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Newswire - 23 June

23 June 2020Newswire Topics: Hotels & Guest Houses, Pubs & Bars, Rental, Restaurants
Newswire - 23 June

Government to confirm pub opening from 4th July expected today

With the 4th July still only a "plan to open by the earliest" businesses have been frustrated by the lack of certainty and time to plan and be ready to trade. It is understood delays have been caused by a review of the 2m social distancing guidelines.

Relaxation of 2m rule is expected to include extensive social distancing guidance

Guidance could include: every pub and restaurant automatically being entitled to serve alcohol for people to drink on the pavement and in the street. Operators to set the maximum capacity, use contactless payment, tables to be "spaced widely apart", table service, single use menus and condiments, fewer menu options and waiters using gloves and/or washing hands between serving different tables. Nightclubs could face an entry policy to include temperature checks and washing hands in sanitiser.

Bids due for Azzurri Group

Bids are due this week for 300-strong Azzurri Group. KPMG has been advising Azzurri on its options and a sale of the business is understood to be only one of the options Bridgepoint is considering for the future of the company. It is thought any successful bidder for the business would need to make an initial circa £35m investment to provide the group with further liquidity to get through the lock-down and the reopening period.

Bistrot Pierre sale talks progress

Luke Johnson is among the interested parties bidding to take control of Bistrot Pierre. Johnson is believed to be one of four parties to have shown an interest in the 25-strong group. It is thought a decision on the bids will be made this week. Bids are understood to be around £4m. The business posted turnover of circa £35m in the year to June 2019, and Ebitda of circa £6.5m.

Suspension of forfeiture of evictions extended

The UK government has said it would lay a statutory instrument to amend the Coronavirus Act to extend the time period for suspension of the forfeiture of evictions from 30 June to 30 September, meaning no business will be forced out of their premises if they a miss a payment in the next three months. Secondary legislation will prevent landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery unless they are owed 189 days of unpaid rent.

Hospitality supply chain eligible for grant

Businesses within the hospitality supply chain affected by the coronavirus crisis are eligible for discretionary grants. Suppliers to the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors that have lost demand can be awarded discretionary grants by local authorities. Award amounts can be £25,000, £10,000 or any amount under £10,000.

Blackhouse and Newgate Restaurants appoint administrators

The companies operate restaurants in Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester under the Blackhouse Grill brand and Olive in Liverpool. Administrators Duff & Phelps have been appointed to both companies.

Oakman Inns WILL open all of its 28 pubs on 4 July

Dermot King, chief operating officer at Oakman, said: "We will be opening on 4 July, despite the lack of clarity given to the hospitality sector by the government. We cannot wait any longer and won't change our plans unless the prime minister intervenes.

Seafood Pub Company set to go into administration

The north west based, award-winning ten-strong country inns business founded in 2010, filed a Notice of Intention to appoint administrators last week. BDO will oversee the administration process.

Pubco support for Tenants extended

Admiral Taverns is to offer its tenants tapered rent support from reopening all the way through to April next year.

Customers will return to pubs

Two-thirds (65%) of pub-goers and beer drinkers are confident about returning to the pub when they reopen, according to new research by the Campaign of Real Ale (CAMRA).

20-30% reduction in number of Pubs & Restaurants

CGA says it has 'estimated there would be an overall reduction in the number of pubs, bars and restaurants of some 20-30% if the Government does not extend support to the sector, and this could be significantly worse if revenues continue to be affected.'

Warning over massive job losses in hospitality sector

Restaurateur Richard Caring has warned as many as "50% or 60%" of the four million-strong hospitality workforce could be lost. He said the wave of redundancies would be "like a volcano" erupting, with the worst of the pain coming in September and October when the furlough scheme ends. Now it's quite calm because people are furloughed, businesses are not paying staff, rent or rates. People don't have the expense of going to work or going out. But we're in the eye of a storm. Down the road there's a volcano that is going to bubble over.

And Finally...

Market Taverns acquires ex-Food & Fuel sites. London pub operator Market Taverns has acquired four sites from the former Food & Fuel estate. The seven-strong group, which is led by Steve Welsh, has acquired the sites, including the Sporting Page in Chelsea and The Queens Head in Holborn, out of administration.

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Graeme Bunn

Graeme Bunn

Managing Director

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