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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 28th Oct 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker – Rugby World Cup believed to contribute to fall of eating and drinking out in September: The Rugby World Cup is believed to have contributed to the fall in eating and drinking out in September, according to the latest Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker. The average household spend on eating out fell by 3% (£2) in September following 12 consecutive months of year-on-year growth. While year-on-year spend in eating out increased by 3% (£3) among households in London and the south east, elsewhere is Britain this was reduced by 6% (£5). It was a similar picture for average household spend on drinking out. This was also down by 3% (£2) with London and the south east increasing spending by 5% (£2) while those elsewhere reduced their spend by 7% (£3). Family spend on drinking out fell by 13% (£6) year-on-year. Reports from some retailers of a strong performance in alcohol and snack sales in September indicated people decided to stay at home to watch the Rugby World Cup. Greene King’s marketing director Fiona Gunn said: “We are continuing to see a growing disparity in spending on eating out between London and the south east and the rest of Great Britain. The eating out market in the capital has continued to grow and this could be due to real earnings growth being felt more keenly in London and the south east, compared to the rest of the country.” Year-on-year, household spend on other leisure increased 7% (£5) with sporting and live other events the main beneficiaries, boosted by the Rugby World Cup. Households in London and the south east increased their spend on out-of-home leisure by 4% (£9) compared with last year, offsetting a decline of 1% (£3) among households in the rest of Britain. Meanwhile, more than half of British adults (52%) claim to have never celebrated Halloween. A further 14% claim to have celebrated the event in the past, but are making no plans to do so this time round. Consequently, it appears only a third of British adults will be taking part in Halloween, despite it falling on a Saturday this year. Those living in households without kids report the pub will be the first choice leisure venue for Halloween – more popular than nightclubs, the cinema and restaurants combined. Gunn added: “We know from the report that one in eight people who celebrate Halloween plan to do so at the pub, so we think it’s a great opportunity for the licensed trade to take advantage of this growing occasion and treat their customers to a thriller night.”

Industry News:

ALMR honours the best of late-night sector: The best in the late-night hospitality sector were honoured last night (Tuesday, 27 November) as the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ (ALMR) Late Night Awards were dispensed at the third annual Dusk ‘til Dawn ceremony. More than 300 delegates representing the UK’s night-time economy gathered at London’s Cafe de Paris for the event, held in association with Propel. Awards were dispensed across seven categories recognising the vitality and diversity of late-night hospitality, including a special Icon award recognising the 25th anniversary of the Ministry of Sound nightclub. The Columbo Group brand Blues Kitchen took home the award for best food offer while Revolution Bars Group was crowned best drinks winner. The Deltic Group scooped the best entertainment award while Novus Leisure’s The Forge site took the title of best late-night venue. Intertain was named best for late-night marketing and promotion while Beds and Bars won the award for best service and team development. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls paid tribute to the dynamism and hard work of the sector and emphasised the night-time economy was vital to the UK, to the health of local town centres and to the safe social life of customers. She went on to highlight the changes the sector had undergone over the past decade and the “continued relevance of a sector that was worth supporting”.

McDonald’s UK boss questions value of sugar tax: McDonald’s’ UK boss Paul Pomroy has questioned the value of taxing sugary and fattening food and drinks in order to tackle “complex” public health issues. Pomroy said obesity should be overcome through education, information and choice. He added McDonald’s, which has 1,250 restaurants across the UK, has invested in the quality of its food and is working to challenge the “myths” around its products. Pomroy told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “Obesity in the UK is an issue, but it’s a complex issue. It’s far more complex than just putting it at one retailer’s door, whether through taxation or whichever way they look at it. It’s also about lifestyle and education.” Pomroy pointed to the experience of some countries that have introduced sugar taxes, such as Denmark. In October 2011, the country introduced a sugar tax, only for the Danish government to scrap the policy a little more than a year later. Pomroy said: “I’m not sure taxation is going to solve everything. It’s been done in different markets in different parts of Europe. Interestingly, a lot of those markets have pulled that. For me, it goes deeper in terms of education.” Campaigners – including Jamie Oliver – are currently lobbying the government to introduce a so-called sugar tax in order to reduce levels of obesity in the UK, particularly among children. NHS figures show 61.9% of adults are overweight or obese. The direct cost of obesity to the NHS is between £6bn and £8bn a year.

