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Tue 23rd Jun 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

SSP set to expand street food concept at UK railway stations following Euston launch: SSP Group is looking to expand street food to other railway stations in the UK following the launch of a new street food concept in Euston. Network Rail commercial director Hamish Kiernan says talks are taking place with SSP to look at bringing street food brands to other stations following the opening of Junction Urban Street Food at Euston yesterday (Monday, 22 June) The venture has introduced three independent brands – Big Apple Hot Dogs, The Rib Man and Beany Australia – to travellers at Euston offering authentic street food in a convenient “grab and go” format. It has been created as a result of a partnership between SSP and British Street Food founder Richard Johnson with Network Rail, which is keen to see the concept rolled out to other concourses. Kiernan told Propel: “We are talking with SSP about how we can expand the street food brands we have on offer at our stations but we haven’t identified any definite sites as yet. The biggest challenge is finding the space. There are so many brands out there that could appeal to travellers. The success here after the first couple of days shows there is certainly potential for elsewhere.” Johnson, who identified the three street food brands at Euston, said: “This type of food appeals to all different sorts of people and the street food concept has really evolved in the past couple of years. I hope this new offering will help it grow further.” Mark Gevaux, who owns the Rib Man brand, is keen to expand his concept at other railway stations along with airports in the future. He said: “As a street trader I can’t see myself opening a chain of shops on the high street but if there’s other opportunities with SSP then I would be interested.” Junction Urban Street Food is part of a wider £12.5m redevelopment of Euston, which is creating 11,500 sq ft of additional food and beverage space including a revamped balcony level that is due to open in September.

Industry News:

Research shows £8.3bn spend per month on leisure activities: The average Brit with disposable income is spending £200 each per month on leisure activities, including eating and drinking out and holidays, totalling £8.3bn collectively, new research shows. In terms of leisure, consumers are spending the most on holidays and breaks (£85), eating out (£39) and drinking out and clubbing (£32) each month the VoucherCodes.co.uk research reveals. Despite the high spending on drinking out, more than a quarter of Brits (27%) say they spent more on drinking out/clubbing five years ago. However, a quarter (26%) of respondents stated they spend more on holidays in an average month in 2015 than they did in an average month in 2010. Irrespective of age or gender, all Brits appear to prioritise experiences over material goods with the largest specified portion (21%) of disposable income spent on socialising. The research also revealed that there is a large disparity between what men and women spend on leisure, with men spending £231 while women spend just £171 per month. Men spend almost double (£41) that of women (£23) on drinking out and clubbing, and significantly more on holidays (£93 versus £78) and eating out (£46 versus £33). Women’s spending on entertainment activities such as going to the cinema and bowling (£14), and cultural activities such as buying gig and festival tickets (£11), is much closer to the amount spent by men (£15 and £12 respectively). Claire Davenport, managing director at VoucherCodes.co.uk, said: “An opportunity for the industry could be to make leisure experiences more appealing and higher in the ‘order of needs’ for women.”

Pho turns ten today with 10p customer offer: Vietnamese brand Pho, founded by Stephen and Jules Wall on St John Street in Clerkenwell on 23 June 2005, is celebrating its tenth birthday today. The company has 14 restaurants (12 in London, one in Brighton and one in Leeds) with plans to open in the Corn Exchange in Manchester this August, followed by Birmingham’s new Grand Central Station in late 2015. Today, Pho is offering any dish for just 10p (eat in only, one 10p dish per person) from its St John Street restaurant all day long. The restaurant group will also hide one set of golden chopsticks in one of its 14 restaurants – and whoever finds them will win two return flights to Vietnam. 

Glynn Purnell criticises Nando’s and other chains for Birmingham takeover: Celebrity chef Glynn Purnell has criticised Nando’s and other restaurant chains, claiming they are killing independent businesses in Birmingham. The Michelin-starred chef, who runs Purnell’s and Purnell’s Bistro and Ginger’s Bar in the city centre, said the “Nando-isation” of high streets is driving out independent food retailers. And he has called on Birmingham City Council to step in and help small businesses, including independent artisan food retailers. The chef also said business rates were forcing small shops out of the market. Recent figures released by the Local Data Company revealed West Midland high streets have double the rate of empty shops than London. Purnell said: “Everyone loves Nando’s but whacking them and other fast food outlets all over the city makes Birmingham a less interesting place. Birmingham’s Great Western Arcade was full of independent retailers and shops with queues out of the doors a few years ago. But yearly tier increases on rental rates have left some of those small business owners with no choice but to walk away. Birmingham needs independent shops to bring people here. There needs to be more incentives for people to open small businesses in the city.”

