Story of the Day:
Craft brewers to join together to launch United Craft Brewers: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has revealed that it is to join other craft brewers in launching a new trade body called United Craft Brewers. BrewDog described the new association as ‘a stake fixed in the ground for independent craft brewers to rally around, an association newly formed to respect, promote and educate the British drinking public about craft beer – a joint promotion of beer, irrespective of delivery method’. The company added: “The announcement of the United Craft Brewers has come after long discussion between Camden Town Brewery, Magic Rock Brewing, Beavertown Brewery, distributor James Clay and ourselves, BrewDog. Together, we are seeking other craft beer producers to join when it officially launches in July. Once our definitions and values have been finalised, we want all breweries that tick the boxes and share our beliefs to become involved. This needs to happen. There are other beer bodies, groups and communities out there, of course. And that’s cool. But we believe this is a once-in-a-generation chance to define the industry and shape it as we all move forwards, together. As Steve Hindy, of Brooklyn Brewery, has said,‘There’s more that unites us than divides us – association can achieve much more than all of us acting individually’. Meanwhile, Brewdog is to hold its annual AGM and music festival, which attracts thousands of shareholders, at its Ellon Brewery on Saturday 6 June. The company stated: “In terms of beer – aside from as many BrewDog beers as we can fit into the building, we’ll be welcoming the many and varied delights from a fantastic selection of specially-invited guest breweries. On the bars at #PunkAGM2015 are, from London, the incomparable Beavertown, the amazing Swedish brewery CAP and the unbelievable talents of California’s Ballast Point and the frankly legendary Mikkeller. Aside from the tasting sessions, the regular AGM favourites will be returning – a detailed lowdown from James and Martin, a fully-stocked BrewDog shop, a can bar and an ‘Ask Us’ area where you can stroll up and chat. We’ll be hosting pop-up food stalls this year with the fantastic Pieminister, and Longhorns BBQ serving amazing Texan smokehouse options.”
Two places left for Propel Operators and Investors Dinner:
There are now only two places left to attend the annual Propel Operators and Investors Dinner, which takes place on Wednesday 17 June at the Banking Hall, Cornhill, in the City of London, and is sponsored this year by Britvic and Carlsberg. Investors attending include Downing, Enterprise Inns, Hill Capital ICE Capital Partners, Maxcap Partners, NatWest, Santander, Metro Bank, Piper Private Equity, Kings Park Capital, Bowmark, Santander, Risk Capital Partners, Star Pubs & Bars, Barclays, True Capital, Business Growth Fund, Panmure Gordon, Hawthorn Leisure, Beringea and Greene King.
Operators who have booked include Giggling Squid, Anglian Country Inns, Ed's Easy Diner, Flat Iron Steak, Dalziel & Vine, Distinct Group, Bulldog Hotel Group, K10, Steamin’ Billy Brewery, Foundation Inns, Malvern Inns, TCG, The Victorian Chop House, Oak Taverns, Casual Dining Group, Ignite Group, Hache, Luminar, Faucet Inn, PubLove, Mamuska, Resolution Leisure, Crussh, Square Pie, Bill's, The Snug Bar, TLC Inns, Barburrito, Banwell House, Tortilla, Benito's Hat, British Street Food, Chozen Noodle, Big Easy, Oakman Inns and Restaurants, New Pub Company, Whiting & Hammond, Yummy Pub Company and Beds & Bars
. Tickets to attend cost £100 plus VAT. Propel's managing director, Paul Charity, said: “The dinner is a great opportunity to extend mutual networks in an informal setting. We launched the event last year and it was a great success, so we’re delighted to hold another dinner this year.” Operators and investors who would like a ticket should email Paul Charity on firstname.lastname@example.org
Luke Johnson – Conservative election win a victory for entrepreneurship: Sector investor Luke Johnson has welcomed the Conservative party victory in Thursday’s election. In his Sunday Times column, he wrote: “Ed Miliband constantly attacked business – using the phrase ‘predatory capitalism’ – threatening controls on pricing in the energy and rented property sectors, and promising to reverse the sensible Tory reforms to employment law. It was felt that he alienated wealth creators to stoke the politics of envy. He and his cohorts knew virtually no entrepreneurs and poured scorn on the remarkable generation of two million private sector jobs in the past five years. By contrast, the Conservatives embraced business and promoted entrepreneurship relentlessly.”
