Restaurants, pubs and coffee shops celebrate bumper festive period

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Starbucks, Canary wharf

Have yourself a profitable Christmas: The majority of operators reported like-for-like sales increases of up to 10 per cent
Have yourself a profitable Christmas: The majority of operators reported like-for-like sales increases of up to 10 per cent
The festive period appeared to be one of the strongest on record for many restaurant and pub groups across the UK, despite the recent challenges to footfall caused by the extreme weather.

BigHospitality has spoken to a number of leading operators about how trade fared over Christmas and the New Year, with the majority reporting like-for-like sales increases of up to 10 per cent.

Last week, managed pub and bar operator TCG told us of an average 7 per cent uplift in turnover across its estate​ thanks to ‘a definite upturn in consumer confidence’.

Fellow pubco Orchid Group has since reported a similar sales fortune, with turnover up 9.8 per cent over the period. Food sales alone grew by 11 per cent across the business.

“Across the company we had a record breaking Christmas with very strong sales,” said the group’s commercial and people director Simon Dodd. “There was a definite upturn in consumer confidence this year, with Christmas bookings up over 6 per cent on last year.

“For us, it was all about getting in early. Festive planning started in earnest in July with dedicated manager road-shows, training sessions and sales ambassadors’ workshops.  We offered customers early booking incentives and as a result they were up by 10 per cent.  To excite managers, we ran a Christmas sales incentive offering the best performing 20 a trip to Miami.”

Orchid’s digital communications played a significant part too, with targeted mailings sent out to over one million customers. Across the festive period, Orchid’s 47 Carveries saw a 15 per cent increase in festive sales from last year.  Over 350,000 diners were served during December with 3,600 turkeys consumed.

ETM Group

Meanwhile, restaurant and bar operator ETM Group, led by Ed and Tom Martin, reported a 9.1per cent rise in like-for-like sales in a ‘record-breaking’ December with performance across its business improving.

The company, which recently opened its 11th site - One Canada Square restaurant and bar in Canary Wharf, said it saw a particularly strong performance from pre-­booked and pre-paid revenue.

Co­‐owner Ed Martin said: “We’re extremely pleased with the increase in like-­for-­likes for December trading. All areas of the business were improved on last year and we are looking forward to continued strong growth through 2014.”

Coffee shops

The profitable Christmas period extended into the coffee shop sector too. As reported yesterday by Allegra Strategies, the total UK coffee shop market will exceed 20,500 outlets and turnover of £8.7bn by 2018, with 4.5 per cent annual outlet growth over the five-year period.

The Real Eating Company Group, a South East- based independent operator  of coffee shops and restaurants, dually saw strong growth of 7.2. per cent in like-for -like sales in December.

Owner Helena Hudson said: “ We are very pleased with the results, despite the challenges the wind and rain brought to customer footfall.  Whilst our overall customer numbers were down by 3 per cent in December, we increased our average spend by 13 per cent. 

“This increase came predominantly from  hot food sales in our coffee shops.  We have extended and improved  our hot food offer  through the autumn and this had a marked impact on Christmas business.”

Other restaurants and bars

A round-up buy one of our sister title’s M&C Report found similar positive sales for the rest of the restaurant and pub market. Other businesses reporting a significant sales boost included Lumina, Beds & Bars, McMullen’s, Amber Taverns, Brasserie Bar Co, Living Ventures, Cote, Be At One, Davy’s, La Tasca and Tortilla.

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