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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.

Only 1 in 3 hospitality businesses is currently profitable

New sector survey data reveals the crippling damage that rising energy, goods and labour costs is wreaking on hospitality venues. 

Profitability of hospitality businesses across the UK is plummeting with only 37% currently turning a profit, with the biggest factors being the rising costs of energy (74%), goods (55%) and labour (54%). 

The survey, conducted by the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality, comes almost one year after the Government released its Hospitality Recovery Strategy, which looked to increase the resilience of the sector by improving profitability and putting pubs, bars, and restaurants at the heart of plans to revitalise local economies after the pandemic. 

However, the picture for hospitality businesses remains bleak, with almost half (45%) of businesses forced to reduced opening hours to avoid closing permanently and one in six reporting they have no cash reserves.

Now hospitality leaders are calling on the Government to recognise the contribution hospitality businesses can make to the economy whilst noting that less than one-third (28%) are currently considering investing in their businesses because of the challenging economic climate. 

The group highlights three key priorities to get the sector back on track: tackling the current inflationary headwinds facing the sector; reforms that would unleash growth potential and a new tax and investment regime that facilitates a resilient and productive hospitality sector.

In a joint statement the British Beer and Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and UKHospitality said: 

“These figures are extremely worrying and demonstrate the critical situation hospitality businesses across the country are currently in. Given the chance, our industry has huge growth potential and the ability to play a critical role in the levelling up of communities in every single part of the UK, but instead we are still struggling to get back on our feet properly after a turbulent two years.

“In the past few weeks inflation has hit record levels and costs on key ingredients and utilities has rocketed, whilst consumer confidence has plummeted resulting in fewer customers in our venues. We are weathering a perfect storm, but we can’t hold on forever, we need relief as soon as possible before the cost of doing business forces venues to close for good.”

BII Licensee of the Year Award 2022…and the winner is!

The BII Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK. Since January 2022, operators from across the UK have been whittled down from an exceptional field of over 300 entrants to crown the BII Licensee of the Year 2022.

Following a final judging day at Sky Head Quarters on Monday 20th June, where each of the 6 finalists faced 3 panels of industry experts and operators, Amanda and Nick Hemming from the Heron Inn, Malpas, were named as the champions!

Nick and Amanda had been strong competitors from the start, which saw them score highly across all areas including mystery customer visits and web and social media audits, as well as their on-site judging visit from judges Sue Allen and Ashley McCarthy. Their performance on the final judging day sealed the deal for these fantastic operators who have proved they have what it takes to be the best licensees in the UK.

They picked up their winner’s trophy in front of colleagues and industry friends at this year’s BII Summer Event, hosted on Tuesday 21st June, this year returning to the beautiful HAC Royal Artillery Gardens. Despite disruption with rail and tube strikes, the BII’s determined guests celebrated with the winners in the sunshine, showing again the resilience and tenacity of people in our vibrant sector. 

Damian Saunders, Managing Director of Sky Business said:
“A huge congratulations to Amanda and Nick for winning the Licensee of the Year Award in 2022. Sky is delighted to sponsor this award and play a part in recognising the individuals that have achieved so much in the industry, particularly after the incredible challenges they have faced over the last 2 years.”

Steve Alton, Chief Executive of the BII commented:
“I’d like to offer a massive congratulations to Nick and Amanda on behalf of myself and the whole team here at the BII, including our fantastic judges. This is the most rigorous and intense competition in our industry, and to win from the largest field of nominations we have ever seen, is truly remarkable. I’d also like to congratulate our other incredible finalists, as getting to the finals of this competition is an incredible achievement in itself. The friendships they have all formed in the last 2 days has been fantastic to see, and we will be sharing more of the best practice from all of our finalists over the coming year.”

The BII would also like to thank everyone who entered this year’s competition, despite the huge challenges they faced during the course of the pandemic. The LOYA competition will return in 2023, launching in January.

HGEM reveals 9 out of 10 financially impacted by cost-of-living crisis

The ‘Cost-of living crisis’ consumer sentiment report surveyed 450 members of Hospitality Guest Experience Management (HGEM)'s mystery guest database between the ages of 18 to 66+.

The findings of the report indicate that most consumers (87%) are already affected by the cost-of-living crisis. The results show that it’s unfortunately the youngest, and the oldest that are most affected, as 91% of both Gen-Z (18-25) consumers and respondents aged 66+ have felt the impact of the crisis; the least affected (78%) were in the 56-65 age group. There is no substantial difference in response from a gender perspective. 

