All MCA Insight articles in December 2019

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  • Our Journey - Header Photo
    Analysis & Insight

    Instagram: Looking Good Enough To Eat


    No dish reaches the candy pink menu at EL&N cafe without having its photo taken first. The chain’s head of food Daniel Booth will “play around with dishes during the development process, taking photos to see how they look through a lens before finalising them,” says head of marketing Sahar Mahdavian. The result is immaculate. Sambazon acai smoothie bowls and edible flowers perch pristinely on ancient grain granola, more modern art than breakfast. 

  • Giggling Squid food

    Sales spice up at Giggling Squid


    Giggling Squid has said sales for the year ending 31 March 2019 were up 39% to £33m. It opened seven new sites to take it to 30 during the financial year, and said the new sites have all performed “on or well above expectations”. It has subsequently opened four new sites in Oxford, Chislehurst, Leamington Spa and Weybridge, and will open its 35th site in Leicester in January.

  • Rugby

    Review of the Year Part Two


    When England achieved the impossible, and destroyed the indestructible All Blacks in the semi-finals of the Rugby World Cup, it looked like it was going to be a bumper day for hospitality on the day of the final. The UK would wake up early and hit the pubs and bars first thing to watch England win the final, followed by trips to restaurants, followed by pubs, bars and clubs, before ending up slumped on the sofa trying to focus on the highlights and order a Deliveroo. All England had to do was win.

  • Brunning and Price

    Is the premium pub market ripe for additional consolidation?


    I must admit I enjoyed a very decent lunch last Sunday. It was at The Parrot pub at Forest Green, just south of Leith Hill (the highest point in the South East for those uninitiated) with four of us spending the best part of £40 per head. Nothing necessarily remarkable in that you might say, though this was my second visit in four weeks (and it is by no means a local pub), and I should add this is now a pub within the Brunning & Price stable, following its acquisition in late 2018. This got me interested in looking at the performance (and impressive growth) of Brunning & Price in a bit more detail, but also, to more closely scrutinise the premium pub segment.

  • Restaurant
    Analysis & Insight

    Branded restaurants with strongest sales growth offer least promotions


    Top 25 branded restaurants offer seven promotions on average per brand, but those with the strongest sales growth offer an average of three, the MCA’s latest Operator Index has revealed. 

  • The Botanist, NWTC

    New World Trading Company sees revenue rise


    The New World Trading Company has seen a 15% rise in revenue for the year to 31 March 2019. The bar and restaurant operator’s turnover increase by £6.1m, reaching £51.8m compared to £45.1 in 2018, with adjusted EBITDA at £5.2m, the same as the year before.

  • PizzaExpress at Welcome Break

    Review of the Year part One


    Amid a backdrop of casual dining carnage and CVAs around every corner, the industry had plenty of news in 2019. But Pizza Express delivered drama. With 490 sites in the UK, Pizza Express is a national institution. So when it announced a net debt pile of £1.1bn earlier this year, and premature rumours of its demise hit the airwaves, the country rallied itself in the way it does best these days – by keyboard.

  • Food to go
    Analysis & Insight

    Food to go outperforms the wider market


    Average food to go frequency has grown by 4.8%, outperforming the 1.3% growth in the wider market, MCA’s Q3 Food to Go Tracker has found. Food to go average spend also grew rapidly at a rate of 12.8%, compared to 4.6% spend growth in the total eating out market.

  • Quiz

    Gotham’s Christmas-ish Quiz!


    It’s the week before Christmas and I hope many thresholds are being crossed, multiple tipples downed and that tills are ringing out! For my part, I have been thinking about what sort of Christmas present to get lucky readers – I have been racking my mind and the best I can do is the joy of a quiz!

  • good birds_full menu_Market Hall West End

    Flank - flexing chef muscle


    Tom Griffiths has a complex relationship with burgers. The Flank founder says it’s a universal truth that his peers love eating them but hate cooking them, and this dilemma has been a constant in his career. Keen to avoid being typecast as a garden-variety patty slinger, when he first launched ...

