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Tue 6th Oct 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

ALMR – business rates devolution may cost high street businesses, Tim Martin fears ‘patchwork quilt’ outcome: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned the government’s proposed devolution of business rates powers could be unhelpful unless there are careful checks and balances in place. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The government’s decision to devolve power over business rates to local authorities is designed to boost the UK’s high streets but it could have unwelcome consequences for licensed hospitality businesses. Local authorities do not have a good track record applying discretionary rates or supporting businesses in their areas. Any changes that are made by the local authority should be done so in order to boost investment at a local level and increase accountability to local businesses. There is some concern that any concessions that are made will be given solely to big-ticket investment or high tech, rather than the bulk of small and medium-sized enterprises. At present we have not been given any details of caps, checks, balances or challenges for businesses. We are hopeful that this development will incentivise business, but we will remain wary until we receive further details of the proposal.” Tim Martin, founder of JD Wetherspoon, told Propel: “It feels like Osborne and Cameron are making policy on the hoof. As opposed to doing their research first and consulting, they are making big announcements that are bound to worry people. The best example is the £9 National Living Wage. Instead of leaving it to a panel of experts it was decided over a couple of pints by Osborne and the prime minister. Gordon Brown took interest rates out of the political arena and put them into an economic one – Osborne is doing the opposite. The decision to put local authorities in charge of setting business rates creates unpredictability and uncertainty – for local authorities as well. The most likely outcome is a patchwork quilt of business rates levels.”

Industry News:

300 booked in for Propel Multi Club Conference on 5 November: A record number of attendees, just over 300 delegates from 160 operating companies, have booked in for the final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2015, taking place on Thursday, 5 November. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice companies can book up to two free place each by emailing Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com See bottom of email for full details of speaker schedule

Neil Morgan – sale of TCG will increase value and demand for smaller multiple operators: Christie + Co head of pubs Neil Morgan has argued the sale of 53 TCG pubs to Stonegate Pub Company last week will increase the value of and demand for smaller multiple managed companies. He said: “The sale of TCG further diminishes the availability of managed house stock in the market and with continuing demand for these types of assets it will ultimately lead to a further increase in values. Pub companies, investors and private equity players will now look to acquire single sites or smaller multiple operators who have significantly increased in numbers over the past five years. Our recent active involvement in both tenanted/leased and managed portfolio transactions provides clear evidence there is confidence in both operating models.”

CGA Strategy report reveals growing popularity of cocktails in restaurants:
More than half of all cocktail drinkers now enjoy them in restaurants, new research from CGA Strategy has revealed. The finding is one of a host of insights in the latest Mixed Drinks Report, the definitive annual survey of the market from CGA Strategy. It also revealed cocktails are now sold in about a quarter of all on-trade outlets in the UK—up by 2.3% in just the last six months. Restaurants are now just as popular a choice for cocktail drinkers as bars, especially among younger drinkers, with pubs not far behind. This reflects both the sophistication of cocktail offers in casual dining restaurants now, and the increasingly close connection between mixed drinks and food. Other findings unveiled in the Mixed Drinks Report include: the mojito remains the UK’s most popular cocktail—but among frequent drinkers, choices like Aperol Spritz, Caipirinha and Pornstar Martini are common selections too; vodka is the country’s most common cocktail ingredient, with the branding of the spirit becoming more important to consumers; berry, fruity and citrus are the most popular cocktail flavours for women and younger drinkers—but men tend to prefer smoky and sour flavours; low-fat and non-alcoholic cocktails take a growing market share, with a quarter of cocktail drinkers now preferring to order a skinny option. Cocktail drinkers also drink nearly three serves on an average visit and are willing to pay £5 to £7 for a drink.

Illy boss warns of impending global coffee crisis: The boss of Italian roaster Illy has warned of an impending global coffee crisis as demand for beans could make supplies run out. Chief executive Andrea Illy said if current consumption rates continue, coffee supplies will need to quadruple just to keep up with demand. Global production will need to rise by an extra 40 million, to 50 million bags – more than the entire crop of Brazil, he said. Illy told Bloomberg the problem was worsened by the threat of climate change and low prices, which could discourage farmers from increasing their output. He added: “Sooner or later, in months or years, we’ll have to make a bold decision about what to do. We don’t know where this coffee will come from.”

