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Fri 27th May 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

London-based bakery and coffee shop concept Tart hits £180,000 crowdfunding target to open second site, plans five-strong estate by 2019: London-based bakery and coffee shop concept Tart has hit its £180,000 target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to open a second site in the capital in East Dulwich. The concept, which was launched in Clapham Common in December 2014 by Adam Harris and Jason Smith, was offering a 16.50% equity stake in return for the £180,012 investment. So far, 70 investors have pledged £199,772 and it is now “overfunding”. Tart said it was aiming to have a five-strong estate by 2019. The pitch states: “Tart is a profitable bakery and coffee shop concept serving high-quality savoury tarts, imaginative salads, baked goods and gourmet hot drinks. The focus is convenience through ready-made baked goods for the grab-and-go customer and comfortable surroundings for those looking to eat in. The first store, overlooking Clapham Common, has been a great success. Open for just over a year, Tart is looking to scale revenue through additional stores. This funding round will enable the launch of our second store in East Dulwich. Our objective is to open four more London stores by 2019, giving a total of five stores. After the third of these stores is operational, the plan is to finance growth through cash generation, if all the stores perform in the same way as the first. We have decided to run a central kitchen strategy. We will use our Clapham kitchen to cover our next store’s food requirements. When we open our third store, we will move all food production to a central kitchen, which should allow us to scale quickly. The locations of the next four stores will be in affluent south London neighbourhoods such as Clapham Junction, Balham, Battersea, East Dulwich, Wandsworth and Richmond. Each store is modelled on 400 to 700 square foot at a rent of £35,000 per annum. As we intend to bake and prep centrally we can opt for smaller stores. Each store costs circa £120,000 to set up, including fees.”

Industry News:

Horizons – UK foodservice market on target for growth in 2016: The UK Foodservice market is on target for growth in 2016, insights company Horizons has reported. Sales of food and drink through the UK’s foodservice sector were worth about £10.8bn in the first quarter of 2016, up 2.3% on the same quarter last year. Trading in the second quarter of the year is expected to see a 2.1% rise on the previous year, with sales worth £12.4bn.

Scottish MPs urge chancellor to study benefits of sector VAT cut: A total of 44 Scottish MPs, all members of the Scottish National Party (SNP), have written a joint letter to chancellor George Osborne, urging the Treasury to study anew the benefits of reducing VAT on tourism. The SNP MPs argued in their letter that tourism in Scotland is at a major competitive disadvantage compared with other EU countries, because VAT in the UK is applied at the standard rate of 20%, whereas nearly all other EU member states have implemented a reduced rate on visitor accommodation and, in many cases, on tourist attractions too. The letter called on the government to “work with the [hospitality and tourism] industry to determine how best to address this lack of competitiveness as we firmly believe an open review of the evidence will support the economy of Scotland and the whole of the UK”.

Comic Enterprises wins latest legal battle with 20th Century Fox over Glee trademark dispute: Comic Enterprises, which operates The Glee Club brand, has won its latest legal battle with the makers of hit US television show Glee. The company brought trademark infringement and passing-off proceedings against 20th Century Fox, the makers of Glee, in September 2011. In February last year, the High Court gave judgment, finding 20th Century Fox had infringed Comic’s marks, but that its activities did not amount to passing off. 20th Century Fox appealed the decision and, in February this year, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s findings on both trademark infringement and passing off. However, this left one final issue to be heard and decided, which Fox initially raised at the first instance trial and reserved to appeal. Now, the Court of Appeal has ruled trademarks registered as a series are compatible with EU law. Glee Club managing director Mark Tughan told The Business Desk: “This really is the David and Goliath of legal battles and at the time I thought this would never end. I am now looking forward to presenting our case for compensation. The fact this has lasted almost five years, in my view unnecessarily, has somewhat stiffened my resolve to obtain fair recompense for the suffering and sacrifice my staff and my business have suffered.” The Glee Club has sites in Birmingham, Cardiff, Nottingham and Oxford. Tughan registered the trademark almost a decade before the launch date of the Glee television series in 2009. 20th Century Fox said it would “seek consideration” from the Supreme Court.

