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Wed 13th Aug 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Redcomb Pubs and Broken Foot Inns merge: Two multi-site companies, Redcomb Pubs and Broken Foot Inns (BFI), have merged to create a 12-strong company turning over more than £12m a year. The new company, to be called Redcomb Pubs, will be headed up by co-managing directors Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, with David Franks as chairman, and Peter Mackie and Quentin Williams also sitting on the board. The new 12-site group comprises four freeholds (The Theodore Bullfrog, Charing Cross, The Manor Arms, Streatham, The Village Inn, Ealing, The Seagate, Appledore), two free-of-tie leaseholds (The Coach & Horses Greenwich, The Three Guineas, Reading Station) and six tied/partly tied leases (The Griffin, Danbury, The Tree on Boxhill, The John Barleycorn, Duxford, The Crown & Horns, East Ilsley, The Station, Hither Green, The Bickley, Chislehurst) and has forecast annual sales in excess of £12 million. Dan Shotton said: “We’ve been working carefully on this merger for some time now, and I’m delighted we have now finalised the deal. We have been working alongside BFI for the last two years, and have known David, Peter and Quentin pretty much since we started in the industry 20 years ago, so bringing our two companies together was exactly the right thing to do. Both companies have been enjoying like-for-like growth in excess of 6.3% for the last two quarters, and Redcomb Pubs is now a serious independent multiple with a good mix of freehold assets and leaseholds, and a good balance of target consumer segments including wet-led London pubs, iconic London suburban community pubs, premium destination food sites and pubs with rooms. We are well positioned to benefit from a number of synergies from joining the two businesses, not least a vastly improved purchasing power. We are now looking at a number of ways to raise further finance to continue our growth plans of three to five sites per year, predominantly focusing on freeholds and free-of-tie leases. But we are also working closely with companies such as Spirit to explore new leased models and investments that add significant value to both parties.”

Industry News:

Timothy Taylor’s Boltmaker named Champion Beer of Britain: Brewers belonging to the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) once again dominated the list of winners announced at the Great British Beer Festival (GBBF), with Timothy Taylor taking the top Champion Beer of Britain (CBOB) title for its Boltmaker, and SIBA brewers winning all seven classes. Timothy Taylor’s triumph at Olympia means that 14 of the last 15 CBOB winners, as well as the vast majority of class winners, have come from within SIBA’s ranks. Boltmaker lifted the top award after winning in a series of local CAMRA tasting panels, regional beer judging competitions and, finally, the national judging at the GBBF. Boltmaker won the bitters category of CBOB and is described as a “well-balanced, genuine Yorkshire bitter, with a full measure of maltiness and hoppy aroma”.

Witney licensees call for more late-night bars after Loungers opening: Witney licensees have called for more nightspots in the town after its only nightclub was replaced by a Loungers opening. They argue that customers are travelling to Oxford after the closure of Market Square’s Izi’s, which had a licence until 3am, last September. Its replacement, Como Lounge, opened last week after a £500,000 refurbishment. Mark Wates, owner of Nortons cafe bar in Langdale Gate, said: “We definitely need a late licence venue in Witney because people want choice. Young people are all going into Oxford for nights out so you have to give them what they want. We need it to be like how it was before, Izi’s was a nightclub, but this is more of a food-orientated establishment.”

McDonald’s expands home delivery in Australia: McDonald’s is expanding a trial in Australia to provide a home-delivery service to its customers. The company teamed up with internet delivery service Menulog, which has a variety of restaurants and liquor stores on its books, and has been running a delivery service in western Sydney for the past nine months. McDonald’s now plans to roll out the service – called McDelivery – across the country. There is minimum-order requirement of $25 on Menulog – almost £14. A spokesman for McDonald’s said there was no current plan to offer home delivery in the UK, adding that ‘It’s a question we get asked a lot’.

