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Fri 21st Aug 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Propel to partner haysmacintyre for second benchmarking survey: Propel is to partner sector accountants haysmacintyre for a second benchmarking survey after the success of last year’s survey, which saw more than 70 multi-site companies take part. The survey produced a wealth of valuable benchmarking information, with those participating given access to a full report written by haysmacintyre. It found, for example, the companies are producing an average 51% of turnover from food, 46% from beverage sales and 3% from other sources, mostly accommodation. Average turnover per site stood at £992,000. Average gross food margin stood at 67.2% and average beverage profit margin was 67%. Average Ebitda as a percentage of turnover stood at 11.1%, but varied widely with four companies achieving more than 20%. Average turnover per employee stood at £42,000 with average employee cost as a percentage of turnover standing at 28.7%. Of the most recent benchmarking survey, Andrew Ball, head of hospitality at haysmacintyre, said: “With often significant central costs, maximising gross profit margin is critical to the success in the multi-site arena. Our report showed that not only are food and beverage gross profit margins linked but that economies of scale have an impact on both gross profit margins and Ebitda. Only 11% of capital expenditure is being financed by debt, suggesting that although the banks insist they are ‘open for business’, credit committees are standing firm on maintaining their risk portfolio. The benchmarking research has proved invaluable. The question I’m mostly frequently asked by my clients is around how they compare with their peers – this research came up with the answers.” Paul Charity, Propel managing director, said: “Many of those who took part in our benchmarking survey last year told us how useful it was to see how they compared to sector averages. With this in mind, we’ll shortly be inviting companies to take part again this year so their benchmarking metrics are up-to-date.” 
 
 

Industry News:

Research stresses importance of restaurant hygiene for female customers: New research has found women in the UK would advise friends not to visit a restaurant where they had experienced “poor cleanliness and hygiene in the dining area”, with 64% of UK women stating this was “very important” to how they judged their restaurant experience. Seven out of ten UK respondents across men and women admitted to having advised a friend not to visit a restaurant and more than half admitted to doing so occasionally. When asked what the second most important aspect of a visit to a restaurant was to them after the food, 59% of UK respondents said that it was “very important” for “the table and restaurant environment to be clean and tidy”, closely followed by the “tidiness of washrooms”, with one in two UK respondents citing this as “very important”. The research was carried out by global hygiene business Tork.
 
Brooklyn Brewery considers investment to fund $150m new brewery: US craft brewer Brooklyn Brewery, which has rejected investment offers in the past, is looking to sell equity to fund expansion. Founder Steve Hindy, who sold control of the brewery three years ago to one of his early backers, the Ottaway family, said the company needs capital to meet rising demand for its beer. He said: “We want to stay independent but we are looking at building a very large brewery in New York City, which will probably cost in the neighborhood of $150m.” Craft breweries in the US are selling for high multiples. Oskar Blues Brewery, based in Longmont, Colorado, was sold to an affiliate of investment firm Fireman Capital earlier this year for 20 times its Ebitda. By comparison, Anheuser-Busch InBev SA and Heineken traded at 13.4 times and 12.5 times Ebitda over the last 12 months, respectively.
 
Starbucks vending machine goes on the blink – and sends staff into a coffee frenzy: Perth and Kinross Council staff are reported to have enjoyed £500 of free coffee when their Starbucks vending machine went on the blink. It is believed the staff got through three days’ worth of coffee in just one hour when the machine suffered a malfunction and dished out drinks on the house. The free-for-all at the council’s Pullar House headquarters is thought to have used up nine litres of milk, several bags of coffee and all the hot chocolate and teabags. About 250 drinks priced at £2 each were said to have been dispensed by the Selecta vending machine. A council spokeswomen said: “For a short time the machine rejected coins before it was repaired.”
 