McDonald’s shuts US headquarters amid protests over wages: McDonald’s shut its US headquarters a day before its annual meeting for the third year in a row after hundreds of protesters gathered to call for higher wages and union rights. The marchers were part of a larger US movement for higher pay that, along with an improved economy, has spurred pay rises at companies ranging from Wal-Mart Stores to McDonald’s own company-owned restaurants. McDonald’s restaurant employees and supporters are seeking a $15 (£10) an hour minimum wage and better benefits. The “Fight for $15” campaign, which is backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), has had a hand in convincing some lawmakers and big employers to boost minimum wages and improve working conditions. Last July, McDonald’s raised average hourly pay and began offering paid vacations and other benefits for the roughly 90,000 workers at its company-operated US restaurants. It said it couldn’t tell its franchisees how to pay their employees – almost 90% of McDonald’s 14,000 US restaurants are operated by franchisees. McDonald’s recently revived its business with a turnaround plan that included selling breakfast all day in the US. While executives and shareholders have reaped rewards via salary hikes and gains in the stock price, front-line workers said they had not shared in the wealth. SEIU president Mary Kay Henry said: “Corporations ought to invest in workers so they don’t need food stamps, subsidised housing and other benefits.”

Drinks brands need to change strategy when targeting early adopters – study: Drinks brands need to make fundamental strategy changes when targeting early adopters, according to a new study by audience insight agency Protein. Its Audience Report into the changing behaviours and attitudes of almost 5,000 early adopters from around the world found only 12% of respondents were swayed by packaging design when buying an alcoholic drink. Only 5% found celebrity endorsement an attractive attribute but more than three-quarters (76%) found brands going in unexpected directions appealing. More than three-quarters (77%) of respondents believed big brands had a moral obligation to improve the world. Protein founder and chief executive William Rowe said: “Marketers must have the courage to create daring, unpredictable and proactive campaigns. Global adopters are entering a new phase of their evolution. They’ve gone from making the best of a world that’s often against them, to being proactive in reshaping it into something more positive.”

Eataly expands into Denmark with Copenhagen opening: International Italian food emporium Eataly will open its first store in Denmark following a partnership with Danish co-operative grocery retailer Coop. Copenhagen Eataly will combine supermarket, restaurant and Italian culture at the 2,000 square metre site in the Illum department store. Eataly chief executive Luca Baffin said: “Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy traditional Italian food such as pasta, pizza, sausage, cheese, coffee and ice cream and we will offer the opportunity to choose from a large selection of wines, olive oils, cheeses, sauces, pasta and meat. In Italy, we have successfully worked with Coop Italia for more than ten years and, based on this experience, we have chosen Coop Denmark, which combines the pursuit of good products and respect for customers.” The new store will also offer Italian cooking classes. As well as 19 stores in Italy, Eataly has outlets in Munich, New York, Chicago, Istanbul, Tokyo, Yokohama, Dubai, Seoul and Sao Paulo, with more expansion planned.

Company News:

All Star Lanes reports turnover and Ebitda growth: All Star Lanes, led by Christian Rose, has reported turnover grew by 3.1% to £14.5m in the year to 27 December 2015. Adjusted Ebitda rose 24.6% to £1.1m. The company stated: “This rise in Ebitda is partially as a result of the full year of normalised trading for the Manchester venue, which opened in March 2013, together with significant improvements in the trading and operating profits in Stratford. Gross margin improved slightly to 80.2% (2014: 78.9%). This progress is the result of the continuing emphasis on improving operational efficiencies implemented during this period. The management team continues with specific focus on the revitalisation of the group’s food and drink offer.” Pre-tax profit was £110,000 compared with £266,946 the year before, when profit was boosted by £448,985 for an exceptional item.

