BrewDog partners with SSP to land airport bar at Gatwick

23 May 2023 by
BrewDog partners with SSP to land airport bar at Gatwick

Brewer and bar group BrewDog has partnered with travel caterer SSP Group to bring the brand to various travel locations in the UK, with the first outlet scheduled to open in December at London Gatwick Airport's North Terminal.

The partnership will see SSP Group operate "a number" of BrewDog bars at airport and railway stations in the UK to be opened over the next few years.

BrewDog Gatwick will offer a menu designed for the airport location, featuring dishes such as chicken wings.

James Watt, BrewDog co-founder and chief executive, said "This partnership with SSP will bring brilliant new craft beer experiences to thousands of travellers. It's part of our own journey as a business. We want to make everyone as passionate about craft beer as we are."

Kari Daniels, chief executive of SSP UK & Ireland said: "BrewDog is a globally renowned brand with an incredible back story and huge potential to do well in the travel space. It's a brilliant next step in our growth to help BrewDog build their brand in the UK travel market, and we're confident that our shared values and combined expertise will pave the way for a successful partnership. London Gatwick, which is a truly international airport and welcomes a particularly relevant passenger demographic, is an excellent starting place for our adventure together."

Jonathan Pollard, chief commercial officer at London Gatwick, added: "We are delighted to be welcoming BrewDog's first London airport bar later this year. BrewDog is a fantastic brand and one which I'm certain will be well received by London Gatwick passengers."

BrewDog was founded in 2007 by Martin Dickie and James Watt. Headquartered in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, the company now employs more than 2,300 staff, operates more than 100 bars and venues worldwide, and has breweries in Columbus in Ohio, Berlin in Germany and in Brisbane in Australia.

SSP operates food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, with around 37,000 employees in over 600 locations across 36 countries. SSP announced its financial results for the first half of its 2023 financial year earlier today for the six months ended 31 March 2023, delivering a strong performance as the global travel market continues to recover.

The business reported revenue of £1.32b, up 64.1% on last year and 104% of 2019 levels, as well as underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £90.5m, and profit before tax of £15.8m.

In the first six weeks of the group's second half, sales continued to strengthen to 111% of 2019 levels including a strong Easter period, with increasing levels of holiday and leisure travel approaching the summer.

The business also saw high level of contract renewals and net new business wins ahead of pre-Covid levels, with approximately £75m net new business won since its preliminary results in December 2022, increasing expected annual sales value of net gains since 2019 from around £550m to around £625m, once fully mobilised by 2026.

Commenting on the results, Patrick Coveney, chief executive of SSP Group, said: "This has been a strong first half for SSP, and the ongoing revenue momentum across the business means that we are now expecting our performance for 2023 to be at the upper end of our previous assumptions."

The group increased its 2024 financial year projected revenues to the region of £3.2-£3.4b, with corresponding EBITDA of £325-£375m.

Coveney added that the company was increasing its focus on the "higher growth markets" of North America and Asia Pacific.

"North America is our strongest performing region with revenues in the first half at 127% of 2019 levels, and we were delighted to announce the acquisition of 40 units across seven airports in the US from Midfield Concessions earlier this month," he said.

SSP recently announced it was buying the Midfield concessions business in North America. The transaction is expected to complete in late summer and anticipated to contribute an additional $100m (£80.6m) to annualised revenues.

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