Category Archives: Business

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.”

Richard Grafton Interiors Celebrates New Designer & Investment

Richard Grafton Interiors showroom in Wetherby is celebrating its third birthday with the appointment of experienced interior designer Rosie Tangi as it invests in a £75,000 contemporary new look for its high-profile showroom in the market town.

Rosie, who has ten years’ experience in interior design, returns to the Richard Grafton Interiors team having spent five years working for the business before taking a career break in 2018 to have her children.

Having worked in the Harrogate showroom, Rosie moved across to Richard Grafton Interiors’ showroom in Ilkley. In her new role, she will be based at the Wetherby showroom, joining well-known interior design specialists Donna Schofield and Karen Draper who manage the showroom, supported by Leona Connelly.

After completely redeveloping a historic premises on the high street three years ago and opening in the midst of Covid restrictions, the Yorkshire interiors, architecture and design business is taking the opportunity to re-launch its Wetherby showroom with an updated, contemporary look. Clients, old and new, are invited to enjoy a shopping weekend on Friday 23rd June and Saturday 24th June and see the brand-new room sets for themselves.

Comprising a fully-furnished dining room, sitting room, bathroom and bedroom, the room sets showcase the company’s hand-crafted cabinetry offer and designer furniture as well as its huge range of design-led interiors products, including unusual pieces sourced from the Maison & Objet Design Show in Paris. The showroom also features a design studio equipped with hundreds of fabrics, wall coverings and flooring libraries.

Director Charlotte Grafton comments: “Having been part of the Richard Grafton team for five years, we are well-aware of Rosie’s talents and passion for interior design – we’re genuinely delighted that she has chosen to re-join us. With her experience of working with younger clients, she adds strength in depth to our Wetherby designers, and her flair for classic contemporary looks fits perfectly with the Richard Grafton style and our clients’ tastes.”

“Over the last three years, our Wetherby showroom has built a loyal following from within the town and surrounding areas. We’re keen to expand our architectural design capabilities, including our kitchen, bathroom, dressing room and media cabinet offering, by growing the team here and continuing to invest in inspiring clients with the most up-to-date but classic room designs. Our ability to deliver complete, turnkey solutions, even on a large scale, is proving extremely popular with time-poor clients who are turning to us to provide all of their needs under one roof, from conception to project management. We’re even seeing Yorkshire-based clients coming to us for international projects, designing interiors for their holiday homes from France to the Caribbean!”

Rosie adds: “Returning to Richard Grafton Interiors feels like coming home. I’m exciting to be working with the fantastic team in Wetherby to develop our following here, and look forward to bringing our design expertise to a younger market who we believe will be inspired by the diverse range of installations and interior design-led products showcased in our stunning new room sets.”

Get Back Into Work After A Summer Vacation

A summer holiday can be a great way to recharge your batteries and take a much-needed break from the everyday stresses of life. However, it can often be difficult to get back into the swing of things once the holiday is over, which can cause procrastination and a general lack of motivation.

With this in mind, the tech experts at have compiled a list of sure-fire methods to get yourself back into work mode after a vacation.

Put On Your Favourite Playlist
Nothing quite gets people in the mood for a productive day like a feel-good list of songs. Whether it be the ultimate 80s, a compilation of rock classics or some cheesy pop, music can, quite literally, lift our spirits and motivate us.

So, instead of having the TV on in the background or sitting in silence, stick your headphones in and switch on the tunes.

Make A Realistic To-Do List
One of the first things you may be tempted to do is make a daunting list of things to achieve throughout the day, especially if you feel like you have fallen behind. However, this could lead to you feeling overwhelmed and encourage procrastination.

Making a short, easily-achievable list of tasks would allow you to feel like you’re getting things done, without taking on too much.

Have A Catch-Up With Colleagues
Feel like you’ve missed out on too much of the office gossip? Why not schedule a short call or in-person meeting with some of your colleagues for a light-hearted catch-up, so you can get to grips with anything that might have changed in your absence?

As well as this, being social and starting the day with a conversation could help you to feel more energised.

Surround Yourself With Your Favourite Drinks And Snacks
We all know how important it is to stay hydrated, so make sure you are regularly refilling your water bottle or glass, to keep your energy levels as high as possible. As well as this, in order to add some variety to your day, you could treat yourself to a comforting tea or coffee, or an ice-cold canned beverage for a first-day-back caffeine hit.

