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ISSUE 21 • WINTER 2017


T H E N AT I O N ’ S ORIGINAL & FAV O U R I T E M I X E R BRAND *

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THE U LT I M A T E MIXER


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uarterly The essential information resource for pub, restaurant & foodservice operators

Market growth

How Sourced Market grew out of St Pancras International to expand on to the high street

Inside: Healthy options Alehouse rocks Lunch, lunch, glorious lunch David Campbell talks to Chris Muller Headwinds? Be smarter and tougher! Keep your company fighting fit Time to overhaul unfair tax system The millennial problem

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Propel

ISSUE 21 • WINTER 2017


Feature

Contents 25

18

10

Alehouse rocks

18

Healthy options

25

Express success

30

Good versus evil

35

High-flier

41

Roll with it

43

Lunch, lunch, glorious lunch

47

Great opportunity lies in the ‘dustbin of demography’

John Porter asks family brewers and operators how they see the craft beer category developing

Consumer attitudes to healthy eating are driving major menu development changes, says John Porter

Sourced Market founder Ben O’Brien tells Glynn Davis how the company has grown to four sites since its debut at St Pancras International

Paul Chase asks is alcohol a good thing or a necessary evil?

Former Wagamama chief executive David Campbell talks to Chris Muller about how he turned the company around and his high-profile career

Glynn Davis regrets the restaurant trend of jettisoning bread at the start of a meal

Britain’s older consumers could support growth in eat-out lunch in future years, says Cyril Lavenant

The industry is guilty of lumping 65 to 74-year-olds into the lazy equivalent of ‘all others’, says David Martin

30

10

6

52

Time to overhaul unfair tax system

55

Keep your company fighting fit

61

Headwinds? Be smarter and tougher!

64

Night bites

68

Dusk ’til Dawn

71

The millennial problem

72

Access all areas

77

Wise words

by Kate Nicholls

by Ian Dunstall

by Chris Edger

Bar and Nightclub Conference highlights

in pictures

by James Hacon

by Chris Marjara

by Ann Elliott

Director Jo Charity T: 01444 810304 E: jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Published by Propel Hospitality Unit 26, Graylands Estate Langhurstwood Road Horsham, West Sussex RH12 4QD

Commercial Director Sharon Dickinson T: 01444 810305 E: sharon.dickinson@propelinfo.com

Contributors Paul Chase, Glynn Davis, Ian Dunstall, Chris Edger, Ann Elliott, James Hacon, Cyril Lavenant, Chris Marjara, David Martin, Chris Muller, Kate Nicholls, John Porter

Managing Director Paul Charity T: 07899 984814 E: paul.charity@propelinfo.com

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Feature

The Merchant, Fuller‘s

U

Alehouse rocks

ntil recently, conventional industry wisdom held that the traditional British alehouse was, if not quite dead, then certainly giving its medical advisers serious cause for concern. Beer sales had been in decline for a generation and volumes had shifted in focus from the on-trade to the off-trade. The heirs to the great British brewing empires, such as Whitbread and Mitchells & Butlers, spent a decade or so exiting “boozers” and refocusing their estates around food-led formats which, while still pubs in name, were operationally very much restaurants. Britain’s remaining family brewers followed suit as much as they could, creating food-led pub formats and, for the most part, focusing their brewing arms on a relatively small number of cask ale brands. However, times change and two recent openings from the family brewer sector epitomise a renaissance of the beer-led format. Shepherd Neame has opened Pier Five, a bar and kitchen format in the Chatham Maritime leisure development in Kent, with a focus on the beer range. Alongside beers from the Kent brewer’s Whitstable Bay range – but with neither the bar nor the beers bearing the Shepherd Neame name itself – Pier Five prominently features draught keg brands such as Camden Town, Birra Moretti, Mahou and Hop House, all owned

10

John Porter asks some leading family brewers and operators how they see the craft beer category developing as the onceunfashionable alehouse is reinvented with a new format for a new generation

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com

by multinational brewers but positioned as craft beers at the point of customer delivery. Meanwhile, Fuller’s has revamped its pub at London’s Canary Wharf under a new name, The Merchant. Building on a craft beer format established at its pub near Monument – The Hydrant – The Merchant prominently features a wide range of beers from London-based breweries, including some exclusive brews, alongside Fuller’s own cask and keg range. While the Shepherd Neame and Fuller’s pubs both feature a food offer – sharing plates at The Merchant and a burger/grill menu at Pier Five – the menus are clearly drinkerfriendly, with the beer as the hero. Both sites are competing against out-and-out casual dining brands and clearly see the beer-forward format as giving them a competitive edge. In this context, it’s no coincidence Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack recently tipped pubs as a better investment prospect than restaurants, while also singling out Fuller’s and Shepherd Neame as having “the greatest scope to exceed expansion expectations”. For the established regional brewers, this changing dynamic seems to represent a double-edged sword. With established pub estates and property arms, they are in a strong position to re-engineer the offer around beer at the right sites. Conversely, however, they are up against the plethora of new craft brewers and a drinker demographic that seems to prioritise ▲


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Feature novelty and diversity over brand loyalty. Graeme Endacott, head of retail operations at Shepherd Neame, says: “Pier Five wasn’t actively branded as a Shepherd Neame establishment as it’s a brand in its own right and we want it to stand on its own two feet. As a bar and kitchen it’s a bit of a departure for us, and we wanted to see how it performed. The response has been excellent.” The new site also trades near the company’s more traditional pub, the Ship & Trades, which prominently features its cask ale range. “We didn’t want to be in the Ship & Trades’ shadow, as it were,” says Endacott. Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine acknowledges the irony of a return to the once-unfashionable alehouse with a new format for a new generation, with the roll-out of the multi-brewer format pioneered at The Hydrant. He says: “We’re anticipating further growth of this trend in the market and at certain sites we’re responding with this broader beer range.” Swaine emphasises the format will never be “relevant to every one” of Fuller’s pubs but he says the craft keg beer category, as opposed to traditional cask ale, is growing by about 50% a year in the company’s pubs. He adds: “We think it’s going to be potentially up to 20% of our beer sales in London by 2020. It’s currently half that but it’s growing exponentially.” Swaine says the core shift in consumers’ approach to beer has been the “sense of discovery, particularly among younger consumers” when it comes to the range of products they drink. He adds: “We’ve seen it with gin over the past four or five years and now, in the past two or three years, the same customers are seeking out new and interesting flavours in beer as well.” He makes the point that whereas a marketing budget was once a luxury only the biggest beer brands could afford, social and digital media had “given oxygen to craft brands” enabling customers to seek out “something new and interesting”. Fuller’s is, of course, not simply ceding a section of its craft market to other brewers but is actively developing its beer range to meet this changing demand. Swaine cites the development of Frontier Craft Lager, launched in 2013, and this year’s launch of London Pride Unfiltered as a keg beer as examples of the pub and brewing arms of the business working closely together.

The Merchant, Fuller‘s

“We think (the craft keg beer category) is going to be potentially up to 20% of our beer sales in London by 2020. It’s currently half that but it’s growing exponentially” – Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine

The Merchant, Fuller‘s

12

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com

Swaine’s counterpart Simon Dodd, managing director of Fuller’s Beer Company, says: “Ten years ago we were one of two brewers left in London. Young’s had moved production of Charles Wells to Bedford (leaving) just us and Meantime. Operators would phone us up asking for London Pride and we could pretty much choose where to put the brand and where not to. “Wind the clock forward and there are now more than 100 breweries in London alone. The CGA stat is that in the past three years, 2,800 new beer products have been brought to market, versus just 300 ten years ago. That tells you choice is everywhere and we can either put our head in the sand and say London Pride and traditional cask will be here forever or we can evolve our range to meet changing consumer demand and choice.” Behind London Pride, Frontier Lager and the Cornish Orchards Cider range as its three drive brands in terms of marketing spend, Fuller’s Beer Company is greatly expanding its beer offer. Alongside its established programme of seasonal cask sales, Fuller’s will launch a programme of keg ales in 2018 produced at the new pilot brewing plant at the company’s Chiswick site, doubling the “seasonal” range from about 20 beers a year to 40. Dodd says: “Next year, we’ll brew about 15 new keg products on a ‘when they’re gone, they’re gone’ basis. It could be a red rye ale, a black IPA or whatever we think is right for the consumer.” Swaine adds: “Frontier craft lager was born in our managed estate and supported and nurtured in 12 sites, now you’ll find it across the country.” In terms of the beer-focused format at its Hydrant and Merchant pubs, he says: “We’ll see more of it. We’ll do more Merchants where the site is right and what we learn also gets distributed around the estate. Brands that perform well could conceivably be in our pubs in places such as Ealing or Twickenham a few months later.” ▲


the entire rangeQUARTERLY at www.jwlees.co.uk www.propelhospitality.com ยก WINTERSee 2017 ยก PROPEL 13

See the entire range at www.jwlees.co.uk


Feature many fonts on the bar and that improves the quality of beer they serve. Also, from a trade customer’s perspective, they can order 24 cans and the risk isn’t huge. People are drinking a wider range of beer but you need to prove you can get the rate of sale, otherwise you end up in the spiral of forever being on a rotating guest basis or stocked on an in-and-out basis.” Lees-Jones questions whether the consumer genuinely wants the wide range brewers offer, arguing that an expanded range requires careful planning. He says: “From our perspective we’re bringing out more beers. A lot are shorter runs but we don’t believe the customer necessarily wants as wide a range as some brewers are providing. “We won’t brew a beer that we won’t put our name on, and I think it’s disingenuous to do otherwise. As an industry, I think we’re in danger of overpandering to a customer who doesn’t really know what they want. If the market continues to fall in terms of volume but continues to go up in terms of price, you’ll get to breaking point.”

Shepherd Neame‘s Pier Five

Fuller’s is also collaborating with the new wave of craft brewers with its Double Summer blond beer, brewed with New Zealand-based Yeastie Boys, having gone into Mitchells & Butlers pubs as an exclusive in the summer. Ben Lockwood, procurement manager for cask ale, craft beer and cider at Mitchells & Butlers, cites brands such as Meantime London Lager, Camden Hells, Four Pure Pils, and Thornbridge Lukas as examples of the way craft beer is challenging lagers as well as ale. He says: “Craft lager is a really interesting category; it’s one of the fastest-growing categories in the US and I expect that, long term, to be the case here. Space on the bar is at a real premium right now, with the fight for taps more evident than ever.” This throws down a further gauntlet to the regional brewers as they seek to appeal to the new craft consumer. In Manchester, JW Lees is launching its own lager, as well a stout, as part of an expansion into the keg beer arena that also sees an updated brand identity across the full beer range. However, managing director William LeesJones is cautious about aligning the business too closely with the craft agenda. He says: “I’ve taken the view that craft beer is a trend in the same way that gin is a trend. However, I think as an industry we’d got to the point where there wasn’t much innovation going on. For the first ten years I worked in the industry, the most interesting beer to come along was Caffrey’s.” Lees-Jones cites Manchester-based Cloudwater, which JW Lees has made a collaboration beer with, and BrewDog as good examples of brewers “doing something interesting”. He adds: “We’ve stood back from what we’re doing and, instead of looking at individual beer brands, we’re looking at how we build our overall credentials as a really great brewer. “From an operational perspective, many pubs struggle to differentiate themselves and in my mind – and I know a lot of my colleagues think I’m old-fashioned – if you go into a JW Lees pub you expect it to serve JW Lees beers.” The brewer has also expanded its range of canned beers. Lees-Jones says: “They are an alternative for on-trade places that can’t get so

14

Cunning plan

“Craft lager is a really interesting category; it’s one of the fastest-growing categories in the US and I expect that, long term, to be the case here” – Ben Lockwood, procurement manager for cask ale, craft beer and cider at Mitchells & Butlers

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com

Looking at a different sector, London-based Honest Burgers, which is backed by Active Private Investment, is one of a growing number of casual dining operators to target craft beer consumers. With house beers including Keller Pils, from Bristol-based Lost & Grounded, and Kona Big Wave Hawaiian gold ale, Honest Burgers also partners with a local brewer at each of its sites. Adam Layton, head of marketing, says: “I can only speak for us but the demand is all about pale ale and lager – and I imagine that’s the case across the casual dining sector. You get the enthusiasts asking for an IPA but that’s not reflected by what we see in the sales figures. “You can’t overlook the fact the price has to be right. Customers are price-sensitive and some of the excellent craft brewers that have popped up aren’t that cheap. If you pay £36 a case, obviously you have to pass that cost on to customers. For any kind of casual dining restaurant, it has become a challenge to keep prices keen.” James Clarke, managing director of Oxfordshire-based Hook Norton Brewery, who is described as a gentleman brewer on the ▲

Hook Norton keg beers


Feature

Bateman‘s Salem Brewery Co labels of his beers following a recent redesign, sees the casual dining sector as fertile ground for traditional brewers who need to expand the range of outlets serving their beers to tackle changing consumer habits. Clarke says: “We’re seeing more casual dining and other types of outlet taking a couple of cases of bottled beer. They’re realising they need to have a few decent beers in their repertoire and customers aren’t necessarily looking for a bigger brand, they’re looking for something a bit local and artisan with a little bit of information on the label that tells them about the style and brewer.” Hook Norton has also expanded its own range, launching keg beers such as Cotswold Pale and Merula Stout in recognition of a need to offer wider choice. Clarke says: “We’ve just opened a new pub in Oxford and four of the eight handpulls are Hooky cask beers. Of course, a couple of years ago we’d have said they should all be Hooky but equally, three or four of the keg beers are also Hooky and a couple of years ago they couldn’t have been because we weren’t brewing any keg!” The keg offer means Hook Norton beers can be sold in a wider range of outlets, including restaurants, cafes and museums. The brewery is also in the process of expanding its visitor centre to spotlight the beers. Clarke says: “There has been a complete change in consumers’ leisure patterns. About 25 years ago on a Sunday it was church, pub and lunch – that was it, nowhere else was open. Now we’re competing for leisure spend and we need to work a lot harder.” Innovation is also on the agenda at Lincolnshire-based brewer Bateman’s.

16

“We’re seeing more casual dining and other types of outlet taking a couple of cases of bottled beer. They’re realising they need to have a few decent beers in their repertoire” – Hook Norton Brewery managing director James Clarke

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com

Managing director Stuart Bateman says: “There is a lot of excitement in the category. Our focus is on making heritage sexy again rather than our heritage being seen as old-fashioned. We’ve been going for 144 years – our slogan is ‘craft brewers since 1874’.” Early next year, Bateman’s will launch a range of six cask ales under a new Salem Brew Co brand with one appearing every other month. The beers have been made with added ingredients such as orange peel, truffles, lemon grass, pepper and strawberry, and ginger and elderflower. Bateman’s will also offer a range entitled Legends from its established guest beer programme. Bateman says: “It’s 12 different beers – one per month – but we’re getting away from calling them ‘seasonals’, which is a little bit old hat.” The Salem Brew Co range will feature graphics in the craft beer “pop art” style. He says: “I think they will be popular in community pubs but they’ll also open doors for us to outlets that have more of a younger outlook towards pub-going and drinking as a whole, and with those that are more keg-oriented. We’re looking at everything from our traditional community tenancies all the way through to craft bars.” Jack says pubs are attracting customers willing to pay a premium price. He adds: “This means the supply and demand dynamics of the pub market are more attractive than that of the restaurant sector. With drinking-out recovering, the managed pub sector is now more active at repositioning assets away from value towards premium brands.”


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Feature

Healthy options

Spiralised Gamberoni at Bella Italia

Consumer attitudes to healthy eating are driving significant changes in the way operators approach menu development, says John Porter

A

decade ago a senior pub company chief executive said: “Nobody ever died of passive pies or secondhand chips.” That comment, made in the wake of the smoking ban, reflected a widespread concern among operators that the health lobby, having tasted success, would not be content with a single victory. Ten years on from the 2007 implementation of legislation that made pubs and restaurants smoke-free, the potential for laws tackling food and drink perceived as unhealthy remains largely a looming threat rather than reality. Despite an active anti-alcohol lobby and public health concerns over growing levels of obesity – and with a notable exception in the sugar levy on soft drinks to be implemented next year – successive governments have preferred to encourage industry self-regulation backed by the threat of legislation only if that approach proves unsuccessful. However, the customer is king and it seems consumers may be driving significant changes in the way operators approach menu development. There was a time when a shortage of avocados might not have been cause for panicked headlines. Earlier this year, however, media from the BBC to the Daily Mirror reported the impact of rising global demand compounded by the impact of drought was threatening to push up the price of smashed avocado on toast. For those of us uncertain, the dish was described as a “hipster breakfast favourite”, prized by the millennial generation as a healthy way to start the day thanks to the “superfood” status conferred on avocados by some nutritionists. Sadly, with avocado plants taking several years to reach maturity and bear fruit, the industry will struggle with demand for some time.

18

Bella Italia, Milton Keynes The view that eating-out occasions are primarily driven by indulgence is being replaced by a more nuanced approach as the times and occasions when people eat out diversifies. NPD Group identified catering for healthy choice and ethical consumers as a key trend influencing foodservice in the UK, not simply for those who opt directly for these choices but because many others see the availability of such dishes as a sign of quality. NPD stated: “This trend adds menu and sourcing complexity for operators as healthy or healthier food can mean vegetarian, vegan, low in fat or calories, gluten-free or simply the increasing use of fresh ingredients – but it needs to be taken seriously.” Given that research consistently shows the millennial generation places such concerns higher on their list of priorities than older consumers, operators that fail to factor-in such concerns could find their market share falling.