Bath Ales reports sales grow 7% to £15.6m, beer revenue up 18%: Brewer and retailer Bath Ales has reported sales growth of 7% to £15.6m in 2015. Beer sales, led by its flagship Gem brand, were up 18% to more than five million pints. The company, which operates 11 pubs, invested more than £700,000 in the estate during the year, with The Wellington in Bristol having seen a 20% uplift in sales since a refurbishment. It has also continued to develop its craft beer and pizza brand Beerd, with further locations added in Bristol and Oxford. Performance is reported to be exceeding expectations in the current year across all areas of the business – brewing, packaging and the retail estate. The management team said it had simplified reporting lines, reduced the supplier base and focused on investment. Managing director Roger Jones said: “What we look to do is make quality beers, to ensure our customers’ experience of visiting one of our venues is the best it can be, and to look after our people. Reaching the milestone of our 20th anniversary last year naturally prompted some reflection on the great progress we have made and consideration around what we want to achieve in the future – and the really clear consensus was that keeping it simple and being focused on our core strengths is what works for us, our customers, and their customers. We are fortunate to have good people in place who are doing great work. Our beer sales, led by Gem our flagship ale, are up 18% to almost 30,000HL (more than five million pints). Plans are well advanced for the next stage of our development, including investment in increasing the capacity of our packaging and kegging operation – another of our strengths as a business. In what remains a crowded and highly competitive market, we know what we are good at and we know to play to our strengths – which is why I believe Bath Ales is in good shape, focused on the further progress we can make.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen to add shipping container for pizza service at Sutton Coldfield site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, led by Simon Bunn and Kris Gumbrell, has been given the green light to install a modified shipping container to serve pizza at its Sutton Coldfield site. The Brewhouse & Kitchen in Birmingham Road, formerly known as The Cup pub and Cambaz Bar & Grill, submitted an application to redevelop half of its car park earlier this year. Under the plans, a landscaped seating area will be created around a central fire pit along with a decked seating area. The shipping container, which will be modified to comprise a pizza oven, will also be installed to serve food. The proposals were approved by Birmingham City Council planning officers, who labelled the scheme “well thought out” and of “high quality”. The Sutton Coldfield venue was acquired by the group last year and is its only branch in the Midlands.

Multi-site operator opens Japanese restaurant Oishii in Hertford: Hertfordshire-based restaurateur Elle Thi has opened her third site in the county – Japanese restaurant Oishii in Hertford. Thi also operates Hertford takeaway Elle’s Thai Kitchen and Stanstead Abbotts restaurant Khunnai Thai Cuisine. Thi said she spotted a gap in the local market and brought in an experienced Japanese kitchen team to ease the transition. She told the Hertfordshire Mercury: “I’ve been doing Thai for a very long time and I want to do something else. Japanese is different to Thai because you cook with less oil, so it is fresher. My chef has 35 years’ experience so you know when you come here you are getting the real thing. We want to bring something different and healthy.” The venue has taken the place of grill joint Smoky Mojo, which will continue to run a takeaway service next door.

Malhotra Group to open American diner and bowling alley concept in Jesmond: Newcastle-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Malhotra Group is set to open The Den in Jesmond, which will serve American diner-style food alongside a three-lane, ten-pin bowling alley. The new venue, next door to Malhotra’s Osbornes bar in Osborne Road, will offer sliders, shakes and sharing platters alongside bar games such as giant Jenga and Connect 4, pool and table football. The open-plan restaurant will seat 95 diners inside and 48 outside in a “pop-up” cafe serving milkshakes and hot and cold drinks. Malhotra Group director of operations Atul Malhotra told Chronicle Live: “We have listened to our customers at Osbornes and the New Northumbria Hotel and feel there is a market for this sort of active dining experience.” The Den will accept the group’s Maloyalty card, which launches on Wednesday, 1 June, allowing customers to exchange points for food and drink at participating venues. Subject to licensing approval, work will begin at The Den in June, with completion scheduled for the end of September. The move is part of a £10m investment by Malhotra Group, including a £1.4m revamp of Newcastle bar Balmbras, while The Market Lane pub in the city will get new dining areas and a continental-style cafe. Malhotra Group also operates The Duke in Newcastle, Scalini Italian restaurants in Jesmond and Gosforth, The Runhead in Gateshead, and The Sandpiper in Cullercoats.

