Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags Hospitality

This week's main hospitality news stories include the Government announcing plans for compulsory vaccine certificates, optimism for the managed sector as sales near 2019 levels, and Hawksmoor mulling an IPO.

- The Government's decision to make so-called 'vaccine passports' compulsory to enter crowded venues such as nightclubs from the autumn has been condemned as 'an absolute shambles'​.​ On Monday (19 July), Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that from late September, once all adults have had the chance to receive two jabs, Covid vaccine certificates will be made mandatory in England. This despite a recent review concluding there should be no legal requirements for their use. Coming on so-called 'Freedom Day' - the first time nightclubs have been able to open their doors since the start of the pandemic - the announcement has been described as 'devastating' for the night-time economy. The Government looks to have its work cut out getting the legislation through, though, with opposition to the plan growing across Westminster​.

- Britain’s managed pub, restaurant and bar groups saw sales drop just 1% in June from the same month in 2019​, the new edition of the Coffer CGA Business Tracker reveals. The Tracker, produced by CGA in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM, shows sales were nearly level on both a total and like-for-like basis. Consumer demand was particularly strong in restaurants, where total sales were up by 3% in June. Pubs recorded a 2% drop, with mixed weather and restrictions dampening any benefit from the Euro 2020 football tournament. Sales were down by 11% in bars, where social distancing and early closing requirements continue to impact footfall. June’s performance is a significant improvement on May, when total sales were down by 26% on May 2019​​.

- Hawksmoor is considering launching an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange​ as it looks to capitalise on growth opportunities post-Covid. The group, which currently has eight UK sites, is working with stockbroker Berenberg to gauge potential demand among City fund managers for its shares. Co-founder Will Beckett told The Times ​that the firm was 'exploring a variety of options, including an IPO', though stressed no listing was imminent. “We want to be in the best shape possible for the numerous opportunities that are already coming our way post-Covid,” he said.

- Market Halls is to launch a £1m crowdfund campaign through Seedrs early next month​. The London-based food hall operator, which has three locations across the capital in Victoria, Fulham and the West End, describes itself as 'a clear market leader' and prior to the first national lockdown was on track to grow revenue by 77% in the 2020 financial year having generated more than £15m of revenue in the 12 months of trading to March 2020. Market Halls has now begun a staggered reopening its sites, having announced in July last year that it had taken the decision to keep all of its sites closed while social distancing remains. It also plans to launch a new site in Canary Wharf next year.

- Hospitality is facing a shortage of more than 200,000 workers with vacancies across every business in the sector​, according to new research from the UK’s leading industry trade bodies. UKHospitality, the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) are all warning that the long-awaited easing of restrictions this week does not mark an easing of challenges for sector businesses. Chief among these are major concerns around staffing, the supply chain, and tapering of Government support. A survey of over 350 businesses operating tens of thousands of venues found that 100% of businesses currently have vacancies; mainly front-of-house (84%), non-head chefs (67%) and kitchen porters (36%). A third are experiencing managerial role vacancies. Vacancy levels are running at 10% across the sector – implying a shortage of more than 200,000 workers.

Check below for more of this week's headlines, or click here​.

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