Scotland’s licensed trade asks for review of business rates: Scotland’s licensed trade has urged the Scottish government to reduce business rates for pub operators, arguing they are “a serious burden” on the industry. The Scottish Licensed Trade Association said it feared as many as three pubs were closing each week in Scotland. It laid much of the blame on rates, saying they amounted to 8% or 9% of an operator’s turnover. The Scottish government said business rates were set by independent assessors. It also said about two in every five pubs in Scotland paid zero or reduced business rates bills. SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson told BBC Scotland: “Our rates are a serious burden to operators up here. Why should we pay 8% or 9% of turnover for rates when other businesses do not have to pay that much? If you rated all shops like that you would decimate them. We have never really recovered from the smoking ban, cheaper alcohol in supermarkets, and more people drinking at home. It is very difficult to get hold of figures in Scotland but we would imagine that the market is very similar to England’s. This is the biggest problem the licensed trade in Scotland is facing and I would like the Scottish government to look at our rating system, which is unique in terms of businesses.”

MP group proposes tough alcohol measures: Drivers could be banned from getting behind the wheel after just a single pint under tough new rules proposed by MPs. The All Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Misuse called for a tightening on drink drive rules as part of a raft of measures to combat problem drinking. Members also called for cigarette-style health warnings on wine bottles, a minimum price per unit of alcohol and a strengthening of the rules around advertising alcoholic products. “The facts and figures of the scale of alcohol misuse in the UK speak for themselves,” said Tracey Crouch, Tory MP and chairman of the group.

Company News:

Tivoli to open second Wagamama in Copenhagen: Tivoli, the Copenhagen amusement garden business, is set to launch a restaurant outside its own walls for the first time in its 171-year history after deciding to open a new franchised Wagamama restaurant in the Frederiksberg area of the city. Tivoli already operates 11 fast-food outlets, 16 bars and cafes and 20 restaurants, including an existing franchised Wagamama. “The new Wagamama will contribute to our activities year round and will support the development of Tivoli as a year-round business,” Tivoli chief executive Lars Leibst said. The first Wagamama restaurant opened in Tivoli in 2006 and has served more than 1.25 million guests since. The new Wagamama will be located on Solbjerg Plads near Copenhagen Business School in Frederiksberg and will open its doors on 29 August.

Nando’s debuts first motorway service station site at Beaconsfield M40 today: Chicken brand Nando’s opens its first site at a motorway service station today, with a site is set at the Extra Service Station off junction two off the M40, Beaconsfield, where it joins Patisserie Valerie and JD Wetherspoon motorway service debuts. The Nando’s will seat 138 people, including 24 outdoors and has created 30 new jobs. Tim Blanthorn, Nando’s regional managing director, said: “Being the first Nando’s in a service station, we’re expecting to serve plenty of hungry drivers!”

Rosinter – ‘we face a lot of menu engineering after food exports ban’: Rosinter, the 369-strong Russian restaurant company that was led by former Mitchells & Butlers executive Kevin Todd until earlier this year and runs TGI Friday’s and McDonald’s franchises, has admitted it faces a lot of menu engineering after Russia banned food exports from a host of countries. The year-long ban affects products from the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway. Rosinter said more than 50% of the food it serves is imported. It expects sanctions to exacerbate a business downturn already happening as political instability pushes the economy into recession. “It is quite a difficult situation,” Rosinter spokeswoman Elena Mazur said. “[We] face a lot of work in terms of menu-engineering and pricing.” Customers of La Maree, one of Russia’s largest wholesale suppliers of fish and seafood, posted an urgent message on its website informing clients that prices had changed the day after the ban. A La Maree manager confirmed that prices had gone up about 20% on everything from clams to salmon in the face of the ban.

Coffee and comics brand opens in Rugby with an eye on Midlands roll-out: A new brand, Kuni’s Coffee & Comics, has opened in Rugby. The brand, located at 33-34 High Street, offers coffee, ice cream shakes, American candy, comic books, toys, posters and collectables, and has created 16 jobs. All seating locations have power, head-phone sockets for audio from TV screens and free Wi-Fi. Bryan Cooney, managing director of Kuni Coffee, said: “Rugby is a great place to do business and we are really excited to be opening in the town. We have invested heavily in the new business and see Rugby as the perfect fit for what we offer and a platform for us to expand throughout the Midlands. I would like to say a special thank you to Rugby First, who were able to identify a range of potential locations in the town as well as provide useful contacts to help us get the shop open quickly.”

