Story of the Day:
Industry loses almost 1,000 more sites since July but managed sector proves robust: Britain’s number of licensed premises fell by almost 1,000 between July and September, the new Market Recovery Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners reveals. Small businesses bore the brunt of the 980 closures, with independently run pubs, restaurants and bars accounting for almost three quarters of them, reducing the sector in size by 1%. In contrast, the managed sector proved robust over the summer, achieving growth in site numbers of 0.1%. The report also revealed, despite being able to trade from July, Britain’s number of nightclubs dipped by almost 100 to just over 1,000 by September – a drop of 9.0% over two months. The closures between July and September mean there are, overall, 9,900 fewer licensed premises than there were before the pandemic hit, and the report warns of more business failures before the end of 2021 if significant trading challenges such as labour shortages, supply chain disruption and rising costs are not addressed. Karl Chessell, CGA’s business unit director for hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “Restrictions on socialising and trading may have eased, but their impacts continue to be felt by restaurants, pubs and bars whose reserves have been eaten up by months of closure. Factor in a crisis in recruitment, rising costs in many key areas and widespread supply issues, and it’s clear thousands of firms and jobs remain vulnerable. Targeted government support on these major challenges, starting with more VAT relief, is needed to help to prevent hospitality’s recovery from stalling.” AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “The impact on nightclubs, which were unable to trade at all during the pandemic, has been particularly acute, with almost one in ten sites closing in the past two months. Demand remains strong, but with staff shortages, utility cost inflation and supply-chain disruption, there are renewed efforts to secure continued government support to the industry to help it weather this storm as the reopening process continues through what may be a challenging winter.”
21 new additions to Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book are turning over £856.6m:
The next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, will feature 21 new companies, which are turning over £856.6m. It will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (15 October), at midday. The Blue Book will now feature 427 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators with a total turnover of £30bn. The Blue Book has begun to reflect the economic damage of the pandemic with 208 companies reporting a profit and 219 reporting losses. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive two other databases – the New Openings Database
, produced in association with StarStock, and the Multi-Site Operators Database
, produced in association with Virgate, which are also updated each month. 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. 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. To subscribe, email email@example.com
The journey from university to becoming people leaders to feature in Yapster video mini-series: Yapster has created a mini-series focused entirely on people leaders as part of its Take the Lead Series. In the third episode, chief executive Rob Liddiard chats with Lucy Craig, head of people at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen UK, and Josie Adams, head of people at Incipio Group , who embarked on their hospitality careers together after graduating from the University of Brighton. They cover the current state of people leadership in hospitality, the latest trends in people tech and data analytics, and why great employer brands lose their way. The video will be sent at 9am on Wednesday (13 October).
Chesser – pandemic not in ‘rear view mirror’ for hospitality sector: Covid-19 is not in the “rear view mirror” for Britain’s hospitality sector and it still has symptoms that are “very real”, Clive Chesser, chief executive of Punch, has told Sky News. Chesser spoke about the challenges facing the sector at a discussion on the UK’s recovery with leaders from across the economy at Sky’s Big Ideas Live event. Chesser said the “celebratory” tone of prime minister Boris Johnson’s speech to the Conservative Party conference last week did not match the reality facing hospitality businesses. Chesser spoke about how hospitality was seeing an uneven recovery across the country, with staycation hotspots such as the south west of England bouncing back strongly over the summer but others seeing a slower upturn. He also spoke of “frustration” about not being able to meet demand at times. He said: “We’ve got pubs that are struggling to find the staff that we need.” Meanwhile, he added a “huge amount of costs” are being added and absorbing those without passing them on to customers was “getting more difficult”. However, Chesser, whose business includes 1,300 pubs across the UK that employ 20,000 people, added despite the “fragile” picture in places, “the underlying position is one of optimism”. But he added: “We need to continue to get the support from government through the covid pandemic beyond the current measures that are in place and longer term and to have a real transition plan. I thought the tone of the conference last week and the prime minister's speech felt quite celebratory as if covid is now in the rear-view mirror and it's been and gone. That is not how it feels.” He echoed a previously-used analogy the industry was suffering from “long covid” and added: “Fundamentally we’re back up and running, we’re out of hospital, we’re healthy, we’re open, but we’ve still got some symptoms that are very real and we need the support from the government, for our sector, in particular.” He called for the VAT cut to be extended, help with beer duty, and business rates reform.
