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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 4th Sep 2023 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pizza Hut UK Ebitda per site down 9% on a decade ago: Pizza Hut UK’s Ebitda per site is down 9% on a decade ago, as it looks to refinance ahead of repaying £31m of its £73m of debts by April 2024. Franchisee Heart with Smart owns all 156 Pizza Hut restaurants in the UK, having acquired it in an £89.7m deal backed by Pricoa in 2018. Chief executive Jens Hofma told Propel last week that its refinancing talks are “constructive” and he expects them to be complete by Christmas. Analysis by Geof Collyer, of Lavender Bank Partners, shows that over the past decade, Pizza Hut (UK) has exited 54% of its sites and invested £107m of capex in the remaining ones. Sales were down 35% and Ebitda 55% over the period, with Ebitda per site dropping by 9%. Collyer said while the timing of the acquisition was unfortunate, “giving the new ownership less than two years’ grace before the pandemic struck”, the “performance had already started to unravel, with FY19 average Ebitda per site down 38% on FY17”. Collyer added: “My broader concerns would be with the scope to upgrade the estate further. Post pandemic, the group’s average Ebitda per site is 9% below FY12, capex has been cut and it looks like any cash coming out has gone into repaying owners’ loan notes, with net debt dropping by about 25% since the start of the management buyout. FY22 Ebitda, pre-exceptionals, was just £3.5m, so not a lot of help to repay the £30m due next year, and no real estate to leverage for new debt.” Collyer added aggregate depreciation since the 2018 acquisition looks to be about double the level of capex, with capex running at between 25% to 87% of depreciation. “Pizza Hut (UK) is just not generating enough cash,” he said. “Operating profit, excluding exceptionals and goodwill, has been negative for the last five years to the tune of almost £46m, but that is inclusive of £38m of help from government grants. Where is the scope to step up to grow the group’s operating cash flows?” A Pizza Hut UK spokesperson said: “The Ebitda figure for FY22 of £3.5m includes Pizza Hut UK’s sister company HWSi, which was in start-up mode in FY22 and generated a negative Ebitda. The Ebitda for Pizza Hut UK alone was £4.6m, which was up 15% compared with FY12, not down 9%. Repayments of owner’s loan notes since the start of the management buyout have been extremely small and limited to former owners and former employees, nothing has been paid to current owners or employees as the company recognises the need to prioritise third party debt repayments.”

Industry News:

Variety of exclusive benefits available for Propel Premium subscribers: A variety of exclusive benefits are available for Propel Premium subscribers, including six comprehensive databases: the Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage; and the new UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database – the first time that profiles of 100 of the top food and beverage franchisees have been available in one place in the UK. This exclusive database will be sent out bi-monthly, including new entries and updates to existing entries. Premium subscribers are also being given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. They also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £995 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £495 plus VAT for operators and £595 plus VAT for suppliers. Email to upgrade your subscription. 
Pizza Pilgrims to speak at Propel Talent & Training Conference, open for bookings: Leanne Gunson, head of learning and development at Pizza Pilgrims, will be among the speakers at the Propel Talent & Training Conference. The all-day conference takes place on Tuesday, 3 October at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Gunson will discuss the company’s academy, how it is helping the business recruit and train new staff, and inspire its existing employees using outside influences. The conference will showcase examples of outstanding people culture among companies within the sector and how the industry is attracting talent. For the full speaker schedule, click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £395 plus VAT for suppliers and can be booked by emailing
Flexibility key to over-50s when it comes to job choices: Nearly two thirds (62%) of over-50s have said they would like a job that fits around their life, according to a new report. The findings by Fuller’s and Rest Less, a digital community and advocate for people aged 50 and older, showed of the 1,000 job seekers aged 50-plus surveyed that one in five (20%) needed to balance work with caring responsibilities. One in five (20%) said they needed to balance work with their own health conditions and 13% said they had children or grandchildren to look after. When given the opportunity to provide more detail, many respondents also added they wanted to balance work with enjoying their free time to pursue personal interests. When questioned on what their top priority was when looking for a job, 62% said they wanted a role that fitted around their life, 34% said earning enough money to pay the bills and just 4% said their priority was to progress their career. Dawn Browne, Fuller’s people & talent director, said: “People aged 50-plus are a really important talent pool for Fuller’s. We find that our older employees bring valuable skills, wisdom and insight to the table thanks to their years of experience both inside and out of work. Their softer skills, typically honed through years of practice, make them excellent candidates for customer service roles – the lifeblood of the hospitality sector. Our report with Rest Less shows us that flexible work practices are of the utmost importance to this demographic.”

