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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 27th Aug 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Horizons – UK restaurant menus becoming increasingly eclectic: While burgers and steak may still be the most frequently listed items on British restaurant menus, dishes from Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Vietnamese cuisines are having a strong influence on the foods sold by high street operators together with the growing use of niche ingredients in a bid to offer customers something different. Menu Trends, the latest report from foodservice consultancy Horizons, reveals how British menus are becoming increasingly eclectic. Some of the newest ingredient trends picked up by the survey include the wheat-free, grain-like superfood quinoa, the use of which has doubled on menus since winter 2014 and is now on menus at Hilton, Nando’s, Leon and O’Neills. South American seeds have also become more widely used including amaranth and chai seeds, which have a delicate nutty flavour and a high nutritional value, used in breakfast and dessert dishes at All Bar One, Pod, Castle Pubs and Le Pain Quotidien. The menu at All Bar One is offering a Vietnamese-inspired open sandwich “banh mi” with grilled chicken, pickled carrot, sweet chilli and mouli, while the Middle Eastern flatbread “khobez” is now on the menus at three high street brands. “Many of these trends have been picked up and adapted from street vendors and small independent operators, particularly the more innovative, easy-to-eat hand-held dishes,” said Horizons’ analyst Nicola Knight. “It’s clear that operators are working hard to offer customers something new and interesting, often including so-called super-food ingredients which satisfy diners keen to eat healthily.” The twice-yearly Menu Trends survey reveals that Mediterranean-inspired dishes are on the up too – kebabs, for example, are 50% more likely to be listed on menus compared with last year, while the skewer-grilled souvlaki has also become more widely served. Houmous alternatives are more in evidence including skordalia, (made with garlic and pureed potatoes, nuts or soaked bread) and favetta (broad beans with olive oil). Halloumi has seen a sharp rise on menus, up 54% year-on-year with Mexican chain Chiquito featuring halloumi-stuffed mushrooms and JD Wetherspoon listing a dish of grilled halloumi. The use of the mouth-exploding popping candy has hit the mainstream in both sweet and savoury versions – including in a burger! Bella Italia, Zizzi and Revolution all have dishes on their menus containing popping candy. “In 2010 it was virtually unheard of, but its use has grown 170% year-on-year as operators look to add some novelty to dishes and give their customers something to talk about,” said Knight. “The trend was started by celebrity chefs such as Heston Blumenthal to offer their diners a taste and sensory experience. Chain operators have realised that menus have to evolve and keep up with trends.”

Industry News:

Report claims VAT rules on food are hopelessly out of date: VAT rules on food are hopelessly confused and make healthy eating more expensive, according to a study reported in The Daily Mail. Products such as snacking raisins carry the sales tax at 20% while Jaffa Cakes do not. A fruit smoothie also comes with the tax but a bag of apples does not. Research found the majority of consumers have no idea which products carry VAT, not least because there are no clear rules. Some 97% wrongly believed it was charged on chocolate cake. When VAT was introduced in 1973 as a requirement of Britain joining the Common Market, ministers excluded staple foods to ensure families could afford a healthy diet. As a result, the tax was applied only to products such as confectionery, ice cream, soft drinks, biscuits, crisps and nuts, which had previously been hit by Purchase Tax. However, changes in diets and the products on the shelves over the years means food and drink which appear to fall into the category of healthy staples are taxed in the same way as non-essential, often unhealthy, treats. At the same time foods such as cake, which many assume leads to weight gain, are relatively cheap because they do not carry VAT. The survey was carried out by the team behind powdered food product Huel as part of their research into the understanding of healthy eating. Huel founder Julian Hearn said the VAT exemption on healthy food was useful to keep prices down, but the regime is so confusing it has fallen into disrepute. “We have an alarming rate of the population with type 2 diabetes,” he said. “We should use the VAT system as a disincentive for unhealthy foods which contribute, such as sugary foods like millionaire’s shortbread and chocolate cookies.”

