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Tue 19th Nov 2013 - Costa, ETM Group, InnBrighton, Punch Taverns, Tragus

Story of the Day:

Pizza Rossa smashes crowd-funding target: Pizza Rossa, the start-up that aims to operate a chain of quick-service pizzerias, has smashed its crowd-funding target through Crowdcube, with £440,000 raised from 122 investors. The company had planned to raise just £280,000 in investment in return for 26% of the equity. Its business plan won the annual London Business School Business Plan Competition and was ranked runner up in the European finals against the best European business schools. Corrado Accardi developed the business model after studying professional pizza-making at a leading pizza school in Italy. Subsequently he worked in a pizzeria al taglio to test the validity of the Pizza Rossa concept. Recently, he has run pop up events to further prove the concept by selling pizza. He achieved 74% average gross margin. The overall investment is expected to generate over 80% IRR and 16x equity return to the investors. The Crowdcube pitch states: “Once the business model is validated with the first two outlets, we will increase the number of outlets organically. We foresee potential for 12 outlets to be opened in five years without further cash injections. However, we believe momentum should be maintained with further capital injections to fuel explosive growth. Ultimately, we aspire to open 100+ outlets in London alone, expanding through franchising in the UK and overseas and selling to third party resellers (such as independent cafes) and supermarkets.”

Industry News:

Multi-Site Masterclass almost full: Fuller’s, Frog Pubs, Bath Ales, Noble Inns, New Pub Company, Oakman Inns and Restaurants, Flat Iron, Real Eating Company, Weston Castle, Absolute Pubs and Lucky Voice have now booked places for the Propel Multi Site Management Masterclass. They join: Young’s, Everards, Be At One, Barrio Bars, Foundation Inns, Prezzo, Loungers, TGI Friday’s, Stonegate Pub Company, All Our Bars, Giggling Squid, Spirit, G1 Group, Maclay Group, Anglian Country Inns, Charles Wells, Snug Bars, Luminar, Admiral Taverns, Domino’s UK, Bulldog Hotel Group, Yummy Pubs and K10 as attendees for the Masterclass, launched last Thursday in partnership with Professor Christian Edger. The one-day masterclass, to be held on Thursday 9 January, will provide insights on the skills required for effective multi-site management. Professor Edger’s seminar, which will include input from industry leaders, looks at how the UK’s most admired companies operate multi-site units effectively and what winners do and losers don’t. The seminar also examines the essential practices of effective multi-site managers and how successful multi-site companies accelerate the development of multi-site managers. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “The content of this day-long event is absolutely first class – and will shape company strategies for years to come.” Tickets are £295 for ALMR members and £345 for non-ALMR members. To book or find out more, e-mail jo.charity@propelinfo.com. The event will be held at Tanner & Co, 50 Bermondsey Street, London SE1.

Sapient Corporate Finance – ‘We’re going to see more public listings and more tenanted evolution’: Peter Hansen, founder of the leading sector mergers and acquisitions firm Sapient Corporate Finance, has predicted a number of restaurant companies owned by private equity firms will seek public listings in the coming few years. He also predicted more evolution of the tenanted pub company model. He told the Propel Multi Site Conference: “Cote is a great brand – very well run and most likely it’s going to be listed.” On the tenanted sector, he forecast more companies adopting the Amber Taverns and Marston’s quasi-managed model, with as many as 1,000 top-end pubs within the larger pub companies suitable to a hybrid managed-tenanted business model. “I think we will see more variation to the one size that fits all approach within the tenanted pub sector,” he said. Hansen added: “I do believe that 2013 is a turning point in the market. I’m not specifically talking about mergers and acquisitions because it tends to lag the market. In a couple of years the banks will come back into the sector – as soon as their balance sheet strengthen, they’re going to start looking for places to lend.” Hansen cautioned, though, that banks are still taking a conservative approach, not least because they have become reluctant owners of a number of sector companies. He cited Bramwell Pub Company as an example of some of the problems that arise. “It had an opco/propco structure, so seven banks effectively controlled the property owning company that charged rent to the operating company and there was another seven set of banks that basically controlled the operating company – and they found it difficult to agree on just about anything.”

