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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 13th Oct 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

City Pub Company names key towns and cities it plans to target: The City Pub Company has named key towns and cities it will look to target as part of plans to build a 30-strong portfolio by the end of 2017. The company, which was formed in 2012, told Propel it has identified Canterbury, Cheltenham, Exeter, Southampton and St Albans while Birmingham, which would be its most northerly point to date, is also being considered. It also wants a second site in Bristol. It currently has 21 sites across its two companies – City Pub Company (East) and City Pub Company (West) – having now secured a second outlet in Winchester, due to open next year, as well as a third pub in Cambridge, also due to start trading in 2016. Rupert Clark and Alex Derrick, chief executives of City Pub Company (East) and City Pub Company (West) respectively, said exciting times lay ahead. Derrick said: “It’s been pretty rapid growth to where we are now and now we’re gearing up for the next stage. Our acquisitions are almost site by site but there are a few places where we don’t have sites at the moment where we would like to open. We like to have different offers (concepts) in different places. What works in one town doesn’t always in another.” Clark added: “Birmingham can’t be ignored. It’s a big city in its own right and has a lot of different markets that can suit what we can offer.” The company, which has already raised nearly £28m in EIS funding, is now looking to raise another £15m in order to finance its 30 site target, which it remains “on course” to reach. The latest fund-raise is through a convertible preference share scheme that was launched earlier this year and has raised more than £4m to date. It also anticipates adding up to another 200 staff to its already 400-strong workforce. All 19 of its sites currently operating are profitable and Derrick and Clark put the success down to the teams running each pub. Clark said: “Our ethos is our staff have ownership of their pub. 95% of the decisions for the site will be made by the manager. There’s no blueprint as such and sometimes depending on the feedback we receive from customers we will change the offer. That’s what we did at one of our sites in Cambridge. You’re not always going to get it right from the start. If we try something and it does not work then we move on. There’s no blame – we are all in this together.” Derrick added: “We want to create a fantastic portfolio of places with fantastic people running them. It’s been a great story so far but we are just getting started.”

Industry News:

All 360 places for Propel Multi Club Conference on 5 November now booked: All 360 places for the final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2015, taking place on Thursday, 5 November, are now booked. Anyone wanting to go on the waiting list for the event should email Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.comSee bottom of email for full details of speaker schedule
Ministry of Sound backs event ticket price comparison start-up: A price comparison site for event tickets has received the backing of Ministry of Sound, the independent music and nightclub brand. TickX, which currently compares prices across 15 ticketing outlets and for over 36,000 events, is the brainchild of entrepreneurs Steve Pearce, 23 and Sam Coley, 22, who developed the offering after becoming frustrated with trawling the internet to find events and get the best deals. Available on iOS, Android and as a responsive website, TickX allows users to search events by location, band or artist, ensuring customers are able to see their favourite acts at the best possible price with no added fees, and with the assurance that only reputable sellers are displayed. TickX has received £175,000 of funding to date, with Ministry of Sound as the lead investor. Lohan Presencer, chief executive of Ministry of Sound, said: “We were incredibly impressed with the technology and customer experience that Steve and Sam have developed and the early adoption rates they’ve achieved. TickX is an exciting young brand and business which embodies our approach to challenging the norm and going up against big rivals. We are delighted to offer not only financial backing, but also access to our international marketing network and expertise.”