KFC boss argues collective responsibility to tackle obesity: The boss of KFC in the UK has argued the country’s foodservice companies need to work collectively to combat the obesity crisis. Meghan Farren said: “Obesity is a challenge and we need to do more as a collective to tackle it. We want to be part of the solution.” She also admitted what KFC sells should be a “treat” eaten “occasionally”. KFC, she said, has been doing its bit by reducing levels of fat, sugar and salt. Farren, who has two children, said: “It is not junk food. It is not health food. It is delicious fried chicken, it is a treat, you should enjoy it occasionally.” She claims one reason people like KFC is because of the calorie count. She said: “We talk to customers who say the reason they come to KFC is because they can get the calories they need. They go to McDonald’s and they don’t get enough calories.” Farren reported customers visit KFC on average once every six to eight weeks. She said the company has a self-imposed 200 metre ban on advertising around schools. “And we don’t market to children, at all,” she added. “Are we the sole cause of the obesity crisis? Absolutely not. But I do think it is a challenge and we do have a responsibility to make a positive difference and be part of the change. But we have to do it in a way that allows us to still stay in business.”

CGA analysis shows stark north-south divide on beer prices: Beer drinkers face a north-south divide on prices – with the cost of a pint in the centre of London three times higher than the cheapest towns. The average pint in Britain’s cheapest town, Consett near Newcastle, is just £2.65 – a fraction of central London’s average of £6.63, according to data consultancy CGA. Blaydon, also in the north east; Ferryhill, in County Durham; and Dalton-In-Furness, Cumbria – where the typical price for a pint was also under £3 – were among the cheapest of the 865 areas surveyed. Meanwhile, the most expensive pints are to be found in the capital and its surrounding areas. Of the ten dearest areas, eight are in London. The others are Virginia Water in Surrey and Great Missenden in Buckinghamshire. Varying business rates, rents, and wages are the key reasons for the vast price differences. Customers’ willingness to pay plays a part too, it was suggested. Analysis showing the stark variations between the north and south come after it was reported last week the average price of a pint in the UK has almost doubled in 15 years. It has risen from £2.30 in 2008 to £4.30 this summer, according to separate data from CGA. The cost of a pint would be £3.55 if it had risen in line with average prices for consumer goods since 2008.
Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a lifestyle hotel in Edinburgh that has undergone a refurbishment and is seeking a general manager. A COREcruitment spokesperson said: “You will oversee the entire operation of the hotel. The business is looking for an inspirational leader who is ready to invest in the development of their staff to create the best experience for their guests. Some of the duties will include creating a strategy to increase revenue, establishing a training and development programme for the team, inspiring the team, being a visible presence, and ensuring KPIs are met. The business is looking for someone with a passion for the industry and previous experience in a similar role.” The salary for the position is up to £70,000. For more information, email

Company News:

Jeremy King secures Le Caprice site for new restaurant: Jeremy King, the co-founder of Corbin & King who confirmed earlier this summer he is to make a return to the capital’s dining scene with an opening in Hyde Park, is to open a new restaurant on the site of the former Le Caprice restaurant in London’s West End. King plans to reopen the site under a new name next year. Le Caprice was where King made his name with business partner Chris Corbin, after they took the site over in 1981. Earlier this summer, King confirmed he will launch The Park, a 215-capacity restaurant serving modern European cuisine, in Kensington next April. He said: “Hyde Park is still making steady progress and I am looking at a spring opening. We have ‘locked’ the design process that has been very much influenced by my desire to look at this site through the imaginary eyes of the likes of New York's Jonathan Waxman, Danny Meyer, Stephen Starr et al – as if this was a restaurant being created for Central Park rather than Hyde Park. This gives me the opportunity to indulge my love and admiration of the new American cuisine created by the likes of Alice Waters, Jeremiah Tower, Michael McCarty, Larry Forgione (and those already mentioned above) with a European/Californian influence. There is an emphasis on the quality of ingredients; simply cooked and served within the clean lines of a contemporary restaurant but one that has the mentality of a Grand Café. I am immensely energised and excited by the possibilities of this menu and the setting that we will serve it in – and if there is just the tiniest hint of another of my obsessions – diners – please don't be surprised. So, stepping back to 1981. If I was to ask what 1981 meant to you, perhaps your answer would be: the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana Spencer, or Botham's heroics at Headingley, maybe Reagan getting shot or sadly the official beginning of Aids. Perhaps it meant the opening of ‘Cats’, or the first Indiana Jones film, maybe Soft Cell releasing ‘Tainted Love’ or even the Brixton Riots. For me however there is a different answer, because 1981 was unequivocally dominated by the opening of Le Caprice on 1 September. After a few turbulent months Chris and I managed to establish it as a contemporary restaurant unlike pretty much anything London had seen, and it was not immediately or readily embraced! There was of course someone else who has also been integral to Le Caprice's success over the years – Jesus Adorno – who, when Le Caprice closed with the arrival of the pandemic, had completed 38 years’ service and was disappointed not to have passed the four-decade mark. Therefore, I am delighted to tell you he will now have the opportunity to complete that amazing feat, because I have just signed a lease for the site and he will be joining me as we aim to recreate a restaurant that for many of our customers, over the years was the one they professed their greatest love for. It will of course be a new version but I hope you will find it reassuringly familiar in how it looks, and what we serve. It will open early next year.”

Batemans returns to pre-covid levels of trade but increased costs ‘impacting operations’: Lincolnshire brewer and retailer George Bateman has reported the business has returned to pre-covid levels of trade but increased costs are “impacting operations”. Turnover increased 29% to £18,172,968 for the year ending 31 January 2023 compared with £14,113,044 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £1,698,241 from £834,796 the previous year. During the period, the business, which operates circa 50 pubs, repaid £500,000 borrowed through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Since covid, the business has recovered to trading levels similar to those achieved in 2019 and with lower costs this has improved profitability. However, the current economic conditions are already impacting operations, with significant increases in costs coming through, not all of which can be recovered in pricing. The strategy of upgrading our existing estate, increasing profits earned from each property and developing our people will continue. In the past six months, the advent of significantly increased costs and more challenging market conditions have had a significant impact on our market sector. However, the company is in a strong financial position to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise.” An interim dividend of £32,812 was paid (2022: £32,812).

