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Fri 27th Feb 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

CGA Peach – consumers paid 165m visits to pubs and bars over Xmas: Consumers paid a total of 165 million visits to pubs, bars and clubs over Christmas – 15 million more than in the previous festive season. That is one of the headline findings of new research on Christmas footfall trends from 5,000 consumers, along with sales data from more than 5,000 managed outlets around the UK from the CGA Peach Trading Index. It found that 37.8 million consumers visited the on-trade in the four weeks to 3 January – equating to an average of more than four visits each. Venues sold an average of 569 more drinks over Christmas than in an average month – and over the four weeks, total food and drink sales were up 2% on last year. A host of further insights from the research include: festive footfall reached a peak on New Year’s Eve, when 11.3 million visits were made to the on-trade – half of them to pubs; Christmas Eve and ‘Black Friday’ were also bumper days, with 9.6 million visits paid on each – and the latter marked the on-trade’s best day for drinks sales; Christmas Day, on which more and more consumers are choosing to eat out, was the day attracting the largest total of food and drink sales; food is now just as important to pubs as drink, which accounted for 51% of total sales over Christmas – down from 52% last year; consumers like to experiment when eating and drinking out at Christmas, with 2.2 million trying a new product or drink. CGA Strategy client services director Rachel Perryman said: “This research shows that visits to pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs are an integral part of the UK’s Christmas – but it also reveals ways in which the on-trade can get an even bigger share of the festive spend. Operators who get their offer spot on and are prepared to experiment with products and promotions will be best placed to take advantage when Christmas comes around again.”

Industry News:

Propel celebrates third birthday: Propel Info celebrates its third birthday today. Circulation has grown by 1,212% since the newswire was launched on 27 February 2012. Managing director Paul Charity said: “We’re very pleased that the sector seems to be enjoying our daily newswire, magazine and events. We’d like to thank our readers for their interest as well as our commercial supporters. The demand for our various commercial opportunities continues to increase – and many of them are sold-out for the whole of 2015 already. We have exciting plans to develop our offer going forward.” 

Propel launches Social Media Masterclass: Propel has launched a Social Media Masterclass in partnership with Digital Blonde’s Karen Fewell. The Social Media Masterclass provides a comprehensive overview of how to make the best use of social media (CLICK HERE to see the programme). Tickets are £295 for ALMR members and £345 for non-members. Email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com to book.

Hospitality job initiatives comes to Nottingham: Nottingham hospitality businesses will come together on Thursday 12 March 2015 at the East Midlands Conference Centre to pledge job opportunities, apprenticeships and work placements for young job seekers, at the BHA’s Big Hospitality Conversation, presented in partnership with Experience Nottinghamshire. Nottinghamshire’s visitor economy is estimated at around £1.5 billion annually, while it is the UK’s 13th most popular destination for international visitors, and satisfaction surveys say both the city and county rank higher than nearby Birmingham and Manchester. John Forrest, chairman of the Big Hospitality Conversation and chief operating officer at Premier Inn, said: “Hospitality is a vibrant, growing industry with a lot to offer. There is a huge pool of talent in the 16-24 age group and we are committed to helping raise awareness amongst young people that are unemployed, not in education or training, offering significant opportunities for them to join and develop their careers within the hospitality industry. We will train young people, provide them with qualifications and long term prospects within a sustainable and thriving industry.”

Domino’s to increase London marketing spend and site numbers: Domino’s Pizza is going to boost the amount it spends on marketing London in response to growing competition from takeaways website Just Eat and others. Chief executive David Wild said he was looking for more sites in the capital, hiring an acquisition surveyor and estate agent focused on locating more London branches. Wild told the London Evening Standard: “We’re also making a significant increase in TV advertising and outdoor advertising in London as we think we’ve lost a bit of the share of the voice to our competitors. Just Eat spend a lot of money in London, and so do the other main pizza chains – so we’re stepping it up.”

