Young’s operates 200 premium, differentiated and individual pubs across South East England. The pandemic devastated the sector, requiring Young’s to close all its pubs, put the majority of its staff on furlough, agree new financing with its lenders, and eventually adapt to a raft of new Government restrictions on trading.

Our first task was to promote the business as a much safer investment than the wider industry, both because of the actions that it took and its freehold model and comparatively low levels of debt. We then supported the Group’s decision to take a long term view against short term prudence, by raising a significant amount of cash from its shareholders to invest for the future. We were able to tell a new story about how Young’s would emerge stronger by continuing to invest to improve and expand its pub estate.

The
Rules of
Influence

in Action

Rule Two

Passions and influencers spread ideas

We have supported Patrick Dardis, the CEO of Young’s, as he has become one of the leading voices advocating for the hospitality sector across the broadcast and print media. Patrick is a passionate champion of pubs and the wider hospitality, and his personal approach has enabled Young’s to take far greater share of voice and use the media effectively to lobby the Government.

Work

Our work covered two key areas, frontline media support and encouraging significant innovation in the Group’s financial reporting.

First, frontline media support, including communicating steps to preserve its liquidity position and actions taken to cope with the closure of its pubs; both massive interest and safety concerns about reopening pubs; the impact of various Government operational restrictions and the final roadmap for the phased reopening of pubs.

Secondly, innovation in financial reporting: In 2020, we made sure that standard financial results reporting took a back seat as we worked with management to reformulate the presentation of its results, focusing closely on what had happened so far, the actions taken to mitigate, and what was likely to happen next. We advised the management team to paint a clearer picture of the underlying performance across the estate, which included providing performance by geography and by month for the relatively short time the pubs were open. We also increased the focus on the longer term picture, including creating a new dedicated section on technology improvements.

Impact

  • Young’s is widely viewed to have set the standard for corporate reporting, with extremely positive feedback from key stakeholders and industry peers.
  • The Young’s story is well understood and the Group’s share price is back to pre-Covid levels. The Group has outperformed its key competitors on the stock market in the past 12 months.