Adam Hyman – Marylebone is a new London hotspot: Restaurant consultant Adam Hyman has hailed Marylebone as a new London restaurant hotspot. He said: “New restaurant hotspots in London are emerging with bewildering speed. King’s Cross was virtually derelict just a few years ago: now restaurateurs are flocking to it. Marylebone has long been a wealthy area but only recently have its restaurants begun to blossom. David Moore’s Pieds Nus opened a few weeks ago next to Trishna; Chris Corbin and Jeremy King are coming to the district along with Michael Riemenschneider; and André Balazs opens his first London hotel there in the spring The Swiss-born chef Riemenschneider, who won a Michelin star at the Abbey restaurant in Penzance, Cornwall, will open his first London venue, restaurant consultant Adam Hyman has reported. Canvas is expected to launch on the former Verru site on Marylebone Lane.”

BII members oppose plan to scrap national system of personal licences: Members of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) have voiced their opposition to the Home Office’s proposal to scrap the national system of personal licences. A survey found 95% thought there was a need for Personal Licences and 91% thought the removal of the system would harm the trade’s professional reputation.

New Crime Prevention Minister targets “booze Britain”: Norman Baker, the new crime prevention minister, is to target “booze Britain” and its “embarrassing” binge-drinking culture. The Liberal Democrat Home Office minister will tell producers and retailers to end “irresponsible promotions” and stop designing alcoholic beverages to encourage teenage drinking. He will meet the Portman Group producers’ body, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association and the Association of Convenience Stores this week to set out his demands. “I don’t think the drinks industry is yet fully accepting responsibility on the downside of their product,” he said. “If they appear to be prioritising the bottom line at the expense of antisocial behaviour then that gives more impetus for ministers to take matters forward. The ball’s in their court.”

Report argues London should have higher minimum wage: London should have a higher national minimum wage because of rising living costs and growing in-work poverty, a new report has argued. The Centre for London think-tank and Trust for London charity said the capital’s economy could support an adult rate of £6.75 an hour, 7% higher than the statutory figure of £6.31. The higher rate would increase the pay of around 175,000 workers by up to £800 a year, said the report. Kitty Ussher, the report’s author, said: “Our research shows that firms in London have barely been impacted by the minimum wage. Looking at the effect in the rest of the UK, this means there is scope for it to rise in London without jeopardising jobs.”

Calorie count makes no difference to customer fast food dining patterns: A new study by the New York University School of Medicine polled 2,000 Philadelphia fast food customers, aged 18 to 64, and found that few paid attention to calorie counts on menus. Findings showed no difference in how often people ate at fast food restaurants or the amount of calories they consumed before and after the policy went into effect in Philadelphia, HealthDay reports.

Company News:

Tragus to open Hawtons at Longleat and refreshed Strada at Woburn: Café Rouge operator Tragus is to open Hawtons bar and restaurant at Longleat Forest Center Parcs on Monday, 2 December, replacing an Ortega. Hawtons will serve classic British favourites, from doorstep sandwiches to cod and chips, pie and mash and bubble and squeak. Meanwhile, Tragus will open a Strada site, with refreshed brand values, at the planned Woburn Forest Center Parcs, which will be open in Spring 2014. A job advert for the new Strada states: “We are currently going through a very exciting process of re-energising Strada making its offer bold, fresh, simple and approachable. A new brand board team has joined the company to implement the changes. The design is being enhanced and made more colourful and captivating. The menu has been developed to reflect brand’s offer. We want to capture and embody the richness, energy, enthusiasm, texture and vibrant flavour of the Italian street (Strada).”

InnBrighton adds Indian food offer to Brighton site: InnBrighton, the 47-strong operator led by Gavin George and owned by Graphite Capital, will start to offer Indian food at its Norfolk pub in Brighton on 27 November. The company franchises out its food offer at a number of sites and the latest opening will see Brighton’s Indian Summer restaurant taking over the food offer. InnBrighton also hosts La Choza, a Mexican street food franchise at its Candlemakers site in Battersea. And its Dissenting Academy in Newington Green has seen the opening of the Cornwall Project, a wholesaler that supplies fresh Cornish food to host of other retailers in London. George told Propel: “These are great offers, providing stand-alone differentiated food.” InnBrighton opened its second brewpub earlier this month at The Aeronaut in Acton. George said: “It’s going absolutely brilliantly, operating a one-in, one-out policy since we opened. It seems to have captured the imagination of West London.”

