Business Briefing

Royal Mail trials drones for deliveries from UK mainland to Isles of Scilly

Wendy’s serves up plan to take on the ‘burger big boys’, and other breaking business news

1

Logistics 

Royal Mail drone trial is a UK first 

Royal Mail has announced a trial of the first out-of-sight, autonomous scheduled drone flights between the UK mainland and an island. The trial will involve the use of uncrewed aerial vehicle (UAV) flights to deliver PPE, Covid-19 testing kits and other mail to the Isles of Scilly.

Parcels will be flown to the islands’ airport in St Mary’s by a UK-built twin-engine Windracers UAV, which can carry up to 100kg worth of mail at a time. A smaller VTO drone, operated by Skyports, will then be used to transport items to a number of delivery points throughout the islands.

If the trial succeeds, Royal Mail said the technology could be used to support postal workers in delivering to remote areas in the UK. In December last year Royal Mail delivered its first parcel using a drone when it sent a package to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull in Scotland. 

2

Food and drink

Wendy’s plan UK return with 400 new restaurants and 12,000 jobs 

Twenty years after a failed attempt to break the UK market, US fast food giant Wendy’s is plotting a return, Yahoo! Finance reports. The chain, which is famous for its square burgers, is planning to launch 400 new restaurants nationwide and create 12,000 jobs in the process. 

Wendy’s is eyeing hundreds of UK sites in the coming year as it bids to take on the “burger big boys” McDonald’s, Burger King and Five Guys, says the Manchester Evening News. The first UK site will open in Reading next month, followed by Oxford and Stratford.

3

Hospitality 

Pub industry gets ‘a glimmer of hope’ from cask beer demand

The reopening of outdoor hospitality last month has seen an “unbelievable” surge in post-lockdown demand for cask beer, Sky News reports. Offering “a glimmer of hope” for the UK’s pub industry, production has been “ramped up” at breweries after some “underestimated just how many pints would be sold”.

Pubs in England, Scotland and Wales will be allowed to open their indoor areas for customers from Monday 17 May.

4

Broadcasting 

Summer ‘bonanza’ for TV advertising 

Love Island and football’s European Championship are set to fuel a “£1bn advertising bonanza” this summer. The UK’s ad-dependent broadcasters were hit hard by Covid-19, but a rebound is predicted with spending bouncing back to pre-coronavirus levels, The Guardian says. 

This summer will mark the end of an 18-month wait for the return of Love Island, “one of the biggest and most lucrative franchises on British TV”, the paper adds. However, the “big drawcard” is set to be the Euros with England, Scotland and Wales all competing in the major tournament. 

5

Transport 

Rail services face ‘prolonged’ disruption

Inter-city rail services on busy lines face “prolonged” disruption after cracks were found on high-speed train carriages’ chassis. Several Hitachi 800 model trains were taken out of service for safety inspections on Saturday and the company was investigating the issue.

Amid growing cancellations, rail minister Chris Heaton-Harris warned that “disruption is likely for a prolonged period”, particularly on Great Western Railway. GWR, which operates 93 Hitachi 800 trains, urged customers to apply for refunds, warning disruption may “continue” into the following week, Yahoo! Finance reports. 

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