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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 6th Aug 2013 - Tesco reveals full details of carvery offer

Story of the day:

Tesco unveils details of Decks family carvery offer: Supermarket chain Tesco has opened its new Decks family carvery restaurant with salad bar at the Tesco Extra at Coventry Arena. The restaurant, which is open for breakfast at 7am and serves food until 10pm, offers a breakfast deck, a carvery deck and a pastry deck. The restaurant promotes itself as offering “real” and “wholesome” British food. The marketing literature states: “Morning to evening, we’ll be serving up a tasty slice of home. Take the weight off your feet and fill your boots with classic British favourites, from breakfasts and roasts to cracking cakes served with a proper cuppa. Fresh is best. And a bit of what you fancy is even better. So whether you want a hearty breakfast with masses of choice to help yourself, mouth-watering roast meats and mix‘n’match vegetables or salad, or a scrumptious afternoon tea or coffee and cake, you’ll find it at Decks.” Tesco is offering a full English breakfast for £3.95 with a choice of four items – or £5.25 to go large with six items. The carvery offers a selection of four roasts – British or Irish rib of beef, British or Irish Pork, British or Irish Gammon or British spit-roast chicken – for £5.50 and a ‘bigger plate’ roast costs £6.95. There’s also a deli@decks offer with customers able to build their own sandwich from a choice of four staples on offer – a hot beef baguette, a peri-peri chicken soft roll, a gammon salad crusty sandwich and a classic pork roll. Customers are told: “Build yourself a totally unique, deli style sandwich with your choice of four different fresh breads loaded with a roast meat, vegetables, anything from the salad bar and sauces.” The menu also offers a pie of the day (£5.25) macaroni cheese (£4.95), British Farm Assured pork sausages (£5.25) and a vegetable platter (£3.95). Classic hot puddings are £3.25 and customers can build their own ice cream sundae (£3.25) with a choice of “dairy ice-cream, sponge and brownie pieces, fresh fruit, fruit cocktail, sauces galore and sprinkles”. The pastry deck – offering “the afternoon tea of your dreams” - has a choice of eight classic cakes (£2.50) or scones and jam (£2.50). Refillable soft drinks are priced art £2.50. Decks serves a choice of five type of wine, lager and cask ale – Bombardier and London Pride. Tesco also opened its first in-store Giraffe yesterday – and has a stake in coffee chain Harris + Hoole. Decks is operated by a new Tesco division called Tesco Family Dining Limited. Former Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Adam Fowle has been advising Tesco on Decks and the integration of Giraffe.

Industry news:

Propel Info managing director Paul Charity named second most influential sector journalist: Research and insights firm Allegra Strategies has named Propel Info managing director Paul Charity as the second most influential journalist in the UK hospitality sector. The Allegra list of the sector’s 100 most influential people, which is published once every two years, places chef Jamie Oliver at the top of the list. Caterer and Hotelkeeper editor Mark Lewis is the highest ranking journalist at No. 80, with Paul Charity coming second at No 92, Dominic Walsh, leisure correspondent of The Times is placed at 93 while Peter Martin, founder of Peach Factory, is at No. 94.

Ramsay shows produce $157m of revenue for Fox TV: Analysts have worked out that the five television shows that feature chef Gordon Ramsay in the US produce approximately $157.6 million in advert sales revenue for Fox. Adding in the $29.2 million in advance commitments that Fox is likely to have secured for a 13-episode run of MasterChef Junior and Ramsay has delivered north of $185 million in sales for Fox since August 2012.

Waitrose buys The Good Food Guide: Waitrose has bought The Good Food Guide for an undisclosed sum. Waitrose said the purchase builds on its growing presence as a “food expert” across a number of channels, including Waitrose TV and Waitrose Weekend magazine. The 63-year-old publication, which contains recommendations and reviews of restaurants around the UK, was sold with its website. Rupert Thomas, Waitrose marketing director, said: “We aim to be the go-to shop for food lovers, and becoming the publisher of this well-loved guide will continue to develop our brand as an authority on good food. The Good Food Guide has a loyal following among our customers and we will continue to operate it as an independent authority on eating out within the UK.” Copies of The Good Food Guide 2014 will be in Waitrose shops in the autumn and will continue to be distributed to all normal outlets, the company said.

