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Tue 29th Oct 2013 - Coffee sector growth, InnBrighton, Carluccio's, Giraffe

Story of the Day:

Technomic – coffee café sector sees sales rise 12.2%: The research and insights firm Technomic has found that the coffee café segment boosted its UK systemwide sales by 12.2% after unit growth of 15.4% in the most recent year. The research contained in Technomic’s latest report on the UK’s leading 100 brands, found more than half of consumers (58%) visit coffee cafés such as Caffe Nero, Costa Coffee and Starbucks at least monthly, while 44% visit at least weekly. According to 1,000 UK consumers surveyed for Technomic’s recent 2013 UK Cafe Consumer Trend Report, two thirds of their snack purchases at coffee cafes are beverages and just over half (53%) of their beverage purchases at coffee cafés are hot lattes and cappuccinos. Technomic also reported that the total number of speciality coffees such as mochas, lattes and cappuccinos has jumped on restaurant menus by 17% year on year. In fact, according to Technomic’s trend-tracking database, MenuMonitor, the overall incidence of mocha flavour on the menus of UK restaurant chains, independent restaurants and pub chains has increased by approximately 16.5% year-on-year. Overarching MenuMonitor data shows that speciality coffee now accounts for more than two in five of all non-alcohol beverages in the cafe category, and is the number one drink on UK restaurant menus, outpacing both juice and hot tea. A spokesman for Technomic said: “UK menu-development trends do also point to an upswing in hot tea, which has increased its presence on cafe menus by about 17% year-on-year. At coffee houses specifically, hot tea has garnered a year-on-year incidence increase of 30%.”
 

Industry News:

Craft Beer Rising to launch print magazine: Craft Beer Rising, the London-based organiser of beer, music and street-food festivals and pop-up bars, is launching its own bi-annual print magazine. The first issue of the free A5 publication will be distributed to more than 150 London craft beer pubs from January 3 in the build-up to the second Craft Beer Rising Festival, which will take place at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, East London from February 21-23.
 
Cambridge moves to give pubs more protection: Threatened pubs in Cambridge could be given more protection from developers. City councillors backed calls that could see planning permission required before any pub can be demolished. Those which are not in conservation areas currently have no protection. Motions on both issues were submitted to the council’s meeting by the Labour group and, following amendments by the ruling Liberal Democrats, they were approved. Councillor Rob Dryden, who submitted Labour’s motion on pubs, said an "article four" direction, which would require the council to give consent prior to demolition of a pub, was much needed. He said the city had lost a lot of pubs and that many had been shut by housing developers for profit.
 
New dates for Blackpool EMRO hearing: A new date has been set for a key hearing into the future of Blackpool’s night time economy. Five days have been set aside to consider controversial plans to introduce an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) in the resort. Licensing councillors will meet from Monday, 9 December to Friday, 13 December to hear representations on the proposal to ban alcohol sales after 3am in parts of Blackpool town centre. The meeting was originally due to have been held on 4 and 5 September, but was delayed in order to allow more time for all the evidence to be presented.

Company News:

Burger King boosted by 2.4% Europe sales rise: Burger King plans to introduce fewer seasonal and limited-time menu items in a bid to help its franchisees – nearly all its restaurants are now franchised – improve profits and speed up service. The company is now “focused on introducing fewer, more impactful products. A good example of this is the recent launch of Satisfries,” chief executive Daniel Schwartz said. The third-largest US hamburger chain, behind McDonald’s and Wendy’s, said it sold more than 500 restaurants in the last year to franchisees. Like-for-like sales fell 0.3% in the US and Canada due to continued weakness in consumer spending and intense pricing competition among fast-food chains. Europe, Middle East and Africa saw a 2.4% rise in sales. Burger King’s third-quarter global like-for-like growth was 0.9%, in line with McDonald’s. 

