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Fri 20th Feb 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Marston’s improves Revere food quality through link with Michelin chef: Marston’s, the brewer and retailer, is rolling out an improved food offer across its 15-strong Revere unbranded premium pub segment in a partnership with the Michelin-starred chef Paul Ainsworth. It is understood that Marston’s has been working with Ainsworth and his chef director Paul Dodds for more than six months. Ainsworth runs the Michelin-starred restaurant No 6 in Padstow, Cornwall and the Italian restaurant Rogano’s in the same town. Revere chefs have been spending time at Rogano’s with a view to upping the quality of the Revere menu. The new Revere menu, featuring improved versions of standard items such as pizza, fish and chips and Sunday lunch, developed as a result of the link with Ainsworth, is currently being rolled out across Revere. Colin Sadler, who runs Marston’s Revere pubs and the Pitcher & Piano division, told Propel: “We’ve been working with Paul Ainsworth and Paul Dodds for a while. Our main interest has been in Rogano’s where amazing skill is applied to everyday Italian menu items. We’ve been amazed by the quality of pizza at Rogano’s although this hasn’t just been about pizza. It’s really inspired us to perfect everyday dishes. Members of our chef team have been down to Rogano’s for about three days at a time, to do work experience – Rogano’s serves some of the best Italian food in the country. The precision applied to each dish is outstanding. We’ve completely re-looked at how we prepare and serve the menu standards. The Revere menu was never about being flash but about delivering real flavour. We’re in the process of rolling-out the Ainsworth/Dodds inspired-spec across Revere. More broadly, we’re delighted to have been given a small amount of Paul’s time – this is more about a relationship between Revere and the Rogano’s business. The whole experience has been a real eye-opener for me and this is going to take us up a notch.” Marston’s opened its first two upmarket premium destination pub under the Revere Pub Company banner in November 2012. There are now 15 pubs – eight country pubs and seven high street sites – trading within the Revere grouping. The company began to install a stone-baked pizza offer at Revere sites in 2013. The move to develop Revere has been compared to the development of Mitchells & Butlers’ Premium Country Dining gastro-pubs.

Industry News:

James Hacon – Global Restaurant Investors Forum shows respect for London culinary scene: a high-level respect for London as a culinary powerhouse was evident at the Global Restaurant Investors Forum in Dubai, James Hacon, who attended the event, has reported. Writing for Propel Friday Opinion, published later this morning, Hacon, the managing director of the insights and marketing firm Elliotts, said: “Two things stood out to me. The first is the global respect for London as one of the international powerhouses of the restaurant industry. The second is the opportunity which exists for UK brands that want to franchise into the Middle East and beyond, with many partners actively seeking these opportunities; although a considerable amount of caution was shared by speakers around the importance of selecting the right partner and keeping a firm handle on the relationship.”

Starbucks, fifth most-admired company in the world according to Fortune, to start serving alcohol in the UK: Starbucks is the fifth most admired company in the world, according to new research from Fortune magazine, and is the number one company worldwide in the food service industry. Starbucks is also ranked number one in the areas of innovation, people management, use of corporate assets, social responsibility, quality of management, financial soundness, long-term investment, and quality of products and services. The top company on the list for 2015 is Apple. It is followed on Fortune's top 10 list by Google, Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, Starbucks, Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, American Express, General Electric and Coca-Cola. Fortune creates the list from a starting base of 1,400 companies based in the United Stats plus 400 from around the world with revenue above $10 billion. It then surveys 3,800 executives, asking them to rank the top 10. Meanwhile, Starbucks is to start serving alcohol in Britain. It will serve beer and wine as part of the new Starbucks Evenings Programme from around 4pm each day. Along with beer and wine, customers will be offered an expanded menu including chorizo and prawn skewers with chilli ketchup, truffle mac & cheese and braised British beef. The new menu will only be on offer at Starbucks' Stansted Airport outlet initially, before being rolled out to other locations. Ian Cranna, vice-president marketing and category for Starbucks EMEA, said: “We are delighted to launch the first Evenings Programme in the UK. Providing a welcoming coffeehouse environment has always been our focus and now we can offer something new for the evening too. I think our customers will love the new range of terrific food and carefully selected wines and beers which will provide even more choice and reasons to visit us later in the day.”
 
