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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 18th Oct 2022 - Update: Revolution in final stages of negotiating an acquisition, jobs market, Greene King, Paris Baguette
Revolution in final stages of negotiating an acquisition: Revolution Bars Group, which operates the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has announced that it is in the final stages of negotiating an acquisition, which is “expected to be a ‘substantial transaction’ pursuant to AIM Rule 12”. The 69-strong company, which didn’t name its attended target, said: “As a consequence of the proposed transaction the group’s preliminary results for the 12 months ended 2 July 2022 will be slightly delayed to allow appropriate audit finalisation procedures to take place once negotiations have been completed” The group said its preliminary results are expected to be consistent with previous guidance, in particular that provided in the announcement of 2 August 2022, when it reported like-for-like sales up 1.3% after 19 July 2021 when restrictions were fully lifted in England.

Host of franchise operators set to join updated Premium Database of Multi-Site Companies: A host of franchise operators are among the 30 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, 28 October, at midday. The updated Propel Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate, features Incito Group Holdings, a McDonald’s franchise business led by husband-and-wife team Paul and Amanda Tone, which currently operates eight sites. Also added this month is American-inspired fast food restaurant franchise concept Chickaros, which was founded in 2019 in Aldridge by childhood friends, Shaz and Shudz Miah, and now has five sites in its portfolio. In addition, Harry Singh, a Fireaway Pizza franchisee who owns two stores in Kent, one in Gloucester, another in Dudley and his latest site, in Worcester’s Angel Street, will be featured. Premium subscribers will also receive a 2,100-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. The database now features 2,677 companies. Premium subscribers will also receive the next edition of the New Openings Database on Friday, 4 November, at midday. It focuses on newly announced openings and upcoming launches in the sector and is updated every month. The next edition also includes a 6,000-word report on the new additions to the database. Premium subscribers also receive access to the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book, which is 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.

Mackenzie – I urge the new chancellor to relook at the business rates system that so heavily penalises pubs: Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King, has urged the new chancellor Jeremy Hunt to relook at the business rates system that so heavily penalises pubs. Mackenzie said: “We support the need for stability in the UK economy as this gives us a stronger foundation to invest in communities, which creates jobs and career opportunities. It’s disappointing for brewers and publicans that the alcohol duty freeze has been cancelled, particularly when there’s long-term uncertainty around energy costs. To create the right conditions for pubs to not only survive in the short-term but also encourage investment for long-term growth, I urge the new Chancellor to relook at the business rates system that so heavily penalises pubs that are the heart of communities right across the country.”

Hiring crisis eats into ambitions for growth: Companies are struggling to hire enough staff to meet their growth ambitions, raising fresh concerns that the UK does not have the workforce to improve its lagging productivity. The Times reports that according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), 62% of businesses are looking to hire new staff. The figure is largely unchanged from the spring, before spiralling borrowing costs and political uncertainty rattled confidence among consumers and businesses. Of those firms actively trying to recruit, 76% are having problems finding staff. More than half of all the companies surveyed said they were having to operate below full capacity because of labour shortages. The problem is most acute within the hospitality sector, with some restaurants having to close their doors at lunchtimes, opening only for dinner. More than 80% of hospitality firms are struggling to find enough staff, the BCC found, up “significantly” from 62% at the beginning of the year. About eight in ten companies in the manufacturing, logistics, construction and engineering industries also reported hiring difficulties over summer. “Unless we find a solution to the longstanding recruitment difficulties facing UK businesses then any plans to boost economic growth are doomed to failure,” Alex Veitch, the BCC’s director of policy and public affairs, said. “This is now preventing firms from operating profitably and they are being forced to turn customers away.” The unemployment rate in the UK is 3.5%, its lowest level since 1974, but at 1.25 million, the number of vacancies is close to a record high. The BCC has urged the government to address the issue with measures such as encouraging businesses to adopt more flexible work and to take on more apprentices.

Birmingham named the UK’s ‘most exciting food destination’: Birmingham was named as Britain’s “most exciting food destination” last night at the Good Food Guide’s awards ceremony. The country’s second city was hailed for its “frequently exceptional restaurants right across the price range”. The Guide said: “No other English provincial city is as well served with such a range of unique and frequently exceptional restaurants right across the price range. At the top of the scale, three exceptional places from the Birmingham area feature in our 20 most exciting restaurants in Britain – an extraordinary feat. But getting the balance just right extends to others including Opheem, with its unmistakably curry-based but uniquely modern-British approach, and Harborne Kitchen, where Jamie Desogus pulls off a real coup, making the restaurant a bit of a holy grail in terms of packing mass-appeal into posh nosh. Nowhere but in Britain – and perhaps even more specifically in Birmingham – could this cooking occur.” The Guide’s 20 most exciting restaurants in Britain list saw L’Enclume, chef Simon Rogan’s restaurant in Cumbria, take the top spot. The Top 20 list was chosen by The Good Food Guide’s independent, impartial inspectors, and includes restaurants from across Britain, from Darlington to Cartmel, Wales to Bimingham. Elizabeth Carter, editor of The Good Food Guide said of the restaurant: “L’Enclume has matured but has not aged. They are all about experience and commitment, with a young team bringing in fresh ideas, rather than Simon imposing his vision. Forced to be flexible because of their farm, they are nimble and open minded, and have retained a light atmosphere and unique, chatty service style. They are such an example to their industry peers.” Ynyshir, Moor Hall, The Raby Hunt and The Sportsman made up the rest of the top five entries, whilst three were awarded the prestigious ‘World Class’ title: L’Enclume, Ynyshir and Moor Hall. Carter said: “These three ‘World Class’ restaurants are run by extraordinary chef-proprietors who are redefining the profession, pushing the boundaries of what eating in a restaurant is all about. It’s the stuff of bucket lists, the vision and talent drawing not just national but international recognition – especially from chefs world-wide.” Nick Rudge of The Jackdaw in North Wales was named as Chef to Watch, while Restaurateurs of the Year was awarded to Paul and Chris Charalambous of Cultar Restaurant Group.

Paris Baguette opens first UK store in London: Paris Baguette, the South Korean bakery cafe chain, has launched its first outlet in the UK amid plans to operate 20 locations across the country within three years. The store opening, located at the renovated Battersea Power Station in London, represents brand owner SPC’s second European and ninth international market, following France, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Vietnam. As revealed by Propel earlier this year, a second UK site under the brand will open in November 2022 on Kensington High Street, London, as part of plans to reach 20 franchised UK outlets by 2025. The company has been focusing on expansion in its target European and US markets, recently opening three new stores in France, reaching five outlets in the country, and expecting to reach 150 stores in the US by the end of this year. “The UK is an important market for us to expand business in Europe and launch more franchises there, ultimately making it one of four pillars for our brand growth globally after the US, China and Singapore,” said Hur Jin-soo, chief executive of SPC. SPC, which operates approximately 4,000 Paris Baguette stores globally, said the UK bakery and confectionery market is currently valued at approximately $20bn and is expected to generate $7.6bn in revenue by 2026.

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