If you find yourself distracted by snacks, place some nutrient-dense almonds on your desk, and make sure you have a healthy, balanced breakfast to kickstart your morning.

Wear Something Smart But Comfortable
If you work from home, it can be tempting to remain in your pyjamas for most of the day – after all, who is there to stop you? However, getting up and dressing the way you would to go to the office, applying makeup and styling your hair could help you to feel more motivated.

It would also help to remind you that your vacation is over (for now) and that reality has resumed.

Four Common Mental Health Myths in the Workplace

At some point during the year, one Briton in four is likely to experience a mental health issue, and there is no hiding that work conditions and environment can actively contribute to that figure.

Research carried out by Mind UK found that more than one worker in five (21%) has, at least once, called in sick to avoid stressful work situations. Not only that, but it also showed that 42% of UK employees have considered resigning because of their workplace’s negative influence on their mental health.

As a business owner, it’s crucial to make sure that your people are as happy and healthy as can be and that mental illness isn’t treated as a taboo subject. Sometimes, you may not have immediate control over what is causing your employees feelings of stress or anxiety, as they could be triggered by personal, family, or external factors. But on a whole, offering mental health support in the workplace can both enhance people’s morale and save UK businesses up to £8 billion annually.

Here, with Vicky Walker, Director of People at Westfield Health, we outline a few mental health myths that should be debunked in order to promote workplace wellbeing and create an open, supportive work environment.

Myth #1 Mental health conditions are a sign of weakness
First things first, it’s important to address the fact that people suffering from poor mental health are not weak. Mental illnesses are diagnosed medical conditions, rather than a sign of a fragile character.

There are several reasons why employees may be struggling with mental health problems, from work-related stress to day-to-day life troubles.

What’s more, some individuals may be more prone to developing these issues, as mental illnesses could be part of their family medical history, favoured by genes and biological factors.

If a worker confides to you that they are dealing with sentiments of stress, anxiety, or depression, you should recognise this as an act of personal strength. Sharing one’s feelings, especially if they are not positive, requires determination and courage. So, as the employer, make sure to take action to reduce stigma associated with mental health. This way, you can foster an empathetic environment to help all your people flourish in their roles.

Myth #2 People with mental health issues can’t do their jobs
Another misconception about people living with mental health conditions is that they are not able to carry out their job adequately. But the truth is that mental health issues may, in some scenarios, have little or no impact on an employee’s performance. This generally depends on the individual in question and the nature of the illness.

People experiencing sentiments of stress and anxiety may still be able to plough through, maintaining good productivity levels and attendance records. Working hard – or more than is expected – could even act, for someone, as an unhealthy coping mechanism, adopted to brush aside their condition. However, this doesn’t cure their struggles, and masking their issues could worsen their mental wellbeing in the long run.

It’s not always easy to spot whether one of your employees is battling with their mental health. Therefore, you may want to provide managers with useful guidance and training, which may help them detect any warning signs within their team. By doing so, you’ll give your team the necessary tools to nip a problem in the bud, intervening before it can escalate.

Myth #3 Pressure always improves productivity and performance
Some believe that pressure can drive employee performance, productivity, and efficiency. It can keep people on their toes, preserve their motivation levels, and help them achieve specific targets.
However, balance is vital. Excessive pressure can have the opposite effect, leading to a collapse in confidence and concentration. Also, people have different levels of tolerance for stress, meaning they respond differently to work pressure.

If the pressure becomes too much to handle, it can rapidly turn into a risk factor both for the employee and your business. One of the most frequent consequences is ‘presenteeism’, which refers to a loss in productivity when employees disengage because they are unwell without taking a leave of absence.

As a business owner, you can prevent this by ensuring your people are feeling enough pressure to motivate them to excel without overwhelming them. As well as benefitting your employees’ personal wellbeing, you’ll also nurture the efficiency of your company.

Myth #4 Managers can’t assist with mental health issues
Of course, managers are unlikely to have the medical expertise to guide people living with mental health through the recovery process. However, they can certainly make a difference when it comes to maximising their team’s wellbeing in the workplace.

