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Tue 27th Jan 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Jamie Barber says ‘we’d like to open 15 Cabana sites in the next three years’, hails street-driven UK foodservice innovation: Cabana co-founder Jamie Barber has set a target of opening five new Cabana sites a year for three years after the brand has proven itself outside of London. The Brazilian barbecue brand, which was founded two years ago, is currently enjoying like-for-like sales growth of around 15%, and one of the original sites, in Stratford Westfield, East London, is turning over £50,000 a week. Cabana opened its first site outside London at Trinity Leeds last November, which has been a runaway success. Barber said: “Trinity Leeds has been exceptionally good for us. We have only been open for a couple of months but it has way exceeded expectations, trading at about 30% above our highest estimate. That’s given us the confidence to know that our pricing and our offer seems to work outside London. I spoke to somebody who shall remain nameless, but he felt that Cabana had the ability to expand to 75 to 100 units. I want to open five a year over the next three years and see where we get to at that stage. I am not brazen enough not to know that growing from seven sites to 25 is full of growth pains but we are trading very, very well.” Barber also hailed the amount of innovation evident in the current UK foodservice scene, with much of it driven from street food operators. He told Propel: “I think the last four years or so have been the most exciting since I started in the business. The number of small operators that have created things that have blown people away has been unbelievable and watching those kind of street operators mature into stand-alone restaurants and fully-fledged brands has been really interesting. I keep a list of places that I want to visit, and it grows exponentially. I have a list of about 40 places that I want to go to, including small street vans. But there is constantly something cropping up that is interesting. There is a woman called Belle Shapiro who does this thing called Belle and the Brisket that does this amazing salt beef double deck sandwiches, which are incredible. It is definitely a down-up approach whereas in the old days it was very much top-down – 'Let’s wait for Gordon Ramsay or somebody to invent something we can go and visit.'” Barber also revealed that Hush, the Mayfair restaurant he set up 15 years ago, is having its strongest ever year. "We’ve evolved, we’ve changed to live with the times, we’ve refreshed, we’ve rebooted and this is our strongest year after 15 years,” he said.

Industry News:

Anheuser-Busch buys another US craft brewery: Anheuser-Busch InBev is to add to its collection of American craft breweries with the acquisition of Elysian Brewing Co of Seattle. While beer sales in the United States fell 1.9% in 2013, craft beer sales rose 17%, according to the Brewers Association, which represents craft brewers. AB InBev announced in November that it was buying 10 Barrel Brewing of Oregon. That came after the purchase of Blue Point Brewing on Long Island, New York, earlier in the year. It bought Goose Island Beer Co in Chicago in 2011. AB InBev also has a one-third share in a group that produces Red Hook, Widmer and Kona beers. Anheuser-Busch and Elysian said the deal will bring the brewer's popular beers, most notably Immortal IPA, to a larger audience. The deal includes Elysian's brewery business and its four Seattle brewpubs.
 
Four in five consumers never or rarely try new alcoholic drinks: Four out of five UK consumers never or rarely try new alcoholic beverages when drinking outside their homes. Research by Canadean found that 77% of out-of-home drinkers were reluctant to try new products and 32% admitted to sticking to brands they already know and trust. The reasons given for being hesitant to sample new brands included a lack of awareness of new products on the market (14%) and that there were no new drinks on the market that people liked (21%). Sam Allen, an analyst at Canadean, said: "With the vast diversity of products available at pubs, bars and clubs, consumers are faced with a myriad of alcoholic beverage options, and in the face of so many new drinks they often stick to tried and tested favourites."
 
Leading craft beer marketplace business Eebria hits crowd-funding target: Eebria, the business that claims to be Europe’s only craft alcohol marketplace, has passed its £150,000 target on the crowd-funding platform Seedrs. The business offered 17.65% of its equity, and has raised £203,310 so far. It has reported month-on-month sales growth of 24% in 2014. The pitch states: “We believe Eebria is Europe's only craft alcohol marketplace, enabling customers to buy drinks directly from small independent craft breweries, distilleries and vineyards around the UK. We currently target the consumer (B2C) market, including two subscription clubs, and are now looking to take advantage of the large untapped B2B craft beer industry, bringing breweries and independent pubs and restaurants together. The B2B site would use the same fundamental Eebria marketplace model, but with some back-end and UI changes. The B2C site launched in August 2013 with the first subscriptions in July 2014 and sales have grown steadily month on month. The launch of B2B is scheduled for Q1 2015.”

