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Thu 8th Oct 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Star Pubs & Bars invests £3.7m in Newcastle area, plans first co-investment with Leamside Ale Company: Star Pubs & Bars is on track to invest £3.7m in 20 major refurbishments in Newcastle and the surrounding area by the end of 2015. The expenditure is part of a record national investment of up to £30m that the company is making in its estate this year. The latest development is the Red Kite at Blaydon-on-Tyne with north east multiple operator Daryl Frankland of the Leamside Ale Company. The refurbishment, like others across the region, will help improve the pub’s food capability, furthering Star Pubs & Bars’ ambition that 50% of sales will come from food by 2020. A new kitchen will be created at the Red Kite as well as three dining areas with a total of 100 covers. An experienced operator with four other successful pubs with high quality food offers, Frankland’s approach at the Red Kite will be to deliver restaurant quality food at affordable pub prices. “As at our other pubs, all the meals will be made using fresh, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible, and, with the exception of the bread and ice cream, everything, from the chips to the sauces, will be made from scratch on the premises,” said Frankland. “With so much preparation involved we need pubs with larger than average kitchens and a minimum of 70 covers to recoup our kitchen overheads and the Red Kite fits the bill perfectly. I’ve traditionally operated freeholds but leases provide very low cost access to large businesses with potential such as the Red Kite. The investment that Star is making and the fact that I am only tied on soft drinks, beer and cider, make the lease a very attractive business proposition for me.”

Industry News:

325 now booked in for Propel Multi Club Conference on 5 November: A record number of attendees, 325 delegates from 166 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 places each by emailing Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com See bottom of email for full details of speaker schedule

Luke Johnson – seaside towns need revitalisation by entrepreneurs:
The Centre for Entrepreneurs is calling on British entrepreneurs to “inject some much-needed thinking into sleepy communities” across the UK; most notably some of the nation’s seaside resorts. A new report published by the think-tank highlights many issues that blight seaside towns, such as physical isolation from the rest of the country, educational deficiencies, growing levels of deprivation and low-wage, low-skilled seasonal work. Luke Johnson, chair of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, believes the invention and drive of entrepreneurs that first built seaside towns is needed again to breathe new life into the communities in need. “A combined effort is needed – one that brings together entrepreneurs, national government, local authorities and residents in identifying issues and opportunities, developing solutions, and taking action,” said Johnson.

Footballer Paul Konchesky launches pie-and-mash cafe concept in Brentwood: Footballer Paul Konchesky has opened a pie-and-mash cafe concept in Brentwood, Essex. Konchesky, who is on loan at Championship club QPR, has launched Konch’s Kafe. The cafe is run by Konchesky’s mum Carol, who has worked in catering for 30 years and agreed to leave the Royal Oak in nearby Stapleford Abbotts. The walls are adorned by memorabilia including Konchesky’s number three shirt at West Ham and a signed sketch of his boyhood hero Julian Dicks while there is also a pair of boxing gloves signed by Nicky Cook, an old school friend from Dagenham who became a WBO featherweight champion. Konchesky told the Daily Mail: “There was this pie-and-mash shop next to our school in Dagenham. Every Tuesday we’d all have mash and liquor for a pound in a takeaway cup. Every Friday it’d be proper pie, mash and liquor, with jellied eels. I always wanted a coffee shop or a sandwich shop. Then this came up. So I thought, why not?”

Company News:

Mint and Mustard opening sixth site in Penarth today: Indian fine-dining restaurant Mint and Mustard is opening its sixth site, this time in Penarth, Wales, today (Thursday, 8 October). The company, founded by Ajit Kandoran and Latheesh Kottilil in 2007, is open the venue in Windsor Terrace – its second restaurant in Penarth. The 85-seat restaurant also has a section that can be booked for private dining. It serves south Indian, Kerela style food – something its owners described as a little bit different to typical Indian cuisine. Kandoran told Wales Online: “From the start in 2007, it was all about good food and a big family. Our family has got bigger but whatever we do, we do it together.” Mint and Mustard also has two restaurants in Cardiff along with sites in Taunton and Weston-Super-Mare.