David Cameron to outline plans for an apprenticeship levy to support three million apprenticeships: Prime minister David Cameron will today (Friday, 21 August) outline a package of radical plans to increase the number of quality apprenticeships across England – from nuclear engineers to tailors and butchers – and give businesses a say on how they are run and what they offer. Employers across the country will be asked for their views on the introduction of an apprenticeship levy – set to be introduced in 2017 and designed to increase investment in training and apprenticeships. Other steps outlined that form part of the government’s pledge to support three million apprenticeships by 2020, include a requirement to take a company’s apprenticeship offer into account when awarding large government contracts and publishing new “industry standards” so that apprentices have the skills that companies need. Levy systems already operate in over 50 countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark and South Korea, and will ensure every larger company plays their part in investing in the future generation of apprenticeships.
 

Company News:

TLC Inns secures £1m of new funding with Barclays Corporate: Award-winning pub and restaurant operator TLC Inns, led by Steve and Jo Haslam, has secured a further £1m of funding with Barclays Corporate to aid the expansion of its Grand Central bar and grill brand. Steve Haslam said: “We are currently in negotiations for 6,000 sq ft of space in Chelmsford and have two other sites on our radar. Having achieved our highest ever level of Ebitda in quarter one and undergone our biggest ever expansion period, we are now fully committed to further expanding the Grant Central brand. After 18 months of new openings, we have also refreshed all sites and are currently undergoing a root and branch assessment of our costs. This has led to some amazing results already with a 30% reduction in waste costs. We continue to look at all areas including utilities. Our whole estate now operates on low energy bulbs and waterless urinals, which are saving thousands of pounds. We are conscious of energy costs within our kitchens and have signed with Synergy grills to supply our estate with their new innovative grills. With a 40% energy saving on the most expensive piece of kit in the kitchen to run, this was an easy decision to make, coupled with the food being a far better product to the plate, lower maintenance and cleaning, it will revolutionise our current grill system. Once our assessment is finished and all areas implemented, we expect savings in the region of £100,000 and this will not lead to a single customer-facing cut, but improvements to our efficiency, leaving us in a position to actually invest further in the customer experience.”
 
New St Peter’s Brewery boss eyes more pubs as losses increase: Steve Magnall, the new chief executive of Suffolk-based St Peter’s Brewery, has drawn-up a five-pronged strategy, which includes breaking into new export markets, opening new pubs, and cutting costs, to drive the company back to profit within the year. St Peter’s Brewery Group saw turnover fall from £4.1m to £3.8m in the year to 28 February while losses before tax increased from £5,574 to £44,772 over the same period. Russia’s import embargo, sparked by the conflict with Ukraine, saw sales to the country fall 30% year-on-year, while the rise of craft brewers in US and Canada has also put pressure on its foothold across northern America. Magnall, who previously led Thwaites’ beer division, is eyeing a return to growth on the international stage by targeting fresh sales in the Chinese and Indian markets, alongside plans to boost its presence closer to home by opening more pubs in the UK. The company is set to launch its first gluten-free beer, with more than 600 Tesco stores taking the product, as well as the Co-op. The decision to expand its pub portfolio follows the success of its London pub, The Jerusalem Tavern in Clerkenwell.
 
BrewDog switches PR agencies after warming to ‘mischievous new ideas’: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has parted company with public relations agency Manifest and brought in The Romans as its retained PR agency, following a non-competitive pitch, PR Week has reported. Manifest will continue to work on international PR for BrewDog’s Equity for Punks crowdfunding programme and a UK project to launch BrewDog co-founder James Watt’s book. The Romans will now be responsible for media relations, stunts, bar openings, beer launches and BrewDog’s Equity For Punks crowdfunding programme. Watt told PR Week: “We’re psyched to be working with The Romans; their ideas put mischievous smiles on our faces. We’re already plotting some epic bar launches, insane Equity for Punks activity and unprecedented beer announcements – watch this space.” Joe Sinclair and Misha Dhanak, founders of The Romans, added: “The BrewDog guys make incredible beer that we love as well as having a serious track record of genuinely disruptive work. We’re looking forward to never having to float a giant bottle of Punk IPA down the Thames.” Alex Myers, founder and managing director of Manifest, said: “We are very proud of the work we’ve done and continue to do with BrewDog. It has been a privilege to build the brand strategy and tone of voice from scratch for such an incredible brand, managing all of its external communications for over five years now. But the time has come to pass the baton of retained work to The Romans and free ourselves up to work on other exciting campaigns in the drinks industry, while still maintaining our links with BrewDog for bigger creative projects and ongoing international work around Equity for Punks.”
 
