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Wed 27th Mar 2013 - Carluccio’s, McDonald’s and Starbucks

Story of the day:

Glendola Leisure to add two sites with others set to follow as it embarks on expansion: Waxy O’Connor’s and Rainforest Café operator Glendola Leisure has reported that property market conditions have turned favourable and it is set for significant expansion this year. The company acquired the Crown & Anchor in Neal Street yesterday, an Enterprise Inns site, and is set to complete on a second unnamed Enterprise Inns site in London today to take the estate to 19 sites. Managing director Alex Salussolia said the company had traditionally preferred to expand during recessions when the property market is subdued. He told Propel: “Business is good. We’ve got to a place where we feel it’s the right time to expand - we’re finding the right property at the right places.” The company will take the number of tied Enterprise leases within its estate to six with the acquisition scheduled for today. “We don’t mind tied leases if they are in the right location,” said Salussolia. He reported that St Patrick’s Day saw very good trading within the estate with a number of sites recording record numbers. Its giant Rainforest Café site, off Piccadilly Circus, is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year and continues to perform very well. Last year, excluding depressed trading during the Olympics, the site saw 6% like-for-like sales growth - and 2% including the August period. The site does 12,000 to 15,000 covers a week during school holidays and between 6,000 and 8,000 covers in term time. In its most recent year to 31 March 2012, Glendola reported turnover climbed to £28,511,000, up from £24,814,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit rose slightly to £1,894,000 from £1,859,000 the year before.

Industry news:

Spring edition of Propel Quarterly available on online: The Spring edition of the Propel Quarterly magazine is now available on line. The edition contains a detailed look at Marston’s Revere Pub Company project, an interview with Mitchells & Butlers chairman Bob Ivell plus interviews with Las Iguanas founder Eren Ali, Luminar chief executive Peter Marks - and Market Town Taverns founder Ian Fozard sets out his business philosophy. To read the magazine click here

McDonald’s internal memo – the McWrap gives us a chance with the millennials: An internal McDonald’s memo leaked to Advertising Age reveals the importance placed on its forthcoming McWrap menu item launch in attracting millennial customers. The US has 59 million ‘millennials’ aged 23 to 36 – and the demographic does not currently place McDonald’s in its top ten restaurant chains. “McWrap offers us the perfect food offering to address the needs of this very important customer to McDonald’s,” says the memo. The memo argues the McWrap “affords us the platform for customisation and variety that our millennial customer is expecting of us”. The McWrap comes grilled or crispy in three varieties - sweet chili chicken, chicken and bacon, and chicken and ranch - and will range from 360 to 600 calories, depending in part on the type of chicken. Said the memo: “Our customers are consistently telling us, particularly millennials, they expect variety, more choices, customisation and their ability to be able to personalise their food experience. In fact, they have told us that if we did not offer McWrap, 22% of these incremental customers would have gone to Subway.”

Jones Lang LaSalle reports record year for hotel sales out of administration: A total of £1.62bn of hotels across Britain have been sold over the last three years as a result of company administrations or receiverships. The report by Jones Lang LaSalle said 2013 has been the most active year for administration or administrative receiverships, owing to Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund recently buying 42 Marriott hotels held by Royal Bank of Scotland. The sale to the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is thought to have been worth around £640m. George Nicholas, executive vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle’s hotels & hospitality group, said: “The process of bank deleveraging is quickening and we are already experiencing a record year of administration led transactions in 2013, a level which is significantly higher than the total of £542m sold in 2011.” Nicholas said 2005 through 2007 saw around £17.7bn in aggregate UK hotel deals. With the debt now maturing on those deals, he said banks are set to speed up asset sales “at more realistic prices”.

Date set for first EMRO hearing: The date has been set for what is believed to be the first Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) hearing in the UK. John Gaunt, of John Gaunt Solicitors, said: “We have been advised that Hartlepool Council will be holding their hearing on 24 April 2013. We have lodged a representation on behalf of one of our clients and if you would like to submit a representation you have until the 28 March to do so. The hearing is much anticipated and could be set a precedent for the rest of the country.”

