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  • London at night

    ​Shelley Sandzer: No more unicorns, cash is king


    The longer the pandemic goes on, the greater the acceptance in the industry that life has to go on in some way. What is interesting, is the form that is taking. 

  • brasserie blanc

    ​Dominic Walsh: Even successful companies have hit the buffers


    Back in June, I was chatting to Mark Derry, the Brasserie Bar Co boss, about surviving the pandemic. It seems a long time ago now, given how much has happened since, but the other day I happened to glance back at my notes from our conversation, and one thing he said to me turned out to be particularly prescient.

  • PizzaExpress

    Peter Martin: Creating the playbook


    When David Campbell took on the top job at Wagamama one of the first things he did was start to read. The book was The Way of the Noodle, part written and inspired by Wagamama’s enigmatic creator Alan Yau.

  • GettyImages-1218809014

    AlixPartners: The brave new world of delivery


    Food delivery sales have unsurprisingly reached new heights this year with people across the world locked down and brands keen to generate revenue. With its importance amplifying once again given the second national lockdown in England, AlixPartners director Steve Braude looks State-side at the key trends driving the US delivery market and how developments might influence the UK

  • Ted Schama 1

    Ted Schama: Next stage of rising to the challenge


    I am currently writing this piece in Bratislava, Slovakia, as I am lucky enough to share the birth of my second baby, Zara Schama.

  • Fiona Dickie

    PCA Fiona Dickie: ‘I have teeth and I am not afraid to bite’


    Those following the coverage of my investigation into Star Pubs and Bars will know that I found Star had committed twelve separate breaches of the pubs code, which they must now put right.

  • Pret, St Christopher's Place

    Editor's Opinion: Confusion continues to rise


    Divisions are everywhere. The sense of unity that helped the UK through the surreal first wave of the coronavirus is now a distant memory, like the azure blue skies in April. Now they have been replaced by grey skies and rain with nothing on the horizon but pain.

  • Bill's

    Mark out of Ten - Bill’s Videos


    There’s been a set of videos lately on Instagram that I can’t get out of my mind that I can’t unsee, so I have to write about it and share them with you. Like the earworm of an annoying song lodged in your brain that you grow to love or becomes a guilty pleasure at the very least. I am a self confessed Bill’s lover and love Bill himself in equal amounts. I pretty much moved to Brighton on the strength of Bill’s breakfasts back in the day and I dare say my wife would leave me for a Bill’s veggie breakfast. So, as a fanboy I follow what Bill’s is doing as one of the strongest brands in our sector and I have also had the pleasure of working on the Bill’s brand to help reposition it for the future.

  • Hawksmoor Edinburgh

    Will Beckett: The ever-changing regulations are horrific


    The last week or two have felt like yet more hammer blows for hospitality, and for a lot of people, especially in the North West (where wet-led venues are now shut and customer confidence has been obliterated) and in central London (which is so reliant on public transport to make it work), it feels like this is a blow people can’t recover from. The toxicity of constant worry and ever-changing regulations is horrific.

  • GettyImages-946961992 (1)

    Peter Martin: Struggling for influence


    So who gets your vote? Andy Burnham? Rishi Sunak? Which politician deserves most credit for supporting the interests of hospitality?

  • JW Lees logo

    William Lees-Jones: government policy is a disgrace


    Our breweries and pubs have been an integral part of Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Cheshire and the North West’s communities for hundreds of years – we are on the ground - we are not running our pubs in a theoretical intellectual and political bubble 200 miles away in Westminster. The current government policy to single out pubs for closure in Tier 3 with inadequate support is a national disgrace. It is clear, and the statistics show, that transmission of the coronavirus is happening in education, care homes, hospitals and the home. Already we have been trading with severe restrictions since July 31 in Greater Manchester but we feel that the government is now going too far and we stand by the stance that Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester, is taking

  • Marston's

    Dominic Walsh: eating out, Marston’s and the rule of six…


    Working from home is all very well in these Covid times, but it’s important to make sure the house and the school run don’t become the extent of your pared-back existence – a particular danger in this era of home delivery. Hence the decision to vary life a bit by taking the family out to a local restaurant. I was intrigued to see how the establishment in question – known for serving decent enough food and having excellent service – would go about making our visit Covid-safe. It started well enough, with a big sign at the entrance enjoining us to wear face masks to the table and wash our hands with hand gel. The only problem was a complete lack of hand gel dispenser.

