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Mon 10th Aug 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pizza Hut UK exits 22 locations, trims staff number by 900 as estate is re-shaped though investment: Pizza Hut UK, owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners, exited 22 locations last year as part of plans to boost UK profitability, newly-filed Companies House documents report. The store closures meant UK turnover dropped to £225,464,000 in the year to 30 November 2014, compared to £230,106,000 the year before. However, restaurant Ebitda, including central costs was £15,730,000, 5% ahead of the year before with like-for-like sales in the remaining estate climbing by 3%. The company, which operates 285 sites now, had refurbished 55 of its sites by the year-end but will have competed re-imaging at 50% of the estate by the end of this year – 70 to 80 restaurants will be refurbished this year. Key menus changes include the addition of chilli beef nachos, popcorn shrimp, BBQ ribs, fries, onion rings and range of chicken dishes broadening the traditional choice of pizzas. The company reported that it has introduced a new ‘Hut TV’ video-based training programme using its own team members trained by actors to present to and engage fellow staff members. The company added: “With less than 20% of the estate refurbished, a proportion of which took place in the latter half of 2014, the sales and profit impact of the programme is still in its infancy and will build throughout 2015 and 2016. The strong financial position of the company is reflected by a cash balance of £27.87m at the balance sheet date.” The company employed 8,454 staff in 2014, 907 fewer than the 9,342 staff it employed the year before. Pizza Hut UK reported exceptional costs totally £4.14m (2013: £2.13m), which included an impairment of fixed assets, costs relating to early lease terminations, impairment of investments and a provision for dilapidations in respect of future store closures.

Industry News:

Riz Shaikh to present at The Bar and Nightclub Conference: Riz Shaikh, co-founder of The Columbo Group, is to present at The Bar and Nightclub Conference, which is being held on Tuesday 27 October at Bafta Piccadilly. Shaikh will talk about the award-winning company’s approach to food, drink and entertainment in the late night sector. The conference, the first stand-alone event for this part of the market, examines the key issues affecting the markets with contributions from key figures within the sector. Tickets are free for operators and cost £145 for ALMR supplier members and £195 for ALMR non-suppliers. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com

UK nightclub numbers halved in a decade: Nearly half of the UK’s nightclubs have shut their doors in just ten years, figures compiled by BBC’s Newsbeat have revealed. Figures show that in 2005 there were 3,144 nightclubs clubs – that had dropped to 1,733 this year. Ministry of Sound boss Lohan Presencer argued that the UK nightclub sector is in a “challenging place” in 2015. “I don’t think the number of people going clubbing at the weekend is any different to where it was 20 years ago, but I do think they are going to different places,” he told Newsbeat. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls says that planning and licensing rules are the reason for some of the closures. She argued that it’s become too easy for neighbours to complain if they live nearby – even if the venue was there before they moved in. “People want to have their cake and eat it. If you want vibe and to live in a cool area, then you need the other, edgier side of it,” she said.

Hospitality sector chef job postings risen by 61% in the past year: Job postings in the UK hospitality sector rose by 61% in the last year, Recruiter website has reported. The south west posted a 75.3% increase in roles year-on-year with the south east posting a 73% increase. Mike Gardner, who launched a partnership with hospitality recruiter Appetite4Recruitment to concentrate on temps in the sector, told Recruiter. “As a recruiter you could set up an agency tomorrow and win [an] infinite amount of chef vacancies but you wouldn’t be able to fill them.” He said that temping has become a much more attractive proposition for junior chefs. “If you’re a permanent chef de partie you’re probably going to be on a salary of £22,000 or £24,000, if you’re lucky, and you’ll be given maybe a 44 hour a week contract, but you’ll probably end up working 60 hours, maybe more, and not get paid for those additional hours. Whereas if you’re temping and you work 60 hours, you get paid for 60 hours.”

Gordon Ramsay signs two-year deal with Fox TV to make 80 hours of programming: Chef Gordon Ramsay has signed a two-year deal with Fox TV to make 80 hours of programming in the US over the next two years. The deal continues a relationship with the network that began in 2005. Ramsay is involved in three of the network’s long-running franchises: MasterChef, spinoff MasterChef Junior and Hell’s Kitchen. Kitchen Nightmare recently ended a ten-year run on the network.