TK Maxx trial dedicated food offer at 20 sites: High street retailer TK Maxx is trialing a food offer at 20 of its sites in a project code-named ‘The Food Emporium’. The size of the food offer varies from site to site but they all feature gourmet, US and Polish food as well as cakes, biscuits, oils, herbs, confectionery and cooking sauces. A spokesman said: “We are constantly looking at different ways of retailing to showcase our products. Our spaces change all the time.”

Wine drinking pulls almost level with beer in the US: Americans who drink alcohol are about equally likely to say they drink beer (36%) or wine (35%) most often. Another 23% say liquor is their beverage of choice. The latest results continue the trend in which beer has declined as the preferred beverage of US drinkers, shrinking its advantage over wine from 20% points in 1992 to one point today.

Major Swansea leisure scheme placed in administration: A major leisure and entertainment development in Swansea has been put into receivership. Salubrious Place has tenants including TGI Friday’s, a 116 bedroom Premier Inn and Vue Cinema. Peter Welborn and Elaine Tooke, of property consultancy Knight Frank, have been appointed joint receiver. The scheme by Brunswick Mansford was put into receivership by the Nationwide, which has financed its development. Salubrious Place is at the gateway to the main leisure strip along Wind Street in the old town area of Swansea.

Company news:

Davis Coffer Lyons – Kout is set for another multi-site transaction: Property agent Davis Coffer Lyons (DCL), which advised Kuwait-based Kout Food Group on the acquisition of Little Chef, has reported the company is set for another major transaction in the coming weeks. Trevor Watson, director at DCL, said: “Our unique understanding of the leisure market coupled with our extensive knowledge of the Little Chef portfolio – which we have acquired over the last ten years – proved highly valuable in helping Kout with this acquisition. Little Chef is an iconic brand and we look forward to assisting Kout with its strategy for the business going forward. We are also working with Kout on another multi-site transaction, which we expect to complete in the coming weeks.” Kout Food Group already has a substantial interest in the UK food industry including Chi Wok, which opened at Westfield London last year (2012), over 40 Burger King and KFC outlets as well as artisan bakery brand, Maison Blanc.

Benugo opens Garden Café in Mayfair: Cafe and restaurant operator Benugo has opened The Garden Café in the restored Brown Hart Gardens, an elevated public square over a historic Grade II listed building on Duke Street in Mayfair. Part of the Grosvenor Estate, the space has undergone a major refurbishment to create a green courtyard and garden for residents, shoppers, visitors and the local business community to enjoy. The opening of The Garden Café, follows the success of Field’s Bar & Kitchen in Lincoln’s Inn, Hyde Park’s Serpentine Bar & Kitchen, The Riverfront at BFI Southbank, and Ashmolean Dining Room in Oxford, all of which offer expansive outside dining.

Boswells line up sixteenth site: West Country cafe chain Boswells is set open its sixteenth site, converting a former JD Sports unit in Gloucester’s Eastgate centre. Boswells director Matthew Burn said: “Gloucester’s a really nice city, we’ve got other branches relatively nearby, the opportunity came up and we’re excited by it. We’re not just a coffee shop – we don’t just ship the food in on the back of a lorry, it’s prepared as you want it on site.” Matthew runs the business with his two brothers Nick and Tim after they took it over from their dad Jeremy, who founded it in 1972. Boswells has 15 outlets across the south, south west and Thames Valley and reviews of their cafes on sites like TripAdvisor commend them as having consistently-good food, and a choice of vegetarian and gluten-free meals.