Hakkasan contract takes DJ’s earnings to £41.8m a year: A three-year contract with Hakkasan’s nightclub business has seen DJ Calvin Harris retain his position as the world’s highest-paid DJ for the third year in a row – earning £41.8m last year. Harris, 31, from Dumfries, topped the latest Forbes Magazine rich list again in his category, ahead of his rivals David Guetta, second with £23.4m, and Tiesto, third with £22.8m. He signed a new three-year deal with Abu Dhabi-owned hospitality company Hakkasan Group in January and splits his time between Hakkasan Nightclub, the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino’s Wet Republic complex and the Omnia Nightclub at Caesars Palace, earning a reported $400,000 a night. to expand delivery service to alcohol: will begin delivering wine, beer and spirits to US customers for the first time as part of its speedy delivery service, Prime Now. The online retailer is expanding Prime Now, its one and two-hour service, to Seattle, where the company is headquartered, and offering alcohol deliveries there. The company has steadily expanded Prime Now since it launched the service in New York City last year. Amazon Prime, the company’s $99 per year shopping membership program, offers free two-day delivery on millions of items. It is a key testing ground for the retailer’s new services, ranging from TV and on-demand video to fast delivery. Amazon has said it has “tens of millions” of Prime subscribers. Analysts estimate to have about 40 million users worldwide.

Greene King sets out to capture special moments at 50 pubs: Brewer and retailer Greene King provided licensees in 50 pubs yesterday with GoPro cameras to record special moments in their pub as part of its new ground-breaking creative advertising campaign. Celebrating the ‘very best of British pubs’, the new Greene King IPA ‘To the Pub’ campaign is set to be an industry first as pub licensees up and down the country were handed the reins to capture the individual spirit, sense of community and authentic pub moments that take place in their pubs each and every day. The finished result will see a series of 50 individual and entirely original adverts recognising the pub and local customers enjoying pints of Greene King IPA launched via a microsite throughout October and November. In addition three of the final adverts will be selected to air on TV up and down the country from September. Chris Houlton, managing director, Greene King Brewing and Brands, said: “Authenticity is at the core of this Greene King IPA campaign and what better way to bring this to life than to hand control directly over to our licensees to capture those genuine pub moments that occur between real customers and communities.”

Company News:

Birmingham’s three biggest nightclubs currently closed: Birmingham’s three biggest nightclubs are currently closed after police ordered three expedited licence reviews following serious violence at venues in Digbeth, Broad Street and Hurst Street. Propel reported yesterday (Wednesday, 26 August) that Hurst Street’s Electric nightclub, formerly Oceana, had been permanently closed down by the building owners, who vowed to find a new use for the venue after two men were shot and a third was stabbed on the dance floor in July. It has also now emerged the Rainbow nightclub, where Sylvester Koroma was murdered two years ago, has also had its licence suspended following an outbreak of violence on August 9. Meanwhile, the Digbeth club was closed on 14 August and will remain shut until interim steps are met, or until a full hearing in September. Details of the incident have not been published by licensing chiefs, but the interim steps required include a root and branch review of the management team and the removal of the security company. Broad Street’s Gatecrasher nightclub also had its licence suspended for 14 days after an incident involving security staff on August 15, where a customer was left with severe injuries. The club – Birmingham’s biggest with a capacity of more than 2,400 – was ordered to terminate its contract with a security firm at an expedited review on 19 August. It was also ordered to conduct a root and branch review of the management team and told the first week of any reopening ahead of the full hearing must limit capacity to 50%. In a follow-up hearing heard last week, where representations were made on behalf of the club, the suspension was reduced. If the interim steps are deemed to have been met by West Midlands Police, the club could reopen today (Thursday, 27 August) ahead of the full licence hearing next month.

YO! Sushi plans return to Newcastle after leaving Fenwick’s department store: YO! Sushi is planning to open a stand-along site in Newcastle after mobbing out of Fenwick’s department store’s food court site as part of a food court revamp. The company has plans to turn the former Fat Face clothing store on Grainger Street into its latest eatery. The restaurant will seat 79. It is asking to be allowed to continue serving both food and alcohol through the night on New Year’s Eve, opening for 24 hours if desired. The planning application for a new shop front will be determined by today (Thursday, 27 August).