Michel Roux Jr – hiring more disabled staff in London restaurants could ease recruitment crisis:
Chef-entrepreneur Michel Roux Jr has said employing more people with disabilities could ease the recruitment crisis in London’s restaurant industry. The Michelin-starred chef added the attitudes of customers and bosses needed to change. He aims to challenge perceptions and train young people for jobs in the trade in TV series Kitchen Impossible starting this week, which follows eight out-of-work people with disabilities. Roux told the Evening Standard: “I ask the question: would customers be prepared to be served by someone that has Down’s syndrome or Tourette’s, someone who starts swearing while serving them? I wouldn’t mind, as long as the service is good and it is delivered in the correct manner.” Roux said the shortfall in catering staff was being caused by how quickly the sector was growing in the capital. He added: “Employing people with disabilities could help. I don’t think it’s the sole solution as it’s such a big issue. It’s a question of giving them a chance. There’s immense joy and pride in receiving a pay packet and being part of society because you’re earning money in a proper job. The issue is equal measure customer and employer. Hopefully [this series] is going to make the industry look at itself and move things forward.”

Ministers in Scotland under pressure to ban alcohol advertising near schools: Ministers in Scotland are under pressure to back a ban on alcohol advertising near schools after research carried out by MSPs suggested there was considerable public sympathy for the policy. The proposal was backed by 78% of those who responded to a survey carried out by Holyrood’s health committee. Its findings will inform the views of members of the cross-party body taking evidence on the Alcohol Bill, introduced into the Scottish Parliament by Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson. He wants to prohibit the advertising of alcohol within 200 metres of schools, nurseries and play parks, and to ban alcohol advertising at public events where most people taking part are children or where the event is aimed at children. The latter ban was supported by 83% of the 543 people who took part in the survey last month. Under his plans, those breaching the advertising regulations would be fined. “The proposals with the strongest support were the ban on advertising near venues used by children and the ban on sponsorship of events targeted at children,” the survey report said.

Company News:

Coaching Inn Group named Pub Company of the Year: Coaching inn operator The Coaching Inn Group has been named Pub Company of the Year in the Eat Out Awards 2015. It operates ten properties across seven counties. Following its announced £20 million investment in an expansion programme that will see its estate double over the next three years, the group has already acquired three landmark coaching inns in recent months. Coaching Inn Group managing director Kevin Charity said: “We’re delighted to have been named Pub Company of the Year at The Eat Out Awards. It is a real reflection of the work we’ve been doing in recent years to revitalise the coaching inn sector and is testimony to the hard work and commitment of our whole team.”

Cottons restaurant brand owner launches London’s first Caribbean diner: Christie Singam, who launched the Caribbean restaurant brand Cottons, has opened London’s first Caribbean diner. Singam, who is also behind the Made in Brasil and Bayou restaurants in Inverness Street, Camden, has launched Ma Petite Jamaica in the same road. The menu ranges from small plates including ackee and saltfish and Jamaican patties to mains like fried red snapper and oxtail stew. The drinks feature a range of Caribbean cocktails including the mojito, Cuba Libres and Jamaican Mule as well as rums and fruit juices. Singam, who is a former operations manager at George Walker Leisure Group, opened Cottons Camden in 1998 followed by sites in Islington in 2005 and Shoreditch in 2013. He currently has an interest in 13 bars, restaurants and clubs and an extensive property portfolio.

JKS Restaurants to launch new concept Hoppers in London today: JKS Restaurants, which operates the Trishna, Gymkhana and Bubbledogs brands, is to launch a new concept in London today (Wednesday, 28 October) serving snacks from southern India and Sri Lanka. The company, owned by Jyotin, Karam and Sunaina Sethi, will open Hoppers in Frith Street in Soho on the site of the former Japanese udon noodle shop Koy. The menu will centre on the hopper, a bowl-shaped pancake made with fermented rice batter and coconut milk, and dosas, crepes made from fermented batter of ground rice and lentil, which are both popular in southern India and Sri Lanka. It will include two rice-and-roast dishes, such as a buffalo-shank biryani and a Tamil spit chicken. Cocktails will focus on genever and arrack while ginger beer and buttermilk chaas will be made in-house and Sri Lankan Lion beer will be served. The Sethi family formed JKS Restaurants this year to co-ordinate its projects.

