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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 1st Mar 2022 - Update: Revolution Bars Group, Dalata, Barkby Group and Chapel Down
Revolution Bars Group returns to profit as it reports like-for-likes up 6% on pre-covid levels since ‘Plan B’ restrictions end: Revolution Bars Group, which operates 67 bars trading mainly under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has reported like-for-likes are up 6% since “Plan B” restrictions ended compared with the same period in 2020. The company said notwithstanding some ongoing restricted trading in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, like-for-like sales for the year to date since “Freedom Day” on 19 July 2021 are up 0.5%. It now expects to deliver full-year adjusted Ebitda at the top end of market expectations. The company stated: “After restrictions were released on 19 July 2021, two weeks into FY22, the group enjoyed strong trading. Like-for-like sales between then and 13 November 2021 were very strong at 14% ahead of the comparable period in FY20 aided by the return of students, the return of office workers, staycations and investment in our guest propositions; Overall, comparable like-for-like sales versus FY20 for the period from 19 July 2021 to 1 January 2022 remained positive at 1.4% despite the additional restrictions imposed on our guests in the Christmas period, which was reflected in like-for-like sales for the six-week period ending 1 January 2022 of minus 23%. Despite the disappointing messaging by the government around Omicron, our bars performed admirably, and our sales teams have worked tirelessly to rebook our corporate guests’ Christmas parties into the next few months.” Total sales for the 26 weeks ended 1 January 2022 were £74.1m versus £21.6m in 2021 and £81.2m in 2020. Adjusted Ebitda, as measured under IAS 17 inclusive of rental charges, was £7.6m, matching the £7.6m adjusted Ebitda we achieved in the first half of FY20, the last period unaffected by covid-19. The group delivered profit before tax of £4.3m in the first half of FY22, versus a loss of £17.7m in the comparative FY21 period, and a loss of £1.6m in the comparative FY20 period. The company stated: “After the release of trading restrictions under ‘Plan B’ and the positive news of the removal of covid passports in England, we are delighted to have seen a return to strong like-for-like sales growth in February 2022. We are excited to see the confidence of our corporate guests to rebook their postponed Christmas parties over the next few months, and look forward to welcoming them back. Consumer confidence in visiting pubs, bars and restaurants is also returning and is highest in our young guest base. Our strong approach to cost control is mitigating the impact of inflationary pressures wherever possible. We believe that we are well positioned to continue to capitalise on the favourable rental market. We continue to monitor the developing situation in Ukraine however we expect any impact on our business to be limited; and taking into account the above, despite the government’s response to Omicron, which in our view was overly cautious and caused a substantial loss of trade during the important festive season, the board is now confident of delivering adjusted Ebitda (on an IAS 17 basis) towards the top end of the range of market expectations, which is currently between £8.0m and £10.0m, assuming that the covid-19 landscape does not significantly deteriorate.” The company said it has successfully launched two new concepts – Founders & Co, an artisanal market-place experience that was “now well established”, and Playhouse, a competitive socialising concept launched in November 2021 “which continues to deliver extremely encouraging results”. The company has signed its first new bar lease since 2018 for a new Revolution in Exeter, with two new openings targeted this year and six next year, “with a strong pipeline to achieve this”. Capex of £2.4m was spent in line with expectations in the first half of FY22 across four refurbishments, the new concepts, and other planned capital expenditure. An additional five refurbishments have been completed in FY22 so far, with 19 in total expected to be completed in FY22. The group said it was pleased with the current performance of the sites refurbished so far, and confident it will achieve the two-year payback target it sets for refurbishments. Chief executive Rob Pitcher said: “We are hugely encouraged by the performance in the first half of FY22 and are excited about the future as we all now ‘learn to live’ with covid-19. We are emerging strongly following a period of severe disruption and now believe that, assuming no further variants, we can look forward to a sustained period of growth. We continue to urge the government to support the recovery and rebuilding of the hospitality industry by leaving VAT at 12.5% for food and non-alcoholic beverages and retaining business rates relief at current levels, in-particular maintaining the cap at £2.0m, not reducing it to £110,000. Demonstrating our renewed confidence, we have signed our first new lease since 2018, have a pipeline of opportunities, and several amazing refurbishments taking place. There’s never been a more exciting time for the group.”

