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Tue 20th Oct 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Benugo set for first department store opening with John Lewis: Benugo is set to open its first site within a department store, opening Benugo Cafe at John Lewis tomorrow (Wednesday, 21 October). It will be located on the second floor of the Oxford Street store. A spokeswoman said: “Benugo Cafe at John Lewis will be a mix between our high street offering and what we offer at the V&A. The self-service cafe will serve a range of daily specials full of fresh and colourful ingredients, from salads and oven-baked dishes to our signature sandwiches. Cakes, scones and a selection of speciality teas will also be available. Our trained baristas will be serving our renowned Benugo blend coffee and all of our cakes are delivered daily from our London bakery. There will also be an afternoon tea offering where you can enjoy a pot of our loose leaf tea, a selection of our signature sandwiches with our favourite cakes and treats. The interior is also going to be a bit more refined with blue and brass finishings. This is our first opening in a department store so we are very excited about the opportunity. John Lewis is a fantastic British brand that we thinks is a very good fit for Benugo and we look forward to our long-term relationship.” Benugo, which operates high-street cafes and restaurants within corporate organisations and renowned public spaces, has reported 16% growth in turnover (£81.1m from £70.1m in 2013), for the year ending 26 December 2014. The growth is largely attributed to like-for-like growth across its high street operations (18% up on the previous year), Benugo also saw significant contract wins with the Wellcome Collection and Regent’s Park amongst others during the reporting period. Benugo is part of WSH, a holding company made up of six trading brands in the food and hospitality sector.

Industry News:

CGA Peach reports World Cup boost for pubs: UK pubs and bars have enjoyed big uplifts in drink sales during the Rugby World Cup, new figures from several of CGA Peach’s exclusive market measures reveal. CGA Peach’s Trading Index shows a particularly significant increase on the days of England’s crucial games against Wales and Australia—when bars’ average drink takings were more than £1,000 up on an average Saturday. Within a three-mile radius of Twickenham, bars’ uplift was a massive £6,000-plus on both occasions. Several other cities hosting World Cup games saw drink sales rocket, with takings in Cardiff at least triple those of an average Saturday on the days of Wales’ first two home games. Gloucester, Leeds, Birmingham, Newcastle and Milton Keynes all saw surges as a result of hosting games too. The figures indicate a welcome fillip for drinks-led pubs, who have been very active in promoting themselves as venues for supporters wanting to watch games – and who have been ruing England’s early exit from the competition. Data from CGA Peach’s separate BrandPulse survey of consumer habits shows one in six British consumers opted to watch a fixture from one of the tournament’s first two weekends in pubs, bars or restaurants, with England versus Wales the most popular game. The positive trends are backed up by more data from CGA Peach’s Coffer Peach Business Tracker. It reveals pub like-for-like sales were up 9.0% in the week beginning 28 September – well ahead of a 2.7% increase for restaurants that week. This shows that while the tournament has been good news for wet-led pubs, restaurants may be viewing it as more of a distraction than a benefit. CGA Peach account director Jamie Campbell said: “For pubs and bars that rely on drink for the bulk of their sales, events like the Rugby World Cup are hugely important, and our data shows they have capitalised on the opportunities. At a time when the sector as a whole is seeing food sales increase much faster than wet, it is good to see that pubs remain very popular places for people to meet, drink and enjoy their sport.”

Professor Chris Edger and Tony Hughes to publish brands book in January: The UK’s leading academic and thinker on multi-site foodservice management Professor Chris Edger and former Mitchells & Butlers restaurants division managing director Tony Hughes will publish their eagerly-waited book on brand development at the end of January. The pair has collaborated to author Effective Brand Leadership, which contains case studies on 21 companies across the sector, including Byron, Cabana and Drake & Morgan. Edger has already started work on book number seven that will address the high performance practice of operations directors, which is due out in 2017. His course on multi-unit leadership and strategy is into its sixth year at Birmingham City University, with over 800 students from 32 hospitality, leisure and retail brands having graduated or studying at present on its post-graduate multi-unit leadership programmes.

