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World Cup and weather boost June pub takings
Britain’s pubs saw a mini-sales boom in June thanks to the hot weather and the start of the World Cup, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
However, while managed pubs and bar groups saw collective like-for-like sales rise 2.8% against last June, restaurant groups suffered a 1.8% fall in like-for-like trading.
“Sun and football are usually good news for the pub trade – and with England’s World Cup run and the hot weather continuing into July, we should expect more positive trading,“ said Peter Martin, vice president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
“Better news is that the usual drop off in restaurant sales during good weather and big sporting events is not cancelling out the boost for pubs and bars. Overall the market is up, and that follows a 1.4% increase for the sector as a whole in May,” Martin added.
“A month of sunshine and the World Cup may be good news for drinks led businesses but was always going to be tougher for food led operators,” said Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM. He added: “However, there will be a sense of optimism for many restaurants with the year on year fall at less than 2%. With the sun set to shine for the rest of July, it could turn out to be a bumper Summer for pubs and bars as they look to take the lion’s share of consumer spending.”
“The consumer appears to be in more confident mood, buoyed up by a remarkable summer and football success for England. We expect the July data will see a continuation of this trend,” said Trevor Watson, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons.
According to the figures, total sales growth across the pub and restaurant cohort, which includes the effect of new openings, was 4.2% in June, reflecting continuing if slower brand roll-outs, and running at 3.8% for the 12 months to the end of the month.
Gaucho closes Cau chain with the loss of 540 jobs
Restaurant group Gaucho are closing its Cau chain with the loss of 540 jobs and have called in accountancy firm Deloitte as an administrator.
Deloitte said that Cau, which has 22 outlets including Bath, Bristol and Southampton, will close immediately while the 16 more-upmarket Gaucho outlets will continue to trade as they look for a buyer.
A further 765 jobs could be at risk across Gaucho and the group’s head office if a buyer can’t be found.
Joint administrator Matt Smith said: “Unfortunately the Cau brand has struggled in the oversupplied casual dining sector with rapid over-expansion, poor site selection, onerous lease arrangements and a fundamentally poor guest proposition all being factors in its underperformance.
“The Gaucho business on the other hand, which operates in the premium dining market, continues to trade well in its market segment, is profitable and has a strong underlying brand and guest loyalty.”
Mr Smith added: “We are taking steps to stabilise the business following our appointment and are now seeking expressions of interest in terms of a sale of the Gaucho business.”
Just Eat recruiting 150 tech roles
Takeaway food delivery company Just Eat have announced they are recruiting 150 tech-focused roles within its growing technology team.
The jobs, spread across Just Eat’s tech centres in London and Bristol, will increase the size of the company’s UK tech and product teams with 80 new roles – the platform’s biggest recruitment drive in three years.
The newly-created roles will span all levels and help the company focus on “further enhancing user experience for both customers and restaurant partners, as well as offering greater performance insight to help better support its 28,900 restaurant partners in the UK.”
Fernando Fanton, chief product & technology officer, said:
“As the market leader in online food delivery, technology and data is absolutely central to the service we provide to our 22.8m customers and 87,500+ restaurant partners globally. It’s our job to understand and serve the Just Eat customer. Adding 150 people to our tech team in the UK this year will turbo-charge the great work we have already done to personalise the app experience and help us serve every customer’s takeaway moment. “We are constantly looking for ways to push technology boundaries and look forward to bringing even more highly skilled and talented individuals to our world-class team as we continue our mission to create the world’s greatest food community.”
Liberation Group sales up this summer
The West Country and Channel Island pub company Liberation Group have announced like-for-like sales are up 8% over the past 10 weeks.
Their 21 managed pubs in the West Country (which include Butcombe pubs) have seen a 12.9% uplift in like-for-like sales which they put down to the warmer weather and England’s success in the World Cup. Sales in the managed pubs in Jersey and Guernsey saw similar like-for-like rises of 7.7% and 5.3% respectively.
