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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 4th Apr 2024 - Update: Ping Pong to trial 15% “brand charge”, takeaways research, new Greggs director
Ping Pong to trial 15% “brand charge” ahead of new tipping legislation: Ping Pong, the London dim sum chain, has said it is transitioning to a “service included company” and is to trail a discretionary 15% “brand charge” ahead of the new tipping laws, which will come into force in July. The five-strong business said it decided to act ahead of the legislation and make a move that allows “our employees to maintain strong, sector competitive earnings whilst continuing to offer good value to our customers”. The new tipping legislation will require hospitality business to pay staff all money left to them in tips. The business said it has scrapped the service charge and replaced it with a discretionary 15% “brand charge” to fund wage rises for all of its restaurant teams. The company told Propel that its lowest paid starting role is now £12.44. The company said: “The business is very proud of the reputation it has as a good employer and despite the many recent headwinds has acted with integrity and honour, with a high priority placed on employee retention. With the forthcoming code of practice on fair and transparent distribution of tips, the company has decided to act ahead of the legislation and make a move that allows our employees to maintain strong, sector competitive earnings whilst continuing to offer good value to our customers. Previously, like many restaurant groups, our service charge takings were managed and distributed through an independent ‘Tronc’ scheme with our hourly paid employees paid basic house pay plus a tronc (service charge) distribution. We have now taken the decision to remove service charge from our operations completely. From 1 April our teams benefit from increased company wages, that match earnings they would have received with service charge distribution. The benefit to our employees will be stability of wages throughout the year, reducing the impact of seasonality and the higher wages will also mean improved access to financial products such as loans and mortgages. With a fairer wage structure in place, our customers should not pay any extra service charge or tips. To achieve this change, we need to increase revenue by 15%. In this initial trial phase this increase was introduced through Discretionary Brand Charge. Instead of implementing price increases as part of our core menu, we wanted to give our customers some flexibility by creating a new discretionary charge. The Brand Charge covers additional costs related to operating a franchised brand and imposed by the Ping Pong brand-holder, including franchise fees and other brand related expenditure, but being discretionary, our customers do have the option of removing or reducing the amount. As we seem to be one of the first in the sector to proactively address the upcoming legislative changes, we are committed to finding the best approach in consultation with our customers, so will be reviewing all constructive feed-back before making a final decision for our June menu. The Brand Charge will then either become mandatory or we will increase individual product prices (or a combination of both and or other).”

Premium Club members to receive next New Openings Database and videos from Propel Multi-Club Conference tomorrow: The next Propel New Openings Database and the videos from Propel’s March Multi-Club Conference will be sent to Premium Club members tomorrow (Friday, 5 April). The database features openings by quick service restaurant operators such as burger brand Five Guys, which has added sites in Croydon and Wembley Park to its 2024 UK openings pipeline; Bristol operator Sandwich Sandwich, which is planning to launch two outlets in London; and Burgerism, the fast-growing, north west smash burger concept, which is opening a fifth site in the region. The database is published on a monthly basis and Premium Club members will also receive a 3,200-word report on the 54 new additions to the database. Premium Club members will also receive all the videos from the Propel Multi-Club Conference at 9am on Friday. They will include Florian de Chezelles, co-founder at The Salad Project, which was voted the top restaurant in the UK & Ireland as part of Uber Eats’ Restaurant of the Year Awards, talking about launching a next generation salad bar concept, while Stephen Freeman, chief executive of Freeman Event Partners, talks about how the business has grown from a fish and chip van at Silverstone to be the food and beverage provider at Wembley, Lord’s, Twickenham, and the British Grand Prix. Premium Club members also receive access to five other databases: the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, the New Openings Database, the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database and the Who’s Who of UK Hospitality. Plus, all members will be offered a 20% discount on tickets to five Propel paid-for events – The Excellence in Pub Retailing Conference (14 May), Social Media for Profit (18 July), the Talent and Training Conference (1 October) and Restaurant Marketer and Innovator (two days in January 2025). Operators are also able to send up to four members of staff to each of our four Multi-Club Conferences for free. Premium Club members receive their daily Propel Info newsletter 11 hours earlier than standard subscribers, at 7pm the evening before. They also receive videos of presentations at eight Propel conference events two weeks after they are held. This represents around 100 videos of industry insight over the course of the year. Premium Club members will be sent a dedicated monthly newsletter that will highlight key updates in the sector and direct subscribers to all the vital content their membership offers. Premium Club members also receive exclusive opinion columns every Friday at 5pm, which include the thoughts of Propel group editor Mark Wingett and a host of industry leaders from across the sector.  A Premium Club subscription costs an annual sum of £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Premium Club for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. Email kai.kirkman@propelinfo.com today to sign up.

Brits are eating more takeaways since covid: Britons are shunning restaurant and pub meals in favour of takeaways following a cultural shift during the pandemic, a report reveals. The Sun reports that adults consumed up to 74% more calories from takeaways as lockdown hooked the nation on the likes of Deliveroo and Just Eat. And while this has fallen slightly since hospitality venues reopened, intake remains 48% above pre-pandemic levels. New analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies shows this rise has been at the expense of pubs, restaurants and coffee shops, with people still dining out less than they did pre-pandemic. Before the crisis, the average adult consumed around 270 calories a week from takeaways. During the first covid lockdown, this reached 395 calories a week. While restaurant re-openings saw takeaway consumption fall through 2020, takeaway consumption began to rise again going in to 2021, this time to around 470 calories per week during the third national lockdown in England. These higher levels have endured, with takeaway consumption in the first quarter of 2022 at around 400 calories a week. Households’ food shopping baskets also got bigger through the covid pandemic and beyond. Even outside strict lockdown periods in 2020, households purchased around 170 more calories per adult per day – an increase of 9% over pre-pandemic levels. The healthiness of shopping baskets did not change markedly over the period. But, despite fears at the time, these effects have proven mostly temporary. By 2022 the size of households’ shopping baskets had largely returned to normal, the analysis shows. The IFS said overall calorie intake appears to have returned to normal but the excess consumed during that period “could still have long-term effects on health and weight”. Report author Andrew McKendrick, a research economist at the IFS, said: “The covid pandemic saw huge changes in both how many calories households were buying, and where they came from. Lockdowns and closures of hospitality left a bigger role for consumption of food at home and for takeaways. But, by the start of 2022, most of these changes had been reversed: households had largely gone back to purchasing as much as they did in 2019. The pandemic did leave one legacy, though, in the much-increased use of takeaways.”

Greggs hires new non-exec director: Greggs has announced it has hired Tamara Rogers as an independent non-executive director with effect from 1st June 2024. On appointment Rogers will join the company’s audit, remuneration and nominations committees. Rogers is currently the chief marketing officer of Haleon plc, the FTSE100 listed world-leading consumer healthcare company, and has over 30 years’ experience across a range of commercial and marketing roles. She joined GSK in 2018 having spent almost 25 years with Unilever plc, where she held significant leadership positions, and was appointed as chief marketing officer at Haleon ahead of its demerger from GSK and listing in 2022. Matt Davies, chair of Greggs, said: “We are delighted to announce Tamara’s appointment to our board. She brings a wealth of experience across marketing, customer insight, and digital commerce which will be of significant value as Greggs continues its journey as a multi-channel consumer business.”

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