Something for everyone The Bella Italia restaurant brand, part of the Casual Dining Group, operates about 90 sites across the UK. Hilary Ansell, Bella Italia director of marketing and food development, says: “It’s hugely important we give people choice. Whether that’s healthy options or catering for special diets, making sure we’ve got something for everyone is critical. “One thing I’m hugely aware of is it’s the guest with the special requirement that is likely to sway where the whole group goes. You just have to observe how customers behave when they go into a restaurant, how they interact with the menu board and the discussion between the group to see one person can sway whether a whole group of eight comes into you or goes next door. We wouldn’t have a set menu nowadays that hasn’t got a gluten-free option and a vegan as well as a vegetarian option.” The brand’s core menu includes the Pizza Vita range, all with fewer than 600 calories, which was recently reworked to pack-in flavour without necessarily packing in extra calories. Ansell adds: “In about 75% of the our sites you can switch your regular pasta for spiralised vegetable ‘spaghetti’, which brings the dish down to below 300 calories.”

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com


Feature

Vegan chocolate brownie at Bella Italia

Mocktails at Bella Italia The growing diversity of eating out occasions operators have to cater for is an important driver of healthier menu development. Ansell says: “We know the healthy, low-calorie dish is not always going to be the highest selling on the menu but if we want to appeal to ‘casual get-together occasions’ and ‘cannot be bothered to cook’ meal occasions, we have to have the healthier, low-calorie dishes. Consumers these days don’t go out just for that big treat occasion.” This trend is underscored by the brand’s menu analysis, which shows low-calorie dishes account for about 13% of Bella Italia main course sales. She says: “We see a peak early in the week that slows towards the weekend. At lunchtimes, low-calorie dishes are slightly more popular than in the evening in terms of the percentage of main courses sold but the early week trend is more pronounced.”

“We wouldn’t have a set menu nowadays that hasn’t got a glutenfree option and a vegan as well as a vegetarian option” – Bella Italia director of marketing and food development Hilary Ansell Another clear trend is growing demand for vegan and vegetarian options. As well as highlighting these choices with symbols on the main menu, Bella Italia launched a standalone vegan menu in October that is available on request. Ansell says: “Vegan is a huge growth market, and it’s a young, social market. It’s driven not just by the rise in vegans, it’s people choosing to eat a more plant-based diet and reducing, rather than eliminating, meat and dairy. If you add that market into the growing number of vegans, it’s hugely important and, again, people who are likely to sway where the whole group goes.” Bella Italia’s vegetarian and vegan menu options combined

make up about 15% of main course sales and, unlike the lowcalorie choices, sales are consistent throughout the week rather than showing discernible peaks. She says: “My approach with vegan food, as with low-calorie food, is it doesn’t need to come with an apology – it has to be really good quality on its own.” Ansell cites the brand’s lenticchie pasta – a lentil and mushroom ragu – and the recently launched vegan burger as successful examples of Bella Italia’s vegan menu development. However, pride of place goes to the gluten-free, vegan chocolate brownie. She says: “It’s delicious, my favourite of our desserts. It’s tasty and indulgent. In our October menu change I took our non-vegan brownie off the menu because the vegan one is good enough on its own.” Ansell believes an area where many operators poorly serve customers is the availability of healthy, non-alcoholic drinks that also meet the need for flavour and indulgence. She adds: “I think this is an area where restaurant-goers often struggle so we’ve been working on how we offer a much better variety of low-calorie soft drinks. It’s always been one of my bugbears that if you don’t want hugely calorific, sugary soft drinks, what do you do?” A range of skinny mocktails launched in the first half of 2017 with fewer than 50 calories and flavours including black cherry and almond, elderflower, strawberry lemonade, and orange and spice has proven to be incredibly popular, and Ansell plans to vary the choice of flavours seasonally. She says: “There’s definitely a need in the market place for healthy soft drinks that meet the indulgent occasion as well – something that looks and feels beautiful and is served in lovely glassware with beautiful garnishes but also hits the low-calorie marker.” Ansell regularly engages with Bella Italia customers on social media to find out what they want to see and reports an increasing number of people asking for calorie counts. Bella Italia takes a banding approach, identifying dishes coming in below the 600-calorie and 300-calorie mark. She says: “In terms of how we communicate it consistently and clearly to customers, I think banding is working for us at the moment.” ▲

www.propelhospitality.com ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ PROPEL QUARTERLY

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Feature Pub groups JD Wetherspoon is the highest-profile mainstream operator to offer full calorie counts on its menus to date, and the company extended the information from food to drink in March. Other operators question the demand for such precise information, especially when the make up of dishes can differ from site to site when chefs are cooking freshly to order, often using locally supplied ingredients. Simon Howlett, executive development chef at Shepherd Neame, Britain’s oldest brewer and owner and operator of a 327pub estate, says: “I think we’ve only ever been challenged once about calorie content, which was at Christmas last year. We’re pretty sure it was from a journalist because a letter went to four of our pubs with the same wording.”

“We’re forward-thinking from day one in our menu planning. Although some of it is being pushed by the consumer, it’s as much about us trying to balance the menu from the outset so there’s a choice for every consumer who comes into the pub” – Shepherd Neame executive development chef Simon Howlett As at Bella Italia, Shepherd Neame is being consistently challenged by consumers on its vegetarian and vegan menu choices. Howlett says: “Although it’s still a small part of our business, there appears to be more people looking for that during the week.” He also agrees with Ansell that the sales balance tips from healthier choices earlier in the week towards indulgence at the weekend. Shepherd Neame uses menu-engineering software to ensure menus, while different from pub to pub, are consistently balanced. Howlett says: “The tool will flag up if we don’t have enough lighter menu options, for example. From that we’ll tailor our choices to ensure there’s always the traditional pub fare – that doesn’t change. No matter where we are we’re still selling cod, burgers and pies, they’re still our biggest sellers – but we’re now cycling every menu with a vegetarian and vegan main course and starter choice, in London it’s two or three choices.” With food sales skewed far more towards destination country pubs in its Kent heartland rather than wet-led central London,

Tuna salad at Bella Italia

Howlett says most menus tend to end up being about 60% traditional pub fare and 40% lighter choices. The aim is to have a choice of fish and chicken dishes alongside red meat, as well as alternatives such as a range of superfood salads developed by Howlett and his team. Alternatives to potatoes such as rice and couscous are also offered, and the pubs are actively encouraged to let customers tailor menu choices to meet their requirements. He says: “We’re forward-thinking from day one in our menu planning. Although some of it is being pushed by the consumer, it’s as much about us trying to balance the menu from the outset so there’s a choice for every consumer who comes into the pub.” Longer trading hours mean breakfast, offered wherever a pub is judged to have the right footfall at the start of the day, is a growing market for Shepherd Neame. Howlett says: “Again, we balance the menu. The standard full English breakfast accounts for in excess of 80% of choices on breakfast menus across the estate but, beyond that, we do porridge and scrambled egg as well as a few in-vogue options such as avocado, sour feta cheese or edamame beans on toast. That is definitely attracting a younger crowd who don’t want a full English.”

Fit food The move by mainstream operators to offer healthier menu choices throws down a particular challenge to those who previously had a clear run at the market. The Crussh brand opened its first site in 1998 as a juice bar in Cornhill in the City of London. Today, it operates 30 sites across the capital with a freshly made “fit food” range that includes soup, salad and “health pots”, as well as juices and smoothies.

Spiralised at Bella Italia Bella Italia,Gamberoni Milton Keynes

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Feature

Crussh Debenhams, Oxford Street Beyond standalone sites, Crussh opened concessions at a Sainsbury’s supermarket in Pimlico and in the flagship Holland & Barrett store at Marble Arch during the summer, as well a larger 100-cover cafe in Debenhams in Oxford Street, including a deli counter offering dishes such as turmeric chicken, vegetable frittatas, and gluten-free cakes. Partnerships with retailers is part of a strategy Crussh put in place following a management change in 2016 that saw former Benugo managing director Shane Kavanagh appointed chief executive. Helen Jones, head of marketing, joined the business in the wake of that change. She says: “Crussh was quite ahead of its time in 1998. From day one it was very much a business that prided itself on innovation and bringing the latest health food trends to London. “The new management team has looked at the core of the business, refreshing the brand and making sure it’s relevant for today’s consumer, because the growing demand for healthy eating has, I think, surprised everybody.” In terms of where this consumer demand is coming from, Jones says: “We think there are two groups. There’s the hardcore health-conscious, who have been seeking out the latest healthy food for some time and who live and breathe a healthy lifestyle. Then there’s a growing group of what we call the ‘part-time health-conscious’ – people who are becoming more interested in a healthier approach to life in general and may have preconceptions that healthy food is not that tasty – and this where the growth is coming from at the moment. We are really conscious to make sure we have a breadth of offering so we don’t only appeal to those niche hard-core health customers.” The product offer at Crussh is built around three areas – the Fit Food range; raw, freshly pressed fruit and vegetable juices; Crussh Debenhams, Oxford Street

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and fair-trade, organic coffee. Earlier this year, the business appointed a new product developer and nutrition manager, James Kidman, who previously worked with supplier Greencore to develop healthy food ranges for retailers including Marks & Spencer and Waitrose. Jones says: “Taste is the first thing we measure our food on. It has to taste good because otherwise it won’t sell. We also pride ourselves on innovation and bringing the latest health food to the market.” This can be a fine balance, with the healthy food market more prone to trends than some other foodservice sectors. Jones says: “All of us in the industry need to be careful not to get too swept away with fads because, in reality, they will only be a very small percentage of your sales mix. If we look at ten new products, only one or two are going to be latest trends so 80% needs to be things people understand. We’ve found in the past that putting something in the menu too early can fail.” Jones cites poké, a Hawaiian marinated raw fish dish that Crussh had started selling as Jones joined the business. She adds: “People didn’t respond too well, they didn’t really understand it as a concept but now we’re seeing lots of poké sites around.” Juice remains a big seller for Crussh, driven by the popularity of its best-selling Veggie Greens juice, a combination of spinach, celery, cucumber, kale, lemon and ginger. The Protein Boost Box, which includes salmon, marinated chicken and hard-boiled egg, is always in Crussh’s top-five best-sellers and is a “really functional product that people know and recognise”. The business buys “ugly” fruit and vegetables that have been rejected by supermarkets on aesthetic grounds. Jones says: “It all goes into our blender so it doesn’t matter. We have a huge range of food and we’re still relatively small so that can come with some challenges. We don’t have a huge amount of meat because more than 70% of our range is vegetarian. Sourcing is a very big balancing act at the moment. “Lunch is our busiest time of day, breakfast is less busy but fairly steady. I think people are more habitual at breakfast, they want things they recognise and often have the same thing every day. At lunchtime they come in and browse.” Earlier this year, a daily half-price sale for the last hour of trading was introduced to help reduce food waste. She says: “That’s now a busy time of day as people buy food to take home for the evening.” The new retail partnerships clearly reflect growing mainstream consumer interest in healthier eating. Jones says: “The cafe in Debenhams in Oxford Street is a good opportunity for us to try different things with a slightly different menu. We’re focusing on those opportunities at the moment.” For the health of the eating out sector, as well as customers, offering healthier choices makes sound business sense.

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Feature

Sourced Market St Pancras

Express success S

Founder Ben O’Brien tells Glynn Davis how Sourced Market has made itself the anchor brand at St Pancras International and grown to four sites including a move into the hotel market

of offer. The unit was also at the quiet end of the station. t Pancras International is the UK rail network’s jewel in the crown, with its raised track position and interior Then came the financial crash in 2008 and a lot of operators filled with fine detailed Victorian ironwork topped by a sat back. massive glass dome. “I talked to Network Rail and London & Continental (L&C), A roster of quality retail names complement the impressive who had got in a couple of food and beverage consultants structure, including Fortnum & Mason, Chanel, Godiva and Links to help them, including Nicholas Lander who helped me. I London, alongside a raft of well-known food and drinks had the combination of concept the station wanted and providers such as Pret A Manger, YO! Sushi, Carluccio’s one nobody else was offering. To my knowledge, and Patisserie Valerie. we were the first startup to get a place in a “I had the Arguably the most interesting player in the mainline station.” combination of mix, however, is Sourced Market. Its 40 metre O’Brien’s idea chimed with that of Lander concept the station by six metre unit, running almost the full and L&C who wanted to move away from wanted and one nobody length of the north end of the station, is an the typical station food and drink offer – interesting mix of retail, eat-in and food-torevolving around a captive audience being else was offering. To my go items from a cornucopia of small, highsold cheap food at high margins – and focus knowledge, we were the on a higher quality mix that would attract quality, little-known suppliers. It has made first startup to get a more people to the station, including a hefty itself an anchor tenant of the station that, place in a mainline chunk of non-travellers. from the start of its significant facelift, set out station” L&C was taking a punt on O’Brien because he to be a destination for people looking for food had limited experience, boiling down to him having and drink and not just catering to those about to provided street food at music festivals. He says: “I board a train. thought the food at festivals was terrible. I was living in Borough Sourced Market founder Ben O’Brien acknowledges there Market at the time and persuaded 30 traders to come on the was a dose of good luck in him securing what is now a valuable road with me. There was an initial reluctance but we gained a position in the station. critical mass of traders. I did this as a sideline to my job over two He says: “Someone tipped me off they wanted a farmers’ summers beginning in August 2007.” ▲ market in the station but there was no-one offering that type www.propelhospitality.com ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ PROPEL QUARTERLY

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Feature Hybrid operation His “awkward-shaped” unit opened at St Pancras in August 2009, with the aim of offering something that combined the convenience of a Tesco Metro but with the food quality of Borough Market traders. The original plan was to be predominantly retail – initially it accounted for 70% while consume-on-premise accounted for the remainder – but this quickly changed and the unit became much more of a hybrid operation. Today, it is a 50-50 split. O’Brien says: “Five to ten years ago, people used to dine at home more. It was unusual to have breakfast out but nowadays three meals out in a single day are frequent. We became a people-watching spot and an oasis amid a sea of recognisable chains. People started have a wine or beer on their way home and a bite to eat. It became a bit of a hangout. The fact is, this is what consumers want nowadays.” O’Brien recognises “jumping in at the deep end in a mainline train station was a steep learning curve” but the big upside has been Sourced Market has enjoyed “huge brand recognition and become sizeable in terms of its sales”. The key learning involved back-of-house because, not having worked in retail before, O’Brien initially worked directly with suppliers. He says: “I wanted to give producers a wider audience and recognised there was no point in going to wholesalers – but stuff was getting delivered left, right and centre. We fine-tuned things and had the distributors stock the goods we wanted. As the business has got bigger, we’ve needed more systems and controls in place.” By 2013, O’Brien reckoned he had a proof-of-concept for his unique hybrid proposition and it was time to raise some money and expand the operation. A crowdfunding campaign generated pledges for more than the planned £700,000 but a conversation with experienced investor Peter Dubens led to him matching the offer and the crowdfunding was curtailed.

“We became a people-watching spot and an oasis amid a sea of recognisable chains. It became a bit of a hangout” The intention had been to use this cash to open a second unit but a new lease needed to be sorted for the St Pancras outlet. O’Brien says: “While chatting about the new lease we said we wanted to solve issues with the unit, including it being cold, the need for more seating, and some additional tills.” He adds the real issue was the unit was hitting its capacity levels and more space was required. The result was an expansion from a depth of four metres to the current six metres, which sucked in all the £750,000 investment from Dubens’ venture capital firm Pembroke VCT. A new crowdfunding campaign was launched, but this time a bond was issued as O’Brien was reluctant to give up any more equity. The bond proved attractive to investors but what proved less interesting to O’Brien was the quality of the sites he was being shown at other London train stations. He says: “Every other site was disappointing after St Pancras. We looked at Liverpool Street, Paddington and Waterloo but they were offering us units in pokey corners. It wasn’t the same as St Pancras.”

High street move Pembroke VCT managing director Andrew Wolfson came up with the solution, suggesting they try the concept on the high street instead because success there would lead to further opportunities. An introduction to the Howard de Walden estate led to a chance to take a unit in Marylebone. O’Brien says: “It was like the Flatiron building (in New York City) and I loved it, but had concerns over the level of footfall as it was quiet.” This failed to dissuade him and he took a lease on a 5,000 square foot space spread over two floors – compared with the 2,400 square feet at St Pancras – that has even more of a focus on eat-in sales as the unit is heavily used as a destination venue for dining and coffee by people working nearby. Since opening in early 2016, the area around the store has become much more vibrant following the development of nearby retail units, helping revenues to continue growing. O’Brien had the same sort of issues with the third Sourced Market unit – in Land Securities’ new Nova Victoria development near the mainline station – of effectively being in the unit before the builders had moved out. ▲

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Feature

O’Brien says: “We signed up and had the incentives to open on an agreed date – November 2016. The site didn’t seem ready and we thought Christmas would get in the way but we opened on time as the only retailer there. No others opened until after Christmas and the building wasn’t finished until March. We traded for five months on a building site. We know it had great potential but it was a disaster for the first few months.” With all resources expended on St Pancras and the two new units, O’Brien wasn’t on the look-out for another outlet.