Reports show casual dining chains’ US market growth share in past 25 years: US sandwich and burger chains have lost their market dominance over the past couple of decades amid the emergence of casual dining restaurants, and then fast-casual and coffee concepts, according to the latest Chain Restaurant Industry Review from GE Capital, Franchise Finance. In 1990, the first year GE published its annual look at the restaurant industry, sandwich chains, of which it includes burger concepts like McDonald’s and Burger King, represented nearly two-thirds, or 63.5 %, of the top 25 restaurant chains. By 2014, that percentage had fallen to 54.5%, as the chains’ growth stagnated and concepts like Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Buffalo Wild Wings have grown. “The industry has shifted tremendously in the last 25 years,” said Kimberly Savilon, who is senior vice president of strategic marketing for GE Capital. “Twenty-five years ago, the options were primarily QSR. They predominantly ruled the chain space.”

SIBA renames its Direct Delivery Scheme as Beerflex: The Society of Independent Brewers’ (SIBA) award winning Direct Delivery Scheme (DDS) is being renamed Beerflex to reflect the organisation’s plans to grow the commercial opportunities for its members in a changing beer and pubs market. Launched in 2003, DDS has been very successful in creating access to pubs within pub companies for hundreds of brewers. It is a practical and efficient scheme whereby participating SIBA brewers deliver their beers directly to local tied or managed pubs via a centrally administered service. Mike Benner, SIBA’s managing director, said: “DDS has gone from strength to strength in line with the growing demand for high quality local beers. As a not-for-profit scheme for SIBA members it now helps about 550 brewers to supply 4,000 different beers and is a trusted partner to more than 2,500 pubs within pub companies. We are now building on this success with a new commercial growth strategy led by our long-standing commercial director Nick Stafford.”

Matthew Clark reports surge in craft beer sales: Wholesaler Matthew Clark has responded to substantial growth in the craft beer sector, which has seen volumes increase by 5.2% in the on-trade over the last 12 months, with the addition of a further 40 new products to its Boutique Beers range to satisfy this demand. The range, which launched last year, now holds over 135 craft beers and ales across draught, bottles and cans. Over the past year Matthew Clark sold over four million litres of beer from its Boutique offering, with sales of these stock-keeping units seeing 45% year-on-year volume increases. IPAs and porters continue to be popular, with more specialty styles such as farmhouse ales or saisons also seeing growing interest from customers. This is reflected with the introduction of Tank 7 from Boulevard brewery, Kansas City. Craft beers from the UK have also seen a surge in popularity with value across the market up 28%, with the Matthew Clark range growing to include Celt from Wales, Portobello from London and Thornbridge of Bakewell among others. Matthew Clark’s craft range will be showcased at several events across the UK this summer at Edinburgh, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham kicking off with Boutique Beers in London this week.

Company News:

Brewbot to open Northern Ireland’s first brewpub: The Belfast team behind a robot beer brewing system is to open the city’s first brewpub. The Brewbot team, led by entrepreneur Chris McClelland, is taking over the former Tilt bar on the Ormeau Road and selling its own beer brewed using the innovative system, alongside about ten rotating tap beers from across the globe, as well as bottled varieties. Brewbot Belfast will open its doors to the public next week. McClelland, chief executive of the technology firm, which recently secured an additional £1m in funding towards its mobile phone app and brewing robot system, told the Belfast Telegraph the new project was “taking a different approach”. The firm’s product allows beer brewers to take a lot of the complexities out of the process using a smartphone app. “Brewbot has had a great amount of success, and we’d been brewing beer and taking it to events,” he said. “This new bar will allow people to test our beer. It’s about Brewbot and bringing people good beer.” Brewbot raised more than £114,000 in one month through Kickstarter. Brewbot Belfast will add food to the business in the coming weeks.

Meantime Brewing Company reports Ebitda of £2.46m in 2014: Annual accounts filed by Meantime Brewing Company, acquired by SABMiller for an unspecified amount last month, have provided more detail on its performance in the year to 31 December 2014. The company grew turnover 44.8% to £16.67m in the year with consolidated Ebitda of £2.46m, up 94.2% against 2013. Pre-tax profit rose to £1,544,430 from £571,644 the year before. 

McDonald’s trials packaging for cyclists: McDonald’s is trialling new bespoke packaging for cyclists. The McBike packaging has room for fries, a burger and a drink and folds into a handy case that can be hung off the handlebar. The packaging, which was created by Tribal ad agency in Buenos Aires in Argentina, was launched in Denmark, before making its way to Colombia, and will soon be launched in Amsterdam and Japan.

