James Wallin

MCA Insight

James joined MCA from its sister title, the Morning Advertiser where he was news editor. Before joining the Morning Advertiser, he was news editor at the Croydon Advertiser and had previously worked across a series of local newspapers.

Stories by this contributor.

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  • The original start-up

    22 Nov 2018

    Clive Chesser took the helm at the slimmed down and privatised Punch this summer. Here, he talks to James Wallin about the tied and Retail models, joint ventures, acquisitions and investment

  • Crafting success in the wet-led sector

    20 Nov 2018

    Ei Group’s Craft Union model has grown to more than 250 sites in under four years, and now has its sights set on London, where it expects to have 40 pubs by the end of next year. James Wallin speaks to operations director Frazer Grimbleby about further expansion, managing the balance between EiG’s tenanted and managed estates and the potential for a food offer within the Craft Union model.

  • The end of an era

    07 Nov 2018

    Yesterday’s announcement that Greene King chief executive, Rooney Anand, would be stepping down from his role in April marks the end of a remarkable 14-year tenure for the first non-family member to run the company in its 220-year history. James Wallin assesses Anand’s legacy and asks where the company goes next.

  • Taking the pulse of the sector

    06 Nov 2018

    The UKHospitality Christie & Co Benchmarking Report 2018 highlights the impact of external pressures on the sector and gauges the latest industry sentiment amid the spectre of Brexit. James Wallin examines some of the key findings.

  • Playing hard to get

    11 Oct 2018

    The board of Revolution Bars Group has once again rejected the possibility of a deal with Deltic. James Wallin looks at what was actually being discussed, gauges the thoughts of Revolution shareholders and asks what’s next for the key participants, as well as former suitor Stonegate.

  • The tip that became a shove

    02 Oct 2018

    The brief announcement at the foot of the Conservative Party conference yesterday that the Government would finally push forward legislation on tipping, was met with carefully worded statements of support from several high-profile brands. Off-the-record, however, operators were seething at the manner in which this has been announced and the lack of detail provided. James Wallin rounds up some of the sector’s concerns about this tipping point.

  • The changing face of the high street

    01 Oct 2018

    The sector’s role in reviving the UK’s high street was a key topic of debate at MCA’s Restaurant Conference earlier this month. James Wallin discusses how operators are adapting to appeal to a new breed of consumer and what the industry needs to be demanding of Government to do this.

  • Dark kitchens come into the light

    24 Sep 2018

    MCA editor James Wallin looks at how the delivery segment and its relationship with operators has evolved and how the growth of remote kitchens and virtual brands is impacting on the wider market.

  • Lessons from the US masters

    18 Sep 2018

    Operators in the UK have always looked across the Atlantic for inspiration, so AlixPartners US managing director Adam Werner highlights some of the key trends affecting the US market at the moment. James Wallin finds out more.

  • Pizza Hut seeks marginal gains in a heated market

    11 Sep 2018

    While the restaurant sector was seeing an explosion of growth, Pizza Hut Restaurants remained focused on consolidating and investing in its estate. Chief executive Jens Hofma, who led the management buyout of the business this year, talks to James Wallin about a return to growth, his concerns about the sector’s obsession with like-for-like sales growth over protecting margins and his frustration that responsible operators have been penalised in the CVA era.

  • From little acorns mighty pubs grow

    04 Sep 2018

    In the latest MCA Introduces James Wallin meets Oakman Inns founder Peter Borg-Neal at the £10m Royal Foresters in Ascot to talk investment, unforeseen obstacles, the power of premium and the value of wisteria.

  • New era beckons for Novus

    17 Aug 2018

    The sale of 15 bars to Stonegate and the process to dispose of the rest of its late-night estate, including the flagship Tiger, Tiger brand, will leave Novus Leisure a very different business. James Wallin talks to Novus chief executive Toby Smith about the new direction for the group and the opportunities for its Tank & Paddle and Balls Brothers brands.

  • Lessons learnt in a tough market

    25 Jun 2018

    In a challenging climate, operators still have many levers they can pull to keep ahead of competitors and stay relevant to an increasingly demanding consumer set. MCA’s executive director Simon Stenning looks at lessons that can be learnt from how the sector has evolved in the past two years

  • The Italian Job

    04 Jun 2018

    Jon Knight has had an eventful first six months at the helm of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, having guided the company through a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) and set about reconnecting the group’s celebrity founder with his restaurants. He talks to James Wallin about what growth looks like post-CVA, how the group is aiming to come off the discounting drug and how the brand would cope if Oliver’s star began to fade.

  • How Pret turned values into value

    30 May 2018

    The news that Bridgepoint has agreed to sell Pret A Manger to JAB Holdings marks a new chapter for a brand that has consistently been voted the most admired among sector leaders. James Wallin looks at the values underpinning the brand and what the deal may mean for Pret and its investors – both incoming and outgoing – as well as assessing what wider impact the company’s £1k staff bonus may have on hospitality’s reputation as an employer.

  • MCA Introduces: The Florist

    18 May 2018

    The Florist is the newest brand from the rapidly growing New World Trading Company. In a new series, MCA Introduces, James Wallin profiles the concept and talks to NWTC chief executive Chris Hill.

  • Focus on: Marston’s Destination

    15 May 2018

    Iain Jackson, who heads up Marston’s c350-strong Destination division spoke to MCA about the growth of the group’s Firebrand and Accent divisions and the scope he sees for further expansion. He also discussed how he has restructured his teams into smaller units that can react more swiftly to changing consumer trends, and the creation of a dedicated openings team, to follow sites through from acquisition to the handover to ops teams.

  • “Just one more thing… ”

    13 Feb 2015

    London’s late-night sector is globally renowned but, as Columbo Group co-founder Steve Ball tells James Wallin, the authorities are not doing enough to support a sector that enriches the capital both culturally and economically

  • Separate categories for pubs and restaurants on TripAdvisor ‘is coming’

    17 Oct 2014

    The long-awaited separation of pubs and restaurants on TripAdvisor is “on its way”, a senior figure in the company has promised

  • Sector experiences 18 months of consecutive lfl growth

    16 Oct 2014

    Pubs in London and restaurants outside the M25 were September’s strongest performers as the sector enjoyed its 18th consecutive month of growth, the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker shows

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