Scottish government rejects calls for statutory code north of the border:
The Scottish government has spurned calls for a statutory adjudicator to be set up north of the border to mirror tenanted pub company regulation planed for England and Wales. A Scottish government spokesman said: “The government has met with the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and Camra and has encouraged them to provide evidence of the need for a statutory code and pub adjudicator. We will work with both organisations along with others who have an interest. The Westminster legislation continues to change substantially and we continue to monitor it closely for any impacts on Scotland. We understand BIS [the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills] have no intention of seeking a legislative consent motion.”

Eight breweries launch Brewers Association of Scotland: Eight of Scotland's small breweries have come together to launch the Brewers Association of Scotland. The group, which is chaired by Dougal Sharp, founder and chief executive of Innis & Gunn, held an inaugural event at the Scottish Parliament, where it set out its objectives and launched an industry-wide consultation to capture the size of the sector as well as its growth objectives over the coming ten years. Sharp said: "It is important to our sector, now more than ever, that we have an effective industry body to help us to achieve our individual business aspirations. Until now the industry has had no governing body in Scotland, whereas in other countries where there are similar associations the benefits of such a body are clear." The founding member breweries are Cairngorm Brewery in Aviemore, Fyne Ales in Argyll, Harviestoun in Alva, Clackmannanshire, Innis & Gunn in Edinburgh, Inveralmond Brewery in Stirling, Stewart Brewing in Edinburgh, West in Glasgow and Williams Bros in Alloa. The group is open to artisanal brewers that are predominately Scottish-owned and brew less than 200,000 hectolitres a year in Scotland or within their group of companies. There are believed to be more than 80 breweries currently operating in Scotland.

Greene King celebrates third year of academic success: A group of Greene King business development managers (BDMs) have graduated from a tailored business strategy course at Birmingham City University (BCU). The graduates include Darren King, recent winner of BDM of the year at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers Operations Managers Awards. Alongside colleague Alex Dawson, King graduated with a post-graduate degree in Multi-Unit Leadership and Strategy. The pair both work for Greene King Pub Partners, supporting licensees running tenanted and leased sites. The BCU course involves a year of intensive work and study on top of the BDM’s day-to-day work. Clive Chesser, business unit director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “This course has proven time after time that by investing in our BDM’s, Greene King tenants and lessees continue to benefit from invaluable strategy and business advice from our hard-working and knowledgeable team.” The course is now in its fourth year with more Greene King BDM’s set to graduate next year, joining the 30 Greene King BDM’s who have completed the course. Five other colleagues from other parts of Greene King’s pub business – Kes Osborne, Ben Anguige, Paul Garland, Andrew Roberts and Scott Straker – also graduated. (See bottom of e-mail to read details of the one-day multi-site masterclass led by Professor Chris Edger, of Birmingham City University.)

Company News:

Shaftesbury buys Fitzrovia pub for around £4m: The West End of London property landlord Shaftesbury has bought the Newman Arms in Rathbone Street, Fitzrovia for around £4m. The pub is one where George Orwell used to drink and is widely assumed to be the setting for the "proles' pub" in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. The Newman Arms has been closed since the beginning of the year and confirmation of the sale to Shaftesbury puts an end to local rumours that it was going to be converted into a private club – it will remain a pub. A spokesperson for Shaftesbury told Fitzrovia News: “The Newman Arms, with its famous homemade pies, was a highly regarded traditional pub. However, the owner, Tracey Bird, decided she wanted to relocate to another part of London and therefore needed to sell it in order to facilitate her move. We’re delighted to have purchased it to add to our growing Charlotte Street holding; an area we love for its dynamic mix of great restaurants, bars and cafes. The Newman Arms will continue to operate as a pub and we have already instructed Davis Coffer Lyons who are going to commence the search for a new tenant imminently.” According to the Land Registry the pub was bought from Punch Taverns on 21 August 2009 for £800,000 plus £108,000 VAT. Before 2009, Bird had run the pub as a tenant. After she bought the freehold she refurbished the living quarters of the building and created a roof terrace which has views over the neighbourhood. Marketing material invited offers over £4m. Bird said: “We are delighted with everything we have achieved at the Newman Arms, however, we felt that now was the right time to move on to a new challenge. We have already found our next pub and are in the process of finalising the purchase, which we hope to complete shortly in order that we can open later this year. We have had a fabulous time at the Newman Arms and hope the new landlord enjoys serving the wonderful people of Fitzrovia as much as we did."

