Dominic Walsh has covered the leisure and drinks sectors for The Times for 20+ years and writes exclusively for MCA in business to business press. He previously worked at the Guardian and Sunday Business, having studied classics (and golf) at the University of St Andrews.
For years, Domino’s Pizza was a cash machine for all involved. Management notched up some serious bonuses and incentives by delivering the goods year after year, while long-standing shareholders such as Nigel Wray and Colin Halpern, who is also the group’s vice chairman, coined it as the share price rose inexorably. Also happy were the franchisees, many of whom went from pizza maker to millionaire entrepreneur in as long as long as it took to establish their new shop – not a lengthy process in those days.
Tim Martin likes to plough his own unique furrow. From his penchant for attending City results presentations in chinos - or even shorts – to his mullet hairstyle and his love of rubbing the establishment up the wrong way, the JD Wetherspoon founder loves nothing better than to fan the flames of controversy. Among the issues that have particularly got his juices going over the years have been the euro, taxes, corporate governance and, of course, Brexit. On most of these subjects Martin has managed to navigate a course that has burnished his “man of the people” credentials, firmly established during 41 years of serving the cheapest food and drink in town.
It seems bizarre, but when I wrote my last column only a month ago, coronavirus was still pretty much a Chinese issue that seemed a long way removed from mainland Europe, let alone the UK. The subjects I touched on included the rise of vegan food, Dry January and the rise and rise of Greggs.
The retirement of Jean-François van Boxmeer as chief executive of Heineken looked like a carefully managed process, as you would expect of the brewer of the lager that refreshes the parts other beers cannot reach. The succession appears to have come down to two long-serving senior executives of the Dutch brewing group and whoever missed out was inevitably not going to be hanging around for long.
The legacy of Andy McCue’s truncated time as chief executive of The Restaurant Group is, as well all know, the £559m acquisition of Wagamama. When the deal squeaked through last year, there was widespread scepticism over the longevity of its stellar like-for-like sales growth.
The rags to riches story of Comptoir Libanais founder Tony Kitous is inspirational – and, as Dominic Walsh discovers, he is worthy of such good fortune. But the Algerian still has big plans including the openings of more Comptoirs and Shawas, using the £8m war chest gleaned from a recent IPO