Starbucks reports reduced UK losses: Starbucks UK has reported that its losses in the UK fell by 32.7% to £20,465,123 in the year to 29 September 2013. Turnover dropped to £399,405,183 from £413,392,826 the year before. There was a net decrease in store numbers of 44 to finish at 549 at the year-end. The number of licensed and franchised UK sites rose by 13 and 25 respectively to reach totals of 157 and 57. Starbucks reported gross profit up 13% to £79,759,753 and gross margin up to 20% from 17.1%. Starbucks stated: “In December 2012, despite a lack of taxable income the company made a public commitment to pay corporation tax by not deducting certain related party expenditure for tax purposes in our 2013 tax computation. The company’s actual tax liability for Full Year 2013 was £3,422,897. To date, the company has made £15m of tax payments in 2013 and 2014. The company plans to make a payment later in the year for the remainder of our £20m commitment for 2013 and 2014.” Starbucks said that the improving UK economic climate is “expected to lead to an increase in like-for-like sales per store and, alongside the realignment of our portfolio, a further reduction in the loss before tax next year”. The company said it planned to create 5,000 jobs in the next five years. It reported 327 barista apprentices in new jobs and a target of 1,000 by December 2014. It added: “Longer term our apprenticeship framework will improve the perception of hospitality retail as a destination of choice for a credible career in our service economy.” The UK company paid £25,917,670 in royalties and licence fees. There was also an impairment loss of £6,572,036. The pay of the highest paid director fell to £268,582 from £569,714 the year before. UK staff number fell to 7,726 from 8,739 the year before.
Orchid introduces online bookings to reflect cultural changes in pub usage: Orchid Group is making the most of cultural changes in customers’ eating out habits with an online booking system for almost all its pubs. In just the first month some 2,000 reservations have been made online, adding up to a staggering 10,000 covers. The system was created in recognition of the fact that the way people choose to dine out is changing. Traditionally, going to a pub was often a spur-of-the-moment decision and people would drop in on their way past or make a last-minute choice. However, customers are now much more likely to plan their pub visit, in the same way they would a restaurant visit, taking time to select the perfect venue for the occasion and booking in advance, the company said. “People are making more concrete plans for their pub visits and prefer to be certain that they can arrive to find a table at whatever time is convenient for them,” said Maria Hamilton, senior marketing manager – digital and loyalty at Orchid Group. “They might also want to let the pub know about any specific requirements, whether dietary needs, high chairs for the kids or to confirm access to disabled facilities.” Performance stats for the first month of Orchid’s online booking system show that 85% of pre-booked covers are seated between 12pm -1.30pm and 5.30pm – 7.30pm.“These are the busiest time for a pub, and demand for tables can be high, so it is not surprising that our customers are taking advantage of the online booking facility,” Hamilton added.“It means customers can rest assured that they can sit down as soon as they arrive, and it also allows our pubs to ensure they have the correct staffing levels and can confidently and accurately inform walk-in customers of availability.”