Hotel opportunity However, when hotel group Citadines came knocking with a proposition that didn’t require investment in property, it was too enticing. After striking a deal to run the food and beverage offer for the group’s new hotel in the Barbican, City of London, Sourced Market opened its new small-format store (1,000 square feet) in May on the ground floor of the refurbished property. O’Brien says: “They’ve outsourced food and beverage to us. It’s a deal with low overheads and we’ve a guaranteed level of trade from the hotel’s customers. It fits in with our hybrid model. The store is very modular so we can up the bar and downplay the retail. We can flex the model.”

Food and drink

Sourced Market founder Ben O’Brien

Annual turnover: £8m Annual sales growth expected: 50% (from existing sites and two new units planned for 2018) Average transaction: £6.50 (customers might have multiple transactions on a single visit) Key categories: Wine and beer, bakery, grocery, coffee, kitchen/deli, speciality (cheese and charcuterie)

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Adding to the Sourced Market offer is a production kitchen, which has been introduced following an increased demand for food consumed on-site and for takeaway – with the new range encompassing salads, hot food and sandwiches. O’Brien says: “It supplies to all four units and represents a new part of the business. Previously we were offering a glass of wine and a platter but now we’re able to add to the evening menu. Some people will want just a coffee after they’ve been shopping but others will want a bottle of wine and a plate of food after work.” The production kitchen capability fits well with the Barbican proposition and hotel guests looking for an evening meal. Such partnerships are certainly something O’Brien would be keen to be involved with in the future as he maps out the strategy for the group. He says: “We’re looking at what route to take. Do we open further bigger sites while also being opportunistic on the smaller units?” O’Brien says Sourced Market manages to cover the various bases much better than most operators in the market thanks to its ability to offer flexible options – sales of alcohol and coffee are equal. He adds: “Nobody does coffee and alcohol as good as we do under the same roof while also being able to add retail. Some will match us on coffee and some have a better offer on beer and wine but we can do it all in a small space – and we’ve authenticity from our quality suppliers.” O’Brien cites Pret A Manger and Starbucks as struggling with the development of evening propositions – mixing alcohol with chunkier meal options. He says: “They’ve canned their booze offers as you can’t go from mid-market to premium. It’s tough to get the balance right with the likes of lighting and service levels.” With the Sourced Market model fully proven, O’Brien is keen to concentrate on putting more systems in place and applying the learning he has accrued to any new units, acknowledging that hasn’t really been possible to date. He says: “We’ve opened three very different new sites, fully refurbished St Pancras, and added a production kitchen in only 18 months. It’s been a great growth story but we’ve not been able to learn from each step. We’re now taking stock.” O’Brien has also found his own time being stretched to extremes. He says: “I realised I could run one outlet on my own but jumping from one to four has been tough. There is now a focus on people and we’ve made some key appointments.” These include a head of buying who comes from Selfridges, a chairman who has been part of Asda, a development chef who has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants and Waitrose, and a part-time finance director. It is hard to imagine Sourced Market attracting such expertise in the early days when O’Brien first set up stall at St Pancras. It’s hard to avoid saying the business has gone like a train and O’Brien has done a great job at keeping it on the rails.

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“Alcohol, Death, and the Devil” by George Cruikshank, c. 1830.

Opinion

Good versus evil I

Paul Chase seeks an answer to the question: is alcohol a good thing or a necessary evil?

n this article, I want to discuss the different views of basis that such drinking is bad – full of risk for life and property, beverage alcohol and its impact on society, and how at best considered as an escape, clearly useless per se, and/ we might promote a more positive view of moderate or frequently the precursor of disease, and the subject matter consumption. The dominant contemporary vision of is taught by non-drinkers and anti-drinkers, this is a particular beverage alcohol in the UK is that alcohol is (a) primarily indoctrination. Further, if 75% to 80% of the surrounding peers negative and has exclusively hazardous consequences, (b) and elders are, or are going to become, drinkers there is an leads frequently to uncontrollable behaviour, and (c) inconsistency between the message and the reality.” is something young people should be warned (Bacon, 1984, pp. 22-24) against. The consequences of this vision are when When Bacon wrote these words, the coronary “If science young people start drinking they know of no and mortality benefits of moderate alcohol indicates alcohol alternative but excessive, intense consumption use were only beginning to be established, patterns such as binge drinking, leading them while the psychological and social benefits conveys significant frequently to drink to get drunk. of drinking had not been systematically life advantages, why Selden Bacon, founder and long-time assessed. His observations seem relevant does alcohol policy director of the American Yale Center of today now the life-prolonging effects of Alcohol Studies, remarked on the strange act as though moderate alcohol consumption are on a firm public health approach to alcohol taken in scientific footing. alcohol is the US and elsewhere in the Western world: Despite the science-denial of the modern evil?” “Current organised knowledge about alcohol use neo-temperance movement it is the case that can be likened to knowledge about automobiles and from Professor Sir Richard Doll (the epidemiologist their use if the latter were limited to facts and theories who discovered the link between tobacco smoking and about accidents and crashes. cancer) more than 30 years ago and onwards there have been “What is missing are the positive functions and positive dozens of studies that have vindicated the famous J-curve that attitudes about alcohol uses in our, as well as in other, societies. illustrates the benefits of moderate drinking in terms of greater longevity for moderate drinkers compared with never drinkers. ▲ If educating youth about drinking starts from the assumed

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polaris-elements.co.uk

#PulseInsight


Opinion So, if science indicates alcohol conveys significant life advantages, why does alcohol policy act as though alcohol is evil?

Alcohol is bad The idea alcohol is bad takes several forms. Of course, the temperance movement held that beverage alcohol is a negative force and drinking must be eliminated from society because they believe: L Alcohol is an addictive substance whose use inevitably leads to increased, compulsive, and uncontrollable use L Beverage alcohol consumption underlies many modern social problems such as unemployment, domestic abuse, child abuse, and emotional disorders

Dionysius (the same god who stood for pleasure and revelry). “From the ancients to the present, many have valued wine and other beverage alcohol for either their ritualistic benefits or their celebratory and even licentious aspects. The value of alcohol was certainly appreciated in colonial America, which drank freely and gladly, and where minister Increase Mather termed alcohol the ‘good creature of God’.”

“Research from as long ago as the 1970s found the most common result of drinking reported by drinkers was they felt happy and cheerful”

L Alcohol conveys no social benefits L It is the availability of alcohol that makes people drink it

Alcoholism as a disease

The Moral Thermometer from Benjamin Rush's "An Inquiry into the Effects of Spirituous Liquors on the Human Body & the Mind.", 1790

Alcoholism as a disease became part of the temperance movement’s view of alcohol subsequent to the repeal of Alcohol Prohibition in the US in 1933. This view evolved into the modern disease theory of alcoholism through the development of Alcoholics Anonymous, beginning in 1935; in the research conducted by E M Jellinek in the 1930s and early 1940s; and in a modern medical approach, beginning in the 1970s, which took the view there was a sub-group of individuals with a deeply ingrained form of alcoholism that prevents its members from drinking moderately. In the modern medical view, this is the conception there is heavy genetic loading for alcoholism.

Alcohol and the integrated lifestyle A view consistent with that in which alcohol may be used in either a positive or a negative fashion is one that sees healthful drinking not so much as the cause of either good and bad medical or psychosocial outcomes, but as part of an overall healthy approach to life. One version of this idea is embedded in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which emphasises a balanced diet lower in animal protein than the typical British or American diet in which regular, moderate alcohol drinking is one central element. In line with this integrated approach, cross-cultural epidemiologic research has shown diet and alcohol contribute independently to coronary artery disease benefits in Mediterranean countries (Criqui & Ringle, 1994). Indeed, one can imagine other characteristics of Mediterranean cultures that lead to reduced levels of coronary artery disease – such as more walking, greater community support, and less stressful lifestyles than in the UK, the US and other Protestant-inspired, temperance cultures.

Self-regulation

Alcohol is good American alcohol researcher Stanton Peele has written: “The view of alcohol as beneficent is ancient, as old at least as the idea that alcohol produces harm. The Old Testament describes alcoholic excess, but it also values alcohol. Both the Hebrew and Christian religions include wine in their sacraments – Hebrew prayer bestows a blessing on wine. Even earlier, the Greeks considered wine a boon and worshipped a god of wine,

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Most drinkers throughout the Western world view alcohol as a positive experience. Respondents in surveys in the US, Canada, and Sweden predominantly mention positive sensations and experiences in association with drinking – such as relaxation and sociability – with little mention of harm. Research from as long ago as the 1970s found the most common result of drinking reported by drinkers was they “felt happy and cheerful”. And national survey data in the US indicates 43% of adult male drinkers always or usually felt “friendly” (the most common effect) when they drank, compared with 8% who felt “aggressive” or 2% who felt “sad”.

A more radical version of this integrated approach, in which self-regulation is the fundamental individual value or outlook and drinking moderately or healthily is secondary to this larger orientation, holds that “troubled drinkers”, which is people who suffer from permanent stress and impair their own selfregulation by drinking, only need a small daily dose to shorten their lives considerably. On the other hand, people who regulate themselves well and whose self-regulation is improved by alcohol consumption, even by a high dose, do not manifest a shorter life span or a higher frequency of chronic illnesses. This is perhaps a version of the well-known “alcohol-harm paradox”, which points out there isn’t a simple, linear connection between how much you drink and alcohol-related harm. Where you drink, the social occasions that give rise to your drinking, and whether you drink with or without food, all contribute to the health outcomes of your drinking, as does the general health of your lifestyle. To me, there is nothing paradoxical about such a proposition and nothing surprising about the idea alcohol use can be either bad or good. There is no such thing as a “bad food” or a “bad drink”, only bad patterns of consumption. We need to promote moderate drinking as a health-giving pattern of consumption but we also need to reinstate the rather unfashionable notion that people should take greater personal responsibility for the choices they make around alcohol consumption.

Paul Chase is a director of CPL Training and a leading commentator on alcohol and health policy

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Advertising Feature

Filling the staffing gap – without discrimination claims With the possibility of a staffing crisis for hospitality operators in the face of Brexit, it has been suggested that one solution may be to turn to older workers to fill the gap.

E

arlier in 2017 the BHA suggested that should free movement of EU labour cease, an additional 65,000 workers would need to be found by the UK hospitality sector – and that’s in addition to the 200,000 required to cover regular churn in employees. Targeting over 50s, who may have taken early retirement or been made redundant, could help alleviate the skills gap. However, before positively targeting the older worker you should be alive to the fact that any form of age discrimination is not legal. What’s more, the cost of getting it wrong can be high. Someone discriminated against on the grounds of age can bring an Employment Tribunal claim for damages for injury to feelings and for financial loss. And, there is NO limit on the amount of damages that can be awarded. Therefore ensuring that you will not find yourself accused of age discrimination in the first place, by employees at any stage of their career, is clearly vital.

Safeguarding treatment of your staff, whether young or old It is possible for discrimination to arise through the way employees are treated, and this can be by customers, so: •

Take action against customers who are offensive to staff because of their age, with signage making it clear that harassment will not be tolerated.

Have a procedure for reporting harassment by other staff, customers or anyone on site. Act immediately should this arise, and demonstrate you have taken their complaint seriously.

Age discrimination awareness Whatever the size of your organisation, it is good practice to have an Equality Policy and to train all staff on a regular basis. This will help to reduce the likelihood of discrimination, harassment and victimisation taking place and may help to limit liability should a complaint be made.

Practical pointers for employers When it comes to recruitment •

Don’t put age criteria in applications and don’t refuse to offer a job based on someone’s age. This includes not using age related phrases in ads - such as “maturity in outlook when dealing with customers”. Remove age and date of birth from application forms, and avoid asking when qualifications were obtained, unless this is essential.

Advertise in a way that will be accessible to a large audience so you do not limit the diversity of applicants - which may constitute indirect discrimination.

Base decisions on skills and abilities; make notes of this during interview and keep the records for 12 months.

Review your policies and handbook to reflect a nondiscriminatory approach – for example, avoid including a fixed retirement age, as this is direct discrimination.

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Freeths is one of the few law firms in the UK that specialises solely in advising hospitality and leisure operators. Our team includes experts in employment law able to provide relevant, practical advice when it comes to people management.

Specialist legal support for the drinks, hospitality & leisure industry Call: 01908 668555 For more useful legal insights visit: www.hospitalitylaw.co.uk

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Feature

High-flier

Former Wagamama chief executive David Campbell talks to Chris Muller about how he turned the company around and his high-profile career at Virgin, Formula One and many others

CM: You have an incredible pedigree. Recently you were the “turn-around” chief executive at Wagamama, a great four-year run, but you have also been involved in some other remarkably high-profile businesses. You were involved in food and beverage (F&B) at Formula One and were behind Virgin – not airlines but radio, television, Virgin Entertainment – and O2, turning the stadium from a loss into the world’s busiest stadium. You have experience in things that might not look connected – but are. DC: They are all in the broader leisure field, I guess, and pretty similar. The O2 had 20 bars and restaurants when I joined and all those people were on tenant leases so I knew my competition inside out. We had two-and-a-half to three million people a year through the arena and for all those operators doing F&B as well. In Formula One, you would go to India and set up F&B in the middle of a race track on the outskirts of New Delhi, which is certainly challenging. CM: You talk about the tyranny of it all being “live”. DC: One of the things that struck me is almost everything I’ve done is in the live entertainment business and therefore immediate – live radio, live television – TFI Friday and shows like that. In live entertainment and obviously in sports it’s the same kind of thing. The thing that’s been really important about all of it is you have a deadline. If TFI Friday is going on air at 6pm on a Friday there is no point finishing what you meant to do at 6.30pm. You have to have it all ready. It’s the same with sport. Outside the Olympics and the World Cup, Formula One is the biggest televised sport – 600 million people a year watch it. When it goes live at 1pm or 2pm, that is when it has to go live. You can’t say: “I’ll be ready a little later.” In restaurants there are projects that clearly don’t move at that same pace but you ingrain a mentality about doing things live and getting stuff done to a specific time-frame or you do it to the best of your ability. CM: I always think people who procrastinate in life love to work in restaurants because you can’t put things off. You’re not going to go home and cut the grass and do the laundry. You’re never going to go shopping but, when you’re in the restaurant, everything has got to be done now.

DC: I spent about 15 years working with Richard Branson and the one thing he instilled in me was to constantly challenge yourself, try to do things you didn’t know could happen. The same thing was true when we did the O2. I think the total investment was £350m and everyone used to say I must have carried out lots of research beforehand. I would say: “No. I went on Google and put in ‘white elephant/Dome’ and got 650,000 hits so I knew it didn’t work.” There were a lot of sleepless nights and you ask yourself: “Is this going to work?” But you have some belief and faith and the same is true in the restaurant world. You’ve got to constantly challenge yourself. The businesses I see that don’t do as well involve people who advocate “well we did this yesterday” or “this is how we always do it”. I’m not saying you should be completely off-course but you’ve got to try to do things differently. I guess the same is true in live entertainment. You are looking for a wow factor. I want a person to leave a restaurant and tell someone why they had a great experience – the food was great, the service was great. I don’t want somebody who has got a textbook in which every single thing they say to the customer is the same. To me, the worst thing in a restaurant is if I walk in and a member of staff asks: “Can I get you a glass of water?” and then reels off nine other things they have got to tell me about. I think that’s pretty good, pretty comprehensive but then I hear them repeat the greeting followed by the same nine things in the same order – it’s not personal. CM: It’s got to be fresh – and that’s the tyranny of urgency – it’s go to be fresh and new. DC: As someone running a restaurant group, I wanted to put as much responsibility as possible on the individual restaurant managers and then the area managers and regional directors and take that away from the top so it wouldn’t be a hierarchical thing. There are some things you are clearly going to do on a group-wide basis but there are a lot of others you are going to try to push on to the restaurant level. I want people to have that responsibility to give them the agility to be able to move around and do that. ▲

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Feature

“You have got to have every single person in the business who is running a restaurant believe they are a winner, that they are better than the person down the street, that they can do a better job”

CM: You’ve led turnarounds. What kind of vision, advice and wisdom can you impart? DC: We were very focused on like-for-like sales. Within Wagamama, like-for-like sales were eight to nine percentage points ahead of the market for pretty much four years – and that was always the measure we were looking for. If you can’t keep up with the market, you can’t keep up with the average. Then you are not pushing it far enough ahead and unfortunately some people don’t like it and go: “We’re not about sales, we’re about food presentation.” It’s about all those things – every single bit – but the measure at the end of the day is if you are not delivering the sales and the business isn’t growing, then you haven’t got the tools, resources and finances to reinvest in the business, refresh all the restaurants, create new dishes, get more staff and put out more marketing. To me, you have got to manage your business from the top line. When I started at Wagamama, the business was around zero or a few percentage points below it. In a twomonth period of genius, we came out with a three-point strategy that was basically sell, sell, sell. That’s what we talked about and we turned it around within three months and it has been ahead of the market since. CM: That is one of the hallmarks in the US. In the late 1980s, there was a real focus on driving revenue. It went from an average restaurant sale of less than one million dollars to an average restaurant sale of almost two. Even McDonald’s does more than two million in sales, because if we drive food costs, labour costs and prime costs the only way to get the percentages to fall is to drive sales. DC: Totally. People think a lot of things I do are crazy but I took a lot of language from the US. We talk about pushing average unit volumes and in three years those volumes went up 33% and that gave us so much flexibility in terms of how we could run an operation and what we could do. Time and again you hear

