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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 12th Mar 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pub and restaurant LFLs up 1.6% in February for 23rd month of gains: Leading managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales rise 1.6% in February, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures, continuing an almost two-year trend of consistent post-recession growth. Total sales for the month among the 30 companies in the tracker sample were up 5.8% on February 2014, reflecting the sector’s investment in new openings, especially among restaurant brands outside of London. Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy which produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS, said: “February marked the 23rd consecutive month of positive like-for-like sales for the sector. It is showing steady but consistent growth, which illustrates the underlying strength of the market and the public’s desire to continue to go out to eat and drink. Casual dining brands are currently leading the sector, collectively recording a 3.4% like-for-like sales increase in February, including a 4.6% uplift for brands outside of the M25. Not only are groups opening new sites, but right across the market are now actively investing in refreshing their propositions and also being quicker to dispose of underperforming sites, so maintaining that positive sales momentum. Among managed pubs, London remains the brightest spot. In February, drink-led pubs and bars in the capital enjoyed a 2.7% like-for-like boost against the same period last year.” Trading in pubs outside the M25 was essentially flat. Trevor Watson, director at Davis Coffer Lyons, part of the Coffer Group, said: "As the Coffer Peach tracker matures, we get to see a clearer picture of how the sector is evolving over a longer time frame. Corporate pub and restaurant operators are growing their businesses faster outside the M25 with many more openings because site availability is better. However, as more and more companies announce ambitious expansion plans, we are seeing more intense competition for new sites throughout the country. Within the M25, trading conditions are marginally better than in outer parts of the country, although the rate of new openings is somewhat slower simply because of the lack of sites."

Industry News:

Host of companies sign up for Propel Social Media Masterclass: A host of leading sector companies have signed up for the Propel Social Media Masterclass being held in partnership with Digital Blonde’s Karen Fewell. They include: Spirit Pub Company, Cabana, Pub People Company, Charles Wells, Bill’s Restaurants, JD Wetherspoon, Admiral Taverns, Young & Co, Camerons, Ignite Group, Hall & Woodhouse, Loungers, Luminar, Burning Night Group, TCG Management Services, Chilled Pubs, Hickory’s Smokehouse, Good Life Diner, Anglian Country Inns, Yummy Pubs, Trust Inns, PubLove, Oakman Inns and Restaurants and Bulldog Hotel Group. 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 to book.

Sustainable Restaurant Association to launch training to change industry behaviour: The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) is to launch a training programme to try to increase knowledge and change behaviour across the hospitality industry. The Continuing Professional Development- accredited SRA Sustainability Training is designed to help improve sustainability practice across the food service sector as its workforce of two million becomes better informed about these crucial issues. The SRA's president, Raymond Blanc, said: “If knowledge is power and sustainability is about securing our future, then the SRA’s sustainability training is a potent and essential tool for any hospitality business.” The programme, which is suitable for all staff, front and back of house, whatever their knowledge level, is designed to help restaurants, cafés, hotels, cookery schools, and universities source more ethically and responsibly, become more socially responsible and reduce their impact on the environment. The SRA has been developing the programme with a number of businesses from across the sector, from university caterers to large restaurant groups. Rob Rees, founder of Star Bistro in Cheltenham, recent winner of the People’s Favourite award after a national public vote, said by giving staff the knowledge, the SRA was empowering hospitality businesses. Rees said: “Everyone has a role and everyone can make a difference by thinking about and implementing changes on what we buy, how we buy it, prepare it, use it and dispose of it. Of course, we are talking about sustainability in its broadest sense in the hospitality industry. To make this happen, all our staff need the information to make those better choices for our environment. This training brings alive the ‘what is’ and the ‘how can I’ of sustainability. I haven’t seen anything as good and inclusive for all levels of staff in our industry before. Well done the SRA, and thank you.” The SRA is hosting a special event to launch the programme on 9 April at Brigade, the social enterprise restaurant at London Bridge in Central London.

