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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 17th Nov 2023 - Marston’s appoints former Merlin CSO as its new CEO after Andrew Andrea steps down
Marston’s appoints former Merlin CSO as its new CEO after Andrew Andrea steps down: Pub company Marston’s has appointed a new chief executive after Andrew Andrea stepped down with immediate effect. It has brought in former Merlin Entertainments chief strategy officer Justin Platt as his replacement, effective from 10 January 2024. “Marston’s today announces that, having navigated the company through the pandemic and more recently the challenging macroeconomic conditions, Andrew Andrea has agreed with the board that he will step down as chief executive officer with immediate effect,” the business said. “He will, however, be available to the business for a period to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities. The board wishes to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to Andrew for his commitment to the group over his tenure, which extends over 20 years. The board is pleased to announce that following an external process, Justin Platt has been appointed as chief executive officer with effect from 10 January 2024.  William Rucker, chair, will support the management transition in the short interim period with the executive team reporting directly into him. Justin has over 30 years' experience in hospitality and consumer-facing businesses, having spent the last 12 years at Merlin Entertainments; most recently as chief strategy officer, and prior to that in a variety of operational leadership roles. Justin has a proven track record of delivering sustainable business growth through his clarity of strategic focus, a passion for enhancing customer experiences and a relentless focus on business results delivery. Justin’s combination of operational and strategic experience in multi-site leisure businesses equips him perfectly to lead Marston’s through the next phase of its development. Current trading remains in line with management expectations. As previously highlighted, the group will announce its preliminary results on Tuesday, 5 December.” Rucker said: “Andrew has worked for the company for over 20 years and the board thanks him for his valuable contribution, particularly in recent times, which has been one of the most challenging for our sector.  He leaves with our very best wishes. Looking forward, I am very pleased to be able to announce the appointment of Justin Platt whose broad consumer sector expertise, strategic acumen and prowess in customer experience at Merlin will be of great benefit to Marston’s at this stage in the company’s journey.” Andrea said: “I am extremely proud to have navigated Marston’s out of the pandemic as a focussed pub business and put in place a first-class management team who are achieving market outperformance. This is the right time for me to step down and I am confident the business is in great shape with strong future potential.  I wish William, Justin and the whole team continued success in the future.” Platt added: “I am delighted to be joining Marston’s. The company has massive potential and a passionate and talented team. I am really looking forward to working with the board and the management team to deliver the sustainable business growth that will drive value for our shareholders.” Last month, Marston’s reported a 10.1% increase in like-for-like sales for the 52 weeks to 30 September 2023, with both drink sales and food sales strong, which it said demonstrated the resilience and appeal of its predominantly suburban pub estate. Total retail sales in the group’s managed and franchised pubs for the 52-week period were up 11.3% on last year. Like-for-like sales in the ten weeks from 23 July 2023 to 30 September 2023 were up 7.7% versus FY2022, which the business said reflected the well-documented wetter weather over the July and August summer months. Marston’s features in the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Its turnover of £799,600,000 is the 17th highest in the database. Its pre-tax profit of £163,400,000 is the 3rd highest in the database. The Blue Book ranks companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion, listing directors’ earnings for the past five years. 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.

Premium subscribers to receive next Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage on Monday: Premium subscribers will receive the next edition of the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage on Monday (20 November) at midday. This month’s edition includes 784 companies and more than 211,000 words of content. There are 83 updated entries and 34 new companies. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database merges Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Meanwhile, for the first time, Propel group editor Mark Wingett has chosen the best videos from the Propel conferences in 2023, picking out a selection of talks and interviews that resonated with delegates from across the breadth of the hospitality sector. The 12 videos will be made available to Propel’s Premium subscribers at 9am on Friday, 24 November. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: the Multi-Site Database, which is produced in association with Virgate; the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the New Openings Database; the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database; and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisee Database. 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. 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 Mark Wingett.

Time Out Group opens Cape Town venue for first on African continent: Time Out Group, the global media and hospitality business, has opened its latest venue, in Cape Town, South Africa. Time Out Market Cape Town is the company’s seventh food and cultural market, with a further eight signed and due to open between 2024 and 2027. Located at the V&A Waterfront, Time Out Market Cape Town offers the best of the city together under one roof: a curated mix of the best local chefs, drinks and cultural experiences. It is the first Time Out Market to open on the African continent. The Market offers 13 kitchens, three bars and a dedicated wine bar as well as cultural experiences across 30,000 square feet. The line-up features the city’s award-winning chefs, much loved local gems and home-grown up-and-coming talents to offer a taste of Cape Town’s diverse and exciting food scene. It joins Time Out Markets in Lisbon, New York, Boston, Chicago, Montreal and Dubai. Opening next year are sites in Porto, Barcelona, Bahrain and Vancouver, followed by Abu Dhabi and Osaka in 2025, and then Prague and Riyadh in 2027.

Business leaders and trade bodies call on chancellor to provide permanent tax break for investment: Business leaders and trade bodies from across the UK have called on the chancellor to provide a permanent tax break for investment in next week’s autumn statement. In a letter to Jeremy Hunt, almost 100 chief executives and directors urged the government to announce a full expensing regime for companies beyond the current three years, which they say would have a “transformational impact on business investment and growth”. This is supported by research from Make UK and the CBI business group, reports The Times. In his March budget, Hunt announced that business investment on plant and machinery could be deducted from profits to reduce their tax bills. The measure was announced for an initial three years due to constraints on the public finances. In the letter, seen by The Times, chief executives and industry bodies want the expensing regime to be made permanent to create certainty for businesses who want to invest in the UK. “The temporary nature of the policy means most additional investment during this period will be brought forward, rather than being entirely new. This will limit the extent of productivity gains,” the letter says. “Moreover, in many sectors, including manufacturing, investment cycles are far longer than three years, often spanning from five to seven to even 30 years, depending on the nature of that investment and the sector.” Separately, the chief executives of 37 Chambers, representing more than 35,000 businesses, have called on Hunt to use the autumn statement to offer “much-needed solutions to Britain’s investment problem”. In an open letter, organised by the British Chambers of Commerce, the business leaders said: “For local economies to thrive, they need business investment, but this has been too low for too long.”

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