BT Sports signs Gareth Bale as brand ambassador: Spurs and Wales hero Gareth Bale has signed up to become a BT Ambassador. He will feature in TV adverts for the new BT Sport channels as well as regularly appearing as a guest. Bale, 23, will be at the forefront of BT’s marketing campaigns to promote BT Sport, which will show 38 live Premier League games a season for three years starting in August 2013.

Company news:

Whitbread launches Brewers Fayre bonus loyalty scheme: Whitbread has unveiled a Brewers Fayre Bonus Club scheme to enable guests to reap rewards for every visit. Launched across all 147 restaurants, the scheme invites guests to, “Tuck into some serious savings” and “Eat out, collect points, enjoy your bonus” via posters, leaflets and a dedicated website www.brewersfayrebonusclub.co.uk. Members earn five points for every £1 spent, and will be able to redeem special offers through printed vouchers once they have reached 250 points. In addition, Bonus Club members are entitled to exclusive offers such as a free main meal on their birthday and other offers for their family’s special occasions. Members will be rewarded with 250 free points just for completing their online registration. Chris Lewis, head of marketing at Brewers Fayre, said: “We are thrilled to be able to give back to those who visit our restaurants with our all new Bonus Club. We have a lot of guests who come back again and again and we want to reward their loyalty while encouraging new visitors. The Bonus Club will offer a range of exclusive deals to our members including great offers for family celebrations.”

Stephen Thomas clarifies No Saints position: Nightclub veteran Stephen Thomas has clarified the position at his No Saints nightclub business in the wake of yesterday’s Propel report that the company had handed back its Cambridge site to the landlord – and had a winding up petition quashed. He told Propel: “We are profitable and operate ten really good venues. Jam House is a great product and Wonderland is doing really well. The winding up petition was a nothing story – we had a row with a landlord in Bristol which has been resolved after we found him a tenant. We handed the property in Cambridge back, which was due to be a Jam House, because we couldn’t get a licence beyond midnight. The sensible thing to do at the moment is retrench.”

JW Lees – planned leasehold Duttons in Manchester a ‘big psychological step’: JW Lees will invest around £700,000 fitting out its planned second Duttons site, a 7,000 square foot leasehold site on Albert Square opposite Manchester Town Hall. Managing director William Lees-Jones told Propel: “From a psychological point-of-view, it’s a quite a big deal for us. We’ve never done this kind of leasehold investment before. But it’s a great site.” Lees-Jones said the company has decided on making the investment because the best property in the centre of Manchester was bound to be leasehold and the freehold property market is currently stagnant. The opening of Duttons comes ten years after the company opened the first Duttons in Chester. The former manager of Duttons in Chester is Sarah Wood, who has been promoted to area manager. Meanwhile, the company has received 51 applications for its current vacancy for an “operations director superstar” with the deadline this coming Friday. “The quality of applicant is very good,” Lees-Jones added. 

Carluccio’s set to report 15.3% rise in pre-tax profit: The Times has reported that Carluccio’s is set to report a 15.3% rise in pre-tax profit to £6.8m in the year to September 2012. Turnover rose 13.7% to £96m and Ebitda jumped 21.7% to £13m. Average spend per head had remained resilient at around £13 to £14. Chief executive Simon Kossoff said: “In 2008 and 2009, people propagated the idea that casual dining would fall away, but that hasn’t happened. Eating out is ingrained in people’s lives.” Carluccio’s opened 11 outlets last year, including four former Chez Gerard sites, and another five sites since the year end taking its UK estate to 71 sites - another five are set to open by September. The company believes the brand can be expanded to at least 150 sites in the UK. 

Renaissance Pub Company celebrates tenth anniversary with own range of drinks: Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, co-owners of award-winning six-strong South West London pub group Renaissance Pubs, are celebrating ten years of hospitality industry success this May with the launch of their own beer, gin and wine. To mark this ten-year milestone, Tom, Mark and Nick have created their own brands - London TEN Ale, TEN London Gin and TEN house white and red wines.