In fact, there are several ways in which, as a manager or company owner, you can instil a positive work culture which accounts for mental health.

For example, you can create open forums that allow employees to voice their concerns and feelings, such as stress, anxiety, and depression.

Embedding mental health into your organisation will encourage workers to talk freely about their personal and professional problems. This means that any worry can be addressed from the outset, so timely support can be offered while avoiding unwanted consequences. What’s more, it will help create a work environment where people are aware, sensitive, and respectful of the pressures faced by their colleagues.

There are many myths surrounding mental health in the workplace.

Some employers may view mental illnesses as a ‘weakness’, whereas others may believe that those living with mental health conditions aren’t able to fulfil their job roles. But more often than not, this is simply not true.

This is why it’s crucial for owners and managers to embrace a work culture that fights mental health stigma and focuses on their people’s wellbeing. Ultimately, by creating a supportive, empathetic environment, you’re bound to always get the best out of your team.

Robinsons Brewery Completes Largest Investment On Inn

Following the acquisition of six Individual Inns pubs in 2019, family brewers – Robinsons Brewery – have completed an extensive renovation the Tempest Arms, a 17th century inn situated on the edge of the picturesque Yorkshire Dales – their largest pub investment to date. Following a five-month closure, the Inn now presents a brand new look, including a full refurbishment of its 21 guest bedrooms.

William Robinson, Joint Managing Director at Robinsons Brewery, commented: “It was always very important to retain the character and heritage of the pub, and simply enhance its original features. This investment represents our dedication to our estate where we have further investments planned during the remainder of the year.”

Internally, the Tempest now offers a new semi-private dining room beside the restaurant area, featuring a beautifully restored trestle table for 10 – the perfect space for a private function accompanied with delicious food, proudly made with the freshest, seasonal produce.

The stunning bar, re-designed as the pub’s focal point and hub for its loyal and local community. It is the ideal base to enjoy Robinsons’ award-winning cask ales, lagers and spirits from around the world.

The new design, generating a ‘farmhouse’ feel throughout, features original reclaimed furniture upholstered in an array of beautiful fabrics, with atmospheric lighting forming the perfect ambience. Stone walls were carefully cleaned, beams lovingly restored and original fireplaces retained.

21 bedrooms have benefitted from complete makeovers, designed with a mid-century feel that reflects the beautiful surrounding countryside to provide a calming, serene environment for guests.

A colour palette of warm neutrals and an aged pink to the rooms was carefully selected, paired with various textured fabrics and a simple lighting design, all with the theme of nature in mind. Artwork by Yorkshire Artist Sue Lawson adorns the bedroom walls, complementing the scheme perfectly and giving a nod to the local landscapes.

Popular with weddings and celebrations, the Tempest also boasts an impressive function room, the perfect space for wedding receptions and other functions.

Externally, a spaciously paved courtyard garden (which sits between the bedrooms and the main bar and restaurant) shows off remarkable country planting, lantern lighting and brand new wooden dining furniture; the ideal spot to relax and take in the rolling countryside views with friends or family.

Leading Property Auctioneers Merge

Two of the north’s largest property auction houses, North-West based Pugh and South Yorkshire based Mark Jenkinson, are combining their online property auction listings from this month.

Mark Jenkinson, which has been based in Sheffield for over 125 years, was acquired by Eddisons earlier this year, joining Pugh which was bought by Eddisons in 2016. Between them the two firms have sold a wide range of commercial, residential and land assets worth £94m in the last year.

Combining the lots of both auction houses, under the Pugh brand and as part of Eddisons, will provide a more extensive list of investment opportunities across the regions.

Pugh managing director Paul Thompson said: “This is an exciting development for our business and reinforces our strength and leading position in the northern property auction market. Combining the two very capable teams ensures we continue to deliver a high performing service to our selling and buying customers.”

Mark Jenkinson senior partner, Adrian Little, added: “Working with Pugh, as part of Eddisons, gives us a superb geographic reach, unrivalled market insight and a vast network of buyers and sellers.”

“The personalised customer service our clients have always enjoyed will be backed by cutting-edge technology and strategic marketing support.”

GNG Appoints New Commercial Director

Experienced sales director Richard Gretton has been appointed as commercial director at GNG Group as the West Yorkshire business continues to drive the growth of its consumer, contract and medical mattress division.

