<p>Hammond & Whiting Manager warns profits may be impacted by business rate changes</p>

Hammond & Whiting Manager warns profits may be impacted by business rate changes

Bar series Whiting & Hammond has relaunched among its bars damaged in a fire, but has cautioned changes to company rates can impact profits.

Back in September the Tonbridge-based firm consisted of the Mark Cross Inn at Crowborough, East Sussex, which was damaged in a refuge in April.

Accounts show the company swung back to the end of September 2016.

The Cricketers Inn in Meopham is a Whiting Hammond pub

The Cricketers Inn at Meopham is a Hammond & Whiting bar

It created a pre-tax surplus of over #101,000 after sustaining losses of #281,000 a year before.

Creator Brian Keeley-Whiting said high earnings can impact profits when it next reports its annual results, including revised company rates which came into force in April.

It’s been rumoured the Chancellor Philip Hammond will choose to offset hikes in rates when he produces on November 22.

In his company report, ” Mr Keeley-Whiting explained: “We still feel the 20% VAT on sales is a continual stranglehold within our industry using supermarkets still not needing to apply this tax on
ready-made meals.

“This will be further afield later on with a large increase in business rates and this will have a knock-on effect for the next year’s profitability.”

Turnover increased 20% to #11.1 million in substantial part because of the acquisition and opening of the Rose & Crown in Green Street Green, Orpington.

Brian Keeley-Whiting runs Whiting Hammond

Brian Keeley-Whiting runs Whiting & Hammond

Mr Keeley-Whiting said commerce in the bar was “exceeding anticipation”.

He hinted at the potential for much more acquisitions, stating “further sites are under consideration”.

On the other hand, the focus will be on making certain the “recent additions to the estate are making a strong contribution to the overall company”.

Whiting & Hammond, which employs about 320 people, also conducts the Cricketers at Meopham, the Chaser Inn at Shipbourne, the Kings Head at Bessels Green and is currently headquartered in the Little Brown Jug at Tonbridge. It also has bars in Sussex and Surrey.

Its good fiscal performance helped offset the selling of Stanmer House at Brighton in June this past year, along with the “continuing progress” of the Blue Ball at Surrey.

Underlying food and beverage margins remained “very secure”.

Mr Keeley-Whiting added: “Trading conditions remain competitive using town-based chains that provide an alternate dining experience particularly in poorer weather.

“But, the organization remains focused on its offering of food and service at a bar surroundings like the inherent customer base remains firm.”