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Thu 12th Jun 2014 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Technomic – top UK chains grow sales circa 15% in two years: The 100 largest restaurant chains in the UK turned in a 6.4% annual sales increase in 2013 after a 7.1% rise the year before, a total of around 15% over two years, according to new data released by Technomic. At the same time the number of units grew by more than 4% in 2013, against unit growth of 7% the previous year. Technomic’s vice-president, Darren Tristano, said: “Industry growth remains promising following a pattern of increased sales performance by the top 100 chains. Their strong results can be attributed to a fast-casual segment that continues to shine, as well as popular US foods like American-style barbecue and hot dogs appearing on UK menus, and pubs that are working to revamp and refresh their bars with new concepts to gain market share from traditional restaurants.” Among limited-service restaurants, the menu categories with the greatest sales were burgers (£2.3bn), coffee shops (£1.9bn) and Italian/pizza (£1.3bn). The ranking was led, once again, by McDonald’s, which generated more than £1.8bn in sales in 2013, followed by Wetherspoon (£1.2bn) and Costa Coffee (£937.5m). As a whole, limited-service restaurants saw a sales revenue increase of more than 6%. The patisserie sub-segment experienced the fastest rate of sales and unit growth, with an increase in sales of nearly 18% from 2012 and a unit growth rate of 8%. Though only four patisserie chains are listed in the Top 100, Patisserie Valerie and Muffin Break experienced significant sales increases of nearly 25% and 12%, respectively. Full-service restaurants experienced a healthy growth year in 2013 with an increase of 7% in sales, Technomic said. Casual dining restaurants and pub chains showed sales increases of 9% and 5% respectively. Notably, Costa Coffee (18.4%) and Domino’s Pizza (14%) generated double-digit increases in sales year over year, while Costa Coffee also expanded its footprint by double digits, at 11.2%. The top ten UK chain restaurants are: McDonald’s, up 1% in sales and 1.2% in unit count; Wetherspoon, up 9% in sales and 4.6% in unit count; Costa Coffee, up 18.4% in sales and 11.2% in unit count; Greggs, up 2.9% in sales and flat in unit count; KFC, up 4.3% in sales and 1.2% in unit count; Domino’s Pizza, up 14% in sales and 7.1% in unit count; Starbucks, up 1.8% in sales and 0.4% in unit count; Pizza Hut, up 0.2% in sales and 0.9% in unit count; Subway, up 7.3% in sales and 7% in unit count; and Nando’s, up 7.8% in sales and 7.4% in unit count. In total, Technomic said, the top ten restaurant chains accounted for almost £8.2bn, more than half (52.7%) of total sales for the Top 100 UK Chains. Technomic and Propel hosted a UK and US menu trends conference in London on Tuesday.
   

Industry News:

Furniture shop that gave away free drinks to customers buying beer mats is closed down: A furniture shop in Surrey that gave away free drinks while selling beer mats to customers has been closed down over breaches of licensing laws, the BBC has reported. The closure order was granted against Innsatiable in Farnham, which will remain shut until all alcohol has been removed, Surrey Police said. The bar had been operating for several years with and without a licence. When it opened it claimed to be a furniture shop where alcohol was given away free but furniture was sold. After complaints from local publicans and residents, the owner Simon Atkins agreed to become a personal licence holder and the bar could be run legitimately. However, following a number of police inspections, the licence was surrendered to Waverley Borough Council in October. Innsatiable had continued to be run as an unlicensed bar until the closure order was issued on Tuesday, police said.
   
Luke Johnson buys bingo clubs: Sector investor Luke Johnson is buying nine bingo clubs from Top Ten Holdings, a company controlled by The Royal Bank of Scotland, The Times has reported. Johnson set up Majestic Bingo in January to carry out “buy and build” strategy. The company acquired six bingo clubs from privately run Seldis Cooper Entertainments for circa £3m in the same month.
   
Peter Luff to chair Pub Governing Body: The Pub Governing Body, the body responsible for overseeing the current self-regulatory regime for tied pubs, including the independent redress mechanisms of PIRRS (the Pubs Independent Rent Review Scheme) and PICAS (the Pubs Independent Conciliation and Arbitration Service), has announced the appointment of Sir Peter Luff , the MP for Mid-Worcestershire, as the new, independent chairman. The appointment process was started under the chairmanship of Bernard Brindley, whom he will succeed. Tim Hulme, on behalf of the PGB, said: “We are delighted to welcome such a well-respected, authoritative and impartial figure as Sir Peter to the chairmanship of the PGB. Having chaired the initial Business and Enterprise Select Committee inquiries in the last Parliament, Sir Peter is well versed in the ins and outs of this debate, yet still brings a fresh perspective to our work. He has the necessary political experience not only to plough an objective furrow but also to bring the two sides closer together to help resolve outstanding problems”.
  
Marcus Wareing steps into judge role on Masterchef: Marcus Wareing is take over from Michel Roux Jnr as the new judge and presenter of the BBC TV show MasterChef: The Professionals. The chef, who holds two Michelin stars at his restaurant Marcus at the Berkeley hotel in London, has appeared regularly on several TV shows including Great British Menu and MasterChef: The Professionals itself. Roux Jr announced he was standing down earlier this year after a clash with the BBC over his professional commitments.
   
Islington fish restaurant tops TripAdvisor: A small North London fish restaurant has beaten London’s top Michelin-starred chefs in TripAdvisor ratings after rave reviews. Prawn on the Lawn in Islington opened mainly as a conventional fishmongers but soon found itself overwhelmed by the number of customers who wanted to eat crab, lobster and oysters at its handful of seats. Owner Rick Toogood, who set it up with the help of a £30,000 loan from his parents last August, said: “From day one people were coming in more on the meals side so we decided to add more dishes. Now we are effectively a restaurant with a fishmongers. Only 20% of our turnover is from the fishmongers and 80% from meals. We thought it would be the mirror image of that in our business plan.” Prawn on the Lawn hit number one in London on the TripAdvisor rankings in April, ahead of much better known London restaurants.
   
New PASS card launched: The new PASS 18 plus card design was launched yesterday at Tiger Tiger in the West End of London by Norman Baker, the Minister of State for Crime Prevention. He was joined by Chief Constable Adrian Lee, licensing lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers and Bill Butler, chief executive of the Security Industry Authority. Introducing the changes, Robert Humphreys, the chair of PASS said: “In future, all PASS cards issued to people over the age of 18 in England and Wales will be of a standard design to ease recognition. This is the most fundamental change to the PASS Proof of Age Scheme since its launch in 2001. During this time over five million cards have been issued and the PASS hologram is widely recognised and accepted in both the on and off trade.”
   

Company News:

Chilango founders ‘over the moon’ as bond raises more than £220,000 in first 24 hours: The founders of the Chilango chain of Mexican fast-food restaurants, Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton, declared themselves “over the moon” yesterday as their fund-raising “Burrito Bond” attracted more than £220,000 of investment money in its first 24 hours. The pair are trying to raise £1m through the mini-bond, offered via the CrowdCube crowd-sourced fundraising side, to help fund further expansion at the chain, which currently has seven restaurants open around London and three more in the pipeline. In a message posted to the Mini-Bond’s fundraising homepage on the CrowdCube site, Partaker and Houghton said: “After just one day we are over the moon with the progress made so far. To be at 22% of our target in just 24 hours has been an amazing start and we are determined to maintain this momentum.” By 4.45pm yesterday the fund had reached £285,000 with 65 investors.
   
Loungers puts development kitchen into latest Cosy Club in Bristol: A development kitchen is built into the basement of the latest Cosy Club site in Bristol, which will enable owner Loungers’ executive chef, Theo Guy, to experiment with new dishes and expand the company’s food offering. The venue, in a former bank on Corn Street will be the chain’s seventh Cosy Club restaurant-bar. Loungers, which has its headquarters in Bristol, also runs 40 Lounge cafe-bars across the UK. The new outlet, which is due to open this Friday, 13, June, features four two-metre wide solid brass chandeliers, marble floors, mahogany panelling, domed glass roof lanterns and a six-metre high bar carved from American oak. Alex Reilley, managing director of Loungers, said: “We’re delighted to finally be opening Cosy Club on Corn Street. Bristol is our home town and where Loungers and Cosy Club was born so to open such an exciting venue in the heart of this amazing city is a big deal for us.”
   
Renaissance Pubs open first boutique bedrooms: The London gastro-operator Renaissance pubs, led by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, has opened six boutique bedrooms above the Tommyfield in Kennington Cross, South London. The six rooms, on the third and fourth floors of what is Renaissance’s most central London venue, have super king, king or twin Hypnos beds, Egyptian cotton linen, a rain shower or roll-top bath, an HD Freeview television, free wireless internet, Nespresso machines, black-out curtains or blinds, mini-fridge, kettle and safe as standard. Each room is charged at a flat rate of £119 and includes breakfast. Breakfast is served in-room Monday to Friday and in the pub every weekend. The opening of the Tommyfield Hotel Rooms comes after the opening of the Latchmere in Battersea, the seventh site in the Renaissance Pubs portfolio.
   
Flipside Brewery opens first pub in partnership with Punch Taverns: Flipside Brewery has opened its first pub, a £150,000 co-investment in the Old Volunteer in Nottingham with owner Punch Taverns. Flipside’s owner, Andrew Dunkin, said it was important that the location of its first venue could bring something new and exciting for Flipside’s customers: “I believe we have created a great environment for all, and that is really paying off with the comments we have received from our customers,” he said.
   
Pizza Hut UK reports 2013 loss: Pizza Hut UK has reported a loss of £1.28m on turnover of £230.1m in the year to 1 December 2013. The company made a profit of £5.01m the year before of turnover of £268.6m, though the profit included a £5.1m exceptional item linked to its sale to Rutland Partners. The company said: “Results from the continuing restaurants have seen a significant improvement during the year with operating profit before exceptional items (of £2.13m) improving by £6.4m. The strong financial position of the company is reflected by a cash balance of £29.1m at balance sheet date. The company plans to undertake a re-image programme of between 60 and 70 restaurants a well as investing in both restaurant IT infrastructure and rolling out a number of new customer-enhancing experiences. The programme of closing underperforming stores will continue and will further improve profitability and cash generation.”
   
Health inspectors put three of Belgique’s nine outlets under scrutiny: Environmental health officers from Epping Forest Council are now making “regular visits” to three outlets run by the Belgique chain of cafes in Essex after one branch in High Road, Loughton, was rated one out of five for food hygiene by the Food Standards Agency. Now the chain’s branches in Epping and Theydon Bois are also subject to regular visits from environmental health officers. Epping Forest Council has not given reasons for the poor rating, with a council spokesperson saying: “We are working with the owner and managers to address a number of concerns. We would like to say more but we are constrained in the amount of detail we can give at the moment as we would not like to prejudice any potential legal action in the future.” A further six Belgique cafes owned by Igor Bekaertin in Wanstead, Woodford Green and Chingford as well as the Epping and Theydon Bois branches are all rated five out of five by the FSA. The nine-strong Belgique business was recently withdrawn from sale.
   
Bella Italia rebrands for the World Cup: Bella Italia, the family-friendly Italian restaurant chain owned by Tragus, has rebranded in preparation for England’s Woerld Cup kick-off match against Italy on Saturday 14 June. For a limited time only, in support of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and the rest of the team, Bella Italia will be known as Bella Inghilterra! The rebrand began yesterday at the Bella Inghilterra site in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, which opened in October 2013. As the new signage was unveiled to the public this morning, the chefs got in the football spirit with an impromptu game of kick-ups. The team also created a special England pizza, with bell peppers and mozzarella to make a St George’s cross, all while proudly showing off their new Bella Inghilterra uniforms. The Huntingdon location was opened as part of the brand’s on-going expansion and refurbishment project, which will see many restaurants refurbished, and another 15 new sites opened, over the next year.
   
Fuller’s Parcel Yard pub wins ‘best beverage concept at train station’ award: The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross Station in London, run by Fuller Smith & Turner, has won the award for Best Individual Food and Beverage Concept at a Rail Station at the International Food and Beverage Creative Excellence Awards 2014. The Parcel Yard saw off tough competition from entrants across the world including Paris Gare de Lyon, SSP France, and Montreux Jazz Café at this year’s FAB Awards. Jonathon Swaine, managing director for Fuller’s Inns, said: “This is an incredible accolade for the Parcel Yard and for Fuller’s. We are immensely proud of our station pubs and are delighted that our continued focus on delivering quality food with first-class beer has now been recognised on an international level. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the team at the Parcel Yard for all their hard work.” The Parcel Yard’s win came as a double honour for Network Rail at King’s Cross, as the station also won the award for Best Overall Food and Beverage offer at a Railway Station.
   
Firehouse Subs stresses importance of new customer acquisition: Don Fox, chief executive of the 779-outlet American sandwich chain Firehouse Subs, has told the UK and US menu trends conference held by Technomic and Propel in London, that new customer acquisition is vital for the health of any business. He told the conference: “Every day you are losing your regulars. It’s vital to create a culture of constant new customer acquisition.” The company was founded by former firemen and places an emphasis on giving back to its communities through the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which provides funding and support for local firefighters. It directly manages just over 30 of its sites with the remainder franchised, and it is currently looking to expand into Canada and Mexico. Fox said: “We’ve had no debt for 12 years. We don’t own real estate – our value is al in our cashflow.”
   
Bristol’s Escape nightclub to re-open in two weeks: The Escape nightclub in Park Street, Bristol will reopen in two weeks after a fire. Around 20 firefighters tackled a fire last week at 50 Park Street, which houses the Escape Nightclub on the first floor and the Salute bar and restaurant on the ground floor. No one was in the building at the time and no injuries were sustained but the road had to be shut for more than three hours. The fire started because of a electric fault in a store room on the ground floor. Both premises will be shut for two weeks while health and safety checks are carried out. Escape will then reopen but Salute is likely to be shut for at least a month while electrical rewiring is carried out. Licensee Marc Ashdown said that no structural damage had been caused to the building
   
Geronimo launches new video series on World Cup: Geronimo Inns, the Young’s-owned operator of 30 pubs in London, is maintaining its commitment to digital video with the launch of World Cup: Pub Ammo – a digital video series featuring members of its team sharing facts and trivia about each of the 32 nations competing in the 2014 World Cup. Each of the eight short films is divided by World Cup group and is approximately three minutes long. The films provide the viewer with quirky information about each nation, ideal for sharing with friends in the office or over a pint, such as “Japan is the largest exporter of frogs legs” and “Croatia has more than 1,000 islands but only 66 are inhabited”. World Cup: Pub Ammo is available to view on both Geronimo Inns’ website (geronimo-inns.co.uk) and its YouTube channel (MyLocalsaGPub) and will be supported by a social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, featuring competitions and additional trivia not released in the films. The films come after the success of earlier projects including The Awfully Thorough Guide To Being British, an interactive set of foodie videos with executive chef Ray Brown, #AskRay, and a set of recruitment films with the comedian Marek Larwood, The Job Interview, both of which were featured on the homepage of iTunes UK, all of which are available on both the Geronimo Inns website and YouTube channel.
   
Lace Market boutique hotel to re-open: The Lace Market hotel in Nottingham, which closed last month, after going into administration is to reopen in the autumn under new ownership. The Higginson family, which owns most of the property, has bought the remaining part and plans to spend £1.5m on refurbishing the hotel, according to The Nottingham Post. The 42-bedroom Lace Market hotel was previously run by Finesse Hotels, which owned part of the building, containing the Cock & Hoop pub and 13 of the bedrooms. It leased the rest of the property from the Higginsons. John Higginson told The Nottingham Post: “We face a Herculean task and a race against time to get the hotel up and running again. We don’t want to see its legacy evaporate.”
   
Whitbread decides to treble Sheffield Premier Inn site as economic conditions improve: Stalled plans to expand a Premier Inn hotel by the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield have been revived after an improvement in the economic climate. Work is now expected to start on the hotel in Attercliffe Common this summer to add another 33 bedrooms, taking the total number of rooms to 94. It is hoped the work will be finished by the end of the year. Premier Inn originally gained planning permission for the expansion in 2008 and renewed it in 2011 but decided not to go ahead because of the state of the economy. But with economic conditions improving Whitbread said it believed work can start soon. The 2011 permission expired in February, resulting in a new application being submitted, and Sheffield Council granted approval.
   
Amber Taverns buy-out wins deal of the month recognition: The management buyout of Blackpool-based pub operator Amber Taverns has been named news agency Insider’s Deal of the Month for May. LGV Capital sold the business to a team backed by BlueBay Asset Management and MxP Partners, in a deal understood to be worth £80m. Amber Taverns focuses on reviving traditional wet-led pubs that have been closed or close to collapse. It now operates 95 community pubs across the north west and north east of England, the Midlands and Wales and expects to have more than 100 by the end of 2014. LGV Capital invested in the business in 2010 through a secondary buyout and has now exited. Insider news editor David Casey said: “Although there are numerous reports about how the traditional pub is struggling, the growth of Amber Taverns is a real beacon for the industry, with its focus on community pubs. The confidence of BlueBay Asset Management and MxP Partners in the business shows the UK’s traditional pub industry is alive and well.”
   
Greene King licensees receive free training on their mobiles: Greene King Pub Partners has launched a series of comprehensive training videos that are free for licensees in Greene King’s tenanted and leased estate. To access the videos, all licensees have been sent online links, including a downloadable poster with QR codes next to each of the training topics. Licensees can display the poster making it easy for staff to scan the code with a mobile, directing them immediately to the relevant training module and videos for viewing on their mobiles. Stephen Croll runs five pubs including the Stag in Lyndhurst, Hampshire, which he has leased from Greene King for the past two years. He said: “Sometimes people are too afraid to ask questions if they have received training but there is something they haven’t quite understood. Training like this means they can view the videos as many times as they like, in their own time, on their mobiles. This is one of the best training programmes I have seen, well-presented and easily digestible. I have rolled it out in all my pubs.” The new training aids are made up of 11 different topics, covering a wide variety of the key skills needed in the hospitality industry, from good service to cellar management. Each topic includes a series of short and digestible training videos. Clive Chesser, the business unit director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “Accessing key training on mobiles makes it even easier for licensees to raise standards by building the knowledge and confidence of their staff. We are proud of the comprehensive training programme Greene King offers licensees and these new free resources are a welcome addition.” The training subjects are: Cask Ale, Perfect Pour, Cellar, Customer Engagement, Service That Sells, Food Safety for Quality, The Waiter, Steak, Illy Coffee, Oil and Volume Food.
   
Eastbourne brasserie lease on the market for £1: The lease on a brasserie in Eastbourne is being marketed by agent Fleurets for £1 – the venue is Printers Bar Brasserie in the town centre. The site operates over three floors with a total floor area of approximately 3,500 square feet. Printers is located on Station Street, which runs parallel to Terminus Road in the heart of the town centre. It’s a free-of-tie lease.
   
Rutland pub unveils PRS-funded music live space: The Railway Inn in Oakham, Rutland, has launched its new PRS-funded live music space by playing host to Mercury Prize-nominated band Young Knives. Shaun Jackson, landlord of The Railway Inn, won the Music Makeover prize run by PSR for Music, receiving £10,000 to transform his pub into a live music venue. This is the fourth year of the Music Makeover competition, the campaign was established to give landlords the chance to convert their pubs into a live music scene that can then become a significant part of the local communities. PRS chairman Guy Fletcher said: “With Music Makeover we are able to recognise and reward that unique relationship between the music community and pubs. Shaun Jackson is passionate about supporting local talent and his new music space at The Railway Inn means he can now promote Leicestershire’s music scene all year long.”
   
US fast-food chain investigates theft of credit and debit card data: The American fast-food chain PF Chang’s China Bistro is investigating claims of a data breach involving credit and debit card data stolen from restaurant locations in the United States. Stolen credit and debit card data appeared on an underground website used by criminals on Monday, according to KrebsOnSecurity.com, which covers computer security and cyber crime. Banks contacted by KrebsOnSecurity said the stolen cards had all been used at PF Chang’s locations in the United States between March and May. Anne Deanovic, a spokeswoman for PF Chang’s, which operates 211 restaurants in the US, said: “PF Chang’s takes these matters very seriously and is currently investigating the situation, working with the authorities to learn more. We will provide an update as soon as we have additional information.” The chain is owned by Centerbridge Partners, a private equity firm.
   
Chimichanga, Burger King and Pret A Manger confirmed for Glasgow’s Silverside mall: Chimichanga, the Mexican fast food restaurant chain owned by Prezzo, is due to open only its second restaurant in Scotland at the Silverside shopping mall in Glasgow. As well as Chimichanga, the mall announced the names of two more chains that will be opening in the £20m, 100,000 sq ft extension of Silverside, Burger King and Pret A Manger. The latter is opening a cafe in the Winter Garden, which will form the heart of the new extension. All three will begin trading before the end of the year. They join a line-up of new restaurants opening their doors at the mall that includes TGI Friday’s, Carluccio’s, Zizzi, PizzaExpress and Glasgow’s first Cosmo’s restaurant. The only other Chimichanga restaurant in Scotland is in Edinburgh, and Silverburn’s general manager, David Pierotti, said he was delighted deals have been done with another three eateries and was especially delighted that the mall will be the first in the city to host Chimichanga. He said: “It is brilliant news that Chimichanga has chosen Silverburn to launch their brand in Glasgow. Their fiesta spirit and delicious menu will be a fantastic addition not just for the mall but for Scotland as a whole.”
   
Cider maker opens £3m packaging and warehouse facility: The cider-maker Thatchers has opened its new £3m packaging and warehouse facility at its home, Myrtle Farm, Sandford in North Somerset, to satisfy the growing demand for its products in the UK and overseas. The opening was attended by the Earl and Countess of Sussex, who talked to staff, walked through the orchards with company chairman John Thatcher and his grandson Peter, pressed some apples, and met chefs Bini Ludlow and Tim Maddams. Martin Thatcher, managing director of Thatchers Cider, said: “This has been a very exciting day for us all here at Myrtle Farm. Our former kegging line was cramped and inefficient, so this new space allows the system to operate at full capacity – filling 450 kegs an hour with draught cider.”
   
‘Non-chain’ drive-through coffee shop proposed for Huddersfield: Plans have been submitted for a drive-through coffee shop in a former car showroom site in Huddersfield that would be “similar to” but not part of a large chain such as Starbucks or Costa Coffee. The planning application, submitted by the Huddersfield-based Acumen Designers and Architects Ltd on behalf of an unnamed client, seeks the redevelopment of the car showroom to provide a drive-through coffee shop with 33 parking spaces, most provided by the site’s existing car park. A report submitted by Acumen to Kirklees Council planners said: “The coffee shop will be independent and not part of a national chain, although the format of the shop and the products on offer will be similar to other large coffee chains such as Costa Coffee and Starbucks.”
   
Gerry Stonhill takes over Railway Inn at Fairford: Gerry Stonhill, the larger-than-life character who ran The Masons Arms in South Leigh, Oxfordshire, is now running a more compact and easier to manage pub, The Railway Inn at Fairford, in Gloucestershire. Stonhill made headlines repeatedly at The Masons Arms, which closed in May last year, most notably in 2008 when he was prosecuted for breaking the smoking ban at the pub, which had its own helicopter landing pad. He refused to let children inside and only accepted payment by cash and American Express card. Peter Brunt of the property agency Colliers International said: “Gerry wanted to find a nice smaller pub to run and The Railway, although not actually on the market at the time, fitted the bill. I was then able to arrange an off-market deal which suited all parties. The Railway Inn has been trading in the village for more than 250 years and underwent a massive revamp six years ago. Fairford is best known for the Royal International Air Tattoo, but I am sure Gerry’s decision to take over the inn will ensure the village is kept very much on the radar!”
   
Geronimo founders to open new brand this month: The founders of Geronimo Inns, Rupert and Jo Clevely, are set to open the doors to their brand new venture, The Cyclist Refreshment Room, on Wednesday 25 June 2014 in Brighton train station. The Cyclist Refreshment Room, moves away from the pub cliché and brings back the refreshment room of the 19th century, a refined, comfortable and homely environment where people can get great food, beer and wine while waiting for their train. Rupert Clevely said: “Being a frequent traveller, I have often felt that there needs to be an improvement in the railway station offering, hence the idea of bringing back the concept of the Refreshment Room. These will be found in travel hubs, where we aim to create a comfortable respite from the hustle and bustle and general hassle of travelling. We will focus on delicious, quick fresh seasonal food at sensible prices with a carefully chosen range of drinks and friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable staff.” The Refreshment Room will offer 80 covers and outdoor seating and will be open from 7am to 11pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 8am to 10pm on Sundays, offering customers everything from breakfast to brunch, afternoon tea and supper. Takeaway food such as salads, pies and quiches will also be available. The decor is focused on vintage and upcycled materials: an old steam engine will feature as a main display but also act as a drinking table, the bar front will be made from old suitcases and the lights all sourced from old railway stations in Europe. The original Victorian features are still highlighted throughout the design, including old arched windows and the original floor. The Clevelys’ Petworth-based company, Greenwell & Tipple, involved Rupert and Jo’s daughters, Coco, India and Montana Clevely in the development of the concept. Greenwell & Tipple will initially focus on The Cyclist Refreshment Room and then will look towards future sites and hope to have two to three further Refreshment Rooms open in 2015 at other busy travel locations.

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