InnBrighton to open brewpub and circus performance venue next month: InnBrighton, the 45-strong pub operator, is to open a flagship brewpub, The Aeronaut, in Acton on 7 November that will host circus performances. The Aeronaut has been built on the site of The Redback Tavern in the High Street, an Enterprise Inns site that was previously run by Antic but closed in February. The pub will feature the on-site Laine’s Brewery and will also host performances by cabaret acrobats, burlesque and circus performers. The pub is named after George Lee Temple, the turn-of-the-century pilot who was born in Acton and became the first Englishman to fly an aeroplane upside down. The imposing building and its location attracted interest from a significant number of operators before InnBrighton secured it. Said chief executive Gavin George: “It’s an amazing site in a location which our extensive research suggests is ideal for our style of pub operation.” InnBrighton plans to mirror the successful transformations of The Crystal Palace Tavern in East Dulwich into The Great Exhibition, The Greyhound in Battersea into The Candle Maker and The Clarendon in Newington Green into The Dissenting Academy. The company is investing £600,000 into the creation of the flagship site for its London estate.

Giraffe opens training restaurant today: Giraffe, the family restaurant brand owned by Tesco, opens its training restaurant, G1, today (Tuesday) at its original site in Hampstead, North London. A spokesman said: “G1 will be a place for the next generation of chefs, servers and managers to learn the 'Giraffe way'. All mains will be just £6.25, with starters and desserts from £3.25 and wines ranging from £10 to £15 per bottle.”

Cowshed wins bank backing for expansion: The Bristol restaurant The Cowshed has arranged a £140,000 financial package with HSBC to support its expansion. The restaurant is taking over space next door which used to be the former Whiteladies Picture House bar. The expansion will increase its capacity by 50% and include a new bar, larger kitchens and the introduction of a chef's table, allowing diners to see kitchen staff at work. The Cowshed's founder, Adam Denton, said: "We didn't want to be turning customers away and we also didn't want to have to leave our home, so the logical move was to expand next door. The results have exceeded our expectation." Nick Stork, area commercial director for HSBC Bristol and Bath, said: "The Cowshed is a much-valued part of Bristol’s vibrant and diverse restaurant scene, and it is fantastic that the company wants to build on the great reputation and customer base it enjoys."

Revolution owner invests £1m in October: Inventive Leisure has re-opened its Leadenhall, Cheltenham, Preston and Bristol Revolution bars, after a total investment in excess of £1m in October. The business is currently undergoing a dramatic transformation in both its operational style and product offering as part of its £6.6m investment in its Evolution programme. Leadenhall Revolution, in the City of London, is based in a former Midlands Bank designed by the architect Edwin Lutyens. It now boasts a 20ft back bar, illuminated by gantry lighting, and a 30ft marble bar top. The raised mezzanine dining section allows customers to see the whole bar through floor to ceiling glass panels. The 12-seater private dining area, located inside the former gold bullion safe, has been given a full makeover to create what Inventive calls "a highly styled, feminine environment", while still retaining its historical features such as safety deposit boxes and the original safe door.
 
Nottingham EIS pub pays first dividend: Lady Bay Inns, an EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) investment set up by Chris Holmes, owner of Castle Rock Brewery, and its chairman, Geoff Newton, to fund the development of the Poppy and Pint pub in Lady Bay, Nottingham, has paid its first dividend in its second year's trading. Newton said: "The Poppy and Pint is now a well established community pub, not just for the residents of Lady Bay, but also for the wider Nottingham area." The Poppy and Pint is in the premises of a former Royal British Legion Club on Pierrepont Road, Lady Bay. Its refurbishment and the change from a private members’ club into a public house took place in 2011 after an investment of £600,000 from 72 private investors through the EIS fund and a further £120,000 from Tynemill. No dividend was paid in the first year. The second year profit was £46,000, with a 4% increase in wet sales and a 20% increase in food sales in the year to end April 2013. The company declared a dividend of 6.25%.
 
Carluccio’s expects appeal decision on Harrogate planning refusal shortly: Carluccio’s expects a decision on a planning appeal relating to a site in Harrogate in the next few weeks. The company has had an application in the town turned down twice despite huge local support. A public outcry followed Harrogate Council’s initial decision to refuse planning permission for the Italian restaurant and deli proposed for the former Optical Express shop on Station Square. Carluccio’s second application received 19 letters of support, with just one objection, from Phillip Lunn of Lateral Property group, who suggested his own development on Parliament Street would be a more suitable location. However the council’s planning department rejected the plans, citing the same reasons it gave when the first plan was refused in June 2013. The council's head of planning services, Gary Bell, said: “In the opinion of the local planning authority, the loss of most of this retail establishment would result in a dilution of the retail uses in a shopping area, which would detract from the existing shopping nature of the town.”