Second Iberico World Tapas site opens: A second Iberico World Tapas site has opened, this time in Derby city centre’s Bold Lane after a £150,000 refurbishment of the premises formerly occupied by Caribbean restaurant Mango Tang. It specialises in authentic Spanish tapas as well producing a selection of dishes inspired by Japanese and Far Eastern cuisine. Operated by the same team that runs Nottingham’s World Service restaurant, the first Iberico World Tapas opened in that city’s Lace Market in 2007. The Derby site is about twice the size of its Nottingham counterpart, which was a runner-up in the best restaurant category of The Observer Food Monthly Awards. Director Dan Lindsay said: “We get a lot of people from Derby eating at the Nottingham restaurant and we have been planning for some time to open another one so it made perfect sense to come here.”

ETM Group – ‘One Canada Square made a strong start’: London gastro-pub operator ETM Group has reported a strong start at its new £2m flagship Canary Wharf site, One Canada Square. Co-founder Tom Martin told Propel: “The dining room has proven to be a great success both at lunch and dinner and both bars have been very popular, especially on Wednesdays to Fridays when they’ve been rammed. Private party bookings for the mezzanine have been flooding in and the feedback from the local businesses and people living in the area has been nothing but positive. Breakfast numbers are growing fast and so, too, are Saturday brunches and evening dinners.”

Steamin Billy Brewing Company adds ninth site: Steamin Billy Brewery Company, the company led buy Billy Allingham, has bought a ninth pub, The Griffin, in Oakham, a former Admiral Taverns freehold that had been on the market for £200,000. Allingham said: “We feel Oakham will suit the Steamin Billy model of traditional ale house. Oakham boasts a recent Wetherspoon opening and also Wildwood is moving in soon. But we feel we can sit comfortably alongside – we will offer four hand-pulled cask ales and a range of craft beers.” Funding has come from retained profits and Handelsbanken. Allingham added: “Our latest purchase in Hinckley is trading well above expectations and we are confident the great British pub will continue to thrive in the right area and under the right management.”

Stephen Murphy appointed as Byron chairman: The former chief executive of Virgin Group, Stephen Murphy, is to be appointed as chairman of Byron Hamburgers. His arrival follows the acquisition of the company for £100m from Gondola Holdings by Hutton Collins. The better burger chain opened its 35th site in Hammersmith, West London, last week.

Stonegate opens new Slug and Lettuce: Stonegate Pub Company has opened a brand new Slug and Lettuce at Tower Bridge in St Katharine Dock following an investment of £370,000, resulting in the creation of ten new jobs. It is a conversion of a former Living Room site. The Slug and Lettuce at Tower Bridge will offer customers an enhanced, premium food and drink menu. A special champagne corner and VIP booths, which can be pre-booked for parties and celebrations, are just some of the special elements introduced to the bar. Additional dishes have been added to the ‘Under 500 Calories Section’ including the grilled asparagus and king prawn salad along with dishes such as grilled salmon and heritage potatoes and roast loin of cod served with a vermouth and chive sauce. Another first for the Slug and Lettuce is the listing of an organic lager by the award-winning English brewery, Freedom.

Costa to open ninth site in Leeds: Costa Coffee is to open its ninth coffee shop in Leeds. The brand is the latest tenant to move into the Merrion Centre’s arena quarter leisure development, which comprises nine units, after acquiring a unit of 3,750 sq ft. The cafe, which joins Pure Gym, MFA Bowl and Cosmo at the leisure space, which faces the First Direct Arena, will open on 4 December. This will be Costa’s second outlet in the Merrion Centre. Julia De San Luis, Costa Coffee store manager, said: “Our existing store in the Merrion Centre is our most popular Costa in Leeds.”