Forbes magazine – Pret A Manger’s freestyle rewards strategy may leave a data gap: Forbes magazine columnist Bryan Pearson has argued that Pret A Manger’s free-style approach to customer rewards, as revealed by boss Clive Schlee three weeks ago, may leave a data gap. He claimed that for Pret A Manger, the words “no charge” may mean it lacks knowledge on its customers. He argued: (Pret’s) strategy – an alternative to a formalised loyalty program – is to let employees give away free food and drinks at their discretion. (The company) has a point in that many loyalty programs are structured in a way that their value among members may be diminishing. However, while Pret A Manger’s freestyle approach may feel more loose and fun, it does not embody the characteristics that would likely build the emotional and behavioral loyalty that great global brands make their goal. One key factor is that employee-decided giveaways prevent Pret A Manger from gathering data insights and, crucially, do not ensure those who are actually loyal will be rewarded.”
Whole Foods Market to launch cheaper concept in 2016: Whole Foods Market, which operates nine sites in the UK but is yet to make a profit here, is to launch a cheaper, smaller concept in the US in 2016. Co-chief executive Walter Robb said: "Offering our industry-leading standards at value prices, this new format will feature a modern, streamlined design, innovative technology, and a curated selection. It will deliver a convenient, transparent, and values-oriented experience geared toward millennial shoppers, while appealing to anyone looking for high-quality fresh food at great prices." The company is building a team to focus exclusively on this new concept and is negotiating leases, with a target of opening the first stores in 2016. Robb added: "We believe the growth potential for this new and complimentary brand to be as great as it is for our highly successful Whole Foods Market brand."
Vini Italiani hits crowdfunding target: Vini Italiani, the award-winning Italian wine bar and wine merchant, has hit its crowdfunding target on Seedrs, raising £250,000 in return for 11.63% of its equity – a total of 77 investors pledged the money. The company’s pitch states: “The company has been operational since the end of 2011 when we opened our store in South Kensington. In 2013, we launched our website at the enviable internet address www.italianwines.com, launched our wholesale operation in London and added the wine bar to the store at the end of the year. We have also become a main supplier of Italian wines to Ocado, where we run our own-branded “shop in the shop”. The company has already achieved some important results: we have built a very loyal customer base and have already been recognised as the undisputed leading Italian wine merchant in the UK. In only two years we have gone from just over 20,000 bottles sold in year one to 100,000 and just shy of £1 million in revenue in 2014. Now that we have fine-tuned our format (wine + food + retail) we are ready to open more wine bars/stores in Central London.”
Ask Italian to open flagship Edinburgh site in early June: Ask Italian is to open its flagship Edinburgh site, the first in the city, in early June. In December, Ask agreed terms of a 4,000 square foot, 25-year lease on a two-level unit at 9-13 Shandwick Place in the city centre. The property was formerly two separate units occupied by Lothian Regional Transport and shoe retailer Clarks. Ask Italian’s managing director Jason Thomas said: “We’ve been looking to expand our presence in Scotland for some time now, and have found a great site in a beautiful city.” Callum Mortimer, associate director in CBRE’s retail team in Edinburgh, which represented the landlord, has previously stated: “In the last 18 months we have seen a notable surge in demand from restaurant operators keen to take space within Edinburgh city centre. However, there is a lack of availability, particularly for well-configured units of over 2,000 sq ft. Subsequently, when opportunities arise, there tends to be strong competition which results in increased rentals being offered alongside long term leases, significant fit-out spend on the property and relatively low incentives.”
JD Wetherspoon pursues rooftop beer garden strategy in Bexhill: JD Wetherspoon plans to pursue its current strategy to create rooftop beer gardens where possible at a proposed next opening in Bexhill, East Sussex (population: 41,171). The company is opening a mega-pub in Blackpool tomorrow, The Velvet Coast, with ground-floor beer garden and roof garden with bar within its 9,000 square foot of trading space. Now Wetherspoon wants to redevelop the old cinema in Bexhill’s Western Road to include a beer garden on top of a rear flat roof. The planning application, lodged with Rother District Council, outlines work which will include reworking ground floor properties, levelling them and turning three retail units back into one, with existing shop fronts revamped into a facade “more appropriate to a free house.” There will be a new opening out to the proposed beer garden on the top of the flat roof, and this will be shielded from the street scene by the existing first floor block. Access will be gained via two staircases and a new internal lift.
