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Festive trading cheers eating and drinking-out market
Although shopping on the High Street struggled, the British public continued to go out to eat and drink over the festive period.
Pub, bar and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales grow by 2.5% over the six weeks of the festive season, compared to the same period in 2018, with food and drink spend both increasing, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Drink-led businesses did best but trading was positive across all parts of the market. Restaurant chains saw a 2.3% uplift in like-for-likes, with managed pub and bar groups up 2.7% on 2018. Drink-led pubs outdid their food-led counterparts, but food sales also did well. Across the managed pub sector, drink sales were up 2.4%, with food up 2.2%.
“It has been a challenging year for the eating and drinking out market, so these figures will be a welcome boost for operators. Christmas and New Year is a vital time for the industry, so to see positive growth is good news,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM.
“These results underline the fact that the public still wants to go out to enjoy themselves over the holiday period, but it also emphasises how important this time of year is to the health of the market, and that operators have to keep creating good reasons for people to go out,” Chessell added.
Paul Newman, head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM said, “Operators will be celebrating a festive gift that ends a challenging year on a welcome high. Like-for-likes improved for both restaurants and wet-led businesses despite strong performance in the same period last year on top of the heavy rain and the political uncertainty affecting much of December. With consumer confidence finally improving, brands will look to carry this sales momentum into the New Year by capitalising on the trends for Veganuary and alcohol alternative drinks without resorting to heavy discounting.”
“There is a post-election sense of optimism, and food and drink consumers have driven the first wave of this during the pre-Christmas period,” said Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure. “This year, we are starting to see cautious confidence in the market although expect that any uplift in trade and consumer confidence will be steady rather than spectacular. We expect market activity in 2020 to be an increase on 2019 levels.”
Total sales over the six-week festive period, which include the effect of new openings since this time last year, were ahead 5.4% compared to the same period in 2018.
Michael Caines buys Cornish restaurant
Celebrity chef Michael Caines has announced the acquisition of The Cove at Maenporth, near Falmouth, Cornwall.
The beachfront restaurant will reopen in March, following a light refurbishment. It has been owned and operated by Arty Williams and Annette Rickard for the past 17 years.
Arty and Annette said: “Many great friends have been made through The Cove and many happy occasions celebrated. We would like to express our sincerest thanks to all of our customers & friends throughout the years, for their support and for creating a catalogue of amazing memories that we will take forward with us.”
The Cover will offer a “offer a relaxed and informal approach to dining” serving morning coffee, lunch, afternoon snacks and dinner with menus aimed at families, locals and tourists, that celebrate the best of local Cornish produce.
Michael Caines said: “I am delighted to be able to take on the restaurant and work with the dedicated team to continue to champion the best of Cornish produce in this informal and beautiful setting. We wish Arty and Annette all the best for the future and thank them for entrusting this fantastic property to us.“
Caines’ collection now comprises of Lympstone Manor Hotel in Devon, The Cove Maenporth, a consultancy at Kentisbury Grange Hotel – the Coach House by Michael Caines and his newest venture in Exmouth which is set to launch this summer.
Quicke’s launch new cheese counter
Devon-based cheesemaker Quicke’s are opening a new cheese counter and tasting room at their Home Farm on 25th January.
The Quicke’s Cheese Box will replace the Quicke’s Farm Shop. Described as a “curd nerd’s dream,” it will focus on cheese from across the South West along with a carefully-curated selection of accompaniments.
Owner Mary Quicke explains: “Cheese is what we do best here at Quicke’s, so it felt right for us to renew our focus on this and provide a destination retail outlet for cheese lovers. From our involvement with the Academy of Cheese to our work with international organisations such as the American Cheese Society and the World Cheese Awards, we’re driven by a desire to educate consumers on the many benefits of buying artisan cheese – with nutrition, sustainability, complexity and diversity all on the agenda – and the Quicke’s Cheese Box will be the perfect setting for this, both at Home Farm and online. We’re lucky to be surrounded by world-class cheesemakers in the South West, so it’s an honour to be showcasing so many of them alongside our clothbound cheddar, telling the stories of people and place that are so unique to each cheese.”
