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Tue 8th Jan 2013 - Boston Tea Party, Papa John's and TGI Friday’s

Story of the day:

Papa John’s teams up with Welcome Break: Pizza delivery franchise Papa John’s has teamed up with Welcome Break to open eleven pizza outlets across the UK’s motorway network. Papa John’s is now serving up pizza to motorway travellers in Welcome Break services located in Abington Scotland, Gretna Green, Keele, Hopwood Park, Gordano, Leicester Forest East, South Mimms, Cobham, Oxford and Fleet. “Welcome Break has a footfall of around 80 million people a year,” said Dave Galvin, UK franchise sales manager, Papa John’s. “We are delighted that such a trusted brand has recognised the quality of Papa John’s pizza and selected the franchise to be rolled out within multiple outlets. We are keen to grow the number of Papa John’s stores throughout the UK and our deal with Welcome Break is part of this strategy. For our existing franchisees, the increased brand awareness Papa John’s will gain will also further support their businesses throughout the country.” Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie said: “We trialed Papa John’s earlier this year in Fleet and Oxford and were delighted with the results. Since mid-October we have opened two stores a week and plan to open further outlets in the New Year.” Papa John’s is now the world’s third largest pizza chain. The company has around 4,000 stores across 33 countries. Papa John’s currently has 208 stores in the UK and more than 100 new stores are expected to be opened by Papa John’s over the next few years, creating a substantial number of jobs. Papa John’s, is looking for potential franchisees throughout the UK including the key locations of Yorkshire, Manchester, West Midlands, East Midlands, South West, North East, Wales & Scotland. The company narrowed its losses in the UK to slightly less than £1m last year on sales of £23m.

Propel Multi-Club conference: The first Propel Multi-Club conference takes place at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA on Tuesday 19 March and multi-site companies can book two free places each on a first come, first serve basis. The speaker list will be unveiled later this month. E-mail jo.charity@propelinfo.com to book places.

Propel Quarterly magazine available online: The winter 2012 edition of Propel Quarterly magazine is now available to view online at http://content.yudu.com/Library/A204bg/PropelQuarterlyWinte/

Industry news:

Horizons – 2013 offers grounds for optimism: Foodservice insights consultancy Horizons has forecast that 2013 will see consumer confidence return. Managing director Peter Backman said: “The overall position has been characterised by slow decline of the sector over the last few years – but we suspect that this has been a result of a certain amount of culling of inadequate operators. Some sort of bottom has now been reached or will be in early 2013. At some point during 2013 we expect consumer confidence to start returning and spend on eating out will start to rise again.” Backman said the year ahead would be characterised by the continued need for operators, and suppliers, to attract consumers with innovation in terms of food offers and new service styles, which might include a return to all-you-can-eat buffet styles of service. Discounting will continue, said Backman, but operators will be careful about how they target these offers and ensure the marketing behind them serves to build a stronger relationship with customers as well as maintaining their interest with special offers. “We are unlikely to see operators abandoning discounts and money-off deals this year as consumer confidence needs to be more robust to sustain an effective price rise,” he said.

Lynx purchasing launches free Gross Profit calculator app: Operators and chefs can now hit their target GP and instantly work out menu prices with the new free GP Calculator App from buying specialists Lynx Purchasing. The innovative App is available to download for the Apple iPhone and iPad, as well as for Android phones and tablets. The App calculates menu prices for chefs in two ways. By keying in the cost of ingredients and the target percentage Gross Profit (GP), chefs can quickly find the correct price to charge on the menu. The App can also ‘reverse engineer’ a dish by working out the GP when the chef keys in the menu price and food costs. John Pinder, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, said: “Achieving the right GP is fundamental to the success of any catering business. Many chefs are now also expected to be kitchen managers and purchasing experts, but a passion for food doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with the ability to do rapid calculations in a busy kitchen. With high food inflation forecast for the coming year and the cost of many menu staples fluctuating from week to week, it’s very easy for the target GP to slip on both core dishes and specials. Once margins come under pressure, a business can find itself in trouble very quickly.”

