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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 5th Jun 2023 - Business confidence rising despite inflationary pressures but 25% of companies operated at loss in first quarter
Business confidence rising despite inflationary pressures but 25% of companies operated at loss in first quarter: Optimism among the leaders of Britain’s top hospitality groups has risen since the start of 2023, according to the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA by NIQ and Fourth. The quarterly poll shows more than half (54%) of leaders feel optimistic about prospects for their business over the next 12 months – an increase of seven percentage points from the January survey, and well over double the number (22%) who feel pessimistic. The proportion of leaders feeling confident about the eating and drinking out market in general has risen even more sharply quarter-on-quarter – by ten percentage points to 40. Leaders remain more optimistic than the independent market, where confidence in general (23%) and in their own business (33%) are lower, influenced by lower profits and higher rates of closure. However, all figures remain below the levels seen before the pandemic, and the survey also reveals the ongoing impacts of inflation on hospitality. A quarter (25%) of leaders said their business operated at a loss in the first quarter of 2023, while 32% said their profitability has been below last year’s levels. There are also signs some businesses that were weakened by covid remain at risk. More than a quarter (28%) of leaders said they now have less than three months’ worth of cash reserves, and one in seven (14%) said their business is at risk of failure in the next 12 months – a figure that is unchanged from the January survey. Karl Chessell, CGA by NIQ’s director – hospitality operators and food, EMEA, said: “These figures highlight the impressive resilience of pubs, bars, and restaurants despite the enormous challenges of covid and the cost-of-living crisis. All our research shows consumers remain eager to eat and drink out when they can, and business leaders are rightly confident about the long-term outlook for hospitality. Nevertheless, the relentless rise in bills for businesses and consumers alike leaves many firms and jobs extremely vulnerable. Until inflation finally eases conditions will remain very difficult, and hospitality deserves targeted government support to mitigate costs.” 

Stonegate promotes Melissa Wisdom to chief commercial officer: Stonegate Group, the David McDowall-led, TDR Capital-backed business, has promoted Melissa Wisdom to the new role of chief commercial officer. The role combines Wisdom’s current brief as sales and marketing director with a broader commercial remit following the announcement of Suzanne Baker’s retirement as commercial director and appointment as a non-executive director. In her new role, Wisdom continues to report to McDowall, and is promoted to the company’s board. She joined Stonegate in August 2021, initially leading the development of the group’s premium food offer, before moving to the role of sales and marketing director last March. Wisdom joined Stonegate from Diageo where she held the position of commercial director for the on-trade. Prior to Diageo, having read law at Cambridge, she held a number of senior positions in retail and manufacturing with both national and global brands. Wisdom said: “I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity at this exciting time in the group’s evolution. Bringing our marketing and commercial teams together affords us the opportunity across the group to deepen our partnerships across the customer agenda, as we continue to evolve our market leading brands and formats to reflect the changing expectations of our customers.” McDowall added: “Melissa has already added enormous value to our business over the last 18 months, and this is a well-deserved promotion. I know she will go from strength to strength as we bring our marketing and commercial teams together.”

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