Keep VAT at 12.5% and let hospitality and tourism play its part in levelling up, coalition tells PM: A coalition of the country’s hospitality and tourism trade and membership bodies has called on prime minister Boris Johnson to keep VAT low for businesses in these sectors, enabling them to play their part in the government’s levelling-up and job creation agenda. Co-ordinated by UKHospitality, the letter argues keeping VAT at its current rate of 12.5% for these sectors will help to accelerate the UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic, safeguard the future of businesses and millions of jobs and allow firms to invest in their workforce with higher wages and improved training opportunities. Signatories to the letter also include Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester; the Night Time Industries Association; the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Welsh Tourism Alliance and Hospitality Ulster. With businesses feeling the impact of a multitude of cost pressures and labour shortages, the letter said keeping VAT at 12.5% on a permanent basis will help keep prices more affordable for customers and unlock investment in local communities and coastal areas across the UK. The letter states: “All of us in the hospitality and tourism sectors share that ambition and our businesses are present in all parts of the country, including, crucially, towns around the country that have been left behind, including coastal areas. We will be critical to your levelling-up agenda and we are eager to play our part. To facilitate our role there is one crucial lever that government can pull – to keep VAT at 12.5%. The pressures on business at present are well-documented and are already creating inflationary pressures. Increasing VAT for our sectors back to 20% will push many to breaking point. Retaining it at 12.5% will relieve upwards pressure on prices and will leave people with more money in their pockets, while delivering on our shared goals.”
Business-related hotel bookings triple in third quarter: Corporate hotel bookings appear to be bouncing back, as city centre properties enjoyed a bumper third quarter thanks to an increase in business related bookings. The data, compiled by booking platform Profitroom, indicated business-related bookings in the period were up 270% on the same period last year. Average daily rate, which determines hotels’ operating performance, was up 44%. Comparing the 2021 data against 2019 actually showed an increase of 11% – implying a period of enhanced recovery. On top of this, the average booking window – the period of time between making the booking and the actual stay – had also jumped 64%, moving from 33 days in 2020 to 54 days in the same period in 2021. This suggests guest confidence is returning as they’re willing to make more advanced bookings and commit to longer lead times, Profitroom said.
Trust Inns owner Trevor Hemmings passes away: Trevor Hemmings, the owner of north west pub company Trust Inns, has died aged 86. Hemmings, who also owns Classic Lodges, passed away on Monday (11 October). He also once owned Blackpool Tower and the holiday camp chain Pontins and was a former major shareholder in Scottish & Newcastle. Born in Woolwich, London, and later raised in Leyland in Lancashire, Hemmings was also the owner of Championship club Preston North End as well as three Grand National winners. He was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order in 2011 for his work as vice-president of the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. He is survived by his wife, Eve, and their four children. Founded in 1995, Trust Inns owns 350 pubs across the UK.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a high-volume venue in Manchester as the business looks to hire a dedicated general manager. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The venue has a multifaceted space offering high quality fresh food, bars, and private dining rooms all under one roof. The company is looking for an enthusiastic general manager with exceptional knowledge of high-volume hospitality venue management and someone who understands quality produce and excellent service. This is a high-profile opening and the incoming general manager will lead the operation. They will be responsible for all front and back-of-house systems and process set-up, hiring, training and service standards. They will also work closely with the director level team to ensure the product on offer is among the best in the area. The incoming general manager will need to have previous high-volume general manager level experience, be financially astute and be looking for a hands-on opportunity. The role is paying £50,000 base plus tronc and bonus, amounting to circa £65,000 overall earnings.” Anyone interested can email Stuart@corecruitment.com