First London Beer Week under way: The first London Beer Week, involving more than 100 venues, is under way. The event, which lasts until 22 February, includes pop-up bars, live music, street food and a series of behind-the-scenes brewery tours. London Beer Week wristbands are available for £10, and entitle wearers to entry to free events across the city, as well as offering discounted pints at more than 79 pubs and bars. London Beer Week's founder, Hannah Sharman-Cox, said: “This is London’s most exciting time to be a beer lover. The last ten years have seen a real resurgence of great beers being both embraced and brewed within the capital. After launching and running the successful London Cocktail Week and London Wine Week, we felt the great British pub and the phenomenal beers that Londoners love shouldn’t be overlooked. London Beer Week is a celebration of all things beer, not just the breweries who operate within the M25, although many of them are very happily involved. It’s about enjoying the unrivalled hospitality scene we all enjoy, the plethora of beers we have available now and the great city this all takes place in.”

Dagenham chip shop wins title of UK’s best: A chip shop in east London has been named the best in the UK. The Golden Fish in Dagenham was given the accolade by the Potato Council after beating off competition from 900 rival restaurants. The 40-seat restaurant, which serves about 5,000 people a week, has previously been voted the best fish and chip shop in South East England. Restaurant manager Jason Aiken said: “Being crowned the best chippy in Great Britain is a real honour, and we would like to say a huge thank you to our dedicated team of workers and of course, to our loyal customers who voted for us to win.”

Northern Ireland decides against banning zero hours contracts: Zero-hours contracts will not be banned in Northern Ireland, after a review of their use by the employment minister, Stephen Farry. However, in legislation to be tabled by June, Farry proposes to outlaw contracts that contain exclusivity clauses. Based on UK-wide research, Farry previously suggested that 28,000 people may be on zero-hours contracts in Northern Ireland. Farry said that "an outright ban would have a disproportionate impact upon flexibility within the economy" and "remove some employment opportunities".

Crowdcube hires specialist to expand mini-bond offer: The crowdfunding website Crowdcube has hired Dean Mayer as head of debt, while Stuart Nicol has joined as growth director. Mayer will develop Crowdcube’s new debt business, including its mini-bond offering, which has been used by Chilango and River Cottage Canteen. Nicol will lead the growth of Crowdcube through initiatives which include attracting more institutional and public funds to invest in businesses alongside the crowd. He moves from being a non-executive to an executive director on the board. Mayer has more than 22 years' experience in global debt capital markets, and to date has helped raise more than £100m of alternative finance for UK businesses. As co-founder of Fidelitas, a leading mini-bond and debt advisory boutique, he launched some of the most successful mini-bonds in the UK market, including those that successfully raised finance for Good Energy, Ecotricity and Mr & Mrs Smith.
 
Chanticleer expands into better burger segment: Chanticleer Holdings, the restaurant brand owner that operates Hooters in Nottingham under franchise, has placed a bet on further growth in the better burger category by buying the US-based BGR: The Burger Joint. The company is a better burger concept with a menu that focuses on a proprietary blend of prime, dry-aged burgers grilled over an open flame. Its buns are baked fresh by local bakers and it uses fresh vegetables prepared in store. BGR currently has nine corporate owned locations, 11 franchises, including one international location in Kuwait, and more than 80 franchise locations under development agreement almost equally split between the US and international markets. Mike Pruitt, chief executive of Chanticleer Holdings, said: “Fast casual, with a particular focus on the better burger category, has grown from a very small percentage of our sales to well over 20% of revenue over the past year. This acquisition allows us an immediate presence in the franchising of the better burger category.”