Wabi in Horsham to re-open in early September after £500,000 refurbishment: The original Wabi restaurant site in Horsham, West Sussex, now owned by Paul and Verity Craig, will re-open in the first week of September after a £500,000 refurbishment – the site was destroyed by fire in May. Its website states: “As well as offering world-class cuisine, wines and cocktails, Wabi will be lifting the tempo after dinner every Friday and Saturday until 2am. The restaurant, cocktail lounge and Garden are undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment into a significantly enlarged and beautiful oriental environment.” The fire closed Wabi in Horsham five months after the site was acquired for in excess of £1m from the receivers by the Craigs, owners of Bohemia bar in Brighton. Paul Craig was voted Entrepreneur of the Year at the 2010 Sussex Business Awards and has been in the industry over 20 years operating dozens of different sites.

Marcus Wareing to open stand-alone Seven Dials restaurant next month: Marcus Wareing will open his new, stand-alone restaurant Tredwell’s, in Seven Dials, next month, the first time he has opened a restaurant not located within a hotel. The group’s other sites, the Gilbert Scott and Marcus, are in the Renaissance Hotel at St Pancras and the Berkeley in Knightsbridge, respectively. The new opening is described as a mid-priced ‘West End eatery’, located on Upper St Martin’s Lane in a site most recently occupied by Kyashii, a sushi brand. The menu will include dishes such as crayfish, gem, black rice and quinoa salad, salmon, spirulina, cauliflower, chilli and soy and lamb chops with minted bean chutney. The 130-cover restaurant will have a bar in the basement and a seated dining bar on the ground floor.

Hard Rock Café orders Soft Rock Café to change its name: A Merseyside bar has been ordered to change its name by restaurant brand Hard Rock Cafe in a row over copyright. The Soft Rock Café, in Liscard has been contacted by lawyers acting for the firm demanding that it change its name and logo because they are too similar to the Hard Rock Cafe branding. They said there was a risk of customers being led to believe that the bar was connected to the Hard Rock Cafe. Owner and manager Robbie Forbes said the name “Soft Rock” referred to the type of music played in the bar and he was taking legal advice. Hard Rock lawyers’ letter to the Soft Rock Cafe said: “The words rock cafe are used in the same order and hard and soft have opposite but associated meanings. In addition the logo and the stylised mark used at the Soft Rock Cafe premises uses a font that is extremely similar to our client’s registered logos.”

Plans drawn up for two premium restaurants in Birmingham’s Brindleyplace: Two “premium” restaurant operators could be coming to Brindleyplace in Birmingham after plans were submitted to convert one of the estate’s buildings. Hines and Moorfield, the mixed-use estate’s co-owners since summer 2010, have lodged plans to convert part of the ground floor of Three Brindleyplace from office accommodation into two separate restaurant units. No future occupiers are identified in the application documents but a planning statement says the “proposals would enable two premium restaurant operators to establish themselves”. The statement, written by property consultancy GVA, says two units would be created, one either side of the main entrance foyer, which would total 9,028 sq ft including external space.

Tom Kerridge unveils plans for second Marlow pub site: Chef Tom Kerridge, who holds two Michelin stars at the Hand and Flowers in Marlow, has unveiled plans for his second site in the town, which include a takeaway breakfast hot-dog, live sport and a no-booking policy. He received planning permission at the start of this month to extend what was Chinese restaurant and pub The Coach and Horses in West Street. Due to open in November, it will be named The Coach and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner – offering a less formal style of diner to its nearby sister restaurant which is on the same road. Dishes will include smoked haddock kedgeree and waffles with truffle honey for breakfast, potted Cornish crab with cucumber chutney for lunch and whole rotisserie roasted stuffed quail for dinner. There will also be a cake of the day. Kerridge told The Maidenhead Advertiser: “Enjoying a mixture of different dishes and flavours is a great way to eat and there is no reason why we can’t do that in a pub. I want The Coach to be a place for people to take pleasure in anything from a drink and a snack through to a full lunch or dinner- it offers something for everyone – it is flexible, a public house for all to enjoy.” The restaurant interior has been designed with a bold metallic kitchen counter snaking the entire room which will be bordered by upholstered rich leather bar seats. There will also be an open kitchen. The Coach will be big enough to seat 40 covers and all members of the team will be taking orders.

