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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 5th Mar 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Downing reports £15.3m investment in pub sector in 2013 – plans up to £30m in further investment: Investment fund Downing invested circa £15.3m in the pub sector in 2013 – and would like to invest as much as £30m in the next 18 months. The majority of the investment was focused on buying freeholds in London managed by Antic London. The pub sector investments were: Augusta Pub Company (£4,780,000), Pabulum Pubs (£3,293,000), Pearce and Saunders (£2,800,000), Pub People Holdings (£1,911,000) Gregarious (£1,550,000) and Redmed nightclub and bar in Lincoln (£1,000,000). The current Downing Pub EIS has raised a total of £12.4m from investors. Steven Kenee, of Downing, said: “As can be seen from last year’s numbers, Downing continues to be an active investor in the sector. We continue to raise further funds and are looking to place another £15m-£30m in the sector over the next 18 months. Whilst we are lucky enough to have relationships with some great operators, our biggest challenge remains finding high quality management teams with whom we can build long term partnerships.” Downing has launched 15 EIS products over the last five years, which in total have raised approximately £130 million, and has invested in over 50 pubs, located throughout the UK. At the end of 2013, Propel reported that Downing is interested in investing in a vertically integrated brewer. Kenee added: “We had a very positive response with four different vertically integrated brewers getting in touch. Provenance, individuality and diversity are increasingly important in today’s market, not least as it allows a clear point of difference between the on and off trade. The vertically integrated brewery/pub model can offer the consumer all of these things and we are very interested in meeting good quality operators in this field.”

Industry News:

Luke Johnson – restaurants and eating out is the new rock ’n’ roll: Sector investor Luke Johnson has described the eating out experience and food as the new rock ’n’ roll. In his Management Today column, Johnson said: “Restaurants and eating out have become the new rock ’n’ roll. We are a culture obsessed with cooking, food and drink. All ages, from teenagers to the grey market, have discovered the joys of lunch, cocktails, dinner and even breakfast out. As a nation, Britain came to gastronomy fairly late, but we have made up for it in the past couple of decades. London has seen more new bars and dining rooms open in the past 12 months than ever before in its history. Hundreds of millions are being invested in this city alone in launching new establishments, while billions are spent every year by eager patrons on countless meals – grand and casual, social and solitary. Cookery books dominate the non-fiction bestseller lists; food shows dominate the ratings for factual television broadcasts. I cannot explain this phenomenon, but I am both delighted and terrified by it. Happy because I have spent almost 30 years in the hospitality trade, but worried that it may all be something of a fad, that if fashions change, all the current enthusiasm will inevitably fade.”

Intu plans 11 new restaurants at Newcastle Metrocentre: Developer Intu is planning to introduce 11 new restaurants as part of an £11m plan to extend the Newcastle Metrocentre’s entertainment zone, The Qube. It has been given consent for a 45,000 sq ft area next to the cinema,. This will add a further 11 catering outlets and introduce several new operators to the region. The firm said it anticipates securing sufficient pre-letting to start construction this year, to open in 2015.

Russell Norman mentors cafe owners in Restaurant Man: Restaurateur Russell Norman mentors two sisters, Alex and Kate, opening a cafe, the Nook on the Square in Dunchurch, near Rugby, in tonight’s episode of Restaurant Man on BBC2 at 8.00pm. The café is currently ranked second by TripAdvisor out of eight restaurants in Dunchurch – of its seven TripAdvisor reviews, seven rank it as excellent. 