The Real Eating Company opens sixth site: The Real Eating Company (REC) has just opened its second cafe in Bournemouth and its sixth site overall along the south coast. Owner Helena Hudson said: “REC is growing quickly, with consistent and significant increases in customer numbers and average spend in all of our sites. We have operated in Bournemouth within the Steamer Trading cookware shop for five years now and have been looking for an opportunity to open a new cafe, in our own premises, for some time. Bournemouth has always been a very strong town for us and we wanted to expand there. We are also well on track to open other new sites in our target cities over the coming months. We carry out regular customer research and this has told us over and over again that customers value good-quality independents and that they want to support independents whenever possible. We try and secure sites in close proximity to the national coffee bar and casual dining chains to give customers an independent, quality alternative and this has been a successful strategy for us so far.” Hudson founded the REC in 2004. The company operates sites in Horsham, Chichester and Lewes.

Crowdfunded Good Egg to open in August: Industry consultant Adam Hyman has reported the crowdfunded concept Good Egg, which raised £180,000 on Crowdcube, will open in August. It is forecasting 1,000 covers a week at an average spend per head of £12 at the Stoke Newington site with plans to open two other sites through cashflow. By January 2017, it forecasts sales of £1,828,498 and Ebitda of £250,000 per annum. He stated in his weekly Code Bulletin: “A street food operator that was launched via food start-up incubator Kitchenette is to open a permanent restaurant in east London. Joel Braham, Oded Mizrachi, Alex Coppard and Myles Broscoe will open The Good Egg in Stoke Newington. The team of friends will serve a menu inspired by flavours from Montreal, Tel Aviv and California. It will open in August.”

Whitbread secures licence for first Channel Islands Premier Inn: Whitbread has secured licensing consent for a new Premier Inn in St Helier, Jersey. If developed it will be the first Premier Inn on the Channel Islands. The licence application was heard by the Jersey Licensing Assembly last week. The development (when completed) will comprise some 91 bedrooms.

Bella Italia claims gelato casual dining first: Bella Italia, the Casual Dining Group brand, is claiming to be the country’s first casual dining restaurant group to offer its customers authentic Italian gelato, created in Pizzo, southern Italy by the renowned Gelateria Callipo. After the launch of Bella Italia’s first gelato cart in Reading last year, the dessert has proved hugely popular with customers, and the brand is rolling the carts out to all new sites as they are opened. Bella is also retro-fitting the carts into ten existing restaurants, and installing them into venues that are being refurbished in the future. Bella Italia director of marketing and food development Hilary Ansell said: “We’re incredibly proud to be the first casual dining restaurant group in the UK to offer its customers genuine gelato, direct from Italy. It’s hugely important to us that customers trust the food we offer them; we want them to be able to imagine they are dining al fresco in the cobbled streets of Rome with every bite!”

Fuller’s train station pub named best in west London by CAMRA: The Mad Bishop and Bear, a Fuller’s pub located at Paddington station, has been named the pub of the year by CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale). Located on the first floor of the station, the pub is run by manager Helen Wilson. Jonathon Swaine, managing director for Fuller’s Inns, said: “This is an incredible accolade for Helen and her team at The Mad Bishop and Bear and, indeed, for Fuller’s. It is great to see all their hard work paying off, from being named Fuller’s Master Cellarman of the Year 2014 to now being the best pub in west London. You know that when you order a beer from Helen and her team it will be the closest thing to the perfect serve.”

Carlsberg launches bath time range of grooming products that contain its beer: Carlsberg has launched a bath time range, which it describes as “probably the best men’s grooming in the world”. The brewer has developed shampoo, conditioner and body lotion for men that – unlike brand extensions merely carrying the name of the parent company – contain the actual product, in this case “premium Carlsberg beer”. It said the idea came from studies highlighting the beneficial effects of vitamin B and silicium that are contained in barley, hops and yeast – the main ingredients in beer. Carlsberg said the new beauty line “gives us a chance to talk about the health benefits of beer in terms of a it being a drink that’s good for the body, when consumed in moderation”. The diversification came as a surprise internally. Erik Lund, head brewer, said: “When I first heard we were supposed to make a beauty series for men, I thought it was a joke.” However, the brewer said that its research had identified a gap in the men’s beauty market. It found 67% of Carlsberg drinkers in the UK said they were prepared to buy grooming products containing beer, and that 62% of men who rubbed lotion on their hands and arms used their girlfriend’s or wife’s.