Better burger brand Haché opens fifth site: The upscale London burger restaurant chain Haché has opened a fifth site, this time in Balham. The opening of the 70-cover restaurant marks the second new site for Haché in two years, after its successful Shoreditch launch in February 2013. To mark the Balham opening, Haché added a new item to its existing menu in the form of  the "All Day Balham Breakfast Burger". The creation will be available at all five Haché restaurants to sit alongside other innovations such as the crispy duck burger and the Haché flambé burger. A new interior design has also been launched at the latest site, with features including chandeliers, huge mirrors and fairy light. Founder Berry Casey said: “The opening of our fifth site in Balham marks a significant occasion for us as we continue to expand. Haché has continued to win the hearts of both Londoners and visitors to the capital alike over the past ten years and as the demand for a sophisticated burger experience increases, we intend to continue our plans for a rapid roll-out. We sold out our first two nights in two minutes and we were rammed all weekend.”

Switzerland serving the world’s most expensive Big Mac: Switzerland has been named by The Economist magazine as the country serving the world’s most expensive Big Mac. A Big Mac costs 6.50 Swiss francs, which worked out, at the time of the survey to just over £5. The Big Mac is also rather expensive in Norway, coming in at £4.40, almost double the price in China, where it costs around £1.85. The prices come from the updated "Big Mac index" which was created by The Economist in 1986 to compare the values of different currencies.

Starbucks chief executive sees 24% increase in earnings:
Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz received a 24% increase in his compensation package for 2014. A regulatory filing Friday shows that Schultz's base salary stayed steady at $1.5 million for the company's fiscal year that ended in September. But the value of his stock awards increased 5% to nearly $6.3 million and a cash payment based on performance increased 30% to $2.9 million. There was also a increase in perks to $502,076.
 
Wildwood plans third restaurant and deli opening in Plymouth: Wildwood, the Tasty-owned pizza brand, is planning its third restaurant and deli opening , this time at the Royal William Yard in Plymouth, creating 40 jobs. It plans to move into the Slaughterhouse building, with an operation catering for up to 160 covers. Proposals are still in the early stages, but Wildwood wants to start work on the site in March before opening in June. The news came as Wildwood announced plans to spend £500,000 on converting the former La Tasca tapas restaurant in Derry's Cross, Plymouth into a new restaurant operation creating 25 to 30 jobs. A Wildwood spokesman said. "We had earmarked Plymouth as an area we wanted to move into; it just so happened that two sites were available. The Royal William Yard is a very interesting space. We are looking at the Slaughterhouse site and it is subject, of course, to planning consent, and English Heritage." The spokesman said the site would have a "big emphasis" on retail with a deli offering sandwiches and salads as well as the "best olives, oils and meats". He said the restaurant chain changed its plans for the Royal William Yard site after talking to residents. "The Royal William Yard site will boast something that Plymouth has not seen before and that's why we're excited," the spokesman said. “We held a meeting with residents and they were apparently crying out for a good deli. That changed our outlook to satisfy the requirements of the residents. If Plymouth City Council's planning committee agrees the plans, the restaurant and deli would become Wildwood's third joint restaurant and deli business. The Wildwood restaurant at Derry's Cross, between Bella Italia and the Varsity bar, is expected to open in early February.

Pret A Manger turns London support centre into ‘mothership’ for international operations: Pret A Manger has turned its London support centre into a “mothership” to support international operations. The company's group people director, Andrea Wareham, told HR Magazine: “We realised about a year ago that our model might not be the best for growth. Every country was self-sufficient, but had its own support centres. The problem with that is you get duplication and can lose brand consistency. It’s also very costly to have head offices in every country.” After review, it was decided that the support centre in London would become the “mothership”, with localised support in each country. As a result, London-based roles “suddenly grew enormously” and became international, Wareham said. “People became responsible for toolkits, processes and ways of working in different countries, and had to understand [new] markets. The local markets had to accept that. It was a big change and not something you create overnight. To do this properly across time zones, we needed to become more tech-savvy and get a lot better at project management.”
 
