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Tue 16th Nov 2021 - Update: Revolution, The Restaurant Group, Wingstop and Admiral Taverns
Revolution reports like-for-likes up 14% compared with 2020: Revolution Bar Group has reported trade since reopening on 19 July has been 14% up on the comparable period in 2020, the last normal period of trade. The company stated: “The group has again faced an extraordinary year where every week of trade was impacted heavily by restrictions or enforced closure. However, the group used this period to further invest and improve its brands and operations, and the group is now picking up where it left off prior to covid-19. Continuing from the positive like-for-like growth before the pandemic, the group is extremely excited to have fully reopened and see our guests and teams create the fun and memorable experiences for which our brands are renowned. After the first 14 weeks of FY22 we had already exceeded the total revenue generated in FY21. At the time of writing total revenue is currently 137% of FY21, with FY22 like-for-like revenue since 19 July, when restrictions fully relaxed in England, 14% ahead of the comparable period in FY20. We have taken advantage of the periods when we were closed or trading under restrictions to fine tune our existing brands through a focus on customer offering, sustainability, and the creation of two exciting new brand concepts, while we have also strengthened the engagement of our teams and driven our diversity and inclusion agenda, in order to set the business up to perform strongly when trading restrictions ended. We are ready to take advantage of the reduced competition and bring our freshly developed new concepts to the market.” The company expects to open eight new sites across the next two financial years, expecting the majority to be delivered in FY23. Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “We are very excited to be back trading and doing what we do best. As we had hoped and expected, our young guest base was ready to return to our bars and we continue to be pleased with our level of trade, reflecting the fun and memorable experiences our teams create for our guests. Our strategy, and the investment in our brands and people, is showing real results. We are pleased with the launch of our two new brand concepts, and love to see our two established brands continue to thrive and grow. While the disruption caused by covid has set back our timescales for expansion, we believe that post covid, our market place and the competitive landscape will be fundamentally different and there will be good opportunities for our brands to expand their estates at a much lower level of investment. Given the backdrop of one of the most challenging years for our company, I am thankful to our colleagues for their resilience, professionalism and dedication. Our teams continue to create the party, and it is this effort that has resulted in our guests returning in such numbers which has in turn allowed us to enjoy such a strong start to our year.” Sales to 3 July 2021 were £39.4m (2020: £110.1m) and loss before tax was £26.3m (2020: loss of £31.7m). 
 
Host of hotel companies set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of hotel companies are among the 46 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 26 November, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Hotel du Vin, which is a luxury boutique hotel chain that has 19 sites throughout the UK, and the Pan-European operator Cycas Hospitality, which has opened or taken over 17 hotels in the past 12 months. Also added this month is Crieff Hydro, whose eight-strong portfolio is set around the Scottish Borders, the Highlands, Perthshire and Dundee. In addition, Dakota Hotels has been added, which was founded by Ken McCulloch and currently has five sites in its collection. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,000-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 in total. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fifth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 3 December, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fifth edition also includes a 14,000-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. To subscribe, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com
 
Wingstop wins UK restaurant of the year at Deliveroo Awards: US chicken brand Wingstop, which is being rolled out across the UK by Lemon Pepper Holdings, was named the best restaurant in Britain at the Deliveroo Restaurant Awards last night (Monday, 15 November). It was crowned this year’s Restaurant of the Year by a celebrity judging panel, which featured grime artist and TV chef Big Zuu, MasterChef judge Grace Dent, judge of Junior Bake-Off and pastry chef, Ravneet Gill, and Deliveroo’s chief executive Will Shu. The Daily Mail reported Neat Burger picked up the award for best vegan eatery and Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca received the accolade for best Mexican after Britons were asked to help pick the winners of 21 categories. The Breakfast Club won the award for best breakfast, while Indian restaurant brand Dishoom collected the award for best Indian restaurant. Smashburger was named best burger, with Gaucho named best fine dining restaurant, Shake Shack won best Editions brand, and Nando’s picked up the most loved chain award. More than 350,000 votes were cast to select the winners across the categories, including best family restaurant, which was won by Creams Cafe. More than 100 restaurants were shortlisted for an award. Shu said: “The standard of finalists for Restaurant of the Year has been best-in-class. I’ve been blown away by the incredible culinary talent of the finalists, who put everything into the cook-off. Well done to all of our winners and finalists in every category, the food we’re delivering to customers has never been better and that’s thanks to the incredible restaurants and grocers on our platform.”
 
The Restaurant Group issues estimates upgrade: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has issued an upgrade on its Ebitda estimates. The company stated: “Since TRG last updated the market on 15 September 2021, The group has traded well with like-for-like sales outperformance versus the market across our Wagamama, pubs and leisure businesses. We have also seen a minor improvement in UK airport passenger volumes leading to a partial recovery in the sales run rates in our concessions business. As a result, management’s expectations for the group’s FY21 adjusted Ebitda are today (Tuesday, 16 November) increased to a range of £73m to £79m, subject to no unexpected covid related disruptions being announced before the end of the financial year. FY21 year-end net debt is now expected to be less than £190m with the improved position driven primarily by the robust trading performance. Management’s expectations for FY2022 remain unchanged from the outlook outlined at our interim results in September.”

Domino’s appoints David Surdeau as interim CFO: Domino's Pizza Group has announced the appointment of David Surdeau as its interim chief financial officer with effect from tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 November). The company said Surdeau has extensive corporate finance and commercial experience, and was previously interim chief financial officer of Marks & Spencer. Prior to that, he held senior finance roles within Tesco and BAT Industries. He will take over as chief financial officer from Neil Smith, who leaves the company next Friday (26 November). As an interim appointment, Surdeau will not be joining the company’s board. Chief executive Dominic Paul said: "David has a demonstrable track record of success in growth businesses and his experience and skill set will be invaluable as we continue to execute our strategic plan. I look forward to welcoming him to the group."

CMA opens consultation on Admiral Taverns undertakings: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened a consultation on undertakings proposed by Admiral Taverns to address the CMA's competition concerns on its acquisition of the Hawthorn estate. The CMA stated: “On 27 October, the CMA announced it would refer the acquisition for an in-depth investigation unless Admiral Taverns offered acceptable undertakings to address the CMA's competition concerns. To address the CMA's concerns, Admiral Taverns has offered to divest seven pubs to address the CMA's competition concerns in seven local areas. On 9 November, the CMA announced it would look in detail at these undertakings. The CMA has until 10 January to consider whether to accept the undertakings, or a modified version of them, with the possibility to extend this timeframe to 7 March if it considers there are special reasons for doing so. As part of this process, the CMA is now consulting publicly on whether the proposals are sufficient to address the CMA's competition concerns. Before reaching a final decision, the CMA is therefore inviting interested parties to make their views known. The deadline for responses is 30 November.”

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