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Tue 5th Aug 2014 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Propel launches Operators and Investors Dinner: Propel Info is launching the sector’s first ever dinner for leading emerging multi-site operators and the investment community. The event, which takes place on 9 September and is sponsored by Zeo, is a chance for up-and-coming multiple operators to network with leading private equity companies, venture capitalists, investment funds and major lenders. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “When you talk to small and medium-sized operators the issue of sourcing finance to expand is one of the first issues that is raised. It’s also a fact that operators tend to have a limited network of contacts in the world of finance. This dinner provides a chance for both investors and operators to broaden their networks. We have around 100 places available at the dinner and the response from our invitees has been very strong with the room almost full with a month to go.” Around 50 of the UK’s outstanding multiple operators have already booked places and the UK’s leading leisure sector private equity firms, including Risk Capital Partners, Kings Park Capital, Bowmark, Piper Private Equity, LGV Capital, Beringea and Clearwater as well as leading banks such as Lloyds, TSB, Barclays, Santander and RBS will be attending. Charity added: “We have held back half a dozen tickets in case we have forgotten to invite an obvious candidate or two – so I’d ask interested individuals to email me if they’d like to attend.” Paul Charity can be reached on

Industry News:

Adam Hyman – conditions are improving for staff in the hospitality industry: Industry sector consultant Adam Hyman has argued that working terms and conditions are improving in the sector. In his weekly bulletin, he reported: “The hospitality industry is still too often seen as an inferior profession in this country. However, it’s slowly starting to be taken seriously and recognised as a proper career path. This is helped by operators adopting a better approach to looking after their staff. Chefs at Corbin & King restaurants can now work five straight shifts per week for the same salary as the six they had to previously work, helping to achieve a better work-life balance. The duo behind the Wolseley and Delaunay are also launching an initiative to encourage women into or rejoin the business with shared jobs and part-time opportunities for mothers. And staff at the Zetter Group are now on a profit sharing scheme – similar to that of the John Lewis Partnership – believed to be the first of its kind in the UK hospitality sector.”

London Evening Standard – restaurants are struggling to recruit UK waiters: London restaurants are struggling to recruit British staff because home-grown waiters do not see it as a “real career” and lack training, The London Evening Standard has reported. Emmanuel Landre, the general manager of Le Gavroche, owned and run by Michel Roux Jr, employs 25 staff who deal directly with customers – but only two are British. Landre told the newspaper: “For too long catering, and especially front-of-house, has been seen as a student job in the UK. But for people from Europe it is a real profession that you study for many years. There are not enough English people in the industry, and too many foreigners.” Fera wanted “as many British staff as possible” to reflect head chef Simon Rogan’s low air-miles food. But restaurant director Ben Hofer, who is Austrian, admitted only eight of the 35-strong front-of-house team were from the UK – despite interviewing hundreds of candidates. “Some of them had just come out of catering college, and I think they thought they could get into management positions that they weren’t ready for,” said Hofer. Ed Baines, chef-owner of Randall & Aubin in Soho, admitted he did not employ any British front-of-house staff. “It’s not a policy, it’s just that they don’t come through the door,” he told the newspaper.

Three places left for Professor Chris Muller’s Multi-site Management Masterclass: Only three places are still available for Professor Chris Muller’s Multi Site Management Masterclass on Friday 26 September. 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 Spirit Pub Company, Giraffe, Amber Taverns, Punch Taverns, Giraffe, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, Enterprise Inns, 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:

Open Table buys Copilot Labs: OpenTable, the company that built technology for making restaurant reservations online, has bought Copilot Labs, a startup with an app restaurants can use to track business relative to other restaurants. OpenTable announced the news in a blog post – the startup joined OpenTable last month. Terms weren’t disclosed. “We’re excited to begin offering this free service to our restaurant customers in other markets in the near future,” Jocelyn Mangan, senior vice president of product management at OpenTable, wrote in the blog post. The service lets restaurateurs see how their daily performance compared with other restaurants in a neighborhood or city. Copilot can also show the cost of an empty seat at a given time and put spending in context. Data comes from restaurants’ point-of-sales systems. San Francisco-based Copilot Labs started in 2010.

