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Tough trading in September for restaurants, pubs and bars
The British public appears to be pulling back their spending on eating and drinking out with restaurants, bars and managed pubs seeing a 0.9% decline in like-for-like sales in September, according to figures from the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
London was the region that suffered the biggest decline, falling 1.6%, compared to 0.7% outside the M25. Restaurants in London were the worst hit, falling 3.2% in collective like-for-like sales compared to September last year.
The figures follow the latest Business Confidence Survey from CGA (the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM), that showed while 66% of bosses in the sector were optimistic about prospects for their own company, only a third (34%) were upbeat about prospects for the market as a whole, down from 43% in May.
Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, said: “Rising costs around property, tax, people and raw materials have increased pressure on margins already this year in what is an ever competitive market. Faltering sales will only add to sector concerns.
“The one positive point is that consumers are still going out to eat and drink, and although sales are sluggish and hard won at least they are not suffering the way other parts of the economy are, such as car sales,” Martin added.
Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “These figures show that the industry is under cumulative pressure not just from the headwinds of increased costs, but also from weakening consumer confidence. The property market for good sites is proving to be resilient at present, however, there is no doubt that the months ahead will be a testing time for weaker operators particularly those in high-cost locations. We expect to see an increase in availability of sites generally during the autumn.”
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “There’s no getting away from the fact that September has been a fairly dismal month for casual dining operators, especially in the capital. These sales numbers continue to be underpinned by the growing influence of food delivery and fierce discounting between brands. Operators will hope that a focus on premiumisation over the festive period will help to claw back some of this lost margin.”
Devon charcuterie company secure £80k investment
Award-winning charcuterie company, Good Game, have won £40k of funding from the EU to match a £40k investment of their own to support their ambition to grow production by 300%.
The Topsham-based producer recently completed its custom-built premises at Darts Business Park. The new location will give them more space to hang meat, develop new products and create additional office space.
They have also recently secured organic certification for their naturally dried game and cured meat products, some of which are made from hand-reared pigs on the Powderham Estate and neighbouring farms. This makes them “one of the only organic and nitrate free producers in the world.”
Co-owner Steve Williams, who runs the company with Pete Woodham Kay, said: “Since we set-up Good Game four years ago, we set out to create a product that is truly original; traditional techniques using local meat and flavours. We want to support the west country, so we work with the best suppliers on our doorstep. We’re thrilled excited to now have the latest phase of expansion up and running.”
The announcement comes as they unveiled seven new products to their portfolio; rabbit salami, chilli chorizo, nduja (spreadable spicy salami), organic pastrami and salt beef, face bacon, mortadella and frankfurters.
Good Game currently sell their products to pubs, restaurants, retailers, at their Topsham-based barbecue restaurant, The Pig and Pallet, and online at www.good-game.co.uk.
£6m deal for Bristol Old Vic catering signed
Bristol-based Fosters has won a five-year contract to provide catering services at the Bristol Old Vic theatre in a deal worth an estimated £6m.
Fosters beat 15 other operators to secure the deal which will see it run the refurbished café, theatre bar and the new 120-cover Coopers’ Hall from autumn next year when the theatre reopens after a multimillion pound redevelopment.
Fosters’ chef director Tom Green will oversee the contract. He moved to Bristol in 2001 to work with Michael Caines and became the head chef at the Riverstation restaurant before opening the award-winning Rosemarino.
Bristol Old Vic chief executive, Emma Stenning, said: “We searched nationwide for the right catering partner; one who would share our pride in this city, and who would work with the kind of creative flair that a theatre demands. I was delighted that the best team just happened to be based in Bristol.”
Fosters caters to several prominent local venues including the SS Great Britain and Bath Rugby.
Apex City of Bath partners with Bath Rugby
The newly opened Apex City of Bath Hotel has announced a season-long partnership with Bath Rugby.
The four-star hotel will be the official hotel partner and recognised provider in first class accommodation to Bath Rugby fans and away supporters.
Tim O’Sullivan, general manager at Apex City of Bath Hotel, said: “We are proud to become the official hotel partner of Bath Rugby and to offer a premium four-star experience for rugby fans within the heart of Bath.