Seven chefs offered free trip to Japan: Seven talented British chefs are being offered a unique trip to Japan to learn the secrets of the country’s legendary cuisine. The Seven Samurai Chefs Tour of Japan – jointly launched by the British Hospitality Association and All Nippon Airways (ANA) – will give up-and-coming chefs a unique opportunity to learn more about the art of Japanese cooking. The competition winners will be treated to a Japanese tour taking in the culinary hotspots of Tokyo, Toba and Kyoto. It’s a seven-day trip, worth more than £5,000. One of the chefs will also win the chance to collaborate with Japan’s only five-star airline ANA to create a light meal for its business class. Chefs will learn the art of making sushi, sashimi and tempura and get first-hand guidance from the country’s top chefs. Entrants are invited to submit a picture of their signature dish and 100 words on why the Seven Samurai Tour would make a difference to their career as a chef. It’s open to chefs in the UK with at least two years’ experience in a hotel or restaurant at chef de partie/sous chef level. The competition will run until 25 November 2015. Entrants will need an endorsement from their head chef or supervisor who will also have to outline the applicant’s potential to embrace and incorporate Japanese culinary techniques and cuisine into their work. For more information on how to enter, please visit: or tweet using #7SamuraiChefs
Whole Foods Market makes investment in emerging sandwich and salad chain: Whole Foods Market has made a minority investment in 11-strong Californian restaurant chain Mendocino Farms. As part of the deal, Whole Foods plans to test the opening of Mendocino Farms outlets in select market locations. David Lannon, executive vice-president of operations at Whole Foods, said: “Mendocino Farms is one of the best sandwich and salad concepts coming out of southern California and we believe it’s one of the top emerging restaurant brands in the country. We are always looking at trends in the food industry, especially those that complement our existing offerings. Aside from offering delicious, high-quality products we think our customers will love, Mendocino Farms’ core values align well with our own, and that’s very important to us.”
Caffe Nero launches first ‘hot food’ menu as it finds one in ten Brits not taking a lunchbreak: New research from Caffe Nero has revealed despite nearly 40% of people feeling re-energised, a third of consumers feeling happier, a fifth more focused and more motivated after a lunchbreak, nearly one in ten Brits never take a break at all – and 15% eat lunch “al desko”. Caffe Nero is encouraging Britons to reclaim their lunch hours by launching its first “hot food” menu this autumn. It includes: Al forno dishes: penne bolognese in a rich ragu and chicken pesto al forno with fresh pesto and a crisp breadcrumb topping; layered pots: creamy mushroom and spinach risotto with fresh leaves, Mediterranean vegetable arrabiata with basil and olive oil; flatbreads: chargrilled vegetable or sunblush tomato, pesto and mozzarella flatbread topped with a creamy mozzarella.
AB InBev increases SABMiller offer: Anheuser-Busch InBev has raised its proposed takeover offer for SABMiller to £43.50 a share. News of the fourth proposal by AB InBev for its London-listed rival, which values SABMiller’s equity at $70bn, came with less than 52 hours before a UK bid deadline. The raised offer will add pressure on SABMiller’s board, chaired by Jan du Plessis, to agree to demands by some shareholders to start negotiating with its larger rival. AB InBev declined to comment and SABMiller did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Shares in SABMiller rose 1.1% to £37.08 in yesterday’s (Monday, 12 October) early afternoon London trading, giving the company a market value of £60bn. AB InBev’s share price fell 0.4% to €97.95 in Brussels. Last week, the majority of the board of the London-listed company dismissed AB InBev’s cash offer of £42.15 per share in cash and a partial share alternative, as “very substantially undervaluing” the brewer.
Labatt Breweries buys Canadian craft brewer: Canadian brewer Labatt Breweries is buying Toronto-based Mill Street Brewery for an undisclosed sum as it looks to gain a bigger stake in the craft beer market. The acquisition of the privately held Mill Street brand will help Labatt expand the craft label into new markets, including Quebec, executives told The Canadian Press. “We think that this partnership will really help expand awareness of craft across the country,” said Charlie Angelakos, vice-president of corporate affairs at Labatt. “The folks of Mill Street have built a great business and we want to continue to help them foster that growth.’’ Labatt will also invest $10m into the company’s brewery operations. Many craft brewers in Ontario are experiencing this huge surge just to keep up with demand,” said Mill Street co-founder Steve Abrams. “This immediate infusion of capital will assist us in getting tanks and more equipment.” According to recent findings from data research company NPD Group, the consumption of beer in Canada declined by 6% in 2014, but craft beer sales rose 6%. Overall, the study found craft and microbrew beers accounted for 17% of all beer consumed at casual dining restaurants. Labatt has already been playing in the craft brew market with a relatively low profile. The company owns Shock Top, which is sold in the microbrew department at liquor stores.
