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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 22nd Nov 2021 - Nightcap acquires company behind Barrio Bar Group
Nightcap acquires company behind Barrio Bar Group: Bar operator Nightcap has announced it has acquired Barrio Familia Ltd, the company behind the five-strong Barrio Bar Group. The business comprises four Latin American-inspired, Tequila-led, cocktail bars in London which trade under the ‘Barrio’ brand (Shoreditch, Angel, Soho, Brixton); and a high end ‘60s themed members’ cocktail bar which trades under the ‘Disrepute’ brand in Soho. The consideration paid for the five-strong business is £4.935m, comprising a net cash amount of £3.628m and £1.307m which has been satisfied by the issue of 5,682,609 new ordinary shares of 1p each in the company at a price of 23 pence per share. Nightcap said it believes that the Barrio bar brand captures a growing demand for Latin-inspired, margarita and tequila focussed bars and has significant UK rollout potential, similar to Nightcap’s existing bar brands. The company said: “As a result of the acquisition, the board expects that the group’s results for the 53 weeks ending 3 July 2022 will be significantly ahead of current market expectations and believes that the acquisition will be earnings enhancing for Nightcap.” Sarah Willingham, chief executive of Nightcap, said: “I am absolutely delighted that Nightcap has acquired Barrio Familia, which includes Barrio’s four Latin American-inspired cocktail bars and the ‘60s themed members’ cocktail bar, Disrepute. When Nightcap was founded, one of my goals was to acquire a bar group that has the potential to maximise on the winning combination of margaritas and tacos – a personal favourite of mine! Over the past year, Nightcap has closely observed the significant growth of the tequila market with great interest, and we believe that this acquisition has significant potential for UK-wide expansion. Nightcap has been fortunate enough to have had a strong first year, and we are so pleased to be heading towards the end of 2021 with another fantastic concept in our portfolio. As always, we would like to thank our stakeholders for their continued support, all our amazing staff, and our wonderful customers for continuing to bring their energy to Nightcap’s bars. We look forward to providing further updates regarding our plans for Barrio Familia!”

Four days to go before release of updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, 54 businesses being added: A total of 54 new multi-site companies, operating 369 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday (26 November), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of brands growing through franchise, expanding sports concepts, and regional pub and hotel operators. Premium subscribers will also receive a 3,900-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 in total. Alongside this, Premium subscribers will also receive the fifth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 3 December, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The fifth edition also includes a 14,000-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 group 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

Economists warn that new public sector jobs ‘seen as a bit cushy’ are drawing staff from hospitality: A “land grab” for employees driven by expansion of the state is heating up the labour market and making it harder for businesses to hire staff. The Telegraph reports that Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, said firms faced growing “competition” for recruits after public sector employers went on a pandemic hiring spree. It comes as the number of vacancies has reached a record 1.17m, with the labour squeeze set to worsen in the coming weeks as the hospitality industry seeks temporary staff for the festive period. The extra competition for staff comes as new forecasts suggest Britain’s pubs and restaurants will be struggling to fill an extra 12,000 roles by Christmas, according to hospitality app Stint. Douglas McWilliams, deputy chairman of the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said many of the unskilled roles in the public sector were likely to have been filled by people who otherwise may have gone to work in hospitality. The forecasts, compiled by Stint, suggest more pain is ahead for the hospitality sector, which have only just managed to recover to pre-pandemic levels of trading after a series of lockdowns. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said pubs, restaurants and hotels urged ministers to release workers who had been hired by the state to help with the covid effort back into the private sector in the new year. She said: “He [Andrew Bailey] is right that the public sector hiring spree has put pressure on the labour market – I don’t think it is the entire story because you have people who have gone. But we do know that they have taken a whole chunk of workers into Test and Trace and into particularly the vaccination centre and the mass testing centres. There are a lot of security staff, door staff, badged door supervisors who have moved out of retail and hospitality and generally if you are recruiting at that level you reduce the available labour market. It is one of the factors that is causing the problem. Hopefully as the government starts to unwind that, and that mass infrastructure, that would help. We are competing with the state. With plan A clearly working and a greater reliance on home testing, we would look for the government to dismantle that infrastructure as soon as is practically possible in order to free up the labour market early in the new year.”

Economy will grow ‘slower than forecast’: Rising inflation and supply chain disruption mean that the economy will grow at a slower pace than expected this year and next, according to the EY Item Club’s latest forecast. The Times reports the economy will grow by 6.9% this year and by 5.6% next year, it said in its autumn forecast. This is down from its July prediction of growth of 7.6% and 6.5%, respectively, although it would still mean that growth this year was the strongest since 1941. It added that growth would slow to 2.3% in 2023, before stabilising at 1.8% over the following two years. It said that it expected inflation to peak at nearly 5% early next year, higher than the 3.5% it had forecast in July, and to remain above 3% until the second half of the year. However, the group expects the Bank of England’s monetary policy committee to increase the interest rate to 0.25% at its meeting in February, rather than next month. The report also cut its forecast for consumer spending, which had been expected to rise by 4.8% this year and by 7.4% next year, to 3.9% and 6.8%, respectively. Martin Beck, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club, said: “The UK was always expected to enter a tougher phase of the recovery. Record growth is still forecast, but there are headwinds as we approach the end of the year: pandemic-related policy support is being withdrawn, supply chain disruption and shortages have been more severe than expected and the scope for catch-up growth has been run down.”

Rocketing food prices leave Britain facing recipe for disaster: Britain’s cost of living squeeze is set to worsen with the highest global food prices in half a century lasting until 2023 as the gas crisis sends fertiliser costs soaring, experts predict. The Telegraph reports that supply chain analysts said supermarkets cannot insulate shoppers from mounting cost pressures indefinitely after warning that a cold winter risks pushing food prices up even further. Global food prices have rocketed to their highest levels since 1975 in real terms. They will increase next year and remain elevated into 2023, according to economists at BCA Research. Prices are already above levels seen during the last food crisis early last decade, which sparked social unrest across the world. Pressure on fertiliser prices is set to intensify this winter after the gas crisis fuelled a near tripling in the key food cost input to record highs. Abdolreza Abbassian, economist at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, warned food producers “cannot afford to have a bad year ahead” as many crops are already in a “tight situation”. “The big worry now is … what could be on the horizon for production in 2022 for crops that heavily depend on inputs, such as fertilisers,” he said. “We may go through a temporary stand-up in prices for a while but it may not last too long if the high fertilisers [costs] start having a negative impact on production and yields ... you would be expecting that this higher input cost is eventually going to make a dent somewhere.”

Everyman – admissions ahead of expectations: Everyman, the independent, premium cinema group, has reported that admissions have been ahead of expectations since publishing its interim results in September 2021. Therefore, it said that group revenues and Ebitda for the financial year ending 30 December 2021 will exceed current market expectations. On the basis of no further covid-19 restrictions in 2021, the group expects to report turnover of not less than £46.3m and Ebitda of not less than £7.0m. The company said: “Looking beyond the current financial year, early indications suggest the appetite for cinema remains strong and we are optimistic for the outlook of the sector.”

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