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Fri 31st Jul 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pret A Manger considers opening dedicated vegetarian store: Pret A Manger is considering opening a dedicated vegetarian store. Chief executive Clive Schlee is exploring the idea after seeing the company’s sales take a distinct shift towards vegetarian and is asking customers for their thoughts. Writing in his blog, he stated: “I regularly look at Pret’s sales mix to see which food categories are growing and which are shrinking. Recently, there has been a distinct shift towards vegetarian. The top-selling SuperBowl in our latest salad launch was beets, squash and feta, beating chicken, salmon and crayfish alternatives. This would have been unheard of five years ago. How can Pret help people to enjoy more vegetarian food without being preachy, or worse still, alienating our customers? After all, our best-selling sandwich at the moment is the chicken Caesar and bacon baguette and some of the fastest growing chains in the world like Five Guys and Chipotle are distinctly animal protein-oriented. One idea is to open a vegetarian Pret A Manger shop. It would offer the usual Pret menu but replace sandwiches and salads containing meat and fish with a delicious range of vegetarian items. These dishes would have to be good because in the food business, it is always taste that wins the day. Put simply, vegetarian food has to be delicious if it is to gain more traction. The danger of doing this is that we take choice away and upset loyal customers and, of course, we love our current range. The reason to do it is to act as a beacon for more innovation at Pret for the future, which offers greater choice. It would encourage Pret to create tastier vegetarian food and tempt customers who are inclined to try new alternatives. This idea is still in its infancy. There are some within Pret who believe we should be more cautious and simply put in a dedicated fridge full of vegetarian food. Other colleagues are excited by the symbol and the challenge. I’d love your feedback and suggestions.”

Industry News:

Row breaks out over Haringey Council decision to award ‘healthy’ chicken restaurant concept £300,000 in grants and loans: A row has broken out over a decision by Haringey Council to award a new “healthy” chicken restaurant concept £300,000 in grants and loans. The Labour-run authority has given Chicken Town a grant for £90,000, together with a £210,000 loan from the Opportunity Investment Fund, jointly funded by the council and the Greater London Assembly, reports the Haringey Independent. It has given Chicken Town permission to convert the grade II-listed Tottenham Old Fire Station into a restaurant. Haringey Liberal Democrats has criticised the terms of the loan, which includes the condition £50,000 net profit should be made before any of the £210,000 loan is repaid. Lib Dem regeneration spokesman Cllr Bob Hare said: “Another chicken outlet – even a healthier one – is not a game changer. And why should one chicken outlet be the beneficiary of such public funding? We are also concerned that this loan may not get repaid at all if the project is not profitable.” But cabinet member for economic development, social inclusion and sustainability Cllr Joe Goldberg hit back and said it would create jobs and restore the building’s features. He added: “Chicken Town is committed to creating 40 local jobs in the next three years, offering discounted meals to young people as a healthier alternative to fat-filled fast food and providing trainees with workshops and placements with some of London’s top head chefs. Loan repayments will be reinvested into further regeneration projects in Tottenham, meaning more residents will benefit from Chicken Town’s success.”

Crowdcube raises £6m and will work with Numis to offer initial public offering investments: Crowdfunding platform Crowdcube has raised £6m. One of the investors is Numis, which will work with Crowdcube to bring initial public offering investment opportunities to the platform. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper also participated in the funding round along with his London-based VC firm Draper Esprit and existing backer Balderton Capital, taking the five-year-old company’s valuation to £51m. “We’re on a mission to help more businesses raise the finance they need to grow, create jobs and deliver returns to investors,” said Crowdcube co-founder and chief executive Darren Westlake. “We’ve dominated the democratisation of seed-stage equity investment since we launched in 2011 and we’re determined to do the same for larger businesses. We want to put the ‘public’ back into initial public offering.” Oliver Hemsley, founder and chief executive of Numis – which will take a 8.49% stake in Crowdcube and have a seat on the board – said: “Crowdcube has created an impressive business model and technology platform that makes it possible for people to join together to finance pioneering businesses. Numis has a long track record of helping companies access funding for growth and this investment in Crowdcube will put it at the centre of the entire investment chain, from initial start-up capital all the way to initial public offering. We are very excited to be part of an innovative FinTech solution to help the public markets evolve and connect retail investors directly with fast growing businesses.”