ALMR welcomes MPs’ call to scrap business rates: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has welcomed a report by the parliamentary Business Innovation and Skills Committee calling for a fundamental review of business rates. The report by the committee comes after prolonged and robust campaigning by the ALMR for a wholesale review of business rates to create a fairer deal for pubs, restaurants and bars. The ALMR’s strategic affairs director, Kate Nicholls, said: “We are pleased that the committee has recognised, not only the immense value that hospitality and the high street provides to the UK, but also the disproportionate burden being faced by businesses. It is of particular concern for our members, who currently pay an estimated 15p per pint in business rates, compared to major supermarket chains, who pay an estimated 1p to 1.5p per pint. The ALMR has consistently been vocal on the subject of business rates reform, and we are pleased that our recommendation, to review rates increases annually linked to CPI, has been noted by the committee. The current system, using a monthly snapshot of RPI, serves only to create uncertainty and acts as a brake to investment.” The report draws attention to data highlighted by the ALMR that shows the positive aspects of food and drink to town centres and high streets. Retail environments with a varied mix of licensed retail premises encourage consumers to stay for longer, with per capita spend for those consumers who eat and drink higher than for those who do not. Nicholls said: “A fairer deal on business rates will allow the sector to continue providing that variety and competitiveness and encourage business to grow.”

North Yorkshire warning over sham curries: Warnings have been issued to caterers after two North Yorkshire Indian restaurants were fined for passing beef off as lamb. Test purchases by trading standards officers at Aroma, on Zetland Street, Northallerton, and Moti Raj, High Skellgate, Ripon, found “lamb” curries made entirely from beef. Both businesses said they had been supplied with the wrong product after ordering unspecified meat, rather than lamb, from their suppliers. Aroma Redefining Ltd and Motiraj Contemporary Ltd both appeared before magistrates, where they pleaded guilty to providing food not of the nature demanded and applying a false label to that food. Aroma was fined £2,500 with £529 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Motiraj was fined £3,000 plus costs of £547 and a £120 victim surcharge. North Yorkshire county councillor Chris Metcalfe, executive member for trading standards and planning services, said: “Consumers should not be subjected to this type of scam, which can only be described as a form of food fraud.”

Pizza Hut trials table app: Pizza Hut in the United States is testing a new innovation that would let guests order and pay using the table itself – an interactive table that functions essentially as a giant tablet app. Customers could use the app to choose the size of their pizzas with the same pinch-and-spread motions they might use on a smartphone or pick their toppings by swiping through an interactive menu. The chain referred to the table as a “concept car of pizza ordering”. Pizza Hut spokesman Doug Terfehr said the development of the interactive table was not an market share tool, but rather an attempt to make the user experience more enjoyable. “The interactive experience will be a lot of fun,” he said “Adding toppings, taking away toppings, changing sizes, playing games – all of those things are at the controls of you, the user. It’s a lot like ordering via an app on your phone on the table right there in front of you.”

New strategy published to boost UK beer exports: The British Beer & Pub Association and the National Association of Cidermakers, working with UK Trade and Investment, have published a new strategy to grow beer and cider exports in 2014 and 2015. The new strategy aims to deliver sustainable growth to the British beer and cider industry by bringing together the whole value chain, in partnership with government, to grow exports and reduce trade barriers. It involves increased intelligence sharing, the development and promotion of international export events, work on challenges to barriers to trade and the extension of domestic export event opportunities. The new strategy comes on the back of new figures from HMRC that show 117,000 extra hectolitres of British beer were exported in 2013, compared to 2012. In total, 8.5 million hectolitres were exported in 2013, with notable growth in beer exports to Russia (up 45%), Brazil (up 37%) and China (up 15%).

Burger King introduces Satisfries in the UK: Burger King is introducing its low-fat Satisfries in the UK. The chips contain 30% less fat than conventional French fries – and will be available alongside the existing option. It is also introducing a reduced salt and sugar version of Heinz Tomato Ketchup. Burger King spokesman Bianca Shen said: “The majority of orders include French fries. The Satisfries recipe ensures that they absorb less fat during frying, offering a great tasting French fry that is crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.”

Company News:

Patisserie Valerie operator acquires Philpotts sandwich chain: Patisserie Holdings, the Risk Capital Partners-backed operator of Patisserie Valerie, has acquired Philpotts, the 23-strong independent retailer of premium sandwiches and salads, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition becomes a fifth brand for the company, alongside Druckers, Baker & Spice and Flour Power City, and brings the company’s total estate to 137 sites. Philpotts was founded in Chester in 1985 by Phil Brown, and its sites are in the Midlands, north and west of England and Scotland. Luke Johnson, chairman of Patisserie Holdings, said: “We are delighted to add the Philpotts brand to our family of businesses. They specialise in providing corporate lunches and we want to expand that offering to some of our other branches.”