Restaurant opens second site at Cornish vineyard
The Ethicurean restaurant is opening its second site at Trevibban Mill Vineyard, near Padstow in north Cornwall, in mid-March.
The 80-cover restaurant will champion vegetable-led cooking and support Cornish fishing and local pasture-rearing farms for its daytime and evening menus. Courses will be paired with Trevibban Mill wines. The venue will also host weddings and events for up to 120 people.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Ethicurean was founded by brothers Matthew and Iain Pennington and is based in Wrington, near Bristol. It has a reputation for “innovative, ethically conscious, modern cuisine, guided by the seasons and an overriding sense of place.”
Liz Mumcuoglu, the owner of Trevibban Mill, said: “Back in August we compiled a wish list of our favourite chefs and restaurants which we felt would enhance our offering here at the vineyard. The Ethicurean was top of that list, and by pure coincidence, Iain Pennington phoned me to say he’d just tried our 2014 Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine and was interested in stocking it. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Co-owner of The Ethicurean, Matthew Pennington, said: “We’d been looking for a second site for two to three years, but hadn’t found the right location. When we heard from Liz and Engin it was clear that Trevibban Mill was the perfect match for us. They’re like-minded and inventive, which creates a natural synergy, with similarities to our current location.”
Marshfield Farm partners with LW Theatres
LW Theatres has announced a three-year partnership deal with the South West’s Marshfield Farm.
It will see Marshfield Farm Ice Cream become the official ice cream supplier across LW Theatres’ venues: The London Palladium, Theatre Royal Drury Lane, Cambridge Theatre, Adelphi Theatre, Gillian Lynne Theatre, The Other Palace and Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Jules Arnott, chief commercial officer at LW Theatres, said: “Ice cream at the theatre is a British institution so getting the right partner in place was important. The partnership with Marshfield Farm was an obvious and natural fit – they have a wonderful business ethos and, as another British family-run business, share similar values. Customer experience comes first at LW Theatres and I’m delighted to be able to offer our patrons a great quality, delicious-tasting product to enjoy when watching a performance with us.”
Dawn Hawking, owner at Marshfield Farm, said: “We are incredibly proud to be partnering with LW Theatres as their dedicated ice cream supplier. We want theatre patrons to have the best possible experience when visiting each venue and serving our multi-award-winning ice cream made with luxurious clotted or double cream is already proving very popular. From the 4am early start in our milking parlour, to creating sensational new recipes in our ice creamery, we are devoted to making sure each and every scoop is as good as the very best real dairy ice cream should be. We are looking forward to working closely with all seven theatres across the three-year contract as we develop our ice cream offering.”
New restaurant for Boringdon Hall Hotel
Head chef Scott Paton is launching a new restaurant, Àclèaf, on 22nd January at the 5-star Boringdon Hall Hotel in Devon.
The restaurant will source and showcase the “finest British produce” through a four and six-course tasting menu, complemented by an English-led wine list.
Scott Paton said: “I’m thrilled to be launching Àclèaf later this month, guests can expect a culinary journey led by the bounties of produce available to us in Devon. Àclèaf hopes to present a uniquely immersive dining experience in the South West, a place where guests can feel at ease in the restaurant team’s hands and hotel’s historic surroundings.”
Àclèaf will be open Wednesday to Sunday for dinner, offering a four-course Signature Menu (£80) and six-course Tasting Menu (£95).
Seed Fund 2020 open for entries
Food and drink start-up competition The Seed Fund will open for entries on 1st February with 12 places available on its summer Academy mentoring programme.
For the first time, the judging process will take account of socially responsible initiatives so the project’s organisers are keen to hear from “value-driven” businesses across the UK.
