Sodexho upbeat despite City drubbing – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

07 January 2008 by
Sodexho upbeat despite City drubbing – For more hospitality stories, see what the weekend papers say

Sodexho upbeat despite City drubbing
Sodexho" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">The Sunday Times](, 6 January

Recovery predicted for FishWorks
The team that rescued the FishWorks chain of restaurants-cum-fishmongers expects to turn last year's £1.1m loss into a profit of at least £200,000 this year on sales of £13.1m. Channel Fisheries, the fish and seafood supply business purchased two years ago, will contribute in excess of £3m this year. The group, which was founded in Bath in 1994 and floated on the Alternative Investment Market in 2005, over-expanded between July 2005 and October 2006 with seven new openings and subsequently saw its share price tumble from 50p to 10p by early 2007. It was refinanced in February 2007 by recruitment entrepreneur Gary Ashworth and Channel 4 chairman and former PizzaExpress owner Luke Johnson. They plan to open two new restaurants this financial year, and another two next year to bring the total to 16. The market suspects a revitalised FishWorks could be used to buy up other casual dining brands, or be reversed into Seafood Holdings (a distributor of fish and seafood to the catering trade in which Johnson has a stake) to create a larger business. -[The Sunday Telegraph](, 6 January

Scottish hotels face gloomy 2008
Scottish hotels will face a tough 2008 as the economic slowdown starts to bite, warns accountancy firm Deloitte. Despite last year's double-digit growth, Deloitte forecasts that the UK hotel industry will be hit by a downturn in consumer spending this year. Scottish hotels will be hit with the double whammy of a reduction in demand from oil companies, which plan to reduce North Sea oil production within the next 12 months. This means performance figures will disappoint even in Aberdeen, which achieved the fastest-growing revenue per available room in the UK last year. The report undermines ambitious government targets to boost Scottish tourism by 50% over the next seven years. However, it reveals some positive trends for Scottish hospitality, which is closing the gap on southern rivals. Occupancy rates in Edinburgh are among the highest in the UK and its £69 revpar is second only to London's £109. - [The Scotsman](, 5 January

Celebrity chefs demand better welfare for broiler hens
Leading celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will both campaign against the short, painful and brutish lives of British broiler chickens this week. Today, Fearnley-Whittingstall begins Channel 4's season on food production with a plea to chicken-eaters to go free-range. On Friday, Oliver will host a televised dinner at which guests are shown the progress of a factory-farmed chicken from egg to supermarket chiller - from the gassing of unwanted male chicks to the grisly realities of life as an intensively-farmed bird. According to the RSPCA, most of the 855 million meat chickens reared in the UK every year suffer ‘unacceptable' conditions in the 40 days it takes to fatten them to be slaughtered and sold for £2.50 - which is, according to Oliver, "cheaper than dogfood". - The Observer, 6 January

S&N plans to scupper Continental bid with £8b valuation dossierScottish & Newcastle (S&N) hopes to shake-off its unwanted suitors Carlsberg and Heineken within two weeks when it unveils a report that will raise its prospective value above £8b, far in excess of the £7.3b offered in the latest approach by the Continental brewers. An independent consultancy is understood to be working on a study that will hint at the value that S&N can extract from its Baltika Russian joint venture with Carlsberg. S&N's move will pile more pressure on the takeover partners to increase their offer before the 21 January "put up or shut up" deadline by which they must make a formal offer or walk away. Carlsberg is already under pressure with its market value slumping by 25% in recent months. - [The Scotsman, 5 January

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