Administration set to hit ten-year low in 2015: The number of companies entering administration in the UK could hit a ten-year low in 2015, according to restructuring business FRP Advisory. FRP made the prediction following the release of official statistics that revealed 423 companies called in insolvency specialists from April to June, five fewer than the same period last year. As a result of its research, the firm has estimated there will be about 1,700 administrations in 2015, a fall of between 5-7% on last year. However, administrations in the second quarter of the year have increased by 4.8% year-on-year, which FRP partner Glyn Mummery said should be taken as a warning. “While the decline in overall corporate insolvencies is to be welcomed, the rise year-on-year in quarterly administrations is an amber warning light for the strength of continuing economic recovery,” he said. “The overall economic outlook is benign in the UK but the signs are in place that we are not immune to the impacts of global events such as the continued low oil price and troubled Euro on the back of Greece.”

Great British Beer Festival sees 40% rise in ticket applications: The UK’s flagship trade event for the beer and pub industry has seen a 40% increase in the number of licensees, brewers, and members of the trade applying for tickets. The trade session of the Great British Beer Festival, sponsored by hop suppliers Simply Hops, is this year expected to be attended by over 7,000 members of the industry compared to about 5,000 last year. Great British Beer Festival organiser Ian Hill said: “As organisers we are constantly looking at ways to further improve the trade session of Great British Beer Festival for industry attendees, which is why this year we have introduced a trade show area in the pillar hall where smaller exhibitors can promote their products or explain their services to potential future customers. This will only be open during the trade session and has filled a gap in the event for companies other than breweries who want a presence at the festival, as well as being an area breweries attending the festival can promote their bottled beer or offer sampling.”

Crowfunding platform Seedrs launches £10m fund-raising: Crowdfunding platform Seedrs has launched a £10m Series A fund-raising round. The round is being led by institutional investors, Woodford Patient Capital Trust and Augmentum Capital, who are investing £7.5m between them. The other £2.5m will be made available to current shareholders and new investors through a Seedrs crowdfunding campaign. Seedrs co-founder Jeff Lynn told investors: “I want to thank all of you for the support you have given us in the three years since our launch. The Seedrs team and I look forward to continuing to work with you as we build on our early success and deliver our next stages of growth.”

FSA – food hygiene when eating is the top area of concern for consumers: The top two food safety issues of concern for consumers were food hygiene when eating out (37%), and the use of additives in food products (29%), according to the Food Standards Agency Biannual Public Attitude Tracker. The top wider food issues of total concern were the amount of sugar in food (51%), food waste (49%) and the amount of salt in food (47%). The survey showed 83% of respondents reported being aware of the hygiene standards in places they eat out at or buy food from. As in all previous waves, the most commonly reported ways of knowing about hygiene standards were the general appearance of premises (61%) and the appearance of staff (46%). Of these respondents, 43% also reported using hygiene certificates and 32% reported using hygiene stickers.

US bakery cafe chain Panera Bread reports accelerating like-for-likes as result of technology enhancement: Panera Bread has reported its technology-driven Panera 2.0 initiative is boosting like-for-likes. Sharon Zackfia, restaurant analyst with William Blair & Co, said: “The clear highlight of the quarter was accelerating same-store sales trends at company-owned locations, with comparables rising 1.9% in April, 2.1% in May and 2.4% in June, while July’s comparables are up 4.7% month-to-date against a much tougher comparison.” Ron Shaich, Panera’s founder, said Panera 2.0’s effect on sales is expected to build over the longer term. Panera 2.0 includes consumer-facing technology, such as mobile app orders and payments, as well as areas for order pickup and operational enhancements for labour savings and order accuracy. He said. “Panera 2.0 is not turning on a light switch. Its impact is seen over time. Panera 2.0 doesn’t drive demand, but rather, reduces friction. Thus, its impact is felt over time. Sales in Panera 2.0 cafes gain momentum three to four quarters after conversion.”

Company News:

New Moon Pub Company to convert site to pizza concept, starts talks over funding: New Moon Pub Company, the seven-strong gastro-pub operator led by David Mooney and Paul Newman is to convert its Hanging Gate pub, in Weaverham, Cheshire, to a new pizza concept called Casa Matta – the site will close on 25 August and reopen on 7 September. The site, which opened in 2012, is located six miles away from a second New Moon site, the Lord Binning and had been on the market for a while. Mooney told Propel: “Hopefully, this will be the start of a roll-out in the north west. The brand is based on the traditional Italian restaurant but with thoroughly modern service, with lots of sharing dishes. The tagline is: ‘families, food and fun’.” Meanwhile, New Moon has begun to explore all funding routes with a view to expansion. Mooney said: “We’re having a number of conversations at the moment (that includes private equity funders). But it’s not definite we’ll go down the investment route – we might just take bank debt.” Mooney also told Propel the company would like to open two more sites in Liverpool after its Old Blind School venue, modelled on New Moon’s Old Sessions House venue in Knutsford, Cheshire, exceeded all expectations.