Des McDonald to launch first Scottish venture this month: Restaurateur Des McDonald is to launch his first venture in Scotland later this month. McDonald, ex-Ivy head chef and former chief executive of Caprice Holdings, is opening The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh on Thursday, 22 October. The 180-seat restaurant in George Street is a nod to the city’s rich literary heritage and will serve “the finest ingredients Scotland’s larder has to offer”. It also features a late-night bar and “comfort food” menu that will be open to 1am. McDonald said: “We set out with a clear vision to create seasonal dishes that are bursting with flavour and reflective of the local produce found on Scotland’s doorstep. Making use of the world-class quality of ingredients in Scotland is something we have rightfully championed.” One of the menu’s signature dishes is the Spatchcock Borders grouse, served with red cabbage and brambles. McDonald, who runs London restaurants Vintage Salt, Q Grill and Holborn Dining Room at the Rosewood Hotel, added: “Opening the doors to the new restaurant is the result of months and months of hard work from the team. We can’t wait to welcome guests in the coming weeks and months.”

Rick Stein to expand restaurant business in Australia: Chef-entrepreneur Rick Stein is set to expand his restaurant business in Australia. Stein will run the restaurant at a new resort being developed by businessman Peter Cosgrove on the New South Wales coast at Mollymook called Bannisters Pavilion. The new resort will offer 33 rooms and two penthouses set back from Mitchell Parade and Beach Road, a stone’s throw from Mollymook Beach. Stein also runs the restaurant at Cosgrove’s nearby Bannisters by the Sea resort, serving modern seafood. Cosgrove told The Australian: “We have a deal. Anything we do in Australia, involving food and beverage, we do it together. I met Rick eight years ago on the beach at Mollymook – he could not get into the (Bannisters) restaurant because it was full in January. We became good friends. He spent every January on Mollymook Beach and that’s how I met him. Very simply, I had an issue with my head chef (at Bannisters by the Sea) so I asked Rick if he could lend me a chef for a few months and we worked out (a business deal) on the back of an envelope. Rick and I are partners in food and beverage – but not the infrastructure of the hotel and the bedrooms.”

Le Bistrot Pierre to open first restaurant in shopping centre next month, plans series of new sites over next year: Le Bistrot Pierre will open its first restaurant in a shopping centre next month as the company plans a series of new sites over the next year. The company, founded by Rob Beacham and John Whitehead 21 years ago, will open its new venue at the Friars Walk development on Thursday, November 12. It is Le Bistrot Pierre’s second site in Wales joining its established Cardiff restaurant and 13 other venues across the UK. Beacham said: “This is one in a series of new openings we have planned in the next 12 months. Newport has been in our sights for a while and Friars Walk provides the perfect place for diners looking to enjoy quality French food at an affordable price. We’re very pleased with the growth of Bistrot Pierre and have big plans for 2016. This is our first restaurant in a shopping centre – it’s something very different from what we’re used to, but we’re confident our great value lunch dishes, brand new children’s menu and a pre-theatre option will be popular with the locals. The trend towards shopping centre eateries is impossible to ignore so we are excited about the opportunity to join the new development. It’s essential to be innovative and creative, there’s no room to be complacent in this business, so we are looking forward to branching out into new territory with a wealth of experience behind us.”

Living Ventures more than doubles gift card sales using Airship platform: Restaurant and bar operator Living Ventures has more than doubled its gift card sales thanks to an online platform developed by digital marketing specialist Airship. The platform enables customers to buy gift cards either online or at any of Living Ventures’ 39 venues. Customers can choose between a physical card, which can be loaded with funds on-site or posted out, and electronic cards, which are delivered immediately by email. The benefits include cards tailored to each brand and venue rather than generic to the group; the option to pay by mobile phone, as well as to redeem cards by showing a phone at venues; secure card payment and activation; immediate online access to check card balances and immediate digital replacement of lost cards. Living Ventures group marketing manager Charlotte Solomon said: “In the first six months of using the Airship gift card platform we have seen a 103% increase in the sale of gift cards. The system is much more user-friendly than our previous solution, and the encrypted cards give the customer and ourselves security that we didn’t have previously.” Airship’s support for Living Ventures has been recognised at the Institute of Promotional Marketing COGS Awards 2015, with the gift card initiative winning a silver award.
 
