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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 25th Oct 2012 - Brewdog, Bath Ales and Cabana

Story of the day:   

Punch to step up investment in core pubs to £40m: Punch Taverns is to invest £40m in 400 of its core pubs in the coming year, increasing the average investment to £100,000 each. The company said that there will be a focus on investment to grow food sales. The company want to increase food sales for an estimated 24 per cent of total sales to 35 per cent within five years – currently 60 per cent of its pubs take £1,000 or less per week on food.  The company reported 4,400 new applicants applying to take on a Punch pub, a 25 per cent increase on the prior year. In addition, its new Punch franchise tenancy had seen a 120 per cent increase in volumes at the first three sites, with annual beer volumes jumping from around 150 to circa 330 – it is to target 75 new franchise agreements in 2013. The company now has 200 Punch Buying Club leases in place that reward licensees who out-perform their Fair Maintainable Trade targets. Punch reported an increase in the number of multi-site retailers in the estate. Chief executive Roger Whiteside told Morning Briefing: “The feedback from multi-site retailers is that they like our flexible leases and the lack of rent reviews and flexibility on the tie. Multi-site operators want an input from the outset when we co-invest and we’re happy to work with them to met their expectations.” Typical is Nextep Inns, the pub company set up by brothers John and Peter Knowles, which has just added a second Punch Taverns site, The Bayley Arms in Hurst Green, Clitheroe to its estate. The company took over the pub two weeks ago and will trade it until the New Year when there will be a £200,000 joint investment between Punch and Nextep, with Punch planning to spend circa £140,000. The pub is expected to re-open in mid-February 2013. “It’s a food destination pub deep in the Ribble Valley, “ said Peter Knowles. The addition of the pub comes after the company was launched at a Punch pub – the Feilden’s Arms in Mellor Brook, Blackburn, which saw a £286,000 joint investment. The company, which wants to grow to six venues, has also re-opened The Red Lion in Wybunbury, near Nantwich, a Daniel Thwaites pub, after a £250,000 investment and taken on a second Thwaites pub, The Bay Horse, which is a quarter of a mile from its original site.  The brothers, who also run an accountancy business with a number of pub sector customers, want to hit the six pubs target within three years.

Free Report: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and CPL Training have teamed up to commission a free report on the key foodservice trends in Europe. The report, written by Propel Info managing director Paul Charity after a visit to the European Foodservice Summit in Zurich, looks at the companies and sectors that are out-performing in Europe and has insight and analysis from some of the world’s top operators.  To receive a free copy, e-mail Paul Charity on

Industry news:

ALMR National Restaurant Show Study Tour in Chicago opens for bookings: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has opened its study tour to the National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago in May 2013 for bookings. Next year’s visit takes place between Thursday 16 May and Monday 20 May. The ALMR launched its first study tour trip to the NRA show this year, with the trip led by Propel Morning Briefing managing director Paul Charity. The NRA draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, all seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions; involves a tour of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: “Our first trip in May this year was a tremendous success with our attendees reporting they had benefited enormously from the visit to the Show and the chance to study the key trends in the innovative US market.” Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To book a place e-mail Jo Charity on or call her (01444) 810304. Places are limited.
UK consumers to spend £650m on Halloween and Bonfire night: Total spend in the UK to celebrate Bonfire Night and Halloween is expected to be in excess of £650 million, according to a YouGov Sixth Sense report. While only 29 per cent of adults will actually participate in an activity to celebrate Bonfire Night, held on 5 November, those who do take part are expected to spend an estimated £386 million. For Halloween 2012, consumers in the UK will spend an estimated £268 million.
Panera Bread US’s favourite sandwich chain: Panera Bread has topped a of the list of the US’s favorite sandwich chains, according to a survey of 7,600 consumers by Market Force, a worldwide leader in customer intelligence solutions. Jason’s Deli and McAlister’s Deli were ranked second and third, followed by Firehouse Subs, Quiznos, Jimmy John’s, Arby’s and Subway.