KFC chooses London start-up to run pre-ordering app: KFC has chosen a two-year-old London start-up to help run its app that lets customers order chicken before they get to the restaurant. The Westbourne Park-based mobile payment specialist Judo run the payment systems for KFC’s app, which lets UK customers pre-order food. Judo's founder, Dennis Jones, said the start-up heard KFC was overhauling its app and contacted the chain to throw its hat in the ring. Jones said: “Being selected by large partners like KFC continues to validate the strength of our product and the market demand for our services.” Judo has also helped develop the Tesco-backed coffee chain Harris & Hoole’s app. News of the KFC deal comes alongside a £6m cash injection into Judo from the American venture capital firm Route66. Jones said the investment will be used to grow the company from 25 to 40 employees and launch in France and Germany within three months. North American expansion is set for later in the year.
 
MGM Grand eyes London opening in partnership with Hakkasan: The Las Vegas MGM Grand hotel and casino brand could be coming to London in a partnership with Hakkasan. Neil Moffitt, chief executive of Hakkasan, said the partnership would see Hakkasan venturing into hotels for the first time. He told the London Evening Standard: “In London we are seen as a restaurant brand, but in the US we are far more lifestyle. Bringing the MGM to London will be a real statement for a brand that started life as one restaurant on Hanway Place, but the MGM name is truly international and bringing it to a unique city like London will be a real coup.” Locations are being sought for a possible site in Mayfair, Soho or Knightsbridge. It is likely to open after the partnership’s first hotel on the Palm Islands in Dubai in 2017. The Hakkasan Group also plans to bring the US restaurants Herringbone and Searsucker to the UK, with Fulham, Chelsea and Notting Hill  in London likely sites. Moffitt saidd: “We are bringing the company back its roots, London had dropped off a few years ago, but now every high-end global name wants to be here.”

Health inspectors give Gordon Ramsay restaurant two star rating after cockroaches discovered:
Health inspectors have given Gordon Ramsay's Maze restaurant in Mayfair, London a two-star hygiene rating after inspectors found cockroaches in preparation and dish-washing areas. According to the Daily Telegraph newspaper, the venue was given a two-star rating for hygiene, down from the four out of five stars it was handed in October 2013. A report from Westminster Council reads: "Appropriate treatment methods must be used to eliminate these pests." At least seven bugs were spotted at the restaurant. A spokesman for Ramsay said it was an "isolated incident" and staff at Maze have taken immediate steps to clean up the restaurant and improve hygiene.

Mexican brand Pinto lines up fifth Scottish opening: The Mexican burrito bar brand Pinto is due to open a second site in Edinburgh to add to the three sites it has in Glasgow. The chainis due to open on Shandwick Place at the end of February, in premises that were last occupied by the optometrists Black and Lizars. Renovation work began on the listed building at the start of the month and an application has been submitted to Edinburgh Council seeking permission to install new signage at 6 Shandwick Place. The chain launched in 2011, with its first store on Queen Street in Glasgow before expanding to the city's Gordon Street and Hope Street. It opened its first Edinburgh store on Lothian Road in September 2014 and celebrated by giving away 1,000 free burritos, attracting queues along the busy street. A spokesperson for Pinto said: “(We) are currently working on launch plans that will be even bigger and better than our previous store openings."

Former Hoste Arms owner opens boutique B&B and deli: Jeanne Whittome, who previously owned the iconic Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, Norfolk with her late husband Paul before its sale in 2012, has returned to the sector with two businesses, a boutique B&B and a deli. Thornham Deli has been extended and refurbished to create a new lifestyle shop, patisserie, bakery, and larger delicatessen. It offers a selection of samphire products made onsite and homeware, kitchen and garden accessories, and will also sell clothes. Whittome has also opened a boutique B&B in Hunstanton called No 33.

Enterprise hails turnaround at 'awful' pub: Enterprise Inns has hailed the success of one of its tenants at turning around a pub it admits many locals had given up on. The Greyhound Inn, in Arnold, near Nottingham, was in such a poor state that locals thought it would never reopen. But Jason Mee took on the Nottingham Road pub in June 2013, and with the help of an £85,000 investment from Enterprise, and £55,000 in total of his own money, has turned it into a thriving business once more. Mee said: “It was in an awful state, but I like a challenge. We cleaned and decorated the pub, and immediately takings began to go up quite quickly. In January this year, we closed the pub for only two weeks, and refurbished the interior." Enterprise Inns' regional manager Mark Gardner said: “Jason performed a similar turnaround at another of our pubs, and he’s worked his magic again at The Greyhound. He’s taken a pub that many local people had given up on, and he’s done a brilliant job."