Handful of suitors left in D&D London process: A handful of suitors are left in the process to take control of D&D London, which owns and operates circa 40 restaurants across the UK and internationally, with final bids for the company due next week, Propel understands. Propel reported last month that second round bids were due on 11 August for D&D, with circa ten parties believed to have shown interest in the business. As previously revealed by Propel, first round bids for D&D were due to be submitted on 21 July. Interested parties in D&D are understood to still include co-founder and former chief executive Des Gunewardena, who is thought to still own a circa 14% stake in the company. A group of private investors, which are believed to have engaged Simon Wilkinson, ex-chief executive of Byron and La Tasca, to help them, are also believed to be still involved in the process. Wilkinson began his career in five-star hotels and fine dining. The sales process, which goes under the name Project Sandon, is being overseen by advisory firm Interpath. The belief is that the business will change hands as a going concern.
Odeon appoints Suzie Welch as MD UK & Ireland: AMC-owned Odeon Cinemas Group, Europe's largest cinema operator, has confirmed the appointment of Suzie Welch as managing director for its UK and Ireland business. Welch has served as the company’s interim managing director since March this year after her predecessor Carol Welch's (no relation) departure. She will now continue in the role permanently alongside her chief people officer responsibilities. Suzie Welch joined Odeon in 2019. Prior to working at the cinema chain, she held roles at PizzaExpress, Costa Coffee and TGI Friday’s. Odeon has also promoted Zarah Doyle to European talent director and people director, UK and Ireland. She will be responsible for the group's European strategy for talent, leadership and diversity, equity and inclusion alongside her existing UK and Ireland responsibilities. Mark Way, president of AMC Europe and managing director Odeon Cinemas Group, said: “Suzie is a forward-looking, innovative and agile leader and the right person to take our UK & Ireland business to the next level. Bolstered by Suzie's permanent appointment, I have every confidence that our senior leadership team will continue to take Odeon from strength to strength, delivering against our primary goal, to make movies better for our guests.”
Sukho Group eyes Durham opening for Zaap Thai concept: Sukho Group is planning to open a new site under its Zaap Thai concept in Durham. The restaurant group, which comprises the Zaap Thai and Sukhothai brands, is understood to have applied to open a site under Zaap Thai in The Riverwalk scheme in the city. Earlier this summer, Propel revealed Sukho Group had applied to open in the Lincoln Building in Manchester’s Brazennose Street, which is part of Lincoln Square in the city. The company operates six sites under the Zaap Thai name in Newcastle, York, Leeds, Nottingham, Headingley and Sheffield, the latter of which opened last year. At the start of the year, the business said it was in advanced talks to open two new northern sites.
Mission Mars appoints James Newman as sales and marketing director: Mission Mars, the BGF-backed operator of Albert’s Schloss and the Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana brand, has appointed James Newman, ex-marketing director of Gusto Italian and Red’s True Barbecue, as its new sales and marketing director, Propel has learned. Newman has spent the last three years overseeing his hospitality specialist marketing agency, Brain Fuud. He spent four years as marketing director at Gusto Italian. Prior to joining Gusto, Newman was marketing director at Red’s True Barbecue where he helped to create the brand’s communications strategy and grow the business from two to eight sites. He said: “Having spent three incredibly rewarding, hard, stressful, empowering, self-discovering years growing my consultancy Brain Fuud, the stars have aligned on this one, and the opportunity to join Mission Mars as sales and marketing director was just too good!” Propel revealed last month that Mission Mars had further added to its openings pipeline for its Rudy’s Pizza Napoletana brand in London and the north east. As previously reported by Propel, Rudy’s, which made its London debut in spring 2021, in Wardour Street, Soho, has secured sites in Montacute Yards, in Shoreditch High Street, and in Tottenham Court Road, for openings in the capital. Propel now understands the 19-strong brand has also lined up an opening on the former Carluccio’s site in Spitalfields, for an opening later this year. At the same time, it is believed to be close to securing a site in Durham city centre, in Silver Street.

Zambrero lines up debut site in the Midlands: Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican quick-service franchise, which received £143m in equity financing to open more restaurants in Britain and Ireland earlier this year, has lined up its first site in the Midlands, in Birmingham. Propel understands that Zambrero, which currently operates six sites in London and the south east, will open a site later this year at 31 Colmore Row, under the Grand Hotel, in Birmingham. Earlier this summer, the business secured its first site in the north west, in Manchester. The business secured the site formerly occupied by Greggs in Piccadilly Gardens, on a new 15-year lease, for an opening later this year. Earlier this year, the company opened in Reading, on the former William Hill site in Queen Victoria Street. It also operates four sites in London and a site in Chelmsford. Zambrero was founded in Canberra in 2005 by Sam Prince, a Scottish-born doctor, with the idea of using the profits to support humanitarian causes. The company donates a meal to the developing world for each one bought through its Plate 4 Plate initiative. It has grown to become the biggest Mexican restaurant group in Australia and the eighth largest globally, with 250 sites in Australia, New Zealand, Britain, Ireland and the US. The brand, which is led in the UK by chief executive Emily The, opened its debut UK site in Kentish Town in 2021.