New £2m boutique hotel and restaurant set to open in Richmond, North Yorkshire: A new boutique hotel and restaurant is set to open in Richmond, North Yorkshire, following a £2m renovation. Scheduled to open in October, The Coach House at Middleton Lodge will include a new 2,000 sq ft restaurant alongside a nine-bedroom hotel. Situated in the grounds of Middleton Lodge, a Georgian manor house, The Coach House has been created from the estate’s old stable block, with nine individually designed en-suite bedrooms, overlooking a paddock and croquet pitch. James Allison, owner of Middleton Lodge, said: “The Coach House has been a labour of love for all of the Middleton Lodge team.”

Enterprise Inns loses lap dancing appeal: Enterprise Inns has lost a planning appeal against a refusal to allow a Doncaster bar to turn into a lap dancing club. The company appealed against a Doncaster Council decision last December to refuse permission for the change of use of Loaded on Printing Office Street in the town centre. A government planning inspector has dismissed the appeal after strong opposition from staff at the Changing Lives centre, which is a short distance away on Cleveland Street. Planning inspector Elaine Worthington ruled: “The introduction of a sexual entertainments venue in this location would be directly at odds with the nature of the ongoing work of the women’s centre, and, in my view, would be likely to be a deterrent to the vulnerable users of the centre, and cause them to feel more unsafe.”

Marco Pierre White handpicks manager for first Glasgow restaurant: Marco Pierre White has handpicked the restaurant manager for his first restaurant in Glasgow. The latest venture, Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at Hotel Indigo, opens next month and he has chosen Richard Wilson to oversee its management. Glaswegian Wilson has enjoyed extensive experience in a range of senior positions within the restaurant sector and joins White from the original Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, where he was general manager. White said: “Richard is the perfect manager to open my first Glasgow restaurant – aside from his dedication and commitment to deliver an excellent dining experience – as a Glaswegian born and bred, he knows just what makes Glaswegians tick and he knows the city inside out. With only weeks to go now, we’re all set to hit the ground running.” Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill will be situated on the ground floor of Hotel Indigo.

Olive Tree doubles up with Preston opening: The Olive Tree Greek and Mediterranean restaurant is to expand into Preston city centre’s Miller Arcade to add to its existing site in Lytham. Lytham’s Olive Tree currently has a TripAdvisor certificate of excellence and a four and a half stars out of five rating from 613 reviews. Mark Whittle, from Preston’s Business Improvement District, who are currently running the Love Food Love Preston month, said: “The Olive Tree is particularly popular in Lytham, concentrating on a lot of vegetarian produce.” The area around Miller Arcade and Crystal House is also due to see the opening of Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay.

Papa John’s franchisee opens seventh site in seven months: A Papa John’s franchisee Dan Wilkinson has opened his seventh pizza store in as many months. Wilkinson, an ex-army major, has now added Leeds to his expanding franchise portfolio which includes two Papa John’s outlets in Aberdeen, two stores in Liverpool, and pizza outlets in Durham and Harrogate. His success to date builds on the pizza brand’s “best ever” franchise incentives for 2014 which offers royalty breaks for new stores opening in Wales, the Midlands, the north east, the north west, and Scotland, before the end of 2014. Wilkinson, said: “As well as a ‘bit of luck’ combined with the growing reputation of Papa John’s, I put my success so far down to people. Papa John’s is currently at the perfect stage in its evolution to capitalise on opening stores in my region. As the company continues to grow and become ‘The Brand’ within the pizza delivery market, my goal is to open between ten and 20 Papa John’s over the next few years. Our next opening campaign is already planned for Scotland so watch this space!”