Unite to stage protest at PizzaExpress site this evening: Members of Unite will stage a protest at a PizzaExpress site this evening as part of an attempt to get the company to stop charging an 8% administration charge in relation to tips for staff that have been paid on credit and debit cards. The company makes an estimated £1m a year from the practice, according to Unite. “We believe this 8% fee is unfair and that, if the chain values its staff, it should be paying them the total tips they are given by customers,” said Chantal Chegrinec, campaigns officer at Unite. “We are starting with PizzaExpress but they are by no means the only offender and we will be turning our attention to other companies after this.” The first protest will take place at the British Museum branch of PizzaExpress in London this evening. Unite began the campaign following a survey of its PizzaExpress members. One of the top issues that emerged was the 8% deduction from tips. One disgruntled PizzaExpress employee, who wants to remain anonymous, said that the administration fee was costing her £3 a night. “I have worked at PizzaExpress for 15 years,” she said in a letter to Unite. “After all this time I’m still only paid the national minimum wage of £6.50 an hour. So you see my colleagues and I are heavily reliant on customer tips to top up our low wages. I work hard and am good at my job, but when PizzaExpress thinks it can get away with taking a percentage of our hard-earned tips left on a card, I get upset.” 

Crowdcube and Seedrs dominate the crowd-funding scene: Crowdcube and Seedrs dominate the UK crowd-funding scene, according to data, which shows the pair facilitated three quarters of the market in 2015 so far. Together Crowdcube and Seedrs have raised £68m through their online platforms for small companies, according to data from Crowdsurfer. Crowdcube raised £46m just over half the market, while raising £20m puts Seedrs in second place with about a quarter. After that f6s, the third largest, has so far brought £7.1m this year, and along with peers Crowdbnk, SyndicateRoom, Angels Den the four group’s account for almost all of the remaining 25% of the market. 

Company News:

Goldman Sachs reinstates ‘Buy’ rating on Greene King: Goldman Sachs has reinstated its ‘Buy’ rating on Greene King with a 1,060p price target, saying it expects the company to deliver consistent earnings growth given its exposure to accelerating UK consumer discretionary spending, execution of synergies post its Spirit acquisition and investment in its estate. The bank also said it reckons earnings before interest and tax margin expansion from consolidation should more than offset cost headwinds, particularly increased minimum wage inflation due to the introduction of the UK National Living Wage from April next year. Goldman Sachs expects the company to achieve £37.5m in synergies from its acquisition of Spirit over the next three years, around £12m of which will be from a reduction in corporate overhead and £26m from procurement savings. It noted that the stock trades at a discount to pub peers despite above-average growth. It added that while Greene King’s returns are slightly below peers, this differential should continue to compress over time. Goldman also highlighted the stock’s attractive dividend yield and 25% upside to the bank’s 12-month price target. “Greene King’s leverage is already the lowest of its asset-based pub peers, and we expect it to fall further, with excess cash being used largely for dividends,” said a note from Goldman Sachs.

Krispy Kreme plans 12-month public relations drive: Krispy Kreme is planning a series of campaigns to raise its profile and drive cultural relevance in the UK market after hiring DeVries Slam to oversee plot a 12-month public relations drive. Working alongside MC2, responsible for amplifying Krispy Kreme’s new store openings, DeVries Slam will work closely with the in-house team to advise on partnership initiatives, social media and new services and product launches, to ensure the ‘fun positioning’ of the brand is at the heart of all communications. Alison Reeves, Krispy Kreme’s marketing manager, said that despite being the UK’s ‘number one donut brand’ it wanted to ‘create more cultural relevance’. “We needed an agency partner that would be able to amplify our new product launches and services in a way that would instill Krispy Kreme in the hearts and minds of our consumers,” she said.