With over 25 years’ sales experience, Richard’s long track record includes working within the furniture industry. He joins from Hypnos Beds where he spent almost six years as global retail sales director. Prior to that, he was commercial director at Castelan Group where he launched new strategic services across the furniture, leisure and hotel markets. He also spent over three years as commercial development director at Homeserve plc as well as having been commercial director of Valspar UK.

A strong commercial and operational professional, Richard’s expertise includes marketing management, negotiation, business planning, market planning and operations management.

With purpose-built 40,000sq ft manufacturing facilities in Normanton, West Yorkshire, which opened just last year, GNG has grown into one of the leaders in British mattress manufacture, supplying retailers and hospitality providers across the UK as well as being an approved supplier to the NHS.

In his new role with GNG, Richard will lead the sales operation for the expanding mattress division which includes its Komfi vacuum-packed mattress brand, featuring recycled Ecofoam and luxury Sonlevo mattresses with unique TrueGel grid system technology.

“With his exceptional track record of success within the industry, Richard will play a pivotal role in spearheading the further growth of our mattress division,” says GNG Group managing director Darren Potterton. “Having increased capacity by over 300% with the opening of our Normanton facilities last summer, we have ambitious expansion plans to continue to build our customer base.”

“Richard’s appointment comes at a crucial time as we embark on the next chapter of planned growth in the UK. His strategic vision and business acumen, together with his industry insights and ability to forge strong relationships, will be instrumental in positioning our company to capitalise on emerging opportunities and further enhance our capabilities.”

Richard adds: “With a 40-year manufacturing heritage, GNG has become one of the leading names in British-made mattresses. Known for quality, service and product innovation, I am excited to be joining a fast-growing business where I believe I can make a real difference. While the company has made impressive progress in recent years, there are still new markets to be explored and I am looking forward to using my skills to bring GNG’s outstanding products to a wider audience.”

Headquartered in Normanton, GNG Group was established in 1987 and now employs more than 130 people across the group. It has become an international brand leader and supplier of foam-based products, primarily serving the medical, consumer and sports sectors.

Yorkshire Sustainability Week Announces New Partnership

Yorkshire Sustainability Week (YSW), a brand-new festival of events taking place across Yorkshire in July, is proud to announce its headline partnership with the Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission (YHCC). This partnership will help to drive forward the awareness and transition to a climate-ready and low-carbon economy in the Yorkshire and Humber region.

Yorkshire Sustainability Week stretches across all channels of sustainability, from living sustainably, retail, food and healthcare, through to future cities, construction, water, energy and manufacturing.

The event has already gained serious traction and recognition, with Leeds City Council and the University of Leeds both partnering with the organisers as headline sponsors, along with a growing line up of international keynote speakers.

Kate Hutchinson, founder of Yorkshire Sustainability Week and Managing Director of The Secret Event Service, said: “Having Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission join YSW as a headline partner strengthens our festival of events and focuses on how we are dedicating the week to drive change in perceptions of sustainability and the opportunities it can hold for Yorkshire and UK businesses.”

“The Commission is an independent group supported by the Yorkshire Leaders Board, bringing together businesses, local authorities and other organisations committed to supporting Yorkshire and Humber to become climate ready in a fair and just way, whilst achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2038 and improving natural assets. YHCC works to develop and implement strategies that will reduce carbon emissions, support the growth of the green economy, and create new jobs in the region. We are thrilled that they have chosen to join our worthy cause and partner with us for the inaugural YSW.”

As a headline partner, YSW will work closely with YHCC to support its mission and help to drive forward the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Rosa Foster, Co-Director of Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission, said: “We all have an important role to play to move towards a sustainable way of living, that benefits not only ourselves and our natural environment, but also those around us. Understanding the actions we can take is the most important self-reflection that we can do and it’s great to see so many businesses coming together to do just that through Yorkshire Sustainability Week.”

“We are delighted to see such a fantastic programme of events taking place throughout Yorkshire and hope that this festival inspires more businesses and individuals to start on the path towards a sustainable and climate-ready future.”

Yorkshire Sustainability Week builds on the success of Yorkshire Climate Summit, which has been co-organised by the Yorkshire Post and YHCC for the past two years.

