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Mon 15th Dec 2014 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Jon Moulton invests in Scotland’s ‘fastest growing independent pizza delivery firm’: Jon Moulton, whose Better Capital vehicle bought the Intertain business last month, has invested £50,000 personally in Edinburgh-based pizza delivery firm La Favorita Delivered. The chain, which describes itself as ‘Scotland’s fastest-growing independent’, has four branches in Edinburgh and is opening two in Glasgow next year. It aims to have 50 outlets in the UK within five years. The company is looking to raise between £200,000 and £400,000 in return for between five and ten per cent of the company’s equity, through crowd-funding website InvestingZone – a total of £94,170 has been raised from 13 investors so far. La Favorita chief executive Kenny Scott aims to be “the best, largest and most trusted pizza delivery company in the UK, building on our reputation for producing only a premium product”. The first store was opened in 2011 and was delivering profit within 12 months – it is now generating revenue of circa £100,000 a month (net), achieving its highest ever weekly sales of £24,000 in one week in August. The company has also developed its own flour and designed its own unique ovens for the best pizza. It won Best Independent UK Pizza Delivery Company Gold Award at the Papa Awards for 2011, 2012 and 2013. The company stated: “Over recent months we have been in discussion with a number of private equity firms to complete a larger fundraising round in the first half of 2015, which will fuel our continued site expansion program. These investors will be fully aligned with management and existing shareholders, and the plan will be to build up a significant group and then look to sell to a larger financial investor or a strategic investor in the traditional three to five year timeline.” The company reports revenue of £4,174,000 this year with profit before tax of £46,000, rising to £51,452,000 by 2018 with pre-tax profit of £6,445,000. Non-executive director Enrico Fama, who owns 50 pizza schools across Italy, is responsible for developing the La Favorita unique dough recipe. He is editor and director of the influential Italian food magazine “Ristorazione Italiana” and grew a pizza takeaway business in Italy to over 50 sites before selling it. The chairman and founder is Tony Crolla, who operates four Italian restaurants in Edinburgh, including the Taste of Italy coffee house and deli.

Industry News:

Norwich joins 34 other local authorities in seeking more powers to protect pubs: Norwich City Council has become the latest local authority to apply for more powers to stop pubs being turned into supermarkets or being demolished without planning permission. It is one of 35 councils that is submitting a proposal to government under the Sustainable Communities Act to seek a change in national planning regulations. Mike Stonard, cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said at a cabinet meeting last week that 69% of people who responded to a consultation were in support of the pub protection bid, with 20% in opposition. He pointed out that Norwich had lost 35 pubs since 2004, many of which had been converted to restaurants or other commercial uses without the need for formal planning permission for the change of use. He said: “The idea of this is to give local people and local communities the power to protect their pubs, which are a valuable community resource.”

Enterprise licensee plays role in X Factor winners success: Lisa Powley, licensee at Enterprise Inns’ Swan, at West Wickham, played her own small part in Ben Haenow’s X-Factor triumph last night. The Kent pub was used as the backdrop for a short film shown as part of the ITV series’ final two programmes, aired on Saturday and Sunday. It showed the singer performing a homecoming gig in front of family, friends and regulars at the High Street pub, which has backed Ben and his brother Alex throughout their singing careers. Former van driver Ben, 29, made the final along with Fleur East and Andrea Faustini, and following live performances on Saturday, they faced a public vote on Sunday. His mini-show at The Swan saw him sing five songs in front of an invited audience of around 100 fans. Lisa, who has run The Swan with husband Mick for three years, said: “Ben’s a local lad, and I know his mum, Roseanna. When we took on the pub, we thought it’d be good to get Ben and his brother along to sing. Since then, we’ve done all we can to help their careers, and I thought getting him along here ahead of the final would be a great idea. The X-factor producers got to hear about what we were doing, and said they’d like to come along and film it. I’d like to think that it played a part in helping Ben win.”