Wear Inns acquires Leeds pub: Wear Inns has bought a pub in Leeds through agent Fleurets. The Whistlestop is in the suburban centre of Beeston, about two miles south west of the city centre and within walking distance of Leeds United’s Elland Road football stadium. It adds to Wear Inns’ collection of 26 pubs, all in the north east and Yorkshire. John Weir, managing director of Wear Inns, said: “We are delighted to own this pub which is very much part of the local community. We are planning to spend more than £150,000 installing a new kitchen to allow us to serve a wider range of food, as well as refurbishing the pub’s interior and making a feature of the outside patio area. Being so close to Elland Road and popular with Leeds fans, we will be concentrating heavily on sport, with extra televisions and viewing facilities. Our mantra is to provide great value, all day, every day and we look forward to welcoming regular and new customers to the Whistlestop.” Simon Hall, of Fleurets, said: “I have no doubt the high standards of operation Wear Inns has will be a real benefit to this already busy local.” Wear Inns recently made the Investec Mid Market 100 list, which ranks the fastest growing companies in the UK with a turnover of more than £13.5m, for the second time. Wear Inns, which has its headquarters in the old offices of the Castle Eden Brewery in County Durham, is the biggest independent freehold managed operator in the region in terms of volume of beer sold. Since Weir and the company’s chairman John Sands formed Wear Inns in 2006, the workforce has grown from 105 to 265.

Greenwich Inc founder Frank Dowling more than £65,000 behind on payments, liquidators’ report reveals: The liquidators of Greenwich Inc, the operator that ran three sites at 02 and Madisons as part of its estate, has revealed founder Frank Dowling has fallen behind on his payments. In its progress report for the year ending 17 March 2016, the liquidator said Dowling was more than £65,000 behind on the payments in respect of antiques owned by its sister companies. The liquidators warned that while they were prepared to continue with the terms of the agreement at this time, if the performance did not improve in the next period the decision would be revisited. The settlement terms were previously agreed after the company went into administration in November 2013. This included a sum of £850,000 to be paid over five years in equal monthly instalments. A further £454,000 was also to be paid over five years in respect of antiques owned by Greenwich Inc’s sister companies. Charges have been placed on Dowling’s home and other properties as security over the £850,000. Antiques to the value of £454,000 have also been pledged by Dowling to the joint liquidators of Greenwich Holdings as security for the antiques sum. The report, which was filed with Companies House, said: “I previously advised creditors a settlement had been agreed with the director in respect of the antiques and paintings shown as being held by the company in its audited accounts whereby the company’s director, Mr Dowling, will make payments totalling £342,387.60. In the period of this report I have received a total of £20,327.80 from Mr Dowling, taking the total received from Mr Dowling to £56,261.14. Mr Dowling failed to make all the payments required under the agreement. This has resulted in outstanding instalments totalling £48,716.40 as at the date of this report. In addition to the outstanding sum of £48,716.40, interest of £963.62 and agent storage costs of £15,848.41 are also owed by Mr Dowling pursuant to the settlement agreement. The total owed at the date of this report is therefore £65,528.43. I am currently holding pledged items valued at a greater amount than the total amount still outstanding from Mr Dowling under the agreement. As such I have not enforced the terms of the agreement at this time as continuing with the terms of the agreement will save creditors the costs of realisations, especially as the storage costs of the pledged items are to be met by Mr Dowling as well. However, if the performance of Mr Dowling does not improve in the next period, I will revisit this decision.”