ALMR – increases to National Minimum Wage must be sustainable: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has argued any increases to the rates of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) must remain sustainable to allow businesses the opportunity to continue investing in their staff. Last week, the ALMR submitted its response to the Low Pay Commission’s consultation on the NMW and National Living Wage (NLW), arguing for affordability and stability for businesses. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Our submission has stressed the importance of controlled increases to wage rates to ensure that businesses are able to sustain the increased outgoings. Research carried out amongst the ALMR’s membership shows 62% of businesses facing reduced profit margins due to increases in statutory pay levels and large-scale increases will continue to eat into margins. This erosion could curtail the sector’s ability to maintain the current level of investment in new openings, urban regeneration and job creation. The licensed hospitality sector has seen above-inflation wage increases over the last year and the ALMR’s submission to the Low Pay Commission has highlighted this fact. The average hourly rate of pay in licensed hospitality in 2015 is £6.78 – and that was before the October increase took effect. But 25% of companies were reporting an average hourly rate of pay for bar staff of more than £7, demonstrating that companies can and will invest in their staff when the economic climate is right and that is affordable. There is no doubt, however, that a second increase within six months will be challenging for some companies in the sector, with many reporting that they do not yet feel confident to put up prices to cover that. Our survey showed that operators believe it will increase payroll costs by roughly 11% with a commensurate reduction in hours offered of 11.5%. We have therefore urged the Low Pay Commission to proceed with caution in setting NMW rates for October 2016 and to do so taking account of the as yet uncertain consequences of the introduction of the NLW – an unprecedented intervention in the labour market. We also urge the Low Pay Commission and the government to move to a single date for NMW and NLW changes, with all rates being reviewed in April 2017. This will help to ease the burdens on businesses and ensure continued investment in staff. We have also urged the Low Pay Commission to provide indicative future rates to offer businesses an additional level of stability.”

Company News:

Leon hires Bartle Bogle Hegarty strategy boss Kirsty Saddler for new brand and marketing director role: Healthy fast food chain Leon has hired Kirsty Saddler to lead marketing for the brand, as it looks to double in size over the next year. Saddler has spent 14 years in the advertising industry, most recently working at Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where she was head of strategy for seven years. Saddler said: “People love Leon for its unique food, the brilliantly positive people who serve it and the brand. I think it’s time we shared the brand and our belief in the power of food in more different and inspiring ways with people.” Leon now has 27 restaurants across the UK, most recently opening in Birmingham and Cheapside, and has a vision to become an international fast food business. Leon plans to open five more new stores in 2015 and many more in 2016.
Marco Pierre White opens first Belfast site with lower prices: Chef Marco Pierre White has opened his first Northern Ireland restaurant, with 98 covers, in East Belfast’s Park Avenue Hotel. A spokeswoman said: “Attracting internationally acknowledged brands like Marco Pierre White means Belfast and the Park Avenue Hotel are directly linked into a global marketing network which drives the tourism and hospitality sector. Guests can expect a selection of timeless classics, each delivered with Marco’s own unique flair interpreted by head chef Eddie Patrick. The further good news is that the produce and meat are locally sourced and prices will be noticeably lower than the Marco Pierre White operations in England and Dublin. We have adjusted the prices to bring them into line with quality Belfast levels. This adjustment will make Marco Pierre White all the more attractive. On average, the prices are about £4 below the Great Britain and Ireland equivalents.”
Mission Mars to open £3.5m Albert’s Schloss this weekend: Missions Mars, the new vehicle owned by Inventive Leisure founders Roy Ells and Neil McLeod together with bar operator Trof Group, will open its £3.5m Bavarian-themed Albert’s Schloss venue in Manchester this weekend. The chateau inspired bar and restaurant on Peter Street, beneath award-winning music venue The Albert Hall, opens on 18 October with an Alpine menu. The Manchester Evening News reported: “After two years in the planning and a six-month build, the ground floor space of the Albert Hall has been reimagined as a Bavarian bier halle taking influence for its interior design, food, and drink from right across the Alpine region. The 320-cover space has been divided up into a number of intimate sections to break up the large room. Undulating benches created by Manchester designer Pete Masters provide a sociable eating and drinking area – complete with a live music stage – while a mix of chic and traditional Alpine tables and chairs fills the more formal dining section. A large bar with a copper lighting rig sits in the centre of the room, and unique to the bar is fresh, unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell tank beer – four copper barrels filled with 900 pints of the oldest pilsner in the world, brought in from the Czech Republic every week that must be drunk in seven days. There’s a gentleman’s snug at the back with a faux-wood fire that utilises the building’s original dark wood panelling, and booths run across the rear of the room underneath the newly revealed stained glass windows – complete with a bubbles button that customers can hit to get a bottle of champagne or prosecco delivered to the table. The venue’s large kitchen boasts its own in-house bakery creating pretzels, cinnamon buns, sourdough loaves, and waffles throughout the day, and the bar will be brewing its own range of traditional schnapps – in flavours including chocolate, salted caramel, mint, and orange and chilli.”
