Category Archives: Business Headlines

44% Of Hospitality Businesses Operating At A Loss

A new survey of 250 senior decision-makers within UK hospitality businesses has found that:

  • 44% of businesses are operating at a loss, with 53% impacted by rising cost of goods and 50% by higher energy bills
  • 70% feel they will have to increase prices to survive, while a third (34%) do not think their business will survive the next 12 months

Over two fifths of the UK’s hospitality businesses are operating at a loss, with the vast majority eyeing price increases during the next year, new research by Peckwater Brands has found.

Europe’s largest virtual food brand operator commissioned an independent survey of 250 decision-makers in senior management positions within UK hospitality businesses (restaurants, takeaways, cafés and bars). It found that 44% are currently operating at a loss.

A third (34%) of hospitality leaders do not think their business will survive the next 12 months, while 70% expect they will have to increase prices within that timeframe.

The study found that more than half of hospitality firms have been negatively impacted by the rising cost of goods (53%), with a similar number affected by record energy bills (50%). A third (34%) are struggling with higher interest rates, while 29% struggle with increased commercial rents. Most (55%) are struggling to find enough staff to operate effectively.

Inflation is not just ramping up hospitality businesses’ costs – the majority (70%) say customers are spending significantly less than they were 12 months ago.

Sam Martin, CEO of Peckwater Brands, said: “Conditions for hospitality businesses are undoubtedly tough, with record food inflation, skyrocketing energy bills and falling consumer spending all having a notable impact. Our research shows lays bare the stark reality; so many establishments are loss-making and many fear for their survival.”

“Unfortunately, the challenges facing the hospitality sector will not disappear any time soon. Raising prices might be the only option available to many businesses, but with consumers wrestling with a cost-of-living crisis and seeking out lower prices wherever possible, this action could damage their customer bases.”

“Just as during the pandemic, hospitality businesses must rely on ingenuity, efficiency and innovation to survive, let alone thrive – they must seek out all opportunities available to them, whether that is to lower costs or find ways of boosting revenue and order volumes, such as improved marketing or operating secondary virtual food brands out of their kitchens. One can only hope that in the coming months, inflation falls sharply and overheads drop, ensuring hospitality firms are not forced to close their doors. If they were, local high streets would be greatly diminished, as would the UK economy.”

New Whitefriargate Rooftop Bar To Be Created

Visitors to Hull city centre will soon be able to enjoy a new rooftop bar thanks to Levelling Up Funding.

Added Value Portal Limited has been awarded £75,000 from the government-funded scheme towards creating the facility at 55 Whitefriargate.

The project will include a multi-functional bar, food and leisure area on top of an extension at the back of the original building, creating six full-time equivalent jobs and adding to the area’s evening economy.

Once completed, it will accommodate up to 60 customers and will be accessed by a new staircase and chairlift.

Cllr Paul Drake-Davis, Hull City Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, said: “This project complements what is already a vibrant place for people to work and socialise. This new rooftop bar will enhance the appeal of the city centre as a destination to help drive footfall and boost the hospitality and evening economies.”

55 Whitefriargate, on the corner of Parliament Street, has undergone significant regeneration in recent years.

Built in 1879, the former bank is now home to Bar55, situated in the old bank vaults.

Gerard Toplass, The 55 Group chief executive, said: “Whitefriargate was the heart of the city for so long and it’s fantastic to be part of the regeneration that will bring life back into this fantastic part of Hull.”

“We have built our business in Whitefriargate and we are looking forward to continuing our investment with help from the Levelling Up Fund. We are excited about building an urban landscape and rooftop experience to rival what is available in cities like Manchester and London.”

In 2021, Hull City Council was awarded £19.5million from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund to support infrastructure and deliver a package of city centre regeneration works.

£7.5million of this being used for the Levelling Up Fund grant scheme, which aims to bring unused floorspace of any vacant or partially occupied property back into use and creating new jobs.

Similar to previous grant schemes in the Old Town, the Levelling Up Grant scheme will allow various diverse businesses to open and operate, breathing new life into the area.

