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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 17th Feb 2022 - KFC opens 1,000th UK site, plans 300 more over next five years
KFC opens 1,000th UK site, plans 300 more over next five years: KFC has opened its 1,000th site in the UK and Ireland, and said it plans to open a further 50 this year, and another 300 over the next five years. The company said that despite a challenging two years for the hospitality sector, it has been “committed to reviving the UK high-street”. Utilising a growth in sales largely down to increased demand for delivery, KFC has opened 160 new restaurants nationwide in the last five years. The brand now employs over 27,000 team members in the UK and Ireland with a potential of 1,500 new job opportunities set to be created across 2022. The company said: “The journey to 1,000 restaurants has been underpinned by a solid business strategy over the past five years, focusing on estate and growth of sales, backed up by a brand transformation to attract a new audience through cultural relevance and bold communications, increasing demand and sales. Business growth has been supported by greater investment in people and skills, with over 15,000 team members trained in 2021 and nearly 1,100 young people having now joined apprenticeship programme. KFC’s transformation has also been fuelled by the power of its unique franchise model. The brand’s 33 different franchisees, many of which are family run businesses, have managed to maintain growth despite the unique set of challenges they have faced over the last two years – making KFC in the UK and Ireland one of the fastest growing markets outside of China and the US.” Paula MacKenzie, general manager of KFC UK and Ireland, said: “We’ve been on a transformation journey over the last five years to become a more connected and vibrant business. Reaching 1,000 restaurants is a testament to our growth and commitment to serving delicious fried chicken up and down the country. From Dundee to Newquay, we’re in more communities than ever before. We know the role restaurants like ours play in employment levels and up-skilling the next generation. We want to be good business and a good neighbour, and are committed to ensuring this remains the case as our growth continues with greater investment in our people and in our communities.”

Next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book shows sector losses now outstripping profits almost ten times over: The full damage done to the industry by the pandemic is highlighted in the latest edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book with losses now outstripping profits in the sector almost ten times over. The Blue Book, which is updated monthly, shows 340 companies making a combined loss of £7.4bn compared with 196 companies in profit – making a combined £788.4m. Just 24 of the 536 companies are making pre-tax profit of more than £5m. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday (18 February). The 536 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a total turnover of £26.7bn. The Blue Book provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. 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. Propel Premium subscribers will also be given access to the entire recording of The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit Conference today (Thursday, 17 February). Subscribers will be sent 31 separate video presentations, featuring 67 speakers, at 9am. 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Usher plans new £2m crowdfunding campaign: Chef Gary Usher, who is behind the north west-based Elite Bistros business, has announced plans to launch a new crowdfunding campaign to raise £2m to “strengthen the business, create a new brand within it and open three new sites”. Usher tweeted: “On April 4th I’m going to try and raise two million pounds selling shares in Elite Bistro on Crowdcube. Obviously, I’m well aware failure is the most likely outcome but having a bit of egg on my face feels worth it for the possibility of what it could do for us on the off chance it did actually work.” Usher is no stranger to crowdfunding. Elite Bistros’ sites include Sticky Walnut in Hoole, Chester, which opened in 2011; Burnt Truffle in Heswall on the Wirral; Hispi in Didsbury, south Manchester; Wreckfish in Liverpool; Pinion in Prescot; and Kala in Manchester, which opened in 2019. All sites apart from Sticky Walnut were crowdfunded. The group also crowdfunded the launch of its event catering business.

Fears for future sap business confidence: Business confidence has fallen from a record high amid a shortage of skilled workers, concerns about tax rises, and an expectation that salaries will increase at their sharpest rate for 13 years in the next year, a survey has found. The Times reports that the quarterly business monitor from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales found that confidence, which reached a record high in 2021, had declined for the second consecutive quarter to average levels not seen since 2014. Challenges cited by businesses included the availability of non-management skills, which was reported as the fastest-growing challenge since the monitor began in 2004. Wages have risen in line with pre-pandemic rates in the three months to mid-January and are projected to rise at their sharpest rate for 13 years in the next 12 months. The ICAEW attributed the wage growth to the “significant recruitment difficulties” caused by tight labour market conditions and skills shortages. Wages in the UK rose by 4.9% in the year to December 2021, lagging the 5.4% annual rise in inflation recorded in the same month, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics this week. Businesses expect current recruitment and staff retention issues to ease next year. Profits are expected to grow, supported by productivity gains, a fall in spare capacity and rising prices, as businesses pass on their higher costs to customers. Separately, the UK recovery tracker run by Lloyds Bank, found that 11 out of 14 sectors saw an expansion in output in January as the overall pace of Britain’s recovery accelerated. An easing of supply chain pressures bolstered activity in sectors including automotive and manufacturing, while consumer-facing businesses were held back by Omicron restrictions. Widespread cost pressures led to service businesses raising prices at the fastest rate on record. However, manufacturers posted the slowest rise in prices in eight months.

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