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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 18th Dec 2023 - Hollywood Bowl results, former Marston's CEO Andrew Andrea to join C&C Group as CFO
Hollywood Bowl sees potential to grow business to at least 130 sites by 2035 as it reports record revenue of £215.1m: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, has said there is potential to grow the business in the UK and Canada to at least 130 sites by 2035 as it reported record revenue and adjusted Ebitda. The company, which reported it has had an ‘encouraging’ start to its new financial year, said at least three further new centres will open in the UK in FY2024 to add to its 70-strong estate here and there is a ‘strong’ pipeline for FY2025 and beyond. At least seven UK refurbishments are planned in FY2024. The group said it is growing its Canada pipeline with a new Ontario centre due to open in FY2024, taking the estate to 11 sites, and three new centres at legal stages and said there is an opportunity to add up to ten centres in Canada over the next five years. The group claimed it offered the lowest cost option of the major UK ten-pin bowling operators with a family of four able to bowl for under £25. A new group reservations platform “with improved functionality and performance” is due to launch in FY2024. It comes as the business reported like-for-like revenue growth of 4.5% in the year to 30 September 2023. Revenue was up 16.2% to a record £215.1m (2022: £193.7m). Group adjusted Ebitda (pre-IFRS) for the year rose 12.7% to a record £64.9m (2022: £60.6m). The company said UK average spend per game grew 3.4% to £11.06 (2022: £10.69). There was a 9.9% increase in food spend per game “with most popular menu items still at 2019 prices”. Like-for-like sales growth of 7.3% in amusements “reflected expansion of contactless payment technology and new game formats”. It also reported an improved overall net promoter score to 64%, up three percentage points on last year. During the year, 13 UK centres were refurbished, including retiring the AMF brand. The company opened three new UK centres in FY2023: Hollywood Bowl Speke, Hollywood Bowl Merry Hill and Puttstars Peterborough, and one site was acquired post-year end (Lincoln Bowl). The Canadian business reported revenue of CAD $37.3m (£22.5m) and like-for-like revenue growth of 15.1%. Ebitda pre-IFRS16 was CAD $7.4m (£4.5m). One major refurbishment and rebrand to Splitsville is delivering returns ‘above expectations’ and one further refurbishment is underway. Group net cash at year end stood at £52.5m and a fully undrawn £25m revolving credit facility. The company said 72% of UK revenue was not subject to cost of goods inflation. A new UK electricity fixed price hedge is in place up to the end of FY2027 (increase of £1.0m per annum) while solar panel roll out “offers protection against higher energy costs”. Given the surplus cash at the end of FY2023, the group has announced a share buyback programme of up to £10m, to commence shortly after the annual general meeting. Chief executive Stephen Burns said: “This is another excellent performance for the group, achieved against an exceptionally strong prior year. It reflects significant customer demand, as well as the success of our customer focused strategy. Innovation of our offer has led to growth across all our revenue lines while keeping our prices low. We have continued to invest in and grow our estate, opening new centres in the UK and Canada where we see significant potential. The strength of our balance sheet and our highly cash generative business model supports our profitable growth strategy in the UK and Canada. This includes continued investment in our estate, technology and enhancing our customer proposition. Longer term, we see the opportunity to grow our estate to at least 130 centres. We have had an encouraging start to the year with people looking for ways to enjoy activities with families, friends and colleagues demonstrating the continued strong demand for high quality, great value leisure experiences.”

Premium subscribers to receive next UK Food & Beverage Franchisee Database on Wednesday: The next edition of the UK Food & Beverage Franchisee Database will be sent to Premium subscribers on Wednesday (20 December), featuring ten new entries and updates to existing entries. The database is updated every two months and the latest version features 120 businesses and almost 50,000 words of content. Among the new entries are McDonald’s franchisees Craigton Foods, which operates ten restaurants across Aberdeen, Elgin, Fort William, Fraserburgh, Inverness and Peterhead, and Incito Group Holdings, which operates eight restaurants in Gloucestershire. Also added is Moonglow Trading, which this month secured a seven-figure funding package in December 2023 to open up to four new coffee shops through a franchise agreement with Black Sheep Coffee. Premium subscribers also receive access to five other 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; and the Who’s Who of UK Food and Beverage. 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 Propel group editor Mark Wingett.

Former Marston’s CEO Andrew Andrea to join C&C Group as CFO: C&C Group has appointed former Marston’s chief executive Andrew Andrea as chief financial officer. Andrea, who stepped down as Marston’s chief executive in November, will take up his new role on 1 March 2024. C&C Group stated: “Andrew’s appointment follows the completion of a rigorous recruitment process undertaken by the nomination committee in conjunction with an independent executive search firm. Ralph Findlay, who has served as executive chair since May 2023, will revert to the role of non-executive chair following a short transition period after Andrew joins the group. Andrew is a drinks industry veteran having served in senior roles at Marston’s for more than 20 years. He joined Marston’s in 2002 and was appointed to the board as finance director in 2009. He served in a variety of senior roles in the business including 12 years as chief financial officer and corporate development officer and, subsequently, as chief executive during which time he navigated the business out of the covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent challenging macroeconomic environment. Andrew previously held roles with Guinness Brewing Worldwide and Bass Brewers.” Patrick McMahon, C&C Group chief executive, said: “Andrew brings a rare depth of experience within our industry to C&C and we are delighted to welcome him to the business. We continue to focus on building C&C as the premium drinks and distribution business in the UK and Irish markets. Andrew will bring invaluable expertise and insight to our team and help deliver on that ambition.” Andrea added: “C&C is a business that I know and have admired throughout my career in the industry. The group’s combination of iconic brands and market-leading distribution capability is unique and I look forward to bringing my expertise and working with the entire C&C team to support the growth of the business in the years ahead.”

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