Furthermore, the results of the study also show that if budgets contracted, 3 out of 4 (72%) would reduce visit frequency to their favourite hospitality venues, rather than find a cheaper alternative. Sector analysis revealed that the highest percentage of consumers opting for the reduction of frequency, rather than cost, were identified in the quick service sector (79%), meaning that people are least likely to choose a cheaper alternative to the place they usually get their lunch / coffee from - they would rather just go less often. One can assume that this statistic would be a good indicator for brand loyalty - suggesting that brand loyalty is highest within quick service, over other sectors. Quick service was followed by dining out (76%), drinking out (70%), leisure (69%) and lastly accommodation (65%). From a demographic perspective, Gen-Z stands out as the age-group who could most likely be swayed by cost, the report reveals.

Consumers were also asked to pinpoint what they’d stop spending on first, if budgets tightened. The ranking from lowest priority to top priority for spending is as follows: 1) delivery & takeaway, 2) holidays abroad, 3) eating / drinking out, 4) retail (non-essentials) 5) UK holidays. The results suggest that delivery & takeaway market may soon see a decline after a long period of success and stability, whereas UK domestic holiday sector, which saw a boom last year, appears to be in a strong position again. 

Full report:
https://www.hgem.com/opinion/cost-of-living-crisis

Grassroots Sports Champion programme scores early result

250 pubs sign up for new recognition programme

A total of 250 pubs have joined the Grassroots Sports Champion programme, launched in March by PubAid and Sky to recognise and reward pubs' support for local sport. 

The Grassroots Sports Champion programme is open to any pub involved in local sport, whether they host a pool or darts side, sponsor a football team or put on a post-match spread for the cricket side. It's free to join and pubs receive a marketing pack of staff T-shirts and window stickers to help them shout about their support for the sports that are so important to local communities. Pubs can sign up on the dedicated website: pubaid.co.uk/grassroots
Information from joiners shows the wide range of sports supported by pubs. While football, pool and darts are the most popular, the long list also includes fishing and cycling clubs, bootcamps, majorettes, rambling groups, archery and Aunt Sally - a traditional pub and fairground game, a bit like a coconut shy.  Women's rugby and football and mixed darts and pool also feature, as well as a number of veterans teams, demonstrating the inclusive approach favoured by many pubs.
According to a survey by PubAid (1), pubs contribute £40m every year to grassroots sport, either through direct sponsorship or donations, or in-kind support. With a lack of funding the biggest challenge for many local teams, pubs are providing a lifeline that helps clubs to stay afloat and enables thousands of people to play the sport they love.
Des O'Flanagan, PubAid co-founder said: "We're delighted with this enthusiastic response to Grassroots Sports Champions. These pubs are providing invaluable help to local sports teams, who are frequently only able to operate thanks to their sponsorship or in-kind support, and they thoroughly deserve this recognition."
Damian Saunders, Managing Director, Sky Business TV said: "It's wonderful to see so many pubs become Grassroots Sports Champions. The scale of involvement is impressive, with many pubs supporting teams across several sports and age groups in their locality. 
"We are keen for as many pubs as possible to become Grassroots Sports Champions. It doesn't matter whether your pub sponsors half a dozen local teams or provides free refreshments for one darts side, the support provided by pubs for all grassroots sports deserves recognition in this programme." 
Pubs in the Grassroots Sports Champion programme
One Grassroots Sports Champion is The Cresswell Arms in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland. Last year, licensee David Haggerty started sponsoring a new Sunday football team, which was set up by Nick Storey, a pub regular who works for Newcastle United Foundation. 
He says: "Nick started the team as a way of combating social isolation and the mental health issues around it in our community, particularly among young men. It's been amazing to see how these players, most of them in their 20s, have developed: playing football once a week and socialising in the pub has connected them to the community, giving them confidence, social skills and a new group of friends. And they've had a really good first season on the pitch too, losing in the league final by just one goal."
Paul Sandford, owner of The Railway Tavern in Dereham, Norfolk, made sport a focus when he bought the pub 13 years ago and now supports football - including ladies and veterans teams - rugby and cricket clubs, who have all moved up their leagues; the ladies' football team recently came within one match of a trip to Wembley.
He says: "I've always played or coached sport, so I wanted it to be part of the pub. Sport's at the heart of The Railway: customers either play for one of our teams so they're in the pub after matches and training, or they come here to watch the live sport. Sport is a great way of bringing the community together." Back in 2018, Paul built a grandstand for 500 people to watch the World Cup, and is making plans now for this year's tournament. 
The Lord Nelson is a traditional pub in Sheffield, close to the United FC ground. Owner Stefan Lowrie bought the pub two years ago and has developed its men's and ladies pool and darts teams, who compete in local and Yorkshire leagues.
The pub also took on a new football team at the start of the 2021/22 season, as Stefan explains: "I heard about the team through some regulars and discovered they had no base and no sponsorship, so decided to take them on. Within a week we'd got them 2.5K in sponsorship from local businesses, and they've have really flown in their first season, getting promoted and reaching two finals.
"The team are young, local lads, who've maybe not had the greatest start in life, so it's great to see them succeed - and not just on the pitch; we've just employed one of them behind the bar and he's doing really well."
He added: "Sport is such an important part of this pub; of course we see some commercial benefit as teams drink with us after matches and so on, but it's more about creating those connections that bring people together and make a stronger community."
Grassroots Sports Champions comes at a time when Sky is highlighting the vital role that pubs play in their community through their Everyone Loves A Local campaign. Running throughout 2022, the campaign puts local pubs in the spotlight with sports fans as well as giving pubs access to unique experiences which can only be delivered by Sky including footfall driving activations and customer rewards.
According to PubAid's research, football is the sport with the most support from pubs (40%) followed by darts and pool (30%), cricket (16%), rugby union (10%) and rugby league (4%).
To find out more about the Grassroots Sports Champions programme, visit: pubaid.co.uk/grassroots
 