Square Pie mini-bond enters final week on Crowdcube: Square Pie, the gourmet pie brand led by Martin Dewey, has entered the crucial final week of its mini-bond crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube. The company has had a lacklustre seven days previously with total investor commitment standing at £343,500, which is about 45% of its £750,000 target – a total of 173 investors have so far pledged money. The largest single investment is £10,000. On Monday, Propel reported Square Pie enjoyed a 57% boost to company sales in July. The company is on track to hit overall sales of £5.4m in its full 2015 financial year. Dewey told Crowdcube investors: “A great July here at (Square Pie) with total company sales up a whopping 57% on July 2014. Great news and driven by a combination of shop like-for-like sales up by an average of 8%, more wholesale and grocery customers as well as the impact of our new restaurant at the O2, which wasn’t open last year.” The company’s business plan projects sales of £22.6m in 2019 and Ebitda of £2.6m. Last year, like-for-like sale sales rose by 16% and by 50% in terms of operating profit generated.
 
Fuller’s buys Salisbury restaurant to expand its existing pub: Fuller’s has bought the La Mollina tapas restaurant in Salisbury to allow the expansion of its Ox Row Inn next door – both have frontages on Butcher Row and Salisbury’s market place. Myddelton & Major sold the freehold with A3 use and premises licence to Fuller’s. Simon Lee, retail partner at Myddelton & Major, said: “This is a rare freehold sale in one of Salisbury’s prime trading positions with three floors, a frontage on the busy Butcher’s Row and a return frontage on Ox Row facing the refurbished Market Place. It is near many leading national chains and quality independent retailers, and benefits from strong footfall. Sold freehold with vacant possession, it gives Fuller’s the opportunity to create additional trading space.”
 
Bill’s grows to 71 sites: Bill’s, owned by Richard Caring, has grown to 71 sites across the UK with openings in Muswell Hill, Taunton, Gloucester Quays, Sheffield and Colchester. A further two sites are set to open in Witney and Leeds in September.
 
Five Guys set to open its 30th UK site within 25 months next Monday: Better burger brand Five Guys will open its 30th UK site next Monday (24 August) in Milton Keynes’ Xcape complex. The first one opened in Washington DC in 1986, but there are now over 1,000 locations across the US with 300 options sold on franchise units. On July 4, 2013, American Independence Day, Five Guys opened its first store in the UK in Covent Garden, London.
 
Cosmo set to open 18th site in Norwich next month: Restaurant chain Cosmo has unveiled plans to create 80 jobs in Norwich as it converts the old Habitat store on London Street into a new site. The company will invest £1.3m revamping the first floor of the site, which has been empty since Habitat shut its doors in May 2011. Cosmo said it will offer customers 150 dishes from across the world, inspired by Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Italian, Mexican and Brazilian cuisine. The restaurant will have eight “live” cooking stations and will cater to 250 customers. Kan Koo, Cosmo Group partner, said: “It is very exciting to see our new Cosmo Norwich restaurant taking shape and we cannot wait to open our doors next month. With Norwich being a top ten retail destination in the UK, Cosmo offers a fresh approach to dining out for visitors alongside business people, families, students, couples and individuals living locally.” Cosmo was launched in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 2003 by entrepreneur Tom Chan. The Norwich branch is the 18th to open in the UK.
 
