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Fri 28th Jan 2022 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Emeny – the rebound in terms of the trajectory back to normality will be quicker this time: Simon Emeny, chief executive of Fuller’s, has told Propel he thinks the rebound in terms of the trajectory back to normality will be quicker this time. Speaking following the company’s trading update, said: “It is all about looking forward now. December is historically our most profitable month of the year and we lost it because of Omicron, and in particular the damage it did to central London and the City, but now we have to move forward. I think the rebound in terms of the trajectory back to normality will be quicker this time, particularly when it comes to offices. I think there will be a step change in the amount of people using public transport next week and going back to offices. Clearly in the past two years we have been in the eye of the storm compared with the rest of the sector, because of our significant weighting in London, particularly in central London and the City and I think that stood us apart. They were areas that you wanted to be in in the previous decade. Just because we have had a significant shock in the past two years, I wouldn’t want to rule out further good acquisitions in central London. We are about to build a new site in the heart of the City, which we are excited about, and we have some other acquisitions that aren’t in London as well. So that will demonstrate, particularly when we have our update in the summer, when we give a bit more detail about the company’s strategy going forward, that maintaining a balanced estate remains part of our long-term plans, but for the past two years it has counted against us.” Emeny said when it comes to pricing, Fuller’s is taking a long-term approach. He said: “What we really want to do is continue to delight our customers, and we want them to come more often and to enjoy themselves as much as possible when they are in our sites. We will get the balance right with pricing because as we come out of the pandemic, and people return to normality, having got settled in their homes, we have to put something in front of them that makes them come out as often as possible. If we go too far with pricing that will produce a significant barrier.”

 

Industry News:

Updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies released today at midday, 87 businesses being added: A total of 87 new multi-site companies, operating 918 sites, have been added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released today (Friday, 28 January), at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, includes a number of brands growing through franchise, expanding cocktail bar concepts and regional restaurant and coffee shop operators. Premium subscribers will also receive a 6,500-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. It features more than 2,000 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the sixth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 4 February, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The sixth edition also includes a 26,300-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. 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett. In this week’s Premium Opinion, which will be sent to subscribers today at 5pm, he looks at the battle for Corbin & King while sector leaders including Greene King’s Nick Mackenzie, Punch’s Clive Chesser and Mowgli’s Nisha Katona give their thoughts on the year ahead. Meanwhile, sector analyst Simon Stenning discusses why 2022 can usher in a new era for the UK’s foodservice sector, and Charlie McVeigh, chairman of The Breakfast Club, examines the lessons to be learned from the pandemic. 

 

Drinks sales still behind pre-pandemic levels but ‘Plan B’ easing should bring boost: Drinks sales continued to lag behind pre-covid trading last week, ahead of the easing of “Plan B” restrictions. CGA’s Drinks Recovery Tracker shows average drinks sales by value in Britain’s managed pubs, bars and restaurants in the week to Saturday (22 January) were 11% below the same week in 2020. This follows shortfalls of 18% and 12% in the first two weeks of 2022, although these were an improvement on a 25% drop in the last three weeks of 2021. There is cautious confidence that drinks sales may pick up after “Plan B” restrictions were eased in England on Thursday (27 January), while the relaxing of some restrictions in Scotland and Wales should give those markets a lift too. Drinks sales in England were 10% down on 2020 levels, but in Scotland and Wales, where restrictions have been stricter, they were 25% and 24% short respectively. Across Britain, drink sales were well below pre-covid levels on every weekday, with work-from-home guidance denting after-work drinking occasions. However, they rose to 8% down on Saturday, indicating that consumers are returning to weekend visits into the sector. CGA’s breakdown of drinks categories shows spirits sales were on par with the same week in 2020, thanks in large part to the popularity of cocktails. However, beer and cider (down 13%), wine (down 18%) and soft drinks (down 12%) were all well behind.


