M&C Report’s Trade Tracker, which is supported by Torex, supplier of customer and business insight, takes a look at sector trading over the previous seven days. From a list of 40 businesses in the eating and drinking out sector, 10 give a snapshot of trading each week. Phew, what a scorcher! Last week’s unseasonably hot weather produced some amazing sales figures for restaurant and bar operators across the board, with most reporting a fabulous feel good factor from their customers, which led to increased spending per head, as well as extra footfall. Here’s what 10 different companies told M&C Report: TCG A great week for TCG, with 107 pubs and bars in diverse locations across the country - from key cities and town centres to popular coastal resorts, such as Newquay and Weymouth. “Our sales numbers were pretty exceptional. It was a ‘perfect storm’ with a combination of four key elements,” said chief operating officer Nigel Wright. “The students being back for their first week; the hot weather; sporting fixtures on Saturday; plus it was pay week. Altogether, these four added up to one fantastic week. Our like-for-likes were up 17%.” While sport-focused sites did well on Saturday thanks to the rugby followed by high-profile football games, central London was busy all week too. “Henry’s saw good traffic flow and in Soho, the Duke of Wellington saw sales 60% up, while the Tattershall Castle has its second biggest week of the year. This is something we’d normally expect to see in the summer, not now!” Thorley Taverns With more than 20 pubs, clubs, restaurants and hotels in Thanet, on the eastern tip of the Kent coast, Thorley Taverns had a “sensational week” last week with like-for-likes up 23%. With pubs in the popular seaside resorts of Margate, Broadstairs, Ramsgate and Herne Bay, the hot summer sunshine throughout last week and over the key Friday, Saturday and Sunday trading period saw sales rocket. “It’s been all about the weather,” said operations’ director Philip Thorley. “We performed like it was August, but it’s October.” He added: “The only thing we could have done with was to have had the students back. We didn’t have enough hands to serve!” CG Restaurants Mixed fortunes were reported by CG Restaurants, the bar and restaurant operator with the chain of Fire & Stone pizza restaurants. “It was a solid week, but not fantastic where we didn’t have outside seating,” said managing director Hugh Fowler. Portsmouth (Gunwharf Quays) has a large outdoor eating space and was up 8% like-for-like for last week but saw 20% increase in trade on Saturday, while the central Oxford site, with no outside space, was “level pegging Thursday and Friday, but down on Saturday,” said Fowler. Tuttons, the operator’s premium, modern European restaurant in Covent Garden’s piazza, was up 20% like-for-likes. “Tuttons had a fantastic week. It’s got 72 covers all al fresco, and it was phenomenal all week.” Bulldog Last week’s weather created a fabulous feel good factor, said Bulldog’s Kevin Charity, managing director of the Lincolnshire-based coaching inn operator. With customers in such good spirits, the White Hart Hotel, with its “fabulous” outside area, had something of a carnival atmosphere over the weekend. Like-for-likes for last week were up, on average, by 10%. Exceptional results were seen at the Old Bridge in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, a tourist hotspot as the picturesque village home to the popular television series, the Last of the Summer Wine, which saw sales up 21% compared to the same period last year. “We’ve had a great summer and we are really chuffed to bits with our performance,” said Charity. “Saturday was a bumper day and that’s given us a great start to October.” Living Ventures Party conferences and good weather resulted in a strong week for Living Ventures, with like-for-likes up 16% for last week. “It was a great week. The sun brought people out and sites with outdoor areas did particularly well. The good weather makes people feel good,” said finance director Andrew Haigh. Last week Liverpool hosted the Labour Party Conference, where the mix of good weather and visitors for the conferences resulted in a “very strong” week. This week the Conservatives are in Manchester, and Haigh expected good results from the city. “We are very pleased. We are more than holding our own and we’ve had a very good week last week. We are cautiously viewing the future, but are happy with where we are,” added Haigh. ETM Group It was the biggest week since Christmas for the central London bar, restaurant and hotel operator, the ETM Group, with like-for-likes “considerably up”. The Gun in Docklands re-opened its al fresco area for one extra week, and lots of wedding parties brought in good function business last week, said operations director Hannah Bass. “People were out and spending,” she said. “There was lots of drinks trade in the city and Chelsea, and in Hackney our small pub in a residential area had lots of outdoor drinking over the weekend.” Innventure A “cracking week’ for Innventure, the operator of five individual sites with strong food businesses in Hertfordshire, Cambridge and Hampshire. The Rusty Gun in Hitchin, Herts, had a spectacular week, with like-for-likes up 36% against an average 7% across the business. The carvery side of Innventure’s operation was down, as would be expected during such exceptional weather, said managing director Chris Gerard. “There was a feel good factor. When it’s brighter and sunnier, everyone feels more content with the world,” he added. Anglian Country Inns An incredible week for this bar, restaurant and hotel operator with four sites in Norfolk and Hertfordshire. Managing director James Nye reported like-for-likes up 52% compared to last year, with the Jolly Sailor in Brancaster Staithe, North Norfolk, 62% up. “There were very strong drinking figures last week,” said Nye, adding that he hadn’t seen the coast as busy for some time. “People were just flocking to the coast, there were huge traffic jams.” The Hermitage Road Bar & Restaurant in Hitchin, Herts, had a pre-official opening week offering 50% off food last week. “It’s our official opening on Friday (7 October), and we’ve had great feedback so far. We have high expectations,” said Nye. McMullen Last week saw the end of the financial year for the Hertford brewer and pub operator, McMullen, and what an end of a year it was, said managing director Peter Furness-Smith. Like-for-likes were up 20% on the same week in 2010, and “clearly pubs with good gardens who had planned and organised staffing arrangements were able to take advantage”, he said, adding that the McFare family food concept, operating in 15 sites, had seen a 50% increase in business. Sunday this week saw like-for-likes up 40%, which was “on our first day of our new financial year, a fantastic start”, said Furness-Smith. Increases in trade were split 50/50 wet/food. “There were a lot of extra covers, but so too was there a lot of extra drinking,” he said, adding that some of the community pubs that were liquor-led were up 15% on the same week last year. “There has been a tremendous effort by our teams when suddenly faced with this weather and that level of growth to be able to manage it and anticipate staffing levels.” Abokado An amazing week for Abokado, the London-based chain of food bars, with like-for-likes up 26%. “We were running just under 10% up for the month, and last week was our highest like-for-like sales performance, probably for the whole year,” said managing director Mark Lilley. One store, at Euston Station, was up 60%, while three other sites were up more than 30%. “We often question why the good weather has such a impact, but everyone is in such good mood and they spend more money. People want to get out of the office more, and will call in for a smoothie in the morning and pop back in the afternoon for cake,” said Lilley. “It was all volume driven.”