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Mon 15th Jun 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Michelin-starred brothers plan first gastro-pub: Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin have bought one of the oldest pubs in Essex to convert to their first gastro-pub. The brothers, who come from Brentwood, Essex, have exchanged contracts with landlord James Gardner to turn the 14th-century Green Man, in Howe Street, Chelmsford. Chris Galvin, who operate restaurants in London and in Edinburgh, said he felt “drawn” to the venue. He said: “For two years I’ve gone past this really beautiful building. I thought it looked beautiful when it was painted yellow for the Tour de France. I didn’t drive past it for two to three months, but one night wanted to chill out and came out and saw the For Sale sign. I got a shock when I rung the estate agent about two months ago on a Wednesday – I was told bids had to be in the next day and I made a decision in a day.” He hopes to open it under the same name, as a pub selling local produce and local brews, by spring 2016. “We want to have a Great British pub with a restaurant part of it,” he added. “I really want to be proud about being in Essex and showing what it can do.” He said it will cost at least £1 million to get the timber-frame building “up to scratch”. “We want to maintain the character and integrity of it,” added Chris. The pub, said to date back to 1314, was owned by Greene King and Ridley’s before Gardner bought it in 2013. In 2005 Chris and Jeff Galvin opened their first solo venture – Galvin Bistrot de Luxe in Baker Street. The restaurant was recognised as the Best French Restaurant for two years running and Best Wine list in 2009. In May 2006, the brothers launched Galvin at Windows, on the 28th floor of the London Hilton Hotel on Park Lane, with André Garrett as their Head Chef. In 2010 Galvin at Windows gained its first Michelin star. In November 2009 the Galvin brothers opened their first restaurants in the City of London; La Chapelle and Café à Vin. Galvin La Chapelle gained a Michelin star in the 2011 Red Guide with Café à Vin awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand. In 2012 the Galvin brothers opened their first venture outside of London; The Pompadour by Galvin and Galvin Brasserie de Luxe in Edinburgh located in the newly refurbished Caledonian, a Waldorf Astoria hotel on Princes Street.

Industry News:

Los Angeles votes for $15 minimum wage by 2020: Los Angeles City Council has voted 12 to one to give final approval to an ordinance that would increase the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020. The ordinance, which Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to sign, will require employers of 26 or more workers to increase their minimum hourly wage to $10.50 by 1 July 2016, and then rise in phases to reach $15 by 1 July 2020. Businesses with 25 or fewer workers have an extra year to comply, moving to $10.50 by 1 July 2017. After 2020, the city’s minimum wage will be tied to the consumer price index for automatic adjustments for inflation, according to the ordinance. The legislation, however, may still be altered. City officials are studying proposals such as an exemption for unionised businesses, and the impact on workers that may split work time between Los Angeles and other cities. The ordinance would not apply to several independent cities within Los Angeles, including Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Burbank and West Hollywood, but the many restaurants in those cities are likely to be pressured to raise wages similarly to compete. Los Angeles joins a growing number of cities that have adopted a $15 per hour wage, including Seattle and San Francisco.

Stand-up comedians form UK Comedy Guild: Stand-up comedians and promoters have formed the first UK body designed to protect their rights, the UK Comedy Guild. With 400 members representing every level of the business, the Guild aims to lobby over pay and working conditions, and offer advice and backing to those facing harassment and exploitation. It was set up following talks to establish a comedians’ trade union, which resulted in a comedians’ chapter being founded within actors’ union Equity, as well as the new guild. Comedian Sara Pascoe, one of its founders, told Chortle: “Being a comic is a wonderful job, but it also leaves people vulnerable and solitary. For too long there’s been no recourse for individuals who have been mistreated. Now, working alongside Equity, we hope to change this, using positivity and communication and best practice guidelines.”