Essex KFC franchisee reviewing portfolio and considering closing underperforming restaurants following drop in turnover and profits: KFC franchisee Kefco Sales, a major franchisee for KFC in the Essex area, has said it is reviewing its portfolio and considering closing underperforming restaurants following a drop in turnover and profits in the year ending 25 December 2022. Turnover was down from £49,037,655 in 2021 to £44,297,791 while Ebitda fell from £7,439,595 to £2,162,911. Its pre-tax profit dropped from £5,356,166 in 2021 to £250,236 as costs increased by £1,833,583. It received no government grants compared with £38,777 in 2021. Director Andrew Hitch, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said the results were “disappointing but satisfactory in the current economic climate”. He said: “The company is reviewing the profitability of its restaurant portfolio and deciding whether to close any restaurants during 2023 or 2024. Despite the loss in 2022, the company remains financially secure and seeks to maintain sales performance throughout 2023, although recognising all costs areas will be affected by the current global economic conditions. The company had a reduction in sales and incurred a loss in the financial period due to macroeconomic effects causing increased cost of sales and in other areas along with the removal of reduced VAT rate on sales from April 2022. The company is planning to continue to invest in assets to promote further sales growth by providing customers with new products and restaurants.” The company, which was established in 1972 and is owned by J&J Restaurants, currently operates 20 restaurants and employs more than 1,000 people. As in 2021, no dividend was recommended for the period.
Steep price inflation at Pret A Manger since 2020: Pret a Manger has ramped up food prices by almost half across a range of products since 2020, with one item rising in price by more than 70%, reports the Evening Standard. The in-store price of an egg mayo sandwich is up 72% on August 2020 to £3.25, according to data supplied by the firm, while the price of a pain au raisin has jumped 43% to £2.50 and a can of Coke Zero costs 54% more at £1.70. Pret’s ham and greve baguette is up 38% to £4.75, while its humous and chipotle wrap has risen 42% to £4.25, and its tuna baguette is also up 42% to £4.25. Prices for online orders have increased at an even faster rate, the Standard said. “Pret has significantly invested in lower prices for customers through our highly successful loyalty programme, Club Pret,” a Pret spokesperson told the Standard. “From this week, all Club Pret members will get 20% off all food and drink products.” The discount for Club Pret will double from 10% to 20% from Tuesday (5 September), with subscribers also enjoying up to five barista-prepared drinks per day for £30 per month. The JAB Holdings-backed business said when announcing the expansion of the scheme that it builds on the success of Club Pret since its launch here in April, with 17.8 million redemptions in its first three months, up 31% year-on-year (year-on-year comparison with redemptions of the Pret coffee subscription for the same period in 2022). The brand said Club Pret transactions are also up 33% month-on-month since its launch in April, while one in five Club Pret transactions now include a purchase alongside the redemption of a barista-made drink. It said that on the back of its success in the UK, Club Pret will also launch in its first international markets, starting with the US in September and France in November, with plans to take the offer across all other global markets from 2024.

