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 delays to lockdown easing, Steven Edwards' plan to expand his Hove flagship Etch, and an extension of the lease forfeiture moratorium.

- Boris Johnson has announced that the plan to drop all legal restrictions on social contact in England will no longer go ahead on 21 June​ as hoped, and will instead be pushed back to Monday 19 July. It means hospitality businesses will have to continue following social distancing restrictions and operate table service only for at least another four weeks. UKHospitality has warned​ that having to operate under restrictions for an additional four weeks will cost the sector around £3bn in sales, and put approximately 300,000 jobs at risk. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has faced urgent calls​ from the sector to extend 'crucial' financial support measures. Scotland has subsequently also announced a temporary pause to lockdown easing​, with Wales set to follow suit.

- Steven Edwards is to expand his Hove flagship Etch into a neighbouring building​ to create a much larger restaurant that will incorporate a standalone subterranean cocktail bar. Knocking through into the former beauty salon next door will take the dining room from 32 to 42 covers, allowing for a much larger open kitchen. It will also allow for the addition of a reception area and a temperature-controlled walk-in wine room. The ground-level space that currently houses Etch will be given over nearly entirely to restaurant seating while the reception, open kitchen and wine room will be in the new building. Seating a little under 40 guests, the new bar will be in the basement of the newly acquired building and will offer high-end cocktails and bar snacks.

- The lease forfeiture moratorium, which prevents the repossession of commercial premises if businesses are unable to pay their rent due to the pandemic, has been extended until March 2022​. Confirmation of the extension was delivered in the House of Commons by Chief Secretary of the Treasury Steve Barclay, who said the decision 'strikes the right balance between protecting landlords and supporting those businesses that are most in need'. A new arbitration mechanism will also be introduced in legislation to help landlords and commercial tenants resolve disputes over arrears. The extension has been 'unreservedly welcomed' by trade body UKHospitality, which estimates that around £2.5bn in rent arrears has been built up by hospitality firms during the course of the pandemic.

- May’s delivery and takeaway sales at Britain’s leading restaurant and pub groups were 273% higher than in May 2019​, CGA’s latest Hospitality at Home Tracker reveals. The figure is down on the Tracker’s 2021-on-2019 growth of 345% in April, following the reopening of hospitality for inside service in the second half of May. However, it indicates that deliveries and takeaways are certain to remain a much more significant element of groups’ operations than they were before Covid-19. CGA’s Hospitality at Home Tracker shows growth in delivery sales was more than twice as high as takeaways, thanks in large part to the rising popularity of third party delivery platforms. Combined, they accounted for nearly half (49.7%) of restaurant and pub groups’ sales in May, with eat-in contributing the remainder (50.3%).

- American chef and baker Nancy Silverton is bringing her well-known Los Angeles restaurant Pizza Mozza to London​. Due to open next month, the restaurant will be part of Treehouse Hotel London on Langham Place, which debuted in 2019. The restaurant will be located adjacent to the hotel on the ground floor on Regent Street. It will be the first UK restaurant from Silverton, who is co-owner of Pizzeria Mozza, Michelin starred Osteria Mozza and chi SPACCA as well as the founder of La Brea Bakery in Los Angeles. Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza in LA are co-owned by Nancy and Joe Bastianich, and Bastianich will also be a partner in the London project.

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

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