London Beer Week set to return next year: The director of the inaugural London Beer Week has revealed that the festival will return next year, after “fantastic” feedback from both drinkers and beer brands. Siobhan Payne, who is also the director of London Cocktail Week at the agency ABV Global, told the website Event that initial feedback has shown the event to be a success. “We haven’t finalised figures yet but we’re approximating visitor numbers of 10,000, which is higher than last year’s debut London Wine Week,” she said. The event involved more than 100 venues, and included the four-day Craft Beer Rising event at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, pop-up bars, live music, street food and a series of behind-the-scenes brewery tours. Payne said: “The feedback we’ve had so far has been fantastic, from guests as well as brands. The sponsors’ objectives were to get their products into as many people’s hands as possible and that definitely happened.”

ALMR – Government can capitalise on common-sense licensing fees approach: Responding to the news that the government has postponed any decision to introduce locally-set licensing fees, the Association of License Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has welcomed the decision and urged the government to work to encourage licensed hospitality. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “It is important that retailers be afforded the stability they require to invest in their businesses and the retention of a national structure will give them some measure of consistency to do so. The introduction of locally-set fees would have led to a significantly increased financial burden for pubs, bars and restaurants, not to mention additional red tape and administrative costs to businesses already battling against tightening margins. Retaining the national structure shows that the government has listened to businesses and opted for a common-sense approach. What we would like to see now is further action by the government, looking at the business rates and alcohol duty burdens faced by licensed hospitality businesses, to create a fairer, more flexible marketplace for pubs, bars and restaurants to continue contributing to their local economies.”

Licensing update: Licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners produce a useful monthly summary of topical issues. To view the latest edition CLICK HERE.


Company News:

Karen Jones’s Food and Fuel increases Ebitda up 5.1%: Food and Fuel, the London gastro-operator run by former Spirit chief executive Karen Jones, increased its Editda by 5.1% for the year to 1 June 2014 compared to the previous 12 months, to £689,000. The company, which operated 13 outlets during the period, two more than a year earlier, saw turnover rise by 5.1% to £11.44m. However, profit before tax dropped 19.6% to £189,000 after a rise in depreciation charges and interest payable. The company spent £1.2m on acquiring new assets during the year, up from £331,000 the year before. The number of employees dropped slightly, from 254 the year before to 250, and the wage bill fell from £3.71m to £3.68m. 

Draft House opens seventh site as homage to Hammersmith Palais: Draft House, led by Charlie McVeigh and backed by Luke Johnson, has opened its seventh site as a shrine to Hammersmith Palais. The Laurie Arms, at the bottom of Shepherds Bush Road, Hammersmith, was for many years a popular spot with gig-goers heading next door to see everyone from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols. McVeigh said a “little bit of me died” when he heard the Palais was being torn down in 2012, five years after closing, to make way for luxury student flats. He added: “The interior and playlist will be a celebration of the Hammersmith Palais. Many of us have happy, sweaty, pogo-ing memories of the Palais and a little bit of me died when I heard it was being torn down. Original gig posters and photos from the interior will serve as a permanent memorial to the place.”

Kieran Rabbitt steps down at JW Lees: Kieran Rabbitt has stepped down as JW Lees director of managed house operations – he has decided to leave JW Lees to pursue a career outside of the company. William Lees-Jones said: “Kieran has worked for JW Lees for two years and has made a great impact on our business, focusing on the guest experience and implementing a wide range of initiatives that have grown our business in like-for-like sales and profit terms. Kieran has attracted a high calibre of people to JW Lees who enjoy our values and form the bedrock of our future success. We wish Kieran well and thank him for his hard work, contribution and enthusiasm.”

Comptoir Libanais close to Spinningfields deal: Comptoir Libanais, the canteen and deli concept headed by Tony Kitous, is close to signing a deal for a site in Spinningfields, Manchester, according to the chief executive of developer Allied London and Spinningfields, Mike Ingall. He told the Manchester Confidential website: “We can confirm we’re holding detailed talks with Comptoir Libanais and are very excited about what they can bring to Manchester.” If a deal is agreed, Comptoir will occupy the former Brooks Brothers unit next door to Thaikhun on The Avenue. The chain’s owner, Levant Restaurants Group, runs 11 Comptoirs in the south east, eight in London, and one each in Kent, Surrey and Hertfordshire. It also runs the Levant, Kenza and Pasha restaurants in London. The arrival of Comptoir Libanais in Manchester would be the latest in a wave of big name openings in the city. Hawksmoor has just opened on Deansgate, while Iberica, Wahaca and Burger & Lobster will all open in Manchester this year, and Meat Liquor, Hakkasan, Busaba Eathai, Shake Shack and Hooters are all said to be looking at possible sites in the city.