Nottingham’s first dedicated tequila and mezcal bar set to open next Friday: Nottingham’s first dedicated tequila and mezcal bar is set to open next Friday (6 November). The venture is being led by James Aspell, former general manager at The Living Room and Missoula in the Lace Market, Liam Mcgarr, who has run bars in Nottingham, London and Marbella for 15 years, and Edward Lee, who owns carpentry company Behind Bars. Called 400 Rabbits, it takes the name from the deities who got drunk and partied according to Aztec folklore. The bar is opening in Hurts Yard in the city centre, creating six jobs. It will specialise in cocktails like Escobargarita, a mix of tequila and coffee liqueur shaken with sugar syrup, chocolate bitters and chilli and Miami Vice, a frozen strawberry daiquiri layered on top of a frozen pina colada. Also available will be craft beers from Mexico and around the world, tequila and mezcal. Aspell told the Nottingham Post: “We really want to create a place where you can come whether you want to chill or party.”

PizzaExpress reports Ebitda passes through £100m barrier: PizzaExpress has passed through the Ebitda barrier of £100m for the first time. The group reported a 9.5% increase in turnover to £427.7m with like-for-like UK sales up by 5.6% for the year ended 28 June 2015. Ebitda increased by 12.9% to £100.2m. The year saw the opening of 19 new restaurants in the UK and 11 overseas. The results are the first since PizzaExpress was acquired from Gondola Holdings by Chinese private equity company Hony Capital in July 2014 for £900m. Richard Hodgson, chief executive of PizzaExpress, said business had been driven by key innovations including a strong Christmas menu and the launch of Romana65, an upgrade of the group’s most iconic pizzas from the last 50 years. He added: “Since our year end in June, there have been some exciting developments in the business. In September we successfully launched the PizzaExpress delivery service. This is currently operating out of two restaurants delivering to selected London postcodes. It is an area with huge growth potential and we expect to roll the service out to more locations. In addition, we recently opened a pilot site in Cambridge for ‘Reys’, our new chicken restaurant concept. We have made a positive start to the year with the core business trading well. We also have a strong pipeline of new sites, both in the UK and internationally. Overall, we remain excited by the future growth opportunities for PizzaExpress.”

Brakspear acquires sixth managed site: Pub operator and brewer Brakspear has purchased a bar and restaurant in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire – taking its managed estate to six sites. The company has acquired the Church Street Townhouse, a 400-year-old grade II-listed building. Currently, it has two bars, a dining room and 12 en-suite bedrooms and Brakspear plans to trade the Townhouse in its current format, making only minor operational changes to improve trading, while deciding on changes to the food and drink to align with its other managed pubs. A “sparkle” is planned for 2016, which will refresh the offer while retaining the building’s individual and historic character. Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “We’re delighted to be taking the keys to this prime site in Stratford-upon-Avon, a town we’ve not traded in before and which we believe holds exciting potential. Its location in a large town with a huge tourist population makes it a different proposition to our other managed pubs, which are all situated in villages or small towns. Added to that, the Shakespeare factor is clearly going to have an impact on the way we trade the Townhouse, with pre and post-theatre offers an important part of the mix, and a need to communicate to an international customer base.” The Townhouse is the second addition to Brakspear’s managed estate this year, following the acquisition of the George Hotel in Shipston-on-Stour in May, and the company is continuing to look for suitable sites to expand the division further. Last month, Brakspear appointed Ed Turner as a non-executive director with a remit to help develop its managed pub division.

Coffee#1 submits plans for new site in Hereford: Coffee#1, the coffee shop brand owned by Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain, has submitted plans to open a site in Hereford. The company has applied to Hereford Council to change the use of 4-5 High Town from retail to a coffee shop, reports the Hereford Times. Coffee#1 opened its 56th site in Brecon, Wales, last month as it continues its accelerated roll-out programme. It has opened 12 sites so far this financial year.