Company News:

McDonald’s UK watching US customisable burger trial ‘with great interest’: As McDonald’s in the US allows patrons to customise their own burgers for the first time, its UK arm has declared that it is monitoring the trial “with great interest”. A new customisation menu has been trialed in selected restaurants in the US over the past year, and the scheme is set to be expanded to 30 restaurants in six states, including California, Illinois, Georgia and Pennsylvania before further expansion to 2,000 sites. Customers have been able to create their own burger by using an iPad ordering station where they are offered a choice of more than 20 toppings and sauces. New premium additions include guacamole, jalapenos, grilled mushrooms, Applewood smoked bacon, caramelised grilled onions and chilli-lime tortilla strips. McDonald’s UK told ITV News that it was monitoring the trial “with great interest”. Asked if British McDonald’s customers could be allowed to customise their own burgers, a spokesman for the chain said: “McDonald’s UK will continue to explore opportunities for menu personalisation as the palettes of UK consumers evolves. We will continue to add new menu items to suit these demands and tastes with favourites like McRib and the Big Tasty burger returning in 2015. Our customers are already able to personalise iconic menu items at each manager’s discretion, where pickles, cheese or sauces can be added or removed for example. We will continue to look at the results from movements in other markets with great interest.”

Hummus Bros close to raising first £30,000: Hummus Bros, the London-based chain serving healthy Mediterranean food, is close to raising the first £30,000 of the £375,000 it is seeking through a bond launched via the Crowd2Fund site. The bond will help pay for plans that by 2017 will see the number of high street branches grow from four to seven, the continuing expansion of the network of pop-ups, from 50 to 200, with expected additional sales of £1.65m a year, and the launch of a food truck, which will generate estimated sales of £400,000 a year, while corporate deliveries and events are expected to rise from £6,000 a month to £20,000 a month. Hummus Bros was founded in August 2005 by Christian Moutsset and Ronen Givon.

Barclays sues Grant Thornton over Von Essen audits: Barclays Bank is suing accountants Grant Thornton after it signed off Von Essen Hotels accounts between 2006 and 2009, The Sunday Telegraph has reported. The bank teamed up with Lloyds to lend £250m to Von Essen before the hotel firm was placed in administration. Its administrator Ernst & Young has so far retuned around £100m to the banks.

JD Wetherspoon to re-open former Timothy Taylor pub in Bramley, Leeds tomorrow: JD Wetherspoon is to re-open a former Timothy Taylor pub, The Old Unicorn, in Bramley, West Leeds tomorrow after a £1.6 million refurbishment (population: 21,681). The pub was bought from Timothy Taylor in February this year. A spokesman for Wetherspoon said at the time: “We are applying for planning and licensing permission to redevelop the pub and double its size.” Timothy Taylor’s bought The Old Unicorn in 2006 from Musgrave & Sagar, a Leeds company that was founded in 1793 as a malting and brewing business. The refurbished pub will have a feature wall displaying brewery artefacts.

Jamie Oliver eyes investment in media and restaurants business: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is set to seek outside investment to help expand his restaurants business and to fund an online TV project, according to a report by Reuters. The sale of a minority stake in Oliver’s media interests would be the prelude to a larger investment in Oliver’s Italian restaurant chain in around 12 months, it was claimed. The restaurant business has revenues of £110m with core earnings of around £14m. Jamie Oliver Holdings, which houses some of the celebrity chef’s TV production activities and cookbooks, reported operating profit from continuing operations of around £5m in 2013. “Jamie has been conducting an internal review for some time. The first step is to sell a minority stake within his media business,” a source told Reuters. It is early days with no formal process started and no banks yet mandated to advise on it. Oliver wants to continue growing his newest brand, Jamie’s Italian Trattoria, aimed at smaller towns and London suburbs, before picking an investor, Reuters reported. Oliver is also seeking to grow his YouTube channel Food Tube which has 1.17 million subscribers.