Government adviser – minimum wage reforms should be reviewed after two years: The leading business adviser to the UK government has said a reform that will phase in a higher minimum wage for most workers should be reviewed after two years. Sir Ian Cheshire, the former B&Q chief who earlier this year took up a role as a “non-executive director” at Whitehall, told the BBC’s Kamal Ahmed he supported the reform and it would focus businesses on productivity. But he said it was important to assess the impact of the changes over time, especially as the rate accelerates towards 2020. The so-called National Living Wage applies to those over the age of 25 and begins at £7.20 per hour from next April. It will then increase to a target of 60% of median earnings by 2020, at which point it should be more than £9 per hour. “We actually have been calling for a real increase in the minimum wage anyway, so in that sense the direction of travel is fine,” he said. “The problem is always when you get given a very short period in which to make a lot of change and that’s where I think we should come back in two years – and then work out whether that trajectory still makes sense.”

Scotch whisky industry hopeful on minimum pricing block: The Scotch whisky industry claims the recent opinion by the European Court’s advocate-general that Holyrood’s plan for minimum alcohol pricing could infringe EU trade law has swung the issue in its favour. However, David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association admitted there “could be a lot of life left in this issue yet” as after the final decision of the EU court by early next year, it is to be looked at again by Edinburgh’s Court of Session. “Then it is not impossible, depending on that decision, that there is a further appeal to the UK Supreme Court,” Frost added. He said the trade body had been pleased with the advocate-general’s finding that the Scottish government had not done enough to show increased alcohol duty would not be more effective in combating Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

Tobacco control expert calls for Scotland to lead the way on alcohol control: A tobacco control expert is calling for Scotland to lead the way in a global “war” to tackle alcohol problems, similar to the efforts that have been made to reduce smoking across the western world. Professor Gerard Hastings, who founded the Centre for Tobacco Control Research at Stirling University and has advised governments and the World Health Organisation (WHO), said tobacco and alcohol were examples of an “industrial epidemic”, where health issues are being driven by commercial interests. He wants Scotland to take a leading role in urging the WHO to introduce a framework that will outline how countries can take action to address alcohol problems by introducing measures around advertising, packaging and the way it is sold.

Carlsberg falls victim to Tesco’s big brand cull: Carlsberg has become the latest product to fall victim to Tesco’s big brand cull. The supermarket is removing almost all Carlsberg products from its shelves, with the exception of four-packs of cans. Tesco has previously caused upset by ceasing to stock other well-loved brands, including Ribena, Kingsmill, and Capri-Sun, as part of a move to cut down on the number of products sold in stores. The company’s chief executive Dave Lewis made the decision to pull almost all Carlsberg products as part of his mission to revive the struggling store by streamlining customers’ weekly shops. Tesco previously stocked about 90,000 different products, but will be cutting numbers down to between 65,000 and 70,000. A Tesco spokesman said: “We have taken the decision to discontinue a number of Carlsberg products in our stores and online. We will continue to offer customers a great range of beers, lagers and ciders. Colleagues in store will be on hand to offer assistance and suggest alternatives should customers find a product they used to buy is no longer available.”

Legal update: Solicitors John Gaunt provide a useful monthly update on legal and licensing issues and the latest can be accessed here

Company News:

Big Easy to create 170 jobs with new £3.5m flagship site in Canary Wharf: Big Easy is to open its new £3.5m flagship, Bar B.Q, & Lobstershack, in Canary Wharf in early November, featuring a 400-cover restaurant with additional outside terraces, bars, take-out/retail and nightly live entertainment, with opening spanning 18 hours a day. “This is an extremely exciting development for Big Easy with a round-the-clock offer,” said founder Paul Corrett. “It’s our biggest site to date in a landmark that is already one of the most talked about new buildings in the capital. We are really proud of what we are creating, not to mention the 170 new jobs we are generating.” Exclusive to the new site is all-American breakfast served from 7am, full afternoon tea offering with European and American cakes, a take-away shop and grab-and-go menu, offering fresh lobster rolls, pulled pork sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, American candy and other treats. A “Rum Bar” and Lounge will feature over 100 rums, an extensive cocktail menu and casks of rum on tap. The “Captains Table” private dining room will seat up to 26 with its own private terrace. The venue occupies an 11,000 square foot site, part of the top floor and roof terrace gardens of the new Norman Foster Cross Rail Terminal. The bar display with feature over 500 bottles of whiskies and bourbons and will have 14 different draft beers and house cocktails on tap. The site also has a 14-metre open kitchen and one of the UK’s largest pit rooms, housing three enormous two tonne US-built smokers.