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people say labour costs are too high and we have to lose people – and that’s the wrong thing to do. You’ve got to look at the points when you are really busy and put more labour on. We had hard times because we would tell people we wanted to put more labour on at Saturday lunchtimes or evenings. People wouldn’t want that as it was the time when they got the most tips. They would say “it’s not going to work” but I promise you, without fail, sales went up every time. Everyone got more tips and everyone did better so you really focus on those strong points. You have got to get the average unit volumes up. Don’t sit around and go: “Well, it’s up 1% or 2%.” It’s got to be up by some sizeable numbers to make a difference. The costs of running a restaurant have risen, particularly in the UK after the strange decision to get out of Europe. Ingredients are costly, you’ve got business rates, minimum labour – all those expenses. If you’re not growing by 3% to 4% you’re not even covering your cost increases much less growing the business, so you’ve got to push those numbers and aim to get doubledigit figures. You have also got to get people in who believe in themselves. You have got to have every single person in the business who is running a restaurant believe they are a winner, that they are better than the person down the street, that they can do a better job. To do that, you have to give people achievable targets built up over time. I think you can instill that winning belief, which is something I picked up on early at Virgin. Virgin was a record company that thought it would be a cool idea to get into the airline business, which was slightly mad. There were a lot of things like that but there was a belief you could do it. It’s a bit different now because Virgin is a big airline but, back in the day, it was an entertainment business so you’d be staggered. We’d spend tens of millions on aircraft but the main thing flagged up on customer surveys was the free ice cream we gave to customers when they watched the in-flight movie. It was a 20p investment that created something different and gave somebody a wow factor they talked about and remembered. ▲

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Feature CM: Where is the market going in terms of double-digit likefor-like sales growth? DC: Double-digit like-for-like sales growth is what you have to aspire to – but it’s really hard to do. We did it at Wagamama for the last three years, I think it was 8.6% average, and there were some doubles in there, others were 7% or 8%. You need to aspire to that kind of level. I get upset when people say “we did 1.5% last year and 1.7% this year, isn’t it fantastic”? Yes, because you didn’t go backwards, but it’s still not where it needs to be. I think it’s a very polarised market – some people are doing really well and some people not so well, with not a lot in the middle. There is going to be a real differentiation – fast-paced with innovation all the time. You don’t want to be doing the same thing six months down the road – you need to constantly innovate. Take the smartphone, it wasn’t here ten years ago, now I run restaurants on one. CM: Can you be more specific about tricks of the trade? DC: There isn’t a trick – don’t let anyone pretend there is – it’s about belief and winning. Most Wagamama general managers would say we had a belief we could win more than other people – and we did – but you have to keep building it. In the first year, when we got things turned around, we went from about -3% to +4%. Then the 4% became 8%, 9%, 10%, 11%. In the beginning, when you are changing things and innovating all the time, you can get some big wins. We had new menus in terms of content, uniforms, crockery, and restaurant design but you can only refurbish a restaurant and pull those tricks every so often. When you do, you try to get the maximum advantage. It is a big wall made up of lots of little bricks. It’s not one trick that will get you there, it’s all those little bricks. The bad news is you’ve got to get every single brick in place otherwise the wall doesn’t stand up. CM: When you build companies, what kind of skills or attributes do you look for in middle management? DC: Passion is really important. I cannot pretend to be passionate about something I’m not – I believe it’s the same for other people. At the O2, the recruitment people always said: “Hire the smile and train the brain.” I think that’s pretty important – you want somebody with the right attitude and right culture and train them to do the other bits rather than somebody who is wonderfully methodical but hasn’t got a lot of personality. It is a people business, a great business – it’s fun, creative, really challenging but very rewarding when you get it right. There is a lot of digital disruption in terms of restaurant operations and delivery but people will always want to go to a restaurant, sit together and have a meal. It’s no fun getting your food delivered and sitting at home.

CM: What are your thoughts on the sales culture? We can dress it up however we want but at the end of the day a business is simple – it’s what you sell, what you bring in turnover-wise, and how you convert that and Ebitda on the bottom line. You’ll never find a business where just taking costs out and making sure you get a better flow through will make the business go forward forever. You’ve got to grow the top and convert it on the way down. If you don’t address that top line, it is never going to happen.

“In the first year (as chief executive at Wagamama), when we got things turned around, we went from about -3% to +4%. Then the 4% became 8%, 9%, 10%, 11%” CM: Do you hire for attitude and train for skill? DC: At Wagamama we talked a lot about having hard conversations with people and that’s really important. You need to be open about being able to tell people “this was good, that was bad”. It’s a good idea to open up with a few things they have done well before you launch into the bit where they could have done better. Having those hard conversations is important.

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Opinion

Roll with it Glynn Davis regrets the restaurant trend of jettisoning bread at the start of a meal and takes a wider look at the baked goods sector

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the estate of Greggs’ stores beyond the current 1,830 sites, with hile dining out recently I’ve noticed a number a predicted net 100 openings for the next financial year. The of restaurants have disappointingly jettisoned company might be less reliant on its sausage rolls and steak bread at the start of the meal. This is a wholly slices as “Balanced Choice” options continue to grow, but it still good thing for my health but an overwhelmingly suggests a healthy bakery sector. unhealthy thing for my well-being. This is also the case at the artisan end of the spectrum, One of the enjoyable aspects of having a good meal out where leaders of the pack include Paul, Le Pain Quotidien and is the expectation of what bread they will serve. Upmarket Gail’s Bakery. The latter was initially a premium bread supplier Italian restaurant Locanda Locatelli in central London holds a to restaurants and opened its first site in north London in 2005. special place in my heart for the quality of its bread basket. If The business took off following investment from Luke Johnson it is bettered anywhere in the capital then please let me know, in 2011 as his funds and hospitality expertise helped it expand to because I clearly need to know. 40 shops – predominantly in wealthy parts of London (its One of the more appealing aspects of travel – goods are definitely premium) – as well as pushing its whether abroad or around the UK – is the ability to wholesale interests forward. try baked goods that are the local speciality. Even Johnson seemed to gain a bit of a taste the smallest town seems to have items that are for baked goods during that period because particular to the local bakeries. Until the past few he invested in Druckers Vienna Patisserie, years, London was a bit of a disappointment on of visits to branded Patisserie Valerie (which he floated in 2014), this front and had little of note on the bakery bakery operators’ Baker & Spice, and Gail’s in succession. front. But, just as with coffee, chocolate and outlets are by With the recent appointment of KPMG craft beer, the category has been travelling consumers aged to investigate the options for Gail’s parent along a route towards more artisan offerings. over 35 company, Bread Holdings, this could flush out An enormous number of small producers have bidders for the group at a valuation of up to £200m. emerged – such as E5 Bakehouse, Bread Ahead and The issue is whether Johnson is aiming at top of the Flour Power – along with many others I’ve no doubt yet to market operators in the bakery category. hear of but ply their trade in their specific part of the city. The one issue is the category is skewed towards the older demographics, with consumers aged over 35 involved in 75% of Broader trend visits to branded bakery operators’ outlets. This would normally Such activity follows a broader trend for an appreciation of baked ring alarm bells but with cost pressures on ingredients and the goods. The UK branded bakery market is forecast to hit a value potential for price rises, it might well be the safest part of the of £1.4bn this year, according to MCA, which also predicts the market to sell into. number of cafes and bakeries will rise by 1.4% in 2017. Worryingly, the restaurants I’ve frequented of late have also had This level of growth outpaces the broader eating out market a typically older demographic of core customers. However, these and involves even the biggest brands enjoying some decent high-quality venues see fit to deprive me of a bread roll before growth, including Greggs. Under the stewardship of chief my starter arrives. Perhaps these operators are starting to feel the executive Roger Whiteside, the UK’s biggest bakery retailer heat at a greater intensity than those with the bakery ovens. has enjoyed 5% like-for-like sales in its third quarter – for the 13 weeks to the end of September. Glynn Davis is a leading commentator on retail trends This has given the boss the confidence to continue to grow

75%

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Insight

Lunch, lunch, glorious lunch

T

Britain’s older consumers could support growth in eat-out lunch in future years with disruptive new trends and possibilities plainly evident, says Cyril Lavenant

he writer Douglas Adams is reputed to have said: “When people you greatly admire appear to be thinking deep thoughts, they probably are thinking about lunch.” The data we compile shows if you are a British consumer over the age of 50, you are part of a demographic that certainly has an appetite for eating that lunch out of home. Britain’s older consumers could support growth in eat-out lunch business in future years. There were one billion lunch visits out-ofhome (OOH) by the over-50 age group for the year ending July 2017, and this demographic spent £5.8bn on lunch during the year. Compared with year ending July 2008, the visits tally is up 6%, while total spend is up 12% (see Chart 1). Consumers over 50 can be expected to contribute to the growth of Britain’s food delivery revolution and could be a catalyst to the development of new food choices that are better suited to the needs of people as they grow older.

“The over-50s demographic in Britain will grow in size and become wealthier, more active and more experimental than previous generations” The over-50s demographic in Britain will grow in size and become wealthier, more active and more experimental than previous generations. For anybody running a business in Britain’s £54bn foodservice industry, there is a distinct “over-50s opportunity”. People in late

middle age and older will respond well to the innovative approach we see on Britain’s high streets to lunchtime eating. The over-50s represent an excellent target for the foodservice industry and will definitely play a bigger role in the growing popularity of eating lunch out of home.

Chart 1: Over-50s lunch for total out of home (millions) 5,835 5,315 YE Jul 16 YE Jul 17

Sales

Lunch is growing, especially lunch-to-go Is lunch a profitable daypart for foodservice operators? The answer is yes. The wider lunch occasion is already growing faster than the overall eat-out market. The four billion overall lunch visits (on-premise and off-premise combined) for year ending July 2017 were up 3% on the same period a year earlier (see Chart 2). This compares well with the lower but nevertheless resilient 0.6% visit growth seen in the total British OOH foodservice market in year ending July 2017. But the lunch-to-go segment (food consumed off the premises) is doing even better with 5% growth. The growing popularity of eating lunch-on-the-go could generate nearly 2.2 billion visits annually to foodservice operators by the end of 2019, an increase of 11% over the almost 2.0 billion visits recorded for year ending July 2017 (see Chart 3). Lunch-to-go could soon account for 53% of overall lunch visits and 19% of all OOH visits in Britain each year.

Visits

Modest or zero wage growth coupled with rising inflation has prompted many consumers to trade down from dinner, where we now see declining visits. Lunch, meanwhile, has strong appeal because it is affordable. It also offers high quality and an enormous choice of formats and cuisines, whether it is consumed on or off the premises. There is absolutely no doubt lunch is an increasingly relevant offer for consumers. Foodservice operators have also made their lunch products more attractive through timesaving technology such as contactless payment and click-and-collect apps.

Click-and-collect, the one to watch The click-and-collect market is small but growing quickly, accounting for 56 million quick-service restaurant (QSR) visits for year ending July 2017, up 11% on the same period a year earlier (see Chart 4). Click-andcollect at lunchtime appeals to consumers because it avoids the extra charge for ▲

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Insight there’s abundant evidence of 11,288 11,357 sophistication on British high streets. Foodservice operators have YE Jul 16 shown they fully YE Jul 17 understand the intense competition 3,872 3,766 in Britain’s foodservice industry and are disrupting and innovating to win new business. In Total Daypart Lunch the lunch market, top retailers and QSR chains, delivery. The average bill for a QSR lunch as well as smaller independents, are in Britain is £3.57 (year ending July 2017) increasingly responding to the demand for balanced eating by offering vegetarian but delivery can increase this significantly. and vegan choices, superfoods, organic Sophisticated new food trends products, reduced calories and sugar, as well as meat substitutes. They are also Lunch is interesting because it has meeting consumer expectations for new changed so much in recent years. If you tastes and experiences by using foods are looking for evidence of disruption in that are high in protein, antioxidants and the foodservice world, go out and look for Omega 3. it at lunchtime. These are big trends and I personally believe there are few industries today “Everybody should be where operators are showing such a thinking more about depth of understanding of new tastes lunch, especially the and new possibilities. Yes, the British consumer can still find a humble people who run the cheese sandwich on the high street or foodservice industry” a traditional cheeseburger – and I hope they continue to find those tried-andtested favourites for many years to come. Let’s turn again to Adams who, in The However, consumers who want to explore Restaurant at the End of the Universe, new types of food are also finding their wrote: “The history of every major galactic tastes are being catered to. What we are civilisation tends to pass through three seeing is the process of “disruption”. It’s distinct and recognisable phases, those everywhere in our foodservice industry of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication.” and it’s accelerating. He claimed if you hear the question “where shall we have lunch?” it is a Experimentation clear indication you have stumbled on a We are seeing convergence in tastes. galactic civilisation that has reached the Burgers, sushi, Thai, Lebanese and Italian Sophisticated phase. food are very different dishes but have I don’t think anybody would dispute one thing in common – they are all food

Chart 2

Chart 3: Lunch total out of home (000s) YE Jul 17 YE Dec 2019 Forecast

2,200

1,975

Visits

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many of us love to eat. There is a taste for experimentation and discovery, and in response the foodservice operators of all types – big or small, trendy or traditional – have tapped into what we want. A generation ago, it would have been difficult to find any foodservice outlet offering coconut or dates. We would not have heard of stevia – the naturally occurring zero-calorie sweetener. Few of us would have been thinking about a plate full of leafy greens, or superfruits such as goji berries, also known as wolf berries, or chia seeds, one of the most popular superfoods. You would probably have spent many wasted hours searching for quinoa, the wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. And if you had a penchant for seaweed, well… tough luck. But you can find all these foods on the high street today if you look hard enough. Even

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beverages have joined the trend. We have a bewildering variety of craft beer, birch and maple water, coconut and watermelon juice and juices made from beets.

Leisurely lunch Returning to the older demographic, United Nations data indicates that between 2015 and 2030 the number of people in the world aged 60 years and above will grow 56% from 901 million to 1.4 billion, and by 2050 the global population of older persons is projected to more than double, reaching almost 2.1 billion. In the UK, the proportion of people aged over 65 is projected to expand to almost a quarter of the population by 2045. In 1975, over-65s accounted for little more than 14% of the population and the Office for National Statistics predicts Britain will be Europe’s most populous country by 2050.

Chart 4: QSR visits (000s) 56,654

YE Jul 16 YE Jul 17

51,044

Click & Collect

That’s a big market of consumers, many of whom will hopefully have retired in rude health and with sufficient prosperity to eat out of home. Will those people eat superfoods, vegetarian dishes and vegan dishes? Will they order food that is made with sugar substitutes and meat substitutes? Will they be attracted by organic products and reduced calories? I believe the answer is yes – because tomorrow’s elderly consumers are precisely the ones who are driving today’s new trends and broadening the range of foods we can buy out of home. It is up to the foodservice operators to combine those ingredients into tasty and appealing dishes. That won’t be difficult because they are already doing exactly that. And what is the best time of day to take a light and leisurely meal? You guessed it – lunch. Everybody should be thinking more about lunch, especially the people who run the foodservice industry.

Cyril Lavenant is director of foodservice for the UK at NPD Group


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Opinion

Great opportunity lies in the ‘dustbin of demography’ A

year ago I wrote a piece on over-65s for Propel, falling straight into an old industry trap of talking about them as a single group. The “over-65s” has become an outmoded dustbin of demography, a lazy equivalent of “all others” – although in mostly young marketing departments it might also be a proxy for “don’t know”. It’s a classification that has been around forever but its continued use not only ignores all evidence of increasing longevity but also hides a valuable target market. It is easy to overlook just how dramatic the change in life expectancy has been in recent history. Women have always lived longer than men but when my grandfathers were born, around the start of the 20th century, male life expectancy was less than 50. For male babies born now it is 79.

Late boomers When the state pension was introduced in 1948, a 65-year-old could expect to enjoy it for 13 to 14 years. However, for “late boomers” who are now aged 65, life expectancy is 83 for

The industry is guilty of lumping 65 to 74-year-olds into the lazy equivalent of ‘all others’, says David Martin, and missing a valuable growing target market in the process

men and 86 for women. They can hope for 20 or so more years of pensionable income. Therefore, putting a 65-year-old into this data dead end makes little sense. Perhaps the planned move of the state pension age to 67 in 2028 will encourage some different thinking but for an out-of-home industry increasingly seeking scarce sources of growth, it’s surely time to open up a view on 65 to 74-year-olds.