Adnams reports turnover and operating profit up: Suffolk-based Adnams has reported turnover and pre-exceptional operating profit up in the year to 31 December 2012. Chairman Jonathan Adnams said: “Adnams enjoyed a good year in 2012, despite the challenges of tough markets and lack of economic growth. Our turnover increased 4.3% to £56.9 million, our operating profits increased 3.5% to £3,392,000 from £3,277,000 (before exceptional items), our debt fell £1.7 million to £13.7 million and the quantity of Adnams beer sold rose by 3.8%. The markets that Adnams operates in have been challenging and this hasn’t been helped by external factors such as government policy or indeed the poor British weather. We have continued to support our customers throughout these difficult times by holding Adnams beer prices. 2013 will be the fifth consecutive year that we have held the price of Adnams beer (with the exception of duty) to our tied estate and free-trade customers.” The company said that if it paid duty at mirobrewery levels its profits would have been £5.4m higher in 2012.

Christie + Co markets nine Bramwell sites: Agent Christie + Co is selling nine Bramwell Pub Company sites. They are: The Waldron in Crewe (leasehold offers invited), The Phoenix, Southport (leasehold offers invited), Malt Cross, Ayr (leasehold offers invited), The Pow Burn, North Shields (leasehold offer invited), The Barracuda Bar, Hull (leasehold or rental offers invited), The Paramount, Swadlincote (freehold offers in excess of £200,000), Town Hall, Staines (leasehold or rental offers invited) The George and Pelican, Newbury (leasehold or rental offers invited) and The Academy, Port Talbot (leasehold or rental offers invited). 

Couple lead Wagamama photo competition: A couple from Brentwood is in the lead in a Wagamama national noodle month photo competition that could win a trip to Japan. Wagamama has invited customers to upload pictures of noodles on restaurant visits to its Facebook page. Jennifer and Andrew Dashwood-Begg from Queens Road, Brentwood, are currently topping Wagamama’s photo competition for their snap of daughter Jennifer, aged 15 months. The couple, both 29, currently have almost 10,000 Facebook likes for the picture taken at Wagamama’s Lakeside restaurant two weeks ago. If they still have the most likes by 31 March they will win a trip to Japan.

Coaching inn operator Hillbrooke Hotels to open eighth site next month: Hillbrooke Hotels, the operator of coaching inns, often attached to country estate, will open its eighth site next month. The Pembroke Arms, Wilton will open in mid-April after a major refurbishment. Other sites include The Bath Arms at Longleat and The Bull and Swan, Burghley. 

Former Atmosphere Bars and Clubs site to re-open after six-figure investment: The former Gregory’s nightspot in Nantwich, sold by Atmosphere Bars and Clubs at the end of last year, is to re-open after a six figure investment as The Studio. Nigel Woodhouse has partnered Jim Woodisse (who runs Harrison’s in Nantwich) and Phillip Archer-Jones (who owns Sugarmill in Hanley) to re-open the venue. The venue boasts a new 500-capacity live music and stage area on the middle level, and a new balcony area around the top level.

Brighton KFC fined almost £10,000 over rat infestation: The owner of KFC franchise in Brighton has been fined almost £10,000 after rats were found in its kitchen. The rodents were found mangled in traps and stuck alive to sticky pads at the KFC branch in London Road, Brighton. Caskade Caterers, which owns the London Road KFC franchise, pleaded guilty to two food hygiene offences dating back to last June. Magistrates ordered the company to pay a fine and costs totalling £9,635. Len Batten, who prosecuted on behalf of the council, said that the staff failed to keep premises clean, well maintained and in good repair, which led to their rodent problem.

Head of Steam launches ‘man versus pizza’ challenge: North east multiple Head Of Steam, led by Tony Brookes, has launched a man versus pizza challenge at its eponymous pub in Durham. Diners who finish a fifteen inch (37.5 cm) pizza with a mozzarella and pulled pork stuffed crust, topped with a foot-long hotdog, two Toulouse dogs and loads of bacon within 45 minutes get it free - the pizza weighs in at 1.5kg. Manager Simon Ritson said: “Our chef is a keen viewer of ‘Man versus Food’ from America. So we thought we’d start a similar challenge. When we told customers about it, people started ringing up to book an eating session. So far five people have tried to eat one and all have failed.”