Jamie’s Italian to open in Hong Kong: A branch of Jamie’s Italian is to open in Hong Kong six years after Jamie Oliver’s first effort to establish a restaurant in Hong Kong fell through. The new Jamie’s Italian outlet will open in Causeway Bay in July. The brand opened an outlet in Singapore last July as its first foray in Asia. The new 200-seater restaurant, set up with local partner Big Cat Group, will be on the second floor of a new building in Tang Lung Street, close to the world’s most expensive commercial rented properties. William Lyon, chief executive of Big Cat Group and of Jamie’s Italian (Hong Kong and China), said the partnership was a fresh beginning between Hong Kong and the celebrity chef and the restaurant was costing “millions of US dollars” to set up.

Government decides not to call in Cains Brewery Village plan: The government has decided not to hold a public inquiry into the planned £150m Cains Brewery Village. The bid to create a craft brewery along with apartments, a boutique hotel, market, cinema and bar at the Cains brewery in Liverpool could have been called in for examination by the Secretary of State for Local Government, Eric Pickles, because of its scale. But the government has now decided there is no need for the planning inspectorate to assess the scheme, and the 60,000 sq ft complex could be completed by summer 2016. Mark Worcester, a director in the Manchester office of the planning and property consultancy Turley, who advised the developer, Brewery Village Ltd, said: “We are delighted with this decision. It opens the way for a major new tourism and leisure destination in Liverpool, providing many new jobs. It will be a real asset for the city.”

Orchid Pub Company reports record number of apprenticeships: A record total of 254 staff have enrolled on an Orchid Apprenticeship – 184 on front-of-house schemes and 70 on chef schemes. Tracy Read, head of people at Orchid Group, said: “We are delighted that more people than ever before are recognising the value of our apprenticeship schemes. Our training team have worked incredibly hard on developing and continually updating our programmes to ensure they offer unrivalled learning and experience opportunities, so to see so many staff getting on board is fantastic.” Orchid’s apprenticeships give employees the chance to take the first step towards a successful working life with the pub company. Opportunities are promoted via Orchid’s extensive social media presence and in internal communications such as OMG, the monthly newsletter.

Chapman Group unveils £500,000 investment in new site: The pub, coaching inn and restaurant operator Chapman Group is to invest £500,000 in its latest acquisition, The Angel Hotel in Coleford, in the Forest of Dean, acquired through agent Christie + Co off a £395,000 asking price. Chris Chapman, founder of the company, said: “There will be ten bedrooms, then we go down to the bars and restaurant. We will be opening a new restaurant and real ale bar. Ordering furniture is always the longest task. But all in all we are looking at about 20 weeks to finish. We want the rooms ready for the summer, with the rest of it coming on-line after that. We can see the potential for more bedrooms in Coleford and the nightclub is a very good cash cow which can also double as a cabaret venue.” The Chapman Group, which is based in Sussex, owns 36 pubs and hotels, including The Tudor in Tewkesbury and The New Inn, The Station and The Dick Whittington in Gloucester. Chapman said the Angel Hotel falls into the coaching inn part of the group’s portfolio.

Marston’s hires new financial public relations firm: Midlands-based Marston’s has hired new financial public relations advisors – it has chosen Instinctif Partners, formerly College Hill, with immediate effect. Instinctif replaces Hudson Sandler.

