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Mon 27th Jul 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

McDonald’s – ‘self-serve kiosks could be our answer’: McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook has hailed the success of self-serve kiosks in France, which is the company’s second most profitable market after the US. The success of self-serve kiosks could end help reverse the company’s sales declines, something that Easterbrook has forecast will happen in its current third quarter. The kiosks are now in all of its French restaurants. Customers input and pay for their order at the ATM-like station, and then pick up the food at the counter. Easterbrook told investors last week the kiosks have a number of major benefits. He said about 40% of customers in France use kiosks to order during busy hours. “We give customers a choice, and they just welcome choice,” Easterbrook said. “It takes the stress away from the front counter, and therefore you divide some of the pressure, some of the load during the busiest times.” The kiosks also help with accuracy because customers are inputting orders themselves – and customers spend more money. The kiosks allow customers to browse a menu and select the items they want to order. Easterbrook said this makes customers feel less rushed, leading to them buying more items and spending more money. There’s also a psychological reason that could lead to customers who use the kiosks buying more food. “Researchers have long found that shoppers spend more the further they get from handling actual currency and tend to better remember cash transactions,” said Kyle Stock, of Bloomberg Businessweek. “These tendencies help explain why credit card balances tend to bloat and why casinos use chips in place of money.” McDonald’s has been testing self-serve tablets for its “Create Your Taste” custom burgers in California.
 

Industry News:

Irish burrito chain acquired by Belfast brothers: Boojum, the five-strong Belfast-based chain of burrito restaurants, has been sold for an undisclosed sum. The business was owned by John and Karen Blisard and began operating in 2007 and has two sites in Belfast, two in Dublin and one in Galway. The firm’s last set of abbreviated accounts suggest it made a profit of about £300,000 in 2014. It has been taken over by Belfast brothers David and Andrew Maxwell, backed by the Dublin-based investment firm Renatus Capital Partners. Andrew Maxwell is a former professional rugby player with Ulster and David Maxwell has previously run restaurants in Arizona where he said he “fell in love with Mexican food and culture”. They said they planned to expand the chain. “The management and crew at Boojum provide exceptional service which has been pivotal to the success of the business,” they said. “Our aim, in partnership with Renatus, is to preserve that success and build on it. We expect to create many new jobs as we bring the Boojum experience to new communities.” The deal was initiated by the Belfast-based corporate advisors HNH Group. Matt McCullough from HNH played rugby at Ulster with Andrew Maxwell. He said: “Knowing the Maxwells, who are high quality operators with a passion for Mexican food, we felt they would be capable of maintaining everything that is good about the Boojum brand, whilst moving the business forward. These aspects were key to making this deal happen.” The sale does not include the Blisard’s barbecue restaurant, Bubbacue.
 
First organic vegetarian drive-thru restaurant opens in the US: The first ever drive-thru organic vegetarian restaurant, Amy’s, has opened in Rohnert Park, San Francisco, California. The crowds have been non-stop during the first week of business at the North Bay fast food restaurant. The line inside the restaurant was almost out the door, all for a chance to try organic, vegetarian fast food. “The actual demand has been a bit overwhelming,” Paul Schiefer from Amy’s Restaurant said. Schiefer said the company, which has been making frozen organic foods for years, never dreamed the restaurant would be such a hit. “So many people have shown up and it’s giving us a lot of hope that this is a concept that works,” Schiefer added.
 

Company News:

Panmure Gordon – Enterprise Inns’ new strategy is ‘fraught with execution risk’: Leisure analysts at Panmure Gordon issued a ‘Hold’ recommendation on Enterprise Inns shares with a target price of 125p, arguing its new strategy is “fraught with execution risk”. In a note, it stated: “Enterprise has a busy strategic agenda fraught with execution risk but the ambition is clear. Asset disposals will continue at about £60m per year with capex requirements increasing to £75m per annum with, six years on, still no sign of dividend resumption. Key questions remain about the pace of Market Rent Only implementation and transformation (converting tie to managed or commercially leased) and about how meaningful the (Rupert) Clevely joint venture can be. Changing the business model from landlord to manager increases the operating leverage of the business model while absolute earnings remain flat. Selling underperforming assets into a buoyant property market and transitioning into a hybrid pub manager-tied tenancy-commercial property company may well unlock significant value in the long-term. However debt levels remain high (7.7x) and operational leverage is increasing at a time when the casual dining sector continues to take market share from the more traditional pub sector. Trading on 10.2x EV/Ebitda (or 10.2 adjusted EV/Ebitdar) the shares are trading in line with peers. Execution risk is high and we retain a ‘Hold’ recommendation with target price of 125p (from 105p).”