Cricketing Legend Visits Jukebox Manufacturer

In his role as the Prime Minister’s trade envoy to Australia, iconic former cricketer Lord Botham OBE visited Sound Leisure in Leeds. The manufacturer of classic jukeboxes, which has exported to Australia for over 20 years, has sold 15 of its jukeboxes to Australia in the last 12 months.

Employing more than 40 people at its Leeds head office and manufacturing centre, the £5m revenue family-owned Sound Leisure has again been named as an Export Champion for 2023 and sells 80% of its products overseas to customers in over 40 countries worldwide, including Australia, the US and Japan. Celebrities, royalty and famous athletes are among the buyers of its retro-design state of the art vinyl and digital jukeboxes.

“Sound Leisure is a mainly export business, and anytime we can move forward our knowledge of overseas markets, and share our experiences and insights with other exporters and businesses, we grab the opportunity,” said Sound Leisure director Mike Black.

Mr Black escorted Lord Botham on a tour of the firm’s state-of-the-art, 80,000 sq ft manufacturing facility, where he was shown how Sound Leisure classic jukeboxes are meticulously hand built by a team of skilled craftsmen.

Mike Black said: “It was great to welcome Lord Botham to our factory today and he was really impressed to see the levels of skill and craftsmanship that go into building these intricate and innovative machines which we have been producing here in Leeds for 45 years.”

“We’re a family-run British manufacturing business and exports, including to Australia, make up a huge amount of our business. We’re proud to have been named an Export Champion for the Northern Powerhouse once again this year by the Department of Business and Trade.”

Lord Botham’s role as trade envoy is an unpaid and voluntary one, aimed at boosting British business in Australia.

The factory tour was followed by an Export Champions round table, organised by the Department of Business and Trade and held at the Sound Leisure manufacturing facility.

Strong Financial Results From CLOUD NINE

Leading global hair and beauty brand, CLOUD NINE, has revealed a strong set of financial results for the year ending December 2022, with turnover of c£35m and a record profit before tax, up 20 per cent on the previous year.

The firm, which employs a 60+ strong workforce at its North Yorkshire headquarters in Harrogate, has credited its strong set of results to a combination of continued growth in the UK, significant growth in Australia and New Zealand and the strengthening of its online and in-store presence. It now has new retail partnerships in all of these territories, including with Boots and Pretty Little Thing in the UK; Shaver Shop Group in Australia and Farmers in New Zealand.

The launch of new products, successful targeted marketing campaigns and charity partnerships have also played their part, despite a challenging economic backdrop and rising raw material costs.

During the year, the company formed a partnership with The Little Princess Trust, with sales of its special ‘Royal Blue Collection’ and other internal team fundraising events raising over £50,000 for the charity, which donates real hair wigs to children and young people who have lost their own hair through cancer treatment and other conditions. The group has also generated hair donations of over 74 inches.

CEO Martin Rae, who launched CLOUD NINE with his brother Gavin in 2009 and was named as the Sunday Times’ Most Ambitious Business Leader for 2022, said: “This is a very pleasing set of results which cements our position as one of the world’s leading hair and beauty brands.”

“We are very proud of everything we have achieved, with the ultimate aim of providing the tools to help people feel like the best version of themselves, which is what we are most passionate about.”

“We are also very passionate about the environment. We launched the industry’s first hair iron recycling scheme, which has saved over 2,800kg of hair styling tools from landfill so far.”

“We also offer customers the opportunity to purchase products in 100% recyclable Eco Boxes which, alongside being kinder to the environment, enables us to plant trees as part of our Ecologi partnership. In 2022 we reached the milestone of planting 300,000 trees.”

“We also launched a new partnership with Clean Hub, to help recover and safely dispose of plastic before it makes its way into our seas and oceans. This, alongside the sale of eco-friendly water bottles and bamboo brushes, helps to reduce the plastic waste impact on the environment.”

Two Experts Join Clarion’s Real Estate

Two experts in planning and related areas of law, Carolyn Lord and Kate Butterfield, who have 60 years’ experience between them, have joined Clarion’s real estate practice as it continues to develop the breadth and depth of its services.