RedCat appoints Miles Slade as operations director of pub division: RedCat Pub Company, the investment vehicle headed by Rooney Anand, has appointed Miles Slade as operations director of its pub division, Propel has learned. Slade joins the business this week from Urban Pubs & Bars where he was operations director. Prior to this, Slade spent 20 years with JD Wetherspoon, working at every operational level, culminating in the post of retail director for eight years. RedCat has grown strongly since inception in February 2021, having acquired 116 pubs and pub hotels, now amounting to a hotel room estate of more than 1,400 rooms. Anand said: “Miles is an excellent fit for our business, with excellent pub operations experience, and a great combination of big company corporate experience, as well as with a fast moving, entrepreneurial and nimble business, with a similar mentality to RedCat. He’s a great addition to the RedCat team.” Slade added: “RedCat has seen remarkable growth and I’m looking forward to working with the team as it further strengthen its position and continues to build an outstanding pub and pub hotels business.”
JD Wetherspoon takes motorway services pub off the market: JD Wetherspoon has taken its motorway services pub off the market. The Hope and Champion operates at the Extra services off junction two of the M40 in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. The pub opened in January 2014, causing some controversy with its choice of location, with the RAC saying at the time that it was “a risky and, frankly, unnecessary move”. The pub, which originally cost nearly £1.2m, was named after the old stagecoaches that passed through the area carrying people between London and Oxford. In his Premium Diary, Propel group editor Mark Wingett states: “I now hear the pub will continue to operate after it was recently taken off the market, and some consumers have welcomed the move.” Amanda Ginger, who was recently stranded for hours at the service station with her mother, told the Daily Mail: “Clearly, no one should drink and drive – so I must admit I was baffled when I heard about a pub opening in a motorway services. But having been broken down here for a number of hours with my mother before, on her birthday, and no other way to pass the time, and being quite literally unable to drive anywhere, I have to say the sight of a good ol’ Spoons was like an oasis in the desert.”
Midlands hotel company refinances and extends bank loan, narrows losses as turnover returns to pre-covid levels: Midlands hotel company RSM Leisure refinanced and extended its bank loan in the year ending 31 December 2022, and narrowed its losses as turnover returned to pre-covid levels. It has agreed new terms with Metro Bank for a £9m loan, and added £750,000 to assist with new capital expenditure schemes, which is repayable in October 2024. It also has a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan for £2,600,000 that is repayable over six years. The company, which operates The Lea Marston Hotel and Leisure Complex in Sutton Coldfield and The Abbey Hotel Golf and Country Club in Redditch, reported turnover of £10,656,795 for the year, up from £7,678,891 in 2021. This compares with £10,676,871 in the last full year before the pandemic, ending 31 December 2019. Its pre-tax loss narrowed from £666,448 in 2021 to £291,542 (2019: profit of £30,495). Director David Michels, in his statement accompanying the accounts, said: “2022 seen a recovery in the business but also some major increase in costs. The hotels saw their revenue increased in 2022 at a level even higher than 2019. Unfortunately, the margin has been negatively impacted by strong increase in costs, especially energy costs and business rates. The hotel continues to perform well and in line with projections.”
Lina Stores to open third site in Japan: Delicatessen brand Lina Stores is set to open its third site in Japan. Last month, Propel reported Lina Stores was set to open a “hidden aperitivo bar” at its Soho site. Bar Lina will open this autumn underneath the Lina Stores deli at 18 Brewer Street. It will add to the six restaurants and delis Lina Stores operates across London, the latest having opened in Clapham in June. The business also operates two sites in Japan, having launched in Tokyo, in 2021. In his Premium Diary, group editor Mark Wingett states: “Diary now hears a third opening in the country has been lined up, and the first in the Kansai region. Lina Stores plans to open a site in Kyoto Takashimaya in October. It will located on the first floor of the specialty store zone T8 and will comprise about 50 seats, including counter seats, and sofa seats facing ‘the lively Shijo Street’.”