Benugo reports turnover and profit surge: Benugo, the cafe-deli, high street and public space restaurant operator, has filed Companies House accounts that provide more detail on its 2014 performance where turnover rose to £81,081,000 in the year to 26 December 2014, up from £70,070,000 the year before – like-for-like sales rose 18% across its high street sites. Pre-tax profit climbed to £6,005,000 from £4,886,000 the year before. The company, which prides itself on serving “superb, natural, food”, has contracts to operate restaurants at the Natural History Museum, British Museum and the V&A among others. The company stated: “Moving forward, our plan is to further improve and consolidate our presence on the high street. We continue to target specific public space accounts and corporate accounts where we believe our expertise could be of mutual financial and strategic benefit.” The company saw staff numbers increase to 1,317 last year from 1,150 the year before. The highest paid director earned £218,000.

Soho Farmhouse to open on Monday, 3 August: Soho Farmhouse, the latest venture by the Soho House Group, will open on Monday, 3 August. It is described as a cross between a members-only country club and a hotel. The location is the north Oxfordshire village of Great Tew, 90 minutes from central London and a 20-minute drive from north Oxford. The project is a collaboration between Soho House and the Johnston family, which owns the Great Tew Estate. They’ve converted an existing farmhouse and farm buildings into a 100-acre site where customers who can rent one of the 40 one, two and three-bedroom wooden cabins that have been built along the edge of a lake. Membership to Soho Farmhouse costs £1,200 (plus a £200 registration fee). The site is car-free (wellies are provided). On site will be a deli, wine cellar, “pickle room” and “curing cave” in which home-cured charcuterie will be made. Milk floats have been converted to serve as mobile fry-up carts and cocktail bars. It includes the 60-seat The Electric Barn cinema, sister to Portobello Road’s Electric Cinema.

Las Iguanas lodges plans for £1m restaurant on site of former Burger King in Blackpool: Las Iguanas, the Latin American-themed brand owned by Casual Dining Group, has submitted plans to open a £1m restaurant on Blackpool’s Golden Mile. The company has applied to Blackpool Council to take over the building at the junction of Church Street and the Promenade that was formerly occupied by Burger King. A spokesman for Las Iguanas told the Blackpool Gazette: “We will be investing over £1m, opening a 6,000 sq ft Latin American restaurant and bar on the seafront which will create upwards of 50 local jobs from front-of-house and back-of-house managers to waiters, chefs and cocktail bartenders. We think that Blackpool is a vibrant and exciting town and that residents and visitors alike will embrace something a little bit different to the hum drum. We’ll be bringing the fresh tastes, colours and beats of South America to town this autumn so look out for the arrival of a big slice of Latin magic.” The company has also applied to make changes to the front of the building and said the design would reflect the “bustling and vibrant commercial area” as well as its “unique character”. Las Iguanas, which was bought by Casual Dining Group earlier this month for about £85m, operates 41 restaurants across the country.
 
Cabana signs for ninth site, completes £5m fund-raising: Cabana, the award-winning Brazilian Barbecue group led by Jamie Barber and David Ponte, has completed a £5m equity raise to help fund expansion. It also announced it has signed its ninth site in the redevelopment of the Manchester Corn Exchange. The 6,000 sq ft site will open in October and seat 200 covers with a first floor cocktail bar. “The past three years have seen Cabana really take off and following the success of Cabana Leeds we knew the time was right to continue expanding our Brazilian Barbecue offering beyond London,” said Barber. “Visiting Manchester, it was clear to us that the vibrant city would be the perfect spot to introduce our great music, great cocktails and great chicken. We hope Cabana will become a destination, not only for our famous Spicy Malagueta Chicken, but also for our fabulous cocktail list and lively vibe.”
 
Everest Inn Group opens fourth site: Everest Inn Group, which serves Nepalese and Indian food, has opened its fourth site, this time located in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Area manager Raj Subedi said: “In five years, (Nepalese food) will be more popular than Indian food. More people are getting to know about it and it has grown so much in recent times. There are a lot of Nepalese dishes that are quite similar in style to Indian food. It’s just a matter of discovering it. We have been looking to open a restaurant in Newark for a while, and I think we have found an ideal location.” The Everest Inn Group operates restaurants in Grantham, Stamford and Lincoln.
 
