partnership with Uber Eats: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has launched a major partnership with Uber Eats which will allow customers to order food from around 1,000 of its venues on the app. It will be one of the biggest pub partnerships on the platform. M&B said it is looking to tap into the increased use of the platform for family sit-down meals alongside traditional takeaways. The group said it is launching on the platform today (Thursday) and expects this to cover 1,000 locations by the end of the year. It is celebrating the launch by offering free delivery on meals from M&B pubs for the first week of the partnership. Susan Martindale, group HR director and executive lead on delivery at M&B, said: “While we don’t think there’s anything better than the full dining in experience, we’re excited to partner with Uber Eats to expand our delivery offer so even more of our customers can enjoy their favourite pub and restaurant meals at home too.” Eve Henrikson, regional general manager for delivery at Uber, said: “Pubs across the UK have been resilient in dealing with closures over the past 18 months, and we want to help them thrive by adding home delivery to their business. Customers aren’t just using Uber Eats for a quick takeaway bite. Increasingly, we’re seeing people use the app to order sit-down meals for the whole family, and what better lunch or dinner with family and friends than some hearty pub grub?”

Shaftesbury commits to becoming a net zero carbon business by 2030: West End property landlord Shaftesbury has committed to becoming a net zero carbon business by 2030. By 2025, Shaftesbury will be carbon neutral for its own corporate emissions. As part of its commitment to net zero by 2030, the group will aim to: Reduce operational carbon emissions (emissions linked to the running of buildings such as heating and lighting) by 50% by 2030, from 2018 baseline; reduce embodied carbon emissions (emissions relating to the materials used and supply chain of a building) by 50% by 2030, from 2018 baseline; maximise its onsite renewable energy generation, reduce the carbon intensity of the energy used and to support investment in additional renewable energy capacity. Chief executive Brian Bickell said: “A commitment to sustainability is nothing new for Shaftesbury. Over many years, we have placed it at the core of our business, focusing our efforts on engaging with, and supporting our local community and reusing, repurposing and refurbishing our buildings. Improving energy efficiency across our portfolio, while minimising embodied carbon associated with new construction, future-proofs our West End heritage buildings and our business. The world is at the start of a critical decade for action on climate change. As a business, we feel a tremendous responsibility to play our part and help drive the reduction in carbon emissions, not only in our own business, but also to help our occupiers play their part in achieving this goal. That is why we are setting ourselves the target of becoming a net zero carbon business by 2030 and achieving carbon neutrality for our own operations by 2025. The net zero carbon roadmap we have released today will be instrumental in helping us to achieve this.”

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