Boston Tea Party eyes Plymouth site: Award-winning Boston Tea Party (BTP) is eyeing a new opening in Plymouth’s Sutton Harbour. The brand plans to move into the historic Jamaica House on Vauxhall Street, which also borders Exchange Street, and open in the Grade II listed building in June 2015, subject to securing listed planning consent. The site would create 25 jobs for Plymouth. The BTP venue would accommodate 150 guests inside the detached three-storey stone building with seating for a further 30 people created outside, overlooking the historic harbour towards the Barbican. Sam Roberts, managing director of BTP, said: “We’ve been operating across the South West for a number of years and Plymouth has been in our thoughts for a while.” BTP has signed an agreement with the building’s owners, Sutton Harbour Holdings, for a lease, subject to the chain successfully achieving the necessary planning consents for Jamaica House.

Neville and Giggs to open second Café Football next week: Ex-footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs will open their second Café Football within their £24m Hotel Football in Manchester on 2 March. The Cafe is accessed through its own entrance next to the hotel reception, and from Monday will be open from breakfast through to lunch and dinner, from 7am to 11pm each day. The first Café Football opened at Westfield Stratford in 2013.

JD Wetherspoon plans second pub in Stirling: Plans for a £1.9m pub and hotel in King Street, Stirling, central Scotland (population: 41,000) have been unveiled by JD Wetherspoon. It will be the company’s second outlet in the town, after it opened the Crossed Peels in a former tax office last July. The four-storey site, a category B Listed building about 100 yards from the Crossed Peels, that it is now planning to convert was formerly occupied by an outdoor clothing shop, a restaurant and a third retail unit, which have been empty since February 2012. Wetherspoon plans to have a pub on the ground floor with toilets and staff rooms on the first floor and hotel accommodation on the second and third floors. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We have planning permission but still need to obtain a licence.” He said the company had still to decide whether the new venue, should it get the final go ahead, would be a Wetherspoon’s or one of the company’s Lloyds operation, which are geared towards a younger market. No timescale has been set for the start of development work or the venue’s opening.

Simon French issues ‘Sell’ note on Domino’s shares: Cenkos leisure analyst Simon French has issued a ‘Sell’ note on Domino’s shares, with a target price of 693p after yesterday’s full-year results. He said: “Domino’s has announced full year results in-line with market expectations reporting £54.8m profit before tax compared to consensus estimates of £54.5m. The group opened 40 UK stores and like-for-likes increased 11.3% and total sales 16.0%. This performance implies Q4 like-for-likes increased 9.8%. In Germany losses of £7.3m (in line with expectations) reflect like-for-likes declining 4.9% and the group closed four stores but opened three which are performing well. The group has decided not to renew its option to acquire the Master Franchise Agreement for Austria. The group has increased the final dividend 10.1% to bring FY dividend to 17.5p, a touch ahead of our forecast. Current trading is relatively robust with like-for-likes up 9.5%, 4.8%, 0.1% and 7.7% in UK, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland respectively (in local currency). The process for finding a new chief financial officer is well advanced. The stock trades on a 2015E adj EV/Ebitdar of 14.8x and a P/E of 22.7x whilst yielding 2.9%. Germany remains problematic and the UK is under pressure from an increasing number of new entrants (Burger King, McDonald’s, Ubereats) as well as the increasing shadow of Just Eat (not rated). None of this is accurately captured in the valuation and we await a new chief financial officer with interest. Sell.”

Bibendum launches nine wines on tap: Bibendum Wine has launched a range of keg wines. Available as of 1 April, the range will include nine wines, including a Frizzante, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Malbec. A spokesman said: “The keg wine format has been going from strength to strength. In 2014, the number of venues in the USA serving wine on tap grew 66%. With London hot spots such as Vinoteca, Pizza Pilgrims and Flesh and Buns taking up the keg wine mantle, it seems as though the UK is following the American lead.” Andrew Shaw, buying director for Bibendum Group said: “We’ve been considering launching a range of wines on tap for a number of months now. There’s a real buzz around keg wine and we are the only supplier currently offering such a wide selection of quality wines in this format. It was very important to us that we found the right wines and the right storage options before we went full steam ahead. Judging by the feedback we are getting from customers, we have succeeded in doing this.”

