All articles by James Halliwell

  • HLP

    Hospitality Leaders Poll: Confidence falls as lockdown fears grow - and it’s a no to calorie counts


    Hospitality is strongly opposed to introducing calorie counts on menus and alcohol, according to the latest Hospitality Leaders Poll carried out by Lumina Intelligence. Of the 191 questioned, all of whom are board level positions or founders of restaurants, pubs and food to go operations, 83% condemned plans to introduce calorie counts to menus, while 76% were against the proposals to add calorie counts to alcohol. “People go to pubs for a relaxed experience and know that their choices are not necessarily healthy ones,” said one multi-site operator, while another said: “It’s the wrong time to be doing this.”

  • Eat Out to Help Out

    Editorial: Will Eat Out Help Out?


    Eat Out to Help Out went live on Monday, and so far the signs are looking every bit as good as rare steak for dinner after you were forced to skip lunch. Of course it’s too early to see total sales for the traditionally quiet early week trading period, but anecdotal and empirical evidence suggests the word ‘unprecedented’ could be due a comeback. I tried to book a table on Tuesday night at Bill’s and the earliest they could offer was 9pm. It was the same at Giggling Squid. Carmona Tapas, a small three strong chain, was empty the last time I went on 5 July. Now it was fully booked.

  • Hammerson

    Hammerson: initial reopening footfall has been subdued


    Hammerson has said as of the end of July is had collected 72% of rent due for the first half of the year and 34% of rent due for the third quarter. It said the average rent waiver was just over a month, and deferral of just under a month during the coronavirus. Though group occupancy remained strong, at 94% compared to 97% in 2019, it said 36 tenants had entered administration or undertaken a CVA. It said 88 our of 2,886 units were affected. It said footfall in June was down 73% on last year.

  • Franco Manca

    Fulham Shore - sales around 72% on previous year


    Fulham Shore has released a trading update and announced a fundraise as it looks to fight its way though the coronavirus crisis. It said it has 49 out of 51 Franco Manca sites open, and 14 out of 18 Real Greek restaurants open, and though social distancing means they are only operating at between 60-70% of their previous capacity, this has “to some extent” been compensated by an increase in delivery and takeaway sales. It said in the four weeks since 6 July, like-for-like restaurant sales at reopened sites were around 72% year on year.

  • Yo Sushi

    Yo! appoints Deloitte to explore CVA


    Yo! has appointed Deloitte to advise on the possibility of a CVA, according to a report on Sky News. It said although discussions are still ongoing, unless Yo! was able to strike reductions in rent with landlords it was likely a CVA would be the likely option. Yo! had been in the process of reopening a number of sites which had been remodelled to deliver food to customers via its trademark conveyor belt.

  • Manchester 3

    Kate Nicholls: “The UK needs to get used to sudden lockdowns”


    The sudden introduction of restrictive measures in Greater Manchester at the weekend was chaotic, but could turn out to be a good thing if the result of the Leicester-lockdown is anything to go by, UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls has told MCA. Speaking at MCA’s virtual event The Conversation, Nicholls said the rushed announcement meant initially there was “great confusion about what the rules meant, great uncertainty for a lot of customers, and it took quite a long time to get the details of what people were allowed to do in pubs and bars and what they were allowed to do outdoors.”

  • GettyImages-1169593492 (1)

    CACI warns of lasting impacts on consumer behaviour


    CACI has released a report into what it describes as the “new consumer reality” and the impact the coronavirus will have on destinations, landlords, brands and operators throughout 2020 and beyond. It identifies four key consumer trends seen throughout July. It says mobility is well below pre-lockdown levels, currently at an average of 62%, which is up from low of 32%. In terms of how that is split between city centres and more rural areas, city centres are pegged well down at 30% due to a combination of a lack of workers, tourists and shoppers.

  • Star Pubs & Bars

    Pubs and restaurants see sales continue to slowly rise


    Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures for w/c 20 July 20 show that collective like-for-like sales were down 28.5% year on year, but up on the 31.6% decline the week before, and the 39.8% decline the week before that. The rise has been helped by more sites reopening, with 68% of group-operated sites open compared to 60% the week before. “Trading at just over 70% of pre-covid norms is an improvement on the week before for those businesses operating, but it’s more steady than sensational,” said CGA director Karl Chessell.“Operators are still taking it cautiously as demand edges up, and that’s been particularly true among restaurant chains.”

  • Puttshack

    Puttshack back in the swing from 8 August


    Puttshack will open its White City site on 8 August followed by its Lakeside venue later in the month. Bookings will be available to make from 3 August. Several safety measures have been introduced, including PPE for staff, who will also be temperature checked before every shift. Hand sanitiser will also be prevalent while clubs and golf balls will be cleaned after every use. For customers, groups will be limited to six people

  • starbucks cup

    Starbucks sales slump


    Starbucks has reported a 40% fall in global sales as a result of the coronavirus, though average orders increased in value by 23%. “Since the beginning of the covid-19 outbreak in January, we have taken a principled approach to navigate the crisis,” said president and CEO Kevin Johnson. “Every step of the way, we have thoughtfully addressed the needs of Starbucks stakeholders and are particularly proud of the industry-leading investments we have made to support our partners while creating a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers.