Gordon Ramsay to open Bread Street Kitchen in Dubai on 1 November: Chef Gordon Ramsay will open Bread Street Kitchen in Dubai’s Atlantis, The Palm, on 1 November. Verre at Hilton Dubai Creek, which opened in 2001, was Ramsay first overseas venture. “I had a great time in Dubai in the early days,” he told The National. “We were stuck out at the creek but, back then, everyone thought that was quite a cool area.” Times changed and Ramsay did not renew when the ten-year lease was up in 2011. Verre was renamed and carried on without his involvement. “Dubai has become a little mini epicentre, similar to Vegas or New York or Paris,” he said. “It’s a foodie culture. The whole place has transformed – it’s buzzing. I was looking for a place, secretly, over the last two years; [Atlantis] seemed the perfect location and the perfect time to return.” Bread Street Kitchen will be “informal, fun and will cater to everyone, including families”. “I need to come back with something new, fresh, vibrant,” Ramsay said. “I need to reinvent the wheel. I also need to come back with something a little bit more upbeat because Dubai has moved on. Bread Street Kitchen is a little bit of east-end London coming to Dubai. I think the buzz and the electricity in terms of the vibe coming out of the restaurant will be second to none.” Ramsay hinted he’d like to open a fine-dining restaurant in Dubai. “First of all, I want to get this one right,” he said. “I want to come back strong. But I have got my eye set on potentially the fall of 2016 with a Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with a little bit more of a fine-dining aspect.”
Deltic Group to open first stand-alone retro-club Vinyl in Guildford: Nightclub and bar operator Deltic Group is to re-brand its Guildford site as Vinyl at the end of this month, a retro-themed nightclub, a year after reopening the site as Cameo. Guildford was last week awarded a Purple Flag for the second year in a row, which recognises the safety and diversity offered by an area’s nightlife. The Deltic Group has said Vinyl, which is at the top of North Street – a key location in the development of the town proposed in the draft town centre masterplan – will be the first stand-alone site in the country. It will reopen with a launch party on 24 October, with an appearance by members of 90s pop group S Club 7. Deltic has said the club will be a “new destination” that will play classic retro tunes, have a flashing dancefloor, table service, and private booths. It is also looking to hire up to 20 staff.
Square Pie raises £681,500 on Crowdcube: Square Pie, the gourmet pie business, has raised a final amount of £681,500 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube following the launch of the UK’s first “Pie Bond”. More than 300 individuals have invested in the bond, with the largest single investment of £25,000. The raised total will be used to finance future UK expansion plans. The company plans to open four restaurants in 2016 and build upon its successful supermarket and wholesale offerings. Founder Martin Dewey said: “We are delighted with the strong interest in our first ever ‘Pie Bond’, which will not only support our business as it grows but enable Square Pie fans to get involved and get a slice of our success in future years. We’re excited for the future of the business, which has grown hugely since starting on a market stall in Old Spitalfields Market. We can’t wait to bring our quality British food to more places around the country.” The latest round of funding sought to attract investment of £450,000 and surpassed its target by 51.4%, reaching £681,500. Square Pie has six sites across London and plans to grow to 30 within four years. In 2014, like-for-like restaurant sales grew by 16%. Each restaurant offers a range of freshly baked award-winning pies alongside other British classics such as jacket potatoes and sausage and mash.