Daniel Thwaites puts move to Ribble Valley on hold: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has announced the firm’s proposed move to a new site in the Ribble Valley is now ‘on hold’. The 200-year-old brewery revealed in June 2014 its plan to relocate to Sykes Holt at Mellor Brook, just off the A59. A review has been launched into the move after concerns were raised over ‘significant infrastructure costs’ to develop the new site. Other undisclosed locations are also being looked into. The review comes after a planning application was submitted to Blackburn with Darwen Council to demolish the brewery in Penny Street. Thwaites chief executive Richard Bailey said: “This application is the first step of our planned development of the site, however the process is likely to take a number of years. It forms part of our planned move out of Blackburn Town Centre to a new site. We are reviewing our proposed move to Mellor Brook.” The company signed a deal with fellow brewer Marston’s worth £25.1m to sell most of its beer division earlier this year and the total investment in the move out of Blackburn is believed to be around £10m.

Valley of Rocks Hotel in Devon on market for £1.45m: The freehold of the Valley of Rocks Hotel on the edge of Exmoor National Park in Devon has been put up for sale at a guide price of £1.45m. The hotel, which is located in the coastal town of Lynton and has 68 en-suite rooms, is being marketed by agent Christie + Co. Matthew Smith, who is handling the sale, said: “The Valley of Rocks is an established, robust and profitable operation, trading well at a high occupancy. It benefits from a high percentage of repeat custom from guests who visit the region to take advantage of the many nearby attractions and beautiful coastline. We expect considerable interest from experienced coaching operators and hoteliers looking to expand their portfolios, as well as investors seeking a substantial asset in the centre of Lynton with an opportunity to change the style of operation and focus on the demand for the private leisure market.”

Jarrow Brewing Company beer seized by HMRC on suspicion it was brewed without a licence: More than 21,000 litres of beer have been seized from north east brewery Jarrow Brewing Company on suspicion it was brewed without a licence. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs took the beer from two sites operated by the brewery under section 139 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. Officers seized a tanker containing 14,760 litres of beer from a site in Jarrow along with 24 nine-gallon kegs, one 18-gallon keg and 64 30-litre kegs. A further 6,678 litres were seized from the company’s Maltings site in South Shields along with 33 nine-gallon kegs of beer. An HMRC spokesman told Chronicle Live: “Beer Duty is chargeable on certain types of beer if their strength is more than 1.2% alcohol by volume and beer is liable for beer duty as soon as it’s ‘produced’. HMRC is committed to ensuring that individuals and businesses operate within the parameters of the law when it comes to the production and packaging of beer.” Jarrow, which has recently attempted to crack the US craft beer market, was put into liquidation in April though a new company was formed and continued trading. It was founded in 2002 when publicans and real ale enthusiasts Jess and Alison McConnell started brewing at The Robin Hood pub in Jarrow.

Arc Inspirations names October for Banyan Bar & Kitchen opening in Manchester: Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of bars and restaurants, will open its third Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Manchester on 2 October. The company, led by Martin Wolstencroft, is investing £1.5m in the venue in the new Corn Exchange development, which will employ 70 staff. The 10,000 square foot site will have 150 covers inside, two private dining rooms downstairs – The Root and The Well – and 140 external covers on Exchange Square. Wolstencroft told the Manchester Evening News: “The Corn Exchange is a unique, historic location, right in the heart of Manchester’s retail core and we’re excited about introducing Banyan into this burgeoning mix of restaurants and bars.” Arc Inspirations, which celebrates its 15th birthday this year, operates 12 sites currently trading in four segments of the market: student bars, The Pit, offering craft beer and “sticky” food, aspirational neighbourhood bars and Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Harrogate and York. It is also opening a new concept, Kith & Kin, in September after converting its Zed Bar site in Chapel Allerton.