(1) Pubs & Sport, The Perfect Match, based on a survey of 1,400 pubs conducted June - September 2018. To read the report, visit the PubAid website

The longer daylight hours of summer bring with them a few challenges for pubs, especially those with appealing gardens, and in areas popular with tourists and walkers, as some customers will want to make the most of light evenings and plan to eat later than they might when the nights are dark and the weather less welcoming. 

While that can mean longer kitchen hours, the great thing about many summer dishes is that they include salads and sides that can be prepared in advance, as well as ingredients that can be cooked quickly and simply, which helps to take at least some of the pressure off a busy pub kitchen. 

Summer is an opportunity to focus on more relaxed, less formal meal opportunities. That might include a brunch-style weekend menu instead of the full Sunday roast, or an outdoor barbecue offer as an alternative to more hearty choices on the specials boards.

The latest recipes created for the A Fresh Approach hospitality menu support campaign from Bidfresh aim to help pubs offer menus that will keep customers engaged right through the summer months. 

Whether indoors or outside, burgers are a staple of summer, quick to serve, and with a little  forward planning, much of the prep work can be done at quieter times. This recipe for Panko Crumbed Buttermilk Chicken Thigh Burger, Chipotle Dressing, Hot Chilli Maple Syrup and Red Cabbage Slaw makes a great alfresco dish, and a well-chilled lager will help to counter the spicy tang of chilli and chipotle.
View the recipe here

Lamb is a popular summer dish, and goes well with a range of seasonal vegetables and salads. For a less familiar take on a lamb dish, try Grilled Lamb Cutlets, Scorched Red Pepper & Sunflower Seed Muhammara, Feta, Burnt Aubergine Salad, and Za’tar. A robust rioja or similar red wine will go well with this.
View the recipe here

Summer brings calmer and warmer waters around the UK, which means the fishing fleets are landing a broader range of fish and seafood species, Mackerel is a high quality British fish, and when line-caught is a sustainable menu choice. Pan Fried Mackerel Fillets with a  BLT salad of Heritage Tomato, Little Gem, Smoked Bacon Lardons and Herb Mayo Dressing makes a wonderful summer lunch or lighter dinner option, accompanied by a crisp white wine. 
View the recipe here

Fish is sometimes neglected as a barbecue choice, and the warmer weather brings sardines to the fishing grounds of the south-west. Served as part of a barbecue menu or featured on a summer menu, this recipe for Fire Roasted Sardines with Burnt Chilli, Garlic & Lemon Butter and Caramelised Lemon brings a fresh feel to a barbecue menu. Serve it with a Belgian-style wheat beer. 
View the recipe here

 

Halloumi is a versatile option thanks to its compatibility with a range of flavours. Crispy Halloumi, Romesco sauce, Pistachio crumble and Chilli Honey Drizzle combines the texture of crispy fried halloumi with the piquant red peppers and smoked paprika flavours of the sauce, the crunch or pistachio and sweetness of the honey drizzle. Serve with an authentic cider for a great addition to summer menus.   
View the recipe here



A Fresh Approach covers all three core Bidfresh businesses, supporting operators to use the very best fresh, seasonal and responsibly sourced produce. Between them, fish and seafood specialist Direct Seafoods; catering butcher Campbell Brothers, and fruit and vegetable supplier Oliver Kay Produce supply thousands of hospitality businesses nationwide. 