BHA agrees PPL tariff on hotel bedroom television: The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has reached an agreement with PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd), representing the record companies, on a tariff for bedroom TVs, at £46.92 per 15 bedrooms or part thereof. The agreement follows decisions in the European Court in 2009 that hotels should pay fees for copyright material appearing on TVs in bedrooms.  The BHA then agreed with PRS (Performing Right Society), who collect fees for composers, to advise members to pay PRS at their tariff rate, currently £46.92 plus VAT per 15 bedrooms or part thereof. “The PPL fee, although not a welcome additional cost, is a good deal for the hotel industry as PPL has settled at the PRS rate and indeed, unlike PRS, is not charging extra where the bedrooms have CD or tape players,” says Martin Couchman, BHA’s deputy chief executive.

Company news:

Gastro Pubs secures second Middletons Steakhouse & Grill site as it eyes roll-out: Norfolk operator Gastro Pubs has secured a second site for its Middletons Steakhouse & Grill restaurant. It will open in Norwich city centre at the end of next month, having taken over the former Castlegates pub and Malaysian Delights restaurant in Timberhill. The company currently operates a restaurant and bar in Middleton, near King’s Lynn, which has operated from the former Crown Inn for the past six years. Gastro Pubs plans to roll-out its steakhouse and grill brand across further sites in the eastern region in the near future.

Third Cabana to open this weekend: Jamie Barber and David Ponté will launch their third Cabana restaurant at Westfield London this Saturday (27 October). Similar to its sister restaurants, the menu will offer Barber and Ponté’s take on the best of Brasil, including street food favourites such Pao de Queijo (cheese dough balls) and their popular colour-coded barbecue skewers. Terrace seating is a featuring of Cabana new 140-cover Westfield London venue, featuring long, winding banquettes handmade by Portuguese tilers, inspired by a design which Barber and Ponté had seen in an eccentric house in the Paraisopolis favela.

Hall & Woodhouse set to open £3m Portishead site next month: Dorset-based brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse is set to open its £3m Portishead Marina site next month. Part of the new building will be constructed from 28 shipping containers to reflect the restaurant’s dock-side location - it will act as a marina club house, operating 24/7 and providing services to boats and crews, including staff accommodation, lounge areas, toilets and showers. The company said: “We will be spending in excess of £3 million mixing modern construction methods with traditional materials and techniques, using classic, natural materials such as oak floorboards to create a pub that “wears in rather than wears out” - it just gets better with age!” The building has also been future-proofed through a clever design that enables a further three-storeys to be added above the restaurant should planning permission be granted for a hotel at the site. Colin Wood, head of construction for Hall & Woodhouse, said: “This project is an important contribution to our vision to operate the most highly-regarded, pub-restaurant estate in the UK. Developing such a landmark building is a clear demonstration of our ambition and we believe that the building will be a draw to our guests in its own right. It will create a wonderful environment within which to enjoy the hospitality for which Hall & Woodhouse is renowned. The containers will not only look striking, but are an inventive solution that allows us the opportunity to add further floors to grow the business in the future, with minimal disruption to the existing operation and our neighbours.”

Cocomaya opens third site: Cocomaya, the fine chocolatier and artisan baker, has launched its third site in a former antique jewellery shop on London’s Brompton Road. The venue offers breads and pastries and an extensive selection of cakes and teas, as well as sandwiches, salads and made-to-order crispbreads. The crispbreads, offered exclusively at the Brompton Road shop, are thin and crispy pizzettes made with fresh toppings such as Zucchini, pesto and spinach and Thyme-roasted pumpkin, goat’s cheese and red onion. Cocomaya sells a range of single-estate chocolates alongside more traditional chocolate items including a unique collection of chocolate bars.

Starbucks – 25 per cent of UK sites are loss-making: Starbucks has admitted a quarter of its 600 UK-owned stores are running at a loss. In an interview with the Financial Times, Troy Alstead, chief financial officer of the global coffee chain, said: “I look forward to the day when we pay a lot more tax … we have had a long history, unfortunately and in the early days, of aggressive expansion. We did a little bit of a land grab and we made a lot of mistakes.” Alstead justified the differing accounts of Starbucks’ profitability by pointing to differences in the US and UK accounting rules. Even using the US measure, which excludes royalty and interest payments, operating margins had been low and reached just six per cent in 2007, its most profitable year, he said. Chief executive Howard Shultz, in a letter to UK employees, reported that property costs in the UK account for 25 per cent of turnover compared to 12 per cent in Japan and nine per cent in the US.
The Restaurant Group and Tragus line up site in Huntingdon: The Restaurant Group and Tragus have lined up openings of Chiquito and Bella Italia at the Towerfields Leisure Park, Huntingdon, where Legal & General’s property trust has got planning permission. The restaurants have been pre-let on 15 year leases and are expected to open in just over a year’s time. The park already has a 10-screen cinema complex, LA Fitness, Frankie & Bennys, McDonalds, KFC
Fearnley-Whittingstall to add two more River Cottage sites: Celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is to add Bristol and Winchester sites to his two-strong River Cottage brand. Bristol’s new River Cottage Canteen and Deli will open early in 2013, occupying a 4,000 square foot site, formerly the church of St. John the Evangelist. A venue in Winchester will be housed in the three-floor Abbey Mill in the city centre, which was previously used as council offices. In addition to its flagship site at Axminster in Devon, River Cottage also opened a site in the Brewhouse at Plymouth’s Royal William Yard development.