Camra’s UK Pub of the Year to replicate George Orwell’s perfect pub for one night: Camra’s UK Pub of the Year, The Salutation Inn, in Ham, Gloucestershire, run by former business analyst Peter Tiley, who left his London job two years ago to pursue his love of beer, is to become George Orwell’s perfect pub, which he called Moon Under the Water, for one night, Thursday 25 June. The pub has told customers: “25 June is George Orwell’s birthday, the man who famously reviewed the most perfect pub for The Evening Standard and set the bar for publicans ever since. The pub Orwell reviewed was The Moon Under Water and was, of course, perfect in every way. It’s clientele were regulars known by name to the barmaids, it sold cigarettes, aspirins and stamps, liver-sausage sandwiches, mussels, cheese, pickles and a creamy sort of draught stout served in glass or pewter mugs. Perfect in every way except just one – it didn’t exist! We reckon the Sally is pretty close to George’s ideal but in homage to the great man, we’re going to try a bit harder to match it. Watch out, therefore, for the aforementioned liver-sausage sandwiches and mussels, cigarettes and creamy stout. You might need to help us out a bit though by wearing name badges for the barmaids, bringing your own pewter mugs. As ever, there’s an incentive – 50p off a pint for anyone wearing a name badge and bringing a pewter mug!”

Robert Humphreys awarded an MBE: Robert Humphreys, formerly the Honorary Secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours for services to alcohol policy. Humphreys is also chairman of PASS, the Proof of Age Scheme, and Best Bar None. He is also a non-executive director of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), a trustee of the National Brewing Museum in Burton and a long-serving member of the Committee of the British Guild of Beer Writers. Andrew Griffiths, MP for Burton and Uttoxeter and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group said: “No-one has done more to raise awareness of British beer and pubs in Westminster and the European Parliament. Robert set up the Beer Group and was its honorary secretary for an incredible 21 years. His passion for beer and pubs is only matched by his encyclopaedic knowledge of the sector, enormous charm and the sheer hard work that he has devoted to promoting our national drink. This recognition is enormously well-deserved.” Mike Benner, managing director of SIBA added: “‘Robert has worked tirelessly for the sector for many years and continues to make an enormous contribution. His determination, knowledge and enthusiasm have been of great benefit to British beer and pubs. I am delighted to be working with him as a non-executive director of SIBA in delivering our vision for Britain’s independent brewers.”

Company News:

Simon French – JD Wetherspoon no longer has an USP: Cenkos Leisure analyst Simon French has argued that JD Wetherspoon now trades in the “squeezed middle” of the market and no longer has an USP. Issuing a ‘Sell’ note, he stated: “We continue to struggle to reconcile like-for-like profits growth and ROIC>WACC from new sites with flat lining Ebit Operating margins may finally have troughed but the group no longer has an USP and is the highest leveraged company in our coverage universe with adjusted net debt/Ebitdar of 5.1x. The stock is not expensive trading on a 2016E adjusted EV/Ebitdar of 7.7x and on a P/E of 15.5x but the forecast three-year CAGR in Earnings Per Share of circa 4% is not particularly attractive, nor is the yield of 1.5%. If the group can accelerate like-for-like sales growth ahead of cost inflation then the operational (and financial) gearing inherent in the model should lead to earnings upgrades but we do not see this happening in the medium-term. The group expects to open around another 30 pubs next year and does not expect like-for-like sales growth to materially change from the current 1-2%. We think operating margins should stabilise in FY 2016E given flat utility costs although the enhanced breakfast offering may act as a drag on margins if significant volume increases are not achieved. We do not expect significant newsflow at the upcoming analyst evening or the Q4 trading update. The group’s FY results in September may provide an opportunity to present increased visibility on FY 2016E guidance.”

Patisserie Valerie set for expansion into Ireland: Patisserie Valerie is to open its first outlet in Northern Ireland in late summer – a store will open in Belfast in August or September, The Times has reported. The brand will open a second Belfast site by the end of 2015 before entering the Republic of Ireland. Chief executive Paul May said he believed the concept had the potential to go to the Middle East, China and Japan but, for now, he is focused on tripling the chain’s size to at least 300 outlets in the UK. The company floated on Aim last year with a share price of 170p, subsequently rising to 319.5p. 