Insurance company customers offered free Caffe Nero coffee every Monday: Customers of insurance company Aviva can claim a free cup of tea or coffee at Caffe Nero on Mondays. The insurance specialists has 13 million customers in the UK. To qualify for the free drink, customers need to download the Aviva app either on the iPhone or Android and set up an account, find the “advantages” tab and then find the free drink offer. Once customers click redeem, a voucher is generated that is presented to the barista in the store. The offer runs every Monday until 31 December 2015.

Martin Williams secures second M Restaurants site: M Restaurants has secured its second venue location, six months ahead of schedule. Martin Williams, founder of M Restaurants opened his first venue in the heart of the City Of London last December. The venue has performed significantly ahead of budget for its first six months trading and an undisclosed second site has been secured six months ahead of plan. 2014 performance saw an Ebitda result eight times better than budget and first quarter performance of 2015 show the M Threadneedle Street venue enjoyed results 24.8% above Ebitda budget. Williams said: “Since opening only six months ago, we have enjoyed fantastic trading and seen an appetite for a multifaceted quality venue that was the M vision. I have been working on something very special in Central London for the past year that will compliment Threadneedle Street as a sister venue. Most people will be very surprised when we announce the location and our plans to become the ‘go to venue’, in such an exciting and vibrant part of London.”

Iona Pub Partnership seeks experienced operator for ambitious Glasgow investment scheme: Iona Pub Partnership, the tenanted arm of G1 Group, is seeking an experienced operator for a key Glasgow site where it plans a substantial investment. Marketing manager Craig Grant told Propel: “The Gazelle, as it is currently known, is the nearest licensed premises to the New Glasgow South Hospitals Campus within the Linthouse area. With the area going through this period of redevelopment and regeneration we are focused on bringing something new and refreshing to this neighbourhood. We have identified this site as having huge opportunity with the increased traffic and footfall it will bring and with that in mind have planned to make a significant investment, bringing the currently closed and outdated site up to a modern, central hub for the nearby community and stop off for all visitors to the area. We are currently on the lookout for any seasoned pub operators who would be interested in helping design, discuss the operation and ultimately explore a lease opportunity with the site and ourselves.”

TCG shakes up cocktail offer: Managed pub and bar operator TCG is shaking up its cocktail offer with a new manual designed to upskill its bar staff, and a refresh of its list with new flavours for the summer. Two sites trialled the Cocktail Manual earlier this year and saw a combined sales uplift on cocktails worth £80,000 annually. The manual, which is now being rolled out to TCG’s key cocktail sites, is far more than a guide to making drinks. It devotes pages to the history of alcohol, the origins of the most popular cocktails and a glossary of bar equipment, as well as, importantly, guidance on how bartenders can interact with customers while preparing their cocktails. The manual is used during training sessions delivered by “cocktail champions” in each site, while staff also receive a key fob containing details of the most popular cocktails for quick reference while working behind the bar. Staff are assessed on their knowledge regularly and, when they master the ingredients and method for 30, 50 and then 100 cocktails, receive a certificate and items to build their own cocktail kit. At the same time, TCG is adding a number of new cocktails to refresh its offer for the summer. Ben Levick, TCG director of operations, said: “As an on-trade only drink, cocktails have been an area of focus for us and we have invested heavily in developing our range of drinks and innovative serves, such as jam jars and milk bottles. Now we’re focusing on staff training with the aim of turning our team members into the best bartenders in their area, with technical proficiency, encyclopedic knowledge and outstanding customer interaction.”

Starbucks more than doubles global farmer loan commitment to $50m: Starbucks has announced an additional commitment of $30m as part of its Global Farmer Fund programme, one aspect of the company’s comprehensive ethical sourcing initiatives that help ensure the sustainability of the specialty coffee industry. This investment is the continuation of an initial $20 million commitment made in 2008, and distributed in collaboration with leading lending organisations such as Root Capital and the Fairtrade Access Fund. To date, this financing has impacted more than 62 co-operatives in eight countries benefitting more than 40,000 farmers. “In 2015, we have achieved a number of milestones across our ethical sourcing initiatives but we know that the work isn’t done,” said Craig Russell, executive vice president of Global Coffee for Starbucks. “This new investment demonstrates how we remain steadfast in our support of farmers around the world. By providing access to capital, farmers have the ability to make strategic investments in their infrastructure, offering the stability they need to manage ongoing complexities so that there is a future for them and the industry.”