Byron reports on early progress at new Leeds opening: Better burger brand Byron has reported it has served 14,500 burgers since it opened in Leeds six weeks ago. The restaurant has taken over the old La Senza site and former Church Institute building, situated on the corner of Lands Lane and Albion Place. Its arrival has created over 40 jobs – more than 5,000 beers have also been served to thirsty customers. The restaurant in the heart of Leeds city centre can seat up to 115 people and includes outside dining space.

Stonegate Pub Company to convert third Living Room site to Missoula brand: Stonegate Pub Company is to convert a third site from its Living Room acquisition of August 2013 to its Missoula brand – The Living Room in the Lace Market, Nottingham is set to become Missoula Montana Bar and Grill in September. A closing party for the Living Room will be held on Sunday, 24 August before refurbishments begin. The provisional launch date is mid-September. Ten new jobs will be created by the rebrand on top of the venue’s current team.

Burger King reintroduces chicken fries after Facebook campaign: Burger King in the US is bringing back chicken fries, the breaded and fried chicken strips served in a fry-style box, after consumers took to social media to request the item. Customers complained on Facebook and Twitter when they were taken off the menu in 2012. “We underestimated the cult following that the product had,” Alex Macedo, president of North America for the company, said. “There’s a big opportunity for us to bring it back.” Burger King first sold chicken fries in 2005. In the product’s revival, it will be offered for about 12 weeks, or while supplies last. A pack of nine pieces is $2.89 and has 290 calories.

Luminar site gets go-ahead for boxing and wrestling nights: Luminar’s Liquid nightclub in Windsor has won a fight to allow boxing and wrestling at the William Street venue, which is licensed until 4am. Councillors on the Royal Borough’s licensing panel sub-committee decided they had no grounds for refusing plans by Luminar to run sports events, that could even include mixed martial arts cage fighting. They agreed to vary the club’s existing seven days a week 4am license to allow this, despite nearby residents’ pleas. Jon Taylor, general manager at Liquid said that the sports nights would start early and probably be finished soon after midnight, with only 20% of people staying on. Luminar’s application indicated that the sports nights would probably happen on weekends, when the club opens now.

liveRES starts marketing push: Online booking system liveRES has announced a marketing push to expand its reach in the UK pub and restaurant market. liveRES creates bespoke online booking systems for pubs and restaurants and is already in use across thousands of venues including renowned operators including Spirit, Carluccio’s and Giraffe. The Cheshire-based company is boosting its marketing as part of a plan to build on its growing customer list in the UK pub sector. liveRES is backed by Living Ventures’ Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts and employs 20 people in Cheshire and London. Managing director Samantha Grocott said: “Over the course of the last three years we have been slowly signing up some great brands to use our system and getting some great feedback. One of the issues we keep hearing from our customers is that they don’t know who the company is, so we have decided to come out from the shadows and tell the world about our recent successes. We have beefed up the sales and marketing team and taken on a brand marketing expert to help shape our communications. Our larger competitors have multi-million dollar budgets so we have to be smart to get a share of voice but we are confident that the hospitality sector wants to hear fresh voices and fresh views.”

Spirit Pub Company senior non-executive director joins Halma: William Tony Rice, the senior independent non-executive director and remuneration committee chairman at Spirit Pub Company, has been appointed a non-executive director at Halma, the leading safety, health and environmental technology group. Rice was formerly chief executive of Cable & Wireless Communications . Prior to becoming chief executive, he was joint managing director and finance director. Earlier in his career, he held a number of senior roles in Tunstall and BAE Systems (including British Aerospace).