Camden freehold let to Wagamama offered from £4.7m to £5m: The virtual freehold of a restaurant in Camden Market let to Wagamama on a rent of £223,000, rising to £250,000 per annum in January 2019, on a lease expiring in 2024, is to be auctioned by Allsop on Monday 6 July with a guide price of £4.7m to £5m. The virtual freehold comprises a 999-year lease from 26 February 1999. Meanwhile, the freehold of The Gamecock in Kingston, Surrey, let to Spirit Pub Company on a rent of £74,000 per annum, is offered with a guide price of £1.05m to £1.1m.

Former Luminar area manager to launch Slate concept, plans two more: Former Luminar area manager Kaushik Mistry is to open a new concept called Slate in Kendal town centre. He has signed a ten-year lease on a former clothes shop that he will convert into an upmarket wine, cocktail and Martini bar, selling high-end spirits and two craft beers. Food will be award-winning charcuterie, cheese and bread from local artisan supplier Staff of Life. Using the tagline, shaken by night (Martini) and stirred by day (coffee), the bar located opposite PizzaExpress will open within weeks. The bar will feature Lakeland Slate to link with the name, Slate bar and cafe. Discussions are underway for two more sites.

New World Trading Company gets go-ahead 7,500 square foot Club House: New World Trading Company (NWTC) is to open a 7,446 square foot bar and restaurant in a specially-created pavilion-style building on Liverpool One’s Chavasse Park. Called The Club House, the latest addition to Liverpool One’s dining and leisure offer will trade from two floors, including a first floor terrace. Designed by Paul Danson Imagineering with architectural design influences taken from New England and the Hamptons in the USA, The Club House will provide more than 600 covers. There will also be a permanent grill and barbecue to the front of the new building. Set-up for year-round use, it will utilise The Club House’s extensive external space, which opens onto Chavasse Park. The building has been granted planning permission and work will begin this month ahead of opening later this year. Miles Dunnett, director of portfolio management at development owner Grosvenor, said: “The Club House is a great new addition to Liverpool One’s leisure and dining offer, which is now firmly established as one of the most vibrant in the north west.” 

City Pub Company wins rare new Cambridge city centre drinks licence: City Pub Company has won a rare new Cambridge city centre licence – but plans for a terrace on the roof of its proposed site have been dropped. The company has won a licence to open new premises at the former Howes Cycle Shop in Regent Street, which would be its third pub in the city. The city council’s environmental health team and neighbouring Downing College argued against the roof terrace, which stands within 50 metres of student residencies – and overlooks the college master’s private garden. A representative of City Pub Company told a licensing meeting that food accounted for around 50% of sales at its Cambridge Brewhouse – one of its other premises in the city – and that food sales at this new venue were more likely to be in the region of 60%. A planning application for the building is being prepared. The site currently has permission for change of use to a restaurant.

The Sunday Times – Cote on the block for £200m: The Sunday Times has reported that private equity firm CBPE Capital, which owns 51% of Cote, is beginning a strategic review that could lead to its sales for circa £200m. Profits have risen to £16.1m this year and the brand has nearly 70 sites.

Family-owned Northern Ireland company Cookie Box set to go international and expand at home: Cookie Box, a family-owned cookie and milkshake company in Northern Ireland, is set to go international. The company, launched seven years ago by husband and wife team Brian and Claire McRandal, plans to expand into the Middle East and is finalising a deal to open six franchise outlets in Qatar and a further dozen in Saudi Arabia. Cookie Box, which started life in Belfast city centre, is also looking to double the number of stores it has in Northern Ireland from six to 12, creating 40 jobs. Brian McRandal, who is hopeful the firm will turnover £1m in the next 12 months, says there are also plans to franchise the business south of the border in the Republic of Ireland. “We are hoping to open another two this year (in Northern Ireland) and we have a deal agreed in principle for the Middle East,” he told The Belfast Telegraph. The company’s latest plans to begin franchising their business to the Middle East came about with help from Invest NI during a trade trip. The company currently employs 27 staff across its sites in Belfast, Bangor and Lisburn.