Kate said: “I went to Yorkshire Climate Summit last November and thought, this is great, now how can we build on this to grow the sustainability movement in Yorkshire? The idea for Yorkshire Sustainability Week was born and we’re proud to be running such an ambitious event.”

The partnership with YHCC is part of YSW’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and its mission to help businesses increase their awareness of the opportunities in sustainability and building a green community across Yorkshire.

Yorkshire Sustainability Week takes place 3 – 7 July and offers a range of events to help organisations reduce their carbon emissions, improve their sustainability, and create new business opportunities. As well as attending some of the main events across the Week, businesses are also invited to organise their own fringe events under the YSW banner.

Econ & Volvo Launch Electric Vehicle

Econ Engineering, the UK’s leading manufacturer of winter maintenance and highways vehicles, has launched its latest innovation a revolutionary electric gritter.

This latest innovation is an Electric Quick Change Body (E-QCB), which is a zero-emissions solution that reduces carbon footprint and noise pollution. The prototype features Econ’s innovative demountable bodywork, which uses hydraulic rams to enable the vehicle to switch from gritting to tipping in just 15 minutes, thanks to a choice of different body options developed in-house by Econ.

The first in this new ‘Econ Zero’ range is a fully operational prototype built on a 19-tonne Volvo FE Electric 4×2 chassis. Its development follows a period of close partnership working between Econ Engineering’s R&D team, and product specialists from Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, and dealer Crossroads Truck & Bus.

Jonathan Lupton, Managing Director at Econ Engineering, said: “We’re excited to finally introduce the E-QCB to the market with Volvo. We have spent a long time developing the new E-QCB, undertaking comprehensive redesigns and trialling it, to ensure that we can offer a fully electric solution for our customers that can be used all-year round.”

“The vehicle operates best in urban environments, where daily mileage is typically less than some longer distance motorways or rural routes. As it is easy to switch body types with this model, customers can benefit from operating the vehicle all year-round. We are committed to continuing to evolve our Zero Range, and other renewable energy innovations, as the UK’s infrastructure develops in support of this.

This first Volvo FE E-QCB has been unveiled at the Econ stand at Cold Comfort 2023 in Harrogate, a specialist conference and exhibition dedicated to winter highway maintenance services.

Christian Coolsaet, Managing Director of Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland, adds: “Every part of the transport sector needs to have its sights set on achieving net zero, and gritting and snowploughing is no exception. The team at Econ has developed an exceptional new product with our FE Electric chassis at its heart; this is going to allow gritter fleets to reap the benefits of operating cleaner, quieter and more efficient trucks.”

Crucially for drivers, the new FE Electric offers an improved working environment due to less vibrations and almost silent operation, allowing them to better focus on the road ahead. The Volvo powertrain, with two electric motors combined with a two-speed gearbox, offers an ultra-smooth driving experience, with power delivery handled by a unique traction control system developed to master slippery surfaces.

Econ is a Yorkshire-based company, which has been at the forefront of winter maintenance vehicle solutions for over 50 years. It designs and manufactures gritters and other vehicles that are widely used by local authorities and private contractors across the UK.

Lindenmeyr Appoints Source

Leeds-based performance-led marketing communications agency, Source has been appointed to handle PR, social media and internal communications for one of the world’s leading pulp and paper sales companies, Lindenmeyr International.

Lindenmeyr offers a wide range of paper, packaging, and print solutions for a large roster of growing commercial clients. The company is a subsidiary of Central National Gottesman Inc. (CNG) and has set its sights on rapid global growth outside of North America, following investment and a business restructure.

Source will provide strategic advice and execute targeted communication plans to strengthen Lindenmeyr International’s reputation across its core business sectors, which include retail, print and publishing. In addition, the team will handle all internal comms at a time when the business is experiencing rapid growth.

Daniel Kennedy, a director at Source, said: “We’re delighted to have won this multi-faceted instruction from Lindenmeyr International and are relishing the challenge of handling comms, both internally and externally, at such an exciting time for the business.”

Stewart Clough, commercial director at Lindenmeyr International added: “We’re excited to appoint Source to elevate our brand through strategic public relations and social media, and mirror these messages to our ever growing team across the UK and beyond.”