Treasury urged to review over-taxation of beer and pubs: Trade bodies and Europe’s largest consumer group – representing UK brewers, publicans, and beer lovers – have asked the Treasury to rethink the tax burden heaped on the sector. In an open letter to chancellor Rishi Sunak, the “One Voice for Beer” group makes clear its broad support for the government’s alcohol duty review. However, it urges further action following a fraught festive period, with trading down 30% on average across England during the second half of December compared with 2019, according to data from CGA. Pubs pay more than a third of their turnover in various taxes, while UK brewers pay more than 40%, the group said. It argues that beer duty should be reduced closer to the much lower rate paid by cider, and that smaller kegs often used in modern pubs should be eligible for draught relief. Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Pubs and brewers contribute so much to our social fabric and economy, yet brewing is one of the highest taxed business sectors in the UK.” James Calder, Society of Independent Brewers chief executive, added: “The chancellor’s alcohol changes are heading in the right direction for the UK’s small brewers, but there is still an opportunity to address inconsistencies and ensure independent craft brewers can thrive as we emerge from covid.” Rick Bailey, Independent Family Brewers of Britain chairman, said: “Pubs will help our local communities come together after the torture of the past two years – they can’t do so weighed down by taxes and other costs.”


New scheme to get half a million back into work can help plug hospitality job gap: Kate Nicholls hopes the government’s new Way to Work scheme, which proposes to get 500,000 unemployed back into work by June, can help solve the hospitality staff shortage. The Department for Work and Pensions today unveiled it plans, which works as a partnership between government and employers, to “turbo-charge our national recovery” and rapidly fill vacancies at a record high. Nicholls, chief executive of industry group UKHospitality, said: “We hope that this new initiative will contribute to plugging hospitality’s jobs gap, which remains a huge threat to recovery for the sector and, by extension, the wider economy. With restrictions now lifted, it has been heart-breaking to see venues that were so desperate to trade fully for the first time in nearly two years, forced to reduce their opening hours or simply not open at all due to a lack of staff. This is a serious threat to businesses that are carrying huge debts and little or no cash reserves, especially as we get closer to a cliff edge in April when the sector faces a rise in VAT, business rates and labour costs. We will be working with Jobcentres and sector businesses to connect jobseekers with jobs in a strengthened partnership. Hospitality is a wonderful industry to work in, but in order to continue this and invest in job creation, the industry will need support from the government – including a commitment to keep VAT permanently at its current rate of 12.5%.”


Kids’ meals ‘need to be more Instagrammable’: Operators need to offer more “Instagrammable” kids’ meals to not only take further advantage of the lucrative family dining market, but also capture the attention of future diners. So says KAM Media managing director Katy Moses, who last week presented part of KAM’s 2022 Family Dining Report to the 2022 Restaurant Marketer & innovator European Summit. Reflecting on the findings, Moses lamented the “beige” and “boring” options children are often saddled with when dining out with their family. The research found families dining out spend an average of £4,500 a year in the UK, making them “an incredibly valuable customer group”. Writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion, Moses said: “To me, the kids’ offering doesn’t just need a re-think. It needs a drastic change in order to keep this valuable group of people in our venues – not to mention to woo the customers of the future – neither of which will be achieved with dry chicken nuggets and chips. Why do I rarely see kids’ food on Instagram? Simply because, generally speaking, it’s not good enough.” The research also found more than half the adults surveyed want to see more nutritional options for kids, and 39% want adult menu choices available in kid-sized portions. Moses also believes choice is important for youngsters who have little self-autonomy in their lives, saying: “If they’re given a menu that just includes what I call ‘shut up food’ – food that mum or dad chucks in the oven when they’re short of time – where’s the experience in that?” Moses went on to say that, with kids being more online savvy, they’ll also influence venue choice for their family more as they grow older. She added: “I truly believe improving family dining is a huge opportunity for our industry.” Moses will share more of her thoughts in this week’s Friday Opinion, which will be published on Friday (28 January) at 11am. 

 

Universities to launch food delivery network: The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) is launching a food delivery network for students. TUCO has entered into a nine-year partnership with pay at table app Orderpay that will enable students at 130 participating universities to order from surrounding restaurants via QR stickers. These will be placed strategically around campuses and scanning these codes will open up a site of local options to order from. Kicking off at Loughborough University on Tuesday (1 February), and then rolling out to Nottingham University and beyond, the partnership will see universities across the UK “empower local independents and students by giving them direct access to each other in a way that has never been done before”. In September, an extension of this partnership will also permit students to order universities' internal catering offerings, delivered on campus exclusively by a network of student riders. TUCO chief executive Mike Haslin said: “We are excited about the additional revenue streams that this partnership will deliver to our TUCO members. We look forward to working with them to revolutionise on-campus hospitality commerce.”

