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Here you can find licensed trade news and updates, the weekly e-newsletter INNfocus, past editions of the BII News (our quarterly magazine), and hear all about our latest industry campaigns.

Everything you need to know about the Language of Sustainability

The popularity and use of the word ‘sustainability’ has exploded over the past few decades. But just because it’s well circulated doesn’t mean it’s understood. And we had a hunch that the definition was more than a bit woolly. 

That insight led to an interesting discussion between Fleet Street and leading research company, Trajectory. We both wanted to get a more solid understanding of what consumers really thought about the term ‘sustainability’ and some of the other terms they use to describe the climate crisis. 

As communicators, it’s (obviously) essential that we tell stories to inspire and motivate our audiences, using words that resonate. But with the increased awareness of greenwashing (and greenshifting, greenlighting, greencrowding and others) - and the lawsuits to match - we weren’t entirely convinced that a thoughtful, well understood narrative really existed. 

We set out to gather a better understanding of the terms that consumers really use when they talk about the climate crisis. We hosted four focus groups, simply prompting people to tell us which are their ‘go to’ terms, when they speak about climate change. 

Using that insight, we ran a quantitative piece of research among 1,000 people to provide data about which terms people loved, and which they loathed. Here’s what we found: 

1. What you're doing matters: People really do want to hear what businesses are doing to tackle climate change. They care. And they want to hear about the progress businesses are making to address the threat of constantly changing climates. 
2. Business has the most responsibility to act: People want to hear about business’ progress, because people believe that brands and businesses have the most responsibility to behave sustainably - more so than governments, or consumers themselves. 
3. Consumer cynicism is rife: However, consumers are often cynical. Especially when it comes to climate change initiatives, consumers display widespread cynicism. There is a lack of trust. 
4. Poor understanding of climate change terms is an issue: And the research highlights this may well be because consumers have a limited understanding of what many climate change terms really mean. 
5. Carbon related terms are especially problematic: Especially terms including offsetting, net zero and carbon neutral. These terms are particularly poorly understood among the general consumer. This is concerning when, right now, the climate change debate is centred on decarbonisation and how we can drive a reduction in carbon emissions across our societies and economies. 
6. Terms need to be functional and actionable, over conceptual: But there is hope. Because the terms that consumers do resonate with are instructional and pragmatic. Terms like ‘recyclable’ and ‘reduce energy use’, which are much more functional, were better received by consumers than conceptual terms like ‘circular economy’.
7. One size does not fit all: Finally, the research highlighted very different responses across socio-economic groups. Age and stage at which consumers leave education both have a big impact (with younger and more highly educated consumers having a better understanding of the language and issues). So the approach brands take needs to be tailored to specific target audiences and segments.

In summary, the research showed us that consumers do have an appetite for learning about brands’ sustainability efforts. Where we need to focus our attention now is on using language that helps to explain some of the more complicated concepts (like circularity), whilst also being inspirational and practical, and building trust along the way. 

Tackling gang crime, security threats and terrorism to be the focus of National Pubwatch Conference

Tackling gang related crime, security threats and terrorism are to be the focus of the 20th annual National Pubwatch Conference. 
The event, which will take place at the Crowne Plaza, Sheffield, on Tuesday, 5th March 2024, boasts a raft of industry speakers from the pub, licensed and police sectors. 

Daniel Davies from Rockpoint Leisure and New Brighton Pubwatch will talk about tackling gang crime in the licensed trade.  

There will also be a legal update that will see Jonathan Smith and Andy Grimsey from Poppleston Allen talk about the latest impacts on the sector including the up-and-coming Martyn’s Law or its official title as the Terrorism (Protection of Premises Bill). 

National Pubwatch of the Year Nottingham Pubwatch will be at the event and its chair Michele Somers will give her view on sharing best practice. 

Matt Lambert, chief executive of The Portman Group, will give the trade view with an insight into the organisation.  Other speakers include Matt Sessions, Problem Solving Tactical Advisor from Warwickshire Police and Chief Superintendent Ian Proffitt, Prevention Strategic Lead, South Yorkshire Police. 

The prestigious National Pubwatch awards will also be handed out on the day including the National Pubwatch Award of Merit, which rewards individuals that have contributed to the success of pubwatch schemes and the Malcolm Eidmans award, which recognises the outstanding contribution made by a police officer or member of police staff in supporting the work of their local pubwatch scheme.