Cheese expert Mathew Carver to open pizzeria: London cheese specialist Mathew Carver – who runs The Cheese Bar, Pick & Cheese and The Cheese Barge in London – is to open Rind next to award-winning cheese shop, The Courtyard Dairy, near Settle in North Yorkshire. It is hoped the 40-seater restaurant will be open by late October, with work currently taking place on the site. Carver said he had been talked into the venture by friend and long-term supplier, Andy Swinscoe, who is the founder of The Courtyard Dairy. Housed in an old falconry centre, Rind will sit next door to the cheese shop. “As a business we champion British cheese and work directly with lots of small cheesemakers and farms, sourcing all the cheese direct,” Carver said. “Andy is widely regarded as one of the gods of British cheese, the work he has done is incredible. He was building this extension of this incredible new space and said ‘I would really like you guys to take it on and do something with it’. I came up, had a look at it and just fell in love with it. The views are incredible and Andy is the perfect person to work with.” Rind will offer seasonal British cheese-topped pizzas, cheese boards and a list of natural wine to customers, with its menu revolving around a wood-fired oven at the heart of the restaurant. The menu will feature a half Lancashire, half Wensleydale pizza – a nod to the neighbouring counties’ historic rivalry – as well as making good use of The Courtyard Dairy’s array of locally sourced small-producer cheese.

The Berkeley Hotel receives £25m of loan injections, narrows losses as turnover exceeds pre-covid levels: The Berkeley Hotel in London’s Knightsbridge has received £25m of loan injections from its parent company as the business builds back from the covid pandemic. Turnover increased 153% to £59,245,000 for the year ending 31 December 2022 compared with £23,405,000 the year before. Revenue also exceeded the £52,552,000 reported for the year ending 31 December 2019 – the last full year before the pandemic. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £5,128,000 from £16,134,000 the previous year (2019: loss of £2,682,000). In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “During 2022, the development of new rooms and suites was ongoing, including the launch of a new super suite by Andre Fu in August 2022. In February 2023, the opening and launch of Cedric Grolet at The Berkeley Hotel took place, providing one of the world's greatest pastry chefs and his ground-breaking patisserie concept, a permanent London home for the first time. A soft unveil of the new Berkeley rooftop swimming pool, overlooking Hyde Park, paved the way to the full launch planned for the second half of 2023. The Berkeley garden ‘pop-ups’ continued to be very popular. During the year The Berkeley celebrated 50 years in Belgravia. The company has received £25m of loan injections from its intermediate parent entity, Constellation Hotels Holding. These injections are primarily for funding capital expenditure relating to the refurbishment project.” No dividends were paid (2021: nil).

Breaking Glass Bars opens debut site: Breaking Glass Bars has opened its first pub, WIlliam IV in Shoreditch’s Old Street. The group led by Mike Harrington, Lee Godwin and executive chef Rachel Jones, has reopened the pub after a refurbishment. A spokesman said: “The pub serves refined pub classics in a relaxed environment, working with some of the finest UK suppliers and produce. Menu highlights include Carlingford oysters, Guinness soda bread with marmite butter, wholetail scampi, and rarebit crumpet. Alongside this. is an extensive wine list that will grow over time with the cellar storage below the pub, and a wide array of beer and spirits.”

PizzaExpress partners with Too Good To Go: PizzaExpress has partnered with Too Good To Go, the app that helps tackle food waste by redistributing unsold food items. Following a trial in 2022 as part of the brand’s commitment to being net zero by 2040, PizzaExpress has now introduced Too Good To Go as a permanent programme in its 360 UK and Ireland restaurants. Since launching in the UK in 2016, Too Good To Go has prevented more than 28 million surplus meals from going to waste. Via the free app, users can purchase a “surprise bag” filled with a mix of surplus food, all for a fraction of the real price. PizzaExpress’ sustainability manager, Cherry Dejos, said: “This is just one of the ways we are committed to making a difference, and among our other sustainability targets is ensuring that by 2025, all of our direct suppliers have joined us on our journey by requiring them to have set their own net zero targets.” Sophie Trueman, Too Good To Go’s country director UK & Ireland, added: “Having already had fantastic feedback from our community during a successful trial period, we’re looking forward to helping PizzaExpress make a positive impact on the environment.” 

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