Starbucks introducing new espresso blend; to open first innovation site in the UK: Starbucks has unveiled a new espresso blend and is claiming it will be the first coffee chain to offer customers a choice of espresso in drinks. A multi-million pound campaign inviting customers to try the new Guatemala Antigua single source espresso for free will support the new range. Starbucks will post a code on a dedicated campaign site every day between 3 and 9 April for customers to redeem against free samples in-store between 9:30am and 11:30am. Meanwhile, Starbucks is opening its first innovation store in London’s St Martin Lane to showcase its Reserve range and coffee making technologies. Ian Cranna, vice president of UK marketing for Starbucks, said: “Increasingly sophisticated British coffee drinkers are looking for choice and the chance to explore something new. Our experience and expertise in sourcing and roasting the best coffee in the world sets us apart in an increasingly competitive market, and means we are the first UK branded coffee shop where our highly trained baristas can offer customers a perfectly crafted latte, now with high quality single Origin Espresso.” Starbucks offered cut-price lattes every morning in January and February.

Manchester restaurants freehold on the market for £6,475,000: A city centre building housing two high-profile restaurants is on the market for nearly £6.5m. The site, on John Dalton Street, is home to the Restaurant Bar & Grill and the Panacea bar. The sale comes as the Restaurant Bar & Grill prepares to spend £750,000 on upgrades, including a new rooftop “skybar” with a fully retractable roof. CBRE and Jenics have been appointed to dispose of Ridgefield House on behalf of Goldberry Properties. The agents are quoting a price of £6,475,000, which would reflect a net initial yield of 6.5%.

German bakery chain looks to add 50 sites: German baker Ditsch has appointed property consultants Cushman & Wakefield to advise as it looks to expand into 50 new locations across the UK. Established in Mainz, Germany, in 1919, the business is looking for sites in UK locations with prime footfall, such as regional shopping centres, major city and town centres, pedestrian high streets and tourist destinations. Ditsch offers a range of products, freshly baked on the premises, which mainly include pizza slices, various baked snacks and beverages. The firm is currently has 13 UK locations including: Victoria Station, London; Union Street, Birmingham; Westfield in Derby; Arndale Shopping Centre, Manchester; Commercial Street, Leeds; and Paradise Street in Liverpool. Matt Illingworth, partner at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “Ditsch is a long-established German company with strong financial backing and a scalable business model. Baking delicious products in front of customers’ eyes is a simple concept for which there is always an appetite.”

Celebrity chef Paul Rankin looks for new site in Belfast after closing restaurant: TV chef Paul Rankin has closed his Belfast restaurant Cayenne at Shaftesbury Square - and is looking for a new site. Rankin is credited with transforming Northern Ireland’s culinary scene when he launched his Roscoff restaurant in the same location in 1989, gaining the region’s first Michelin star in 1992. He said: “We’ve enjoyed a very loyal and supportive relationship with our customers over all these years and hope that they will bear with us while we find the right location to re-establish our restaurant.” The current lease at Cayenne had come to an end, he added.

Aagrah to open 14th site next month: Indian restaurant chain Aagrah, which has been voted Best Restaurant Group in the British Curry Awards, will open its 14th site in Ilkley on 29 April. The latest site will open in The Green Health Shop in the Moors Shopping Centre, Ilkley. The company was founded in Shipley in 1977. Managing director and chief executive Mohammed Aslam, said: “We will bring fine dining at affordable prices.”

Banwell Castle owner buys village pub: Banwell Castle owner Hugh Parsons has teamed up with the operator of Banwell Castle’s restaurant Carmino D’Agostine to re-open the village pub, The Bell in Banwell, which has been closed for over a year. Parsons said: “We run the castle and looking at the pub all boarded up just made us feel the village looked a bit run down. We are planning a few little changes here and there. We’re trying to promote real ales and earn a reputation for hosting great music. We’re also going to do freshly ground coffees – but it’s definitely not going to be a gastro pub.”

ETM Group to open flagship Canary Wharf site: London gastro-pub operator ETM Group, led by Tom and Ed Martin, is to launch a flagship restaurant and cocktail bar in Canary Wharf called One Canada Square. The 5,000 sq ft site will become the group’s 11th in the capital – it will be located in the ground floor lobby of Canary Wharf’s original tower with an early autumn opening date planned. The site will feature a modern 30-cover bar and 100-cover European restaurant with mezzanine floor. Tom Martin, co-founder of ETM Group, said: “We have been looking for a site in Canary Wharf for several years now and are delighted to have been given the opportunity by our landlord, Canary Wharf Group to launch a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar at the epicentre of Canary Wharf. We love this dynamic and constantly developing area and the customer base is exactly what ETM is geared towards.” Camille Waxer, Canary Wharf chief administrative officer, said: “ETM Group is a company that we have been looking to work with for several years. We really like their offer and One Canada Square will be the perfect fit with the people working at and visiting Canary Wharf.”

