Sky-high energy prices are now the main reason for hospitality closures, according to Manchester’s night time tsar Sacha Lord.
The Warehouse Project founder and night time economy adviser has recently taken to Twitter to call on the government to do more to support businesses – stating that the energy companies are ‘cashing in on hospitality’s demise’.
Adding that the big energy companies ‘are bankrupting businesses and forcing people into unemployment’, he pointed to numerous business closures in Greater Manchester before adding that energy regulator Ofgem has ‘a lot to answer for’.
It has undoubtedly been a hard few years for the city’s hospitality operators, with large numbers closing their doors for good in 2022 and more following suit this year already.
Between rocketing energy bills and food costs, record inflation and the largest squeeze on living standards in 40 years, many operators have found themselves caught between a rock and a hard place.
Recent notable hospitality closures have included vegan junk food pioneers Zad’s and V Rev, Vertigo, Chorlton neighbourhood favourite The Creameries, city centre institution Cafe Metro, decades-old pizza restaurant Croma and cheap cocktail favourite Font, but sadly the list goes on and on.
Yet, whilst Manchester’s bars and restaurants are closing at pace, energy companies are announcing record profits with Shell reporting record earnings of £32.2bn in 2022 – double the previous year’s total and the highest in the company’s 115 year history.
This has led for many to call for the increase in the energy price cap due in April to be scrapped, with opposition parties claiming that the government is letting firms ‘off the hook’.
Meanwhile, many local restaurants are directly citing the energy crisis as their reason for closing their doors.
Announcing its closure last year, popular vegan eatery Vertigo shared on social media that it had been forced to permanently shut all three of its sites: laying the blame at the door of ‘significantly increased costs’ that have made it difficult for the business to continue to operate.
Specifically referring to an increase in utility bills, the team said it was with ‘a heavy heart’ they had to announce that ‘Vertigo is no more’.
Elsewhere, last summer The Lowry theatre warned of a ‘major challenge’ over fears energy costs could triple to £1m this winter, stating that: “The government needs to extend the energy cap to business as well as households.”
Meanwhile, The Old Siege House Bar and Brasserie in Colchester revealed that it “had no choice but to sign a new contract in October in order to access government help”, adding that its bills went up “from 2p a unit on gas to 12p and 12p electric to 44p ! Now tied in for 4 years! Not sure how long we can sustain these prices!”
According to analysis by Shakespeare Martineau, the food and drink industry accounted for 6% of administrations in 2022 – the sixth-highest sector in the UK.
A total of 1,340 businesses – 87 of which came from the food and drink industry, which included several breweries and restaurant chains – filed for administration last year, marking a 56% increase compared to 2021.
Recession fears and the financial pressure on households and businesses mean the worst is still yet to come, an insolvency and restructuring expert has warned.
Andy Taylor, partner and head of restructuring at Shakespeare Martineau, said: “The latest statistics show that the true costs of living and doing business are beginning to bite.
“Numerous headwinds – such as the cost of borrowing, and increasing energy, fuel and raw material costs – have become a new normal at this point and businesses are being pulled from every direction. Furthermore, while supportive in the main, pressure from lenders is increasing and HMRC is taking a firmer stance, seeking to cap levels of liability for non-payment of tax.
Adding that the UK is ‘perilously close to recessional phase,’ he continued: “If things continue as they are, we expect to see an increase in businesses failures as they battle tough trading conditions.”
Feature image –The Manc Group
Costa is adding new cinnamon bun lattes, KitKat frappés, and loads of Easter treats to its menu
Cinnamon bun lattes, KitKat frappés, and loads of Easter sweet treats are just some of the things forming part of Costa’s new spring menu.
The popular coffee shop chain is known and loved for its limited-edition menus every time a new season rolls around – and 2024 is proving to be absolutely no different, as Costa has decided to welcome in the sweetest time of the year by announcing a whole host of new and returning drinks, and some tasty food options too.
After welcoming its latest winter menu, the spring menu will be launching at Costa branches all across the UK this upcoming Leap Day (Thursday 29 February).