Nick Batram – The Restaurant Group is expected to issue a solid update: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram has issued ‘Buy’ recommendation on The Restaurant Group shares, with a target price of 787p, ahead of First Half results on 28 August. He said: “Restaurant Group should post a solid H1, with like-for-likes expected to be close to the +2% reported at the AGM in May. Half One has historically accounted for 41-43% of profits and this would suggest £35m-£37m profit before tax. We expect all component parts of the business to have performed well. With the exception of wages, cost pressures have been benign and we expect them to remain so for 2015. In terms of the living wage, the impact on Restaurant Group before mitigating actions is likely to be £2m-£3m in 2016. However, the group has an excellent track record in terms of margin consistency, even during periods of rising costs. There is little doubt that restaurant supply is increasing, wage costs are set to rise well above inflation and a rise in interest rates moves ever closer. However, this is a reflection of the improvement in the consumer backdrop and nothing the group hasn’t experienced before. Furthermore, a strong H2 for cinema, together with softer comparatives, presents an opportunity to surprise on the upside.”

McDonald’s axes 225 jobs as it streamlines: McDonald’s is cutting 225 jobs globally, more than half of them at the company’s headquarters, as the company streamlines operations and cuts expenses. The cuts include 135 layoffs at the company’s headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois. It also includes 90 employees overseas, according to a company spokeswoman. “We do not take decisions that impact jobs lightly, but we committed in May to implement meaningful changes to reset our business, remove layers and find cost efficiencies, and we are acting with a sense of urgency on that commitment,” the company spokeswoman added.

JD Wetherspoon to open site in Maldon tomorrow: JD Wetherspoon is to open a new site in Maldon tomorrow having invested £1.68m to convert the Rose and Crown in the town’s High Street, creating 50 new jobs. Pub manager Matt Shinn, who will run the pub having previously been in charge of The Moon on the Square in Basildon, said: “I think it will be a slightly different customer base from Basildon and I think we will serve a lot more food here. The front of the pub is the old Tudor building, which feels more like a proper dining area.”

Ossett Brewery to host The BBQ Collective at Sheffield site: Ossett Brewery is to host The BBQ Collective at its Hop live music site in Sheffield starting this Friday (14 August). The BBQ Collective is led by executive chef Jeffrey Wright who hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and specialises in ribs, brisket, Texas hot-link sausages and buttermilk fried chicken. Mathurot Chuladul, marketing and communications director and co-founder of The BBQ Collective, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Ossett Brewery to deliver this exciting venture at the perfect location within Sheffield. Ossett has an excellent track record of opening and operating a highly successful portfolio of breweries, restaurants and bars. Together, we intend to bring the three elements that make for a truly exceptional BBQ experience – BBQ, beer and live music.”

Southbourne Brewing near crowd-funding target, aims to create £50m national brand: Southbourne Brewing is nearing its £149,940 crowd-funding target on the AngelsDen platform. The company plans to open a 20 barrel brewery with taprooms and a tourist visitor centre in the middle of Bournemouth – it also wants to create a national brand, brewed eventually under licence elsewhere, with a view to selling this for circa £50m. A total of £138,456 has already been committed by 60 investors, who are being offered a total equity stake of 10% for the £149,940. Southbourne Brewing was voted best new business of 2014 in Dorset Magazine’s Food, Drink and Farming awards. The company has been using excess capacity at an existing brewery in Lyme Regis so far. The pitch states: “In three to five years time, the potential sale of our national brand will raise a predicted £50m. This will then be used to buy out those shareholders who wish to exit the business; potential returns are expected to be at least 25 times the initial investment based on the total value of the business. Remaining funds will be used to invest in local growth and a new brand for the national and International markets”.

Itsu and Gourmet Burger Kitchen pilot kitchen video management system: Itsu and Gourmet Burger Kitchen are piloting a new next-generation cloud-based kitchen video management system (KVMS), developed by Intelligent Business Systems (IBS), that provides greater control of their food operations. The KVMS will help kitchens deliver far greater consistency with different screens intuitively interacting with each other and triggering preparation and pass control activity depending on the customer order. Operators and management have immediate access to analysis and performance management information from the KVMS so they can interrogate and improve any aspect of the preparation and distribution of food. “We’ve invested a lot of time, effort and resources developing a next-generation KVMS, rewriting and replacing our existing system. The result is a highly sophisticated yet easy to use solution that is going to revolutionise how kitchens operate and deliver food,” said IBS managing director Gareth Powell. “Critically, we’ve talked at length to our clients to ensure our KVMS gives them the flexibility and functionality they need to prepare and distribute food irrespective of their service style, whether it is food-to-go, casual dining or fine dining,” he added. IBS existing sector customers include Bath Ales, Cirrus Inns, Eat, Harry Ramsden’s, the Inception Group, Peach Pub Company, POD, Revolution Bars Group, Spudulike and Vital Ingredient.