Wayne Brown – follow the leaders at Domino’s and sell: Canaccord Genuity leisure analyst Wayne Brown has published a note that suggests Domino’s shareholders should follow the lead of directors and sell their shares. Setting a Target Price of 500p for the shares, he said: “Domino’s Pizza has had a long history of directors selling shares. However, have we reached a point where investors should take note? One of the long-term shareholders, and once holder of just under 30% of the company, Nigel Wray has just sold his last remaining stake in Domino’s Pizza, collecting £28m. The non-executive director sold all £4.9m shares at a price of 570p each, relinquishing his final 2.99% stake. At the same time, the chairman Stephen Hemsley sold 600,000 shares worth £3.42m, just a week after the interims and the outgoing chief financial officer Lee Ginsberg sold 70,000 shares at 578p, making £404,600. We have a number of unanswered questions and combined with the shares discounting a flawless execution of a strategy, that, is, in our view poorly communicated, looks too risky in our view. For the entire franchise system to maintain a healthy balance of profitability, the cash pay back periods from new store openings needs to be maintained. Around half of this year’s openings, rising to circa 60-66% of next year’s, will be predicated on area splits. Whilst the mature estate has historically achieved a very strong circa 2-2.5 years we question the appetite of franchisees to invest behind a declining rate of return.” Brown added: “The management were unable to provide what the P&L of a German store looked like. This raises risks in our view that the longer path to profitability with breakeven in 2016/2017 (in Germany) may not be achievable.”

Pod hotel bought out of administration: A hotel where guests can sleep in windowless pods has been bought by a Birmingham entrepreneur. More than 20 jobs have been secured after budget hotel NiteNite, on Holliday Street, was taken over by investor Harj Mattu – who is set to invest £1 million in a refurbishment. Mattu said: “I am delighted to be adding the NiteNite to my portfolio of hotels and taking on the NiteNite brand, which has a strong customer base and unique position in the marketplace. Although it has been in administration, the hotel has continued to trade successfully over the last 18 months. Working in the industry for a number of years, I have seen a real shift in the market from full service hotels to limited service hotels and more pod-style rooms. NiteNite was ahead of its time, being one of the first ‘micro boutique’-style hotels in Europe when it first opened in 2006.” Previous owner NiteNite (Birmingham) and sister company NiteNite Holdings called in administrators from Zolfo Cooper in 2011 after running up debts of more than £3.2 million.

Seafood Pub Company to launch fourth site next week: Lancashire gastro operator Seafood Pub Company is launching its fourth venue this month after a £750,000 investment. The company, launched in 2011, has spent four months refurbishing The Farmers Arms in Great Eccleston into a gastro-pub. Set to re-open on 15 August, The Farmers Arms, which includes an outside dining courtyard, will be the biggest in the Seafood Pub Company portfolio. The operator’s first pub was The Oyster and Otter at Feniscowles on the outskirts of Blackburn, followed by The Assheton Arms in the Ribble Valley village of Downham. The third site, The Fenwick, opened in the Lune Valley at Claughton near Lancaster just a few weeks ago.

JD Wetherspoon submits plan to convert Isle of Wight nightclub for third pub: JD Wetherspoon has submitted plans to convert a former nightclub in Newport (population: 23,957) on the Isle of Wight to a pub – the venue is the former Temptation nightclub in St James’s Street. A design and access statement, lodged with the plans, said all the proposed works would retain the existing chapel building and its features. The site is made up of two distinct areas, the 5,944 sq ft former Congregational Church and the modern, glazed 3,503 sq ft structure next door. The opening will be the company’s third pub on the island, with existing sites in Ryde and Newport.

Pizza Hut lines up Isle of Main franchised opening: A Pizza Hut franchised site is to open in Douglas on the Isle of Man. The franchisee is Reims Limited, which operates Coffee Republic, in the capital’s Victoria Street, and Bar George, in Hill Street. It’s due to open in November.

Spirit Pub Company hires joint broker: Spirit Pub Company has appointed Numis Securities as joint corporate broker to work alongside Goldman Sachs International, the company’s existing joint corporate broker and financial advisor.

Brewdog features gallery of investors at its bars: Scottish brewer and retailer Brewdog, which is looking to raise another £4m of equity, is displaying a gallery of photographs of investors who buy shares at individual bar sites. The company states: “Lots of passionate craft beer lovers have already handed over their hard-earned cash in exchange for a lifetime discount in our bars, and we’re celebrating the mighty virtue of these craft beer pioneers by displaying their photos in the bar for all to see. We have copies of our share prospectus in all our bars and you can complete the paperwork and pay for your investment in our bars too.”

