Dominic Walsh

Dominic Walsh has covered the hospitality industry for The Times for over 20 years, and also writes exclusively for MCA. He previously worked at the Guardian and Sunday Business and is considered a leading business journalist within the industry.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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    Dominic Walsh: Casual dining one of ‘big losers’ of pandemic


    It used to be so simple. Come up with a restaurant concept and a brand, open one restaurant, then a second, then aim for five outlets then ten and 20, and if it’s still working, press the button on a nationwide rollout. Well, something like that, anyway.

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    Dominic Walsh: On not-so-Super Saturday and the pain that’s yet to come


    If anyone thought that July 4 would bring down the curtain on the 15-week coronavirus purdah, they were soon disabused of the notion. Super Saturday was – like the weather – something of a damp squib. While some of the big pub companies opened as many as 80% to 85% of their estates on day one, research by CGA suggests that only 45% of hostelries opened their doors on Independence Day.

  • MARSTONS_Pint_Glasses

    Dominic Walsh: On the Marston’s and Carlsberg JV, and Just Eat


    Phew, the relief! For the first time since the lockdown here was a story that was not about coronavirus. And what a story: Marston’s to exit brewing. Well, almost. When its £780 million brewing joint venture with Carlsberg was announced, I described it as an acceleration of “the redrawing of Britain’s brewing landscape” and I see no reason to change my view.

  • Domino’s

    Dominic Walsh: Rent, Landlords, and Wild Times at Dominos


    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.

  • Cote

    Dominic Walsh on Wetherspoon and Cote


    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.

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    Dom Walsh: A growing sense of the surreal


    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.

  • heineken

    Dom Walsh on Heineken succession stories


    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.

  • Dominic-Walsh-The-Times-MCA-Insight-Commentator

    New year, new prospects ahead


    Dom Walsh looks at the prospects for hospitality in the year ahead. 

  • YO!KITCHEN.1359

    The Dom Walsh Awards


    Our monthly columnist from The Times hands out his annual awards to brands and operators who have made the past 12 months newsworthy – for better or for worse…

  • PizzaExpress Langham Place, Oxford Circus 01

    Change is happening everywhere


    Seismic shifts are sweeping through the sector thanks to a combination of M&A, technological developments and consumer behaviour. Who knows what’s going to happen next?

  • Twitter

    Bile-ridden, rude and downright nasty


    I have previously used this column to express my astonishment at the extraordinary level of abuse aimed at Jamie Oliver over the failure of his UK restaurant business.

  • Wagamama Rushden Lakes
    Analysis & Insight

    ‘TRG now has a future’


    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.

  • Gaucho sign

    Steering in a new direction


    The shock exit of Gaucho Group’s long-serving CEO Zeev Godik yesterday, hot on the heels of a change of chairman, has left a number of questions unanswered. Dominic Walsh looks back at Godik’s long tenure and asks what the news means for the sector.

  • Carluccio's new generation store
    Analysis & Insight

    Dealing with tricky transitions


    Taking over the reins from a long-standing company chief is always a challenge for the incoming executive. Dominic Walsh compares what happened at YO! Sushi with the situation at Carluccio’s

  • Jamie Oliver

    Jamie opens a can of worms


    News this month that Jamie Oliver was to shut six of his restaurants was met with a wave of criticism of the celebrity chef and the suggestion that Brexit might have played a part. Dominic Walsh reports

  • Ed's Victoria Centre

    Back on track


    Dominic Walsh explores the fall from grace of Ed’s Easy Diner and ponders whether the travails of recent months have done any lasting damage to this business, whilst at the same time asking whether there is merit in a future link up between Stonegate and Mitchells & Butlers

  • Opinion

    Work ethic has reaped rewards


    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

  • Rooney Anand

    New year’s business honours


    In a busy year, Dominic Walsh has reported on many aspects of the business world. Now he takes stock of what’s happened within the past 12 months and gives his awards accordingly

More by Dominic Walsh