Now one of the largest real estate teams in Yorkshire, Carolyn joins as its seventh partner while Kate becomes the seventh legal director in the dedicated real estate practice. After qualifying in 1992 at a leading law firm, Carolyn’s and Kate’s expertise was honed at the nationally renowned commercial planning law firm Wilbraham & Co, which Carolyn was instrumental in setting up in 1994 and where both were partners.

Carolyn was subsequently employed in-house for development and construction group, GMI, before setting up well-known specialist planning and highway law practice LB & Co in 2012. Kate went on to be a partner at two other regional firms before joining Carolyn at LB & Co in 2015.

The pair have become renowned in the region and across the UK for their strategic and pragmatic advice on legal planning and related areas of law, handling the full range of planning work from planning applications and appeals, highway and rights of way law, to compulsory purchase orders and enforcement.

Carolyn and Kate have worked on large, high-profile projects nationwide across diverse sectors including commercial and strategic residential sites, town centre regeneration, energy, waste and other infrastructure, minerals-derived work and major highways schemes as well as leisure, education and retail.

Partner Martin Grange, who heads up Clarion’s 45-strong real estate practice, said: “As two of the most respected legal planning experts in the north, the addition of Carolyn and Kate to the Clarion team not only boosts our real estate offering, but their skills will also strengthen many of our areas of expertise such as energy, regulatory, logistics, education and the public sector.”

“They have an extremely impressive track record – over the last 30 years, Carolyn and Kate have supported many of the best-known schemes in Leeds, including the regeneration of Holbeck and the South Bank, the White Rose Centre and Thorpe Park Leeds, plus projects across Yorkshire and the country, such as work for rail freight operator DB Cargo (UK), major logistics and residential sites and a range of minerals operations. They are a great fit with us, sharing the Clarion ethos and we are genuinely excited to welcome them to the team.”

Carolyn comments: “We know many of the Clarion lawyers well, having trained with some of them – they’re our friends, and joining Clarion feels like ‘coming home’. Not only has Clarion established a strong reputation both regionally and nationally, Kate and I were also attracted by the firm’s commitment to investing in and developing its planning services which it sees as a crucial part of its offering. By joining Clarion, we will have the advantage of continuing to advise on planning as we have always done, but within the context of being part of a larger law firm which supports our ambitions to recruit and grow the practice.”

Carolyn is active in the wider Yorkshire business community: she is on the board of trustees of Yorkshire Sculpture Park; a board member of Luminate Education Group; chair of the board of directors of Leeds Conservatoire; and a co-founder of Yorkshire Textiles/Leeds Fashion Works.

Clarion’s real estate practice provides a full range of property expertise from development, investment, asset management, corporate occupier work through to retail, leisure and secured lending.

Shortlist Announced For Hull & East Yorkshire People In Business Awards

Following a record number of nominations, the Hull & East Yorkshire People in Business Awards (PIBA) has announced its shortlist for this year’s glittering ceremony in June.

In what has been reported as the most challenging judging process to date, the PIBA team has confirmed that the quality of talent in the region has never been higher.

The Hull & East Yorkshire People in Business Awards first took place in 2019 and returned in virtual format in 2021 following the COVID pandemic. The 2022 awards and ceremony were warmly welcomed with nominations and businesses attending, and 2023 has demonstrated the appetite for recognition and reward with the highest number of nominations received to date, along with a plethora of business sponsors and an impressive judging panel.

Lucy Gray from the Hull and East Yorkshire LEP, head of the judging panel said; “This year we received a record number of entries for the PIBA awards, the standard of entries was incredible and just amplifies the sheer talent we have across the Region. As judges this made our job even harder, there were so many inspirational stories and examples, this made for some very difficult decisions. Having been part of the judging panel for PIBA since 2019, it makes me so proud that a Region we have so many great people to celebrate.”

