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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 5th Oct 2022 - Update: Cooks Coffee Company plans ‘significant expansion’ as it eyes listing
Cooks Coffee Company plans ‘significant expansion’ as it eyes listing: Cooks Coffee Company, the international coffee focused cafe chain, is planning a significant expansion in the number of cafes operating under the company’s Esquires and Triple Two brands, representing expected growth of almost 10% in store numbers before the end of the year. The company’s Esquires chain, which had 50 UK cafes at the end of September 2022, has recently opened a new outlet in Islington, London, with a further three openings in towns in Northamptonshire and Bedfordshire, planned before the end of 2022. A further five store openings are currently scheduled in the UK in Q1 2023. In Ireland, Esquires will shortly have a new cafe operating in a Dublin suburb and a further opening is planned in County Carlow in Q1 2023, to add to the existing 15 Esquires cafes in Ireland. The company’s Triple Two brand is also focused on a significant number of expansion opportunities, having already doubled the number of Triple Two cafes in the last twelve months to 20, before these planned new launches. This month will see the launch of the first of Triple Two’s “Triple Two Go” vans, providing a mobile coffee outlet in the Manchester, UK, area. Additionally, five new stores are currently planned to be opened in London and the south of England before the end of 2022. With these additional cafe openings Cooks Coffee’s total store count is expected to rise from 111 cafes across the UK, Ireland and the Middle East as at the end of September 2022 to over 120 by the end of 2022. Significant further expansion is anticipated, with the company having a very healthy pipeline of additional opportunities in negotiation which are expected to see further stores opening in the first half of 2023. As announced on 15 August 2022, Cooks Coffee is planning to dual list on the Aquis Growth Market in London in Q4 2022. Keith Jackson, executive chairman of Cooks Coffee Company, said: “We are delighted with the recent performance of both our Esquires and Triple Two cafes as we continue to build a business of ethical coffee brands with community spirit. Building on our position as the fourth largest coffee focussed cafe chain in the UK (behind Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero), and the largest solely franchisor focused cafe chain in the UK and Ireland, we see considerable opportunities for further growth. The Cooks Coffee franchise model promotes individual entrepreneurship and local community engagement, which appears to be resonating both with people who want to partner with us to open new sites and existing franchisees looking to grow their businesses through innovative new offerings. Having emerged from the pandemic in a healthy position I believe Cooks Coffee is now poised for significant growth that will deliver value for our shareholders. I look forward to providing further updates in due course as we progress our planned dual listing on the Aquis Growth Market in London and continue to grow the business.”

Two days to go before next edition of The New Openings Database released, shows details on 268 new sites, 14,500-word report included: The next edition of The New Openings Database will show the details of 268 newly announced site openings and upcoming launches for Premium subscribers when it is published on Friday (7 October), at midday, including 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, and there will also be a website link to the businesses. The database is published on a monthly basis, and the next edition features expanding restaurant and café operators, niche cuisine, and new experiential concepts. Premium subscribers will also receive a 14,500-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate, the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, produced in association with Mapal Group, and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. 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.

City Pub Group begins share buy-back: City Pub Group, the owner and operator of 40 premium pubs across southern England and Wales and a further two development sites, has announced that it intends to begin a share buyback programme in respect of its ordinary shares of 1p each up to an initial maximum value of £2 million worth of Ordinary Shares with the option to extend the Share Buyback Programme by an additional £1 million. The purchased Ordinary Shares will be held in treasury. The company has given an irrevocable and non-discretionary instruction to Peel Hunt LLP and Liberum Capital Limited, acting as ‘riskless’ or ‘matched’ principal, in relation to the Share Buyback Programme, which will commence today and will end no later than 20 September 2023.

Burger & Lobster reports sales rose 40% in last financial year: Burger & Lobster, the nine-strong London-based restaurant group, has reported turnover was up 40% to £22.8m in the year ending 2 January 2022. The company stated: “Burger & Lobster enjoyed a strong performance in 2021 marred only by the emergence of the Omicron covid variant in December that affected Christmas bookings. Despite this, the group performed well, ahead of expectations, and is in a strong position to further expand, actively looking for new sites, both abroad and in the UK.” Ebitda was £1.8m. The company added: “Despite cost-of-living headwinds, Burger & Lobster’s week-on-week sales continue to increase. This comes just as the brand have temporarily closed their iconic Soho restaurant for refurbishment. A further programme of site investment is planned for early next year. Throughout this year, the brand has also rolled out a consistent programme of menu development through several successful chef collaborations that raised the profile of its food offering. These have included partnerships with Max Halley, James Cochran and, launching later this month, Tom Brown of Michelin-starred Cornerstone. In addition, new dishes are being introduced in the coming months that put the spotlight on premium ingredients and provenance.” Dino Sura, managing director of Burger & Lobster Restaurant Group, said: “Whilst we remain cautious in the short term as we navigate through the cost of living and financial crisis, we are confident that our continued commitment to brand development and innovation will resonate with our loyal customers and attract new diners.”

‘Kick in the teeth’ for small businesses: The government has been accused of downgrading the importance of small businesses after it emerged that a ministerial title dedicated to promoting their interests had been scrapped. The Times reports the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy last night updated its website to remove the role of “minister for small business”, which is more than a decade old. At one stage, the minister attended cabinet meetings. A senior business leader called the move a “kick in the teeth for small business owners, which could barely have been worse timed”, since it comes as small businesses are facing issues such as rising costs, a looming recession and skills shortages. The government said that it had “rebranded” the role as “minister for enterprise and markets” – a junior role that has small business as one of 16 areas of responsibility – but major business groups are understood to have expressed concern about the decision. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added: “If the government wants to signal that it is pro-small business, it’s strange to ditch the small business minister role. It sends a signal to 5.5 million small firms that now have no dedicated minister for the first time since the last Labour government. The post has gone from attending cabinet and having the ear of the prime minister, to being miles away from anything.” The small business minister role was upgraded in 2015 by David Cameron when prime minister to a minister of state role, which was held by Anna Soubry and involved her attending cabinet meetings. Her successors did not attend cabinet as the role was given a more junior ministerial ranking. The small business minister title has now been dropped entirely. Dean Russell, a junior minister for enterprise and markets, has been given “small business, enterprise and access to finance” as one area of responsibility.

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