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Wed 17th Jun 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Starbucks to close its 23 Boulange bakery cafe sites in the US: Starbucks is to close all 23 of its La Boulange retail bakery cafes locations in the US, as well as the two manufacturing facilities that serve those locations, by the end of September 2015. The company stated: “As a standard course of business, Starbucks continually evaluates all components of its business to confirm they are aligned with key priorities and strategies for growth, which includes the continued analysis of the store portfolio. Based on our ongoing evaluations, Starbucks has determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth. The La Boulange brand will continue to play a significant role in the future of Starbucks food in stores, and the company looks forward to serving delicious La Boulange food at its Starbucks retail locations in San Francisco and across the US and Canada. The Evolution Fresh retail location in San Francisco will also close.” Starbucks added: “Food is a key element of Starbucks growth strategy to create new occasions to visit stores, and the company has seen tremendous response to these efforts since the acquisition of La Boulange. In the most recent quarter, (Q2 FY15) food delivered growth of 16% year-over-year and contributed two points to the comparable growth with every daypart, platform and region contributing to the increase. Sales of Starbucks new breakfast sandwiches have contributed a noteworthy 35% year-over-year growth in the breakfast platform. And, the company’s lunch platform delivered double-digit year-over-year gains. Starbucks has successfully delivered an improved food experience with the roll-out of La Boulange products in its US and Canada stores, which have been well received by customers. Starbucks goals to grow its food business and deliver an incremental $2 billion in the next five years in the US are unchanged. Starbucks will continue to deepen its commitment to customers’ food experience in stores, ensuring it surpasses their expectations, just as the company has done with coffee and beverages.”
 

Industry News:

Drinkaware – young people stop binge-drinking to avoid cyber-shame: Drinkaware has argued that young people between the ages of 16 to 24 have reduced drinking in a bid to avoid being photographed drunk and “cyber shamed” on social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. The number of young binge drinkers has fallen from 29% to 18% Drinkaware reports that tougher rules on off-licences, bars and supermarkets selling alcohol to under-21s may have been a contributing factor to the decline in drinking. Spokesman Kelly O’Sullivan told the Daily Mail: “We’ve also seen something called ‘cyber-shame’. Young people who spend a lot of time online are quite happy to tag photos of their friends drunk but are more concerned about being tagged themselves. This might curb their behaviour.”
 
Camra to launch London’s Best Beer, Pubs and Bars book this month: Camra is to launch a new book, London’s Best Beer, Pubs & Bars, written by Des De Moor on 25 June at Blackwell’s Bookshop in Holborn. De Moor said: “I feel privileged to find myself a chronicler of the London beer scene at one of the most exciting times in its history. Brewery numbers have more than quintupled since the last edition was published and the variety and quality of beer in pubs, bars and shops is now overwhelming. And brewers are now accessible in ways they never were before – the Saturday taproom was almost unknown four years ago but it’s now an institution. Overall it’s the best time ever to enjoy beer in one of the world’s great cities, and I’m delighted to be able to help people share in that.” The book lists 250 venues.

McDonald’s trials ‘mini-meals’: McDonald’s is testing a range of “mini meals” in the US. The company is offering customers the chance to try a “signature burger” that comes with small fries and a drink that ranges from 660 to 820 calories as part of its “Lovin’ Value Menu”, which allows customers to swap their fries and fizzy drink for fruit and bottled water. The meals cost from $2.99 to $3.99 (£1.94-£2.60) and also allow customers to select the company’s McDouble, cheeseburger and McChicken as the sandwich. According to the Huffington Post, the menu also offers customers the chance to buy a “Classic Pack”. Consisting of two quarter pounders with cheese or two Big Macs, two medium fries, three sauces and a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets, the box is being priced at $13.99 (£9.10).
 
