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28 November 2021

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

News impacting business from Adrian Leopard & Company - Insolvency Practioners & Mediators

Leopard News

Is there no end to the potential uses of personal data? The hospitality industry has huge possibilities here

Is there no end to the potential uses of personal data? The hospitality industry has huge possibilities here

Your experiences of eating and drinking out stand a good chance of improving hugely as we move forward

It is ironical that it has taken a pandemic to bring forward the revolution of the use of personal data. When we think of this, normally our minds turn to identification, bank accounts, in fact just about anything but now your food preferences?

Windfall tax – is this the right time?

Windfall tax – is this the right time?

Is it unreasonable for exceptional profits made as a result of the misfortunes of others to be subject to an additional tax?

The economy has had some really bad hits during the pandemic; many businesses have gone bust and large numbers of people have lost their jobs. The future looks uncertain because we do not know when things will be able to get back to some semblance of normal working.
Can employers insist that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 or indeed their customers?

Can employers insist that their employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 or indeed their customers?

It will definitely become “those who have and those who haven’t”. And it will become as divisive as everything else during this pandemic

The question as to whether any party has a right to insist that any other party must be vaccinated has been raised before and as yet there are no definitive answers – indeed there are various possibilities.
Following successful court case, insurance companies still reluctant to pay out on Covid-19 business interruption claims

Following successful court case, insurance companies still reluctant to pay out on Covid-19 business interruption claims

It is not unknown for a party to win a case but still feel he has lost it. Covid-19 business interruption claims must surely fall into that category

It is a real blow for some hoteliers and other hospitality operators but although there were insurance claims for business interruption, insurance companies fell over themselves to avoid making payouts, claiming that the cover did not extend to such exceptional circumstances or that the wording did not cover the present situation etc.

Christmas and New Year are over. Now into the bleak mid-winter?

Christmas and New Year are over. Now into the bleak mid-winter?

2021 is going to be a very hard year for the hospitality industry; there is just no indication of when things could start to improve

As we all know, December is generally one of the best months of the year for trade in the hospitality industry. People all have their office Christmas parties and over Christmas families go out drinking and eating and at new year, yes getting well oiled is definitely the order of the day.
As we see light at the end of the tunnel, society will start to re-evaluate itself.

As we see light at the end of the tunnel, society will start to re-evaluate itself.

When we go outside and the real light dawns when the pandemic is over, we are in for a big shock.

Since the beginning of the restrictions and the first lockdown, huge amounts of things have changed in the economic field. Many businesses have suffered terribly by being closed, most especially the hospitality industry and of course some businesses have done very well and others have even prospered beyond belief because of Covid-19.
Chancellor does it again – some targeted relief for business. But are sandwich shops worth more than human lives?

Chancellor does it again – some targeted relief for business. But are sandwich shops worth more than human lives?

Government moves to show a way forward for businesses to start making hard decisions

A week ago we commented on whether the time had come to start to let inevitable failures fail. It is a hard decision to make but with life changing so very dramatically, it certainly is inevitable that some businesses will not recover in the way that we knew them.

Booking.com to close a number of its world offices including two in the UK. Will this affect you?

Booking.com to close a number of its world offices including two in the UK. Will this affect you?

Worldwide travel industry is facing an immense reduction in size. This is more than just a short term glitch

Just about everyone who stays at a hotel at any time knows about Booking.com. As online travel agents, OTAs, go, it is probably just about the best known. Their site is comprehensive and they include loads of photographs of proposed destinations and provide a fairly good amount of information about venues to enable people to make their selections.

Some good news for businesses today. You may be insured after all says High Court

Some good news for businesses today. You may be insured after all says High Court

It is not normal for English civil courts to be quick but today they have excelled themselves!

They say that sometimes good things come in small parcels. Whether a High Court judgement running to some 162 pages is a small parcel or not, the outcome of the trial held to determine whether  insurance companies could avoid business interruption liability due to Covid-19 will be music to the ears of some. This trial has been something of a remarkable matter – the whole thing thus far has taken merely a matter of months to be set down and heard at first level and a lengthy judgement given.
Possession proceedings for commercial premises – there are two sides to every story – and there could be quite a few sides

Possession proceedings for commercial premises – there are two sides to every story – and there could be quite a few sides

Perhaps landlords and tenants should think about mediation before embarking on the litigation route to resolve their differences

As the pandemic rolls on, the cries are getting louder for the government to extend the moratorium in respect of possession proceedings for commercial premises where rents are in arrears due to coronavirus. One hospitality business association is now saying that if the moratorium is not extended the government will face a “bloodbath” of business failures.
To discount or not to discount – that is the question

To discount or not to discount – that is the question

Eating out always has been a caveat emptor issue but more so than ever at the moment!