Giggling Squid set for double opening in August: Thai brand Giggling Squid is set to open two sites in August. The first will open in Chapel Street in Guildford, occupying a former Cafe Rouge site, on Monday, 3 August, with an opening in Billericay, Essex, to follow on Tuesday, 18 August. The Billericay site will occupy the former Clever, operated by Prezzo, and will create a 120-seater restaurant on the High Street, next door to Waitrose. Of the Billericay opening, managing director Andrew Laurillard has previously stated: “Opening in Essex has been a crucial stage in our growth plans for quite some time – with its high proportion of City-bound commuters, Billericay is a great location from which to take the brand forward.”
 
Loungers to open three Cosy Club sites this year: Cafe bar brand Loungers has reported it will open three more Cosy Club sub-brand sites this calendar year. A Manchester opening will be its tenth site, followed by openings in Coventry and Bournemouth. On Friday, Propel reported Loungers has also lodged plans to open a Cosy Club in Derby. The company has applied to convert the ground and first floors of an empty grade II-listed building on the corner of Corn Market and Victoria Street. The building housed the former Royal Hotel until the 1950s and more recently The Royal nightclub, which was launched in 2009 but shut in 2013.
 
Panmure Gordon – Greene King’s Spirit acquisition provides the opportunity for self-help: Leisure analysts at Panmure Gordon have issued a ‘Buy’ note on Greene King with target price for its shares of 1,015p. In a note published last week, it stated: “Despite increasing competition within the industry, we believe Greene King’s acquisition of Spirit Pub Company provides a significant amount of self-help that will allow for robust profit growth without the requirement for further aggressive pub roll-out. Due to limited cash flow, the Spirit Pub estate has lacked investment over the last five years and we believe Greene King could unlock significant value for shareholders. Greene King holds the strong balance sheet in the pub sector and generates the highest return on capital employed. We forecast a three-year earnings per share compound annual growth rate of circa 9%, whilst Greene King offers an attractive dividend yield of 3.5%. We increase our target price to 1,015p and upgrade our recommendation to ‘Buy’ (from ‘Hold’). Post the Spirit Pub Company acquisition, Greene King’s pub estate increased from circa 1,800 to over 3,000. Management have suggested at least £30m of cost synergies between the two companies from procurement, central overhead and lower distribution costs, yet we believe this figure could grow due to under investment within the Spirit estate. Over the last five years Greene King has invested (on average) over £400,000 per pub compared to just £200,000 at Spirit. Assuming the same level of investment within the Spirit Pubs as Greene King and a 15% return on investment (as delivered historically), this could deliver an additional £37m of Ebitda. Despite increasing competition within the industry, self-help initiatives should underpin strong top line growth and robust profit growth without the requirement for a significant pub rollout, whilst the Greene King pub estate is well invested.”

Lasan Group to open lobster and ribs restaurant Nosh and Quaff in Birmingham this Friday: Lasan Group will open its £1m lobster and ribs restaurant Nosh and Quaff on Friday. It looks out over the grade II-listed Council House and the grade I-listed Town Hall in Birmingham’s Victoria Square. Lasan Group, led by chef Aktar Islam and restaurateur Jabbar Khan, is in the middle of a soft launch before the formal opening this weekend. The menu offers just seven main course options. Lasan Group operates Lasan, Raja Monkey and Argentinian restaurant Fiesta Del Asado. It also operates corporate catering and higher education catering. Islam is also the director of Restaurant Angels, a hospitality consultancy providing hands-on support and advice to restaurants. In 2009, Lasan became the first Indian restaurant in the UK to be selected as the “Best Local Restaurant” by Gordon Ramsay on Channel 4’s The F Word. In June 2011, he won the fish course in the final of the BBC Two series Great British Menu.
 
Whiting & Hammond celebrates tenth edition of award-winning magazine: Gastro-pub operators Whiting & Hammond, which is due to open its eighth site in the middle of August, The Blue Ball in Walton on the Hill, Surrey ­– a Star Pubs & Bars site – is celebrating the tenth edition of its award-winning Gastro magazine. Launched in October 2012, the food and drink publication is read by more than 60,000 customers each month. In 2014, the title was named Business Innovation of the Year at the Budweiser Budvar Top 50 Gastro Pubs awards. The magazine is a platform for Whiting & Hammond to showcase its brand through cross-marketing. A party is being held on Friday at the company’s Mark Cross Inn, in Crowborough, East Sussex.
 
