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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 7th Feb 2022 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector businesses planning double-digit price rises in wake of spiralling costs: Sector businesses are planning double-digit price rises in the wake of spiralling costs and a return to the 20% rate of VAT on the horizon. In a UKHospitality survey of more than 340 hospitality businesses representing 8,200 venues employing 190,000 people, almost half of operators (47%) are reporting they will be forced to increase consumer prices by more than 10% this year, with 15% anticipating hikes of more than 20%. Overall, it is expected prices across the sector will increase by 11%. The increase is being driven by soaring operating costs, with businesses reporting average rises of 41% in energy bills, 19% in labour costs, 17% in food prices, 14% in drinks prices and 21% in insurance costs. In April, businesses will be hit by what UKHospitality describes as the “five horrors” – rises in employers national insurance contributions and the National Living Wage, the further withdrawal of covid support from government with VAT returning to 20% and business rates relief being reduced, the headline rate of inflation being expected to peak at around 7%, and the moratorium on legal action by creditors ending. The trade body calculates if prices were to rise by 11% across the sector, it would add 1.7 percentage points to the headline rate of inflation over the next 12 months due to hospitality’s proportionately larger weighting in the Consumer Prices Index. More than 80% of operators surveyed said they had experienced either moderate (39%) or severe (42%) levels of cancellations since the start of the year, indicating consumers are already feeling the pinch. UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “One in three businesses in our sector have no cash reserves left and are already carrying heavy debt burdens. Many of our community pubs, restaurants, hotels and hospitality venues will therefore fail as the cost-of-living crisis bites, causing demand to faulter. This can only cause the UK’s wider economic recovery to stutter. This April’s planned increases in VAT, employment costs and business rates are therefore likely to prove one financial burden too many for businesses. The industry wants to play its full part in the UK’s recovery from the pandemic but, as these latest figures highlight, we can only do that with further support from the government – support that must include keeping VAT at 12.5% permanently.”

Industry News:

Sixth edition of The New Openings Database sent to Premium subscribers, 26,100-word report included: The sixth edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, has been sent to Propel Premium subscribers. It shows the details of 495 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches. The database, which is published on a monthly basis, shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It has details on what type of site it is and its location. There is also a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. The sixth edition of the database features new and expanding leisure and hotel concepts, unique cuisine and regional brands in growth. Premium subscribers also received a 26,100-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, contained 87 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,293. The 918 sites run by those 87 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 63,489 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 6,500-word report on the new businesses added. The go-to database 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. There is also a synopsis of what the business does and significant news associated with it. Premium subscribers also receive the Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group. The Blue Book, which is also updated every month, 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.

Northern Irish nightclubs to receive additional financial support: Nightclubs in Northern Ireland are in line to receive additional financial support payments of up to £36,500 to help them recover from the pandemic. According to finance minister Conor Murphy, Land & Property Services (LPS) has been working with Hospitality Ulster and other government departments to agree a definition of a nightclub. LPS has identified the venues that meet that definition and they should receive a payment equivalent to the amount they would have received from the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme between May and October. “Throughout the pandemic, nightclubs have been subject to additional restrictions and closures above and beyond those faced by other hospitality businesses,” Murphy said. “This is on top of the Omicron Hospitality Payment as well as the 24 months rates holiday my department is providing to these establishments. These measures will ensure this vital part of our night-time economy is supported.” Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, added: “This funding will go some way to reduce the debt burden of the individual nightclubs as they begin to plan for their recovery and ensure customers can be welcomed back to the vibrant nightlife industry of pre-pandemic times.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a food delivery tech business that his growing hugely across the UK. The company is looking to recruit a regional director that will be based in London. This role will be focused on managing both the London and south east region, working closely with the in-house recruitment team to expand the sales team. The regional director will also be responsible for managing the P&L and working closely with account holders. A candidate from fast paced, start-up environments that has a passion for great food would be preferred. The salary is up to £80,000. For more information, email hayley@corecruitment.com

Company News:

Crossley – Turtle Bay could more than double in size, 25% like-for-like growth in January: Nick Crossley, chief executive of Turtle Bay Restaurants, has told Propel he sees the potential to more than double the size of the 44-strong Piper-backed Caribbean-focused restaurant chain. Crossley said the business, which saw 25% like-for-like growth in January, was in the “throes of negotiations and on head of terms on a few locations”. He told Propel: “One of the company’s strengths is that it has not been afraid to open in what many would see as unconventional locations, including the likes of Middlesbrough and Blackburn. We trade in these areas really well. I think our value proposition does translate throughout the UK. So, in terms of this year, five openings will be a good target. We are in the throes of negotiations and on head of terms on a few locations. We trade really well in a wide range of locations, slightly off pitch as well. We were able to do a bit of an assessment ourselves thanks to the breadth of the estate we already have. We did a bit of an exercise whereby we looked at what were the commonalities of those locations, what level of sales did site X do in that location and site Y in a different one, and we did some correlation work. What it showed us was there are a number of locations in the UK that will be perfect for Turtle Bay, where we are not in. We certainly see this well in excess of doubling the size of Turtle Bay over time, but there is probably a bigger number than that attached to it realistically.” Crossley said when it became evident there was not going to be a circuit breaker in the new year, the business saw “a resurgence in bookings”. He said: “We saw a buoyant return, and we are back to more than 25% like-for-like growth in January. Christmas parties are being rebooked and bigger groups are booking as more certainty comes in.” On the future ownership of the business, with Piper now in its ninth year of backing the brand, the brand’s chair Jane O’Riordan told Propel: “There will come a natural point where Piper will look to pass the business on. It will no doubt be looking at those options together with us over time. The business is trading very well, so I think you can make your own judgments on when that timing will be.”

Greene King launches chef training academy and offers 450 more apprenticeships: Brewer and retailer Greene King is marking National Apprenticeship Week this week by offering 450 more apprenticeships and unveiling a chef training academy. The apprenticeships include both front and back-of-house roles in pubs and hotels, plus programmes in the brewery, leadership and management, property, finance and logistics. The academy, meanwhile, will see the next generation of leading chefs work with TV chef and presenter, Joe Hurd, to develop their skills through live demonstrations. Hurd said: “I am delighted to support Greene King with the launch of its chef academy programme and look forward to meeting the first apprentices shortly. Our industry offers some of the best learning opportunities, and academies help to support skills and growth in the sector as well as providing our key employer partner, Greene King, exciting professional development programmes for its people.” Greene King had more than 1,600 apprentices start or complete courses in 2021, despite pub closures due to covid, bringing the overall number to more than 15,000. Andrew Bush, chief people officer at Greene King, added: “Our apprentices are our future business leaders, and we see these programmes as the perfect foundations to build for the future, learn and earn at the same time. The hospitality industry has so much to offer, so many different and exciting career paths, and it is great to see more and more people from a wide range of backgrounds choosing to work and learn with us.”

Richard Caring pulls out of the running for Corbin & King: Serial sector investor Richard Caring has withdrawn from the battle for control of London-based restaurant group Corbin & King. Caring – the backer of Caprice Holdings, Ivy Collection and Bill’s – had been in talks about a possible acquisition of Corbin & King, which fell into administration last month. Its collapse was sparked by a row between its management, led by co-founder Jeremy King, and its majority shareholder, the Thai hotel giant Minor International. However, the Sunday Times reports Caring, owner of The Ivy, said that “at this moment, I am not intending to pursue” the deal. Caring had been due to meet the Thai investor last week. The statement will be a relief for King, who wants to buy back his company with finance from US investment fund Knighthead Capital, which has offered to repay £38m of debt owed to Minor. On Friday (4 February), both sides argued in the High Court over a disagreement about the administration. Minor, which has appointed the restructuring firm FRP Advisory, is said to have received between 35 and 40 expressions of interest in the company. Corbin & King has appointed advisers from Teneo’s restructuring arm to protect its interests. Minor, founded in 1978, has venues across the Far East and Europe, including restaurants such as Zuma and Benihana in London. Until this weekend, King was facing further pressure from Caring, his long-time rival. For now, that threat appears to have waned, with Caring praising King and Corbin. Caring said: “They’re the guys that actually started this whole image and impression of hospitality in London.”