Company News:

Craft beer and curry house hybrid launched by celebrity chef: A hybrid craft beer, curry and communal dining concept, VDeep, is to be launched in Edinburgh today. VDeep, a partnership between the celebrity chef, comedian and TV presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli and the team behind the award-winning Vintage Leith, is looking to bring together craft beer and curry in a Scottish first. Kohli was runner-up on Celebrity Master Chef in 2009 and consultant chef for a number of high profile eateries, but VDeep is his first bar and restaurant. VDeep will sell ten craft keg beers, three craft cask beers, more than 20 bottled craft beers and 21 contemporary Indian dishes. The product of a collaborative partnership between Kohli and head chef Ruairidh Skinner, the VDeep menu features original recipes such as "bangras & mash", cauliflower cheese curry and pork cheek vindaloo, inspired by Kohli's childhood, craft beer culture and classic British cuisine. Kohli said: “My whole life I’ve heard people saying, ‘I’m going out for a beer, then for a curry,’ but nobody has ever put them in the same room. I was always nervous at the prospect of trying to reinvent Indian food while remaining authentic. Then I began to question, ‘What is authentic?’ Food has developed and changed for centuries. VDeep is the next dynamic change in Indian food.” Kohli hopes the communal dining aspect will encourage visitors to engage in conversation and even share one another’s curry and beer choices. He said: “When you go to the pub, you always end up having a chat to the people next to you; that’s the pub experience. At the heart of Punjabi dining is a shared experience, too. We don’t have food served to us on individual plates, we have empty plates and bowls of food for sharing. Everyone just gets piled in. VDeep is very similar. It isn’t just about craft beer and curry, it’s about a real shared experience.”
 
Wetherspoon extends hotel bedrooms strategy with Hull application, wins consent in Teignmouth: JD Wetherspoon has extended its plan to convert unused space at existing sites into hotel bedrooms with a plan to turn vacant office space above its Admiral of the Humber in Anlaby Road, Hull into a hotel. The scheme would see the creation of 20 rooms, which will all be en-suite. The only external changes would be new wall cladding and the windows changed from single to double-glazing. The new hotel could create eight full-time and 12 part-time jobs. Hull Council's planning committee will consider the application next month. Meanwhile, Wetherspoon will investing £1.6m in Teignmouth, Devon (population: 14,749), to open a new site. The firm has secured planning permission to convert the former Tiggs clothing store in Station Road into a pub. Wetherspoon plans to call the new pub Jolie Brise, after a 102-year-old gaff-rigged pilot cutter.

Laine Pub Company engages 2013 MasterChef winner to operate Newington Green site:
Laine Pub Company, the London to Brighton operator led by Gavin George and Gary Pettet, has hired a MasterChef winner, Natalie Coleman, to run its Dissenting Academy pub in Newington Green, North London. The company said the appointment represented an "unprecedented culinary step forward for its popular East London site" and would "bring renewed personality and individuality to all aspects of the pub's offering". Laine's chief executive, Gavin George, said: "Natalie's track record in cooking speaks for itself so we know the menu is going to be first class. But I am also excited about the ideas she has for the pub. She is a very creative and single-minded thinker with an engaging personality, and is also a gifted DJ, all of which fit perfectly with a pub that celebrates game-changing individuals." The Hackney-born chef also plans to brew her own craft ale at Laine's brewery at Victoria Park in East London. The new menu from Natalie Coleman launches at the Dissenting Academy, Newington Green on Thursday 12 March

