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Tue 23rd Sep 2014 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Restaurateur Clive Watson to open new restaurant concept in flagship Spitalfields Market site: Restaurateur Clive Watson, co-founder of the Riding House Café, Village East and The Garrison, has secured a flagship site in Spitalfields Market for a new restaurant concept. Owned by landlords Tribeca Holdings and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, the new restaurant is located at the flagship entrance to Spitalfields, 65A Brushfield Street, and is set across two floors totalling 3,720 sq ft (1,564 sq ft ground and 2,156 sq ft basement). The location also boasts an additional 796 sq ft alfresco dining area. The concept is a brand new, independent venture for Clive Watson. Details of the restaurant will be revealed ahead of its opening in early 2015. Ted Schama, Joint Managing Partner at Shelley Sandzer, which acted for Clive Watson, said: “Our client has a long-established record of success in the restaurant industry, reinventing areas in London with fresh and vibrant dining concepts. The acquisition of this prime site at Spitalfields is a key part of the repositioning and dining offer for the area. This location is unique, being within close proximity to the city yet also benefitting from a high residential population and tourist market. With Clive’s experience and previous successes in the industry, we have no doubt his new project will ignite the Spitalfields dining offer.” Andrew Turf, speaking on behalf of Tribeca Holdings and Ashkenazy Acquisition Corp, added: “Our ambition for the entrance to Spitalfields has always been to secure something very special. We were delighted, therefore, when Shelley Sandzer approached us with a new concept by Clive Watson. The team has done a fantastic job matching our needs with a great operator to create something very distinct for Spitalfields Market.”

Industry News:

TripAdvisor pubs and restaurant specialist to present at Propel Multi Club Conference: A TripAdvisor executive is to present at the next Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday 20 November at the Lancaster Hotel, London. Sanj Naha, TripAdvisor’s pubs and restaurants specialist, sets out how the company sees the restaurant section of TripAdvisor evolving plus new opportunities for restaurants to promote offers and online availability – developments the company believes will to have a big impact on operators going forward. Operators can claim two free operator places by emailing adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

A million small firms should be exempted from business rates: One million small firms should be exempted completely from business rates in an overhaul of the way companies are taxed by local councils, a report from the property industry will argue, according to the Daily Mail. The British Property Federation will publish its proposal in the coming weeks to replace the current system of reviewing each firm’s annual business rates every five years with a yearly review for bigger companies. The federation, which represents landlords, said the overhaul would help all small property-based firms not just retailers. Chief executive Liz Peace said: “It is crucial that business rates are allowed to rise and fall in line with economic conditions. More frequent revaluations would make the system fairer and more responsive. Removing small businesses from rates entirely would free up time and resources to allow annual revaluations, and would support small and medium-sized enterprises and entrepreneurs.” The BPF estimates that, by the election next year, business rates will have increased by about 25% since 2010.

Cuban government to sell 9,000 state-owned restaurants: The Cuban government has announced plans to sell nearly 9,000 state-owned restaurants to private operators, the latest step in the communist island’s economic reforms. Cubans frequently complain about the country’s 8,984 state-owned restaurants, which are famous for poor quality, bad service and running out of food. Deputy Trade Minister Aida Chavez said the state would sell them off in a gradual process starting in 2015. “Cuba will substantially change the structure of its food services in the coming years, with the gradual and orderly transfer of the industry into the hands of the non-state sector,” she said.

Figures show big increase in boutique brewer and distiller start-ups: The number of would-be distillers applying for a licence in the UK has risen threefold in the past 12 months, according to research published yesterday, with start-ups hoping to mirror the success of craft beer by capitalising on growing consumer thirst for boutique alcohol brands. Applications for distillers licences increased to 20 in the fiscal year from April 2013 to April 2014, from seven the previous year. In the beer market, registrations for beer duty have trebled in five years from 101 in 2009-10 to 291 in the last fiscal year. Roy Maugham, head of tax at UHY Hacker Young, said: “The increasing number of new start-up brewers and distillers demonstrate just how dynamic the drinks market has now become.”