PS – The Pub Company eyes Blue’s Smokehouse expansion: PS – the Pub Company, led by Carlos Maidana, is looking for further Blue’s Smokehouse sites after the company opened its second in Twickenham today – Oxford and Staines are target towns. The Twickenham Tavern on London Road in Twickenham, has been converted to a Blue’s Smokehouse site after a £300,000 investment and brings its estate to a total of five sites. Its opening follows the success of the first Blue’s Smokehouse which launched in Bracknell in June 2014. Blue’s Smokehouse is completely focused on delivering an authentic American BBQ menu and experience and the investment includes two smoking ovens especially imported from the US each with a capacity of 120 kilos of meat. The site has been refurbished to recreate the relaxed feel of the American South and features an open servery where customers can see the meat being carved, talk to the chef, specify how they want their food cooked and select the pieces of meat they want. An Italian / American ice cream bar provides desserts such as sundaes as well as milk shakes and smoothies. Maidana said: “It has been brilliant to develop our second site with Star Pubs & Bars who have a clear understanding of the Blue’s Smokehouse vision and are totally supportive. While an increasing number of restaurants are offering smoked food as a part of their menu, there are still relatively few where the whole focus is on BBQ. This specialisiation has proved an enormous draw in Bracknell which is in the process of extensive development. Yet even though this hasn’t been completed we have exceeded our targets. We are therefore very exited about our new Twickenham site which is in the heart of a busy conurbation and will have a high passing footfall from day one.”

Papa John’s sees international sales surge: US-based pizza chain Papa John’s has seen international surge despite weakness in China. The company’s international like-for-like sales rose 8.9% in the fourth quarter ending 28 December, and increased 15% on a two-year basis. In North America, the company reported a 6.7% rise in like-for-like sales for 2014, its best performance in 15 years. Like-for-like sales in North America rose 4.% in the fourth quarter, as the operator said its marketing and technology efforts lured customers. More than half of Papa John’s sales are received via its website or mobile app. Company founder and chief executive John Schnatter said: “2014 was an excellent year for Papa John’s. These are clear indications that consumers continue to prefer better quality Papa John’s pizza.” China “remains a work in progress,” said Steve Ritchie, Papa John’s chief operating officer. Executives have spent time in China, assessing the market, and the company is testing efforts to improve sales there. “We believe this will become a strong market for us,” he said. Revenue in the fourth quarter rose 9.7%, to $425.5m. Net income rose 12.8%, to $21.2m. For the year, revenue rose 11.1%, to $1.6bn, while net income rose 6.4% to $72.9m. Papa John’s added 235 new restaurants in 2014, 181 of which were in international markets. The company now has 4,663 restaurants worldwide, including 3,340 in North America.

Durham Pubs eyes Easter as opening date for new Newcastle Quayside eatery brand: Durham Pubs, which owns the Red Lion Hotel in Chester-le-Street, County Durham, has announced that it is looking at an Easter opening for its new Shilling Butchers Deli Bar and Eatery on Sandhill at Newcastle upon Tyne’s Quayside. The company is refurbishing the former Rumpolis Italian Kitchen restaurant, once owned by the north east of England comic Bobby Pattinson, to transform it into what it calls “a new style of eatery” which can then be rolled out to other locations. Durham Pubs director Mark Fox has hired Simon McIlwraith, of Collective Design, who has worked on other leisure openings in Newcastle including Hop and Cleaver and the Coop Chicken House, for firms including Ladhar Leisure and Tokyo industries. Fox said: “This is something we have wanted to do for several years but have waited until the time is right. Barry Ladhar introduced me to Simon at Collective Design and together we’re working on introducing a butchers’ style concept. My family were butchers so that’s why we want to do a deli-style operation, based around fresh food. We’ve just got the keys to the building and I’m in the middle of changing the menu, so we’ll hopefully be open around Easter. If it is successful we’d also like to open different venues – I’m hoping to market Shilling as a brand.” The basement will have a butcher’s deli and private dining room, while the ground floor will house a restaurant and bar, with authentic details including butcher block tables. More seating is also planned for the first floor. McIlwraith said: “This is a new restaurant but we’re working on a concept where people will walk in and think it’s been there since year dot, with traditional butcher block table and chairs, tiled walls and hooks.”