Celebrity chef Andrew Nutter wins consent for pub project: Celebrity chef Andrew Nutter has been granted planning permission to turn the Bird I’th Hand pub on Bury and Rochdale Old Road, Birtle into a traditional pub and first floor restaurant. He is set to demolish the existing side and single storey extension and build new, single and two storey extensions where a new bar and restaurant, plus terrace, will be located. Speaking to Rochdale Online previously, Nutter said: “We really want to take advantage of the views and the scenery because the views are amazing, so the champagne terrace will really give people the opportunity to enjoy those views. This will be good for Rochdale because it will create jobs for people and opportunities for people. We’re really looking forward to it.” It is hoped that the pub will be open by the end of 2015.

Irish coffee shop brand Ground Expresso opens 14th site: Northern Ireland coffee shop brand Ground Expresso will open its 14th site in Magherafelt town centre next month. Ground Expresso, owned by Coleraine couple Darren and Karen Gardiner, has invested £150,000 in refurbishing premises at The Diamond centre in the town. A spokesperson for the company said that the new store opening comes as its annual turnover grew by around one-third in the last year. The company opened its first store in Coleraine and has developed a partnership with retailer Next, opening concessions in its larger stores. Regional manager Jonny Ross said: “We have had a fantastic year so far. Our newest stores from Dublin to Derry are thriving. We put this down to support from the local consumers, who are driving independent retail outlets in our towns and cities. We have found that consumers are bucking the trend of going to the high street stores and opting for local independents such as ourselves, and this may well be because consumers know their coffee, and expect more from their chosen coffee house.”

Leisure property investor acquires two leisure parks as part of £30m investment: Leisure property investor Otium Real Estate has acquired two leisure parks as part of a £30m investment. The company has bought Newport Leisure Park in Wales for £14m and Westgate Leisure Park in Wakefield, Yorkshire, for £12m along with Nuffield Health and Fitness in Cannock, Staffordshire, for £4m. Otium Real Estate acquired the sites through its £200m Otium Leisure Ventures fund, reports Insider Media. The leisure parks are home to tenants including Cineworld, Nando’s, McDonald’s, Harvester, Frankie & Bennys, Pizza Hut and Mecca. Ashley Blake, chief executive of Otium Real Estate, said: “We are delighted to have successfully acquired these three assets within seven months of our fund launch and achieved the creation of our first fund. The leisure market is in great shape, with acquisition opportunities for those with specialist sector knowledge. Strong occupational demand and increasing consumer confidence are boosting leisure spending, making it an outperforming sector for property investment.” Otium, which is backed by a consortium of international institutional investors, invests in leisure assets such as leisure parks and city centre leisure blocks as well as stand-alone assets including cinemas, restaurants, health clubs and bowling alleys. Agent DTZ represented Otium on the Cannock and Newport sites while Knight Frank advised the company on the Wakefield leisure park purchase.

Bella Italia set to double up in Glasgow: Casual Dining Group’s Bella Italia brand plans to open its second site in Glasgow. A new opening is planned in Glasgow city centre, taking over the former Dino’s takeaway pizza site on Sauchiehall – no date has been given for an opening. The company has another restaurant at the Braehead shopping centre. Casual Dining Group is planning to add 70 new sites to the brand by 2018 to grow to 150 venues, creating a £200m-turnover per annum brand. Chief executive Steve Richards told the Propel Multi Club Conference in March: “We think there can be 300 Bellas and we will take it overseas. There has been a lot of franchising interest.”

Cadogan Estates submits plan for cinema and pub in Chelsea: A planning application for a revamped cinema in Chelsea has been formally submitted. Cadogan Estates entered the application to Kensington & Chelsea Council for the cinema site on 196-222 King’s Road. It follows a failed planning application last year, and a recent public exhibition of proposals. It will now be considered by officers at the royal borough’s planning department, before going to planning committee later this year. The application includes a three-screen Curzon cinema, with 600 seats in total, the replacement of the existing pub with a new larger pub located on the King’s Road, new retail and office space with 47 new homes built around two courtyards.