Gingerman buys Hove freehold with £1.2m Barclays loan: Sussex restaurant group Gingerman has secured a £1.2m loan to purchase the freehold premises of The Ginger Pig restaurant in Hove. Gingerman is owned by directors Ben and Pamela McKellar, who since 1998 have built up a chain of four restaurants – The Gingerman, The Ginger Pig, The Ginger Fox and The Ginger Dog – in the Brighton, Hove and Albourne area. The loan from Barclays has been used to secure the freehold premises of The Ginger Pig restaurant in Hove Street. This will allow the company to eventually move forward with its expansion plans to convert the upper floors to holiday apartments. The directors’ long-term plans are to open a fish restaurant in the Brighton area. Ben McKellar said: “After working abroad for many years, gaining experience as a chef in some of the most exclusive Michelin-starred restaurants in France, UK and New York, I decided to return home to Brighton and open my first restaurant, The Gingerman. Owning the freehold of ‘The Ginger Pig’ means a lot to us as we are no longer tied and can now develop the upper floors. We also feel it is important to support smaller and more local brewers in the community, creating a wider choice for our customers.” Tony Forster, relationship director, corporate banking at Barclays, added: “It has been a long held ambition for Ben and Pamela to purchase the freehold of ‘The Ginger Pig’ from their landlords, which will now give them the long-term security they require to develop the restaurant. We will continue to work closely with them as they look for further opportunities in the future.”

Starbucks raises one million coffee trees for farmers in first month of One Tree for Every Bag programme: Starbucks has raised one million coffee trees for farmers in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador in the first month of its One Tree for Every Bag programme. The company pledged last month to plant one rust-resistant coffee tree for each bag of packaged coffee bought in US Starbucks stores until September 2016. In just the first month of the programme, Starbucks customers have purchased one million bags of coffee. Combined with Starbucks initial investment of one million trees, this means that two million coffee trees are already earmarked to be distributed next harvest to farming communities in Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador. Starbucks global coffee executive vice-president Craig Russell said: “Our unique ability is to leverage our scale, not only engage our customers in a dialogue about where their coffee comes from, but to adopt a sustainable sourcing strategy that other companies in our industry can be a part of and benefit from as well.” The programme is part of Starbucks long-term commitment to the sustainability of coffee-growing communities and achieving 100% ethically sourced coffee.

Scott Hallsworth to open Kurobuta residency at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge next week: Former Nobu head chef Scott Hallsworth is to open a residency of his Japanese restaurant concept Kurobuta at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London. The restaurant will arrive at the department store on Friday, 6 November and be based in the fifth floor restaurant space. Kurobuta is an izakaya – a Japanese style pub – that offers cocktails and beers as well as sake and sochu to accompany the dishes. It popped up on the King’s Road in October 2013 and due to its popularity, it is now a permanent site. The second Kurobuta in Marble Arch officially opened in April last year.

Banyan Bar & Kitchen launches charity burger at new Manchester site: Banyan Bar & Kitchen, the brand owned by Arc Inspirations, has launched a charity burger at its new Manchester site. The company, which has opened a restaurant in The Corn Exchange, has teamed up with local charity Francis House Children’s Hospice, to create “The Francis House Burger”, with a percentage of each sale being donated back to the charity. The “Francis House Burger” is a beef burger, topped with tomato, melted cheese and served in a lightly toasted bun. Banyan will give 25p from each sale to the charity, which offers respite care and support to children, teenagers and young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families, to help its work in the Greater Manchester area. Arc Inspirations managing director Martin Wolstencroft said: “We’ve always been really keen to work with local charities across Yorkshire and when we decided to make the move across to Manchester, it made absolute sense to continue the tradition of working with a charity nearby. The work Francis House does changes the lives of families and children across the region and we hope that our support can help them to carry on with the great service they already provide.”

Tasty set to open new Wildwood Kitchen site in Abingdon: Tasty is set to open a new Wildwood Kitchen site in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, in January. The company is due to open the venue in Bury Street on the site of the former New Look clothes shop and a neighbouring unit that was jointly used by Hallmark card shop and chocolatiers Thortons, reports the Oxfordshire Guardian. The Mediterranean-style eatery serves pizza, pasta, grilled meats and seafood. Tasty currently has nine Wildwood Kitchen sites across the UK with a tenth due to open shortly in Liverpool.

New gourmet burger restaurant to open in Shrewsbury next week, owners plan to take concept nationwide: A new gourmet burger restaurant concept will open in Shrewsbury next Tuesday (3 November) with the couple behind the venture planning to take it nationwide. Adam and Kelly Lyons will launch Lyons’ Den in St Mary’s Water Lane on the site of the former Traitor Gate restaurant, creating 12 jobs. They have invested £100,000 in the restaurant, which will specialise in homemade gourmet burgers and made-to-order milkshakes. Adam Lyons told “We are very excited about this new enterprise, which has been planned for several years. The fully licensed premises now has a rustic style with an unpretentious menu offering tasty burgers and delicious milkshakes, creating what we hope will be a fun, family-friendly meal out and something a bit different for Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury is our home, but one day we’d love to have our burger restaurants in every town and city in the UK – all with the same ethos – using fantastic local produce to make great burgers for the best price.”