Cote wins Dorking approval against planning officers’ advice, lines up Cheltenham opening: The brasserie chain Cote has won planning permission to open a restaurant in Dorking, Surrey after councillors went against the advice of their officers to approve the chain’s application. The chain’s bid to move into what was previously the furniture shop Maison in the St Martin’s Walk shopping centre was opposed by locals because a restaurant was against the council’s Town Centre Plan to promote the growth of retail opportunities in the area. Objectors lost the first round in August when the council’s licensing sub-committee decided to grant the chain a premises licence, despite concerns about noise pollution and late-night disturbance from those living in flats directly opposite the proposed location. At the planning committee meeting, 19 letters were received asking the council to refuse the application, claiming it would lead to the loss of retail space. But despite officers’ recommendations to deny a change to the premises’ permitted usage from retail to food sales, and the creation of an outside decking area, councillors voted 10-6 in favour. Meanwhile, Cote is expected to open a new restaurant in Cheltenham at the former home of the Montpellier Brasserie. The Brasserie, which was located in Montpellier Terrace, shut in May this year, with its owners setting up a new cafe in the Courtyard. A licence application was submitted to Cheltenham Borough Council last week to start alterations and refurbishment works to the former restaurant.

Award-winning Irish chef takes over Berkshire Greene King pub: An award-winning chef from Tipperary in Ireland who has more than 25 years in the business and worked in four and five-star properties as well as Michelin-star restaurants has taken over at the Greene King-owned Swan in Compton, near Newbury, Berkshire. Geoff Jones and his wife Joan McGowan ran their own gastropub, The Fairways, in Tipperary, which has won multiple awards since it opened in 2006. McGowan recently won Business Woman of the Year for Network Ireland and heads the marketing, administration and human resources side of the business. She said: “We’ve been looking at opening another pub for the last four years now. We searched the length and breadth of Ireland and there was nothing that we got a good gut feel for. We started looking in the UK around the same time and it has taken us four years to find a pub that ticked all the boxes. We fell in love with the Newbury area. The Compton Swan is an amazing pub, with fantastic potential.”

Work starts on new Marston’s pub with home for bats: Work has begun on turning a derelict farm in Mold, North Wales into a Marston’s pub-restaurant, complete with a dedicated house for bats. As part of plans approved by Flintshire Council in October, the developers are providing new homes for a population of bats that have made the site their home. Replacement roost sites are being created for all species of bats identified, which include the lesser horseshoe, natterer’s and soprano pipistrelle. One of the farm buildings is being transformed into a designated bat house and the development also includes landscaping and low-level lighting schemes to ensure the bats can use their roost sites successfully. The new pub is expected to open in August 2015 and create as many as 30 to 40 jobs.

BrewDog launches latest Prototype Challenge beers for drinkers to vote on: BrewDog, the Scottish brewer and bar owner, launched four more beers on Friday (12 December) in its Prototype Challenge series for drinkers to pick their favourites. The four beers are available in bottle and on draught, and drinkers can score them and let the brewer know through a poll or via social media what their favourites were. The highest-scoring beers “could force its way into our line-up of regulars”, the company said. The four beers are Alt Amber, a style from Dusseldorf in Germany that BrewDog says it has not made before: Vagabond Pale Ale, its first gluten-free beer; Hop Fiction, an IPA made without kettle or dry-hopping; and All Day Long, a 2.7% mild.

Patisserie Valerie opens fourth site inside Next store: Patisserie Valerie has opened a fourth outlet inside a Next store, this time in Hounslow, West London. The cafe is on the first floor of the newly opened Next outlet, in the Treaty Centre in Hounslow High Street. The first Patisserie Valerie opened in a Next store was in Cheltenham exactly a year ago, and the second at Manchester Fort Shopping Park followed by a third in a Manchester Next.

Plan unveiled to demolish Inverness Harry Ramsden’s to make way for drive-thru restaurant: Major plans to extend an out of town shopping park in Inverness have been unveiled. A drive-through restaurant and two large shops would be created if the plans at Inshes Retail Park are approved. Edinburgh-based Corran Properties has submitted a planning application to Highland Council on behalf of landowner Scottish Widows Investment Partnership. The development would involve the demolition of the disused Blockbuster Video store at the southern end of the shopping park, and also the Harry Ramsden’s site.