Pierre Victoire founder exits final site: Pierre Victoire founder Pierre Levicky has sold the last remaining Pierre Victoire site he operates, in Eyre Place in the New Town, Edinburgh, to chef Matthew Gorecki. Previously, Levicky saw the sizeable Pierre Victoire business collapse into administration and then moved to work abroad. But he returned to Edinburgh to open the restaurants Chez Jules and Chez Pierre. He eventually turned the latter, in Eyre Place, into the first Pierre Victoire outlet for more than a decade in 2010. Speaking to the Edinburgh Evening News, he said: “I’m taking some retirement. I had two restaurants in Edinburgh, and this will make my life better. I’m getting old. So that’s it – that’s me. The last time I lost it and this time I’m selling it. It’s the end of an era for me, but the restaurant will carry on. And I still have Chez Jules on Hanover Street.”

Four Welsh inns join Great Inns of Britain consortium: Four Welsh inns have become members of the small marketing consortium Great Inns of Britain. The Castle hotel in Conwy, The Bear hotel in Crickhowell, the West Arms in Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceirog and Wolfscastle Country House hotel in Haverfordwest have joined the group. Membership to the consortium, which now has a total of 20 members including historic inns and small hotels, is by invitation only from existing members. Simon Heaton, owner of Shibden Mill Inn and chairman of the consortium, said: “The Great Inns of Britain is delighted to announce four more new members for 2015, all of which are of an exceptionally high standard and come with big reputations – they’re great additions to the Great Inns collection.” Great Inns of Britain was established in 1996 by Thomas Ingilby, owner of The Boar’s Head in Ripley, North Yorkshire, and the late Paul Whittome, who was the owner of The Hoste Arms at Burnham Market, Norfolk.

US franchisee unit count growth outstrips growth of market’s largest companies: According to Technomic’s Top 400 Restaurant Franchise Report, the US’s largest franchisee operators increased their collective count of restaurant locations by circa 6.5% in 2014, compared with growth of about 2.1% for all units of the brands listed in Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. While many of these companies are leveraging their operations excellence to open new stores organically, much of the growth the past few years has come via acquisition, as the operators in the Top 400 have attracted favorable financing and often private-equity backing to go on a major buying spree. Technomic expects acquisition-led growth to continue for this group over the next several years, as major franchisors have indicated plans to continue the industry’s pace of refranchising in favour of the investor-friendly “asset-light” business model. Darren Tristano, executive vice-president of Technomic, said: “The companies tracked in the Top 400 Restaurant Franchise Report are taking advantage of a seismic shift in the restaurant industry toward franchise-led expansion and investment, and many of them are getting big enough to wield the purchasing power and territorial reach of a super-regional restaurant brand.” Data for the 200 largest franchisees in the study, compiled in partnership with Franchise Times, reveal that those companies collectively grew 2014 sales 8.2%, which is twice as fast as the 4% growth recorded in the Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report, Technomic’s annual census of the US industry’s biggest brands. The top franchisees’ sales increase was also more than three times the collective rate of sales growth among the nearly 100 brands represented across their holdings. “Low interest rates and the availability of capital have made it an excellent time for multi-unit franchisees to grow by acquisition,” said John Hamburger, president of Franchise Times and the Restaurant Finance Monitor. “Franchisees have never had it so good in the capital markets.”

Hi-Spirits reports hot weather driving 20% increase in demand for Sambuca: Britain’s record-breaking temperatures this summer have encouraged pub and bar customers to swap Sambuca shots for long, cooling drinks served over ice. Hi-Spirits is reporting a 20% upturn in on-trade orders for its Antica Sambuca Flavours range since the heatwave in July. As the good weather continues, there has also been a sharp increase in demand for the summer POS kits that promote five simple-to-make and profitable Antica long serves, made by adding a mixer and plenty of ice.

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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