Jamie Oliver restaurants see 7% drop in number of people buying fizzy or sugary drinks since introducing 10p tax: Jamie Oliver has said his restaurants have seen a 7% drop in the number of people buying fizzy or sugary drinks since introducing a 10p tax. Oliver introduced the levy at its outlets in June with the money raised being put into a fund run by the charity Sustain, which advocates better food and farming policies and practices, to support children’s healthy food initiatives across the UK. He is set to continue his campaign by appearing before the health select committee this week, which is holding an inquiry into childhood obesity, and has urged MPs to follow his lead and introduce a similar nationwide tax. Oliver said: “Even on our own sugary drinks we have seen a shift away of 6-7%. I think that is a metaphor for the whole country.” Other restaurant companies to follow Oliver’s lead in introducing the tax are healthy eating brands Abokado and Leon, Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana and burrito brand Tortilla.

Begbies Traynor – ‘stability may be returning to grocery sector’: As the UK’s supermarket price war rages on, with Tesco and Sainsbury’s recently reporting further price cuts to stem the flow of falling sales, new research from business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor indicates that stability may finally be returning to the struggling UK grocery sector, as the industry shows the first tentative signs that it has adjusted to today’s new low margin environment. According to Begbies Traynor’s Red Flag Alert research for quarter three, which monitors the financial health of UK companies, UK food retailers experienced their first quarterly decline in “significant” financial distress in over two years, decreasing 5% to 5,002 struggling businesses over the past three months (quarter two 2015: 5,258). The last time UK food retailers saw any improvement in financial distress was during quarter two in 2013 when there were 2,428 failing businesses in the sector; 51% fewer than the number struggling to make ends meet today. During quarter three 2015, UK food and beverage manufacturers, which include many of the food suppliers and farmers that supply the major UK headquartered supermarkets, also witnessed their first decline in “significant” financial distress in over two years, falling 4% to 1,553 companies during the past quarter (quarter two 2015: 1,622). Since quarter two 2013, the number of grocery suppliers that are suffering “significant” financial distress has increased 147% from 628 businesses. Julie Palmer, partner and retail expert at Begbies Traynor, said: “The declining fortunes of the UK food retail industry and its supply chain over the past nine quarters directly mirror the meteoric rise in popularity of the German discounters Aldi and Lidl, whose no frills, low price offering has captured the imagination of British consumers, changing the face of the UK grocery sector for good.”

US consumers spending petrol cost savings on eating out: Restaurant spending overtook grocery spending in the US for the first time on record earlier this year. Now a study released last week by the JP Morgan Chase Institute found the bank’s 25 million customers spent more of their savings from lower gasoline prices on restaurants (18%) than groceries (10%). The consumer price index data released by the Labor Department on Thursday suggests the same thing. Food away from home has grown in price by 2.9% over the 12 months ending September, but food at home has risen just 0.8% over the same time period. There are a number of reasons for the shift. There are more people working, and further, wages when adjusted for inflation are increasing, albeit not rapidly. The Labor Department on Thursday reported a 2.2% rise in real weekly earnings in the year-ending September. Restaurant spending has been at least six percentage points stronger than the overall pace of retail sales growth every month this year, according to the Commerce Department. Only online spending has grown faster than restaurant spending this year.

£3.2bn theme park in Kent featuring restaurants wins Chinese investment: The plan to build the UK’s biggest theme park has won £100m of backing from a Chinese investor. The London Paramount Entertainment Resort, a Disneyland-style park planned for north Kent, has won its maiden investment from Chinese construction company SinoFortone. The investment is the substantial cash sum raised for the £3.2bn project, which is set to comprise a theme park, theatre, hotels and restaurants. London Paramount boss David Testa said it “reflects the unique economic and regenerative opportunity provided by this multi-billion-pound project”. Kleinwort Benson is leading the fund-raising and said it hopes to attract a further £900m from global investors. It is also in talks with a major bank to syndicate a £2bn loan to fund the venture. “We have been out to China and talked to bigger groups involved in these types of projects and had a universally strong hearing in China,” Kleinwort’s Nigel Spray said. The park is due to open in 2021 but is yet to win planning permission from ministers.

