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Fri 12th Jun 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

O’ My Buns plans rapid rollout after launching first European site in Leicester: Europe’s first branch of O’ My Buns, which has sites in a number of countries, has opened in Leicester. O’ My Buns specialises in cob-like buns that come in a range of sweet and savoury flavours and have a coffee glaze. Business partners Fayyaz Jamal and Hanif Piranie have opened an O’ My Buns cafe in Evington Road, and have plans to open two more branches of the franchise in Leicester, including one in Highcross. Jamal, of Leicester, said: “It is a very unique product. It comes from Asia. There are stores in America, the Far East, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kuwait, and Qatar.” He said they had a centralised kitchen in Thurmaston where the products for the cafe were made. Jamal added: “So far the feedback has been very positive – people love it. It has been exceeding all targets. We have a good variety. The buns are something you can’t get anywhere in the country. It is a unique product.” Jamal said the business partners hoped to have six branches open across the UK by the end of the year, and to open one every month in the UK from then onwards. All the shops will be supplied by the Thurmaston factory. Jamal added: “We have stores which are due to open in London, Manchester and Birmingham.”

Industry News:

Underage drinking on the decline in the US: Underage drinking and binge drinking rates among young people are on the decline across the USA, a new government study has reported. A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found underage drinking among all US residents from age 12 through to 20 dropped 6.1%. Underage binge drinking decreased 5.1%. The survey examined the years 2002 to 2013. In the final year of the study, 22.7% of the nation’s young people reported they had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days. “While we’re always very happy about these declines, we can’t lose sight of the fact that we have approximately nine million underage drinkers in the country,” said Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA’s centre for substance abuse.

ALMR hires Simon Bull as new commercial and membership director: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has hired Simon Bull as its new commercial and membership director. Bull will drive the Association’s membership and marketing along with the ALMR’s commercial income streams. He has extensive experience working with membership organisations across a range of sectors, joining the ALMR from the Energy Industries Council where he held the position of head of membership and marketing. Previously, Bull has also worked at the Musicians’ Union as head of membership development and before that, director of business development, marketing and communications at the Institute of Hospitality. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Simon joins the ALMR at an exciting period of expansion as we look to cement our status as the UK’s leading voice for licensed hospitality businesses. Simon brings a great deal of expertise to the ALMR and we are all looking forward to working with him, growing our membership base and driving the Association forward.” Bull added: “I am delighted to join the ALMR and am very much looking forward to meeting and working with the members and utilising my previous experiences. It’s good to be back in the hospitality sector and I am excited to be working with such a dedicated team to champion this fantastic industry.”

Humble pint glass ‘putting off’ women drinking beer, survey finds: The humble pint glass is “putting off” women drinking beer, according to a survey out today (Friday 12 June). The findings released by Friends of Glass ahead of Beer Day Britain on Monday (15 June) show 47% of women think that a woman drinking from a pint glass can be seen as unfeminine and the majority (43%) would choose to drink beer from a continental lager glass. 39% of the 1,000 women surveyed said using an “elegant” glass for beer would help change the image of beer as a man’s drink and 25% said that using an elegant glass would make drinking beer more pleasurable. Jane Peyton, Britain’s first beer sommelier of the year (2014-2015) and instigator and organiser of Beer Day Britain, said: “One resounding fact that comes out when you talk to women is that glassware normally used to serve beer in pubs in Britain can be off putting. This survey confirms my suspicions that it’s not about taste for many women but about presentation of this wonderful gift from nature.” 39% of women who drink alcohol surveyed said they had tasted craft beers and 66% of these felt that they offered an interesting range of flavours. The survey shows 49% perceive beer to be more of a man’s drink despite history revealing its ancestry as female. Rebecca Cocking, from Friends of Glass, said: “With the rise of craft beers in Britain and golden ales tipped as the new taste of summer, a move towards seeing more continental style glassware in pubs, bars and restaurants may help move away from this outdated stereotype.”

Soho House Chicago extends hipster appeal by hosting Green City Market: Soho House Chicago is extending its hipster appeal by hosting Green City Market, a farmers’ market that features locally grown, sustainable food. Green City Market will set up shop in a lot behind Soho House Chicago on the second Sunday of every month starting this week and running through to 11 October. “We are delighted to be opening this market at Soho House Chicago,” said Melissa Flynn, executive director of Green City Market, in a statement. “The Fulton Market District is a vibrant growing community.”