Chef Tom Cockerill to open new restaurant in pub: One of the Leicestershire’s top chefs, Tom Cockerill, is to open a new restaurant at a village pub next month. Cockerill, who ran Leicester’s two Entropy restaurants, has been freelancing for the past two years since his Hinckley Road restaurant closed in 2013. The Entropy restaurants were the highest rated restaurants in Leicestershire in the Good Food Guide for nearly a decade. In September, Cockerill will launch a new restaurant at the Bewicke Arms in the village of Hallaton, between Kibworth and Uppingham. He said: “The pub has had quite a chequered history. When I first moved to Leicestershire in the 1990s I remember it being busy and one of the best foodie pubs, but it’s been a while since its heyday. But it’s a beautiful building and a beautiful village. I know it well because the guy next door to the pub makes cider and used to make it for Entropy. We’ll be using the local cider on our new menu, as well as game, mushrooms, fruit and herbs foraged from the surrounding countryside.” The pub is also going to have three double bedrooms for guests and a tea room with a garden at the rear of the building overlooking Hare Pie Hill, which is where the annual Hallaton Bottle Kicking begins each year.
 
JD Wetherspoon scraps plan for Forfar site: A JD Wetherspoon plan to open a pub in Forfar has fallen through after the company withdrew its offer on former council offices in the town. Councillors in Forfar agreed to sell a landmark building the local authority owns at 5-7 The Cross for £350,000. A JD Wetherspoon spokesman said: “We have reviewed the opportunities in the town but have agreed not to progress with any for the time being. However, this may change as towns and sites are under constant review.” The council came under fire for agreeing to the sale to JD Wetherspoon at a private meeting last August. An alternative offer of £450,000 from businessman Ken Parke then prompted the local authority to place the building on the open market although the council said no firm bids were received. At another private meeting in March, JD Wetherspoon’s revised bid of £350,000 was accepted.
 
Friends of Ham to open second site: Friends of Ham, the concept that combines craft beer and charcuterie found by Anthony Kitching and his wife Claire, is to open a second site, this time in Ilkley. Friends of Ham opened in Leeds in 2012 and expanded two years later into the next door premises. The couple is now opening Friends of Ham in Wells Road, Ilkley. Since its launch, the business has reached a turnover of more than £1m and the new Ilkley site will create 17 full and part-time jobs. The Leeds venue employs about 25 staff. Anthony Kitching said: “Friends of Ham is a real labour of love for us. We source all the hams, cheeses and beers ourselves. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun. We don’t accept bookings, it’s a casual approach and we just want to make as many ‘Friends of Ham’ as possible. I’ve wanted to bring Friends of Ham to Ilkley for some time now, and when the perfect venue came up – a fabulous Victorian terrace – we grabbed our chance.” The double fronted former newspaper office will feature a tasting room, delicatessen and log burner on the ground floor and basement. The bar will offer a range of beer, wine and sherry.
 
Jim Banks acquires second London pub: Licensee Jim Banks has acquired his second London pub – The Grove Pub near Battersea Park, with finance for the deal arranged by specialist commercial finance broker, Christie Finance. The pub is well-located near to Battersea Park and the new property development currently underway at Battersea Power Station. Banks was able to negotiate lending the equivalent to 150% of the pub’s purchase price to allow investment. Finance consultant Matthew Kavanagh said: “We are currently seeing a positive trend in banks appetite to lend to experienced operators that have successfully traded through the recession, and have considerable experience in the sector.” The sale of the pub was handled by agent Christie + Co.
 
Artisan bakery Paul secures third regional site, this time in Birmingham: French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul is to expand into Birmingham for its 34th site as part of a brand roll-out that will see a further opening take place in the final quarter of 2015. Launching on the same day is the Grand Central shopping centre that will house the new 190 square metre site. This is the group’s third regional opening outside of London, following the launch of its Oxford site in December 2014 and its café in Newbury this spring. Jean-Michel Orieux, chief executive of Paul UK, said: “This is a very exciting time for Paul and we hope that our arrival in Birmingham will be a great addition, not only to the newly-launched retail hub, but to the vibrant tourist market and its bustling economy. Birmingham has a wonderful balance of cultural heritage and a well-established local community, and we hope that the people of the area will enjoy our exclusive range of traditional, hand-crafted bakery and fine patisserie products.”
 