BHA names new chairman for The Restaurant Association: The British Hospitality Association has named D&D London’s managing director David Loewi as chairman of its Restaurant Association sub-group. He said: “I’m delighted to accept the position of chairman of The Restaurant Association. I look forward to working with (chief executive) Ufi (Ibrahim) and the team at the BHA to re-establish the association as a real voice representing this important industry.” His new role coincides with the BHA’s decision to re-launch The Restaurant Association as a dedicated BHA division for restaurant ambassadors and industry leaders of restaurant groups, chains and independent sites. The Restaurant Association is redefining its role to ensure that the high profile of London’s dining business is capitalised upon in Government and spread across the UK. Key initiatives will be focused around employment issues including the shortage of waiters and chefs in London, rent costs, changes to the rate of VAT and online reviews. It will also support the industry in implementing substantial new EU regulations on the way food allergens are communicated to diners, which comes into force this December.

Company News:

Shepherd Neame granted royal warrant: Shepherd Neame has been granted a royal seal of approval by The Prince of Wales. The Faversham-based brewery has been handed a royal warrant which is given to companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for a minimum of five years to the royal family. Prince Charles first awarded a warrant to Britain’s oldest brewery back in 1998, for Grant’s Morella Cherry Brandy. The drink dates back to 1774, and is mentioned in Charles Dickens’ novel The Pickwick Papers. It was also a favourite with Queen Victoria and was bought by Shepherd Neame in 1988. In recognition of Shepherd Neame’s longstanding position as a supplier of specialist orders to Prince Charles, permission has been given for the royal warrant to be used on bottles of its flagship beer – Spitfire Premium Kentish Ale. Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame said: “We’re over the moon to be among the elite group of the UK’s finest food and drink producers awarded a royal warrant. Quality and provenance are at the heart of everything we do and everyone at the brewery deserves to be proud to have their efforts recognised in this way.”

Arc Inspirations and Demon Leisure set to open sites in former Gatecrasher nightclub: Two bars are set to open in the former Gatecrasher nightclub venue in Leeds as part of multi-million pound refurbishment. The three-storey venue at the Grand Arcade, in New Briggate, was more recently known as BED Club from 2011 until its closure last year. Landlord ATC Properties has now announced the whole site has been re-let following a £2 million investment. Yorkshire bar and restaurant company Arc Inspirations is spending £2m in turning a 10,000 square foot area over two floors of the old club into New York-inspired ‘Manahatta’ bar, which will open on 8 November. Demon Leisure is stripping a 5,500 square foot area back to its Victorian roots by creating the “quintessentially English” ‘Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes’ bar that also launches in early November.

Burger & Lobster to pay £150,000 per annum for Cardiff site: Burger & Lobster will pay rent of £150,000 per annum for its new site in Cardiff, it has emerged. The business, run by school-friends George Bukhov, Ilya Demichev and Mikhail Zelman, has taken a 11,490 square foot site in Castlebrook Holdings The Hayes development, in central Cardiff on a 25-year lease. Burger & Lobster launched in 2011 and average spend is around the £25-£27 mark. The business is understood to be the largest importer of live lobsters in Europe and has a storage tank at Heathrow Airport capable of holding 33 tonnes of live lobster. Restaurant Property’s agency director David Rawlinson, who advised on the Cardiff deal said: “Burger & Lobster has been a terrifically popular concept in London. Now we are looking to help roll out the brand by acquiring larger, well-located restaurant units in key regional cities.” Burger & Lobster is set to be open next to Mitchells & Butlers’ Miller and Carter brand in the Hayes this December. Calan Retail advised Castlebrook Holdings.

New York judge passes Pret A Manger worker settlement: A New York federal judge has green-lighted Pret A Manger’s (USA) $910,000 settlement with a group of more than 4,000 workers in New York who claimed the sandwich chain cheated them of pay for the time it took to put on their uniforms. US District Judge Paul A Engelmayer gave final approval to a deal between Pret and 4,119 employees who alleged they were not properly paid for time they spent changing into their uniforms or waiting in line to use the changing room.