“The partnership will allow us to offer unique experiences for rugby fans throughout the UK and beyond, along with help and support to Bath Rugby through providing access to our purpose built meeting rooms and conference facilities.”
Tarquin McDonald, managing director at Bath Rugby, added: “Apex Hotels is a world-class brand and shares many values with ourselves, so we’re delighted to be partnering with the hotel. The team at Apex are true rugby supporters, so they know how to enhance a day out or weekend at the rugby in Bath. We look forward to developing the partnership over the coming months.”
The four-star Apex City of Bath Hotel features 177 bedrooms, restaurant, bar, gymnasium and pool alongside the conference centre and is a short walk to the Recreation Ground, home of Bath Rugby.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Wickwar Wessex launch Witchcraft ale
The Cotswold-based Wickwar Wessex Brewing Co. have launched a new seasonal ale in time for Halloween called Wessex Witchcraft Ale. The 4.6% ABV ruby ale uses four malts, three homegrown hops and Cotswold water to make a “full flavoured ale..with a hint of bitterness and spice”.
Go to wickwarbrewing.com for more details.
Harry’s Cider unveil new cider for Apple Day.
Somerset cider company, Harry’s Cider, launched Applemoor, their new bottled cider, on 21st October, also known as Apple Day.
Applemoor is a medium cider with “a rich fruity aroma…light and silky with a mellow finish that balances sweetness and tannin, maintaining the taste and character of a Somerset cider but with a relatively low alcohol level.”
The new cider joins the company’s two existing award-winning bottled ciders – Harry’s single variety Dabinett cider and Harry’s Original blend. They are all made with cider apples from the family’s orchards Long Sutton near Langport, Somerset.
For further information, visit www.harryscidercompany.co.uk.
Arkell’s first pumpkin beer
The Wiltshire brewery Arkell’s are celebrating Halloween with their Pumpkin Beer. The 4.2% ABV brew uses real pumpkins with added spices and malt to produce a “devilishly warming, malty beer” that will be available at most Arkell’s pubs in the run-up to Halloween.
Head Brewer, Alex Arkell, said: “Pumpkin is sweet and we’ve spiced up our new brew with cinnamon and other spices to make a deliciously dark beer worthy of a time of year when we celebrate the end of summer and harvest, and the beginning of the long winter months.”
Torquay restaurant sold
The Ocean Drive Restaurant, in Torquay, South Devon has been sold off a guide price of £365,000, in a deal brokered by agents Charles Darrow.
The American themed restaurant was owned by Maria Ward who has been considering retirement for some years and agreed on terms with new owner Zeki Akbayir.
Jon Clyne, a Director at Charles Darrow commented: “Mr Akbayir, who has a wealth of experience in the catering trade, has some great investment ideas for the restaurant and we look forward to seeing them come to fruition over the coming months. His plans are to improve – not reinvent the restaurant, which has always been a popular eatery with locals and tourist alike…”
“No-nonsense grilling” with the new Rise & Fall
The ES6 Rise & Fall Grill is “simple, robust and fast” according to manufactures Falcon Foodservice. This electric countertop unit has 1.8kW elements that heat up rapidly and cook quickly.
Designed for small to medium sized kitchens, the unit’s temperature range of 50-300°C makes the unit suitable for hot holding as well as cooking. The chef can simply adjust the temperature and height.
“Manufacturing excellence is not just about developing the most advanced products, it’s also about responding to customer needs,” said Barry Hill, marketing manager of Falcon. “Some customers prefer more simple, manually-controlled appliances, hence the reason for introducing the ES6. It does just what it’s supposed to do, and does it very well.”
The Falcon ES6 rise and fall grill is available through dealers nationwide. It has a list price of £1400 and is backed by a 12-month warranty.
An Old Fashioned kind of love
Bars set for Old Fashioned Cocktail Week 2-11 November 2017
With under three weeks to go until the global celebration that is Old Fashioned Week, over 300 top-class bars have signed up so far, from Australia to Alaska – including a new museum. They can all be seen on the OFW global map. Each will offer a menu of different Old Fashioned Cocktails – look out for classics, innovative creations, or surprises with a twist. Bars can sign up by the end of October, to have their creations publicised on www.old-fashioned-week.com and shops are also welcome to participate to encourage cocktail enthusiasts to mix at home.