Wetherspoon beer festival to feature ten guest brewers from around the world: JD Wetherspoon is promising its forthcoming beer festival, taking place between Friday 28 March and Sunday 14 April, will be the ambitious it has ever staged, with 50 ales from around the world, and ten guest craft brewers flown in from around the world to create new beers in the UK. The guest brewers will be working at some of the UK’s best-known regional breweries. Beer writer Melissa Cole said: “Everards will be playing host to the Belgian beer and food maven Hildegard van Ostaden, who is creating beer for Michelin-starred chefs from a kit which most home brewers could rival, while South African young gun Shaun Standeaven will doubtless be wrapping up warm at Caledonian. Some other new faces are Wayne Wambles, from Cigar City, Florida, who will be brewing with Wychwood in Oxfordshire, and the brilliantly named Yeastie Boys, from New Zealand, who’ll be off to Adnams. There are also some old hands at the Wetherspoon collaboration. It’ll be good to see a brewer from my mum’s homeland of Canada: Jason Myer, from Driftwood, who is off to Thwaites, in Lancashire, the county in which I learned to love beer. And perhaps we can expect some holy hopping from monastic brewery Kloster-Scheyern’s Tobias Huber, all the way from Bavaria, who’ll be brewing at Wadworth, in Devizes, as well as some ‘Scandylicious’ beer from Zeunerts Bryggeri’s Rickhard Voigts and Ed Hortemo from Nøgne Ø, who’ll be brewing at Marston’s and Batemans, respectively. Finally, I’m delighted to see what I consider to be one of the finest of the new crop of Spanish microbrewers, Alberto Pacheco from Mateo & Bernabe and Friends, who will be brewing at Shepherd Neame.”

Welcome Break saw 12% Christmas sales spike after new branded openings: The motorway service station operator Welcome Break saw a 12% rise in sales over the five-week Christmas period. Last year Welcome Break opened two Starbucks and three Starbucks drive-throughs as well as the first KFC drive-thru within its motorway service station estate. Welcome Break has the opportunity to open 20 new Harry Ramsden’s and Subway units in 2014. A new food court approach at Welcome Break service stations, already introduced at Woodall services on the M1 and Oxford services on the M40, will be brought together this spring at Birchanger Green services on the M11. Alongside the introduction of Harry Ramsden’s and Subway outlets, there will be a major redesign and refurbishment of the communal areas. Rod McKie, the company’s chief executive, said: “2013 was a momentous year for Welcome Break, particularly with the new brands we have partnered. We’re also delighted to announce a strong like-for-like sales performance increase for the full year and over the five-week Christmas break. 2014 is set to be an even more successful year, and we fully expect to be revealing an even bigger like-for-like sales increase this time next year, as Welcome Break goes from strength-to-strength with the focus firmly on our customers’ needs.”

Jamie Oliver Feastival event dates unveiled: Jamie Cullum and Fatboy Slim are to headline this year’s Big Feastival in Oxfordshire. The food and music festival, hosted by TV chef Jamie Oliver and Blur bassist Alex James, takes place at James’s farm in Kingham in the Cotswolds. Other artists confirmed for the August event include Kelis, DJ Norman Jay and indie-folk band Stornaway. The Big Kitchen stage features Oliver collaborator Gennaro Contaldo of BBC’s Two Greedy Italians and Masterchef’s Monica Galetti. The 2014 event will start a day early, on Friday 29 August, organisers said. The first Big Feastival was held in 2012. Last year it attracted 14,000 people.

The Restaurant Group names new non-executive director: The Restaurant Group has named Sally Cowdry as a new independent non-executive director with effect from 1 March. Cowdry is marketing and consumer director at Camelot Lotteries UK, where she is accountable for the strategic development and commercial performance of the National Lottery brand portfolio across the UK. Prior to joining Camelot in 2013, Cowdry was marketing and consumer director at Telefonica UK, which operates the O2 brand. Alan Jackson, chairman of the Restaurant Group, said: “I am delighted to welcome Sally Cowdry to the board. Sally has significant marketing expertise in consumer facing businesses and I am confident that she will be a valuable addition to the board.”

