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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 14th Jun 2022 - Update: Revolution Bars Group, business confidence, Inception Group and UK’s first art’otel
Revolution Bars Group expects to deliver adjusted Ebitda slightly ahead of top end of market expectations, plans six openings in FY23: Revolution Bars Group, which operates 67 bars trading mainly under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has reported it expects to deliver adjusted Editda slightly ahead of top end of market expectations following positive trading over the Jubilee bank holiday. The group said it has an “exciting” pipeline of new sites and expects to open a further six bars in FY23. The company stated: “We are pleased to report continued strong performance across the group, particularly from our refurbished bars, and continued guest enjoyment in all of our brands. While not being immune to the widely reported inflationary headwinds in the UK, we continue to manage and control costs tightly wherever possible. Following positive trading over the Jubilee bank holiday, the board is confident of delivering adjusted Ebitda after rental charges (on an IAS 17 basis) slightly ahead of the top end of market expectations, which currently stands at £10m. Our refurbishment programme has continued at pace and we have completed 16 refurbishments in FY22, 14 in Revolution bars and two in Revolucion de Cuba bars. We expect to complete a further three refurbishments in FY22, taking us to our planned target of 19 refurbishments, with a further 18 planned in the next financial year. The refurbished bars are trading well and we are confident in achieving our two-year payback target. Further to the strong trading reported above, we are pleased to confirm we have agreed terms on two new leasehold bars in Exeter and in Preston, which are the group’s first new sites since 2018. Both new bars will trade under the Revolution brand and are expected to open in June 2022. Our two new brands, Playhouse and Founders & Co, have proved to be exciting additions to the group therefore adding additional optionality within the estate. Looking forward, we have an exciting pipeline of future sites and we expect to open a further six bars in FY23. The group intends to publish its annual results for the financial year ended 2 July 2022 on 18 October 2022.” Rob Pitcher, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, said: “Revolution Bars Group is in great shape and it’s great to be back doing what we do brilliantly. The business is well funded and the investment we have made in our refurbishment programme is delivering positive results and delighting our guests. This, together with encouraging trading, underpins our confidence in our expansion plans with two new bars due to open later this month and an excellent pipeline of new sites in place. Our success in delivering our vision and strategy is testament to the whole team’s hard work and their ability to create fun and memorable experiences for our guests.”

Only 24 of 589 companies in next edition of Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book generating pre-tax profit of more than £10m: Only 24 of the 589 companies featured in the next edition of the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book are generating pre-tax profit of more than £10m. Premium subscribers will receive the latest edition of the Blue Book, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, on Friday, (17 June) at midday. The Blue Book shows the effects of the pandemic, with total losses of £5.8bn being reported by 348 companies. However, a further 241 sector companies are still reporting total profits of £1.1bn. The 589 UK pub, restaurant, cafe and hotel operators featured have a total turnover of £28.6bn. The Blue Book, which is updated every month, provides an insight into UK operator turnover and profitability over five years, profit conversion and directors’ earnings. Premium subscribers also receive 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. Premium subscribers also now have access to the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which is an exhaustive guide to the companies offering a food and beverage franchise in the UK and will be updated every two months. 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 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.

Business confidence tumbles to one-year low over inflation fears: Business confidence fell to its lowest level in more than a year last month amid growing fears that inflation poses a long-term threat to company sales. The Times reported confidence among companies is now at levels last seen in April 2021, when coronavirus restrictions were beginning to relax, according to the index by BDO, the accounting and business advisory firm. It takes a weighted average of the UK’s main business surveys, covering responses from about 4,000 companies. The cost-of-living crisis has been compounded by soaring inflation and disruption to supply chains, partly because of lockdown restrictions hampering activity at the world’s biggest port in China. BDO’s optimism index fell for a second consecutive month in May, dropping by 4.82 points to 101.93. The 100 mark separates expectations for long-term growth from contraction. The decline was driven by a fall in optimism in the services sector, which has been the hardest hit by falling consumer spending in light of the squeeze on household budgets. The index for optimism in services fell by 5.35 points to 100.95 in May. Output also fell to its lowest level in more than a year, dropping by 1.86 points in May to 100.53. Kaley Crossthwaite, partner at BDO, said: “The fact that business optimism is now at the same level it was more than a year ago, while the country was still experiencing coronavirus restrictions, paints a worrying picture for the UK economy. Weakened consumer spending power is undoubtedly weighing heavily on businesses and will continue to curtail growth in the months ahead.”

Working from home revolution leaves ‘permanently scarred’ high streets: The work from home revolution has caused “permanent scarring” to the UK’s high streets as staff continue to shun the office months after pandemic restrictions have ended, the boss of a data firm has warned. Diane Wehrle, chief executive of Springboard, which tracks shop visitor numbers across the country, said footfall in towns and cities still remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Even during the Jubilee weekend, when shoppers and revellers were out in force, visitor numbers only hit 80% of the same week in 2019, she added. Separate figures from Transport for London showed in the run up to the celebrations, travel into the capital by commuters was only back to around 69% of normal levels. Wehrle said the drop was a result of shops in urban centres no longer getting passing footfall from office workers, as well as the growth in online shopping that was triggered by nationwide lockdowns. But she warned if working from home continued at current levels, it would likely mean footfall would permanently remain 10% lower than it otherwise would be. She told The Telegraph: “It impacts footfall because workers are simply not in towns or cities as much. So, of course, it’s going to keep footfall lower than it would have been, had everyone gone back to their offices full time. Unless that changes, there will be a permanent scarring and certainly permanent change in the way we shop. Of course, that immediately impacts all the shops and the stores that service the offices in central London and other cities – sandwich bars, the restaurants, the chemists.” In one bright spot, Wehrle said the switch to remote working had meant market towns and smaller cities were not as badly affected by the pandemic, as workers instead patronised local businesses. “People have rediscovered local high streets,” she said.

Inception Group to close original Bunga Bunga site: Inception Group, the hospitality group behind Maggie’s, Cahoots and Mr Fogg’s, is to close its original Bunga Bunga site in London’s Battersea. Charlie Gilkes, co-founder of Inception, which recently opened Mr Fogg’s Apothecary at 34 Brook Street in Mayfair, told Propel: “After 11 very successful years the original Bunga Bunga Battersea site will be closing for the final time at the end of July. The lease on the premises came to an end during the covid pandemic and the landlord would not offer a sufficient extension of tenure on a new lease. The original Bunga Bunga has been an amazing contributor to Inception Group over the years and while this is the end of the road for the Battersea location we are already making arrangements for a new Bunga Bunga site in London to be announced in due course. In the meantime our Bunga Bunga site in Covent Garden continues to trade extremely well and due to significant demand we will be substantially refurbishing this site later in the year so that we can improve the trading space and increase the number of covers. All managers and team members of the Bunga Bunga Battersea site are being offered equivalent roles at other Inception Group venues.” The Brook Street opening is the seventh Mr Fogg’s site for Inception Group, which also operates Sloane Square speakeasy Barts, Second World War-themed bar Cahoots, 1980s-themed nightclub Maggie’s and The London Gin Club in Soho. 

PPHE to open UK’s first art’otel: PPHE Hotel Group is to open art’otel London Battersea Power Station, the UK’s first art’otel, later this year. The hotel, which is owned by Battersea Power Station Development Company, will be operated by PPHE’s hospitality operating platform under a management agreement and is the first of several new art’otels to open in London, Rome, Zagreb and Pula (Croatia). Art’otel London Battersea Power Station will be located within Battersea Roof Gardens, a new building forming a key part of Electric Boulevard, a collection of buildings comprising homes, offices and a new high street that sits to the south of the development. The hotel will have 164 bedrooms, a skyline destination restaurant and bar, rooftop swimming pool, as well as a gym, spa, event facilities, a grand café and art gallery. Boris Ivesha, president and chief executive, PPHE Hotel Group, said: “The highly anticipated opening of art’otel London Battersea Power Station will see our unique art-inspired brand launch in the UK. This provides further evidence of our continued operational and strategic progress since the pandemic, as we continue to position ourselves strongly to take advantage of easing restrictions and the recovery in international travel. Our art’otel lifestyle portfolio is strong and we are very much looking forward to introducing the Brand to visitors to London for many years to come.”

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