Greene King revives team member support fund for third lockdown
Brewer and pub operator Greene King has launched a new Covid emergency support fund using voluntary salary sacrifices from its executive board and leadership team alongside a company donation in order to help its team members during lockdown three.
The new team member support fund mirrors the first edition which ran from March to June 2020, through which Greene King donated £650,000 in grants for team members to access essential food and retail vouchers.
Once again, the fund will again be managed independently by Licensed Trade Charity.
“It’s a really tough start to 2021, back into lockdown and all of our pubs closed,” Nick Mackenzie, CEO at Greene King, said. “Most of our team members are furloughed, and we know how severely this is affecting some of our people financially, so we wanted to bring back the team member support fund to help the members of our team who need it most at this really difficult time.
“Our industry has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and when we have been able to open our pubs, our brilliant team members have eagerly welcomed our customers back, safely. But right now, they need our help.
"One of our key objectives since the start of the Covid crisis is to, as far as possible, protect our employees and leased and tenanted partners from the worst impact of the crisis. We’re a family, and we want to support each other.”
Covid-19 shrinks hospitality workforce by a quarter
In the region of 660,000 hospitality jobs were lost in 2020 according to the latest figures from sector software provider Fourth.
The huge job losses represent a 28% drop in overall hospitality staff headcount versus December 2019 according to Fourth – though pubs experienced the least negative impact with a year-on-year drop of 22%.
Fourth’s findings, compiled from more than 700 companies across the restaurant, pub, bar and fast-food sectors, were revealed after a further 8,591 workers lost their jobs in December.
After the hospitality workforce shrunk by 4% in November, December’s 3.5% decrease in sector jobs was, however, the smallest decline since May.
What’s more, although Fourth found that the number of hospitality hours worked dropped by almost two thirds (63%) in December year-on-year, it is still 49% greater than the number of hours worked in November while England was enduring its second national lockdown.
Karen Jones named hospitality representative on new Business Council
As reported by The Morning Advertiser’s (MA) sister title MCA, the current chair of Prezzo, Mowgli and Hawksmoor, Karen Jones, has been appointed to represent hospitality on the Government’s new Build Back Better Council.
One of 30 members representing industries from retail and hospitality to finance, science and technology, Jones will provide quarterly input on the economy, commercial perspective on policy and highlight obstacles and solutions to economic recovery.
Co-chaired by the Prime Minister and the Chancellor, the council held its first virtual meeting on 18 January, with Johnson updating members on the vaccine roll-out and plans to for post-pandemic economic recovery.
378 roles made redundant at JDW
As reported by The MA, More than 300 staff have been made redundant across JD Wetherspoon (JDW)’s airport sites and head office, as the operator revealed it expects pubs to remain closed until at least the end of March.
The operator revealed in September that staff at its airport sites had been told a possible 400 to 450 roles were at risk due to a drop in passenger numbers.
This followed news in August that the business notified its head office workforce potentially 110 to 130 positions were at risk.
Now, according to a coronavirus update, JDW stated it currently has 99% (37,000) of its employees on furlough.
The company also estimated the cost of employees not on furlough alongside taxes and other costs of furloughed employed meant it was spending £800,000 a week while pubs are closed.
It has managed to reduce costs across a plethora of areas in the business including repairs, maintenance, IT, head office, executive pay, capital expenditure and rents.
The pub group also worked out its cash burn is about £4.1m a week during the closure period.
Drake & Morgan hires former Fuller’s financial chief
According to reports in MCA, former Fuller’s head of finance David King has been appointed as bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan’s new chief financial officer (CFO).
Replacing outgoing CFO James Sherrington, who will step down after six years at the group, King brings more than two decades’ worth of financial experience to the role, having held similar positions at Clarion Events, Vue Entertainment, McDonald’s and Deep Blue Restaurants.
“We are delighted to have David on board and his multi-site experience will be invaluable in supporting the brand as we develop our ‘at home’ experience further and in getting us ready to reopen,” Drake & Morgan CEO Jillian MacLean said.
King added: “I have long admired Drake & Morgan and am looking forward to working with Jillian MacLean and her team; supporting the Drake & Morgan brand as we navigate through the pandemic whilst ensuring we are in the best shape possible when we are able to reopen safely and welcome our customers back.”
New pubco set to launch by trio of industry veterans
Three top operators are set to re-enter the UK pub market with the launch of the Valiant Pub Company.
Gerry Carroll and Mark McGinty, co-founders of Hawthorn Leisure and James Croft, former group strategy and retail director at Ei Group, are looking to use their extensive experience to create a new operation, targeting the suburban and community pub sector.
The trio, who previously all worked together at Enterprise Inns and were instrumental in rolling out the company’s Beacon concept, are now keeping an eye for when the market starts to open back up.
Carroll said they are setting the operation up with their own funding, alongside investors, and are engaging with potential others. He said they were “poised and ready to go”, but added timing was key.
Diageo appoints new chief financial officer
Drinks giant Diageo has announced chief financial officer Kathryn Mikells will leave the company at the end of June 2021 and will be replaced by Diageo North America chief financial officer and global head of investor relations Lavanya Chandrashekar.
Mikells joined Diageo from the Xerox Corporation in November 2015 and, after relocating to London, will be replaced by Chandrashekar – who will also join the Diageo executive committee and board – on 1 July.
Chandrashekar joined Diageo in July 2018 as chief financial officer, Diageo North America having previously spent four and a half years at Mondelēz International in various senior finance positions in North America, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
“I am immensely grateful for the leadership role Kathy has played in making Diageo a consistent top-tier performer,” Ivan Menezes, Diageo chief executive, commented.
“She has made a significant contribution to Diageo’s improved performance trajectory, including her leadership of a substantial global productivity programme and her critical role in active management of our brand portfolio through our acquisition and disposal activities.
“I want to thank Kathy for being a terrific and committed business partner and colleague to me and wish her every continued success in the next chapter of her career.
“I am delighted that Lavanya will take up the role of chief financial officer.
“She brings a breadth of international experience, has an exceptional grasp of consumer products value creation and world class experience of effective cost management.
“I am confident she will be a huge asset to the Diageo executive team and board when she joins on 1 July.”
Whitbread cuts 1,500 jobs
The parent company of Beefeater, Brewers Fayre and Premier Inn confirmed 1,500 job losses in its latest trading update – just over 4% of its 36,000 staff.
The Q3 FY21 update, which covered the 13 weeks to 26 November 2020, stated the Government’s Covid-19 restrictions continued to create very challenging hotel market conditions and as a result, total UK accommodation sales were down 55.2% with occupancy at 49.3%.
The firm stated the Government restrictions had a greater impact on the operations of its restaurants with the national lockdowns and measures in the highest tiers forcing closures.
On average, 82% of its restaurants were open during the quarter and combined with reduced capacity in each site and subdued market demand, total food and beverage sales were 53.9% behind year on year.
The firm stated its balance sheet had a net cash position at 31 December 2020 of about £40m compared to £196.4m at the end of H1.
MPs back hospitality minister motion: what happens next?
A petition to appoint a dedicated minister for the hospitality sector hit Westminster boasting more than 200,000 signatures.
As reported by The MA, a selection of cross-party MPs supported a motion to appoint a minister to represent the hospitality sector following a 90-minute debate on 11 January.
But after a positive Parliamentary reception, where does it go from here?