Splendid Hospitality Group to open first speciality meatball restaurant in York: Splendid Hospitality Group is set to open York’s first speciality meatball restaurant. The company has signed a £100,000 franchise agreement with the Yorkshire Meatball Company for a 70-cover restaurant at Hotel Indigo York, which Splendid is opening this summer. Splendid chief executive Stuart Bailey said: “We’re passionate about promoting Yorkshire and the local story at Hotel Indigo York, and we can now showcase some truly unique flavours of Yorkshire as our dining concept.” Yorkshire Meatball Company managing director David Atkinson said: “Bringing our ‘balls’ to York is an exciting move for us. There has been huge demand from our existing customers to open up a branch in York so we are delighted to be on board with Splendid Hospitality Group to facilitate this move and help us reach a wider audience.” The restaurant will be open seven days a week from noon to 12pm. It is the first franchise deal and the second outlet for Yorkshire Meatball Company since launching in Harrogate in March 2014.

Le Bistrot Pierre signs up to Mumbles development: Le Bistrot Pierre is the latest restaurant to sign up to the new Oyster Wharf complex at Mumbles in south Wales. The company, which opened its doors in Bath this month, will join Prezzo and cafe bar Loungers at the waterfront development by Nextcolour. Nextcolour director James Morse told The South Wales Evening Post: “We are extremely pleased Le Bistrot Pierre has chosen Oyster Wharf for their next restaurant opening. Its food is superb and it’s a great asset for Mumbles.” The development on Mumbles seafront, which started in January, will have a mix of restaurants, shops and a gym/spa.

Longhorns Barbecue opening second Newcastle restaurant today: Street food specialist Longhorns Barbecue is opening its second restaurant in Newcastle in Jesmond today (Monday, 15 June). The company, which has a restaurant in Mosley Street, launches its new outlet in the former Firenze Italian restaurant at The Courtyard, off Holly Avenue West, and is creating up to 30 jobs. Owner Mick Dixon told ChronicleLive: “We’re having a ‘soft’ launch Monday to Friday and then will be opening fully on the Friday night.” The restaurant has capacity for 100 people – double the size of the Mosley Street establishment – and that will increase to 120 or 130 when a private dining area with bookable booths, featuring their own individual Brooklyn beep taps so customers can serve themselves, opens later this summer. A downstairs “express bar” called The Slaughter House offers food-to-go and, subject to planning permission, Dixon wants a big “salt lick” fire pit, with seating areas and a “little smokehouse” outside. Longhorns has recently launched a breakfast menu and increased its capacity to produce smoked meats from 400lb a time to 1,500lbs.

Smoke Barbecue to follow in the footsteps of Marco Pierre White by opening in Leeds: Texan-inspired restaurant Smoke Barbecue is set to follow in the footsteps of chef Marco Pierre White by opening at the Merrion Centre in Leeds. The company, owned by Sean Gregory and Duka Nagy, will launch their second restaurant at the shopping centre in August. Gregory and Nagy, whose brand carries the slogan: “Put the fork down, it’s time to get dirty” opened their first site in Sheffield after being inspired by the Man versus Food television show. Nagy told The Yorkshire Evening Post: “The barbecue scene is thriving in Leeds so we thought we should see if we can add to it. Leeds makes logical sense – it’s close to Sheffield and already has an established restaurant scene. The location we have chosen is really developing and there are loads of opportunities and investment going on around it. Marco Pierre-White’s new restaurant does make it more attractive to restaurateurs. We always say ‘the more the merrier’ because it brings people to the area, creates a buzz and gives the customer a choice.” Pierre White, who was born in Leeds, announced last week he would be opening a “New York Italian” at the centre.