Ken Hom picks up Michelin star in South America: UK chef Ken Hom has won a Michelin star for his Mee restaurant at Belmond Copacabana Palace in Rio de Janeiro, one of the first restaurants in South America to be awarded a star. The 92-seat pan-Asian restaurant is listed in the Michelin Guide Rio de Janeiro & São Paolo, the first edition of the Michelin Guide to cover South America. Mee is one of only six venues in Rio de Janeiro to be awarded a star, with Michelin recommending the restaurant’s spicy Thai salad with tangerine, quail's egg sushi with truffle, and Kobe beef tataki with ponzu sauce. Mee opened in February 2014. Hom said: “The team and I are passionate about bringing luxury pan-Asian cuisine to Rio de Janeiro and will continue to develop the restaurant’s innovative menu”.
The Restaurant Group signals expansion for Joe’s Kitchen and Coffee House brand: The Restaurant Group has signaled expansion for its emerging four-strong all-day casual dining brand Joe’s Kitchen and Coffee House, which offers “a fresh and exciting menu always exceeding expectations”. It is offering a £20,000 introductory fee for A3 sites in shopping centres, high streets and mixed-use schemes, providing 3,000 to 4,000 square foot of space. Two of the existing locations are in airport sites – two more sites at scheduled for Derby Intu and Stoke.
Cavier House & Prunier makes New York return: Seafood brand Caviar House & Prunier, which has a site in London’s Piccadilly, has made its return to the New York market with the re-opening of its first and only US location at John F. Kennedy International Airport’s Terminal 4, SSP America, a division of SSP Group, has announced. Caviar House & Prunier Seafood Bar has reprised its earlier outpost at Terminal 4, which opened in 2008, but closed several years later to make way for a major construction project which significantly expanded the terminal. A special menu has been created for Terminal 4, looking to fuse the East Coast and Europe’s seafood cultures. New items on the menu include a crab cake BLT, lobster mango salad and shrimp bacon club. Caviar House & Prunier also has sites in Hong Kong and Geneva.
Greene King lines up £3m Farmhouse Inn for Stoke: Greene King has submitted a plan for a £3m Farmhouse Inn on the Etruria Valley site off Forge Lane, Stoke. Last week, Greene King reported that Farmhouse Inn, its large-scale destination pub restaurant brand that was known as Cloverleaf on acquisition in 2011, was its best-performing managed division format alongside Old English Inns and its premium local format Metropolitan. A statement in support of the scheme reads: "The amenity restaurant would provide 297 covers and will predominantly be a relaxed and informal place to eat." Planners will make a decision no later than the end of August.
Award-winning Birmingham restaurant to close after six years: Award-winning Birmingham restaurant Loves is to close its doors on 31 May after six years. Steve and Claire Love moved their restaurant from Warwickshire to the city centre in 2009 and within four months had gained three AA Rosettes. Loves has also retained a listing in the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the UK for four years. Steve Love said it had been decided not to renew the lease of the building in Browning Street at the end of its six-year tenure, but to concentrate on Loves Consultancy, which offers advice on menus, kitchen design, front-of-house training and wine lists to independent restaurants. The couple plan a series of pop-up restaurants in Warwickshire after Loves closes and plan to reopen permanently in the county in the future.
Nine Manchester microbreweries throw open doors for weekend of tours and tastings: Nine microbreweries in Manchester city centre are throwing open their doors on the weekend of 23 and 24 May for the first-ever Manchester Brewery Expo, featuring tours, tastings and talks. The Piccadilly-based breweries Alphabet, Cloudwater, Privateer, Squawk and Track will be the first to open up on the Saturday, followed by an after-party at First Chop, just over the Irwell in Salford. Blackjack, Marble and Runaway, in the Green Quarter, will follow suit on the Sunday, with Blackjack hosting the after-party. The nine breweries have already joined forces to create a special collaboration beer for the event, a full-flavoured 5.5% American pale ale made with new-season American hops and a hybrid US/UK malt bill. A spokesman said: “Whether we take our inspiration from the old or the new, are honouring the traditional or are working to innovate and modernise, we all share a love of beer, and a desire to make a scene-changing contribution to our city.”