Eataly eyes France opening after London: Foodservice brand Eataly is eyeing an opening in France, but only after opening in London. Founder Oscar Farinetti said a France opening would wait until 2018. The Eataly brand now has 28 stores worldwide, including outlets in New York, Tokyo, Dubai and Istanbul, and in 2014 the company boasted a turnover of €300m ($342m). Farinetti has now set his sights on Europe: an Eataly store in Munich will open by the end of the year, followed by a food hall in Selfridges in London in 2016. He has decided to leave the opening of his Paris store until last, in 2018. “For me the French are the most competent nation when it comes to food,” he said. “We decided to leave Paris until last because we can’t afford to make a mistake there. Entering the French food market is no easy feat.”

Company News:

£150,000 Crowdfunder campaign launched to open UK’s first quick-service American smokehouse restaurant concept: A £150,000 campaign has been launched on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to open the UK’s first quick-service American smokehouse restaurant concept. Johnboys BBQ Smokehouse is the brainchild of John Ford, who plans to open the first site in Bracknell, Berkshire, early next year and then look to roll-out the concept. The pitch states: “Do you enjoy American food or especially the American smokehouse food? Well look no further as this unique idea will allow us to take Johnboys BBQ Smokehouse and enter it into the marketplace as a unique and fresh place to pick up some juicy tender meats while on a lunch or shopping break! I want to take the traditional American smokehouse restaurant and turn it into a place, which you can enjoy within your short breaks or passing by without the need to have a sit down meal like many other places. The food you eat will be of the highest, authentic quality and cooked to perfection with the best low n slow techniques and bursting flavours you will all love, and enjoy, time again. My vision is to bring this unique idea into the area of Berkshire to start, and then build on this brand and expand to eventually the whole of the country. This will be a contender for some fast food places, which offer nothing but greasy, unhealthy food and little variety. The aim is to open up a small quick-serve restaurant in the Berkshire area. The restaurant will have a great theme to tie in with America and make it authentic. The backers’ involvement and help in this project will allow this dream to become a reality and become a UK first, which we know will be a huge success. Within the restaurant we will work to create amazing in-house prepared meat rubs and homemade barbecue sauces to accompany the meats when eating. The use of in-house prepared rubs and sauces allow us to give a unique flavour, which cannot be created anywhere else in the country. Along with the above we will also freshly make each side to offer a range of extras to eat with your freshly made meats. No frozen bought in food will be served!”

Bistro Qui group lines up sixth Liverpool site: Bistro Qui, the Liverpool-based restaurant company, is lining up its sixth site in the city. The company, led by Mark Friend and Stephen Slater, has applied for a premises licence to operate from the ground floor unit beneath the new student accommodation block proposed for the corner of Hope Street and Myrtle Street. The details of the concept are under wraps, reports the Liverpool Echo, although the application to the city council is applying for permission to provide live and recorded music and sell alcohol. It hopes to open the site from 9am-12.30am each day. Bistrot Qui, which opened its first site in 2004, currently runs the French-themed Bistro Pierre, Franc and Jacques restaurants as well as The Hub and Button Street Smokehouse in the city.

Roy Ellis reports ‘flying start’ at £3.5m Albert’s Schloss: Sector entrepreneur Roy Ellis has reported a “flying start” at the new £3.5m Albert’s Schloss venue in Manchester, opened by his new vehicle Mission Mars, a partnership between himself, business partner Neil McLeod and local bar operator Trof. Ellis told Propel: “We had three great launch parties Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Finished off by doing 400 covers for our first Sunday lunch. We are down to our last 200 pints of fresh Pilsner Urquel so we must have drunk 3,400 pints!”

Deltic Group to re-brand Windsor site as Atik after £650,000 investment: Nightclub and bar operator Deltic Group is to reopen its Liquid site in Windsor as Atik after a £650,000 refurbishment. The re-branded club in William Street will create 25 additional full-time and part-time positions. General manager Jon Taylor said: “Liquid has been part of the Windsor scene for 11 years, but it’s time to create an entirely new experience for today’s clubbers. We are confident that our existing and new customers will really enjoy the look and feel of Atik.” Liquid will reopen as Atik on Thursday, 29 October.