Soho House in Chicago launches British cream teas: Soho House’s Chicago venue, the largest in the US, has launched an cream tea offer, available seven days a week from 3pm to 5pm, that will mimic a traditional British afternoon cream tea service and cost $18 per person or $34 for two. Menu items include macaroons, chocolate cake, profiteroles, and smoked salmon and ham sandwiches.

Costa Coffee to open in Crowborough, six months after Harris + Hoole closed: Costa Coffee is to open in Crowborough, East Sussex, six months after Harris + Hoole closed its high street shop in the town. Harris + Hoole opened on the high street in February 2013, but closed in September this year after a review of its estate prompted half a dozen closures. Now Costa Coffee is to open on the high street in February 2015 although it has not indicated whether it is taking the former Harris + Hoole site. A spokesman for Costa said: “Costa, the nation’s favourite coffee shop brand is pleased to announce that we are opening a brand new store in Crowborough in early February 2015, bringing eight to ten new jobs to the local area. As with all of our new store openings we will do all that we can to integrate ourselves with the local community, getting involved with events; providing the store as a meeting place and helping with fundraising.”
 
Welsh rugby internationals follow up successful restaurant with tapas bar: Two former Welsh rugby internationals, Dwayne Peel and Stephen Jones, whose Llanelli restaurant, Sosban, opened in 2011, was named the Good Food Guide readers’ restaurant of the year for Wales in 2013, have now opened a tapas bar in the town. The B9-10 Bar a Caffi, which has a distinct rugby theme, is in the town centre’s East gate development. Both businesses are co-owned by Robert Williams, director of the Carmarthenshire-based company WRW Construction. Peel, who currently plays scrum-half for Bristol and previously played, like Jones, for Llanelli, said: “There is a definite buzz about the leisure complex and it has become one of the main leisure destinations for the region.” B9-10 is in the former Red Room cafe, which was formerly run by the town’s rugby club, known as the Scarlets and used as a popular pre-match destination for rugby fans. Williams said: “We will ensure that B9-10 continues to be the meeting place for all our Scarlets’ faithful. B9-10 aims to offer a vibrant and relaxed dining location with the decor continuing to pay its respect to Llanelli’s rugby heritage, just like the Red Room before it.”

Loungers opens in Stroud: Cafe bar concept Loungers, led by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, has opened in Stroud, Gloucestershire (population: 12,690). It has invested £500,000 transforming the former billiard hall in King Street into Curio Lounge. Loungers operations manager Chris Robinson said: “Stroud is the perfect location for our Lounge concept. There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part in the foodie scene here”. The site had 240 covers and features from the former snooker and billiard room remain. Pre-Glasnost Russian art adorns the walls, which are lined with reclaimed timber, and the floor in the bar area is covered with wood which was once the floor of a squash court.

Coffee shop owner offers space to start-up F&B businesses: A businessman who operates two coffee shops in Reading is offering space in one of his outlets to start-up food and drink businesses to give young independent firms a foothold in a competitive market. Greg Costello owns Workhouse Coffee, which has outlets in King Street and in Oxford Road, West Reading. He said: “Our Oxford Road store really hasn’t made any money since opening the town centre store because a lot of people travel into town. The street has been destroyed since Tesco came along. The car park in Tesco means nobody walks there any more.” Costello is now offering others the opportunity to make use of the space. He suggests people who take up the opportunity pay a percentage of what they take to the store. But he said: “There’s no business strategy, no return, it’s just the potential for the place to be an incubator if you have a business idea.”

Mitchells & Butlers completes another early Orchid conversion: Mitchells & Butlers has completed another early Orchid Pub Company site conversion, re-opening The Frogshole Farm, in Maidenbower, Crawley, as an Ember Inn site. The vast majority of the structure of the interior has remained the same because it is a Grade II listed building. General manager Steve Sayer said: “We have brought in new country tables and retained the inglenook fireplace to add to the country style. There is a brand new menu and we are going to focus on offering real ales. It is something we pride ourselves on. One person told me (her) visit was like leaving her home and walking into a living room.”

