Protect the Powerless by Ann Elliott

16th March 2018

Protect the powerless by Ann Elliott

It is dispiriting and disappointing to read about CVAs and site closures in our sector. I feel sorry for those team members who are losing their jobs and having to find new ones with everything that entails.

I feel for the general managers and BDMs who may have just taken their first step on the managerial ladder and are now worrying about where, and what, they do next. It’s not easy for those who are left either – are they next in line? Morale suffers and it becomes much harder to recruit great people. It’s a vicious circle.

I also feel for those who launched those brands with optimism, positivity and enthusiasm. It’s an amazing feeling to start a brand and see it fly. To see sales climb week-on-week, to see consumers and team members really happy, and to feel all that hard work and determination has paid off is simply brilliant. It’s what we all live for so it’s hard if it all comes crashing down.


The taste-makers redrawing the food and drink Landscape

9th March 2018

The taste-makers redrawing the food and drink landscape by Glynn Davis

Prezzo, Chimichanga, Jamie’s Italian, Square Pie, and Byron are among the growing number of restaurant brands that are either ceasing trading or the shutters are being pulled down on many of their outlets. This is proof if it were needed this is an increasingly tough environment for foodservice businesses to operate and nobody in their right mind would be on the expansion trail at this point in the cycle.

But along with the can’t-put-a-foot-wrong wizards at JKS (Gymkhana, Trishna, Hoppers etc), there are a number of other people very aggressively growing their businesses – within the food halls category. For every restaurant brand that ceases trading it feels as if it is being replaced by a new food hall. This phenomenon is predominantly concentrated in London but not exclusively, as it is spreading to other major conurbations around the country.


Hearty portions, great-value food, and excellent standards of service will be key for 2018

18th January 2018

Story of the Day:

Value for money and convenience to become increasingly important as sector turnover slows in 2018: Value for money and convenience will become increasingly important during 2018 as sector turnover slows amid continued consumer uncertainty surrounding Brexit, according to a new report by supplier McCain Foodservice. In its “What’s Hot” report, which forecasts major trends during 2018, the company said value for money would become increasingly important as consumers scrutinised their spending. However, “value scrutiny” wouldn’t necessarily see consumers chasing the cheapest option but seeking “hearty portions, great-value food, and excellent standards of service”. Convenience will be another key trend, the report stated, with the 6% rise in quick-service lunch visits seen in 2017 showing no signs of slowing. McCain said making it as easy as possible for diners to get a “great meal quickly and easily” would be a “key growth area” in 2018. Regarding technology, 40% of 25 to 37-year-olds preferred ordering food via their phones last year rather than dining out, while two-thirds (67%) spent more on food ordered on their phones compared with in person. McCain Foodservice said finding ways to integrate the latest technology could see businesses “sink or swim”. Another key trend in 2018, according to the report, will be “informality”, with consumers viewing out-of-home meals as opportunities to socialise and take a break from modern life. The report stated easy-to-share food, communal seating and “pay first, leave whenever” service would all be hot trends. Indulgence, “foodie culture”, provenance and sustainability, and healthy eating were other key trends highlighted. McCain Foods senior brand manager Jo Simmons said: “With so many changes happening it can be hard to pick out the opportunities that will work for your business and those that will make headlines and then disappear. We’ve rounded up a few of the key ones we believe can help operators stay hot and ahead of the competition in the next year.”

Readers can access and download the report here:



Phew …… What a Year it has Been!

18th December 2017

Phew …. 2017 what a year you have been!

As Christmas is fast approaching and 2017 draws to a close, it’s time for reflection and looking back on what a year we’ve had!

Whether the General Election, ongoing Brexit negotiations or the inauguration of President Trump, we are living through a time of uncertainty!  I think this has had an impact on our industry which in return has affected us as an agency – it’s fair to say 2017 has been a challenging year for The Recruitment Room and our industry in general but we are still here to live another year!

As always though we have fought our way through the crap and have met some fantastic, very talented candidates and new clients along the way!

2017 started off with the very high profile placement for world renowd fashion designer Stella McCartney’s Head Office Executive Chef based in London, Paul Mason.  Such a great high profile placement and client for us!