JD Wetherspoon’s first Lake District pub to open next week: JD Wetherspoon’s first Lake District pub, located in a former police station and court building in Kendal, will open next week (Tuesday 30 September). It will be called The Chief Justice of the Common Pleas and retains features of the old court building, including the witness box and dock. Designers have kept the witness box and canopy, court benches and dock. Two cell rooms have been turned into dining areas, with the original cell doors still in place and a large picture of floral handcuffs on the wall. Wetherspoon has spent £1.56m on converting the site to a pub after buying the building for £327,000. A spokeswoman for the company said: “We try to include building’s uses of the past. Various buildings have been done like this.”

Starbucks trials latte that tastes like Guinness: Starbuck’s is trialing a new latte in Ohio and Florida that tastes like Guinness. The Dark Barrel Latte is topped with whipped cream and a dark caramel sauce and flavored coffee syrup that is designed to taste like dark Irish stout. Starbucks promises customers that while the coffee tastes like beer, there is no actual alcohol in the drink.

Chef & Brewer launches menu that includes guest-influenced choices: Chef & Brewer, Spirit Pub Company’s130 strong country pub brand, has launched its autumn menu featuring dishes that were ‘wished’ for by the brand’s Facebook fans. The menu, which is available from today (23 September), includes a number of new dishes that were voted for as part of its Facebook Wish for a Dish competition. The social app asked guests to choose which of five previous favourite dishes they wanted to see back on the menu. The top two dishes from the vote, the honey & lemon half roast chicken and the chocolate praline profiteroles, are now available on the menu. As well as those that were voted for, a selection of the new dishes were put to a number of guests who’d won an exclusive VIP taster session at the brand’s ‘Secret Supper Soiree’. At the event guests agreed that the Wagyu burger was “tiptop”, while the scallops and pulled pork starter was described as “exquisite”. Heather Moore, brand manager for Chef & Brewer, said: “We were keen to get guests to give us their thoughts on what should be on our new menu, as well as their feedback on the new dishes we were planning to launch. We had a fantastic result when calling for guests to take part and their views have been invaluable. Our new menu has seen a return of some guest favourites as well as some new dishes. But we’ve also taken the time to perfect some of our classic dishes, like our burger recipe which is now made with different cuts of beef that provide rich natural flavours and makes them even tastier.”

PizzaExpress review without irony becomes internet sensation: A review of a PizzaExpress restaurant in Peterborough, published in a weekly newspaper, has become an unlikely internet sensation. Journalism student Holly Aston, 17, wrote the review for the Peterborough Telegraph after visiting the PizzaExpress branch in the city’s Cathedral Square. It praised the food’s “real sense of freshness” while noting that there “wasn’t an awful lot of cheese” on the pizza and that the garlic in the garlic bread was “slightly lacking”. After initially attracting some mocking comments on Twitter, the piece went viral with 66,000 page views in a few hours and Aston has now been offered a day’s work experience on a national newspaper. The review gained 3,000 likes on Facebook and was retweeted more than 1,100 times with the hashtag #pizzaexpressreview Times journalist Caitlin Moran tweeted: “For those who haven’t seen it – possibly the greatest restaurant review ever.” Others praised its enthusiasm and “refreshing” lack of irony and cited it as an example of how all restaurant reviews should be written. Aston has now been offered a gift card by PizzaExpress and a work experience opportunity on the Daily Mirror.

Hospitality sector training company CPL named as finalist in Wirral Business Awards: CPL Training Group has been unveiled as a finalist for Business of the Year (100+ employees) in the 2014 Wirral Business Awards. The Wirral-based company, whose multi-platform training solutions are utilised by 90% of the hospitality and licensed retail sector, has been selected from hundreds of companies across the North West. Joining them on the shortlist are Selwyn Business Services and Typhoo Tea. Daniel Davies, CPL Training Group’s chief executive, said: “It’s an honour to be recognised by Wirral Chamber of Commerce and to be shortlisted for this award. Throughout the steep growth of the company we have held our focus on two fundamental strengths – innovation and investment in people. And I’m pleased to say that these two strengths have worked hand-in-hand, as our recruitment of the brightest and best talent, found here on the Wirral, remains instrumental to our award-winning innovation.”