MJMK secures ex-Ice Bar site in Mayfair: London-based bar and restaurant operator MJMK is set to open a restaurant in Mayfair, after securing the former Ice Bar site in Heddon Street, Propel has learned. It is understood MJMK is set to open a flagship site for its piri piri Casa do Frango concept in the space. This spring the company, which already operates Casa do Frango sites in London Bridge and Shoreditch, will launch Lisboeta, its new venture with chef Nuno Mendes, in London’s Fitzrovia. It also hopes to launch a permanent site for AngloThai, the concept from husband-and-wife team John and Desiree Chantarasak, this year. The business has also applied to take on the unit formerly occupied by Hai Cenato, the Italian restaurant from chef Jason Atherton’s The Social Company, in the Nova development in Victoria. It is thought this could be a second site for La Rampa, its Cuban-inspired bar and restaurant concept, which it launched off London’s Oxford Street last year. Distrkt is understood to have acted on the Heddon Street deal. 
 
Inn Collection Group makes first acquisition of 2022 with ninth Lake District site and 28th in total: The Inn Collection Group has completed its first acquisition of the year with the purchase of the 38-room The Glenridding Hotel in Ullswater. The company has bought the lakeside venue for an undisclosed sum, taking its Lake District portfolio to nine and its overall site count to 28, as it continues to roll out its strategic “buy and build” growth plans. Sean Donkin, managing director for The Inn Collection Group, said: “The Glenridding Hotel is a real bucket list addition to the group. We are delighted to be expanding into further key Lake District areas in the UK’s most visited national park. Exceptional locations are very much a group USP and The Glenridding Hotel has this in spades. We look forward to building on the strong reputation this classic site enjoys and enhancing this with a careful refurbishment in line with our ‘Eat, Drink, Sleep and Explore’ concept.” The existing site – which includes a coffee shop, bar, restaurant and conference facilities – will continue trading until a sensitive refurbishment and remodelling takes place later this year. The acquisition of The Glenridding Hotel follows the Alchemy-backed group’s first expansion into Wales in December with the purchase of The Swallow Falls Hotel in the Snowdonia National Park. December also saw the reopening of its The Temperance Inn in Ambleside following a multimillion-pound refurbishment at the Cumbria site. Ward Hadaway corporate partner Imogen Holland provided legal advice on The Glenridding Hotel acquisition with Neil Hart, of Bradley Hall, advising on pre diligence. 

Buzzworks to bring Scotts restaurant concept to Greenock: Scottish independent restaurant and bar operator Buzzworks Holdings is bringing its flagship restaurant concept, Scotts, to Greenock. Due to open towards the end of 2022, the seafront venue will be Buzzworks’ fourth Scotts restaurant, joining ones based in Troon, Largs and South Queensferry. It will be based in the new £19m Greenock Cruise Ship Visitor Centre, currently under construction on the banks of the River Clyde. The restaurant will specialise in locally landed seafood, while in-house mixologists will also develop a list of signature cocktails and carefully curated wines. A seven-figure investment from Buzzworks in the restaurant will include an open-air rooftop terrace with panoramic views across the water and capacity for 150 covers. Kenny Blair, Buzzworks managing director, said: “Having been in the pipeline for more than three years, this is another significant step forward in our continued growth strategy as we continue to branch out from our historical base in Ayrshire. The venue not only fits our ethos of enhancing communities through great hospitality but will allow us to bring a new, exciting dining experience to the area. It’s an exciting time for the business and we look forward to finally opening.” As well as its Scotts portfolio, the 14-strong business also operates sites including Vic’s & The Vine in Prestwick, Lido venues in Prestwick and Troon, The Corner House in Kilwinning and the recently-opened The Fox in Troon.

