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Pubs up, restaurants down in May
May’s hot weather helped boost sales in Britain’s pubs but hit restaurant trade. Overall, the country’s pub, bar and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales up 1.4% on May 2017, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Managed pubs saw collective like-for-likes up 3.5% for the month, with drink-led outlets doing best, but casual dining brands saw like-for-like sales drop 2.1% against the same period last year.
While managed pubs saw collective like-for-likes jump 3.5% for the month, with drink-led outlets doing best, casual dining brands saw like-for-like sales drop 2.1% against the same period last year.
“It’s a familiar story. When the sun shines people head for the pub, or more precisely the pub garden. In contrast, restaurants do better when it’s dull and damp. Weather remains the biggest factor when it comes to sales in the out-of-home market. It’s the way it is,” said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
“The good news is that overall the sector saw an uplift in trading in May, which contrasts with the 1.2% fall in April. The public continues to go out to eat and drink, and confidence among operators is also returning, if not yet to pre-Brexit levels,” he added.
Mark Sheehan, Managing Director of Coffer Corporate Leisure added, “It’s always easy to blame the weather. But it was a long wait until May when the pub sector got the benefits of some sunshine. Better weather and a World Cup with a record 32 teams should see very strong trading for many pub businesses over the coming period. Restaurants and food led pubs may have a tougher summer to add to the pressures they are under. In the longer term, we see competition for casual dining chains become little less intense as poorer performing units are closed.”
“With the World Cup underway and forecasters predicting more scorching weather to come, the pub sector looks set to enjoy a bumper summer – assuming England make it past the group stages,” said Paul Newman, Head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM. “In contrast, it has been a tumultuous 2018 for the eating out market. That said, the recent acquisition of Pret A Manger and Rosa’s underline the enduring attractiveness of growth opportunities for overseas investors in the sector. We expect further deals to follow as well-capitalised businesses look to take advantage of better sites at lower rents.”
Underlying like-for-like growth for the 42 companies in the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, is still subdued, running at just 0.6% for the 12 months to the end of May, but up from 0.4% at the end of April.
VisitEngland and AA update their accommodation standards
VisitEngland and the AA have agreed on common standards and criteria for hotels and self-catering accommodation in the UK.
The new guidelines mean that an official star-rated property will have consistent standards wherever it is located in the UK. The changes, which replace those established by the national tourist boards and the AA in 2006 and updated in 2012, will allow businesses to tailor their property to the type of guest they attract, highlighting its features.
VisitEngland Director Andrew Stokes said: “We know that people value quality and guaranteeing that a star rating in Inverness or Swansea brings with it the same benefits as one in Cornwall or Belfast will encourage visitors to further explore the accommodation on offer.
“These refreshed common standards ensure that the wonderful range of quality accommodation across our nations and regions continues to meet the high expectations of visitors.”
AA Hotel & Hospitality Services Managing Director Simon Numphud said: “We have seen a growing diversity of accommodation combined by increasing customer expectations. It was important that the quality standards were fully updated to reflect the changing landscape of both the quality of accommodation and the customer experience.”
Bristol coffee roaster opens recycled training facility
Extract Coffee Roasters, based in Bristol, have opened a barista training facility in London’s Sustainable Bankside made from recycled materials.
Joining 50 other businesses at South East London’s Bankside building, Extract’s area includes a bar made from a pub floor and benches made from leftover housing supplies.
Extract, in its eleventh year of trading, supplies coffee to over 70 venues in London, including The Connaught, Regent’s University and Searcys at St. Pauls Cathedral.
Co-founder Lee Bolam said: “We’re fully committed to sustainability at our Bristol base; from roasting our coffee on four second-hand roasters which we restored ourselves, to recycling all our waste coffee grounds, and using 90% renewable energy to power the roastery. It’s great to finally have a place in London which is also in line with our sustainable values.”
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Cornish spiced rum launched
The Cornish Distilling Co. have launched Morvenna Rum, a new addition to its range of genuine British-made rums.
The distillery will be the first in Cornwall, and only one of a handful in the UK, to be creating British rum from scratch. Managing Director and Head Distiller, Tom Read, ferments the molasses derived from sugarcane on-site in Bude, North Cornwall.
He said: “Over the past 18 months we have learnt to ferment and distil; fine-tuning the production at every step. I’ve grabbed any spare moment to further refine the production and this is especially true for the spicing. The list of spices, fruits and herbs tested is endless and I’m really happy with the final recipe. Expect notes of lemongrass, cardamon, clove, cacao nib, apricot and saffron.”
