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Wed 12th Jan 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hospitality sales fall 30% year-on-year: The first full week of 2022 saw hospitality sales fall by 30% compared with the same week in 2020, according to the latest data from S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. Wet-led like-for-likes dropped by 32.5%, with food sales down 27%. London sites are continuing to experience worse like-for-likes than sites outside the capital, with sales in London declining by 36% on 2020 levels. S4labour chief innovation officer, Richard Hartley, stated: “Speaking to customers, the availability of staff to meet sales has been a real issue for the sector. In some instances the demand is there, however the limit on available employees appears to be reducing opportunities for businesses. Hopefully as restrictions are eased, more staff are readily available and consumers gain more confidence.” Meanwhile, research by purchase platform Cardlytics showed takeaway platforms enjoyed healthy growth in the last year, with spend increasing by 72% while fast-food outlets themselves saw growth of 20%. On average, consumers are also using takeaway platforms 46% more often than during the pandemic. While online takeaway platforms have emerged stronger in 2021, physical restaurants haven’t been able to replicate this good fortune. It follows a year of uphill battles, with inflationary pressures and skills shortages to supply chain issues and a lack of availability of ingredients. All of this means that spend in restaurants fell 9% overall in 2021 and is yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. Despite headwinds facing the restaurant sector, the picture for fast-food brands is more positive. The fast-food sector has seen its growth speed up in the past year with spend at brands such as KFC, Greggs, Subway and McDonalds increasing by 20% in 2021. This has been buoyed by consumers visiting these chains more often, on average 17% more often over the last six months, and spending more per trip as the average amount spent per customer increased by 9% in the same period.

Industry News:

Next edition of Turnover & Profits Blue Book to rank 220 accommodation providers by turnover and profit: The next edition of Propel’s Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is updated monthly for Premium subscribers, will features 220 accommodation providers and ranks them by turnover in descending order – and provides profit and loss figures. The next edition, to be published at midday on Friday (14 January), will also feature group editor Mark Wingett’s next quarterly pick of the companies well-placed to grow in the post-pandemic era. His latest pick of companies are Brakspear, Simmons Bars, Hub Box, Park Holidays, Vaulkhard Leisure, Hostmore, QFM Group, Caprice Holdings and Ivy Collection. The picks are also accompanied by a 2,100-word report. The Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, will now feature more than 500 companies. It shows the full damage done to the sector by the pandemic, with 321 companies making a combined loss of £8.17bn compared with 186 companies in profit – making a combined £797m. Losses now outstrip profits in the sector ten times over. Total turnover of the 500 biggest sector companies stands at £28.5bn. The Blue Book provides a five-year overview of turnover and profit, ranking companies according to turnover, pre-tax profit and profit conversion. It also provides details of directors’ earnings and highest paid directors. 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. 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 single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. 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 Mark Wingett.
Propel and COREcruitment spotlight BAME entrepreneurs, Geeta Sidhu-Robb to feature: Propel has partnered with COREcruitment to spotlight some of the leading sector individuals from the UK BAME community this week. Today (Wednesday, 12 January), in a video released at 9am, Krishnan Doyle talks to Geeta Sidhu-Robb, chief executive and founder of Nosh Detox. Sidhu-Robb won Entrepreneur & Business Women of the Year awards in 2010, 2011, 2014 and 2017, the Champion of Women award in 2017 and Entrepreneur Alumna of the Year 2019 along with 13 other awards. Sidhu-Robb is also chair of the Women’s Development Board of the Microloan Foundation, which helps some of the poorest women in the world to set up businesses and feed, clothe and educate their children in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Nicola Sturgeon blasted for extending hospitality restrictions in Scotland with ‘no justification’: First minister Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised for extending hospitality restrictions in Scotland from next week in her latest covid update. Responding to the announcement, UKHospitality Scotland executive director, Leon Thompson, said: “Hospitality businesses needed to hear restrictions on them would be removed next week. Instead, while people will be able to attend capacity sporting events from Monday, hospitality businesses will remain bound by table service, physical distancing and nightclubs closed. Restrictions combined with messaging to stay at home torpedoed hospitality’s hopes for a busy festive period. Businesses are left to wait a further week to hear when things might change for them. In the meantime, hospitality businesses in England trade with far fewer restrictions, and covid cases remain lower. The Scottish government has produced no evidence that limiting Scotland’s most important economic sector is leading to reduced rates of covid infection. The opposite appears to be true as people simply socialise at home, away from well-run businesses and in confined spaces. The phrase ‘living with covid’ sounds more and more like ‘living with significant ongoing restrictions’. There is no justification for these ongoing sanctions against our businesses.” In her update, Sturgeon also suggested there could be an extension of the covid passport scheme in Scotland, as she confirmed that having a third booster jab will become the definition of being fully vaccinated. She said: “To be clear, we have not yet taken any decisions on this, and it will require careful judgment. But I want to be clear to parliament that it is something we feel bound to give appropriate consideration to.” The NHS Scotland covid status app for domestic use will be updated from Thursday (13 January) so its QR code includes evidence of booster vaccination. Organisers of events of 1,000 or more people will also be asked to check the certification status of at least 50% of attendees rather than the current 20%, or at least 1,000 people, whichever figure is higher.
