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Wed 19th Aug 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Giggling Squid to boost management team as it plots pathway to 150 sites: Thai brand Gigging Squid is to recruit a raft of senior staff in the next six months as it paves the way to its target of expanding to 150 UK sites. The company is negotiating to let office accommodation in Horsham that will become the group’s headquarters, with space for around 16 staff. The company has previously outsourced most of its administrative functions but will now recruit a financial director and finance team, another area manager, executive and development chefs plus posts in human resources, training and marketing, over the next six months. The company has opened sites in Guildford and Billericay this month. It expects to open its Esher branch at the end of October. Building works will now begin on another recent acquisition in Berkhamsted, whilst the company has submitted a planning application for alterations to its listed premises in Bury St Edmunds. Giggling Squid is in funding talks with potential investors. Yesterday, Propel reported that the company has secured a new 100-cover site in Warwick, which is expected to open in December after a £180,000 refurbishment. Giggling Squid opened in Stratford-upon-Avon, about ten miles away from Warwick, in November 2013, which was then its seventh site. Led by husband-and-wife team Andy and Pranee Laurillard, the company currently operates 13 sites, mostly across southern England.

Industry News:

OLN – Tesco poised to drop half-price wine deal: Off Licence News (OLN) has reported Tesco is poised to drop half-price deals on wine in a bid to drive profits and restore consumer trust in its business. The publication reported the retailer confirmed it was reviewing the promotion, which first hit shelves in 1997 and suppliers claim to have been told the mechanic will be phased out from October. One supplier told OLN: “When wine became a 100 million-case market, a third of that was three-for-£10, which effectively disappeared when that promotional vehicle was dropped by retailers. A further 25 million cases were made up of half-price deals, and it looks like the trade is about to give up on the last volumetric driver it has. No one is making any money on half price, because economically, it doesn’t work when the tax on a bottle of wine is now £3. Retailers can’t make any money on wine at that level, which is why the category is losing space. Half-price only worked below £3.99. As soon as the half-price deal went to £4.01, it stopped working for consumers who are looking for an affordable deal.”

New York restaurants object to $15-an-hour minimum wage: New York restaurants have lodge objections to a New York Wage Board plan to increase the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15-an-hour. The proposal to raise pay from the current $8.75-an-hour would be phased in over the next six years, starting with an increase at the end of this year. The increase now awaits approval by Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo’s labour commissioner. Cuomo supports the increase, so its approval is considered a certainty. The $15 rate applies to fast food companies with 30 or more locations. In a letter opposing the hike, a lawyer for the National Restaurant Association argues the increase unfairly applies to only national chain restaurants and infringes on the Legislature’s authority to pass minimum-wage increases. The letter also notes the three-member New York Wage Board had no representative from the fast food industry. Attorney Randy Mastro wrote the increase would “improperly target only a sliver of a segment of a single industry, without support in data, logic or law” and that implementing the increase would be “arbitrary, capricious, irrational, unreasonable, invalid and contrary to law”.

Popularity of Japanese foodservice brands linked to rise in noodle sales: Demand in the UK for Japanese food is soaring thanks its popularisation by brands such as Itsu and Wagamama, according to a new report. Research from market analysts Kantar Worldpanel found that, in the past year, Brits ate an extra 12 million tonnes of rice and noodles. Sales of rice and noodles were up 5.3%, bringing sales up to 504.9 million tonnes and volume sales were up 6.5%, meaning families spent an extra £24m on products last year. The rise in sales is linked to the popularity of brands such as Wagamama or Itsu. Speaking to The Grocer, Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe said: “From our conversations with key buyers, it appears the rise of noodles is coming from the premium, authentic sector.” Kantar Worldpanel added the growth could also be attributed to an increase in shopping trips, bigger baskets in store and the reduction of average prices of rice and noodles.

Starbucks to add real pumpkin to flagship autumn beverage:
Starbucks has revealed a major change is in the works over how its Pumpkin Spiced Latte is made. This year the drink will have real pumpkin as one of its ingredients. Starbucks’ flagship autumn beverage came under scrutiny last year when an influential food blogger highlighted there was no trace of pumpkin in the drinks that have been served since 2003, but that it did contain caramel colouring. Vani Hari, who runs the blog Food Babe, revealed Starbucks did not use any form of pumpkin in its drink after a lengthy back-and-forth with the retailer to obtain the list of ingredients used in the latte last year. “After hearing from customers and partners about ingredients, we took another look at this beverage and why we created it so many years ago,” Starbucks’ Peter Dukes wrote in a blog post. “It was simple – espresso, perfectly steamed milk, warm fall spices with delicious flavour of pumpkin pie that reminds you of the cool, crisp days of autumn. So, with the warm taste you know and love, the Pumpkin Spiced Latte returns this fall, and this time it will be made with real pumpkin and without caramel colouring.”