Heading the leaderboard so far, in terms of countries with the most bars participating, are Spain, France, Italy, Hong Kong and the UK. Amongst the 25 countries represented, there are also bars from Serbia, Ukraine, Brazil, Peru and Argentina which have also signed up. Old Fashioned Week is a celebration of cocktail heritage and bartenders’ skills. It also encourages fresh thinking, innovation, and convivial drinking, and is being promoted by an embassy of 12 OFW ambassadors worldwide. For the second year running, the top 50 bars in the highly respected league of elite ‘World’s 50 Best Bars’ were asked: “What cocktail do you sell the most?”. Answer: “The Old Fashioned”.
For ten days in November, bartenders around the world will rally to set aside their shakers and reach for their mixing spoons. Old Fashioned Week (OFW) will sweep into town for this global celebration of the father of all cocktails. Intending to double the impact from its second year in 2016, Old Fashioned Week 2017 now launches with ambassadors in ten zones, to cover most of the world’s most high profile cocktail cities. This embassy of top spirits experts and writers will help inspire bars to serve up the most classic, innovative, original, premium or daringly different Old Fashioned cocktails. They aim to extend the legend that makes it the most enduring and popular cocktail in quality bars (in the World’s 50 Best Bars).
Old Fashioned Week has blossomed from its modest creation by Michael Landart of popular neighbourhood bar Maria Loca in Paris, and rum enthusiast Cyrille Hugon, to become a worldwide celebration. For 2017, it partners internationally with six renowned brands: Angostura Bitters, Havana Club rum, Altos tequila (for US activities), J.M Agricole Rhum from Martinique, Monkey Shoulder blended Scotch malt whisky and Wild Turkey bourbon whiskey. Participating bars will serve Old Fashioneds using at least two of these brands. Beyond that, they can freely use their other regular listed spirits. Consumers can expect to enjoy individually conceived events, promotions, and generally good old fashioned drinking fun. Bars, and also shops, can announce their activities on the Old Fashioned Week website and show off their creations via OFW social media – where innovation is always a point of positive controversy: Anyone for a gin Old Fashioned?
TMI Convention 2017
30th – 31st October 2017
Managing Destinations, Making Places – Innovation and Competitiveness
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School
“The convention will share experiences in place making, exploring how destinations need to design their visitor offers around authentic and distinctive qualities and experiences.”
HOSPACE – by HOSPA the Hospitality Professionals Association
2nd November 2017
The Royal Lancaster Hotel, London W2 2TY
A one-day annual conference and exhibition hosted by HOSPA, the Hospitality Professionals Association. There is an excellent programme of topics with some of the best speakers in hospitality, with key supporters from within the industry.
To book your delegate spaces for HOSPACE 2017 – www.hospa.org/shop
Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch Event
“Increasing sales in food service through neuromarketing”
Marsham Court Hotel, Bournemouth BH1 3AB
“Karen Fewell from Digital Blonde will be talking about how the hospitality industry can incorporate psychology into marketing and social media communications.”
The European Pizza and Pasta Show
15th – 16th November
“The European Pizza and Pasta Show® is an exclusive B2B trade event uniting leading UK and European food wholesalers and retailers, pizza operators and pizzeria owners, restaurant chains and independent restaurants, hotels and catering companies with equipment manufacturers, specialist ingredients suppliers and service providers.”
Catering Equipment Suppliers’ Association (CESA) Conference
De Vere Wokefield Estate Hotel, Reading
“CESA’s speaker platform for the 2017 Conference is designed to inform and stimulate. The theme is Moving Forward in a Changing World and a highlight of the day will be Robin Clark, restaurant services director of Just Eat, who will talk about delivering change.”
Food Matters Live 2017
21st – 23rd November 2017
“Food Matters Live is the UK’s only cross-sector event bringing together the food and drink industry, retailers, foodservice providers, government and those working in nutrition, to enable collaboration and innovation to support a sustainable food landscape for the future.”