Bath Ales to create 50 jobs with new opening: Bath Ales has reported it will create 50 new jobs with the opening of its biggest outlet to date next to Bath Spa Station. The new venue – Graze Bar, Brewery and Chophouse - occupies a 5,000 square foot site.  Plans for the outlet include a small micro-brewery and two alfresco dining areas, with staff accommodating up to 140 diners at any one time. Robin Couling, Bath Ales’ retail director, said: “It’s an exciting time for us and with Graze being genuinely different we are confident we are adding something that improves the excellent offer Bath makes to residents and visitors alike. For anyone looking to join the hospitality industry this is a great opportunity.  Graze will be a flagship venue, the largest pub investment we have ever made, and we are looking for an excellent team to be a vital part of its success.”

Brewdog launches Shoreditch with publicity coup: Scottish brewer and retailer Brewdog launched its Shoreditch site, the second in London, at the weekend. Previous launches have seen extra publicity generated with stunts such a tank driven down Camden high street and a “crap beer” amnesty. This time, Brewdog went one step further and projected a 70 foot tall image “Brewdog London” image on Marble Arch and the Battersea Power Station. The company also lampooned the famous image of a naked Gail Porter on the Houses of Parliament by projecting a picture of the naked Brewdog founders on the same building. The company said: “It was designed as a statement of our intent to take the craft beer revolution to the next level.” Of the new Shoreditch site, Brewdog stated: “Beer drinkers in East London can look forward to a library of beery masterpieces from all over the world, regular beer tastings classes, craft beer cocktails, board games, a full range of our beers on draft and some of the trademark BrewDog anarchy thrown in for good measure.” 

Inventive starts work on £1m Revolucion de Cuba in Derby: Inventive Leisure has begun work on a £1m scheme to transform the former Barracuda bar in The Strand, Derby into its fifth stand-alone Revolucion de Cuba, its rum focused second brand. Chief executive Roy Ellis has told Morning Briefing that turnover at Revolucion de Cuba sites is in line with its Revolution vodka bar brand. The opening is expected to take place on 23 November.

Marston’s wins Forfar go-ahead: Midlands-based Marston’s has won planning consent to open a pub restaurant on a A90 roadside position in Forfar. Angus development standards councillors have unanimously approved a proposal from Muir Construction for the creation of one if its first Scottish outlets at Orchardbank Business Park, close to the headquarters of Angus Council.

New artisan café opens today: A new artisan café brand Urban Tea Rooms opens in Kingly Street, Soho today.The cafe will be serving high quality teas, coffees, freshly made sandwiches, salads and cakes.

Thomas Bellis Leisure changes tack on Swansea nightclub: Thomas Bellis Leisure will open Club Rouge in Swansea this Friday, dubbed the city’s first “boutique nightclub”, after failing in attempts to run the former Jager bar on York Street as a venue offering nude dancing and strip shows under the name of Bellissima. The firm successfully applied for a sexual entertainment licence for the venue but the business could not open as such because a licensed sex entertainment venue was not permitted under the lease. This Friday the venue will re-open, promoted as a “VIP lounge and club” under the name Club Rouge offering four rooms themed in a Moulin Rouge style.

Antic’s collaborative bakery opens: Antic, the fast-expanding company headed by Antony Thomas, has helped open a new bakery called Graveney & Meadow on Mitcham Road in Tooting, occupying the former A Bar 2 Far site. It offers cakes and coffee in a cafe environment but with additional aspects such as alcohol availability. Antic, which operates the ‘Tooting Tram and Social’ and ‘The Antelope’, also located on Mitcham Road, described its involvement as a “collaborative endeavour”.