Norwich attracts record number of visitors with City of Ale event: This year’s City of Ale event in Norwich has proved to be the most successful yet with even more visitors coming to Norwich especially for the festival. More pubs and breweries took part, and more brews were on offer to real ale drinkers. Research shows customers drank more than 50,000 pints of local ales during the ten-day festival, which ran from 22 May to 1 June. In-pub surveys found that more than a fifth of those interviewed had come from outside Norfolk – almost double the number last year – showing that national marketing targeted at real-ale lovers earlier in the year funded by Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) had paid off. Some of the visitors came from Northern Ireland, Greater Manchester, Yorkshire and Wales, with those travelling the farthest coming specifically to Norwich for the festival. Nearly eight out of ten publicans said they saw more new faces than usual this year. The large variety of real ales available was cited as a key positive by festival-goers who also liked the way that City of Ale promoted local businesses. Dawn Leeder, co-chairman of City of Ale, said: “These results confirm our belief that national awareness of City of Ale is increasing year-on-year and that more people are visiting from outside the region. We are confident that this trend will continue.”

Company News:

YO! Sushi chief executive reports takeaway sales up circa 25%: YO! Sushi chief executive Vanessa Hall has reported that takeaway sales are up 25% at the sushi brand – and that building days parts a major opportunity. In an interview for the next edition of Propel Quarterly magazine, Hall said: “We are looking at stretching the time-slot a little bit – we’re providing a breakfast offer. It’s not in many YO!s – we launched that last month. It will change and evolve, but what that does is open the doors early and we’re finding people are coming in for takeaway sales, or they come in and they may not eat the breakfast offer but they’ll eat sushi at 8am in the morning. From an evening point of view, we are looking at our drinks development: some wine goes perfectly with sushi, I’ve tested it myself many a time! If you go into High Street Kensington, we’ve got a couple of new wines on. We also have a new dish in High Street Ken called okonomiyaki, it’s a Japanese-style noodle pizza, it’s for sharing, and it goes really well with beer. We also have our takeaway business, which we’ve been doing some work on as well. We’ve changed the offer, the packaging, we’ve got better signage, and our takeaway at the moment is in about 25% like-for-like growth. So without compromising our restaurant business, there’s a great market for takeaway. But evolving YO! is crucial, because it’s one of those brands that cannot stand still – it’s a little bit iconic for staying ahead of the times, always having something new and fresh.”

Derek Mapp – we’re making a £1m investment at the Tickled Trout: Derek Mapp, who founded the Tom Cobleigh destination pub dining business that was acquired by Rank, has told Propel that he making a £1m investment in the Tickled Trout, Derbyshire, which re-opens today and will be run by his son Chris Map under the aegis of his company, Mapp Kitchen and Ale. Derek Mapp told Propel: “We bought the freehold for £295,000 from Marston’s and have invested around £700,000. It was a knackered site, a revolving door tenancy.” The Tickled Trout offer around 100 covers, serving locally-sourced food with an Italian twist. Of expansion plans, Mapp said: “We’ll get this one humming and then see where it goes.”

Five Guys opens second West Midlands site: Five Guys, the authentic American burger brand, has opened its second restaurant in the West Midlands at Touchwood in Solihull. Situated in the heart of Touchwood’s leisure arcade, close to the cinema and wider dining offer, the 3,100 sq ft restaurant began trading yesterday (4 August). In addition, Lend Lease has confirmed a new 15 year lease agreement with current TGI Friday’s restaurant and Italian dining brand, ASK Italian recently opened its new concept refit, located in Mill Arcade. The news also follows a successful start to the year for Touchwood, with catering sales up 7% in the first six months and sales experienced a growth of 3.4% over this same period. Commenting on their selection of Touchwood, Neville Mailing, head of property at Five Guys, said: “We were looking for locations with a strong footfall and catchment within the West Midlands and Touchwood was a great proposition. We have a great space in a prime location in a centre that is first choice destination for consumers from throughout the regions. Touchwood is perfect for our first restaurant in the West Midlands.”

