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Restaurant numbers fall 2%
The number of restaurants in Britain slipped by 2.0% over the year to September 2018, equivalent to more than ten closures a week according to the new edition of the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.
The research shows that Britain had a total of 26,892 restaurants at the start of September. The net fall of 539 restaurants year-on-year marks an acceleration of closures since the start of 2018 when the restaurant sector was still in growth. The figures uncover a clear divide between independently-owned restaurants – which fell in number by 2.6% in the year to September – and managed restaurants which recorded a modest increase of 1.0%. Family-owned Chinese, Indian and Italian restaurants have borne the brunt of closures, while some multi-site groups— especially small and medium-sized ones — continue to grow despite challenging market conditions.
After several years of growth for these groups (which have fuelled a 7.7% increase in Britain’s restaurant numbers since September 2013), according to the Monitor “after several years of spectacular growth, supply is clearly now settling back to levels that more accurately reflect demand, at the end of a year characterised by rising food, property and people costs, fierce competition and signs of saturation in some areas.”
Pubs and bars have closed at a faster pace than restaurants, with numbers falling 11.3% compared to a 3.2% drop for restaurants. Although the CGA research shows that venues with a strong drinks offer have performed better than for some time, thanks in part to a summer boosted by the football World Cup and warm weather.
CGA vice president Peter Martin said: “The eating out sector has been of the UK economy’s biggest success stories of the last decade, with casual dining brands growing at a phenomenal rate. But as our latest Market Growth Monitor shows, there are clearly limits to the country’s capacity. We have seen a steady flow of pub and bar closures for many years now, but the restaurant sector is now going through its own clear out.”
He added: “The bulk of closures are from independents, while managed groups remain in growth—and this trend is welcome news for some of them since it eases over-capacity and frees up more property. But these figures are a reminder that all restaurant brands need a well defined and brilliantly executed offer if they are to succeed in a survival of the fittest in 2019.”
Cornwall Council introduce Safe, Clean and Legal scheme
Cornwall Council have a formed a Primary Authority partnership with Quality in Tourism to protect consumer safety.
The Safe, Clean and Legal scheme will help holiday accommodation providers to demonstrate they reach safe operating standards and is being rolled out across the country.
The new framework follows concerns from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) earlier this year that “short-term letting accommodation can be listed on sharing platforms or with Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) even though hosts haven’t carried out any safety assessments on the property or, in some cases, have not even installed smoke alarms, CO2 monitors or basic safety equipment.”
Malcolm Bell, head of Visit Cornwall said: “This is an issue that has worried us for a long time, it’s simply an accident waiting to happen. Since the EU competition law eradicated the ability for properties to be assessed before being marketed, I have called for a directive to protect the consumer; so that we can be assured that properties have been checked and that they have complied with all necessary regulations.
Safe, Clean and Legal gives us the tools we need to protect our consumers and by the end of 2019 I intend for it to be mandatory for the safety of all properties to have been assessed before they are registered and promoted on the Visit Cornwall channels.”
Deborah Heather, director at Quality in Tourism said: “We have provided a solution to a problem that is being faced by councils across the UK. A council’s reputation is being risked every day by listing properties that may not be complying with even the most basic safety requirements and therefore risking consumer welfare.”
Travelodge to double up in Cornwall
Budget hotel chain Travelodge are looking to double the size of their portfolio in Cornwall. Some eight sites are being sought across the county which would represent an investment of £50 million for investors and the creation of 160 jobs.
Following the company opening a 63-room property in Camborne, Redruth, potential locations include Bude, Falmouth, Isles of Scilly, Looe/Fowey, Newquay, Penzance, St Ives and Truro.
Travelodge south west regional director Gary Steele said: “Our new 571st Travelodge hotel is a great addition and is ideally located to help attract new visitors to the area. This is great news for the local economy as previous research suggests that on average, Travelodge customers will spend double their room price with local businesses during their stay.
“The Cornwall economy is growing at pace, and as the UK’s top staycation destination, visitor numbers are increasing year-on-year, however, there is still a shortage of good quality accommodation at a great value price.
“Therefore, to meet this growing consumer demand, we are actively looking for hotel sites. This proposed expansion programme could boost Travelodge’s portfolio to 15 hotels in Cornwall and create around 160 new jobs.”
Southern Africa comes to Dorset
A new Dorset restaurant serving food from southern Africa has been opened in Dorset by Andy Lennox, the founder of the Koh brand.
Zim Braai at Ashley Cross, Parkstone aims to introduce the public to foods from Seychelles, Malawi, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Cape Town.
Andy Lennox said: “On my travels, I had one of those lightbulb moments and realised the UK restaurant sector was missing a great new opportunity, yet diners are eager and highly receptive when it comes to international cuisine. I’ve explored Southern African food and I decided I wanted to deliver it as a new proposition.
“It’s an exciting cuisine – featuring fish, meat, vegetables and lots of flavours – there is something for everyone and it offers a tantalising new foodie frontier for the tastebuds! It’s not just South Africa, but Southern Africa, and that encompasses a lot of styles, recipes and ingredients.
