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Wed 28th Jan 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Welcome Break reports record Christmas trading: Welcome Break, the motorway services operator, has announced record festive trading, boosted by its branded foodservice offer. In the three weeks to 6 January 2015, sales across Welcome Break sites hit an all-time high, increasing by 12.2% on the same period last year to £15.8m from £14.2m in 2013. Catering sales at Welcome Break, which include transactions at the company’s recently-expanded portfolio of premium branded outlets, accounted for £7.34m of total sales. This represented an increase of 10.7% in this area of the business alone. Welcome Break served up almost half a million hot drinks during the Christmas period, with coffee accounting for over three quarters of these sales. All-time high visitor numbers were also seen with more than 45,300 vehicles arriving at Welcome Break sites on Christmas Day alone. Chief executive Rod McKie said: “Welcome Break’s record Christmas trading comes on the back of a very strong year overall. The introduction of new food brands such as Tossed and Subway has proven extremely popular with our customers who enjoy the extended choice and quality on offer. Across the board, the brands, which also include Starbucks, Waitrose and Harry Ramsden’s and our hotel offerings with Ramada and Days Inn, have performed extremely well.”
 

Industry News:

Lower drink-drive limit in Scotland hitting January sales: Scotland’s lower drink-drive limit could have a worse effect on the country’s pub trade than the smoking ban, it has been claimed. Pub owners are blaming a slump in sales in January on tougher new alcohol limits that came into force last month. Greene King has already warned the law has had an impact on takings north of the border. The company said earlier this month that it saw a 2% rise in drink sales in England and Wales over the two Christmas weeks, but not in Scotland. Paul Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said pubs have been reporting losses since the Christmas period. “We don’t have any figures yet but I have heard anecdotally it will probably be worse for the business than the smoking ban,” he said. “We have seen a lot of people just not drinking at all, especially if they have engagements the next day. It is bigger than the smoking ban and a complete game-changer for us.” The tougher rules saw the limit for drivers lowered from 80mg to 50mg in every 100ml of blood, bringing Scotland into line with many other countries in Europe. The limit remains at 80mg in England and Wales. It means that the average man can have just a pint of normal-strength beer before driving and woman only half a pint.

Diageo moves to three-month payment schedule: Diageo, the owner of Guinness and Johnnie Walker whisky, has warned suppliers that it plans to take three months to pay its bills, making it the latest high-profile company to put pressure on its supply chain, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The Telegraph has seen a letter from the company to suppliers that says from 1 February it will extend the number of days it takes to make payments from 60 days to 90 days on all new contracts and tenders. The Forum of Private Business, which uncovered the letter, said it was "very concerned" by Diageo's actions and would complain to the government. It warned that such behaviour "threatens to break the backbone of the British economy – small businesses".
 
Developers 'paying double going rate' to acquire London pubs: Developers are paying double the going rate to buy London pubs as development opportunities, an expert has claimed. Steve Oliver, director of Paramount Investments, who has been marketing pubs for more than a decade told the London Evening Standard: “In north London if I am selling a pub as a development opportunity I might be able to ask £700,000 to £1m for something that as a pub I would only be able to get £350,000-£450,000 for.” Oliver said demand from developers was high, and a pub in the South East could sell in days.

Harris & Hoole app firm receives £6m of investment:
The mobile payments platform Judo has raised £6m in funding, led by Route 66 Ventures. The London start-up is a secure mobile-first payment platform that claims to multiply its clients’ sales by six, using an API fraud prevention system that integrates seamlessly with companies' own apps and websites. The investment, which comes after the platform announced it had signed the coffee chain Harris & Hoole to launch a food and drink payment app, will be used grow the team and to expand into new markets and territories over the coming year. Judo's chief executive and founder, Dennis Jones, said: “Consumers are deterred from using apps with a clunky experience. We’re looking to make this seamless. We’re incredibly proud of our work with our merchant partners and continue to find innovative ways to enable these businesses to capture and serve their loyal customers on mobile channels.”

US Equal Opportunities Commission suing Ruby Tuesday’s: The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is suing the restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday on behalf of male job candidates, claiming workplace sex discrimination. The suit claims that the casual-dining operator discriminated against male employees when hiring for “coveted” temporary assignments in the resort town of Park City, Utah. The commission alleged that in spring 2013, Ruby Tuesday posted an internal announcement within a nine-state region for temporary summer positions in Park “However, the announcement stated that only females would be considered and Ruby Tuesday in fact selected only women for those summer jobs, supposedly from fears about housing employees of both genders together,” the EEOC said in a statement released with the lawsuit.