JD Wetherspoon applies to build 30-bedroom stand-alone hotel, extend pub in Hellesdon, Norwich:
JD Wetherspoon has applied to build a 30-bedroom stand-alone hotel at The Whiffler pub in Hellesdon, which is four miles north-west of Norwich and has a population of 11,177 inhabitants. The Whiffler on Boundary Road is one of two remaining pubs in Hellesdon. Owner JD Wetherspoon wants to redevelop the site to meet the area’s “growing business needs”. In documents, the agent for JD Wetherspoon said: “The proposals represent an opportunity to provide good quality hotel accommodation for this pub/restaurant, to suit the growing business needs, whilst maintaining and enhancing the character and setting of the pub/restaurant and promote tourism to the area. The proposed new hotel will not adversely affect the local community other than improving the general appearance of the overall site, whilst making efficient use of the under-used land. There are always going to be objections raised by adjacent residents to any form of new development, hopefully the quality of the proposal and content of this statement will address those adequately.”

Drinks guru Gerry Calabrese to open Wringer & Mangle: Drinks expert Gerry Calabrese is to open Wringer & Mangle in a former industrial laundry opposite London Fields Brewery on Monday, 2 November. It will feature an expansive all-weather terrace, an inventive drinks menu offering variations on the classic “Collins” cocktail and an ever-evolving series of art exhibitions. Wringer & Mangle will feature a 250-cover bar and restaurant. Guests will be able to enjoy the great outdoors all year round, with the courtyard kept warm by a fire pit and seven foot smoker. Reclaimed wood, creeping Russian ivy plants, flickering lights and Victorian lamps will create a setting that guests will want to linger in day and night. The light and spacious inside area will feature French doors opening out onto the terrace. Combining both the contemporary and the classic, the industrial cement interior will be juxtaposed with retro adverts, mismatched tables, Chesterfields and wingback chairs. Calabrese has worked in the sector for 18 years, a career that’s included five-star hotels, top restaurants and award-winning bars. He has won a multitude of awards, both personally and for his businesses including; Best Bar UK and Best Bar London. He has consulted for major global beverage companies in product development, as well as launching his own award-winning Hoxton Gin four years ago. He founded the acclaimed Hoxton Pony in 2008 and then moved into Mayfair with cabaret-themed bar, Baroque, in 2013. His consultancy business, Calabrese House, has worked with Mulberry, Bentley and The British Fashion Council. Calabrese said: “I am really enjoying going back to my roots and championing the East End again, there’s no place in the world I’d rather be. We hope Wringer & Mangle will be a celebration of everything that’s great about this area, sense of community, creativity, fun, and of course fantastic food and drink. This is where my brother and I started out and now we’re back with another project we feel passionately about on our home turf.”

Liverpool entrepreneur opens new craft ale and pizza bar concept for fifth site: Liverpool entrepreneur Rob Gutmann has opened a new craft ale and pizza bar concept – his fifth site in the city. Gutmann has launched Love & Rockets in Lark Lane, which pays homage to the 1980s Mexican comics of the same name. He told the Liverpool Echo: “Love & Rockets design is my tribute to the Hernandez brothers. The venue is primarily very much a craft alehouse that also takes pizzas very seriously. We have 14 ales available on draft, four of them brewed specially for us and only available at Love & Rockets. Our list extends to a further 50 rotated bottled ales and craft lagers. There is also a big focus on tequila, and we are looking to research and expand our range every week. In setting up on Lark Lane we were very aware of the community within which the venue will sit, and we’ve adapted the concept to cater for the needs of that community from day to night, including offering breakfasts at weekends.” Gutmann also runs city centre venues Deathrow Diner, Yardbird, Motel Bar and Miss Kitty’s.