Beverley multi-site operator warns of saturation as number of restaurants double to 40: A Beverley multi-site operator, who has closed his three bars and restaurants, has warned of saturation in the city with the number of venues doubled to about 40 in recent years. Stuart Fenn has seen his Beehive bar and restaurant, in Wednesday Market, repossessed for failure to pay rent. Panizzi wine bar and restaurant and the Rose and Crown pub, which are also run by Fenn, have also closed, but are expected to reopen. He said: “The Beehive is closed. It’s really disappointing. We had made a few changes to it. I think we were getting there but unfortunately we ran out of time.” Other independents have shut in the town recently and Fenn warned businesses would come under increasing pressure from national operators such as Carluccio’s, which will open a £750,000 venue in Toll Gavel on 22 November. Fenn opened Panizzi nine years ago, took over the Rose and Crown in 2013 and opened The Beehive last year. He added: “There’s so much choice now in Beverley. There used to be 20-odd restaurants, now you are looking at 30 to 40.”
Online shopping hits franchisee’s shopping centre sites, triggering administration: A shopping centre-focused franchisee Food and Beverage Group – it had sites at five major shopping centres – went into administration after footfall dropped at shopping centres as people switched to online shopping. Wakefield Ridings Shopping Centre manager Eileen Holroyd said: “Regrettably we can confirm that Lavazza, Cafe Select and Burger King have closed within the Ridings Shopping Centre. This is as a result of the franchisee, the Food and Beverage Group (FABG), entering administration earlier in the year. We continue to be in discussions with new retailers who are interested in taking space at the centre and would like to remind shoppers that there is still a strong selection or cafe’s and eateries within the Ridings.” Accounts show that accountancy firm UHY Hacker Young was appointed as the administrator of FABG, a company based in Cambridgeshire that traded in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Lincoln shopping centres. An administrators’ report said the company had been profitable for a number of years but ran into cash problems in 2014. An increase in online shopping led to reduced footfall of between 10% and 20% in the shopping centres where FABG operated. Overall turnover fell by about 17% in 2014 and the company ran up arrears on its rent, VAT and staff costs. Unsecured creditors are owed £927, 518.

The New Zealand Cellar to open in Pop Brixton as the UK’s first New Zealand-exclusive wine bar: Wine shop and retailer The New Zealand Cellar will fully launch its first wine bar in Pop Brixton on Thursday, 22 October making it the first wine bar in the UK to exclusively serve wines produced in New Zealand. While continuing to retail the very best wines from the country’s finest vineyards, the space will offer seating for 20 guests, open seven days per week, and until midnight from Thursday to Saturday. It expands the offer of the company’s existing wine shop, opened earlier this year after a successful Kickstarter campaign. The bar will regularly host complimentary guided tastings and informal wine events. The bar is also available for private hire for tastings and events and up to 30 guests can enjoy an intimate tasting with some of the country’s leading wine experts on hand to guide them. These events will focus on introducing rare wineries, wines and styles that aim to highlight the character and variety that New Zealand offers as a wine producing country.
JD Wetherspoon to launch 17-day beer festival this Friday featuring 50 beers: JD Wetherspoon pubs are holding a 17-day beer festival to start this week, featuring beverages brewed in New Zealand, Japan, Australia, South Africa, Canada, Holland, Norway and the United States. There will also be up to 40 beers from the UK being served during the event. Starting on Friday, (16 October), the festival runs until Sunday, 1 November with all drinks at £1.89 a pint. Customers can sample any three of the real ales in special third-of-a-pint glasses for the price of a festival pint and tasting notes on all drinks will be provided. Many of the beers will be available in the pub for the first time, having been brewed exclusively for the festival. The overseas beers on offer are: Real Ale (Young Henrys, Australia), Nordic Noir (Nogne O, Norway), Zulu Blonde (Zululand, South Africa), Low Blow (Fork & Brewer, New Zealand), Yakima Sun (Fat Head’s, USA), Minagof Smoked Porter (Ishii Brewing, Japan), Red Racer (Central City, Canada), Sunset Ale (Two Birds, Australia), Spiced Ale (Flying Dutchman, Holland) and Bengali (Sixpoint, USA). The UK beers include: Owl & The Pussycat (Oakham), King Goblin (Wychwood), Old Man (Long Man), Infallible (Theakston), Ale of Arrows (Coach House), Easy Weasel Ale (Hook Norton), Drayman’s Reward (JW Lees), Stateside Rye (Everards) and QED (Batemans). The festival will feature new, seasonal and speciality beers, including a cherry porter, two rye beers, a spiced ale and two smoked porters.