Newcastle-based pub business secures fourth site: Newcastle-based Inn Hospitality Group has secured its fourth site with the acquisition of The Olde Ship Inn in Seahouses, on the Northumberland coast. The historic property was initially part of a farm and first licensed in 1812, with the Glen family at the helm since 1910. Over the years, the family has invested significantly in creating 12 guest rooms and a newly developed beer garden with views over the harbour. However, having developed the inn into a profitable business, the family felt the time had come to step back from the day-to-day operations and seek a leasehold operator to take the reins. Ollie Bennett and Matt Daniel, of the Inn Hospitality Group, said: “The Ship sits perfectly within the Inn Hospitality Group portfolio, taking us from one to four venues in our first 18 months of operation. The venue fits with our ethos of growing an estate of quality pubs with rooms in strong tourist locations, making it a fantastic venue to have on board as we aim to launch our group brand later this year. With the pandemic reminding people of the beauty of the English coast and countryside, we predict demand is going to continue for years to come, and underpinning the tourist trade is a loyal local following.” Previous operator and now landlord, Alan Glen, added: “It is with a heavy heart that we hand over the keys, but the timing is absolutely right for us.” Christie & Co acted on the sale.

Aqua Restaurant Group lines up fifth London site: Hong Kong-based Aqua Restaurant Group, the David Yeo-founded business that operates a portfolio of restaurants across the globe, is lining up a fifth site in London. Sushi spot Shiro, which will be based at 100 Liverpool Street, will follow in the footsteps of Aqua Shard, Hutong, Aqua Kyoto and Aqua Nueva. Due to open this summer, it will feature a sushi counter and robata counter, along with an outdoor terrace, and serve up an offering including “intensely flavoured” crystal sushi. “Shiro in Broadgate Circle will be our first Shiro in the UK,” Yeo told Hot Dinners. “We are delighted to be bringing this hugely popular hip contemporary Japanese dining from its home in Hong Kong.” As well as its London sites, Aqua operates eight in Hong Kong, two in Beijing and one each in New York, Miami and Dubai.

Merlin Entertainments to launch next generation of Lego experiences: Merlin Entertainments will launch the first of its new immersive Lego Discovery Centres in Brussels, Belgium, this summer. New attractions will include a state-of-the-art digital space experience where children and families can build a rocket and then digitally scan it, launch and fly it in space, dodging aliens and landing on other planets. Also launching is an interactive adventure train ride, using magic devices to collect points on a journey that takes visitors through an over-sized Lego world. There will also be a new pre-school offering with indoor play, a dinosaur-themed carousel and slides. A new team of playmakers and master model builders will be on hand to run interactive Lego workshops too. Justin Platt, Merlin’s chief strategy officer, said: “By working together with Lego Group to design and build this next generation of the Discovery Centres, we can cater for even more families looking for the ultimate Lego morning or afternoon of indoor activity which the whole family can enjoy together.” There are currently 27 Legoland Discovery Centres, while Merlin’s partnership with Lego Group incorporates nine Legoland resorts across four continents.

Bistrot Pierre co-founder to lead F&B development at Nottingham scheme: Bistrot Pierre co-founder John Whitehead has joined the development team at The Island Quarter in Nottingham as food, beverage and events project director. Whitehead will be overseeing the creation and delivery of restaurant, bar, events and live music venues on the 36-acre site. Beacham launched Bistrot Pierre in Nottingham in 1994 with childhood friend Rob Beacham and grew the business to circa 25 sites nationally. Whitehead left the business in July 2020, where he had latterly been a non-executive director. He said: “The Island Quarter is the most exciting development to happen to the East Midlands in recent times; we have a unique opportunity to create something special across a 36-acre canvas in Nottingham that will energise the city for generations to come.” Robert Ware, chief executive of The Conygar Investment Company, which owns the Island Quarter site, added: “John is a tremendous appointment for The Island Quarter to lead on our food, beverage and events offerings. His expertise and reputation for cultivating exquisite dining experiences in the city is unparalleled and makes him a phenomenal asset to our expanding project delivery team.” Whitehead will also be directing Phase 1B, with a 223-bedroom hotel, 247 apartments and extensive food and beverage outlets in the pipeline.