All Our Bars co-invests £300,000 in St Albans site with Spirit Leased division of Greene King: South east pub and bar operator All Our Bars, led by Paul Wigham, is reopening The Crown in St Albans after a £300,000 co-investment with Spirit Leased, a sub-division of Greene King, creating 14 jobs. Wigham said. “The beer garden has been re-landscaped and extended, the kitchen has been upgraded, new toilets added and the entire pub has been re-floored and redecorated, it’s looking superb!” The more formal dining area will also be available for private functions and meetings. The Crown will be extending its existing cask ale range and introducing new craft beers and ciders. The offering will also include a wide selection of rare premium spirits and fine wines. Food will be served daily with emphasis on great quality, locally sourced and seasonal dishes. The pub will also be opening early for cake and coffee mornings, with a selection of freshly baked cakes and pastries. Wigham added: “We really look forward to providing St Albans with the highest quality suburban venue in the area offering great service and great food.”

BrewDog sells US land parcel to local authority for $400,000: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has sold a parcel of land at its proposed brewery site in Canal Winchester Ohio to the local authority for $400,000. It has sold the ten acre Roger Hanners Recreational Fields and Park. Legislation was presented at the council’s 17 August meeting to purchase the park from BrewDog as part of the deal bringing the Scottish brewer to Canal Winchester. The council’s development director Lucas Haire explained that until now, the Roger Hanners Recreational Fields and Park was part of a long-term lease deal with TS Trim, the previous property owner, which sold 51 acres at the corner of Gender and Groveport roads to BrewDog for its US headquarters. “This would be an opportunity for the city to purchase the park and guarantee it remains a park into the future,” Haire said. “Currently, the city has been leasing the property and due to the sale of the property from TS Trim to BrewDog, we now have the chance to buy it and protect it in the long-term.” Haire said BrewDog paid $36,750 per acre for the undeveloped land, which is why he believes the price to the city makes sense given the park is already developed.

Begbies Traynor – unsecured creditors of RC Brewery owed £44m will get a dividend: Administrator Begbies Traynor has reported that the unsecured creditors of Liverpool’s Cains Brewery, which collapsed two years ago owing unsecured creditors £44,628,841 can expect a dividend. Sources suggested it will be a fraction of the money they are owed. A report by Begbies Traynor stated: “On present information, there will be sufficient funds for the preferential creditors to be paid in full. Unsecured creditors were estimated (to be owed) £44,628,841. On present information, there will be a dividend to unsecured creditors. We are in the process of reviewing all creditor claims and should be in a position to pay a dividend towards the end of the year.”

Beefeater launches autumn menu:
Whitbread-owned Beefeater has launched its autumn menu. Among the new dishes featured are mini beef pasties, beef koftas, sharing potato dippers, ribs and wings combo, mega ribs and oven-baked seabass. Desserts on offer include mixed berry cheesecake, Eton mess mixed berry sundae and raspberry bakewell. Beefeater said: “You should know by now we don’t do things by halves, so we’re bringing you loads of fantastic new dishes to get stuck into.”

Wagamama names September date for Coventry opening: Wagamama will open its new restaurant in Coventry city centre on Monday, 7 September. The company is opening the site at the Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre in Broadgate, reports the Coventry Telegraph. Wagamama will be joined at the centre by Casual Dining Group’s South American-inspired restaurant Las Iguanas, which opens next week, and Loungers brand Cosy Club, due to launch later this year. Coventry is experiencing an explosion of foodservice outlets, with 124 new restaurants and takeaways opening across the city in the past 12 months.

Revolution Bar Group to open new Revolucion de Cuba site in Milton Keynes in October: Revolution Bar Group is to open a £1m Revolucion de Cuba site in Milton Keynes’ Theatre District in October. The opening will create 75 jobs. Clinton Ghent, area and brand manager of Tevolución, said: “The Theatre District is a great location and there are lots of exciting changes taking place. Our arrival will be a major start to bringing new life to this area and giving people in Milton Keynes an exciting new place to visit. Our head chefs have spent weeks in the backstreet kitchens of the most extraordinary restaurants in Cuba to find the secrets behind recipes that go back generations. Each dish has its own story that we have translated to capture its essence and pass on to our customers.” Salsa lessons and networking events will also be offered at the site.

Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia to move to new site in city: Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia, owned by multi-site operator brothers Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesais, is moving to the centre of the city in January. Casamia, which opened in 1997 in Westbury-on-Trym, quickly gained recognition for its modern and fresh dishes and was awarded a Michelin star six years ago. Now its owners have decided to move the restaurant to the former Bristol General Hospital building, which overlooks the harbourside. The restaurant will occupy the bottom floor of the building, which was converted into luxury apartments last year. Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias told the Bristol Post: “Our Westbury restaurant has given us so many wonderful memories and it will forever hold a place in our hearts, but we are incredibly excited about starting Casamia’s next chapter here at the General, a landmark development in the city.” Peter Sanchez-Iglesias added: “As Bristol boys we obviously saw no need to look any further than the BS postcode. And with the spacious dining room, stunning views and great location, it is the perfect place for us to push our high standards to the next level.” The Sanchez-Iglesias’ also opened a pizza restaurant in Portishead last year.

Gail’s Artisan Bakery to open new site in Clapham tomorrow: Gail’s Artisan Bakery, backed by Luke Johnson, is to open a new site tomorrow (Friday, 28 August) – its 22nd venue. Tom Molnar, co-founder of Gail’s, told British Baker: “We’ve wanted to be in Clapham Old Town for quite some time, so we’re really excited to have found such a brilliant site. The new bakery reflects the lovely village feel of Old Town and we look forward to sharing Gail’s handmade bread with our new neighbours.” The interior is designed around the “processes of bread-making, incorporating the use of authentic, natural materials such as wood and concrete parquet tiles, with a focal point of the open kitchen”. Gail’s Artisan Bakery was founded in 2005, when the founders opened their first bakery in Hampstead.

Bruce Taverns to launch live music venue on site of former Edinburgh nightclub: Multi-site pub and hotel operator Bruce Taverns is to launch a live music venue on the site of a former nightclub in Edinburgh on Thursday, 17 September. Taverns is opening Stramash in Wilkie House on the Cowgate, which has been empty for three years and was previously home to the Faith and the Sin Club and Lounge. The 900-capacity venue is being given a £500,000 refurbishment and its two floors will feature a large stage, three bars and giant TV screen showing live sports events. Its bosses said Stramash would fill a gap left in the live music scene by the closure of the Picture House in Lothian Road, which is set to be transformed into a JD Wetherspoon pub. Operations manager Simon Rankin added: “The nightclub scene is dying off and people are demanding more live entertainment. The older crowd, particularly, like to spend money on entertainment.” Stramash, which will be open from 7pm-3am, will have live music every night. Bruce Taverns runs nightspots across the city including The Fiddler’s Arms, The Royal Mile Tavern, The Globe Sports Bar, The Mash House and Whistlebinkies.

Jason Atherton opens sixth site focusing on wines:
Chef Jason Atherton’s business The Social Company has launched a sixth site, Social Wine & Tapas, in James Street in Marylebone, London. The 70-cover bar and restaurant offers quality, rare and fine wines, “accessibly-priced”, alongside a tapas and snacks menu, created by head chef Frankie Van Loo, formerly of the Social Eating House. The venture, which is inside a renovated office block, also incorporates a sizable wine shop. Set over two floors, the ground floor houses the wine shop and tapas bar, which has an open kitchen with a dining counter, banquet seating for up to nine covers, and an elevated wine-tasting table for ten. A narrow staircase leads to a basement wine bar, with additional seating, a second tasting area, a corner bar and a preparation kitchen counter. Laure Patry, who has worked with Jason Atherton for over ten years, heads up Social Wine & Tapas. Atherton and Van Loo have developed a menu of modern tapas-style dishes, made with the “best of British produce”. In addition to the tapas menu, a seasonally changing selection of cheeses and charcuterie are served via the basement kitchen counter. Upcoming projects for Atherton include opening Marina Social in Dubai, Kensington Street Social within The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney and Sosharu, a Japanese restaurant in Clerkenwell, London.