Jayne Noblet of The Collaborators, founder of The Seed Fund, explains: “If you’re bringing a new business into the universe right now, there’s a strong argument to say that it should have sustainability at its core from the outset. Be that sourcing ingredients, replenishing the soil, finding the right packaging or providing jobs for those that might need support to get into work. With a growing consumer demand for food and drink businesses to be ethical and sustainable, we feel that socially responsible brands should be given extra credit by our judges and are potentially the most deserving of The Seed Fund’s support. Given the challenges facing society and the environment today, it seems natural for new businesses to push in this direction – otherwise, they will find themselves swimming uphill! We’ve seen some incredible start-ups coming through the Academy, with so much appetite for giving back, so we’re really excited to see who applies this year.”
The Seed Fund will be open for entry from Saturday 1st February until Wednesday 1st April. To apply, visit www.theseedfund.co.uk.
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
Thatchers introduces alcohol-free cider
Thatchers Cider has launched Zero, its first alcohol-free cider. Made using a unique process developed by the cider makers, it features a selection of bittersweet apple varieties for “a drink that looks like cider and tastes like cider” but with no more than 0.05% ABV.
Martin Thatcher, managing director and fourth generation cidermaker said: “We’ve taken a lot of time and care in the production of Zero… Created to be full of taste from the start, this is a no-alcohol cider that meets the growing consumer expectation for moderation, but just as importantly offers great character and is something special and enjoyable to drink. It offers the premium experience people are looking for when choosing an alcohol-free alternative.”
Yvonne Flannery, head of brands at Thatchers added, “Gone are the days when drinkers will compromise on quality. So as the apple cider brand of choice for consumers, we’ve created a premium cider that fits really well into our portfolio.
“As an increasing number of people are looking to moderate their alcohol intake as part of a mindful lifestyle, consumers can now opt for Thatchers Zero and not feel they’re missing out on a really enjoyable pint.”
New Forest extends vegan range
New Forest Ice Cream are adding to their vegan range with a new dairy-free chocolate ice cream. It joins vegan versions of Salted Caramel and Vanilla Pod in the producer’s collection of over 50 flavours.
The Chocolate ice cream includes real cocoa in its ingredients and, according to New Forest, “has a rich depth of flavour and a velvety smooth texture. Whether served alongside a dessert or as a lighter treat in its own right, the Chocolate ice cream delivers all the indulgence of the real deal, in a vegan format.”
Christina Veal, director, New Forest Ice Cream said: “The increased demand for vegan options has opened up a whole new world of delicious, vegan-friendly dishes appearing on menus at restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains alike, which means that sourcing quality vegan ingredients can really benefit menu planning.
Our dairy-free Vanilla Pod and Salted Caramel flavours have been a big hit with our customers, so it seemed only right to extend the range with the new Chocolate flavour to give even greater flexibility when it comes to offering delicious vegan desserts on menus.”
To find out more visit www.newforesticecream.com or call 01590 647611.
Lyme Bay feel the need for mead
Lyme Bay Winery has launched two new meads, Jack Ratt Cyser and Jack Ratt Sparkling Mead, both in 33cl cans.
The Devon-based drinks business produces over half of all the mead currently made in the UK, including private label productions for English Heritage and others.
The Cyser is a mix of sparkling mead and traditional scrumpy cider, offering a combination of apples and honey that is “crisp, clean and refreshing”. The Sparkling Mead has “light notes of honey combining with a delicate fizz for a mouth-watering finish”.
Sara Walters, Lyme Bay Winery’s national account manager, said: “People are increasingly looking for products that are authentic, of quality and with provenance. Plus they like to discover new drinks with a clear focus on flavour. Both the Cyser and the Sparkling Mead deliver this, and the new serve, in a can, offers convenience, preserves quality and gives a clear point of difference.”
Mead is a category on the rise, according to the producer, who saw an 11% increase in volume sales of mead in the last three years.
“These new products appeal to younger consumers that are focused on discovery, interesting new flavours and, often, lower alcohol levels. These meads are just 4% abv and offer a quality, refreshing and flavoursome drink.” Sara Walters added.
“It is testament to the appeal of mead that as the oldest known alcoholic drink that it is still very relevant in the 21st century. In this format, the Cyser and Sparkling Mead provide another occasion for consumers to enjoy a flavoursome drink which in turns creates incremental opportunities for pubs, bars and restaurants.”