BrewDog breaks £2m barrier on Crowdcube: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has broken through the £2m barrier on Crowdcube. Yesterday (Wednesday, 7 October), the company had 551 investors pledging £1,502,000 towards its 6.5% interest yielding four-year mini-bond. A further 683 people have pledged £516,135 in terms of an equity investment. The offer, launched at the start of September, has eight days left to run.

Byron set to open new site in Stratford-upon-Avon: Gourmet burger brand Byron is set to open a new site in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. The company, founded by Tom Byng in 2007, has signed up to the proposed £30m Bell Court redevelopment in Old Town Square. Byron has taken a 20-year lease on a 3,860 square foot unit at the 70,000 square foot retail and leisure complex, which will be anchored by an Everyman cinema. Byng told the Coventry Telegraph: “We are confident that local people and visitors to this lovely, historic town will appreciate our obsession with doing things properly and our commitment to raising expectations around customer service. Our vision is simple – to serve consistently delicious hamburgers in beautiful, individually designed restaurants right across the UK, so I’m delighted to be bringing Byron to Stratford-upon-Avon.” The Bell Court proposal will go before Stratford-upon-Avon District Council later this month and if approval is granted, work will start before the end of the year.

New Louisana/Texan-themed restaurant and wine bar concept to open in St Helen’s:
A new Louisiana/Texan-themed restaurant and wine bar concept is to open in St Helen’s. Chris Howell is launching The Smokehouse in Bridge Street on Saturday, November 7. Howell has recruited 77 people across a variety of roles for the £50,000 restaurant, which is being created within empty space on the site of the former Savoy cinema. He told the St Helen’s Star: “A lot of people slate the town about the lack of opportunity and inward investment but it’s massively important how great St Helens was and can be in the future. I had the opportunity to open up first in Hale but I chose here because I’m a local lad and if you are over 21 and in a relationship there is pretty much next to nothing to do. But we will have wine tasting and comedy nights.”

Table for 10 supperclub founder launching first restaurant today: Damon Bui, who launched the supperclub Table for 10 three years ago, is opening his first restaurant in London today (Thursday, 8 October). Bui is launching Australian-inspired Vietnamese barbecue restaurant CoBa in York Way, King’s Cross, reports The Handbook. The restaurant’s name means Auntie Number Three – the family term for his mother, who was famous for her butter fried chicken. Her dishes have inspired CoBa’s menu with some of them given a modern spin and will feature barbecue meats, cooked on a charcoal grill served with a noodle salad, and soup noodles. The cocktail list will feature tea-based and sorbet cocktails. As well as 100% of the service charge going to staff, they will also share in the profits.

Inn Collection Group promotes Sean Donkin to operations director: North east hospitality company Inn Collection Group (ICG), which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital, has promoted Sean Donkin to operations director. Donkin, who joined the company in 2008 as general manager of the Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses, has risen to director level from his previous post as the group’s operations manager. Donkin will be heavily involved in the expansion of the group, which has just added The Seaton Lane Inn in County Durham to its portfolio and announced plans for a new-build unit on the Northumberland coast. ICG chief executive Keith Liddell said: “Sean has proven himself to be the man for the job at this exciting time in our development, as we increase our presence in the market and eye up further potential targets to add to the Inn Collection Group. Sean has worked with us since the early days of the group and has proved himself to have the management and leadership skills to step up to the next level. It’s our policy wherever possible to train and promote our management and now director-level staff from within the group and I am delighted to welcome a man of Sean’s calibre to the board.” Donkin’s promotion to operations director comes as the ICG pushes ahead with plans for the new £4.5m 40-bedroom Commissioners Quay Inn at Blyth.