£2m former Stonegate pub could be bulldozed: A £2m former Stonegate pub that has been converted into a “jumble-yard” could be bulldozed by the end of the month. Owner of the Royston Arms in Chingford Mount Road, Chingford, New York Developments Limited, has applied to Waltham Forest Council for permission to demolish the pub in a bid to build flats and shops on the half-acre site. Stonegate closed the two-and-half storey pub in September last year and sold it for £1.1m. It was then reportedly sold on for more than £2m after the Chingford Islamic Society told the local newspaper it was outbid with a £2.2m offer. The entire ground floor of the pub has been operating as a retail unit since the beginning of the year, selling various household items including sofas, chairs, radios, washing machines and DVDs.
 
MacCallums of Troon enters administration: The award-winning MacCallums of Troon business, which includes the famous Oyster Bar and award-winning Wee Hurrie chip shop, has been placed in administration. The company, operated for the past five years by the MacCallum brothers James and John, is still trading in administration.  WRI Associates in Glasgow had been appointed as administrators after being brought in by the brothers. Recently, the MacCallums opened a smokehouse behind the Troon site and a fish and chip shop in Bearsden. In 2012 the Wee Hurrie became the fish and chip shop of the year in a national competition. Joint administrator Scott Milne confirmed he is already in talks with “interested parties” and is seeking more potential buyers.
 

Company News:

Speakeasy Entertainment secures Smithfield Market site: Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has, on behalf of the City of London Corporation, let The Cock Tavern in Smithfield Market to Speakeasy Entertainment, operators of multi award-winning cocktail bar and music venue Nightjar, on a new free-of-tie lease until 2028. The Cock Tavern – which is located beneath the Poultry Hall of London’s famous Smithfield Market – is a 4,220 sq ft subterranean pub, which for many years served the workers of the meat and poultry market and benefits from a 6:00am-2:00am licence for sale of alcohol Tuesday-Friday and 8:00am-2:00am Saturday-Sunday and 6:00am-11:00pm Monday. Nightjar, which has consistently sat within the top three of The World’s 50 Best Bar Awards since it opened, is to open a new site in 2015. Chris Bickle associate director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The EC1 and Smithfield Market area is currently one of the Capital’s most vibrant and active locations, from a commercial and licensed leisure perspective. As we get closer to the opening of Crossrail, the buzz is intensifying and this is reflected by the rents, and where appropriate, the premiums now being achieved. Our lettings campaign generated a huge amount of interest from a large cross section of operators – from high-end restaurants and emerging concepts, to craft beer and pub companies and specialist leisure. In the end, the plans Nightjar proposed stood out from the crowd and we have no doubt this will be an exciting addition to the area’s scene.”

Castle Rock Brewery secures 21st site: Castle Rock Brewery, the East Midlands based brewer and publican, has taken over the operation of The Embankment Social Club at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. It becomes the 21st pub in its East Midlands and Yorkshire heartland and its 12th in Greater Nottingham. Colin Wilde, Castle Rock’s managing director, said the newly renamed Embankment will drop its club image and, after a comprehensive refurbishment, become a classic Castle Rock-style pub. He added: “We’ll make sure it’ll be fit for the Meadows area of the city it serves, but have wider appeal to the conurbation and to visitors to the nearby cricket and football grounds. And by retaining all its fascinating features; its oak panelling, stained glass windows and fine décor, we’ll pay homage to its former life as a chemists’ shop and social club for employees of the Boots company.” The leasehold premises have been acquired by The Beer Consortium Ltd, an EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) company set up in late 2014. It is the Beer Consortium’s second acquisition for Castle Rock this year following the purchase of The Horse and Plough pub in Bingham in March.

Inglenook Inns & Taverns takes on first Star Pubs & Bars pub: North west pub operator Inglenook Inns & Taverns is to operate its first Star Pubs & Bars pub, The Falstaff in Southport, Merseyside, which is now undergoing a £325,000 refurbishment. The pub, which will re-open in mid-July creating up to 20 jobs, will offer quirky American-style food as well as more traditional pub favourites and be designed to appeal to families as well as people wanting to watch live sport. The new-look pub will feature a coffee lounge, raised dining area, booths and an area where larger parties can be catered for. A verandah and terrace will also be added outside the front. Inglenook Inns & Taverns was set up by James Waddington three years ago and operates 20 pubs.