  • greene king

    The PM can’t produce the science because it doesn’t exist


    Monday is looking like a big day. Make that another big day. Or maybe they are all big days at the moment, it certainly feels that way. News of CVAs and redundancies blur with curfews and localised lockdowns, or in the case of Scotland a near-total lockdown. The outlook is bleak. It all feels like bad news right now, the only hope is that the government sees sense and has a rethink over the 10pm curfew, or is forced into scrapping it following the curfew vote, which has been delayed from Tuesday to Monday so the PM can get his whip out. It will take a big party rebellion to overturn the curfew because every non-conservative MP would have to vote against it and be joined by 79 Tory rebels. Certainly not impossible, but not especially likely.

  • GettyImages-1227222173

    The 10pm curfew has set alarm bells ringing


    Everyone makes mistakes. No-one is immune from doing so. But everyone knows if you make a mistake the best thing to do is to admit it, try and reverse the situation if possible, and learn from it. The worst thing to do is to carry on regardless and ignore any ongoing damage being done.

  • Cookhouse and Pub

    Dominic Walsh: What’s more ludicrous, the 10pm curfew or VAR?


    For as long as I’ve been a journalist covering leisure and hospitality (31 years if you must know), the industry has fought, mostly in vain, for recognition in the corridors of power of its importance to the UK economy. While rival industries like aerospace, car manufacturing and financial services seemed to have no problem catching the ear of government (mostly coming under the wing of the big beast departments of Business and the Treasury), hospitality struggled to attract attention, being made the responsibility of the backwater that is DCMS. It didn’t make it into the name of the department – even when it was expanded to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

  • Pret

    Mark McCulloch: Pret's Inventive Incentive


    “When I was at Pret’’ is a phrase I find myself saying most days (and get the mickey taken out of me for like a stuck record for those who hear it daily). I use the phrase as most days I find myself in a situation where I need to solve a problem, Pret is the best example of how to solve it without fail. I learned more in my 10 months there than in any other business. The focus and confidence of what Pret would and wouldn’t do is an unspoken yet powerful bond that lives with the current teams and anyone lucky enough to work for/with Pret in the past.

  • alcohol

    A six month sentence


    “Nuts.” “No logic.” “A crushing blow.” The industry wasn’t impressed by the idea of a curfew. And that was the reaction before Boris Johnson handed down a punitive six month sentence. Frustration at the prospect was palpable and understandable, primarily because hospitality is being treated like a leading cause of infection rates rising when it isn’t.

  • GettyImages-1217029390 (1)

    Peter Martin: Time for cool heads and hard data


    Repeat after me. The Government is not our friend. It might like to think it still is, but it has proved far too unreliable, inconsistent and devious a companion for that. Now that’s not to say, we shouldn’t perhaps try to be civil and ready to do business – but a lot more openness and honesty on our political leaders’ part needs to be forthcoming before trust with the hospitality sector is going to be restored.

  • Ted Schama 1

    Ted Schama: From third place to second place


    I am a family and community man. I live by Hampstead heath and revel in walking the dogs, meeting new people and seeing old faces. I suppose you could say I am a people person.

  • Philip Kolvin QC

    Philip Kolvin QC: Regulators v insurers, the verdict


    Sometimes white smoke appears from a chimney and the result is clear. Sometimes, smoke rises from the battlefield, casualties are counted and it takes a century or two to work out who won and lost.