Leicestershire-based Steamin’ Billy Brewing acquires Star Pubs & Bars site, plans artisan pizza offer: Leicestershire-based The Steamin’ Billy Brewing Co, led by Billy Allingham, has exchanged on a new pub in Alvaston, Derby and will complete the sale from Star Pubs & Bars in early September, taking the estate to 11. A full refurbishment is planned of this large community local with a wood fired artisan pizza offering being the focus behind the bar along with the usual real ales. Allingham told Propel: “Opening in mid-October, the business will be run under the ‘Manchisee’ scheme as we do with our other pubs. We have had great success in Hinckley converting a run down community local purchased from Marston’s, putting in a quality food offering and seeing turnover increase ten-fold. It has been funded from capital reserves and Handelsbanken – the purchase price was £215,000 and the refurbishment will cost £100,000.”

Ed’s Easy Diner withdraws plans to open in Northampton: Ed’s Easy Diner has withdrawn plans to open at the Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Northampton. The company announced last August it proposed to turn the former Disney store unit into a restaurant, due to open in January this year, but those plans stalled. However, the move is now off and a spokesman told the Northampton Herald & Post: “I can confirm Ed’s Easy Diner currently have no plans to open in Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Northampton.” The company, which launched its American dining concept in 1987 in Soho, London, has 40 restaurants across the UK and this week opened its latest site in Chester.

Greene King’s Kirk Davis buys 4,000 shares in the company: Greene King’s finance director Kirk Davis has bought 4,000 shares in the pub operator at 821p per share, meaning a total investment of £32,840. Davis, previously finance director at JD Wetherspoon, became chief financial officer of the company on 3 November 2014.

Tampopo to use Manchester Food and Drink Festival to preview new menu at Corn Exchange site: Pan-Asian restaurant Tampopo will use next month’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival to preview its planned new menu for its new-look home inside the Corn Exchange. The company moved out of the grade II-listed building last year and has opened a pop-up venue in Exchange Square while the former Triangle shopping centre is converted into a dining destination. Now, as it gets ready to move back in to the revamped venue in November, it will be previewing some of the new recipes diners can look forward to, together with some familiar favourites, at the festival. Popping up at the festival’s hub in Albert Square – where the company was founded in 1997 – co-founder David Fox will be on hand to talk guests through all the new dishes, including a creamy Thai massaman curry and a new range of south east Asian-inspired cocktails, on 15 September. The Manchester Food and Drink Festival runs from September 10 to 21.

Four new brands open in food court as part of Staffordshire shopping centre redevelopment: Four new brands have opened in a food court as part of the ongoing regeneration of a shopping centre in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Staffordshire. Burger King, El Taco Loco Mexican restaurant, Roosters Rotisserie and Grill chicken restaurant, and the Real Cafe Co coffee shop have all moved into the Lymelight Boulevard alongside the existing Pizza Hut and Subway, creating more than 30 jobs. A new four-lane bowling alley has also opened at the High Street centre, which was bought in May last year by businessman KC Suri. He has also revealed a Laser Quest centre, due to open next month, and additional leisure facilities are planned for the next stage of the redevelopment. A live music lounge will be created on the first floor of Bar Social, which opened next to the Vue cinema in February, as well as a rooftop bar that will offer views across to Keele. Suri told the Stoke Sentinel: “It all ties in with Bar Social and the Games Room, which were the first units we opened. On a Friday and Saturday night it is extremely busy in here, and as word spreads about the food court we expect to see more people coming in.” Millcliffe is operating the food court and operations director Lamen Reddy said: “We look forward to great success at this location and to serving the community for many years to come.”

Grind co-founder ‘overwhelmed’ by £1.3m crowdfunding support: Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar behind Shoreditch Grind, has secured over £1.3m in funding through a mini-bond on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube – smashing its initial target of £750,000. The bond, which was launched in June, was contributed by 467 investors and will fund the construction of a state-of-the-art London roastery, as well as the expansion of the group. Grind co-founder and chief executive David Abrahamovitch said: “We were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from fans of the Grind across London. It’s incredibly exciting to start the next stage of our ambitious growth plans and take control of our supply chain.” During the bond pitch, Grind announced it will be launching its own App and became one of the first businesses in the UK to accept Apple Pay when the service launched. Founded four years ago by Abrahamovitch and musician Kaz James, with Shoreditch Grind, the group has since launched four sites with a fifth site in Covent Garden confirmed for opening in late 2015.