Bradford Beer and Brewpub opens: The new Bradford Brewery and Brewfactory pub has opened, producing the first beer brewed in the city centre for more than 50 years. The Lord Mayor of Bradford, Mike Gibbons, and the Lady Mayoress, Elizabeth Sharp, ceremonially pulled the first pint of The Origin, a 4.2% dry-hopped pale ale. Guests were also given a chance to sample the first Pieminister pies served in Bradford, under a partnership deal that has made The Brewfactory the county’s first Pieminister Pie pub. The development is one of the high-profile venues opening as part of the Bradford City Centre Growth Zone scheme, Bradford Council’s £35m initiative to attract businesses back into the city centre. The venue, off Westgate, Bradford, has created 11 new jobs. Bradford Brewery’s managing director, Matthew Halliday, said: "I’d had a dream of opening a brewery for some time, which just grew out of a casual conversation in a bar. Then the Bradford City Centre Growth Zone scheme gave us the vision to bring brewing back to the heart of the city.”
 
Former Bramwell site offered as a freehold invest with 11.3% yield: The freehold of a former Bramwell Pub Company site in Chepstow, Monmouthshire is being offered as an investment through the property agent Fleurets with a 11.3% yield. The George, let with more than 18 years unexpired without a break clause to UK Propco, which operates 18 former Bramwell pubs nationally, is for sale at an asking price of £1m. Graeme Bunn, director and head of professional services at Fleurets, said the extensive traditional coaching inn, with 11 letting rooms, was "very attractive to an investor purchaser”.
 
Iconic Brighton nightclub to be re-branded in £4m investment: An iconic Brighton seafront nightclub is due to reopen in May under a new name. Audio, one of Brighton’s best-known nightclubs, will relaunch as Patterns. The acquisition and refurbishment of the club by the London-based independent events company Mothership Group is costing in excess of £4m. Patterns will have a focus on house music, techno and progressive electronic music. The club will stay open seven days a week from lunchtime through to late at night. A new menu of cocktails, wine, draught, craft and bottled beers and an spirits selection will be available, with "street food" on offer. Heather Pistor, creative director of Mothership, said: “We're excited to have taken on such a well-respected Brighton music venue. The dream is to create a thriving social hub for drinking, dancing, hanging out with friends, but most of all a place for forward-thinking music. Local promoters and artists will sit side-by-side with national promoters and headline acts, producing what we believe to be an innovative programme of club nights to rival the top clubs across the country.” Patterns will open on 13 May.

Independent stock-picker invests in Patisserie Valerie: Derek Pain, who writes a highly regarded and closely followed column in the Independent which charts his investment portfolio, has invested in Patissere Valerie despite his fears that its share price is "toppy". He wrote: “After some heart-searching, I have descended on Patisserie Holdings, the cafe and casual dining chain. I first looked at the shares, then at 218p, late last year. But a subsequent advance left me feeling the price had got out of reach and I had once again failed to appreciate the coffee. Second thoughts have prevailed. Although the shares are around their peak and enjoy a rich, bordering on exotic rating, I have splashed out £5,000 from the kitty, buying shares at 285.75p. The group, mainly known for its Patisserie Valerie branches but, with four other brands, arrived on the stock market last May at 170p a pop. Obviously highly ambitious, it sees plenty of opportunities and plans more outlets and could make acquisitions in the still fragmented areas in which it operates. Although the portfolio is not enraptured by dividend payments, Patisserie has indicated it will launch a maiden payment with this year's figures and there is little doubt that joining the dividend list will help the share price.”

Revolution Bars Group hires Instinctif: Revolution Bars Group, which is planning a March flotation, has hired Instinctif, formerly College Hill, to handle its corporate and financial public relations. Revolution's chief executive, Mark McQuater, was previously chief executive for Barracuda, the former high street bar group that at one time used Instinctif for its PR under the agency’s previous guise as College Hill. Instinctif handles PR for a number of other clients in the eating and drinking-out sector, including Marston’s, the Restaurant Group, Ed’s Easy Diner and Eclectic Bar Group.