Lessen burdens to encourage viable pubs, says ALMR: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, responding to the news that the government has moved to protect community pubs 24 hours after voting against measures to safeguard pubs against demolition, has reiterated its call for flexibility in the sector to allow pubs, bars and nightclubs to flourish. An amendment to the Infrastructure Bill, which would have required planning consent before demolishing or changing the use of a pub, was defeated by 293 votes to 245. Yesterday, Kris Hopkins, the Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Communities and Local Government, announced similar protection for those pubs listed as Assets of Community Value. The ALMR's chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “The additional protection for pubs listed as Assets of Community Value is a sensible and pragmatic approach which will afford protection to those pubs that have already been identified as valuable, without tying up the whole market in red tape. We echo the minister’s comments when he said that the best way to encourage growth in licensed hospitality is through lower taxes and less regulation. By cutting red tape, costs and burdens for pubs, clubs and restaurants, the government can encourage growth in the sector, allowing businesses to prosper and become useful assets in their communities.”

SIBA unveils BeerX speaker schedule: The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has unveiled speakers for BeerX, its celebration of British beer taking place in Sheffield this March. Speakers addressing delegates on BeerX Industry Day, Thursday 19 March, are: Bob Pease, chief executive officer of the American Brewers Association; Katherine Smart, group chief brewer at SABMiller and David Cunningham, director of There’s A Beer For That. Speeches will be followed by a panel of politicians, including Andrew Griffiths MP, Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, who will debate what the next government should do to support independent brewers, including any implications from the 2015 Budget, held on the previous day. BeerX also includes a programme of 30 plus+ seminars on a range of topics, delivered by some of the industry’s most authoritative and engaging speakers. Brewing guru Dr Charlie Bamforth speaks on beer quality and maturation; Paul Chase of CPL Training on alcohol and society; Pete Brown on brand marketing and Ali Capper on British hops, among others. There will also be sessions on kegging beers, running a pub, export and meetings with buyers from on and off trade retailers. SIBA managing director Mike Benner said: “The calibre of speakers we have attracted to share their experience and opinions at BeerX speaks volumes for the stature of the event and of SIBA. The programme covers everything that is important to our delegates, from technical aspects of brewing to finding export markets, to the political, social and health aspects of beer.” 

Licensing update: Licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners produce a useful monthly summary of topical issues and the latest can be accessed HERE
 

Company News:

Camerons forecasts significant profit lift in current year: The north east of England brewer and retailer Camerons, led by Chris Soley, has forecast a “significant increase in financial performance in the current year as a result of growth in its contract brewing and own brands business”. The forecast came in Companies House documents reporting that net debt reduced in the year to 4 May 2014 by £4.2m, with a net debt to Ebitda ratio of 4.5 times, down from 4.8 times at the end of the previous financial year. As a result of infrastructure investment, ebitda for the year fell from £58m to £5.2m. Camerons had 72 pubs at the year-end after the sale of five tenanted and leased pubs and the acquisition of eight sites. The sale of five pubs generated a loss on disposal of £864,000 and another seven sites identified for sale have generated an impairment charge of £1.4m. A loss before tax of £600,000 for the year was stated after exceptional costs of £600,000, losses on asset sales of £900,000 and impairment charges of £1.4m. Underlying profit before tax was £2.3m. Turnover rose to £60.5m from £54.3m the year before.

Red Hot World Buffet in Liverpool given green light to re-open: The Red Hot World Buffet restaurant in Liverpool One has been given the all-clear to reopen by health inspectors a week after it closed for a “deep clean”. The restaurant voluntarily shut its doors last Monday, blaming the closure on unforeseen maintenance issues. The premises have now been re-examined by Liverpool council and given the green light to reopen. The outlet closed after a routine inspection by the council’s environmental health officers. It has remained closed for business since, with staff thought to have been carrying out a deep clean of the restaurant. Yesterday morning a spokesman for the council confirmed it had given the restaurant permission to reopen. He said: “We have been around it and now we are satisfied it can re-open.”