Sam Gray doubles up with Exeter opening for Thirst: Restaurateur Sam Gray and his business partner Yiannis Solomou has opened a new bar and restaurant in the former Havana premises on Exeter Quay – and a second Thirst site. They have invested around £100,000 in taking over and revamping the premises, which had been vacant for around two years. Gray, who also owns The Thirst cocktail bar and nightclub in Plymouth, said the Exeter venue would be a slightly different proposition to its namesake down the A38, with the emphasis on drinks and food. “I have always been interested in Exeter and have always wanted to progress upcountry. I knew this venue when it was Mad Dogs and then Havana and always liked the venue. It’s been closed for a couple of years but we saw it as an opportunity.”

Associated British Ports sells site to Marston’s: Associated British Ports has sold a one-acre site in Fleetwood to Marston’s Inns & Taverns for the construction of a family pub and restaurant. Work has already begun on the site at the gateway to Fleetwood docks’ commercial redevelopment area in Amounderness Way. ABP’s agents Preston O’Herlihy are in discussion with potential occupiers for adjoining sites. Nick Ridehalgh, ABP’s regional director, said: “We are confident that this deal will prove to be the catalyst to encourage other complementary occupiers to take advantage of the adjacent high profile main road sites that we have available, thereby delivering further quality development in Fleetwood.”

Punch Taverns plans £350,000 development of Lewisham pub: Punch Taverns has recruited a new, as yet unnamed, partner as it plans a £350,000 investment in a Lewisham pub that has been closed for seven months. The pub will reopen in mid-March after the refurbishment, which is due to start in January. A statement from Punch Taverns said: “With The Honor Oak currently being closed for trade, we are aware that there may be some concern regarding the future of the pub. We can re-assure the community that we see the pub very much part of the long term future of Punch Taverns and we are planning a £350,000 investment and refurbishment beginning in January with a gala reopening in mid March.”

Black Country Ales adds Punch Taverns freehold to estate: Black Country Ales, headed by Angus McMeeking, has acquired The Queens Head in High Street, Wordsley, a former Punch Taverns pub. The pub, currently closed for refurbishment takes the number of pubs operated by Black Country Ales to 31. The Queen’s Head will serve ales brewed at the Pensnett-based company’s brewery at The Old Bull’s Head in Lower Gornal and guest beers and will have ten handpulls. The pub was available for offers based on £295,000 when it was put on the market earlier this year.

Another nightclub fined for selling vodka unfit for human consumption: The Kaff nightclub in Wigan has been fined £6,000 after it was found to have bought vodka deemed “unfit for human consumption” when the liquid tested positive for denatured alcohol. Council officers were first alerted to the illegal substance when patrons complained of receiving watered down vodka. David Collict, director of Archbrook Limited, the company that owns the venue, pleaded guilty to the charge at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court last week. Officers who investigated the initial complaints found unsealed but full bottles of alcohol at the venue, which a bar worker said had been opened to “save time”. Some of the tested bottles were found to be “not genuine branded vodka, but not dangerous”, while two unsealed bottles were found to be “not genuine, dangerous and unfit for consumption”.

Loungers set to turn 40: Loungers, the café bar concept headed by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, will open its 40th site tomorrow with a new venue in Formby, Haro Lounge. The next Lounge will open on Princes Street in Truro on 18 December in a former building society office that has been closed for four years.

Zizzi, Chimichanga and Boswells open at Gloucester Quays: Zizzi, Chimichanfa and Boswells has opened at Gloucester Quays. A ten screen Cineworld cinema opens at the development next month. Zizzi served more than 100 customers on the opening night and staff reports they have taken more than 350 bookings until Christmas already. Manager Sophia Storey said: “We can only expect that it is going to get even busier when the cinema opens. There is going to be a really good atmosphere down here as more and more places start to open.” Coal Grill and Bar is to set to open at the Quays in the coming weeks.

Celebrity chef gets Clerkenwell go-ahead: Celebrity chef Bill Granger has won a licence to open a restaurant in historic Clerkenwell Green, his second. Granger, famous for his “easy-going and joyful” approach to cooking, had submitted a second, revised application for a 98-seater restaurant on the ground floor of the four-storey Buckley Building, a restored former warehouse turned into offices. The venue, Granger and Co, will now close at 11pm, half an hour earlier than previously suggested. It will be regulated, according to Granger’s barrister Gary Grant, with the “most robust set of conditions in all England”.

