Jobs round-up

Hospitality trade union membership plummets, Inn Collection Group founder retires, Brains CEO steps down

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector
People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector

Related tags Jobs Finance Salary Coronavirus Pubco + head office

Our latest jobs round-up includes news of peole moves at RedCat Pub Company, Inn Collection Group, Brains and Boxpark.

Licensed Trade Charity strengthens support for job seekers 

The Licensed Trade Charity has partnered with a number of companies including Hospitality Jobs UK, a hospitality specific job board which advertises hospitality roles across the UK in order to provide hospitality jobseekers with invaluable advice, guidance and insight.   

The charity saw demand for help from current and former industry workers increase from 10,000 enquiries per year in 2018 to more than 70,000 in 2020.

The partnership kicks off on 17 February with a series of talks, entitled ‘Everything You Need to Know About the Jobseeker Journey’, co-hosted by Dawn Redman, founder and director of Hospitality Jobs UK and Carolyn Jenkinson, head of charity services at the Licensed Trade Charity. 

“With pubs, bars and restaurants currently closed across most of the UK and a ban on the sale of takeaway alcohol, things are still looking pretty bleak for the hospitality sector,” Jenkinson said. 

“Many pub companies are battling to keep all of their outlets afloat, but the reality is that nearly 6,000 licensed premises closed their doors for good last year and many others are being forced to let staff go. 

“We’re here to support those affected, from the supply chain to the frontline, right up to the boardroom.

“We’ve seen demand for our services increase dramatically since the start of the pandemic, with more people seeking emotional and financial support than ever before,” she added. “We’re delighted to partner with Hospitality Jobs UK to bolster our support for job seekers and those looking to get themselves ‘market ready’. 

“Through Hospitality Jobs UK’s support, we hope that we can enable more people to stay positive, identify their skillsets and realise their true potential.”

Former NWTC boss appointed at RedCat Pub Company 

Former New World Trading Company (NWTC) chief executive Chris Hill will become CEO at Rooney Anand’s new venture RedCat Pub Company, The Morning Advertiser (MA)​ reported.

The MA's​ sister title MCA Insight​ reported RedCat has also appointed Sharon Badelek as chief financial officer, who was previously of Inspired Villages Group and Novus Leisure.

M7 Real Estate executive chairman Richard Croft as well as former Lord Mayor of London and PwC adviser Sir Charles Bowman have also joined as non-executive directors.

Read more here


Hospitality sector trade union membership forecast to shrink to 1%

Figures from workforce management solutions provider Mitrefinch, has found that interest in trade unions from hospitality workers has more than halved (58%) since 1995.

In 1995, Mitrefinch found that 7.9% of the sector’s staff were members of a trade union, however its latest data shows that 3.3% of the hospitality sector is unionised, in comparison to 17% of the manufacturing sector and 35% for the transport sector.

It also forecasts that at the current rate just 1.3% of the sector’s staff will be members of a trade union by 2050.

“The analysis demonstrates a worrying decline in the percentage of hospitality employees engaging with trade unions across the UK,” Julie Lock, commercial director at Mitrefinch said of the figures.

“We are seeing the hospitality industry, as well as construction and IT see significant drops in membership which suggests trade unions could soon cease to exist in these sectors. 

“With the support which trade unions can provide to employee wellbeing and engagement, this decline in data points to signs that employees may soon be navigating this alone,” she continued. 

“It is important for hospitality firms to continue to support the wellbeing of their employees in these sectors where trade unions are becoming less prevalent, especially with the additional worry which the pandemic has caused for workforces across the UK.”

Chapel Down disposes of Curious Drinks – no redundancies expected  

English winemaker Chapel Down has announced the disposal of its Curious Drinks business and assets – including its Curious Beer and Cider brands as well as the Curious Brewery and restaurant in Ashford, Kent.

Subject to the granting of HMRC licences to NewCo Risk Capital Partners, the company is looking to place Curious Drinks into administration where Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital will acquire the business and assets from administrators.

Curious Drinks supplies 90% of its beer to the on-trade and the impact of the coronavirus crisis has significantly hampered this area of the business.

However, its wine and spirits business, which has a multichannel route to market, has seen overall volume growth of 38% in 2020.

This was put down to an increased focus and sales to supermarkets and other off-premise retailers alongside direct sales online, which the business stated had more than compensated for the loss of sales through the on-trade.

The firm will see no redundancies as part of the disposal and the effect, is to remove the Curious business from the Chapel Down Group with the attendant net debt in Curious.

It will reduce Chapel Down’s unaudited net debt from £7.2m to £100,000 with £4.6m cash on a proforma basis as of 31 December 2020.

Read more here


Inn Collection Group founder retires 

The founder of north east-based pub operator the Inn Collection Group, Keith Liddell, has announced that he has stepped down from his role as executive deputy chairman to retire after 15 years at the award-winning group.

Keith launched the company with its first Northumberland site, the Lindisfarne Inn, in 2006 and has played a pivotal role during the company’s rapid expansion and acquisitions since. He leaves the group on course to reach 22 sites by 31 March 2021.

“I have been very proud to be part of the Inn Collection Group’s journey, through the good times as well as the current challenging situation we have all experienced and continue to do so right now,” Liddell said.