McDonald’s tops choice in US for ‘breakfastarians’ according to new survey: McDonald’s is the top choice in the US for “breakfastarians” – people who crave breakfast food at any hour – according to a new survey. The company, which began trialling all-day breakfasts in the US in April and is expected to roll-out the concept nationwide later this year, came first in the survey from YouGov BrandIndex, a brand perception research service, with 41% of consumers who eat breakfast twice a day considering McDonald’s for their next meal. Subway was second choice with 34% followed by DineEquity’s IHOP at 32%, Burger King with 27% and Starbucks at 26%. Denny’s and Dunkin’ Donuts were tied with 25% each, Wendy’s Co got 23%, while KFC and Chick-fil-A rounded off the top ten with 22% apiece. Breakfast is the only US restaurant mealtime seeing an upturn in customer visits with traffic up 4% for the year ending May 2015, according to research firm NPD Group. While McDonald’s topped the survey, Chick-fil-A, IHOP and Taco Bell made the greatest purchase consideration gains in the last six months. The online survey, which took place over a 12-month period, included 1,000 adults over the age of 18 who eat breakfast twice per day.

Downing – we’ve invested £65m in 60 pubs in five years: Investment fund Downing has revealed it has now invested more than £65m in about 60 pubs since 2010. Downing, which invests through EIS schemes, has invested in 34 pubs in partnership with Antic London, 15 sites with Pub People Company, five in partnership with Oakman Inns, two with Faucet Inn and two more in partnership with Jon and Paula Briscoe, who have just sold their two Downing pubs to The Restaurant Group’s Brunning & Price segment.

Fast food companies in US ‘working on robot technology’ to combat proposed wage increases: Fast food companies in the US are “working on robot technology” to combat proposed wage increases in the country. Restaurant employees across the country have been demanding a higher minimum wage and several states including New York are planning to introduce pay of $15-an-hour. But with salaries accounting for an estimated 30% of the industry’s costs, the change could put a huge strain on companies and for that reason, work on upgrades to restaurant technology that could cut the number of staff required is going up a gear, reports the Washington Post. In addition to innovations such as electronic menus and kiosk ordering that could boost efficiency, robots could be used more widely in food preparation to cut down on waste and eliminate the need for highly skilled workers, such as sushi chefs, the newspaper said. Some high-end restaurants in the US already have robots carrying out tasks including rolling out rice, it added. However, while US companies think robots could provide some relief, the paper reported many are aware of the need to “deliver a personalised experience” and that too much automation could put customers off.

Company News:

Redcomb Pubs acquires former Beefeater and Premier Inn site with 30 bedrooms: Redcomb Pubs, the multiple operator headed up by Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, has acquired its 14th site, The Worplesdon Place Hotel, five miles from Guildford, a former Beefeater and Premier Inn site with 30 bedrooms, which is held on a new 25-year free-of-tie lease with a private landlord. Shotton said: “The Worplesdon Place Hotel is a beautiful building set in two acres of gardens with its own lake, and will fit perfectly into our rooms division, taking our total portfolio to over 100 rooms. We are planning a major investment both in the pub and the hotel to create a fabulous country pub with cosy, individually styled bedrooms, and will be focusing on doing what we do best – delivering simple, seasonal, freshly cooked food, an interesting range of wines and beers, in a friendly relaxed environment, all at very sensible prices. Trading over the last quarter has been especially strong, with like-for-like performance in excess of +5.4% and occupancy averaging 78% across our hotels, and we are still ahead of our acquisition strategy for 2015. We are now focusing on building our pipeline even further for both our rooms and pub divisions, and are actively seeking freeholds and free-of-tie leases in London, the south east and M4 corridor.” Meanwhile, Redcomb reopens The Cherry Tree in East Dulwich today (Wednesday, 19 August). Positioned immediately outside of the entrance to East Dulwich’s mainline station, it is on a free-of-tie lease from Wellington Pub Company and has been closed for eight weeks to undergo a £400,000 refurbishment.

