Not so thirsty Thursday as Nightcap blames ‘targeted’ rail strikes for £1.2m earnings loss
Cocktail bar operator Nightcap has estimated that 13 days of rail strikes over the last year has cost the company £1.2m.
The bar company, which operates a number of venues across Clapham and central London, claimed rail strikers “deliberate targeting” of Thursdays and Saturdays, the most lucrative trading days for the hospitality sector, caused a dent in profits.
Rail strikes, which took place over winter last year, were estimated to cost the hospitality industry as a whole £2.5bn, according to previous figures from UKHospitality.
It comes as parts of Britain’s rail network – including London’s underground system – are set to strike again during next week’s Budget day strikes.
“The rail strikes are having such a huge impact on the hospitality sector. We have more rail strikes to come (this week) and the deliberate targeting of the really critical trading days – Thursday and Saturdays for hospitality will continue to see the high street struggle if they continue,” Sarah Willingham chief of Nightcap told City A.M.
She continued: “However, hospitality continues to pivot its business model, put events on other days like a Sunday or a Wednesday to compensate because at the end of the day people still want to go out, there is a big demand there, but we just need to be allowed to trade.”
Despite the disruptions, the listed bar group reported a revenues increase of 48.7 per cent to £23.5m, which was fuelled by the opening of six new sites across its The Cocktail Club, Tonight Josephine and Barrio brands.
Nightcap has also said the outlook for the year remains “encouraging” as the bar group continues to target millennial and Gen Z customers which have a higher disposable income than other age groups.
“Nightcap has had a fantastic half year. Our incredible team opened six bars in six weeks across the country, whilst also delivering a Christmas that exceeded expectations and records in terms of corporate parties, pre-sold events and a nearly sold out New Year’s Eve across all 36 sites,” Sarah Willingham, chief executive of Nightcap said.
She added: “We look forward to the second half of the year with confidence and once again we thank our customers for coming to our sites and enjoying themselves with friends in a fun, relaxed party atmosphere and leaving knowing they have had a night to remember.”