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Mon 17th May 2021 - Exclusive – Nando’s to become carbon neutral this year, adds new plant-based options to menu
Exclusive – Nando’s to become carbon neutral this year, adds new plant-based options to menu: Nando’s has announced that it will become carbon neutral across its scope one, two and three emissions by November this year, on its roadmap to becoming Net Zero by 2030. The company said this builds on its existing science-based targets, which will see it reduce the carbon footprint of the average Nando’s meal by almost 50% by 2030. This is over and above the 40% reduction which has already been achieved since 2015. As part of its strategy to cut emissions, the company’s restaurants in England Scotland and Wales already run on 100% renewable electricity and gas, with those in Ireland set to follow; its new menu offerings created for the reopening includes more plant-based options than ever before, enabling customers to make lower-carbon choices; and it is working with suppliers to reduce emissions, including those associated with chicken farming, whilst also improving welfare. Together, the business said that these initiatives will reduce the company’s carbon footprint over the next decade despite continued growth in the business. The company said: “Today’s new pledge will address Nando’s remaining emissions with carbon offsetting projects that support communities across South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi; the countries in which Nando’s PERi-PERi chillies are grown. This includes partnerships with the Kariba Forest Project in Zimbabwe which aims to reduce deforestation, increase income from forestry projects, improve nutrition and provide healthcare and clean water to over 37,000 people; and Wonderbag clean cooking project in South Africa, a non-electric slow cooker developed to reduce the fuel needed for cooking by 70%, which in turn has significant health benefits for women and children, while also supporting 2,500 jobs. The climate impact of these projects is certified by Verra via their VCS accreditation, the largest and one of the most credible organisations in this area. Nando’s is excited about the opportunity to partner with great projects doing vital work and will be in a position to announce further partnerships with similar important projects in the near future.” Colin Hill, Nando’s chief executive for UK and Ireland, said: “At the heart of our business lies the aspiration to change lives for the better; for our teams, for our customers and for the communities in which we work. Ten years ago, we recognised that to truly change lives we had to set a course to become a more sustainable business. We have made good progress over that time but today marks a significant shift in both the scale and pace of our ambitions. We will be carbon neutral this year by partnering with initiatives that not only protect our planet, but at the same time change lives. In practice this means that when our customers eat at Nando’s, we will support projects in Southern Africa that cut carbon emissions equivalent to those associated with their meal. We have set the ambition to become Net Zero by 2030 and the work to realise this ambition starts today. The journey to reach this target is complex and there are many unknowns, but Nando’s success was built on the belief that there is no limit to what people can achieve if fired up by extraordinary aspirations. I believe that by harnessing the collective passion and commitment of our 16,500 Nandocas, by collaborating with our partner suppliers and our peers in hospitality, and by working tirelessly with other leaders in sustainability in their respective sectors, we can realise this ambition. We hope that by making these commitments we will inspire others to follow.” It comes as the brand has launched a new menu, including a selection of new plant-based and veggie options, new burger and pitta recipes and a range of brand-new side dishes. Stand-out additions include “a refreshing new Rainbow Bowl, a crunchy Quinoa & Feta Salad, and the option to add new Nando’s PERi-Plant Strips to your salad for an extra bit of PERi-PERi protein”. Last October, Nando’s launched a new plant-based alternative to chicken, the first time the brand has ever offered customers a substitute to meat on its menu in the UK. The group said the launch of The Great Imitator marked one step in its commitment to becoming a more environmentally friendly company by reducing its carbon footprint.

Nation’s love for coffee continues to rise as more sites open and operators added to updated Premium multi-site database: The UK’s love for coffee continues to rise as demonstrated by new coffee sites opening and their operators being added to the Propel Premium multi-site database in May. The updated database, which has the most comprehensive multi-site operator information in the sector, will include a minimum of 80 new companies when it is released on Friday, 28 May, at midday – and seven of those are coffee businesses. New additions include London-based Hermanos Colombian Coffee Roasters, Northern Ireland coffee and doughnut shop Guilt Trip, a Manchester opening for Gloria Jean’s, New Zealand-founded Allpress Espresso, Starbuck’s franchisee OCO Westend, an opening at LabTech’s Hawley Wharf for Amar Cafe, and coffee and brunch specialist Mule. Available only to subscribers, the exhaustive database was most recently sent at the end of April and included the details of 1,717 companies. The go-to database provides company names, the people in charge, how many sites each firm operates, its trading name and its registered name at Companies House if different, and what each business specialises in. In a new feature this year, there is a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The regular single subscription rate of £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers remains the same. Premium subscribers are also to receive access to a second exclusive monthly database, The Propel Blue Book. This database will provide an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. It will be available on Friday, 4 June, at midday. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Email to sign up.

Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng does not want rent arrears to “cripple” firms: Business minister Kwasi Kwarteng has said he did not want rent arrears to “cripple” hospitality firms and that the government was looking at ways to help firms manage their debts. He told the BBC that the government was aware that hospitality businesses were facing a build-up in rent arrears after many months of not being able to trade normally. He said: “The government is working very closely together – the Treasury and [the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] – to see if we can come up with an arrangement whereby tenants and landlords can work together to make sure this rent issue doesn’t cripple business.” At the same time, Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli, told the BBC that the UK’s high streets are already “littered with the gravestones” of independent bars and restaurants that didn’t have backers with deep pockets or hadn’t been able to negotiate concessions from their landlords. Katona said many businesses would make little or no profit while capacity was still restricted. She said: “In order to survive, what needs to happen is that we need to trade at the levels that we were trading prior to covid. While social distancing is in place, we cannot do that. Many places will not be able to make any kind of profit while restrictions are in place.” She fears many businesses will go bankrupt in the autumn as landlords demand rent arrears and says the government should look at things like business rates and VAT rates as well as support with debts due to landlords. Kwarteng said he hoped the final lifting of restrictions, including ending the need to distance indoors, would go ahead in June, but that he couldn’t offer any “cast iron guarantees”.

Hollywood Bowl reports first half loss, doubles target for new openings: Hollywood Bowl, which was closed for 75% of its first half to 31 March and had trading restrictions for the remainder, has reported revenue of £12m (2020: £69,2m) and a loss of £14.5m (2020: profit of £15m). Negotiations with landlords resulted in reduced cash rent for H1FY21 to £3.6m, a decline of £4.6m compared to H1 FY2020. Chief executive Stephen Burns said: “We are excited to be reopening and welcoming our customers and team members back from today. We are emerging from this challenging year of continuous lockdowns in a strong position to capitalise on the opportunities to invest in and significantly grow our portfolio of ten-pin bowling and mini-golf centres in prime locations and are pleased to be starting construction on three new centres later this year. The considerable demand we saw from customers when we reopened after the first lockdown and the strength of our pre-bookings for May gives us confidence that we can recover to pre-pandemic performance levels as families flock back for fun, celebrations and affordable activities.” The company reported it had two new high-quality locations agreed for a Hollywood Bowl in Resorts World Birmingham and Puttstars in Harrow. Three new Hollywood Bowl and eight Puttstars sites at an advanced stage of negotiation – the overall target has doubled to 14-18 new centres by 2024. A previous equity placing raised gross proceeds of £30m to take advantage of new centre opportunities and restart its organic investment programme.

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