Mark is an award-winning journalist who has edited MCA Report since the end of 2011 and before that he spent two years at the title and its sister publications Hotel Report and Leisure Report as news editor. Between his two stints on MCA Report, he spent three years as head of media relations at leading property adviser Christie + Co. He has previously worked in and reported on the UK’s retail sector.
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- Analysis & Insight
Competitive socialising has been a rapidly growing sub-sector of the UK leisure market for some time now. Be it crazy golf, darts, ping-pong, escape rooms, shuffle-boards or even axe-throwing, this segment is a broad church. The question raised more than most is will it be a sustainable part of the sector in the long term? With the recent fundraising by Flight Club and now Swingers, that conversation has now moved on to who will be the winners and losers. With a multimillion-pound investment from a leading investment firm, Swingers seems set to be one the formers, writes Mark Wingett.
- Analysis & Insight
The Casual Dining Group (CDG) and Wasabi were both featured in the press over the weekend, linked with the need to make necessary changes to their businesses. One is taking a proactive approach to bring landlords to the table to discuss issues it faces with rental levels at a handful of sites, while the other claims it is looking for an injection of capital to support its next phase of growth. But, is one being more realistic with itself and the impact of the current harsh trading environment than the other, asks Mark Wingett.
Yesterday I wrote that the UK’s hospitality industry was facing a period of fundamental change, with the threat of a significant gap developing in parts of the sector. This morning the focus falls on the value of delivery, technology, experience, property, investment (does private equity have a duty of care?) and protecting your reputation
You are always told to never push your luck, or as my dad used to say “don’t kick the arse out of it”, so after seven years in the privileged position of editor of MCA, it is time make sure I heed that advice and move onwards and upwards in the wider William Reed family.
- Analysis & Insight
In 2008, Phoenix Equity Partners signed a deal to back restaurant entrepreneur Alan Yau, investing £21.5m in the rollout of the then three-strong Busaba Eathai casual dining chain. Next June will mark the 10th anniversary of that deal and if the company hopes to finally exit the now 15-strong group by then you wonder if it will get anywhere near recouping that initial investment.
There was an oversight at MCA’s annual Restaurant Conference, which took place last month. It was an oversight that some of the leading operators quietly pointed out to me; we had forgotten to mention a growing brand that was having an impact on the performance of parts of their estates – Mitchells & Butlers’ (M&B) premium steakhouse concept, Miller & Carter
When Revolution Bar Group’s shares plummeted nearly 40% back in May it felt very much like a case of when, rather than if, Stonegate Pub Company would make its move for the Mark McQuater-led bar chain. With that steep decline in share price in mind, Stonegate’s 200p a share offer looks likely to lead to a positive outcome for all involved
Tom Byng will step down from Byron, the brand he founded in 2007, early next year to “pursue various exciting ventures”. He leaves a concept he created as a now £80m-turnover business, with backer Hutton Collins turning to a new chief executive and chairman, both of which are experienced in operating established brands, that they hope will now cement Byron’s credentials as a national brand and one that eventually has an international presence.
Over the next 18 months the industry is set to experience a sustained level of M&A activity, including a number of big ticket deals, but it is mining for “investment gold” at the other end of the business lifecycle that is increasingly moving to the top of the agenda for sector investors in the rush for the next big thing
It’s little more than a year since it arrived in the UK, but US burger phenomenon Five Guys is on the cusp of becoming a national player. Mark Wingett talks to UK managing director John Eckbert and director of operations Marcel Khan about the past year, expansion plans and the paradox at the heart of its success