Multi-site operator Fayre Table extend partnership with fourth Thwaites pub:
The multi-site operator Fayre Table has extended its relationship with the Lancashire brewer and pub owner Daniel Thwaites with a plan re-open Thwaites’ Welcome Tavern in Preston as The Hunters after a £500,000 refurbishment. As part of the redevelopment project, the pub will be substantially extended and modernised throughout. The Hunters will be the fourth partnership site between the brewer and Fayre Table. Steven Greenhalf, managing director of Fayre Table, said: “As independent companies with strong Lancashire roots, there’s a natural synergy between Thwaites and ourselves, which has proven to be a recipe for success in the series of pubs we’ve launched together. The Hunters is one of our biggest investments to date and will be a flagship establishment in our growing portfolio. We’ve worked closely with the Thwaites team to come up with a scheme that promises to be truly spectacular.” The Hunters’ renovation will include the addition of a new state-of-the-art kitchen that will be more than triple the size of the previous facilities. To match the Hunters name, the pub’s interior will also see a major overhaul, with plaid carpets, mismatched wood and "quirky" hunting lodge- themed accessories. Andrew Buchanan, director of pub operations at Thwaites, said: “The level of investment by Thwaites signifies our commitment to the partnership with Fayre Table and our faith in the team to deliver a truly outstanding pub. Renovations works began in December 2014 and are expected to be completed for the official opening on Sunday 15 March 2015."
 
Former Wabi boss reschedules opening of new concept until 6 March: The former boss of the sushi restaurant concept Wabi, the chef Scott Hallsworth, has delayed the opening of his new concept until Friday 6 March. Joe’s Oriental Diner on the King’s Road in Chelsea, West London, is meant to evoke "the dive bar subculture of the Orient". Joe’s will seat up to 38 customers, with an open kitchen and central bar and a secret "den" upstairs that seats up to 26 more people.

Tiny Rebel seeks second site after success of Urban Tap House: Craft brewer Tiny Rebel is looking to open a second pub after the success of its Urban Tap House venue in Cardiff. The company, which has hit £1.2m of turnover in its third year of trading, is now producing more than 4,800 hectolitres of beer a year. The brewery, based on the Maesteg industrial estate, opened its Urban Tap House outlet in Cardiff city centre in 2013, which has created 34 jobs for the local economy. Co-founder Bradley Cummings told Wales Online: “We are also looking for the next appropriate venue to launch our second bar. Urban Tap House has been more successful than we ever thought and really shows the appetite there is in Wales for good beers, a good atmosphere and simple but good food. We will also be increasing our core range to include a new lager, Boho. Put on as a special at Urban Tap House it was received so well we have decided to keep it.” Tiny Rebel has won the Champion Beer of Wales title for two years in a row with its Fubar and Dirty Stop Out beers.

Starbucks gets go-ahead for Swansea drive-through, subject to paying £33,750 for a study: Starbucks has won a planning consent for a 57-seat drive-through in Swansea, on land south of Fabian Way, near McDonald's. As part of the planning consent, the company must pay £33,750 towards a Fabian Way corridor study by Swansea and Neath Port Talbot councils, which aims to make improvements to the busy gateway in and out of Swansea. Starbucks already has premises in Morfa Retail Park, Oxford Street and at the Village Urban Resort in Swansea. The coffee chain Costa recently opened one of its first drive-thru shops in Wales, on Heron Way in Swansea.
 
Stonegate continues investment programme with Litten Tree conversion: The Stonegate Pub Company has continued its investment programme, which has seen more than £2m spent on the estate since the start of the year, with £230,000 allocated to the conversion of one of the remaining Litten Tree sites, in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. The venue's new name, the Picture House, pays homage to the town’s first purpose-built cinema, which once stood on the site. The new-look pub on Lake Street will re-open on 25 February. The investment has created 12 new front and back-of-house jobs. The pub’s general manager, Donal Hartnett, said: “The pub sits on the site of Leighton Buzzard’s first cinema, and as such we wanted to give a nod to its history with its new name. We’ve collected some fantastic Hollywood memorabilia, which gives the pub a star-studded feel. As part of the refurbishment new booths are being installed and will be available for customers to reserve.” The conversion of the Leighton Buzzard Litten Tree means there are three Litten Tree sites left within the Stonegate estate. Litten Tree was originally an SFI Group brand.