Fellow Judge, Lee Solway of Harrison Solway added; “Along with my fellow judges, we had a fantastic but very difficult day in comparing opinions and notes on all nominees, but ultimately and collectively, we decided on the worthy winner and finalists for each of the 16 categories which were far from simple. This year seemed even more difficult than 2022 due to the unbelievable calibre of the candidates, there were some inspirational nominations for sure, a lot of which resonated with me personally in my own business journey, which proves that we have so many reasons to be proud of the Hull and East Riding area and the people and businesses which reside in it.”

The People in Business Awards is supported by several local businesses including headline sponsors and category sponsors. Lee Solway of headline sponsor Harrison Solway added; “After sponsoring the ‘Team up to 10’ award at the 2022 awards, I wanted Harrison Solway to become more involved so this year we agreed to become the ‘headline sponsor’ of the awards evening. As well as joining the judging panel, I get so much from reading the nominations, filling me with pride that we have such a hotbed of fantastic talent and businesses in the Hull and East Riding area.”

The awards ceremony will take place on Friday 30th June, at the Doubletree Hilton Hotel in Hull and will see businesses recognised in sixteen categories along with an evening of food, drinks, and entertainment. To book tables and tickets, please visit.

The 2023 PIBA Awards Shortlist:

Rising Star – sponsored by Bondholders

  • Oliver McWilliam – Lexus Hull
  • Chelsea Taylor – Hudgell Solicitors
  • Graham Wildridge – Transwaste

Above and Beyond – sponsored by HBP Systems

  • Susan Fellows – Innovations In Care
  • Kelly Bugg – Chameleon Business Interiors
  • Graham Precious – Caremark

Apprentice of the Year

  • Jack Fullard – Cloud Design Box
  • Heidi Donnison – Visit East Yorkshire
  • Sonia Kopacz – Alessandro Caruso Architecture & Interiors

First Class Service – sponsored by Nu Architects

  • Green & Green Mortgage Protection
  • Graham Precious – Caremark
  • Lana Grisina – Smart Temps

Customer Hero of the Year

  • Penelope Hadgraft – Clear Skin Pending
  • Andy Craggs – Doubletree by Hilton Hotel
  • Kaylee Carver – Gymophobics

Start-up Entrepreneur – sponsored by Hull City Council

  • Paul Longley – Think Mental Health
  • Cassandra Custus – Karinya Yoga
  • Kim Bunn & Janice Hakeney – Boutique 187

Entrepreneur of the Year – sponsored by Forrester Boyd

  • Michelle Millar – And Marketing
  • Susan Fellows – Innovations In Care
  • David Lipton – Consortium Professional Recruitment

Inspiring Contribution – sponsored by The Edge Hub

  • Alan Raw – Koru Consulting
  • Brian Cammack – Hull Truck Theatre
  • Evalynne Charmer – Child Hypnotherapy Institute

Innovator – sponsored by the University of Hull Business School

  • Wayne Key – Key Campers & Key Racking
  • Simon Jones – Top 30 Under 30


  • Lisa Harvey – Diony Creative
  • Joe Bannister – Cloud Design Box
  • John Cuss – Hudgell Solicitors

Team Impact < 10 People

  • HEYMIND – Humber Peer Support Team
  • Hudgell Solicitors
  • Cloud Design Box

Team Impact >11 People – sponsored by Cobus Communications

  • Sowden & Sowden
  • Caremark
  • Transwaste


  • Kaylee Carver – Gymophobics
  • Dawn Parker – Consortium Professional Recruitment


  • James Emmett – Cloud Design Box
  • Vicky Richardson – Hudgell Solicitors
  • Paul Savage – Bonus Arena

JCT600 Wins Mercedes-Benz Retailer Of The Year Award

Northern-based family business JCT600 has been named as Retailer of the Year for 2022 by Mercedes-Benz as it recognises its best performing dealerships across the UK.

With Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Sheffield, Doncaster, Harrogate, York and Chesterfield, JCT600 won the coveted award based on its ‘outstanding performance in every area of the business, including new car sales, customer service, approved used car sales, workshop retail hours and customer retention’.