Revolution runs into official objections over late-night licence in Reading: Police and a licensing official are urging councillors in Reading to refuse a planned Revolucion de Cuba bar permission for alcohol sales from 11am to 1am Sunday to Wednesday and 11am to 2am Thursday to Saturday. Revolution Bars Group already has planning permission for the new bar, in a former HMV shop in Friar Street Reading, which has a capacity of 650, with operating hours set to 2.30 am Thursday to Saturday and 1.30am Sunday to Wednesday. However, Thames Valley Police have said in a report to the town's licensing committee: “If the venue is granted a premises licence it is going to attract a lot of new interest, thereby putting a further 650 persons on to Friar Street at the requested terminal hour of 2am.” Revolution Bars Group already owns a Revolution bar in Station Road, Reading. Richard French, the council's licensing officer, in a report to the committee, referred to the council’s cumulative impact policy for Friar Street and urged the committee to reduce the licensing hours to midnight. Its application for a licence for the Friary Road outlet is due to be heard this Friday, 14 May.
McDonald's seeks permission to convert pub closed since 2011: McDonald's is seeking planning permission to convert a pub in Nottingham, closed since, 2011 into a drive-thru restaurant. The Wheatsheaf in Nuthall Road, Bobbers Mill, was acquired by the development company Paragon at the end of 2014 for £225,000 plus VAT. A planning application has now been submitted to Nottingham Council by the burger chain to convert the pub into a restaurant with car parking and a drive-thru lane and is currently pending consideration. The last application for development on the site was back in 2011, to use its car park as a car wash. The building dates back to the 1930s when it was opened by the Nottingham brewer Shipstones. An imprint of the brewery's logo is still visible in the pub's brickwork. Since its closure, it has become run-down, and last year a blaze broke out in the building's ground floor.
Applications surge for Starbucks college achievement plan: Just one month after Starbucks and Arizona State University (ASU) announced the expansion of a unique benefit to pay for employees college education, more than 1,800 have signed up. “These impressive numbers reflect that the students recognise how a college degree can dramatically elevate the possibilities for their income and quality of life,” said ASU Provost Robert E Page Jr. “The surge of applications also reflects that today’s students are adaptive learners for whom technology and innovative learning techniques enhance their capacity for knowledge.” The Starbucks College Achievement Plan offers 100% tuition reimbursement for all four years of college. All benefits-eligible Starbucks partners working part time or full time may choose from 50 undergraduate degree programs through ASU Online, with no commitment to stay with the company post-graduation. Starbucks will invest $250 million to help at least 25,000 partners graduate by 2025. More than 2,200 partners have enrolled in the Starbucks College Achievement Plan to date, with 200 Starbucks partners expected to graduate from the program over the next year.
Dim sum restaurant launches 'women-only' wine list: The Cortesan dim sum restaurant in Brixton, South London, is launching a women-only wine list this week. The list will have 30 wines from more than 20 different producers, each either crafted by a female winemaker or made by a winery run by a woman. It has been compiled with help from the wine distributors Matthew Clark and Enotria and contains 11 reds, ten whites, four Champagnes, two Proseccos and two dessert wines. Restaurant owner Hammant Patel Villa said the aim of the gender-specific wine list is to highlight the increasing role of women in the wine industry, as well as to help encourage more women to get involved and more restaurants to follow their lead. He told the London Evening Standard: “The wine industry has always been male dominated, originally because of the hard physical labour involved, but that is changing and there is now a lot of excellent wine being made by women – I think it is important to showcase this. I reckon that in a generation most of the best wine in the world will be made by women, because they generally have a better sense of taste than men.”