Mission Mars reports business trading ‘very strongly’ since ‘Freedom Day’: Mission Mars, led by Roy Ellis, has said trade has been “very strong” since “Freedom Day” as the business continues to recover from the pandemic. Since restrictions lifted on 19 July 2021, Albert's Schloss Manchester delivered revenue of £1.8m, a like-for-like increase of 13.1% compared with the same period in 2019. Meanwhile, the nine-strong Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza delivered like-for-like sales up 39% against the same period in 2019. In the financial year ending September 2021, Rudy’s achieved revenue of £8.1m, up from £5.1m in the previous year. Within that period, Rudy’s sites have opened in Sale, Stockton Heath, London’s Soho and a second Liverpool site, in Bold Street. Mission Mars is also opening an Alberts Schloss in Birmingham next month with a Rudy’s set to launch in Chorlton. The company stated: “Since 19 July 2021, the group has traded very strongly with revenue in excess of levels seen pre-pandemic in 2019. Although the pandemic is still very much present nationally and globally, the trade seen to date has provided a good level of confidence the group remains in a position to deliver the long-term strategy.” It comes as the company revealed how partnering with Deliveroo helped it through the height of the covid-19 pandemic. The directors stated: “Covid-19 restrictions allowed us to fast track our strategy for delivered Rudy's pizza and we have been pleased with the demand across all sites. Partnering with Deliveroo, we have realised an additional revenue stream that has proven profitable throughout lockdown and subsequently a great route to improving efficiency and Ebitda conversion when trading with guests in pizzerias throughout July to September. When allowed to trade restriction free or with only social distancing in place, all site openings from FY19 and FY20 have performed in line with or ahead of expectation.” Accounts for the year ending 27 September 2020 showed group turnover fell from £34m to £21.6m with the group delivering Ebitda adjusted for exceptionals and pre-opening costs of £1.1m, down from £2.1m in the prior year. The group completed the sale of The Deaf Institute and Gorilla towards the end of last year for a reverse premium totalling £100,000. It also disposed of the Flying Pig and Lobster pubs. At the same time, the business is understood to be looking for more sites in London and Birmingham for Rudy’s. The company is working with property advisor Raven Rose and targeting locations in the capital, including Hackney, Islington, Balham, Wimbledon, Shoreditch and Richmond.
Coco di Mama launches food to go trial partnership with Sainsbury’s: Azzurri Group, the TowerBrook Capital-backed business, has launched a food to go trial partnership for its Coco di Mama brand with Sainsbury’s. It sees a range of Coco di Mama’s fresh, premium grab and go products available in 15 London convenience stores. Sainsbury’s customers will be able to choose from eight of Coco di Mama’s “made fresh, every day” baguettes and salads. The range includes best sellers such as chicken Milanese on sourdough, caprese multigrain, and chicken Caesar salad. Coco di Mama managing director Jim Attwood said: “We are excited to partner with Sainsbury’s to offer some of our best-selling, generous grab and go products to customers in new locations across London. This is the brand’s first foray into a retail channel as we build on the established London food to go stores and the success of our 130 nationwide delivery kitchens.”
Fazenda co-founder to launch new Brazilian concept: Robert Melman, the co-founder of South American rodizio brand Fazenda, is to launch a new Brazilian concept called Jardim, in Altrincham. Set to open next month, the new venture, which will launch in the town’s Old Post Rooms site, will operate as a rodizio, a kind of all-you-can-eat restaurant popular in Brazil and South America. The 120-cover restaurant will also serve unlimited sides and accompaniments from the salad bar. Melman, who left Fazenda last summer, told the Manchester Evening News: “I wanted to create something new where I can add the personal touch again. I love the excitement of bringing fresh and new ideas together and building a team to deliver that. As brands grow bigger that personality can be lost. Jardim has been a lockdown project of mine and I am loving the excitement of bringing something new to Altrincham. I have had the opportunity to be creative again and have loved exploring the perfect blend of Brazilian style dining with some of my native Argentina.”