North Yorkshire restaurateur opens third site in Barnard Castle: North Yorkshire restaurateur Kamal Alley has opened a third site, an Italian grill, Il Palazzo, in Barnard Castle following the success of his other branches in Richmond, North Yorkshire. Alley has spent a year refurbishing the former Beaconsfield Hotel, in Galgate and extending the building to create a 100-seat restaurant with reception area, bar, conservatory and outdoor terrace. Kamal’s third venture has created 20 jobs. He said: “I understand the building was a private house until 1955 when it was turned into a pub and hotel. It was in very bad shape when I bought it but I could see the potential. We have rebuilt it from the ground up and given it a new lease of life. Many customers from the Barnard Castle area who travel to our restaurant in Richmond asked me to open here. They are lovely people so I came to look and when I saw this building I knew I’d found the right place.”

Levy Restaurants UK signs Chelsea Football Club deal: Levy Restaurants UK has announced an international strategic agreement with Chelsea Football Club that sees the company become the Premier League side’s official catering partner. The landmark collaboration strengthens Chelsea’s current relationship with Levy Restaurants UK to provide hospitality to more than 50,000 delegates attending meetings, exhibitions, conferences and events at the club’s Stamford Bridge venue each year in addition to 60,000 corporate annual hospitality guests. The newly formed partnership will see Levy Restaurants UK also providing hospitality catering across Chelsea Football Club’s collection of venue spaces including 24 function rooms and 60 syndicate rooms within the stadium, as well as on-site music venue Under The Bridge, two restaurants, two hotels from Millennium and Copthorne, the Chelsea Health Club and Spa and the club’s Cobham Training Ground. Colin Bailey, managing director for Levy Restaurants UK, added: “We are excited to be developing our relationship with Chelsea Football Club as they look to further enhance their product offering. Our two brands have huge global exposure and expertise in their markets and this partnership reflects our joint commitment to putting the customer at the heart of our proposition, embracing British and global dining trends to ensure we provide a truly memorable guest experience.”

ETM Group site becomes first London restaurant to serve grouse: ETM Group’s The Jugged Hare site succeeded last night in being the first London restaurant to serve 2014 grouse – a dish that doesn’t usually appear on menus until the 13 or 14 August at the earliest. Executive chef James Lyon-Shaw and Ben Weatherall of Yorkshire Game headed out onto the North Yorkshire moors at first light yesterday morning as part of a family shoot. They bagged 20 brace of grouse. After a stop off at the Yorkshire Game plant to pluck and gut the birds it was on the road. They arrived at The Jugged Hare in the City of London at 6.01pm yesterday evening, just in time for a grouse and game ticketed dinner from 7pm. There were 18 extra birds, which went onto the specials menu in the restaurant.

Luminar unveils Street Pastors partnership: Nightclub operator Luminar has unveiled a new initiative with the Street Pastors. During August, the company will be handing out flip flops to customers leaving its 53 nightclubs nationwide as part of a link with this national organisation that aims to make a positive difference to the lives of young people. Launched in 2003 by Reverend Les Isaac, Street Pastors is an initiative of the Ascension Trust, where Christian adults with a concern for their community undergo training to voluntarily patrol the streets of towns and cities at night, helping and caring for people in practical ways, providing a reassuring presence in local communities. The charity now has more than 13,000 trained volunteers and 250 teams operating across the UK. Volunteers spend their evenings out in town and city centre locations providing support to young people, with anything from finding them a taxi home to handing out flip flops to women with sore feet. Luminar’s chief executive Peter Marks said: “I spent a night with a Street Pastor team in Sutton, Surrey, and soon realised what an invaluable job they do. They give up their own time to walk the streets, looking after people who need their support, with anything from making sure they get home safely to finding medical support. We genuinely care about our customers and there’s a natural synergy here as we want to make sure that people have a safe and enjoyable night out.”

Tesco seeks to boost Leicester site with plans for a pub and drive-thru: Tesco has ditched plans to build a gym and a new community centre near one of its Leicester stores in favour of a pub and a drive-through restaurant. The supermarket company has drawn up proposals for a site in Maidenwell Avenue, Hamilton, near its existing outlet. Planning officers have recommended the project be approved by Leicester city councillors. A Tesco spokesman said: “Our store has been at the heart of the community since it opened in 1999, something we are very proud of. As part of the extension to the original store in 2002 we were pleased to make a significant contribution towards the development of a library and health centre. Plans for the introduction of a pub, operated by a third party, have been very popular (plan) for many years and we hope councillors listen to their planning officers and the local community and grant approval.”