Barburrito targets 20 sites as it secures Metrocentre venue: Award-winning burrito brand Barburrito has secured a new site at the new Qube II catering development of The Metrocentre in Gateshead. The new restaurant will provide approximately 55 covers and will employ up to 25 staff. Barburrito currently operates 12 stores across six cities and plans to grow the business to over 20 stores in the next two years with help from funding from the Business Growth Fund. New stores will target high footfall locations including major city centres, shopping centres and travel hubs. Jim Bishop, Barburrito’s newly appointed head of property, said: “We are delighted to be part of Intu’s Metrocentre Qube II scheme and are excited about opening there in early 2016. This acquisition is part of our plan to grow nationally following on from our recent development in Cardiff, St David’s Centre and agreement of terms for a number of new restaurants in various parts of the UK.” The first Barburrito was opened by founder and chief executive Morgan Davies in 2005 in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Turnover run rate is £8.5m net sales, projected to double over the next two years.
 
Innis & Gunn extends mini-bond offer after raising £2.5m: Brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has announced that it will be extending availability of its four-year, initial fixed-term mini-bond, for a further month to satisfy demand. The independent craft brewer will extend applications for the mini-bond, which offers investors an interest rate of 7.25% gross interest per annum, until 16 July 2015. The mini-bond, which has to date raised about £2.5m, will fund the creation of a state-of-the-art brewery, bottling line and barrel store in Scotland. Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and chief executive of Innis & Gunn, said: “We have been delighted with the response and the levels of investment coming in. We set out to raise £3m and we’re almost there. We always wanted this project to bring us closer to our fans and the wider craft beer community and it absolutely has – the feedback we have had has been phenomenal. Over the last week, we’ve seen surging levels of interest from a spread of investors and as a result have taken the decision to keep the mini-bond open for a further month. We’re learning as we go with the launch of this mini-bond and the mix of applicants has been of real interest to us – we’ve attracted more than 840 individuals, from Innis & Gunn ‘fan-vestors’ to well-seasoned investors, predominantly in Scotland and south England. Investment levels have ranged from the entry level £500 to over £100,000, which indicates we’re attracting an interesting cross-section of people.”

Old Northampton Group opens burger and ribs restaurant:
Old Northampton Group, which runs three outlets in Northampton, has opened its burger and ribs restaurant the Department of Meat & Social Affairs. The company has revamped the Department of Liquor bar in Bridge Street into an 85-seat restaurant specialising in locally sourced meat and homemade ice creams, creating up to 25 jobs. The venue, which is opened from Tuesday to Saturday from noon to 9pm, has an outside ping-pong table and barbecue area and a wall decorated with retro cassettes. The menu includes burgers with pulled pork, cheese or chorizo, beef short ribs, buffalo wings homemade ice creams in a range of flavours such as cherry Bakewell and pineapple and ginger. General manager Tino Pezzillo told the Northampton Chronicle and Echo: “We want to do something different in Bridge Street and show people there’s more to it than bars and clubs. We’re focusing very much on the daytime and early evening crowd so people can come for a really nice lunch or a bite to eat before heading out.” Old Northampton Group’s other outlets are the Old House, a bar-restaurant in Wellingborough Road, and Sazerac Bar, a cocktail bar in Castilian Street.
 
Marston’s set to launch third pub in Knutsford:
Marston’s is set to open its third pub in Knutsford, Cheshire, after signing an agreement to move into the Old Town Hall. The company has agreed terms with Monckton Properties to launch a bar/restaurant in the Grade II-listed building in Princess Street, reports the Knutsford Guardian. A planning statement on behalf of the company shows a change of use from retail to bar/restaurant, external seating, new shop front and disabled ramp as well as internal alternations. The building was last occupied by furniture firm Allen and Appleyard, which moved out in September 2011. For the past two years the Old Town Hall has been home to the Knutsford Beer Festival and has staged exhibitions over the past 12 months. Marston’s has control of two pubs in Knutsford, the Builders Arms, which it leases out, and the Legh Arms. Meanwhile, Marston’s has opened its latest Milestone Carvery – The Pipe Major at the former Sanofi site in Dagenham, Essex. The 180-seat restaurant, which offers a daily carvery, has created 45 jobs.
 