Older workforce The 65 to 74 cohort is substantial in size, it’s growing in numbers, it is increasingly likely to remain active in the workplace, and it’s a significant segment in our market. Yet we typically hide them from view by lumping them in with the oldest people who are much less likely to go out to eat or drink. About 30 years ago, there were little more than five million 65 to 74-year-olds in the UK – now there are more than 6.5 million. In ten years there will be about half a million more, or a 9% increase. It’s an invaluable – and guaranteed – source of growth during what is looking like a difficult decade of post-Brexit adjustment. ▲

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Opinion Relatively few data sources acknowledge the difference between this age group and over75s, but two recent examples reveal something of their behaviour and attitude. Firstly, the Ofcom Communications Report, which shows almost eight-out-of-ten 65 to 74-year-olds have internet access at home, compared with little more than half of the 75-plus age group. Had those two age groups been bundled together, it would seem all over-65s are potentially hard to reach online. Then there is the Office for National Statistics’ Measuring National Wellbeing project. Whatever you think of its merits, it recently reported 65 to 74-year-olds have the highest levels of life satisfaction, the best ratings for feeling worthwhile, and the highest happiness ratings – a sound foundation for outof-home food and drink occasions. The 65-plus population is also increasingly involved in the labour force. Their employment rate has doubled since 2001, from 5% to 10%, and the numbers of them in employment has doubled since 2003. Recent work by financial services company Hargreaves Lansdown shows as many as one-in-nine women stop work after 70, double the level recorded as recently as 2012. For men, the equivalent figures are 15% today compared with 10% in 2012.

Post-Brexit In a post-Brexit environment where young migrant foodservice workers may be hard to find, 65 to 74-year-olds will merit a new perspective from HR, just as much as from the marketing department. But what is their value to our market? As already noted, most data sources don’t care to report on 65 to 74s. They are deemed uninteresting. However, using disaggregated data from CGA’s Brand Track survey, we can see the activity of this age band in the outof-home eating and drinking sector – and it crystallises the importance of viewing them differently, and discretely, from those aged at least 75. Using claimed frequency data from the Brand Track survey, we can estimate consumers aged 65 to 74 are likely to account for about 10% of all adult eating-out visits. This is about five times more than the traffic coming from those aged 75 and above. The 65 to 74 group also accounts for about one in ten out-of-home drinking visits; older consumers meanwhile unsurprisingly contribute a negligible share of market traffic. From the same CGA data source, and looking at estimated spending on out-of-home food and drink, 65 to 74-year-olds probably account for more than 10% of the total – about four times the level contributed by those aged at least 75. Put differently, 65 to 74-year-olds account for 55% of the UK’s 65-plus population but they account for about 80% of their eatingout occasions and 90% of their drinking-out occasions. Yet when they are conventionally hidden in data reporting, we risk overlooking them in our strategic and brand plans.

“In a post-Brexit environment where young migrant foodservice workers may be hard to find, 65 to 74-year-olds will merit a new perspective”

Old news For the grey-orientated pub dining market, these arguments are even more pertinent. Across the five largest pub restaurant brands,

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Brand Track data suggests 65 to 74-year-olds typically account for about 15% of diners in a six-month period – about five times the number of 75-plus diners they attract. It is old news to say the eating-out market has become oversupplied, and that one operator’s gains are another’s losses. In the metropolitan millennial market, the focus of so much industry development, it’s also worth noting a recent report from UK think-tank Resolution Foundation on spending across the generations. Amid many fascinating insights, it shows since 2000 our coveted 25 to 34 market has suffered constrained spending growth compared with other groups because of the effect of increasing housing costs – and this effect also applies to their spending on eating out. So here’s the real “old news” – there’s a financially favoured 65 to 74 population out there, one that may already account for 10% of market spending and that will add half a million consumers in the next decade. It will be a lucky operator who can afford to ignore them. But first, we’ve got to measure them.

David Martin is managing director of market and customer insight resource Red Circle


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Products

Propel’s Top Product Picks

Trail Smart checklists

Captive Media Whizzard screens Do people love your pub but not come back soon enough? Would you like everyone to remember their visit and tell friends about it? Well, look no further - Captive Media does that for publicans all over the world. While there are often unique touches in the Ladies, a trip to the Gents has been a more perfunctory affair - until now. Greeted by animated images of your pub’s brand and promotions on-screen, your guests will anticipate some light reading while spending a penny. And they’ll get more than they bargained for - because these screens are interactive - turning into pee-controlled video games when someone approaches. What happens on screen is magically controlled by aiming slightly left or right in the bowl. Fancy downhill skiing? Not a problem! Formula 1 racing - that’s covered. Shooting tanks … we’re working on that too! Reactions are always the same: “One of the best ideas I’ve ever seen - absolute genius!” “Awesome - it’s a man’s dream” “Funny, innovative - just a clever use of technology” And if you don’t believe us, then try-before-you-buy … no-one has ever looked back! Visit our website or get in touch to find out more.

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Premium Beverages Pago Premium Fruit Juice

As low margins and transient staff meet automation and the gig economy, the hospitality industry faces massive disruption. Old software and paper processes still drive operations at even the best service brands, but businesses must become more efficient to survive. Trail is a simple, smart checklist for service operations. It’s designed to guide teams through their day with repeat processes and automated integrations, delivering actions from finance through to compliance. Helping every site hit the same high standard, and driving profitability with everyday efficiency.

e: hello@trailsuite.com w: www.trailapp.com

Classeq Eau De Vie

Established over 125 years ago and now sold in over 30 countries. Pago's distinct green bottles delivers a unique and intense taste experience across 15 flavours. Across the mediterranean, Pago can be found in many premium hotels, cafe bars and restaurants. It's ideal for breakfast and lunch, as well as being a key ingredient for many cocktails. Flavours: Orange, Strawberry, Mango, Peach, Cloudy Cherry, Multi Tropical, ACE, Cranberry, Pear, Pink Grapefruit, Pineapple, Blackcurrant, Cloudy Apple, Tomato.

t: 01709 919345 w: www.pagofruitjuice.co.uk

Make more of water

Bizimply is an all-in-one employee management platform, designed specifically for hospitality and retail businesses. It allows businesses to manage scheduling, attendance, and day to day reporting across multiple locations in one easy to use platform. Managers can consolidate their day to day operations and owners can see all their business activity, all on one dashboard, using PC or smartphone. Bizimply helps customers save time, lower and maintain costs while improving employee engagement and business reporting across their entire organisation.

Leading sustainable water provider, Eau De Vie, has a range of innovative filtered water systems offering caterers a real opportunity to serve fresh, delicious, chilled still or sparkling water – and even boiling water - from one easy dispense point. No water miles, no storage, no wastage or single use plastic - just great tasting water! Demand for sustainable water is becoming an imperative. With Eau De Vie the profit potential can be significantly higher than with pre-bottled water – a win-win!

t: 0203 642 5644 w: www.bizimply.com

t: 01908 359000 w: www.eaudevie.com

Bizimply Employee management platform

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Products Lamb Weston Hash Brown Minis

DesignMyNight Collins Collins is a game-changing reservations and enquiry management tool, currently disrupting the casual dining industry. Pitching itself as the “everything solution”, Collins caters for real-time bookings, group bookings and private hires/dining. Not only does it have floorplan management and space-optimisation technology, it also has a full enquiry management suite, online deposits and no-show reducers, pre-ordering and allergen tools, a reservation email inbox and open API for 3rd party integrations. In just 3 years, over 1500 clients have already flocked to join Collins including the likes of Wahaca, Polpo, Honest Burgers, Dirty Bones, Young’s, Fuller’s and Mitchells & Butlers. Wahaca have said that “Collins is far beyond what any other product on the market can offer.” High praise indeed!

To encourage operators to shape up their breakfast menu, Lamb Weston extended its portfolio earlier in the year to include new ‘mini’ products. The Hash Brown Minis come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from rounds to potato puffs – all designed to inspire creativity. Rather than restricting their use to Full-English Breakfasts, Lamb Weston is urging chefs to utilise the minis in more inventive ways. To find out more about how to make the most of breakfast and breakfast trends, operators can download Lamb Weston’s The Future of Breakfast: An Insight Report 2017 https://www.lambweston.eu/ foodservice/uk/breakfast-best-friend

w: www.collinsbookings.com

e: collins@designmynight.com

Firefly™ Superfly’ Firefly™ has collaborated with global award-winning mixologist, Ryan Chetiyawardana (aka Mr Lyan) to launch ‘Superfly’. The innovative new flavour mixes aronia, grapefruit and redcurrant with botanicals of cascara, wormwood, angelica, kola nut and green coffee - creating a fruity, refreshing drink with a bittersweet finish. This (booze free) cocktail is best served long with a sprig of mint, or combined with your favourite spirit. (Ryan suggests gin or scotch in the first instance).

t: 0121 505 7585 e: hello@fireflydrinks.com w: www.fireflydrinks.com

w: www.lambweston.eu

Kegstar Kegs and Casks Kegstar rent kegs and casks to help free up producers time and money otherwise spent tracking, maintaining and collecting. Using app enabled technology (free to download from your app store) each of Kegstars containers are scanned with a smart device through the supply chain, creating valuable data along the way. All the producer needs to do is fill, deliver, scan, repeat. Clever kegs, great beers, happy drinkers!

APICBASE APIC Studio and APIC Manager

t: 0800 534 5000 w: www.kegstar.com

Following increased demand from pubs and bars for frozen cocktails, Vimto Out of Home has introduced a new product, FRŸST. Ed Jones, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, Vimto Out of Home, says: “Having frozen cocktails on tap offers a massive advantage, especially in high footfall bars. It requires minimum time and effort from bar staff, they simply pour the base spirit, add the frozen mix and serve.”FRŸST provides a range of best-selling cocktails, including Blue Lagoon, Strawberry Daquiri and Mojito.

APICBASE offers two products working seamlessly together. The first, the APIC Studio, is a cloud connected photo studio which allows you to take standardised high quality food pictures at the touch of a button. The second is APIC Manager, a visual food management platform managing everything from ingredients and recipes to menu, including automatic allergen tracking, food cost calculation, visual step-by-step methodologies. You can even communicate and support your team across multiple outlets direct from APICBASE. Discover all at get.apicbase.com

w: www.vimto.uk t: 0800 066 2133

w: get.apicbase.com

Vimto FRŸST

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Insight

Time to overhaul unfair tax system

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The issue of business rates will continue to be critical until we have a fair system of taxation that is internationally competitive and encourages investment, says ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls

he eating and drinking out sector is one of the most highly taxed in the UK economy, with the consequence it stifles potential for growth and the ability to employ more staff. With an everincreasing number of goods and services being traded online rather than through properties, there is a need for the tax system to keep speed. Business rates are a tax on property that is statutorily required to bring in the same amount of revenue each year in real terms, in other words an annual cash increase. While more money is being collected, fewer properties are now paying the tax. The reason for this is fairly obvious – a rapid move by business to online services. The clearest example is in retail but it’s also evident in banking, communications and other parts of our lives. This is no bad thing but it does ask questions of a tax that last underwent any significant reform in the early 1990s and is based solely on property.

“Pubs, clubs and restaurants have driven a renaissance across high streets that are now being damaged by increasing financial burdens. It is clear this situation can’t continue indefinitely” One of the main factors driving the switch away from high streets to online is the escalating cost of business rates. This year’s revaluation saw bigger increases for highstreet operators compared with digital businesses so more will look to leave the high street and perhaps cease trading from bricks and mortar altogether. So the cycle continues – more money needs to be raised from fewer properties leading companies to switch their business model so they’re not so reliant on a physical location. The status quo will simply see more and more taxation being taken from fewer and fewer businesses, which is ultimately unsustainable and unfair.

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The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has long been at the heart of the campaign to achieve meaningful reform of the business rates system. The government has committed to a root-and-branch review of this unfair and outdated system and the ALMR will be front and centre in that process to ensure it delivers the changes necessary for our sector to continue to thrive. Eating and drinking out is one of Britain’s most dynamic, innovative and resilient sectors. It has created one-inseven of all jobs and grown by more than 5% per annum since 2010. Pubs, clubs and restaurants have driven a renaissance across high streets that are now being damaged by increasing financial burdens. It is clear this situation can’t continue indefinitely without gouging the heart of Britain’s high streets for good. The ALMR has clearly outlined a compelling case for wholesale reform of the rates regime. The total rates bill for eating and drinking out businesses currently stands at £1.1bn. Businesses in our sector pay 4.5% of the total liability yet account for only 1.1% of turnover. This works out as an overpayment of £890m every year.

Tough to sustain With further increases planned in the coming years, this will be difficult for many operators to sustain and – at an uncertain time and with inflationary input cost pressures – the situation is due to get even tougher. Analysis by the ALMR shows the sector faces a significant jump in bills in April because the first-year relief for larger premises was limited to 42% and then a further 35% of the increase goes through in 2018. While many operators will be aware of this and have planned for bill increases, the planned Retail Price Index increase of 3.9% effectively adds almost £100m in costs for pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants. As well as bearing the brunt of further business rates and duty increases, other regulatory measures such as National Living Wage rises, pension autoenrolment and the Apprenticeship Levy will have a particular impact on eating

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and drinking out businesses as they are people-intensive businesses. It is widely accepted many of these businesses will need to see sales growth of 4% to 5% in 2018 just to stand still, which is unlikely to be sustainable across the whole sector. Transitional and pub-specific relief is welcome and recognises the unique challenges and pressures the sector faces. However, it is little more than a sticking plaster and the majority of operators still haven’t received what they are entitled to because local authorities have been slow to act. The unique way pubs are rated – on a turnover basis – means any capital investment that helps generate greater additional turnover is effectively penalised by a higher business rates bill. As property-based businesses, pubs cannot move online and, by their very nature, are inefficient users of space. Fundamental reform is required with the goal to have a system that allows for a fairer distribution of the business tax burden across a rapidly changing economy. The system should incentivise businesses that invest in and improve properties. Reform must also make it more straightforward to appeal against rates valuations and speed the appeals process. Too often operators are forced to wait years to have their disputes resolved. This issue is not going away. Business rates will continue to be critical until we have a fair system of taxation that is internationally competitive and encourages investment. The campaign for rates reform highlights the importance of having our vibrant sector reflected in the machinery of government. Issues critical to the sector straddle a number of different government departments, encompassing employment, planning, taxation, food and drink, tourism and more. There is a genuine need for all these to be considered holistically to help promote a consolidated approach by government and better engagement with business.

Kate Nicholls is chief executive of the ALMR, the leading voice for the eating and drinking out sector


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Crisps as they should taste.

Winners of 37 Great Taste Awards since 2007

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Insight

Keep your company fighting fit Leaders should be planning for future brand relevance while managing the short-term economic challenges, says Ian Dunstall

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any hospitality leaders will be directing a siege mentality as they deal with the immediate implications of subdued demand and raging cost pressures. But as companies endure the short-term pain of boot camp, they must be prepared to get fighting fit for the next stage of the battle. The Zurich foodservice conference – where, incidentally, European operators seemed bullish about current demand growth – highlighted the magnitude of consumer change society is currently experiencing. We are apparently entering the fourth industrial revolution, driven by accelerated technological innovation. For those interested, the original Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanise production, the second used electric power to create mass production, while the third used electronics and IT to automate production. However, it is the speed of transformation we must now adapt to. In the first industrial revolution, it took almost 100 years for society to adapt to change. We currently need to prepare to manage equivalent scale of transformation to our lives and businesses within a couple of decades. Let’s remind ourselves of the recent impacts of technological change that have fundamentally disrupted the market place, albeit with over-used examples. Amazon is having a transformational impact on the retail high street; advertising media is now dominated by Google and Facebook; Apple has inadvertently become the largest watch manufacturer; and Tesla’s market capitalisation exceeds Ford.

“(Younger generations) are much less loyal to established behaviour so as an employer or brand, expect them to switch much more readily than previous generations” Other technology companies are still in the early stages of market disruption, with some inevitable growing pains (principally around the human interface). However, their ambition is clear – Uber wants to make cars so easy and cheap personal ownership will be considered an expensive irrelevance, while Deliveroo and others are transforming the home delivery market for restaurantquality meals. Both these sectors will be further transformed

as it seems inevitable driverless vehicle technology will become available, cutting the cost and potential disruption humans cause these businesses. These disruptive elements are also having an impact on how customers view the restaurant industry. Amazon customers are being taught to be intolerant of retail inefficiency. Why go through the hassle of a shopping experience that can often disappoint – struggling to find the exact product you’re looking for, queuing for payment, tolerating mediocre service assistance, and battling through traffic laden with heavy bags – when you can instantly find the product you want online, pay for it in seconds and have it delivered to your door – often in less than 24 hours? This “intolerance” will rub off on consumers’ attitudes regarding the restaurant experience.

Survival mode So as we spend the next months in short-term economic survival mode, what challenges need to be planned for as the restaurant sector experiences comparable levels of market disruption that other sectors are already witnessing? The younger generations are our future key customers and are entering the consumer market with different expectation levels. They start with a stronger sense of entitlement and a need for self-fulfilment. They are much less loyal to established behaviour so as an employer or brand, expect them to switch much more readily than previous generations. However, they have a stronger sense of ethics regarding the state of the world, which will impact on their views of supply chain origin and sourcing. Economic reality is also changing their attitudes to ownership, especially of big-ticket items such as homes or cars. They more readily accept the concept of renting or sharing and are putting a higher priority on the purchase of experiences rather than consumer products. Given the social norm to share their lives online, their restaurant visit needs to be fuelled by ▲

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Insight photogenic experiences they can post. There will be an everincreasing focus on creating an experience for the guest – they want an experience to share with their community (both present and virtual). We need to design our restaurants as a holistic experience amplified by the combination of technology, product, service and atmosphere.