There will also two Bravery and Meritorious Conduct Awards given, which recognise the contribution of individuals whose actions have saved life or minimised physical harm. 

National Pubwatch chairman Steve Baker OBE said: “This is set to be another challenging year for the late-night economy. The conference will focus on some of the major issues related to preventing violence and reduction of harm and our speakers will be providing practical advice and guidance.

“It is also important that we recognise best practice and it will be a privilege to recognise those who have contributed so much to making our town centres a safer environment.”
Mark Worthington, who chairs the conference organising committee at National Pubwatch, said: “We look forward to welcoming delegates to this years’ conference, it is our 20th conference so quite a milestone. We feel we have put together an interesting and informative agenda based upon current issues in the night time economy and feedback from Pubwatches and associated bodies throughout the year.”
To book for the conference go to 

The Clink Charity identifies first candidates for In-Prison Apprenticeships in partnership with HIT Training

The Clink Charity has identified the first students who will take part in its new apprenticeship programme, run in partnership with HIT Training. This will be the first time that apprenticeships have been delivered to serving prisoners.

While many of these students have already been working in Clink training schemes and studying towards industry standard hospitality qualifications, the apprenticeship programme provides an additional pathway to employment which is linked to vocational training.

On release, candidates will then work towards full completion of the course and their apprenticeship. Part of the study also includes a minimum level of English and maths, which is a condition of completion.

Students will also receive support and mentoring from The Clink’s regional support team. This level of support includes, but is not limited to, assisting with benefits, housing, reintegration and relocation as well as many other aspects such as food, accommodation and childcare.

This support ensures learners are given the help they need to reintegrate successfully into society on release – and are matched to a job that fits their skills and lifestyle.

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education Robert Halfon said: “Apprenticeships are crucial to giving people from all backgrounds, no matter their circumstance, the chance to climb the ladder of opportunity while addressing skills gaps and helping to grow our economy.”

“So, it is brilliant news that The Clink Charity are beginning to embrace apprenticeships, transforming lives, and creating second chances for inmates. The Clink Charity understand that providing opportunities to all will help us build a skills nation. I hope more follow their lead.”

Yvonne Thomas, Chief Executive of The Clink Charity, said: “We are so excited to be working alongside HIT Training to deliver this fantastic new scheme that has the potential to transform people’s lives.

“People in prison are looking for ways to embrace change and start again – and this programme allows them to do just that, by securing employment with a national employer on release.”

Jill Whittaker, Executive Chair at HIT Training said: “HIT Training is delighted to be working in partnership with our friends at The Clink to support prisoners into apprenticeships.

“We believe that careers change lives, and that those people undertaking these special programmes will leave prison with a career to look forward to. We have been working toward our first prisoner apprenticeships with The Clink for some time, and simply can’t wait to get started!”

Guinness Six Nations Delivers Good Growth for the On Trade

In round 2 of the Guinness Six Nations, France returned to winning ways against Scotland but only after the TMO denied Scotland a match winning try. Saturday’s second match saw England come back from a 5-14 scoreline at half time to prevail with a narrow 16-14 victory against Wales. On Sunday, Ireland continued its strong form, winning by 36 points against Italy, keeping the Azzuri scoreless in the process.
Off the pitch, the good news is that pubs saw a decent uplift in sales of draught beer and cider of 2.3% versus 2023 and 14.2% versus the other weekends in 2024 thus far, with the Scottish fans topping the number of pints consumed, despite their last minute disappointment.
Round 2 gave pubs and bars a reason to cheer as 25.6 million pints were served. In addition to this was an increase in footfall, as the rugby enticed +6.8% more consumers vs. 2023 to visit, driven by strong increases in Sunday trade. 
Suburbia and Rural led the way +10.5% and +11% respectively. City Centres also bounced back this week with thankfully no rail strikes and, as a result, footfall grew by +4.1%.
All of this meant that the average pub enjoyed draught sales of 675 pints over the weekend, which was an extra 84 pints, equating to a £3,118 income generator.
England fans celebrated their win with an extra 104 pints consumed per venue, while Scottish fans drowned their sorrows with an uplift of 112 pints per venue. Wales followed with 48 extra pints per venue as their team went down to England.
Overall, the Beer & Cider Category was up +2.3% driven by Ale, Stout and Apple Cider, with Ale the biggest winner. 
Interestingly, we can see a shift to lower abv brands with Core Lager & World 4% virtually flat vs. 2023 whereas World Lager & especially Premium Lager lost out, with Premium Lager losing category share and declining -10.8% vs 2023.
Average consumer dwell time grew at a total level to 133 mins vs. 131 mins in the same week last year (+1.3%) with City Centres driving the highest growth +2.3%.  Plus all locations benefitted from an increased consumer visit length vs. last year, with Suburban outlets +0.8% whilst Rural remained flat.