STK London wins The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards new concept and innovation accolade: STK London, the steak chain operated by The One Group, has won the new Concept and Innovation Award at The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards. The brand beat off competition from four other restaurants to land the title that recognises the company that is bringing food, fashion and style to the fore. Each of the executive chefs at the nominated restaurants were asked to record a short video interview played to 800 industry luminaries who voted Barry Vera, chef director for The One Group for STK, as the winner. Other big winners at the ceremony at the Hilton Park Lane Hotel in London were Nuno Mendes’ Chiltern Firehouse, which was named Best New Restaurant of the Year while The Special Award, which has previously been given to Heston Blumenthal and Marco Pierre White, went to two-Michelin starred chef Sat Bains. The Craft Guild of Chefs Awards recognises the cream of the crop of the UK chef scene whether they work in a pub, fine dining restaurant, city university, military unit, contract catering or even as development chefs for national retailers.
 
La Tasca executive chef wins food award: Antony Bennett, executive chef at La Tasca, has won the Development Chef Award at the Craft Guild of Chefs annual awards dinner for his work in improving the chain’s food offer. La Tasca was the only casual dining winner on the night. Chief executive Simon Wilkinson said: “On the day we launch our new La Vina menu and a week before we launch the new La Tasca menu it is only fitting that Antony wins an accolade on behalf of the company for his outstanding work in taking a written-off food concept back to the top of the casual dining market for its fresh, vibrant and innovative food menus – much deserved.”
 
Columbus craft brewer produces brew to welcome BrewDog to the city: Smokehouse Brewing Co is toasting Scottish brewer BrewDog’s decision to open a new production brewery in Columbus, Ohio, by producing a special one-off ale, Scotty Doesn’t Know. It’s a 6.6% ABV American amber ale that employs British East Kent Golding hops and British pale malt. BrewDog revealed plans last week to open a 100-barrel production brewery in Columbus, saying the city “has got a fantastic beer scene already, so it’s going to be fun to brew our beer in this vibrant Midwestern metro”. Smokehouse owner Lenny Kolada said the Scotty Doesn’t Know name is a reference to the cult movie EuroTrip. The 2004 film follows Scott and his friends as they travel to Europe. “Scotty thinks he knows,” according to promotional materials from Smokehouse. “But he doesn’t. Columbus must be breathed and lived to know its greatness, as we do. We welcome our Scottish brothers to this side of the pond by brewing this special Scottish-inspired American amber ale as our brewer’s welcoming handshake to BrewDog. Scotty Doesn’t Know (the half of it. Just wait until you settle into our fair city, brothers.) Welcome to CBus, BrewDog! This pint’s for you!”
 
Healthy eating cafe Farm Girl opens first outlet in London: Farm Girl, a healthy eating cafe, has opened its first outlet in Portobello Road in London. The cafe, inspired by owner Rose Mann’s childhood growing up on a rural farm outside Melbourne in Australia, offers diners nutritious food in a relaxed space in the heart of Notting Hill. The menu includes innovative dishes such as the Coconut BLT; coconut bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cashew cream and guacamole and Farm Girl Porridge; millet flakes, chia seeds, coconut, avocado and omega mix. The cafe, which is open from Tuesday to Sunday, has floor-to-ceiling windows to provide a light and airy environment and a secluded courtyard offering customers a break from the hustle and bustle of Portobello Market.
 