Opening date unveiled for new PizzaExpress music venue: The Singers Lounge, the new music venue at Pizza Express on London’s St Martin’s Lane, is set to open its doors on 3 September. Inspired by the backstreet bars of New York, the new venue focuses on showcasing vocalists and singer-pianists. Performing at the opening two nights are soul-jazz singer Natalie Williams and Memphis native singer-songwriter Charlie Wood (3 and 4 September, 9pm). Also among the first artists featured are Natalie Duncan (10 September, 9pm) who appeared on Later with Jools Holland, respected trumpeter and vocalist Georgina Jackson with pianist Nick Dawson (11 September, 9pm), Basement Jaxx lead vocalist Vula (17 and 18 September, 9pm) and singer, composer and Broadway star Shoshana Bean (2 and 4 October, 9pm). After each performance an open mic will be hosted by resident singer-pianist Damian Flood from 11pm until late.
 
Mamuska plans four openings as it relocates to bigger premises in Elephant and Castle: Mamuska Restaurants has opened a new Mamuska location at 16 Elephant and Castle in London having closed its original site in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre. The new restaurant will benefit from an outdoor licensed area and provide delivery with Deliveroo. Mamuska plans to open four new locations across the UK by the end of 2016. Founder Ian Coll said: “It’s been established that fast-casual concepts like ours represent the fastest growing segment of the restaurant sector in the UK. The question we will definitively answer in the next 18 to 24 months is to what extent Polish food will participate in this sector. We target the trendy, budget-conscious end of the mass market, so the opportunity is huge. Nine out of every ten people who taste Polish, love Polish. With this new location we know that we’ll be able to introduce thousands of new people to the cuisine and our unique brand experience. Naturally, we hope to attract the attention of a few developers as well. It’s true that our first location in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre closed the day before we opened Location two across the street. But to think of this as a move would be a mistake. It is absolutely an expansion. The second location is bigger, has higher brand visibility, longer hours of operation, and, by including home and office delivery, we have also expanded the markets we serve.”
 
Caribbean food takeaway family branch out with restaurant concept: Ez Saunders, whose family run three Caribbean food takeaways, branded Kool Runnings in the north west, has branched out by opening a Caribbean food concept in Chorlton’s Barlow Moor Road with business partner Jimmy Gill. Saunders said: “It’s a Caribbean jerk rum bar but with modern Caribbean food. We want it to be a lively place with good food and good music. It’s a colourful place so we want the atmosphere to reflect that. Working with my dad has had a huge influence on the food and from a business sense too. He came from Jamaica without a dollar in his pocket and has made something phenomenal in my eyes.” The venue uses recycled wood, spray paint and graffiti to create a beach hut style.
 
Coffee shop with more than £1m turnover secures funding: A coffee shop in Leicestershire, which has a turnover of more than £1m, has secured a funding package to expand. Strays, located on Boar Street in Newark, was opened as a coffee shop in 2004 but now offers tapas and jazz evenings along with a small bookshop. The business has created a courtyard area using the cash, which was provided by Barclays, as well as adding 20 covers. Jane Oldfield, who set the business up with late-husband Brian, said: “To survive in today’s business climate, it’s important to continue to look for new opportunities that keep your business fresh and attract new customers. The additional seating will enable us to offer refreshment to more people and increases the available capacity we have for our tapas and jazz evenings.” Alan Mele, relationship director at Barclays in Nottingham, added: “I admire Jane’s determination to grow the business. Strays is a popular choice for many local people and this latest expansion will ensure even more people are able to enjoy the services she offers.”
 