BrewDog –we aim to have 200 bars by 2020:
BrewDog co-founder James Watt has reported the company plans to have 200 bars by 2020. In a reply to a number of questions on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, he said: “We currently have 34 owned bars and 16 franchised bars. Not all of these bars are open yet. Some are currently in various stages of planning and licensing. But all the deals for premises and licensees are secured. Our annual capacity with the new plant, which arrives in Ellon in three weeks’ time, is one million HL annually – or 850,000 US barrels. This project uses only £3m of the funds we are currently raising with the balance coming from retained profit and bank finance. The total initial cost of our US brewery will be $20m. Of this, $6m worth of incentives will come in the form of local sponsored funds. The brewhouse we are installing in Ohio will have an annual capacity of 600,000 HL or 510,000 US barrels. We are projecting to have 200 bars by 2020. On Shakeshake, it is pretty interesting that they are trading at $1.8bn on the NYSE on the back of 71 restaurants. It just shows the premium the market attaches to high growth companies in this sector.”

Sambuca opens first restaurant in Spain, plans further expansion: North east Italian restaurant Sambuca has expanded to Spain by launching a venue in Benidorm and plans further growth. The company has opened the 70-cover restaurant on Lavente Beach and is set to follow that with another in Benidorm and sites in Alicante and Torrevija. It is also planning further restaurants across the north of England, reports Chronicle Live. The company has big plans for Spain and proposes to eventually offer Sambuca holidays, including accommodation, car hire and half-board eating at its restaurants within the package. Benidorm restaurant manager Oliver Metcalf said: “We looked at where people go on holiday and we decided to try Benidorm. It has been kitted out with the same tiles, angels and gold mirrors as our other restaurants and we will be serving the same quality food as we do back in the north of England.” The first Sambuca opened in North Shields’ Fish Quay in 2001 and now has 13 sites across the north east of England.

Pesto opens seventh pub site and first in Leicestershire: Pesto, the brand led by Neil Gatt and Sara Edwards, has launched its seventh Pesto in a Pub site – and its first venue in Leicestershire. The company has opened at the site of the old White Horse in Desford after a £550,000 co-investment with owner Marston’s. The site, which had been closed for six months, has undergone an extensive refurbishment, creating 40 jobs. General manager Ian Vinsen, who has experience of running busy high street restaurants all over the country, told the Hinckley Times: “We’re looking forward to welcoming many customers through our doors in the weeks and months ahead to experience our unique concept of Italian piattini.”

Greene King freehold in City of London sells for £2.3m: Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has acquired the freehold of The Hatchet on Garlick Hill in The City of London, on behalf of Ducalian Capital, from Greene King for £2.3m. The traditional pub is situated very close to Mansion House underground station. It is a popular hang out for city workers with a small bar area to the front with a seating area to the rear for food service. Paul Tallentyre, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Freeholds in the City are extremely desirable and hard to find – especially pubs like The Hatchet which is close to a tube station. Although the pub is currently closed, the new owners plan to reopen it as a traditional public house. Their plans are currently being finalised but they aim to provide an improved beer and food offer so it can continue to provide a watering hole for the many workers that pass by every day.” Wimpole Property Consultants acted for Greene King.

Pint Shop hires Rosie Sykes as development chef: Pint Shop, the award-winning Cambridge beer house specialising in “meat, bread and beer”, has appointed Rosie Sykes as development chef. As well as being a regular food writer for the Guardian, Sykes previously cooked in the kitchens of some of the UK’s most celebrated chefs, including Shaun Hill and Alastair Little. She’s also known for setting up critically acclaimed gastro-pub The Sutton Arms in Smithfield, London. A Cambridge local and a Pint Shop customer, Sykes was a natural fit. Pint Shop co-founder Benny Peverelli said: “We’re massively excited to have Rosie on board. We’ve got big plans for 2016, a big part of which is taking our food offer to the next level. Rosie brings bags of talent and a unique energy to an already awesome food team. I can’t wait to get going.” Sykes added: “I quickly realised that we share a lot of values – a love of British food, a commitment to impeccable provenance and a passion for seasonality. Pint Shop is doing really amazing things and I was keen to be a part of the story. I truly admire their ethos. The Pint Shop classics we collaborated on and made even better, but I’ve also introduced my own favourite influences. The end result is something really special that brings a feast of autumnal colour.” From the new menu, Sykes singles out the devilled lamb kebab, Denham Estate red venison with stuffed mushrooms and saffron and chilli cod Cheek kebab as particular favourites. She added: “Cod cheek is a lovely cut of fish that’s so often overlooked. We’re cooking this wonderful cut on skewers over coals, it’s absolutely delicious.” Peverelli added: “Rosie has brought a wonderful new spin to our menu. She’s introduced us to some amazing new suppliers and some great new products.”