Single-use condiment sachet could be banned, fears over added costs for smaller operators: Single-use plastic sachets for condiments and mini milk containers could soon be banned from the UK’s takeaways, pubs, restaurants and cafes. Environment secretary George Eustice last year stated single-use sachets can cause considerable harm to marine environments when disposed of incorrectly, and they are rarely recycled as their size makes them difficult to isolate and clean. A source close to Eustice told The Sun: “They’re an obvious contender for a ban. There’s no reason most restaurants can’t use big bottles instead of sachets.” Plastic cutlery and plates are also being targeted, with businesses being encouraged to find eco-friendly alternatives. But Andrew Crook, deputy chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, was concerned about the costs for smaller operators. He said: “It’s right the nation reduces its plastic consumption, but we’ve got to do so without adding another costly burden on the smallest restaurants, many of which are struggling to keep their doors open. Our favourite takeaways wouldn’t be the same without the sauces on the side, so the government should give small restaurants time to find affordable, non-plastic alternatives and not lumber them with other changes too soon either, like the proposed cutlery and polystyrene cup ban.”
Staycation boom set to continue as more Brits plan to travel than pre-pandemic: The staycation boom is set to continue with almost three quarters (73%) of Brits saying they plan to travel within the UK for leisure compared with 48% planning to travel abroad. The “Travel in 2022: A Look Ahead” report by TripAdvisor, in partnership with Ipsos MORI, showed those likely to travel for leisure purposes in 2022 outpaces pre-pandemic reported travel levels. In the UK, 78% of respondents said that they are likely to travel for leisure in 2022, compared with 72% of those who said that they travelled for leisure in 2019. But they are planning to spend slightly less on 2022 travel than they did in 2019 (minus 1%) although a quarter (25%) said it’s more important now than before the pandemic to splurge on a big trip. More than a third (38%) of Brits said travelling to a destination they’ve never been to before would be more important to them now, compared with trips they took in 2019, when choosing where to travel. Travellers are hungry to dine out – almost two-thirds of Brits (60%) surveyed said that going out to restaurants/trying new food is important to them when thinking about future travel plans. More than two-thirds (67%) of Brits surveyed agree they would like to see safety measures – such as hand sanitiser, Perspex screens and track and trace – in place at hospitality businesses, even after covid-19 cases have dropped worldwide. Kanika Soni, chief commercial officer at TripAdvisor, said: “Despite new variants of covid-19, consumers still want to travel and explore. This is evident in our month-over-month search data that shows a consistent, healthy increase in page views post-Christmas. Travellers are quickly adapting to local public health conditions, with cleanliness and safety remaining important factors in their planning.”
Labour calls for extension of VAT discount for hospitality: Labour has called on the government to extend the current discount on VAT for hospitality past the end of March. Seema Malhotra, shadow minister for business and consumers, said: “With hospitality businesses facing a cliff edge in March it is vital the government heeds Labour’s call and looks at extending the VAT discount for hospitality.” The VAT rate for hospitality currently stands at 12.5% but is set to go back to 20% at the end of March. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality, said: “Extending the lower rate of VAT will also help tackle the cost-of-living crisis – keeping prices low for consumers rather than further increasing the tax they pay in April. It means an everyday treat, visit or trip remains affordable, boosts demand and keeps the recovery on track.”