Shake Shack to open third London site: American burger restaurant Shake Shack is to open its third site in London. The company, which has venues in Covent Garden and Westfield Stratford, is opening in New Oxford Street, Bloomsbury, later this year. The latest Shake Shack will be following the same principles as the other venues with its mission to “Stand For Something Good” by using recyclable and sustainable materials to create its unique interior. The menu will feature modern “roadside” burgers as well as hot dogs, crinkle cut cheese fries and frozen custard. The company is also set to open its first UK site outside London in Cardiff next year.

SA Brain coffee brand Coffee#1 lodges plans for Bridport site: Coffee#1, the coffee shop brand owned by Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain, has lodged plans to open a site in Bridport, Dorset. The brand has applied to West Dorset District Council to open in the former Blockbuster store in East Street, which has been empty since December 2013, reports View From Online. Coffee#1 proposes to refurbish the premises and create a cafe with an outdoor seating area that would “respect the visual and historic features” of the two grade II-listed buildings either side. The application said: “The long-term investment and job creation that will result from this proposal will provide sustainable economic growth by creating new jobs, attracting investment and drawing greater footfall into the town centre, in addition to returning an empty unit back to an economically viable use.” Coffee#1, which opened its first store in Cardiff in 2001 and was bought by Brains in 2011, has more than 50 stores.

Marston’s set to open new-build pub-restaurant in Redcar: Marston’s is set to open a new-build pub-restaurant on a development off the A1085 trunk road, in Redcar, Teesside, in November. The company is building the pub, which will be called the Sandstone Nab – named after the Eston Nab that is a local landmark made of sandstone – and includes indoor and outdoor children’s play areas. The menu will include traditional pub favourites alongside a varied and changing specials board plus a pizza oven. The bar will serve a variety of drinks including Marston’s fresh cask ales from the company’s five breweries, as well as a range of wines, ciders, soft drinks and spirits. Marston’s area operations Matt Avery told Gazette Live: “We’re extremely excited about our latest pub, which we hope will build a great reputation locally, offering top quality pub food and an unrivalled selection of cask beers from across the country.” The site is part of Marston’s new-build development programme, which aims to deliver between 25 and 30 new-build pub-restaurants in 2015. Wetherby-based developer Oakgate Group is transforming the three-acre farmland site, which includes a Tesco Extra store.

Belfast hotel owners plan second site and to expand existing hotel: The owners of the Benedicts Hotel in Belfast are planning to open a second site in the city and expand their existing hotel. Paddy and Edmund Simpson are looking to develop a warehouse in Donegall Street in the Cathedral Quarter area of the city, close to an existing Premier Inn in Waring Street. The duo is aiming to build a 40-bedroom boutique hotel and told the Belfast Telegraph they expect to submit a planning application in the next few months. They are also expanding the 32-bedroom Benedicts Hotel in Bradbury Place by 24 rooms after receiving planning permission to demolish attached buildings in Donegall Road and build a five-storey extension. Patrick Simpson said: “There will be bigger rooms. Our room occupancy has been very good. We are improving it, and we would hope to get started around January or February.” The hotel, which currently employs 98 staff, was opened in 1998 at a cost of about £4m. It also boasts an upstairs restaurant and a large downstairs bar.

Chimichanga and Coast to Coast open in Chester’s new city centre dining quarter: Tex Mex restaurant Chimichanga, which is owned by Prezzo, and The Restaurant Group brand Coast to Coast have opened in Chester’s new city centre dining quarter. Chimichanga has spent £600,000 on its restaurant, which can seat up to 180 guests and has created 20 jobs, and includes an external terrace and small balcony overlooking Pepper Street. Next door is Coast to Coast, which has created 45 jobs. The venue features green leather benches and dark wood tables with plenty of outdoor seating to the front. Restaurant general manager Rob Smith told the Chester Chronicle: “We are thrilled to be opening our 16th Coast to Coast in Chester. With a delicious menu packed with tasty American inspired dishes, as well as a fantastic range of cocktails served up in a relaxed atmosphere, we hope people will want to return time and time again.” Meanwhile, Las Iguanas, the South American-inspired restaurant owned by Casual Dining Group, will open on 28 September. The site, complete with a roof top terrace, will cater for 170 diners and create 40 jobs. Completing the line-up will be the Restaurant Bar & Grill, owned by Individual Restaurants, which is expected to open early next year.