Guinness ad campaign misfires: A Guinness advertising campaign that saw the brand take over all three breaks during Saturday night’s episode of the Jonathan Ross Show, was criticised by viewers for being “painful” and even sexist. The featured Jonathan Ross interviewing author Danny Wallace and Oxford University professor Robin Dunbar, discussing the findings of a research paper, commissioned by Guinness, on male bonding. The #RoundUpYourMates hashtag was quickly hijacked by viewers as the ads aired. The hashtag has garnered more than 2,000 tweets, according to the analysis tool Topsy, but the vast majority of them were negative.

Benugo wins Best Coffee Shop award: The foodservice group Benugo has been awarded “Best London Coffee Shop” for the second time at the London Hospitality Awards. It also won the title in 2011. Benugo first opened in 1998 on St John Street in Clerkenwell, North London and now includes ten sites across London, among them Great Portland Street, King’s Cross St Pancras, Curzon Street, Old Street, Westfield and Waterloo Station. Two new sites will be opening before the end of this year.
 
Brew Cafe looks at three more London sites: Brew Cafe, which currently runs outlets in Wimbledon and Battersea in South London, is looking at three more South London openings. The sites under consideration are in Balham, Primrose Hill and Old York Road, Wandsworth. Chris James, the company's office and accounts manager, said: “After our very popular and successful Northcote Road cafe, we opened in Wimbledon last year, and with continued popularity, we feel we have a great brand and offer and that this is the perfect time to expand in new areas.” James said the new outlets will be similar fashion to current Brew Cafe sites, but with a “twist to each”. The chain also has an outlet in SoHo, New York.
 
Costa Coffee – sales climb after global Happy Hour campaign: The chief executive of Costa Coffee in India, Santhosh Uni, has reported increased sales thanks to the introduction of Happy Hours in quieter periods. He said: “While we have been running promotions across our stores for many years, the newly launched Happy Hours promotion is the most interesting one. Happy Hours is Costa Coffee's global sales promotion campaign, which is tweaked according to the market it is rolled out in. The main objective behind the campaign is to push consumption during the unproductive hours. For instance, while some markets have low footfalls during morning hours, others have outlets where sales dip during lunch hours. The low footfall time-window can vary across markets or across outlets spread within the same market. Earlier, some outlets did only 20 transactions after 8pm. This changed to 60 transactions during the Happy Hours promotion. After the end of the promotion, the number of transactions across most of our stores stands at 30. Since 80% of Costa Coffee outlets ran the promotion, the footfalls across some of the stores have increased by 40%."
 
Coffee shop run by prisoners opens in Yorkshire: A coffee shop staffed by prisoners has opened in the North Yorkshire town of Yarm. The Grange coffee shop sits just outside the perimeter fence at HMP Kirklevington Grange in Yarm, a "resettlement" prison for men nearing the end of sentences lasting more than three years. The prisoners, wearing black logoed T-shirts and matching caps, serve cappuccinos, scones, bacon sandwiches, homemade soup and panini from 7.30am to 6pm each day to members of the public. The coffee shop is one of a number of projects at the prison designed to help prisoners at the end of lengthy sentences learn how "to be good citizens again," said Graeme Parry, the prison’s head of reducing reoffending.

Panera Bread sets out plan to restore growth: Panera Bread, one of the most successful bakery cafe brands in the United States in recent years, is extending restaurant workers’ hours, streamlining its menu and upgrading equipment to address slow throughput, executives said this week. Panera's co-founder and chief executive, Ron Shaich, said the company was intent on improving the guest experience to restore transaction growth with a higher level of service and greater accuracy. “Walk into our cafes at 12.30pm.during the lunch rush and you’ll see the lines,” he said. “Our problem is keeping up with and meeting that demand with an in-cafe experience that delivers something truly differentiated.”

