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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 16th Apr 2019 - Update: Pod reduces operating losses
Pod reduces operating losses: Pod, the 22-strong London healthy eating operator, has reported a reduction in operating losses for the year ending 3 January 2019. Operating losses were £432,551, compared with £1,452,566 the year before. Overall loss before tax was £486,973, compared with £1,748,884 the previous year. The company stated: "2018 saw a dramatic turnaround in performance for Pod. The changes to the operating model that new chief executive Alex Young started to implement in the second half of 2017 saw a huge improvement to trading and profitability. The market remained challenging, with competitor expansion and a slowdown in consumer confidence in the second half of the year. However, these factors did not stop the business achieving a £1.2m swing at Ebitda level, delivering £400,000. Total sales of £17.4m were up from £17.2m in 2017, an increase of 0.9% year-on-year. This was achieved with two fewer trading stores and reflected growth in like-for-like sales of 4%. The delivery business continued its strong growth, with an uplift in sales of 25% on the previous year. Alex and the team have focused on getting maximum value from our supply chain while still maintaining the quality offer Pod is known for. An improvement in the cost-of-sales percentage of more than three percentage points was a large factor in our improved profitability. As was forecast in the prior period, we saw further structural cost changes with an increase in the National Living Wage and upward only rent reviews. Despite increases in the National Minimum Wage, the business was able to improve its labour efficiency by 0.3%. This was achieve by a focus on rotas. Rental prices are a major issue affecting the profitability of the entire industry and place an increased pressure on the business model of all retailers on the high street – 2018 included upward rent reviews on two of our sites." Store Ebitda increased to £2.3m from £1.4m the year before. The company also operates two delivery hubs. 

Finance and Investment Conference open for bookings: The Propel Finance and Investment Conference has opened for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Friday, 24 May at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Christie & Co director Ramzi Qattan will give an overview of the current pub, restaurant and hotel mergers and acquisitions market; Andrew Ball, partner at haysmacintyre, will give his top ten insights on how to spot and prevent internal and external accountancy fraud; and Mission Mars chief executive Roy Ellis will talk about finding a funding partner, the BGF, to facilitate expansion of the company’s bar brand, Albert’s Schloss, and pizza business, Rudy’s. Meanwhile, Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will talk about creating a communications campaign that complements a sales or investment process, touching on the company’s recent work with Be At One, while Jane Holbrook, former chief executive of Wagamama, will talk about the ten key steps taken on the road to ensuring Wagamama was optimised for sale. Fraser Anderson, partner at Sapient Corporate Finance, will look at the particular investment attractions of the retail coffee market in the wake of Sapient’s recent sale of a majority stake in Coffee#1 to Caffe Nero, while Oakman Inns and Restaurants founder and chief executive Peter Borg-Neal will talk about growing the company through new financing routes and partnerships and adapting to the economic climate. TriSpan European operating partner Robin Rowland will discuss the opportunities and challenges to being a new entrant in the UK and European scene and what the UK can learn from its US investment peers, while Charlie McVeigh will talk about lessons learned selling five hospitality businesses including Draft House to BrewDog and his investment criteria in the current climate as he seeks to make as many as three new investments. My Million Pound Menu investor Chris Miller, founder of White Rabbit Fund and investor in Kricket, Island Poke, Lina Stores and Kym’s, will talk to Propel managing director Paul Charity about his investment criteria, understanding the market and developing his investments. David Campbell, chairman of Bill’s Restaurants, will talk to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about investing in a downturn on refreshing a business, enhancing its offer and re-engaging its people, and the results of this work so far. The day will conclude with Mark Stretton leading a panel session featuring Imbiba partner Darrel Connell, TriSpan advisory partner Brandon Stephens, Tamweel Capital partner Ali Aneizi and Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett about the current prospects for the sector, growth opportunities, and mergers and acquisitions trends. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium subscribers and £345 plus VAT for all others. To book, email

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