Former Red Hot World Buffet executives eye expansion in Midlands and Scotland after launch of first £2m FED:
The former Red Hot World Buffet executives Sachin and Shailesh Bajpai are eyeing further openings this year in the Midlands and Scotland after opening a £2m, 13,000 sq ft buffet restaurant under the name FED in Cardiff. The Cardiff restaurant is set over two storeys and is able to serve more than 300 diners at a time. It includes a top-floor mezzanine area available for private and corporate hire, which can accommodate 50 diners. The restaurant aims to deliver 5,000 covers a week. Some 75 full and part-time jobs have been created by the opening. The restaurant is located next to Cineworld, at the rear of the St David’s Shopping Centre and directly opposite the new Admiral's headquarters.

Restaurant Group to open Joe’s Kitchen and Coffeehouse brand in Stoke: The Restaurant Group is to open a 4,000 sq ft branch of its Joe’s Coffeehouse & Kitchen brand at the Trentham Estate leisure destination in Stoke. The developer, St Modwen, will build the eatery at the main entrance to the tourist attraction’s car park, opposite a Frankie and Benny’s outlet. Mike Herbert, director of Trentham for St Modwen, said: “The Restaurant Group will bring another great brand to the Trentham Estate, further improving the high-quality food and drink offer for visitors. The plans are all part of our commitment to continually enhance the visitor experience and also include surfacing about 300 new permanent parking spaces for customers.” The Trentham Estate includes historic gardens, a garden centre, 60 shops, cafes and restaurants and a 119-bedroom Premier Inn Hotel. The whole estate attracts more than three million visitors per year. The Restaurant Group, which operates brands including Coast to Coast and Garfunkel’s, is also opening two further venues – a Chiquito and a Frankie and Benny’s, at the Intu Potteries shopping centre in Hanley as part of a multi-million pound extension of the site. Jonny Buckle, head of acquisitions, leisure at the Restaurant Group, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen by St Modwen to add an additional restaurant unit to complement our already successful Frankie & Benny’s restaurant at the Trentham Estate.” 

Wetherspoon to start work on first Cornish hotel: Work is set to start on the first JD Wetherspoon hotel in Cornwall, at the John Francis Basset in Camborne. The 35-bedroom hotel will be above the pub in Commercial Street with Wetherspoon spending £2.7m on its development. Building work is due to start mid-February with the hotel open for mid-July. It will create ten new jobs in the town. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are looking forward to opening our new hotel in Camborne. It will be a great addition for the pub and we believe for the town too. Hopefully it will also act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the area.” Wetherspoon opened its Camborne pub in 2011.

Greene King wins fifth Farmhouse Inn consent since December: Planners at Kirklees Council on Merseyside have given the green light for a new restaurant in Birkenshaw which will create up to 75 jobs. Greene King has secured permission to open a Farmhouse Inn restaurant at the Whitehall 26 Business Park. The company has gained permission for five Farmhouse Inns across the north of England since December. The application was submitted by the Leeds-based planning consultants Turley, acting for Greene King and Blackshaw Holdings, which owns the development site. Whitehall 26 Business Park is the base for Park House Healthcare and is set for significant expansion. Vicki Freestone, an associate director in the Leeds office of Turley, said: “We are delighted with this decision. Greene King Farmhouse Inns offer high quality food and a terrific atmosphere. It is a good addition to the Whitehall 26 Business Park.”
 
Former ALMR chief executive reports strong sales growth at Punch pub: David McHattie, the former ALMR chief executive, has reported strong sales growth at his Punch Taverns pub, the Devonshire Arms in Baslow, Derbyshire. He told Propel: “In the four weeks to 10 January 2015, which included the Christmas and new year period and some snow and ice, sales grew at the Devonshire Arms by 28.8%. Interestingly, this was not led by a swathe of Christmas party bookings. It was more drinkers, dogs and diners, welcomed and cared for by a team who maintained a polite and caring approach to each other and the guests in the face of demand that far exceeded expectations. The chefs in the engine room, who faced a mountain of prep each morning, the downside of providing freshly prepared food, also did an amazing job. The half-year ended with sales up 17.07%. In the two subsequent weeks, which have also included bouts of snow and ice, as well as some outrageous scare-mongering weather forecasts worthy of any sales prevention team, we have maintained a very healthy double digit growth. Still a long way to go to be where we want to be but progress is good.”
 