New high-tech aparthotel brand launches debut site and plans expansion: A new aparthotel brand has launched its first site, in the Spitalfields area of east London, with plans to expand over the next two years. Founded by Karan Uppal, Aptel is aimed at providing both corporate and leisure guests a “comfortable home away from home”, with high-tech energy efficient systems throughout. Guests are given a unique access code to their suite via a touchscreen device and have the added assurance of a 24-hour concierge. The first site, Aptel East, is located in Commercial Road and comprises 33 suites, including family suites or studios for double or single occupancy. With ambitious growth plans, Uppal is aiming to open more Aptel sites in London and other UK city locations over the next 12 to 24 months. He said: “I am excited about our growth over the next 12 months and look forward to expanding our market share in the coming years. When developing the Aptel model, I focused on striking a balance between offering all guests a modern, stylish home away from home with a seamless and safe experience.”

Gloucester-based cafe concept Janes Pantry opens 11th site: Gloucester-based cafe concept Janes Pantry has opened its 11th site. The company has launched the outlet at the new business centre in Twigworth, located just off the A48. The 48-seater cafe and bakery, which is the result of a £300,000 investment, is Janes Pantry’s largest site to date. Neville Morse, managing director of Janes Pantry, told So Glos: “It’s more than a bakery and a coffee shop – we’ve got great food, a full brunch menu, burgers, vegan meals and we’ve applied for a licence to serve alcohol.” Morse runs Janes Pantry with his wife, Tania, daughter, Amy, and area manageress, Tracy Burris.

Fitness concept Barry’s to open Liverpool studio for ninth site: Fitness concept Barry’s is to open a studio in Liverpool this summer. The “Red Room” facility will be only the second to open outside London, following the opening of Barry’s Manchester in December 2018. No location has been revealed for the Liverpool site, but the business said it will be situated in the city centre. The gym, renowned for its strength and cardio interval training workout, will be the company’s ninth site in the UK. It will offer the signature workout, featuring the trademark “Red Room” mix of red lights, mirrors, nightclub spec sound system and treadmills alongside fitness equipment including dumbbells, benches and resistance bands. Sandy Macaskill, co-owner, Barry’s UK, said: “We’d wanted to open a Barry’s in this fantastic city much sooner because Liverpool just seems like a perfect fit for the Red Room, but the pandemic got in the way.” A Barry’s Fuel Bar will offer a menu of nutritious, post-workout shakes. There will also be a retail offering.

Mediterranean restaurant concept La’De Kitchen lines up Hereford opening for sixth site: Mediterranean restaurant concept La’De Kitchen has lined up a former PizzaExpress restaurant in Hereford’s Broad Street for its sixth site. The building, which used to be Hereford’s post office, has lay empty since 2020 after PizzaExpress never reopened the site following the first covid lockdown. La’De Kitchen, which specialises in Turkish cuisine, already has restaurants in Pangbourne, Woodley, Newbury, Camberley and London’s Muswell Hill. James Dillon, commercial surveyor at letting agents Sunderlands, told the Hereford Times: “I think it’s got some pretty big plans, but at the moment it’s only just got the keys. I know it’s going to try and make the kitchen a little bit bigger, and I think try to incorporate a bar in there somewhere, but it’s early days yet – it hasn’t done planning yet. It will be refitting and refurbishing the whole unit and are keen to get going.”

Family-run cafe concept to expand Bristol footprint for fifth site: Family-run cafe concept Society Cafe is expanding its footprint in Bristol for its fifth site. The company, owned by Jane and Adrian Campbell-Howard, is opening the shop at Alliance House in the city after agreeing a deal with landlord, Acorn Property Group. Society Cafe was founded in Bath ten years ago. It specialises in coffee from small local and regional roasters as well as loose leaf speciality tea, artisan hot chocolate, and cakes and pastries. Jane said: “Following the first sites in Bath, we opened Bristol Harbourside in 2017 and it has proven very successful. We knew we wanted to expand in Bristol, but finding a site had proved challenging, as we wanted to ensure it was right in every way, not just about footfall, but also environment and community.”