 

Davis – streamlining menus is the way ahead for hospitality: Glynn Davis believes streamlining menus is the way ahead for hospitality businesses struggling with staff shortages and supply chain issues. The retail trends commentator said the food industry is already “actively shrinking the options on menus”, with the Lumina Intelligence Menu & Food Trends Report 2021 finding an average 18% reduction across the sector. He highlighted successful examples from the United States, such as burger chain In-N-Out Burger and New York vegetarian restaurant Dirt Candy. Writing exclusively in Propel’s Friday Opinion, Davis said: “There are many examples where the short menu is a virtue and a selling point. In-N-Out Burger in the US is renowned for its incredibly short menu when compared with the other burger operators. Such strategies can also provide a boost to profitability. Dirt Candy has never been as profitable in its 13-year history as it currently is because of the streamlining it has made to its menu as a result of covid-19. Out went the multiple tasting menus and in came a single five-course option. Such a move dramatically simplified operations at the restaurant which, like every other foodservice business, has struggled with staffing. Prepping became more manageable because of the fewer ingredients involved, and very little work is now done on raw materials that end up in the bin because the quantities required are now much easier to forecast as a result of the single menu. This has all contributed to the fact the restaurant can serve the same number of meals as before the pandemic, but with only 70% of the employee numbers involved.” Davis added: “With supply chain issues and employee shortages looking likely to cause problems for some time, the re-engineering of menus and streamlining of options looks set to be an ongoing feature of the hospitality industry.” 

 

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a UK concept that is eyeing international expansion and is looking for a chief customer officer/brand director. A COREcuitment spokesman said: “The company has a property pipeline and strategy for growth in the next five years. As part of that growth and expansion, it is looking for a chief customer role to look after all customer touchpoints across the business. This role will cover everything the guest sees and interacts with – technology, layout, music, service, payment systems, teams, marketing and promotions. As well as being someone who is data-led and highly analytical, they need to really understand operations.” The salary is circa £200,000. For more information and to apply, email Hollie@corecruitment.com

 

Company News:

Victoria Inns appoints advisors to explore its options: South coast-based pub company Victoria Inns has appointed advisors to explore its options, which could result in a sale of the business, Propel has learned. The eight-strong business was founded in 2003 by Tim Westlake and David Hampton. It operates eight freehold sites across the south coast. It is believed to be working with property firm Savills on its options, which could include a sale of the whole business, small groups or individual sites. It is thought the portfolio has a combined guide price of circa £3.725m. The estate has a total rental income of £241,000 per annum. The business comprises the Duchy of Cornwall and the Abbots Way in Plymouth; Oddfellows in Exeter; The Hope & Anchor in Bridport; The Rock and The Edinburgh in Weymouth; Vectis Tavern in Cowes; and The Three Cups in Dover. The owners of Victoria Inns also operate the Framptons Cafe Bar & Kitchen concept, which has sites in Bath, the New Forest and Royal Tunbridge Wells, as a separate business. 

 