Steakhouse restaurant Firepit to open second venue – at Steven Gerrard’s fomer site in Southport, plans north west chain: Lancashire-based steakhouse restaurant The Firepit is to start expansion by opening its second venue – on the site of ex-Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard’s former outlet in Southport. The Firepit will launch next month in West Street in the building previously occupied by The Warehouse, which Gerrard closed in April last year. The Firepit, which will open on Friday, 17 June, will feature a restaurant downstairs with further seating and a newly built cocktail bar on the first floor. It will specialise in stone-cooked steaks and also serve a selection of homemade burgers, ribs, and an extensive range of vegetarian dishes. Its owners already run a restaurant of the same name in Rossendale and the Southport site marks the start of plans to develop into a chain across the north west. Manager Antonio Cardeira told the Southport Visiter: “The company is growing and we’re looking to open a few more units around the north west. We have chosen Southport as it’s an attractive area, then we will to look to open more.”

Red Hot World Buffet in Liverpool faces July court hearing: Red Hot World Buffet in Liverpool has had its court hearing over alleged food hygiene breaches postponed until July. The venue was due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to seven breaches of food hygiene at its Liverpool One restaurant, specifically that mice were allowed to scurry around the kitchens in both January and September last year. The venue was subsequently hit with five new health and safety charges, which date from March 18 and again relate to mice infestation and breaches of food hygiene. However, lawyers for Red Hot World Buffet argued they had not had enough time to consider their defence to the latest charges. The case has now been adjourned until July 14 at Liverpool magistrates’ court, when pleas will be entered. The five new charges include mouse droppings found in the ground-floor kitchen and bar; gaps in the structure allowing mice to enter the premises; dirty ground-floor equipment and surfaces; mice “active” in food preparation areas causing risk of contamination; and expired ham and chicken slices found in the restaurant’s freezer.

Wok Wow opens noodle restaurant in Salisbury city centre, third Dorset site: Dorset-based noodle restaurant company Wok Wow has opened its third site in the county, this time in Salisbury city centre. Owner Rasta Khalid is looking to build on the success of the company’s venues in Belford and Bournemouth, which all offer “fresh and simple food”. He said he launched the Wok Wow noodle bar in Castle Street, Salisbury, “by popular demand with customers clamoring for a branch in the city”. He told the Salisbury Journal: “We knew we would be okay with Salisbury because we have had people asking for it on Just Eat. My restaurant in Bournemouth is one of the most popular in the town. It is very simple food and every day it is fresh.” The new noodle bar also offers a takeaway menu and delivers to surrounding areas. Khalid also hopes to tap into the late-night economy, with the restaurant open until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Meatcure set to open fifth site, in Hinckley: Gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure is set to open its fifth site, this time in Hinckley, Leicestershire. The company, which is run by Rob Martyniak, Sam Rooker-Roberts and Paul Rigby, is heading to the £60m retail and leisure development The Crescent this autumn. Martyniak told the Hinckley Times: “We had been looking at Hinckley for some time and felt it would be a success story. We looked at costs and I think we fell in love with what Hinckley will be. For us it’s about being fiercely independent and individual. Our ambition was always to build and create restaurants that we would like to eat in ourselves with food we would want to eat – everything we do is “us” in our unique style. It took us four-and-a-half months to perfect our brioche bun.” Meatcure opened its first site in Market Harborough in 2014 and has restaurants in Leicester and Leamington, with its fourth outlet in Bedford due to open next month. The company is also set to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs in June as it plans to open five further venues in the next two years.

Whitbread opens first Premier Inn in Thailand: Whitbread has opened its first Premier Inn in Thailand. The 164-bedroom hotel is at the seaside resort of Pattaya, a ten-minute walk from the beach. Aly Shariff, Premier Inn International chief branding officer, said: “It’s great news we’re extending the Premier Inn brand to south east Asia, which is an exciting and growing market. We’re confident that what we offer – quality accommodation at affordable prices, supported by our unique Good Night Guarantee – will be a big hit with customers.” Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants International managing director Ratnesh Verma told Pattaya One: “We’re confident our new hotel will set a definitive benchmark in our hospitality sector for Pattaya, becoming the preferred choice for value-conscious travellers.” Whitbread hired Verma, who worked for Hyatt Hotels for 25 years, in March. At the time, Simon French, a leisure analyst with stockbroker Cenkos Securities, said: “We have long been disappointed by the slow progress Premier Inn has made internationally and we think this appointment will provide fresh impetus into a flagging strategy. We think the stock market attributes little if any value to the group’s international hotel operations, which have been loss-making for around ten years, so see significant upside if Mr Verma can implement faster growth in India and Asia Pacific.”