Former Diageo employee takes on Enterprise Inns site for first pub venture: Former Diageo employee Matt Schofield has taken on his first pub. Schofield, who competed in cocktails and mixology before taking numerous roles with Diageo, has reopened the Harrison Social in Halifax, owned by Enterprise Inns. The pub, formerly Bar 11, has undergone a £150,000 transformation and now specialises in handcrafted cocktails. The new-look venue’s quirky features include reclaimed timber and corrugated iron feature walls, a grandstand cinema-style seating area and a drop pendant light fixture made from old crystal whisky and port decanters. Schofield told the Halifax Courier: “I’ve wanted my own venue for such a long time, and when I was given the chance to take on this pub, I jumped at it. The Harrison Social experience is all about a great environment, great food, and even better drinks. The back bar is a stand-out feature, we’ve got a lounge area, booths, poser tables and stools, and we’ve also built a weathered-looking wooden bar with bottle lockers, so customers can buy and store their own bottles of spirits.” Enterprise Inns regional manager Dominic Doran added: “We’ve invested lots of time and money in this pub to ensure we get the look, offer and publican right.”

Greggs eyeing up to 50 stores in Northern Ireland: Greggs is eyeing as many as 50 stores across Northern Ireland with about ten in Belfast alone. The company launched its first store in the country at the new Applegreen service station on the M2 in April this year. Now commercial property company Savills has been appointed to scout locations across Northern Ireland as Greggs looks to open up to 50 stores, reports the Belfast Telegraph. Following the opening of the Applegreen outlet, a Greggs spokesman described it as a “trial location”. They added: “We continue to view Belfast and Northern Ireland as an attractive market. We currently have one franchise shop open and continue to look for good opportunities to develop our estate.” Greggs has 1,670 stores located across Britain. The company, which reported 4.9% like-for-like growth in its third quarter to 3 October, has previously said the introduction of the National Living wage next April will put pressure on it to increase its prices.

Cabana wins best social media campaign award: Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana has won the “Social Media Campaign of the Year/Best Use of Social Media” accolade at this year’s Eat Out Awards. The company, led by Jamie Barber and David Ponte, won on the strength of its #WeAreBrasil campaign, which saw it erect a hoarding brandishing the hashtag alongside with a tongue-in-cheek cartoon of Brazil’s famous Christ the Redeemer statue. The hashtag led people to Twitter and Facebook posts highlighting the “good news stories” behind Cabana. Marketing manager Lizzy Barber said: “Our aim with this campaign was to bridge the gap between the physical space of the restaurants and the digital realm of social media, and share the great stories we have collected and created as we have built the brand. We are thrilled to have won this award and only hope to see our social media presence grow from strength to strength.” Cabana, which currently has nine restaurants, has secured two additional openings for 2016 and is aiming to open five sites a year.

Nightclub entrepreneur to open third site, this time in Boston, Lincolnshire: Nightclub entrepreneur Paul Turner, who operates sites in Cambridge and King’s Lynn, is to open a site in Boston, Lincolnshire. He has acquired the former Studio site in Craythorne Lane, formerly known as After Dark nightclub, which closed in September 2014. After buying the building in July, Turner lodged an application to revive the premises’ licences for alcohol, late-night refreshment, entertainment, and extended opening hours. Turner said: “We’ve got a lot of investment that we’re looking to put into it, around £150,000, we’re going for a really luxurious feel. We’ve done a lot of market research in Boston – it’s a very nice market town, and we’ve done similar in Cambridge and King’s Lynn and they have both gone very well.”

Three former Botanic Inns pubs in Belfast go on market: Three Belfast pubs once owned by collapsed Northern Ireland-based company Botanic Inns have gone on the market. The Botanic Inn in Malone Road, the King’s Head in Lisburn Road and Madison’s bar in Botanic Avenue have been put up for sale, reports the Belfast Telegraph. Commercial property company Lambert Smith Hampton is marketing the sites, which are controlled by the Irish government’s National Asset Management Agency. The sites are currently being run by Horatio Group – a firm set up by Stephen Magorrian, the former managing director of Botanic Inns, which went into administration in 2013 with debts of about £14m. 