Mark Crowther, CEO of Liberation Group said: “We have focused heavily on ensuring our sites are offering the best and most welcoming atmosphere be it for the good weather or the football. We worked hard to make our pubs the place to be with outdoor TV screens, additional well-stocked bars and laid on BBQs to support the growing numbers and entertain those watching the beautiful game over the tournament. Our pub teams have been exceptional going the extra mile each day and we are extremely proud of the hard work and the dedication shown.”
Visit Exeter launch food and drink trail
Exeter Food and Drink Trail has been created by Visit Exeter to help place the city on the map “as a major new foodie destination.”
Local food and drink businesses including Quicke’s Farm Shop, Pebblebed Wines, Darts Farm, Hotel du Vin, Exeter Gin and the Exeter Cookery School have signed up to support the map which will celebrate local producers, restaurants and food experiences.
Catherine Hill, head of service for communications & culture at Visit Exeter, commented: “We were delighted to welcome food and drink businesses from across Exeter to our pre-launch event, giving them an opportunity to find out more about the new Exeter Food and Drink Trail. It was great to see so many producers, retailers and restaurateurs signing up as we are now set to have a wonderful variety of businesses included on the map.”
Trail ambassador Mitch Tonks, chef and founder of Rockfish, commented: “Devon is a serious food destination, there’s no doubt about that and to have a trail like this in one of the county’s biggest and most influential cities is so great. This trail will be able to showcase what we in Devon already know – Exeter’s absolute best, the hidden gems, the independent and artisan producers and growers, the fantastic group operations who provide quality and consistency and who generate great loyalty and fans in their customers.”
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Upham launch new craft beer
Hampshire brewer Upham Group have launched a new premium craft beer called UB5.
David Butcher, director at Upham Pub Company, commented: “The growth in new craft beers has been exceptional and we wanted to give our customers something brewed in Hampshire to rival the new trends in brewing. The new UB5 is brewed with 5 hops, 5 malts, is 5%, fermented for 5 weeks and served at 5 degrees. The beer divides the line between cask ale and lager and its strong combination of flavours is appealing to a new market of customers.”
Upham has 16 pubs, predominately across Hampshire. They have recently refurbished and expanded The Thomas Lord and The Mill at Gordleton.
Vegan ice cream freezes out dairy
A vegan ice cream range is now available from Thomas Ridley Foodservice. Crewe-based company Food Heaven produce their ice cream in Raspberry, Vanilla, and Blueberry flavours with a soy base to give a creamy taste.
Steve Lyon, Thomas Ridley Foodservice sales director said: “We monitor trends and sales continually and we are always on the lookout for innovative new products that are made locally by specialist producers who have a passion for their creations. The range from Food Heaven fits our brief perfectly. Vegan food is driving considerable growth for our industry at the moment and with this perfect summer weather we are seeing ice cream sales soar too so a vegan ice cream that tastes delicious is a match made in (Food) Heaven!”
You can order online at http://www.thomasridley.co.uk
Utopia launches stronger fine wine glass
Utopia are launching Stem Zero glassware by Nude which incorporates ion shielding technology for added strength.
Designed to withstand a busy commercial environment, the glasses incorporate larger ions in their surface structure which helps make them the “world’s toughest, finest lead-free crystal glass.”
The Stem Zero range consists of eleven glasses including champagne flutes, white wine and red wine glasses. Prices start at £30 for the Stem Zero Tulip Flute. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0) 1246 858800.
Wiltshire guest house on market for £1.45m
Fairlawn House, a grade II-listed guest house situated close to Stonehenge is on the market with a freehold guide price of £1,450,000 with Christie & Co.
Built in 1838, the 18-bedroom recently refurbished Georgian guest house includes three suites and three-bedroom owner’s accommodation. The current owners have been managing Fairlawn since 2010 and trading all year round with a strong level of repeat visits.
Richard Wood, senior business agent at Christie & Co who is handling the sale comments: “Fairlawn House is ideally situated two miles away from the World Heritage Site, Stonehenge, benefitting from strong tourist trade all year round. The business would suit a hands-on owner operator looking to relocate and run a profitable guest house set in a remarkable property which has been at the heart of the community throughout its various incarnations over the years.”
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