‘Antic’ pub safe after Enterprise Inns confirms no plans to sell: Enterprise Inns has confirmed it does not plan to sell the freehold of The Wheatsheaf, in Upper Tooting Road, Tooting – a pub whose tenant, Antic Limited, passed through administration earlier this year before re-emerging under the ownership of Gregarious, a new firm backed by investment firm Downing. Locals feared the site would become a Tesco, while an online petition calling on the council to take action over its future gained more than 8,300 signatures. But an Enterprise spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have no plans to sell The Wheatsheaf. Our publican has recently been in administration and the pub lease is due to expire at the end of this year. We are in continuing discussions with the parties involved with a view to reach a mutually acceptable outcome.”

Greene King wins planning consent for Hungry Horse opening: Greene King has won planning consent to build a new Hungry Horse next to a bypass and housing estate in Sandyford, near Stoke. The company won permission to build the pub on Carsington Drive, off James Brindley Way, despite concerns from nearby residents. Matt Brown, business unit director for Hungry Horse, said: “It is a perfect location for our latest great value, family friendly pub.” The new pub is expected to open in spring next year.

Starbucks opens fifth community site: Starbucks has opened its fifth community store, this one located in its home-town of Seattle. 15 cents from each transaction is invested back into the community.

Horsham’s WJ King Brewery changes hands: Niki and Justin Deighton, who have a background in the music industry and marketing, have acquired Horsham’s WJ King Brewery, whose head brewer Ian Burgess formerly worked at Truman Brewery ( London) and Harvey’s of Lewes. Immediate changes are to move the existing team of six staff to a new building and to install software to automate the production process. New owner Justin Deighton said: “We have plans for a new brand and new recipes to offer our customers some exciting beers in the future!”

Nottingham pub gets go-ahead for £1.5m scheme: A Nottingham pub based in a former Victorian music hall has been given permission to extend – downwards. The Malt Cross, on St James’s Street, lies on top of a cave system that was once used by monks to store meat and beer. The owners hope to use the caves for music performances, dining, private functions – and possibly a brewery. The work will cost £1.5m and is expected to be completed by September 2014. The consortium of city centre churches which runs the Malt Cross hopes a Heritage Lottery bid will cover the majority of the refurbishment funding.

Whitbread starts work on Harrogate Premier Inn: Whitbread has begun on a major new six-storey hotel in Harrogate that will boast almost 110 bedrooms. The Premier Inn hotel will be directly linked to the Harrogate International Conference Centre and has been designed by Durham architects the Howarth Litchfield Partnership. Harrogate’s International Conference Centre is the third largest in the UK, and one of the biggest in Europe. It welcomes more than 155,000 business visitors annually.

Rex Associates names GM for first hotel: Restaurant company Rex Associates, headed by Chris Corbin and Jeremy King, has named Paul Brackley as general manager of the 73-bedroom Beaumont hotel in Balderton Street in London’s Mayfair, between Oxford Street and Grosvenor Square, which open in summer 2014. Before joining the pre-opening team for the hotel, he was general manager at the Crowne Plaza London the City hotel. The hotel will have a restaurant serving an American-style menu, an American bar, residents’ bar and library, spa and gym. Rex Associates operates Wolseley, the Delaunay, Brasserie Zedel and Colbert.

TGI Friday’s wins sustainability star: TGI Friday’s has been awarded a One Star Rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), underlining the company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment and reflecting its efforts in this area. The brand’s 58 UK restaurants recycle 99% of waste at sites where it is responsible for refuse, introducing anaerobic digestion for all food waste and ensuring all electricity purchased by Friday’s is green and generated from renewable sources. Additionally, used cooking oil is recycled and turned into bio-diesel, which is in-turn used in delivery trucks which supply food, drink and consumables to Friday’s UK restaurants. Alyson Scott, head of supply chain, TGI Friday’s UK, said: “We are extremely pleased to be working with such a well-regarded body as the SRA and very happy to have achieved a coveted One Star Rating for our work in the area of sustainability. The SRA gives a fantastic framework for developing and undertaking achievable sustainability steps and we are looking forward to a long relationship with them.”