  • Costcutter Farnworth fruit and vegtable
    Analysis & Insight

    Inflation settles on winter food pricing


    Food pricing has seen a settling of inflation, with the year-on-year measure at the lowest point for the month of October since 2016, the latest edition of the Foodservice Price Index from CGA and Prestige Purchasing has shown. October usually sees a jump in inflation from the onset of winter pricing a switch to imported fruit and vegetables and increased demand on the run up to Christmas, but the index has revealed inflation of less that 1% in seven of the ten categories.

  • Banyan, Ilkley

    Arc Inspirations reveals jump in sales following year of investment


    Arc Inspirations has reported a 16.7% jump in sales, from £23.3m to £27.2m, with like-for-like sales up 1.1%. Operating profit was down by 31% to £213k, and it returned pre-tax losses of £474k compared with a pre-tax profit of £183k last year. However, over the period the 17-site business invested £7.5m, including opening five sites and innovation.

  • The Royal Foresters, Oakman Inns

    Oakman Inns & Restaurants reports like for like rise


    Oakman Inns & Restaurants has said like for like sales were up 7.3% for the 15 month period ended June 2019. Sales for the period topped £46.7m with LfL sales up 7.3%. Site EBITDA was £8.6m with group EBITDA at £4.2m. “Overall we have maintained our corporate momentum despite an unhelpful environment with the uncertainty around Brexit impacting both consumer and investor confidence,” said Oakman CEO, Peter Borg-Neal.

  • Deliveroo Editions

    Virtual brands hit 2,000 on Deliveroo


    Some 2,000 virtual restaurant brands are now available on Deliveroo after the number rose by 150% in 2019, MCA can reveal. Orders from virtual brands have rocketed by 220% since January, with the 2,000 virtual brands operated by 1,200 restaurants. “We are committed to helping our partners grow their businesses and offer the widest, most exciting menus, and virtual brands do just that,” Deliveroo CEO Will Shu told MCA.

  • Leon Restaurant

    Labour’s new challenge to business


    Labour is going to be a major headache in 2020. No, not the political party, but something potentially just as damaging to business if it doesn’t get it right. Staff shortages continue to blight the hospitality sector, and how to attract, retain, engage and motivate the best people is not going to get any easier. Even investors are now putting people at the top of board agendas ahead of property.

  • Coco-di-Mama

    Fast-moving grown-up Coco di Mama ‘can do’


    Carbs and caffeine is a formula that has fuelled Coco di Mama’s expansion well. The fast-casual brand has been deftly serving long queues of office workers just that since 2011. This sweet spot customer, the 25-35-year-old affluent City worker, was the genesis of the brand in Fleet Street. While this core demographic served Coco well in its early years, a new management team last year realised it needed to broaden its appeal if it was to continue its expansion into adulthood.

  • Pubs

    Pubs the most popular as spending rises


    Consumers are spending £69.64 on average when they go out to eat, drink and party, up 3.9% on last year, according to the latest Deltic Night Index. They are also heading out more often, recording an average of 1.51 times per week, compared to 1.42 times last quarter and 1.19 times last year. Over half (50.3%) feel a “big night out” is a good way to celebrate and 42.3% plan to go out more often during the festive period than they usually would. Nearly half (47.8%) plan to spend more on these nights out than usual.

  • Customers eating out in restaurant
    Analysis & Insight

    Industry optimism at highest point in 18 months


    Optimism in the eating and drinking-out market has risen to its highest point in 18 months, but Brexit uncertainty continues, the latest Business Confidence survey from CGA and Fourth has revealed.

  • Hawthorn logo

    Hawthorn Leisure appoints property director


    Pub operator Hawthorn Leisure has appointed Ed Little as property director.

  • Greene King

    M&A Review of the Year


    It certainly hasn’t been a year in hospitality M&A for the faint hearted, but for those who have stuck with the sector and taken a long-term view, opportunity has knocked. Despite fears of an investor hiatus as a result of lingering uncertainty (ongoing Brexit delays certainly haven’t been helpful to M&A advisors!), the past 12 months has again proved the robustness of the M&A market in this sector, and points to further opportunities for 2020.