Deltic unveils details of new Steinbeck & Shaw concept:
The Deltic Group has unveiled details of its new concept in Canterbury, Steinbeck & Shaw, due to open next month. The concept will open on St George’s Place, with a stripped back, raw and contemporary feel that exploits the existing architecture. The £150,000 investment will also create 20 jobs for the city. Regional director Martin Winter said: “The launch of Steinbeck & Shaw in Canterbury is part of our strategy to constantly evolve our customer offer so that we exceed customer expectations. It’s something completely different from venues within our existing portfolio with an edgier, stripped back feel.” Steinbeck & Shaw’s will offer 21 pre-bookable booths, tables and private areas. The bar will also specialise in creating memorable birthday experiences with a team of professional party bookers in place to create a personal big night out, including the chance to become a mixologist for the night with a cocktail masterclass. As part of its premium offer, customers will also have the option to upgrade to S&S+, the venue’s ultimate VIP party experience. Packages will include fast track entry, complimentary cloakroom and dedicated service in a private party area. Music will be an eclectic mix of high-energy party music, floor filling vocal dance tunes and commercial chart topping RnB. The bar will also offer an extensive range of premium spirits, fresh cocktails and craft beers. “From its stripped back interior design and edgy artwork to its laid back vibe and superior drinks and entertainment offer, Steinbeck & Shaw will deliver a unique experience in Canterbury,” added Winter.

Sadler’s Brewery to launch first site in south of England with new Brewhouse and Barbecue concept in Southampton: Black Country-based Sadler’s Brewery is to launch its first site in the south of England with the opening of a new concept called Brewhouse and Barbecue in Southampton. The company is opening the venue in London Road on Friday on the site of the former Marshals sports bar that went into administration last month just a year after launching. Sadler’s is refurbishing the site, which will offer American barbecue food, with new cellar systems, lounge and public bars and snug areas designed to be similar to a traditional English pub. The venue will feature beers created at its brewery in Lye as well as a selection of spirits and cocktails while its menu of “authentic American-style barbecue food” will include smoked meats and steaks and chicken wings. Sadler’s managing director Chris Sadler told the Hampshire Chronicle: “We are very excited with this unique opportunity to expand our portfolio and we see Southampton as the first step on the way to gaining a foothold in the south of England. The new venture will offer Sadler’s incomparable ales together with the only authentic American style barbecue in the area as well as friendly service, a relaxed atmosphere and excellent quality products.” Sadler’s was originally based in Stourbridge and first opened in 1900, with its brewery supplying 12 pubs owned by the Sadler family. Brewing stopped in 1927 but the businesses remained in the Sadler family, which decided to restart brewing in 2004.

BrewDog to open long-awaited Brighton site at end of the month: BrewDog has confirmed it will open it long-awaited Brighton site on Friday, 28 August. The company acquired the lease on the former Blind Tiger Club in May this year, a year after it closed due to noise complaints. Although BrewDog first announced a Brighton site last year, legal complications delayed its opening. The company stated: “After completing enough paperwork to fill the nearby Pavilion we can announce that BrewDog Brighton will officially open its doors to the craft beer-loving people of the south coast on Friday, 28 August. The epic bar will be pouring thirty taps of the freshest craft beer we can get our hands on, as well as leading with an amazing range of food. More details will follow when the doors are primed and ready to open next week! It’s taken some time to get over the line, but Brighton, we are coming for you.”

Laybourne to open fish bar venue in Newcastle: North east restaurateur Terry Laybourne is expanding his Newcastle-based 21 Hospitality Group by opening a fish bar and fishmonger in the city – the company already operates Café 21, Caffè Vivo, The Broad Chare and Bistro 21. The new venture, called Saltwater Fish Co, is set to be part of Fenwick’s multi-million pound redevelopment of its Food Hall. For Laybourne, the venture reflects a return to his roots with fish and seafood, which is where he built his reputation on returning to Newcastle in the early 1980s. Saltwater will offer fast, casual seafood dining. Developed with London-based design consultancy CADA Design, there will be counter seating for 23, an open kitchen, creative chefs and service staff. The restaurant and retail operation will create eight jobs and recruitment is underway to find fishmongers and chefs de partie prior to opening in early October. Laybourne said: “Our chefs will work hand in hand with the fishmongers, taking a ‘we cook what we sell, we sell what we cook’ approach. Fish is seasonal so both our fishmongers and menu will be constantly on the move, reflecting the rhythm of the season. Our fishmongers will ensure we consistently offer the finest, highest quality seafood that comes from the fabulous larder off the north east coastline as well as other ports around the UK.”