Gary Savage, chief executive and managing director, Mercedes-Benz Cars UK, said: “JCT600 performed consistently strongly across all areas of the business and the team’s collaboration was nothing short of outstanding, with remarkable engagement and positivity.”

Michelle Caveney, Mercedes-Benz brand director for JCT600 said, “It is a fantastic achievement to be recognised in these prestigious awards which celebrate the very best of Mercedes-Benz’s partners throughout the UK.”

“This accolade is testament to the hard work and passion of the 200-plus strong team across our five Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Derbyshire, South Yorkshire and North Yorkshire, demonstrating their customer-centric approach and continued ability to deliver exceptional service. Ensuring that customers have the very best experience when they visit us is at the heart of what we do – our thanks go to all of our colleagues who make this possible.”

Arco Expands Its Confined Space Training Offer

Arco, the UK’s leading safety products and services company, has invested £200,000 in three new mobile confined space units to expand its national fleet and enable more bespoke training for customers working in hazardous environments across the country.

The new units will take Arco’s confined space solutions to small, medium, and larger customers across the UK. The units allow scenarios that simulate a range of activities that workers may face in a confined space, such as repair and maintenance work in a tunnel. They have also been effectively used to support the training of rescue team members in how to recover casualties.

Arco instructors can replicate real-world scenarios that are relevant to key industries, enabling workers to face potential risks in a controlled environment. Other hazards, such as smoke, can also be released into the tunnel systems as an additional training factor, making them suitable to train workers in a variety of situations.

The trailer units are built around a seven-metre, triple-axle chassis and contain multiple tunnels, which have a combined length of over 30 metres. Internal cameras enable instructors to monitor the safety of delegates, in real time, and review exercises using playback after training sessions are complete.

Access to a comprehensive range of equipment, such as gas monitors, harnesses, breathing apparatus and working at height equipment is available to ensure bespoke environments, tailored to the requirements of each customer, can be supported.

The trailers enable customers to access the same equipment available at Arco’s safety training centres, including a range of entry equipment, such as tripods and Davit systems.

Utilising the multi and intermediate levels within the trailers, delegates can practically apply the skills they have been taught during the training in a safe and controlled environment.

The investment marks the latest step in Arco’s commitment to delivering ‘Joined-up Safety Solutions’ and follows the recent opening of its £2million Bracknell Safety Centre, which provides health and safety services across the South of England, combining risk assessment, training and equipment provision all under one roof.

The new centre is home to state-of-the art confined space facilities, with a purpose-built labyrinth that features more than 30m of traverse capability and up to five metres of vertical access into multiple chambers to simulate relevant confined space hazards.

Since opening in November 2022, the centre has received strong positive feedback from customers and industry bodies. In addition to its confined space training offer, the Bracknell Safety Centre will offer working at height training outdoors from its recently installed 20m external tower.

Jamie Sadler, Commercial Director at Arco Professional Safety Services, said: “As experts in safety and a leading provider of confined space training across the country, Arco is committed to delivering an effortless experience for our customers.”

“As the UK’s leading integrated safety products and services business, our investment in our new mobile confined space training units and in the facilities at our new state-of-the-art Bracknell Safety Centre allows us to deliver bespoke training and a joined-up approach to safety that meets even the most complex of challenges.”

Brian Grunes, Confined Space Subject Matter Expert and Training Manager at Arco Professional Safety Services, said: “Our new fleet of confined space training units allow us to bring our world-class training offer to our customers sites without losing any of the features that would be available at our safety centres.”

Hatmill Ranked First In UK’s Best Workplaces™

Hatmill, one of the UK’s largest independently owned supply chain and logistics consultancy, has today been named as the UK’s Best Workplaces™ 2023 (small business category) by Great Place to Work®, the global authority on workplace culture.

The unique, self-managing culture and employee ownership is just one of the reasons why the company ranked number one in the small business (20-50 employees) category and why employees love working for Hatmill.

Hatmill topped the list after a rigorous survey and interview process with its staff and faced tough competition to reach the top spot.

