Door security staff shortages ‘now becoming critical’: Door security staff shortages in the night-time economy are becoming critical, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has warned. The lack of security personnel comes at a time when hospitality businesses are being hit by a cocktail of rising costs and are trying to rebound from months of closures during the pandemic, with some estimates suggesting venues are having to pay security staff as much as 25% more. About one in five night-time and hospitality businesses had to close last month or operate on reduced hours as a result of a shortage of security staff, according to the NTIA. However, the NTIA warned the situation had subsequently “deteriorated further”, at a time when consumer demand for nights out and dancing has been soaring following the easing of government restrictions. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “Door security staff shortages in the night time economy are becoming critical. We carried out a survey a few months ago which found that security resource in the sector was only at 70%, and I am afraid that the situation has only deteriorated further since then. Whether it is through acting as a first line of defence against a terrorist attack, or intervening to break up violent incidents, licensed security staff are fundamental to public safety. The current shortages are beginning to put the public in real jeopardy.” The UK’s largest nightclub operator, Rekom UK, and Revolution Bars Group have also reported suffering from a shortage of bouncers. Peter Marks, the chief executive of Rekom UK, told The Guardian the problem had been “building slowly but has become so much worse since the pandemic”. Sacha Lord, the night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, said “security staffing was the biggest issue” at this year’s Parklife festival, which he co-founded. Lord added that the 124 security staff working at the Warehouse Project nightclub events, taking place on Friday and Saturday nights until January, are being paid about 25% more than previously, assuming the higher wage bills charged by security providers are being passed on to workers. Hospitality businesses have been sounding the alarm over staffing shortages for the past few months since lockdown restrictions were eased, with security vacancies just the latest problem, after insufficient numbers of bar staff, chefs and other kitchen workers. Many security workers left their jobs during the pandemic as nightclubs and late-night venues were closed, with many finding jobs elsewhere with more suitable hours. Security staff at venues are fundamental to protecting the public, the NTIA said, calling for government action.
Latest edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book now available to Premium subscribers:
The latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, is now available to Premium subscribers. A further 21 companies have been added, taking the number of UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured to 427, with a total turnover of £30bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month – on the second Friday of the month – has begun to reflect the economic damage of the pandemic with 208 companies reporting a profit and 219 reporting losses. The Blue Book 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
Staff shortages eating into restaurant revenues at D&D London: D&D London estimates staff shortages are costing it 10% of its revenues. Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive, told The Times the company’s workforce of 1,700 UK staff was already about 100 to 150 short and the problem would become more serious as Christmas approached. “We’re losing revenues because we haven’t got enough staff, so in the restaurants where it’s most acute we’re responding by suppressing the maximum number of covers by up to 40%,” he said. He had “no clear view yet of Christmas trading” amid a much lower level of bookings than normal at this point, although he said there were signs that the gap was starting to close. “We’re all holding our breath,” he said. “It’s difficult to tell how it’s going because everything is late. Booking patterns are very short. But logically, if people didn’t have an office party last year, then hopefully they’ll have a big do this year. My sense is that if we can get the staff we’ll have a good Christmas.” In a trading update the company said since reopening in April its UK restaurants had been trading “substantially ahead of expectations”, despite continuing restrictions from April to “Freedom Day” in July. It said revenues at its sites in Leeds, Manchester and residential areas of London had traded well above pre-covid levels. Gunewardena said its central London restaurants, which account for three quarters of revenues, had reached only 90% of pre-pandemic revenues because of the absence of office workers and tourists, although there had been a return to offices and corporate events from the second week of September. Overall UK revenues in September were up to 96% and the D&D boss said the recent increase in spend per head for events was “a sign that companies are starting to feel positive”. Despite the challenging backdrop Gunewardena said D&D had “more new projects in the pipeline than ever before”, helped by less competition for sites and a “more collaborative approach” from landlords. D&D is working on about 15 or 16 new projects, although only a quarter of them are in central London, with the rest in the regions and overseas, including a rooftop restaurant in Birmingham opening next year. “Covid has shown we are overweight in central London,” he said. Earlier this month, it was reported D&D London was in exclusive talks to be acquired by UK-based investment firm Montecito Equity Partners, in a deal which is expected to value the business at about £100m, and see current backer sell the majority of its 69% stake in the company.