Adventure Bars borrows from challenger bank to fund London expansion: OakNorth, the challenger bank focused on lending to entrepreneurs, has signed a deal with Adventure Bar to support its growth in London, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The chain of cocktail bars bought a new site in Covent Garden yesterday, Adventure Bar co-founder Tim Kidd told The Telegraph, raising 90% of the acquisition cash from the new bank, and refinancing all of the company’s debt in a deal worth £650,000. “We could have borrowed from any bank but normally we’d have to go in 50/50,” he said. “In this scenario we only had to put in 10% and the ratio going forward is much more favourable. We were going to open eight sites in five years but we can crank that right up and need to retain less cash to do it.”
Hummus Bros opens fifth site, reports 7% like-for-likes in third quarter: Hummus Bros opened its fifth London site yesterday (Monday, 12 October), this time located on Gray’s Inn Road at the intersection with Chancery Lane. The third quarter was Hummus Bros’ best quarter in its ten-year history thanks to a 7% like-for-like increase in sales in all its stores as well as their corporate pop-up operations. Hummus Bros now operates in 50 corporate locations per month. Jon Hassall, Hummus Bros managing director, said: “We are executing on the plan that was presented to our investors in July and with the help of Randell Commercial have secured this site and opened it within two weeks from signing the lease. We are in advanced talks on a couple of other high profile locations.” Hummus Bros, founded by Christian Mouysset and Ronen Givon in August 2005, now serves over 10,000 meals a week. Mouysset said: “We have achieved some important milestones in the last few months: all high street stores, corporate pop-up and deliveries seeing strong growth, a new store opening and a successful crowdfunding campaign. We are focusing our energy on opening three more high street sites in London over the next 12 to 18 months.”
Dinner party organiser and food delivery business owner partners Star Pubs & Bars in £400,000 investment: Dinner party organiser and food delivery business owner Edward O’Neil is partnering Star Pubs & Bars in a £400,000 co-investment at The Crown, in Farnham Road, Farnham Royal. The investment is aimed at transforming The Crown into a country food pub, which will be open from 8am. The pub is set to include three different areas catering for 80 diners, as well as a garden with space for up to 250 people and space for children to play. O’Neil said: “I’ve run my own dinner party and food delivery businesses and worked in Michelin star restaurants, but from early on knew I wanted to run a good food pub with something for everyone. I’m passionate about everything I do and about quality of service and provenance of the ingredients we use. We’re even breeding cows for the pub in the field next to my house.” The pub reopens on Thursday, 29 October.
Las Iguanas offers discounts for off-peak booking at Christmas: Las Iguanas, the brand recently acquired by Casual Dining Group, is offering Christmas diners a 20% discount if they book “off-peak”. The brand has also unveiled a new booking system that allows organisers to manage their party online. By adding the names and email addresses of party members, each guest can log-on and choose their selection of food from across the Christmas menu. Party organisers are also offered vouchers – a party organiser ordering for ten or more receives up to £50 off a new year visit depending on party size.
Nottingham Brewery expands with two new sites: Nottingham Brewery, based in Radford, is now running the Ned Ludd in Friar Lane and will be reopening the refurbished Bricklayer’s Arms in Ruddington this week – renamed the Frame Breakers in tribute to the area’s Luddite heritage. Operations director Andy Heath, said: “The new name brings to mind the activities of the Luddites and their legendary leader, Ned Ludd, which obviously ties in with our city centre venue. The Frame Breakers name also pays homage to the world-renowned Framework Knitters Museum in Ruddington – setting the scene for the strong links we’d like to create between both pubs, the village and the museum.” The Ned Ludd has now reopened with a selection of Nottingham Brewery “craft” and cask ales behind the bar, including the popular Rock, Legend and EPA brews. The Frame Breakers is expected to reopen at 5pm tomorrow (Wednesday, 14 October) with a brighter interior and a range of Nottingham Brewery products, including seven hand-pulled ales. Benjamin Zuchold, the pub’s general manager, said: “The Frame Breakers will offer something a little different to other pubs in Ruddington. We’re putting in a cider wall with five draught ciders on tap and will be stocking a range of spirits from local companies.”