Wetherspoon lines up fourth Blackpool opening: JD Wetherspoon now has all the necessary permissions in place to convert the Lucky Star amusement arcade on the Promenade, Blackpool, into what will be its fourth pub in the resort. The chain traditionally names its pubs in recognition of local heritage, and has a shortlist of four names for its latest venture. These are The Troubadour, The Velvet Coaster, The Flying Circus or The Grand Pavilion. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We have enjoyed great success with our pubs in Blackpool and are looking forward to opening on the former amusement arcade site in Promenade in the near future. We believe the new pub will be an asset to the town and hopefully act as a catalyst for further businesses to invest in the area.” The company plans to invest £2.2m in the property on the Promenade, which was used as the backdrop for the BBC 2004 comedy musical Blackpool’ starring David Morrissey and David Tennant. The development will also create around 50 jobs. There is no opening date yet for the pub and the arcade has continued to operate. Wetherspoon’s three other pubs in Blackpool are The Auctioneer on Lytham Road in South Shore, The Layton Rakes on Market Street and The Albert and The Lion on Central Promenade.

McMullen opens pizza and cake concept with retro furnishings: Hertford-based McMullen has opened a pub pizza brand in Hitchin. The Angels, formerly Angels Reply, offers a variety of pub classics with a modern twist including Sunday roasts as well as operating a pizzeria kitchen. “We are really proud of our new pizzas which are sourced from Luciano, an Italian artisan pizza dough producer,” said manager Scott Webber. “The hand-crafted dough is simply the best – he uses great 00 flour wheat germ, semolina, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt.” The bar stocks a selection of fine wines, world beers, cocktails, a full range of Hertfordshire McMullen’s cask ales from the Whole Hop Brewery and offers a cake counter with dessert treats. The pub has a capacity of 230 and features an exclusive area for guests aged 18 or over who enjoy a quiet tipple and bite. The Angels hosts two playground areas, indoors and outdoors with welcoming family booths and hosts pizza-making birthday parties.

Events company signs up to run Doncaster live music venue: Doncaster Conferencing, Catering and Events (DCCE), which run the gigs, conferences and bars for Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust have signed a lease to reopen The Leopard on West Street which closed earlier this year after decades as one of the borough’s highest profile venues for music. Michael Hart, chief executive of Doncaster Culture and Leisure Trust, said: “We are delighted that the company who run the events at our venues has now signed the lease to reopen The Leopard pub. DCCE have a fantastic reputation for bringing great music to Doncaster over the years with acts from the Kaiser Chiefs and Kings of Leon to The Strokes and Travis. The Leopard had a great musical history and has played an important role in Doncaster for many years and we are keen to see DCCE build on this and bring the area back to life.”

Cote signs for Dorchester Brewery Square development: Cote is the latest restaurant brand confirmed for Brewery Square in Dorchester. Director of developer Waterhouse Andrew Wadsworth said: “Cote Brasserie is a great quality addition to the scheme- their terrific French cuisine is perfect for Dorchester and will be a significant draw to Brewery Square.” Transforming 11 acres of the former Eldridge Pope Brewery in Dorchester’s town centre, the £100 million mixed use Brewery Square scheme, by urban regeneration specialists Waterhouse & Resolution Property, is the largest town centre regeneration in the South West. Cote joins Carluccios, Wagamama, Zizzi, PizzaExpress, Nando’s, Vivo Lounge, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Simon’s Deli and Café Panini alongside a new Odeon Cinema and a 76 bed Premier Inn, which opened last year.