Luxury B&B on the market for £1.2m: Ty Mawr Mansion, a boutique B&B business set in a Grade II Listed Georgian estate, is being marketed for sale by agent Christie + Co with a £1.2m asking price. The business is situated in the picturesque rolling hills of Mid-West Wales in the small village of Cilcennin, five miles from the Aberaeron coastline.Ty Mawr Mansion sits within a 13 acres estate featuring a five-acre bluebell forest, a Victorian walled garden, two paddocks, a pig pen and a hen hut. In addition there is parking for 25 cars and fishing rights over part of the Afon Aeron. Current owners, Martin and Catherine McAlpine, bought the manor house in 2006. Aware of its potential, they spent 12 months sympathetically converting the estate into a nine-bedroom B&B with a 27-seat cinema, restaurant and substantial three-bedroom owner accommodation, with sauna. Each letting room is bespoke with traditional, top quality furnishings that contrast beautifully with the luxury contemporary bathrooms, featuring steam pods and whirlpool Jacuzzis.

Starbucks loses Charbucks legal case: Starbucks has failed to persuade a federal appeals court to stop a small, family-owned New Hampshire roaster from selling coffee known as “Charbucks”. Ruling in a case that began in 2001, the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals said Black Bear Micro Roastery and its owner, Wolfe’s Borough Coffee, may keep selling “Charbucks Blend”, “Mister Charbucks” and “Mr Charbucks” coffee. Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier stated Starbucks did not deserve an injunction to stop Charbucks sales, having failed to prove that consumers would be confused through a “blurring” of its brand.

Pickles Pub Management takes sixth site, third Punch Taverns venue: Pickles Pub Management, headed by Neil Pickles, has taken its sixth pub – and third Punch Taverns site. The Red Lion in Ilkley will reopen after a major joint investment of £100,000 by leaseholder Neil Pickles and Punch Taverns. The pub will offer barista-style coffee as well as a selection of wines, beers and six cask ales. Pickles said: “This is my third Punch pub and I could always see The Red Lion’s potential and shared Punch’s vision to bring it back to the community as a family-friendly pub. The pub looks fantastic; it is brighter and more welcoming.”

Ed’s Easy Diner opens 21st site: Ed’s Easy Diner has opened its 21st site the Intu Watford shopping centre (formerly The Harlequin) which is the largest shopping centre in Hertfordshire, visited by over 17 million customers each year. Ed’s Easy Diner has 21 restaurants, two shake stands, six Ed’s Shakes ‘N Dogs stands and an international site, Joe’s Easy Diner in Cape Town.

Rock band open a coffee shop: Members of rock ban Lilliput have opened Holmeside Coffee in Holmeside. Band member James Gilling said: “When we’ve been to places like London and Liverpool there’s loads of great independent coffee houses, but there wasn’t anything like that in Sunderland apart from the chains. They have their place, but they are a lot more expensive and the experience you have is the same in every branch you go in.” As well as coffee, the new business, which is open from 7.30am, offers free Wi-Fi, literature for customers to read and a choice of vinyl for people to choose as background music, as well as guest musicians on Saturdays. Instead of charging people to eat in, coffee drinkers are encouraged to bring their own food should they wish. “An average cup of coffee costs £1.80,” said Gilling. “It’s all made using beans from Ouseburn Coffee which is roasted 17 miles away.”

Spirit wins apprenticeship recognition: Spirit Pub Company has been recognised in the prestigious Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list which is compiled annually by the National Apprenticeship Service in partnership with City & Guilds and recognises excellence in businesses that employ apprentices. The list was announced at the National Apprenticeship Awards. Joanne Bradford, National Qualifications Manager at Spirit, said: “We’re absolutely over the moon to have been recognised as one of the Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers. Our apprenticeship scheme is still in its infant stages – having only launched three years ago – but we have achieved so much. We’ve now got over 1,000 apprentices who have completed or are studying on one of our five apprenticeship programmes, and out of those over 50% have been promoted and progressed to a new role thanks to their apprenticeship.”

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