The chancellor’s eat out to help out scheme is now closed. Considering the novelty of the idea when it was announced, it does appear to have been an incredible success with some restaurants saying they have never had a busier August than this one. The scheme has cost a great deal of money with well over 64 million meals being sold.

Turnover based rents – could this be the way forward for the future in hospitality? Could it herald the difference between survival or insolvency?

Turnover based rents – could this be the way forward for the future in hospitality? Could it herald the difference between survival or insolvency?

Whatever else Covid-19 has done, it has taught us significant lessons in relation to business matters. We need to be ready in case it happens again in the future

As things stand, a lease is not an asset – it is a liability other than in very limited circumstances. This fact has never been better known than it has during the pandemic lockdown. Businesses have had to close by government order but their rents continue to accrue and become due.
Technology in the hospitality industry – this is going to grow a lot

Technology in the hospitality industry – this is going to grow a lot

One sector of the economy is booming – hospitality technology!

If there is one thing which has moved forward apace during the coronavirus pandemic it is the development of technology to make the hospitality business more “Covid-19 friendly”. People using restaurants and hotels are already beginning to see these developments in operation but perhaps they are not aware of the extent of where things are moving to.

Chancellor’s give-aways. Amazing how parties can find a way to disagree! Beware the racketeers

Chancellor’s give-aways. Amazing how parties can find a way to disagree! Beware the racketeers

Disputes now over even how help is supposed to be managed

When the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced his mini-statement a week ago, generally public opinion seemed to be almost wholly in favour. We were being offered £10 a head to eat out on certain days in August and a reduction in VAT for the hospitality industry for six months to January – all to give the industry a well-needed shot in the arm for its very survival.

How long until tourism gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels?

How long until tourism gets back to pre-Covid-19 levels?

Are people getting out and about or does there remain a significant concern over catching the virus?

It is now a week since bars and restaurants opened and gradually it becomes a little clearer what operators are thinking about the prospects for the future.

Optimistic operators are talking about two years before they get back to former levels while many others are talking about three years

Reservation deposits – blessing or curse? But what about the empty chairs and empty tables? And how would you feel if you discovered your pilot did not have a licence to fly the aircraft?

Reservation deposits – blessing or curse? But what about the empty chairs and empty tables? And how would you feel if you discovered your pilot did not have a licence to fly the aircraft?

Is the trust we place in our regulators justified? Pakistan CAA clearly has egg on its face

It is probable that the general public have little clue about the damage that no-shows can cause to restaurants and hotels. Unfortunately, this is not just an occasional problem but might almost be said to be endemic. What is difficult to know for certain in why no-shows take place and probably everyone has done it at some time or another, even if only because one of the party does not feel very well
Unprecedented move - £10 a head towards your dinner Monday through Wednesday in August from generous chancellor

Unprecedented move - £10 a head towards your dinner Monday through Wednesday in August from generous chancellor

The hospitality industry needs a shot in the arm and without doubt it has got it

Today’s announcement from the Chancellor of the Exchequer has been eagerly awaited; many different organisations have made representations as to the sort of help they would like to see to get the economy back up and running again and now they have the result.

Are you at risk of getting Covid-19? At last a table you can refer to to find out. Pretty startling findings and a must for every household! And can restaurants make a service charge compulsory?

Are you at risk of getting Covid-19? At last a table you can refer to to find out. Pretty startling findings and a must for every household! And can restaurants make a service charge compulsory?

Some very helpful guidance has been published about Covid-19 risk. This is a “must read”

If you have had Covid-19 then you are not going to be worried about getting it again – almost certainly as you will consider yourself to be protected by antibodies. This is not proven but certainly the expectation because people who have had it have got better. You may still transfer it to others if you pick it up from a hard surface.

Hospitality hopes for VAT reduction

Hospitality hopes for VAT reduction

Is a shot in the arm going to come for hospitality?

Hospitality seems to be in the news all the time and most of it seems to be bad news with closures being announced. As was announced last week Pret a Manger are to close 30 of its shops and there are rumours it could be as many as 45. The company’s business has dropped by an amazing 74% but is that surprising considering that the Covid-19 pandemic means that people have been staying at home?
Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 is now law – and Lufthansa update

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 is now law – and Lufthansa update

New insolvency law now in operation and Lufthansa hanging in there!

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 completed its whistle-stop tour through Parliament yesterday, notwithstanding a number of amendments in the House of Lords, and received the Royal Assent yesterday evening, 25th June, and therefore became law at midnight last night.
Will your local pub re-open as a going concern? What if it doesn’t?

