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Wed 3rd Aug 2022 - Update: Henry McGovern, Domino’s, Just Eat and D&D London
Gail’s backers raise €500m fund backed by Abu Dhabi: Food industry entrepreneurs Henry McGovern and Steven Winegar, who’ve backed brands including bakery concept Gail’s and pasta chain Vapiano, have raised €500m (£418m) to invest in restaurant brands. According to Bloomberg, McGovern and Winegar have launched their McWin Restaurant Fund with primary backing from the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority. It brings total capital managed by McWin, which also runs smaller food tech and ecosystem funds, to more than €1bn. The new vehicle will make equity investments of at least €100m to help localised restaurant brands become more digital and expand abroad. McGovern said there’s opportunity to invest in successful brands as the food industry adapts to new trends, including the increased use of delivery apps, as it emerges from the covid-19 pandemic. He said: “We’re in some ways a really difficult time, but strategically a very interesting time, because you have to look at how to change your business model.” The new fund is already in discussions about a few deals, he said. McGovern is the founder of AmRest Holdings SE, while Winegar started Restauravia Grupo Empresarial. Along with Gail’s, which they invested in alongside Bain Capital Credit, the duo have also backed meat substitute company Impossible Foods and franchisee Burger King Germany.

Number of experiential concepts to feature in next edition of The New Openings Database, 18,300-word report included: A number of experiential concepts will feature in the next edition of The New Openings Database, which is produced in association with StarStock. The database will show the details of 356 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (5 August), 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 next edition features Oche, a Norway-headquartered, interactive, darts-based competitive socialising concept, which made its UK debut, in London’s The Strand, last month. Also added is Wonderville, which will open in London’s West End next week, and is dedicated to presenting magic and illusions shows alongside an all-day cafe and bar. In addition, Liverpool operator Pub Invest Group, which has launched an “interactive games and party venue” called Top Darts Club, in Bold Street, will be featured. Meanwhile, steampunk-themed experiential concept Phantom Peak, which has opened in Canada Street, off Surrey Quays Road, London, and includes a full Wild Western town, is included. Premium subscribers will also receive a 18,300-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases. The latest Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, was sent to Premium subscribers last Friday (29 July). The database contained 43 new companies, bringing the total number of businesses listed up to 2,572. The 217 sites run by those 43 new additions means the entire database of sites has reached 66,223 sites. Premium subscribers also received a 3,200-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, and 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 is 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. 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. 

Domino’s UK talks up value as food prices burn profits: Domino’s Pizza Group is gearing up for a marketing splurge as it battles rising energy and food prices and the cost of living crisis. “We’re making a big push on value, which resonates well with customers,” said Dominic Paul, the outgoing Domino’s chief executive, who pointed out that 80% of orders were for deals. The Times reports the company, which recently introduced a delivery charge to ease the pressure on its franchisees, said that profitability would be “second-half weighted” as it was standard practice to pass through food cost inflation to its franchisees on “a lagged basis”. In the first half its underlying pre-tax profits fell by 16.3% to £50.9m while total store sales across the largely franchised estate dropped by 5.6% to £710.5m, due mainly to the change in the rate of VAT. Although like-for-like sales growth in the second quarter – adjusted for VAT and excluding split franchise territories – slowed to 0.9% from 3.9% in the first quarter, Paul, who will soon be taking the reins at Whitbread, said that Domino’s was winning market share. The company declared an interim dividend of 3.2p, up 6.7%, and kicked off a £20m share buyback, although Wayne Brown, an analyst at Liberum, questioned why it was “ploughing on” with this when it had debt of £236 million. Its shares, which have lost more than 30% in value so far this year, fell 17¾p, or 6%, at 273¼p.

Just Eat reports progress towards profitability: Just Eat has reported it made significant progress towards profitability in the First Half of 2022. Jitse Groen, chief executive of Just Eat, said: “After a period of exceptional growth, Just Eat is now two times larger than it was pre-pandemic. Whilst this growth required significant investment, we have continued to focus on executing our strategy to build and operate highly profitable food delivery businesses. Our three largest segments, representing 90% of our Gross Transaction Value, were Adjusted Ebitda positive in the second quarter of 2022. Our path to profitability is accelerating and we expect to continue to materially improve our Adjusted Ebitda in the second half of this year and to be Adjusted Ebitda positive at a group level in 2023.” The company added: “H1 2021 was a record period for Just Eat in Order and Gross Transaction Value (GTV) growth due to covid-19 restrictions and significant investments in delivery, in particular in legacy Just Eat markets. Exiting the pandemic has resulted in a 7% decrease in Orders in H1 2022 compared with H1 2021, which was offset by higher Average Transaction Value (ATV), consumer pricing improvements and positive currency movements, leading to stable GTV at €14.2 billion and strong revenue growth of 7% to €2.8 billion in H1 2022. In H1 2022, Adjusted Ebitda improved by 29% to minus €134 million (minus 0.9% of GTV). This year-on- year and sequential improvement clearly demonstrates the path to profitability, both on an absolute level and as a percentage of GTV. Northern Europe remained highly profitable, and North America and UK and Ireland were Adjusted Ebitda positive in Q2 as well.”

D&D – London restaurant recovery lagging behind other major cities: Central London restaurants are recovering from the pandemic downturn far more slowly than those based in major provincial cities, according to D&D London. The company, which owns a string of venues in the capital such as Quaglino’s and Le Pont de la Tour, told the Evening Standard its restaurants in Manchester and Leeds were trading well above pre-covid levels. However, in central London the climb back to 2019 normality was constantly being set back by “bumps in the road” such as transport strikes and the heatwave. The Omicron outbreak over the winter had also severely damaged the recovery. The company said that the Omicron restrictions have wiped £4m off revenues while the rail and Underground strikes last month had cost another £1m. A further round of strikes later this month could cost a similar amount of lost trade it warned. It said: “Central London venues demonstrating continued sensitivity to external factors but restaurants in Leeds and Manchester resolutely resilient e.g. in two day heatwave London venue revenues dropped 30%, Manchester and Leeds revenues increased 10%.” Group revenue over the 15 months from April 2021, when the second long lockdown ended, and June 2022, were £163m, or 90% of pre-covid levels, while earnings were £17m, or 122% of pre-covid. The company said it is facing inflation averaging 10% but this was balanced by higher spending. Chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena, said: “Six months ago Omicron and the swift return of workers to central London and New York were our biggest concerns. Now our major challenges are cost inflation and the continuing need for more staff as revenues bounce back. Initiatives to attract and retain the best people and provide them with tools to manage their restaurants better are what dominate our agenda. More positively our customers are spending well and I am confident that will continue to do so through the summer. Our revenues in central London have however been hit by transport strikes which will continue to have a negative impact on our business until the dispute is settled. Looking ahead we have the opportunity to significantly scale up the business both in the UK and overseas. And we will do so. But we will manage the pace of expansion in the context of what remains an uncertain economic backdrop.”

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