Hatmill, based in Grantley near Ripon, provides end-to-end supply chain and logistics support to deliver improvements to warehouses, transport, forecasting and inventory, so clients become more profitable and transform their customers’ experience.

The employee-owned company works with some of the UK’s leading and most trusted brands including Asda, Greggs, NHS England and Royal Mail.

Hatmill joins well known firms recognised on the list including Lindt,, Hello Fresh and Laithwaites Wine. Simon Dixon, Founder of Hatmill said: “I’m thrilled Hatmill has been recognised as THE Best Place to Work. Creating a great place to work is fundamental to my business principles so to be ranked top of the list is such an honour and is credit to our amazing team”

“I believe Hatmill has been so successful in the programme due to our unique culture and innovative ways of working which is in direct contrast to so many traditional consultancy firms. While growing Hatmill I’ve been determined to create a culture focused on collaboration and shared values that avoids the usual corporate traps and focuses on what’s important – for our clients and our team.”

“It’s a key differentiator between Hatmill and our competitors; our clients value the difference it makes to them. It hugely influences our ability to attract and retain the very best talent in the industry. We’ve demonstrated time and time again that a growing firm from Yorkshire can compete against the big consultancy firms.”

“Despite the challenging economic environment, we’ve got ambitious plans for growth at Hatmill in 2023 following a 41% increase in turnover last year with plans to expand into the US and Europe on the back of client demand.”

Hatmill’s culture matches that of ‘Teal’ businesses as researched by Fredrick La Loux in his book “Reinventing Organisations”.

As a ‘Teal’ organisation, Hatmill’s operating model is non-hierarchical – and the team have significant influence over their work, something that has boosted staff retention, morale and wellbeing.

About Best Workplaces

“As the global authority on workplace culture, our mission at Great Place to Work® has always been to build a better world by helping organisations become a great place to work for all. We strongly believe in the notion of ‘better for business, better for people, better for the world,” said Benedict Gautrey, Managing Director of Great Place to Work® UK.

“Best Workplaces™ consistently put people first – not just in terms of looking out for their own employees but also by caring for and supporting their surrounding community and environment. We’re incredibly proud to recognise the very best ‘For All’ organisations committed to equity and unfaltering in ensuring that all employees are empowered to deliver the right strategic solutions to ever-changing business opportunities and challenges.”

A great workplace is more than lavish perks, fancy parties and amazing benefits. While those elements are present in many Best Workplace™ organisations, at its core a great workplace is about the level of trust that employees experience in their leaders, the level of pride they have in their jobs; and the extent to which they experience camaraderie with their colleagues.

Great Place to Work® performed rigorous evaluations of hundreds of employee survey responses alongside Culture Audit™ submissions from leaders at each company to create the 2023 UK’s Best Workplaces™ list. They then used these data insights to benchmark the effectiveness of companies’ employee value propositions against the culture their employees actually experience.

Those businesses who achieve the highest scores after evaluation receive Best Workplaces™ status.

Megan Hayward Joins John Good Group As Group Marketing Manager

Hull, based, John Good Group is excited to announce its expansion to its senior leadership team as the group focuses on its ambitious growth plans for its subsidiaries and the John Good Group.

Megan Hayward, who joins as Group Marketing Manager, brings marketing experience from both a business and agency perspective, having huge success of a personal business, and more recently as a PR and Content Manager at a leading Marketing Agency in Leeds.

Commenting on her appointment, Megan said, “I am proud to be a part of the John Good Group team and to have the opportunity to work with such talented individuals. The culture and company ethos perfectly align with my own and I am excited to work within a market-leading business.”

As Group Marketing Manager, Megan will be responsible for supporting and developing the marketing strategy across the group’s subsidiaries and lifting the John Good Group brand on a local and national level.

Rich Quelch, John Good Group CMO, said, “We are delighted to welcome Megan to the John Good Group as the group’s Marketing Manager. Megan brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and with Megan’s personal values aligning with John Good Group’s, we have no doubt that she will help the group accomplish its growth aspirations.”