Archie’s to open second Birmingham site in December, plans international expansion, forecasts £22m of sales in 2022: North west-based burger, shakes and waffles concept Archie’s is set to open its second Birmingham site in mid-December, and is casting its eyes overseas too. The ten-strong group, which already operates a site in Birmingham’s Bullring scheme, has confirmed a festive-season launch for the ex-Caffe Nero site in the city’s Lower Temple Street. It has invested £750,000 into the 2,500 square-foot site, which it has secured on a 20-year lease from landlords Hortons’. The next stage of growth for Archie’s, which has doubled its business over the last 12 months and expects to achieve sales of more than £22m in 2022, includes expansion into international territories. Archie’s was founded in Manchester in 2010 by brothers Amer, Imran, Asim and Irfan Rafiq, and the group’s portfolio includes a 260-seat Trafford Centre diner and a site in Manchester airport’s new “super terminal”. Ross Mackay, of Creative Leisure, who acted on behalf of Archie’s, said: “This is a prime location to continue Archie’s organic growth, and we were delighted to have secured this site ahead of strong competition.” Richard Walker, chartered surveyor at Hortons’, added: “This is one of the most high-profile pitches in Birmingham city centre and we received strong interest when it became available. Archie’s is an exciting and growing brand, and I am confident it will be a great addition to the parade and wider area.” Hortons’ was represented by Simon Smith, of Wright Silverwood.
Experimental Group acquires former Roadhouse nightclub in Covent Garden for new late-night venue: Experimental Group is to open a new late-night venue in London’s Covent Garden. The company has agreed terms with Capital & Counties Properties to take over the former Roadhouse nightclub in The Piazza. Experimental Group said it would look to retain “the energetic spirit of Roadhouse and revive it for a new generation”. The site is set to launch in late 2022. Experimental Group was founded in France in 2007 by childhood friends Romée de Goriainoff, Pierre-Charles Cros and Olivier Bon, with the launch of Experimental Cocktail Club Paris. Xavier Padovani joined the group in 2010 when Experimental Cocktail Club opened in London’s Chinatown. The group has since expanded to include hotels, beach clubs, restaurants and wine bars; spanning the UK, USA and Europe, notably Henrietta Hotel and restaurant Da Henrietta in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. Padovani said of the Roadhouse deal: “We are excited to revive this Covent Garden institution and bring it into a new era, while respecting its long history of live music and dining.”
EggRun co-founder to open new venture in former Mahiki premises in Mayfair following £3.5m refurbishment: Asher Grant, co-founder of egg-based fast casual delivery concept EggRun and owner of The London Reign nightclub in Mayfair, is launching a new venture. Grant is opening Tabu in the former Mahiki premises at 1 Dover Street in Mayfair. Grant and his partners have transformed the 6,000 square foot site with a £3.5m refurbishment. The space will feature a Japanese-inspired cocktail lounge on the ground floor, and an “edgy Tokyo nightclub” on the lower level. Grant said: “Mahiki was one of the first clubs I went to when I moved to London as a young man, so the opportunity to re-ignite this famous venue was too good to pass up.” Tabu will open on Thursday, 28 October.
Black Sheep Coffee opens first UK franchise site: London-based speciality coffee shop operator Black Sheep Coffee has opened its first UK franchise site, in Birmingham. The circa 45-strong brand has partnered with the AC Hotel in Birmingham, to launch the franchise site on its ground floor, in a unit previously occupied by Starbucks. The company said it would be the “first of many” sites it planned to open in the city and the West Midlands. The company recently opened its first site in Scotland, in Glasgow Central station, as part of its plans to become a national brand in the UK. Propel revealed last month that Black Sheep Coffee has more than 30 new openings planned for the next seven months. Gabriel Shohet, co-founder and co-chief executive, told Propel the business had 35 sites either signed, being built or in legals, with plans to have them all open by the end of next March. This will include ten openings in Scotland, comprising five in Edinburgh, four in Glasgow and one in St Andrews. Meanwhile, the business is planning to open in Leeds, Liverpool, Guildford, Colchester, Birmingham and Chelmsford. It is also planning to add further sites in Manchester, London and Oxford. The company is also understood to have another franchise deal set to be signed for west London.