Alison Jordan, CEO of Oxford Partnership commented: “It is great to see that the Guinness Six Nations continues to deliver growth for the UK On Trade, following the trend we have seen over the past few years.  Long may this continue as we move into the later stages of the tournament”.
You can read the full report here.


The Oxford Partnership is a real time market intelligence business that informs customers’ decision making to increase growth revenue, market share and efficiency.  Proprietary algorithms developed by sector leading data scientists combined with intricate knowledge of the hospitality sector enable the delivery of leading insights to customers around the globe.

Christie & Co's Business Outlook Report

Specialist business property adviser, Christie & Co, has today launched its annual Business Outlook report, 'Business Outlook 2024', which reflects on key market activity, trends and challenges of 2023 and forecasts what 2024 might bring across the industries in which Christie & Co operates, including the pub sector.
The report acknowledges that whilst the UK pub sector continues to demonstrate resilience, parts of the transactional market remain challenging due to the interest rate hikes and stubborn inflationary environment during 2023, and pricing will need to adjust further to fully unlock the market. This resulted in a -8.1% drop in Christie & Co's pub price index for 2023.
Nonetheless, the volume of transactions, deals agreed, and exchanges were all ahead in H2 (see report for exact figures). This increased level of activity in the latter half of the year suggests that we should see a more dynamic market in 2024.
Christie & Co's market insights reveal several key trends shaping the market as we head into 2024. Most notably, corporate buyers are back in the market, 86% of Christie & Co pub sales were sold for continued to use, and cash remains king.
The report also outlines Christie & Co's market predictions for the year ahead, which are:
Tenanted pub companies will continue to acquire freeholds up to £1m
Limited M&A activity will take place as funding becomes less difficult and PE return to the market, looking to pick up opportunistic acquisitions (small to large groups)
Regional and national pub companies will look to rationalise their estate and sell off their bottom end pubs
The free-of-tie leasehold market will remain strong, as the cost of debt remains high, making the higher end freehold market less obtainable
Cost pressures will begin to ease
The number of managed pub operations will continue to rise

Stephen Owens, Managing Director of Pubs & Restaurants at Christie & Co comments, “Whilst there were significant challenges during 2023, the pub sector remained remarkably resilient from a trading and transactional perspective against a backdrop of interest rates rises and an inflationary environment. As we enter 2024, we have begun to see signs that these pressures will ease and our experience from the latter end of 2023 is that buyers are beginning to return to the market now that we have a more stable environment.”     
Click here to read the full report.

Tips and Tronc - What's the difference?

In this blog we will discuss the difference between Tips, Gratuities, and Service charges, and when a TRONC arrangement is necessary. To the public these are collectively known as Tips. However, you need to know the difference between them, and how they are treated for tax purposes. 
This is the most common type of tip and is “left on the table” for an individual member of staff, representing the customers appreciation for the good service they have received. The staff will thank the customer for your generosity and will go home with a little bit of extra cash that will top up their minimum wage income. 
Tips stands for “to insure prompt service” and is usually a sum of money paid to an individual in hospitality, in advance of a good service. The best example to explain a tip is a story I heard about a customer ripping a $50 note in half when they arrived at a hotel in the Caribbean, and informed the waiter on their first day, “if you look after me during this visit, I will hand you the other half before I leave”. The guest received excellent service during their holiday and the member of staff that gave them the VIP treatment was handed the other half as promised, so received a generous tip of $50.
Service Charges
A service charge is a percentage added to the bill to cover service, a predetermined gratuity you could say. It can be mandatory or discretionary. It’s mandatory if the customer has no choice but to pay it, and discretionary when the customer can choose to have it removed from the bill. It can be any amount set by the owner of the pub or restaurant but is usually around 12-15% of the total bill.
If the service charge is mandatory, then this will be classified as part of the business revenue and not treated in the same way as tips or gratuities at all for tax purposes, and will also be subject to standard rate VAT, if applicable. All other tips, gratuities, and discretionary service charges fall outside of scope for VAT. Next time you visit an establishment that adds a service charge to the bill, you should notice wording on the receipt stating that it is discretionary, and you can ask for it to be removed. I have quite often asked for this, when I would rather leave a cash gratuity, that is more than the amount added to the bill by the owners.