Crosstown Doughnuts sees sales leap 150% thanks to real-time promotions using live PoS: Crosstown Doughnuts, the artisan doughnut concept backed by Adam Wills, co-founder of Gourmet Burger Kitchen, is celebrating a 150% increase in sales at its Piccadilly Circus pop-up in Central London, after an advertising first, serving promotions in real-time, using live point of sale (PoS) information. The out-of-home media owner, Exterion Media, Transport for London and Shopwave, the iPad PoS specialist, worked together to help Crosstown Doughnuts achieve the increase during a two-week advertising trial. At quieter times, staff at the Piccadilly pop-up shop were able to use Shopwave’s PoS software to push a coffee-and-doughnut deal to Exterion-managed digital screens in and around Piccadilly Circus tube station. Shopwave installed its epos system inside Crosstown Doughnuts’ retail unit. The system enabled the retailer to control the epos system directly from the store at Piccadilly Circus, putting it in control of the delivery of advertising messages. In two weeks, the trial increased sales of the promotion itself by 150% and overall transactions at the store by nearly 10%. Graeme Craig, director of commercial development at Transport for London, said: “This partnership is a great example of what we are doing to utilise our assets to deliver the services our customers want. We are delighted that this trial has been such a success and look forward to working with more retailers across our network and using this kind of targeted advertising for the benefit of our customers.” JP Then, co-founder of Crosstown Doughnuts, said: “Being able to use one system that delivers a simple way to drive footfall to stores through digital screens is a ground-breaking concept for retailers. This is a truly innovative idea and we’re delighted with the results of the trial.”

BrewDog launches gluten-free beer: BrewDog, Scotland’s largest independent brewer, has launched its first gluten free beer. Vagabond Gluten Free Pale Ale was voted the favourite from a selection of small batch beer as part of BrewDog’s 2014 Prototype Challenge, beating three beers containing gluten. The annual initiative sees the brewery launch four new beers, giving its ‘community’ of followers the chance to vote on which should join the range permanently. James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, said: “BrewDog exists to make everyone as passionate about beer as we are – so we are always pushing the limits of brewing to expand the horizons of craft beer. Gluten free products have become synonymous with underwhelming flavour and experience, so we wanted to prove that a gluten free beer didn’t need to lack the bold taste and texture of a craft beer. With Vagabond, there is finally a gluten free craft beer that tastes like it should. We are showing zero tolerance to gluten intolerance and any intolerance of that is something we will simply not tolerate.”

Krispy Kreme gives away one million doughnuts: Krispy Kreme estimated it gave out around one million doughnuts worldwide, in a one-day-only promotion this week to celebrate the opening of its 1,000th store. The doughnut company opened the 1,000th store in Kansas City in the United States, and celebrated the landmark by giving away Original Glazed doughnuts in stores all over the world. Judith Denby, the company’s chief marketing officer in the UK, said: “We are extremely proud of this milestone.” The doughnuts were given away from Krispy Kreme stores in 24 countries worldwide, including the UK.

Inception Group set to open 1940s-themed Cahoots next month: Inception Group, led by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, will open their 1940’s-themed bar Cahoots on Thursday 5 March. The site, in the Kingly Court redevelopment off Carnaby Street in London, was formerly the company’s Disco club, but will become a post-World War Two ‘Tube station’ complete with carriages, bunk beds and sandbags leftover from the Blitz. It will serve Dig for Victory-style cocktails with ingredients including beetroot, potato and peas, as well as ration book staples powdered milk and treacle. Stirling told the London Evening Standard: “The venue has a long history of being a nightclub. The former owner said it was used as an air raid shelter in the war and told us a German pilot shot down over London was brought here for one last night on the town before being thrown in the slammer. Our concept is: it’s 1946, London is being rebuilt after the Blitz. A group of scoundrels stumble across a disused Tube station used as an air raid shelter and start organising underground parties to try and rebuild the spirit of London.”