Mexican chain set to follow YO! Sushi move to locate on Edinburgh’s Princes Street:
A Mexican restaurant chain is to follow the lead of YO! Sushi and open a branch in Edinburgh’s Princes Street, marking the thoroughfare’s re-emergence as an eating-out destination. Taco Mazama is planning an outlet at 95 Princes Street, its third in Edinburgh. The company plans to shift its Hanover Street branch to the new venue. The move, which is subject to planning approval, comes after the city council relaxed its shops-only policy so that cafes, bars and restaurants could return to the mile-long route, where the only dedicated hot food operation for decades was a McDonald’s. YO! Sushi last year became the first firm to benefit when it secured permission to open a branch opposite the Royal Scottish Academy.

Andy Slee to step down at Punch Taverns: Andy Slee, the external affairs and central operations director at Punch Taverns, is stepping down after five years with the company. He will continue to consult for the company on lobbying the government. Slee joined Punch after working at Coca Cola for a decade – he was trading director there. Punch chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “Andy is leaving to pursue his consultancy business, which he ran before joining Punch. However, as an instrumental figure in spearheading our dialogue with politicians and government over pub company regulation, he will continue to represent our external interests with government, politicians and interest groups. This will mean that Andy will still be very much part of the Punch team. We wish to thank Andy for all his work, especially in developing the Punch Taverns Buying Club, and we are all looking forward to continuing to work with Andy in the future. Jackie Burn will be taking over responsibility for central operations from 1 August, as well as continuing in her role as human resources director.”

Bulldog upgrades latest acquisition in £20m expansion plan: Bulldog Hotel Group, the eight-strong coaching inn operator led by Kevin Charity and backed by the Business Growth Fund, is investing a further £250,000 upgrading its latest acquisition, the 25-bedroom Royal Oak Hotel in Welshpool. The site was acquired earlier this year as part of a £20m plan to double in size over five years. It has now reopened with a new restaurant and bar area. The company has also given the bedrooms a new look. Bulldog acquired the site from Emma and Malcolm Bebb for an undisclosed sum. Charity said: “The Royal Oak has a fantastic history and we are keen to ensure that the refurbishment is done sympathetically, retaining the hotel’s charm, whilst creating a more modern, attractive environment that is appealing to today’s discerning guests.”

Bakery brand Paul to open second restaurant, in the City of London, containing first wine bar: Artisan bakery and patisserie Paul is set to open its second London restaurant in Tower 42, the City skyscraper, this September. Following the opening of the first Le Restaurant de Paul on Covent Garden’s Bedford Street – part of a new brand extension last autumn – Tower 42 will be the second site in the company’s restaurant portfolio and will also house a bakery, hosting monthly bread-making masterclasses as well as the brand’s first destination wine bar. Located on the ground level of the tower, the new 4,144 sq ft site will be the largest restaurant yet, with 93 covers inside and a further 40 outdoors. Open all day, with an average spend of £18 per head, Le Restaurant de Paul Tower 42 will be offering breakfast, brunch, afternoon tea and sharing platters using produce from artisan French cheesemongers and the Queen’s butcher Donald Russell. Jean-Michel Orieux, chief executive of Paul UK, said: “Paul has a really strong brand identity based on core family principles that symbolise authentic French tradition. We are excited about expanding our restaurant portfolio across London and look forward to welcoming new and existing customers to our Paul Restaurant in Tower 42.”

Coventry multi-site operators launch new Asian street food restaurant concept in city: Coventry multi-site operators Howard and Sandra Grundy have launched a new Asian street food restaurant concept in the Earlsdon area of the city. The Grundys, who also operate nearby Millsy’s café bar and bistro and The Royal Oak pub, have opened Street in the former HSBC bank building in Earlsdon Street. Diners can choose from a range of Asian-inspired food, including rice, noodles and salads and there are also a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks including those with an Asian flavour such as Japanese whisky and sake. Ben Colvin, operation manager of Street, told the Coventry Telegraph: “There’s an opening in the market as there isn’t anything similar here at the moment. How the owners looked at it was they wanted to look at what they could do and make it the best we can possibly make it in terms of setting, surroundings, ambience and food.” The restaurant will initially open from Tuesday to Sunday from 5pm-midnight but there are plans to extend into the day from September – and possibly introduce a takeaway service. Street also operates a policy of only allowing children who can sit unaided on a backless bench into the restaurant.