King – Minor hasn’t put a penny into the restaurants since buying into the business: Jeremy King, co-founder of London-based restaurant operator Corbin & King, which was placed into administration earlier this week by its biggest shareholder Minor International, has said the Thai firm hasn’t “put a penny into the restaurants since buying into the business”. Earlier this week, Minor, which has been a shareholder in and lender to Corbin & King since 2017, cited its “inability to align with King on a sustainable commercial strategy” for the decision to place the holding company into insolvency proceedings. On Wednesday (26 January), American investment fund Knighthead Capital Management tabled a £38m offer to buy out Minor’s debt in the business. In a video posted on YouTube, King said: “This administration is a technical one that has been invoked by Minor in an attempt to seize the company, and it only applies to one company, the holding company. We have 14 other companies that actually run the restaurants. I can assure you all the restaurants are fully solvent, trading well, and all our staff and suppliers are secure and fully paid. It is very much business as usual. Minor claims it took the action because Corbin & King couldn’t meet its financial obligations, but the only obligation we failed to meet were payments in respect of a £30m loan from Minor themselves. That loan was part of the transaction that saw Minor buy into the company and Minor told us then it would be refinancing it. Minor also claimed we had major liquidity constraints throughout the pandemic. We didn’t. We got through it without any financial support other than the government’s furlough scheme. Finally, Minor claimed I declined a cash injection. It doesn’t mention the conditions attached to that small amount it proposed were in the best interests only of themselves. The truth is Minor hasn't put a penny into the restaurants since buying into the business. The further truth is we are as busy and as profitable as ever, and despite all the difficulties of the last two years, we are in rude financial health. I’m afraid we do have a fundamental difference of opinion with Minor on how restaurants should be run, what is the best interests of our customers, staff, landlords and suppliers. I will never change my principles to the detriment of those essential elements of a successful restaurant. So today we are under siege from our investor, which puts its own interest ahead of us all. I plan to buy back the holding company out of administration, pay back all the monies, so we can get back to doing what we do best.”

 

Costa franchisee Optimum Group reports all sites now trading profitably, plans two new stores: Optimum Group, which operates 25 Costa Coffee stores throughout Merseyside and the north west of England, has reported all sites are now trading profitably with plans to add two new outlets in the pipeline. The company, which also runs three Kaspa’s stores – in Liverpool, Smithdown and St Helens – said it continues to look at ways to cut costs as the business deals with the effects of the pandemic. The group provided the update as it reported turnover increased to £8.3m for the year ending 31 August 2021 compared with £6.4m the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £1.6m, compared with £666,000 the previous year. Dividends totalling £30,000 were paid. In his report accompanying the accounts, director David Connor stated: “Overall sales have recovered after covid. This is in spite of two additional lockdowns where we were only allowed takeaway only. All stores have now reopened and are trading positively. Growth opportunities are now in the pipeline with plans for two new stores being drawn up.” Meanwhile, Costa has, for the 12th successive year, taken top spot in the Allegra World Coffee Portal survey to find the nation’s favourite coffee shop. 

 

Gino D’Acampo says rebranding of sites ‘against his wishes’: Chef Gino D’Acampo has said the rebranding of five restaurants that traded under the Gino D’Acampo My Restaurants name were “against his wishes”, as he announced plans to open new sites across the UK. Last week, Individual Restaurants, the operator of the Piccolino and Restaurant Bar & Grill brands, announced it was planning to close and rebrand five Gino D’Acampo My Restaurants later this month. The sites include Gino's My Restaurant at the Corn Exchange in Manchester, Castle Street in Liverpool, Temple Row Birmingham and Park Row in Leeds. All will become new Riva Blu restaurants with the existing teams said to be remaining in place. Meanwhile in Harrogate, the Gino D'Acampo My Restaurant will also remain as an Italian restaurant, but will be rebranded as a Piccolino instead. The changes will not, however, affect Gino's My Pizza and Prosecco Bar brand, which will stay inside the Next store at Manchester Arndale, and his Next collaborations in Hull and Leeds will also remain. Speaking at the launch of his new restaurant, Luciano, in Alderley Edge, the chef told the Manchester Evening News he planned to open Italian restaurants across the UK. He said: "My dad used to say to me that for every action there is a reaction. Those five restaurants, they were rebranded without my consent and this is my reaction, I open new ones. When one goes, I say let’s do something bigger and better. So, we are currently working on what will probably be my biggest site yet in Manchester, it's going to be huge, over three floors with a sky lounge, terrace, it's going to be amazing. They are busy chiselling away on it as we speak and should open before the summer.” The location for the new Manchester site has not yet been revealed. The chef also plans to open the “biggest Italian restaurant in Birmingham” as well as new sites in Leeds and Sheffield.