JD Wetherspoon takes Sevenoaks pub off the market: JD Wetherspoon has decided to take The Sennockian in Sevenoaks, Kent, off the market. The company put the pub up for sale in July along with 19 others but has now stated it will remain open “for many years to come”. JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Sevenoaks Chronicle there had been interest from prospective buyers but the company had taken into account the views of customers and the correspondence of former Sevenoaks Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate Alan Bullion. Gershon said: “They made it clear that they wanted The Sennockian to remain a Wetherspoon pub and we have responded to that. The Sennockian has been a Wetherspoon pub since 1999 and we look forward to welcoming customers through its doors for many years to come. We are certain that the pub’s loyal customers as well as our staff will be delighted with the news.”

Purple Pig closes Hull restaurant: Teesside-based gourmet burger restaurant Purple Pig has closed its restaurant in Hull – just a year after opening the site. The venue, in the city’s Old Town that opened last October, was placed in voluntary liquidation on 18 September according to Companies House records – three weeks before it closed its doors. Staff told the Hull Daily Mail they had no idea the business was in trouble as they took Christmas bookings and even hired a chef. They said the first they knew about the financial difficulties was on 7 October, when they were called into a meeting with director Som Emadi. A notice was put up in the restaurant’s window telling customers: “Due to unfortunate circumstances we have had to close the doors from today (7 October). The Purple Pig apologises for this and would like to thank you for your custom.” Last month, Purple Pig refurbished its flagship Yarm site and reopened it as New York style pizza concept, The Dough Box. It also has a site in Middlesbrough with a venue due to open in Darlington next spring. In July, the Purple Pig brand was restructured, with the three previously separate businesses brought under the single company Purple Pig Restaurant Group.

Hook Norton to open first managed pub this Friday: Hook Norton Brewery will reopen the Fox Hotel in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, this Friday (23 October) following a major refurbishment as its first managed pub. The Fox is a traditional 16th century inn situated in Chipping Norton’s historic market place. Customers will be able to enjoy the full range of Hook Norton beers, complimented by a range of other craft beers, a wine list, and a food offer celebrating all that is best locally. Upstairs there are ten individually themed bedrooms offering single, double and twin occupancy. Hook Norton managing director James Clarke said: “We acquired the Fox Hotel in 1988. Occupying a prime site in the lovely market town of Chipping Norton, it has traded well over the years, but the time had come for a refurbishment. Seeing the opportunity in this area, we decided to invest in a complete makeover, including the addition of four bedrooms. It will be our first managed house and as such a flagship for the brewery.”

Independent coffee company Bean to open new dual coffee shop/cocktail bar concept in Liverpool: North west-based independent coffee company Bean is set to open a new dual coffee shop/cocktail bar concept in Liverpool. The company, which operates shops in Merseyside and Greater Manchester, has taken a 1,600 square foot unit in St Paul’s Square, Liverpool – its ninth site. While the new shop will serve coffee, sandwiches, salads and small platters throughout the day like Bean’s other outlets, at night it will transform into the company’s first cocktail bar. Bean’s director and co-founder Jon Whyte, told Bdaily: “Adding cocktails to the menu is a new concept for us as a business. It is aimed at the many organisations and individuals who work in the commercial business district and are looking for a first port of call for coffee or cocktails depending on the time of day. Our vision is to create a new venue for the square, with an atmosphere that is informal and relaxed.”

Final Marco Pierre White site in Norfolk sold:
The Wayford Bridge Inn situated in the Norfolk Broads National Park, the final pub of the sites previously operated by Marco Pierre White that went into administration, has been sold by agent Fleurets. The property, which has 15 en-suite letting bedrooms, has been sold to an "experienced" Norfolk hotelier.

