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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 21st Oct 2021 - Update: Business rates, covid recovery loan scheme extension and Sourced Market
Business rates bill to soar by £1bn: Business rates are set to rise by £1bn next year – sparking demands for the hike to be cancelled until the system is reformed. The jump in the tax on commercial property is based on inflation data for September – which yesterday (Wednesday, 20 October) came in at 3.1% This would add £1.04bn to the business rates bill. Retail firms will take on £251.22m of that overall sum. Without government intervention at the Budget, rates will rise by £23.15m for pubs while restaurants and cafes will see their liabilities increase by £21.87m, according to forecasts. A rate increase would come hand in hand with the end of government pandemic support, with retail and hospitality firms presently in receipt of £6.1bn rates relief. Rates relief will continue at reduced and capped levels until 31 March 2022. Property experts called for the uplift to be scrapped, saying businesses recovering from rolling lockdowns should not be subjected to a “massive tax raid’”. Businesses are also struggling with labour shortages and supply issues, which threaten to push prices up and leave empty shelves at Christmas. Jerry Schurder, of Gerald Eve, a property advisory firm, said: “British business is being battered by crisis after crisis. The last thing it needs now is a massive tax raid. Business rates are already the highest tax of their type in the world and urgently need root-and-branch reform. An increase will force more businesses to the wall.” Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be considering an online sales tax to level the playing field between tech giants and bricks and mortar retailers.

Host of music influenced concepts set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of music influenced concepts are among the 68 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 29 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Electric Group, a music venues company, which has secured its third site in Newcastle called NX Newcastle, which will feature four bars and access to a contained roof terrace. In addition, in the City of London, Record Bars has opened its fourth vinyl-themed venue that features two bars as well as two stages for live music. Also added this month is K&G Hospitality, which has opened its fourth site, called Amazing Grace, in London. The new venue will play host to UK and international talent and includes a food offering from catering partner Mr Bao. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. The comprehensive database is updated monthly and 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. The database features more than 2,000 companies. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fourth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Wednesday, 3 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fourth edition will now include a 11,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to another database – the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated monthly, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. 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 plus 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com.

Sunak to extend covid recovery loan scheme: Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to be planning an extension of a coronavirus loan guarantee scheme to help protect businesses next year amid signs that Britain’s economic recovery has lost momentum. Sunak is expected to use his Budget speech next week to announce a six-month extension of the government’s recovery loan scheme that had been due to end on 31 December. The planned delay to the end of the scheme was first reported by Bloomberg. The scheme was launched in April as a bridge between the more generous coronavirus loan schemes and more normal credit conditions. It provides credit worth up to £10m and comes with an 80% government guarantee for lenders. Its terms are less generous than previous pandemic loan schemes. Lenders are allowed to ask for personal guarantees from directors on loans in excess of £250,000. Fees must be paid from the start and businesses must show that they would be viable were it not for the pandemic and had been affected adversely by the covid-19 crisis. Data has not yet been published on how much money has been lent under the scheme. However, banking sources have said that the volume of loans has been lower than expected. Under three earlier government-backed lending programmes, including the business interruption loan and bounce back loan schemes, almost £80bn of loans were issued to help companies through the pandemic. An industry source told The Times: “The take-up [of the recovery loan scheme] was never really expected to be as big as the other schemes, but it also hasn’t been as big as they had expected.” The source said it would “make sense” to continue to provide an alternative to bank lending for businesses into the new year.

Night-time industry calls for Home Office inquiry into drink spiking: The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) have urged the Home Office to launch an inquiry into recent reports of an increase of drink spiking at pubs and clubs. The NTIA confirmed there has been a rise in cases around the UK in recent weeks. There have also been reports of needle attacks in nightclubs in Nottingham, as well other cities including Edinburgh, Dundee and Glasgow. Chief executive Michael Kill said: “The NTIA is very concerned to learn about the reported increase in the number of spiking incidents taking place across the country. We support all those coming forward to speak about their experiences. It goes without saying that everyone should be able to enjoy a night out without fearing for their own safety, and we are saddened to hear that some don’t feel this way. There is a lot we as a sector are already doing to try to tackle drink spiking. In response to recent reports, operators across the country have been working with the police, local authorities and key stakeholders, focusing on safeguarding customers, particularly women, at night.” Discussing the issues around the criminalisation of drink spiking, Kill said that “very real challenges still exist”. He added: “It is also not possible to ascertain whether incident occurred within a licensed venue or some other setting. The result is police data revealed through FOI requests does not give an accurate picture of what’s happening, or lend itself to specifically categorising this particular crime.” He added The Home Office should launch a formal inquiry and “work with the industry as part of this inquiry, and also speak to campaign groups and listen to their concerns”. A petition has been launched to review the UK’s drink spiking laws after the recent rise in attacks. The petition has been created on Change.org by Mair Howells of the I’ve Been Spiked Instagram account.

Hughes takes MD role at Sourced Market, opens third transport hub site: Colin Hughes, formerly of Subway, Pret A Manger and EAT, has become the new managing director of Sourced Market, the hybrid deli and dining brand. Hughes, who also served as a non-executive director at Barburrito for two years, had led Subway in the UK and Ireland since the summer of 2018 until the end of last year. He replaces Scott MacDonald, the former managing director of Bill’s, who joined Sourced in February 2019. It comes as the business has opened a Sourced Market & Kitchen at Extra MSA Group’s Cobham motorway service area, located near junction ten of the M25. The Cobham destination is the second Sourced Market site located across Extra MSA Group’s estate, following an opening at Leeds Skelton Lake services in 2020. Something new for Cobham will be a street food offer including made to order sweet and savoury crepes and a selection of fresh pasta and sauces – as well as a retail section where visitors can buy local preserves, biscuits, fudge and gift hampers. Hughes said: “Opening Sourced Market & Kitchen at Cobham services is another exciting step forward for us as part of our growing travel hub strategy. We’re proud to be bringing a curated flavour of the local region to the busy M25 as well as creating a pit stop for the surrounding community to also discover some of the best kept foodie secrets from across the region.” Andrew Long, chief executive of Extra MSA Group, added: “We are really pleased to welcome Sourced Market & Kitchen to Cobham. The business’ commitment to finding the very best suppliers and producers fits really well with our own ethos of supporting the local community and economy, as well as providing a quality offer to visitors.” Sourced Market also operates a site at St Pancras International train station in London. Over the past 12 months, it has consolidated its estate in the capital, exiting sites in Nova, Victoria, and Wigmore Street, Marylebone. Otherworld, the Imbiba-backed immersive entertainment business, has opened on the former site, while Lina Stores is set to open on the latter.

Deliveroo founder under pressure to ditch ‘golden share’: Deliveroo founder and chief executive Will Shu is under pressure to give up his “golden share” in the company. Investors want Shu to drop the benefit that gives him 20 times as much voting power as regular shares, a source told the Mail. The founder of The Hut Group, Matt Moulding, this week said he would give up a similar structure. But Deliveroo denied Shu would follow, with a spokesman saying: “We do not recognise this claim.” The company has been under scrutiny since its stock market listing turned sour. The stock fared better yesterday (Wednesday, 20 October) – up 3.8% or 11p to 301.5p – after it said people were still ordering takeaways despite restaurants reopening. It said customers spent £1.6bn on the Amazon-backed food delivery app in the three months to October. Deliveroo said it expects yearly growth to be between 60% and 70%, up from predictions.

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