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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 22nd Apr 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BrewDog eyes ‘craft beer focused hotel’ as it launches £25m fund-raising: BrewDog launched a £25m fund-raising yesterday, its fourth round, by issuing 526,316 new B Shares. The offer closes on 20 April 2016 and shares cost £47.50 each, and the minimum investment is two shares. The company plans to use the money, in descending order of priority, to build a bigger brewery (£3m), develop its canned beer range (£500,000), open new UK bars (£7m), invest in environmental technologies (£2m), develop its Abstrakt beer range (£1.5m), grow its international bar division (£2m), launch a craft distillery (£1m), build a sour beer facility (£1.5m), establish a UK import and distribution arm (£1m), launch Hop Shot, a new ice-distilled beer (£1m), open a craft beer focused hotel (£1.5m) and establish a USA-based brewing operation (£3m). The craft-beer focused hotel would be called The Kennel and would be located close to the brewery in Ellon to accommodate “craft beer comrades making the pilgrimage to visit our Ellon brewery”. Co-founder James Watt tells would-be shareholders: “We have a community of over 14,500 Equity Punk investors, and this is your chance to join them. In 2010, we tore up convention, turned the traditional business model on its head and launched Equity for Punks giving thousands of people a front row seat to the craft beer revolution. And now it’s back. Bigger and better than ever giving you the opportunity to own part of BrewDog and share in our future growth. What started as two humans and one dog has grown into a thriving small business that employs over 350 talented people, ships beers to over 50 countries, and has 28 craft beer bars around the world. With your help we can continue expanding BrewDog as we continue on our mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are.”

Industry News:

Cabana and Hush founder Jamie Barber to present at Propel summer conference: The founder of Cabana and Hush, Jamie Barber, is to present at the Propel conference at the Oxford Belfry on Thursday 2 July, which is followed by Propel’s summer party. Barber will talk about how his Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana was developed from scratch, its birth, evolution and future prospects. Operators can book up two free places by emailing

Research finds consumers spending on eating out as finances improve: UK consumers have started to loosen their purse strings and are enjoying dining out and spending on breaks abroad again, according to new research from customer insights specialist Aimia. The findings from Aimia’s Loyalty Lens follow reports from ONS that UK household finances are improving, with disposable income increasing by 1.9% last year. As many people start to feel better off, more people are choosing to socialise out of home. Fewer people are opting to entertain at home instead of going out: Only three in ten (31%) people are now staying in with friends and family rather than eating out, compared to nearly half (48%) of people in 2014 and 39% in 2012; fewer people are choosing to watch DVDs at home rather than going to the cinema, compared to last year (43% in 2015, down from 51% in 2014).

People 1st calls on the hospitality industry to come together to halt falling numbers of new chefs: One in four hospitality businesses with chef vacancies believe those vacancies to be hard to fill, a problem being exacerbated by a sharp decline in the number of students opting for full-time chef programmes, recent research by People 1st has discovered. More than half – 51% of colleges reported a fall in interest, it found. People 1st’s managing director, Simon Tarr, said: “Recent government changes to the curriculum have had a devastating effect on colleges offering the City & Guilds Diploma in Professional Cookery. The diploma was intended to ensure consistency in chef training and to provide students with the range of skills and knowledge they need to enter the industry and perform at the level employers require. However, colleges must now deliver English and maths GCSEs within the same number of hours, and this is simply not sustainable. Already we will have seen a quarter of colleges decide to stop offering this course over a three-year period, meaning that the industry is facing a huge problem in finding skilled chefs in the years to come.” To address this looming skills shortage, People 1st is working with the Tourism Council to make the case to the government to increase the hours in which colleges can deliver the diploma and prevent a highly valuable course form being discontinued. Tarr said: “Our research shows that, by 2022, the hospitality industry needs to recruit 11,000 chefs. People 1st sees addressing this future shortage of skilled chefs as a priority, and we are working in partnership with employers on a number of solutions. In the short term, we are linking businesses with chef vacancies to students graduating from our network of accredited colleges.” People 1st is also researching the future skills needs of chefs and is inviting chefs and employers to get involved at

SIBA hits 800 members, with 100 joining in 2014: The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) now has more than 800 UK breweries signed up to the trade organisation and has set itself a target of a further 20% growth over the next year. During 2014, 100 independent brewers joined SIBA. Managing director Mike Benner said: “With 800 members, SIBA represents more than half of the estimated 1,400 brewers in the UK. Over recent years, SIBA has become a more effective and high-profile organisation, thanks in large part to our successful lobbying for the three cuts in beer duty, which have benefited every brewer in the land. This, along with our BeerX event, celebrating British beer, has led to a wider appreciation of the benefits of belonging to SIBA and an upturn in recruitment. As part of our first strategic plan, unveiled last month, we are looking to grow our brewer membership by 20% over the next 12 months. To achieve this, we are reviewing and improving our services to existing members and developing initiatives to attract new ones.” Tony Jerome joined SIBA earlier this year in the new role of director of communications and membership and is currently looking at the entire SIBA membership offer, not just to full brewer members, but also the 250-plus supplier associates and handful of brewer associates, producing more than 200,000 hectolitres a year. He is also investigating new membership categories for the organisation so it can truly become the "voice of British brewing". Cathedral Heights Brewery, near Lincoln, became SIBA’s 800th full brewing member when it joined in March this year.
Ethical Consumer magazine criticises major coffee chains: Major brands including Costa, Caffe Nero and Starbucks have scored poorly in an assessment of their social and environmental impacts by Ethical Consumer magazine. As well as being penalised for its well-publicised tax avoidance, Starbucks was criticised for trade union violations, removing paid lunch breaks, political lobbying and a lack of commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Caffe Nero was found to have little evidence of environmental or ethical sourcing, while Costa’s policies were described as “weak” in the ratings scorecard produced by Ethical Consumer. Top of the ranking were the Soho Coffee Company, Esquires and AMT, with Soho the only coffee chain whose coffee, tea and hot chocolate were all Fairtrade. The lowest rating in the ethical scorecard went to Harris and Hoole, whose first store opened in 2006. It promotes itself on its website as an artisan coffee brand, but it is actually part owned by Tesco. It also provides no information on any ethical, environmental or supply chain policies, and its direct trade model of sourcing from farmers does not give the same kind of price support as Fairtrade, Ethical Consumer said.
Westminster Kingsway achieves hat-trick at Toque d’Or Awards: In an unprecedented first for the Nestlé Professional Toque d’Or, Westminster Kingsway College is taking home the highly-coveted Toque d’Or Trophy for a third time. The team of three front and back-of-house students took their prize for winning the 2015 competition at an awards dinner at the Dorchester Hotel in Central London, where Nestlé Professional managing director George Vezza described the finalist teams as "inspirational", and said that “if this is the future of our industry, then we are in good hands.” Westminster Kingsway College beat five other colleges, chosen from a record number of 120-plus team entries in 2015, to win the competition. Rebecca Heath, who was Westminster Kingsway’s front-of-house representative, said: “This experience will stay with us forever; everything we have learned, everything we got to try and the ways in which we developed throughout the competitions, both as a team and individuals – it’s unforgettable.” After a paper entry and six regional heats, the entrants competed in a series of finals challenges. The judges were tasked with assessing the teams not only on their practical and theoretical knowledge and skill, but also on their ability to think on their feet, back each other up as a team and improvise solutions when necessary. The judging panel picked the Westminster Kingsway team for its “overall professionalism, wonderful flexibility, highly developed skill-sets and clear passion for the industry”.

Company News:

Goldman Sachs argues for Costa spin-out from Whitbread: A Goldman Sachs note that argued the case for Whitbread to spin out its Costa Coffee business provided the company's shares with a small boost on Monday. Spinning off Costa Coffee would boost Whitbread’s sum-of-the-parts value by 34%, said Goldman Sachs, which saw the group as a potential bid target. Costa had “little synergy” with Whitbread’s Premier Inn chain, which would be “an attractive strategic target for global hotel players looking to expand their footprint”, Goldman said. US peer valuations suggest the two business could be valued at multiples of 29 times and 22 times 2015 earnings, respectively, justifying a £71-a-share price target, the broker said. Whitbread rose 0.7% to £52.75.
Leon accounts show annualised revenue per site of £1.42m: Accounts for the natural food company Leon show that annualised revenue per site jumped to £1.42m in the year to 28 December 2014, up by £210,000 per site on the year before as like-for-like sales increased by 23.4%. The company’s 15 owned sites produced turnover of £18.4m while six franchised sites, run by HMS Host, produced turnover of £6.5m. Leon earned £500,000 in franchise fees in the year. The company reported a £199,000 gain on the disposal of a leasehold property when it sold its Bluewater site after receiving an offer from another operator. John Vincent assumed the role of chief executive during the year while Henry Dimbleby was paid £30,000 in recognition of his ambassadorial role on behalf of the company. It has previously been reported that Leon hit Ebitda before pre-opening cost of £1.9m and a net profit of £764,000, a £1.6m increase versus 2013. Turnover including franchise fee was £18.9m, up £6.4m, and turnover at all Leon sites (including franchised) was £24.9m, up £9.1m on the year before.

Apartment Group reports strong growth, five openings planned: Apartment Group, the north east of England operator owned 100% by Duncan Fisher, has announced its results for the year ended July 2014. The award-winning 11-strong group, which includes bars, restaurants and a luxury hotel, reported net sales up 12% to £16m from £14.3m in 2013 and Ebitda up 21% to £3.5m from £2.9m. Finance director Mark Gubbins told Propel: "The group has shown significant and sustained growth after the addition of four new venues and, once these venues reach maturity, we would expect to see even greater returns in the current financial year. With another five openings planned for 2015 we are currently looking for an experienced and dynamic operations director to join the team.”
Domino’s admits mobile website 'embarrassment': Domino’s Pizza is investing heavily in a responsive mobile site after admitting “embarrassing” conversion rates that have prevented online sales from hitting their maximum, The Drum has reported. Conversions on the mobile site are currently not enough, according to the brand, which is building a responsive design strategy to make it more convenient for people to place orders no matter what device they are using. Simon Wallis, sales and marketing director for Domino’s UK and Ireland, said the company was “doubling down” on the mobile site after focusing primarily on the more profitable desktop version. The desktop site re-launched last year in what was Domino’s biggest marketing outlay, kicking off wider efforts to reduce the number of clicks it takes to order from any device. Wallis said the investments to its mobile site, alongside other updates, would allow it to pare back spend on paid search. He argued that this approach would make the company less reliant on paid search ads because more of its content would target the right person with the right message at the right time. “The conversion rates we’re seeing on our mobile website are nothing short of embarrassing,” Wallis said. “The thing about mobile is, we certainly underestimated how much development work it would really require and also how complex a job it was.”

Brain's reports Coffee No 1 like-for-likes up 9.2% as it opens its 50th store in Fareham: The Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain has reported like-for-like sales at its Coffee No 1 brand are up 9.2% as it opens its 50th coffee house in West Street, Fareham, Hampshire last week. The new site comes after recent openings in Aberystwyth, Bedminster, Cardigan, Gosport and Henleaze, Bristol. Operations manager Jo Hamilton-Welsman said: “We are delighted to have opened our 50th store; we’ve reached the milestone which was set when Brains first acquired the business in 2011. Serving the best coffee has always been a fundamental part of Coffee No 1 and to celebrate our 50th opening we chose Fareham to launch our guest coffee, Granja La Esperanza from Colombia.” Scott Waddington, chief executive of Brain's, said: “We have a very simple strategy driving the business, to focus on giving our customers what they want. This approach has been effective with year-to-date like-for-like sales of 9.2% and strong 32% year-on-year sales growth. Coffee No 1 has been a great success story for us and we continue to invest in the development of our stores and people. Our intention is to continue with the growth of this successful brand and our eyes are now set on 100 coffee houses. The combination of outstanding coffee, great service and a comfortable environment has seen Coffee No 1 win numerous awards, [including] securing the prestigious title ‘Best UK Coffee Chain’ five years in a row.”
Smashburger – we’re looking for sites all over the UK: Smashburger, which has grown to just under 300 restaurants in the United States since it started in 2007, with another 17 overseas, hopes to have its first two UK restaurants open before Christmas – and is looking all over the UK. Tim Lowther, managing director of Smashburger UK, a subsidiary of MSG Group, which has the franchise for Smashburger in the UK, told Propel: "We are looking nation-wide, we are close on a couple, and we hope to open our first couple before the end of this year. We're certainly in discussions in London, but it equally could be anywhere else in the UK as well, and we're in discussions on those too. What we won't do is slow down the brand development while we wait for a first location in Central London. We're looking for places between 2,000 and 3,000 sq ft – some of the sites we're looking at are bigger than that, some are slightly smaller. We have the ability to adapt wherever we are. Predominantly right now we're looking at high streets and shopping centres. But we'll look at what's there. We want to be locked and loaded with the first two by Christmas, and then look to develop a further four or five next year. Then we'll take a look, and review, but the aim is to get to 30 or 35 stores within the next few years, in a measured, balanced way. I think we've got something different and unique here, and it's a really exciting time." Smashburger founder Tom Ryan told Propel yesterday that the chain will be targeting the broader "social night out" dining scene, when it opens in the UK. He said: "The vast majority of our business when we come to the UK will not come from Five Guys or Shake Shack. We built the Smashburger concept not just to make a great burger, but to bring burgers back to people and occasions where they haven't been relevant for a long time: date-night, and girls' nights out, and boys' nights out, and two young couples coming out before a movie. There's a huge occasion-based perspective in the way we designed our restaurants, in the way we designed our system. The whole ambience and vibe is much more social and much more of occasion relevance."

Pret A Manger boss – 28% of our customers have been given something free: Two in every seven Pret A Manger customers have been given a free menu item in an informal rewards scheme, the chain's chief executive Clive Schlee, has revealed. Schlee has given staff the power to hand out free drinks or food to the customers they like best – or would like to take home. He told the London Evening Standard: “We looked at loyalty cards but we didn’t want to spend all that money building up some complicated Clubcard-style analysis. Instead the staff have to give away a certain number of hot drinks and food every week. They will decide, ‘I like the person on the bicycle’, or ‘I like the guy in that tie’, or ‘I fancy that girl or that boy’. It means 28% of people have had something free. It’s a nice, different way of doing it.” Of the company’s global ambitions, he said: “We’d like to be a successful British global company, one that is really successful in different continents, and that would be a very worthy goal. There’s only been five or six companies over the years that have managed that and most of them have been US companies. British ones have never really made it. We’re going to do it bit by bit and quite cautiously. Starbucks has been around for 70 years, so you can’t do this in one generation.” Yesterday Pret reported like-for-like sales rose 9.7% in the year to 1 January 2015, with sales up 16% to £594m. Ebitda rose 14% to £76m.

Daily Telegraph columnist – Wetherspoon runs the best pubs in the UK: Daily Telegraph columnist Michael Hogan has argued that JD Wetherspoon offers the best pubs in the UK. He wrote: “It’s not a fashionable view and snobs might sneer but I find Wetherspoons pubs – well-run, reliable, reassuring, half the price of rivals with airs and graces – a refreshing antidote to the hipsterfication of our high streets. Naysayers might moan that they’re identikit but they’re not: the buildings are idiosyncratic, the interior and atmosphere varies. Besides, what are 'trendy' pubs if not all the same? Distressed furniture, chalkboards, bare light bulbs. Run and populated by bearded nu-beer bores, shirtsleeves faux-casually rolled up to show off their sailor tattoos. Hoppy ale for the fellas, organic wine or jamjar cocktail for the lady. Over-priced burger in a brioche bun on a wooden board if you get peckish."
Vaulkhard Group plans to create 50 jobs with seven figure estate investment: The newly-formed North East of England leisure company Vaulkhard Group, whose portfolio covers more than a dozen venues in Newcastle upon Tyne and Morpeth, including Perdu, Fluid Bar, the Mushroom and Central Bean, is planning a seven-figure investment this year, creating about 50 jobs. Brothers Oliver and Harry Vaulkhard, who between them owned Fluid Group, Breeze Ventures and Blake's Retail, merged the businesses along with the commercial property company 42nd Street Realty at the start of this month. Oliver Vaulkard told Insider Media that over the next 12 months the company would be investing "well into seven figures". He said: "Primarily over that period the growth will come internally. The sizeable investment will involve taking on new staff and refurbishing a number of our bars. Fluid Bar will close in May for about ten weeks and reopen in August. It won't be a sports bar anymore. In July we'll close Perdu bar for about eight weeks and that will reopen with a new brand, new products, and new staff. At the back end of the year Blake's on Grey Street will close so we can double the size of it, grow the workforce and put ourselves in a position to increase turnover once it reopens."

Flynn’s cocktail bar site on Newcastle Quayside is offered: The former Flynn’s cocktail bar on Newcastle upon Tyne Quayside has been put up for sale. Knight Frank, acting jointly with Buckley Burnett, is bringing the property to the market as an opportunity for a prime river-frontage leisure, retail or office opportunity. The building covers 2,615 sq ft over five floors. Patrick Matheson, partner, agency at Knight Frank, said: “It is at the very heart of the renaissance of Newcastle Quayside. Live Theatre is looking for a high quality operator for this well-known address to complement the Live Works office development and its high quality operations that are already present in this stunning location.” The Grade II listed premises are offered to lease at £45,000 a year as a shell or alternatively Live Theatre would consider a joint venture approach.

Pub operator adds third site: Pub operator Jon Pennycott has added a third site to his portfolio, the Horse & Groom, a traditional country inn in the Wiltshire village of Charlton through the property agent Christie + Co, acting on behalf of RBS. The detached 16th century property has been sold for an undisclosed sum off a £795,000 guide price Pennycott also operates Tunnel House near Cirencester and the Crown at Giddeahall, Wiltshire. Nicholas Calfe, a director at Christie + Co’s Bristol office, said: “There is a dwindling supply of freehold pub assets in the market, so the instruction to sell a premium property such as the Horse & Groom generated both significant and competitive interest.”

Cellar Door Pubs set to open pub and smokehouse in St Albans: Cellar Door Pubs, owned by John and Alan Richardson, who operate the award-winning White Horse in Welwyn, Hertfordshire, is to open a new site, Craft & Cleaver, a pub, kitchen and smokehouse concept in Catherine Street, St Albans, specialising in barbecue dishes, in May. The opening, in the former Pineapple pub, later Bar 62, comes after a £350,000 investment. A job advert says: “Everything will be made fresh – grilled, brined, marinated and smoked on-premises in our imported American smoker.”

Niche Hospitality to bring Shoreditch to Newport with hipster offer: Niche Hospitality Group is partnering Newport businessman Lewis Lewis to open Mojo The Food Bar at Clarence House, in Newport, South Wales. The concept aims to bring “a taste of London’s on-trend Shoreditch to Newport”. Lewis said: “Mojo The Food Bar will bring something completely fresh, new and innovative to the city of Newport. It’s edgy and out there. It will bring a feel of London’s Shoreditch street food scene to Newport at a time when the city is really on the up with the development at Friars Walk and the myriad other schemes in and around the city. There can be no better time to demonstrate support for the rejuvenating city than now, which is why I’ve decided to open Mojo in the city.” Mojo will be "an eclectic mix of restaurant and bar", with a mixologist, sourced from London, solely employed to mix cocktails. The seven-day-a-week, 70-cover operation, which will serve food all day from breakfast onwards, will have DJs performing on Friday and Saturday evenings.

'Excessive use of brandy' caused Oxford hotel fire: A fire at the Randolph Hotel in Oxford was caused by chefs who poured too much Cognac into a saucepan. The hotel, which has been used as a set for the Inspector Morse and Lewis police TV shows, said beef stroganoff was being flambéed in the kitchen and the flames were sucked up into a vent. Hotel manager Michael Grange said early inquiries "pointed to perhaps too much cognac in a saucepan" being the cause of the fire which quickly spread to the first floor and the roof of the 150-year-old hotel. No one was injured but it's feared the repair bill may top the £1m mark. The company that owns the Randolph, McDonald's Hotels, said "about 95%" of the building escaped serious damage. "It was quite distressing but it could have been so much worse" said a spokesman for McDonald’s. He added that the company hopes to partially reopen the hotel, offering bed and breakfast, by the weekend.
Buffalo Wild Wings introduces speeded-up 40-minute service promise: Buffalo Wild Wings in the United States has unveiled a new “B-Dubs Fast Break Lunch” plan, which has a specific menu and service strategy to get hurried customers in and out of the restaurant in less than 40 minutes. The Fast Break Lunch will be available weekdays between 11am and 2pm in the US, and until 3pm in Canada. It also gives the company a single, chain-wide lunch programme for the first time. Company research found that customers typically have only 30 minutes to 40 minutes for lunch. Buffalo Wild Wings’ lunch includes a menu featuring “Pick 2”, which has three price points and lets customers choose from one of seven main courses, including a southwest prime rib sandwich or a chicken BLT, among others, along with a side dish such as soup, fries or salads. Diners can choose add-ons including a side of wings or coleslaw, as well as snack or small-portion sizes of boneless and traditional wings, along with fries. The options are designed to let customers “create their own value,” said Todd Kronebusch, the company's vice-president of food and beverage. “It gives them all the choice,” he said. “They pick the food, they pick the price point. They choose to add entrées. When the programme is executed well, it will provide the guest with an option of value, variety and speed of service.” Lunch customers will be identified at the door. Staff will ask customers as they enter whether they are in a hurry, and will mark their tables with a card saying “Fast Break Lunch”, which will indicate to servers that the customers are under time constraints. The server will then recommend the Fast Break Lunch menu.

Illegal shark fins confiscated from Chinese restaurant: A stock of illegally imported shark fins has been confiscated from an upmarket Chinese restaurant and destroyed by trading standards officers, after a report in The Independent. The Royal China Club in Baker Street in the West End of London came under investigation by Westminster City Council trading standards after the venue’s marketing manager, Jason Chan, admitted during an interview with The Independent in January that it was selling shark fin soup, alongside other exotic items not listed on the menu.. Chen said many of the ingredients were brought through airport customs in suitcases because “if they were sent over, they’d get confiscated”, leading to complaints to the local council by the marine conservation charity Bite-Back. Subsequent inquiries found the shark fins were being sent by post from Hong Kong, in contravention of UK import law.

Byron confirms Canterbury opening: The burger chain Byron, which is aiming to open ten sites this year after total turnover passed £50m last year, has confirmed an opening in Canterbury this summer. The announcement comes after Gourmet Burger Kitchen revealed last week that it will open in Canterbury in July. Byron has not disclosed when exactly the new restaurant will open but its founder, Tom Byng, said the chain chose to open its second restaurant in Kent, after Bluewater, in Canterbury because "Canterbury is a beautiful city steeped in history and with a lively food scene, all of which helps to make it an ideal location for us."
Stone Bake Pizza Company winning major pub and restaurant customers: Stone Bake Pizza Company is winning UK market share with a string of high-profile pub and restaurant customers, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The Stone Bake Oven Company, which manufactures its range of wood-fired ovens in Worcester, has doubled sales of its commercial ovens, which can cook a pizza in 60 seconds, and has now overtaken Jamie Oliver in the commercial market. Founder Tom Gozney told the Telegraph: We’ve won quite a lot of contracts from customers who used to have a Jamie Oliver oven. He was our main competitor, but we’ve overtaken him in the commercial market.” Stone Bake Pizza Company ovens have been installed in the Pig Hotel, in the New Forest, the River Cottage Canteen, Bristol and the Novelli Academy in Luton. The company recently secured a deal with the Marston’s pub group to install ovens across its portfolio. Gozney's business will turn over £3m this year and he plans to expand into Europe, and take on the American company Wood Stone, which supplies ovens to the restaurant chains Prezzo and Zizzi. Gozney, who has increased the headcount at his firm from four people 18 months ago to 15 today, said: "We’re bringing our ovens to market at a fraction of the cost of our rivals. We’ve got aggressive expansion plans.” The Gozney Professional Ovens range made by Stone Bake consumes less wood than other products on the market, which keeps running costs low, Gozney said. “Jamie Oliver’s ovens are also almost double the price, that’s where he came unstuck,” he said. Gozney's commercial ovens start at around £4,500 plus VAT.
Sky Sports offer helps drive Carling to number two in Scotland: An offer to publicans in Scotland that gives them up to 30% off their Sky Sports bill for stocking Carling lager has helped drive the brand to the number two spot in the country, according to the head of Molson Coors in Scotland. The brewer's partnership with the satellite broadcaster BSkyB means pubs in Scotland who stock two Molson Coors brands are entitled to 20% off their bill for showing live football on Sky Sports, with the discount rising to 30% for those listing three brands. Carling must be one of the beers stocked. Last year Carling, the UK's biggest selling lager, became Scotland's number two by volume after growing by 22% in 2014, climbing to take 8.7% of the total lager market in the country, which made it the only top five standard lager to grow in a market that declined by2%, data by the industry analyst CGA found. Hugo Mills, who was hired from Campari to head Molson Coors in Scotland a year ago, told the Herald newspaper: "That has proven to be a real game-changer for us in getting more and more customers to work with us. The Sky deal's being going for about two years – that's when the momentum has really started to come through."
Papa John’s franchisee doubles up six month after first site: Papa John’s franchisee Umar Malik has launched a second Papa John’s branch in Swansea just six months after opening his first outlet for the pizza chain. Malik, who initially intended upon opening five stores in two years, now believes that he will achieve his expansion plans within 12 months and has already employed 18 new staff to cater to demand. Papa John’s has more than 280 franchises in the UK. The brand plans to accelerate growth, with franchise opportunities available nationwide for a cost of between £177,000 and £225,000, excluding VAT and freehold, of which £70,000 must be liquid funds. The chain recently launched its new 2015 incentive scheme, which offers benefits such as discounted royalty fees, free equipment and marketing spend to potential franchisees based in the Midlands, Scotland, Wales and  the North East and North West of England. Malik said: “The incentive scheme currently run by Papa John’s to help franchisees set up has been a great help. We received deals on equipment and franchise fees, which frees up a little working capital to spend on other things like marketing.”
Steak restaurant to add pop-up burger offer: The award-winning Birmingham steak restaurant Anderson’s Bar and Grill is launching a new pop-up burger joint. The restaurant, based in St Paul's Square in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter, is planning to start “Hamburgers by Andersons”, running lunchtimes Monday to Friday alongside a new burger delivery service. It is also looking for a small outlet in Birmingham city centre to dedicate to the burger enterprise. Anderson's said its team has spent the last eight months experimenting with cures, dry rubs and seasonings, trying out different breeds and cuts of beef. While the beef, dry aged for 30 days, will be at the core of the menu, it is due to be joined by a chicken burger, a veggie burger and a fish option. Anderson’s burgers will get their debut at the Foodies Festival in Cannon Hill Park, Birmingham, which runs from 15 to 17 May, where customers will be able to sample two signature burgers, “The Big A” and “Lock Stock”. Hamburgers by Anderson’s is the third venture for the steak restaurant after its second venue, Anderson’s at The Bulls Head, in Wootton Wawen, Warwickshire was launched in 2013.

Mint Group lines up sixth opening, Latin/Japanese fusion, for Clapham: Mint Group is to open Mommi, a Japanese-Latin "raw bar and grill, on Clapham High Street in South West London in June. The company says Mommi "blends two diverse culinary cultures to offer a menu that focuses on naturally nutritious raw and Robata-grilled dishes". The 85-cover, 2,750 sq foot restaurant will be the sixth site from Mint Group, whose portfolio includes the multi-media live music venue Koko in Camden, North London, Mary Janes in the City, the ELK Bar in Fulham and Bison & Bird in Clapham. Executive chef Paul Sowden has devised what the company described as a "market-style" menu of small plates made for sharing, focused on both Japanese and Latin influences and techniques. A spokesman for the Mint Group said: “Drawing on the vibrancy of Miami, the upbeat rhythm of South America and the refinement of Japan, Mommi aims to bring a fresh and unique destination restaurant to the heart of Clapham. Having three venues already in South West London, we understand the local market and are excited to bring a bold, new restaurant and late night venue to the area.”
Three more 'major chains' lined up for Stanway development: Three more national restaurant groups have been signed up for the Stane Park Leisure Quarter development in Stanway, Colchester, the developer has announced. Churchmanor Estates has already lined up Bella Italia, Nando's and a pub-restaurant from the Hertford brewer McMullens for the first phase of the development in Stanway. It has now announced that it has three other restaurant groups lined up for the development, though their names will not be revealed until the planning application for phase two is submitted at the end of this month. Altogether the six restaurants will create 250 jobs. Stephen Clark, managing director of Churchmanor Estates, said: “We are delighted to announce we have attracted three further, major restaurant groups who will join McMullens, Bella Italia and Nando's to create a highly attractive leisure quarter which will include a pocket park and children’s recreation area. This is going to be a highly attractive and desirable destination where the Stanway community can relax, eat and socialise." The development will link to Wyvern Farm, where Persimmon Homes has been given planning permission to build 358 houses. The McMullens pub-restaurant will face onto the London Road roundabout opposite an existing Frankie & Benny’s.
Builder plans 60-seater restaurant at 'eyesore' pub closed for years: A South Wales pub closed since 2011 that suffered a fire three years ago has been acquired by a builder who plans to reopen it after a £250,00 revamp. The Railway Inn in Penclawdd, on the Gower Peninsula, has been given planning permission for alterations that will create a 60-seater restaurant, a 30-seater bar and five hotel rooms on the first floor. Ashley Dark, of Ash Dark Building Services, said: "I am doing it alongside my other building work, and hope to have it ready by Christmas." He said he believed it would improve the look of the area, and he already has a manager in mind to run the premises. The news was welcomed by local councillor Mark Thomas, who said the Railway, in its current state, was an "embarrassment" and was the biggest issue for residents when he was out canvassing. Another resident called the pub "a complete eyesore".
McDonald’s begins trial of all-day breakfast: McDonald’s has begun a trial of all-day breakfast, in San Diego, California. The standard end of breakfast is around 10.30am across the business at the moment. The all-day breakfast menu is limited to nine items and McCafe drinks. Customers can get egg McMuffin, sausage McMuffin with egg, sausage burrito, sausage McMuffin, hash brown and hotcakes, oatmeal and yoghurt all day. McGriddles, cakes and steak, egg and cheese bagels have been left off the menu. McDonald’s struggles to cook sausage and eggs at the same time as burgers and chicken. A McDonald’s employee told that McDonald’s cooks everything on the grill, rather than in the microwave, which means workers do not have enough space to cook all the breakfast. McDonald’s has already experimented with extending its breakfast menu. In 2012, it tested breakfast from midnight until 5am. This later became the McDonald’s after-midnight menu.

ONE Group Hospitality unveils Milan opening: The ONE Group Hospitality has announced that a second European STK location will open 11 May at the new ME Milan Il Duca hotel. The ME brand will also see its second “Radio” Rooftop Restaurant and Bar open at ME Milan, following a successful two years at ME London – both locations operated by The ONE Group. “We are thrilled to further expand into the European market with the opening of STK Milan, as well as continue to build upon our existing relationship with the ME by Meliá brand. We are confident STK will be the first of its kind and a welcome addition to Milan,” said Jonathan Segal, chief executive of The ONE Group.

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