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Pubs and restaurants have a flat October
Britain’s managed pubs and restaurant groups saw sales grow just 0.2% in October, with pubs and bars performing better than the casual dining chains, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
“People are still going out to eat and drink, but there is little or no growth in the market – and stronger London trading is making up for poorer sales outside the M25,” said Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
Pub and bar groups were the top performers both nationally and in London, collectively up 0.6% on a like-for-like basis and up 3.6% in London. Sales declined by 0.4% outside the capital.
National figures saw restaurant chains fall by 0.3%, reflecting the continuing pressure on the casual dining sector.
“Restaurants saw volume sales, measured by covers, down 1.4% for the month – which is worrying, although spend has remained essentially static. But the really big problem for the sector, and restaurant brands in particular, is continuing fierce competition, added to the burden of increasing business costs that are squeezing both margins and profits,” added Tate.
Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 0.7% for the 12 months to the end of October. The figure is virtually the same as at the end of the last three months, showing that the eating and drinking out market remains at best flat.
“These figures show the challenges faced by the industry,” said Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons. “But just because some weaker brands have closed some branches outside London is not leading to a reduction in capacity – these units are re-opening with better operators and concepts paying sustainable rents.
He added: “Competition is stronger than ever. The pub market remains more resilient because it does not have the same over-capacity issue. The ongoing relative strength of London is borne out by our own views of the London restaurant property market, which remains active.”
Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, said: “Against a backdrop of reduced spending on the high street, these figures show that consumers continue to favour the eating and drinking out sector when allocating household budgets. Wet sales have fuelled the growth for pubs, while casual dining operators continue to feel the pressure. Despite concerns that younger generations are avoiding alcohol in favour of wellness, drinks sales were up 1.4% against a fall of 0.5% for food sales, driving this month’s better performance.”
Soil Association revises organic standards
The Soil Association has updated its organic standards to “ensure organic farmers and processors can provide the highest level of protection for the environment, food and livestock in the most straightforward way possible.”
The revised standards follow a public consultation which took place in 2016 and had input from the public, farmers, expert advisers and the food industry. The Association says the result is a strengthening of standards in some areas, including animal welfare. They hope that they will be easier for both licensees and the public to use and understand.
Dr Benjamin Dent, chair of the Soil Association Standards Board, said: “We believe that the Soil Association’s higher standards are the right standards for organic food and farming in the UK.
“This has been an extremely thorough, evidence-based review. Our expert committees and consultations have ensured the new standards are practical for our licensees and encourage them to innovate, and that where we are more demanding than the regulations, that this is justified in terms of enhanced impacts on animal welfare and the environment.”
Key changes for farmers include natural cover required on poultry ranges, a strengthened approach to antibiotics with a ban on the use of colistin, the removal of unnecessary barriers and bureaucracy for veterinary medicines, recorded CCTV in abattoirs, less repetition and easier to follow standards and a “freedom to innovate”.
The updated standards are available to preview online and will come into effect from Spring 2018. For more information, go to www.soilassociation.org.
Devon Tourism Awards
Devon tourism businesses were celebrated on 22nd November at the 9th annual Devon Tourism Awards, held at Highbullen Hotel, Golf and Country Club.
The awards saw entries across 26 different categories with a three-phase judging process deciding the winners.
Special awards were given to Michael Caines’ Lympstone Manor which won the Winner of Winners and Small Hotel trophies with judges describing the hotel as a “beacon” to the industry. An Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award was presented to Trevor Stanbury MBE for his 20 years as “the driving force behind tourism in North Devon.” While the Customer Service award went to Helen Follett of The Folletts at Beer.
A new award for Tourism Innovation and New Business went to Tree Top Escape at Millbrook Estate, who also took golds for Self Catering and Dog Friendly. The Responsible, Ethical and Sustainable gold went to The Old Kennels near Dunkeswell, while the Access and Inclusivity gold went to Otter Pool Barn in Ilfracombe.
Other accommodation golds were presented to Longlands Devon for Glamping, Cofton Holidays in the Holiday Park category, Langstone Manor Holiday Park for Camping and Caravanning, Bovey Castle in the Large Hotel category and Highcliffe House in Lynton for Bed and Breakfast.
The food and drink sector was also celebrated with the Restaurant and Bistro Gold going to Glazebrook House Hotel, Gold for Café and Tearoom going to Valley View Café near Kingsbridge and the Gold for Tourism Pub going to the Cricket Inn at Beesands.
Attraction golds went to Stuart Line Cruises and the Donkey Sanctuary, with Experience golds going to Liberty Trails on Dartmoor, who also took gold for International, Unique Devon Tours, Ashburton Cookery School and Chef’s Academy, and Elan Spa at Bovey Castle.
Glas-Denbury Festival was delighted to take gold for Tourism Event and Festival, Dartmoor National Park Visitor Centres took gold for Visitor Information and Salcombe Harbour Hotel the gold for Business Tourism and Venue.