Burger King like-for-likes rise 6.2%: Burger King owner Restaurants Brands International said third-quarter profit soared, helped by new restaurants and lower costs. At Burger King, the brand’s Fiery Chicken Fries and extra long jalapeno cheeseburger helped drive like-for-like sales growth, which rose 6.2%. At the company’s other brand, Tim Hortons, the launch of premium breakfast and lunch wraps helped drive outperformance. Comparable sales grew 5.3% at the restaurant chain. The company, posting third-quarter results for the first time, said net profit attributable to shareholders rose to $49.6 million, or 24 cents per share, from $9.6 million, or five cents per share, in the second quarter.

Former Olive Tree Group executive chef opens first restaurant: Former Olive Tree Group executive chef Orhan Girgin has opened his first restaurant. Girgin, who first started cooking at his family restaurant in the coastal town of Mersin in southern Turkey, has launched The Lavanta Meze Bar & Grill at West Park in Leeds. The 46-cover restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine has opened on the former site of Pip’s Bistro in Otley Road. He said personally sourcing fine quality ingredients and fresh local produce; from Dales reared lamb to pistachios grown by the Cici family in the Gaziantep region of Turkey, was key to the dining experience he intends to create at Lavanta. He told The Business Desk: “Lavanta has been my dream since a small child, and now I am living the dream. Excellent food and service, a warm friendly atmosphere and happy customers who always come back for more.” Girgin helped The Olive Tree achieve its “Best Leeds Restaurant” awards two years in a row as well as a “Top 4 Mediterranean Restaurant in UK” citation from Sunday Times food critic Adrian Anthony Gill.

Carluccio’s to open new site at Gloucester Quays next month: Carluccio’s will open its new site at Gloucester Quays next month. The company is currently transforming four empty units at the waterside complex into a restaurant and deli, which will welcome customers from Friday, 20 November. Carluccio’s chairman Simon Kossoff told the Gloucester Citizen: “We’re delighted to be opening within the exciting food and shopping destination of Gloucester Quays. With our restaurant opening at the end of November, we’ll be in full festive swing with an excellent value two-course Festivo Menu available daily in our restaurant. At the same time our food shop will be bursting with seasonal Italian specialities and dinnertime specials.”

Belfast-based The Belfast Baking Company to open third site in city: Belfast-based The Belfast Baking Company is set to open its third site in the city. The company, owned by Paul and Sharon McDonald, is opening the new bakery and deli in the Titanic Quarter in mid-November, creating 15 jobs. It is investing £350,000 in the 50-seater restaurant, which is situated in the ARC, overlooking Belfast Harbour Marina. The new venue will offer restaurant dining and deli lunches, as well as fresh local breads and bespoke cakes to order. Sharon McDonald told Belfast Live: “We are thrilled to be bringing Belfast’s newest baking revolution to Titanic Quarter, which is perfectly located for business, residents, students and the many tourists to the area. The deli is designed to let customers see the bakery operating during opening hours, creating a lovely buzz and allowing visitors to see the art of traditional bread and cake making.” The Belfast Baking Company currently has sites in North Main Street and Gilnahirk Road.

Three new restaurant units being built in Birmingham’s business district: Three new restaurant units are being built in the heart of Birmingham’s business district. Some 15,000 square foot of space is being developed on the lower ground floor of 55 Colmore Row as part of a £30m redevelopment. Agents say there has been strong interest and owner IM Properties wants to bring in “aspirational” restaurant brands. The new restaurants are part of the redevelopment of the former Wragge & Co offices, which will also provide 160,000 square foot of office space. Specialist retail and leisure agency BWD has been appointed by IM Properties to find suitable operators to take the space. Nick De-Pons, from BWD, told the Birmingham Post: “There has been very strong interest in these units and we have already undertaken off-market discussions with a number of aspirational restaurant operators for both large and standard footprints.” Work is expected to be complete on the redevelopment by next autumn.
Pancake World signs deal to supply Kaspa’s: South Wales catering company Pancake World has secured a six-figure contract to supply dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s Desserts. The agreement with Kaspa’s Desserts is worth more than £100,000 per year and is said to be a “significant boost to the company”. The business, based in Llantwit Major, near Cardiff, is a crepe mix and equipment wholesaler, and distributes equipment from its south Wales offices. Managing director Loic Moinon said: “The opportunity to supply and work with a recognised company such as Kaspa’s Desserts is a huge boost to us, especially as they have new outlets in south Wales.”

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. 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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