“Chef robots have the potential to impact on the quality, speed and cost of kitchen labour”

Technology investment Within foodservice, technology investment will become increasingly important. Currently, the strongest guest-facing impact can be seen in the delivery or quick-service sectors – for example, Domino’s digital ordering and McDonald’s order-and-pay kiosks – but this will inevitably accelerate. Online ordering and digital payment options are becoming more of the norm in the casual dining market. Most brands have already invested to some degree in digital, social, mobile, loyalty and CRM marketing areas, but the reality is these platforms need to be constantly upgraded to keep up with market expectations. You can add to that the back-ofhouse emergence of “chef robots”, with the potential for technology to have an impact on the quality, speed and cost of kitchen labour. Service models will also evolve – guests will become increasingly intolerant of any service mediocrity. Technology can play a supporting role in removing service delay barriers. The question of post-Brexit labour availability remains unresolved and the unit cost of labour will increase as the political and social expectations for fair pay continue to grow.

“The concepts that achieve scale growth generally have a clear proposition, a quality food offer and an attractive atmosphere, which consequently attracts some of the brightest service personalities into their employment”

Menus will continue to shift towards healthy options. Health and lifestyle will become increasingly important as guests (and politicians) adjust to the reality that working lives are increasingly sedentary and therefore we need to balance our consumption. Reduced alcohol consumption is already evident, while sugar taxes are launching and, generally, “freshness” is becoming increasingly important in guest expectations.

The ‘new oil’ A key theme of the Zurich conference was the power of data – “the new oil”. Other sectors are adopting the power of “big data”, a combination of enhanced modern computing capacity and the ability to track consumers’ activities and movements via their mobile phones and electronic payments. This allows brands to capture and analyse all aspects of guest behaviour to understand and influence guests’ buying preferences and activity. In our sector it’s currently the food delivery technology companies that are the leading data aggregators. The impact of big data collection and analytics, and the networks that companies form to share and interrogate their consumers’ behaviour, will become increasingly important. Capital expansion will clearly calm in the next year but the reality of recent times is of strong cannibalisation with supply

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expansion outstripping demand growth. There are more than 20 restaurant brands that have been created and achieved significant scale expansion in the past decade. Inevitably, these shiny new toys attract other operators’ existing customers. The concepts that achieve scale growth generally have a clear proposition, a quality food offer and an attractive atmosphere, which consequently attracts some of the brightest service personalities into their employment. The reality for many established brands is there is almost a dis-economy of size when it comes to effective evolution – it’s expensive to transform an established scale brand with an ageing estate. There is a reality that many brands have, over time, sought to engineer the menu margin and labour efficiency for short-term profit – so reinvestment is challenging. And even with the best intentions, achieving transformational change in largerscale brands is time-consuming and disruptive. We continue to live in challenging times. There are some strong short-term economic headwinds that need effective management now but you can’t lose focus on navigating the disruptive market challenges ahead to ensure your brand increases its future relevance to guest needs and exploits the advantages that change creates.

Ian Dunstall is a brand consultant advising hospitality businesses on brand strategy and development. He has a strong legacy of success, including startup brands and brand revitalisation

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Advertising Feature

What’s Trending in Mustard Foods’ Kitchen

Keeping up with the trends, from products to produce, the healthy to the decadent, Mustard Foods gives the lowdown on the hottest UK trends. Catering to 30 growing restaurant groups across 500+ sites in the UK and Europe, we dish out for today’s tastes, rather than what might be or has trended.

1 The rise of goat

3 Meat alternatives and the trend away

Goat meat is much healthier and leaner than other meats with a mild taste that pairs well with both spicy and sour flavours. It is a staple in many parts of the world and could be considered ethical. We buy our goat meat from James Whetlor founder of Cabrito. Dan Pearson, Mustard Foods’ head of food development, explained: “All Cabrito kids are a by-product of the dairy industry and would have in the past been euthanized shortly after birth. In a world of dwindling resources and rising food prices Cabrito believe this cannot be justified. They now have a network of farms producing high quality meat from a previously wasted resource.” As passionate foodies, we at Mustard Foods would never recommend something which wasn’t worthwhile and tasty and although people often expect to hate it, they try it and love it. Its versatility through different cultures makes it widely appealing and it is just at home in the tandoori oven, Argentinean barbeque, Caribbean Jerk Goat, or as a roast leg for traditional Sunday lunch.

Mustard Food has embraced meat free Mondays. Livestock production is a major contributor to carbon emissions as meat production accounts for an estimated 18% of global greenhouse emissions and 70% of the world’s water. Oscar winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio recently announced he has invested in ‘Beyond Meat’, a Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat. Ethical. Healthier. Sustainable.

2 Dairy alternatives / Dairy free / Free from Free-from foods are a fast-growing market with caterers needing to serve gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan; but - overall - healthy food as standard. Millennials are driving the trend with a growing demand for healthier and cleaner food, for reasons ranging from the rising tide of food-implicated medical conditions to general wellbeing and ethical as well as environmental considerations. From Red Tractor-assured meat, sustainable fish and freshly cooked food with no trans fats or controversial additives, many are interested in the calorific and macronutrient breakdown of the menus or dishes. Pearson stated: “We can develop recipes and tweak them until they reach a target and make sure there are no ‘reds’ while also keeping calorific values down to an acceptable level.”

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4 Request for all things Vegan Vegan is a growing trend around the world and has seen a 90% increase in Google searches. Veguanary – launched in 2014 – encourages people to go meat free for January with 100,000 expected to participate in 2018 - up from 23,000 in 2016. In today’s markets customers prefer to have vegan rather than just vegetarian offerings. One of many ways Mustard Foods accommodated and reacted to the changing need was to have vegan Thai pastes made in Thailand - specifically for us - that allow our customers the flexibility to offer vegan curries as well as those with the traditional meat.

5 Food waste At Mustard Foods we work with a company called Refood, who handle all our food waste, reusing it to make green energy thanks to a unique end-to-end solution. All of our ingredients are pre-prepped which means we use everything that is delivered and our Good Business Journey, which is measurable, makes us accountable to our targets - our food waste target is 3% of total food produced. This is currently about 5 tonnes per day of which at least 1% is from staff food. Our employees are fed onsite in our canteen and we serve four meals over a 24-hour period with fruit available at all times.

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Advertising Feature

Mustard Foods Heritage The Mustard Group was founded in 1974. In the nineties Mustard Catering, led by Glynn Woodin, revolutionised London’s high-end catering sector and took Mustard to the top, catering at venues across London, including The Royal Academy, The Wallace Collection and the V&A. In the mid-2000s, the casual dining sector began to change. Growing restaurant groups needed strategic food partners with development, advisory and production facilities to support their growth and by 2009, with the establishment of Mustard Foods, Mustard had started supplying a select group of London restaurants. The essence of what made Mustard great in the eighties and nineties remains core to Mustard Foods today: quality, consistency, and integrity. James Robins, Managing Director, and Glynn Woodin, Chairman, have been with Mustard for a combined 60-plus years.

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Insight

Headwinds? Be smarter and tougher! A

recent CGA Leader Survey established only 34% of leaders in the UK pub and restaurants industry were “optimistic about the out-of-home market” during the next 12 months – down from 43% last year. More worrying, only 19% of leading businesses outside the M25 were optimistic. Why? At my Inspirational Leadership Masterclass earlier this year, I highlighted the headwinds buffeting the industry that I termed the “5 Cs” – higher input COSTS (goods, rates, rents and wage inflation); lack of CAPABILITY (labour scarcity, particularly in kitchens); CONSUMER confidence (static or declining discretionary spend); too much CAPACITY (a lot of space, not enough customers); and CONCEPT fatigue (dud brands ranked third or fourth in their respective categories that will go bust). Whatever the causes – Brexit, government intervention, inflation, overexuberance, on-line interlopers – the reality is leaders will face a huge challenge growing or stabilising their businesses during the next few years, particularly in the “soft middle” of the industry. So what must leaders do NOW? In order to win, they have to get SMARTER and TOUGHER. How? In 2014 Dave Lewis assumed the chief executive role at Tesco at a time of immense turbulence. For years the company had pursued costly international ambitions while milking its UK business, resulting in a 30% price gap between itself and the hard discounters. After

a series of missteps, it had lost its customers’ trust. Sales and customer traffic were down, online competitors were ravaging non-food and – in order to “hit the numbers” – the books were (allegedly) being cooked. Its market share had declined from 32% to 29%. However, three years on and Tesco has restored its dividend – like-for-like sales are up 3.7%, profits up to £600m (from £71m), footfall up 4.8%! So how did Dave do it? By being SMARTER and TOUGHER.

Chris Edger looks at how the out-of-home sector can learn from Dave Lewis’ Tesco turnaround

SMARTER! ➤ Smarter Positioning: Tesco refocused on its core UK food business, reconnecting with customers through “food love stories” and rediscovering its “value-led credentials” ➤ Smarter Sourcing: It slashed product ranges, reducing its supplier base, focusing on products and categories that customers craved ➤ Smarter Pricing: Tesco invested in price, closing the gap with the hard discounters to about 15% by ditching “hi-lo” and adopting a transparent EDLP (everyday low price) strategy on key staples ➤ Smarter Promotions: It rewarded “loyals” through extra clubcard points and targeted “food love story” offers ▲

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Insight ➤ Tougher on the Balance Sheet: In the past the company had taken on debt to fuel international expansion. In 2014, this stood eye-wateringly high at £6.6bn! To improve its gearing, valuable overseas assets – such as the South Korean business sold for £4bn in 2015 – were hived off. Also, non-core hospitality brands such as Giraffe and Harris & Hoole were disposed of and, in 2017, a revaluation of its pensions (using a more “realistic” method of assessing liabilities) trimmed the fund’s deficit from £5.5bn to £2.4bn

Dave Lewis, chief executive of Tesco

➤ Tougher on Competitors: Having shaped the supermarket retail market during the 1990s through superb customercentricity, Tesco had become sclerotic and inwardly focused. Now it had to catch up with current trends and hammer the competition. Its £3.7bn bid for Booker – an audacious bid to capture a large slice of the out-of-home catering market (vehemently opposed across the industry) – shows its determination to return to first-mover “shaper” status

➤ Smarter Processes: For years, Tesco had been hampered by hierarchy, bureaucracy and slow decision-making processes. Lewis reshaped the organisation, devolving greater power and influence to store managers, boosting their self-confidence, morale and capacity to concentrate on growing staff engagement and customer satisfaction ➤ Smarter Investment: Underinvestment and lack of imagination had rendered Tesco stores drab and soulless – new “sparkle” investments focused on instilling “personality” and colour

TOUGHER! ➤ Tougher on Poor Behaviour: In the past, Tesco was famed for being “tough” and arrogant – particularly with key stakeholders (suppliers, local communities, media, shareholders etc.) It now had to become more collaborative while being tougher on the things that mattered!

“Tesco refocused on its core UK food business, reconnecting with customers through ‘food love stories’ and rediscovering its value-led credentials”

➤ Tougher on Central Costs: In order to regain competiveness, Tesco had to reduce its cost base. In the past it might have reviewed front-line labour – this time it cut hard and deep at the centre axing hundreds of highly-paid “functional” jobs ➤ Tougher on the Tail: For too long the tail had been consuming management time. Tesco never shut stores! In 2015 it announced 43 store closures and the “mothballing” of several new projects

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Although it remains unclear whether Tesco can maintain its momentum, there is no disputing the fact that – by being SMARTER and TOUGHER – Lewis has effected a turnaround that has confounded the sceptics, who began writing the company’s obituary in 2014. People want to work for Tesco again and those that are there feel proud to do so! In June, Tesco won the Grocer Gold Award for “Britain’s favourite supermarket” and in October Tesco Hospitality won the National Café Chain of the Year Award! But what lessons can leaders from within our industry draw from Lewis’ Tesco revival? In essence our leaders – facing a “bear market” after seven years of a “bull run” need to be SMARTER and TOUGHER. They must carve out smarter positioning (clarity and differentiation), pursue smarter sourcing (quality and value customers crave), adopt smarter pricing (transparent and “keen”), deploy smarter promotions (reward loyals), create smarter processes (“cut the crap”) and invest smarter (bigger bang for bucks). At the same time they need to get tougher on the key priorities (focus on the “must do” rather than “nice to do”), tougher on central costs (invest in the front line while fiercely reducing central bureaucracy), tougher on the tail (unsentimentally cull the estate), tougher on balance sheets (dispose of non-core assets to reduce debt) and tougher on the competition (look outwardly, search out and exploit key trends). Those that do will survive and prosper. Those that don’t will perish!

Professor Chris Edger is a leadership author, speaker and coach and author of Inspirational Leadership with Tony Hughes


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Conference Overview

Night bites

Martin Cooper takes a look at just some of the stories to emerge from this year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, which took place at Bafta, Piccadilly, followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards for bar and nightclub operators at Cafe de Paris.

Aaron Mellor Immersive theatre is the future rather than superstar DJs, Impossible Manchester was almost mission impossible Entrepreneur Aaron Mellor, who runs the largest private estate of bars and nightclubs in the UK, a portfolio of 36 sites under the Tokyo Industries banner, told the Bar and Nightclub Conference immersive theatre is the future rather than superstar DJs. Mellor said its Impossible Manchester venue, which got its name because it was "pretty much impossible to develop", was originally going to be a second site for the company’s Tup Tup Palace, which had proved a success in Newcastle, with a Brewhaus site upstairs. However, while Mellor was involved in setting up Heart in Ibiza, he decided to change its entertainment away from “superstar DJs” towards more “immersive artists”. Speaking alongside Tokyo Industries operations consultant Paul Gourlay, Mellor said: “In Ibiza, we deliberately decided to go against the whole ‘superstar DJ’ mechanic. In the UK, the superstar DJs have got superstar agents and superstar invoices, and you just can’t get that money back. Whilst certain sites remain headlined by the ‘superstar DJ’, that can not longer work in smaller venues, we are leaning to ‘immersive acts and performers’ to deliver the guest experiential that ‘superstar DJs’ previously filled.” Impossible Manchester now consists of what Mellor calls a “trilogy of three different spaces” that trade throughout the day.

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Dayparts are served by a bar restaurant with its own Impossible Taco Shack and full-service kitchen, while upstairs is a secret “gin nest” – Ginpossible – with 150 gins and a cryogenic freezing chamber. In the basement is a 550-capacity theatre space – Theatre Of Impossible – that launched in September. Mellor said: “It would have been a lot easier to have done a Tup Tup Palace and an RnB bottle service club and we’d probably have smashed it out the park. It’s ten times harder and ten times more expensive but, for me, it’s what we should be doing. We’re really involved in this now, moving away from DJs and into this immersive theatre idea – and that for me is super important.” Impossible Manchester, which launched in the summer, won best new venue at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ latenight awards – but it nearly did not get off the ground.

“We deliberately decided to go against the whole ‘superstar DJ’ mechanic. In the UK, the superstar DJs have got superstar agents and superstar invoices, and you just can’t get that money back” Mellor added: “It’s called Impossible because it was pretty much impossible to develop – it took almost two-and-a-half years. Almost as soon as we signed a lease on the site, which is in probably Manchester’s coolest street, Peter Street, the freehold was sold to a new developer, which thought the site was empty. The company was looking to build a 30-storey tower block without realising we’d taken a 25-year lease on the site it was going to sit on. We got involved with some interesting discussions about perhaps running a boutique hotel or Shoreditch House-style venue with rooftop terrace. That all fell by the wayside with planning, water penetration and landlord problems so we started calling the site the ‘house of a million possible problems’.” Mellor’s next project will be to open a Los Angeles nightclub in the first quarter of 2018. ▲

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Conference Overview

Scott Matthews Regional growth was always part of Dirty Martini strategy, says chief executive Scott Matthews, potential for more than 50 sites across UK CG Restaurants chief executive Scott Matthews told conference attendees regional growth was always part of the strategy for its Dirty Martini brand, with a potential for more than 50 sites across the country. Matthew said the “real light bulb moment” came when the company decided to generate a “ data heat map” to pinpoint where many of its customers lived, leading to a first Dirty Martini outside the City and West End, in Islington. He said: “We secured a smaller site compared with our others, 200 capacity, in a residential area, with a smaller team and much lower cost base. This became a template for Dirty Martini and showed a great opportunity for us in those sort of areas. This (success) gave us great confidence to spread our wings outside London and regional growth was always part of our strategy. Wales being my homeland, I knew Cardiff really well. We secured a perfect site in St Mary Street, near the stadium and station, really in the thick of it regarding footfall. We delivered 12,000 pre-booked covers in the first ten weeks of trading and 40,000 in the first six months, which for us was a really great result. This gave us the assurance that continued regional expansion was the next step.”