Cafe Destino wins sixth station coffee shop contract: Cafe Destino, the Surrey-based railway station coffee shop operator, has won the contract to run the cafe at the new Wokingham railway station. The company, which was founded in 2006, currently runs nine sites in total on platforms and in booking halls at Andover, Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh and Farnborough railway stations. The new Cafe Destino replaces the former cafe operator at the station, Steamers, despite a petition signed by 1,200 people calling for Steamers to move into the cafe space at the new station. South West Trains said: “Following the major redevelopment of Wokingham station, we took the opportunity to review the services available at the station. We are pleased to announce a new family-run business will start retailing at the station from late November. The new tenant will offer an enhanced passenger experience.”

Ex-El Bulli chef opens 'gastro wine pub' in London: A former chef at three of the best-known restaurants in Spain is opening a self-style "gastro wine pub" called Margaux in a site previously occupied by an Indian restaurant in the Old Brompton Road, Earls Court, West London. The head chef is Xavier Castella Vilamajo, who has previously worked at Zuma, Iberica and El Bulli, and the interior design is by the architectural practice Brinkworth, also responsible for the interiors of two other London restaurants, Dabbous in Bloomsbury and Giorgio Locatelli's Tinello in Pimlico. The restaurant will seat 85 over two floors, with room in the bar for casual dining for a further 11 people. It also has a wine room that can seat 16 for private events. The aim is to appeal to both food and wine lovers, and the menu includes Barolo braised beef, seared foie gras, house-made pork terrine, porcini risotto and grilled veal rib.

Coffee Continental opens second branch: The couple behind an award-winning cafe in Blackwood, Caerphilly have opened a second branch, in the Castle Arcade, Cardiff. Esther Apoussidis, who founded Coffee Continental with her husband George in the Market Place Shopping Centre, Blackwood in 2010, said: “We identified a gap in the market in Cardiff for somewhere serving truly unusual speciality cakes, as well as a comprehensive range of coffee and hot chocolate inspired by the Austrian coffee houses.” Esther won a Women in Business Award from Caerphilly Business Forum in 2011.

200-plus Wetherspoon sites win toilet recognition: More than 200 JD Wetherspoon pubs have achieved the ultimate rating in the Loo of the Year Awards 2013. A total of 204 Wetherspoon pubs across the UK have received the platinum award, the highest accolade possible. A further 96 of the company’s pubs received the gold award. The awards are aimed at highlighting and improving standards of "away from home" toilet provision across the UK. Authorised inspectors make unannounced visits to hundreds of toilets at outlets across the UK in order to judge them. The managing director of the Loo of the Year Awards 2013, Mike Bone, said: “The unique design, cleanliness and range of facilities at Wetherspoon pubs is a credit to the company and the pub management and staff who keep them in excellent condition.” Wetherspoon's chief executive, John Hutson, said: “The quality and cleanliness of our toilets is important to both us and our customers. We are delighted that this has been recognised by the inspectors and that our pubs achieved such high ratings.” The platinum rating is given only to outlets which offer "exceptional toilets". Wetherspoon has been shortlisted for a number of national awards which will be announced on Friday 6 December.
 
Rugby star becomes McDonald’s supply chain scout:
Rugby star Phil Vickery is one of the 16 members of the public hired by McDonald’s as a chain scout. "McDonald's to the general public is a bit of a taboo subject," Vickery said. "But I have been there with my family and I thought, 'Let's have a look.' I was allowed to see anything and speak to anyone I wanted to throughout the supply chain and I was impressed. I am employed by them but I would not have stuck my neck out like this if I didn't believe in it." McDonald's UK unveiled a series of interactive reports revealing how some of its most iconic products are made. More than 1,700 people applied for the role and 16 were selected to investigate and chronicle the journey of four products – the Big Mac, Happy Meal hamburger, fries and the sausage and egg McMuffin. They included mothers, fathers, grandparents, teachers and agricultural experts from all corners of the UK.
 
Pizza Express opens in Stirling: Pizza Express has opened a 120-cover restaurant in Stirling, Scotland. The artwork for the Stirling restaurant has taken its influence from the Scottish architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s interior design for the parish church in Bridge of Allan in 1904. The iconic style of Mackintosh has been worked into the pendants and canvas artwork at the restaurant, celebrating his work.
 