Craft Beer Rising event gets Mail on Sunday mention: The Mail on Sunday has listed the forthcoming Craft Beer Rising beer festival event as one of “100 reasons to get very excited about 2013”. The newspaper stated: “Small-batch brewers are on the rise. Expect more bottles on supermarket shelves from oddly named breweries such as Essex’s Elephant School, Hertfordshire’s Red Squirrel and Cornwall’s The Rebel Brewery Co. They even have their own festival now: Craft Beer Rising. www.craftbeerrising.co.uk”
 
Senior Tory claims minimum pricing could push young people towards drugs: The introduction of a minimum price on alcohol could push young people towards using dangerous drugs, a senior Tory has warned. Graham Brady, chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee, said attempts to stop youngsters “pre-loading” on cheap drinks before a night out could “push” them into seeking illegal highs. He said: “I think this is simply wrong in principle. We should be treating people as grown-ups, providing them with information and letting them make decisions about their own lives. There is no evidence whatsoever that MUP would stop young people from ‘pre-loading’ by drinking cheaper drinks before going out to (nightclubs) and there is a real danger that increased prices might push more people to illegal drugs which are often cheaper already.”
 
Brooklyn Brewery to open a brewery and restaurant in Stockholm: Highly rated Brooklyn Brewery , established 25 years ago, will open a brewpub in downtown Stockholm by the end of 2013. The new brewpub will look out over the Swedish capital’s harbour and have room for 250 visitors indoors and outdoors. The company wrote on its website: “Swedish brewers will train in Brooklyn and learn our deepest, darkest secrets. Sweden is our largest export market and second biggest market overall.” After training in Williamsburg, the Swedish brewers will start by crafting new Brooklyn Brewery beers that will only be available in the Stockholm brewpub.

Restaurateur Worrall Thompson to appear at Hospitality Show: Restaurateur Antony Worrall Thompson is set to appear at Hospitality Show 2013 for a candid interview on the pleasures and pitfalls of the hospitality industry. The interview will take place in front of a live audience on Monday 21st January at 2pm on the Design Inspiration Stage where the chef will talk openly about the highs and lows of running restaurants, and “facing the future with optimism”. Visitors to the Hospitality Show 2013 can register now for their free ticket saving the £20 entry fee at www.hospitalityshow.co.uk

Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza usher in New Year in US with aggressive value offers: Wendy’s and Domino’s Pizza have ushered in the New Year by launching aggressive value offers. Wendy’s has revamped its former value menu with Right Price Right Size, which groups 18 items sold between pricepoints of 99 cents and $1.99. Until 13 January, Domino’s is offering $5 in “Domino’s Dollars” off a later online order to customers who use the chain’s online- or mobile-ordering platforms to get its offer of two medium, two-topping pizzas for $5.99 each.

Company news:

Jamie Rollo – this could be the year for the tenanted pub sector to outperform: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has argued that this could be the year that the tenanted pub sector outperforms with “their like-for-likes starting to stabilise and balance sheets becoming fixed”. He added: “Branded managed pubs are likely to see resilient sales (in 2013), with food likely to outperform drink this year due to the absence of special events. However, cost inflation remains a problem, return on capital is low and managed pub valuations appear close to fair value.” Rollo’s “most preferred” share is Enterprise Inns while its “least preferred” is Spirit. On Enterprise, he said: “We think Enterprise is becoming more ‘investable” as like-for-likes start to stabilise, debts ratios start to improve and the valuation start to normalise. The shares look too cheap to us. With two-thirds of pubs on RPI-linked leases, it is possible that like-for-likes could return to two to three per cent growth, which is an annual seven to ten per cent Earnings Per Share growth, and could allow a dividend to be resumed.” Rollo argued that “a successful debt restructuring” at Punch should help Enterprise shares alongside Cerberus’ recent acquisition of Admiral Taverns. Rollo has a price target of 140p for Enterprise’s shares.