HMRC and Tips
From now on we will collectively refer to gratuities, tips, and discretionary service charge as “Tips.”
A Tip left on the table or paid-up front to an individual for providing good service doesn’t go through their payroll so they haven’t been taxed through the PAYE scheme, but as law abiding taxpayers, they will inform HMRC of this extra income, and add this to their self-assessment, or make other arrangements to pay whatever tax is due. How, why, and when they are taxed isn’t your problem and has nothing to do with you, the business owner, right? Well in this simple example that is right, and you can sleep at night knowing that on this occasion your staff are happy and collecting taxes for HMRC in this example isn’t your responsibility. Everyone’s happy, apart from the chef who prepared the meal, or the bar manager who cleans the beer lines and orders the wine, and every other member of your team that has something to do with the customers’ experience but hasn’t received any tips!
In hospitality, however, it is more common to pool the tips so that they can be distributed amongst all staff whether they are customer facing (front of house) or in the Kitchen (back of house). When the tips are distributed this way, it’s a whole different ball game. It now depends on how the tips are shared, and by whom, that will determine how they will be treated by HMRC. 
Tronc arrangement
Welcome to Tronc, the system designed by HMRC, setting out the rules and guidelines on how to pool and distribute the tips in the most efficient way for tax purposes. 
Why is it called Tronc? Well, it’s believed to be from the French word “tronc des pauvres” meaning the poor box. This was a box in the church that collected money for the poor which was then distributed.  
If you want to know the detail, the guidance can be found here, where you will notice that HMRC have provided fifteen examples of different ways that Tronc can be taxed. There are even specialists’ companies that offer to assist you with setting up and managing a Tronc arrangement in the most efficient and compliant way, and some even offer insurance to make sure it will not be challenged successfully by HMRC. Whatever you choose to do, I would advise that you at least discuss this subject with your hospitality specialist accountant. 
If you follow the strict guidelines provided by HMRC, the distributed Tronc will be subject to tax deductions only, but no national insurance contributions (NI) will be due by the employee or the employer (you).
In summary the main guidelines are:
1. Appoint a Tronc-Master, who must be a member of staff, and have nothing to do with the ownership or control of the business. 
2. The Tronc-Master must have complete responsibility for how the tips are pooled and distributed, and they will be responsible to HMRC for collecting the taxes due.
3. HMRC must be informed that you have set up a tronc arrangement, and the details of the Tronc-Master should be provided.
4. The service charge must be discretionary.
5. There must be no contractual obligation to pay any employee a guaranteed amount from the Tronc. Therefore, you cannot employ anyone and inform them they will receive a minimum amount from the Tronc arrangement.
6. You cannot use the Tronc to top up minimum wage, meaning any Tronc should be paid on top of the minimum wage.
Once the Tronc arrangement has been implemented, your Tronc-Master could keep a spreadsheet which shows all the pooled tips, and how much has been distributed to each member of staff. Until 2023, there was no obligation to the owner of the business to distribute the tips collected to the staff. 
Over the years there have been a lot of hospitality businesses that have kept back a management charge from the Tronc, so the staff have not received all the pooled tips. I even heard of a Café in London that kept 80% of the tronc as a management fee (not a client of mine by the way!).  Until recent years the management fee held back from the Tronc has not been regulated, but following the Queens speech in 2019, steps have been taken to introduce legislation to ensure that hospitality staff receive all the pooled tips. The Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act received Royal Assent on 2 May 2023, and the main changes, as follows, are expected to come into force in 2024. 
All Tips collected must be distributed to the staff.
The staff receiving the tips must be involved in the service, excluding any admin, Directors etc.
All Tips must be distributed within one month of the month end. So, Junes Tips must be paid by the end of July.
All staff can request to see how the tips are distributed.
Agency workers will now be able to benefit from the pooled tips.
I hope you have found this article helpful, and if your business is currently receiving tips, gratuities or service charge please contact one of the Accredited Advisors with the BII.
David Burr from Carroll Accountants – a BII Accredited Advisor