Misleading Manchester hotel bookings company wound up by High Court:
Tycoon Media Limited, a Manchester-based company which claimed to offer a hotel listings service, has been wound up by the High Court for misleading customers and failing to provide services to clients. The closure comes after an investigation by the Insolvency Service. The investigation found that the company, trading under the names “Seek & Sleep” and “Seek & Dine”, charged customers a monthly fee of between £29.99 plus VAT and £49.99 plus VAT to list their hotel or bed and breakfast business on its online booking agency. The company falsely claimed to offer a money-back refund guarantee of the monthly fee if the client did not get at least one booking per month. No such refunds appear to have been made. The Insolvency Service investigation also found many other examples of misconduct by the company, including failing to provide the pre-paid service, taking unauthorised payments from clients, failing to make good on refunds due to clients, failing to maintain adequate accounting records and trading while insolvent.
 
Matthew Clark signs Beer Marketing Awards partnership: The national drinks supplier Matthew Clark has signed a partnership with the Beer Marketing Awards, the first awards of its kind, which set out to recognise and celebrate the marketers and creative teams behind beer brands with a focus in the UK. Kathryn Chabowska of Matthew Clark said: “The passion, depth and innovation seen within the beer category is so inspiring, and it’s great to see the launch of the Beer Marketing Awards, which will recognise this. In turn, we’re able to raise awareness of a side of our business that is in steep growth.” Winners will be announced at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London on 14 April 2015.

Eco Hotels hits 60% of crowd-funding target:
Eco Hotels, which aims to be the world's first carbon-neutral premium-value hotel brand of its kind, building its first hotels in India, has raised £306,000 on the crowd-funding platform Crowdbnk, putting it more than 60% of the way towards its target of  £500,000 in return for 6.78% of its equity with 28 days to go. The pitch states: “The brand concept and strategy has been developed by veteran hotelier Ian Graham, who is the brains behind the Holiday Inn Express brand. The company’s experienced management team is headed by chief executive Jay Krishnan, who has worked for some of the top hotel brands across the world. While the company intends to expand the brand into the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), it will first roll out its strategy in India. The reason for this is that there are as many hotel rooms in the greater metropolitan area of New York as in the whole of India. To capture the value of creating a new hotel brand, it is essential that the footprint of Eco Hotels is rapidly expanded in the target markets. In order to achieve this, Red Ribbon Asset Management , the company sponsoring Eco Hotels and its sister company Modulex, is applying vertical integration to the growth strategy by setting up a steel modular buildings factory in India. The factory, the first of its kind in India, is intended to have an output capacity to produce 2,000 hotel rooms per annum. This translates to 20 completed 100-room hotels in one year. Using this fast build programme, a 100-room hotel can be ready for occupation in 24 weeks from order. Eco Hotels is planning to become one of India's largest hotel chains, and the world's largest eco hotel chain, aiming to roll out 10,000 rooms by 2023 using exclusive access to this offsite modular building technology.”

Five Guys lines up first Welsh opening for March: Better burger brand Five Guys is due to open its first site in Wales, in a site in Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter with a capacity for 140 diners. It is likely to open in March. The letting is the latest deal advised by EJ Hales, which has been responsible for bringing chains including Côte, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Bill’s and Carluccio’s to Cardiff. Phillip Morris, partner at EJ Hales, said: “The Brewery Quarter in Cardiff is the ideal location for Five Guys to open its first outlet in Wales. Five Guys has a significant amount of history and the Brewery Quarter has been known for its diverse range of restaurants, cafes and bars. Cardiff is rapidly becoming a hotspot for American-themed dining, with the likes of Apple Jacks and the Smoke Haus all opening in the last year. We’re confident that Five Guys will be a popular addition to the scene.”

Coast to Coast eyes landing in Ashford: The Restaurant Group’s Coast to Coast brand wants to move into one of two new food outlets proposed for the Eureka Leisure Park in Ashford, Kent, where it will be close to two sister Restaurant Group chains, Frankie & Benny's and Chiquito. The scheme for the two units, which is due to go before Ashford Council’s planning committee in April, has been put forward by the London-based firm Indigo Planning on behalf of the Ashford developer Leisure II Limited. The proposals would result in two single-storey food outlets being built close to Cineworld, plus additional parking spaces. If approved, the work would be carried out in two phases. In phase one the first restaurant would be built opposite a Pizza Hut outlet as a stand-alone unit with 24 parking spaces. A second restaurant and 29 parking spaces would be created adjoining Cineworld as part of phase two. Coast to Coast would move into the first unit. It is not known if anyone has expressed any interest to move into the second unit. Other eateries at the leisure park in Rutherford Road include Nando's, a Beefeater pub-restaurant and a McDonald's drive-through.