 

Wagamama reopens five London restaurants: Wagamama, the pan-Asian brand owned by The Restaurant Group (TRG), has reopened five London restaurants that temporarily closed due to the pandemic. Following increased football at Wagamama’s other central London restaurants, the five have opened once more to meet the demand, as significant numbers of workers return to the office. The 160-cover Moorgate branch, which has been shut for almost two years, reopened this week, and will be followed by the Holborn and Hampstead branches on Monday, 14 February and Wednesday, 16 February respectively. Branches at Park Royal and Hammersmith, which had been trading for just delivery and click-and-collect, have fully reopened too. Wagamama senior regional marketing manager, Sita Dobbs, said the reopenings demonstrate the company’s confidence post-lockdown. She added: “We’re excited to welcome our loyal guests back to our benches at some of our most loved London restaurants. We’ve seen such an incredible demand for our nourishing bowls in London with the return of office workers and the city coming back to full swing again.” Wagamama, operates more than 150 restaurants across the UK. TRG chief executive Andy Hornby told Propel in December that “it’s not a brand you would take to more than 200 sites in the UK”.

 

Flow Learning sees record number of new operators join platform: Mapal Group, the company behind the Flow Learning solution, has seen unprecedented demand for its learning experience platform over recent months. New customers who have recently signed up include cafe bar operator Loungers, Hawksmoor, The Alchemist and Staffordshire-based Parogon Group. Flow Learning puts more of an emphasis on bitesize content and modules that are better optimised for completion over multiple short learning bursts, which it said based on its user insight is how hospitality workers prefer to digest learning. Hayley Kyle, customer success director, said: “Since the pandemic we have seen many more brands look to broaden their use of the Flow Learning platform from being a predominately compliance solution to better maximise the full suite of tools, to effectively manage all elements of learning, development, communication and engagement. We are seeing our customers leverage the solution to deliver onboarding, brand standards, technical skills, product knowledge, career development, site orientation, soft skills and industry inspiration.”

 

GSG Hospitality set to open second Liverpool Bold Street Coffee site and third overall: Independent restaurant and bar business GSG Hospitality is set to open a second Liverpool site for its Bold Street Coffee concept, and third overall, in early February. Bold Street Coffee launched in Liverpool’s Bold Street in 2010 before adding its second site, in Manchester’s Cross Street, in December. Its new site will be based in The Plaza, which is undergoing a £3m transformation by Bruntwood Works as a “lifestyle and well-being” destination. Open from 7.30am-6pm Monday to Friday initially, and with weekends openings following in the coming months, Bold Street Coffee will support independent roasters by having their produce on rotation. There will also be a full breakfast and brunch menu, including vegan and veggie options, while home brewing and equipment and retail coffee bags will be available to buy. Bold Street Coffee director, Matt Farrell, said: “Our focus is on the quality of house coffee and produce for our breakfast and brunch dishes. Being an independent ourselves, we love to champion other independent guest roasters, which are changed every quarter.” Colin Forshaw, regional director of Bruntwood Works, added: “We’re developing a new food and drink destination for Liverpool. The arrival of Bold Street Coffee represents the first step towards this ambition.” GSG Hospitality is also behind Duke Street Food and Drink Market, 81, Salt Dog Slims and Slim’s. It opened its second Salt Dog Slims site, in Manchester’s Bow Street, last year.

 

Gordon Ramsay to open third restaurant at The Savoy: Chef Gordon Ramsay is to open a third restaurant at The Savoy hotel in London. Ramsay is launching Restaurant 1890 by Gordon Ramsay on Wednesday, 23 February. Overlooking the hotel entrance, the restaurant will pay homage to Georges Auguste Escoffier, who joined The Savoy in 1890, and offer contemporary fine dining. Restaurant 1890 will open for dinner only and seat 26 guests. Ramsay said: “The tasting menu is seasonal modern French with European influences, prepared under executive head chef James Sharp and our hand-picked team. It’s the third gastronomic jewel operated by our restaurant group at The Savoy and we’re incredibly excited to offer this new experience.” Sharp has most recently been cooking as senior sous chef at Michelin-starred Pétrus by Gordon Ramsay, having joined the group in 2015. “With 1890, our third exciting collaboration with Gordon Ramsay Restaurants, our guests will have a wonderfully contrasting choice of restaurants within The Savoy,” said Franck X Arnold, The Savoy’s managing director. “1890 will reflect The Savoy’s history of providing luxurious, innovative experiences.” Ramsay’s other restaurants at the hotel are the Savoy Grill, which he took over in 2003, and the River Restaurant, which opened last year.