Heston Blumenthal creates space menu: The UK’s first space traveller in 20 years, Major Tim Peake, will eat a menu in space designed by Heston Blumenthal. He will be the first to enjoy Michelin-starred food in microgravity during six months of interstellar fine-dining on the International Space Station (ISS) – courtesy of the celebrity chef. Blumenthal created the menu with the help of British schoolchildren who suggested a “rocket lolly” consisting of a three-course meal of tomato soup, curry and Eton mess. An alternative offers beef stew with asteroid dumplings and chocolate mousse with space dust popping candy. Major Peake said these creations are one of the main things he is looking forward to during the mission. “It’s going to be a great experiment,” he told The Telegraph. “I’ve tested a few of the dishes and they are delicious, so it’s one of the things I am really looking forward to when I get up there.” He will also be treated to a Sunday roast in a helmet-shaped pie and a dessert of bite-sized treats in the shape of planets. The former test pilot, from Chichester, West Sussex, will make the six-hour flight from the launch site in Kazakhstan to the ISS in December.

JD Wetherspoon to pass 1,000 bedroom mark with four new openings in next ten weeks: JD Wetherspoon is to open four new hotels alongside its pubs in the next ten weeks. It will take the number of Wetherspoon hotels to 40, with more openings planned. Wetherspoon is investing more than £9m on the four hotels that will open at Camborne (7 July), Tavistock (21 July), Worcester (18 August) and Barrow (1 September). They will offer a combined 127 bedrooms which will take the total number of bedrooms in the company’s hotels to more than 1,000. The hotel at Tavistock, which will feature 12 rooms is part of a new pub development. The other three hotels are opening at existing pubs: Camborne (37 bedrooms), Tavistock (12 bedrooms), Worcester (36 bedrooms) and Barrow (42 bedrooms). Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “Our hotels continue to prove popular and we are confident that the four new hotels will be a great asset to their respective pubs and towns in which they are located. Our hotels offer excellent accommodation and facilities and have the great advantage for the traveller of being located alongside our pubs.”

Be At One adds functionality to its award-winning smartphone app: Cocktail bar group Be At One has evolved its award winning smartphone app, with new features that enables guests to upload credit and speed up payment at the bar. The app – developed by the digital agency TXD, which is part of Zonal Retail Data Systems – has integrated with PayPal to utilise payment and ultimately help deliver customer satisfaction and loyalty. While retaining popular offers such as Appi Hour, a personalised happy hour and Be Appventurous, a daily £5 cocktail deal, the updated app has new features such as Appi Hour Extra, which allows guests to gain an extra 15 minutes of Appi Hour if they share their Be At One experience on Facebook or Twitter. The latest generation Be At One app follows the company scooping the Brand Republic Best Mobile category at last week’s award ceremony. Up against stiff competition, this was the fourth award for Be At One’s app. Marketing manager Sarah Swaysland said: “Our award-winning app is proving to be a big hit with our customers, but we don’t want to rest on our laurels. We need to be one step ahead of our guests and meet their growing demand for cashless payment options, so they can budget and have a great night in our bars with their friends. With TXD’s support we have been able to introduce payment via the app, helping speed up the process which means our guests can spend more time with their friends instead of waiting at the bar to pay. With the extra incentive of social sharing in exchange for extra Appi Hour, our fans will also be able to engage with us more often and more effectively.”

Carluccio’s confirms Gloucester Quays opening: Carluccio’s has confirmed plan to open at Gloucester Quays with an application for a licence to sell alcohol from the Quays. The brand plans to open at the Quays Designer Outlet in St Ann Way. The waterside complex has seen Coal Bar and Grill, TGI Friday’s and craft ale bar Tank open in recent months.

Loungers plans Bristol in-fill site with Clevedon cinema conversion: Loungers, the cafe bar concept led by Nick Collins, is planning to add to its Bristol area footprint with the conversion of Clevedon’s historic cinema into Teatro Lounge. The cafe bar will be placed in former office and storage spaces at the rear of the cinema, with an entrance at Great Western Road. The £750,000 conversion will include an extension to the first floor section of the mews, adding an indoor dining area and a roof terrace. The two-storey cafe will overlook the Land Yeo river from its ground floor windows. The café will seat 150, including more than 30 in the roof terrace – making it slightly bigger than the group’s Impero Lounge in Portishead’s High Street. It had already received planning consent and listed building consent from North Somerset Council, allowing the chain to make changes to the Grade II-listed cinema. The opening is planned for mid-September. The space is adjacent to the main auditorium at the southern end of the building, and had most recently been used to house the Curzon’s collection of historic cinema technology. Loungers will rent the space from the Curzon, providing the community-run cinema with an extra revenue stream. Alex Reilley, Loungers co-founder, told the local newspaper: “We have been keen to open something in Clevedon for quite some time. We do very well from the Impero Lounge in Portishead, and there have been lots of people bending my ear about why there wasn’t one in Clevedon.”