Pizza Hut serves up ‘Facebook-style’ communication for staff with Microsoft’s Yammer social network: Pizza Hut has rolled out Microsoft’s Yammer social network to improve communications with thousands of staff across the UK, leading to improved service levels and contributing to higher turnover. The Rutland Partners-backed high street chain is in the midst of a £60m “reimaging project” to revamp its restaurants, targeting improved customer service with a new training programme for its employees and rolling out a new communication platform. Yammer is aimed at allowing the business to deal more directly with its staff. Only 120 of Pizza Hut’s employees are based at its head office, with more than 8,000 team members across its UK restaurants.
 
Clutha pub in Glasgow reopens 18 months after helicopter crash: The Clutha pub in Glasgow has reopened more than a year and a half after a police helicopter crashed into its roof. Ten people died when the helicopter came down on the city centre venue on a busy Friday night in November 2013. Families of the victims, survivors and members of the emergency services who dealt with the crash were invited to the pub’s relaunch. First minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the opening ceremony. The Clutha had been shut since the night of the tragedy, with building work carried out to refurbish the property. Owner Alan Crossan told BBC Scotland: “What we are trying to do is bring the Clutha back to Glasgow and give it back to the Glasgow people. It was the people who made the Clutha. Not the building or anything like that. It was the people – the musicians, the staff, the punters.”
 
Whitbread applies for premises licence for Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre pub in Morecambe: Whitbread has applied for a premises license for a Premier Inn and Brewers Fayre pub on the Frontierland site in Morecambe, Lancashire. The company wants to open a 60-bedroom hotel and pub-restaurant on the site of the Ranch House bar as part of a planned £17m shopping park at the former fairground. The application stated: “It is intended the proposed premises will operate as a food-led public house at ground floor level with limited occasional regulated entertainment and with unlicensed hotel accommodation adjacent on the ground, first and second floors.” Lancaster City Council will automatically approve the licence unless objections are received before 14 August when it would then go before the licensing committee for a decision. Developer Opus North plans to start work on the new “Bay Shopping Park” later this year.

Former Exeter Brewery employee launches own brewery in east Devon: A former Exeter Brewery employee has launched his own brewery in east Devon. John Magill has established Powderkeg with his wife Jessica at Greendale, near Woodbury Salterton. The brewery will initially produce two beers – a German pilsner called Cut Loose and an American pale ale called Speak Easy – that will be delivered in a new generation of 30-litre kegs. In due course Powderkeg intends to supply bottled beer to independent off-licences and, if all goes to plan, local branches of Waitrose and Co-op. John Magill told the Exeter Express & Echo: “Our brewery is built from brand new equipment, custom-designed to enable us to apply all the latest techniques. At Powderkeg we brew internationally-inspired beer styles. Based at Greendale, we are able to utilise green energy from the new anaerobic digestion plant: electricity is generated at the plant, so that the spent grain from each brew is used to power the next. Our beer is a local artisan product – hand-crafted in small batches, naturally carbonated during fermentation, matured to its best at the brewery, then quality tested with friends. There is nothing artificial or industrial about the process.” The Beer Cellar, Circa 1924 and the Well House Tavern in Exeter are set to be the first pubs to sell Powderkeg’s beers.

Panmure Gordon – Marston’s is reaching an earning inflection point: Leisure analysts at Panmure Gordon issued a ‘Buy’ recommendation on Marston’s shares last week, with a 175p price target. A note stated: “After five years of earnings dilutive disposals, we believe Marston’s is finally reaching an earnings inflection point. After FY2015, disposals will slow materially and we forecast accelerating earnings growth (five year earnings per share compound annual growth rate of 10.5%) driven by like-for-like sales growth and the roll-out of new build pubs, underpinning a progressive dividend policy, with Marston’s yielding 4.4%. Furthermore, over time the securitisation vehicle will slowly deleverage (like a mortgage) resulting in a rising net asset value per share. We slightly reduce our price target to 175p (from 182p) and reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation. Marston’s has been slowly moving away from the tenanted and leased estate, with a target of circa 85% of the estate being either managed or franchised by 2016 (ie under management’s control). The remainder of the estate would be high quality leased pubs. Growth is coming via 20-25 new build managed pubs per annum in addition to two-three lodges, whilst disposals within the tenanted and leased estate are set to significantly reduce after FY2015. In the first five months of the year with like-for-like sales in the Destination and Premium estate up 1.5% and 1.4% in the taverns estate, yet profit per pub increased 10% and 19% respectively. Leased reported profit per pub is up 4%, whilst the brewery reported underlying revenue up 9% and profits up 10%.”