And one of the stand-outs on the menu has to be the new Cinnamon Bun Latte.
Available to add into to a wide range of barista-made drinks, both hot and cold, the new Cinnamon Bun syrup is apparently set to “elevate the Costa coffee experience” with sweet flavours that are reminiscent of a freshly-baked cinnamon pastry, and you’ll be able to order it from all Costa stores nationwide, as well as at Costa Express machines too.
Elsewhere on the limited-edition menu is the return of the fan-favourite KitKat drinks range, with both the KitKat Mocha and KitKat Hot Chocolate making long-awaited comebacks, as well as a brand-new KitKat Frappé joining the party.
The KitKat Frappé is an indulgent and creamy blended chocolate frappé that’s topped with whipped cream and KitKat pieces.
And, of course for a little Easter seasonal touch, all the drinks in this year’s KitKat range come served with a cute wrapped KitKat Bunny Mini on the side.
There’s new cinnamon bun lattes, KitKat frappés, and loads of Easter sweet treats on the lineup / Credit: Costa
When it comes to the savoury food options, there’s a handful of mouthwatering newbies being added onto the menu this year – including the Halloumi and Chargrilled Veg Toastie, and the Chicken N’Duja Toastie, as well as the Roast Chicken and Bacon Sandwich.
But, of course, Easter is all about the chocolate, isn’t it? For those of you with a sweet tooth, Costa has well and truly got you covered.
There’s a brand-new Blooming Lovely Chocolate Cake made up of layers of scrumptious chocolate frosting and finished with white chocolate flowers, a new and improved recipe for the beloved Carrot and Walnut Cake, and the return of the indulgent KitKat Chocolate Muffins to accompany the popular drinks range.
There’s also some new toasties, sandwiches, and snacks joining the party too / Credit: Costa
The fan-favourite Mini Egg Cookie, and Chocolate Cornflake Nest topped with mini chocolate eggs, are also making a comeback.
So there really is something for everyone to tuck into.
Costa’s new 2024 Spring Menu will be launching tomorrow (Thursday 29 February), and will be available at the chain’s over 14,500 branches all across the UK.
Featured Image – Costa
New Wave Ramen’s new takeover series is spotlighting the best noods in the game
Manc favourite New Wave Ramen recently launched a brand-new takeover series spotlighting other knowledgeable noodle heads and soup specialists from around the UK, and it’s going down an absolute storm.
The ramen game in Manchester continues to grow year after year and we’re lucky enough to have a plethora of broth-brewing pros right on our doorstep, with New Wave being one of the most popular anywhere in the city.
Making a name for themselves over in Mackie Mayor before building on that success to open up their first brick-and-mortar site over on Tib Lane last year, they’ve become a cornerstone of the cuisine and overall Japanese scene here in 0161, so it’s no wonder other contemporaries have noticed.
After catching eyes all over the country, New Wave held their first collaboration of 2024 earlier this month, inviting Cardiff’s highly-celebrated Matsudai Ramen ’round for the first of many kitchen takeovers and, suffice to say, the gaff was completely packed out. But that was just the start…
The two have teamed up before but it’s still a huge deal to have the two ramen masters teaming up for the new Tib Lane takeover, with New Wave set to welcome their fellow brothy brethren on 17 March and given the success of the previous event, we expect spaces to full up just as quick.
Here’s what you can expect to be slurping if you sign up for the next iteration of the takeover series: all the good stuff and plenty of it.
They say ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ — utter nonsense in this case, sorry.
We will happily sit back and watch some of the greatest ramen restaurants in Britain collide to bring their expertise together in wonderful little bowls of flavourful umami bombs and drink up every last drop until we burst, thank you very much.
The New Wave x Kanada-Ya crossover night takes place from 12-10pm on Sunday, 17 March and those interested are urged to book HERE if they want to make sure they don’t miss out on a seat.
We’re really excited by this takeover series and, if you’re a fan of noods (not that kind, cheeky), you should be too; plus if you’re looking for the very best ramen in Manchester, you can check out our list of the top 10 in full down below: