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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 1st Aug 2014 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Orderella’s second-round funding raises 70% of target in three weeks: Orderella, the market-leading mobile ordering app, has already raised over 70% of its £1m second-round funding target in the first three weeks, after an excellent start to the year. Four fifths of the EIS funding is coming from existing shareholders, and values the company at £16m, highlighting the strong business performance and current dominant position in the market. The funding round is part of Orderella’s investment plan. The growth forecast for 2014 is very strong, after the company developed strategic partnerships with Just Eat and PayPal, among others. Orderella allows its customers to order and pay for drinks and food directly on their phone without the need to queue at a bar. The funds will be used to further the company’s position as the market leader in mobile ordering and payment in the hospitality industry, the company said. Dennis Collet, Orderella’s chief executive, said: “We are very pleased with how the investment round has begun. We are being regularly targeted by operators now as they increasingly recognise the benefits our app will bring to their businesses. Investors are seeing this shift and, understandably, want to be part of the action.” So far this year, new partnerships have been formed with operators including Star Pubs and Bars, Enterprise Inns, Stonegate, Oakman Inns, the Porterhouse Brewing Company, the Burning Night Group, and Bar Sport. These partnerships have meant Orderella has greatly expanded its reach across the country, with the app now available for use in several big metropolitan cities in the north, including Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Chester. This year has also seen Orderella expand into new markets including sports stadiums, hotels, theatres and festivals, with the app available for use at the Isle of Wight Festival, Newport Gwent Dragons Rugby Club, and Danubius Hotel Regent’s Park, among other places.

Industry News:

Spirit, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and Enterprise Inns sign up for Professor Chris Muller’s Multi-site Management Masterclass: Spirit Pub Company, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and Enterprise Inns are among the latest companies to join the United States’ leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management, Professor Chris Muller, at Propel’s next Multi Site Management Masterclass on Friday 26 September. The cafe bar brand Loungers has already booked its 13-strong operations team into the seminar. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality. Now Professor Muller is coming to the UK for the first time to lead this bespoke day. His interactive seminar will include contributions from Shake Shack’s chief executive, Randy Garutti, and a live case study from SSP. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. Among those also booking tickets so far include Ed’s Easy Diner, Draft House, Castle Rock Brewery, McMullen, Hall & Woodhouse, Bourne Leisure, Beds and Bars, TLC Inns, Dorbiere, Bulldog Hotel Group and Yummy Pub Company. Tickets are £345 plus VAT and £295 plus VAT for ALMR members. To download or view the leaflet as a PDF file please click here To book tickets please contact:

Intu stresses importance of restaurants in retail environment: Intu, which has a stake in nine of the UK’s top 20 shopping centres worth £8.8bn, according to its interim report yesterday, has stressed the importance of restaurants in the retail environment. The company said: “In 2013, we launched our new national consumer brand, Intu, in response to the changing retail landscape. Shopping is no longer just about buying things you need, today’s customers demand much more and their spend is very clearly linked to dwell time in our centres. Shopping centres are now expected to offer convenience, choice, great tenant mix, flagship stores, home delivery, click and collect, leisure activities, great dining options, entertainment, socialising, communicating and a place to meet with friends and family. Occupancy across our centres remains high at 96%. This compares favourably to estimates of vacancy in “big” shopping centres of 11%. In aggregate, units amounting to 1% of rent are currently being traded by administrators and are treated as occupied within the 96%. 98 new long term leases were signed in the first half, representing £15m of new passing rent, in aggregate 4 % above previous passing rent where like-for-like and in line with valuation assumptions. These have generated £50m of shopfit investment commitments from new and existing retailers. Significant themes in the period include: 35 new catering outlets opened or lettings now agreed, including Five Guys at Intu Trafford and Intu Lakeside, Patisserie Valerie at Intu Lakeside and St David’s, Cardiff, the first Wahaca outside the south east at St David’s, Cardiff, Carluccio’s in newly converted space at Intu Bromley and Intu’s first Tortilla at Intu Watford.”

Company News:

Draft House in negotiations on three sites, reports ‘brilliant start’ to Bump Caves: Draft House, the five-strong craft beer operator led by Charlie McVeigh and backed by Luke Johnson, is in negotiations on three sites after a year-long struggle to locate expansion opportunities. McVeigh told Propel: “We’re in discussions on three things – after a near-drought on sites, a mini-flood is bout to start that should keep us busy for the next six months.” Meanwhile, McVeigh has reported the company’s £100,000 in the development of the Bump Caves at its Tower Bridge site has go off to a “brilliant start” since they were opened three weeks ago. “Each day, sales have been growing. We are on track to be taking an extra £10,000 a week at the site by September which will deliver £150,000 to the bottom line and make it our most profitable site,” he said. Using underground space, the company has installed a “rotary evaporator” that will infuse pure grain alcohol with a variety of flavours, which will also be distributed to other Draft House sites. Draft House has a £5m run-rate turnover. McVeigh said: “Bumps are spirits, liquors, vermouths and infusions that we have made using various pieces of pharmaceutical and kitchen equipment right here in the Bump Caves. Using the equipment we can capture pretty much any flavour or combination of flavours in spirit form.”

TLC Inns signs biggest Grand Central Bar and Grill to date: TLC Inns, the pub and restaurant operator led by Steve and Jo Haslam, has secured its biggest site so far for its Grand Central Bar and Grill brand. The company will open its third site on Ipswich Quayside, having acquired a former restaurant and the adjacent property, which will be knocked together to create a 6,000 sq ft site with 250 covers. The company will invest £700,000, and plans to open the site in late October or early November. TLC Inns, which operates Grand Central sites in Ely and Basildon, is also close to securing a fourth Grand Central site at an unnamed location in Essex where it plans to invest £200,000. The company is also in talks with a family brewer over a third unnamed location thought likely to be traded as a pub if discussions come to fruition. Last week saw TLC Inns achieve record trading, with £208,000 of net revenue from seven existing sites.

Yummy Pub Company reports 36.6% rise in like-for-like sales in most recent year: Yummy Pub Company, the five-strong pub operator led by Tim Foster, Anthony Pender and Jason Rowlands, has reported that its most recent financial year, which ended on Sunday, saw like-for-like sales up 36.6% on the year before. “In short, it’s been a phenomenal year at Yummy,” said Foster. In his on-line blog, Foster also reported the company has adopted a new measure of staff satisfaction. He said: “Most companies rate their human resources performance on ‘staff turnover’ – the number of people that leave them and have to be ‘replaced’ by others. We’ve rated ourselves on the ‘return of our team’ as a percentage that, interestingly, currently stands at 19.8%. We are immensely proud of our people, we love the fact we have let our guys and gals live their dreams and slowly they return to the nest, for new adventures and life-building dreams.” Yummy is scheduled to open its fifth pub, The Victoria in Bow, East London later this month. It is the third pub where it is partnering Charles Wells, following highly successful developments under lease agreements at The Somerstown Coffee House in Euston and The Gorringe Park in Tooting. Yummy also operates The Grove Ferry Pantry Pub and Inn in Kent and The Wiremill in Surrey.

Opening date set for Falmouth Stable: An opening date of 28 August has been set for the latest venue in the Stable chain of pizza-and-cider restaurants in the former Custom House in Falmouth, Cornwall. Falmouth councillors has given the opening its wholehearted support, with Rowenna Brock, chair of the town’s licensing sub-committee, saying: “They look like great places. I am very pleased they are taking over such a historic building. I wish to support them in all their endeavours.” Cornwall Council now has to consider the application, which seeks consent to provide live music indoors between 5pm and 11.30pm, Monday to Sunday, but with only one live session a week; recorded music indoors from 11am until midnight all week and alcohol on and off sales from 11am until midnight, all week The London brewer and pub retailer Fuller Smith & Turner took a 51% stake in Stable in June for £7.3m, when it had six outlets in the south west of England. The Falmouth outlet will be the seventh venture for the chain’s founder, Richard Cooper and his team, who have outlets at Fistral Beach in Newquay and in Weymouth, Poole, Bridport, Bath and Bristol. Speaking of the Stable in Falmouth, the company said: “Our latest project is a serious one and it’s taking us a while to get it just right. We’ve taken on the Old Custom House right by the quay, a beautiful Grade II listed columned gem with loads of character and waterside views over Falmouth’s bustling harbour. It’s almost ready and trust us, this one really is worth the wait!”

Chipotle to give away 14,000 free burritos: Chipotle Mexican Grill, the American chain with six restaurants in London, is giving away 14,000 free burritos over seven days this month. Each day, starting 5 August, a 24-hour website will be revealed via Chipotle’s UK social media. The first 2,000 people to visit the website on the day and provide their email address will be able to download a unique voucher onto their phone, or print it off, to claim free one burrito at any Chipotle restaurant in London, valid for 14 days from issue date. Once 2,000 burritos have been claimed on a single day, Customers will have to wait until the next day, when a new 24-hour website is revealed and 2,000 more burritos are up for grabs. The 24-hour websites will appear each day between 5 and 11 August via Chipotle UK’s social media channels, Twitter (@ChipotleUK), Facebook (Facebook/ChipotleUK) and Instagram (ChipotleUK). Participants can also follow #BurritoWatch for more information and to find the daily 24-hour websites. Each 24-hour website URL will be presented in a “speed reading” format - where individual words making up the website will flash up momentarily. The pioneering technique uses clever word positioning to let people read large amounts of text in seconds. Jacob Sumner, Chipotle’s UK managing director, said: ‘We are committed to changing the way people think about and eat fast food, and we like to have a bit of fun along the way: we’re treating Londoners to 14,000 tasty foil-wrapped burritos.”

Tiger Bills signs UAE and Indian Ocean dual territory deal: Tiger Bills, the “wok and grill” dining concept, is due to roll out across the UAE and territories around the Indian Ocean after signing a new dual-territory deal. The owner of the brand, the Lifestyle Hospitality Group (LHG), has announced a deal involving openings in eight nations, including Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, the Maldives and the United Arab Emirates, in conjunction with Castaway Hotels and Escapes. James Eyre, chief executive of LHG, said: “We’re confident that the much-loved Tiger Bills concept will translate to the Indian Ocean and the UAE. The tried-and-tested formula means that our new friends can be confident in the Tiger Bills brand and offer their customers an authentic and affordable dining experience, unseen in the region before.” There will be around nine restaurants rolling out across the region altogether, with the first expected to open by mid 2015. Patrick Heuze, from Castaway Hotels and Escapes, said: “We are delighted to be partners with Tiger Bills in the expansion of the brand across the Indian Ocean and the Middle East. This dynamic and versatile concept has appealed to us, as we see immense opportunities for the brand in these key destinations or markets.”

Business as usual at Chicago Leisure despite approaches: Management at Chicago Leisure, operator of the eight-strong Chicago Rock Cafe chain, has insisted that it is “business as usual”, despite approaches to its owner, Sun Capital. A spokesman for the company said: “By nature, private equity investors buy, grow and sell companies. As such they are always working and monitoring the next steps for companies that they own. Following some expressions of interest in Chicago Leisure, we understand that Sun Capital is exploring a number of options in order to decide on the best way forward for the business. It is very much business as usual.” Last month, Propel reported that the chain’s evolved offer in Yeovil, opened six months ago after a £500,000 investment, has beaten forecasts. Like-for-like sales have risen by 52% and food sale have grown by 60% after a new seven-day-a-week food offer was introduced. The company converted the Modello Bar & Kitchen, in Star Lane, Yeovil into an updated version of the American-influenced restaurant with bar. It now serves a menu featuring steaks, burgers, milk shakes and American beers and wines.

Harry Ramsden’s to open two in August: The fish and chip brand Harry Ramsden’s is to open two new outlets, at opposite ends of the country. As part of recently signed franchise agreements, an 80-seater restaurant is scheduled to open on Tuesday, 5 August, in Worthing while later in the month a “traditional local” is due to open in Larbert, near Falkirk. Ruslan Kyshtoobaev, who was awarded the franchise for the southern half of West Sussex, allowing for ten new outlets within five years, will open on the site of the former Connaught Corner Cafe Restaurant, on Marine Parade, Worthing. Michael Langan of Sevenseas, which was awarded the Scottish franchise, allowing for 50 outlets over ten years, said work was nearing completion in advance of the opening of a new Harry Ramsden’s “traditional local” in Larbert, near Falkirk, which will offer a wide-ranging takeaway menu and employ ten staff. Joe Teixeira, chief executive of Harry Ramsden’s said: “With catchments of over 100,000 people in both Larbert and Worthing, we are hopeful that the high levels of trust associated with the brand, coupled with the higher quality product offered, will prove popular with the residents of both towns and beyond.”