Starbucks credits new store openings, investment in emerging brands and ‘buying and serving high-quality coffee’ for rise up most valuable global brands table: Starbucks has credited its rise up the BrandZ list of the top 100 most valuable global brands, compiled by Millward Brown, to new store openings, investing in emerging brands such as La Boulange’s, and “our commitment to buying and serving high-quality coffee”. In the overall table, Google overtook Apple to claim the number one most-valuable global brand spot, rising 40% this year to $158.8bn. McDonald’s slipped one place to fifth, at $85.706m, just ahead of Coca-Cola at $80.683m. Starbucks was the next hospitality brand, at 31, up 13, and valued at $25.779m, just ahead of BMW, while Budweiser was the most valuable alcohol brand, at $24,414m, in 35th place, down one from 2013. Subway was at 43, up eight, on $21.020m, Tesco was at 66, down 11, on $14,842m, and KFC was up eight at 83, worth $11.910m, Pepsi down 13 at 88, worth $11.476m and Red Bull, down nine at 92, worth $10,873m. The fast food category in total rose in value by 10%, though the luxury goods sector was up by 16%. Millward Brown Optimor creates the BrandZ list by taking the financial value generated by a brand and multiplying it against a brand contribution measure. This measure is based on interviews with more than 170,000 consumers across 30 countries. The findings, which cover more than 10,000 brands, are used to determine the extent to which a brand’s profits are generated by its ability to create loyalty. Ian Cranna, vice-president of marketing and category for Starbucks EMEA, told Marketing Week magazine: “Several initiatives have elevated the Starbucks brand. We continued our commitment to buying and serving high-quality coffee that is responsibly grown and ethically traded with the addition of a new global agronomy centre in Costa Rica. We also invested in our emerging brands to create a pipeline of breakthrough products and experiences: for example, the launch of La Boulange’s warm bakery offerings in the US. And we opened nearly 2,000 new stores across the globe. More than ten million Starbucks customers use the Starbucks Mobile Payment App, while 2013 was another record year for the pre-paid Starbucks Card programme.” 

Greene King loses bid for Hungry Horse in Perth: Greene King has lost an attempt to open a Hungry Horse pub restaurant on the outskirts of Perth, central Scotland after councillors agreed that the site should be preserved for office development. The plans, at the Broxden Business Park on the western edge of Perth were backed by Perth and Kinross Council’s development quality manager, Nick Brian, who said the scheme would be likely to “contribute to the further development” of the surrounding business park. Greene King told the council that the pub would create around 40 jobs, 26 of them full-time, while the whole development will provide a boost of £1.8m to the economy each year. However, a local resident, Janice Taylor, told the council’s development control committee that there was already plenty of provision locally, including a McDonald’s, a Harvester and The Cherrybank Inn on Glasgow Road. The committee voted narrowly to turn the scheme down.

Award-winning Norfolk hotel comes to market for £1.65m: The former home of Agatha Christie’s close friends has been placed on the market by Colliers International, with an asking price of £1.65m. The Beechwood Hotel and Restaurant, a 17-bedroom Georgian property in North Walsham, Norfolk, was owned by close friends of Christie’s from 1936 and she visited frequently. The property previously won VisitBritain’s Small Hotel of the Year for England, with the judges calling the hotel “A treasure which is setting a standard everyone in the industry should aspire to.” This year the hotel has won national awards from The Good Hotel Guide (Historic Hotel) and TripAdvisor (Travellers’ Choice Award). The restaurant has been awarded two rosettes by the AA. Ashley Clark, director in Colliers International’s Hotels Agency team, said: “The hotel has been trading extremely well with strong year on year profits. Winning a string of awards, shows how highly regarded this business is.” Owners Don Birch and business partner Lindsay Spalding are selling the business to explore new projects before retirement.