Delisserie secures fourth site: Agent Shelley Sandzer has acted in a deal securing a 3,000 square foot site for New York Deli and Grill, Delisserie, at 17-21 Shenley Road, Borehamwood. The deal marks the fourth restaurant for the brand, owned by the Premier Grill restaurants chain. The new restaurant for Delisserie is expected to open in November, providing space for 120 covers across a ground floor level. First established in 2002, the brand is especially well known for its own cured salt beef and homemade smoked ribs. Ian Davies, managing director and founder of Delisserie, added: “We have been trading very well across our portfolio and it felt like the right time to take the next step and continue to grow by adding another site. Shelley Sandzer guided us through the process quickly and confidently with expert advice and we are thrilled to be opening in Borehamwood before the end of the year.”

West Yorkshire-based Haworth Steam Brewery opens first pub: West Yorkshire-based Haworth Steam Brewery has opened its second pub next to its micro-brewery in Cleckheaton. The company, founded by Andy Gascoigne in 2011, has reopened the 17th century Rose & Crown in Westgate following a refurbishment to give it a “traditional feel”. He first concentrated on turning a building at the back of the site into the firm’s brewery, which now brews about 200 gallons of beer. Then some 18 months ago Gascoigne, a former professional rugby player and builder, began renovating the pub, which has now reopened serving Haworth Steam Brewery’s own ale as well as that of other Yorkshire micro-brewers. Gascoigne told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: “People seem to like what we have done with the place. We’ve also had a lot of positive comments saying there isn’t another pub like this in Cleckheaton.”

Patrick Dempsey joins Staycity board:
Patrick Dempsey, former managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, is to become a non-executive director of Dublin-based serviced apartment operator Staycity. Dempsey joins Staycity at a time of significant growth for the company. Its current estate of apartments and aparthotels stands at 1,000 across eight European cities, but an active development pipeline will see this number rise to 1,800 by the end of 2016, with a further 1,500 underway. Staycity intends to expand to some 10,000 apartments across Europe by 2020. Staycity chief executive Tom Walsh said: “It’s a real coup to secure Patrick as a member of our board of directors. His formidable experience and expertise will be of immense benefit to Staycity as we forge ahead with the expansion of our business. In addition to his board commitment, Patrick has agreed to give more time to working with me on strategy. As a result of a personal investment in the business, he will also become a minority shareholder.” In 2004 Dempsey joined Whitbread as managing director of Marriott in the UK, becoming managing director for Premier Inn in 2005. In 2009 he was appointed managing director of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants as well as joining the main board as executive director. “Staycity is one of the leading operators in the exciting and expanding serviced apartment sector,” said Dempsey. “I am looking forward to getting to know the business further and helping take it forward to strengthen its foothold in Europe.”

Leon opens 27th site, five more lined up in next three months: Leon opened its 27th restaurant yesterday (Monday, 5 October), this time located in London’s Cheapside, moments away from St Paul’s Cathedral and directly opposite the city’s major One New Change shopping centre. This is the sixth new site from the chain this year, which will be opening a further five before the end of 2015. Beth Emmens, property acquisitions manager at Leon, said: “It’s great to be able to bring food that does you good to such a busy and beautiful part of the city.” Customers who live or work in the area can sign up for “neighbourly welcome treats” by joining the Leon Lover Club on its website in the next six days.