Jamie Oliver marketing campaign boosts fruit and veg sales by 7% for Woolworths: Woolworths in Australia ha reported its fresh fruit and vegetable sales have jumped by 7% because of its recent six-week Jamie Oliver marketing campaign. Under the programme, growers were asked to voluntarily pay an additional 40 cents per crate of food to help fund the advertising push. The marketing campaign had attracted criticism from the lobby group Ausveg, which was sceptical of any benefit for growers. In a letter sent to participating growers, Woolworths says the programme has been highly successful and that the boost in sales has been good for both suppliers and customers.

Enterprise Inns lets ‘world’s largest pub’ in Bromley on free-of-tie lease: Enterprise Inns has let the Downham Tavern in Grove Park, Bromley, South London on a commercial free-of-tie lease to a new entrant through agent AG&G. The rent is around £40,000 a year. The pub was originally opened in 1930 to serve a housing estate with more than 29,000 residents, an was once the world’s largest, although some of the land has been sold off since. aid AG&G’s Panayiotis Themistocli said: “Even after all these years, there is still little competition from other pubs and bars locally. But some things have changed. The pub used to have a ballroom and what they called a lunchroom. Those have gone and been replaced by a big car park. The remaining building has been remodelled since and is still a significant size, with 455 sq metres (4,895 sq ft) of floorspace.”

Major brands confirmed for Birmingham shopping centre and station development: Brands including Giraffe, Carluccio’s, Caffe Concerto, Pho, Tortilla, Tapas Revolution, Crepe Affaire, YO! Sushi and Square Pie will be opening at Grand Central and Birmingham New Street, a £600m shopping centre and railway station combo that is to open in September 2015. With the atrium roof now successfully lowered into place, the official opening of Grand Central and Birmingham New Street station has been confirmed. The opening of Grand Central and John Lewis will coincide with the completion of Birmingham New Street station. More than 50 million people are expected through the building each year.

EastZEast opens sixth outlet in move into Birmingham: The Manchester-based Punjabi restaurant chain EastZEast is opening a branch in Broad Street, Birmingham next week that will be its sixth outlet. Owner Kabir Rayman said: “Birmingham is not only the capital of the Midlands but also the Midlands’, if not the UK’s, capital of the great British balti. Birmingham is also a hub of vibrant new economic activity, so it was the obvious place by far to open the doors to our newest home of our multi-award winning Punjabi cuisine.” The restaurant, at the Five Ways end of Broad Street, opens to the public on Tuesday, 5 August. EastZEast has two restaurants in Manchester and one each in Preston. Liverpool and Bury.

West Brewery confirms opening date for second permanent site: West Brewery in Glasgow has confirmed the opening of a new 160-capacity pub in the city, West on the Corner. Taking over from an old bar dating from 1900 on Woodlands Road in Glasgow, the German-style venue will officially open in November. It currently operates as a pop-up. Initially, interiors will be kept simple but grander plans are afoot for the full refurbishment, with plenty of wood accents and furniture pieces by Scottish furniture designer Derek Welsh. Petra Wetzel, West’s founder and managing director, said: “I am delighted to be launching West on the Corner on Woodlands Road, two doors down from my old university flat! I am excited for my customers to experience the newest member of the West family, and, of course, sample West Woodlands Red too – we’ve fallen in love with maturing our beers in whisky casks!”