One Group turns Radio rooftop bar into ‘ski chalet’: The One Group, the hotel food and beverage specialist, is turning the Radio rooftop bar at the ME London hotel on the Strand into an “urban mountain lodge” for the winter, in a promotion with Grey Goose vodka. The interior of the bar now has a large snow-capped mountainscape covering the walls and washed-wood texture panelling lining the bar, to create the atmosphere of a ski chalet. Outside on the terrace, the three cabanas which can accommodate up to ten guests each, have been turned into après-ski cabins overlooking the London skyline, with Grey Goose throws, cushions and blankets to keep customers warm. The bar is also selling bespoke Grey Goose “winter warming” cocktails served from wooden barrels. Jon Yantin, commercial director of the One Group, said: “Working closely with partners is a key focus for us and our collaboration with Grey Goose is a great example of how such partnerships can create unique experiences for our guests, and maximise sales opportunities. We have also recently partnered with Penfolds in all of our outlets at ME London, the Radio rooftop bar, Marconi Lounge bar and the STK and Cucina Asellina restaurants, which will include bespoke food pairings and wine-by-the-glass promotions, as well as the rebranding of the Marconi Lounge as The Wine Lounge by Penfolds.”

Phone company to end ‘two-for-one’ promotion at PizzaExpress after ten years: The mobile phone network provider EE has announced it will stop running the “Orange Wednesdays” promotion, which gave its customers two-for-one pizza at PizzaExpress, in February next year, ten years after the promotion began. Since 2004 customers of Orange, and subsequently EE, have been claiming buy-one-get-one-free cinema tickets, and two-for-one pizza and doughballs at branches of PizzaExpress. EE said: “Orange Wednesday launched over a decade ago and at its peak was a massive success and an iconic promotion. However, the ‘241’ text message offer has seen a significant decline of late, and so the decision has been made to stop the deal. That’s why the final credits will roll for Orange Wednesdays at the end of February 2015. We’re working on new customer entertainment rewards and we’ll provide more detail soon.” 
 
Construction company director starts coffee shop: A director of a Cardiff building company has moved into the cafe business in the city’s Fairwater Green suburb after spotting what he thought was the ideal opportunity. Arun Patel, a director of Oakville Construction, said: “When I saw that some land was for sale on St Fagans Road, Fairwater Green, I knew that it would be the perfect location to house a coffee shop along with some residential property and I am thrilled that my vision has now come to fruition. For me, moving into this industry is a big step but one I am excited about making.” The launch of the new venture, which is called Bunker Coffee Station, has created six jobs. The Royal Bank of Scotland provided funding for the development of the property, which includes two flats, and the start-up of the coffee shop.

Prezzo opens in Derby: Jonathan Kaye’s Prezzo chain is to open its latest restaurant in Derby on Wednesday (17 December). The chain is opening in the former premises of a restaurant called Graze, in Friar Gate, after a £600,000 refurbishment. The restaurant will be able to accommodate 124 people, 104 in the main dining area and 20 in an external courtyard. The latest opening comes just a day after Prezzo is due to open a new site in St Annes, Blackpool. Last month the chain passed the 250-restaurant mark.

Handmade Cake Company bought by French group: The Handmade Cake Company, which supplies thousands of coffee shops and hundreds of pubs with baked goods from Victoria sponges to flapjacks, has been bought by the French group Européenne des Desserts. The deal for the £12m-turnover Maidenhead-based business has been backed by Equistone Partners Europe, which took a majority stake in Européenne des Desserts a year ago. The business was founded in 1983 and employs 143 staff. Among its clients are national and regional coffee shop chains and companies such as St Austell Brewery, which is expanding its pub-based coffee offer. Earlier this year the company said that while the pub trade currently accounted for only 5% of its business, it was in discussion with several other pub chains and it predicted pubs would account for 15% of turnover in the next decade. Didier Boudy, chairman of Européenne des Desserts, said: “The Handmade Cake Company’s DNA is perfectly aligned with that of Européenne des Desserts: high quality products and excellent customer service. Furthermore, its products and clients complement the existing group’s.” Européenne des Desserts has five production units, four in France and one, Speciality Desserts, in the UK. After this acquisition, it said it would be able to accelerate its growth in the UK and focus on increasing production capacities for high growth markets such as gluten-free product ranges. Européenne des Desserts is targeting a turnover of £120m in 2015, including £20m in the UK. The majority of this acquisition has been financed in cash. The remainder has been contributed by Ardian debt funds and by individual vendors who have re-invested in the company.
 