McDonald’s remains most valuable restaurant brand but sees value fall 6%: McDonald’s has remained the leading restaurant brand in Interbrand’s 100 “best” global brands report – but seen its value drop 6% to $39,809bn. The company stayed at number nine in the list, which is again dominated by technology brands and for the third consecutive year sees Apple ($170,276bn) and Google ($120.314bn) claim the top two positions. Coca-Cola was third with $78,423bn, a drop of 3%. Other foodservice brands on this year’s list were Starbucks at 67 ($6,266bn) – up from 75th spot last year – and KFC at 75 ($5,639bn) – down from 68th. Pizza Hut, which was ranked 96th in 2014, dropped out of the top 100. Budweiser was the leading alcohol brand at 31 having been valued at $13,943bn while Jack Daniels was 84th ($5,161bn), Heineken 89th ($4,822bn), Jonnie Walker 92nd ($4,540bn), Corona 93rd ($4,456bn), Smirnoff 94th ($4,407bn) and Moet & Chandon, a new entrant at 99 ($4,131bn). The Interbrand report analyses the ways a brand “touches and benefits” its owner in terms of business performance, influencing customer choice and the strength of the brand to command a premium price.

Red’s True Barbecue signs supply agreement with LWC: Red’s True Barbecue, the fast growing smokehouse concept that recently secured investment to fund expansion, has entered into a wholesale supply contract with the UK’s fastest growing licensed drinks company LWC. LWC spokesman Ray Callan said: “The acquisition of the Red’s contract is seen as a real ‘Tour de Force’ by all those involved in the recent negotiations to secure the deal. Red’s recent funding will allow them to bring more barbecue joy to their customers and we are thrilled to be involved in the brand’s 2015/16 opening plans.” Red’s recently launched in Shoreditch and in November the brand will open in Liverpool on Hanover Street, part of the Liverpool One development. Craig Bell, finance director for Red’s, added: “We are very pleased to be working with LWC as we continue to expand our business nationwide. We are confident that LWC are a great fit for us and look forward to a long term relationship with them.”

Donna Hewitson to step down as Bel & the Dragon director of people, seeks HR manager: Donna Hewitson is to step down as director of people at gastro-pub operator Bel & the Dragon at the end of the year – she is looking for a HR manager to replace her. She told Propel: “I have had an amazing experience with Bel & The Dragon but I am now starting to explore opportunities for my next exciting contract or role starting in the new year. Before I depart, I am recruiting a HR manager for the business instead of a permanent human resources director. A great fit for Bel & The Dragon would be a real foodie, fast paced, driver of excellent operational standards, a pragmatic human resources approach.” Hewitson can be contacted on 07880 198 348.

Amber Taverns finance director wins recognition: The finance director of 100-strong community pub operator Amber Taverns Joanne Jones has won the award for the North West Finance Director of the year for SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) having been runner up last year. Amber Taverns chairman Clive Preston said: “This is a great accolade for Joanne who has seen us through two management buyouts and numerous re-financings. She is a crucial member of our team and has made a significant contribution to the success of Amber Taverns.” Of Jones, the judging panel stated: “Joanne has been at the forefront of turning an unfashionable proposition into a successful expanding business model. As a team leader she has demonstrated a keen eye for detail; fuelled a shrewd acquisitions policy, and turned in a robust performance in a very competitive sector.”

Greene King gets go-ahead for £3m Farmhouse Inns site in Oldbury: Greene King has been granted permission to build a £3m flagship Farmhouse Inns site at part of the first phase of a new regeneration project at Oldbury’s Birchley Island in the West Midlands. The company has been given the go-ahead by Sandwell Council for the 13,811 square foot restaurant at the site, between the island and the slip road for junction two of the M5, reports the Express & Star. It will have two entrances to accommodate those visiting to dine and those using only the bar. The scheme, which will create 80 jobs, also includes a car park with 95 spaces. Developer St Modwen said in July work on the building work will begin next year. The site was previously earmarked for a £6m 80-bedroom hotel and casino but both schemes were scrapped because of problems securing operators.