Hostmore in talks to add new brand to its estate: Hostmore, the parent company of Fridays, is in talks to acquire an unnamed brand with four outlets with the aim of backing its expansion to about 25 to 30 outlets over time, reports The Times. The company, which plans to demerge from Electra Private Equity and begin trading as a listed company on 2 November, said earlier this month it would explore opportunities with Fridays to expand its existing brands into new franchise territories and, following the demerger, will “seek to add rapidly growing, early-stage businesses to its portfolio of complementary brands, exploring opportunities to extend its offering into experience-led hospitality and leisure concepts”. Propel understands one of the businesses the company is understood to have talked to is Pizza Punks, the pizza, music and cocktails concept, which recently opened its fourth site, in Leeds. It also operates sites in Glasgow, Belfast and Newcastle. Hostmore is also reportedly also in talks with the US owner of Fridays over the possibility of taking on the Fridays franchise for Germany.
Timeline for mooted BrewDog IPO gets pushed back: The timeline for the mooted £2.1bn initial public offering of Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog may have been pushed back. The Telegraph reported advisers and banks told BrewDog that covid had made the hospitality industry so uncertain that a delay would be sensible. In April work was picking up pace ahead of a long-awaited market debut, and advisers at Rothschild were meeting with banks. Now the timeline looks more woolly. “Could it be sometime in 2022? Maybe. 2023? Maybe,” said BrewDog co-founder James Watt. Watt insisted this wasn’t down to the culture backlash the business faced earlier this summer. “That happened after we made the decision to push things back,” he said. Earlier this year, a group of 60 former employees published an open letter claiming staff were “burnt out, afraid and miserable”. BrewDog has struck a conciliatory tone in public, saying it is learning from the claims, interviewing former staff and setting up worker helplines. But there are signs this has been a tough pill to swallow. “Some of those people left for disciplinary reasons,” Watt said. “Look, we should have been clearer about the high performance culture. The problem we’ve had is a lot of people joined, and they wanted the excitement and the dynamism, the opportunities that come with a high growth company, but at the same time they wanted the steady state, perks and benefits that come from a mature company. You don’t get both. The mismatch of expectations led to the challenges we faced with former staff.” BrewDog is clearly keen to not make the same mistakes again. Its employee handbook has been updated to reflect that it has “a high-performance culture which is the only way we can compete with companies hundreds of times our size”, Watt said.
Sodexo UK & Ireland sets new target of being carbon neutral by 2025: Catering company Sodexo UK & Ireland has set an ambitious new target of being carbon neutral by 2025. The group previously set a goal of cutting its carbon footprint by 34% by 2025. However, having exceeded that target already this year, Sodexo has laid out its comprehensive roadmap to net zero and decarbonisation of its UK and Ireland business by 2045. The next step on Sodexo UK& Ireland’s roadmap will be to reduce carbon emissions across all three scopes by 55% by 2030. The final step is a decarbonisation of the entire business, with 90% of all carbon emissions cut across all three scopes – accounting for suppliers and client sites, not just direct operations no later than 2045. Sodexo UK & Ireland chairman Sean Haley said: “The commitments we make today are the culmination of an extraordinary amount of work from our world-class team of sustainability experts. Their unswerving dedication to developing, not just a set of targets, but a detailed action plan to achieve them, gives me absolute confidence in our future ability to not just meet but to exceed our net zero goals. This will enable us to continue to support and improve the communities in which we live, work and serve.” At the heart of Sodexo’s roadmap to net zero is the aim to reduce its own carbon footprint, leaving a maximum of 10% emissions, before neutralising the impact of any source of residual emissions that cannot be eliminated through permanent carbon dioxide removals. Sodexo’s carbon reduction plan, which will enable the organisation to achieve these goals, includes the launch of a 100% hybrid and electric vehicle company car policy; switching to 100% reusable, recyclable and compostable packaging by 2025; and increasing the number of plant-based meals and recipes to 33% by 2025.