Manchester-based Mediterranean restaurant Diwan starts expanding with second site in Leicester: Manchester-based Mediterranean restaurant Diwan has started expanding by opening a second site in Leicester. The company, owned by Libyan businessman Tarek Mansouri, has launched the new venue in Granby Street, creating eight jobs. The restaurant serves a variety of Middle Eastern food such as koftas, houmous, falafel and cous cous as well as Mediterranean dishes including pasta and pizza. Mansouri opened his first Diwan restaurant in Manchester last year.

Derby-based restaurant and cafe bar Seven eyes expansion:
Derby-based restaurant and cafe bar Seven is eyeing expansion as its owner targets other sites in the Midlands. Helen Salloway, who launched the concept in Pride Park in October 2013, is searching for possible locations as she looks to open “three or four” more restaurants. She told the Derby Telegraph: “It’s always been my ambition to open more than one Seven. It’s about building a brand and rolling it out. I’m not talking about lots and lots – maybe three or four in the Midlands. My husband, Steve, is looking at sites for me. I’ve got a lot of customers from Nottingham who ask me why I don’t open one there. If I could find the right site, I would, and Steve’s working on that. The ones we’ve looked at so far haven’t been quite right. We’ve looked at Nottingham, Coventry and I’d love to open one in Birmingham. I wouldn’t rule out doing another in Derby either. We’ll possibly look at Infinity Park as that develops.”
Lancashire-based Indian cider maker Himachal launches £65,000 crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube: Himachal, a Lancashire-based company that makes Indian cider for Asian restaurants, has launched a crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube, looking to raise £65,000 in return for 15.12% of its equity. The company, founded by David White and Clive Fernandes in January 2015, would use the money to buy raw material and brew cider, pay shipping costs and import and excise duties from each shipment. The pitch states: “To the best of our knowledge we are the only authentic Indian cider on the market using Indian apples and brewing and bottling high in the Himalayan foothills. Ours is a natural, hand-made product, which we believe will be a great accompaniment to Indian food. The product has been developed, designed and manufactured and the initial shipments have gone through comparative blind taste testing coming out top against three well-known UK ciders in a recent event at West Bradford Golf Club. Our initial stocks have already been sold and committed to our launch restaurant customer in Lancashire who has committed to an initial 144 bottles a week. The overwhelming majority of our cash outflows are to cover the purchase of cider, shipping costs and import/excise duty and fees. With a relatively long lead time between apple crushing in India and availability of bottled product in the UK we will have product in production, product on the water and product in stock ready to supply to customers. There are more than 9,500 licensed Indian restaurants in the UK, which will constitute our key market. Our data, which is detailed in our business plan, estimates current total sales (of cider in Indian restaurants) of approximately 28,000 bottles per day, which we expect to capture a significant percentage of based on our product story, marketing and above all, authenticity. We will initially be bringing in approximately 40,000 bottles per month, which will represent slightly below 5% of our target market rising to close to 17% (of cider being sold in Indian restaurants) by the end of our third full trading year. Whilst we are very focused on the Indian restaurant market we will also be exploring other market channels including specialist retail and export. We also intend to add flavoured ciders as our brand develops. Himachal anticipates a return for our early stage investors with an expectation of dividends amounting to more than double the value of initial investments by year three. The company and its products and markets will continue to develop offering further enhancement of shareholder returns and will explore a potential sale as soon as such a sale can be demonstrated to offer great value for our shareholders.” Anyone investing £250 will receive 12 bottles of Himachal Cider while for £1,000 they also get an invite to the product launch event in Lancashire.

Speaker programme confirmed for The 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, Dave 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, leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC, Luke Johnson, of Risk Capital Partners 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 £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing

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