Deltic Group celebrates exceptional employees at awards ceremony: Nightclub operator Deltic Group celebrated its brightest stars during the company’s annual awards ceremony on Wednesday (25 May). Hosted by chief executive Peter Marks following the company’s annual conference at Crowne Plaza Hotel in Heythrop Park, near Oxford, the outstanding performance and service of staff was recognised across 21 categories. Notable winners included Mike Gillman, general manager of Cameo, who won Overall General Manager of the Year; Jessica Clarke, from PRYZM Bristol, who won Overall Deputy Manager of the Year; and Charlotte Hodkin, of PRYZM Bristol, who scooped Overall Sales Manager of the Year. The Graham Peel Award, in memory of a former employee and recognising those who display outstanding energy, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial flair, was awarded to Colin Goodwin, general manager of Evoke, Chelmsford. Head of property James Doran was presented with the Special Contribution Award. Marks said: “This is one of the most important parts and, indeed, my favourite part of leading the business – being able to celebrate the hard work of our talented people.” Deltic Group operates 58 clubs and bars across the UK.

Sticky Walnut owner secures third site in Didsbury following crowdfunding campaign: The owner of Chester restaurant Sticky Walnut and sister site Burnt Truffle in Heswall has secured his third site following a successful crowdfunding campaign. Gary Usher is opening bistro Hispi in the Manchester suburb of Didsbury having raised £50,000 earlier this year on Kickstarter for the venture. Usher had been planning to open the venue in the neighbouring suburb of Chorlton but the proposed site fell through and he failed to find any others in the area. He said an offer had been accepted on a site in Didsbury Village and it could be ready to open by August. He told the Manchester Evening News: “We actually put an offer in for a pub in Didsbury when we were looking for Burnt Truffle. I always wanted the third site to be in south Manchester. The Chorlton site came to us so that’s what we crowdfunded for. Then the site fell through and we were gutted. We looked everywhere for a replacement – even places that weren’t for sale. But we’re just so happy to be in south Manchester and Didsbury. I don’t want people to think Didsbury is a second choice – it’s not at all. We’d have been delighted with either location.”

Gourmet Burger Kitchen to open Worcester site on Monday: Gourmet Burger Kitchen will open at the CrownGate shopping centre in Worcester on Monday (30 May). The company is opening the site in the food court next to Carluccio’s, creating 30 jobs. The restaurant will feature leather booths and banquettes, as well as an open plan kitchen. As homage to Worcestershire Sauce and exclusive to the city, the restaurant’s limited-edition Bloody Mary Burger will be made up of six-ounce cajun dusted beef patty, bloody mary ketchup, American cheese, jalapenos, baconnaise and crispy onions. Marketing manager Laura Pettingale told the Worcester News: “We wanted to create something special with Worcester’s most famous export to mark Gourmet Burger Kitchen opening in the city.” Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which was founded in 2001, has more than 70 restaurants in the UK.

New Peruvian restaurant concept Butifarra to open in Soho in July: A new Peruvian restaurant concept will open in Soho, London, in July. Entrepreneur Ali Malik and consultant chef Niall Davidson (Chiltern Firehouse, The Lockhart) will launch Butifarra in Rupert Street. Named after the Peruvian street snack (a bread roll with slow-cooked meat and salsa), it will serve authentic sandwiches and ceviche alongside “cevushi”, a ceviche-sushi hybrid, from 8am to 7pm daily. Sides will include a vegan taku taku rice dish and Peruvian alfajor cookies. Drinks such as own-brand coffee and freshly made juices will sit alongside more unusual offerings such as the chichi morada (a purple fruit juice made with corn). Drawing on Peruvian supplier Andes Export’s expertise of the culinary traditions of its homeland, plus Davidson’s own travels to Peru and across South America, Butifarra’s menu will offer eat-in, takeaway and delivery options. It will not take reservations. The restaurant will feature giant murals and a long glass counter with the daily fish special featuring in the window displays. A branded product line of authentic Peruvian sauces created in conjunction with Andes Exports will also be on sale. 