Wetherspoon lines up Helston site: JD Wetherspoon has confirmed it is in negotiations to open a site in Helston, Cornwall (population 9,780), a town long on its wish list. Local speculation is that the chain is looking to move into a store in Coinagehall Street, near the town’s best-known pub, the Blue Anchor, which was one of Britain’s last four remaining home-brew pubs in 1974. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the local Packet newspaper the company was in early negotiations on the purchase of a site, but as talks were ongoing, it was reluctant to comment on the exact location. He said: “We have been looking at Helston for a good while, but nothing has ever come to fruition. We now are further along the road to having a pub there, as much as we have found a site and are in negotiations.” An opening would bring with it between 45 and 50 jobs and an investment of around £1.5m into the town. There are already Wetherspoon outlets in nearby towns including Falmouth, Truro and Penzance.

Morrisons moves to ban super-strength alcohol: The supermarket retailer Morrisons has banned the sale of all canned carbonated products containing more than four units of alcohol. The move is part of the government’s “responsibility deal”, through which suppliers and retailers work with ministers to tackle alcohol-related issues. Morrisons claims it is the first UK retailer to sign up to a pledge on can packaging as part of the deal. Martyn Jones, the group’s corporate services director, said: “We hope that signing up to the pledge will help support the government in reducing the incidence of alcohol-related abuse in the UK. We now need other retailers to join us to make this as effective as possible.”

Gastro-pub opportunity sold off £545,000 asking price: The freehold of the Talbot in Brockley, South London has been sold by the property agent AG&G off an asking price of £545,000 to an independent operator. AG&G’s Panayiotis Themistocli said: “It is trading as an excellent gastro-pub opportunity with scope to build the existing trade of around £10,000 per week. With a largely low-rise residential setting and planning permission already applied for to create a new entrance to the pub through a side extension, there is lots of room for new owners to put their own stamp on the place.” The three-storey end-of-terrace Victorian property has a trading area with central servery and timber flooring on the ground floor and a trade kitchen plus a 46-cover dining room on the first floor.

Wendy’s to close all eight Russian sites: Wendy’s, the American burger chain, will shut down its eight locations in Russia, Bloomberg reports. The closures are due to a “change in the local franchisee’s management.” Wenrus Restaurant group was originally slated to open 180 Wendy’s outlets across by 2020. A spokesperson for the chain told Bloomberg that new leadership at the company “has not expressed interest in growing Wendy’s business in Russia, nor have they shown that they have the resources to successfully operate the existing restaurants on a long-term basis.” Four locations have already been closed and the remaining four are expected to close in just a few weeks.

McDonald’s seeks third restaurant in Lancaster area: McDonald’s has submitted plans for a drive-through restaurant to Lancaster City Council that would be its third outlet in the area. The two-storey restaurant, with internal seating for up to 160 people, a drive-through lane and 40 parking spaces, as well as cycle racks, would be built on currently vacant land off Caton Road. It would bring in 35 full-time and 30 part-time jobs, and with the exception of the management team, almost all of these would be recruited from the local community, McDonald’s said. The application also said that all new drive-through McDonald’s restaurants are supplied with electricity from 100% renewable sources, which is generated off site. The restaurant would be the third McDonald’s in the Lancaster and Morecambe area, with one already in Lancaster city centre and a drive-through in Morecambe Road. The plans will be discussed at a future planning committee meeting.

Spice 2 Go entrepreneur Tej Randeva bounces back from Dragons’ Den rejection: Spice 2 Go, the takeaway curry chain set up by the former Domino’s Pizza franchisee Tej Randeva, is still seeking to raise finance to fuel its expansion after being unsuccessful in its pitch on the TV show Dragons’ Den. The company pitched for £75,000 in return for a 10% stake. However, after Randeva admitted that both of his current sites are loss-making, and that he has invested between £900,000 and £1m already and turnover at his busiest site had been £93,000 in the full year, and a frosty exchange with Debra Meaden, he returned from the “den” empty handed. But in a statement the business said the experience had been a valuable one, illustrating what changes have to be made to see Spice 2 Go evolve into a household brand. It added: “We at Spice 2 Go are now actively seeking investors, wanting like-minded individuals who share our love for authentic food to join the team. While the Dragons did not understand the potential Spice 2 Go has, there is still room for investors to come on board with this unique venture.” Spice 2 Go opened its first store in Swansea in February 2013.