Batemans hires new sales director: Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has appointed Andy Edwards as its new sales director. He places Andrew Reed who has left to set up his own brewery, Charnwood, which begins brewing in November. Edwards brings over 18 years of experience in the beer industry to the role. He has previously worked for businesses including SABMiller, Molson Coors and Heineken, across sales marketing and purchasing roles. His focus will be on maximising the sales of Batemans’ own beers in the national and free trade areas. Stuart Bateman, managing director of Batemans, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Andy to the Batemans family. He brings with him considerable industry experience, which, we’re sure, will help him to further develop the sales of our beers across the country. It’s been a great year for Batemans and we’re looking forward to working with Andy to make 2015 even better!”

Everards backs Tax Equality Day: Everards has pledged its support for Tax Equality Day tomorrow (Wednesday 24 September). Posters, badges and information leaflets will appear in those pubs that are taking part in the campaign, to highlight the national day of action to their customers. Everards will also be supporting the Tax Equality Day by funding and donating 7.5% of sales of Tiger in all pubs on that day to the charity Rainbows – the East Midlands’ hospice for children and young people. Managing director of Everards Stephen Gould said: “Our industry creates a huge amount of jobs for young people already and a cut in VAT for the sector will allow more jobs to be created in an industry that is widely accessible and which offers great career potential and development.”

Property investor buys Punch pub: Yorkshire property investor Miles Rodgers has acquired a Punch Taverns pub to add to his existing string of pubs and restaurants. He has purchased the White Hart at New Mill near Holmfirth, West Yorkshire through agent Fleurets off an asking price of £250,000. Nick Thomas, of Fleurets, said: “The White Hart attracted a healthy level of interest with offers received from a number of parties after it was placed on the market in June this year.”

Stonegate’s Yates’s brand celebrates 130th at the end of September: Yates’s, is celebrating its 130th Birthday with a party weekend on 26 and 27 September and a range of celebratory offers. The party weekend will see each of its 70 sites across the country offer a free glass of Yates Pink, a new fizzy rose, for the first 130 guests who receive an email voucher. For two weeks Yates’s is giving away 130 party experiences with VIP table and a bottle of Smirnoff or Jack Daniels by tagging photos on twitter or Instagram with #Yates130. Customers can also celebrate the birthday by enjoying a free sharing platter when they order a bottle of Yates Pink at £9.95, during the Happy “Birthday” hour everyday between 5 and 9pm. Selected sites will be offering a Birthday Ale, a 3.9% Pale ale which is priced at £1.65 a pint. Head of marketing for Yates’s Alan Armstrong said: “Yates’s is 130 and we are celebrating that milestone with a range of birthday treats for our customers. Customers who sign up on our website can enjoy 30% off their food and there are also 130 birthday party experiences to be won.”

La Sala signs LiveRES for first opening: Spanish restaurant chain La Sala, led by James Horler, has signed leading online reservation system LiveRES for its first UK outlet. La Sala, which is backed by a host of big names in the world of football including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Stephen Carr, runs La Sala Banus, in Puerto Banus, in Spain and is set to open its first UK restaurant in Essex later this year. LiveRES will be offering La Sala’s customers the ability to book ahead online and beat the queues across all platforms including mobile phones and tablets. The system will go live this week. Managing director Samantha Grocott said: “More and more of our customers are asking to ensure that they are able to take bookings at all times of the day and night. Our system frees up staff to look after customers in the restaurant rather than sitting on the phones.” Horler added: “We are delighted to be bringing premium social dining as well as an exciting menu and unique line up of top entertainment to the area. The LiveRES system will allow us handle the demand of enquiries for tables with people wanting to come and experience the new dining concept and enjoy the La Sala combination of food, hospitality and entertainment. We expect tables to be in high demand and we are confident that the liveRES booking process will be seamless for the customer.”