  • obesity fat bench unhealthy

    Big fat stats put the obesity debate back on the menu


    There are times everyone needs a juicy bacon cheeseburger, a big portion of chips, a three piece KFC, a pepperoni pizza, lots of chocolate, a few scoops of ice cream or some crisps. Not altogether obviously, that would be far too delicious. But individually, and as an occasional treat, where’s the harm? The trouble is the UK has long suffered from a lack of restraint. Couple that with our love of takeaways and a national diet rooted in stodgy classics and we have reached a point where the government estimates that 63% of adults in England are overweight or obese. It says one in three kids leaves primary school overweight or obese. Obesity related illness costs the NHS over £6bn every year. Those are big fat stats.

  • Waitress

    Over 53,000 restaurants sign up to Eat Out scheme


    The HMRC has said over 53,000 outlets have signed up to the government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme - and has set up an online finder so consumers can find participating restaurants. It’s also released stickers and posters for participating restaurants to display in their windows to advertise they are taking part. “Restaurants, cafes and bars play a vital role in our economy, employing more than a million people,” said chancellor Rishi Sunak. “They have been hit hard by coronavirus, so it’s vital we do everything we can to help them recover.

  • Whitbread

    Whitbread scraps £10 cap on industry discount


    Whitbread has scrapped the £10 Eat Out to Help Out discount limit and will give guests 50% off the food bill and soft drinks on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August. All its 750 restaurants, whose brands include Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, Whitbread Inns, Cookhouse + Pub and Bar + Block will have reopened by 5 August and all will participate without any cap on the 50% discount.

  • Business handshake

    Deals fall sharply in Q2 2020


    Grant Thornton has said deals are still closing amidst the coronavirus pandemic, but the numbers are well down on Q1. Its ‘Food and beverage insights’ report said 27 deals were announced in Q2 2020 compared to 44 in Q1 and that 52 deals were done in Q2 last year, a 39% and 48% fall respectively. However, the total disclosed deal value for Q2 2020 was £2bn from 11 with publicly disclosed values, a significant increase on Q1 2020’s value of £298.8m million. A large part of this 578% increase was down to the £780m JV between Marston’s and Carlsberg to form Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company.

  • nandos sauces

    Nando’s boosts welfare standards and aims for zero carbon emissions


    Nando’s is making sweeping changes to improve the welfare of its chickens as well as the overall sustainability of its business. Nando’s already used fresh Red Tractor assured chickens and will continue to do so, but has now signed up to the Better Chicken Commitment, which means implementing higher standards of welfare in its supply chain by 2026, including not using chickens reared in cages or multi-tiered systems.

  • GettyImages-1124650136

    Trade improves two weeks post-lockdown


    Pub, bars and restaurants open in England have said sales improved in the second week after the lockdown was lifted as more sites reopened, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Like-for-like sales remain well down on pre-coronavirus levels, with sales down 31.6% on last year, but that still represents and improvement on the 39.8% level recorded in the first week back. Some 60% of group-operated sites were open for indoor eating and drinking, up 55% trading during the first week.

  • restaurant cafe table

    Editorial: Huge events, important people and big decisions


    Where to begin? The events of the last four months have been disastrous for everyone, from the smallest SME to the global economy, not to mention the general public. And the face of hospitality has significantly changed. Since lockdown lifted I’ve been served by people in branded face masks, full face transparent visors and had my temperature taken with a thermo-imaging gun. I’ve been barked at for stepping the wrong way, smiled at for stepping the right way

  • Deliveroo pub

    Deliveroo launches table service element to its app


    Deliveroo has added a table service element to its app so customers in restaurants in pubs and bars can order their food via the Deliveroo app, reducing contact between staff and customers. Over 2,000 restaurants are already using it, and there is zero commission on any orders placed. Deliveroo also said it was seeing a “steady growth” of pubs and bars on its platform, including chains like Mitchells and Butlers, Greene King and Brewdog.

  • Waitress

    One in three hospitality workers could lose jobs, warns PWC


    PWC has warned that one in three hospitality workers could lose their jobs by the end of the year. It said that workers in “accommodation and food services” were most at risk because of the impact of the coronavirus on trade and the high number of furloughed staff, and predicted that 32% of furloughed staff face redundancy.

  • Eggslut masks

    Eggslut opens second UK outlet


    Eggslut has opened its 10th location worldwide and second UK outlet in London’s Fitzrovia, at 19 Percy Street. The two level restaurant from the cult brand has worked with street-artist Woskerski and installation experts Bompas and Parr on the interior, and teamed up with regular supply partners Clarence Court eggs, Bread Ahead bakery and Nude Coffee Roasters. The site has launched with the now-familiar social distancing measures, cashless payment, a one-way walking system and plastic screens at tills. All staff will wear plastic gloves and masks.