Easyhotel hires How for Liverpool and Manchester sites: Budget hotel chain Easyhotel has appointed planning and environmental consultancy How Planning to advise on its first sites in Liverpool and Manchester. In Liverpool, How will be preparing a change of use planning application for a former office on Castle Street, which is set to become the group’s first hotel in the north west if it opens as planned in spring 2016. In Manchester, meanwhile, the consultancy will help Easyhotel lodge a listed building consent and change of use planning application to convert Bradley House on the corner of Dale Street and Newton Street into a 114-bedroom hotel. Phil Grant, planner at How Planning, said: “Easyhotel has already established a network of ‘super-budget’ hotels in city centre locations throughout the world and is growing and adding new locations all the time. The Manchester and Liverpool schemes are amongst the latest additions to the Easyhotel portfolio and will further enhance the north west hotel market.”

Academy Music Group to carry out study to find best use for Brighton Hippodrome: Live music venue operator Academy Music Group (AMG) is to carry out a study to find a beneficial use for its latest acquisition, Brighton Hippodrome. It closed in 2006 and has since been identified by English Heritage and The Theatres Trust as a building “at risk”. Last year, Brighton & Hove City Council granted planning permission for the building to be converted into retail outlets, a restaurant and a Vue cinema. But developers pulled out of the scheme after a change in landlords. AMG said it will be working with The Theatres Trust, the council, Historic England, Our Brighton Hippodrome, Brighton Hippodrome CIC and the Frank Matcham Society on a jointly commissioned viability study to identify a future use for the building. David Fisher, on behalf of Our Brighton Hippodrome and Brighton Hippodrome CIC, said: “This is the moment we have been working towards for the past 18 months. We are pleased and excited that Academy Music Group is creating this opportunity. However, this is not the end of the line, just the first milestone. We shall now be working hard on the business proposition with our stakeholder partners.”

SSP opens M&S at Waterloo: SSP UK, the foodservice transport hub specialist, has opened its largest ever Marks & Spencer store at London Waterloo station, in partnership with Network Rail. The new outlet spans across two-storeys, measuring 9,500 sq ft and will have more than 5,000 sq ft of general merchandise including an extensive range of menswear, womenswear and accessories in addition to an in-store bakery and an expanded food section. The new branch is located in its former M&S Simply Food outlet spot at the heart of the station, which achieved the highest sales per square foot at any store within the SSP M&S estate.

Nando’s to double India store network by end of 2017: Nando’s is planning to open 12 more restaurants in India at an investment of about US $12m, taking the tally to 20 by the end of 2017. “We plan to add 12 more Nando’s restaurants across India by 2017 end and will be investing around US $12 million for the expansion,” Nando’s India chief executive Sumeet Yadav said. “This does not include the land cost as the properties will be on a long term lease.” The new restaurants will be in Delhi, Bengaluru, Chennai Mumbai and Pune, he added.

KFC UK names construction firm as its ‘contractor of the year’: A construction firm has been named UK contractor of the year by restaurant KFC. The company has selected Trojan Construction Management from its hundreds of suppliers of goods and services in recognition of its on-time, snag-free track record, that has seen the Treforest firm build 24 new outlets across England and Wales. Trojan, set up only three years ago by construction engineer Dave Thomas and quantity surveyor Shaun Welsh, has achieved a substantial turnover growth each year since, and is on target to reach £10m this year. Three of the firm’s current sites – at Oxley, Shrewsbury and Middleton – featured in the recent three-part fly-on-the-wall BBC documentary about KFC called The Billion Dollar Chicken Shop.

Mitchells & Butlers rebrands All Bar One in Wimbledon ahead of tennis tournament: Mitchells & Butlers has rebranded its Wimbledon All Bar One site for the upcoming Wimbledon tennis tournament. Moments from Centre Court, it’s now called All Bar Wimble One for the week leading up to and for the duration of the historic tennis championship (22 June – 12 July). The exterior is complete with a giant tennis racket, huge tennis balls as well as a brand new “All Bar Wimble One” sign.

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 plans 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 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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