One Group to open first STK Revel outside of North America in Edinburgh: The One Group has reached agreement to open its first STK Rebel outside of North America – in Edinburgh, in 2017. The STK Rebel concept, which is an all-day interpretation of The One Group’s high-end and highly-acclaimed international steak restaurant STK, will take its place alongside a select group of leading eating-out brands within a premium mixed-use development, at the heart of the Scottish capital. The new 7,000 square foot location represents The One Group’s first standalone restaurant in the UK and Europe. The current European operations of the company, headed by British entrepreneur and founder Jonathan Segal, sees it work in partnership within landmark hotel and leisure operations, including a number of premium hospitality concepts at the ME London hotel headlined by STK, in partnership with Melia Hotels, and the entire food and beverage (F&B) programme of the Hippodrome Casino including 24-hour liquor provision, in London’s West End. In addition, it recently launched at the ME Milan, Italy, again in tandem with Melia, developing and operating the entire F&B programme, including Radio rooftop bar and STK Milano. Segal, president and chief executive of The One Group, who established the company in the US in 2006, before coming to London in 2011, said: “We are delighted to be expanding our footprint across Europe as we take our unique hospitality concepts around the world. Edinburgh is the perfect location for the UK’s first STK Rebel.” STK Rebel is an extension of The One Group’s international steak restaurant brand, STK. It maintains the unique features and energy of STK, yet offers a menu and price point targeted at a broader market, with the ability to trade throughout the day and night.

US craft beer chain reports 24,000 approved beers in its system: World of Beer, the 75-strong US craft beer chain led by Paul Avery, has reported its now has 24,000 beers that it serves on rotation. “We’ve seen an increase in the number of quality brewers,” Avery said. “You have to compete at a high level to exist today. To continue to be the leader, we have to find the exceptional beers — especially the low-allocated items — and to represent the craft beers of the world.” Of the 24,000 approved beers he said: “That doesn’t mean we offer all 24,000 in every location, but those are unique beers that continually rotate through our system,” adding that at any time, each site will offer about 500 beers by the can or bottle and 50 on tap. He added: “I got involved in World of Beer in January 2013. It was very clear to me that the brand needed to have more attributes to keep its relevance long term. They were serving just craft beer and wine. We put in a food programme we called ‘tavern fare’. And then we put in craft spirits as well. That implemented in the middle of 2013, and it’s been constantly improved for the last several years.”

Frankie & Benny’s applies for licence for third Cardiff site: Frankie & Benny’s, The Restaurant Group-owned brand, is set to open its third site in Cardiff. The company has applied to Cardiff City Council for a licence to open in the Bridge Street Arcade at St David’s shopping centre. It is asking for permission to sell alcohol, provide late night entertainment and refreshment. Alcohol would be sold between 10am and midnight with entertainment until 12.30am. St David’s general manager Steven Madeley told Wales Online: “It’s the time of the year where a number of exciting, new brands are hoping to join the centre. We’re looking forward to welcoming some great new names, all of which will further increase the breadth of dining and shopping offer at St David’s, ahead of the busy Christmas shopping period.” Frankie & Benny’s already has two sites in the city – in Newport Road and in Cardiff Bay.

Five Guys names date for opening of fifth Scottish restaurant in Dundee: Five Guys will open its fifth site in Scotland, this time in Dundee, on Wednesday, 21 October. The American gourmet burger company, which opened its first restaurant in the UK in London in 2013, is moving into the Overgate Centre, reports The Courier. The restaurant will be located in the former JD Sports unit next to Virgin Media and the old WH Smith unit – and extend outside the centre with outdoor seating. The company, which allows customers to pre-order online and eat in-store, has four other restaurants in Scotland – three in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh.

Moleface Pub Company site lands UK’s best roast dinner title: Nottingham-based Moleface Pub Company’s Larwood & Voce Pub & Kitchen site has landed the title of Best British Roast Dinner 2015. The company’s pub-restaurant beat off competition from nearly 450 hopefuls to land the prize in the annual contest, run by Unilever Food Solutions. Larwood & Voce scooped the crown owing to its “faultless cooking and choice of four meats”. The judges, who included food critic Charles Campion, were also impressed by the pub’s high degree of local sourcing: using pork from its own rare breed pigs, making its own condiments and baking its own bread. Chris Brown, channel category manager, Unilever Food Solutions, said: “Standards were exceptionally high across the board, and to choose between the five finalists was an extremely close call, but Larwood & Voce just had the edge over the rest. Not only does it offer perfectly cooked food in a welcoming pub setting, there are plenty of innovative touches too, such as the option to buy a takeaway roast dinner or bring your own veg in exchange for a free pint.” Moleface Pub Company operates three other sites in the Nottingham area.
 