Pull’d secures first site in City of London: A new slow-cooked meat concept Pull’d is due to launch in The City later this year after agent Davis Coffer Lyons acquired its first site at 61 Cannon Street. The emerging brand has arranged the surrender of a previous lease with a new lease being granted direct from the landlord taken the remainder of a lease expiring in 2026 at a passing rent of £62,500 per annum. Pull’d signature dishes will centre around its delicious range of slow-cooked, tender meats. Customers can personalise their meal to their own specific tastes by choosing from a range of signature sauces, a selection of bases – such as brioche roll, tortilla, rice, and salad – along with complementary salads and sides. The fledgling concept has ambitious plans to open up to five sites in the next three years. Rob Meadows, leisure property consultant at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “BBQ food is incredibly popular with diners at the moment and it is therefore no surprise that exciting new operators like Pull’d are emerging. This dual entry unit is in a fantastic location on Cannon Street and Queen Victoria Street. Plus, by creating an all day trading format Pull’d will be able to appeal to the wide range of workers and visitors that pass by every day. Small sites in high footfall area of the city are difficult to secure and a pragmatic approach needs to be take in negotiations, this was certainly one of those instances and it is a credit to the Pull’d team!”

Greene King pub sold – landlady blames micro-pubs: Greene King has sold the Lord Nelson pub in Broadstairs. Landlady Diane Crompton, who has been at the Lord Nelson’s helm for nine years, said: “It’s great pub. We have had some lovely customers and bands here. We have had some really great times. I hate to say it but we have seen a decline in pubs since the smoking ban and micro-pubs opening all around us. It’s very sad to see the Nelson pub go. It’s a very old friendly pub and I think people in Broadstairs will be sad to see it go.” A spokesman for Greene King said: “After an extensive review of the business, we made the difficult decision to sell the Lord Nelson. We have agreed a sale with a prospective buyer, the details of which are confidential.”

Survey confirms London has the most expensive hotel bedrooms in Europe: London has once again been named as Europe’s most expensive capital to stay in by hotel reservation service HRS. A new survey by HRS reveals that the average price of a hotel stay in London has increased by more than 10% since last year, with rates reaching nearly £130 a night, ahead of Paris and Copenhagen which both have an average stay rate at £117 per room. In the UK, Edinburgh is the second most expensive city, with average rates of £97, up by nearly 13% compared to 2013. Jon West, managing director of HRS for the UK and Ireland, said: “Thanks to the economic recovery, tourism is picking up again and this is reflected in the price increase of hotel rooms in the capital.” Behind London and Edinburgh, HRS found that the UK’s next most expensive rooms rates are found in Bristol, at an average of £86 and Manchester (£83). Meanwhile, the cheapest rooms are found in Liverpool, at an average of £72 per night.

Burger King reports “strength” in UK market: Burger King has reported that “strength” in the UK market in its Second Quarter, alongside Turkey and Spain, was partially offset by weakness in Germany to produce overall like-for-like sales growth of 0.9% in the European region, which is grouped with the Middle East and Africa by the company. US and Canada delivered like-for-like growth of 0.4%, the third consecutive quarter of positive results, driven by a strategy of launching fewer, more impactful products. The introduction of the Extra Long BBQ Cheeseburger as well as the BBQ Bacon Whopper sandwich were effective at generating sales during the second quarter. The company stated: “In the United Kingdom, the premium Angry Whopper sandwich and the Summer BBQ promotion complemented our new King Savers value menu. EMEA system-wide sales growth of 11.3% was primarily driven by 346 net new restaurant openings.”

ASA bans misleading pizza advert: The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a Dr Oetker advert in which it compared its Chicago Town pizza with Domino’s was “misleading”. The advert was challenged by a viewer who said the claim “voted no.1 versus Domino’s” was misleading and questioned if it could be substantiated. Dr Oetker asked 170 respondents to taste its pizza against Pizza Hut and Domino’s and select preferences based on taste description and price. Of the sample, 39% chose Chicago Town, 37% Pizza Hut and 24% Domino’s. “From the data presented it was not possible to tell which of the other pizzas (Chicago Town or Domino’s) this 37% of participants would have selected in a head-to-head test and we therefore considered it was misleading to imply that Chicago Town had beaten Domino’s in a head-to-head test,” the Advertising Standards Authority said in a ruling. In addition, the body pointed out only one flavour had been tested. Dr Oetker was instructed not to air the advert again in its current form. A spokesperson for Dr Oetker told just-food today: “The complaint was upheld as the ASA state that the specific variety tested (pepperoni) should have been made clearer. This was the only variety shown in the advert with the terms and conditions clearly stating ‘test on one variant’. We also acknowledge that we did not reveal the other pizza included in the taste test as Pizza Hut double pepperoni stuffed crust and instead referred to them as competitor A.”