Jamie Rollo – we see Mitchells & Butlers as a cheap stock: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has descried Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) as a ‘cheap’ stock ahead of its Forth Quarter trading update this Thursday (25 September). He said: “We estimate circa 2% like-for-like sales growth in the quarter, which would be a good improvement from the flat performance in Q3. We expect an improvement partly as Q4 is M&B’s easiest comp (-1%), and partly as more recent trading data has been somewhat better (for example, Spirit Managed Pubs +2% on tough comps, Restaurant Group +6%, though Greene King flattish over the summer). If we take M&B’s two-year like-for-like sales change this year (+1.6% in Q3, +2.3% in H1) it would imply Q4 like-for-like sales growth of circa 2-3%. M&B blamed its weak Q4 in 2013 on tough comps in 2012 (+3%), but we think 2012 was boosted by easy comps in 2011 (0%, affected by the London riots), such that Quarter Four 2013 looks to be a genuinely soft period. While managed pub industry like-for-like sales weakened over the last few months (Coffer Peach like-for-like sales +0.4% in June, +2.2% in July, +1.3% in August), pubs outside London (+2.6%), and particularly food-led pubs outside London, which are M&B’s principal strength (+4.1%), did much better in July as they were particularly affected by the hot weather last year and boosted by the “staycation” effect this summer. We are positive ahead of the results and see M&B as a good value investment. The shares currently trade on 9.8x cal 2015 P/E and 7.7x EV/Ebitda, and we see M&B as a cheap stock given its high quality freehold pub estate, secured EPS growth from the Orchid deal, possible upside if better regional UK pub trading boosts its like-for-like sales, and likely dividend resumption in 2016.”

McDonald’s Happy Meals with fruit don’t lead to children choosing healthier food: A conference on obesity has heard that healthy Happy Meals don’t lead to children choosing healthier food. A Liverpool University study claimed Happy Meals make them like fast food more. The researchers said the finding shows the power of McDonald’s branding – and accused the company of cleverly getting round advertising rules. In a study, 59 boys and girls aged between seven and ten years old were shown a series of adverts for toys. They were then asked to choose a main course, drink and side order from the options available for McDonald’s Happy Meals. They were also asked how much they liked junk food. The process was repeated two weeks later – but this time some of the toy commercials were substituted with ones for McDonald’s. Despite being shown a Happy Meal made up of fish fingers, fruit and a bottle of water, the youngsters still favoured burgers and fries when asked to choose their own meal. Plus, they said they liked fast food more after seeing the Happy Meal ads, the UK Congress on Obesity in Birmingham heard. Researcher Emma Boyland said that showing fruit and water rather than milkshakes and chips meant the commercials ‘cleverly’ complied with regulations on the advertising of food to children.

Nick Batram – Domino’s Pizza Poland showing tangible signs of progress: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram, issuing a ‘Buy’ note, has argued that “the first six months of 2014 represent perhaps the most encouraging signs to date that DP Poland can establish itself as a profitable business of real scale across the whole of the country”. He said: “In order for the national opportunity to have real credibility the business has to work outside Warsaw and be able to attract franchisees. Three stores have opened in Krakow, all are performing in line with expectations (ahead of the initial stores in Warsaw) and management are now evaluating other cities. Meanwhile, the first sub-franchised store has been profitable in nine out of ten months of trading. Negotiations are now at an advanced stage to sell a number of corporate stores in Warsaw to a franchisee while interest in sub-franchising is at a record level. H1 has demonstrated tangible signs of progress with all key operating metrics moving in the right direction and an increasing number of stores now contributing positively. Importantly, in terms of the scale of the opportunity in Poland, the recently opened stores outside Warsaw are performing in line with expectations. Meanwhile, the Group is in negotiations to sell a number of corporate stores to a franchisee after the success of the first sub-franchised unit.”