Planet Hollywood founder launches Mexican brand: Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl, who owns the Buca di Beppo and Earl of Sandwich chains, has launched a new concept in Las Vegas called Tequila Taqueria. The 80-seat restaurant and bar opened in the Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, offering a casual and contemporary Mexican menu with 37 premium tequilas and ten Mexican beers on tap. Tacos will be a focus, but the menu also includes a broader array of Mexican dishes, and guacamole will be made to order tableside, Earl told Nation’s Restaurant News. The concept is designed to be a chain without a chain feel to it, he said. “It’s great uniforms, good music and very authentic food, and it definitely has the potential to expand to other markets,” Earl said.

Company News:

Wasabi signs for 65,000 sq ft production unit: Sushi and noodles brand Wasabi has signed a 15-year lease on a 65,000 sq ft production unit to service the estate of 35 sites at the Origin project in Park Royal on the outskirts of London. Developer of the scheme Segro’s chief executive David Sleath said: “We are thrilled that Wasabi is joining us at Origin – our flagship development – which has today reached a significant point in its evolution. Origin is more than a collection of industrial units – it creates employment opportunities for the local area, space for companies to grow and a base from which the ever expanding population of London can be serviced.” Dong Hyun Kim, Wasabi’s chief executive, added: “As our company continues to grow from strength to strength, we wanted to move into a larger premises that was in the prime location of Park Royal. Its connection to the heart of London was vital for Wasabi as it is where the main concentration of our outlets are.”

Tokyo Industries invests £750,000 in developing second BrewHaus complex: Tokyo Industries, the UK’s third largest nightclub company led by Aaron Mellor, has invested £750,000 in Huddersfield to create its second BrewHaus. The Old Court House, which incorporates Tokyo nightclub, will provide four distinct areas intended to attract a wider range of customers. Tokyo’s original 20-strong workforce has grown to 52 with the addition of the new areas. Nigel Holliday, business development director at Tokyo Industries, said: “Tokyo has been in Huddersfield for ten years and we have had a really great run, but tastes and styles change and we have to adapt. We have transformed it into four different areas which will open at different times to suit different demographics. We hope to persuade fewer Huddersfield people to jump on the trains or into the taxis to go to Leeds.” BrewHaus – described as a “world class drinking den” – occupies the ground floor of the historic former court house and features include exposed brickwork, steel beams, antique light fittings and a huge Chesterfield sofa. Among its attractions, it will offer craft beers and a range of cocktails from award-winning Manchester bartenders The Liquorists. Tokyo Industries opened its first BrewHaus in Lincoln last September and Huddersfield is the second to open under the brand. Louie’s Liquor Store is sited in the basement of the building and reproduces an American “Deep South” speakeasy and dive bar – decorated throughout with antique Americana shipped over from the States. The bar stocks more than 50 kinds of bourbon – some exclusive in the UK to Louie’s – along with American beers. The Boneyard outdoor terrace – billed as the biggest in the town centre – provides a space for customers to relax and enjoy barbecues, live music and classic cocktails.

Wetherspoon denies largest UK venue claim as consultation starts: JD Wetherspoon has denied it is planning its largest venue in Britain at a site in Ramsgate ahead of a public consultation next week. The company secured the Grade II-listed former casino and dance hall in November last year and submitted a planning application to transform the building in January. Local media reports claim it will be Wetherspoon’s largest UK venue but a Wetherspoon spokesman told Propel: “It will not be bigger than The Velvet Coaster, which just opened in Blackpool.” Standing derelict since 2008, The Royal Victoria Pavilion, in Harbour Parade, is in need of “extensive renovation work” according to The Thanet Gazette. Wetherspoon plans to invest in excess of £1.5m to restore the property back to its former glory. A public consultation, conducted by Signet Planning, will be held at the Royal Temple Yacht Club in Ramsgate, on Friday 19 June between noon and 6pm.

Greene King wins VQ employer of the year 2015 award: Greene King has been named VQ employer of the Year 2015 for its outstanding support for staff undertaking vocational qualifications (VQs). The company, which won the VQ large employer category award last month, beat off competition from TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookery school, River Cottage, to land the overall title for “championing technical, practical and vocational skills within its workforce”. Greene King established its apprenticeship programme in 2011 and since then more than 3,000 employees have achieved nationally recognised qualifications, with 2,000 more expected to follow within the next 12 months. Since introducing the programme, the company has seen a positive increase in staff retention. Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “We are thrilled that our investment in employees has been recognised in this year’s VQ Awards. Not only do vocational qualifications help the individual achieve their career goals, but they also improve staff retention and productivity.” The award, sponsored by City & Guilds, was presented by garden designer and television personality Diarmuid Gavin at a ceremony in London.