Shrewsbury-based restaurant owners buy north Shropshire country pub: Shrewsbury-based restaurant owners Clare and Graham Jenkins have acquired a north Shropshire country pub. The Jenkins, who own the Henry Tudor House restaurant, have bought the New Inn in Baschurch from Gerry and Ann Bean, who are retiring. The New Inn features a restaurant with seating for up to 50, a bar and large garden and employs 15 staff. Claire Jenkins told Shropshire Live: “This is a very exciting move for Graham and I. We are looking forward to getting to know our new staff and customers, although having lived in north Shropshire for more than 15 years, we were regular customers at the New Inn and this is one of the reasons we jumped at the chance of buying it. The New Inn has a great team and we look forward to working with them as we build on the pub’s good name, carrying out some refurbishment work and enhancing the offer even further.” The Jenkins bought Henry Tudor House four years ago, investing in a complete restoration to convert it into a bar and restaurant as well as a music and comedy venue.

Bone Daddies to launch Old Street venue on 20 June, fourth London site: Japanese ramen bar concept Bone Daddies will open its fourth London site – within The Bower development in Old Street – on Monday, 20 June. Bone Daddies Old Street will be the first east London restaurant for the brand, with a selection of dishes created exclusively for the site, including bowls of crispy duck aburamen with roasted sweetcorn and pickled padron peppers. A selection of kushikatsu served with assorted sauces will also be a first for Bone Daddies, while the signature Yuzu Margarita will be among a list of new and favourite cocktails, alongside beers, cider, sake and wine. The 65-cover restaurant will incorporate a bar counter, operate a no reservations policy and feature the rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack played in all Bone Daddies ramen bars. The other Bone Daddies sites are in Soho, Kensington and Bermondsey, while chef proprietor Ross Shonhan also operates Asian fusion restaurant Shackfuyu in Soho and Japanese pub concept Flesh & Buns in Covent Garden.

Salt Yard Group to launch Venice-inspired restaurant in St James’s Market development: London restaurant company Salt Yard Group is set to open a restaurant in the St James’s Market development in central London. The 110-cover restaurant – Veneta – will be the group’s first venue to offer all-day dining, with the menu overseen by chef director Ben Tish and executed by Jamie Thickett, former head chef of the group’s Opera Tavern. Offerings will be inspired by classic Venetian dishes and showcase produce from the region, including a wine list focusing on northern Italy. A raw bar will offer a selection of seasonal British and Venetian seafood, while artisan charcuterie and cheeses from the Veneto region will be served from a hand-made trolley. The venue will combine bar-counter seating, banquette booths and intimate tables. Reached via a handcrafted staircase, it will also feature a mezzanine seating level, available for hire, and an extensive terrace. Salt Yard Group, co-founded by Simon Mullins, also operates London venues Salt Yard in Camden, Dehesa in Carnaby, and Ember Yard in Westminster.

Nando’s looks set for Inverness site: Nando’s looks set to open a site in Inverness in the near future after advertising for two managers in the city. It is thought the company will open a restaurant at Inverness Shopping Park in Eastfield Way. Planning permission was granted in January to change a former Comet store into three restaurants, The Inverness Courier reports. The shopping park is undergoing a £13m upgrade, including more pedestrian-friendly areas. Nando’s has advertised for a general manager and assistant manager for a “new restaurant in Inverness”, but would not confirm the location of the site or when it might open. Meanwhile, work has begun to transform a former Marks & Spencer’s food hall in Sevenoaks, Kent, into a Nando’s restaurant. Hoardings have been erected outside the Bligh’s Meadow building before it is split into two units. Nando’s will take up the lion’s share of the building, including the first floor. The restaurant is due to open in late-summer. Nando’s operates more than 350 restaurants across the UK and Ireland, including 22 in Scotland.