Nando’s opens eighth site in India, plans 15 more: Nando's is opening its eighth outlet in India this week with a new site in Gurgaon, near New Delhi. Currently, the brand has 980 restaurants worldwide. Nando’s entered India with Indage Group as the master franchisee. It has seven restaurants in New Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Chennai. Franchisee Janpath Restaurants has planned to open four units by the end of 2013 and 15 across the greater Delhi area in the next four years.
 
Restaurant brands line up for Birmingham development: Around 80% of space at the Birmingham New Street station redevelopment has been leased two years before it opens. The 28-year-old Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy, winner of the Acorn’s hospitality 2012 young star of the future award, is set to launch his Tapas Revolution restaurant, while the Vietnamese restaurant Pho, plans to bring street-style cuisine. It is Pho’s first foray outside London and the South East. They are joined by Italian Caffe Concerto, Mexican Tortilla, Crepe Affaire, YO! Sushi!, Carluccio’s, Fuel Juice Bar and Giraffe.

Jamie Rollo – Spirit results were mixed: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has described Spirit's results last week as a mixed set of figures. He said: “The main news was that the company plans to reprofile circa £260m of its securitised bonds, with the aim being to extend the debt maturity in order to save on the upcoming amortisation costs. The company said this will come at a higher interest cost, as well as £1.5m additional financing costs on the provision of its undrawn debenture liquidity, and we think these are likely to impact our and consensus forecasts. This lends credence to the view that the cash from Spirit’s securitised debt will be squeezed once its bonds start amortising, and that this cash looks insufficient to cover all the plc’s needs (hence plc cash shrunk again, to £66m). Overall, a mixed set of figures.”
 
Corney & Barrow sells Waterloo bar to SSP: SSP UK, which runs more than 600 food and beverage outlets, including Burger King, Caffe Ritazza, Upper Crust and Millie's Cookies, at 20 airports and 115 rail stations, has acquired the Cabin bar at Waterloo station in London from Corney & Barrow Bars. Cabin will become part of the SSP estate from 13 November. The bar opened in Waterloo station in July 2012. Ed Gardner, managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars, said: "The new executive team at C&B Bars has recently completed a strategic review of the company's bar estate. This has resulted in a decision to terminate C&B's interest in Cabin at Waterloo Station. Our priority going forward is to consolidate and build on our pre-eminent position within the Square Mile and Canary Wharf. We have a number of key investment plans for the City estate and this realignment of resources will enable us to focus on our core strengths as the economy and trading conditions around us improve. No other disposals are contemplated at this time". Mark Angela, chief executive of SSP UK & Ireland, said: “We are very pleased to be including Cabin in our growing portfolio of premium bars, such as the Merchant at Liverpool Street and the Grain Loft at Manchester Airport. Bars and pubs form a key part of our strategy as we focus on upgrading our estate and introducing premium offers as part of the mix. We will continue to invest and bring innovation to this sector to ensure we continue to deliver an exceptional experience for customers. We have invested in the team to do this. Barry Gifford is our ops director and earlier in the year, we appointed Lucy Knowles from Corney & Barrow Bars to the position of chief marketing officer to drive this sector of our business. Lucy will be supported by Natalia Di Palma, who has a wealth of experience heading the marketing at Drake & Morgan.”
 
Intertain to launch new digital strategy: Intertain is launching a new digital strategy for its 35-strong Walkabout chain of bars which will see it "revolutionise" the way it talks and listens to its customers. The strategy will include "the revolution and evolution" of the current social media, email, search and mobile activities, alongside a brand-new mobile optimised website and online booking system, the company says. The new infrastructure, developed by the independent marketing communications agency Spinnaker, is due to go live at the start of November. It also includes a new CRM programme with new customer segmentation and a new CRM database. The new infrastructure will allow Walkabout to send timelier, relevant and more personalised communications, enabling increased footfall and online bookings, Intertain said. Simon Kaye, chief operating officer at Intertain, said: “Our new digital strategy will radically transform what we know about our customers and the way we talk to them. We truly believe this will deliver powerful ROI for our business.” Commencing in 2010, Walkabout has carried out the complete refurbishment of 13 of its venues, creating hundreds of jobs. The development of a new digital infrastructure comes as Walkabout plans further investment that will see more refurbishments over the next two to three years, and in due course, the acquisition of new Walkabout venues.

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