Private members’ club goes on the market for £90m: The freehold of The Arts Club, at 40 Dover Street, London, one of the world’s most exclusive private members’ clubs, has been placed on the market for sale for offers in excess of £90m. The 30,774 square foot freehold is located in Mayfair. The entire seven-storey Georgian building is let to The Arts Club for 35 years. The property was recently refurbished and now boasts a 16-suite boutique hotel for the use of club members. Colliers International has been appointed by the building’s owners, a consortium of private investors, to find a buyer. John Olney, head of central London investment at Colliers International, said: “We are expecting a great deal of interest from both the UK and overseas for this property. It’s a very rare opportunity to acquire a prime Mayfair freehold building let for a term of 35 years to an exceptional tenant.” Alice Chadwyck-Healey, executive director of The Arts Club, said: “Although The Arts Club will have a new landlord, our daily operations will remain unaffected. We will continue to offer our existing members world-class hospitality and look forward to introducing new members to the club and its new suites.” 40 Dover Street has been home to The Arts Club since 1896. Former members include Charles Dickens and Winston Churchill.
Couple takes over second Shepherd Neame site: Shaun and Gayna Murphy have taken over Monument in Canterbury, Kent, a Shepherd Neame pub than has undergone a £100,000 refurbishment. The Monument is the second Shepherd Neame pub to be taken on by the Murphys, who have been running the Chequers Inn at Doddington, near Faversham, for the past six months. The pair will continue working at the Chequers Inn, and Shaun’s son Jonjo will manage The Monument. There is also an extensive cocktail menu, featuring 43 different drinks, many devised by expert mixologist Jonjo. He said: “My previous roles included holding cocktail masterclasses, and I have devised many of my own recipes, so it was something I wanted to offer at The Monument. We even worked with Shepherd Neame to specifically design the bar to include speed rails so that I could get quick access to cocktail mixes. Monday night is Cocktail Night, when we have lots of special offers.”

Jun Tanaka secures Charlottte Street site: TV chef Jun Tanaka is launching a new prime site restaurant in London’s Charlotte Street. The star of TV programmes Cooking It and Saturday Kitchen was the executive chef at Pearl Restaurant for eight years where he gained 3 AA Rosettes before establishing his own operation. He also spent a decade working with chefs such as the Roux Brothers, Marco Pierre White and Philip Howard. He has bought the lease on the former Nizuni eaterie for an undisclosed premium to open a restaurant with a Mediterranean-style menu. “It is a perfect spot for him and the restaurant world is excited about what concept he will produce,” said Salvatore Di Natale, of property lease specialists CDG Leisure, who handled the purchase. “Charlotte Street is a great showcase for an extraordinarily talented chef.” Tanaka created an innovative mobile food business Street Kitchen with business partner and fellow chef Mark Jankel that has grown into four venues.
Pret A Manger selects NetSuite OneWorld cloud software suite to support international growth: Pret A Manager has selected NetSuite’s OneWorld cloud software suite to manage business operations and support financial management across the globe. The company decided it needed to deploy a new financial management system that could support its needs as the business looks to expand in both current and additional markets, eventually settling on NetSuite’s OneWorld suite. The deployment will see Pret A Manager replace its existing ERP system with OneWorld to manage mission-critical business processes across all its markets. Those include procure-to-pay, credit-to-cash, global financial consolidation, multi-currency management for five different currencies and multi-language capabilities for English, French and Cantonese. NetSuite OneWorld was selected for these tasks because it can provide “the flexibility, agility and scalability Pret A Manger needs for continued growth and to gain a real-time view of business performance, including control over suppliers and spend,” said Andy Chalklin, group director of IT at Pret A Manger. “As we continue to grow both in the UK and internationally, we need a system that can scale with us while ensuring that we have the currency, language and tax compliance features we need,” he added. “NetSuite will give us what we need, without the investment in IT that an on-premise system would require.”
Speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference: 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. 

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