SIBA – two beer duty cuts has boosted independent production by 25%: Two consecutive cuts in beer duty in the last two Budgets and the end of the Beer Duty Escalator have helped fuel sales growth, boosted employment and encouraged investment in the independent brewing sector as confidence rises. According to an analysis of independent brewer members of SIBA in British Beer 2015, which will be published on 19 March by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), production by SIBA members grew by an estimated 15.8% in 2014 to 2.99 million hectolitres or 526 million pints. Added to the 9.4% increase in 2013, this broadly translates into a 25% uplift in sales since the Beer Duty Escalator was abolished in March 2013. From 2011-2012, before the duty cuts, production grew by only 5.7%. British Beer is based on survey responses from 270 SIBA brewers and was written by Dr Ignazio Cabras, a leading economist with an interest in beer, based at Newcastle Business School at the University of Northumbria. This is the first time that the survey has been carried out independently using new survey methodology. It is estimated that 1,600 jobs were created at SIBA member independent breweries during 2013 and 2014. The sector creates much-needed local employment, often in rural and deprived areas with around two-thirds of employees living within five miles of their brewery. The huge majority of independent brewers plan to recruit over the next 12 months, with 83% of them planning to create one or more jobs, and 38% planning two or more new jobs which could result in around 840 new jobs. They are also committed to training, with 77% planning to invest in this area.

BBPA – alcohol consumption per head fell again in 2014: New figures out today show that the amount Britons drink has fallen yet again, by 0.3% in 2014, for the eighth year in the past ten. But in a startling turn around, Britain’s beer drinkers have overturned a long-term trend, with beer increasing sales and recapturing market share, extending its lead as the nation’s favourite tipple. The figures, compiled every year by the British Beer and Pub Association based on HMRC alcohol tax returns, show that alcohol consumption per head is now 18.4% lower than it was in 2004, when the current, falling trend began. However beer’s share of the market rose in 2014, by 1%, to over 36%,  with second-placed wine slipping below 33%. Spirits' share of the market held steady, at 21%, with cider at 8%. Beer’s performance in 2014 is all the more remarkable, as bar one small upward blip in 2006, its market share has fallen in every year since 1995. Beer’s absolute increase in sales has also been very good news for the Chancellor, with beer bringing in £3.36bn in beer duties in 2014, up 1.8% compared with the previous year. The chief executive of the BBPA, Brigid Simmonds, said: “While the figures certainly bury the myth that overall UK alcohol consumption is inexorably rising, it is hugely encouraging to see such a solid performance from beer in 2014. There is no doubt that two cuts in beer duty have had a huge impact in supporting a British-based industry and in encouraging consumers back towards our favourite lower-strength drink. With new investment in the beer category protecting pubs and creating jobs, it all adds to an overwhelming case for a third, historic cut in beer duty in the Budget on 18 March.”
Restaurant immigration raids result in 12 arrests: A dozen workers have been arrested in an immigration raids on restaurants in Scotland. Police and Home Office immigration officers carried out the raids last week. The operation took place at eight different restaurants across Dumfries and Galloway, including Dalbeattie, Castle Douglas and Annan. Home Office officials said that eight people were detained and will be removed from the United Kingdom. The four others were released but must report to the Home Office on a regular basis. The workers were from a number of countries including China, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan.

Private school seeks to block restaurant chains arriving on doorstep:
A private school is looking to block the arrival of a group of restaurant brands yards from its school gates, because it is worried parents will no longer send their children to the school. Governors of the £7,000-a-year Haberdashers School in Monmouth, South Wales, have argued that the outlets would "dissuade potential parents". They said the proposed development of sites for McDonald's, Costa Coffee, Marston's pub restaurant and a Pets at Home store would be "inappropriate" and would lose the school money and teaching jobs. The governors said: "We are concerned that such a highly visible and inappropriate sited development in such close proximity to the school would be likely to have the detrimental effect of dissuading potential parents from sending their children to the school. Any reduction in pupil numbers could result in a reduction in the staff employed by the school."

Oakman Inns boss calls for VAT reduction: Oakman Inns and Restaurant's Peter Borg-Neal has called for a VAT cut for the sector in an interview in the Daily Telegraph. Borg-Neal featured in an article on the 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain. “M&S can produce a ready-meal in a factory, package it up, transport it to a hub, then to a store and then retail it and apparently there is no value added. I put an apple on a plate and that attracts 20% VAT,” Borg-Neal told Propel.