New high-profile restaurant due for Brayford Pool in Lincoln: A high-profile restaurant is set to be built on Brayford pool. The two-storey eatery and bar opposite Chimichanga in Brayford Wharf North would sit a few yards from a 100-seater, 30-job Wagamama . The new plans are similar in style and size. Investors in Lincoln, the regeneration group which works with the Brayford Trust, spearheaded the arrival of Wagamama and is behind the latest venture. Planning permission is due to be decided in April before a restaurant operator comes forward to run the place. The scheme would replace the existing viewing platform, currently closed because it is unsafe. The plan is to offer a long lease to get funds to clear Brayford Pool.

Analyst Wyn Ellis issues ‘add’ note on Whitbread shares: Numis Securities' leisure analyst Wyn Ellis has issued an “add” note, with a target price of 5600p, on Whitbread shares ahead of a third quarter trading update on 25 February. He said: “Whitbread's Q3 trading update on 11 December was strong with total sales growth in Q3 of 13.2% and LFL sales growth of 6% (Premier Inn up 8.5%, Restaurants up 1.6% and Costa up 5.2%). Management tempered market expectations however, saying that it remained 'confident of delivering full year results in line with expectations, mindful that the fourth quarter last year was particularly strong, boosted by the absence of snow.' Nonetheless, we expect a positive full year pre-close statement, given a more buoyant consumer environment in the UK, continued strength in the UK hotel market and another mild winter. We believe that the risk to forecasts is on the upside. Last month Whitbread hosted an analysts’ visit to Hub by Premier Inn, which is an important part of Premier Inn’s future hotel growth strategy. Hub is expected to contribute 3,000 rooms to Premier Inn's planned total of 75,000 by 2018. Initial trading at the St Martin's Lane Hub has been encouraging and we believe that Whitbread may have hit upon another winning formula.”
 
Australian Vintage reports UK success for key brand: The wine company Australian Vintage has released its half-year results, reporting a net profit of A$4.4m. Chief executive Neil McGuigan said: "The continued growth of our three key brands is very encouraging. However, due to the higher cost of our 2014 vintage and some large bulk wine sales, the improved sales did not directly translate into improved margin dollars. Our branded business continues to grow, and what is really pleasing is the continued growth of all our three key brands." McGuigan Wines, one of the company's core brands, is the fifth largest wine brand in the UK. The company said: “UK/euro sales were up by 20% on the previous period due to the increased sales of McGuigan brand (up 28%) However, contribution from this segment declined by $0.9m, due mainly to the higher cost of the 2014 vintage and some larger non-recurring bulk wine sales. The exchange rates have been favourable, but unfortunately not all the benefits could be retained due to margin pressure.”
 
Punch launches world’s largest quiz and dart competitions for 2015: Punch Taverns has launched its annual pub quiz and darts competitions for 2015, both of which rank as the largest competitions of their kind in the world. With the Punch Darts Classic now in its 12th year and the Carling Great British Pub Quiz in its fifth, Punch is looking to make this spring and summer the most successful ever for the respective events. Last year’s darts competition saw more than 1,200 pubs take part in local heats, regional and national finals with the Blue Lion from Chelmsford, Essex emerging victorious at the national final at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool. This year Punch will lay on a weekend festival of darts once again at the Winter Gardens venue. The singles and team competitions will be the main event, and a new feature, the licensee challenge, will see the landlord or lady of the finalists' pubs going head to head on the Winter Gardens stage for a prize of £1,000 towards trade-building activity at their pub. The Carling Great British Pub Quiz will also see local heats and regional finals, with the national final being hosted by Mark Labbett, The Beast from the ITV quiz programme The Chase, playing quiz master at the Molineux Stadium in September.
 
