Friday Five: the week's top news

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Friday Five: the week's top news

Related tags: Restaurant

This week's main hospitality news stories include the return of Brighton's Due South, rising takeaway sales, and Dishoom being named the fourth best large company to work for in UK.

- Well-regarded Brighton beach restaurant Due South has reopened in its original location​ following a decade-long hiatus. Launched in 2004, the restaurant closed in 2011 to make way for Arch 139 before becoming the second Brighton restaurant for Riddle & Finns - Riddle & Finns on the Beach - but has now reopened following the launch of a new Riddle & Finns restaurant close by on Kings Road. Both Due South and Riddle & Finns are co-owned by Brighton restaurateur Rob Shenton, but Due South is now being run as a separate business.

- Restaurant and pub groups recorded a fourfold increase in delivery and takeaway sales in April from pre-Covid-19 levels​, CGA’s latest Hospitality at Home Tracker reveals. According to the data, combined delivery and takeaway sales were 345% higher than in April 2019, when the sector was fully open for eating out. Sales grew by 11% from March 2021, despite the reopening of restaurants, pubs and bars for outside service in England from mid-April. Month-on-month growth in takeaway sales was notably higher than in deliveries. The figures from the Tracker suggest that deliveries, takeaways and at-home meal kits, which have all soared in popularity during the lockdowns of the last 14 months, are likely to remain a major part of consumers’ habits well beyond the full reopening of hospitality.

Dishoom has been named the fourth best large company to work for​ as part of an annual listing compiled by Best Companies. The Indian restaurant group, which was given a three-star rating, has also been named the best company to work for in the leisure and hospitality sector. Other businesses on the list include in that category include Hickory’s Smokehouse, which was ranked at number 11, The Coaching Inn Group at number 21, Peach Pub Company at 24, Hawksmoor at 27 and Mowgli Street Food at 28. The UK’s Best Companies to Work For ranking uses a survey to determine an accreditation score. The scoring system ranges from ‘one to watch’ to a three-star accreditation for ‘world class’ levels of workplace engagement. The large company category considers businesses that have between 200 and 1,999 employees.

- Only two in five hospitality businesses are currently trading at a profit​ but confidence about future trading is on the rise, a new survey from CGA and Fourth has revealed. The latest Business Confidence Survey indicates a solid start to trading since outside service was permitted from mid-April, with 58% of leaders in the managed restaurant, pub and bar sector rating their performance since then as ahead of their expectations, and just 8% below. Yet despite this, only two in five (41%) businesses are now either trading at a profit or expect to do so by the end of June, the survey shows. The survey has found that 79% of business leaders are optimistic about the prospects for the eating and drinking out market in general, a level of confidence last reached in February 2015. Slightly more leaders (83%) say they feel optimistic about prospects for their own business over the next 12 months. However, concerns over the Indian variant of COVID-19 and the risk of extended restrictions as well as around staff recruitment and retention will also temper optimism in the weeks ahead, CGA predicts.

- The Athenian co-founder Neo Christodoulou has left the Greek street food business and is preparing to launch a rival brand called Smashing Plates​. Described as ‘on-the-go-Greek like you’ve never eaten before’, Smashing Plates will open four locations across London in the coming months that will all be on sites previously occupied by The Athenian. Smashing Plates’ debut restaurant will open in London Bridge next month in the St Thomas Street unit that originally launched last year as The Athenian’s eighth permanent location. It will subsequently launch sites in Canary Wharf, Tooting and Wembley, all in locations currently listed as being operated by The Athenian. Smashing Plates also looks set to take over five of The Athenian’s 10 UK delivery kitchen locations, two of which are based in capital in Battersea and Hackney; with the other three located in Reading, Cambridge and Birmingham, respectively.

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

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