“When we travel we try new things. Specialisms differ widely in one country, let alone the southern half of a massive continent. There’s a first time for discovering new food, often it is memorable and goes on to become a firm favourite.”
Open all day, Zim Braai offers a tasting menu at £29.50, small bites, From the Braai (grills and more), For the Potjie (stews and curries), salads, rice and soups – as well as The Bobotie, the iconic national dish of South Africa, which is a mixture of curried meat and fruit with a creamy topping.
Tourism Excellence Awards finalists named
The finalists for this year’s South West Tourism Awards have been announced. A record 651 tourism business from across the region entered. Up to six finalists have been named in each category and will be presented with Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies at a presentation dinner at Aerospace Bristol on 7th February 2019.
Richard Stanbrook, director of headline sponsors South West Water Business, said: “We are a long-time judge and sponsor of the South West Tourism Awards and believe that the sector is a vital part of the region’s economy. The South West’s tourism sector contains a huge amount of talented and innovative businesses who go the extra mile to make sure that visitors to this region have a special holiday and want to return year after year. The businesses on the shortlist are leaders in their field and deserved finalists at what will be a great awards night.”
Robin Barker, Director of Services for Tourism Ltd, who manage the Awards, commented: “There is little more satisfying in life than knowing you are making a difference to people’s business success, lives and happiness. The feedback we receive from Awards entrants tells us we are helping in all of these ways and we look forward to sharing in winner celebrations on awards night.
The full list of Finalists and Highly Commended entrants can be found at www.southwesttourismawards.org.uk
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
Sharp’s celebrate winter with beer collaboration
Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery have launched Winter Solstice, a limited edition beer created with The Mariner’s head chef Zack Hawke as part of a joint venture with Michelin-starred chef, Nathan Outlaw.
Available to the on-trade in December, Winter Solstice is “the ideal beer to complement warm and hearty dishes during the festive season. At 4.8%, it is a full-bodied, ruby beer combining subtle caramel, roasted notes with zesty orange and honey sweetness and finished with a kick of hops for balance.”
James Nicholls, senior brand manager at Sharp’s Brewery said: “There is nothing better than enjoying a few beers over the Christmas season responsibly with some delicious festive food. ‘Winter Solstice’ packs the perfect combination of flavours to delight and surprise beer fans this Christmas and pairs well with a whole host of comfort dishes such as warm winter pies or hearty meat stews…”
FEM help eliminate ‘dirty ice’
Distributors FEM have launched a device to keep ice scoops hygienic by alerting staff if they are not returned to their protective guard.
The ‘SAM’ Ice Scoop & Alarm System is part of manufacturers San Jamar’s Saf-T-Ice range. The Saf-T-Ice scoop has dual germ guards which keep knuckles and thumbs away from the ice, while its narrow chute prevents spills. The scoop has a dedicated storage sheath, called the Guardian, which clips to the side of the ice machine or ice bin and keeps everything hygienically clean. The SAM clips to the Guardian and, if the scoop is not returned to the sheath in good time, it sounds an alarm to warn staff.
Mark Hogan, commercial director of FEM said: “In a busy kitchen or bar, ice scoops can easily be put down and left exposed to potential contamination. The Saf-T-Ice range is designed to give the best possible ice hygiene. SAM sets a new benchmark and, importantly, is very affordable – so any operator concerned about ice hygiene can quickly and cost effectively up their game.”
The Scoop Alarm Monitoring System, including SAM, the Saf-T-Ice Scoop and Guardian, has a list price of £119.
For more information call FEM on +44 (0) 1355 244111, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.fem.co.uk
Danesfield GM to head up Cotswold destination
The general manager of Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire, Anthony Cox, is moving to Thyme in the Cotswolds.
He will start as general manager at the countryside destination in January. Thyme is a collection of 17th-century cottages, houses and farm buildings on the Southrop Manor Estate, located on the Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire border. It includes the Ox Barn restaurant, 31 bedrooms, The Swan Pub and Meadow Spa.
Anthony Cox has previously worked at Bailbrook House in Bath, The Vineyard Hotel in Berkshire and Danesfield House and was also responsible for Spa Illuminata in London’s Mayfair.
Self Motivated and Talented Chef Required to Run Their Own Restaurant
Fairwater Head Hotel is looking for a talented Chef to take over their hotel restaurant and develop the already strong award-winning dining business in a stunning countryside location with panoramic views.
Have you always wanted to own your own restaurant, write your own menus and be the master of your own destiny, well now might be your chance?
It is important that you share our vision to use fresh locally sourced produce and offer quality cuisine in a relaxed and friendly dining atmosphere.
We have successfully sublet our 40 cover plus hotel restaurant to two individuals over the past five years and the opportunity has now arisen again.
We offer a strong base for a new, enthusiastic and talented chef to run their own kitchen and take all the proceeds from the food sales, we also bring a guaranteed 1000 covers to the restaurant each year.
We are happy to work with you, offer business, bookkeeping and telephone booking support, joint marketing promotions and assistance in staff recruitment.
In return, we will charge you a percentage rent based on turnover.
If you are interested please contact Adam Southwell to discuss the opportunity further.
Fairwater Head Hotel