SAB Miller's finance chief steps down: SABMiller’s chief financial officer, Jamie Wilson, has tendered his resignation for personal reasons. He steps down from the board with immediate effect and will leave the group on 31 March 2015, at the end of the current financial year. Domenic De Lorenzo, currently director of group strategy and a member of the group's executive committee, will become acting chief financial officer with immediate effect, reporting to the company's chief executive, Alan Clark. The group has begun a search to appoint a permanent replacement. Clark said: "I am saddened by Jamie's departure. He has been a huge support to me over many years, first in Europe and then over the past several years as CFO. His contributions to the development of our strategy, the delivery of our business capability programme, the building of our new business efficiency programme, and the strengthening of the finance functions will be a lasting legacy. He leaves the group in sound financial health, and we all wish him every success in the future." De Lorenzo assumed responsibility last year for group strategy alongside his previous responsibilities as director of corporate finance and development. He is a chartered accountant by training, and has been closely involved in the group's finance strategy since his appointment to the executive committee in 2011. He originally joined the group in South Africa in 1996.
 
Jonathan Neame named Kent’s most influential business figure: Jonathan Neame, the chief executive of the Faversham brewer and pub owner Shepherd Neame, has been named Kent’s most influential business person, in a new list published by Kent Business. Neame, whose brewery claims to be the oldest in the UK, was put on top of the pile in a list detailing the county’s top 40 commercial leaders. He is chairman of the Beer and Pub Association and will become chairman of the tourism agency Visit Kent before the end of the year.

Captive Media expands washroom advertising to 200 sites:
Captive Media’s digital washroom advertising system is to go nationwide, with the number of its screens installed at venues due to rise to 200 in the country’s 12 biggest cities. The company announced the expansion of its network after a round of new equity investment. Captive Media, launched in 2012, deploys patented interactive screens in men's washrooms directly above urinals, where they command an average 60 second dwell time, equivalent to two TV ad spots. Brands and venues can place promotions on the screens, which already deliver eight million video impressions a month, or commission a bespoke interactive game. Participating venue groups include Novus Leisure, Tokyo Industries, Burning Night Group, and All Our Bars, as well as a growing number of student unions and independent venues. Major brands to have used the system include Captain Morgan, Guinness, 20th Century Fox, Lynx, Beats, Drinkaware, MacMillan Cancer and Movember. Campaigns on the network have shown dramatic impacts, with awareness uplifts of 41% for Drinkaware and sales uplifts of up to 73%, for Lambs Navy Rum, driven by a combination of captive audience, engaging interactivity, and proximity to point of sale.

Joint Lidl-KFC development in Warrington set to be turned down: A proposal to build a Lidl and a KFC drive-through restaurant on the edge of Warrington town centre look set to be thrown out. A report prepared for Warrington Council has warned that the scheme could affect trade at the Lovely Lane Neighbourhood Centre and make the centre unviable. Lidl and KFC have submitted a joint planning application to develop a vacant 0.21-acre site to the south of the Sankey Way roundabout. The plan involves constructing a 20,774 sq ft food store, a 2,928 sq ft drive-through restaurant, 116 parking spaces and a new access point onto Old Liverpool Road. KFC proposes to create 53 full-time and part-time staff, while Lidl proposes to create 20 to 30 full-time and part-time staff. Warrington Council's development control committee is due to meet this Thursday, 19 February, when it will discuss the plan. An independent review by the planning consultancy MT Town Planning, which was employed by the council, has warned that the development would have a potentially significant adverse impact on the Lovely Lane Neighbourhood Centre, threatening its overall vitality and viability. The report said the development would also have "a detrimental impact on the safe movement of traffic and pedestrians and a detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the locality," and recommended refusal.


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