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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 23rd Mar 2015 - Update: Wrap It Up! crowd-funding, New PE menu, City Pubco momentum, Belu
Wrap It Up! to launch crowd-funding push: Wrap it Up! is set to launch a crowd-funding drive on Crowdcube in the next two to three weeks, looking to raise £400,000 in exchange for 6.25% of the company. The company has 12 sites and current revenue of £3.2m, with 59% growth in 2014. Operating profit is 20% of turnover at site level and 9% in total. Anyone investing £20,000 will have its central kitchen named in their hour and a free wrap whenever the investor wants one. An investment of between £10,000 and £20,000 earns half-price wraps for two years. Friends of Wrap It Up! have been given first chance to invest. Wrap it Up plans to open a further 12 outlets in London this year. However, with the acquisition of a new commercial kitchen in Salford, Wrap It Up! could launch up to 100 new sites within ten years, creating 500 jobs, founder Tayub Mushtaq has argued. The brand makes hot wraps and salad boxes fresh to order in its stores, in front of the customer. Mushtaq appeared on the BBC investment programme Dragons’ Den in August last year but was turned down as it was felt the valuation of his business was too high. He asked for £500,000 in return for an 11% stake. The Dragons will rue the day they rejected his proposal, Mushtaq told the Daily Telegraph last month. “We have the potential to be the next Subway,” he said. “We are going to be a global business.” The company, which operates on a franchise model, has now leased its first site outside the capital in Manchester. Wrap It Up! could launch up to 100 new sites within ten years, creating 500 jobs, said Mushtaq.

PizzaExpress launches new menu with nod to 50th anniversary: PizzaExpress is launching a new menu tomorrow with a nod to the brand’s 50th anniversary. ‘Celebrating customer favourites’ from the last 50 years, PizzaExpress has given the American Hot, Margherita and La Reine a makeover to create the Romana65 range. The company is also offering more choice for those seeking lower calories as 525-calorie skinny pasta joins the menu as well as a 210-calorie lemon dessert. A new starter is Fresella “PizzaExpress” (£10.95) – a ball of premium buffalo mozzarella is placed in the centre of a ring of PizzaExpress pizza dough, which is then topped with fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The new Romana65 range of premium pizzas sees favourites from its menu given a makeover using buffalo mozzarella. The Margherita Bufala (£12.20) is a pizza topped with buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil and tomatoes. The new La Regina (£13.90) sees a smoky ham hock married with buffalo mozzarella and chestnut mushrooms on a béchamel base with garlic and fresh parsley, finished off with a drizzle of black truffle oil. The new American Hottest (£13.95) is PizzaExpress’ hottest pepperoni pizza to date, with both pepperoni and ‘nduja sausage, as well as chillies, finished with buffalo mozzarella. New to the low calorie Leggera range is the Leggera Pollo Arrabbiata (£10.95), the first-ever low calorie pasta in the range – it’s a spicy chicken dish and comes in at 525 calories. The new Risotto Prosciutto Piselli (£11.80) combines premium ham hock with a pea and mint pesto, creating a fresh, green, spring risotto. The Pollo Salad (£10.95) is back on the PizzaExpress menu by popular demand after customers inundated the company with requests to bring it back. The new primavera salad (£11.50) offers smoky ham hock, garden petit pois and basil pesto with egg. Eton Mess cheesecake (£5.95) has been added to the dessert menu along with PizzaExpress’ dolcetti, little taster desserts served with any coffee. Other new additions include a lemon possett crunch (£5.20) and a strawberry fool cheesecake (£5.20), updating it by sitting the light, airy fool atop a biscuit base to add extra crunch. Also added is primo gelato available in coconut passion and raspberry ripple flavours (£4.95 each). 

City Pub Company reports strong momentum in the first part of 2015: City Pub Company has provided more detail on its progress after Propel reported this morning that Ebitda rose 125% to £2.1m in the year to 29 December 2014. The company said its net asset value is estimated to increase significantly following a balance sheet revaluation against original EIS subscription price of £1. It reported that strong momentum has continued into 2015 with turnover for first 11 weeks increasing 37% compared to the same period in 2014. Two pubs are due to open in June 2015 following major refurbishments – a city centre site in Norwich, formerly Delaney’s and a Notting Hill site, formerly The Cock and Bottle. Chairman Clive Watson said: “2014 was a transformational year where we progressed from being a start up to becoming a niche independent pub retailer delivering robust growth. The new openings and acquisitions will maintain the positive momentum generated in 2014, and the Board is delighted with the achievement especially since the arrival of Rupert Clark and Alex Derrick in April 2013. We also welcome the coalition government’s ongoing support for the pub industry following the third consecutive beer duty reduction, and we look forward to the coming year with confidence.”

Belu Water hits £1m donation target five years early thanks to restaurant supporters: British social enterprise Belu Mineral Water is celebrating a landmark achievement, reaching £1 million in donations to WaterAid five years ahead of schedule. Belu donates all of its profits to the international development charity, which works to transform the lives of people living in the poorest regions of the world, by providing access to safe, clean water. Belu pledged to donate £1 million to WaterAid by 2020, transforming the lives of over 66,000 people, a target which has now been exceeded in half the allocated time. A lunch was held at Raymond Blanc’s Michelin starred restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons, to thank Belu’s customers in the catering industry, with representatives from restaurant groups D&D London, Gail’s Bakery and Drake & Morgan among the guest list.

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