Chinese TV ‘tainted meat’ exposé causing ‘significant damage’ to sales at KFC and Pizza Hut: A television exposé showing improper meat handling by a Chinese supplier has caused “significant, negative” damage to sales at KFC and Pizza Hut restaurants in China over the past ten days, the chain’s owner, Yum Brands, has revealed. “If the significant sales impact is sustained, it will have a material effect on full-year earnings per share,” Yum said in a regulatory filing. Shares in Yum, which counts China as its number one market, fell 6.1% in the US after the announcement. The latest food safety scandal to rock China came as Yum’s restaurant sales there had just begun recovering from a slide last year cause by an avian food outbreak and a food safety scare. After an undercover local TV report that alleged workers at Shanghai Husi Food Co used expired meat and doctored food production dates, regulators closed the factory on 20 July. The plant is part of OSI Group, a US food supplier. Police have detained five people including Shanghai Husi’s head and quality manager. Yum immediately terminated its global relationship with OSI, which was not a major supplier to the company.

Star Pubs & Bars signs ‘best-in-class’ coffee deal with Kimbo: Star Pubs & Bars has negotiated an exclusive coffee supply and support arrangement on behalf of its lessees with the Italian coffee roaster Kimbo which it believes is the best available across the licensed pub trade and changes the dynamic of coffee supply in the leased pub and licensed sector. Unlike other machine agreements which have onerous long-term contracts of three to five years and commit licensees to buy high volumes of coffee or face expensive penalties, the arrangement with Kimbo guarantees credit for Star Pubs & Bars lessees, offers “the best” coffee training and ongoing support available and allows them to terminate their agreement without penalties, the company said. Lessees will have access to a range of free-on-loan machines suited to different types of operation from small to barista models. Kimbo will provide lessees with a choice of premium authentic Italian coffee beans and capsules, including a one-stop comprehensive coffee offer. Lessees will have access to merchandising, helping to distinguish their offer them from their local competition. Chris Jowsey, trading director at Star Pubs & Bars, said: “We are always looking to improve the support we and our third party suppliers provide our lessees. Coffee is an increasingly important revenue stream for pubs with excellent profit margins of 80 to 90%. We want all our pubs to offer real coffee. To gain a meaningful share of the coffee market pubs need to compete with a premium offer, necessitating good machines and great coffee at affordable prices.”

Bonuses for London pub retailer Young’s double in 2014: Bonuses for executive directors at the London pub retailer Young’s doubled in the most recent year to 31 March 2014, to £1.02m, from 506,000 the year before, the annual report states. Chief executive Stephen Goodyear earned £308,000 basic salary plus a bonus of £312,000 and benefits of £21,000 to earn £640,000, up from £476,000 the year before. Retail director Patrick Dardis earned £229,000 basic plus £209,000 bonus plus benefits of £1,600 for a total of £439,000, up from £340,000 the year before. Ed Turner, who runs the Geronimo Inns estate, earned a basic of £179,000 plus a bonus of £170,000 and benefits of £11,000 for a total of £360,000. Human resources director Torquil Sligo-Young’s basic salary of £125,000 was topped up by benefits of £18,500 and a bonus of £121,000 to make a total of £271,900, up from £237,000 the year before. Finance director Peter Whitehead’s earned basic salary of £220,000 plus benefits of £18,500 and bonus of £209,000 for a total of £447,000, up from £338,000 the year before. Bonuses were receivable by the directors in connection with the performance targets they were set during the period. Stephen Goodyear, Torquil Sligo-Young, Peter Whitehead and Patrick Dardis have elected to take their cash element in shares and are therefore entitled to subscribe for “matching” shares. The cash value of the “matching” shares to be awarded to Stephen Goodyear is £156,000, to Torquil Sligo-Young is £60,000, to Peter Whitehead is £104,000 and to Patrick Dardis is £104,000.