Wandsworth-based Italian Secrets on the market: The Italian Secrets business, a long-established catering and corporate cookery centre business, is being marketed through Coffer Corporate Leisure. The business, based in Wandsworth, south west London, is on the market for offers in excess of £100,000. Situated just of Old York Road, close to Wandsworth Town station, the 2,586.78 square foot premises boasts two large purpose-built kitchen/demonstration rooms that have been fitted to a very high standard with an estimated fit-out cost of the premises of £300,000. The company corporate and private clients includes Deloitte, Microsoft and Shell. It has also provided a filming location for Heston Blumenthal and Michel Roux Jr Jack Silvani, of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “This is an excellent business with a proven track record for delivering profit. The current owner is looking to retire and has still been achieving excellent turnover – even on a part-time basis. This business has fantastic potential and is a great opportunity for someone looking to build on its solid base and drive turnover.”

Spirit Pub Company puts Nottingham pub on the market: Spirit Pub Company has placed The Five Ways pub, in Edwards Lane, Nottingham, on the market. A spokesman for Spirit Pub Company, owners of Five Ways, told the local newspaper: “Following a review of our estate we identified that the Five Ways no longer fits appropriately within our long-term business plan and has therefore been put up for sale. The team is aware of the decision and, when the time comes for the pub to be exchanged, we will seek the best possible outcome for each individual. The pub is open and trading and will continue to do so until a buyer has been secured.”

Stonegate to close Scream site in Lancaster this week: Stonegate Pub Company is to close its Scream student site, Friary, in Lancaster this week. Staff at the St Leonardgate pub will be offered jobs at other locations within the Stonegate. Within Lancaster, the company also operates the Pendle Witch in Penny Street and Yates’s in Church Street. A spokesman for Stonegate told the local newspaper: “I can confirm a decision has been taken to close our business, Friary, in Lancaster. It will continue to trade until 25 September. Where possible, employees will be offered alternative positions elsewhere across the business.” The Friary is based in a grade II listed 18th century converted church.

Cardiff cinema to re-open after more than a decade as leisure offer builds: A Cardiff cinema is set to re-open after more than a decade thanks to a £1m refit and a stronger leisure offer in the immediate locality. Moorfield Group (Moorfield) and Plus Shops Retail have agreed a deal with Premiere Cinemas to re-open the five-screen cinema at Cardiff’s Capitol Shopping Centre. The 755 seater multi-screen cinema will have a licensed bar. Premiere Cinemas is taking the former Odeon cinema, which closed in 2001, on a 25 year lease and will open in December following a £1m refurbishment. The firm currently operates in Romford, Kings Lynn and Worthing. The latest announcement builds on recent leisure lettings at the centre including easyGym, Caffe Nero and Pret A Manger.

Ralph Lauren opens branded café at flagship New York store: Ralph Lauren has opened a branded cafe within the Ralph Lauren Polo flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Fitted out in classic American style with white, weathered bead-board walls, mosaic-tiled floors and seating for up to 22 customers, Ralph’s Coffee bar serves its own La Colombe coffee blends made with organically grown beans from Central and South America and Africa, along with a selection of snacks and sweet treats. It also offers coffee mugs, caps and T-shirts emblazoned with the brand’s green and white logo. “The smell of freshly brewed coffee evokes so many memories for me,” said Lauren.

Charles Wells places Rushden pub on the market: Bedford brewer and retailer Charles Wells has placed The Feathers in Rushden High Street on the market. Peter Wells, managing director at Charles Wells Pub Company, told the local newspaper: “The Feathers in Rushden stopped trading in August and now has a caretaker on site. However, closing a pub is not a decision we take lightly. Although The Feathers was a popular location, it was running solely as a late-night venue and so no longer fits within our business model which is focused on developing our great community locals, traditional inns and pub restaurants. We have therefore put The Feathers up for sale and hope that the right entrepreneurial retailer will step forward to continue to run it as a pub. We have already had some interest in the site and anyone who would like to find out more can contact our agents Gerald Eve on 020 7333 6404.”

Pool council to discuss loss of pubs today: Concern over the loss of a number of pubs in Poole is due to be raised at a full meeting of Borough of Poole today. Three Liberal Democrats and a Poole People councillor have signed a motion calling for steps to be taken to protect pubs in Poole. It states: “Council notes with concern, the loss of a significant number of licensed premises in Poole over the last ten years. Council resolves to protect the remaining community public houses in Poole by ensuring that planning permission and community consultation are required before any public house is allowed to be converted to any other commercial premises or be demolished.”