Former Mitchells & Butlers staffer wins finance for second site: Former Mitchells & Butlers staffer Jon Saunders has secured finance to open a second venue – he already operates the Ten Mill Lane cocktail bar in Cardiff. His company, Croesy Bars, has bought a 4,361 sq ft grade II-listed building at Park Place in Cardiff for its new venue, expected to open in September. The new bar has been granted licensing between the hours of 10am and 4am. A £200,000 loan from the Wales SME Investment Fund, managed by Finance Wales, has enabled the company to complete refurbishment works. Ten Mill Lane was established in 2014 with support from Finance Wales and turned over more than £800,000 in its first year of trading, enabling it to repay its original loan. Saunders has more than 15 years’ experience within the hospitality industry and was appointed as the youngest general manager for Mitchells & Butlers in 2003. He said: “I’m thrilled to announce the launch of the new premises. Ten Mill Lane is performing incredibly well after just one year and we take great pride in the cocktail offering we have developed over this period. We want to take this even further in the new venture and add a whole host of exciting elements to the venue that truly offers an experience, as opposed to just another night out.”

Newcastle-based hotel and bar operator set to launch third site: Newcastle-based hotel and bar operator Gainford Group is set to opening its third site in the city. The company is launching bar and restaurant Aveika in the former Chase bar building on Newcastle Quayside next to its Vermont Aparthotel, which opened a fortnight ago on the site of former offices. As well as the bar and restaurant, Aveika will also have an area for hosting live performances. A spokesman told Chronicle Live: “Our aim has always been to bring life to the Quayside once again. Aveika will open this autumn in the former site of Chase and the bar and restaurant promises to encompass artistic design and exquisite service with a revolutionary bar and dining experience.” Gainford Group also owns Bar Livello in Lower Dean Street, which won North East Bar of the Year at the Benevolent Awards, organised by Licensed Trade International.

Starbucks explains why it’s keen to introduce craft beer and wine in the US:
Starbucks has explained why it’s keen to introduce wine and craft beer at its US sites. The company stated: “Starbucks customers are also wine enthusiasts. 70% of Starbucks customers drink wine, as compared to 30% of the general US population, according to Mintel Insights for Wine, January 2014. Providing another occasion for these customers to visit Starbucks during the evening hours was natural for Starbucks – giving them a place to start and end their day. Starbucks customers are two times more likely to drink craft beer than the national average, according to Mintel Insights for Craft Beer, June 2014. They’re showing the same interest in the uniqueness of local and regional craft beers as they have for Starbucks regional coffees. The ‘Evenings’ wine and craft beer assortment is a reflection of the tastes in a variety of regions across the US. For instance, in the Pacific Northwest, customers will find Malbec, Alamos, Argentina and craft beer from Maritime Brewery, Old Seattle Lager. Those in Chicago are offered Malbec, Terrazas, Argentina and craft beer from Goose Island, Chicago, Goose IPA. This results in a combination of local and regional favorites that rotate over time.”

Papa John’s expands into two more Planet Ice ice rinks: Papa John’s has announced Planet Ice, the largest ice leisure brand in Europe, has added two new Papa John’s in its Basingstoke and Coventry ice rinks. Planet Ice first launched Papa John’s in its Milton Keynes and Uttoxeter venues earlier this year and has timed the latest openings to coincide with the forthcoming ice hockey season, which starts in September. “It was always our plan to introduce Papa John’s into these four venues and so far, the ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ concept has been well-received,” said Andreas Petrakas, brand business development manager, Planet Ice. “We have had some great feedback and believe Papa John’s now adds to our fans’ overall experience to help ensure enjoyment at our ice rinks is maximised! We needed to get our skates on to time the openings specifically for the hockey season, which always draws large crowds. Six teams play out of our rinks attracting between 1,200 and 2,500 people to watch each game.”