Prezzo lines up Rickmansworth opening: Italian chain Prezzo has lined up an opening in Rickmansworh for July. Prezzo will be opening in Rickmansworth High Street in July, replacing the Remo’s Piazzo, which has left the town after 34 years. Nina Hosking, chair of Rickmansworth Chamber of Commerce, said: “It was a great shame to see Remo leave the town after 34 years – (but) this new restaurant will provide employment for local people and hopefully become a destinational attraction. I am concerned, however, that this may affect the footfall to the other smaller independent Italian restaurants in the town, but if Prezzo gets (its) marketing right, this could bring a whole new audience to Rickmansworth."
Liverpool multi-siters open new restaurant with a series of food challenges: Liverpool multi-site operators have opened a new US-themed site, Rack and Dollar, with a series of food challenges. There are specific food challenges on dedicated days of the week with both a wall of fame and a wall of shame for participants. Tuesdays will see the 54321 burger challenge where customers are challenged to eat five burgers, four toppings, three cheeses, two salads and one bun. On Sundays, there will be a nacho challenge where food lovers can attempt to eat five pounds of nachos, one with cheese, one with guacamole, one with salsa, one with sour cream and one with jalapeños. Mondays will play host to an unlimited rib day. The venue will also show American sports on a big screen and have live music with funk and soul bands on Fridays and a DJ on Saturdays and Sundays. The restaurant and bar is being run by the people behind popular city centre bars Jenny’s and Berry and Rye. It is located next to Berry and Rye and is housed where the former Far East Chinese Restaurant was.
First of two new micropubs opens in Maidstone: The first of two new micropubs has opened in Maidstone, Kent. The new venue, Crafty's, takes over the Living Cafe in Earl Street, Maidstone in the evenings, while the cafe operates until 4.30pm. Crafty’s will operate temporarily under the cafe’s licence but a separate one has also been applied for. It sells a range of craft beers from Germany and real ales, and is being run by an estate agent, Ben Siggins, and Sam Otway, who owns Number Nine Hairdressing in Pudding Lane, Maidstone. Despite being sandwiched between two other venues, Earl’s and the Druid’s Arms, Siggins and Otway told the Kent Messenger they were sure there was enough business in Maidstone to go around. Siggins said: “We are looking for a totally different clientele to them, they are fine with us being there. We are trying to attract people going for dinner, who want somewhere quiet to drink afterwards.” A second micropub is also due to open soon. The Cellars Alehouse will open in the cellars of the old Style and Winch brewery, close to Maidstone Plumbing and the Old Brewery on Buckland Road. Organisers have applied to Maidstone Council for a licence and change of use, and hope to open in July.
Amore Group opens Sunderland's first dedicated tapas restaurant: The Amore Group, owned by Kam Chera, has opened the first dedicated Spanish and Portuguese tapas restaurant in Sunderland under the name El'Amor. It has opened in the former Amore restaurant above the Harbour View pub in Roker. Chera, who runs another restaurant under the Amore fascia in the Sunderland suburb of Ashbrooke, and the Funky Indian tapas restaurant in Sunderland city centre, said: “We moved the Amore model over here after closing the city centre Italian restaurant, but it maybe wasn’t right for this area. Though our other Amore in Ashbrooke works well, there are 14 restaurants in Roker and Seaburn, and 10 of those are Italian. Amore wasn’t struggling here, but we took the strategy that we did with Funky Indian, which is to do something totally different. I think Roker has the potential to be like Tynemouth, with a circuit of upmarket bars and restaurants,” he said.
Ed's Easy Diner to open branch in Rugby: Ed's Easy Diner is to join Caffe Nero and Nando’s at the Elliot's Field Shopping Park in Rugby. The park is currently undergoing a £35m extension and redevelopment by its owner Hammerson. It is scheduled to open later this year and will have 180,000 sq ft of leisure and retail space, as well as a 567-space car park. Ed's has agreed a lease for a 2,500 sq ft unit, while Caffe Nero has signed up to take a 1,500 sq ft unit on a ten-year lease, and Nando’s will take a 3,500 sq ft unit. Andrew Guy, chief executive of Ed’s Easy Diner, said: "Elliott’s Field Shopping Park represents a great opportunity for Ed’s, further extending our reach into the Midlands. We’ll be working closely with the employment charity Springboard, hiring around 25 new staff from the surrounding area. The new redevelopment will hopefully attract a large number of people from all over Rugby later this year." Field will be anchored by a 60,000 sq ft Debehams store. Next, Marks & Spencer and TKMaxx have also taken space at the park.