It was also a year that saw us exclusively recruiting for The Laundrette’s latest new opening in Newcastle (early 2017), Leelex for their much anticipated Ginstitute/The Distillery in Portobello (January) and Headrow House latest opening, The Boathouse in Leeds (April).  Other opening recruitment this year included, Neighbourhood (Leeds), Reserve Js and Rudding Park’s exclusive Spa.


Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Award finalists revealed:

6th December 2017

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Award finalists revealed: Finalists have been announced for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards, the inaugural awards staged by Propel and Think Hospitality to recognise success in marketing and innovation in the foodservice sector. More than 90 entries were judged by a panel of 16 industry and agency leaders. The finalists are Innovator Of The Year: Lizzy Barber (Cabana, Hache and Hush); Aaron Mellor (Tokyo Industries); Martin Morales (Ceviche and Andina); and Roger Wade (Boxpark). Marketer Of The Year: Simon Cope (Byron); Lucy Knowles (SSP); Andrew Rayner (Nando’s); Monica Pool (KFC); and Celia Pronto (Casual Dining Group). Future Marketing Leader Of The Year: Anthony Knight (group sales and marketing director, Maxwell’s); Liz Cranney (brand manager, Tank & Paddle, Novus); Hayley Simpson (head of marketing, communication and events, The Breakfast Club); Amy Gatt (brand manager, Late Night London, Novus); and Lexi Brown (marketing manager, Cabana). Integrated Campaign Of The Year: ASK Italian for Purple Basil Pesto with W Communications; Aqua Shard for Roald Dahl 100 with Bacchus PR; CAU Restaurants for CAUnival with Me:Mo Interactive; Castle Pubs for Craft Beer Festival; Chef & Brewer for Gin-ius Campaign with WPR Agency; Chop’d for Eggs Campaign with WE ARE Spectacular and Woof London; Fuller’s for The Beautiful Game with WE ARE Spectacular and True Digital; Greene King Local Pubs for Summer of Sound with Keane; Las Iguanas for Iggy & Friends with Aardman Animations; and Pho for Christmas Campaign with Ignite Hospitality. Best Use Of Video: Bistrot Pierre with Ergo Films; Dip & Flip with Kings Road Creative and Belt & Braces; Florentine Restaurant & Bar with Me:Mo Interactive; The Alchemist; and Wreckfish with Natural Selection Design.


City of London and Manchester show signs of Saturation

17th November 2017

City of London and Manchester show signs of saturation, says Imbiba partner: Imbiba investment fund partner Darrel Connell has told a Propel conference that both the City of London and Manchester are showing signs of saturation. Speaking at the Propel Multi Club Conference, he said: “We’re in tricky times from a cost perspective with a lot of inflation but excess supply is almost a bigger factor for us when we look at businesses to invest in. If there are two markets where you can really feel excess supply, one is the City in London. It’s astonishing how many operators have opened in the City since 2009. The Ned has just gone in, which is eight new bar restaurants, and Bloomberg has just opened with seven bar restaurants, it’s a huge influx. The second market is Manchester. I spent some time there a month ago with an operator who has 12 sites in total across various businesses and he reckons that in the last three years, £400m of extra F&B supply has gone into Manchester.” Connell outlined to delegates what companies needed to do to counter the problem. He said: “In a world of excess supply, it’s no longer good enough to serve the best burger or have the best site, you need to be able to drive demand to your venues. There are a number of ways this can be done, firstly with a genuine excellence in product quality. There are few places I would say are consistently excellent and as a result drive demand – one is Padella, a pasta place by London Bridge with queues round the block consistently. It’s seen as very good value. Secondly, there are very few businesses that have genuine brand power. The Ivy is one – the Ivy Brasserie sites that are opening all over the place, they’re generating £200,000-plus sales a week and that’s based on the brand. Soho House’s The Ned – the brand is 9.9 out of ten in my view.” Imbiba is looking to invest in early-stage multi-site companies through its new £50m Growth Fund, whose advisory board includes Karen Jones, Graham Turner and Karen Forrester. Connell said: “Imbiba looks very closely at a business’s strategy to drive demand. Sometimes we meet entrepreneurs who tell us that to drive demand they’re going to ‘hire someone who is 22 who is really good on social media’. That’s not really a strategy.”

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