Wyn Ellis increases Whitbread target price to 4300p as outlook improves for UK hotels: Numis Securities’ leisure analyst Wyn Elli has increased his price target for Whitbread to 4300p from 4000p as the UK outlook for hotels improves. He said: “We have also adjusted our FY15E Premier Inn forecasts, given current encouraging trends for the UK hotel industry and a recent positive industry update from Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). We have increased our Whitbread 2015 full financial year profit before tax forecast from £456m to £473m (up 3.8%). We are increasing our target price to 4300p, from 4000p and remain on a ‘hold’. PWC forecasts that the growth momentum evident at the end of 2013 will continue in 2014 and strengthen in 2015. PWC projects improved economic prospects; a pick-up in corporate travel; and positive pricing. Supply is set to increase to a rise of circa 5% in 2014 and 2015, according to PWC, but growth in the provinces is expected only to be 1.8% in 2014 and 1.6% in 2015. We expect that Premier Inn will drive much of this growth. PWC warns that the spike in budget supply could prove challenging in London. Tourism is one of the key demand drivers in London, but outside London, demand is tied closely to UK economic growth. Over 80% of Premier Inn’s rooms are in the provinces and our model assumes group revpar growth of 3.25% in FY15E.”

West Country entrepreneur to open second bar site: West Country businessman Peter Simon is to open a second site in the town of Cheddar, Somerset. Simon, who operates the Early Doors Cider and Ale Barn has confirmed he will be opening a bar on the ground floor of the Shahnaz Restaurant, in Cliff Street. The new bar, to be called the Black Dog Saloon, will have a Western-themed design. Simon said: “This move makes great sense for Shahnaz, as their customers will be in a much more intimate atmosphere. Both businesses will benefit from mutual trade and, for us, we will hold a perfect position to attract tourists in the summer. With West Country Ales closing and Wilcox Cider moving out of the Gorge, there is an additional market to provide takeaway bottled ales and ciders in the summer.” Black Dog Saloon will open around Easter.

Adnams adds ex-Hobbs chief to its board: The Suffolk brewer, pub owner and distiller Adnams has appointed the departing chief executive of the fashion retailer Hobbs, Nicky Dulieu, to its board. She will join the company as a non-executive director next month. Adnams’ chairman, Jonathan Adnams, said: “Nicky will bring a wealth of experience from her finance background in the corporate sector and most recently leading a high quality fashion retailer.” Dulieu joined Hobbs as finance director in 2006 and was promoted to chief executive in 2009. She announced plans to step down from the position last month. Dulieu said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Adnams board. I have been extremely impressed by the passion and integrity of everyone I have met and look forward to being part of such a strong team.”

YO! Sushi launches TV ad campaign to showcase 12 new menu items: YO! Sushi has unveiled its new television advertising campaign, which showcases a range of new hot and cold regional speciality and street food-inspired dishes paired with what the company calls “an edgy dance vibe”. YO! Sushi will support the TV ad campaign with a 47-second video edit of the ad on and the YouTube channel, with competitions for both Facebook and Twitter linking back to the creative. Social media followers on Facebook and Twitter will have the chance to win a taster menu for themselves and a friend to try all 12 new dishes. In addition, new customers to YO! Sushi can try one free dish when they dine in, spend a minimum of £5 and complete a voucher in-store, until Sunday 16 March. My Ly, the company’s senior marketing manager said: “We’re excited to be propelling YO! Sushi back onto TV screens across the country once more, this time celebrating our fantastic new range of Japanese-inspired dishes. The ad is designed to entice and engage TV audiences, bringing to life that YO! Sushi is fun, fast and fresh on the big screen whilst tapping into savvy multi-screen users – in particular the 16 to 34s. Our new menu ad was, for example, featured in the ad break for the highly popular reality show ‘The Only Way is Essex’ – the top most tweeted show that evening, with 57,000 tweets – and generated a fantastic response from both new and existing followers.”

West Cornwall Pasty Co wins top pasty award: West Cornwall Pasty Co’s “traditional” pasty was crowned the best at this weekend’s annual Eden Project’s World Pasty Championship in Cornwall. Beating off competition from more than 150 entrants, the pasty from the UK’s largest specialist retailer of premium Cornish pasties impressed the 30 judges, who were made up of local dignitaries, foodies and representatives from the industry. The company’s chief executive, Steve Gipson, said: “We are delighted to have won this prestigious award. It has always been our aim to serve the most authentic, hand-made pasties throughout our stores nationwide and this award recognises that.”

