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Young’s boss: London’s ‘buzz’ is returning and we will be pushing our ‘work from pub’ deals

·3-min read
<p>London pub group Young’s, behind venues including the City’s Lamb Tavern and new The Windmill in Clapham, has had “one of the most challenging years” in its 189-year history</p> (Young’s )

London pub group Young’s, behind venues including the City’s Lamb Tavern and new The Windmill in Clapham, has had “one of the most challenging years” in its 189-year history

(Young’s )

Hybrid working appears to the future, as big-name employers from PWC to Experian tell staff to expect some days in the office and others toiling remotely going forward.

As home-working is here to stay, hospitality is looking to capitalise on the opportunity to entice Londoners to fill in their spreadsheets with a coffee or drink in hand.

Many former full-time office workers have spent over a year in their studies or at kitchen tables, and chains including Costa have just launched designated areas for remote workers, complete with 'desk' spaces divided by screens and a power socket.

London pub group Young’s, behind venues including the City's Lamb Tavern and the new Windmill in Clapham, has had "one of the most challenging years" in its 189-year history. On Thursday it reported a £45.2 million pre-tax loss for the year to March 29.

Young’s chief executive, Patrick Dardis, said:  “You can see there is a buzz in London”Young’s
Young’s chief executive, Patrick Dardis, said: “You can see there is a buzz in London”Young’s

Last summer it launched a number of ‘work from pub’ deals. They included an offer of unlimited hot drinks and lunch for £10.50 at the Hammersmith Ram, and a £20 package comprising bottomless tea and a pint at the end of the day at The Kings Head in Winchmore Hill.

The pubco also highlighted venues' free WiFi, charging points and quiet spaces.

Young's chief executive, Patrick Dardis, said that over the next two to three months "we will certainly be pushing hard on those [deals] again. That's one of the things we will be focusing on".

The other focus will be on "getting that spontaneity back". "We want to remind people that you can just turn up at the pub, you don't have to book," he said.

It comes in the week hospitality reopened for indoor service for the first time since Christmas, and Dardis said the firm will return to making money this month.

Despite seeing some venues remain closed, the group saw 85% of 2019 sales with just al-fresco trading in the six weeks from April 12, and 96.9% of like-for-like sales in open venues.

The CEO said the future looks bright even if the June 21 full relaxation of restrictions does not go ahead.

He said: "What was the biggest surprise of all, given that from March last year the City and the West End were the worst performing areas last year, places like the Oyster Shed and The Lamb at Leadenhall were pretty much up to normal trading just with outside spaces.

"You can see there is a buzz in London. On the streets of London there's a bigger buzz in the last three to four weeks than at any stage in the last year."

He added: "London will recover, but it will be slower [than suburbia].

"We will be cash generative in May, we will start recovering and making some money. But June 21 is really, really important."

Looking longer term, Dardis said: "The sky is the limit... we continued to invest in our estate during lockdown."

The company also confirmed on Thursday that it has appointed Savills as it explores putting its tenanted division up for sale.

The division, the Ram Pub Company, is made up of 50 pubs and accounts for around 5% of total Young's revenues.

The pubco said it is "in discussions regarding a possible sale",and said it would update the market "when appropriate".

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