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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 20th Nov 2023 - Dame Karen Jones and Hamish Stoddart join Punch as strategic advisors
Dame Karen Jones and Hamish Stoddart join Punch as strategic advisors: Punch Pubs & Co, the Fortress Investment Group-backed business, has appointed three strategic advisors to the board. The business has secured the services of Dame Karen Jones, John Colley and Hamish Stoddart to help shape the future direction of Punch. Dame Karen is currently a non-executive director of both Whitbread and Mowgli, senior independent director at Deliveroo and chairs Hawksmoor and Frontier Pubs. She is also a commissioner of The Crown Estate. In addition, Dame Karen is co-chair of the Hospitality Sector Council, alongside the minister for hospitality, Kevin Hollinrake. She co-founded Food and Fuel, which was sold to The Restaurant Group in 2018 having previously co-founded Café Rouge and The Pelican Group. She served as executive chair of Prezzo between 2018-2022. She was chief executive of Spirit Group from 1999 to 2006: Spirit Group was sold to Punch in January 2006. Colley is the current executive chairman and chief executive of Majestic Wine, which is also owned by Fortress Investment Group. He previously spent 17 years in senior roles with Kingfisher – including group chief trading officer and commercial director at Screwfix. He also spent five years in the Netherlands, as chief executive of Praxis DIY and executive board member of Maxeda Group. Stoddart is the co-founder and former managing director of Peach Pubs, which operates more than 20 gastropubs in the south of England and the Midlands. Peach was acquired by Revolution Bars Group in October last year. Punch chief executive Clive Chesser said: “This is an exciting time for Punch and all three individuals bring wide ranging sector experience and a broad range of invaluable skills. Karen is an absolute industry heavyweight, John boasts valuable retail experience, while Hamish is an innovative pioneer for culture and sustainability in hospitality.” Dame Karen added: “It’s great to be back with Punch having been part of the team that originally created it, and of course Spirit was born out of Punch Retail. Clive leads a first-class team, and we have an exciting journey ahead.”

Premium subscribers to this week receive three databases and access to the best Propel conference videos of 2023: Premium subscribers will this week receive three databases and access to the best Propel conference videos of 2023. First up, at midday today (Monday, 20 November), will be the next edition of the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. This month’s edition includes 784 companies and more than 211,000 words of content. There are 83 updated entries and 34 new companies. This will be followed at midday on Wednesday, 22 November, by the next UK Food & Beverage Franchisor Database. There will be ten new entries, taking the total to 225 companies either franchising or looking to franchise in the UK. And on Friday, 24 November, the next edition of the Multi-Site Database will be sent out at midday. An additional 37 companies, which operate 246 sites between them, were added during November 2023, meaning the database has now grown to include 3,060 companies, which operate 71,189 sites. Before that, on the same day, at 9am, for the first time, the 12 best videos from Propel conference in 2023 will be sent out. Selected by group editor Mark Wingett, they will feature a selection of talks and interviews that resonated with delegates from across the breadth of the hospitality sector. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other databases: the Propel Turnover & Profits Blue Book; the New Openings 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.
Delay tax incentive plans, business tells chancellor: Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is being urged to delay further changes to multibillion-pound business tax incentives amid concerns about the fallout from a crackdown on rogue claims. Hunt could move forward with plans to overhaul the research and development tax credits regime in this week’s autumn statement. The incentives, which are intended to encourage investment in innovation, have been under scrutiny since a Times investigation revealed that businesses had put in “spurious” claims for projects such as vegan menus in pubs. Relief rates have been adjusted and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been examining claims more closely after finding much higher levels of fraud and error in the scheme than had been thought previously. Jim Harra, the chief executive of HMRC, said last month that the generosity of the relief had made it a “honeypot” for rogue advisers “helping people to make claims that are not compliant”. The government is considering whether to merge a version of the regime for smaller companies with one aimed at larger businesses and Hunt is expected to provide an update on Wednesday (22 November). In the 2021-22 financial year, £7.6bn was claimed under the reliefs. Business groups and advisory firms are lobbying the government to delay the merger, which is scheduled for April 2024, arguing that companies need time to get to grips with alterations. The Federation of Small Businesses has asked the Treasury to reconsider the merger plans, while the British Venture Capital Association is among organisations that have raised concerns that the desire to tackle spurious claims had made it harder for genuine ones to be granted. HMRC has doubled the number of staff working in scheme compliance and has said it is cracking down on “dishonest [advisory] companies offering false promises of easy money”.

Worcestershire’s only Michelin star restaurant to close: Worcestershire’s only Michelin star restaurant is closing due to “inflationary and interest rate pressures”. Pensons, at The Netherwood Estate, in Tenbury Wells, will be closing its doors after dinner service on Friday, 22 December. It is the county’s only permanent Michelin star restaurant, although Carters of Mosely has opened a temporary one in Offenham, until December, reports The Worcester News. A newsletter was sent out by the restaurant confirming the closure. It said: “Ultimately, persistent inflationary and interest rate pressures means that as a small, independent, very rural business, it is no longer financially viable to stay open. As a team we are incredibly proud of everything we have achieved over the last five years, from the quality of the food and service to the collaborations with local producers and artisans. We aimed to showcase everything that is wonderful about this area and raise the national consciousness of this small corner of the country. But most of all, we wanted to bring people together to enjoy the conviviality of a shared love of wonderful food and wine in beautiful surroundings.” The restaurant is still available to book, as are its overnight rooms, while valid gift voucher are still being accepted if customers book before the closing date.

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