BrewDog brings back door-to-door beer delivery service, David McDowall to feature in latest ‘navigating the coronavirus’ video: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is bringing back its door-to-door beer delivery service. The first BrewDog locations to offer the on-demand beer drops will be in Aberdeen, Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Reading and Sheffield. Sites will also be offering a limited food menu featuring BrewDog classics such as burgers and wings. The fresh beer offering will initially be BrewDog’s flagship Punk IPA and Lost Lager, with other canned and bottled beer available. NHS workers will receive 50% off their order along with a bottle of hand sanitiser. The decision to relaunch the delivery service has allowed some of the company’s staff, who live locally to their BrewDog bar, to opt into returning to work. BrewDog will provide each team member with masks and gloves, as well as refresher training on sanitation protocol, and physical distancing measures. Meanwhile, BrewDog chief operating officer David McDowallwill feature in the latest of Propel’s video interviews with leading operators about navigating the coronavirus crisis. McDowall talks to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about how the business went on the front foot to survive, learning from its international estate, and what the industry and the government needs to do next so the hospitality sector has a bright future. The video will be released on Tuesday (21 April). Readers can support independent sector journalism and get their news 12 hours early (at 7pm each night) with a Propel Premium subscription. It costs £395 plus VAT per annum for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Emailanne.steele@propelinfo.com to sign up.
Five Guys to reopen further parts of its UK estate: Five Guys, the US better burger brand, has reopened a number of sites across London and the UK, offering a full menu available either for delivery and click-and-collect services. The 100-strong UK business, which had kept 13 sites across the country operating throughout lock-down for delivery and takeout, has reopened a further six sites – in St Paul’s and Baker Street in London, Edinburgh Fort Kinnaird, Edinburgh Fountain Park, Plymouth and Liverpool Queen Square. It will follow this by opening its site in Guildford on Wednesday (22 April). The company said click-and-collect orders will all be pre-paid, with the restaurants operating strict social distancing policies for those using the collection option. Five Guys UK chief executive John Eckbert told the Evening Standard: “We have adopted a phased approach to reopening Five Guys stores, adhering to government advice and ensuring the safety of our customers and crew is paramount. To date a small number of stores have remained open for click-and-collect and Deliveroo orders only and while this has been in operation, we’re proud of how our crew members have supported local hospitals and key front line workers across the UK.”
Goodbody – Marston’s has necessary funds to continue paying bondholders despite securing ‘precautionary’ waiver: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has said Marston’s has the necessary funds to continue paying bondholders despite confirming it has secured a “precautionary” waiver. The company has secured the waiver of any breach that might arise, under the 30-day suspension of business and operations provision, until 29 May. There will be an automatic extension to 15 June in certain circumstances while Marston’s said it was discussing whether there was a need to consult with bondholders on further covenant waivers. Ruddy said: “Pre-coronavirus we had expected net debt of £1.35bn with net debt to Ebitda of circa six times at year end FY20. At year end FY19 its £1.4bn of net debt was made up of £745m of securitised debt, £335m of bank debt, circa £40m of cash and circa £350m of finance leases and lease related borrowings. It had property plant and equipment of circa £2.4bn. Within the securitisation, the group has circa £75m of debt service required this year and an undrawn £120m revolving credit facility so bondholders will continue to be paid. At year end FY19 it had a liquidity facility of £360m (bank borrowings were £335m). Given the scale of the challenges facing the sector we would avoid names with higher leverage.”
Shake Shack returns $10m coronavirus loan: Shake Shack, one of several large US restaurant companies that got federal loans through the coronavirus stimulus law meant to help small businesses, is giving all $10m back. The loan programme set aside $349bn to help small businesses keep their workers on the payroll. Less than two weeks after it started, the programme has already run out of money. In a statement on LinkedIn, Danny Meyer, Shake Shack’s founder and chief executive of its parent company, Union Square Hospitality Group, and Randy Garutti, Shake Shack’s chief executive, said the company pursued the loan because the law stipulated it was open to any restaurant site with no more than 500 employees, which fits Shake Shack’s 189 individual US restaurants. “The programme came with no user manual and it was extremely confusing,” they said. The programme offered to forgive the loans if recipients rehired furloughed and laid-off workers by June, and because Shake Shack and its parent company had already furloughed hundreds of employees, Meyer and Garutti said they gambled “the best chance of keeping our teams working, off the unemployment line and hiring back our furloughed and laid off employees, would be to apply now and hope things would be clarified in time”. But they said they had no idea the fund would dry up so quickly, so after securing separate funding last week, “we’ve decided to immediately return the entire $10m” so restaurants that “need it most can get it now”. The duo also urged Congress to ensure “all restaurants no matter their size have equal ability to get back on their feet and hire back their teams”.
