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Fri 22nd Apr 2022 - Managed groups’ like-for-like sales up 4% in March on pre-pandemic levels but inflation holds down growth
Managed groups’ like-for-like sales up 4% in March on pre-pandemic levels but inflation holds down growth, bars strongest performers: Britain’s managed restaurant, pub and bar groups saw like-for-like sales increase 4% in March on pre-pandemic levels, according to the new Coffer CGA Business Tracker. The tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, shows the gradual upturn this year has continued, after a like-for-like drop of 1% in January and 3% growth in February. But the figures show with high inflation hitting both margins and spending, hospitality’s recovery from covid-19 remains fragile.  Bars performed the strongest of the tracker’s three sectors in March, with like-for-like sales growth of 8%. Restaurants were close behind with 6% growth, thanks in large part to flourishing delivery sales, while pubs were up 2%. Trading in London continues to lag well behind other parts of the country. Managed groups’ like-for-like sales inside the M25 in March were flat, compared with 6% growth beyond the M25. Karl Chessell, director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA at CGA, said: “Two years on from the start of the pandemic and unprecedented turmoil in hospitality, these figures show managed groups are building back steadily. It’s particularly pleasing to see bars performing so well, as people return to late-night visits. However, like-for-like figures are well below inflation, and with soaring costs in energy, food and other areas hurting both operators and consumers, real-terms growth will be extremely challenging for some time.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, added: “After a long challenging period for operators the recovery is slow, and the challenges faced by the sector are wide. These numbers are improving though and returning workers and tourists in increasing numbers should help lift London over the coming months.”

Neat Burger to launch in the US, plans 1,000 sites globally by 2030: Lewis Hamilton-backed plant-based concept Neat Burger will open its first flagship location in the US, in Manhattan, later this autumn, as part of plans to expand to 1,000 corporately owned, franchise and dark kitchens by 2030. The company said its expansion will begin in the US covering a nationwide roll-out, as well as the introduction of its proprietary alternative-protein products into the CPG (consumer packaged goods) retail market. The first Neat Burger pop-up in midtown New York, in UrbanSpace Vanderbilt, opened this week, with its flagship location opening in Manhattan in autumn 2022. Its roll-out will then span major hubs across the US. The company is also expanding its food technology division with the establishment of new innovation centres, and plans to roll out its range – including new and improved versions of its plant-based chicken patty, hot dog, nuggets and shakes – by the end of the year. Tommaso Chiabra, co-founder and chairman of parent company, Neat Food Co, said: “By 2040, we see a world where alternative proteins have replaced animal proteins completely. Neat is leading the charge in the development of these alternatives that not only satisfy the needs of conscious consumers, but also deliver on flavour. We’re here to prove that the easiest choice can also be the best choice for the planet.” Earlier this month, the company made a series of key appointments as it prepares for international expansion, starting in the key US market. Leading the US expansion will be Vincent Herbert, former chief executive of Le Pain Quotidien (LPQ), who joins as chief executive of Neat Burger USA, while former Sweetgreen chairman Jeffrey S Fried and ex-Joe & The Juice chief operating officer Henrik Fjordbak joined its advisory board. Co-founder Zack Bishti last month told Propel the brand will look to make its regional UK debut at the beginning of next year after the company, which currently operates eight sites in London, announced plans to open 30 new sites across the capital as well as expand into the UAE and Italy. This follows a $7m funding round, led by SoftBank’s Rajeev Misra, which Neat completed at the end of last year.

New toolkit launches to help operators calculate carbon footprint to support sector’s net zero aim: A new toolkit has been launched to help operators calculate their carbon footprint in a bid to support the industry’s plan to achieve net zero. The Hospitality & Brewing Carbon Calculator and Toolkit has been launched on World Earth Day by the Zero Carbon Forum and developed in collaboration with UKHospitality, the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), and powered by Sky. The toolkit also enables hospitality operators to identify achievable key actions to reduce emissions. To support the accuracy of footprint calculations and easy-to-use actions, operators can choose from the groupings of pubs, hotels, restaurants, quick service restaurants (QSR), brewers, contract catering, nightclubs and visitor attractions. Forum chief executive and founder, Mark Chapman, told Propel the toolkit was designed to make it as easy as possible for businesses to play their part in the sector’s net zero push. He said: “We have built the question pathway to help people easily calculate their carbon footprint and then if they have further detail, we can input that as well. It’s divided into three areas – product, so that could be around offering more plant-based options; place, so that’s the design of the building and fit-out; and then people. Accurately measuring and understanding your current carbon footprint is critical to starting a meaningful plan to cut carbon and costs. Then by working with UKHospitality and the BBPA, we can use the data to inform policy and show the government how the sector is working in collaboration. We will keep evolving the toolkit so we can continue to update our initiatives.” UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “As a sector, we are fully committed to decarbonisation and are delighted to have played our part in developing the calculator and toolkit. Hospitality is at the forefront of the race to net zero.” The toolkit and calculator can be accessed for brewers and pubs through the BBPA and through UKHospitality for pubs, hotels, restaurants, QSR, nightclubs, contract catering and visitor attractions. It will also be available on Sky’s customer portal, MySkySports.com

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