Upham Group secures £6m of funding from NatWest: The Upham Group, which launched with its first pub acquisition in May 2013 and currently owns 13 pubs and inns across Hampshire, Berkshire, Sussex, Dorset and Wiltshire, has secured £6m of funding from NatWest to support its plans to acquire additional pubs and upgrade some of its existing ones. Financial director Robb Harris said: “For NatWest to be supporting us like this is quite an endorsement for our model and strategy. We are a comparatively small business with big ambitions and this funding will enable us to keep momentum, buying more pubs, creating more jobs and generating more sales for the brewery. In turn, we hope to generate more funds for us to continue to invest. It becomes self-fulfilling.”

All-day New York style seafood restaurant and bar to launch in London: The first Crab Tavern, an all-day New York style seafood restaurant and bar, will open in Broadgate Circle in London next month. The concept is being launched by Igor Krayushkin, whose hospitality background spans two luxury restaurants and a nightclub in Russia, as well as LaResidence restaurant in Dubai. Seating 150, Crab Tavern will feature house diner booths, high top counter spots, a bar and a terrace. Krayushkin said: “Just as London is seeing a new wave of American food trends arriving, Crab Tavern will bring something new to the city – a modern approach to good old-fashioned American fun, food and service. I want Crab Tavern to feel familiar and to become a spot that Londoners are keen to return to time and time again.” The food menu will showcase an abundance of crab dishes, as well as USA-style sandwiches, salads, classic grills, seafood selection and American diner style desserts. Drinks include root beer, shakes and cocktails including the specialty Tavern iced teas – three spins on the well-known Long Island variety.

Eros Group reports success with Scottish brand Baguette Express franchised in the Middle East: Eros Group, the Dubai-based electronics company that has diversified into foodservice, has reported success after taking up the local franchise rights for Scotland-based Baguette Express. Niranjan Gidwani, deputy chief executive of the Eros Group, said: “Eating on the go is on the increase in Dubai which is an international transit hub for some 21 countries. However, we realised that there were very few options for healthy eating and snacking as an alternative to the fast food burger and chicken outlets. We therefore started looking for a solution whereby we could introduce healthy, fresh, high quality fast food to the United Arab Emirates. As we did not have any experience of the food and beverage sector we looked for a partner with an established brand, solid operational experience and a strong management team. We then came across Baguette Express, which is headquartered in Scotland and fulfilled all of our criteria and as a turnkey franchise operation we could easily import the concept into Dubai. That was in November 2013 and we now have four company-owned stores in Dubai, which are performing very well. We are now aiming to open another three to four outlets this year across the UAE.”

BrewDog thanks Stone Brewing Co for help in finding US site: BrewDog has publicly thanked US craft brewer Stone Brewing Co for its help in locating Columbus Ohio as the site for its US brewery. The company stated: “In putting all this together we owe a huge debt of gratitude to our amazing friends at Stone Brewing Co, chief executive Greg Koch and chief operating officer Pat Tiernan in particular. Both were kind enough to introduce us to the relevant people in Columbus as well as waxing lyrical about the location as a potential site for BrewDog USA. It is exactly this type of selfless camaraderie that makes the craft beer industry as truly awesome as it is. With BrewDog Columbus there will be loads of exciting job opportunities. We are looking for some senior positions such as chief executive, brewmaster, vice president of sales, chief financial officer as well as brewers, packaging operators, laboratory and quality managers and pretty much every other role that exists in a brewery. If you would like to apply for a role in BrewDog USA please email a resume to usajobs@brewdog.com. We are also looking to launch five flagship US BrewDog bars; from the West Coast to Florida to the Northeast, we are seeking to plant our beery flags in the American Dream with a series of amazing BrewDog bars. We have a few final details left to agree, as this project is contingent upon yet-to-be-approved incentives and finalising site details, but we are completely committed to making BrewDog Columbus a reality very, very soon.”

