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2017 was a bumper year for South West tourism
The South West tourism overall occupancy rate was 55% in 2017, the highest on record according to the latest annual figures from chartered accounts and business advisers PKF Francis Clark. This compares to around 50% in the early part of this decade. Average occupancies were also up on 2016 levels at 1.5%.
As well as the usual, expected peak during the summer months, there was a “spike in occupancies in November and December which are now closer to 40% on average, as opposed to below the 30% mark, previously experienced in the sector.”
Spend on repairs and maintenance in 2017 was on average 6.7% of turnover which is higher than historic levels of around 6%. This reflects the “long-term trend that has seen repair costs tending to be higher when funds are available, reflecting the fact that some of the spend can be discretionary. Over the medium term, spend on capex and repairs have normally driven additional turnover growth as customers have been prepared to spend more. Advertising spend is up on long-term averages with spend currently at around 2.7% of overall turnover. Historically spend in this area has only been around 2% of turnover.”
Tom Roach, lead tourism partner said: “Our tourism barometer figures are optimistic overall for 2018: with regard to occupancy, we normally see a figure above 2% as significant, but a 1.5% overall increase remains good, particularly when compared with the overall picture. More generally the economic outlook is also stronger than anticipated and with inflation remaining low which should bode well for the sector in 2018.
“This key aspiration to drive up inbound tourism from abroad should also be helped by a weak pound, and the Euro remains strong against the pound which again is helpful. However the key to driving the tourism business in the South West has to be recognition of the facilities and attractions, so having marketing as a central plinth in the LEP strategy is crucial if we are to capitalise on the current economic climate.”
Four West Country hotels for sale as owners enter administration
Four hotels in West Country holiday resorts have been put on the market following the news that Richardson Hotels Limited and Fowey Hotel Limited have gone into administration.
Joint administrators Mark Boughey and Matthew Wild of RSM Restructuring Advisory LLP have instructed Colliers International to sell the Metropole Hotel in Padstow; the Falmouth Hotel, Falmouth; the Fowey Hotel in Fowey; and the Grand Hotel, Torquay. All hotels continue to trade on a business as usual basis.
Ed Jefferson from the South West Hotels team at Colliers International said: “Richardson Hotels Limited and Fowey Hotel Limited have gone into administration, creating a unique opportunity for hotel operators to acquire some of the best-known hotels on the South West peninsula. All have great features that will appeal to a wide range of buyers.
“Interested parties are invited to make an offer either individually, in clusters or as a group. Our clients will decide what offer or combination of offers to accept in order to satisfy the needs of the administration.”
Colliers International Hotels director Peter Brunt added: “These landmark properties occupy outstanding positions in some of the best-loved West Country resorts.
“Individually, they have dominated their local hotel landscape for years and now offer once in a lifetime opportunities for operators to complement an existing portfolio, or to create a fantastic new portfolio.”
January sales up for pub and restaurants
Britain’s managed pub and restaurant chains saw collective like-for-like sales come out slightly up in January at 0.6%, despite the doom and gloom stories surrounding the eating-out market, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Restaurants recorded flat trading nationally, and managed pub operators were ahead 1.0%, driven mainly by drink-led businesses.
“A string of site closures announced by some of the sector’s more high profile casual dining brands has done little to bolster confidence in the sector lately, but these latest figures suggest that overall the market remains relatively stable. People are continuing to go out to eat and drink,”’ said Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
“But that doesn’t disguise the fact that the market is experiencing increasing cost pressures on a number of fronts and that competition is intense. Consumers have more choice than ever. Brands that may have overextended themselves are now feeling the pain,” Tate added.
“Nonetheless, January is one of the quietest months of the year and also one usually most affected by weather, so we usually have to wait until later in the year to discover any real shifts in the market,” he said.
“Notwithstanding an increasing number of disposals and receiverships occurring mainly in the restaurant sector, these Coffer Peach Tracker figures for January show a degree of resilience against trend especially in drinks-led businesses,” said David Coffer, the Chairman of the Coffer Group. “As it is traditional for consumers to seek out such venues during a recessionary or challenging political and economic period, we feel that this trend will continue and that there will be further growth in the drinks-led sector and also a recovery in well-run, sophisticated restaurant brands. It is interesting to note that the drink-led businesses which are comparatively more productive are those which are managed.”
“Some would say ‘an adjustment’ in the restaurant sector was overdue following a lemming-like expansion programme from London to the provinces over the last five years or more. We believe that lessons have been learnt and that possible expansion will be comparatively slower, but operators will be redirecting investment into quality products, service levels and value,” Coffer added.
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “With dry January now a seemingly increasing trend, the latest numbers for wet-led operators, particularly in London, will be viewed with cautious optimism. On the other hand, the New Year for the eating out sector has heralded the announcement of a hefty number of site closures. Flat trading amid fierce discounting will have done nothing to quell fears that there is more of the same to come.”
VisitEngland announces attraction accolade winners
VisitEngland have announced the winners of its ‘attraction accolades’ for 2017 in recognition of quality visitor experiences.