Domino’s reports five per cent like-for-like growth in last 14 weeks of 2012: Pizza delivery firm Domino’s has reported like-for-like sales growth of five per cent in the 14 weeks to 30 December 2012. System sales for the 53 weeks ended 30 December 2012 increased by 12.7 per cent to £598.6m. The company has had its first £2 million e-commerce day in the UK and Republic of Ireland markets. During the year, the group opened 69 stores (2011: 62) across all territories, making it a record year for store openings with a total of 805 now open. Chief executive Lance Batchelor said: “Yet again, Domino’s has delivered solid results in a tough trading environment. Our like-for-like sales growth in our core UK market has been good and we have opened a record number of stores across the group.”

Mitchells & Butlers appoints Morrison’s staffer: Mitchells & Butlers has hired Morrisons company secretary and head of legal services Greg McMahon. Morrisons has appointed Mark Amsden, a partner at law firm Addleshaw Goddard, as company secretary and general counsel to replace McMahon. McMahon’s departure is the sixth senior management change at Morrison over the past year, and could reignite questions about the stability of the top team under chief executive Dalton Philips.

Harden’s restaurant guide praises Flatiron: Flatiron, the former pop-up restaurant headed by Charlie Carroll that has opened a permanent site in Beak Street, Soho, has been praised by Harden’s. The guide’s blog noted: “For a tenner a time, we doubt you’ll find much better meat, certainly not in the West End. You can have a small but tasty steak, with a (modest) bowl of very good chips, a (very small) salad, a (tiny) pot of béarnaise and a 250ml carafe of wine, all for under £20. No wonder this tightly-packed communal-tables space was pretty full on our early-days lunchtime visit. Regular readers may know we’re rather bemused by the current rage for huge steakhouses serving enormous chunks of meat at prices to match. This amiable bistro – which, despite its name, conjures up something of the atmosphere of ‘Old Soho’ – seems to us to offer a great corrective.”

Spirit to convert Retford site into latest Fayre & Square: Managed operator Spirit is to re-open The Elms Hotel, on London Road, Retford, as its latest Fayre & Square on Friday 18th January. Graeme Cameron, joint general manager of the Elms Hotel with Sarah Allen, said: “We can’t wait to introduce the Fayre & Square brand to our community. The pub is ready for a little attention and this significant refurbishment will really improve the pub allowing us to deliver an incredible experience for our guests when they dine with us.”

Greene King loses Hungry Horse site to fire: Suffolk brewer and retailer Greene King has lost a Hungry Horse site in Yeovil, Somerset to a major fire over the weekend. A Hungry Horse spokesperson said: “Unfortunately the Bell suffered from a major fire in the early hours of Sunday morning. Thankfully no-one was on site and everyone is safe. The pub will not be open for the foreseeable future and we are working with the emergency services to establish the cause.” The loss of the site comes nine months after a fire at Greene King’s Ryde Castle Hotel site on the Isle of Wight, which was caused by a fireworks display on the roof.

Starbucks launches UK television campaign: Starbucks has begun a television advertising campaign to promote a cut-price latte deal on Mondays as it attempts to re-build brand equity in the wake of damaging tax allegations. The adverts highlight good things that have happened on Mondays, including a cut-price deal on tall lattes for £1.50 at Starbucks until 18 February. The promotion runs concurrently with the My Starbucks Rewards scheme, which will also offer additional benefits including 50p off breakfast items and a free iNewspaper on specific Mondays throughout the period. Starbucks states: “To start the year on a positive note, Starbucks wants to show customers that Mondays can be great.”