Jamie’s Italian in Norwich suffers maggots problem: A Jamie’s Italian site in Norwich has admitted a problem with maggots last week. A diner reported maggots started falling out of the ceiling at the site last Wednesday. A spokesman for the company said: “Earlier this week a single, isolated pest control incident occurred at our Norwich restaurant. The incident in question was dealt with immediately and is being fully investigated. At no point was the customer’s food affected and there appears to be no evidence of a wider problem. All of our restaurants operate to a very high level of food safety and Jamie’s Italian Norwich retains a five-star food hygiene rating (the highest) from the local environmental health office. Issues such as this are extremely rare within the Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group and are always treated immediately.”
 
Stonegate Pub Company ‘de-brands’ flagship Yates’ on Liverpool’s Concert Square: Stonegate Pub Company has de-branded a flagship Yates’ site on Liverpool’s Concert Square, re-opening it at the weekend as The Crafty Chandler after a £250,000 investment. The name of the new pub is a nod to Liverpool’s maritime history – The Crafty Chandler is inspired by the integral role played by ships’ chandlers, supplying tools to merchant vessels. The pub will have a regular offer of craft beers including BrewDog Punk IPA, Schiehallion and Blue Moon, as well as “Crafty Thursdays”, a weekly event that celebrates all different types of beer, from craft to real ales.
 
New app promises innovative functions: A new app, Crowder, will tell consumers how busy bars, restaurants and cafes are in real time, via a consumer facing iOS app. It also maps crowd density on the street outside or other public areas to help people avoid the queues and save time. Crowder also provides hospitality venues with a one-stop data dashboard capable of integrating with all data sources and displaying all the key performance metrics – how many people are in the venue, customer demographics (age, sex, disposable income, food/drink/music preferences), sales trends (through integrating with point of sale), and advises on labour efficiencies (showing owners when they have too many staff on or too few given the level of footfall). It also offers a marketing tool that lets venues easily send adverts/offers straight to the iOS app. Crowder is currently signing up venues in London and is providing the first 500 venues with free kit as a thanks for being early adopters. It’s also seeking seed investment to complete its development roadmap. For more details, to sign up a venue or to look into its investor community, visit www.crowder-app.com or email Max Roebuck, the founder, at max@crowder-app.com.
 
Multi-site operators launch roadside cafe in Shipston on Stour: Multi-site operators Baggy, Sheelagh and Gabe Saunders have opened a new roadside cafe in Shipston on Stour, Warwickshire. The family, which has a portfolio of restaurants and pubs in the area, has launched Pitstop with backing from Lloyds Bank, creating five jobs. The venue, which is on the site of a former Indian restaurant in Fosse Way, has been designed to appeal to passing motorists and has a motorsport theme. Pitstop will continue the family’s “totally locally” philosophy of sourcing ingredients from suppliers in the region for its breakfasts, lunches, coffees and cakes. It will also sell local produce for customers to take home. Baggy Saunders told the Evesham Journal: “With a lack of facilities available for passing motorists, we’re pleased to open the doors of our new cafe, which offers a high quality choice of locally sourced meals and refreshments for those on the move. The investment from Lloyds Bank has been vital in allowing this vision to become reality.”
 
Starbucks signs deal with PepsiCo to distribute to ten Latin American countries in 2016: Starbucks and PepsiCo have signed an agreement for the marketing, sale and distribution of Starbucks ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee and energy beverages including Starbucks Frappuccino chilled coffee drinks, Starbucks Double Shot Espresso and Cream and Starbucks Refreshers beverages in Latin America. The RTD coffee and energy beverage category in Latin America is an estimated $4bn business and is projected to grow by 22% over the next five years. In 2016, consumers in select markets in the Caribbean, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay will see a portfolio of Starbucks RTD coffee beverages. Over time, the companies plan to expand to other markets in Latin America. “Our expansion throughout Latin America in 2016 enables us to deliver high-quality Starbucks coffee in a convenient ready-to-drink format to our customers where they live, work and play,” said Michael Conway, president, global channel development at Starbucks. “PepsiCo’s sales expertise and distribution network makes them the ideal company to work with to unlock the Latin American ready-to-drink market and accelerate local demand for Starbucks.” 
 