Hospitality sector investment up 8.9% year-on-year: Business investment in the hospitality industry rose 8.9% on an annual basis in the third quarter of last year as covid optimism began to spread, according to the latest Office for National Statistics data. Business investment by hotels and restaurants climbed to £988m in the third quarter of 2021, up from £907m the previous year. The increase from £972m in the second quarter of 2021 represents a quarterly improvement of 1.6%, and a 44% recovery since the second quarter of 2020, when the sector was worst hit by lockdowns. However, the industry remains 23.8% down on the sums invested in the third quarter of 2019, and far off the £1.6bn recorded in the final quarter of that year. The sector performed better than the UK as a whole in the third quarter of 2021, and for the second quarter running. Overall business investment in the UK fell by 2.5% in the third quarter, although it still grew by 2.6% on an annual basis. UK GDP increased by 1.1% in the third quarter – leaving it just 1.5% below where it was pre-pandemic.
London hotel market reports lower occupancy but higher room rates amid rising covid cases: London’s hotel market reported lower occupancy but higher room rates amid increasing covid-19 cases, according to preliminary December 2021 data from STR. The occupancy level of 53.4% was the lowest in the market since July 2021. A month earlier in November, London’s 66.3% occupancy level was the highest in the market since February 2020 (76.1%). The December average daily rate (£153.63), however, was the market’s highest since December 2019. Revpar stood at £82.08. When looking at daily data, London’s hotel occupancy came in at 53.2% on New Year’s Eve. That was up from the same day in 2020 (17.7%) but substantially lower than 2019 (91.7%).
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a small restaurant group based in central London to recruit a head of people. The group is quickly growing with sites across London and within the M25 and has big expansion plans for 2022 and onwards. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “This role will support the senior team in all aspects of employee relations, recruitment, welfare, training, and development while ensuring company compliance with current employment legislation. The role requires HR management in a similar senior role for a minimum of three years, experience in a hospitality environment is essential too, along with a relevant HR qualification, CIPD full or part qualified or similar degree. The hiring company is looking to pay up to £70,000 for the right candidate.” For more information on this role and to apply, send an updated CV to

Company News:

Simmonite – we hope to grow Gastrono-me to five sites by next summer: Mike Simmonite, co-founder of all-day concept Gastrono-me, has told Propel the fledgling business hopes to have grown to five sites by next summer. It comes as the business, which Simmonite founded with his wife Gemma four years ago, confirmed plans to open its second site, in Cambridge this March. The concept, which launched in Bury St Edmunds, will open a 2,500 square foot, 130-cover restaurant on the former Bella Italia site in Cambridge’s Bridge Street. It will include individual breakfast, brunch and dinner menus that revolve throughout the day alongside local-roastery coffee, cocktails, mocktails, wine and beer. Bottomless brunch will run every day from 10am-2pm and children’s menus and takeaway will also be available. Gemma said: “Mike and I met at drama school and turned our lives upside down to become bakers. We found our calling in Gastrono-me in 2011 and are now realising our dream of expanding our business into other parts of the UK. We love the historic market town feel we have in Bury St Edmunds, and Cambridge holds that same charm but on a city level. It’s the perfect setting for the next stage of our adventure and we’re so excited to become part of the city’s buzzing restaurant culture.” Propel revealed last January the business, which is EIS-backed, was working with hospitality acquisition company Stonebrook London on its expansion plans, with future target locations for the next three years including Brighton, Oxford, Cheltenham, Reading, Bath and Cardiff. Mike told Propel: “We are set up for further expansion, but won’t open a restaurant for the sake of it. We hope to have a third site ready to go by October, with a fourth ready by next April next year and then a fifth in August. Then we will stop and assess what we have and where we will go from there.”