Millennium Hotels completes purchase of Beatles-themed hotel in Liverpool: Millennium Hotels and Resorts has completed the acquisition of the Beatles-inspired Hard Days Night Hotel in Liverpool city centre. The four-star hotel, which is located on North John Street, becomes Millennium’s 24th property within the UK and Europe. Opened in February 2008 and housed in the grade II-listed Central Buildings, Hard Days Night Hotel has 110 guest rooms. Millennium Hotels and Resorts chief executive Aloysius Lee said: “Liverpool is a leading tourist destination that continues to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It continues to maintain its prominent stance by investing in an array of forward-thinking regeneration projects, while firmly retaining its Beatles legacy. Being the only one of its kind, Hard Days Night Hotel offers a Beatles experience like no other and we are confident that our guests, particularly from countries including China, USA, Canada and Europe, will be excited by the choice of this latest acquisition.”
 
Nottingham Brewery eyes two openings: Nottingham Brewery is to reopen the former Bricklayer’s Arms in Ruddington as the General Ludd in homage to Ned Ludd, the local legend and founder of the Luddites movement, on 7 September. The company is also in advanced negotiations to acquire a city centre bar. The brewery’s owners say they hope the moves could form the start of a small estate of pubs and bars that will provide high quality food and drink in Nottingham. Andy Heath, operations manager at the brewery, said the name change for the Bricklayer’s Arms would pay homage to the Luddites in a village that already plays host to the Framework Knitters Museum. He said: “We’ve got something in the Luddites which started in Nottingham and it should be celebrated in the way we celebrate Robin Hood.” Heath added the pub would feature beers from the brewery as well as premium lagers and craft beers from around the world. The furniture is being produced by a Ruddington-based joiner and local greengrocers and butchers will be supplying ingredients for food that will be a “British tapas style”.
 
Pho hires nine youngsters from youth centre ahead of opening in Manchester: Vietnamese brand Pho has hired nine youngsters from a youth centre in Harpurhey ahead of its debut in Manchester’s Corn Exchange later this month – the site will employ 25 people in total. Candidates had to do mock interviews, train in Pho’s Leeds restaurant and also did a week of work experience in various customer service roles at businesses including Manchester 235, a Vegas-style casino, boasting two of the best bars in Manchester and the renowned James Martin Manchester restaurant. Lucy Taylor, head of people at Pho, paid tribute to the Harpurhey youngsters and the management team at The Factory Youth Zone, which welcomes about 1,000 people each week. She said: “Working with The Factory Youth Zone and the young people has been a fantastic experience and we are so happy to have made so many successful hires. All of the recruits were so engaged throughout their training and their effort has paid off for them. The unemployment rate in Harpurhey is 16.2% – almost double that of the national average – and as a new employer in the city, we have a responsibility to decrease this as much as possible. The Factory Youth Zone has been instrumental in this process and we plan to continue working with similar programmes as we expand across the country.” Pho has 12 restaurants in London, one in Brighton and one in Leeds.
 
Pizza residency to open in Nottingham’s Das Kino ping pong concept: Chef Louis Gray is to open a pizza residency, the Louis Louis Pizza and Deli Emporium, within Nottingham’s Das Kino ping pong and eatery concept in mid-September. Gray said: “I am excited to be working with the guys at Das Kino as it is one of my favourite venues in Nottingham. Das Kino is due to celebrate its first birthday soon and it’s become a real go-to place in the city. It’s exciting to think that I will be feeding their loyal punters and helping to continue to make it the place to eat in Nottingham.” 

Halmer Inns to make co-investment with Punch Taverns in Lancaster pub: North west multiple Halmer Inns, which operates seven sites, is to make a £177,000 co-investment with landlord Punch Taverns in the grade II-listed Ye Olde John O’ Gaunt, in Market Street, Lancaster. Plans have been submitted to Lancaster City Council to resize the bar area to allow a better view of live performances, create a new beer garden at the back, and develop a new games room in the currently redundant function area on the first floor. A spokeswoman for Punch Taverns said: “We are pleased to confirm that subject to the planning application submitted, Punch Taverns are due to complete a joint investment with our tenants to the value of £177,000. The pub is an impressive listed building and is well known in the community for serving good quality beers and hosting music nights throughout the week.”
 