Local authority buys well-known Stockton nightspot: A well-known former Teesside nightclub has been bought by Stockton Council along with an adjoining post office for around £600,000. Glam, in Stockton town centre, shut its doors in June 2013 after suffering a slump in trading. The High Street venue has a long history as a popular nightspot, and was previously known as Zanzibar and The Mall. The freehold of the club was being offered for sale for £500,000 in January by Christie + Co, who described the sale as a “redevelopment opportunity”. Stockton Council has confirmed the purchase of the club and the empty former post office building for a price for around £600,000. The council has made the move as part of its £38m regeneration of the High Street, but as yet no decision has been made as to the future of the buildings, including whether they will be demolished.

New smokehouse brand opens in Northampton: A former bakery that stood empty for a number of years has been transformed into a new barbecue restaurant in Northampton town centre. The Smoke Pit in The Ridings opened its doors to the public for the first time at the weekend. The people behind the Smoke Pit are owners and brothers Matt and James Ingram, alongside brother-in-law Jay Miller, who were inspired for their new business venture after a family holiday to the United States.

Agent AG&G markets three Greater London freehold pubs: The property agent AG&G is selling three Greater London pub freeholds. The pubs are the Victoria in Hayes, Middlesex, on a site of 17,175 sq ft, including a car park that can take up to 30 vehicles just north of Heathrow Airport and near the M4; the Horse and Groom in Wilmington, Dartford, on a site of more than half an acre with parking for around 45 vehicles and planning permission for a single-storey extension that would allow a dining area to be introduced, making the pub of interest to food-led operators; and the Prince of Wales in New Malden, Surrey, on a site of nearly 5,800 sq ft) that is 700 metres from Berrylands railway station and a mile from New Malden railway station, with trains taking less than 30 minutes to central London. James Grimes of AG&G said: “The seller is being very flexible and will consider offers for the three jointly or individually – and those offers can be conditional on planning consent. These are a rare opportunity for developers or investors and we’re expecting a lot of interest.” Offers are invited for each or all of the pubs, with best and final offers by noon on Tuesday 24 February.

Orange Wednesdays deal at PizzaExpress to end next month: The mobile phone provider EE is to end its popular "Orange Wednesdays" promotion next month. EE announced in December that the long-running offer would be coming to an end "early next year" and the final date has now been confirmed. "Wednesday 25 February will be our last day for 2 for 1 cinema tickets and our Pizza Express offer," the mobile phone provider said. The offer, launched in 2003 by Orange, the network which merged with T-Mobile in 2010 to form EE, entitled EE customers to a "two-for-one" deal on cinema tickets and main meals at any Pizza Express restaurant, plus free doughballs.

Zizzi hires Shine for public relations brief: Zizzi has hired Shine Communications on a rolling contract after a four-way pitch to handle its consumer, trade and social communications, PR Week has reported. Shine will start work on the account immediately. It was previously held by Mischief. The appointment comes after Zizzi and ASK Italian, previously owned by the private equity firm Cinven, were sold last year to Bridgepoint for a sum of £250m. Jo Fawcett, marketing director at Zizzi, said: "We were really impressed with Shine’s creativity and experience of running integrated campaigns talking to different audiences." Shine’s MD, Lawrence Collis, said: "We are looking forward to delivering an exciting social and traditional PR campaign that creates deeper engagement for existing Zizzi customers and using our analytical tools to enable us to identify new audience opportunities for it."

Sky bar to feature at new £8m Chester dining quarter: A "sky bar" will be part of a new £8m Chester dining quarter with four restaurants that is due to open in time for the summer. The new 25,000 sq ft dining space, in former retail premises once occupied by Habitat and MultiYork in Pepper Street and will be occupied by a three-storey Las Iguanas restaurant with a roof-top terrace or "sky bar", a two-storey Restaurant Bar and Grill outlet, a ground-floor outlet for the Coast to Coast bar and restaurant chain and a two-storey outlet for the Mexican restaurant Chimichanga.