Canadian restaurateur to open American brasserie at grade II-listed building in Mayfair next month: A 350-cover American brasserie spanning three levels will open at London’s Hanover Square next month. Founded by Canadian restaurateur Joey Ghazal, The Maine Mayfair will take one of the few Georgian, grade II-listed, townhouses in Mayfair, which dates to 1720 and is the former home of the Duke of Montrose. Divided across three levels with five distinct spaces, the sections will house a brasserie, tavern and year-round terrace. Ghazal has created The Maine as a homage to the summers he spent on the East Coast as a child and it will offer family-style menus. The Maine Mayfair will be an all-day venue promising a “blend of old-world British elegance, New England extravagance and subterranean decadence”.
Coffi Lab confirms first Cardiff site: James Shapland, the co-founder of Coffee#1, the Caffe Nero-owned brand, has confirmed he has secured the first site in Cardiff for his fledgling coffee concept Coffi Lab. The company, which last weekend opened its third site, in Frogmore Street, Abergavenny, will open its fourth store in Llandaff High Street at the end of November. Last month, Shapland told Propel that Coffi Lab was planning to open 50 sites over the next five years. Sites in Llanishen, Malvern and Whitchurch are also thought to be under offer. Shapland co-founded Coffee#1 in 2000 and went on to grow it to 15 sites across Wales and the south west, with an annual turnover of £5m a year, before selling it for an undisclosed sum to Welsh brewer and retailer SA Brain in 2011. He launched Coffi Lab earlier this year in Monmouth, with a second site following in the summer in Marlborough, Wiltshire.
Love Brownies opens flagship Leeds store, more sites to follow: Love Brownies, which bakes and sells chocolate brownies online and in shops and cafes, has opened a new flagship store in Leeds’ Victoria Gate. It is part of a major expansion that has seen the company double in size over the last 18 months, with further openings in the pipeline. The brand, which started on owner and head-baker Chantal Teal’s kitchen table in Ilkley in 2009, runs 15 brownie shops and cafes and will open two more this year. Next in line are cafes in Kingston and Windsor, with further shops set to open in 2022. The company, which employs 12 people at its Ilkley headquarters and a further 70 in its shops and cafes, has enjoyed a huge spike in online gift sales too. Love Brownies’ head of marketing Tina Jessop said: “To have increased our retail footprint on this scale after what was such a challenging year for the entire hospitality industry is a huge achievement. All areas of our businesses have performed well, and we’ve capitalised on that success by investing in the brand and fulfilling our expansion plans. Being a franchise-based operation, it is great to be enabling people to set up successful businesses and breathe new life into towns, cities and high streets. Being a Yorkshire-headquartered brand, Leeds is the perfect place to open our flagship store and cafe.”
MasterChef The Professionals quarter finalist to open first permanent site: MasterChef The Professionals quarter finalist Matei Baran is to open his first permanent site, at Danieli Holdings’ Stack Seaburn container development in Sunderland. Baran is adding more than a dozen staff to his team at #PoshStreetFood when it opens later this month. The chef, who reached the quarter final of the show in 2016, launched #PoshStreetFood last year and took his mobile kitchen to pub car parks, garden centres and housing estates across the north east. The mobile kitchen will continue along with the permanent site at Stack Seaburn. Baran said: “These are complex dishes and we don’t cut corners, hence the name of the business. I'm really proud of what we're doing.” Danieli Holdings chief executive Neill Winch added: “We could have filled the units a few times over, but we wanted to take our time and make sure we had the right offering to complement the rest of the scheme.”
Parogon to open long-awaited ninth site: Staffordshire-based Parogon Group has opened its long-awaited next venue – The Broughton, near Crewe. The venue’s opening has been postponed a number of times due to various different factors, including the pandemic. More than 65 jobs have been created with the launch and a new modern extension has been built on the front of the 19th century listed property. Parogon Group managing director Richard Colclough said: “The Broughton has been a popular destination for many people over the years and we wanted to create something that once again will bring joy to guests and create happy memories for years to come and we are confident we have done that.” The Broughton marks the group’s ninth site.
