Toasty numbers

Every now and then a number comes along that I can't stop replaying in my head, like some broken record, so striking and so pleasing is it.

Living Ventures, the Knutsford-based owner of such restaurants as Gusto, Blackhouse Grill and the newly opened Australasia underneath Spinningfields in Manchester, has 326,000 individual email addresses on its database.

LV's email marketing campaigns rarely have more than a 1% bounce rate. Bounces are when the email isn't delivered due to a fundamental flaw such as the incorrect address or it was blocked by the recipient's email system.

That's a phenomenally big, clean list.

AustralasiaWhen LV relaunched Grado as the Grill on New York Street following its acquisition among several outlets from Paul Heathcote, 100% of people who opened the email – not the full 326,000 list, I hasten to add, but a specific sub-list of Manchester city centre recipients, more like 2,000 – clicked through to see the special launch offer. The company sorted the first couple of months' relaunch bookings in the first hour from that email.

It's a thoroughly well-run business, which has won national awards for its staff training, and should be championed as a North West success story in these days of closures, closures, everywhere.

Remember when there were new bars opening every week?

The fear for the future of leisure – a demanding, high-risk sector where it helps to be a bit crazy – is there may be some 21-year-old upstart out there with a brilliant idea for a new bar or restaurant that could become another brand to be proud of but who cannot raise bank support in this current climate of 'track record or nowt'.

I hope I'm wrong.

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