Freedom day delay: Ian Eason / Louise Austin / Leigh Smith / Toby Hoyte

Freedom Day delay Ian Eason Louise Austin Leigh Smith Toby Hoyte
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The independent machines supplier

Ian Eason: “Another kick in the balls for the supply chain”

Ian Eason
Ian Eason Managing Director, Instance Automatics



Seeing as though we still have not been offered any financial help I think this will lead to us having to make staffing cutbacks in our business.

We are strong in the pub operator sector with certain products, this is again another kick in the balls for the supply chain.

I’m asking myself how long can we all go on l ike this.


The machines operator

“It’s very hard to keep our head above water”, says Louise Austin: So what will a delay do?

Louise Austin
Louise Austin Owner, Austin Leisure



Austin Leisure is operating at half speed.

The machines are very quiet and collections are very infrequent.

A lot of jukeboxes aren’t being played but we still have to update them.

I have made one office staff permanently part time and we have reduced the service we offer to our customers – for 54 years we have had an engineer on call 364 days a year – we now only offer on call Friday nights and all day Saturday.

I have to try to reduce costs wherever I can at the moment. It’s very hard to keep our head above water.


The machines supplier

Leigh Smith: We continue to be treated as second class citizens when it comes to grants

Leigh Smith
Leigh Smith LSO



We still have 15 percent of our clients who have failed to open since May 17th because the restrictions make it financially unviable so we will continue to be down that much straight away as they will continue to remain closed.

Another 25 percent are not using machines because of the space limitations placed upon venues to accommodate social distancing.

Some of those who are using our products are doing well but the majority are down on pre-Covid statistics so overall the extension of restrictions will have a negative effect on our cash flow.

In terms of support we would like, it seems to me there is not much point in dwelling on that for too long as it’s a waste of time.

We continue to be treated as second class citizens when it comes to grants. Having said that the furlough has been a lifeline and as long as that continues we will survive another month.

In the context of the bigger picture it is probably the right thing to do as it seems grounded in common sense to continue to vaccinate and help to prevent the possibility of even more economic pain by trying to avoid further more extensive lockdowns later on.


The music specialists

Percentages are rising but delay will mean the opening of “remaining sites or activation of jukeboxes will be pushed back”

Toby Hoyte
Toby Hoyte SoundNet



In the first few weeks of hospitality opening inside we have seen approximately 63 percent of the Sound Leisure online jukes back on and active, and around 85 percent of the TouchTunes jukes back and active. Cash income for this period is around 85 percent compared to the period just before Lockdown in March last year. We have also seen app usage on the Touchtunes jukes increase a lot.

So, the cash income is good considering the social distancing measures still in place.

The challenge for us and our customers is to get more of the jukes back on, and earning good income. I fear the delay in easing Lockdown until July will mean that the opening of the remaining sites or activation of jukeboxes will be pushed back.

Soundnet TouchTunes is a smaller team now but I think we are working better than ever.

We will continue to support our customers by taking a pragmatic approach to our business together and although we may get back to 100 percent of the sites active this year we will focus supporting those that do open with the best performing jukes in the UK.


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