BrewDog opens ShuffleDog concept in Leeds, eyes bar site in Stirling: BrewDog has opened its first ShuffleDog site in Leeds, which houses three 22-foot custom-made shuffleboard tables. The bar will host regular tournaments inviting shuffleboard enthusiasts to perfect their skills and get involved in some healthy competition – BrewDog claims to be campaigning to have Shuffleboard introduced to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. In addition to the shuffleboard tables, ShuffleDog will also have a range of pinball machines and board games. It will serve 35 beers on tap, including a range of BrewDog beers and guest beers from a selection of hand-picked international breweries such as Mikkeller, Ballast Point and Stone Brewing Co. The bar will host regular “Meet the Brewer” events, with local and global breweries alike. The comprehensive food menu will offer sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs and ribs all week, and the new bar will also be open for breakfast at weekends, serving American style classics with a BrewDog twist, such as 5am Red Ale-cured bacon with rye bread, and eggy bread with maple syrup. Meanwhile, BrewDog is eyeing an opening in Stirling. BrewDog has not disclosed where in the city it will open but has begun advertising for a manager for the new bar. A job advert states: “Ever since the first BrewDog bar opened back in 2010 we have relied on them as a crucial part of our mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. Our soon-to-be Stirling bar will be a key piece of the puzzle.” Last week the brewer’s co-founder James Watt tweeted: “BrewDog Stirling is coming soon.”

Turtle Bay set to open in Derby today:
Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is set to open a new site in Derby today (Friday, July 31) – and already has nearly 300 bookings for its opening weekend. The company has invested £800,000 in the 4,000 sq ft restaurant located in the former Job Centre building in the Wardwick in the city’s Cathedral Quarter. The 130-seat venue has created 60 jobs and it has already received bookings from 170 people for its opening day and almost 100 more for tomorrow (Saturday, 1 August). Company founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema told the Derby Telegraph he chose the Cathedral Quarter as the location for the restaurant because of its “vibrancy and booming leisure culture”. He added: “The Caribbean ethos is all about the warmth of the people. Most of the other restaurants you see on the high street deliver the same standard service but the one thing that we look for over everything else is the warmth of our staff and their ability to make our customers feel comfortable and relaxed.” Turtle Bay has about 20 restaurants across the country, including Nottingham, Southampton and Bristol.

Classic Lodges buys fourth Yorkshire site: A grade-II listed hotel in North Yorkshire has been acquired by a hotel group after it entered administration and suffered several loss-making years. Solberge Hall Hotel has been acquired by Classic Lodges, which also owns three other Yorkshire hotels – The Old Swan in Harrogate, Grinkle Park in Easington and Bagden Hall in Denby Dale. Solberge Hall was placed into administration in 2011.

Manchester-based Solita set to open ‘super-site’ in Prestwich in next fortnight, launches limited-edition 1,300-calorie deep-fried burger: Manchester-based burger and steak restaurant Solita is set to open its new “super-site” in Prestwich in the next fortnight. The company has bought the former Aumbry fine-dining venue in Church Road as well as the adjoining Bombay in Bury New Road and transformed it into its third venue. The restaurant has 150 covers inside and a 50-seater al fresco courtyard. Solita has also added a limited-edition 1,300-calorie deep-fried burger “The Dirty Secret” to its menu. It takes the restaurant’s trademark Solita six-ounce steak patty, cheese, Big Manc sauce, lettuce and onions, before adding pickles, bacon and more cheese. The whole thing is dipped into eggs and breadcrumbs and thrown into a fryer. Joint-owner Franco Sotgiu told the Manchester Evening News: “People love anything with cheese and bacon that’s deep-fried, and so this has the holy trinity.” Solita first opened in the Northern Quarter before launching a Didsbury restaurant last year and is set to open its fourth site in Deansgate in January.