Ossett Brewery invests £300,000 in Candlebar: Osset Brewery has invested £300,000 in opening Candlebar in the ground floor of a waterside building, Candle House, in Granary Wharf in Leeds. It specialises in craft beers, wines by the glass and gourmet pizza. Its interior features natural materials and neutral tones with dashes of vibrant colour which the brewery owners have dubbed “Yorkshire chic”. It has an extensive waterside seating area outside, with stunning views straight across the Leeds-Liverpool canal. It serves 14 craft beers from around the world, including Ossett’s own cask beers, and over 20 premium wines by the glass, dispensed through Enomatic preservation machines. There are also craft ciders, premium spirits and a selection of classic cocktails. Food is focused on “rustic” pizzas, cooked in an authentic Italian wood-fired oven, alongside gourmet sharing boards and selection of salads.

Artisan cafe owners to open bakery in Cockermouth: The owners of Coffee Kitchen, an artisan cafe in Cockermouth, are to open a bakery in the Cumbrian town to cope with the demand for its bread and cakes. Andy and Angela Walsh, who launched the cafe in Challoner Street four years ago, have leased two neighbouring empty shops in Market Place from Allerdale Borough Council for their new venture. The cafe will continue to operate and the bakery is scheduled to open in August. Andy Walsh told The Times & Star: “From our very first business plan we always had the idea of opening a bakery. As far as the bread and cakes are concerned we have outgrown the current site. We cannot make enough to fulfil what people want. Cockermouth needs a real bread bakery where it’s made on site with no additives or preservatives.” He said there were also plans for more bistro nights at the cafe.

Ping Pong lines up ninth site: Ping Pong, the brand offering dim sum, gourmet Chinese teas and artisan cocktails, will open its ninth site in the former LPDJ restaurant in Westfield Shepherd’s Bush. The restaurant occupies approximately 5,800 square feet including a terrace bar and is located on the lower Southern Terrace leading up to the Shopping Centre. It will accommodate approximately 180 seats and is scheduled to open in early September. This will be the first of two new openings planned for this tax year as well as discussions taking place regarding Ping Pong’s sites in the US, with further expansion overseas being a possibility. Art Sagiryan, chief executive of Ping Pong, said: “Following the success of Ping Pong in Westfield Stratford we felt that the site in Shepherd’s Bush would be an optimum location for us. We have built a strong relationship with the Westfield team over the last year and are very excited to be able to work with them again on this new business opportunity. We have ambitions to open one more restaurant before the end of our financial year, in April 2016, as well as a further two or three in next year. We very much look forward to welcoming our customers to the new restaurant.”

Loungers lodges plans to open in Hereford: Loungers, the Bristol-based cafe bar brand, has lodged proposals to open in Hereford, Herefordshire. The company has appointed Richard Pedlar Architects to prepare plans to transform the former Farmers Club in Widemarsh Street into a bar and restaurant. The Grade II-listed property is currently home to an interior showroom for furniture store Simply Stunning, which would relocate to its base in Wormelow, reports The Hereford Times. The building failed to sell at auction in April 2013 after closing as the Farmers Club. Simply Stunning – which specialises in interiors – opened the showroom last year following a £150,000 refurbishment. 

Pressing Plant Pizza Co to provide pizza offer at new Laine Pub Company retro pub and record shop: Pressing Plant Pizza Co is providing a menu of eight stone-baked sourdough pizzas at Laine Pub Company’s new North Laine retro opening in Brighton, Dead Wax Social. The venue also focuses on eight craft beers on tap and is now home to a giant rack of vinyl, containing 4,000 LPs – customers can browse the racks and select discs to be played on the decks by the bar. “We got them from friends of the company, friends in Brighton and various vinyl wholesalers,” said Paul Chalcraft, operations manager at Laine Pub Company. A small HMV-style listening booth and space for a pop-up record store connects the front bar and the back bar/restaurant. It is decorated with pictures from independent record stores in Brighton and beyond. “It’s a pub and a record shop,” added Chalcraft. “In the digital world of social media it is almost harking back to the actual purpose of going to a pub and listening to some sounds.” There is also a range of more than 40 bottles curated by Horsham-based The Beer Collective. The beers are available in third-pints and two-third-pint schooners, as well as the more traditional half-pint and pint measures.