Nottingham Brewery expands south of the Trent: Nottingham Brewery has acquired a majority shareholding in Harvey & Coombes Pub Company, the company that owns the Bricklayers Arms in Ruddington. Philip Darby, managing director of the Nottingham Brewery, said: “This is the first food and drink outlet that the 14-year old Nottingham Brewery has invested in south of the River Trent, and makes for the first of several significant changes within our expanding pub portfolio.” Nottingham Brewery already owns the Nottingham Brewery Taphouse (also known as Plough Inn, St Peters’ Street, Radford) situated next door to the bespoke cask and craft ale brewery operation. The Bricklayers will continue to serve locally sourced food dishes and will offer up to five cask ales with a range of Nottingham Brewery core beers as well as regular guests from micro-breweries around the country. Regal, the breweries’ only craft beer, and one of the first local lager-style beers to be produced in Nottinghamshire, will also be added to the bar.

Norfolk-based Redwell Brewery secures fourth site: Craft brewery Redwell is preparing to open its fourth pub and first outside Norwich city centre, restoring a Victorian corner pub to its former glory. The Lord Rosebery, in Rosebery Road, dates back to the late 19th century and was named after former prime minister the fifth Earl of Rosebery – it will re-open as The Rosebery in fortnight’s time. Patrick Fisher, co-owner of Trowse-based Redwell brewery, said: “We’re looking to bring some craft beer and Redwell into the suburbs. We want to see families in here enjoying the experience and we want to serve the community. We will be doing lots of food, matching it with the beers and spirits. We want to make it a pub that people in the area will be proud of, whether it’s for a lovely Sunday lunch, a pint or two during the week or to watch a Rugby World Cup match in here to enjoy the atmosphere we hope to create.” Redwell already runs the Ten Bells, in St Benedicts Street, the Mash Tun, in Charing Cross, and the Tap House, in Redwell Street.

Leeds hotel adds ‘first-of-its-kind’ restaurant concept: The Radisson Blu Hotel in Leeds has undergone a major £3.5m investment that has seen the addition of a first-of-its-kind restaurant concept. A total of 72 rooms at the hotel – which has a total of 147 rooms – including meeting rooms and public areas, have seen a major revamp. The first phase of the project is now complete, while the second phase, commencing in 2016, will finish the remaining guest rooms. A cocktail bar and the Fire Lake Grill House, a US concept and the first-of-its-kind in the UK, have been added to the hotel’s offering.

LWC renews supply partnership with Living Ventures: LWC, the UK’s second largest wholesaler with a turnover of more than £200m, has renewed its wholesale supply contract with bar and restaurant operator Living Ventures, continuing a nine-year relationship. The wholesaler beat “extremely tough competition” to renew the contract until June 2017. Spokesman for LWC Ray Callan said: “We have grown together as businesses and through our shared ambition and passion. As well as LWC’s attention to detail on service, we have complete impartiality and depth on product range and are always competitively priced.” LWC, recently named by The Times as the fastest growing privately owned drinks company in Britain, currently operates out of 13 distribution centres. Currently, LWC supplies over 6,000 businesses including The Royal National Theatre, Q Hotels, Tortilla Restaurants, Giraffe, Individual Restaurant Company, Living Ventures Group and San Carlo.

Spoke & Stringer takes Bristol Harbourside site: Kristian Crews, the man behind the Spoke & Stringer cafe/bar and shop concept, a new brand that promotes what it calls “ride” culture and active lifestyles, has signed a deal to rent a unit in the Boat House and three in Purifier House in Bristol’s Harbourside. It means more than half of the waterfront retail units off Lime Kiln Road on Bristol’s Harbourside have been let for the first time since they were developed in 2014, a sign of returning confidence in the city’s retail sector. The three ground floor kiosk units totalling 955 sq ft in Purifier House, a Grade II-listed former gasworks next to the Boat House, are now trading as a cafe/restaurant serving food and drink to complement an active lifestyle. Crews said: “The location and architectural style of these units embody the ‘ride culture’ of our new brand. There is always something going on in Bristol’s Harbourside and we look forward to adding to the area’s lively atmosphere.” Three retail units remain available in The Boat House, from 498 sq ft to 421 sq ft in size.