First crisp sandwich shop opens in England: The first crisp sandwich shop opened in England yesterday (Thursday, 30 July) – and its owner is already planning to expand the concept. Mark Pearson has launched Mr Crisp in Keighley, West Yorkshire, and hopes it can follow in the footsteps of Simply Crisp in Belfast in Northern Ireland, reports the Daily Mirror. Pearson said: “When I saw the one launch in Belfast, I thought the only way I can find out if a crisp sandwich shop can succeed over here is by giving it a go myself. I sat on the idea for six months, working on sourcing which crisps and flavours to have and doing some market research. Now I feel the time is now or never.” Mr Crisp stocks over 50 varieties of crisps that are served in white or brown bread, teacakes and baguettes. Customers can also add something extra to their sandwich, including tomato ketchup, salad cream, peanut butter, jam and even marshmallow. Pearson is looking at opening two other shops by the end of this year and is also continuing to add new flavours and crisp manufacturers to his ever-growing menu.

Poole couple open second site with £500,000 investment: A Poole couple has started to expand its portfolio by opening a second site in Poole Park, Dorset – a £500,000 waterside restaurant and ice cream parlour. The Kitchen is the latest venture for Sarah and Richard de Lisle, who also own The Ark – the soft-play centre, ice-rink and cafe in the park. They have transformed the former Sevens Boatshed by the lake into a restaurant complete with pizza oven and outdoor terrace alongside a Scoops ice-cream parlour. Sarah de Lisle told the Bournemouth Echo: “We want people just to come and watch the world go by in this special waterfront location in what we think is one of Britain’s best parks.” The restaurant, which is open from 10am-6pm, serves a menu of British classics and the kitchen is led by executive chef Robert Holmes, who previously worked with Rick Stein. The building started life as Italian restaurant Mezza Luna before being bought by property developer Eddie Mitchell and renamed Sevens Boatshed.

Caffe Nero's 16th location opens in the UAE: The 16th UAE Caffe Nero has opened, located in the Egypt court of Ibn Battuta Mall. “The new location offers an artisan coffee shop with comfortable furniture, attractive appeal and a varied product range that caters to the local tastes,” said local franchisee Al Tayer Group hospitality vice-president David Singleton. “Our expert baristas offer end-to-end service in a great environment that radiates a feeling of comfort, relaxation and warmth for all our customers.” The interiors for the new outlet are a reflection of an inviting living room, with leather and fabric tub chairs, and rustic farmhouse tables.

Coast to Coast latest restaurant brand to sign up for Stanway development:
American restaurant and bar Coast to Coast, owned by The Restaurant Group, is the latest brand to sign up for the Stane Park Leisure Quarter development in Stanway, Colchester, Essex. The company is set to join Nando’s, Bella Italia, owned by Casual Dining Group, and a pub-restaurant from Hertford brewer McMullens at the complex. Jonny Buckle, head of acquisitions at The Restaurant Group, told the Clacton and Frinton Gazette: “The leisure quarter looks set to become a real community hub for the Stanway area and it’s the perfect location for our style of restaurant.” The planning application for the site, which will include a total of six units, is due to be determined by Colchester Council in September. The development, which also includes a car park, open space and a children’s play area, is expected to create 245 jobs. The site is next to Wyvern Farm, where 350 new homes are due to be built by Persimmon Homes. Coast to Coast, which would create 40 jobs with the new restaurant, has about 15 sites across the UK.

Cinema and six restaurants plan in Speke gets go-ahead: Plans to build a new seven-screen cinema, which incorporates six restaurants on the ground floor, have been given the go-ahead on the outskirts of Speke. Liverpool City Council’s planning committee approved an application by Speke Unit Trust for a major overhaul of New Mersey Shopping Park on Speke Road. The plan involves demolishing the existing Currys store at the entrance to the site off Speke Road and replacing it with a cinema complex. There would also be a new customer services centre providing facilities for shoppers including a helpdesk, public toilets, a collection point, a security point, a coffee shop and a children’s play area. And there would be a reconfiguration of the existing B&Q store, as well as the creation of a new courtyard in the north east corner of the site containing 12 small retail units.

Blackpool-based Elgin Hotel starts expanding portfolio after acquiring second site for £2m:
Blackpool-based Elgin Hotel has started expanding its portfolio after acquiring it second site – the neighbouring Sheraton Hotel for about £2m. The company, owned by the Seddon family, has already begun a £250,000 refurbishment at the Sheraton in Queens Promenade, North Shore, which will be brought up to three-star standard. It has bought the 104-bedroom hotel from the McPhee family, which has been at the Sheraton for 54 years. Jane Seddon, marketing director for Elgin Hotel, told the Fleetwood Weekly News: “The Seddons believe in Blackpool and because of that we wanted to invest back into Blackpool. The Sheraton being another family business fitted into what the Elgin does and we felt it was the right time to expand.” The Seddon family has owned the 89-bedroom Elgin Hotel, also in Queens Promenade, for 46 years.

