Clive Watson

Listed life is elementary for dear Watson

14 Dec 2018

A year on from City Pub Group’s IPO, chairman Clive Watson talks to James Wallin about growing pains, avoiding the “corporate haze”, the enduring attraction of “wet-led boozers” and what he has learnt from operating a vegan pub.


Pizza pioneer

07 Dec 2018

The inventor of the UK’s casual dining industry, an inspiration to a generation of restaurant entrepreneurs and the founder of what today is the country’s biggest restaurant brand, PizzaExpress, Peter Boizot, who sadly passed away yesterday at the age of 89, can lay claim to all of those descriptions and more. Here was a life, truly well lived, and one that shaped the industry as we know it, arguably more than most. Mark Wingett talks to those he inspired and worked with, including ...

Ian Neill

Lines from a legend

03 Dec 2018

With 50 years’ experience in the UK’s hospitality sector, primarily in the development of multiple successful branded restaurant concepts, Ian Neill was quite rightly honoured earlier this year with the inaugural lifetime achievement award at MCA’s Retailers’ Retailer of the Year Awards in March. The driving force behind the formative years of PizzaExpress and the growth of Wagamama from one site to 110 worldwide, recently sat down with Mark Wingett to discuss the current state ...

Loungers exterior

Never want to get cosy

27 Nov 2018

There is an addiction to providing genuine hospitality that runs right through the continuing success of café/bar concept Loungers, that makes sure it continues to generate standout year-on-year performance. A laser-like focus on providing value-for-money, authentic community engagement and a “home-from-home” proposition, have become key calling cards for the Nick Collins-led business, but with talk of a possible IPO resurfacing, what will the City make of this regional success story, ...

Nando's interior

Picking out the positives amid the challenges

26 Nov 2018

Good news stories have often been hard to come by in the sector of late but according to MCA’s head of consumer insight, Gareth Nash, there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful when you look closely at the figures behind the recent performance of the eating-out sector

Matt Grech-Smith and Jeremy Simmonds

A swing and a hit

25 Nov 2018

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 ...

Pret Nice Airport

Getting to grips with the urban grab-and-go space

23 Nov 2018

In the latest of a series of articles on brand propositions within the key segments of the eating and drinking-out industry, Ian Dunstall looks at the key players in this largely lunch-led market sector.

Clive Chesser

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

The Vurger Co

Generation Next: The Vurger Co

21 Nov 2018

The Vurger Co founders Rachel Hugh and Neil Potts discuss building a loyal following, proving the vegan doubters wrong, and navigating an unfamiliar industry.

Graeme Smith AlixPartners

Finding the perfect PE bedfellow

19 Nov 2018

Seeking a partnership with private equity can be a daunting and complex challenge for operators. There are a number of variables to consider before choosing the right partner, according to AlixPartners’ Graeme Smith. Includes the experiences of operators and investors, including Flat iron’s Jo Fleet and Daniel Smith of Livingbridge

Patrick Dardis

​Young’s: Levers for growth; bolt-on acquisitions and cannabis cocktails

16 Nov 2018

Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis spoke to MCA after yesterday’s H1 trading update. He discussed further levers for growth, why Young’s has turned down several pub groups on the market, his anger with politicians, why he doesn’t pay attention to what his peers are doing and why cannabis-infused mocktails may be the next big trend.


Making digital culture add up

15 Nov 2018

Retaining the best staff has always been of the utmost importance to a business and big player Casual Dining Group is no exception. Here, Celia Pronto discusses how Workplace by Facebook has brought staff together across the multi-brand company and helps staff feel part of the business.

Bella Italia exterior

Needs must

05 Nov 2018

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 ..

Augmented reality

How augmented reality could change delivery, eating out and retail

02 Nov 2018

American company Kabaq is experimenting with putting food on the table before it’s even been bought. MCA’s sister title Food Spark speaks to them to find out more.

Morris Greenberg

Delivery no longer a major consideration in property decisions

31 Oct 2018

CDG Leisure’s MD Morris Greenberg, spoke to MCA about how the growth in delivery has impacted property decisions, where operators are looking in terms of location, and the fact the market is witnessing a plethora of dessert bar openings.

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