politics

An ‘Avengers Assemble moment’: Minister hails new ‘Hospitality Council’ advising on sector’s Covid recovery



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he government has unveiled a new Hospitality Council in what small business minister Paul Scully hailed as “a real Avengers Assemble moment” for the sector.

The council, which meets for the first time today, is packed with top industry names and will advise ministers on measures supporting hospitality’s recovery from the pandemic.

It is co-chaired by Prezzo boss Karen Jones, while members include UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls, Nando’s UK & Ireland chief, Colin Hill, and Greene King boss, Nick MacKenzie.

The new body has been formed months after industry leaders from Michelin-starred celebrity chefs to listed bar and pub bosses joined calls for a “Minister for Hospitality” to give the sector a voice in Westminster, amid a series of political decisions around Covid they argued ignored its needs.

The news came as a trio of firms revealed mixed fortunes amid the ongoing recovery.

Scully said: “With the launch of this council, we’re taking the next step in the journey to build back better from the pandemic by unveiling the experts who’ll be driving the reopening, recovery and resilience of the sector. It’s a real ‘Avengers Assemble’ moment for the industry.”

Family-run Indian restaurant chain Dishoom filed results showing it saw turnover plunge by almost 45% last year to £29.2 million. Bosses said trading has been inline with expectations since indoor dining reopened.

Franco Manca and The Real Greek owner Fulham Shore said it saw revenues of £39 million in the six months to September 16 – topping 2019 levels by £3 million despite restricted trading in earlier months.

Group chairman David Page said September has seen trading at West End and city centre locations down just 3% down on 2019 levels as office workers began to return.

But FTSE 250-listed Upper Crust owner SSP told investors in a trading update that its revenues were at just 47% of 2019 levels over the past three months as the travel sector continued to be hampered by ongoing restrictions.

The group is heavily reliant on tourism and commuter traffic, with operations in 300 rail stations and 180 airports worldwide.



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