Private equity interest expected in Americana: The largest fast food operator in the Middle East is tipped to attract private equity interest after putting itself up for sale. Americana holds the restaurant franchise rights to KFC, Pizza Hut, TGI Friday’s and other fast food chains across the Gulf and North Africa. The company runs 1,500 outlets, stretching across 13 countries from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caspian Sea, and employs 65,000 people. The company also has a big manufacturing arm consisting of 17 factories producing meat, canned food, dairy, and frozen vegetables under a range of American brands that are big-sellers. Americana was founded 50 years ago and is majority-owned by Kuwait’s al-Kharafi family but also listed on the Kuwaiti stock exchange.

Giggling Squid applies to expand Crawley site: Giggling Squid, the Thai restaurant brand headed by husband-and-wide team Andy and Pranee Laurillard, has applied to Crawley Borough Council for listed building consent to demolish existing bathroom partition walls to create a new dining and bar area. The proposal includes altering the kitchen area to create a new customer toilet. Plans to make the most of the historic building in the High Street mean the owners also want to remove part of the ceiling to expose original timbers. A separate planning application has been submitted for the change of use of part of the upstairs hotel space into a restaurant on the first floor. Both proposals are due to be considered by planning officers by 18 September.

KFC launches $5 nostalgia stunt: KFC in the US took over Pruitt’s Service Island, an iconic full-service automotive station in Louisville, Kentucky, for a nostalgic marketing stunt. Colonel Sanders gave lucky motorists KFC Gift Checks so they could enjoy a $5 Fill-Up meal of their own at a local KFC restaurant, and filled up their cars for free. In candid-camera style, KFC captured consumers’ reactions when the cultural icon showed up at their pump. Hidden camera footage is available to view on KFC’s YouTube channel. One customer was so enthusiastic about her free fill up and KFC Gift Checks that she got out of her car to give the Colonel a hug, and another customer gave the Colonel a ride around the block in her convertible.

Pizza Hut Restaurants hires new CFO: Pizza Hut Restaurants has hired Odean Cinemas finance director Adrian Walker as its new chief finance officer. Walker has also worked as head of the UK finance function at Virgin Active and Vodafone in Australia. Pizza Hut managing director Jens Hofma said: “Adrian comes to us with some brilliant leisure experience, which, coupled with his exposure to private equity backed businesses and keen commercial acumen, will help Pizza Hut Restaurants take the lead in the casual dining sector. We’re delighted to welcome him to the team.”

New cafe concept opens in Lincolnshire: A new cafe concept serving a range of high quality coffees and chocolates, Café Au Chocolat, has opened in Stamford, Lincolnshire. Owner Krystyna Szypryt has transformed the former Blockbuster video rental shop and hopes the high standard of products will add something new to Stamford’s long list of coffee shops. The cafe offers its own blends of coffee as well as handmade crêpes and a wide range of specially-selected dark and milk chocolates you will not find in the supermarket. The building itself has been totally refurbished, with old storerooms converted into cosy seating areas. Szypryt said: “I took voluntary redundancy from my previous job, as owning a coffee shop is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a teenager.” The cafe employs ten staff, both full and part time.