Bannatyne Group secured almost £25m of CBILS loans to help keep it afloat during pandemic: The Bannatyne Group, led by Duncan Bannatyne, secured almost £25m in loans through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme  (CBILS) to help keep it afloat during the pandemic, its accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 have revealed. The group, which was forced to close its estate of 71 health clubs and four hotels for much of the period due to the covid outbreak, agreed an initial £12.5 CBILS, followed by a second of £12m towards the end of the year. It also secured capital repayment holidays and covenant waivers with its lenders and refinanced its core term loan of £40m, with a £7m repayment reducing it to £33m. The loan is now due for repayment in full in December 2023, thereby reducing net liabilities by £40m. As of 31 December 2020, net liabilities were £81.4m (2019: £46.1m). Turnover during the period more than halved to £59.9m (2019: £132.5m), while profit before tax fell from a £12.8m profit in 2019 to a £23m loss. Cash generated from operating activities before tax dropped from £37.9m in 2019 to £10.7m, while net assets were £24.3m (2019: £45.5m). During the pandemic, the company furloughed 90% on its staff, including all health club and hotel employees, to protect its financial position, and received £14.1m in government support through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It also invested in technology that allows guests to gain entry, use lockers and make purchases with one chip-enabled wristband. The group’s latest opening, in September last year, was a new gym at the former Virgin Active site in Leeds’ Cardigan Fields.
Resolution Pubs to launch burger and games-inspired concept: Norfolk-based Resolution Pubs is launching a burger and games-inspired concept at one of its sites. The company is bringing Burger & Social to the Jolly Brewers in the village of Shouldham Thorpe. Adam Noble, founder and chief operating officer at Resolution Pubs, told Propel: “Burger & Social is all about a cool neighbourhood hangout to enjoy fantastic burgers, super shakes and enjoy a game of pool and some arcade games. The aim of the concept is to get people back out and socialising. We want to make it as informal as possible and put the customer in control of their journey.” Resolution Pubs also operates Moninna’s Ristorante & Pizzeria in Spalding, the New Inn in Hockwold and Raymond’s Bar & Eatery at Sutton Bridge Golf Club.
Itsu secures Woking site: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain founded by Julian Metcalfe, has continued to build its regional pipeline, after securing a site in Woking, Surrey. The company, which is focusing on further regional store expansion, has secured a site in the town’s The Marches scheme, for an opening later this year. At the end of last year, the business secured sites in Guildford, Bromley and Edinburgh, with the latter set to mark the brand’s debut in Scotland. In its most recent accounts, the company said it was well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities created by the unprecedented level of disruption within the industry, after deciding to strategically reshape its central London store footprint. The business said it spent the majority of 2020, re-engineering its operating model for the “new-normal”, continuing investment in its digital customer journey, pivoting the UK growth strategy to focus on further regional store expansion and on a successful re-engagement with international partners. In November, the company opened its first international franchise restaurant at Brussels airport, having previously signed an agreement with Autogrill. Itsu plans to open 100 new outlets, creating 2,000 jobs in the UK alone, within the next five years.
Four Star Pizza names Colin Hughes as new chief executive: Four Star Pizza, the Dublin-headquarters concept, has appointed Colin Hughes, formerly of Subway, Pret A Manger and EAT, as its new chief executive. Hughes was until recently 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 2020. Four Star Pizza opened its first store in Crumlin, Dublin, in 1986. It employs more than 1,000 people across 45 stores in Ireland and 15 in Northern Ireland. The company said: “We're delighted to welcome Colin Hughes as our new chief executive. Colin has a wealth of experience, having previously held senior executive positions for numerous companies including Subway, Pret A Manger, and Barburrito, as well as Marks & Spencer, and Wyevale Garden Centres.” Hughes said: “I am delighted to be joining the Four Star Pizza business at such an exciting time. This is a terrific opportunity to lead the brand to greater things and we have ambitious growth plans to make this happen. I'm really looking forward to meeting new colleagues and working together to support and deliver for our franchisees and customers.”
Innis & Gunn set for fifth and largest brewery taproom bar, mid-2022 opening planned: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn is set to open its fifth brewery taproom bar, and second in Glasgow, with a summer 2022 opening planned. The new location will be Innis & Gunn’s largest to date, comprising of more than 4,000 square feet, and will offer “quality pub food”, ranging from small plates to bigger bar snacks, alongside the company’s full drinks range and guest beers. Customers will also be able to enjoy playing on shuffleboards and have the chance to brew their own beer at “Brew School”. The new site will create up to 50 jobs, all paid a "real living wage". Innis & Gunn founder, Dougal Gunn Sharp, said: “The Innis & Gunn brewery taproom concept has proved popular, and we are continually asked by our community to open more sites so they can further experience our premium bar offering and award-winning beer. We know some people travel from all over to visit our brewery taprooms, so this new central location responds to consumer demand and will be a great addition to both our own retail estate portfolio and to Glasgow city centre itself. The location is vibrant, and we will be well aligned and in great company with a fantastic mix of local and national operators.” Innis & Gunn’s other Glasgow brewery taproom is in Ashton Lane, while the other sites are in Edinburgh, Leith and Dundee.In November, the company got the green light to build a new brewery at Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University Research Park, in an “on-the-job learning” collaboration with the university.

