When Revolution Bars issued the profit warning that put it in play in 2017, I was convinced that a takeover that would put the company out of its misery was just a matter of time. Sure enough, Stonegate Pub Company and Deltic Group came along, yet even after shareholders effectively sent both packing, I imagined that one or other of the suitors would eventually return to apply the coup de grace.

In fact, the company remains independent to this day and under Rob Pitcher, slowly but surely, the group’s fortunes are being restored. The former head of restaurants at Mitchells & Butlers describes himself on his Linkedin profile as a “customer-obsessed retailer” and Revolution is beginning to reap the benefits of that approach. Its festive trading update showed good progress in like-for-like sales growth on the back of the transformation of the culture and the offer while a refurbishment is also generating strong returns.

To ensure it is not held back from realising its potential, in particular that of its Revolucion de Cuba brand, the company has also exited seven uneconomic leases, five of them still trading, and secured slight rent reductions on four others. Impressive stuff, from which Pitcher emerges with great credit, but the fact remains that Revolution Bars is still much smaller than is ideal for a public company and barring a sudden and unexpected improvement in the wider cost and economic backdrop, the prospect of Revolution returning to full-scale rollout mode looks remote. Perhaps that takeover will happen after all.

January – enough already

Roll on February! Not just because I’m doing Dry January, which to be honest hasn’t proved much of a chore thanks to plenty of Heineken 0.0 (well if it’s good enough for James Bond, it’s good enough for me). No, the main reason is that it’ll spell the end of Veganuary. I don’t have any issue with people wanting to eat vegan food, whether vegans or people who simply fancy eating less meat, and it is of course natural that restaurants and other establishments should want to respond to that demand. But the inevitable bandwagon-jumping means the world and his wife seem to be offering vegan options and most of them, no matter how small or insignificant, seem to want to tell me about it during January. A word to the wise: if you were thinking of emailing me with details of your delicious vegan options, please don’t. IT’S NOT NEWS.

Greggs on the up

On the subject of vegan, what about the riseand rise of Greggs under the leadership of Roger Whiteside? The company’s value has soared to £2.5bn under the former Punch Taverns and Threshers boss and if it carries on as it is it could soon find itself in the blue-chip FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest quoted companies. How amazing would that be for the bakery and food-on-the- go group? The denizens of Cornwall may not fancy its sausage rolls and steak bakes – vegan or otherwise – but the rest of the country certainly do.

Strong and lean

The surprise profit warning from City Pub Group may have left a nasty taste in shareholders’ mouths, but what was refreshing was Clive Watson’s response. Instead of hiding behind his PRs, he satisfied all media requests for interviews and was completely upfront about where he’d got it wrong. In truth a 31% jump in turnover and like-for-like growth of 1.7% wasn’t too shabby, but Watson played a ramrod straight bat: the company had “shot itself in the foot” with the delays to the two Jam Tree projects in Chelsea and Clapham, thus missing out on lucrative festive bookings, and the whole thing had been a “wake-up call” to him and his team. Knowing Watson, I suspect the company will be back stronger and leaner.

No profit warnings

Speaking of profit warnings, if I was an investor in AG Barr I wouldn’t be setting too much store by the suggestion by analysts at Barclays that the Irn-Bru maker may well be brewing up another profit warning. You will remember that last summer Roger White responded to the first profit warning during his tenure as chief executive by declaring: “I’m not having another one if there’s anything I can do about it.” The bods at Barclays issued a note the other day suggesting that the trading update scheduled for the end of this month could presage another profit warning. It won’t.

Least surprising news of the last few weeks? The suggestion that Handmade Burger Co is in danger of going bust for the second time in less than three years. Most surprising thing I’ve learnt in the last few weeks? That some shopping centre landlords are offering to scrap rent altogether to prevent restaurants from leaving marginal sites when a break-clause comes up. Actually, it’s probably not that surprising: if the tenant stays, they carry on paying rates and service charges and the shopping centre isn’t left with a shuttered site.