Group Chairman, Richard Harding says, “we’re seeing the growth of rum in the British drinks market, and we are excited to support the exposure of British distilled rum across the country, and around the world.”
Pizza oven coming to the UK
The Sirman Lipari range of electric pizza ovens are launching in the UK, courtesy of FEM.
Constructed from stainless steel with an aluminium-plated cooking chamber, they incorporate a stone baking deck to give the pizza “the authentic texture and taste.”
The most spacious of Sirman’s range, it is capable of cooking up to eight 12” pizzas simultaneously. Separate thermostats for the baking deck and cooking chamber and a panoramic glass door mean chefs can maintain optimum temperature and monitor their pizzas without letting any heat out.
The Lipari pizza oven is manufactured by Sirman in Italy. It is available at a list price of £2,390.00 + VAT.
For more information and details of local stockists call FEM on +44 (0) 1355 244111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fem.co.uk.
Eco-friendly plastic straws
Parsley in Time are launching an oxo-biodegradable plastic straw, which they say has a “zero impact on the environment.”
Oxo Straws are oxo-biodegradable which means the straws degrade in the open environment in the same way as natural waste, without leaving any toxic residues or fragments of plastic.
Rob Blunderfield, marketing manager of Parsley in Time, said: “People are genuinely concerned about conventional plastic straws – they epitomise our polluting, throw-away culture. We were one of the first suppliers to source paper alternatives – our sales went from zero to 6 million in just three months, from December 2017 to March 2018. We’ve committed ourselves to stop stocking conventional plastic straws from summer 2018.”
Parsley in Time offers the Oxo Straws range in packs of 250, with list prices starting from £1.35 per pack. For more information, and to shop online, visit www.parsleyintime.co.uk or email email@example.com.
New manager for Southampton hotel
Claire Barrowclough has been appointed as the new manager of the Holiday Inn Express, Southampton.
A hotelier with more than 10 years of experience in the industry, she will lead the 25-strong team at the hotel, operated by RBH, the independent hotel management company.
The Pig appoints manager at Southampton hotel
The Pig in the Wall in Southampton will be managed by Faye Stone, who has been at the boutique hotel group for six years and worked her way up after starting as a receptionist at the original Pig in Brockenhurst, Hampshire in 2012.
As part of a £30m expansion, further Pig hotels are opening in Padstow, Cornwall and Arundel, West Sussex in the next two years.
Community inn near Bath on the market
The Full Moon at Rudge, near Bath, is on the market with Colliers International at £420,000 for the freehold.
The grade II-listed inn has been serving customers since 1640 and is situated 20 minutes from Bath just off the busy A36 on the Somerset-Wiltshire border, not far from Longleat Safari Park.
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels team said: “We sold the Full Moon to our client last year but he has now decided to sell to concentrate on other projects.
“This gives people an opportunity to acquire a much-loved village inn with five letting rooms and a large function room.”
Gloucester inn sold to experienced hotelier
The Little Thatch Inn in Quedgeley near Gloucester has been sold off of a guide price of £800,000 by Christie & Co.
The buyer of the grade II-listed poetry which dates back to 1351 is The Hatton Collection, who own seven hotels and inns across the Cotswolds, Somerset and Jersey.
Darren Hiscox of The Hatton Collection said: “I am delighted to welcome The Little Thatch into the Hatton fold. We have been eager to expand our portfolio in the Gloucester area and the Thatch is a perfect addition. We plan to sympathetically refurbish all areas of the property over the forthcoming months starting with the bar and public areas.”
Hampshire Food Festival
1st – 31st July 2018
Various locations across Hampshire
“Organised by Hampshire Fare, Hampshire is preparing to celebrate all things food and farming throughout July with over 60 tempting events taking place across the county.”
To take part and to find out more, please visit
2nd – 3rd July 2018
“If you source, buy or serve drinks within the drinks industry, Imbibe Live is the must-attend show for you.”
Cotswold Taste Local Group Launch – A new way to grow your food or drink business
5th July 2018 – 7pm-9pm
The Royal Hop Pole Hotel, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire
A member-owned co-operative, Cotswold Taste aims to promote the business success of its members and business partners. If you are a local food or drink business, come along and learn how Cotswold Taste can help to grow your business. The guest speaker is Cotswold Taste business partner Quentin Thomas, Director of the award-winning design agency Riley & Thomas, who will talk on ‘The right branding and design opens doors for small food producers.’
To book a place at this FREE event or for more information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org