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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 23rd Mar 2022 - Tasty reports return to profit, cautiously optimistic with up to six new openings planned
Tasty reports return to profit, cautiously optimistic with up to six new openings planned: Wildwood operator Tasty has reported sales of £34.9m (2020: £24.2m) in the 52 weeks to 26 December 2021, an increase of 44% year-on-year with 33 weeks dine-in trading, driven by strong sales post re-opening despite weaker trading for the peak December period than anticipated, due to the onset of the Omicron variant. Adjusted Ebitda was £8.0m (2020: £2.7m). Profit after tax for the period was £1.2m (2020: loss of £12.7m). Cash at the year-end was £11.0m. After allowing for deferred HMRC payments, creditors and bank loan the group’s net cash position was approximately £6.8m. Chairman Keirh Lassman said: “We are currently trading from 50 of those restaurants out of a total estate of 54. The four restaurants that remain closed due to predicted poor trading conditions in their locality or labour shortages but are at different stages of re-opening planning. However, the group will continue to consider selling two or three of those restaurants or re-gearing their leases to reflect current market conditions. During the two years of the covid-19 pandemic we have had to deal with and adapt to unexpected challenges. It has been a test of endurance, strength and resilience and our success has been testament to our dedicated teams and management, and our customers. The board would like to thank our much valued loyal staff, suppliers, customers, landlords and other trade creditors who have assisted and supported us throughout this unprecedented period. The support we have received from creditors, landlords, and the government has seen us through the difficulties we have faced. In addition, the bank facility of £1.25m drawn in January 2021 and not yet utilised, has provided additional headroom and confidence to our creditors of sufficient liquidity. At year-end, our cash balance reflects our cash preservation strategy and a deferral of payments due to creditors and HMRC. When these outstanding payments and bank debt are deducted, our net cash at year-end was approximately £6.8m. Trading was highly encouraging when dine-in was permitted from May 2021, but impacted in December 2021 as the Omicron variant took hold and spread amongst the UK population. Subsequent government advice meant that Christmas trade, traditionally our most profitable period, and specifically December 2021, was much weaker than we had anticipated. In response to the experience of the last two years we have strengthened our operating model. We have increased our delivery offering and avenues of delivery. Having survived the pandemic and, now that the restrictions have been lifted, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to expand the estate and are rebuilding our operational and head-office structure to support this anticipated growth and property pipeline. During 2022 we expect to facilitate a measured expansion plan for a pipeline of five to six new units, however, any expansion will be at a steady pace as 2022 will not be without its challenges with labour shortages, food inflation, the ending of government support in terms of reduced VAT and business rates and utility price volatility, impacting profitability. Trading prior to Christmas was strong and the start of 2022 is encouraging, but this must be tempered by the challenges which the group expects following the end of government support including VAT and business rates, the risk of a reduction in pent-up demand, disposable income and staycations as well as a steep rise in inflation in relation to wages, utilities and input supplier costs as the UK adjusts to Brexit, the aftermath of the pandemic and the current war in Ukraine. Accordingly, the board views the future with cautious optimism.”

Variety of pub operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A variety of pub operators are among the 71 new multi-site companies being added to the next edition of the Propel Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies, which will be released on Friday, 1 April, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features south east-based Little & Large Pub Company, which currently operates two sites, and is set to open a third, called The Talbot, in Brockley, Lewisham. Meanwhile, husband-and-wife team Tom and Ruth Carroll, of Carroll Country Pubs, which operates The Catherine Wheel in Albury, Hertfordshire, and The Fountain in Tuddenham St Martin, will be featured. Also added is south west pub operator TQ2, which is run by Claire Brierley, and has recently taken on the lease for The Fountain in Okehampton with Star Pubs & Bars, for its sixth site. In addition, Warwickshire-based pub operators Jonathan Carter-Morris and Marc Hornby, who run Kenilworth’s oldest pub, the Virgins & Castle, and have recently opened a new restaurant, are included. Premium subscribers will also receive a 5,200-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 eighth edition of the New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock, on Friday, 8 April, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The eighth edition also includes a 16,200-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. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to a new database early next month. The UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database will be an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and be updated every two months. The first edition will feature more than 100 companies, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. The first edition provides almost 25,000 words of content. 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.

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