Inverness-based Black Isle Brewery granted alcohol licence for first bar: Inverness-based Black Isle Brewery has been granted an alcohol licence to open its first bar. The company has received approval from Highland Council to serve alcohol at the site in Church Street, Inverness, every day from 11am-1am, reports the Press and Journal. It has previously had its application approved to convert the former Caring and Sharing charity shop into a bar complete with rooftop beer garden, which would close at 9pm because of surrounding residential properties, along with a hostel. It plans to use the ground floor of the building as a bar with the two upper floors housing a 48-bed hostel. The beer garden would be on a flat roof of the ground floor section and feature a canopy. The bar would stock the company’s award-winning organic beers and a selection of independent beers from around the UK and overseas.

Leasehold of historic Liverpool pub on market for £200,000: The leasehold of historic Liverpool pub Ma Egerton’s Stage Door is being marketed for £199,950. The pub, which dates back to 1869, has welcomed a galaxy of international stars from film, television and stage including Charlie Chaplin, Laurel & Hardy and Frank Sinatra. It is situated in the city centre adjacent to Lime Street Station. Its owner, actor and businessman Iain Hoskins, is planning on relocating to Los Angeles. Over the past three years the site has benefited from an investment of nearly £400,000, including the installation of food concept Ma’s Old Fashioned Pizza Shop. Lee Bloomberg, negotiator at Christie + Co’s Manchester office, is handling the sale and said: “The sale presents an exciting opportunity to acquire an important piece of Liverpool history. The launch of the Paramount student complex next door presents potentially excellent footfall and the opportunity for a new buyer to build on an already excellent business.” Hoskins added: “I am immensely proud of the past three years of hard work in smashing previously unobtainable sales targets and re-inventing this classic pub. She will be very hard to leave behind, but Ma’s a girl who requires 100% devotion and loyalty and so it wouldn’t be practical to manage her remotely. It’s satisfying to know that I am passing on a business that’s in excellent health, profitability and an unblemished reputation with bags of potential still to realise for the right buyer.”

The Everyman Group lines up Durham site at scheme to feature restaurants:
Boutique cinema operator The Everyman Group has earmarked Durham as the location for its first multi-screen cinema in the north east of England after agreeing heads of terms with the developer of Milburngate. The proposed scheme is also attracting significant interest from a number of premium food and drink operators, which currently do not have a presence in the city or, in some cases, the north east region. Milburngate, on the banks of the River Wear, will feature a high quality mix of homes, offices, bars, and restaurants as well as the cinema, and is set to become the north of England’s newest and most significant waterside regeneration project. Following a successful public consultation earlier in the year, the consortium is finalising its proposals for the Milburngate House site to create a premium, mixed-use scheme for Durham and the north east. A public exhibition will take place in November to enable the developers to conclude its application, which will be submitted around Christmas time.

Survey finds Berkshire tops strip club league table: A comprehensive study of all 576 listed strip clubs in England found that Berkshire, with 17 strip clubs and a population of approximately 154,000 people, has way more per capita than any other county in England. In contrast, London sits way down the list in 18th place with its 104 strip clubs and population of 7,813,600, giving the capital a score of 1.331 strip clubs per 100,000 inhabitants. Like Berkshire, Bedfordshire sits on the outskirts of London. The county has 11 strip clubs and a population of 255,200 (4.31 per 100,000), whilst Lancashire has 30 strip clubs for its population of 1,169,300 people (2.565 per 100,000).

Ping Pong head office to take over Soho site next Monday: Ping Pong head office staff will take over its Soho branch in Great Marlborough Street next Monday – as a reward for the site being voted best in the estate. Chief executive Art Sagiryan and his team will cook, waiter and host guests. Following a successful head office takeover in St Katherine’s Dock last year, the 2015 winners have been announced as Great Marlborough Street, Soho. The prize is assessed on succeeding expectations in sales, excellent controls in place for expenditure for the year, excellent performance for audit results and, most importantly, fantastic customer survey results. Fabrico Aguilar, head of marketing at Ping Pong, said: “Every year the head office takeover is always a great event for the team to see first hand the hard work and effort our teams put in to running the restaurants. It’s a perfect way to show our appreciation to our amazing employees and allows us to meet our customers who love to dine at Ping Pong. It is our way of showing transparency and allows customers to enjoy the authenticity and humanised aspect to the Ping Pong brand.”