Starbucks signs deal with German supermarket operator: Starbucks has signed a deal with REWE, the premium German retailer. The first phase will see Starbucks stores open within REWE-operated hyper and supermarkets in prime city locations across Germany in 2016. “We know Germany has always appreciated great coffee and is one of the world’s biggest coffee-consuming countries per capita,” said Kris Engskov, president, Starbucks Coffee Company EMEA. “This new partnership with REWE will help us deliver both quality and value for new customers, and ensure great coffee on the go is more convenient than ever. Both of our companies have a great retail business heritage and we share the same values in our commitment to customers and the communities we serve.” REWE chief executive Lionel Souque added: “We are excited about the opportunity of this unique co-operation between our two strong brands. REWE is able to bring premium Starbucks products to customers in a unique way, by opening stores inside our supermarkets, fitting perfectly with our commitment to offering more convenience to our customers.” REWE has more than 3,000 stores in Germany. Starbucks currently has 159 stores in the country and over 2,200 across 35 countries in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Bone Daddies boss – all refugees coming to Britain should work in hospitality for first five years:
The boss of Japanese noodle restaurant Bone Daddies has argued all refugees coming into Britain should work in the hospitality industry for their first five years. Ross Shonhan, who also runs Japanese pub concept Flesh & Buns and Asian fusion pop-up Shackfuyu, said his biggest problem is finding and retaining staff. He told the Daily Telegraph: “We have 150 staff in our restaurants and I can count on one hand how many are British. There are jobs that British workers don’t want. Without beating the youth, there’s been a cultural change in the last ten years and the younger generation is just not prepared to sacrifice things for their career. I just want to see a recommendation that refugees work in hospitality for the first five years here. Maybe that’s a bit prehistoric, but it’s logical to me.” Shonhan is also worried about rising rents and the living wage. “The rents are going up dramatically and we now have the minimum wage increases but the general public is not prepared to pay more for their food,” he said. “If we’re not careful, we’re going to have a crisis. Restaurants are the only thing sustaining high streets in some areas. It’ll rip the core out of them.” Shonhan, who wants to take Bone Daddies to ten sites, admits the concept nearly did not get off the ground. It took almost a year and a half to acquire the first property on Peter Street, Soho, and having secured the site, he needed to raise finance and was introduced to Bernard Kantor, managing director of private bank Investec, who stumped up the cash at the 11th hour. Kantor has continued to bankroll the business, and Bone Daddies will soon open its fifth site in London’s Old Street followed by the new Land Securities development near Victoria station. The Soho restaurant is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen on Sunday (25 October).

Vapiano names November for opening of first restaurant outside London in Manchester: Vapiano, the Italian fresh casual dining restaurant, will open its fourth restaurant and first outside London in Manchester on Friday, 27 November. The new 10,000 square foot venue, which is its biggest to date, will open in the historic Corn Exchange in the city centre. The company is investing £2m to develop the 400-seat restaurant that spans two floors in the new Exchange Square development. It will feature two bars and two lounge areas and employ 80 staff. The company’s existing restaurants in London are on Great Portland Street, Wardour Street and Bankside. Vapiano serves homemade fresh pasta, pizza, salad and dolci, all prepared and made in-house to order by chefs cooking in front of the guests. The restaurants offer 11 different types of pasta made daily in the bespoke pasta machine. It will be one of the last restaurant and bar brands to open in the grade II-listed building, joining companies including Wahaca, Banyan bar, PizzaExpress and Cosy Club, which is owned by Loungers.

Fuller’s wins digital award: Fuller’s has won a gold award at the Digital Impact Awards. Along with partner True Digital, Fuller’s won the top prize in the Best Digital Rebrand category. Specifically, the brewery and pub company was recognised for excellence in digital stakeholder engagement. The awards programme was initiated by Communicate magazine and judged by some of Europe’s biggest in-house companies such as ITV Studios, Deutsche Post DHL, KPMG UK and IBM. John Skinner, Fuller’s group digital manager, said: “It means a lot to be recognised in this prestigious manner only one year after our new website launched. I couldn’t be happier for our hardworking digital team and for the company as a whole to be moving forwards.”

McDonald’s franchisees – the company could be in its ‘final days’:
McDonald’s is facing a “deep depression” and could be in its “final days”, according to some US franchise owners who were surveyed about the restaurant company’s recent performance. In an attempt to shore up a slump, McDonald’s introduced all-day breakfasts in its US stores, part of chief executive’s Steve Easterbrook’s “turnaround plan” which also included digital ordering kiosks and other new menu items. However, it seems like the new initiatives have simply caused headaches for restaurant operators, according to a survey conducted by analyst Mark Kalinowski. “We are in the throes of a deep depression, and nothing is changing,” wrote one franchisee. “The chief executive is sowing the seeds of our demise. We are a quick-serve fast-food restaurant, not a fast-casual like Five Guys or Chipotle.” Another said: “The system may be facing its final days.”