New British-Italian cafe to open in Clapham as part of £2.8m Studio Voltaire revamp: The group behind Italian Supper Club, which also runs Da Henrietta in Covent Garden, will this week open a new British-Italian cafe in Clapham. Called The Café at Studio Voltaire, the new venue will form part of the reopening of the Studio Voltaire art gallery following a £2.8m redevelopment. Seating 35 people, the café will open on Friday (15 October) and be available to hire for private events. It will run a seasonal menu showcasing “the best of British with an Italian twist”, including celeriac soup and focaccia, and red pepper caponata with merguez sausages. Founded in London in 2011, Italian Supper Club offers retail and catering for events as well as running pop-up supper clubs.
Restaurant Associates secures three-year extension to Edinburgh Zoo catering contract: Restaurant Associates, part of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has landed a three-year contract extension as catering and hospitality partner at Edinburgh Zoo – marking a decade of the partnership. As well as running the Grasslands Restaurant and two cafes for visitors, the company provides catering and hospitality for weddings, conferences, team building and charity events at the zoo. Inspired by the arrival of five new giraffes, it has introduced a giraffe-themed menu and sustainable projects inspired by the animals’ diet – including using hydroponics to grow cress for sandwiches and wheatgrass for smoothies in the restaurant. Steve Chandler, managing director of Restaurant Associates Venues, said: “Our partnership began in 2011 with the arrival of the giant pandas, so it seems fitting that we mark our tenth anniversary and contract extension with another much-anticipated new arrival.” Ben Supple, Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s director of engagement and business development, added: “This is a partnership in the truest sense of the word, with the Restaurant Associates team very much part of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland family and our journey to connect people with.” The contract will be supported by Compass Scotland, which was launched as a distinct business in November 2020 to develop the next providers of hospitality in Scotland.
Nottingham-based operators to open ‘city’s largest wine bar’ for second site: Nottingham-based wine bar operators Debbie Ault and Peter Brown are opening what they claim to be Nottingham’s largest wine bar for their second site. The Wine Room City is preparing to open at 7 High Pavement, in the premises previously occupied by Cameron Brewery’s Head of Steam brand. The new venue will offer handpicked wine from across the world, along with pizza, charcuterie platters and small plates, reports The Business Desk. The opening follows on from the pair’s debut site – The Wine Rooms Mapperley – that opened in 2018 and has grown into a cafe and restaurant. In addition, it hosts wine tasting and cinema showings. Ault also runs NottsDerby Wine School.
Chef launches debut burger and cocktail restaurant in Evesham, team eyes expansion: A chef who was made redundant during the pandemic and launched a takeaway service is set to open his first restaurant, and more sites could follow. Darren Strickland and co-founder Stuart Bailey are preparing to open StirrUps at the former site of the Outside Inn pub in Evesham's Market Place. StirrUps started life as an idea from Bailey to run a gin bar out of a converted horsebox, but the pandemic meant the business had to evolve quickly and the pair decided to turn it into a burger delivery service alongside their cocktails. “Initially, the pandemic meant I was furloughed from my job, which meant I had time to help Stuart out with StirrUps when it was a gin bar,” Strickland told The Business Desk. “But further restrictions meant events we were due to appear at got cancelled, so we turned it into a cocktail delivery service, which proved very successful in Evesham. Sadly, when restrictions began to ease in summer 2020, I was made redundant, so Stu and I sat down to talk about the future – and we saw a gap in the market.” Another member of the StirrUps team is Bailey’s brother-in-law, Dan Walker, who helped acquire and renovate the premises and whose family founded Evesham flooring company Karndean. He said: “If it’s as much of a success as the takeaway business has been, we wouldn’t rule out opening further restaurants in other locations.” The new restaurant is set to open later this autumn. The Outside Inn, previously Katie’s Bar & Grill, closed during the pandemic and never reopened, being put up for sale earlier this year.