KFC forced to shut new Scarborough outlet over extractor fan problem: KFC has been forced to close its new restaurant in Scarborough temporarily after the local council hit it with a planning enforcement notice over an extractor fan that was failing to work properly. The enforcement notice shut the restaurant’s kitchen, meaning it was unable to supply hot food. Andy Skelton, Scarborough Council’s director of service delivery, told the local newspaper: “It is with regret that we have had to serve a planning enforcement notice on the operators of the business and we realise these actions may mean disappointment for KFC customers. However, we have been left with no other choice due to the operators opening without complying with planning requirements, because the extraction equipment on the premises is not operating correctly.”
 
Alistair Arkley and son buy brace of Lake District inns: Alistair Arkley, the founder of New Century Inns and currently chairman of Chameleon Bar and Dining, and his son David have bought a brace of residential inns in the Lake District. The Arkleys acquired the Horse & Farrier and Salutation Inn at Threlkeld, near Keswick, from their owner, Julie Harrison, who is retiring from the industry, for an undisclosed sum in an off-market deal. David Arkley, who has more than ten years’ experience of managing similar high-turnover food and beverage outlets, and his father, who is also currently a non-executive director of the Cardiff brewer and pub operator SA Brain, will be moving to Threlkeld from Darlington. Haydn Spedding, an associate director in the hotels agency at the North West office of Colliers International in Manchester, who conducted the sale, said: “The Horse & Farrier is a landmark residential inn, known throughout the Lake District not only for exceptional food but also for its 12 high-quality ensuite letting bedrooms. Julie also owned the lease of the similarly successful Salutation Inn, recently renamed The Sally. This is the third business in and around Keswick that we have sold within the past month and is further evidence of increasing transactional activity in the hotel, hospitality and licensed sectors in the Lake District where Cumbria Tourism’s recent research figures show significant increases in visitor numbers during 2014.”

New gastro-pub company Distinct Pubs formed after Punch acquisition: The team that runs the North London gastro-pubs the Adam and Eve in Mill Hill and the Prince Albert in Camden has taken on a third venue, the Three Compasses on Hornsey High Street, and created a new company, Distinct Pubs to run all three pubs and look for more acquisitions. Gareth Leakey, group manager for the operation, said he had been given £5m by Distinct Pubs’ unnamed ultimate owners to pay for a refurbishment and fund further expansion. He said the Three Compasses, a Punch assignment, was “ an absolutely fantastic site”, and Distinct Pubs would now be looking to add one to three pubs a year to its portfolio, in London and the Home Counties.

Pizza Rossa 45% of way to new £150,000 fundraising target: Pizza Rossa, the artisanal pizza by-the-square-slice operator which has opened two outlets in London after a crowdfunding campaign which raised £440,000 in just 17 days from 119 people, is now 45% of the way to raising another £150,000 from the public on Crowdcube. The company, founded by Corrado Accardi, wants to raise the money to support working capital, focus on expansion opportunities, and support a concession in West London, a presence at street markets and food festivals, and pop-up sites in shopping malls and supermarkets. With 50 days left for the fundraising exercise to run, 23 investors have already pledged almost £68,000, in return for 10.2% of the company’s equity. The largest single investor so far in the current round has pledged £21,000.

New Papa John’s franchisee set to open six sites in six months: New Papa John’s franchisee Erol Ayvas has opened his fourth Papa John’s in Lowestoft, six months after opening his first. Ayvas has opened franchises in Cambridge, Peterborough and Corby since joining the pizza network in the summer – and has further launches planned this month in Newcastle-under-Lyme and Lichfield. He plans 16 sites by 2016. He said: “Support is a key ingredient when setting up and running a multi-operation franchise like this. In this regard, Papa John’s has been phenomenal. The team has been instrumental in helping with negotiations on sites and opening plans. My area manager and our individual store managers are highly motivated to look after our staff. Working together and supporting each of our team members will ensure we can always deliver the best pizza and customer service in town.” 

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