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Wed 20th Mar 2013 - Breaking News - Be At One, New Pub Company and Starbucks
Be At One opens 16th site; reports 9% like-for-likes: London cocktail bar group Be At One opens its sixteenth site today, on Upper Street in Islington. This is the third opening so far this year for the company, led by three former TGI Friday’s bartenders who opened their first bar together in 1998. Be At One, which received investment from Piper Private Equity in October 2011, has kick-started 2013 with an ambitious expansion plan, opening four bars in the space of just nine weeks, something it has never attempted before. Director Steve Locke said: “We spent time in 2012 gaining momentum and consolidating the existing business which has allowed us to be able to expand very quickly in a short space of time. As a team, we have great confidence in the talent that we have within Be At One which will enable us to grow, yet still retain the consistency and feel of the business when we had just one bar.” This year, Be At One have opened in Smithfield and Fenchurch Street, with Islington opening tonight and they are due to open their first bar outside the capital in Reading next week. They plan to take their estate up to 20 bars this year, with an aim to get to 30 bars within the next three years. The group is forecasting turnover of £11.5million for the financial year end, another record year which sees them 9% up on last year on a like-for-like basis and 22% up including new openings. The other 15 Be At One Bars are located in Battersea, Richmond, Covent Garden, Balham, Hammersmith, Putney, Soho, Clapham Common, Spitalfields, Shoreditch, King’s Cross, Monument, Guildhall, Smithfield and Fenchurch Street with Reading opening next week.

New Pub Company to create a private members club at award-wining Camden Eye: New Pub Company, the seven-strong operator led by Peter Linacre, is to invest £150,000 in creating a private members’ club at its Camden Eye pub, where licensee Mahdis Neghabian won BII Licensee of the Year last year. Linacre said: “We will remove part of the gable space to create the private members’ club. There’s no private members’ club in Camden and a shortage of interesting meeting places during the day. I anticipate we’ll sign up northwards of 500 members following the Jonathan Downey fee structure but at lower prices – around £250 for a year’s membership, which is not a horrible amount of money.” Work is expected to be completed in six months’ time. New Pub Company fitted a high-end pizza oven at the Camden Eye a couple of months ago after taking inspiration from Richard and Loren Pope’s Bull’s Head pub in Repton – and will now add pizza ovens at two other pubs where schemes are planned. The Hare and Hounds, Claygate and The Cricketers, Hartley Whitney. “We’re selling 500 pizzas a week at the Camden Eye, incremental to our other food trade, and we haven’t even started our takeaway service yet.” Linacre said the major learning so far at the Camden Eye is around how to serve “this quantity of food in a business the size of this”.

Starbucks to buy coffee farm: Starbucks plans to buy a 600-acre coffee estate on the slopes of the Poas Volcano in Costa Rica. It plans to convert the farm to an agronomy research and development centre working on climate change mitigation, long-term crop stability and other schemes. It did not disclose terms of the deal, which is expected to be finalised in May. The centre “will support the resiliency of coffee farmers and their families as well as the one million people that represent our collective coffee supply chain,” chief executive Howard Schultz said. Starbucks’ farm could also be used to experiment with new types of coffee, he said. Over the past 40 years, Starbucks has invested more than $70 million on programs that support farmers’ livelihoods and help ensure the long-term availability of high-quality coffee.

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