Black Sheep Brewery launches ‘edgy, urban’ beer: Black Sheep Brewery is reaching out to younger, experimental beer drinkers with a new pale ale, Pathmaker, created by its brewing team, which was given a free rein to go forth and innovate. Pathmaker is inspired by Black Sheep founder and chairman Paul Theakston, who was the brewery’s original pioneer against bland beer and mass corporations when he established the business from scratch in 1992. Pathmaker is aimed at contemporary urban pubs and bars and a growing population of young, “switched on” beer fans that have a taste for new beers and a desire to try new flavours. A 5% ABV pale ale, Pathmaker is brewed with Chinook hops, with an adventurous fresh aroma, juicy hop and malty mouth feel with a crisp moreish finish. It will be made available in 30-litre kegs. Jo Theakston, Black Sheep Brewery’s sales and marketing director, said: “The number of pubs and bars wanting something new and exciting continues to grow as beer drinkers look to experiment. When my dad, Paul, embarked on his own adventure by setting up the Black Sheep Brewery in 1992, he did so to become independent and combat bland beer. Pathmaker is inspired by him and we are innovating in that spirit.”

KFC awards £60m facilities management contract: Facilities management company Cloudfm, has secured a £60m contract that will encompass all 235 of KFC’s directly managed outlets in the UK over the next five years, excluding franchises. Cloudfm claims KFC will see the company double in size over the next five years. Property manager at KFC, Ian Diaper, said: “This is not a decision we’ve taken lightly. We conducted a rigorous and exhaustive procurement process to find a long-term partner who understands our business and can help us achieve the next level in service quality and efficiency. We need a provider that will engage with us, take ownership and become a valued resource for restaurant managers. Cloudfm meet all our criteria and we are delighted to be partnering with such a professional operation.” Cloudfm was launched in 2011 and its client lists includes big restaurant brands such as PizzaExpress, Ask and Zizzi.

Dairy Queen refutes allegations of ‘ripping off’ Subway with new sandwich range in US: Dairy Queen has refuted allegations it has “ripped off” rival Subway with its newest line of oven-baked sandwiches in the US. The company, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathway, has launched a new menu of made-to-order sandwiches, desserts and snacks called DK Bakes! The sandwiches include the chicken-bacon ranch sandwich, the chicken-mozzarella sandwich, and the turkey BLT while Subway has identical hot menu items, including its chicken-bacon ranch melt and its turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich. Dairy Queen also allegedly uses similar equipment to Subway when it prepares sandwiches. But Dairy Queen has refuted suggestions it has copied Subway after an insider told the New York Post: “They copied us. They went to our vendors.” A statement said: “American Dairy Queen Corporation and our product development team has been working on our new DQ Bakes! menu consisting of nine new hot desserts, hot snack melts and hot sandwiches for more than three years. The ovens we are using are readily available within the quick-service restaurant industry as well as coffee houses and are available from multiple suppliers.”

Horsham-based Hepworth Brewery set to relocate:
Horsham-based Hepworth Brewery has finalised plans to relocate from Horsham to Pulborough. Work has begun this week on Hepworth and Co Brewers’ new site off the A29, some seven years after Andy Hepworth decided to move the company from its current home in Nightingale Road. The building phase of the project on the 1.8-acre site on land bought from Brinsbury College is expected to last about seven months. Moving equipment will take another three months, and Hepworth’s has set a target of May 2016 to start operations. The new site is three times larger than the brewery in Nightingale Road. It will include a new shop, a larger brewery, bottling hall and warehouses, as well as space for further expansion. The move will see Hepworth’s increase staff levels by “at least” 25% from its current number of 28, Andy Hepworth said, including workers in administration, production, distribution and shop staff.

Bruce Clague joins Lincoln & York as sales director: Coffee sourcing, roasting and packing specialist Lincoln & York has hired Bruce Clague as its new sales director. Clague has worked in food and drink for over 20 years, previously having held senior commercial roles at global packaging manufacturer Coveris, leading UK food-to-go specialist Adelie Foods and the Campbell Soup Company. Clague said: “I am delighted to have joined the team at Lincoln & York, especially at such an exciting time for the business and the coffee industry as a whole. Consumer knowledge and expectation continues to grow and they increasingly demand consistent, quality coffee. I’m really looking forward to working with our team of experts and our customers, to help them delight theirs.”

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

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