Malevo Group co-founders part company: Co-founders of Malevo Group, Diego Jacquet and Alberto Abbate, have amicably parted ways. Jacquet will continue sole ownership of Zoilo restaurant, known for its modern Argentine dishes, and will focus on new ventures and launches in 2016. The group will retain Casa Malevo, a traditional Argentine restaurant and Abasto, a butcher and wine merchant, both on Connaught Street. Jacquet said: “After five years as chef and managing director, I have decided to leave the group. Whilst I am naturally sad to bow out of Casa Malevo and Abasto, two restaurants that I launched, I am excited to get back into the kitchen, where my true passion lies. I will now devote all of my time to Zoilo and to the exciting new adventures that lie ahead in 2016, both in the UK as well as internationally in Sweden and Asia.” In Singapore, Jacquet will look to expand Bochinche, which launched in August 2013, independent of Malevo Group. Jacquet will travel extensively around Argentina, where he will cook up ideas, search for wild produce and gather inspiration for his first book and new London projects planned for 2016. Jacquet founded Malevo Group in 2010 with the launch of Casa Malevo, followed by Zoilo in late 2012 and Abasto, which completed the trio in 2014.

Fleurets promotes Davies to director position, host of promotions: Property agent Fleurets has promoted James Davies from divisional director to director. Meanwhile, both Ed Sandall and Cambridge office manager Simon Jackaman have been promoted to divisional director. Furthermore, Elysia Wilson-Gunn and Andrew Spencer have been promoted to associate, whilst Rosie Hallam will assume the role of senior surveyor and Kate Dowd of senior negotiator. Fleurets has also recently appointed Lizzie Hawes to the team as public relations manager. Davies said: “I have just started my 15th year with Fleurets and am delighted to celebrate with a position on the board. We have a young but experienced team and with the constant changes in the leisure sector, I am looking forward to help grow the business further in the next few years.”

Speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference unveiled: The full speaker programme for the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 5 November at the Lancaster, London, the best-attended conference series in the sector, has been unveiled. Ian King, presenter of the Sky News show, Ian King Live, and former Business and City editor of The Times, looks at the key economic trends over the past 12 months and the 12 months ahead and gives his views on their impact on the hospitality sector. Peter Hansen, founder of leading mergers and acquisitions advisory Sapient Corporate Finance, which has advised on sector transactions worth more than £2bn in the past five years, looks at the key sector trends in 2015 for those buying and selling businesses. Andrew Ball, of accountancy firm haysmacintyre, offers his top tips on tax minimisation for multi-site operators. Paul Harbottle, commercial director of Enterprise Inns, talks about building an 800-strong managed pub estate and investment and progress in the leased and tenanted part of the business. Toby Smith, chief executive of Novus Leisure, explains how the company is evolving its food, drink and entertainment offer, along with digital capability, to stay at the forefront of the late-night market in London and the regions. Martin Wolstencroft, founder of Arc Inspirations, arguably Yorkshire’s most successful independent bar and restaurant operator, talks about running multiple concepts, overcoming challenges, best-in-class profit conversion, innovation and expanding over the Pennines in the company’s 15th year. Scott Shaw, founder and chairman of marketing and information analysis business Fishbowl, explains how US restaurant businesses are using guest information to drive marketing and sales. He is joined by data expert Mike Lukianoff, founder of Czar Metrics, now owned by Fishbowl, who will talk about the ground-breaking work his company is doing in the US with a host of well-known restaurant brands, using data to shape menu and price engineering, media efficiency and trade area analytics. Nick Collins, managing director of Loungers, talks about evolving the brand, maintaining company culture, fulfilling growth ambitions, new trading locations and stepping into the shoes of founder Alex Reilley. Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, co-founders of Brewhouse & Kitchen, talk about how they have developed the UK’s largest brewpub chain, food quality, recruiting brewers, brewing experiences, EIS funding and the market potential for the company. Ann Elliott, chief executive of leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts, presents the findings of a survey of senior industry executives on the subject of “outstanding leadership”. Elliotts strategy director James Hacon talks to former Spirit chief executive Mike Tye, Thorley Taverns operations director Phil Thorley, Ego Restaurants chief executive James Horler and Ann Elliott about the principles of high quality leadership. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can claim up to two free places by e-mailing Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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