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Fri 30th Dec 2022 - Baa Bar CEO awarded OBE in New Year Honours list
Baa Bar CEO awarded OBE in New Year Honours list: Elaine Clarke, founder and chief executive of Liverpool hospitality group Baa Bar, has been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours list. Clarke has enjoyed a career that has spanned more than three decades and was given the award for her services to hospitality. Taking the reins of her aunt's business, city venue Cafe Tabac, at the age of 23, she went on to join Baa Bar Group. In 1991, Clarke was approached by three entrepreneurs – Urban Splash founders Tom Bloxham, Jonathan Falkingham and Miles Falkingham – and asked to run a bar in Fleet Street. At a time when pubs and clubs were separate and distinct from each other, Baa Bar was a new entity that challenged the traditional pubs and nightclub format. Six years on in 1997, Clarke was in at the start of another innovation, opening RococoModo, Liverpool’s first concept lounge bar on Concert Square, and which became the catalyst for the regeneration of the city’s Ropewalks area. Baa Bar grew quickly as a brand, opening more sites around the UK, and 2013 saw cocktail bar and kitchen “Frederiks” open in Liverpool’s Hope Street. Consolidating the business to five venues across Liverpool and Nottingham, Clarke successfully weathered the storm of the covid pandemic, which gave a renewed focus, re-energising her desire to grow the company once more. As well as being chief executive of Baa Bar, Clarke is an active and well-respected member of Liverpool’s business network, supporting upcoming women in business through The Women's Organisation, and also the chair of the Liverpool HMP employment advisory board, which spearheads an initiative to get prison leavers into stable jobs so they can break the cycle of crime. The advisory board, which have already been established in more than 20 prisons, work with prisons to ensure they understand what employers want so offenders have the right skills and links to job opportunities on release. Clarke said: “I’m delighted and honoured to be awarded with this honour, which not only recognises my achievements as a self-made female business leader but also those within this industry sector which is still struggling to overcome the challenges of the past two years. People are the key to my success and longevity – from day one we’ve always strived for Baa Bar to be a place where people want to work, and in doing so, we have a business that is still going strong after 30 years. This robustness is absolute testament to the teams, many of whom have worked with us for many years. I hope my achievements can inspire young people, especially those from similar backgrounds to mine, to believe that they can also achieve and be successful in business. I've learnt a lot over the years and I'm at a place in my life and career where want to give back and offer my support to those starting out. I’ve never been one to rest on my laurels – here’s to the next decade!”

NTIA – New Year’s Eve trading set to be compromised by strike ‘hangover’: New Year’s Eve trading is set to be compromised by a “hangover” from the rail industrial action, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has warned. NTIA chief executive Michael Kill said: “With New Year’s Eve bookings performing well, but significantly behind 2019 sales, we are concerned the main event of the year will be impacted by the hangover of industrial action with irregular rail services and transport links. From Hallowe’en until the end of the year is a critical trading period for our sector, where businesses have previously built there cash reserves to see them through the slower months of the following year. For the third year in a row, we are faced with disruption. Industrial action and cost inflation pressures have decimated the festive trade across the night time economy. Businesses are already suffering from a 40%-50% increase in operating costs, with consumer spend down substantially due to customers having less disposable income. The industry will lose an estimated £2bn in trade in December, many have lost up to 50%-60% of trade on strike days. A recent survey has shown one in seven businesses are either losing money or barely breaking even. Delays in the government’s announcement on the energy relief extension has compounded the situation, leaving many facing further uncertainty and once again the inability to plan. We will without doubt now see a huge swathe of businesses and jobs lost in January due to the government’s inaction, many saying that this is a worse crisis the sector has ever faced, worse even than the pandemic.”

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