Black Sheep partners marketer Jonny Kirkham and beer writer Pete Brown to launch My Generation beer: Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, Yorkshire is partnering marketing expert Jonny Kirkham and beer writer Pete Brown to launch My Generation Beer Company, a brand new “label” aimed at what it sees as an as-yet untapped audience of drinkers. My Generation is the signature brew and will be the official beer of Record Store Day 2015, which takes place in April and is a nationwide celebration of vinyl records. A three-month seasonal listing has been agreed with Mitchells & Butlers’ Castle and Nicholson’s pub chains from March, while there will also be a selective on-trade distribution. My Generation, which will initially be brewed as a cask ale, will be brewed in at the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, and distributed by Black Sheep. A 4.2% light straw-coloured session pale ale, My Generation Pale Ale is brewed from a blend of new world hops including Cascade, Galena, Magnum and Polaris to give what its makers call a big, fresh aroma and a cracking bitter finish. Kirkham said: “There’s a love of music in everyone and the My Generation Beer Company represents something brand new in the beer industry, bringing together quality ale and real music. We have seen bands put their names to drinks in the past, but that targets a narrow and specific fanbase audience. We aim to unite beer fans with music you’d expect to hear more on BBC 6 Music."
 
Moyo to open Komplas in Brighton this weekend: The property agent Fleurets has sold the former Brewery Tap in North Road, in the North Laine area of Brighton, to the entrepreneur Ashley Moyo. After a period of closure for a full refurbishment, the property will trade as Komplas Restaurant & Bar and will be opening on 31 January. The four-storey property has a ground floor bar with booth seating and a bar. A spiral staircase leads from the ground floor down to the basement bar. On the first floor there is a further dining area with booths and tables. The cuisine at Komplas will include Indonesian and Malaysian dishes, with some South African specialities.

Polaris wins Enterprise managed division contract: Polaris, the hospitality industry technology company, has won three new contracts worth more than £200,000, including Enterprise Inns, which, has implemented Polaris Data to manage cash control and rota scheduling throughout its small but growing managed estate. The other new contracts are with the Kent-based Phoenix Pub Group, which runs more than 50 sites across the South East, and the coaching inn company Bulldog Hotel Group, which has seven sites in and around Lincolnshire. Both companies have also introduced the Polaris Data system into their businesses. Polaris's managing director, Neil Westwater, said: “After a lucrative 2014, the business has had a great start to 2015. We’ve won these accounts because we have been able to clearly demonstrate that our solutions offer clients the chance to effectively and efficiently manage multiple sites from one location, and give operators the ability to track their sales from the tills to the bank using Polaris Data.”

Rare collection of vintage beer marketing posters uncovered: A rare collection of British beer marketing posters dating back to the 1950s has been discovered in Kent and is now preserved in the Shepherd Neame archive. The Tavern Topics posters were produced by British artist Clive Uptton, who worked as a political cartoonist during the Second World War, and is perhaps best known for illustrating the classic series of Ladybird children’s books published in the 1960s. A series of 20 posters was commissioned during the early 1950s by the Brewers’ Society to promote beer and pubs, and offered information on subjects including "How Beer Is Brewed", "Going Hopping", "The Welcome Inn" and "The Guv’nor". Shepherd Neame has just added 18 of the posters to its archive at its brewery in Faversham after they were discovered during a house clearance in the Isle of Sheppey. Brewery archivist and historian John Owen said: “We are fortunate that Shepherd Neame is well known as Britain’s oldest brewer, so we get contacted by many people who have found some historical pub or brewing artefacts and want to know more about them. We were delighted when these posters were brought to us, as they are very rare.”
 
Research pharmacologist to open West African grill restaurant: A new West African grill restaurant, Suya, is to open at Stretford Mall in Manchester. The owner, Maryam Idris-Usman, is also a research pharmacologist trying to find a new cure for malaria. Suya means "grill" in Idris-Usman 's home language, Hausa, which is spoken across West Africa. The restaurant sells cuts of beef and chicken that are marinated in a special sauce made with ginger, cayenne pepper, African negro peppers, lemon and cloves. They are then cooked on a chargrill and will be served either as mild, medium or spicy, with a side of either rice or chips. Idris-Usman is in her fourth year of studying a PhD in pharmacology and parasitology at the University of Salford. She is testing natural plants to find which could offer resistance to malaria and be used in drug therapy, as part of a joint project with Nigeria’s National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD), in Abuja. Idris-Usman said: “I am determined to see a natural treatment on the market as it is likely to be a cheaper alternative to the poor African population and I believe it might be the answer to the issue of drug resistance. Even after I finish my PhD I intend to keep working to get this to happen. I want something positive to come from my work.”