Squatters delay TGI Friday’s Brighton opening: Squatters have delayed plans by TGI Friday’s to open a restaurant in the former Post Office in Brighton’s Ship Street. The fire service asked developers for more details on safety procedures, but the company could not heed their calls because squatters are living in the Old Post Office site. Walsingham Planning’s Mark Thackeray, who is acting on behalf of TGI Friday’s, said: “We’re still working on it and TGI Friday’s is still very keen to open in Brighton.” The 250-seat restaurant would create 90 full-time and 60 part-time jobs.

Norcross set to start work on £4.5m Leigh boutique hotel: The Only Way is Essex star Mick Norcross will start work this month on a £4.5m project to turn the Grand Hotel in Leigh Essex into a boutique hotel and spa. Following a lengthy battle, Norcross has secured all of the planning permissions needed for the scheme. Norcross said: “We are still doing the paperwork but we hope to get kicked off certainly within the month. We are just finalising the last few bits and pieces.” Last month, he was given permission to add an extra storey to the extension, which will take the number of rooms to 20.

Antic Pub Company plans job centre pub: London-based pub company Antic has applied for an alcohol licence to open a pub in the former job centre on Deptford High Street. The company, according to its website, plans to call a spade a spade by naming it in honour of its former use – The Job Centre, Deptford.

Grand Hotel in Brighton to re-launch with new sustainable fish restaurant: The Grand Hotel in Brighton will open a new seafood restaurant, GB1, next month, as part of a multi-million pound overhaul of the hotel. All the fish served will be caught sustainably on the day in which it is served and within a seven-mile radius of the hotel. The Grand’s general manager Andrew Mosley said “We are extremely excited about the launch of GB1 which we know will be a fantastic addition to the hotel. We are also very proud to be supporting the local fishing industry - the Grand is a Brighton landmark and as such we make every effort to support local businesses. It helps that in this case, the local fish is some of the best around!” Patrons of the new restaurant will be able to select their fish and seafood from the menu or the catch of the day displayed at the ice bar.

Bristol coffee shop chain Boston Tea Party set to open first site in Birmingham: Bristol-based Boston Tea Party is set to open its first site in Birmingham - a former Yates’s Wine Lodge site in on the corner of Newton Street near the city’s Queen Elizabeth Law Courts. It’s taken a ten-year lease on a commencing rental of £37,500 per annum, in a deal arranged by Cushman & Wakefield. Cushman & Wakefield acted for the landlord, London-based La Salle Investment Management. Boston Tea Party Group is a family-owned business founded in 1996 and has four branches in Bristol and six elsewhere in the South West. It has one other Midlands outlet in Worcester.

Carluccio’s running two-for-one deal until 11 February: Italian brand Carluccio’s is running a two-for-one deal at its restaurants until 11 February. Customers who order two main courses and are being offered the second one free. The offer is limited to a maximum of groups of six.

Chinese restaurant sees export success: A Chinese restaurant in Manchester has secured its first export order after receiving help along the way from Gordon Ramsey, Dragons’ Den and UKTI. Sweet Mandarin, a restaurant in Manchester’s Northern Quarter district, secured a deal for its sauce range with Russian retailer Azbuka Vkusa after founding twins Lisa and Helen Tse were introduced to the UKTI’s scheme for novice exporters by business minister Michael Fallon.

Patron Capital sells two flagship Olympic Park hotels: Patron Capital has sold its two flagship hotels at Westfield Stratford City and the Olympic Park for £58m. The buyer has not been disclosed but is understood to be an Asian buyer said to hold other Asian hotel brands. The hotels, which are branded as a Holiday Inn and a Staybridge Suites hotel, have a total of 350 rooms across 186,000 sq ft. InterContinental Hotels Group will retain the franchise agreement for both properties and the hotels will continue to be managed by Cycas Hospitality. The sale price represents £165,000 a bedroom.