Restaurateur opens bar in 'last available space' on popular Northern Quarter Street: Restaurateur Nick DaSouza has opened a new venue, Tariff & Dale, in what the Manchester Evening News described as 'the last available space on what is becoming one of the hottest addresses in the Northern Quarter'. The new bar and kitchen, on the corner of Tariff Street and Dale Street, is in a former cotton spinners and warehouse. The upstairs bar has a capacity of more than 200, and is focused on craft beers, high-end spirits, and cocktails. Features include beer flight boards, stocked with three one-third glasses of draught beers, and the lift shaft booth, a six-seater cubby with a very high ceiling. The basement houses a 72-seater restaurant and an open kitchen run by Stockport-born head chef Chris Vernazza , who has worked alongside Tom Kerridge at The Hand And Flowers and in Chelsea under Taylor Bonnyman and Marguerite Keogh. The kitchen has a wood-fired pizza oven, and will also serve breakfast daily from 10am. The venue specialises in twists on classic dishes, such as a "steak and an ale pie", which comes with a small glass of ale sat in the pie crust. DaSouza also owns The Lead Station in Chorlton, Manchester, which has been running since 1995.
Greene King opens shopping centre Hungry Horse: Greene King has named its latest Hungry Horse pub restaurant, in West Bromwich, after the Jensen Interceptor sports car, which was once built in the town. The Interceptor, opening in a more unusual location for the brand, the New Square shopping centre, has created around 40 new jobs. The name was chosen after Greene King launched a competition for local people to help name the pub. West Bromwich man John Harper suggested naming the pub The Jensen, after the sports car manufacturer based in West Bromwich. A spokesman for Greene King said: “Being part of the local community is important to us so we wanted to ensure our name reflects the local area, which is why we asked for the help of our future customers.” The new pub contains a feature wall with images of the Jensen Interceptor and its history in West Bromwich. To mark its opening, a local member of the Jensen Owners’ Club arranged for a white 1970 Interceptor to be parked outside the pub for the day, enabling customers to stop and have their photo taken with it.
Caffe Nero to open third outlet in Lincoln: Caffe Nero is to take over a site on the corner of St Marks and the High Street in Lincoln after the former tenant, an independent operator called Cafe M, moved out. A spokesman for Standard Life Investments said: "We can confirm that Cafe M has recently left St Marks Shopping Centre. We're looking forward to welcoming Caffe Nero to the centre shortly." It will mean the third Caffe Nero and the 12th coffee chain store to open in Lincoln city centre, according to the local Echo newspaper, with other outlets owned by Costa Coffee and Starbucks, though independent operators still make up 28 of the 40 coffee shops in the city centre.
Christie + Co celebrates 80 years: Agent Christie + Co is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the company’s formation by George Christie, James Owen and Nick Davies in Baker Street, London, in May 1935. The company now operates out of 16 UK and 14 international offices. David Rugg, chairman of Christie + Co, said: “I am incredibly proud of the work Christie + Co have done over the past 80 years, particularly in adhering to our founders’ simple ethos of promoting our clients’ interests first and foremost. We have shown adaptability in the face of changing market cycles and identified and reacted to gaps in the market, for example founding our own finance and insurance associate companies at a time when intermediary provision in our specialist sectors of any quality was virtually non-existent.”
Zerodegrees launches customer engagement campaign: Zerodegrees, the restaurant and microbrewery group with sites in Blackheath, Bristol, Reading and Cardiff, will launch a campaign entitled #Brewmasters inviting diners to come and find out more about Zerodegrees beer and the brewing process. The campaign will include showcasing Zerodegrees team of beer aficionados and aims to teach beer lovers and novice brewers everything they need to know. Over the summer each site will host a free Meet the #Brewmasters event where craft beer fans and budding brewers can learn about how each brewery works as well as having the opportunity to ask questions and garner tips and tricks from the resident brew master. The events will culminate in a beer tasting where they can sample a whole range of beers and put their new-found knowledge to the test.