Homewood appoints new GM
Homewood Hotel near Bath has announced Ed Fitzpatrick as its new general manager among a host of new appointments. He joins them from the Lygon Hotel in the Cotswolds.
The 21-room Homewood, recently relaunched with renovated bedrooms and a new spa as part of owners Ian and Christa Taylor’s Kaleidoscope hotel portfolio, also announced they will join the Mr & Mrs Smith Collection.
Other appointments include Jamie Foreman, executive head chef; Rui de Carvalho, deputy general manager; Lewis Collins, events manager; Ania Malecka, guest relations manager; Claudio Gheorghita, food and beverage manager; and Barbara Anabella-Soria, head housekeeper.
Ian Taylor said: “We’re delighted to have someone of Ed’s calibre joining us here at Homewood this month. He’s got a fantastic background in five-star operations and we’re looking forward to him propelling Homewood to the next level.”
The hotel plans to add 11 more bedrooms in the first half of the year along with four glamping yurts and an outdoor terrace.
THE SOURCE TRADE SHOW 2020
The 2020 Source trade show opens next month! It’s the South West’s biggest and best trade show for the food & drink sector, and takes place on Wednesday 5th and Thursday 6th February at Westpoint, Exeter.
The Source has long been the South West’s go-to show for all things comestible and potable, and it’s easily the biggest and best of its kind – providing the perfect blend of the freshest foods, the most passionate producers, the hottest hospitality specialists and the most exciting equipment companies.
This year, over 200 exhibitors will be showcasing their offers – and no other event serves up such a rewarding and valuable mix of comparative tastings, innovative ideas, networking opportunities and inspirational experiences. You’ll meet key South West, UK and international food and drink producers, as well as service providers, alongside a superb selection of Taste of the West members.
Novel recipes for success will be served up regularly in the “Innovation Kitchen” where oodles of inspiration, advice and culinary innovation will be on display courtesy of inspiring chefs showing off their skills. For 2020, the kitchen is brought to the show by the award-winning Sapphire Spaces, and the demonstrations are compered by Jim Fisher of Exeter Cookery School.
If you have a serious interest in speciality foods, quality drinks, profitable catering and inspired hospitality, then put the Source trade show in your diary now. To register for the show, simply go to thesourcetradeshow.co.uk/visitor-registration/. You can also follow news on the show on Twitter at @SourceFoodDrink.
Industry EVENTS 2020
Vineyards of Hampshire – Annual Trade & Press Tasting
4th February 2020, 9:00-15:30
67 Pall Mall, London. SW1Y 5ES
Vineyards of Hampshire’s annual trade and press tasting, to include the latest vintages and new releases from the member vineyards, including the launch of newest member, The Grange.
To attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
PUB20 – The Pub Show
4th – 5th February 2020
“Dedicated to the UK Pub industry, discover new products from over 200 suppliers, learn from the best in the biz at 30+ insightful talks and keep up-to-date with all the latest food, drink and entertainment trends.”
The Source Trade Show
5th – 6th February 2020
“The South West’s biggest and best trade show for the food & drink sector. The Source trade show provides the perfect mix of passionate producers, alongside the hottest hospitality and catering companies, and the freshest food service.”
West Country Tourism Conference
5th – 6th February 2020
“The West Country Tourism Conference runs alongside the Source Trade Show with two ‘extended mornings’ of topical presentations. Wednesday 5th will focus on Tourism Ideas and Excellence, whilst Thursday 6th will have a Marketing, Digital and PR theme.”
For the full conference programme & to book, please visit-
The South West Tourism Excellence Awards Ceremony 2019/2020
6th February 2020
Exeter Cathedral, Devon
The prestigious South West Tourism Awards, following the linked regional award schemes. A selection of finalists will be nominated to represent the South West in the national VisitEngland awards.
Bristol Hoteliers Association – Night of the Stars Awards Ceremony
6th February 2020
Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre
“Showcasing the very best of the city’s hospitality talent at a glittering awards ceremony, supporting Children’s Hospice South West.”