Spirit wins two gongs at Footprint Awards: Spirit Pub Company has been recognised for its energy efficiency and environmentally efficient logistics at the 2015 Footprint Foodservice Awards. Firstly, Spirit, in association with Total Gas & Power and Inenco won the Energy Efficiency Award, being recognised for “Project Discovery”; described by the judges as “an initiative with massive scale and great engagement”. Following Spirit’s philosophy of creating long-term relationships to unlock hidden value, a long-term contract was signed with Total Gas & Power in October 2014. This provided the business with a platform to revamp its energy supply chain and in conjunction with Inenco, “Project Discovery” was launched. The project is about pure collaboration, information is shared among key partners focusing efforts in areas that are not only sustainable but where objectives can be achieved efficiently. Since its launch, significant progress has been made via a number of initiatives reducing cost, consumption and the impact compliance has upon the business. Secondly, Spirit’s key logistics partner of choice, Kuehne + Nagel Food Service, won the Environmentally Efficient Logistics Award.
 
Family-owned milkshake shop Scoopalicious eyes expansion after successful first five years: Family-owned milkshake shop Scoopalicious is eyeing expansion after celebrating a successful first five years in business. The shop, owned by Khaliq Rehman, has increased its product range ten-fold since opening in June 2010 at the Crompton Place Shopping Centre in Bolton. He is now ready to expand with more products and also looking at opening a second branch in the Greater Manchester area, reports The Bolton News. Rehman, who offers 150 ranges of milkshakes as well as ice creams, fruit smoothies and protein shakes, said: “We’re always thinking of something new and changing the menu. We’d like to add more products this year.” The father-of-three launched Scoopalicious after realising there was a potential market in the milkshakes he was making as treats for his children.
 
Wyn Ellis – Whitbread has reported a solid first quarter, still a ‘great investment’:
Numis Securities leisure analyst Wyn Ellis has argued that Whitbread produced a “solid” first quarter result update yesterday (Tuesday, 16 June), with like-for-like sales growth of 4.3% despite being up against tough competition. He said: “Premier Inn grew total sales by 14.3% and like-for-like sales by 6.3% in quarter one. We consider this to be a solid performance given the tough competition in the first half of 2015 (like-for-likes +9.5%) and some slowdown in the London market. There was an 8.2% increase in UK system size and a 6.1% growth in revpar. In 2015/16, Whitbread expects to open about a further 5,500 new UK rooms. Roughly 85% of rooms are in the UK regions and we expect the regional recovery to be an important driver of growth in FY16. We are leaving our 5% like-for-like growth forecast for FY16 unchanged. Restaurants reported like-for-like sales growth was flat but the comps were tough in the first quarter of 2015 (like-for-likes +4.4%) and the Peach Tracker has shown evidence of a slowdown in the market. Costa has had another strong start to the year with total sales growth of 15.9% (15.7% at constant currency) and like-for-like sales growth of 5%. International system sales grew by 14.1% (at constant currency). We are holding our forecasts as this is only a quarter one update (the first 13 weeks). The shares are on 21.5x FY16 (Feb) earnings. Not obviously very cheap but still a great investment, in our view.”
 
Rise of micro-breweries competition forced Copper Dragon pre-pack administration: Skipton-based Copper Dragon brewery was forced into administration after a combination of factors, including pub closures and competition from micro breweries, led to losses, administrators have reported. The company, which had been set up in 2011 to acquire the business of Skipton Brewery from an earlier administration, made beers including the Golden Pippin and claimed to be one of the fastest growing breweries in Yorkshire until it was hit by problems, according to Insider Media. The key challenge was the rise of micro-breweries which benefited from advantageous tax breaks compared to larger operators like Copper Dragon. Copper Dragon’s backer, Skipton Financial Services, decided it could no longer support trading, with CitiNorth, a funding business which shared a director with Copper Dragon, stepping in. Just after CitiNorth became the sole chargeholder of the brewery on 30 March, Copper Dragon was presented with a winding up petition from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). With ongoing trading deemed not possible, Lane Bednash of CMB Partners UK was appointed as administrator of Copper Dragon on 23 April. The business was purchased out of administration on the same day for £100,000 by Greyhawk Brewery. Steve Taylor, the managing director of Copper Dragon, is involved with Greyhawk Brewery but not currently as a director. Despite the money raised from the pre-pack sale, only a small dividend is expected for unsecured creditors, including HMRC, which was owed approximately £1.3m at the date of the administrator’s appointment. Secured creditor CitiNorth is expected to make a full recovery.