Awarded in “appreciation of the outstanding experiences they provide”, 86 attractions in the UK were recognised, based on the score they received following their annual assessment by VisitEngland.
Winners in the South and South West included: Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton – Hidden Gem, Bishop’s Palace & Gardens, Wells – Quality Food & Drink, Fashion Museum, Bath – Best Told Story, REME Museum, Chippenham – Hidden Gem, Ringwood Brewery, Ringwood – Hidden Gem, and Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway, Southampton – Best Told Story.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “These attractions offer a warm welcome, unique story-telling, high-quality food and drink and unparalleled customer service and rightly deserve these accolades. They provide visitors with amazing experiences and create reasons to travel the length and breadth of the country, increasing the economic benefits of tourism.”
For a full list of winners, go to their website.
Buff & Bear open second Star site
Former Geronimo Inns MD, Ed Turner and his wife Buffy and their partner Shane O’Neill, added a second Star Pubs & Bars site, The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire, to their family pub business Buff & Bear Saloons.
They are planning a £500,000 refurbishment of the town centre site with Star Pubs & Bars to transform the Dolphin into “a homely mix of pub, house and garden.” featuring “an intriguing series of individual rooms and bedrooms and a beautiful garden”.
The pub will feature a glass-fronted cellar, visible from the street showing the SmartDispense cellar system. Drinks will include Heineken, Moretti, Lagunitas, West Berks Renegade and Wild Bibble, and local cask ales from SIBA members. As well as a wine list, 20 find and cocktails.
The menu will include “fresh and healthy light meals such as dressed Dorset crab and avocado and Chalk stream trout with poached egg and bubble & squeak. Mains include Calves liver & bacon, shorthorn cheeseburger, pickles, relish & fries and Lobster mac & cheese and rib eyes with béarnaise sauce from the grill.
Tim Galligan, operations and sales director of Star Pubs & Bars said: “Ed and Buffy have a great eye for design, a love of local craft, a real understanding of what people want and are relentless in their pursuit of personality and excellent customer service.
“We’re delighted to be co-investing with them on a second project helping to create a stunning and unique pub for Newbury which offers the conviviality and fun of an old-fashioned coaching inn, with 21st-century comfort and style.”
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
St Peter’s launch UK’s first organic alcohol-free beer
Suffolk-based brewery St Peter’s have released Without Organic, their latest zero-alcohol beer.
Available now in 500ml bottles, it is a golden ale “that’s rich and full-bodied and perfect for lager and ale drinkers”.
It joins St Peter’s two other alcohol-free craft beers: Without Original and Without Gold.
For more information, go to www.stpetersbrewery.co.uk.
Sharp’s Brewery limited-edition beer rises again
Rock, Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery is rereleasing Juniper Rising due to its success at London Beer Week last year.
The beer is a collaboration between Sharp’s and the founder of Cornwall-based Southwestern Distillery, Tarquin Leadbetter. It followed the creation of a hop-infused gin, The Hipster, in 2016.
In Juniper Rising, which will be launched nationwide on draught in pubs and bars, the “Sharp’s yeast and mellow bitterness from the hops allows the unique flavours of juniper, citrus and coriander to shine through in this 4.5% brew, providing a really smooth, light mouthfeel with juicy fruit and a quenching zest.”
Sharp’s Brewery’s head brewer, Andrew Madden, said: “At Sharp’s we’re continually looking to innovate with new flavours and styles, and the fact that Juniper Rising has been such a hit already and we are now bringing it back for wider distribution is a great example of this experimentation. The collaboration is a fantastic opportunity to bring together two North Cornwall based drinks producers, and highlight our pride in our Cornish roots and home.”
Dorset producer launches three new jars
Artisan preserve producer Ajar Of have added three new sauces to their award-winning range.
This includes their Dorset Sea Salted Caramel Sauce that recently came out the winner in a category taste test in Good Housekeeping magazine.
The Dorset-based maker of jams, chutneys and sauces also have a Dorset Beetroot and Chilli Ketchup that has an “earthy beetroot flavour with a hit of heat, great with burgers and French fries”.
Finally, there is a new Dorset Banoffee Sauce with a “natural banana flavour”.
All are available online from ajar-of.co.uk.
Hoshizaki expand Snowflake Generation
The refrigeration and ice machine manufacturer Hoshizaki have launched a new series of its Snowflake Generation II drawer refrigeration counter units.
The new drawer units are available in six different configurations, designed to complement existing models in the Snowflake range. Made from stainless steel, the counters can “extend the prep surface within a compact kitchen environment.”
The smallest unit features four drawers and is 1210mm by 700mm, the largest features eight drawers and is 2241mm by 700mm.
Simon Frost, director of sales & chain accounts at Hoshizaki UK comments:
“The new Drawer Refrigeration Counters further expand on this range by strengthening the versatility of the portfolio and delivering enhanced flexibility to a kitchen setup thanks to the distinctive design and added work surface that is achieved from installing one of the new units.
To aid efficiency and maintenance, the units feature double insulated, extra wide magnetic removable gaskets, automatic defrost and fully compliant HACCP controls.”
For more information visit www.hoshizaki-europe.com or call 01322 616 900.
