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Fri 21st Jul 2017 - Update: CAMRA's Pubs Code message, YO! Sushi senior team changes, Ei Group research
CAMRA calls for ‘change of approach’ on Pubs Code: Ministers must act to deliver a change of approach from the Pubs Code Adjudicator following 12 months of confusion and delay, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has argued, exactly one year on from the introduction of the Pubs Code. CAMRA said that while the Pubs Code was introduced to end unfair practices in the sector, progress so far had been disappointing – while requests for key information had been rejected by the Pubs Code Adjudicator. CAMRA has published a three-point plan calling on the Pubs Code Adjudicator to provide guidance on unclear aspects of the Pubs Code such as Market Rent Only lease terms, stocking requirements and dilapidations; publish a breakdown of arbitration cases by pub company and issue; and publish general principles being identified in cases that will help with interpretation of the Pubs Code. In addition, CAMRA is calling on pub-owning companies and tenants to abide by the spirit of the code and avoid unnecessary delays in the resolution of disputes. CAMRA said that while it recognised the legislation and procedures put in place were not perfect, it believed the arbitration process could be improved with greater co-operation between all parties. CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “A healthy pub sector that delivers for consumers is dependent on ensuring pub tenants are able to secure a fair deal from their landlords. Too many great pubs have been lost because of sky-high rents and inflated wholesale beer prices. The government demonstrated its understanding of the problem by bringing in the Pubs Code. Now it must act to ensure its will is carried through before we see another year go by with many more pubs lost to their communities forever. We welcomed the introduction of the Pubs Code and have always wanted to give Paul Newby a chance to succeed in his role as adjudicator. The chaotic circumstances surrounding the introduction of the Pubs Code a year ago meant the code’s introduction was always going to be challenging, but we are disappointed more progress has not been made. The need for an effective Pubs Code has been clearly demonstrated in the first year, with more than 150 tenants bringing forward arbitration cases, but it is evident the arbitration process is taking too long and costing too much. If the office charged with upholding that new law isn’t able to deliver clarity, speed of action and affordable dispute resolution, the Pubs Code is meaningless. It is vital ministers take action now to ensure the Pubs Code Adjudicator provides detailed guidance, acts transparently, and publishes details of the principles being identified in individual cases.” Data obtained by CAMRA via the Freedom of Information Act showed that in the first ten months following the introduction of the Pubs Code, more than 500 enquires were made to the adjudicator, with more than 150 arbitration cases registered. However, CAMRA’s request for other crucial information, such as the number of arbitration cases per pub company and a breakdown of cases by issue, was refused. An appeal against that ruling is being submitted to Newby.

YO! Sushi makes changes to senior team: YO! Sushi has announced new business development director Alison Vickers and property director Kieran Sherlock will leave the company at the end of July. Vickers, who during the past 17 years at YO! has held roles that include head of international, marketing, business development and intellectual property, will continue to support the business as a consultant. Sherlock, who during his 12 years at YO! has helped acquire and develop about 70 new restaurants in both the UK and US, is leaving to pursue other interests in property. Chief executive Robin Rowland said: “Since 2003, YO! has grown into a leading UK casual dining and lifestyle brand. Alison and Kieran have been instrumental in helping to navigate this journey. Their experience and creativity has been indispensable in getting the company to our goal of 100 restaurants by year-end. On a personal note, I’ve loved working with both of them. We’re sad to see them go but both have lots to offer the wider hospitality and business world and are keen to explore new ways to express their phenomenal talents and skills. We wish them well.” Meanwhile, YO! Sushi has opened a restaurant in Worcester at the £20m Cathedral Square redevelopment in High Street. The venue seats almost 100 customers with all plates freshly prepared and served from the brand’s iconic “kaiten” conveyor belt. YO! Sushi, which is backed by Mayfair Private Equity, currently has 76 restaurants in the UK, four in the US and 17 franchised operations in the Middle East and in other international airports around the globe. In the year to 29 November 2015, the company had turnover of £84m with Ebitda of £11m.

Ei Group research underscores importance of pub in consumers’ lives: Ei Group’s leased and tenanted division Ei Publican Partnerships has reinforced the ongoing importance of pubs to consumers and their value to local communities. The in-depth study has been released ahead of the inaugural National Pub Fortnight, a two-week celebration of the Great British pub from Saturday (22 July) to Sunday, 6 August. The initiative, designed to highlight and encourage consumer interest in British pubs, will see 15,000 free pints given away across the UK. Pubs taking part in National Pub Fortnight will be further supported with point-of sale materials such as banners, window vinyls, entertainment ideas and digital assets. Key findings from Ei Publican Partnerships’ research showed more than half of all pub-goers champion their local pub as the place for food and drink, with one-in-five visiting one to three times a week. The pub’s role as a vital community hub was also highlighted, with 18.2 million rating their local pub as a “great place to socialise and meet people”. In total, 12 million people said their local pub was an important aspect of community life. The study highlighted pubs as the venue of choice to host many memorable life events. Top of the list was birthdays but 10.4 million pub-goers have also started a new relationship in a pub, 4.1 million have broken up with a partner, and 2.6 million have been proposed to. The study also reveals generational differences, with more than one-third (35%) of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they include pubs on their “must-visit” list when on holiday or a short break, compared with one-in-five aged 55 or above. More than one-quarter (28%) knew the name of their landlord/landlady at their local pub, 18% visited their pub to watch sport, almost one-third of pub-goers preferred to stay local when choosing a pub, and one-in-ten would travel up to 20 miles to visit a “celebrated” pub.

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