Organiser Robin Barker commented: “Witnessing the delight, smiles and whoops of joy from all winners it is clear how much these awards mean to everyone who takes part. Coupled with the feedback we sent to every entrant, giving them tips on how to improve still further, the awards clearly make a big difference to Devon’s tourism.”
Cornish brewery crowdfund to quadruple capacity
Verdant Brewing Co in Falmouth are launching a £500,000 Crowdcube campaign to quadruple their capacity and open a taproom in Falmouth.
Expansion plans would see them move from a warehouse in Falmouth where they currently produce around 3,000hl a year, some three miles down the road to a 17,500 sq ft site, with the capacity to brew up to 15,000hl.
Director Adam Robertson said: “We need to expand but we also need to do it right. Crowdfunding gives us the independence to make the right choices for our business and our customers, as well as letting us give something back to all the people who have supported us from day one. We’ve valued the company fairly and have some really exciting rewards, so we hope people get involved.”
Verdant are looking to raise £500,000 in the next 30 days (from the 20th November) and will be touring the country in support of the campaign, including tap takeovers in Bristol, Leeds and Birmingham.
Pukka make Black Friday green
Bristol-based Pukka Herbs have promised to donate all the revenue from online sales from Black Friday to Cyber Monday to a global tree-planting charity.
Pukka will give 100% of all sales made on their online shop from 23rd November to 26th November to Treesisters, a charity that currently plants over two million trees annually across varied tropical ecosystems.
CEO Karel Vandamme said: “Our health and that of the planet are intimately linked. In the cases of man-made deforestation, we are destroying the very ecosystems that nature has designed for cleaning up excess carbon dioxide that is warming our world. As highlighted in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, “unprecedented changes” are required to reduce our carbon impact.”
Pukka works with 5,000 organic growers and sells its 100% certified organic herbal teas, supplements and lattes in over 40 countries. Acquired by Unilever in 2017, they have a turnover of almost £36m and were one of the first companies to develop plastic-free teabags.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Bristol Syrup Company clinch festive spirit deal
The Bristol Syrup Company have secured winter cocktail menu listings in Las Iguanas and Cosy Club. Their Raspberry Shrub and Cherry & Vanilla syrup feature in five cocktails, now available nationwide.
Launched in September 2017, the company is a collaboration between Beyond the Bean and Bristol bartenders, Dee Davies and Danny Walker.
Managing director of Cosy Club Amber Wood said: “We really like what the team at Bristol Syrup Company are doing. The syrups add loads of authentic flavour to our cocktail menu which we were excited to list on our new Autumn Winter menu. Their Raspberry Shrub has had great customer feedback in our ‘Blow a Raspberry at Collin’ cocktail which is in our top 5 best sellers.”
Luke Neale, Head of Bar Operations & Drinks Development at Las Iguanas comments: “It’s great to reduce food miles where possible so it makes sense for us to use another Bristol business. The Raspberry Shrub is hitting a key cocktail trend and we’re able to use it in two of our seasonal cocktails. Just having a shrub in the range shows how Dee and Danny at Bristol Syrup Company really know what they are doing when it comes to cocktail creation. It’s exciting to see what they will do next.”
Cornish hotel commissions gin
Talland Bay No.1 is a single estate gin that’s the result of a collaboration between the Colwith Farm Distillery and Talland Bay Hotel, both based in Cornwall.
The gin uses Colwith Farm Distillery’s potato wine as its base spirit which is produced using potatoes grown on the farm. Botanicals, including some foraged from the Talland Bay Hotel’s gardens, are added as the gin is blended in a traditional copper still.
General Manager, Jack Ashby-Wright said: “The first time we met Steve from Colwith and heard about his plans to open a distillery on the family-farm the team wanted to get involved with producing a hotel blend.
“We wanted to create something that captured the unique setting of Talland Bay Hotel, packing the Mediterranean-style ambience into a bottle. The end product is very clean with notes of pine, citrus and peppermint, layered with elderflower and finished with soft and aromatic undertones of rose petals. It’s been a real team effort, the marriage of two Cornish families.”
Talland Bay No. 1 is now available at the hotel bar and guests can buy a bottle to take home. For more information, visit www.tallandbayhotel.co.uk
Utopia toughens up its beer glassware
Glassware company Utopia are launching a new tempered version of their Revival craft beer glass.
The new glass has a large bowl and narrow top and has been designed to enhance head retention and trap the beer’s aromatics.
Made from a toughened glass five times stronger than standard, if broken it shatters into small pieces rather than sharp shards to reduce the risk of injury.
Alongside the new Revival design, Utopia has a wide selection of styles available in toughened glass. Prices for the Toughened Revival 20oz glass start at £28.32 for a box of 24.
For more information and details of local stockists visit www.utopia-tableware.com, email email@example.com or call +44 (0) 1246 858800.