Revolution boss: Government actions towards bars ‘nothing short of scandalous’

The boss of bar chain Revolution has said the Government’s treatment of bars and late-night operators has been “nothing short of scandalous” as he revealed vaccine progress gives the group hope for a strong recovery next year.

Revolution Bars, which also runs sites under the Revolucion de Cuba brand, said Government support for drinks-focused bars was “welcomed but totally inadequate”.

It comes after the chain temporarily closed its English sites last month in the face of a second national lockdown.

Rob Pitcher, chief executive of the group, said recently announced grants of £1,000 per wet-led pub or bar are “derisory and insulting”, and underline “a complete lack of understanding of the costs associated with businesses of this nature”.

He said: “The next few months will continue to be challenging and entirely dependent on imposed operating restrictions.

“Further meaningful Government support will be required to help safeguard the industry and avoid further job losses, particularly for young people.

“The UK Government’s actions towards wet-led bars and late-night hospitality are nothing short of scandalous.”

However, Mr Pitcher said he is confident that Revolution will emerge from the crisis “as a more focused business”.

The group said its trading outlook remains uncertain, but recent progress with coronavirus vaccines is likely to deliver a “path towards a gradual recovery” to previous trading levels from Easter.

The group, which runs 74 bars, told investors it generated revenues of £20.6 million for the past 24 weeks, representing a significant decline from £72.1 million for the same period last year.

Since reopening bars from July 6, the group said it had been weighed down by restrictions including local lockdowns, the second national lockdown, table service and the 10pm curfew.

Last month, Revolution creditors gave the green light to a restructuring plan which saw the company cut 130 jobs and permanently shut six sites.

The company voluntary arrangement (CVA) also secured reduced rents at seven bars.

On Thursday, Revolution confirmed its trading performance for the past financial year, reporting a slump in revenue to £110.1 million for the year to June, from £151.4 million in the previous year.

It dropped to statutory pre-tax profit of £31.7 million for the period, as it was impacted by £21 million in exceptional costs.