Newcastle’s Michelin-rated Pan Haggerty goes into liquidation: An award-winning Newcastle restaurant has closed down amid financial troubles. Pan Haggerty on Queen Street has gone into liquidation. A meeting of creditors is due to take place on 14 March to discuss the winding up of the company. Pan Haggerty opened at 21 Queen Street in October 2008 and was added to the Michelin guide for 2010, joining just 14 other Newcastle hotels and restaurants to feature in the pages of that year’s Michelin guide.

Angela Malik to open second Asian deli: Angela Malik, the cookery school owner and Radio 4 panel member, is to open an Asian delicatessen in Ealing, West London. The Modern Asian Deli is set to open on 5 April, on a site that was formerly a Budgens supermarket overlooking Ealing Green. The premises have been entirely refurbished and will have window displays of British Asian fresh food, to eat in or takeaway. Malik already operates an Asian deli in Acton, West London. The core offer will include salads, curries, pastries and desserts, as well as a range of Indian-inspired smoothies and shakes from the deli’s “lassi bar”. The deli will also offer gluten-free and dairy-free options.

PR agency hires Burger King executive: Cohn & Wolfe has hired Helena Roberts, the former Burger King communications head for EMEA, as a director in its consumer marketing team. At Burger King, Roberts was responsible for brand, corporate, public affairs, internal and crisis communications across 36 EMEA markets, where she was communications manager, rising to acting communications director. Before Burger King she held agency posts including associate director at Cow PR and account manager at the Red Consultancy. Rebecca Grant, Cohn & Wolfe’s managing director of consumer marketing for the UK and EMEA, said: “Helena is a creative powerhouse who delivered stand-out and award-winning campaigns during her agency career for clients including Google, Heinz and Disney. But, with her Burger King experience, she also has a rare understanding of the impact PR can play within an integrated marketing environment inside a complex business environment.”

Wagamama to open first Suffolk site next week: Wagamama will open its first site in Suffolk next week (Wednesday 12 March) when it opens in Bury St Edmunds’s Arc Shopping Centre. The opening will create 34 jobs.

Robinsons co-invests £100,000 at pub run by fifth generation of same family: The Davenport Arms in Woodford, near Stockport has reopened its doors after an £100,000 co-investment by long-serving landlady Yvonne Hallworth and the Stockport-based family brewer and retailer Frederic Robinson. The Robinson family acquired the Davenport Arms in 1922. The Hallworth family, now in its fifth generation at the pub and the longest-serving family at any pub in Robinson’s 330-strong estate, have been pulling pints at the Davenport for more than 80 years.

Tamarind Collection unveils date for opening of third site: Tamarind Collection, which operates the Mayfair restaurant Tamarind and Imli Street in Soho. will open its third London restaurant, One Kensington, on the site of the former Zaika restaurant in Kensington High Street, on 14 March. There will be a soft launch on 13 March with 50% off food for both lunch and dinner. Tamarind Collection says it aims to create a “glamorous all-day dining space” with a “gentleman’s club feel” at the restaurant, which is based in a Grade II listed, late Gothic revival Victorian bank.

Saladworks plans international expansion: Saladworks, the American “guilt-free gourmet” restaurant chain, is planning an expansion into Canada and the Middle East. The company, founded in 1986 by John Scardapane, the current chief executive, in New Jersey, began franchising in 2001, and now operates more than 100 restaurants in 11 states. Its first international master franchise agreement was signed for 15 locations in Singapore last year, and it has now signed others to bring ten restaurants to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, five restaurants to Qatar and 30 restaurants to Canada. Saladworks allows customers to create their own salad, prepared in plain sight by a Saladworks team member, or choose from one of 12 “signature salads”, supposedly “uniquely tuned” to regional tastes.