Spar retailers trial new coffee concept: Spar distributor AF Blakemore is trialling a new coffee concept with two of its top retailers. Retailer Raj Aggarwal, who joined Spar from Londis in March, opened a 60-seat Insomnia coffee bar in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, three weeks ago and has brought the concept into his adjoining 2,000 square foot Spar store in the form of a bean-to-cup coffee machine. Cardiff retailer Tony Cristofaro will be next to trial the concept, which should open in his store before Christmas. Sarah Ellis, head of marketing at Blakemore Trade Partners, said: “We wanted a strong barista coffee offer that would help complement our food-to-go range in stores that needed more than an ‘express’ solution.” The brand has existed in Ireland since 1997 and has more than 90 company-owned stores as well as franchised outlets. South west of England-based Spar wholesaler Appleby Westward already has Insomnia in 11 stores.

Admiral Taverns launches digital support for licensees: Admiral Taverns has unveiled a new digital media programme to support licensees in establishing a web and social media presence – helping further drive the profitability of their businesses. The SocialConnect package provides licensees with a range of revenue-building tools – comprising website construction, professional photography, advice on boosting custom via social media, alongside guidance on digital promotion. The community pub company introduced a pilot of the social platform to its licensees in July this year. Such has been the response from licensees – with almost 50 pubs having signed-up to receive the support – that Admiral is now encouraging all its pubs to take advantage of the new programme. Suzanne Smith, head of recruitment and people development, said: “The marketing landscape has evolved dramatically in recent years. Having a strong digital presence is essential for reaching new and existing customers, and for promoting what our pubs have to offer – it’s a fundamental part of the marketing toolkit. Importantly, we recognise how busy licensees are, and this service significantly reduces the time, cost and complexity associated with websites and social media, enabling our licensees to ‘go digital’.”

Patisserie Valerie to open first Lancashire site this week: Patisserie Valerie is due to open its first Lancashire site, at the St George’s Shopping Centre in Preston, on Thursday (22 October). The business is moving into a 2,300 square foot unit at the centre’s Friargate entrance. Paul May, chief executive at Patisserie Holdings, said: “We’re really excited about opening our Preston cafe, especially as it’s our first to open in Lancashire. Customers have been asking us to come to the city for a while now, and we believe St George’s Shopping Centre is the perfect place to open as it’s accessible to so many.”

Seafood wholesaler nears £50m turnover: Seafood wholesaler Collins (Seafoods), which supplies restaurants, pubs and hotels throughout the country, has edged turnover towards £50m and posted a rise in profits. The company was founded in 1980 when Richard Collins first filled his van with fresh seafood with the aim of supplying local restaurants, bars, hotels and fish and chip shops. The Newton Aycliffe-based business reported turnover of £47.4m in the year to 30 June 2015, compared with £39.3m for the 12 months before. Pre-tax profit increased from £1.26m to £1.59m. Writing in the strategic report accompanying the results, the company said its turnover had increased “despite the current economic climate and the recent reductions in cod prices”. “Having traded for a number of years the group has a well-established customer base and the directors anticipate similar levels of turnover in the year to 30 June 2016,” it added.

Simon French issues ‘Buy’ recommendation on Vianet: Cenkos Securities leisure analyst Simon French has issued a ‘Buy’ recommendation on Vianet shares after yesterday’s (Monday, 19 October) trading update. He said: “Vianet has announced an encouraging trading update reporting trading for the first half of the 2016 financial year ahead of last year achieving good growth in line with expectations. In particular growth opportunities such as in vending telemetry are more than offsetting ongoing challenging trading conditions in the pub sector. Furthermore the group’s ability to deliver highly relevant customer solutions using data insight and actionable data are providing strong returns for its customers. As such the group has announced its intention to declare a maintained interim dividend of 1.7p. We leave our FY estimates unchanged and continue to forecast £3.4m underlying profit. This leaves the stock trading on a CY 2016 EV/Ebitda of 6.9x and yielding 5.8%. Given the group’s attractive growth prospects combined with an undemanding valuation we strongly reiterate our ‘Buy’ recommendation.”

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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