The Licensed Trade Charity launches Heart of Hospitality Campaign to Celebrate Team Champions

Following the success of its latest campaign, ‘Because Everyone Needs a Little TLC’, leading industry charity the Licensed Trade Charity is kicking off 2024 with the launch of a brand-new initiative, Heart of Hospitality. 
Heart of Hospitality recognises the people within the licensed trade who always go that extra mile to give a little TLC, with a long-term goal of making the industry a more supportive place and raising awareness of the challenges faced by hospitality professionals. 
It is estimated that over 250,000 people working in the licensed trade are in need of support at any one time, this number would be a lot higher without the incredible people who work so hard to make the hospitality industry what it is. 
Through the Heart of Hospitality campaign, the Licensed Trade Charity is calling on the industry to nominate a friend or colleague who always exceeds expectations and goes the extra mile to support their team and the wider sector. A new Heart of Hospitality Champion will be recognised every three months, with four winners receiving the accolade in 2024.
Each Heart of Hospitality Champion will be recognised in a presentation ceremony and celebrated through social and digital content, with the first winner announced as Sam Hagger, Founder & Director of The Beautiful Pubs Collective.
The incredible Sam Hagger is the leader of three bustling Leicestershire pubs: The Knight & Garter next to Leicester Market, The Rutland & Derby nearby, and The Forge in Glenfield. Sam is a true hospitality champion, who has made a continuous effort to support the wider industry and demonstrate how rewarding a career in the sector can be. 
When it comes to his staff, Sam focuses on helping those who are truly passionate about hospitality to succeed and grow in their career; by offering them support, flexibility, and coaching. As a team leader, Sam acknowledges the importance of balance, care, and support - and this is embedded in every aspect of his leadership. 
Truly going that extra mile, Sam has also demonstrated his unwavering support for the industry by participating twice in the epic charity bike ride, Pedalling for Pubs – cycling a combined distance of over 850km to raise vital funds for Only A Pavement Away and the Licensed Trade Charity.   
Paula Smith, Head of Marketing at the Licensed Trade Charity said, “We are absolutely thrilled to launch our new Heart of Hospitality campaign. With the numerous challenges facing our industry in the current economic climate, we feel it is vital to pause and recognise the incredible things that people are doing to make hospitality an even better place to work.
“Congratulations Sam for being our first Champion, your efforts to support and care for others really does have a ripple effect throughout our industry. 
Through this campaign, we want to shout about the amazing efforts of those working in the sector, to bring joy and inspiration to fellow colleagues. If you know of, or work with someone who consistently goes that extra mile to improve the lives of others, please do nominate them to be a Heart of Hospitality Champion – we cannot wait to hear their story.”
If you would like to make a nomination, please contact Kayleigh Fox: [email protected] 

HRC announces Lisa Goodwin-Allen as Chef Ambassador for 2024

HRC, part of Food, Drink & Hospitality Week, the business event for hospitality and foodservice professionals, has announced that Lisa Goodwin-Allen will be the show’s Chef Ambassador for 2024.

Leading the kitchen brigade at Northcote since the age of 23 and a regular face on Britain’s TV screens, she draws inspiration from the beautiful Ribble Valley landscape in Lancashire to produce stunning dishes that showcase the wide range of incredible produce the region has to offer.

Beyond the kitchen, Lisa has become a familiar face on British television, impressing audiences and judges alike with her skills on shows like the Great British Menu and James Martin's Saturday Morning. In a memorable Snackmasters episode, she was also crowned "Burger Queen" for her masterful recreation of the iconic Burger King Whopper in a head-to-head battle with Chef Claude Bosi.