Restaurant brand Fish & Chips by Des McDonald changes name: The restaurant brand Fish & Chips by Des McDonald is changing its name to Vintage Salt following the success of its latest outlet at Selfridges. McDonald changed the name of his restaurant in Old Broad Street yesterday (Tuesday, 16 June) and the outlet in Upper Street, Islington, will follow suit next month. The change follows the success of McDonald’s latest restaurant at Selfridges, On the Roof with Vintage Salt, and reflects the evolution of the brand from serving “posh fish and chips” to the seafood restaurant, bar and terrace it has become. McDonald said: “The name change to Vintage Salt is the next logical step for the Fish & Chip brand. It is more reflective of what the City restaurant has become and will continue to evolve too, especially as we look to expand and open further Vintage Salt restaurants outside of London.” As well as serving haddock and cod with hand cut chips, the Islington and Old Broad Street restaurants will also serve Cornish fish and meat dishes and the summer cocktails that are already on the menu at the Selfridges establishment. Since opening in May, the rooftop restaurant at Selfridges has been fully booked, serving seasonal British dishes to more than 500 diners per day.

Calco package of 21 pubs and clubs on the market:
A total of 21 pubs and clubs that were formerly part of the Calco and Cal Management estates have been put on the market. Leisure property specialists Fleurets has been instructed by administrators to sell the establishments, which are predominantly freehold and in the Birmingham and Manchester areas. Two of the properties are closed and offers are being sought both for individual acquisitions and as a group. One property highlighted is The Coach Hotel in Birmingham – a two and three storey Grade II-listed Georgian style building with 15 en-suite bedrooms and 150-cover function room and restaurant close to the NEC. Paul Newby, director leading the instruction from Fleurets, said: “This group of pubs and clubs present some significant opportunities for licensed trade operators, as well as property developers and investors.” Cal Management went into administration on 30 September 2011 and was followed by Calco Pubs in January 2012.

Enterprise Inns’ pub receives five AA stars after being transformed in £500,000 refurbishment: Enterprise Inns’ New Inn in North Yorkshire has been awarded five AA stars after the pub was transformed in a £500,000 refurbishment. The 20-room building in the Yorkshire Dales National Park has been completely renovated during a two-and-a-half year rolling refurbishment programme jointly funded by Enterprise along with Lesley Benson and her family, who took it over in 2013. The former fortified farmhouse, in Old Road, Clapham, is now a popular, award-winning boutique hostelry and the Bensons are in talks with Enterprise about taking on a second pub in the area. The New Inn has also secured an AA Breakfast Award, and hopes to achieve rosettes for its restaurant when it begins opening five-days-a-week this summer. The building was in need of significant investment when it was taken over by the Bensons but Lesley, along with husband Ron and daughter Laura, began a long and careful restoration programme with backing from Enterprise. The renovation work, which is nearly completed, has seen the entire building revamped with some of the building’s original oak beams and stone walls restored to serve as distinctive and characterful features. The building, which dates from around 1700, became a hostelry in 1745 and now attracts families, walkers, cyclists and business travellers.

Leeds-based craft beer specialist submits plans for seventh site: Leeds-based Northbar, which operates five bars in Leeds and one in Otley, has submitted plans to develop a new site opposite Harrogate Theatre on Cheltenham Parade in a busy part of the spa town that is characterised by bars, restaurants and shops. The vacant three-storey terrace property was previously occupied by “It’s Incredible” and prior to that Game Station. Northbar also operates North Brewing Co.
 
Morar Hospitality buys 52-bedroom Rotherham hotel: London-based Morar Hospitality has bought the 52-bedroom Welcome Inn hotel in Rotherham out of administration through agent Christie + Co amid a strong level of interest. The hotel occupies a high-profile site adjacent to the Oasis Health Club and Superbowl that remain part of the ongoing group administration. Christie + Co, acting on behalf of administrative receivers, said significant interest was generated in the freehold property resulting in multiple bids well in excess of the guide price, culminating in the sale to London-based Morar Hospitality, the first sale of the property since opening in 2004. Jay Patel, director of Morar Hospitality, said: “The Welcome Inn enjoys an excellent main road location close to Rotherham town centre and is easily accessible to both Meadowhall and Sheffield Arena.”