Wahhab becomes non-executive at Wrap it Up!: Restaurateur and entrepreneur Iqbal Wahhab OBE has been appointed as a non-executive director of gourmet fast food chain Wrap it Up!. Wrap it Up! operates 11 outlets across The City and Central London, serving a range of internationally-inspired wraps. It aims to expand the chain in the coming months and years, with more outlets in The City and Central London and further afield. Wahhab is the founder of the award-winning Indian restaurant, Cinnamon Club, as well as Roast, a British restaurant and bar, both in London. He is also involved in numerous projects within the restaurant industry, including his role as Chair of The Asian Restaurants Skills Board and Chair of Kitchenette, aimed at helping London’s most promising and original food entrepreneurs to get started. Wrap it Up! Managing director Tayub Mushtaq said: “We are delighted that Iqbal has joined us as a non-executive director. He has a wealth of experience and is highly respected in the restaurant industry and the business world. Iqbal will be a vital asset to our business as we grow and look for new opportunities.” Wahhab added: “Wrap it Up! is an exciting young company with great potential for further growth. I am looking forward to working closely with the board members to achieve their goals.”

UK foodservice set for 1.8% growth this year: The total UK foodservice and hospitality market will achieve 1.8% sales growth in 2013, reaching a total of £79.7bn, and is set for further positive growth over the next five years adding over £10 billion in value to reach £90bn by 2018. Analysis of the market from 2008 through to 2018 identifies the sectors that are gaining share, such as branded restaurants and coffee shops, and those that will continue to grow over the next five years. “There will be a positive growth of 2.4% CAGR over the next five years. This will be driven by physical expansion, improved consumer confidence with higher anticipated average earnings growth combined with lower inflation rates leading to trading up,” said Anya Marco, Allegra’s director of insight.

Fuller’s plans innovative openings in response to changing consumer demand: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s is planning a series of innovative new pub projects as a response to changing consumer demand. The first, The Swift, opens this Thursday in Putney offering radical design, an extensive range of keg, bottled and canned beer, alongside beer-based cocktails and an American diner-style menu. Andrew Durn, Fuller’s developments manager, said: “This is one of many innovative new projects in the pipeline at Fuller’s, demonstrating our commitment to running outstanding pubs across the country, but also our commitment to new ideas and responding to consumer trends. There really is nothing like this in the area, and the combination of food and drink on offer is something we have worked really hard on to make perfect. This is a raw and exciting concept, and we can’t wait to share the newly refurbished bar with everyone.” The new bar is a cross between retro, modern and industrial with cosy furnishings and unique fixtures, such as all of the light fittings being from reclaimed naval ships, while an original wall has been exposed to add to the aesthetics. Alongside Fuller’s London Pride, London Porter and Frontier, the new craft lager from Fuller’s, there are also kegged beers from Sierra Nevada and Anchor Brewery, a dozen cocktails (including four using Fuller’s beers as key ingredients), 40 different bottled and canned craft beers from around the world and a specially selected range of 30 American whiskeys. The modern food menu at The Swift, which was formerly called the Whistle and Flute, includes a range of hot dogs, pizzas and special Hampshire beef burgers. In June, Propel revealed that Fuller’s will open a couple of stand-alone coffee shops, showcasing its own Brewer Street coffee brand, next to its pubs later this year. The company will use property it already owns next to its existing pubs for the coffee shop developments. Group managing director Simon Emeny told Propel: “These are high footfall sites where we have property adjacent to our pubs. We are really pleased with the course we took on coffee. The branded route wasn’t right for us – we decided we’d try to be different and have found a fantastic coffee blend.” Fuller’s serves its Brewer Street brand in eye-catching crockery with a menu offering all the popular variants and indulgent snacks, such as “delicious chocolate brownie”. Emeny also revealed that Fuller’s will invest £1.7m in its proposed London Pride pub opening at London Heathrow airport – it has a turnover lease at the site, which is 8.3 miles from the brewery in Chiswick. “Heathrow staff visited our pubs in trade – and spent a lot of time at The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross,” reported Emeny. Fuller’s is also investing £3.4m opening two new-build freehold pubs on greenfield and brownfield sites in Farnham, Hampshire and Key Bridge, London in partnership with Waterside – the pubs will open early in 2014.

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