Brakspear revives beer after 12-year gap:
The Henley brewer and pub operator Brakspear has brought back Old Ale, one of the favourite beers from the original Brakspear brewery in the town. The ale is now being brewed at the Bell Street Brewery, the microbrewery that opened in 2013. Old Ale was last brewed in 2002, before the original Brakspear brewery was closed. The decision to restore the beer was made after a number of Brakspear licensees visited the Great British Beer Festival last summer. Chief executive Tom Davies said: “While we were there, a Camra member approached us to say that Brakspear's Old Ale was the best beer he’d ever tasted. We thought if the beer was still being talked about a dozen years later, it must be worth brewing again. So we opened the archives from the old Henley brewery and found the recipe for Old Ale and our head brewer Malcolm Mayo contacted Peter Scholey, who used to be the head brewer at the original brewery to discuss some of the finer points. The first barrels of Old Ale left the Bell Street Brewery earlier this month.” The first batch of Old Ale sold out quickly in the Bull on Bell Street – where the microbrewery is located – and a handful of other pubs in and around Henley including the Angel on the Bridge, the Dew Drop in Hurley, Perch & Pike in South Stoke and Reformation in Gallowstree Common. More is being brewed now to meet demand and Brakspear is considering whether to make it a permanent beer at the Bell Street Brewery, alongside Brakspear Special.

New boutique hotel set for Shoreditch:
The property development firm Bouygues UK has unveiled a £26.6m contract for a new boutique hotel in Shoreditch, East London. The 120-room property on Curtain Road will have a rooftop pool, a lounge overlooking the City, six suites, 24-hour fitness facilities, a spa and a meeting and events space. The contract has been agreed with Michael Achenbaum, the man behind the Gansevoort Hotel Group, and will be his first such project in the UK. Achenbaum said: “We’ve identified fantastic partners for this project and we’re excited to be bringing a new brand and eclectic energy to the area.” Arnaud Bekaert, Bouygues’ UK MD for construction in London and the South East, said: “We are proud to have been chosen to collaborate with Michael Achenbaum as he launches his new – and first – hotel here in the UK. Michael is known for his signature lifestyle concepts and I’ve no doubt this new hotel will be equally as popular [sic], as well as diversifying his portfolio of urban retreats for discerning guests and bringing his unique style to a unique urban area within the capital.” The hotel is scheduled for completion by summer 2016.

Starbucks to expand mobile ordering to 600 US locations: Starbucks is to expand mobile ordering and payment to more than 600 locations in the Pacific Northwest of the United States in the coming months, with plans for a national rollout later in 2015. The rollout began in December with the introduction of mobile ordering and payment at 150 outlets in Portland, Oregon. The response from customers has been extremely positive, chief executive Howard Schultz said. Adam Brotman, Starbucks’ chief digital officer, said in Portland the experience for customers using the app and the operational execution by employees has exceeded expectations, “So we are full steam ahead in terms of rolling this out around the country.”

Entrepreneur who opened 'authentic' Indian restaurant out of frustration plans roll-out:
An Indian businessman who opened a restaurant in Cheadle, Manchester last year out of frustration at not being able to find authentic Mumbai food near his home is now planning to roll the concept out around the North West of England before targeting London. Suresh Ruia, 60, founded the Manchester-based textiles and homewares business Beamfeature in 1986. He told the Business Desk website:" I have long had a desire to establish a truly authentic Mumbai street food style restaurant in the UK, as for years I have been homesick for genuinely good Indian cuisine." Many British Indian restaurants are in fact Bangladeshi or Pakistani, and the food they serve is "completely unlike" the meals he grew up with in Mumbai, Ruia said: "It's a different way of cooking - most restaurants create six or seven types of gravy and then add the meat accordingly. They use a lot of ghee and oil. We cook everything fresh." Last summer, in partnership with his friend Sandeep Gursahani, who previously worked for the hotels group Marriott, Ruia opened a 65-cover restaurant in Cheadle called Aamchi Mumbai. The response to the new eatery has been so encouraging that Ruia and Gursahani are drawing up plans for more sites. Ruia said: "This has been a real labour of love, and I am very proud we have created something special and new for Greater Manchester. In time I'd like to take Aamchi Mumbai to London, but before that we need to be 100% confident that everything is working as it should. Once this is the case, then I think we'll look for sites in Hale, Wilmslow, Alderley Edge and the city centre."