Hungry Horse and Wildwood complete Telford line-up: Greene King’s Hungry Horse brand and Tasty’s Wildwood have been revealed as the final two tenants for the bar and restaurant units at Southwater One in Telford. Wildwood will occupy the space on the corner between Telford Ice Rink and the new Premier Inn. Hungry Horse will be found on the ground floor of the new development. Telford & Wrekin Council leader, councillor Kuldip Sahota, said: “This means all the units in the first phase of the development are fully allocated, adding a massive 13 new market-leading names to the town centre. We have a very exciting couple of months ahead as these open for business.” The two newly-announced restaurants will join the already revealed 11-screen IMAX Cineworld cinema and Starbucks, a Premier Inn, Zizzi’s, Chimichanga, Wagamama, Nando’s, Bella Italia, PizzaExpress, Mimos and Harvester.

Cornerhouse restaurant complex achieves top sustainability rating: The Cornerhouse in Nottingham has achieved a top star sustainability rating. Nottingham’s premier leisure and entertainment complex has been awarded the highest three star rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association, marking it out as an ‘exceptional destination’. The Cornerhouse picked up the rating after demonstrating initiatives in key areas including treating people fairly, community engagement and environment and waste management. Suzanne Green, centre manager at The Cornerhouse said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded three stars as it goes a long way to recognising all the hard work we’ve been doing over the last year. We look after our staff with a good training and benefits programme and we’re committed to supporting the local community and working with charities like the Nottinghamshire Hospice. We have also taken steps to raise awareness around alcohol consumption. We monitor our waste streams on a monthly basis, separate food waste and get staff involved in recycling initiatives like World Environment Day. We also have measures in place to reduce our energy and water consumption. We have also added two bee-hives on an outside area of the top floor with each hive containing around 60,000 bees. To give the bees some plants and flowers to feed on, we’ve also installed some vegetable patches with any produce grown being donated to a local charity for the homeless.” The Cornerhouse is home to 22 venues including numerous bars and restaurants like Nando’s, Rocket@Saltwater, Red Hot World Buffet and Wagamama.

Smoked salmon restaurant to open in London: A restaurant company that specialises in serving smoked salmon is to open its first site outside of the Middle East in London’s Belgravia. Owners Joe Bassili and Hussni Ajlan will open Salmontini Le Resto at 1 Pont Street this September. The business partners opened the first Salmontini restaurant and boutique in Beirut in 2001. There are also Salmontini Le Resto sites in Dubai, as well as in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. Overseen by Joe Bassili’s son, co-owner and managing director Jason Bassili, the Pont Street restaurant will take the Salmontini Le Resto concept and adjust it for London audiences.

Stonegate Pub Company invests £300,000 in Fenland hotel to create late-night dimension: Stonegate Pub Company has invested £300,000 in one of Fenland’s oldest hotels – Ye Olde Griffin Hotel on March High Street, a former Bramwell Pub Company venue. The refurbishment has created seven jobs including kitchen, bar and hotel roles. General manager Marina Oldale said: “Our new owners Stonegate Pub Company were quick to recognise what a gem Ye Olde Griffin is and are investing in the business again so that it remains in excellent condition. In terms of our pub offer we are extending our dance floor and installing a state of the art audio system to appeal to our late night party clientele.”

VAT cut would deliver £4bn economic boost: Campaigners fighting for a reduction in VAT for the tourism industry say it could offer the UK economy a £4bn boost. The popularity of domestic holidays, or ‘staycations’ has been fuelled by the recession. A recent survey by Barclays projects that they may be worth over £108bn to the UK economy by 2017, and that spend on holidays at home will increase by 25% over the next four years. But tourism chiefs say the UK isn’t competing on a level playing field with the rest of Europe. In France, Germany, Spain and Italy, VAT paid by tourists is set at seven or 10%. Here it’s 20%. Cuts in the rates in Europe have shown to be successful, and those campaigning for the same to happen here say a cut to 5% would boost investment, jobs and visitor numbers. Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, said: “We fully support the initiative to cut tourism tax. A cut would deliver a huge financial boost for tourism around the UK and 120,000 new jobs with 8,000 already being created by Premier Inn by 2018.” Another report shows that the UK is ranked 138 out of 140 countries for price competitiveness, and is one of only four in the EU not to reduce tourism VAT.