For the latest recipes, and more ideas to help chefs make the most of serving fresh, seasonal produce, visit BidFresh 

Pets (not always) at home!

Do you own a dog or a dog friendly venue? Then, this is the blog for you, here are some top tips from Shield Safety, our safety partners,  to make sure your business is both Rover ready and Corgi compatible…

In the UK, dog ownership rocketed, especially during lockdown - with a 30% increase of people sharing households with a pet. Prior to the covid-19 outbreak in the UK, we still had a noticeable trend of a rise in dog ownership - statistics now show that the amount of dog owners has almost doubled since 2012!

Upon the arrival of our British Summer, we expect the public to be flocking to beer gardens, restaurants, and events up and down the country, with many wanting to bring their canine companions. Research has found that 46% of dog owners would dine out more regularly if they could bring their pet along. Given the many good reasons to introduce dog-friendly places, let’s think about the safety and hygiene of our furry friends and customers before we implement this change. 

1. Hydration is key – imagine sitting in the sun with a coat on and no water (I think not)! Make sure to have dog bowls at the ready with a fresh water supply. Consider how you will deal with any water spillages, and make sure they do not create a trip or slip hazard, for example, positioning the water and bowl on gravel where any liquid will quickly drain away. 
2. Think hands, think hygiene – instruct your team to not touch the dogs, as there is the risk of contamination and customers may also object to seeing colleagues petting dogs. If a team member does touch a dog, they must wash their hands immediately afterwards. It is good practice that this is made clear to customers, as it will demonstrate high levels of hygiene.
3. Tasty treats - a supply of treats shows fantastic hospitality and offers a warm welcome to your guests. There might be sale opportunities with products like doggy ice cream and drinks. If so, make sure the products are clearly distinguishable from your normal items and are not supplied to customers by accident.
4. Mind your step - dogs and leads can cause a trip hazard, so, think carefully about where you allow dogs in the premises and for you team to be aware that dogs and leads may be on the floor.
5. Prepare for poo – it’s a good idea to have a supply of poo bags available for your guests and make sure your team know how to dispose of dog mess safely. Even the best dog owners may forget a poo bag occasionally, but you will be ready to help!
6. Assistance dogs - guide dogs and hearing dogs for the deaf are an example of highly trained animals that provide life changing assistance to their owners. Under the Equality Act 2010, assistance dogs have the right to enter food premises with their owner. This means that you need to consider how the risk from dogs are controlled in your business, regardless of how pet friendly you are.
7. Unfortunately, not everyone’s a dog lover - some guests might be wary of dogs or find them disruptive. Think about how to manage dogs in the business, for example having dog areas or tables set aside. It is also good to have some expectations laid out for guests to follow such as: dogs are expected to be kept on leads, so they do not interrupt other people’s experiences.
8. Reduce the likelihood of hazards – a risk assessment must be undertaken, identifying significant hazards and the controls required to reduce the risk. Your team must be trained on the control measures and the actions they must take. All controls and assessments should be documented.

 

See more from our Trusted Partner Shield Safety here.

BII Licensee of the Year 2022 Finalists Announced!

The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) is delighted to announce their six incredible finalists for this year’s Licensee of the Year competition.

Sponsored by Sky, the Licensee of the Year competition is widely regarded as the most rigorous and hard-fought award for individual licensee operators in the UK. 

Since the launch in January this year, licensee operators have been entering the competition, showing the judges evidence of how they have been rebuilding their businesses and communities, with a focus on their resilience, sustainability and diversification. 

This year, the entries have been of a particularly high standard, making it even more difficult for our team of judges to decide who to take through to the Finals. 

Selected from a field of over 300 entrants, our six Finalists have been selected on the basis of their community impact, exceptional mystery diner visits, financial and online audits and face-to-face interviews in their pubs with
judges, Sue Allen and Ashley McCarthy.

