Peter Martin

Heads up and take in the view

18 Feb 2019

MCA’s contributing editor Peter Martin gives his view on the contradictions at the heart of the eating and drinking-out sector and discusses why he thinks competition should be the sector’s lifeblood, even if it makes life more challenging for incumbents


Playing the long game

14 Feb 2019

Yesterday, it was revealed that EAT has appointed advisory firm Spayne Lindsay to review its options. On the back of this, James Wallin speaks to chief executive Andrew Walker about the turnaround of the business, its international ambitions and why any sale process is 12 to 18 months away.


​A welcome success story for the coffee and cake market

04 Feb 2019

Last week, Caffé Nero acquired a significant stake in Coffee#1, the premium coffee shop operator , from SA Brain. Fraser Anderson, of Sapient Corporate Finance – the sole financial adviser to SA Brain on the transaction – discusses the background to the deal and what it means for the wider market.

Arc Inspirations CEO Martin Wolstencroft

Three by three is Arc’s inspiration

29 Jan 2019

Veteran bar operator Martin Wolstencroft is aiming to double his Arc Inspirations estate in the next four years – and has strengthened his board and appointed advisors to guide the process. He talks to James Wallin about clusters, culture and deskilling the kitchen


Nanny state pressures set to come to a head in 2019

28 Jan 2019

A string of proposals, consultations and leaked reports on possible Government interference in the way food and drink is sold should be seen as a “wake-up call to the sector”, experts have said.

Patisserie Valerie exterior

Patisserie Holdings: Inevitable but still unbelievable

23 Jan 2019

As Patisserie Holdings called in administrators, with 70 sites to close, James Wallin reflects on the sad conclusion to a sorry tale, and why the trashing of Luke Johnson’s reputation does no favours for the sector.

Opportunities despite knocks

21 Jan 2019

The next 12 months will be another tough year for the UK’s eating and drinking-out sector, and the gulf between great operators and the rest will widen. However, with 2018 proving there were still opportunities to grow and secure investment, AlixPartners’ Graeme Smith considers the outlook for 2019.

Costa Coffee

The Dom Walsh Awards 2019

17 Jan 2019

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

Green King logo

Waxing lyrical about new GK boss

16 Jan 2019

Yesterday saw the long-awaited revelation of who will replace Rooney Anand as chief executive of Greene King, with Merlin’s Nick Mackenzie set to join as chief executive in May. James Wallin looks at Mackenzie’s background, gauges initial reaction to his appointment and asks what will be at the top of his in-tray.

Department of Coffee and Social Affairs

Cool beans: The growth of speciality coffee

03 Jan 2019

As Department of Coffee and Social Affairs and others make moves in the specialty coffee space, Finn Scott-Delany looks at the scope for growth and consolidation in the market.

MCA property roundable

The changing face of the high street

21 Dec 2018

As part of our Agenda series of roundtable discussions, MCA – in partnership with the Access Group – brought together property directors from across the sector at Frog by Adam Handling in Covent Garden. Led by James Wallin, here are the highlights from the day.


That was the year that was in M&A

17 Dec 2018

This year has been far from the barren 12 months many predicted for sector M&A activity. Strong businesses with good management teams have continued to generate significant interest, especially in the drinks-led sector. AlixPartners’ Graeme Smith reflects on the major deals and themes that emerged.

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 ...

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