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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 13th Aug 2020 - Sector sees sales halve in first month back
Sector sees sales halve in first month back: Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw total July sales down 50.4% compared with last year as the sector re-emerged from lock-down, latest data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker has revealed. All parts of the market recorded trading well below July 2019 levels but restaurants and bars and the London market struggled most. While pub groups collectively saw total sales down 44.7% over the month, restaurant groups in the Tracker cohort were down 59.8% and bars down 63.3%. London trading was down 58.3% in July, with outside the M25 down 48.5%. The Tracker figures showed more than three-quarters (76%) of the group-owned sites trading in February were open again by the end of July. However, the contrast between pubs, bars and restaurants was stark. While 94% of managed pubs had reopened, only 62% of bars and 36% of group-operated restaurants were back in business. “The figures are a reflection reopening of sites has been gradual and not all are back in business. Plus those that are open are generally trading at well below normal levels,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM. Delivery accounted for 13.1% of sales among the casual dining groups in the Tracker cohort in July, up from 7.4% in March when the effects of coronavirus were first felt and 5.9% in February. Among the managed pub groups, drink sales performed slightly better than food, with sales down 41% compared with minus 48%. The July Tracker figures are the first monthly set of sales data released since March, when all pubs, bars and restaurants were closed. Because reopening of the out-of-home market has been gradual during July, with England reopening first, then Scotland and Wales, the Tracker has only collected total sales figures and not like-for-like for this month but will resume like-for-like comparisons with August trading numbers. Chessell added: “These total sales figures for July give us a clear picture of how far the market still has to go to get back to pre-covid levels and highlights the areas that remain under severe pressure, especially as working from home continues and footfall in city centres, in particular central London, remains well down. The drop in sales across the market actually began in February as covid started to hit the headlines and escalated in March, so by the end of March the managed pub, bar and restaurant sector had already fallen into year-on-year decline, down 2.7% on the previous 12 months. At the end of July, after three months of zero trade, it was down 32.4% year-on-year.”

Greene King to recruit at least another 150 apprentices: Brewer and retailer Greene King is set to recruit at least another 150 apprentices and has encouraged young people to apply for jobs as they receive their A-level results. Since 2011, Greene King has supported more than 12,500 apprentices through its programme as it supports the development of its next generation of managers. Apprenticeship programmes are run from level 2 to level 7, which is post-graduate degree level. More than two-fifths (43%) of apprentice vacancies at Greene King were filled by 16 to 18-year-olds in 2019-20, an increase of 3% on the previous year. Greene King offers apprenticeships across the country – 97% of pubs run or have run apprenticeship programmes – with opportunities at all levels. Graham Briggs, head of apprenticeships and employability programmes at Greene King, said: “We know university might not be the right path for everyone and an apprenticeship can provide an alternative route and be the start of a rewarding and fulfilling career. Our apprenticeship programme enables young people to earn while they learn, offering the best of both worlds. With a particularly challenging jobs market at the moment, we’re pleased we can continue providing roles to young people at the start of their careers. Apprenticeships play a hugely important role in social mobility and we are continuing to invest in our programme so we can provide more opportunities and quality training for young people entering the hospitality industry.”

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