First instant at-the-table customer feedback system launched: The first at-the-table feedback rating system, Howya, capturing customer sentiment in real time, has been launched. The system, which allows customers to give feedback at the same time as receiving their bill at a restaurant, processes all data in real time, giving management an instant snapshot of quality of service and food. Melanie Joseph, head of sales and marketing at Howya, told Bdaily: "We believe customers are more likely to feedback their experience anonymously if the bill folder is left with them while the waiter leaves them to check the bill. The survey should take two to five minutes and is on a very easy-to-use android tested on people with no Android experience. Unlike systems that don’t get full response, we have 100% participation, as the customer can simply click 'no thanks', but to date we have 92% participation. We also believe our product will prevent negative online reviews to third party companies such as TripAdvisor which cause many restaurants issues, as the customer can request a callback to resolve the issue if they felt uncomfortable bringing it up in the restaurant."

Top industry figures complain about allergen regulations: A group of around 50 senior restaurateurs and others have written to the Daily Telegraph to complain about the EU’s allergen regulation. In a letter to the newspaper, they wrote: "As chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers and caterers, we are concerned about the bureaucratic nightmare the recent EU allergen regulations have imposed on our businesses. It is not just the cost. The regulations will reduce the spontaneity, creativity and innovation that restaurants and others in the industry have enjoyed up to now. We need real change in the EU, as the last thing that small, independent businesses such as restaurants and cafes need is to be hampered with further regulations and an even longer rulebook. What will the EU commission cook up next?"
Horizons boss forecasts foodservice market to be worth £56.3bn by 2019: Horizons’ managing director, Peter Backman, has forecast value growth of more than £10bn for the UK’s foodservice sector by the end of 2019. Backman said that in 2014 the value of the foodservice sector saw a nominal growth (including inflation) of 3.8%, with real growth at 2.9%, giving it a current value of £46.6bn. “We expect the market to continue to grow over the next five years, and factoring in the impact of inflation, it is likely to reach a new value of £56.3bn by 2019,” he said. “More robust levels of consumer consumption have been prompted by the fact people are now less exposed to high levels of borrowing, are more certain of their jobs, and are buoyed by low inflation. This is great news for the eating out sector – and while it’s not racing ahead, it is growing at a higher level than we have seen since before the economic downturn. Overall, things are looking good for the UK’s foodservice market, with group operators driving much of that growth, in particular pizza delivery outlets, managed branded pubs, pub restaurants and coffee shops.” Margins are improving, Backman said, giving operators money to invest, evident in a number of businesses changing hands, rebranding or expanding. The use of discounting and money-off vouchers has levelled off, with operators using them much more tactically to support particular events or occasions, such as Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, he said. Horizons’ director of marketing and business development, Emma Read, said that average spend on a three-course meal has risen in the past year to £14.48. Another ongoing trend is that 35 to 44-year-olds are eating out more than ever. “We are now also catering for a slightly older average customer, whose needs and habits have changed and vary depending on the occasion, the location and the time of day,” she said.

Company News:

Pizza Hut to debut car-based ordering system: Pizza Hut has partnered with the global payments company Visa and the technology consulting firm Accenture to develop a “connected car” concept for mobile purchases from vehicles. Pizza Hut and its partners demonstrated the connected car at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. They now expect to conduct a three-month test of the new system in Northern California this spring. The "connected" car features Visa Checkout, the company’s online payment service, as well as beacon technology at Pizza Hut restaurants, which can alert staff members when customers’ cars arrive at the location. Baron Concors, Pizza Hut’s chief digital officer, said: “We’re committed to offering speed and convenience to our customers when ordering online, and this new connected car technology is the latest way for us to do that.”
Le Pain Quotidien reports profit drop as sales climb: The 24-strong bakery café chain Le Pain Quotidien has reported pre-tax profit in the year to 28 December 2014 dropped to £313,000 from £803,000 the year before. Turnover climbed 10.6%, beating a rise of 3.96% in 2013, to £33,965,000 after established stores improved their sales performance, the company said. It opened one site and closed another. Gross profit margin increased to 19.28% from 17.46% the year before. The profit drop is linked to a sharp increase in administrative expenses, which rose to £6,013,000 from £4,367,000 in the year prior. A dividend of £41,000 was paid to its Belgian parent company, down from a dividend of £563,000 paid the year before.

Restaurant Group opens first airport Coast To Coast: The Restaurant Group has opened its first airport Coast to Coast restaurant within Stansted Airport’s £80m terminal redevelopment. The brand occupies one of the largest airside restaurant food and beverage spaces in a high footfall location within the departure lounge and can accommodate 162 covers. Nick Ayerst, managing director of TRG Concessions, said: “The Restaurant Group continues to grow this fantastic brand and TRG Concessions are pleased to open its first airport site within the Stansted redevelopment. This brand naturally lends itself to an airport location with a comfy yet sleek environment and American menu that’s filled with quality, freshly cooked breakfasts and main menu dishes.” Coast to Coast is the seventh site the Restaurant Group operates at Stansted  and the 14th Coast to Coast,
PizzaExpress raises more than £350,000 for Children’s Food Trust: More than £350,000 has been raised for the Children’s Food Trust as part of PizzaExpress’s Getting Kids Cooking initiative. As learning to cook is once again compulsory for all children at school in England, the money has been helping children across the country learn how to make a meal from scratch, with the aim of teaching them better habits for adulthood. Linda Cregan, chief executive of the Children’s Food Trust, said: “By supporting our cooking clubs and continuing to run their free school visits, PizzaExpress is helping a whole generation of children gain new skills and have fun at the same time. This funding’s been about inspiring schools all over the country with new ideas to try with their cooking clubs, getting budding young chefs cooking fresh, tasty recipes and, most importantly, showing them what a great time they can have cooking from scratch.” A national Cookathon competition saw children up and down the country making a pizza on the same day, joined by expert PizzaExpress pizzaiolos, who showed them how it was done. Parveen Johal at PizzaExpress said: “We’ve been getting kids cooking since the late 1990s when a teacher called up and asked if she could bring her class to one of our restaurants to learn how to cook. Since then hundreds of thousands of primary school children have enjoyed a school visit to PizzaExpress. By teaming up with the Children’s Food Trust we’ve been able to do more than ever before to get kids cooking.”
Whitbread secures another Hub by Premier Inn site: Whitbread secured licensing approval for another of its new Hub by Premier Inn developments last week after a hearing with local residential objectors. A total of 189 bedrooms are proposed for a site under development at Brick Lane in East London. Whitbread was represented by solicitors John Gaunt.

Ask Italian opens flagship Manchester site, one of five new 2015 sites to open by summer: Ask Italian has opened the doors to its flagship Manchester restaurant, the first in the city for the group, and its second new opening of the year, after the opening of Ask Italian Swindon in January. A third new restaurant, in Maidstone, is due to open in early April. The new Manchester restaurant, in Piccadilly Gardens, has 192 covers, making it one of Ask Italian’s largest sites. A site in the new Regent Circus entertainment complex in Swindon marked the first new opening of the year for the estate, and the Maidstone opening will bring the total number of restaurants to 111. Ask Italian plans to open five new restaurants in total by this summer, with more in the pipeline, as part of the group's expansion plans. Ask Italian’s managing director, Jason Thomas, said: “We’re constantly searching for great sites, and we’re thrilled to have opened two new restaurants so far this year, with more to follow in the coming months. We’re looking forward to bringing the Ask Italian recipe of authentic dishes, warm service and fresh design to more of the UK.”

Former Living Room head of marketing set to open Pecking Order: Former Living Room head of marketing Dhilon Solanki is set to open rotisserie chicken brand Pecking Order in north west London. It opens during Easter Weekend, at 12 Buckingham Parade – it will offer the first 50 customers a free quarter chicken or 6oz burger. All Pecking Order chicken is corn-fed, supplied by Suffolk Farms, and is Red Tractor approved. The restaurant will also serve a range of tasty burgers with prime British Beef sourced direct from Hereford Farm. Solanki has partnered Vishav Roma, who specialises in property development and construction for the opening. It plans to “bring the vibrancy of central London’s casual dining scene to the suburbs”. Solanki added: “The premise behind Pecking Order is simple – great food and drinks, available on your doorstep, with the standards and ambiance you’d expect in a central London venue. Food is a huge passion of mine, and I’ve always dreamed of opening my own restaurant and I can’t wait to share the experience with customers!”

Giggling Squid signs with Polaris: Giggling Squid, the Thai restaurant operator, has turned to Polaris and its back-of-house data solution as the business enjoys rapid growth and looks to increase its financial efficiencies. Polaris Data provides operators with an intelligent back-of-house solution for capturing and analysing key business data across multiple sites. Tailored to each level of the business, it has the ability to track cash from the till to the bank, completely eliminating the risk of lost revenue. Roman Proskurnya, commercial manager at Giggling Squid, said: “We have been using Polaris Data for just over six months across our estate of ten sites and we have already noticed a significant difference in our financial efficiencies. To give you an example, on one occasion we had an incident where we lost as much as £20,000, however, now with Polaris Data, we are able to track our sales from the tills to the bank in real time, completely eliminating the possibility of such a loss again.”

Red’s turns research trip into loyalty driver: Red’s True Barbecue is turning its annual US research trip into a multimedia event, rewarding customers with exclusive online content and menu specials. The brand, owned by James Douglas and Scott Munro, will take a ten-strong team, including FHM magazine, to film and document the 12-day, 4,000-mile trip through Brooklyn, St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Dallas and Austin. Each day from this Friday, 13 March, content will be updated on a dedicated "Pilgrimage" page on the chain's website, including blogs, interviews, food stunts, Instagram videos and tweets, and an interactive map. While in the United States, the team will encourage customers to sign up to its loyalty programme for a chance to vote on which dishes should make the final cut. On the team's return the restaurant will host a month of road trip-inspired dishes across its four sites and invite registered customers to order from the secret Pilgrimage menu. Douglas said: “This is now our fourth year of the US pilgrimage. This relentless commitment to research remains one of our most valuable competitive advantages; no one else goes to such lengths to ensure authenticity. Every November we completely overhaul our ‘Good Book’ with new dishes, drinks and techniques discovered from the trip. Last year we hosted a menu preview week and had over a thousand people a day scramble for tickets online. This campaign is our chance to capture that huge interest in the food and involve our customers right from the start of our research, all the way through to what’s on their plate.” The Pilgrimage can be followed at
Pug Pubs set to open third site: Pug Pubs, the community pub company led by Nigel Pinegar, who oversaw the modernisation of Ember Inns at Mitchells and Butlers, and Matthew Crowther, who has held operations roles at M&B and Paramount, will open its third pub, the Pug & Greyhound, formerly the Old Greyhound in Great Glen, Leicestershire, on Friday 20 March. It plans to run an estate of ten pubs within three years. The company opened its first site The Fat Pug, a Punch Taverns pub, in Leamington Spa in March 2012 and increased takings at the 50-seat venue from £3,000-a-week to £20,000-a-week. Their second pub, The Royal Pug, another Punch Taverns also in Leamington Spa, opened last Easter. Pinegar said: "The Pug Pubs ethos is the creation of a “neighbourhood pub and kitchen. It is important to keep up with what people want and pubs that continue to resist change will find it increasingly difficult to survive. We want our pubs to offer something different and unique but still retain the charm and personality of a local neighbourhood pub. The Royal Pug has a vintage style pop-up barber’s shop in the corner, a potting shed conservatory and a piano by the bar.”
Greene King selling tankovna beer at first craft bar: Greene King is selling “tankovna” bar after the opening of its first craft beer bar, in Cambridge. The Grain Store, formerly the Avery, is selling fresh unpasteurised pints of Pilsner Urquell delivered direct from Pilsen. The two-floor venue next to Parker’s Piece is described by Greene King as “a modern take on the traditional tavern” and offers ten craft beers and six cask ales from local, national and international breweries. Jonathan Webster, managing director of Greene King’s Local pubs, said: “This is a huge change to the Grain Store but one I am sure the people of Cambridge will thoroughly endorse.” The “complete interior makeover” includes wall art and graffiti.

Amber Taverns buys landmark Dudley site: Amber Taverns has bought the landmark Saracen's Head in Stone Street, Dudley and will invest £600,000 in the site. The company is now seeking planning permission and listed building consent to demolish a side conservatory and create a new terraced area. The company's joint managing director, James Baer, said he hoped to re-open the doors by the end of June. "We are investing a significant sum on this prominent building and have had good talks with the planners. We hope things will go smoothly. The pub has not had much investment for a number of years, but it is a great building," Baer said. The pub will be equipped with several big screens for showing sport and will serve cask ale with beers from local breweries. Amber is looking to recruit up to 20 full and part-time staff for the pub, which will not serve food. Yesterday, Propel reported the company is looking to add 14 sites this year to its 104-strong estate.
Two Cornish sites in receivership sold for above asking price: Two Cornish site in receivership, previously owned by businessman Simon Hancock, have sold for above their asking prices. The Smugglers Den in Trebellan, on the north coast, and Bustopher Jones Bar & Bistro in Truro have both been sold, through the property agent Charles Darrow, for above their respective freehold asking prices of £495,000 and £695,000. The agent was acting on behalf of the LPA Receiver, Ian Walker, of Begbies Traynor in Exeter. Bustophers, on Lemon Street in the heart of Truro, was acquired by Wild Animal Ltd, part of a London-based bar and restaurant group. The Smugglers Den, in the hamlet of Trebellan, a short walk from Cubert, four miles from Newquay, was acquired by an experienced husband and wife team. Charles Darrow director Jon Clyne said: “Both the Smugglers Den and Bustopher Jones Bar & Bistro represented exceptional opportunities to acquire two outstanding freehold properties, which historically have traded well and produced robust levels of turnover, and which are both still presented in good order throughout.”
Hall & Woodhouse opens community chest wider with £50,000 to donate: The Dorset brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has opened its community chest wider this year with £50,000 available to be divided amongst community groups across the brewery's trading area. Since it started in 2002, £361,000 has been awarded to groups in Dorset, and last year £20,300 was divided between 27 award winners. Mark Woodhouse, chairman of the Blandford-based brewer, said that in addition to providing a pool of funds, the community chest enabled organisations to access further funding. "It's a local community initiative which helps local people," he said. Applications can be made from voluntary and community organisations, sports clubs, village halls, arts groups and pre-schools. The closing date is 8 May, the judging will take place during the summer, and the results will be announced at the end of August. "The Community Chest has brought us closer to the community. It made us feel good by doing good," Woodhouse said.

Star Pubs and Bars launches compliance package with CPL Online: Star Pubs & Bars is launching a unique compliance e-learning package through CPL Online to provide lessees with a low-cost way of meeting their obligations to train staff in due diligence and legal issues. The special £100 package for Star lessees enables them to train up to ten staff in five essential areas: food safety, age verification, fire safety, health & safety and allergens or drug awareness. The on-line courses are designed to be used unsupervised and feature interactive animations, games and voiceovers to make the training engaging and accessible. The £100 annual licence provides an easy and affordable solution for lessees, particularly those with smaller businesses and fewer staff, giving them peace of mind in the knowledge that they can provide proof of compliance to the authorities should the need arise, the company said. Star Pubs & Bars trading director Chris Jowsey said: “We know from speaking to our lessees that keeping up to date with training staff in compliance is an increasing challenge for them. With serious ramifications from unlimited fines to loss of their licence for infringements, it is an area of real concern which this new training should help address.”
Titanic Brewery joins Independent Family Brewers: Titanic Brewery has joined The Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB), whose members currently operate around 4,100 pubs in the UK. Titanic Brewery was founded in 1985, and is based in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, where it is run by brothers Keith and Dave Bott. The company runs ten pubs across Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Cheshire. Keith Bott, who is the former chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), and received a lifetime achievement award from the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group last year, commented: “I’m incredibly pleased that Titanic Brewery has joined the IFBB, as the support it provides its members is highly important, particularly at a time when the future of the British pub and brewing industry remains vulnerable through high taxation and government intervention. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.” James Staughton, chairman of the IFBB, said: “As such renowned, prestigious members of the brewing industry, we welcome Keith and Dave and the additional expertise they will bring to our association. We will certainly value their input on the many industry issues and topics we are involved in.”
Wahaca secures flagship City of London site: Wahaca has acquired a new site, covering 4,200 sq ft, at 1-3 Widegate Street and 112- 114 Middlesex Street in the City of London through the property agent Shelley Sandzer. The new restaurant, due to open in the summer, is close toy to Bishopsgate and Liverpool Street station and was created by combining a former Thai restaurant and an existing office building. The premises, adjacent to Honest Burger, also acquired by Shelley Sandzer, are set across two floors, with 2,000 sq ft on the ground floor and a 1,800 sq ft basement, with space to manage more than 100 covers. The restaurant will have a dual frontage across Widegate Street and Middlesex Street. Casey Philips, acquisitions agent ,at Shelley Sandzer said: “Opportunities in the City, specifically around Liverpool Street and Spitalfields, are extremely rare. This deal, which involved combining two premises, subject to planning, demonstrates just how difficult it has become to find a good-sized A3 opportunity in a prime City of London location. It is perhaps also testimony to the strength of the sector that a landlord is prepared to go to such lengths and we are pleased to have delivered this for our client.”

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