Variety of Japanese sites added to the seventh edition of The New Openings Database, 15,720-word report included: A variety of Japanese sites have been added to the seventh edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock. The database will show the details of 279 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (4 March), at midday. The database shows the details of which company has opened a site or its plans to open one in the future. It will have details on what type of site it is and its location. There will also be a website link to the businesses so you can find out more about them. It is published on a monthly basis. The seventh edition of the database features Kibou, which is led by David Franks, and will open its fourth site, in Solihull, this spring. In addition, Fuwa Fuwa, which serves up Japanese souffle pancakes, opened its second site in January in Soho, London. Also added this month is The Aubrey London, a new Japanese izakaya bar and restaurant from Asian restaurant group Maximal Concepts, which opened in January in Knightsbridge, London. Also featured is premium Japanese restaurant concept Roketsu, which has opened its debut site in London’s Marylebone, and features a dedicated area where customers can witness and engage in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony. Premium subscribers will also receive a 15,720-word report on the new additions to the database. Subscribers also receive access to two other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers last Friday (25 February). The database contained 49 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,341. The 227 sites run by those 49 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 64,253 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 3,750-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 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. 

Dalata reports full-year revenue up 40.3%: Irish hotel operator Dalata, which has a growing presence in the UK, has reported its revenue rose 40.3% to €192m for the year ending 31 December 2021, compared with €136.8m in 2020. The company reported a pre-tax loss of €11.4m compared with a pre-tax loss of €111.5m the previous year. Dalata said that after the reopening of hotels at the end of the second quarter its like-for-like group revpar increased from 19% of 2019 levels for the first six months of 2021 to 58% in July and 78% in November as events and domestic corporate business returned. It noted that like-for-like group occupancy increased from 20.8% for the first six months of 2021 to 63.9% in the third quarter and 59.3% in the fourth quarter. The average room rate rose to €100.71, up from €88.77 in 2020 but still lower than the rate of €113.14 in 2019. The hotel group said it has a current pipeline of more than 2,000 rooms in prime locations which will see its UK footprint surpass Dublin by 2025. It also recently announced its entry into continental Europe with an operating leasehold interest in Hotel Nikko in Dusseldorf in Germany. After the recent opening of two hotels in Manchester, the company plans to open four more hotels this year, comprising more than 900 rooms in Bristol, Glasgow and Dublin. It also said the construction of Maldron Hotel Shoreditch in London is progressing well and is expected to open in the second half of 2023. Four more hotels are due to open in 2024 in Dublin, Brighton, Liverpool and Manchester. Three are at the pre-construction phase while the construction of Maldron Hotel Brighton started in early 2022.

Barkby Group appoints dedicated MD for pubs division: Barkby Group has appointed a dedicated managing director for its pub division. The company stated: “Rupert Fraser will step down from the board of directors and the position of group managing director of the company with immediate effect. Rupert will remain with the company and will assume the role of managing director of Barkby Pub Co.” Charles Dickson, chairman of Barkby, said : “The board and I would like to thank Rupert for his significant contribution to the board and the group as whole. This new role will allow Rupert to focus exclusively on delivering the important growth plans of our pub business.”

Chapel Down reports strong trading, appoints new CFO: Chapel Down has reported trading during the fourth quarter was “strong” and has appointed Robert Smith as its new chief financial officer. The company stated: “Robert will join us from PwC, where most recently he has led the UK and EMEA finance transformation practice and has had a number of senior leadership roles spanning a 13-year period as a partner. Robert has 29 years’ experience in finance, is a chartered accountant and a proven leader within the finance community with a history of building strong enduring relationships, leading and inspiring diverse teams and managing large scale finance transformation programmes. Robert is well placed to lead the Chapel Down finance team: the transformational work on the delivery of our future investment in a new winery and vineyards; the management of our future capital strategy and investor relationships; implementing our new ERP systems; providing valuable and timely insights to our commercial and operations teams; and partner with our chief executive on future industry growth opportunities. Robert is a long-term shareholder in Chapel Down and passionate about the development of the English wine industry. He will commence his role on 1 September and in order to ensure a complete handover through the summer of 2022, Richard Woodhouse, our current chief financial officer and chief operating officer will remain in position until the end of August 2022. Robert’s announcement completes the appointments and changes to the Chapel Down executive leadership team and he will work alongside the team in the delivery of our vision to be the number one and most celebrated English winemaker. Our 2021 annual results will be announced on the 25 April. The board confirms that Chapel Down’s trading performance during the fourth quarter was strong and in line with expectations.”

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