Lisa is also a passionate advocate for charities and social causes, working tirelessly to support organisations including Springboard, Hospitality Action and Action Against Hunger. In addition to her role as Chair of Judges for Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the Year, she has been a guest judge for NHS National Chef of the Year and is Chef Ambassador for Slow Food in the UK and Taste Lancashire.

As part of her role as Chef Ambassador for HRC 2024 Goodwin-Allen will be taking part in a must-attend keynote session on the show’s Vision Stage and will be a guest of historic chef competition International Salon Culinaire.

Goodwin-Allen comments: “I'm excited to be joining HRC as Chef Ambassador for 2024 and look forward to networking with the chef community and discussing the latest trends and challenges in the world of hospitality.”

Jo Farish, Event Manager for HRC, adds: “In addition to being a hugely talented chef and inspiring leader at Northcote, Lisa is an amazing advocate for young chefs and for our industry charities, not to mention a passionate champion of local produce and the food of Lancashire.

“We’re delighted to have her joining us at HRC 2024!”

This year’s event will also see Chef HQ, curated by Chef Publishing, returning to HRC with a packed line-up of talented chefs and famous faces in the UK culinary scene, including chef and restaurateur

Glynn Purnell, chef proprietor of The Elephant, Simon Hulstone, and Fenchurch Head Chef Kerth Gumbs. Plus, fresh from their epic row across the Atlantic in aid of Hospitality Action, Chris Mitchell and Robbie Laidlaw of Genuine Dining will be taking to the stage to discuss their incredible effort.

HRC will take place alongside IFE, IFE Manufacturing, The Pub Show and International Salon Culinaire on 25-27 March 2023 at ExCeL London. To find out more about everything happening at this year’s event, and to register for your complimentary trade ticket, visit

In praise of the pub! Alcohol no longer the top reason for heading to the local, as Brits adapt drinking habits

  • 2 out of 3 Brits feel it is normal to head to the pub and not drink alcohol
  •  75% of those surveyed see the pub as key to the community
  •  Half (50%) want to support their local even when they’re not drinking

New research from the UK’s #1 dedicated alcohol-free beer brand, Lucky Saint, has highlighted the changing habits of alcohol consumption in the UK, finding that drinking alcohol placed fourth in the top 10 reasons as to why Brits go to the pub.

Almost half of respondents cited that spending time with friends and family is their top reason to visit (43%), followed by having a good meal (34%) and enjoying the atmosphere coming in third (28%). The results highlight the increased importance of pubs within communities as hubs for social connection.

The research highlights the shift in attitudes towards alcohol-free, finding that nearly 2 out of 3 Brits (62%) feel comfortable to go to the pub and not drink alcohol. Of which, there was a notable difference between men (56%) and women (69%).

It comes as the latest sector data showcases the continued growth of the alcohol-free category; Kantar have reported the volume of non-alcoholic beverages has risen 42% in the past five years, and a recent YouGov poll found that 75% of UK drinkers have tried no and low products.

As the pub prevails as a treasured British institution, with 3 out of 4 Brits seeing the pub as key to their community (74%), January can be a notoriously quiet month in hospitality, as people look to focus on their health, by cutting down on drinking or going dry entirely.

Often it’s the pub that suffers, but Lucky Saint’s new research shows that half of Brits surveyed want to support their local even when they’re not drinking (50%).

In response, Lucky Saint has launched the campaign ‘Thou Shalt Go To The Pub’, which encourages people to visit their local pub in January. In partnership with Mitchell & Butlers, the non-alcoholic beer brand will be giving away 10,000 free pints from now until 31st January, in all participating venues (see map)

With the rise of great tasting alcohol-free options – and with 1 in 3 pub visits in the UK now alcohol -free – Lucky Saint believes Dry January doesn’t have to be a quiet month for hospitality. Speaking on the research findings, Luke Boase, founder of Lucky Saint, said:

“We’re seeing a rapid cultural shift in attitudes towards alcohol and acceptance of moderating, across all age groups. This idea that you have to apologise for not drinking is fading, with people comfortable to head down to the pub and not drink if they’re choosing to moderate on that occasion.

The findings also further emphasise what the pub represents for people across the UK; a place to socialise and connect with your loved ones. You can’t beat a warm cosy pub, enjoying a pint with friends and family. If you’re doing Dry January or moderating your alcohol consumption, then Lucky Saint on draught is the perfect pint.”

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