Restaurant Group to close 35 underperforming outlets

Restaurant Group to close 35 underperforming outlets

The operator of the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s restaurant chains has announced plans to exit from about 35 uneconomic restaurants in its leisure division as it seeks to whittle down its least successful businesses.

The Restaurant Group (TRG) announced the move alongside a three-year plan to reduce debt and improve margins in what was widely regarded as a riposte aimed at Oasis Management Company, an activist investor with a 6.5 per cent stake.

However, the modest scale of the disposals disappointed the market, which had been hoping that the group might indicate a willingness to sell its airport concessions and Brunning & Price gastropubs. Shares in the company fell by almost 6p, or 13 per cent, to 39.5p in morning trading.

Asked whether the share price fall indicated that his plans did not go far enough, Andy Hornby, the TRG chief executive, said: “The shares are still up 15 per cent on the week and obviously there has been a lot of conjecture about whether disposals would be announced today.”

He added that the absence of a more significant strategic move on disposals did not mean the company had ruled anything out. “We are really comfortable in our organic … Read More

Entrepreneurial social enterprise helping young people receives £127,000 from Big Issue Invest

Entrepreneurial social enterprise helping young people receives £127,000 from Big Issue Invest

This International Women’s Day, Big Issue Invest is celebrating the female-led award-winning social enterprise Foundervine.

The organisation has supported over 5,000 diverse-led ventures to start and scale through training, space, networks and access to capital.

The organisation has recently been supported with £127,000 in investment from Big Issue Invest, the investment arm of Big Issue Group.

Izzy Obeng, CEO of Foundervine, founded the organisation to help change the global face of entrepreneurship by building outstanding programmes that help entrepreneurs build sustainable ventures, and by solving the opportunity gap that currently exists.

Since launching in 2018, Foundervine has partnered with private and public sector partners to accelerate the growth of new, diverse-led ventures in Europe. The organisation delivers accelerator programmes in the UK that support early-stage companies, providing entrepreneurs from underserved communities with mentorship, training and financial support. Foundervine transforms society by making innovation open to anyone, anywhere.

The funding from Big Issue Invest will primarily be used to invest in new and current staff at Foundervine, which will help the organisation support even more people. Amongst the new hires is a dedicated business development person to focus specifically on making and closing deals in support of the … Read More

Act now to rescue the economy, bosses tell Hunt before the budget

Act now to rescue the economy, bosses tell Hunt before the budget

As Jeremy Hunt prepares to present his first spring budget next week, the Treasury is coming under renewed pressure from business leaders to announce greater support to revive faltering investment and economic growth.

Companies are facing a “one-two punch”, with a planned increase in the main rate of corporation tax from 19 per cent to 25 per cent coinciding with the end of the two-year “super-deduction” capital investment scheme.

Hunt is set to go ahead with the rise in corporation tax, given the strained public finances and the sensitivity of markets to unfunded tax cuts after the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget.

With Labour galvanised by the fallout from that fiscal statement, Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, announced that Labour would carry out a review of the business tax regime to make Britain the fastest-growing economy in the G7.

In a speech to manufacturing leaders at the annual conference of Make UK, the sector’s trade body, in London, Reeves said corporation tax has “gone up and down like a yo-yo … it’s no wonder businesses are unable to plan and our investment rates are cratering”.

She called the super-deduction a “short-term fix” — but said Labour would back an affordable scheme … Read More

Rise of serviced offices aimed at hybrid working boosts IWG

Rise of serviced offices aimed at hybrid working boosts IWG

IWG, the world’s biggest provider of serviced office space, reported record revenue last year after cashing in on the popularity of hybrid working.

Mark Dixon, the property industry veteran and IWG’s founder and chief executive, believes that head offices are becoming “either dead or much smaller” now that working from home has become more popular.

“[Hybrid working] is one of those things where everyone is a winner, unless you’re a real estate investor with offices in downtown areas,” Dixon, 63, said. “It’s a much greener outcome, lower costs for companies and much better for people.”

He said those office owners have turned to IWG, formerly known as Regus, to help ready their buildings for flexible working. IWG has seen “rapid growth” in demand for what it calls capital-light contracts, where landlords hand over their buildings and ask IWG to run them as serviced offices.

“If you’re a landlord, you’re looking at a totally new landscape, where the tenants you used to have aren’t there any more, so you’re looking for new ideas,” Dixon explained. “They realise that [businesses] are moving to hybrid working, so they call us and ask us to put their property on the platform and we fill … Read More

Double Dutch launch third female bartending scholarship to empower women in hospitality

Double Dutch launch third female bartending scholarship to empower women in hospitality

Double Dutch, the producers of award-winning premium mixers and tonics, has launched its Female Bartending Scholarship Programme for the third year, as part of its ongoing mission to foster upcoming female talent in the hospitality industry.

With research revealing that women accounted for just 30 percent of all hospitality leaders, with most of these found in HR roles, Double Dutch has launched its third scholarship cohort to help reduce these disparities of women in senior positions and curb inequalities within the hospitality industry.

Applications for the programme open today, with eight places available for women, trans women and non-binary people at any stage of their career.

The scholarship is helping women to unlock new career opportunities, further their progression in the industry, expand their network, whilst expediting drinks knowledge and building confidence.

Amy Warne, a scholar from last year’s programme, successfully secured a promotion to Head Bar Coach at The Botanist upon completion of the course, helping her to continue her progression within her career.

This year’s scholarship will feature a host of trailblazers within the industry including Anna Sebastian, founder of Celebrate Her, an initiative to showcase female bartenders and offer networking opportunities, Laura Willoughby, founder of Club Soda, … Read More