“Our target has always been to achieve 20 sites by 2020 and a turnover of £30m, which we believe we are on track to deliver” Dirty Martini’s success in Cardiff has led to a regional roll-out, with sites opening in Leeds and Manchester in November and a third launching in Birmingham in early February. The increase in staff members – the three openings will create 100 jobs – has also led the company to beef up its head office by employing a new head of HR and senior training manager, and creating a recruitment manager role to support the new openings. Matthew said the Manchester site received more than 400 job applications in the first three days. Regarding the future of Dirty Martini, Matthews said: “Our target has always been to achieve 20 sites by 2020 and a turnover of £30m, which we believe we are on track to deliver. Long-term, after completing brand research with Elliotts agency and working closely with CACI on location finding, we believe conservatively we have the potential to open more than 50 sites across the country.”

Peter Marks UK’s night-time industry faces conundrum of balancing entertainment costs, says Deltic Group chief Peter Marks, chief executive of The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, told attendees one of the biggest conundrums the UK’s night-time industry faces is that of balancing entertainment costs against sales. He said consumers wanted “more and more and more” but companies “couldn’t pass on costs”. Quoting analyst Mark Brumby, who said the fundamental thing about experience was “it’s all well and good to spend money on experience but you’re making your money out of food, drinks and admission charges”, Marks said: “The conundrum for me is the consumer wants more and more and more – I get it – and there are competitive pressures around the more and more and more. The Deltic Group is spending £2m on entertainment this year (up from £1.4m the previous year). We can’t pass that cost on so somewhere we’ve got to get that balance right. I always like to look for 20p in every £1 being profit. The reason? I then need to spend another 5p on my head office, another 5p on reinvestment and a further 5p on paying for finance. As a sector, 15 years ago we would have been making probably 30p in the pound but we’d be doing a lot more refurbishments. The Deltic Group at the end of this year will probably end up around 17p or 18p and that’s quite common these days, but we’re at that equilibrium now where we can’t keep throwing entertainment in. We can’t put prices up because it would appear consumers are going to be put off. Yes, experience is important but you can’t be ‘betting the farm’ and end up slowly sinking without trace because you haven’t got money to pay for a refurbishment or pay the bank back.” Propel managing director Paul Charity asked Marks that with Deltic’s predicted spend on entertainment this year rising 50% and with like-for-likes up 3.8% during the period, where had the company found the extra money? Marks replied: “In simple terms, more sales. We’re a very different business to the guys running the US businesses (large Las Vegas nightclubs) – that’s in another league. We’re up against bars and private operators in this country and we’ve got deeper pockets than most. Our business doesn’t rely on entertainment but we think it’s an important part of making us stand aside from the bars and gives us the USP.” ▲

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Conference Overview

Panel Session with Kate Nicholls The Bar & Nightclub Conference also featured a panel session about the trading and regulatory regime, hosted by ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls and featuring John Gaunt, of John Gaunt Solicitors; Novus chief executive Toby Smith; Arc Inspirations managing director Anni Opong; Sugar Hut chief executive Terry Pullen; David Wilson, of Best Bar None and the British Beer and Pub Association; and Rommel Moseley, director of business development and partnerships at Drinkaware. KN: We hear a lot about competitive challenges and costs the industry is facing, particularly food inflation and softening consumer demand. Has the late-night industry suffered pressure to the same extent? Is the model still robust or has it become stretched to breaking point?

spending as much. Is that something you’ve seen in the student market? TS: Students are changing. As soon as they arrive they’ve got a huge invoice over their head from tuition fees, which is tough on them. We’ve noticed they may drink the same volume but the amount they spend is less so they’re much more aware of brands, they’re more health-conscious. While they may spend £25 to £30 on a night out, that might be restricted to three drinks of a superior quality served in a certain way rather than eight drinks that are £3.50 each. We’ve had to work really hard to change our product and the knowledge of our teams to meet that expectation. And that’s not restricted to students, but generally all our late-night customers.

TS: I don’t think it’s immune, that’s for sure. We’ve particularly KN: Rommel, as you’re providing information services seen it in the West End. One of the things you get if you to those young people and working with clubs and operate in Zone 1 is that whatever the cost pressures are late-night bars with Drinkaware crew to deal with the UK-wide, you can guarantee you’ll get it in Zone 1 and it will after-effect of over-indulgence, are you seeing any change be times four or five. So when people talk about, for instance, in the market place? rates increases, you can’t work in the bubble in the West End and expect to be immune. Rates were a bit of a surprise to RM: We’re starting to see awareness in young people of others us at Novus but we were prepared for it, spending 15 months being vulnerable from their nights out, with our UK-wide getting ready. Perhaps the one we didn’t see coming was research showing 44% have experienced sexual harassment Brexit. Within six weeks of the result we saw food on a night out, even though they’re not drinking to cost price increases, which was tough on us or the levels they used to. They’re starting to see opportunistic by the suppliers, whichever way that a great night out is at a venue that looks “While (students) after them. you want to look at it. It has been pretty tough but, having said that, we prepared may spend £25 to £30 KN: John. All this talk of cost pressures well in advance so I was surprised to read on a night out, that might and the investment the industry is in the trade press about companies being making, are you seeing that recognised be restricted to three drinks caught unawares. by local authorities when operators apply of a superior quality served for licences and a greater understanding KN: Arc Inspirations trades outside in a certain way rather and appreciation of their business case? London, how is the feeling outside than eight drinks that the capital? Is trade holding up in the JG: I’d like to think there is greater are £3.50 each” company’s areas (Harrogate, Leeds and enlightenment but it’s very patchy. Things Manchester)? like Business Improvement Districts educate AO: It’s tough at the moment but at Arc Inspirations we spend so much time analysing the business, we’re prepared for it. We analyse our profit and loss statements weekly and, even if footfall is down, I believe we make more money from those guests we get through our doors than those we hope we can get. We spend a lot of time training our teams to upsell and exercises where we train our teams to make sure they are serving fast enough to make sure the spend per head is not £5, £10 or £20 – it’s £40. It’s all about preparation. KN: Is that an issue affecting Sugar Hut in terms of regional trade? TP: The key thing for us is we keep our brand perception at a high value. For the people who come to us, spending isn’t an issue – it’s champagne for the weekend. They may be multimillionaires, they may be postmen, the way we package what we do, especially with table service, is give them a special experience whoever they are. If it’s once a month, guests would sooner enjoy a special experience less often and spend £100 a head. From our perspective, the key thing is we offer that experience. KN: Toby, we’ve seen figures showing frequency of going out has fallen among all age groups except younger people, for whom frequency hasn’t dropped but they aren’t necessarily

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councils to a certain extent. Councils are encouraged in the guidance to look at the effect of what they’re doing on operators, but you try and sell that to a councillor who doesn’t like what they’re facing. KN: David. In your position at the BBPA, campaigning against some of the restrictive legislation, are you seeing any sea change in attitude? DW: Change is slow to come. There is a lag between what the operators are doing and public policy, which has yet to catch up. The challenge for us all is to highlight how crucial this industry is to our towns and cities around the country. I think there are opportunities too with devolution, our new metro mayors. Among them are potentially those who will champion their city and night-time economy if we can make that process work. KN: Toby. In these times, does it become ever-more important to invest in local community initiatives and partnerships to protect the business and licence? TS: It’s a constant in our operational lives. You have to get the balance right between opening late, selling alcohol and creating a great experience involving high spirits, dancing and music but equally in a safe environment. That’s a tricky balance for every operator. The good operators need the support of the local authorities and vice-versa.

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com


10 key questions about your online booking technology In the Big Data age, it’s easy to see technology as a miracle solution for everything. But ‘technology’ is a broad term, and not all gizmos and gadgets will benefit your hospitality business. In fact, some can disrupt your operations and bite into your profits. So how do you know which reservation systems will drive your hospitality business forward, and which will tie one hand behind your back?

1. Do you have sole ownership of your customer data? Customer data should be 100% yours, but some third-party booking platforms will keep this data for their own purposes – such as recommending rival venues to your customers!

6. Can the table management system link to your EPoS system in order to reduce operational duplication? Integration means information around walk-ins or changes to existing bookings are automatically shared across your whole system.

2. Is there a per cover fee in addition to the monthly fee? Some booking platforms will charge you a hefty commission for each reservation they send your way, resulting in a nasty surprise at the end of the month.

7. Can it deal with walk-ins, wait lists & online bookings? Your system should give you real-time, in-session data on current diners and combine it with the average table time to give a clear and accurate view on when the next table will become available.

3. Can your tables be easily booked on all kinds of devices such as iPhones and tablets? If your booking platform isn’t optimised for mobile, almost twothirds of browsers will give up and look elsewhere.

8. Can reservation & EPoS data be combined to give a clear picture of customer behaviour, preferences, and spend? The more your systems talk to each other, the more valuable that data is for you, allowing you to build up a comprehensive snapshot of each individual and create personal marketing offers.

4. Can the system generate personalised communications? When you send offers according to your customers’ traits and preferences, they’ll feel like your venue is a perfect match for them and return again and again. 5. Can the system monitor campaign conversion rates? Stop relying on guesswork. Your systems should be able to talk to each other and share data, clearly showing you whether a campaign was successful or not.

9. Does the online booking widget reflect real-time ability? The right technology should automatically update availability in an instant, so that any cancellations or amended reservations show in the system for rebooking immediately. 10. Is it white-label & customisable, or branded & inflexible? You want your customers to enjoy a seamless experience when they engage with your venue; and that means brand consistency and familiarity with no intrusive third-party logos.

Make sure your technology always works in your best interests. Discover more about how getting the right systems in place can boost your profits and improve your operations.

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Feature

Dusk ’til Dawn

late night awards in pictures Monday, 9 October 2017 3 Coventry Street, London W1D 6BL

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Insight

The millennial problem James Hacon stands up for his fellow millennials and says the sector needs to make the working environment a place where they feel most productive and comfortable

M

illennial employees are entitled, have no loyalty, be based in your office, perhaps it’s better for your marketing no work ethic and are self-absorbed. These are the team to be working remotely, getting into sites more often. go-to phrases banded around our industry about the In fact, they don’t even need to be based in this country, largest percentage of our workforce and, as a proud remote working is alive and kicking in our sector. I know of one millennial, I feel the need to bring a different point of view to large restaurant group whose creative director is based on the the conversation. other side of the Atlantic, another where their designer is in New Like many, I subscribe to the school of thought that life’s too Zealand and, at Thai Leisure Group, our marketing assistant short not to experience it every day. I’ve watched my dad work travelled across Australia and Thailand for three months while his whole career with one holiday a year and that’s not what me continuing to manage our social media. The flexibility and or my generation are going to do. I travel regularly and make use changing models shouldn’t be exclusive to marketing or headof every day off or holiday allocation. The experience economy office functions, there are learnings to be had for the whole has been driven by a generation who are chomping at the bit to business, including operations. try something new and go somewhere different. This has, in part, Looking beyond the sector, accountancy firm PwC has driven the boom in our industry. No more wasting time making a introduced a raft of measures to meet the demands of the changing packed lunch to take to the office – grab a meal deal on the go. employment landscape to attract and retain millennials, who represent 80% of their global workforce. These initiatives include flex No more wasting time doing the dishes – eat out! days, with an employee able to work their allotted hours in four In September, an industry dinner debate erupted over days rather than five, programmes to regularly change the challenge of hiring for marketing positions, the locations within their career, and an ability to take spark for this article, truth be told. The challenge extended holidays or sabbaticals. “The way we discussed was how marketing applicants Returning to the hospitality sector and the don’t fit in the box they’re meant to any people work will diffi culty regarding chef recruitment, we’ve more. They want flexibility, to continue continue to change with already seen many businesses change their their successful blog or keep working their an increase in portfolio model to a four-day working week in the freelance gig on the side. It seems that working, where an kitchen. This kind of thinking is exactly for many organisations these requests are what’s needed in the modern workplace. individual will have one step too far. They think the applicant Given the very nature of trading, with peaks should be working full-time exclusively for multiple smaller income at the weekend, it is clearly an easy win for the one business, coming into the office at streams, giving most operators. With the heavy staff turnover nine each morning and, as part of their right them more the industry is renowned for, the idea of of passage, putting in the hard graft doing all flexibility” guaranteeing a job for when someone returns those grotty jobs. from travel is unlikely to be a problem, nor the These two mindsets don’t gel – but something idea of swapping locations to give people broader has to give. The way people work will continue to experiences inside and outside work. change with an increase in portfolio working, where an In operations, it strikes me that for the most part we’ve been individual will have multiple smaller income streams, giving them working to the same basic structure for more than a decade, more flexibility. The gig economy we hear so much about on with pressure applied from the increasing living wage, pension news programmes is here to stay, albeit with some tweaks. contributions, and apprenticeship levy. Perhaps it’s time for some new thinking. Why are we not following the US model and Creativity allowing the best waiters and waitresses to pick their shifts and With more competition to bag the best team, it might be time pay them more for delivering more? to reconsider the approach and apply a little creativity – or a lot For me, it’s simple. I would rather have an excellent member of of flexibility. Almost certainly, the idea of monogamous working staff give us some of their attention, than a mediocre candidate relationships is a thing of the past, if someone wants to run their working full-time. With Skype, email and Dropbox prevalent in own non-competing business alongside, it’s probably a good head office functions, it’s easy for staff to be working somewhere thing – they’re proving their entrepreneurial flare. How about where they feel most productive and comfortable – simple. blogging? As long as there are clear set expectations about potential conflicts, again, why not? It’s surely adding to their experience and keeping them engaged. If you want to bag the best talent, it’s probably worthwhile analysing the requirements of your business a little more, breaking up the traditional models and considering who is best to take each responsibility. With technology they don’t need to

James Hacon is a development, growth and brand strategist for restaurant and hospitality companies, working as brand strategy director at Thai Leisure Group and a select group of other clients

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Opinion

Access all areas Access Group’s new hospitality division will supply multiple technology tools from one source, says chief marketing officer Chris Marjara

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e recently invited hundreds of leading multi-site pub, bar, restaurant and food-to-go operators to the official launch of Access Group’s specialist hospitality division. We held the event at London’s prestigious and highly innovative Kitty Hawk bar and restaurant, where five very different dining concepts sit comfortably under one roof, mirroring our own diverse technology offering. In front of a packed audience representing more than 100 hospitality brands, the launch party was the perfect platform to explain where we are coming from as a fast-growing technology and software solutions provider while also listening to the ambitions and concerns of the people working on the hospitality sector’s front line. My immediate takeaway from chatting with many operators was the overriding impression there has never been a better or more challenging time to be involved in the hospitality sector. However, although there are plenty of opportunities for the best operators to thrive and rapidly expand, many challenges lie ahead.

Dries De Coster, hospitality hos and retail director, Access Group, talking at Kitty Hawk bar and restaurant

and analysing cash, sales, stock, people and data gives you more effective control of your business and enables you to focus on what’s important – the guest experience. Intuitive people-management solutions, for example, improve the procedures and processes necessary to recruit and retain the best people for your business.

Solutions and services

Accessing our solutions and services could not be easier – you invest in the modules you need now as your operation evolves and simply add more functionality as your business grows and evolves. For instance, smaller startup multi-site operators investing in our EPOS solutions today may not consider a workforce management solution until they grow to five or six sites, at which point they would reap the benefits of an end-toend solution to help grow their business. Most businesses, especially in the hospitality sector, start small, ourselves included. Our founders, who all still work with us, were just a group of computer science nerds fresh out of university. Good friends, they shared a passion for programming and Big picture a desire to shake up the technology industry. They have come a long way since those early days of From a big-picture perspective, we all understand There has sitting around the dining room of our current chief the importance of the hospitality industry to the never been a executive Chris Bayne’s parents. The original national economy. If we are doing well, the country quartet is now a workforce of 1,150, generating is invariably thriving. We are the UK’s fourth-largest better or more revenues of more than £102m per annum. employer. More than 4.5 million people work in the challenging time Our philosophy is the same as it was back in hospitality and tourism industry, the second most to be involved in the day – have fun and attack everything with labour-intensive industry behind agriculture. We are the hospitality high energy, ambition and an unquenchable returning the highest levels of labour productivity entrepreneurial spirit. As a challenger brand, we act of any industry since the financial crash – more sector different and think different. Our solutions help you than double the overall economy’s growth rate. The punch above your weight, just like we’ve always done. restaurant sector, for example, is performing particularly While it’s fun looking back, our eyes are fixed firmly on impressively and accounts for 65% of the job growth between the future. We’ve been busy creating a dedicated hospitality 2013 and 2016. division comprising EPOS and stock management specialists However, although the hospitality industry is responsible for Intelligent Business Systems and workforce management and circa 15% of the total UK employment growth between 2008 and managed payroll services software from Selima. Their best-of2016, a perfect storm is gathering on the Brexit horizon. According breed hospitality products integrate into our heritage financial to a recent KPMG report, commissioned by the British Hospitality management solution and business analytics tools to deliver a Association, 600,000 UK workers will need to be found each year in unique and exciting end-to-end solution. As this goes to print, addition to an ongoing requirement to employ an annual 200,000 we are working on expanding our hospitality offering by adding new workers to replace churn and meet growth demands. further market-leading products to the hospitality portfolio, which Financially, our sector contributed an estimated £38bn in direct will be the most comprehensive in the sector, bar none. tax receipts last year to the UK’s coffers, more than half that amount From what I have witnessed so far, many great people work from VAT charged on sales to customers. Corporation tax was within the hospitality community, refreshingly sharing their ideas responsible for a tiny 3% proportion of this tax contribution, a stark with each other. We look forward to doing the same, not just reminder of the constant profit margin pressures operators face from as a technology provider but as thought leaders listening and factors such as the National Living Wage, increases in business rates, responding to your concerns and challenges. It’s going to be a food inflation and Brexit uncertainty. Few can accurately predict the great journey – and we’d be delighted if you joined us. outcome of our withdrawal from the EU with any degree of certainty, apart from having to tackle our dependence on foreign workers (up to 23.7% of the sector’s workforce are EU migrant workers). Technology and software developers such as ourselves have a critical role to play if we are to give you the tools to become more efficient and grow your brand. Our remit as a provider of primarily software as a service (SaaS) solutions is to help operators control their businesses more effectively. Automating, managing

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Chris Marjara is leading the launch of Access Hospitality. He has previously held senior marketing posts with technology businesses such as Stepstone, Kronos and McGraw-Hill Education. Find out more at www.theaccessgroup.com/hospitality

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Making Cask Work at

Christmas For many people, the festive season might be the one and only time they visit a pub during the year. .BOZQVCMJDBOTDBMMUIFTFDVTUPNFSTUIFmPODFBZFBSnDSPXEUIFZnSFPVUXJUIBOPGĂ™DFQBSUZ  or with family for a seasonal celebration. We need to make sure these guests have the best experience when they visit, and make them consider returning at other times of the year. Your cask beer range and condition is a ‘quality indicator’ for many guests, signalling standards in your business, so we’ve put together a few Cask Marque tips on how to encourage repeat visits in 2018.

