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Fri 7th Jan 2022 - Oakman reports record Christmas Day, with like-for-like sales for December only 1.9% behind 2019
Oakman reports record Christmas Day, with like-for-like sales for December only 1.9% behind 2019: Oakman Group, the Dermot King-led pub-restaurant operator, reported sales for December of £6.7m, 9.5% up on 2019, with like-for-like sales only 1.9% behind the same period two years ago, Propel has learned. Sales for Christmas Day stood at £361k – a record sales day for the 36-strong group. The performance in December came despite its Woburn site not re-opening fully until 13 December following investment in an extensive refurbishment and extension of the restaurant there. The business said it remained committed to its growth programme, with work on two new sites to open early in 2022 (Grand Junction in Buckingham and Grand Junction Arms in Bulbourne, Tring) on track and management teams appointed to take over these sites and get them ready for spring trading. The company also said it had been “very encouraged” by the initial response to its latest fundraise with over 240 new shareholders being “added to the Oakman family in the past three weeks which is well ahead of the 80 we added in the same period last year”. King said: “The team re-focused our efforts on retaining existing bookings by reminding our customers of the measures that we had put in place to be covid secure. These measures, included but are not limited to, CO2 monitoring across our estate to measure air quality and ventilation in our venues. I think that this strategy paid off because our Christmas trading was much better that we had anticipated (on 8 December). Even though most company-booked pre-Christmas office parties cancelled in the run up to the festive break, these were compensated by late walk-in business and smaller family groups that were easier to manage and allowed us to turn over tables quicker.” King said that managing team absenteeism due to covid was the biggest operational challenge. He said: “But we have not had to close any of our venues – and that reflects the strength of our management team. Our customer quality scores did not suffer either as we maintained all key measurements above 4.0 (marked out of 5.0) on our ‘Feed It Back’ scoring scale. Although, as a consequence of team shortages, ‘Speed of Service’ was our lowest score (4.1), overall, our ‘Quality Scores’ remain the most pleasing aspect of our update. The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For survey results for 2022 were announced this week and I am pleased to say that we retained our three-star status again. Team retention is a key (if not the key) part of our strategy. If we can retain our employee engagement standards in this very volatile environment, we have a very strong foundation to on which to build a successful 2022.” 

Full speaker schedule for Restaurant Marketer and Innovator this month unveiled: The full speaker schedule has been unveiled for the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator event held later this month. Click here to view the full schedule. Operators taking part include: The Alchemist, Coco di Mama, Vapiano, Individual Restaurant Company, Anglian Country inns, Compass, Dishoom, BrewDog, Elior UK, Punch, Greene King, Just Eat, TGI Fridays, Big Mamma Group, Gamechangers Hospitality Investments, Lane7, Mission Mars, Wing Shack, London Cocktail Club, Incipio Group, Kerb Food, PPHE Group, Hilton, Pho, Ennismore, Eataly, Pizza Pilgrims, Le Pain Quotidien, Bone Daddies Group, YO!, Rum Kitchen, New World Trading Company and Arc Inspirations. One day operator price is £345 plus VAT, two-day operator price is £575 plus VAT. One day supplier rate is £445 plus VAT, two-day supplier rate is £795 plus VAT. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to book.

Gino D’Acampo sets record straight on ‘restaurant liquidation’: Chef Gino D’Acampo has set the record straight over the future of his restaurant business after his My Pasta Bar chain fell into liquidation. Posting a video on his Instagram page, the chef said: “Now, I don’t usually do stuff like this, but I thought, let me set the record straight here. About ten years ago, I opened a business called Pasta Bar, which serves Italian food very fast in the centre of London, three little shops. And we tried for ten years, and then covid came around and I thought, do you know what? We had to close. There was no point in pursuing the idea, which, by the way, I absolutely love and I will continue with that with another business. So the Pasta Bar business has got nothing to do with my restaurant business, with my import business, or any other business that I do, it’s a standalone business going into liquidation. We have to move on, this is what business is all about – sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Now, let’s talk about the restaurant business, which is growing really, really well, so much so that this year alone, I’m going to be opening three mega sites and one I’m going to be opening in Italy! Now the other thing as well that I want everyone to know, finally, I’ve got it! Yes, I’ve always wanted to open a restaurant in Alderley Edge and two days ago, we did it, I opened the restaurant! Now, if you live around the area, the restaurant used to be called Piccolino, so what I did, I kicked them out and now it’s called Luciano, like my son. I’ve invested thousands and thousands of pounds into the restaurant, a brand new kitchen, all everything all kitted out, and I’m going to be there on the 24 January to celebrate the opening of a new restaurant. And I hope to see you there, I can’t wait! So Alderley Edge, a brand new restaurant, so exciting.” Earlier this week, it was revealed that liquidators from Beesley Corporate Recovery had been called into the chef’s My Pasta Bar chain, which has debts of £5m. The three-strong, London-based business owes £4,939,332 to 49 creditors, in addition to £113,975 to HMRC and £37,887 in staff wages, according to recent filings at Companies House. The first My Pasta Bar opened in Fleet Street in 2013, followed by sites in Leadenhall Market and Bishopsgate.

C&C Group – trading in December was impacted by restrictions: C&C Group has updated the market on how restrictions in December affected it. The company stated: “In late October 2021 the group indicated that, assuming current trading conditions prevailed, FY2022 operating profit was expected to be in the range of €50-€55m. Trading in Q3 (September to November), was modestly ahead of expectation and the stated guidance, reflecting a number of factors as detailed below: positive consumer sentiment and the return of customers to on-trade hospitality, driving increased profit and cash generation in the Q3, demonstrating the inherent strength of C&C’s business model; continued execution of our cost reduction programme to deliver €18m of savings in FY2022; implementation of a price increase to manage inflationary cost pressures; and effective management of the well-publicised UK supply chain disruption. In December 2021, trading conditions for our on-trade business were significantly impacted by renewed government restrictions across the UK and Ireland. In the month of December, the key festive trading period, C&C traded directly with 81% of on-trade outlets vs FY2020, delivering 64% of the volume against an expectation of 90% and 90% respectively. While December’s performance was consequently behind expectation, the group generated a modest profit for the month. The operating profit outcome for the H2 FY2022 period will be affected by the nature, extent and duration of government restrictions. Consequently, C&C will provide an updated operating profit range in its FY2022 pre close trading statement in March. The group has a strong capital structure which provides more than adequate liquidity to support its current and expected business needs, together with its strong free cash flow generation and conversion characteristics. As the preeminent brand led drinks distributor in the UK and Ireland, we have demonstrated our ability to effectively service demand during this period. We continue to drive efficiencies throughout our business in the form of permanent operating cost reduction.”

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