Fridays confirms Barnsley opening: Fridays, part of newly listed hospitality business Hostmore, has confirmed it will be opening its 86th UK restaurant in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Forming part of The Glass Works, a food and retail destination which includes a Superbowl UK and Cineworld, the 5,300 square-foot site will accommodate more than 200 guests, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. Opening in the second quarter of 2022, it will look out over the new public square at the heart of The Glass Works. This follows the launch of Fridays’ new menu which celebrates its heritage, which can be traced to 1960s New York. Fridays chief executive, Robert B. Cook, said: “We are excited to be bringing our best ever food and drinks menu, alongside that iconic Fridays service and spirit of generosity, to Barnsley town centre. We have always felt the love and loyalty from our Yorkshire fans and can’t wait to spread that Fridays feeling even further across the county.” Barnsley Council leader, Cllr Steve Houghton, added: “Fridays are a hugely popular brand that will continue to grow our retail and leisure offer and provide people with even more reasons to come and enjoy our town centre.”
Ellen Chew to open second Shan Shui site with Heathrow launch this month: Singaporean restaurateur Ellen Chew will open the second site for her Shan Shui concept, at Heathrow airport terminal 2 this month. Building on its debut outlet at Bicester Village, the restaurant will open on Tuesday, 25 January and have panoramic views of the runway. Shan Shui is a Chinese restaurant, inspired by 1930s Shanghai. The menu at the airport site will showcase speedy “ten-minute meals” with options including two-day dry-aged Cantonese roast duck, and canton vegetable fried vermicelli. There will also be “East-meets-West” breakfast items, such as Katsu sando sandwiches and Shan Shui’s take on an English fry-up. At the front of the restaurant, there will be pastries and a breakfast bar counter. Drinks will include coffee, a selection of Asian tea and Old Shanghai-inspired 1930s cocktails. There will also be a retail store, selling items such as Shanghainese tea sets and Shan Shui merchandise, along-with bespoke products from like-minded businesses based in the UK. Chew said: “Shan Shui is a very special and nostalgic concept for me, evoking memories of being in the kitchen with my mother, observing and learning traditional techniques as she toiled for endless hours to feed us. We believe our offering at Shan Shui will be the perfect new addition to the dining experience at Heathrow to compliment the lively, dynamic floor of terminal 2.” Chew, who founded Chinatown's Malaysian and Singaporean Rasa Sayang, also operates Lotus Leaf in Westfield Stratford; Arôme Bakery in Covent Garden; Lobos Tapas in London Bridge and Soho; Simply Noodles in Bicester Village; and Mrs Chew’s Chinese Kitchen in Bicester Village, Birmingham’s Grand Central and Westfield London under the Chew On This umbrella.
Mumbai concept Goila Butter Chicken heads to Carousel for long-term residency: Mumbai concept Goila Butter Chicken is heading to Carousel, the restaurant from brothers Ed and Ollie Templeton that hosts rotating chef residencies. Saransh Goila is bringing his butter chicken to the venue in Charlotte Street in London’s Fitzrovia for a long-term residency from Thursday (13 January). Goila Butter Chicken will be housed in Carousel’s new incubator space, “No. 23”. Described by the Templeton brothers as their “fast casual side hustle”, No. 23 is a ten-seater launchpad for new concepts and longer-term collaborations with Carousel’s community of chefs and restaurants from around the world. Since opening his first Goila Butter Chicken restaurant in Mumbai in 2016, Goila has appeared as a guest judge on MasterChef Australia in 2018, where he scored contestants’ iterations of his signature dish, and teamed up with the Templetons in February 2020 for a sell-out fortnight-long residency at the old Carousel in Marylebone. As well as its signature dish, the menu will include the GBC fried chicken burger and a selection of bites. Goila Butter Chicken at Carousel will be open from midday until late, from Tuesday to Sunday. The site will have 12 covers and Goila Butter Chicken will also be available via Deliveroo. 