Punch sells Cornish pub to village collective: Punch Taverns has sold a pub on The Lizard to villagers who are turning it into Cornwall’s first cooperative pub. Locals in the village of Manaccan and their friends have raised £423,000 in the past nine months by selling £500 shares to buy the New Inn and refurbish it. Tim Luddington, a retired accountant who started the project, and who is one of five directors of the co-operative society that will run the New Inn, told the West Briton newspaper: “The pub needs a considerable amount of refurbishment as it has lacked investment for many years. The members of the society wish to implement this without changing the essence and charming character of the pub which is at the heart of village life.” When the pub closed last year, it also closed the village shop and post office, which were jointly owned. The co-operative has initially appointed a bar manager with five or six staff, Luddington said. When refurbishments are complete, he said, they intend to find a permanent landlord to take over the business. The pub has been closed for two weeks and is due to reopen its doors next Friday, 6 March.

Costa franchisee Jurassic Coast Coffee opens in Torquay’s Abbey Sands: The Costa Coffee franchisee Jurassic Coast Coffee, which operated five stores in towns across Devon and Dorset, at Sidmouth, Lyme Regis Honiton, Tiverton and Teignmouth, has now opened a sixth outlet, at the recently constructed Abbey Sands development on Torquay seafront. The new Costa Coffee joins branches of Las Iguanas and Le Bistrot Pierre. It was opened using a £420,000 loan facility from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, in addition to £120,000 of funding through the bank’s Assisted Asset Purchase Scheme, which also enabled Jurassic Coast Coffee to purchase its flagship branch in Sidmouth outright. Managing director James Witty said: “Speaking with Lloyds about the benefits of owning rather than renting our sites gave us the confidence to purchase our Sidmouth coffee shop while we also expanded our premises. Consolidating our head office has also allowed us to create a hub for central business functions while continuing to ensure the best possible brand standards of hospitality and service are carried out in each of our individual premises.”

Dunkin’ Donuts apologises for tweeting altered version of Liverpool FC crest: Dunkin’ Donuts has issued an apology for sending out a tweet showing an altered version of the Liverpool Football Club crest that replaced the Hillsborough eternal flames with coffee cups. The company, which is an official sponsor of the club, also altered the picture of the Shankly gates on the crest to contain the slogan, “America runs on Dunkin’”, and the Liverbird had been replaced with a “DD” logo. The tweet read: “Love the LFC crest? Tweet us what you’d want on your personal crest and we might surprise you with your own!” Many Liverpool fans reacted with anger and disbelief at the design and the company moved quickly to delete the tweet and apologise for any offence caused. It said in a statement: “We apologise for any insensitivity regarding our tweet supporting an LFC-themed promotion featuring the LFC crest. As a proud partner of LFC, we did not intend any offense, particularly to the club’s supporters. We have removed the tweet and halted the campaign immediately.” Liverpool signed a multi-million pound deal with Dunkin’ Donut’s in January 2014 to become the club’s “official coffee, tea and bakery provider”.

Pizza Hut to close Bath restaurant: Pizza Hut is closing its restaurant in Westgate Buildings, Bath. A statement from the company said: “We continually evaluate the location of our restaurants to ensure they are in the best possible areas to meet consumer demand. We can confirm our Bath restaurant will close on 14 March. We have a popular restaurant in Bristol Kingswood, which is about 15 minutes away, so will still have a strong presence in the area and we are confident our customers will continue to visit us. All our staff will be relocated to other restaurants in the local area, where possible.”