Premier Inn gets go-ahead for £7m hotel in Blackpool: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn has been granted permission to build a new £7m hotel in Blackpool. The company has been given the go-ahead by Blackpool Council for the 150-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Yates’s in Talbot Square, reports the Blackpool Gazette. The six-storey building also features a Brewers Fayre restaurant on the ground floor. Premier Inn had put forward revised plans, which included reducing the height of the hotel by two metres, after the council rejected the scheme in May because it was unhappy with the design. Planning consultant Helen Binns said it predicted the hotel would boost Blackpool’s economy by £2m a year and bring in more than 50,000 overnight stays. Construction is expected to begin next spring and open in autumn 2017. The site has been vacant since Yates’s was demolished after being destroyed by fire in February 2009.

BrewDog reveals details on four new bars, set to launch into new market: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has revealed details of four new bars it will open in the next month and is also set to launch into a new market. The company will launch its second BottleDog in Edinburgh on Friday, which will be followed by sites in Glasgow and two in London. The company stated: “First out of the blocks is our second BottleDog, which opens its doors to the beer-savvy folk of the Scottish capital this week! Located a short downhill stroll from Princes Street at 25a Dundas Street, we can’t wait to bring a fresh take on the bottle shop concept to the New Town. Robyn and her handpicked team will be dispensing over 250 craft beers, plus a dedicated growler-filling station. BottleDog Edinburgh is fully licensed, so you can enjoy your purchases on site, in our dedicated indoor tasting room. A few hundred miles and seven days later, the bolts will be drawn back for the first time at our new gourmet hotdog emporium – Dog Eat Dog. With 12 draft beers and dozens of bottles, the people of London will have plenty of options to pair with the amazing hot dogs on offer. Faithful friends will also be well catered for (literally), as a fully-fledged menu of gourmet dog food will be on offer! We’ve also teamed up with the trailblazers at Square Root for a genuine soda fountain, and a series of ‘Hardshakes’ will be available, for those after something a little different. Glasgow! There’s light at the end of the Merchant City tunnel. Our first DogHouse will arrive in your city very soon. It’s a simple concept – everything we do at BrewDog under a 200-person capacity roof. The execution, however, has been amazing. Our bars team have pulled out all of the stops, so we are dedicating a special ‘coming soon’ post for DogHouse Merchant City prior to the opening of those doors on the corner of Hutcheson and Garth Streets – including signups for an Equity Punks event our shareholders won’t want to miss! Stay tuned. Finally, ‘Octobar’ crashes into November with a bang in the backstreets of London. We are supremely excited to be a few weeks away from opening a new flagship site in the capital! BrewDog Soho will be spread over two levels, with 20 taps majoring in a cutting-edge selection of beer from ourselves and specially selected breweries, including many from the London area. As befits its location, surprises will be around every corner – particularly the basement – keep an eye tuned to the blog for further updates on our plans for Soho! And for our international BrewDog fans – don’t feel left out! Our crack team are on site at BrewDog Berlin Mitte, and BrewDog Turku is also firmly on the cards. Plus, stay tuned for an update on Friday on the bar search in a brand new country for BrewDog.”