Camden Market set for Peaky Blinders-themed immersive theatre experience: An immersive theatre show based on hit TV series Peaky Blinders will be coming to Camden Market this summer. Peaky Blinders: The Rise will open at the venue’s Vanguard Theatre, produced by Immersive Everywhere, who partner with world-famous titles to deliver live theatrical experiences. Working in association with the TV series’ producers, creator and writer, it will be the first official 360-degree theatre show set in the world of the franchise. Camden features prominently in the TV series as the home of acclaimed character Alfie Solomons, played by Tom Hardy. Peaky Blinders: The Rise will be the second immersive adventure coming to Camden Market in 2022, following Tomb Raider: The Live Experience. Brian Hook, chief creative officer at Immersive Everywhere, said: “Bringing this experience to Camden Market is fitting – the town plays a really important role in the TV series and has always championed the creative arts. Working with the people behind the phenomenon that is Peaky Blinders, a truly immersive, action-packed performance is exactly what our guests should expect. We are excited to watch the drama unfold and to offer visitors an experience they will never forget.”
Second US Starbucks store unionises: Starbucks’ Genesee Street store in Buffalo, New York, has become the company’s second store in the US to unionise, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has confirmed. Following a vote among the workers of three Buffalo area stores at the beginning of December, the Elmwood Avenue one became the first to unionise since the 1980s following a 19-eight vote in favour. The Camp Road store voted against eight-12, while the Genesee Street store, with a 15-nine vote in favour, was originally just one vote shy of the minimum of 16 needed. At the time, seven votes were called into question, with the union claiming the voters in question no longer work at the store. The NLRB reviewed and then sustained these challenges, and Starbucks now has ten days to file a request for review before the results are made final. Several more Starbucks stores across the US have now filed for unionisation over the past month, including locations in Seattle, Tennessee, Colorado and Chicago.
Investment in Pimlico pub let to Stonegate sold for £2.65m: The freehold interest of the Marquis of Westminster Pub in London’s Pimlico has been sold to a private investor for £2.65m. The freehold property at 50 Warwick Way is let on a long, index-linked lease to Stonegate Pub Company. The price of £2.65m reflected a yield of 3.19%. Jack Silvani, director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, which acted on behalf of the vendor, said: “The investment sale of 50 Warwick Way concludes a process which commenced 18 months ago. During the initial covid-19 lockdown we advised the tenant on a lease re-gear in return for a rent concession to cover the periods of enforced closure. The lease re-gear altered the future rent review mechanisms from open market to RPI-linked uplifts – a mutually beneficial agreement protecting the tenant from significant open market uplifts, whilst providing steady growth for the landlord. The re-geared asset was sold off-market following a targeted sales process to a handful of potential purchasers. The price of £2.65m reflected a yield of 3.19% – one of the sharpest we have achieved for a London pub investment.” 
Darwin & Wallace continues sustainability journey with Wildfarmed link up: Darwin & Wallace, the London-based, Imbiba-backed neighbourhood bar group, has continued its sustainability journey by linking up with Wildfarmed to offer sustainable sourdough bread across its nine-strong estate. The sourdough bread uses stone-milled flour from regeneratively farmed grain by Wildfarmed. The company said the use of the bread across its nine sites equates to around 20,000 loaves each year, which feature in dishes across all dayparts across breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and nibbles. Wildfarmed was developed by award-winning farmer Andy Cato, who was the first Englishman to be awarded the Chevalier L’Order Merit de Agricole – the equivalent of a knighthood for services to agriculture. It has also worked with Pizza Pilgrims on its new sustainable restaurant in Selfridges. Mel Marriott, Darwin & Wallace managing director and founder, said: “It is possible to be commercially successful and at the same time minimise the impact on the environment. In fact, it is essential. More and more consumers are aligning their spending with companies they believe have true sustainability credentials and a genuine commitment to addressing our impact on the planet. I think that while carbon offset programs play an incredibly important role in adjusting our impact, it is by looking at the wider supply chain all the way back to the farming methods used to produce our food that we will accelerate our industries’ achievement of net zero.”

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