Richard Caring confirms third Ivy site: Richard Caring-owned The Ivy is branching out with its third restaurant in the capital, which is expected to open by the end of the year. Caring’s Caprice Group is extending the established brand across London with its latest venture – the Ivy Cafe – In Marylebone Lane, near the Chiltern Firehouse. It will join the Ivy Market Grill that was launched in Covent Garden last November and the iconic A-list favourite Ivy restaurant in theatre land, which recently opened after an extensive revamp. “The group wants to extend the Ivy brand and other openings are predicted,” said Salvatore Di Natale, of property leisure experts CDG Leisure. “But it is being careful not to dilute it so each Ivy will still have that extra appeal. Each one will be slightly different and the main restaurant will still be the flagship attracting celebrities and a high profile clientele.” Caprice Group is taking over the Union Cafe, which was owned by Brinkley’s Restaurant Group, for an undisclosed figure.

Stonegate continues estate development with £350,000 investment in Birmingham ‘student technology’ pub: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened The Bristol Pear, in Selly Oak, Birmingham, after a £350,000 investment in “student-friendly technology”. It now offers super-fast broadband connections, loan of phone chargers, plug sockets and USB ports installed on tables, free use of printing services and even the ability for customers to select music in the bar from their own phone. It has a new grab and go counter that serves an array of healthy and treat snacks, frappes and smoothies perfect for customers on the way to lectures. The pub has a choice of open burritos, alongside ribs and slaw, eight different types of burgers, hotdogs and fresh salads, on its main menu, incorporating some of the best street food trends. World food flavours have been introduced such as the Indian lentil dish, khichdi. Generous sharer trays are available alongside an array of super-hot sauces to top any dish. The pub has also introduced craft and cask beer for the first time – five craft pumps have been installed. In addition, four cask beers will be available including from local breweries such as Black Country-based Sadler’s Brewery.

Speciality tea shop T2 to launch first UK site outside London in Cheltenham: Speciality tea shop T2 is to launch its first site in the UK outside London in Cheltenham. The company, which offers more than 200 types of the drink, is to open on the site of the former Shoon shoe shop in the Promenade on Monday, 21 September. The shop will be split into three parts: a tea library featuring loose leaf teas of all kinds; a smell table that lets shoppers explore the options; and a tasting bar so people can try before they buy. International retail director at T2 Darren Williams told the Gloucestershire Echo: “I think people will be really excited about what we have got to offer. It’s a very, very sensory experience completely celebrating the art of tea making with people that are genuinely excited about it. I was keen from personal experience to be in Cheltenham and I think there’s a great demographic mix for us. We really wanted to be on the Promenade. That was our number one target, so we were delighted to be able to secure that.” T2 was formed in Australia 18 years ago and branched into the UK last year. It now has five sites in the London area including the Kings Road in Chelsea and Shepherd’s Bush.

Meat & Shake opens in Ealing, lines up Watford opening: Meat & Shake, the London smokehouse restaurant group, has opened a new site in Ealing, on The Green. Located next to The Green, just off the main high street, this is the first of two new openings, the second being in Watford later this month. Its latest Ealing location seats 100 covers and has created 20 jobs in the local area. Faraz Ahmad, owner of Meat & Shake, said: “This is a particularly exciting and busy time for us. After the success of our first restaurant (in Tooting), we’ve had lots of opportunities to open more, but we have been careful in making sure we’ve picked the right site for us. Operationally, opening up two sites in close proximity will be a challenge but I think we’ll be up to the task.”

Sunderland nightclub operator to reopen former Bramwell Pub Company site: Sunderland nightclub operator Les Ojugbana is to reopen the derelict city centre bar, nightclub and restaurant Varsity, which was previously owned by Bramwell Pub Company. Ojugbana, who also runs the adjacent nightclub Basement in Green Terrace, has taken over the lease at Varsity, which closed after Bramwell Pub Company went into liquidation two years ago. The 630-capacity venue has been given a £150,000 refurbishment with a new bar, flooring, booths and decor. The downstairs will operate as a bar and bistro, while upstairs will be the Casa Rio tapas restaurant. Ojugbana, who also owns Gbana security, which looks after the doors at many of the city’s pubs, told the Sunderland Echo: “I believe in Sunderland’s night life and I wouldn’t take this on if I didn’t think it was viable. No city centre can afford to have a place like this closed. This is a great part of town; we’re going for the more up-market, mature end of the market, but still with a chilled vibe.” Ojugbana has brought Mark Hardy on board to run the food side of the business after he previously ran Casa Rio at its former bases in The Ropery and West Sunniside.