‘Asian speakeasy’ bar and restaurant Blind Tiger officially launches in Liverpool this weekend: A new bar and restaurant, which its owners describe as an “Asian speakeasy”, officially launches in Liverpool this weekend. The finishing touches are being put to Blind Tiger, located in Seel Street, which will serve dim sum and drinks. There is an outdoor courtyard along with a large bar area, below street level, reports the Liverpool Echo, but the main details are still under wraps. The owners already run a late-night bar in the same street called Brooklyn Mixer, which has a big emphasis on music and resident DJs. 

Unsecured creditors to be left £16.7m out of pocket by Brocket Hall collapse: Unsecured creditors of Brocket Hall International, the operator of a prestigious 18th Century country house and estate in Hertfordshire which entered administration in April, are likely to miss out on about £16.7m, Insider Media has reported. Peter Holder, Nick Cropper and Anne O’Keefe of business advisory firm AlixPartners Services UK were appointed joint administrators over Brocket Hall International on 31 March 2015. The company was forced into administration as a result of a “protracted period of poor trading” leading to the business experiencing financial difficulties, culminating in HMRC issuing a winding up petition. A statement of affairs seen by Insider has revealed that unsecured creditors are owed almost £16.8m while HSBC Bank, the company’s secured creditor, is owed more than £1.6m. In a report to creditors dated 21 May, administrators said the outcome for HSBC is “uncertain” while unsecured creditors are set to receive just £31,986.

Brains opens latest Coffee#1 shop in Stroud: Brains, the Cardiff-based brewer and hospitality retailer, has opened its 51st Coffee#1 shop in Stroud in Gloucestershire. The company’s latest outlet is in a refurbished former Blockbuster video store in George Street. A Coffee#1 spokesman told Stroud Life: “We’re excited to be moving into a new community and getting involved in the festivities at Stroud. Customers can expect the usual cosy decor and comfy seating with unique artwork and the welcoming ‘living room’ feel.” Brains bought Coffee#1 in 2011, which at the time comprised of 15 shops in south Wales and the south west of England.

La Tasca invests in new POS system: La Tasca has invested in a new POS IT system featuring handheld I-serves across the whole estate, simultaneously upgrading and refurbishing every toilet. The new Zonal POS system sees the service journey move from pen and paper to hand-held iPods where orders go directly to the bar and kitchen. The toilet refurbishments involve decorations, new vanity units, new toiletry dispensers as well as hand-dryers. Chief executive Simon Wilkinson said: “The investment into the new POS IT system will enable the business once embedded into the service culture to serve guests quicker and turn tables faster at peak times as well as enabling a smoother and more efficient service on our large terraces once summer arrives. Toilets are a reflection of our hygiene standards especially for our female fans and will be refurbished annually moving forward.”

Work starts on new Joe’s Kitchen site: Construction has begun on a new Restaurant Group site restaurant at Estate in Stoke-on-Trent, which will open as the company’s Joe’s Kitchen emerging brand. The Restaurant Group already operates a Frankie & Benny’s at the site. The Restaurant Group will lease the new 4,000 sq ft restaurant on completion of the building.

Irish Distillers plans to turn Irish whiskey into world’s biggest whiskey category as £12.4m investment unveiled: Irish Distillers has revealed details of a £12.4m expansion to mark 50 years of bottling at its Fox and Geese facility in Dublin. The investment, which will create 30 jobs, reflects the rapid pace of growth in the Irish whiskey market and will increase bottling capacity at the site from five million nine-litre cases to more than seven million cases of Jameson a year by 2017. Anna Malmhake, chief executive of Irish Distillers, said the investment “marks a landmark moment in the history of Fox and Geese”. “This is part of a wider investment programme which included the £146m expansion of our distillery in Midleton and our maturation facility in Dungourney,” she added. “Our long-term vision is for Irish whiskey to regain its place as the biggest whiskey category in the world. Investing in critical infrastructure such as the Fox and Geese bottling facility will enable us to realise that vision.”

First ever Piccolino restaurant re-opens after doubling in size: The first Piccolino, the Italian restaurant and bar brand operated by Individual Restaurants, has re-opened after an extensive refurbishment that has doubled the outlet in size. The establishment in Knutsford in Cheshire now seats 150 and has a new all-weather roof terrace with a state-of-the-art retractable roof. The main bar on the ground floor has been extended into a white marble “eat at” cocktail bar while the cold counter deli on the same floor serves freshly baked breads from the company’s own bakery. The restaurant extends to the first floor, which features a second cocktail bar, wine wall and the all-weather roof terrace. Individual Restaurants founder Steven Walker told So Cheshire: “Knutsford is where it all began so it was only right that we returned to give the restaurant an amazing refurbishment.” Since Piccolino was established in Knutsford in 2000, Individual Restaurants has continued to expand the brand with outlets in the likes of London, Birmingham and Bristol.