Plan for plaza of restaurants in Doncaster proposed: A plan to build a plaza at Doncaster Leisure Park to house restaurants, terrace cafes and a pub on a large swathe of derelict land will go before councillors next week. The area, called the Herten Triangle, has been an empty patch of wasteland for many years, occupying a site between the Asda supermarket and the Vue cinema.

Akkeron Hotels shows faith in town centre hotel market with £2m refurbishment: Akkeron Hotels has proven its belief in the future of town centre hotels with a £2m refurbishment of the Winchester Royal Hotel. Every room will be refurbished by the end of the project next March, including all function rooms, with .the upgrades also mean the hotel rises from 3* to 4*. Akkeron sales director Nick Greaves said: “We earmarked key properties which we thought would work in the local market but needed refurbishment and this was one.”

Cozy Pub Company plans to open spa and gymnasium at latest site; reports strong third quarter: Cozy Pub Company, the Essex operator set up by Peach Pub Company’s’ Lee Cash’s sister Leanne Langman, Paul Cutsforth and Timothy Doyle, will open an on-site gymnasium and spa at its latest opening, the 30-bedroom The Saracens Head, Great Dunmow, Essex at the end of this month. The company, which was founded in 2010, has seen nine per cent like-for-like sales growth so far this year and total sales growth of 47 per cent versus 2011. The Saracens Head Hotel has sales topping more than £30,000 a week. The venue was formerly a Merchant Inns outlet. Cozy is currently in negotiations on its fourth site, and plans to acquire a further nine over five years. Expansion is being financed through retained profits of the company and directors’ loans. To date, the company has not borrowed from any banks or financial institutions. “We are actively looking for pubs and hotels throughout the south east of England and are keen to talk to any operators with potential sites we can take on and successfully develop,” Cutsforth added.

Patty and Bun secures secure first permanent site: Burger entrepreneur Joe Grossman has secured his first bricks and mortar restaurant site for his roving pop up burger concept, ‘Patty and Bun’. The restaurateur has secured a 30-cover restaurant unit at 54 James Street, which forms part of St Christopher’s Place estate, from landlords F&C Commercial Property Holdings Ltd. Patty and Bun has already enjoyed success over the last six months at the Doodle Bar in Battersea and Endurance pub in Soho, and will now transform the 1,377 sq ft site, formerly home to Stockpot, with plans to open for business in November. Patty and Bun operates a ‘no reservations’ policy for its lunchtime and evening destination, and orders will be accepted for takeaway. Popular menu items including the ‘Ari Gold’ cheeseburger and ‘Jose Jose’ chilli burger have seen further development with the help of Mark Jankel (founder of the popular Street Kitchen street food concept). There will also be weekly specials. Joe Grossman, Patty and Bun, said: “The menu is focused on bringing the Best of British in line with simple and quality ingredients’ Grossman said. ‘We are working to adapt the space to create a vibing, individual neighbourhood joint in an area predominantly dominated by chains”. Tracey Mills, director of development leasing at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “This part of the West End is proving remarkably popular for up-market burger chains this year - Patty and Bun’s signing now completes the ‘golden triangle’ alongside MEATliquor and Tommi’s for burger buffs in the West End.”

New restaurant quarter planned for Redditch: Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has been instructed to help create a new restaurant quarter for the one million sq ft Kingfisher Centre in Redditch, West Midlands. Davis Coffer Lyons is seeking operators for four new restaurant units from 3,200 to 7,500 sq ft, available to let from 2013, located at main mall level below the 7-screen Apollo cinema. The Kingfisher Centre is currently undergoing plans for an exclusive refurbishment of its prime fashion mall and the introduction of a family dining area, following Capital & Regional’s acquisition of the Centre in May 2012. The retail and leisure investment company, with their partner, Oaktree Capital Management, bought the Mall from clients of Scottish Widow Investment Partnership.

Orchid closes Hammersmith site amid rumours of a supermarket sale: Orchid pub Company has closed The Hart in King Street, branded as a Bar and Pizza Kitchen, amid rumours it is to be redeveloped as a convenience store. Local traders in King Street said Sainsbury’s is rumoured to opening a store at the site of The Hart. Sainsbury’s admitted being ‘interested’  in moving to the area, but declined to comment on The Hart site. Residents of the flats above have been served notice to leave.

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