Tim Hortons to make Somerset debut with Weston-super-Mare site: Canadian quick service restaurant brand Tim Hortons will open in Weston-super-Mare on Thursday, 17 February. SK Group, which is rolling out the brand in the UK, is launching the outlet in the former Pizza Hut site in Weston Links. It will offer seating for up to 100 guests as well as a drive-thru service. Kevin Hydes, chief commercial officer at Tim Hortons in the UK, said: “This marks an exciting new chapter for Tim Hortons as we open for the first time in Somerset. We can’t wait for the community to try our food and drink offering we’re so proud of and so well known for.” Tim Hortons now has circa 45 UK outlets and a further eight “coming soon”, according to its website. It is set to open in Braintree too this month, with sites in Milton Keynes, Dunstable, Plymouth, Stockport, Stirling and Antrim also in the pipeline. It ended 2021 with openings in Northampton, Broughton and Bangor, and has submitted plans for a drive-thru in Bolton and a debut Kent site, in Broadstairs.

Twycross Zoo to introduce multimillion-pound immersive Gruffalo experience: Tourist attraction Twycross Zoo is boosting its offer by introducing a multimillion-pound immersive experience based on the Gruffalo. The venue, which sits on the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border, launching Gruffalo Discovery Land this spring. The four-acre site has been developed in partnership with The Gruffalo brand owners Magic Light Pictures, and will include a mix of live animals, animatronics, film clips and other attractions. Characters such as Fox, Snake, Owl, Mouse and the Gruffalo will entertain families along an interactive journey through the Deep Dark Wood. It will also help Twycross with its work protecting wildlife, preserving endangered species and educating the next generation on the importance of protecting the planet. Twycross chief executive, Dr Sharon Redrobe, said: “We hope to spark the imaginations of our youngest visitors about the wonders of nature in this most engaging and interactive way. This immersive experience will educate more young children than ever before and increase their understanding of the vital role they will play to ensure our planet thrives in the future.” Twycross Zoo was founded in 1963 and has around 500 animals from more than 125 species. The attraction usually sees 650,000 visitors a year to its 100-acre site, including 60,000 school children.

Bristol burger business owner sells up, new owners ‘have growth plans’: The owner of Bristol-based business The Burger Joint has sold up, with the new owners keen on expanding its two-site estate. Dan Bekhradnia started The Burger Joint in 2009 with a small site in Cotham Hill, which in 2012 he moved to a larger site in Whiteladies Road before opening a second restaurant in Bedminster. He has now sold the business to three as-yet-unnamed local businessmen, for whom it is a first restaurant venture. “The new owners don’t want to mess with the basics of the business but have exciting growth plans,” Bekhradnia told Bristol Live. “I will still be involved to give strategic advice to them and I’m excited for the future of the business. These last two years have taken their toll on me, and I feel the time is right to move on. I never wanted to be in the hospitality industry forever and I feel I’ve taken the business as far as I can. Covid was the biggest challenge I faced over 13 years, but we got through it and actually ended up thriving – helped, of course, by government support. We had to deal with staffing and supply issues, but also had to close the Clifton site on three separate occasions due to staff getting covid. We’ve had one of our busiest years ever, but it’s been really hard work and challenging.”

Cake Box expands into south west with Plymouth launch: Cake Box, the London-based specialist retailer of fresh cream cakes, has expanded into the south west with an opening in Plymouth city centre. Cake Box has started trading in Cornwall Street, taking over the unit last used by Holland and Barrett. The store is being run by franchisee Bharat Thapa, owner of the Barbican’s Himalayan Spice restaurant, who has invested about £200,000 into the venture. Cake Box launched in London in 2008 and now operates more than 180 outlets. It is looking at further expansion in the south west with Exeter being looked at next. Thapa told Business Live although he was still committed to the Himalayan Spice Nelpalese restaurant, he wanted to work more during the day, to spend more time with his children. Last month, Cake Box acknowledged errors in its annual results and said it had called in experts to help with an internal audit. The company put it down to “transcription errors” between its 2021 full year results and annual report and accounts. It also noted “inconsistencies in prior period inventory reporting and comparative period disclosures relating to director interests in franchise stores” but insisted the errors should have no impact on reported profits, cash flows or balance sheet, and it had received “a clean audit opinion for the year”.

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