Former East London Pub Co director and Drink, Shop & Do founder to open luxury pub and restaurant-with-rooms in Kent: Husband-and-wife team Bradley and Kristie Lomas have restored a 17th century Kent manor house as a luxury pub and restaurant-with-rooms, which will open in June. Boys House, in Ashford, will offer ten luxury bedrooms, a 70-cover restaurant, private dining space, two outdoor terraces and its very own pub when it throws open its doors. The grade-II listed building, originally built in 1616, has been renovated over the past three years by Bradley, the former operations director of East London Pub Co, and Kristie, the founder of King’s Cross venues Drink, Shop & Do and Keystone Crescent. The restaurant’s menu will centre around seasonal, local produce, with daily changing dishes and home-cooked favourites, while a kitchen garden will grow herbs and flowers for the restaurant and bar. Future plans are afoot to extend the food and drink offering with a bar and outdoor pizza oven in the walled garden, along with treatment rooms and eight luxury cabins. The venue will also offer experiences including local wine tours, cookery courses and foraging walks. The Lomas’s said: “We have loved every minute of restoring this timeless and beautiful period property and cannot wait to see life back into the venue. It’s been such a privilege to be able to combine our background and love of home comforts and become a part of the rich history of this house and its evolving gardens.”


Rosa’s Thai launches chef-led training programme: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, which is backed by TriSpan, has launched Wok School, a new chef-led training programme. Based out of the lower ground floor of the circa 30-strong group’s restaurant in London's Warren Street, the programme is open to candidates of all levels. There are three programmes of three, five and ten days taught by the group's chefs and all participants are paid £11.45 per hour, including service charge, for the duration. Each participant will be offered a guaranteed full-time chef role at a Rosa's restaurant on completion of the course. Wok School will open for customers Monday to Friday from 12-3pm with a reduced menu that will change daily according to the training programme and include dishes such as pad Thai; red Thai curry; and chilli and basil stir fry at a 50% discount. Guests will be encouraged to offer feedback to help candidates learn from the scheme. The upstairs restaurant will continue to serve a full menu as normal. Gillian Lambden, people director at Rosa's, said: “Rosa's is dedicated to providing the best training and development to our teams to empower them to earn as they learn. We are excited about the launch of Wok School as it provides opportunities for promotion for internal team members as well as our new recruits.” 

 

Wye Valley Brewery sees turnover fall as result of restrictions: Herefordshire-based brewer and retailer Wye Valley Brewery has reported turnover fell to £7.4m for the year ending 30 April 2021, compared with £11.5m the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell to £611,000, compared with £1.2m the year before. The company, which operates eight pubs, received £430,000 through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “To support our trade customers, we voluntarily collected and credited back all draught beer left on their premises. Despite the severe restrictions on our ability to trade, we enjoyed strong sales in the few months when pubs were allowed to open, our bottled beer sales hit record levels over the year as consumers switched to home drinking, and we benefited from increased distribution with all the major multiple retailers. We supported our pub tenants by waiving all rents throughout the year with only 25% collected in August and 50% in September and October. We remain optimistic for the future and have healthy financial reserves with plans for significant capital investment in a new bottling and canning facility together with new product developments in the next financial year.”

 

The Barbary and Sarap Baon founders to feature in new digital cookery school: Eyal Jagermann, co-founder of The Barbary in Covent Garden, and Sarap Baon founder Budgie Montaya are among the chefs featuring in a new digital cookery school, Rassa. Launching next month, Rassa’s 12-week courses are designed to help people discover the culture, ingredients and dishes behind cuisines from across the world. It encourages people to develop their own recipes rather just follow them and urges the learning of hands-on skills like foraging and brewing. Costing £150 a month, there are three courses to choose from. Montaya and fellow chef Gene Gonzalez lead a Filipinio-inspired one, while Jagermann fronts one focusing on Israeli dining, and the final course sees TV chef Kevin Dundon reveal all on Irish cuisine. Each one includes a box of specialist ingredients delivered to the door, live workshops, recipe development sessions, Q&As with the chefs, pre-recorded content and virtual tours of the countries and cuisines in question.


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