Shropshire-based brewery Joule’s opens latest tap house in Congleton today: Shropshire-based brewery Joule’s will open its latest tap house in Congleton, Cheshire, today (Wednesday, 19 August). The company has acquired the Prince of Wales pub in Lawton Street, which has been refurbished to restore its original features and enhance the cosy snugs and corners the site was once famous for. The tap house will serve Joule’s range of ales including Joule’s Pale Ale and Blonde & Slumbering Monk. The Prince of Wales will also be showcasing Joule’s craft lager Green Monkey, which will be alongside the brewery’s first craft seasonal beer Buffalo, an American pale ale. Joule’s retail director Neale Chandler said: “Lawton Street is fast becoming an independent part of the town with a cluster of individual operators and brewers. Recently Titanic with whom we have a very friendly rivalry have opened close by. It’s an interesting place to be and very different from the top of the town with the bigger and more corporate pub chains.” The Prince of Wales will form part of a tap estate of 20 across the brewery’s heartland of Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

New Italian cafe-restaurant concept Endendum launched in Brighton by Italian food importers: Endendum, a new Italian cafe-restaurant concept that sources most of its produce from Piedmont, has launched in Brighton. The concept, which has been created by husband and wife team Diego Cacciolatti and Lorenza Caneoa, is based in East Street. The couple established a company trading high-quality Italian foods three years ago but has expanded the concept into the cafe-restaurant, which also has retail space selling exclusive goods from northwest Italy. There are no freezers on site, with all ingredients fresh, either regularly delivered from Italy or, in the case of bread, pastries and pasta, made in a “small factory” downstairs. Specialities include gnocco fritto, homemade fried bread dough, served with charcuterie such as coppa. Cacciolatti told The Argus: “Brighton is one of the best cities in the UK for food. London is obviously very famous, but in Brighton people really understand quality food. We’re doing something really different with regional dishes rather than the usual things like lasagne. There are maybe 200 dishes from each region, which gives you an idea of the variety. We want to be different in the kind of dishes we do.”

Loungers lines up second Swansea site: Bristol-based cafe-bar brand Loungers is lining up its second site in Swansea and fifth in Wales. The company has applied to Swansea City Council for an alcohol licence at a unit in Princess Way in the city centre. It wants to serve alcohol until 10pm Sundays to Thursdays, and until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. Loungers told the South Wales Evening Post it couldn’t comment on its plans for the Princess Way site until its licence was granted. Swansea Business Improvement District chief executive Russell Greenslade said Loungers would “help develop the economy and vibrancy of the city centre”. Loungers has more than 50 sites in the UK including three in Cardiff and is also set to open a venue at the new Oyster Wharf development in Mumbles, Swansea.

Zenith Hygiene Group reports 605% operating profit rise: Zenith Hygiene Group, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of cleaning and hygiene chemicals, has reported operating profit increased 605% for the year ending 28 February 2015 from £171,000 to £1,035,000. Ebitda was up 36% from £2,415,000 to £3,277,000 with revenue increasing 15% from £42,533,000 to £49,108,000. In addition to the full year results, which mark the fifth consecutive year of profitable growth, the company said the first five months of FY16 has exceeded the board’s expectations and trading in half one was also expected to be ahead of previous forecasts. The board also announced significant progress had been made to date, with the integration of Advance Cleaning and Hygiene Supplies Limited in Scotland, while the successful integration of E-Hygiene Systems, which was acquired in June 2013, contributed over £1m to Zenith’s revenue. Chief executive Ringo Francis said: “This is the fifth consecutive year of Ebitda growth. The group has achieved a strong set of results for the year, which leaves the group well placed for further significant growth.”

Speaker programme confirmed for Bar and Nightclub Conference: The full speaker programme has been confirmed for the Bar and Nightclub Conference, which is being held on Tuesday, 27 October at Bafta Piccadilly. Speakers are: Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, Simon Chaplin, director and head of leisure and development at Christie + Co, Trevor Watson, executive director of Davis Coffer Lyons, Graeme Bunn, director of Fleurets, Glendola Leisure managing director Alex Salussolia, Riz Shaikh, co-founder of the Columbo Group, David Henkes, vice-president of Technomic, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, Exeat Leisure founder Stephen Thomas, Tokyo Industries founder Aaron Mellor, Reuben Harley, chief executive of Eclectic, Alex Hazzard, co-founder of the Burning Night Group, Luke Johnson, of Risk Capital Partners, Andrew Stones, operations director for Be At One and Adam Marshall, founder of Grand Union Group. The conference, the first stand-alone event for this part of the market, examines the key issues affecting the market 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

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 £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing

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