“The Inn Collection Group has achieved countless accolades and successes over the years and its ability for continual evolution in its people and estate is down to the unique team behind it. I know I am stepping down safe in the knowledge that the company is in the best possible hands.

“We have exciting plans for the future as the group continues its buy and build expansion. This will provide much needed employment opportunities across the north of England, bringing vital economic spend in the communities around our sites and of course, giving our customers more superb places to eat, drink, sleep and explore from.

“But after 45 years of working non-stop in the trade, I’m due a bit of a break and being the customer.”


Government to meet hospitality minister petitioners 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that the Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets, Paul Scully, will meet campaigners calling for a dedicated minister for hospitality.

The meeting was agreed after the chair of the Petitions Committee and Labour MP for Newcastle upon Tyne North, Catherine McKinnell, wrote to the Prime Minister urging him to pursue a "coordinated approach" with the hospitality sector after the PM appeared cool on the idea of appointing a dedicated minister for the ailing industry.

As reported by The MA​, a selection of cross-party MPs – including McKinnell – supported the motion following a 90-minute debate.

The issue made Parliament’s agenda on 11 January after more than 200,000 sector supporters – including celebrity chef and pub operator Tom Kerridge, James Martin and Angela Hartnett – signed a petition.

Read more here

Darby steps down from Brains

As reported by The MA’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, SA Brain CEO Alistair Darby has stepped down from the business following the completion of an agreement for Marston’s to take over the running of its 156 pubs in Wales​. 

Derby previously served as MD of Camerons Brewery, COO of Marston’s and CEO of Mitchells & Butlers.

Operations director Jon Bridge will take over from Darby, who joined Brains in July 2018, while Brains chairman John Rhys has also stepped down with Andrew Winning, currently a non-executive director, taking over his role.

In January, it was reported that Brains’ beer brewing business may relocate​, with a consultation on redundancies beginning.

Darby previously described the coronavirus pandemic as “absolutely brutal”, with talks over closing the Cardiff brewery an inevitable consequence of the deal with Marston’s.

“The important thing is that the family retain ownership of the beer and brand,” he said.

“We need to work out how to perpetuate the brand, which is very important to Wales, and we are likely to need to find a new location. 

“If it is brewed elsewhere, it must be of the highest quality. It must be of the finest condition.”


Greene King supports more than 1,000 apprentices during pandemic 

Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator Greene King has supported more than 1,000 apprentices either starting or completing its award-winning programme since March 2020.

Announcing the achievement before National Apprenticeship Week between 8 and 14 February, Greene King added that it retained more than 2,300 learners on its programmes, with many of those furloughed making the most of the opportunity to train when not being able to work.

Andrew Bush, chief people officer at Greene King, said: “Despite the heavy restrictions placed on the hospitality industry and the constant closing and opening of our pubs, our team members have remained really engaged, and that’s certainly the case when it comes to our apprenticeship programme. 

“We worked hard to keep delivering our programmes during lockdowns and kept the apprenticeship opportunities open for our furloughed teams so we’re really pleased that so many have started or achieved their apprenticeship during 2020.”

Greene King has also announced it will expand its award-winning programme to offer 30 different apprenticeships, with new apprenticeships including associate project manager, coaching professional and accountancy/taxation professional pathways added to its level two – seven retail and management career pathways. 

Greene King-2

Former Stonegate staffer becomes Boxpark COO

Award-winning retail, casual dining and leisure outlet, Boxpark, has announced the promotion of Ben McLaughlin to the position of chief operating officer (COO) with immediate effect.

Previously of Stonegate Pub Company, McLaughlin joined Boxpark as operations manager in January 2018 and in three years has led the company’s strategy and guided all commercial and operational aspects of the business. 

McLaughlin replaces David Gough, former operations director at Stable Bar & Restaurants – which was owned by Fuller’s until June 2020 – who was appointed as COO of Boxpark last year and recently left the business.

“As Covid-19 continues to impact the hospitality industry, we can only hope to remain positive and use this time to focus on our future plans,” Roger Wade, CEO and founder at Boxpark, said of the announcement.  

“I am delighted to confirm Ben McLaughlin’s new position as COO - he is an extremely valued member of the team and has brought fantastic insights into the business since joining three years ago. 

“I have no doubt he will continue to deliver great results at Boxpark as we evolve.” 

Diddy, David Beckham and Ryan Reynolds donate $1m to mixologists 

Aviation Gin owner Ryan Reynolds, Deleon Tequila owner Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs and David Beckham of Haig Whisky have pledged one million dollars to organizations to support the bartending community – including UK-based Drinks Trust.

The donation will be split between Another Round, Another Rally – a nonprofit financial resource for the hospitality industry in the U.S. providing reimbursement grants and immersive educational scholarships – nationally registered non-profit and financial resource for hospitality professionals in Canada, Bartender's Benevolent Fund, and Drinks Trust UK.

The donation comes after actor, producer and Aviation Gin owner Reynolds pledged that almost a third of Aviation Gin’s online sales would be donated to The Drinks Trust in an effort to support bar staff through the Covid-19 pandemic in April 2020​.


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