Plymouth restaurateur to close restaurant to focus on catering company and second site:
Restaurateur Mehdi Taheri is quitting his Bed diner in Plymouth to concentrate on his other restaurant site and a catering company that is bidding for contracts with two of Britain's biggest music festivals. Taheri's Flying Bed catering enterprise has cooked for superstars including musicians Snoop Dogg, Chase and Status, Ben Howard, and Cypress Hill, Radio One DJs Zane Lowe and Greg James, and is looking to expand. With the business having invested in three catering vans, plus a coffee van, and associated equipment, Taheri said running three operations is becoming increasingly tricky. He will close his Bed restaurant in Bretonside at the end of the month, and concentrate on expanding Flying BED and his other restaurant: the 100-cover Heaven, in Exeter Street. That will be transformed into a "gastro pub", with a roaring fire and beer garden.

Dorothy Goodbody's brewery fined £20,000 over mash tun accident:
Wye Valley Brewery, the maker of the Dorothy Goodbody's ale brands, has been fined £20,000 with £9,632 costs after an accident involving a mash tun when a brewery worker had his foot broken. Hereford Magistrates’ Court was told that the worker the empty steel vessel at the brewery, in Stoke Lacy, Hereford, to clean it when the incident occurred. The stirrer in the mash tun had been left running and his right foot was broken when it became caught in the machine. A Health and Safety Executive inspector, Tariq Khan, said: "Wye Valley Brewery had advice and information about devising safe systems of work for entry into confined spaces, but ignored it and failed to consider the risks to its employees. As a result, a man suffered a painful injury. He was very fortunate that colleagues heard his cries for help and managed to rescue him in time." Wye Valley was founded in 1985.
 
Rank seeks to extend Leeds casino: Rank has applied for permission to extend and refurbish the casino it acquired in Leeds in 2013. In its application, Rank describes the Grosvenor Casino, formerly a Gala Casino, as a vibrant sustainable part of its business, with a popular restaurant, bars and gaming facilities. A new two-storey "infill" extension is proposed for the front entrance façade between two stair towers, with a new covered external terrace in front of the extension. The proposal is to make better use of the redundant external space between the stair towers and increase the casino floor area on the ground and first floors. Materials which match the existing building are to be used, with buff brickwork featuring grey banding details, double glazed windows and grey steel doors. Roberts Limbrick Architects has been appointed by Grosvenor to assist with the scheme.

Multi-site site companies sign up for Professor Chris Edger’s Multi-Site Management Masterclass:
More multi-site companies have signed up for Professor Chris Edger, Multi-Site Management Masterclass, being held in partnership with Propel, on Tuesday 24 February at One Moorgate Place, in the City of London. They include: Le Bistrot Pierre, Charnwood, Bath Ale, Banana Tree Restaurants, Draco Pub Company, CityGlen Pub Company, Urban Leisure Group. Companies that have already booked include: Wahaca, Boston Tea Party, Burger & Lobster, Paul UK, Beds and Bars, Columbo Group, McMullen & Sons, McManus Pub Company, Meatailer, Intertain, Eddie Rockets, Amber Taverns, City Pub Company, Jamie Oliver, Rhode Island Coffee, My Lahore, Little Gems Country Dining, Porkys, Antic London, Star Pubs & Bars and Bill’s. Professor Edger, who has just published his latest book, Leading at a Distance in Multi-Unit Enterprises, will focus on how area managers can create organic growth through the three-step process of engagement, execution and evolution. Professor Edger currently teaches at City University, Birmingham, where a number of the sector’s leading companies send their general managers to be taught. Darren King, last month’s winner of 2014 ALMR Operations Manager award, graduated from its post-graduate Level 7 Multi-Unit Leadership and Strategy course in 2014 - as did the 2013 ALMR Ops Manager winner Barrie Robinson in 2013. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel, said: "This is a great chance for multi-site companies to refresh their thinking – and the thinking and expertise of key staff – as 2015 gets under way." Tickets are £295 plus VAT for ALMR members and £345 for non-ALMR members. CLICK HERE for more details or email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com to book.

 
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