Compass Group opens Subway store in Hampshire hospital, ninth franchised site: Compass Group has opened its ninth franchised Subway store in one of its managed hospitals and universities, this time in University Hospital Southampton. Compass Group’s eight other franchised Subway sites include stores in Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, Middlesex University, and the University of Derby. Compass Group managing director of healthcare Steve Cenci said: “We are delighted to bring a Subway store to University Hospital Southampton as part of our commitment to bring leading facilities to patients, staff and visitors at the hospital. Our feedback has shown people welcome the familiarity of brands in a healthcare setting. Having a partner that is signed up to the UK government’s Public Health Responsibility Deal and is delivering on the eight nutrition-related pledges ensures we are able to bring healthy choices to our customers.” Subway is the world’s largest submarine sandwich franchise, with more than 44,000 stores worldwide, including over 2,300 in the UK and Ireland.

Couple behind award-winning Falmouth fish and chip restaurant open second site in Penzance: The couple behind the award-winning Harbour Lights fish and chip restaurant in Falmouth, Cornwall, have opened a second site in Penzance. Sue and Pete Fraser have returned to their home town and invested £150,000 converting the former Coffee Pot restaurant on the promenade into Frasers. They plan to expand the menu over time and also offer gluten-free options. Pete Fraser told The Cornishman: “There has been a few sleepless nights, it is so important we get this one right. The difference with Harbour Lights is that this time it’s our family name above the door and we’re back where we grew up. We want to make this a place to be proud of.” The Frasers opened Harbour Lights 16 years ago and it remains one of a handful of restaurants in Cornwall to have achieved the top three-star status from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Just over two weeks to go until Professor Chris Edger’s Brands Masterclass: There just over two weeks to go until Professor Chris Edger’s new Brands Masterclass, which examines how to create and evolve powerful brands. The event takes place on Friday, 10 June in the Chartered Accounts Hall at One Moorgate Place in London. Companies signed up to attend include Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King, Marston’s, The Restaurant Group, Loungers, Intertain, Rank, Cabana, Coaching Inn Group, Cambscuisine, Drake & Morgan, Tesco Hospitality, Aubaine, Giraffe, My Lahore, Elliotts, Excelerate Resources, TLC Inns, Twisted Bars, SA Brain, Castle Rock Brewery, Rank, Oakman Inns, Gaucho, Dishoom, Buzzworks, Jackson & Rye, Square Pie, Wright Brothers, Maxwells, Gather and Gather and Pure. The all-day masterclass will showcase the advice of contemporary brand experts, who will address each aspect of a foodservice brand’s marketing mix. Each expert will deal with a specific dimension of brand longevity and success, making this programme an absolute must for UK foodservice brand leaders in 2016. The day will be split into three sessions to help delegates ensure their brands are evolved effectively to ensure long-term sustainability and success. Session one will cover leadership, proposition and product and will see Edger drawing on material from his newly-published book, co-written with Tony Hughes, senior independent director of The Restaurant Group, examining the leadership lifecycles of sustainable food brands. The session also features leading brands consultant Ian Dunstall on how to effectively differentiate a brand and its proposition while Chris Gerard, founder of gastro-pub business Innventure, will explain how to create and evolve a compelling food and beverage offer. Session two will cover environment, estate and employer branding with Janfranco Caro, creative director, and Sarah Mannerings, head of interior design, of leading restaurant and brand design agency Mystery, looking at site design and creating a brand identity, while insights firm CACI will explore how operators create a high-quality estate. Former Orchid Group chief executive Rufus Hall will talk about creating a people-centric culture and the benefits of having an outstanding team ethos. The final session will look at execution and marketing with Dr Clinton Bantock, associate professor of the Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership, sharing how to achieve operational excellence while James Hacon, group strategy director at Thai Leisure Group, will look at examples of memorable marketing campaigns and the importance of rewarding loyal customers. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-members. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

 
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