Syl Saller steps down as Domino’s non-executive director: Syl Saller, an independent non-executive director of the Domino’s Pizza since September 2011, has given notice of her resignation from the Board due to other commitments with immediate effect. Accordingly, Saller will no longer serve as a member of the Remuneration Committee or as Chair of the Nomination Committee. Domino’s chairman Stephen Hemsley said: “It is with regret that I have accepted Syl’s resignation, in order for her to devote time to her executive commitments at Diageo, and I thank her for her valuable contribution and wise counsel during her three year tenure on the Domino’s Board.” The chair of the Nomination Committee will be taken up by Hemsley. Kevin Higgins who was appointed to the Board as a non-executive director on 8 September 2014, will become a member of the Audit Committee and will chair the Remuneration Committee. Helen Keays, an independent non-executive director, will be appointed as a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Enterprise Inns unveils terms to replace current financing facilities: Enterprise Inns has agreed terms to replace its current financing facilities with an improved four-year revolving facility with a syndicate of banks, and announced a tender offer of its outstanding £600 million 6.50% secured bonds due 2018.The company said that it is making the offer in an effort to manage its liabilities and future debt redemption obligations. Enterprise has offered to buy the bonds from bondholders for cash up to an aggregate nominal amount of £250 million. Under the offer, it will pay for bonds validly tendered and accepted for purchase at a price equal to 108.75% of the nominal amount of the bonds. It also will pay an accrued interest payment in respect of the bonds. Bondholders must tender their bonds for purchase by 4pm next Monday. The company plans to issue new sterling-denominated fixed-rate secured bonds due 2023 if investors agree to subscribe for at least £200 million.

Stonegate Pub Company launches new food and drink menus, including shakes at Missoula: Stongate Pub Company’s premium bar and restaurant concept, Missoula – Montana Bar & Grill has launched a range of new dishes and added new drinks to its menus. A new specials menu will offer the latest in seasonal produce. New mains on offer include salmon with lemon and fennel sauce, served with buttered wilted spinach, couscous, char-grilled peppers and courgettes. Another addition to the menu is Canyon Creek chicken, chicken breast filled with spinach and pancetta, served with chargrilled peppers, buttered wilted spinach and sautéed fingerling potatoes. A range of new salads have been added to the main menu. The new drinks menu has an extended cocktail list – there are 16 classic cocktails and 14 signature cocktails. A range of six shakes in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions are available including the salted caramel shake and cupcake shake. Nicola Stuart, marketing at Missoula – Montana Bar & Grill, said: “The new specials menu offers customers the chance to experience even more of the fabulous food from the American state of Montana. This joins our main menu, which offers favourites including the USDA steaks, Bison Medallion Steak, the famous hanging skewers as well as a range of fresh, delicious salads and appetisers. The new range of cocktails is a must try for anyone looking for that great night out. And the introduction of the shakes allowing for both non-alcoholic and alcoholic options are a great innovation.”

Tesco suspends four executives while it probes £250m profit overstatement: Tesco has suspended four executives, including its UK managing director, after it admitted yesterday that it overstated its half-year profit guidance by £250m. “Disappointment would be an understatement,” said Tesco chief executive Dave Lewis. Lewis, who only took the helm on 1 September, said it was “a serious issue”, but insisted “it doesn’t take away from what I’m able to build at Tesco”. Shares fell 8% in early trading. Lewis said “a number of people” had been suspended from duty “to facilitate the fullest and deepest investigation possible”, but said this was not “disciplinary or an admission of guilt”. UK managing director Chris Bush is one of those suspended. Lewis said Robin Terrell, Tesco’s multi-channel director, would be “stepping in and running and leading the UK leadership team”, but he refused to confirm that Mr Bush had been suspended. Tesco is also believed to have suspended its UK finance director Carl Rogberg, its food commercial director John Scouler and the head of food sourcing Matt Simister. Lewis said the issue was “something completely out of the ordinary” and his priority was to carry out “a full and frank investigation”.

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