First Peruvian restaurant outside of London to be named after Newcastle footballer: Newcastle’s first Peruvian restaurant – and the first outside of London will be named after former Newcastle footballer Nobby Solano. North east owners Chris Levee, Alfonso Yanez and Linda Deacon are currently transforming the former Escobars restaurant at Amen Corner in a £100,000 refurbishment scheme to create Solano’s. Sloano said: “I’m really happy that my friends are opening a Peruvian restaurant right in the heart of my second hometown. I hope all Newcastle love my native cuisine.” The restaurant will open this Saturday (20 June) and will employ 16 members of staff.

Provenance Inns to invest further in Yorkshire site: Provenance Inns is to invest further into The Black Bull at Moulton in Yorkshire, having re-opened the site last year. The pub, which was bought by Provenance Inns in 2013, will now benefit from larger gardens, offering a view for the pub’s 16 bedrooms which are scheduled for completion next year. Provenance Inns owns a group of seven village inns, including The Durham Ox at Crayke, The Carpenters Arms at Felixkirk, The Punchbowl at Marton cum Grafton and The West Park Hotel in Harrogate. The business, formed by Chris Blundell and Michael Ibbotson, supports local suppliers and producers, and is committed to reviving the traditional village pub. Provenance Inns director Michael Ibbotson said: “The Black Bull has enjoyed an incredibly successful 12 months since re-opening and it seems sensible to make a further investment that will benefit our customers’ experience when they visit. When our bedrooms open next year, guests will have a wonderful vista to enjoy.”

Hatters Hostels looks to add Jules Verne-themed artisan cafe to Liverpool site: A restaurant-bar and an artisan cafe themed around French novelist, poet, and playwright Jules Verne’s greatest works could soon be added to the Liverpool hostel that was the first purpose-built YMCA facility in the world, Inside Media has reported. The restaurant-bar would host film viewings, gigs, poetry readings and live comedy, while the cafe would incorporate an onsite bookshop and retain original Victorian period features. Hatters Hostels has lodged plans with Liverpool City Council for listed building consent and permission to change the use of part of the ground floor and basement areas of 56-60 Mount Pleasant between the Adelphi Hotel and Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral. The work would involve renovating Hatters Liverpool to house a restaurant-bar and refurbishing the derelict former bookshop on Mount Pleasant to become a cafe.

Greggs shuts Prescott store five months after rival Poundbakery opens in same street: Greggs has shut its store in Prescot in Merseyside – five months after rival Poundbakery opened in the same street. The company confirmed it has closed its doors in Eccleston Street after 27 years with the nearest alternative store in Derby Road in Huyton. The closure comes five months after Poundbakery set up shop a few doors along. A Greggs spokesman told The Liverpool Echo: “We are currently reshaping our estate through a combination of shop relocations, reformatting and some closures. While we continue to believe in the long-term opportunity to grow the number of Greggs shops, our priorities continue to be improving the quality of our existing estate, enhancing the efficiency of our existing supply chain, developing our product offering and evolving our service to meet our food on-the-go to customers’ needs.”