Sale of Vimac Leisure nightclubs raises £545,000: Deals have been agreed for two nightclubs formerly owned by Vimac Leisure, which was placed in administration at the end of last year. Vimac Group, Vimac Estates and Vimac Trading, owned by north east leisure entrepreneur Paul Mackings, called in administrators from Begbies Trayor on 16 December 2013 after struggling with debts of £15m. Administrators agreed a £4.5m pre-pack deal with a company controlled by Mackings for The Crab & Lobster in Thirsk and Trenchers in Whitby, while placing the group’s remaining assets on the market. They included a nightclub venue in Middlesbrough last traded as The Onyx Rooms, and another venue in Kendal, called Studio-Loft, which, at the time of its closure, was the town’s only nightclub. A marketing campaign by agent Christie + Co has resulted in the Middlesbrough property selling for £270,000, while a £275,000 offer has been accepted for the Kendal club. The money raised will be paid to bank Allied Irish, which was owed £15m at the time of the administration and will be left with a shortfall of about £9.5m.

Lavazza exits Indian coffee chain: Italy’s Lavazza is to exit its coffee shop business in India by selling the Barista chain, a move aimed at freeing the company to focus on its core coffee business. Lavazza, which bought the Barista brand in 2007, has sold the coffee shop chain to Carnation Hospitality, owned by packaging company Rollatainers. The company did not disclose the deal value. The move comes at a time when the world’s seventh largest coffee producer by sales is aiming to boost revenue by almost 50% in the next ten years as it fights to remain independent. “The decision to move out of Barista has been taken according to the global business guidelines of the group to no longer manage directly the coffee shop business,” Lavazza chief executive Antonio Baravalle said in a statement. The family-owned company, founded by Luigi Lavazza in 1895, will continue to supply Lavazza Coffee to Barista as part of a long-term supply agreement, he added. Barista has over 190 outlets.

Social enterprise restaurant collapsed with almost £1m of debt: A high-profile social enterprise restaurant based in Yorkshire owed £910,729 to more than 100 creditors at the time of its collapse. Food industry training company Create’s directors asked insolvency experts Insolvency Practitioners Direct (IPD) to put it into voluntary liquidation last year after “tough commercial realities” forced the closure of its flagship restaurant on King Street in Leeds city centre. A report compiled by IPD’s Martin Williamson has revealed that Create – full name The Create Foundation CIC – went under owing a total of £910,729 to 114 unsecured creditors. Create was founded in 2007 to provide disadvantaged people with work and training opportunities in the foodservice industry. Praised by Prime Minister David Cameron, its King Street restaurant opened amid a lot of publicity in 2011. It won a warm review from food critic Jay Rayner – but in February last year the restaurant closed without warning. Create’s King Street site had already been handed back to its landlord when news broke in May last year that the company was on the brink of liquidation. Williamson said at the time that the firm had simply “run out of money”. It also emerged last year that Leeds City Council had granted Create £85,000 rate relief on King Street and other premises. Create’s former home on King Street is now occupied by The Atlas pub. A cafe that was set up by Create in the Wakefield One building is continuing to operate as a wholly separate enterprise to its old parent company.

Villagers plan to bid for Thwaites pub: Villagers are planning a bid to save their community’s only pub, the Punch Bowl in Burton-in-Lonsdale, which is being sold by Thwaites. A steering committee has been formed to win the backing of other villagers and has already succeeded in getting the pub listed as ‘an asset of community value’. Chairman Mike Lavelle said it was now in the process of gathering information to put the proposal before the village. Burton-in-Lonsdale has a history of successful community-run enterprises – its village shop won an award for best rural retailer in the north west in 2008. A spokesperson for Thwaites said: “Thwaites will be very happy to work with the community, or any other interested party, should an offer be made.”

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