Former Irn Bru sales director buys Scottish hotel: Former Irn Bru sales director Andy Anderson and his business partner Stewart Robinson have bought The Fox and Hounds in Houston, Paisley off an asking price of £1m. Anderson, who has been a regular for 40 years, said: “The Fox and Hounds is a wonderful community pub and when I found out it was for sale I was very keen to do a deal.” The pub houses the Houston Brewing Company.

Christie + Co markets 65 Punch pubs: Agent Christie + Co has begun marketing 65 Punch Taverns pub, “many of which are either new instructions or have been reduced in price”. The agent reports: “Almost all of the pubs are available freehold, a few are long leasehold and most are available individually or in groups.”

Wolseley operator Rex Restaurant Associates reports losses as it geared up for expansion: Rex Restaurant Associates, which operates the Wolseley on Piccadilly and The Delaunay on Aldwych and is led by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, has reported turnover grew by 21 per cent to £13,913,750 in the year to 31 March 2012 – a month before Graphite Capital made a £21m investment in the business. The company made a profit of £2,992,129 before tax in 2011 but posted a loss of £3,763,689 in the most recent year as it incurred opening costs at The Delaunay, refinanced and geared up for expansion. Turnover at The Wolseley rose 0.3 per cent to £11,544,602 in the year while The Delaunay Restaurant and Counter achieved turnover of £2,369,149 in its first four months of trading. Of the Wolseley, the company stated: “The growth was encouraging given the prevailing difficult economic conditions experienced throughout the UK in the year. The continuing popularity of the Wolseley as a destination restaurant ensured that it retained a resilience to overall market conditions despite underlying reductions in business and consumer discretionary spending levels.” In relation to the Delaunay, the company stated: “The restaurant has received very high critical acclaim and sales have continued to grow since the end of the financial year.” Group operating losses were £767,317, reflecting early months’ trading at the Delaunay and investment in head office infrastructure to support a significant increase in activity at the group – it has opened Brasserie Zedel, off Piccadilly Circus, and Colbert, in Sloane Square, since the end of the year. The losses were added to by exceptional costs of £2,833,039 in relation to pre-opening cost of the Delaunay and refinancing costs. Rex Associates plans to open a five star boutique hotel, The Beaumont, on Balderton Street, in Mayfair in early 2014. Pre-opening costs were £841,034 and re-financing costs were £1,992,005.

Jamies wine bar operator Kornicis reports strong growth pipeline and Ebitda up 17 per cent: City of London-based operator of Jamies, Smollensky’s and Henry J Bean’s, Kornicis, headed by Nick Tamblyn, has reported a pre-tax profit of £841,647 in the year to 29 September 2012 - the company made a loss of £1,403,653 the year before. Turnover rose to £16,249,610 compared to £15,598,377 the year before. Ebitda rose to £1,074,680 from £921,268 the year before – profit was boosted by an exceptional writeback of £2,494,533 relating to accrued but unpaid preference share dividends. The company stated: “Kornicis has delivered another year of strong growth against a particularly challenging business environment. Sales growth of four per cent was achieved during an abnormal year with the wettest summer in 100 years, Jubilee bank holiday celebrations and the Olympics, all of which had a strongly negative impact on the group. Despite these significant challenges Kornicis still achieved a 17 per cent increase in pre-exceptional Ebitda and is well-positioned for future growth. During the year £6m of preference shares were converted to ordinary shares and the accumulated accrued dividend was waived. The group has now demonstrated four consecutive years of strong Ebitda growth, which has seen Kornicis grow its estate to 22 sites. The group will be continuing its expansion within London and has a strong pipeline of acquisitions.” Kornicis sold a non-core site during the year, achieving a £300,000 profit, which was invested in the business. The company opened Jamies Suffolk Lane and Jamies Alban Gate during the year. It entered a lease obligation after the year-end with an annual rent of £42,500. It has agreed an acquisitions facility with Barclays for new sites and develop existing sites. Kornicis is controlled by the NBGI private equity fund – the company charged its owner £3,346 for parties held at its restaurant and bars during the year, down from £4,712 the year before.

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