Our Top Tips

1

2 Keep glasses in good condition

Order your seasonal ales earlier rather than later: many are on limited supply so when they’re gone, they’re gone! Don’t stockpile seasonal Christmas beers too close to mid December. If you’ve still got “Santa’s Little Helper� (or similar) on the wickets in January, customers assume it’s out of date.

3

Offer ‘Try Before You Buy’ samples on guest ales to occasional and new drinkers. It’s this little detail which can make all the difference to them returning in the New Year.

Make sure all your glassware is ďŹ t to ďŹ ll: your cask ale quality can be perfect, but if glasses are in poor condition, drinkers will assume the beer’s not great either. Complete a full Renovate on all your glassware prior to the busy period.

4

Pair a few beers with your Christmas food menu and get staff to recommend a beer in addition to wine – it offers guests an informed choice. Great food and beer matches can be found on Beer Explorer at www.beerforthat.com. It’s not about cannibalising your wine sales, it’s about giving customers a great choice and an enhanced experience.


Contact Cask Marque on 01206 752212

5

Clean your beer lines just before the busiest period of the week. This means the majority of drinkers (and those occasional seasonal drinkers) will experience beer at its best, dispensed through immaculately clean lines. It signals good quality and encourages them to return for future visits.

6

Ensure all your cellar equipment is in good order (taps, extractor rods, auto tilts, Ale Python coolers). Check you have adequate supplies of soft and hard pegs. Invest in a 1-2-1 training session with Cask Marque if you require a bit of extra help.

8

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7 If you’re Cask Marque accredited, make sure your Certificate of Excellence is in an accessible customer area. Guests with the Caskfinder app will seek this out to scan it – they can’t if it’s in your office, or high up above the bar! Train staff how to recommend ales to customers who only come to the pub once a year. Make sure they know the colour, style, strength and flavour of all your guest ales. Use the Caskfinder pump clip recognition free app to check tasting notes (it has a database of 10,000 beers).

10

If drinkers find bar staff can talk knowledgeably about cask:

• 31% stay for another drink* • 50% give the pub repeat business* • 46% recommend the pub to others*

9

Don’t forget the regulars! They support your business all year round so make sure there is a regular ‘tried and trusted’ brand on sale throughout the festive period, such as Sharp’s Doom Bar.

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Top up your Cask Marque point of sale materials early – it’s all free for accredited pubs. Drip mats, bar runners and pump clip crowns can be ordered by calling 01206 752212. This is the time to really shout about your award!

*Source: Cask Marque 2017.

If you need any advice or help, or would like to become Cask Marque accredited, email info@cask-marque.co.uk with your details, or phone on 01206 752212.


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Insight

Wise words In preparation for an awards speech, Ann Elliott asked leading operators how they are thriving or surviving in tough times says

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arlier this year I was asked, along with Mark McCulloch, of WE ARE Spectacular (who was excellent), to speak at the Irish National Hospitality Awards in Dublin, unfortunately on the day of Hurricane Ophelia so I had an unexpected additional night in the Intercontinental hotel, which was amazing! I had a very detailed brief for this speech. I was told: they wanted someone with experience of consulting in the food and hotel business to talk about the things businesses can do to:

❖ Save money ❖ Make more money ❖ Position themselves correctly in the market place ❖ Attract new customers ❖ Manage their staff ❖ Choose the right trends to follow That was quite a brief to answer in 25 minutes and the only way I could really do it justice was to ask a group of brilliant operators I know to give me one-line answers to each of the questions. They were fantastic and came up trumps. I really couldn’t have asked for more and had enough material to speak for two hours (not quite the brief). This is what they told me:

What are the things businesses can do to 1. save money? The operators told me they saved money by questioning every element of the supply chain. They streamlined their supply chain,

consolidated procurement, reduced stock holding (including packaging and cleaning materials), and worked hard with suppliers to reduce frequency of delivery and increase minimum drop value. “We have actively reduced our stock inventory – not just food and drink but incidentals such as packaging and cleaning materials” They had also robustly questioned every cost on their profit and loss. In particular, labour scheduling where they challenged established rotas and roles, taking nothing for granted. One operator, for instance, mentioned their business had introduced “lone working” for the first time so some team members were working for short periods on their own. Pretty much a first for them. They had reduced costs of goods (food, drink, energy and disposables) by fixing prices for as long as they could, ordering stock more accurately to reduce waste, renegotiating current contracts, being prepared to change suppliers if their terms were not super competitive and starting every year as a zero-costing exercise. One chief executive said they had moved from paper cups to china cups, which had saved them 2,000 cups a day. “We have challenged all cost areas of the business to negotiate better pricing” They had worked extremely hard to improve productivity through better use of technology – front and back of house. Using CST’s back-of-house system, for instance, can save 32 kitchen hours on average and, by setting challenging targets, closely monitoring performance and questioning accepted working practices. This ▲

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Insight “We have been consciously premiumising for three years and that has been even more apparent in 2017. Avoiding mass market brands where possible has been the mantra that has, of course, increased margins”

wasn’t just about taking cost out of every process but challenging the processes themselves. “We have introduced a system of ‘Lean Six Sigma’ management with operational excellence to save money through improved productivity and reduced stocktaking” Spending had been controlled and curtailed – especially “nice-to-spend” money. If an operator spent capex (and many were) they were spending it prudently. They were also getting rid of consultants on retainer fees – because the work became more core to what they were doing – and reinvesting the money saved. “We have controlled our money better but no cost-cutting. Our focus has been on the guest experience.” Interestingly, one respondent said he recruited a full-time administrator, which meant he freed up his own time to focus on saving money. “We have been more careful when spending money – there is a difference between ‘nice to have’ and ‘need to have’.” I also asked Prestige Purchasing chairman David Read for his views on what businesses could do to save money. He said:

❖ Push price increases back up the supply chain ❖ Reformat menus to protect margin (particularly on imported or “problem products” such as salmon)

❖ Simplify menus to reduce complexity and cost ❖ Use benchmark information to manage supplier price increases

❖ Work collaboratively with suppliers to drive out inefficiencies

❖ Buy upstream in the supply chain and consolidate deliveries

❖ Sweat labour – be more sophisticated on rostering or take risks on shoulder periods

❖ Put renewed focus on “not for resale” purchases such as waste, chemicals, disposables, cash collection, knife sharpening, advertising, print, travel, energy

❖ Invest in technology – scheduling, purchase-to-pay, EPOS The two views on what can be done by businesses to save money were very much aligned. In summary, saving money was about ruthless control of every single line and continuous and ongoing monitoring of performance.

2.

What are the things businesses can do to make more money?”

Operators talked about the importance of staying positive in the face of Brexit, rent, rates and salary increases, labour shortages, falling customer confidence and, most concerning, an increase in food prices. They had to convey that positivity to their teams and be seen to be taking action to try to mitigate the impact of external influences. There was, however, some acceptance it wasn’t possible to make money in these circumstances – it was more about limiting any fall in profits. They were driving spend per head as much as possible (without generating bill shock I would assume) and incentivising their managers to focus on getting each customer to spend more – be that better-quality drinks, more drinks (especially coffee), sides or desserts. Events (national days, site-created events or customer’s own, such as birthdays) were very much a focus, with Christmas being critical. Some operators had chosen to premiumise their offer rather than cut prices and deal on value. This meant they could take price if needed and not be too frightened of its impact on footfall.

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This was key – many operators hadn’t been afraid to take price and either consolidate existing margins or, indeed, improve them. “We weren’t shy about putting our prices up when inflationary pressure was growing” Menu engineering also played a role in helping operators make more money. They had increasingly focused on selling highmix/high-margin items – cutting out low-mix/low-margin items from the menu and reformatting physical menus to encourage customers to buy these items. This has also had a calculated knock-on effect of helping kitchen efficiency and speed. “We ran an in-depth performance review of our entire menu and re-engineered our dishes and offering” In addition to driving spend per head, premiumising their offer and engineering menus, operators had been making more money (as well as saving money) through more regular reviews of performance – for instance by holding finance and training meetings weekly. Team training had been vital in ensuring the customer remained at the centre of the business. “We have intensified staff training for greater customer engagement” There was mention in the feedback of making more money by predicting turnover more effectively, which in turn helped planning of staff levels. Again, technology was fundamental in this – one operator said he now had automated PNLs with 24hour access back to invoice level, which meant more control and more profit. Other sales driving activity mentioned included opening more restaurants, recruitment and strengthening senior positions, and looking at how to generate revenue from white space. Again, I turned to David for advice. He said operators wanting to make money should:

❖ Focus on data-driven menu frameworks and pricing ❖ Increase focus on home delivery and build it as a separate revenue stream

❖ Invest in technology to reduce any barriers to customers buying from you

❖ Increase marketing activity ❖ Train front-of-house selling skills can businesses do to position themselves 3. What correctly in the market place? Operators told me they had ensured their business had absolute clarity and understanding around their core offer and values – internally and externally – the DNA of the business, if you like. When times were tough they needed these as markers to ensure their brand didn’t go off-track. “We have re-examined our values and made sure they are aligned with what our customers expect” They had also gone back to basics. I know from other operators I have talked to that perhaps some of this focus has been lost in the drive for new sites (and not always great sites at that) since the last recession. They were now back on the basics big time. “Daily focus on our core product and guest experience” They were also actively listening to their customers and responding to their needs.

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Insight This was about the here and now – the daily details that engaged and delighted customers so they wanted to share, chat and talk about their experiences. A number of operators had overhauled their offer to make sure it was totally aligned with their customer needs, wants and expectations. “To ensure we are positioned correctly in the market place we have conducted in-depth market research reviewing product range, pricing, ingredients and how we position our offer via its physical appearance and social media appearance and perception”

“Spent a lot more on engagement with e-marketing through social media in particular” In terms of the offer, operators talked about ensuring quality was at the top of everyone’s list within their business – be that in terms of food, service, ambience or property. “Focus on quality, value for money and generosity”

“In depth customer analysis and segmentation work, pricing benchmarking, trend research and comms reappraisal” Differentiation was also critical. They had ensured their brand was clearly differentiated from their competition with discernible points of difference with some saying they had worked with branding experts to achieve this. They wanted to stay ahead of the market place and that meant constantly looking for innovation. “We launched an app to allow customers to pay for their order differently and reward loyalty in the age old fashion but digitally while also ensuring some innovative thinking in this area”

Some had worked very hard at menu development – introducing fresh halal, vegan and vegetarian options for instance. Others had given more value by looking at popular dishes and improving them. They had been prepared to take a hit on margin in return for footfall. Others had opened more sites, spent capex on their sites and/or added accommodation. A number had positively upped the ante on training to provide an enhanced service experience, improving customer care, generating more feedback, ensuring basic standards were met and then improving and refreshing their offer. “We improved customer care and focused/targeted the managers on improved feedback across all channels”

They regularly checked out new concepts and menus and reinforced their differentiation by looking to recruit the best possible people and retain them. “We have looked at getting the best people and creating stickiness” Some operators talked about the importance of their local communities and local relevance – again perhaps a reflection of a lack of focus on local positioning in the drive for new sites and new locations in recent years “We’ve work to do but talking and communicating our independence, being a small business and using local producers at every possible opportunity is my main mission. It is still a real point of difference and it’s a message lots of customers want to hear” Some operators had improved their estate (often to premiumise it) via refurbishments or through disposals. “Two things. Where we have had the resources we have refurbished and premiumised to avoid anything ‘value’ and we have sold anything outside desired demographics and replaced with sites that are. Net result is less sites and same revenue”

can businesses do to manage their 5. What teams?

Other actions included focusing on continued value, implementing competitive pricing, improving service, putting the right managers in place and updating menus and food presentation.

can businesses do to attract more 4. What customers? There were two key themes – the first about attracting customers in the first place and the second ensuring these customers wanted to come back because of the quality of the offer. Operators focused their marketing activity on social media, specifically Facebook. Winning more visits through word of mouth was the holy grail to them. “Word of mouth is king,” one operator said. One operator mentioned they engaged their staff to spread the message. “Probably more of a focus on Facebook. We always used social media but we have found that in our market, Facebook is probably the one that ticks all the boxes so where we have spent money, it tends to be here with boosts” “Increased social media and networking with clients providing added-value content”

There was a real recognition that to get the best out of a team, leaders had to involve them and talk to them in a way that best suited the audience. Not by email but by person or WhatsApp. Team talks and generating a sense of team were seen as critical. The tone of the message, especially in difficult times, was also important. “When the pressure is on, there’s an art to communicate that pressure to your managers. I don’t always get it right, for sure. I explain some of the pressure but try to do it in such a way they come away feeling they can and want to make things better. It’s a tricky balance sometimes. But without their understanding of what matters and how they can contribute, it’s much harder in the long run” “Work with them. Talk to them” “They work for others as much as us so we have increased team talks and sense of team” Targets, goals and objectives need to be clear, ambitious and shared with teams that are trusted to deliver them. Team members have to have clear personal objectives and accountability. As one person said: “Teams need to be trusted,

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Feature Insight

“My team are, on average, under 25. You only get them to do things if you concentrate on the stuff they want”

stretched, involved and allowed to communicate in different ways. They needed to be motivated, particularly with so much negative press around the sector and reminded that it’s a fun industry to be in.” Happiness was key – front-of-house and backof-house needed to be happy places to work. Be nice to people, one said, and give them the benefit of the doubt. “It’s gets more difficult every day/week. We have to give profound reasons to our teams (not just money but more related to self-esteem and ownership) as to why anyone would want to commit to this increasingly complex and demanding business. And it’s only going to be even more challenging” The operators believed they had to make their team’s jobs easy and hassle-free – allowing them to focus on the things they wanted them to focus on. “My team are, on average, under 25. You only get them to do things if you concentrate on the stuff they want” Operators strongly believed they had to pay enough to get the best. It is all about recruiting truly brilliant people and creating the environment in which they can perform at their best. Then, when they had them onboard, they had to give constant praise and recognition. Focus on being a good employer, they said, and they would hold on to the teams they had worked so hard to recruit and train.

6. Is there a trend you have followed this year? I have to be honest and say most people said “no” or “as if”. Some trends mentioned included:

❖ Breakfasts ❖ Pop-ups ❖ Street food ❖ Tacos

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❖ ❖ ❖ ❖

Instagram Premiumisation Cold brew Greater customer engagement

Many operators believed one key trend they needed to consider was one happening outside their own establishments – and somehow, they had to get a slice of it. “More business is taking place outside your restaurant – catering, takeaway, delivery have continued growth potential” This is a trend that will continue to impact bricks-and-mortar operators – it can either be embraced or ignored. In summary, a few themes emerged from the operator feedback:

❖ Stay positive ❖ Question everything – don’t take anything for granted ❖ Use technology effectively – in-house and with customers

❖ Listen to customers – and act on their feedback ❖ Differentiate via innovation ❖ Have happy, well-trained, well-motivated team members These are undoubtedly tricky times but operators are well-known for their resilience, hard work and high attention to detail – they will get through the next few years as they got through the last recession. It was interesting presenting this operator feedback in Ireland, where the market is booming. Given time, our market will boom again too.

Ann Elliott is chief executive of Elliotts, the leading integrated marketing agency in the hospitality and leisure sector – www.elliottsagency.com Follow her on Twitter: @elliottsagency

PROPEL QUARTERLY ¡ WINTER 2017 ¡ www.propelhospitality.com


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Propel Quarterly Winter 2017  
Propel Quarterly Winter 2017  

Propel Quarterly Winter 2017 - The essential information resource for pub, restaurant & food service operators

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