Dorégrill launches Magflam rotisserie
The new Magflam spit-roast rotisserie oven from Dorégrill is now available the UK, marketed by FEM.
Offering “all the features of authentic old-time cooking with modern technology and a striking design”, the oven cooks using the ‘Radiating Cast Iron’ and high-yield ‘Live Flame’ burners, both patented by Dorégrill.
It can cook up to 56 chickens an hour and has an interior that can be fully dismantled and cleaned.
Safety features including heat protected, toughened glass windows, and insulated handles and hinges make it “ideal for front-of-house cooking”.
The Dorégrill Magflam is available from FEM distributors as a gas spit rotisserie, with list prices starting from £9,940.00 + VAT. Call FEM (Foodservice Equipment Marketing) on +44 (0) 1355 244111 or visit www.fem.co.uk.
New De Savary hotel announces GM
Steven Poole has been appointed as the general manager of The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, Dorset, following its acquisition by Peter and Lana de Savary.
He joins the hotel from a role as director of operations for a hotel management company where he oversaw a group of 17 hotels in Asia. Previously he has also worked at The Ritz and The Lanesborough in London, and The Grand Hotel in York as well as having stints in the USA, Spain and South East Asia.
The Eastbury was recently sold to the de Savary’s by Paul and Nicky King after 17 years as owners.
21st-22nd February 2018
Business Design Centre, London
“Casual Dining is your only trade show entirely dedicated to the branded restaurant and pub sectors. Casual Dining gives you the unique opportunity to meet over 200 food, drink, equipment, tabletop, furniture, interior design, technology and services suppliers, taste and try products.”
The Bed & Breakfast, Retail and Self-Catering Show
21st & 22nd February 2018
Thornbury Leisure Centre, Bristol. BS35 3JB
“The fourth Exhibition and Conference covering the Bed and Breakfast, Guest House, Inns, Small Independent Hotel, Independent Self Catering Owners and Owner Managed Hospitality businesses.”
Somerset Coastal Path business workshops
22nd February 2018
The Luttrell Arms Hotel, Dunster. TA24 6SG
Two workshops on how the Somerset Coast Path can benefit your business by Nell Barrington. For more information, please see
Food & Drink Business Workshop – Strategies for a Successful Food Business
27th February 2018, 9.30am – 1.30pm
The Cedars Inn, Barnstaple, EX31 2HE
“This workshop is tailored to food & drink producers, including practical ways to manage the balance between sales, marketing & finance to ensure profitable growth. The workshop will be packed full of ideas and suggestions so that you leave with your own tailored action plan.”
For more details & to book – https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/food-for-thought-a-workshop-for-food-drink-businesses-tickets-40802090150
Packaging Innovations 2018
28th February – 1st March 2018
“Visitors will be able to meet with new and current suppliers supplying the latest in innovative food & drinks packaging, tap into the industry’s hot trends, and network with the world’s biggest brands under one roof.”
Co-Located with Label & Print 2018 & Empack 2018
Professional Development Courses for the Tourism and Hospitality Sector
28th February – 16th March 2018
“Practitioners can develop their skills through a series of masterclasses and half-day courses to develop operational and strategic thinking. Delivered through interactive workshops and networking with leading academics, the courses are aimed at developing contemporary knowledge of critical business aspects that influence profitability and performance.”
For information, visit www.bournemouth.ac.uk/tourism-hospitality-shortcourses
To book https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/professional-development-courses-for-tourism-hospitality-professionals-tickets-38863372393
5th – 8th March 2018
“The UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality event. Hotelympia is the most important event for any professional wanting to gain access to the latest products, ideas and thinking. It is the best place to find real innovation and ideas.”
6th – 8th March 2018
Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge
“Perfectly timed and showcasing products that cover the whole of the hospitality and catering market; from tableware to furniture, catering equipment to business services, coffee to speciality food, this show really does have Cornwall covered.”
The Publican Awards
13th March 2018
Battersea Evolution, London
“The Publican Awards recognises the best in every aspect of the pub industry – from the best brewing pub companies to the best late-night operators. Gold standard comedian and top television presenter Rob Brydon will be joining us to host the awards.”
2018 BAPTA Ball and Award Ceremony
15th March 2018
The Lighthouse, Poole. Dorset
“Set to be one of the largest tourism events in Dorset with over 500 guests attending, to celebrate the achievements of business that contribute to tourism and hospitality across the BH postcode area.”
To find out more and to purchase tickets, visit http://bapta.co.uk/
Northern Restaurant & Bar Show 2018
20th – 21st March 201
Manchester Central Convention Complex
“Northern Restaurant & Bar returns bringing the entire industry together for two days of networking, discovery and innovation. It is the place to source new products and services from 275 exhibiting suppliers and be inspired by 65 live food & drink demos.”
British Tourism & Travel Show 2018
21st – 22nd March 2018
“Britain & Ireland’s essential domestic tourism exhibition. It is packed full of inspirational travel ideas to ensure that your forthcoming brochures, programmes and itineraries are fresh and innovative, even for the most seasoned traveller.”