PizzaLuxe seeks £500,000 funding on Crowdcube: PizzaLuxe, the pizza business founded by Paul Goodale, managing director of Epicurean Holdings and director of restaurants at Harrods, and the Maze bar executive Laura Pabon, is seeking to raise £500,000 in return for 19% of its equity through crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, which has two sites, is set to turn over £959,000 in the year to March 2015, producing ebitda of £101,000 and pre-tax profit of £51,000. Its financial plan forecasts turnover of £4.9m by March 2018, producing ebitda of £614,000 and pre-tax profit of £375,000 The company plans to grow by ten sites over five years and forecasts a multiple return of 25 times on original investment. The pitch states: “The idea for PizzaLuxe was first born back in 2010 from a desire to see how good we could make our own pizza. It took Laura eight months to find the right market to sell her much-loved pizza – we finally found the spot on a site in Brick Lane. With the confidence taken from the first site, we were approached by Westfield about opening a permanent site in spring 2011. Building work started late Summer 2011 and after a few weeks of barely any sleep we finally opened our doors for trading on 6 October 2011… Shortly after celebrating our one-year anniversary at Westfield we opened our second site at Trinity Kitchen Leeds, some 200 miles away from the original Westfield Store. Now, we have gone back to our roots and have completed on our third site in the heart of Shoreditch. We are due to open this flagship store in spring 2015. We are also planning on renovating the existing site at Westfield and are due to begin works in March 2015. We believe that Pizzaluxe is ideally suited to non-traditional travel-hub and mall/retail environments. This is largely due to centralized production potential and no requirement for store mechanical extract. This combined with small footprint (circa 100 to 150 sq ft) and low capital intensity could provide for a significant take and bake and/or heat and serve business with up to 50 openings per year over three years 2015-2017. The thin-crust, slow-proven dough combined with distinctive gourmet toppings and striking packaging are designed to deliver a product with impactful visual merchandising within the pizza category of a supermarket/food store retail range. Charlie Bigham has created a £20m business from elevating the “ordinary” of chilled prepared meals to something more considered. We believe that the same opportunity presently exists within the UK pizza category. The same product could be offered hot in environments such as airports and train stations, where low impact ovens could regenerate these pre-packed products, as was originally achieved in the Brick Lane market stall where Pizzaluxe originated back in 2010. £500,000 of investment will provide for two new openings during 2015, which will be targeted in Shoreditch (opening spring 2015) and a Central London food destination (Half Two 2015) … further core store openings are shown in the financial projections to take the estate to 12 units in five years.”

Multi-site site companies sign up for Professor Chris Edger’s Multi-Site Management Masterclass:
More multi-site companies have signed up for Professor Chris Edger, Multi-Site Management Masterclass, being held in partnership with Propel, on Tuesday 24 February at One Moorgate Place, in the City of London. They include: Le Bistrot Pierre, Charnwood, Bath Ale, Banana Tree Restaurants, Draco Pub Company, CityGlen Pub Company, Urban Leisure Group. Companies that have already booked include: Wahaca, Boston Tea Party, Burger & Lobster, Paul UK, Beds and Bars, Columbo Group, McMullen, McManus Pub Company, Meatailer, Intertain, Eddie Rockets, Amber Taverns, City Pub Company, Jamie Oliver, Rhode Island Coffee, My Lahore, Little Gems Country Dining, Porkys, Antic London, Star Pubs & Bars and Bill’s. Professor Edger, who has just published his latest book, Leading at a Distance in Multi-Unit Enterprises, will focus on how area managers can create organic growth through the three-step process of engagement, execution and evolution. Professor Edger currently teaches at City University, Birmingham, where a number of the sector’s leading companies send their general managers to be taught. Darren King, last month’s winner of 2014 ALMR Operations Manager award, graduated from its post-graduate Level 7 Multi-Unit Leadership and Strategy course in 2014, as did the 2013 ALMR Ops Manager winner Barrie Robinson in 2013. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel, said: "This is a great chance for multi-site companies to refresh their thinking – and the thinking and expertise of key staff – as 2015 gets under way." Tickets are £295 plus VAT for ALMR members and £345 for non-ALMR members. CLICK HERE for more details or email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com to book.

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