“We are absolutely delighted with our performance over the first half of the year and we have a real sense of momentum as we approach the vital Christmas trading period," comments Oakman Inns & Restaurants' CEO, Peter Borg-Neal.
"The recent acquisition of The Anchor in Hullbridge and the reopening of The Betsey Wynne have added to that momentum – both are trading ahead of expectation. We are now on-site at the Beech House, Amersham, The Cherry Tree, Olney and The Royal Foresters, Ascot – all of which will open in the first half of 2018.
“The key challenge we are experiencing is the increase in input prices driven by sterling weakness. We have seen a large increase in food prices whilst being very wary of passing them on to the consumer. However, the biggest impact on us is being seen in our capital expenditure costs.
"Items such as kitchen equipment and building materials have increased dramatically. When this is set against some of the other challenges to our trading it seems to us very likely that, without Government intervention, there will be a significant slowing of investment in our industry.
"We need action on a number of fronts including addressing the absurd level of Business Rates, a streamlining of Planning law and the removal of the unfair tax on food. Furthermore, I think Landlords need to recognise that there have been some structural changes to the sector business model and they will have to be more realistic about rent expectations. Equally, I call upon industry colleagues to think about the level of rent they are prepared to sign up to.
“The strategy for Oakman remains the same with a focus on quality, great people and excellent sites. We were particularly delighted to have become the first pub company to be awarded the Princess Royal Training Award for training excellence.”