McDonald’s opposes Stoke’s bid to ban fast-food outlets near schools: McDonald’s has come out in opposition to plans by Stoke on Trent Council to ban takeaways opening near schools. The council wants to prevent new hot food outlets setting up shop within 400 metres of secondary schools, in an attempt to help combat obesity. But McDonald’s, which has seven restaurants in Stoke, and planning permission for an eighth, said it did not believe the proposed restrictions were an “appropriate or proportionate” way to improve public health. The chain also said it would be unfair to target only takeaways, but not shops or cafes. In its representations to the council over the proposed ban, McDonald’s said that some food sold in those premises can be even less healthy than that served by takeaways. Planning inspectors have ruled against other authorities, such as Newham Council in East London, which have attempted to introduce similar rules. McDonald’s representation said: “While we support the overall aim of this policy, we do have some concerns in regards to the blanket ban to restrict planning applications for hot food takeaway premises within school exclusion zones. McDonald’s is determined to play its part in improving health and wellbeing. We remain committed to menu reformulation and choice … and responsible advertising to children. Although we remain keen to co-operate with Stoke-on-Trent City Council to improve public health, we cannot support the policy in its current format.” The school exclusion zones form part of a proposed supplementary planning document (SPD) on takeaways due to be introduced by the council. It also includes restrictions relating to opening hours, anti-social behaviour and “clustering” of takeaways. Residents’ groups, MPs and takeaway owners were among those consulted on the SPD. The takeaway owners said there was too much emphasis on takeaways, saying they were not to blame for Stoke’s health issues. A revised SPD, which retains all the main points of the draft version, has now been drawn up after the consultation. Ruth Rosenau, Stoke Council’s cabinet member for planning, said McDonald’s would not actually be affected by the SPD, because its outlets were classed as restaurants.

Ice-cream parlour chain opens Redcar outlet after support from Barclays: Archers Jersey Ice Cream, which runs ice cream bars across the North East of England, has opened a new outlet in Redcar, North Yorkshire. John Archer, joint partner in the company with his wife Susan, said: “Barclays’ funding and advice has enabled us to weather the recent economic downturn, restructure our finances and expand with the new ice cream parlour in Redcar. With Barclays’ help, we’ve had a complete economic review to see how we can operate more effectively and free up cashflow. It’s taken a lot of hard work on all sides but we have fully restructured our finances and we’re now confident we have good processes in place to secure the future of the business for the next generation.”

McDonald’s franchisee shortlisted for citizenship award: A McDonald’s franchisee from West London has been shortlisted for a national citizenship award. Atul Pathak, managing director of Appt Corporation, which manages McDonald’s outlets in Acton, Ealing Broadway, Hammersmith Broadway, Hanwell, Hayes, Kilburn, Neasden, Shepherds Bush, Southall and Wembley, among others, is in the finals of the Santander Corporate Citizenship Award, part of the 2014 National Business Awards. Pathak founded the Appt Community Awards, which gives annual one-off donations of between £250 and £1,000 and a year-long corporate partnership to registered charities and community groups. Pathak said: “I am honoured to have been chosen as a finalist for such a prestigious business award. My restaurants serve their local community. They are staffed mainly with members of the local community. It is only natural that we go that bit further to help out wherever possible as it is the right thing to do. However to be recognised by my peers alongside a number of household names for this work is uplifting for both me and my 2,000 staff members.” Caroline Diehl, chief executive of the Media Trust and a judge for the category said: “Appt Corporation’s passionate leader has created a financially successful business that values its staff and apprentices, as well as its customers, to ensure high levels of profitability. The new Atul Pathak Community Awards will provide further evidence of top-level commitment.”

Datamonitor – consumers to take ‘flexitarian’ approach to protein: While food and drink companies are currently riding the high protein bandwagon, there is growing evidence to suggest that this could be a short-term phenomenon, according to Datamonitor. It said its research showed almost a third (31%) of global consumers choose to limit their intake of meat. “This is indicative of the trend towards ‘flexitarian’ eating; a dietary approach that champions the reduction, rather than complete avoidance, of meat. The reasons for exercising such restraint are varied, and include religious and cultural beliefs, ethical and environmental considerations, and rising grocery prices. An important factor is also that consumers are increasingly conscious of the negative health impacts associated with a diet rich in animal protein,” the company said. Tanvi Savara, food and drink analyst at Datamonitor Consumer, said: “Greater consumer awareness about the negative health implications of overconsumption of meat is a key factor driving the ‘flexitarianism’ trend by choosing to limit their intake of meat and animal products. Three in four global consumers who limit their meat intake claim to be making conscious attempts to eat more healthily.”

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