McDonald’s fights order to post four bouncers at Glasgow restaurant: McDonald’s is fighting against an order to have four bouncers stationed at one of its restaurants in Glasgow after more than 200 incidents of violence and disorder, including hate crimes, assaults, and breaches of the peace. Police Scotland submitted a call in March last year for McDonald’s Argyle Street branch to have its 4am Friday and Saturday licence removed. Police said the restaurant, in a notorious crime hot spot dubbed “the four corners”, had become a drain on their resources, and they have had to implement hourly patrols in the area because of the volume of complaints. Incidents include violent assaults and homophobic attacks. Glasgow Council’s licensing committee decided not to suspend the late licence but put in tough controls, including ordering the chain to employ four security stewards to be on the premises at all times during the period covered by the late hours licence. McDonald’s made a court appeal against the council’s decision, saying the demand for four bouncers was disproportionate and damaged its reputation. A sheriff ordered the council to reconsider the decision, and a meeting was due to take place yesterday (Thursday) to decide whether or not to keep the sanctions on the restaurant in place. A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “We have appealed against the request around four security personnel, on site, every evening. This was due to commercial and reputational concerns as it was disproportionate to the need. We are confident in the improvements we have made, whilst working alongside the police, who we meet extremely regularly with.”

Pub with link to Winnie the Pooh for sale: A pub with links to Winnie the Pooh has gone on sale with a guide price of £850,000 through the agent Fleurets. The Haywaggon, in the historic village of Hartfield, East Sussex, is close to Cotchford Farm, the former home of the author AA Milne, who wrote the Winnie the Pooh stories for his son Christopher Robin, and the Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest, which appears in the Winnie the Pooh books as the 100 Aker Wood, and which draws in tourism throughout the year.

Starbucks franchisee applies to open in Ormskirk town centre: Starbucks franchisee Cafe Fortune has submitted a planning application to West Lancashire Council to open a branch of the chain at 10 Moor Street in Orsmkirk town centre. The vacant commercial premises, in the pedestrianised area of the town centre, were last used as a charity shop, and in its planning statement, Cafe Fortune provided figures it said showed how a Starbucks can bring life to a street: “Starbucks can be a considerable draw to shoppers in their own right. A survey of customers visiting a store in Pinner revealed that 23% of the customers were visiting for shopping purposes, 14% visiting for leisure/tourism, 14.5% were in the district centre for work purposes and 27% were in the area primarily to visit Starbucks. The same survey revealed that 45% of interviewees indicated that they visited the district centre more often since the Starbucks opened.”

Costa Coffee drops plan to open new outlet in Faversham: Costa Coffee has abandoned an attempt to open a second outlet in Faversham, Kent after discussions with planning officials. The chain wanted to open at 12 Market Place, but a spokesman for Costa said: “Having got into the real detail of the plans and relevant policy with planning officers during discussions on the application, it became clear at that point that there would be limited flexibility to achieve a planning change of use. We have therefore withdrawn our application and wish the site’s owners well in identifying and securing an alternative occupier so that this unit can have a successful new lease of life.” Costa’s outlet in Faversham’s Tesco supermarket is unaffected.

‘Pico-brewery’ plans expansion with brewery tap at Coventry’s creative hub: A self-styled ‘pico-brewery’ currently producing just 250 bottles of beer a month from a garage at founder Chris Cooper’s home in Tile Hill, Coventry is planning a massive expansion with a move to FarGo Village, Coventry’s new £5 million Camden Lock-inspired creative hub. Twisted Barrel Ale plans to upgrade its brewing kit from just 60 litres to upgrade to a new six-barrel kit, 16 times as large, and brew twice a week rather than once a fortnight. Ritchie Bosworth of Twisted Barrel, which started trading last year, told Insider Media that it was Coventry’s founding of the creative community at FarGo that sparked his company’s expansion plans. “We were going to give it a year trading at a very small volume but with FarGo Village taking shape we realised it would meet our long-term goals to have our own brew tap and sell to the public,” he said. “We could never visualise a place in Coventry to establish the venue, but when we found out about FarGo Village, we thought, ‘This could work’.” Twisted Barrel has invested about £70,000 in the expansion and was awarded Regional Growth Fund cash from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership to part-fund the project. Twisted Barrel will also be installing its pilot kit to its new unit at FarGo Village, home to more than 30 other independent businesses in an attempt to encourage home brewers to get involved. Ian Harrabin, director of CDP/Mazing, the developer of FarGo Village, said: “This is a match made in heaven – Twisted Barrel will bring to FarGo one of the country’s oldest craft trades and open it up to a younger, wider audience. We are excited at the prospect of their regular beer tap events and craft beer and spirits festivals.”

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