Independent family business Everards of Leicestershire has provided an update on its response to the Covid-19 challenge along with some future plans.
Stephen Gould, Managing Director, shared that the business has three prime objectives in dealing with this issue:
1. Protecting and supporting the health, safety and welfare of Employees, Everards Business Owners (Tenants) and their Staff and Communities
2. Retaining Everards talented Business Owners and attracting the finest Business Owners to join Everards
3. Ensuring that coming out of this Pandemic, Everards as a business is strong, fit, remaining innovative and well prepared to compete in the future
The support of the Government in contributing to the delivery of these objectives is much valued and appreciated. Stephen Gould said, “Through the fine work of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and UK Hospitality, the Government realised early that the hospitality industry would be severely impacted by lockdown measures and responded well to that reality. I would expect the same logic to follow in terms of a new, refreshed package of Government support for the Hospitality sector, as inevitably it will be one of the last sectors to fully come out of lockdown measures”
Everards has responded to the challenge in a number of ways:
– 70% of Employees have been furloughed on full pay which will be reviewed at the end of May. The business reports that the Government’s portal to process payments has worked very well
– Directors salaries have been cut by an average of 30% and the full year Dividend payment to shareholders cancelled
– The Everards Family Foundation have donated £50,000 to Age UK Leicester Shire & Rutland. The money will directly support older people in Everards local community who find themselves in greater need during the Covid-19 crisis and will provide essential services including befriending calls, collecting essentials like food and prescriptions, and getting people to hospital appointments
– Business Owner Rent payments have been cancelled (not deferred) for both April and May. Stephen Gould shared the announcement to all Business Owners via video stating that “We are aware that the provision of Government Grants for some Business Owners was put in
place to contribute to business expenses including rent. However, wage support payments are only being processed in the next few days (so cash for wages have had to be provided by Business Owners to date) and around 30% of grants are yet to be paid so it is viewed to be too early to consider charging a proportion of grants received to rent”. This position will be reviewed again at the end of May
– The construction of Everards new Brewery, Beer Hall and Offices at Everards Meadows continues. Kier Construction have implemented additional social distancing measures and work within the Site Operating Procedures drawn up by the Construction Leadership Council aligned with the latest Public Health England guidance. The primary consideration here is the Health & Safety of the workforce and the public. This has been a monumental effort from all at Kier and also Briggs (who are building and installing our new brewery equipment) and Everards are grateful for all their hard work. These changes will naturally cause some delay. However the business expect the building to be completed by November. Everards has decided to delay the actual fit-out of the Beer Hall and Offices until early 2021 with a plan now to open to the public in Spring 2021
Looking ahead, Gould emphasised the following:
-We are encouraging some local authorities to process the payment of grants to all eligible Business Owners by the end of April
-The Government needs to act now to support those Business Owners operating pubs with a Rateable Value above £51,000 who are not receiving grants. This is time critical. Gould adds, “Working with the Industry, the Government needs to find a solution to this challenge without delay. Otherwise many businesses in this Rateable Value category will fail due to not having enough liquidity”.
– The extension of the Coronavirus job retention scheme to the end of June has been very welcome. We hope to see further plans laid out to support sector jobs for the length of the pub closures but also once they are open again as increased social distancing measures would continue to impact business owner’s income.
– Gould also shares, “The plan to come out of lockdown needs really careful thought. A rushed approach makes no sense for anyone and we support the BBPA’s call for a minimum of three, ideally four, weeks notice. If Pubs are to be one of the last sectors to come out of lockdown then a new, refreshed package of Government financial support for the pub industry needs to be created and communicated by the end of May. In turn this will give Companies, Business Owners and their communities confidence and belief in a bright future for pubs”.
Erika Hardy, Head of Marketing
07921 875 625