Manchester multi-site company MAD launches Infamous Diner with free burger offer: Manchester multi-site operator MAD, which operates Walryus, Hola and Rosylee in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, has launched a retro 1950s diner concept, Infamous Diner, with a free burger offer. A queue of hundreds snaked around the streets of the Northern Quarter last Thursday lunchtime, with the venue eventually serving up over 350 burgers in the end to make sure everyone was catered for. The retro venue is aiming to emulate famous movie diners, with plush pink leather booths, black and white check floors and a vintage jukebox.
 
Meatcure begins expansion with second site in Leicester: Barbecue-specialist restaurant Meatcure has started to expand after opening a second site in Leicester. The company, which is run by Rob Martyniak, Sam Rooker-Roberts and Paul Rigby, launched its first restaurant in October last year in Market Harborough. It has now opened its latest Meatcure on the site of the former Red Lion pub in Highcross Street. Meatcure specialises in serving barbecue food that has been inspired by the New York meat-packing district. Martyniak previously told the Leicester Mercury: “We are really passionate about good quality food. Opening up the new restaurant in Leicester after the success of the Market Harborough restaurant seems like the natural progression. Leicester is a great, up-and-coming city that is progressive, and the independent businesses, such as BrewDog, Gelato Village, Crafty and St Martin’s Coffee, all thrive here. The reason we chose the former space of The Red Lion pub is because we don’t want to be another high street company. We’re a small, fledgling independent business which is appealing to young professionals, families and the older generation. We want our customers to come to us and feel like they have gone to their friend’s house for a barbecue.”
 
PizzaExpress submits plans for second site in Exeter: PizzaExpress has lodged plans to open a second site in Exeter. The company has applied to Exeter City Council for a change of use from retail premises to a restaurant and take away at two neighbouring units in Sidwell Street. One of the buildings is occupied by Everwell Natural Therapy while the other is currently vacant and was previously a sweet shop. The two units were given planning approval to be turned into an ice-cream parlour and cafe by a different applicant last month, reports the Exeter Express & Echo. PizzaExpress, which is also seeking approval to create a new shop front and design, already has a restaurant in Cathedral Yard in the city centre.

Two former Met Police buildings in London set to become luxury hotels: Two former Met Police buildings in London are set to be turned into luxury hotels, reports The Sunday Times. Bow Street Magistrates’ Court in Covent Garden, which stopped functioning in 2006, is being sold for £75m by its owners Austrian brothers Rudolph and Christian Ploberger. They said they had received “numerous inquiries from investors and hoteliers across the globe” for the building, which has planning permission for 100 bedrooms, and have appointed agent Gerard Nolan & Partners to handle bids. Meanwhile, Middle Eastern conglomerate company LuLu Group is set to clinch a £110m deal for Great Scotland Yard – chosen as the Met’s headquarters when the force was established in 1929 – which is being turned into a five-star hotel by developer Galliard Group. LuLu, which is run by Indian businessman Yusuff Ali, has brought in German operator Steigenberger Hotel Group to run the venue.

Technomic and Propel partner for UK and US foodservice trends and direction conference: Insights and research firm Technomic is partnering Propel for a full-day conference looking at UK and US foodservice trends and perspectives. The event is on Friday, 18 September at One Moorgate Place in London and attendees will also get a free copy of Technomic’s Top 500 US Chain Restaurant Report and the UK’s leading 100 foodservice brands worth a combined £800. Technomic’s vice-president Dave Henkes will give an industry update on UK foodservice and compare it with the US as well as providing forecasts and beverage trends in both markets. Fellow vice-president Darren Tristano will examine best practice in menu, concept and service among growth concepts as well as looking at consumer demands. Technomic’s Patrick Noone will provide insights on current UK trending menu flavours and preparations and consumer priorities and attitudes. Paul Damico, group president of Focus Brands – which operates several fast-food concepts in the US including Schlotzsky’s Bakery & Café and Moe’s Southwest Grill – will share best practices around creating a unique positioning, culture and growth strategy. Propel managing director Paul Charity will also lead a discussion of senior executives about current consumer trends, menu and beverage trends. Those taking part are: Jon Yantin, commercial director of the ONE Group, Chris Gerard, founder of Innventure, James Nye, managing director of Anglian Country Inns and Ben Levick, director of operations, TCG Group. Tickets are priced at the two-week early-bird rate of £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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