D&D London to provide more than 2,000 meals a day to key workers across UK:Restaurant operator D&D London is supporting NHS charities and hospitals by providing more than 2,000 free meals a day to key workers across the UK. Led by Alexander & Björck’s head chef Henry Osborn, D&D London is utilising its UK restaurants with help from many of its furloughed staff. A combination of volunteers including D&D London chefs and their restaurant brigades, management and head office employees are operating from Butlers Wharf Chophouse and Radici in London as well as 20 Stories in Manchester to prepare and deliver fresh meals daily, to hospitals and NHS staff. With support from The Hildon Foundation, D&D London is feeding front line workers at West Middlesex and St Barts hospitals in London as well as Manchester Royal Infirmary and the St Johns Ambulance. In addition, the operation at Radici, led by chef patron Francesco Mazzei, is working with the #HelpThemHelpUs charity; a network founded and staffed by front line NHS workers, Dr Dominic Pimenta and ex-Chelsea footballer Joe Cole. The kitchen of D&D London’s Le Pont de la Tour is also being used by Michelin-starred chef Larry Jayasekara and his team, who are preparing and delivering hot meals daily to the front line teams of University College Hospitals. D&D London will be expanding its volunteering efforts across the UK and to its New York restaurant, Queensyard, next week.
Mercato Metropolitano launches initiative to support new F&B projects: London-based Italian street food market Mercato Metropolitano has launched an initiative under the title DREAMM, where it plans to identify and incubate new food and non-food concepts and ideas. Those chosen for the incubation programme will be able to access financial support packages worth up to £4,000, including capital to kick-start their idea, thanks to support by the group’s own fund and the Peabody Community Foundation. The company stated: “Do you have a cool, tasty food idea you want to pilot? Maybe a new sustainability concept you want to test out? What about an amazing entertainment offering or a community-based cultural startup? We want to help you make it happen. Come and pitch your ideas for a chance to join our MMovement and turn your DREAMM project into reality!” If projects are selected they will go through the group’s incubation programme, which also includes tailored mentorship and support, a chance to spend three months in the Mercato Metropolitano incubation shack in one of its markets, an opportunity to become a full-time “TeaMMate” at Mercato Metropolitano. Those looking to participate, need to create a 30 to 60-second video with a short-written description, explaining what their dream idea is and how they imagine developing it with Mercato Metropolitano and posting it on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtags #DreaMM2020 and #JointheMMovement by Friday (24 April). The Mercato Metropolitano team will select its top ten ideas that will move on to the online “DreaMM Pitch Day”, in May. The company’s Elephant & Castle and Mayfair food markets are temporarily closed. However, in line with its business focus on its communities, the company continues to operate the deli in each of the sites from 11am to 7pm Mondayto Saturday and between noon and 6pm on Sunday. The company is also hosting workshops and classes as well as offering retail products online along with a community kitchen series.
Subway enhances safety protocols as franchisees launch market place to make sandwiches at home: Subway is enhancing cleaning procedures and sourcing masks and protective shields for workers while franchisees are offering ingredients to allow customers to make its sandwiches at home. The company said it was working to “mitigate the strains and stresses” being placed on its franchisees during the “ever-evolving landscape” of the coronavirus pandemic. In an update, Subway said it was providing financial relief and support to its franchise community as well as reinforcing health and food safety standards, such as workers wearing gloves and sandwiches being individually wrapped and sealed. The company also “introduced enhanced procedures, such as hourly restaurant cleanings, especially in high-touch areas such as door handles and credit card terminals”, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Subway said it has also issued guidance for wellness checks of restaurant staff at the start of each shift. Earlier this month Subway began testing “Subway Grocery” sales in 100 Southern California restaurants, and the company said other franchisees had now launched “Subway market place”, which allowed customers to buy bread and pre-packaged meat and vegetables to make sandwiches at home.
Old Chang Kee reopens sites for delivery: Singaporean snack and street food brand Old Chang Kee has reopened for delivery. The company, which is known for its curry puffs, is offering the service from its Covent Garden and Fitzrovia sites across Greater London. The restaurant’s curries – Singapore chicken curry; chicken rendang; tofu and mixed vegetable curry; and dry chicken curry – are also available and feed two people, but customers need to add their own rice, reports Hot Dinners. Founded in 1956, Old Chang Kee operates more than 100 outlets, mainly in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Australia.
EasyHotel set to delist from LSE next month: EasyHotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has said it expects to delist from the London Stock Exchange on 19 May after the company agreed to a takeover by real estate investor Ivanhoé Cambridge and property fund manager Icamap in August. The company stated: “The board believes the cancellation is in the best interests of the company and shareholders as a whole.” Citrus Holdco – a company owned by a consortium comprising Cadim Fonds, which is part of Ivanhoé Cambridge, and Icamap Investments – that currently owns about 71.2% of EasyHotel shares, was interesting in acquiring a 94.6% stake in EasyHotel. Citrus Holdco’s said it was willing to pay a price of up to 70p a share until 1pm on 18 May to acquire the remaining shares, enabling shareholders to sell shares at a premium of up to approximately 21.7% to the closing price per share on Friday (17 April).