Giraffe co-founder becomes IndiCater non-executive director: IndiCater, the niche hospitality software specialist, has appointed Russel Joffe, co-founder of the Giraffe restaurant brand as its non-executive director. Joffe will act as a strategic advisor to the business as it continues to enjoy growth across the hospitality, leisure and contract catering sectors. Joffe co-founded the restaurant group Giraffe with wife Juliette in 1998. In 2013, he sold the business across 48 sites to Tesco for £50m. Mike Day, chief executive of IndiCater, said: “Russel’s success in building fast growth and successful businesses will be a great asset for us as we continue to go from strength to strength across our target sectors.” Joffe added: “I am delighted to have joined such a committed, innovative and passionate team at IndiCater, and look forward to using my restaurant experience to help them further shape their profit improvement software to meet the specific needs of operators in this vibrant sector, whilst also ensuring their growth plans benefit clients across their key sectors.”
 
Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines to launch first restaurant outside UK in Dubai: Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines is to launch a restaurant in Dubai next month – his first outside the UK. Caines, whose restaurant Gidleigh Park in Devon has two Michelin stars, will open Pearls by Michael Caines at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers on the site of the former Scott’s restaurant. The new casual fine dining venue “will have no tablecloths and be very informal”, reports The National. Caines first stepped inside Jumeirah at Etihad Towers when he took over as a guest chef in Brasserie Angélique during Gourmet Abu Dhabi last year. He fell in love with the hotel and eight months after mentioning he’d love to have a restaurant there, director of food and beverage Loughlin Druhan called Caines to talk about opening a venue. Kevin Fleming will be the head chef at Pearls by Michael Caines and Caines said he would be at the venue “at least four weeks a year”. Before landing the head chef position at Gidleigh Park in 1994, Caines trained with top chefs including Raymond Blanc and Joël Robuchon. Last month he was given the go-ahead to transform the Courtlands House, a country house on the Exe estuary in Lympstone, Devon, into a luxury hotel and restaurant.
 
Odeon signs to anchor Peterborough restaurant and leisure hub: Odeon has signed to manage the 11-screen cinema that will anchor a £30m refurbishment of the Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough. The company is making its return to the city where its former cinema is now the home of the Broadway theatre. The cinema will form part of the restaurant and leisure hub being created as part of the 77,000 sq ft extension of Queensgate by owner Invesco Real Estate and the centre’s management company Lendlease. Ken Taylor, property director at Odeon, told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Opening a cinema in Peterborough city centre has been an objective for some time. The challenge, however, has been finding the right location. Lendlease and Invesco’s plans for Queensgate provide us with everything we need and more. We will deliver the best cinema experience in the region in Queensgate, and are confident it will be complemented by a great mix of new restaurants that join the already very well-established Queensgate offer.” Since Invesco bought Queensgate and Lendlease took over the management of the centre 15 months ago, 13 retail brands totalling almost 30,000 sq ft of space have taken space in the centre. The companies said talks are also taking place with a number of leading brands to join the new-look restaurant and leisure hub.
 
Shelley Sandzer confirms Wimbledon site for Franca Manca: Agent Shelley Sandzer has reported it acted in a deal on behalf of Sama in assigning its Wimbledon lease to Franco Manca, the sourdough pizza brand. Franco Manca is due to open at the 1,525 sq ft site at 20 The Broadway, Wimbledon, this winter, trading across two floors, ground and basement. Leo Feldman, high street agent at Shelley Sandzer, said: “Wimbledon is a fantastic area and Franco Manca will add a great buzz to the dining scene.” The news follows two other Franco Manca sites secured this year in London by Shelley Sandzer located in Earl’s Court and Covent Garden.
 
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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com
 
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 adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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