Toby Smith to step down as chief executive of Stonegate: Stonegate Pub Company announced yesterday that chief executive Toby Smith has informed the board of his intention to leave the company as soon as a suitable successor can be appointed. Smith joined Stonegate in June 2011 after the acquisition of the Town and City Pub Company, which he had led since 2008. Since then, Stonegate has grown to be the UK’s largest and most profitable privately owned managed pub company. Ian Payne, chairman of Stonegate, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Toby for the massive contribution that he has made towards the success of Stonegate, and on a personal basis thank him for his friendship over the eight years that we have worked together.” Manjit Dale, founding partner at TDR Capital, said: “On behalf of the whole team at TDR we would like to thank Toby for his dedication, commitment and drive in building Stonegate into the fantastic business that it is today.” Smith said: “I am hugely proud of what we have achieved at Stonegate with a fantastic and committed team, and I am looking forward to pursuing new challenges over the coming months. I would like to thank everyone at both Stonegate and TDR and wish them all well for the future.”

Inventive Leisure changes name to New Inventive Bar Company: Inventive Leisure has changed its name to The New Inventive Bar Company. The new name “better reflects the high end transformation of [our] bars, a wider range of trading hours, extensive new drinks offering, supported by a new food menu and service standards”, the company said. The business has re-organised its 71 bars into three operating companies: Revolution Bars Limited, Revolución De Cuba Limited and Nightjar Bars Limited. Nightjar Bars will operate 11 Revolution Bars, which will be de-branded over time and operate under a local non-branded format. Carl Anderson has joined the group as operations director to run the Nightjar business. Anderson was previously with the Rank Group, Luminar and Yellowhammer. Mark McQuater, chief executive of The New Inventive Bar Company, said: “The group is committed to growth, and the re-organisation of our bars under operating companies will allow us to continue our strategic growth plans at pace across the business.”

Greene King pledges to recruit 2,000 apprentices in 2014: Greene King has pledged to recruit over 2,000 apprentices in 2014 to follow a “new and improved career path, which now includes advanced management qualifications that provide a clear route from team member roles right through to managing a business, and enhanced kitchen skills qualifications”. Supported by its existing apprenticeship schemes, in the 12 months to April 2013, Greene King reported boosts to both motivation and productivity across all participating venues, with overall retail key performance indicators improving. Team turnover fell 8%, employee engagement rose 4% and labour productivity improved by more than 2%. John Smith, group HR director for Greene King, said: “We made the decision to recruit 2,000 new apprentices this year following the success of our existing apprenticeship scheme, which has been running since 2011. As our business grows, we are proud to offer the apprentices that join Greene King the opportunity move straight onto a career path to allow them to fulfil their true potential”. The apprenticeship scheme, launched in 2011, has so far been undertaken by more than 3,500 employees, across the group’s pub, bar, restaurant and hotel outlets. Greene King has enjoyed positive results after the programme’s initial introduction and has ambitions over the next couple of years to increase the number of kitchen apprentices across its businesses as well as keeping up the continued quality of the training and programmes provided. To strengthen and build on this success, Greene King will offer employees who undertake the scheme from March 2014, a BII Licensed Hospitality Advanced Apprenticeship at level 3 and a Level 4 Diploma in Hospitality Management, after the successful pilot of the level 5 Diploma in Management, where three managers celebrated their achievement. Greene King plans to extend its apprenticeship programme to allow new team members to join the scheme at the start of their employment. Apprentices will be able to build their own personalised and tailored programme to suit their needs and career aspirations to encourage independent study and create a challenging and stimulating learning experience. Jeremy Scorer, managing partner for Charnwood Training Group, who played a key role in developing Greene King’s apprenticeship scheme, said: “I am delighted with this announcement and the introduction of the new programmes; it is proof of the value of working in partnership to deliver incredible results. When we developed this programme, it was important to take Greene King’s well-established career pathway into account, and it is so encouraging to see so many sites have taken up the programmes we offer to up-skill their teams and improve their business. The results are a testament to the valuable work we are doing to support the hospitality industry and help secure its future.”

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