Will your local pub re-open as a going concern? What if it doesn’t?

Opening up again after the relaxation of the lockdown is very much a two sided exercise

Crunch time looks like being upon us in the next fortnight. Pub landlords will be now be assessing what they can and cannot achieve. Probably the public will think mainly in terms of what matters to them, things like will there be adequate space for social-distancing
Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill – a quick update. Can it help you?

Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill – a quick update. Can it help you?

Daily we hear about more insolvency in business, notably in the hospitality industry. Now is the time to think about whether you may be in trouble.

This bill is due to have its committee stage in the House of Lords today, 16th June. It is understood that there will be some debate and if amendments are made it will have to go back to the House of Commons. Otherwise it can be expected to move forward to Royal Assent pretty quickly.

Is British Airways really not allowed to manage its affairs to its advantage? Who next?

Is British Airways really not allowed to manage its affairs to its advantage? Who next?

Businesses are now fighting for their very survival. Without them there will be no jobs.

“No man in the country is under the smallest obligation, moral or other, so to arrange his legal relations to his business or property as to enable the Inland Revenue to put the largest possible shovel in his stores…..” So said
Pubs and restaurants – does 1 metre distancing work for you and is it fair?

Pubs and restaurants – does 1 metre distancing work for you and is it fair?

Businesses desperate to find solutions to operate

As the days towards the end of the more general lockdown pass en route to 4th July, more and more people are wondering how pubs and restaurants can “manage”. The latest utterings from leading operators is that a 1 metre distancing requirement would enable many outlets to open and restore literally thousands of jobs. Indeed they cite the fact that the WHO rules specify 1 metre.
New insolvency legislation now laid before Parliament. If you have an ailing business this could be very important for you.

New insolvency legislation now laid before Parliament. If you have an ailing business this could be very important for you.

The Corporate Insolvency & Governance Bill has now hit the Commons with more than was expected.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced early in April that there would be temporary relaxations to the current insolvency legislation specifically over the issue of wrongful trading. Since that announcement all sorts of other pressures have surfaced and the government has taken the opportunity of trying to address some of them.
Crime down during the lockdown – right?

Crime down during the lockdown – right?

Have the police made the best of it?

One of the results of the lockdown was that certain petty crime like shoplifting appears to have dropped. Surprise, surprise, given that most shops were closed. Theft too from private houses seems to have been contained but then it is quite risky to go in and help yourself when the chances of the owners being at home are somewhat high.

I have paid a deposit for my daughter’s wedding reception. It’s safe – right?

I have paid a deposit for my daughter’s wedding reception. It’s safe – right?

No obligation to hold deposits in ring-fenced accounts.

One of the worries which is emerging as a result of the lockdown is a complex area of business which many people find catches them out. That is the payment of advance deposits to make bookings and this is not just for wedding receptions but throughout modern life, and most notably with your deposits for package holidays and airline tickets.
We have a mortgage moratorium; what about business rents?

We have a mortgage moratorium; what about business rents?

The big question is where will the buck stop?

Managing the cash crisis during the lockdown is certainly no easy task. Government funding to pay people’s wages and salaries, rates holidays, a moratorium to block commercial evictions and so forth are all welcome shots in the arm. However, what has not yet become protected is what will happen to businesses which cannot pay their rents.
Chancellor announces changes to insolvency rules to get business through.

Chancellor announces changes to insolvency rules to get business through.

Do the public really understand what relaxing the wrongful trading provisions will mean? What if you are a creditor?

Time marches on and we see innumerable changes in the way government is managing our society. One area of change includes some changes in the insolvency regime to assist businesses in trouble. These include relaxing the wrongful trading rules for a period of three months.
Why are even successful businesses under pressure?

Why are even successful businesses under pressure?

Successful business is about judicious management of assets and cash and getting a balance alongside turnover and profitability.

Yesterday I said in my blog that I thought successful businesses in the hospitality trade with reasonable cash balances would probably get through, especially if they adopt some innovative policies to keep themselves operating during the shutdown. Well this is partly true! What is a certainty is that lack of cash is what brings businesses down – if you cannot pay your creditors continuing to trade becomes a virtual impossibility.
Coronavirus crisis hots up

Coronavirus crisis hots up

Financial benefits available but proving hard to come by; is there light at the end of the tunnel for the self employed?

The Covid-19 crisis has definitely stepped up a few rungs now. A week or so ago the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a range of financial benefits to get the country through. I must admit I was quite astounded by the apparent generosity of the benefits, in particular offering businesses 80% of the salary bill to keep their staff on.
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