Pop-up restaurant opens at Northern Ireland prison: A pop-up restaurant has opened at Hydebank Wood in Northern Ireland – a women’s jail and the country’s only youth prison. The team behind the Cabin Cafe at the Belfast prison has transformed an office building into a bistro that serves meals to warders and other staff. All the food is grown, prepared, cooked and served by nine young male offenders whose average age is just 22. The project has developed with chef and entrepreneur Philip Dundas at the helm with the profits ploughed back into the programme. Dundas told Belfast Live: “I can’t undo what these lads have done in their lives, I can’t change their past decisions but I hope the work we’ve done together will help them make better decisions in the future – and all thanks to food. We all make mistakes in life, now they have the chance to start rebuilding and working towards new beginnings. And it all started with food.”

Third Hoxton Hotel in London planned for Southwark: Hoxton, the brand owned by investment company Ennismore Capital, is opening its third London hotel in Southwark. The 192-room Hoxton, Southwark, will launch in Blackfriars Road in 2018 and follows on from hotels in Holborn last year and Shoreditch in 2006. In keeping with the other two hotels, restaurant and private club company Soho House will run the food and drink side of things with a ground floor restaurant and a rooftop bar planned at the 13-storey site. There will also be meeting and events spaces. Sharan Pasricha, founder and chief executive of Ennismore/The Hoxton, told the Evening Standard: “Southwark is an incredibly exciting part of London. South of the river is where we chose as home for our third London property because we’re big fans of the neighbourhood, especially the theatre and food scene and we’re looking forward to growing up alongside it.” The group is opening its first overseas property in Amsterdam next month with plans to expand to New York and Paris in 2016.

Ex-Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth extends partnership with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group: Former Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth is to expand his partnership with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group with the opening of Kurochan at the Mandarin Oriental in Bodrum. Hallsworth, who also founded Wabi, operates Kurobuta in Chelsea With an uninterrupted view of the resort’s main beach, Kurochan offers contemporary Asian cuisine from its open kitchen. Kurochan’s menu features a range of tapas-style sharing plates which include sushi and sashimi, tempura, fresh fish, seafood and steaks together with a selection of robata barbecue-style grills and options for vegetarian guests. 

Propel Conference on 2 July at the Oxford Belfry: Multi-site operators can book up to two free places at the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday 2 July at the Oxford Belfry, followed by the summer party by emailing jo.charity@propelinfo.com. Cyril Lavenant, of NPD Group, looks at the current performance of the UK foodservice market, areas of growth and how the UK is performing within a European context. Steven Pike, managing director of HospitalityGem, talks about what operators can learn from listening to their customers and how it can drive sales. Berry Casey, founder of pioneering better burger brand Hache, celebrating its 10th birthday, talks about the better burger market, evolving and staying ahead in the increasingly crowded better burger market. Corrado Accardi, founder of Pizza Rossa, talks about transforming the pizza offer, creating an award-winning business plan, going through two rounds of successful crowdfunding and planning to expand the company. Keith Knowles, chief executive of Beds & Bars, explains how the company’s food beverage and accommodation performance has been transformed in the past 18 months. Giggling Squid founder Andy Laurillard, who was previously head of brand strategy and innovation at TUI, talks about his company’s steps towards becoming the first UK national Thai restaurant brand. Industry consultant Eddy Passey provides his top ten operational tips gleaned during a career that has spanned working at high volume beds, bars and buffet businesses. Darren Tristano, vice president of research and insights form Technomic, provides an overview of the most interesting and innovative new concept launches in the US in the past year. Jamie Barber talks about how his Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana was developed from scratch, its birth, evolution and future prospects. James Hacon, managing director of Elliotts, talks about the future of sector marketing with Georgia Hall, brand and marketing manager for Cafe Rouge, Kate Cargill, group marketing manger Hix restaurants and Tim Foster, head of being awesome at Yummy Pubs. Sector investor and Patisserie Valerie executive chairman Luke Johnson sets out the ten key steps in turning Patisserie Valerie into a national brand.

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