Constellation Brands partners with US celebrity chef to launch Mexican-inspired craft beer: Constellation Brands has partnered with celebrity chef Rick Bayless to produce a line of Mexican-inspired beers called Tocayo Brewing Company. Tocayo Hominy White Ale, its first craft beer, was unveiled this week. The plan is to market the beer only on draft early on and grow the brand gradually in Chicago, said Bill Hackett, Constellation executive vice-president and president of the beer division. He added: “I think it’s going to do very well. Our challenge is going to be can we (produce) enough of it. That’s a great challenge to have.” The Tocayo Hominy White Ale, a Belgian white-style beer, is intended to be an accessible and “sessionable” beer, meaning it’s relatively low in alcohol (5.5% by volume), making it well-suited for drinking more than one. A proven craft brewer, Two Brothers Brewing, has been contracted to produce the beer at its facility in Warrenville, Illinois. Future Tocayo styles will be developed and tested at Bayless’ Cruz Blanca brewery, which is expected to open this spring. Of the launch, Technomic vice-president Dave Henkes said: “You’re almost checking all of the boxes, aren’t you? A craft beer that pairs well with Mexican cuisine and has Rick Bayless’ imprint of approval.”

Enterprise Inns names top Community Hero pub:
A Norwich pub has been named national winner of Enterprise Inns’ 2015 Community Heroes Awards. The Cellar House, in Eaton Street, Eaton, claimed top prize ahead of 53 other Enterprise pubs that made it to the final as regional winners. The Community Heroes Awards, now in their fourth year, celebrate the vital role publicans and their pubs play in enhancing the lives of local people, and 2015 saw a record number receive prize money to plough back into their local communities. Cellar House publican Victoria MacDonald hosts a wide range of local community groups at the pub, and due to customer demand has introduced a beer festival, with entertainment for children. She said: “We always listen to the community and what it wants. We’ve been working in partnership with Pub is The Hub and will soon launch a post office service in the pub, following closure of the local facility.” MacDonald received the national winner’s cheque for a total of £6,000 for her to spend on future community projects. She said there are plans to use the money to develop The Cellar House’s successful beer festival into an annual family-oriented village fete, working in conjunction with Eaton Village Residents’ Association and its chosen charity. And because the pub, which describes itself as “a pub for the people”, is a village focal point, it is keen to develop an information hub for visitors, new residents and the broader community. It will also look at organising training sessions in information and communication technology for elderly residents. National runner-up, receiving a total of £5,000, was The Jolly Sailor, in Northgate, Canterbury, run by publican Ian Blackmore. He offers support and guidance to 16 local and university sports clubs, with the pub acting as a clubhouse where they can meet, and where they enjoy free post-match meals. The Jolly Sailor also hosts fund-raising events to help pay for the teams’ kit and equipment.

Gala Bingo site offered for £5.5m: An Ipswich leisure investment has been put up for sale after LPA receivers were appointed over the 29,000 square foot property. The detached property, located on a two-acre site on Orwell Retail Park, is occupied by Gala Bingo and generates an annual rental income of £377,138. Two directors of chartered surveyor Eddisons were appointed as LPA receivers and the firm, along with its joint agents, is marketing the property as a significant investment opportunity. Abdul Jambo, associate director at Eddisons, said: “The building is situated on Orwell Retail Park, a popular out-of-town retailing and leisure location with adjoining occupiers including Matalan, DW Fitness, Euronics and Wickes. Underpinned by a strong covenant the property is subject to a full repairing and insuring lease expiring in 2030 with an outstanding rent review as at September 2015, which offers the prospect of an enhanced return for a purchaser post acquisition.” The property is being marketed for an asking price of £5.5m.

Plans submitted for 103-bedrom Roomzzz Aparthotel at Great Yorkshire Showground:
Plans have been submitted for a 103-bedroom Roomzzz Aparthotel on the Great Yorkshire Showground, adjacent to Wetherby Road. Landowner the Yorkshire Agricultural Society is working with Roomzzz on the proposal, which has been drawn up by architects’ practice BDP. Established in 2006, Roomzzz combines fully equipped apartments with the same offering as a modern hotel, including a 24-hour concierge. Yorkshire Agricultural Society chief executive Nigel Pulling said: “Our vision is to have an aparthotel which will be on a room only basis – there will be no public sales of food or drink. We see this as being complementary to the existing hotel and guesthouse accommodation offered in Harrogate. Each year the showground hosts around 700 events and for many, on-site accommodation would be a great advantage.”

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 emailing Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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