Novus Leisure reduces staff turnover with new training programme: Bar and restaurant operator Novus Leisure has seen a reduction in staff leaving the company since introducing a new training programme focusing on individual aspirations and personal development. The company’s “Raising the Bar – From Novice to Novus” initiative has resulted in staff turnover decline by 23% among hourly paid employees and 10% among salaried staff over the past 12 months. The scheme sets out training courses and projects for each level to highlight progression throughout the company and cover a mixture of personal development and operational based training, using internal and external expertise. Each department runs the training relevant to them while Novus has revamped its online e-learning system including the launch of an online personality profiling assessment tool that is used to generate personal development plans and feedback for senior management. Staff turnover is a key issue for many brands throughout the hospitality sector, and Novus has focused on reducing this as a priority over the last year. Novus Leisure HR manager Georgina Fleming, said: “Thanks to our terrific training and development tools too, we’ve managed to considerable reduce our staff turnover. These tools are also helping us to attract the most ambitious candidates who are passionate about the industry and appreciate the possibilities we offer; a huge number of sites in London with a variety of management positions, and the potential to progress their career not just in one bar, but across our whole portfolio.” Novus Leisure was founded in 1999 and its brands include Tiger Tiger, Balls Brothers of London and Premium Bar & Kitchen.

Fazenda expands flagship Leeds site: South American-style restaurant Fazenda has invested £500,000 in the refurbishment of the flagship Leeds Granary Wharf restaurant. The investment has added 40 more covers with the special addition of two new 10-cover private dining rooms. Founder Tomas Maunier, a Brazilian-Argentinian dual national, said: “Our new investment in our Leeds restaurant is based on the growing strength of Granary Wharf as a destination with a high quality offer. Since our launch in Leeds, Fazenda has evolved and it was time for Yorkshire people to enjoy our development as a brand and as an experience. We are taking the Leeds restaurant to the next level, that people in the city and West Yorkshire deserve.” Fazenda also now operates new sites in Liverpool and Manchester. The restaurant offers a selection of 15 grilled meats inspired by the culinary experiences in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
 
Nando’s – we’re committed to New Zealand despite six site closures:
Nando’s has insisted it remains committed to the New Zealand market despite the closure of six restaurants over the past year. Nando’s New Zealand chief executive Justin Scotti said the recent closure of three outlets in Henderson, Takapuna and Wairau Park was the result of a franchise agreement breach, the details of which he would not reveal. It was the company’s intention to re-open those stores, he said. Scotti said a restaurant in Birkenhead, as well as two regional sites in Whangarei and Whakatane, had also been closed in the last 12 months. Nando’s International purchased the master franchise license for the business in New Zealand in May last year. The brand arrived in New Zealand in 2000 and operates about 30 sites.
 
Nick Batram – Domino’s Pizza Poland fund-raising provides significant flexibility: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram has agued that yesterday’s £5.5m fund-raising by Domino’s Pizza Poland provides the company with “significant flexibility”. He said: “The Group is raising £5.5m gross (9% discount to yesterday’s closing price) via a placing of 34.8m shares (36.5% of existing share capital) at 15.8p per share (9% discount to yesterday’s closing price). The requirement of a fund raising was well flagged at the final results and this will remove any uncertainty that may have overhung the share price. The general meeting to approve the placing will be held on 3 July. The placing will give the Group significant additional flexibility over the roll-out, enabling DP Poland to open up to 20 further corporate stores in 2016/17. This will give management greater control over the rate and the breadth of expansion outside of Warsaw. 2014 demonstrated the positive momentum in the business, the success of the new S2 store format and the promising performance of stores in new markets outside of Warsaw. The strong performance reported at the AGM has continued.”
 
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 e-mailing 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 & 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 United States in the past year. Jamie Barber talks about how his Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana was developed from scratch, its birth, evolution and future prospects. 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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