Flypay begins technology partnership with Apple: Flypay, the market leader in innovative, state-of-the-art mobile technology for the hospitality industry, has announced that it will deliver mobile solutions for global enterprise corporate clients in the restaurant, pub and bar industry, which will transform the way they currently operate. Flypay will join a group of companies working with Apple, to deliver a broad range of innovative mobile solutions to corporate buyers on iPhone and iPad. Flypay has announced its first solution will be an iPad-based approach that will transform the way restaurant, pub and bar operators work and engage with customers. This latest initiative from the business will interface with its core consumer suite of smartphone technology, including its award winning Pay-at-Table technology, Pay-at-Bar, Order & Collect and Loyalty, together with a number of other integrated systems and technologies. Flypay’s technology is currently available in over 100 restaurants and bars across the UK, including Wahaca, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Jamie’s Italian, Cabana and Drake & Morgan. Flypay chief executive Tom Weaver said: “To be able to work so closely with such an iconic brand like Apple is absolutely phenomenal, not just for our business, but for the UK hospitality sector as a whole. We are developing new iPad technology to enable hospitality operators worldwide to completely revolutionise the way they engage with their customers.”

Megan’s to open second restaurant in St John’s Wood today: Megan’s, an all-day cafe, grill and bar, will launch its second outlet in St John’s Wood today (Monday, 15 June). The company, which runs a restaurant on Kings Road in Chelsea, opens in the High Street and during the first week there will be 50% off food in the evenings. The breakfast menu includes porridge with caramelised banana and the egg’s Benedict that Megan’s is famous for while the lunch offering features salads, quiches and organic sour dough sandwiches. There is a Mediterranean feel to both the décor and the evening menu with swordfish skewers, tiger prawns, bavette and flamed mackerel. Megan’s also provides party menus for in-house celebrations and will soon offer off-site catering.

Spirit Leased has training programme recognised by BII: Spirit Leased “In Pub” training programmes have been endorsed by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) as an example of good practice. The training programmes were fully analysed by the BII training team and the result notified by the BII’s Director of Quality and Compliance, Denise Thomson. Training manager for Spirit Leased, Lindsay Roper said: “This is a fantastic result for us. We launched our “In Pub” training programmes two years ago and they’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve trained a third of our pub estate and 1,500 team players since the introduction and this endorsement is just the icing on the cake.” Chris Welham, managing director for Spirit Leased, added: “We made the decision early at Spirit Leased that classroom training was not suitable for licensees and their teams running busy pubs. We developed the “In Pub” training programmes so we could bring the very best retail training directly into pubs for them. It’s been a critical part of our success since its launch.”

Timothy Taylor double profits after managed rationalisation: Keighley brewer and retailer Timothy Taylor, which famously brews Madonna’s favorite cask ale, Landlord, has reported profit almost doubled in the year to 30 September 2014 after its rationalisation of its managed estate. Pre-tax profit was £2,387,722, virtually double the £1,225,673 achieved the year before. The increased profit was achieved despite turnover dropping to £19,532,789 compared to £21,876,538 in the year prior. The company stated: “Overall profit before tax was nearly £2.4m, virtually double last year’s £1.2m profit, though last year was adversely affected by a £900,000 exceptional item in relation to the rationalisation of the managed estate. The performance from our rebalanced pub estate has exceeded our expectations. The outlets that transferred from managed to tenancy have all performed well, as did the two remaining managed houses. All of this (was) achieved with a lower turnover base, so the smaller pub estate is more profitable despite the loss of over £2m of retail turnover. Our beer brands have also performed well this year, particularly during the second half when overall barrelage grew by 5% compared to 2013. This was helped by continuing strong bottle sales, the benefit to Yorkshire from the Tour de France and the boost in August and September from Boltmaker winning Supreme Champion Beer of Britain.” The company added: “The distortion of Progressive Beer Duty relief for small producers continues to tilt the playing field in favour of microbreweries.” The company’s head-count reduced to 109 in the year from 183 the year before, with the number of staff employed by its retail division amounting to 48, a reduction of 72 after managed pubs were move to tenancies. Dividends of £323,920 (2013: £161,960) were paid to shareholders who were also directors.

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 tenth 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 and 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 Unites States in the past year. Jamie Barber talks about how his Brasilian barbecue brand Cabana brand was developed from scratch, its birth, evolution and future prospects. James Hacon, managing director of Elliotts, talks to about the future of sector marketing with Georgia Hall, brand and marketing manager for Café 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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