Premier Inn secures four hotels in Scotland: Whitbread’s Premier Inn division has secured four new hotel sites in Scotland – adding almost 400 bedrooms to its estate. The four sites are: Glasgow, Pacific Quay: a six-floor 180-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and restaurant on the banks of the River Clyde, opposite the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre and new Hydro arena. Construction work is due to commence shortly, with the hotel opening in time for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014; Perth: an 83-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and restaurant converted from the old Pullar’s Building on Mill Street; St Andrews: a 65-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and restaurant on Largo Road; Stirling: a 60-bedroom Premier Inn hotel and Beefeater Grill restaurant at Forthside. John Bates, head of acquisitions UK and Ireland for Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “We’re investing in projects right across Scotland and these latest deals add to the hotels we have recently opened in Glasgow and Ayr. The proposed hotels at Perth, St Andrews, Stirling and Glasgow Pacific Quay highlight the flexibility and security we bring to projects, giving residents and local authorities the confidence they need that we are the right partner for them.”

Belle Epoque in Knutsford takes over pub next door: The Belle Epoque restaurant in Knutsford has bought the Rose and Crown next door and re-opened it last week as the ‘Rose ‘n’ Crown Chophouse’. Matthew Mooney, managing director of the Belle Epoque, said the new venue will remain a pub but offer an ‘enhanced food offering’. He added: “As the Belle Epoque is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, we thought it highly appropriate to launch a second site in Knutsford, the town we know and love so much. The Rose and Crown is already a popular pub – our job here is simply to enhance the food offer and refurbish the pub and hotel areas, inside and out. To be clear, the pub will remain a pub, offering a great selection of local cask ales, a new wine list and one or two nice surprises.”

Arkell’s to add hotel rooms at beauty spot pub: Swindon-based brewer and retailer Akell’s is to build a detached two storey building at The Sun Inn, at Coate, to provide ten bedroom suites. Arkell’s said that great demand for tourist accommodation in the area was one reason behind the application. The new building will be positioned behind the pub, taking up part of the existing garden area. Hotel accommodation is an area that Arkell’s is looking to invest more money in to ensure the future viability of the business. Director George Arkell said: “Our plans include a sustainable development to include green building construction techniques. But as The Sun Inn sits on a substantial site and its location next to the Great Western Hospital as well as adjacent to Coate Water Country Park makes it an ideal place to provide good quality hotel accommodation, we think this will make a positive contribution to Swindon’s leisure economy.”

Accor launches Adagio brand in the UK: Accor has launched its extended stay Adagio brand in the UK today. The 126-apartment Liverpool Adagio is situated within a city centre building formerly home to the city’s iconic Lewis’s department store. All rooms feature fully equipped kitchens, and hotel facilities include a fitness room and two 35 square metre meeting rooms.

Cosmo Buffet plans £1m Derby opening: Buffet restaurant chain Cosmo is planning a £1m investment to create a 15,000 square foot restaurant on the site of the former Gaumont Palace Cinema, in Derby’s London Road. It is the company’s first restaurant in the East Midlands and will offer diners 180 dishes drawn from global cuisines as diverse as Indian, Oriental, Brazilian, Japanese and European. The restaurant will have 330 covers, with diners offered 60-metres of counters featuring grills, hot plates and chilled cabinets filled with authentic dishes – including a 22 metre counter for desserts and pastry. Many of the dishes prepared in front of the customer at ten live cooking stations.

The Sun - Wetherspoon raised prices before the Budget: The Sun has reported that JD Wetherspoon raised prices by as much as 10p just days before beer duty was cut in the Budget. The newspaper reported: “The move stunned punters who saw the Chancellor CUT duty by 1p last week after a campaign led by MPs and The Sun.” One reader said: “Having watched the Budget, I was flabbergasted to be charged £3.19 for a pint of Carling. They’d charged £3.09 five days before.” Founder Tim Martin told Sun City: “Our prices are still 17% below the national average.”

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