CGA – foodservice market grown by 2.7% to be worth £64bn: The foodservice sector is fast catching up with grocery giants as more and more people go out to eat, new research from CGA Strategy shows. CGA’s figures estimate the foodservice market to be worth some £64bn a year, having grown by 2.7% in the last year despite the difficult economic climate. That leaves foodservice behind the grocery multiple market, which is worth £87bn a year – but which grew only 1.2% in the last year, and is increasingly challenged by out-of-home eating. CGA’s research also reveals that around 43% of people in the UK now go out to eat at least once a week. In London – arguably the most dynamic foodservice market in the world right now – the figure rises to 59%. And consumers are increasingly sophisticated, visiting an average of more than seven different food concepts every six months. The same applies to drinking habits, with evidence of much greater experimentation and the rise of craft and premium beer and spirits over standard brands. Other key trends uncovered by the research include: Flexible all-day concepts are creating a whole new model for eating and drinking out. CGA stats show there are now 80% more of these than there were in 2003; Food on the go is a big growth area. A CGA Peach survey of industry leaders found that 53% think ‘food to go’ food will grow this year, while 63% think ‘express’ or cut-down formats will thrive; Range and quality are increasingly important draws for foodservice companies. The main driver of choice of supplier remains price (37%) – but range (15%), quality (9%) and local sourcing (10%) are becoming more important too. CGA Strategy commercial director Tom Lynch said: “Foodservice is evolving fast. Multi-occasion bars, casual dining brands and on-the-go concepts are redefining the eating and drinking out landscape, and operators have made some seismic shifts in operational focus and proposition quality. Our research proves foodservice to be a dynamic market and one with scale, which has traded well through the recession and is primed to thrive over the next few years. With completion so fierce, it has never been more important for operators and suppliers alike to stay on top of trends and get smart intelligence about what their customers want.”

Tasty to open cafe bakery and Wildwood hybrid site: Tasty is to open its first cafe bakery brand on the site of the iconic De Grey’s in Ludlow, Shropshire. The tearoom was thought to have shut its doors for good when owner Robbie Underhill called time on the historic business in January after 90 years of trading – 40 staff lost their jobs. It has attracted a celebrity fan-base, with TV presenter and historian Dan Snow labelling its cream teas the “best in the world”. But now bosses at Tasty which has taken over the building, have promised to keep not only the name, but also the traditional tearoom and bakery. The decision was made because of the outpouring of love for De Grey’s from former customers, which has convinced the company to keep it as close to the old style as possible – including the restaurant company operating a bakery and deli for the very first time – while still putting its own brand on the building. Jonathan Plant, joint chef executive of Tasty, told the local newspaper: “We’re going to retain the name De Grey’s but we’re going to use our own brand – it will probably be called Wildwood at De Grey’s. We’re going to continue the tea-room theme at the front, with a bakery and deli, pretty much in the same style. We’re very, very keen to keep it in a similar style. At first we weren’t sure, but since we’ve taken over the site we’ve had so many letters of interest and sadness that De Grey’s had gone that we want to retain as much as possible. The big difference will be at the rear where there will be a kitchen doing our high-end pizza, pasta and grill menu. But we’ve spent a lot of time and effort to be sensitive to what it was, and moulding our concept to De Grey’s. It’s the first time we’ve done a deli, the first time we’ve done a bakery.” One thing that may not be the same, however, will be the traditional black and white uniforms worn by De Grey’s waiting staff. “It’s not fully decided yet, but we think we probably won’t have that, because we want staff to be able to flit between the tearoom and the restaurant,” Plant said. “I’m sure people might complain about that, but we will gauge it.” Work has been going on during the last couple of months at the listed timber-framed building in Broad Street, including creating a garden at the back and sorting out damp and structural issues, he added. Builders hoped to complete the work by 18 August, with a provisional opening date seven days later. “We’ve opened about 25 restaurants, but this has been the one that has provoked the most interest,” Plant told the newspaper. “It was clearly an important part of the town. We want to appeal to the old De Grey’s customers – and they’ll have to let us know if we’ve succeeded.”

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