The 2022 Licensee of the Year Finalists are as follows: 

Amanda & Nick Hemming – Heron Inn, Truro, TR1 1SL
Michael Pearson & Charlotte Salaman – The Wych Elm, Kingston Upon Thames, KT2 6HT
Joe Buckley & Flo Pearce – Tollemache Arms, Harrington, NN6 9NU
Rumit & Tosh Lakhani – The White Horse, Buckover, GL12 8DX
Stuart Fox & Julian Crowley – The White Horse, Dover, CT16 1QF
James Lyon Shaw – The Greene Oak, Windsor, SL4 5UW

You can find more info here on the Licensee of the Year page.

Steven Alton, BII CEO commented: "Our Licensee of the Year Award is the most prestigious & hard-fought award, showing the excellence in our sector. The final six are of an incredible standard.

“We are proud that the awards process this year, more than ever, is offering a value-added experience to all those involved, with business insight and the chance to evaluate your business available at every stage, from mystery diner visits and feedback, right through to our final judging day at Sky HQ.

“I want to take this opportunity to congratulate all involved and wish them the best of luck for the final stages of the competition."
 
All six finalists will be presented with a trophy at the  on the 21st of June, where the winner of Licensee of the Year 2022 will be crowned.

The BII would like to thank everyone who has entered the competition this year. Keep your eyes peeled for another opportunity to enter in the January 2023.

Hospitality industry supports new vodka brand in support of Ukraine raising £1m

Hospitality industry supports new vodka brand in support of Ukraine raising £1m for War Child. 100% of profits from each bottle is donated.

Solovey has partnered with War Child (reg. charity no. 1071659), with all profits donated to their Emergency Fund. War Child is the only specialist charity for children affected by conflict. For more than two decades, they’ve been driven by a single goal – ensuring a safe future for every child living through war

 

They aim to reach children as early as possible when conflict breaks out and support them long after the cameras have gone. They deliver life-changing services and support in communities affected by conflicts to keep children safe and help them to heal and learn for the chance of a better future.

The brand is called Solovey, which means Nightingale in Ukrainian and is the Ukrainian national animal and steeped in Ukrainian folklore. The brand is proud of the everyday spirit of Ukrainian people showing courage, creativity and hope.

 

Solovey has partnered with one of the UK’s leading branding agencies Ragged Edge, known for their work with the likes of Mindful Chef, Grey Goose and Papier, who have done all of the branding pro bono.

 

The project is being supported by East London Liquor Co who are distilling and bottling the vodka. Distribution partners Matthew Clark are also supporting the project.

 

The brand is launching with a group of founding hospitality brands who have been supportive of the aims of the brand, including Hawksmoor, Swingers, Puttshack, Inception Group, Incipio Group, MJMK Group, Market Halls, Turtle Bay, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Loungers, Hubbox, Indapubs, Wolfpack, Peach Pub Co and Fallow. They are creating a special cocktail on their menus, with many opting for a Kyiv Mule.

 

The brand is started by Yasha Estraikh, who’s heritage is Ukrainian and came to the UK when he was a seven-year-old. He is an investor and brand expert at leading consumer investor Piper, who have invested in the likes of Bloom & Wild, Mindful Chef, Flat Iron, Orlebar Brown, Propercorn, Bottlegreen, Monica Vinader and Neom Organics.

 

Yasha Estraikh, founder of Solovey said: “When the war broke out, as someone who is of Ukrainian heritage and still has family in Eastern Ukraine, I asked myself what I could do with my contacts and experience in building brands that would have a disproportionate impact in helping people in Ukraine. I wanted to create a purpose-led brand that would stand on its own two feet and would help child refugees in perpetuity well after the media headlines have disappeared by creating a brand loved by consumers and barmen alike. The goodwill that this project has generated has been unbelievable and allowed the brand to launch in just two months.”

 

Alex Wolpert, founder of East London Liquor Company said "When Yasha approached us about Solovey we were truly honoured to be the production partner responsible for getting the product to market at breakneck speed. By redirecting a proportion of our production we were able to negate some of the chronic supply chain issues that are currently facing the industry whilst delivering a top-notch vodka for the very impressive roster of on-trade customers he has secured. Hopefully this helps to raise as much money as possible for the cause. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed by the awful news that continues to come out of Ukraine, so by offering up our services it gives us the opportunity to help in the only way we know how.”

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