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Wed 4th Nov 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Thali Cafe aims to grow to 12 sites in next five years: Thali Cafe, the five-strong Bristol-based Indian street food concept, is aiming to grow to 12 sites in the next five years. The company, founded 15 years ago by Jim Pizer, is now on the hunt for its first site outside the city. Pizer told Propel he is looking to build a pipeline of sites along the M4 and M5 corridor because they would be “within easy reach of Bristol”. He said: “We’ve been around for 15 years but it’s only in the last two or so we have started to find our feet and got a good understanding of who we are and what we are doing. When that starts to come together it becomes a powerful force and we are in a position to push forward and capitalise on opportunities coming our way. We are just waiting for the right site to become available.” Pizer said he thought the company had secured a site in Birmingham but it fell through. He added he was looking for sites of about 3,500 square foot with capacity for 120 seats, similar to its flagship site in Southville, which has just undergone a £60,000 refurbishment. Pizer is in the process of revamping all five sites at a cost of about £250,000. Its outlets in Montpelier and Easton have already been refurbished with Totterdown to follow at the end of this month and Clifton in 2016. The Southville refurbishment, which also includes a new grill station inspired by the late-night charcoal grill of Bademiya in Mumbai, has coincided with the introduction of a new menu and craft lager Desi Biyar. Pizer said: “Originally it didn’t feel intimate – it’s quite an industrial space. We’ve now made it warm and inviting.” The company currently has a turnover of about £2.4m with pre-tax profit of £100,000. Pizer said about 25% of each site’s takings come from takeaways where customers bring Tiffins they have bought from the company to be refilled. This week the company brought in Giraffe operations director Tom Crowley as a non-executive director and Pizer said his appointment was key to Thali Cafe’s expansion plans. He added: “It’s all well and good to have a great idea but you need the people who can execute it. Tom’s experience is pretty broad and he has his own ideas. He will also help identify sites. We want people who embrace the value of the business and the culture. It’s important we maintain the fun and quirkiness of the business – it’s the essence of where we started.”

Industry News:

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago opens for bookings: The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is now open for bookings. The trip, sponsored by CPL Training and Sky, takes place between Thursday, 19 May and Monday, 23 May 2016. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions at the NRA show. It also involves two tours of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show combined with our tour of Chicago is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To get more information or to book, email

John Cridland – National Living Wage a gamble that could produce a ‘labour light’ service sector: The head of Britain’s leading employers’ organisation has described the government’s National Living Wage as a gamble and warned it would speed up the replacement of workers by machines if businesses found it too expensive. John Cridland, outgoing director general of the CBI, said it was a “big ask” for firms that employed large numbers of low-paid staff to raise wages by 5% a year to £9 an hour by 2020. He added an unintended consequence of a laudable aim might be a “labour light” service sector.

Pre-pack administrations set for greater transparency: A series of reforms have been launched to add scrutiny to the insolvency profession, in particular focusing on the use of pre-pack sales. Pre-packs involve the sale of a struggling business being negotiated before it is put into administration and being completed by the administrators shortly after their appointment. The reforms include the launch of Pre-Pack Pool, an organisation set up to run a pool of experts who will review pre-pack deals at the request of directors, shareholders and others connected with the insolvent company. The move follows the recommendations of an independent review into pre-packs for the government by Teresa Graham in 2014. The report acknowledged the economic benefits of pre-packs and highlighted the need for greater transparency for creditors, employees and directors in the process, particularly when businesses are sold to people who are already involved with the business. Duncan Grubb, director of Pre-Pack Pool, said: “Pre-pack administrations are an important part of the economy, helping rescue businesses and jobs. Business owners and creditors, however, need to trust and have confidence in the process, which is why big steps are being taken to improve transparency. The reforms strike a balance between transparency and the discretion needed for business and job rescue. While the pool is voluntary and its opinions are not binding, it will reassure creditors about the reasonableness of the pre-pack transaction and its justification in the circumstances.”

Molson Coors in talks to buy SABMiller stake in joint venture: Molson Coors, the US-Canadian brewer, is in advanced talks to buy SABMiller’s majority stake in their American joint venture in a move seen as critical to helping Anheuser-Busch InBev secure its £68bn takeover of SAB, the FT has reported. It comes just ahead of today’s (Wednesday, 4 November) deadline for AB InBev to make a formal offer for SAB. It also comes a week after it emerged that AB InBev had hired bankers – its lead adviser Lazard and Barclays – to explore the sale of US assets including the MillerCoors venture to help get the deal past US antitrust regulators. No agreement has been reached and a deal could still fall apart, the people familiar with the talks said. AB InBev’s brands control 46% of the US beer market, while the MillerCoors joint venture accounts for 27%.

Former Chelsea footballer Gianfranco Zola opens gelato and coffee parlour in Bromley: Former Chelsea footballer Gianfranco Zola has opened a gelato and coffee parlour in Bromley, Kent. Zola has launched Unico at the Intu Bromley shopping centre. The concept of Unico originates in Bologna in Italy and offers gelato, coffee and cakes made entirely out of its ice cream to eat in or take away. Zola told the News Shopper: “I am excited to bring the flavours that I love to Bromley. Unico was born from the friendship of myself, Leonardo and Elena and her family and our desire to bring the Italian tradition of gelato making to the UK.”

Plymouth begins consultation on late night levy:
Plymouth City Council has commenced its consultation to introduce a late night levy, law firm Poppleston Allen has reported. The consultation will run until 4 December 2015. The proposed late night levy will apply to premises that are authorised to sell alcohol at any time between 1am and 6am. The proposed exemptions are for premises with overnight accommodation, theatre and cinemas, bingo halls, amateur sports clubs, community premises, country village pubs, premises contributing to the Business Improvement District and premises authorised to supply alcohol for consumption on the premises between midnight and 6am only on New Year’s Eve/Day every year. There would also be a reduction for members of the business-led Best Practice Scheme.

Seedrs launches US site as authorities make crowdfunding legal: Seedrs, the crowdfunding platform, has launched into the US following a vote by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which will make it possible to offer equity crowdfunding to the American population for the first time. The London-based business, which launched in 2012, has created a test version of its US site, which will be open to “accredited investors” for the next 180 days until the new rules take effect. Accredited investors are high net worth individuals earning more than $200,000 (£130,000) a year or possessing net assets worth more than $1m. “We thought it would be put in place by 2012 but it was dragged out,” said Jeff Lynn, founder of Seedrs. “People had begun to lose hope that it would happen at all.”
3 November the most popular day for Christmas bookings: According to LiveRES and Zonal Retail Data Systems, yesterday (3 November) was the most popular day of the year to make Christmas bookings. With less than eight weeks to go until the big day, research into online booking frequency by LiveRES and Zonal shows 3 November is historically the biggest day for making Christmas party bookings, closely followed by 10 November. Most bookings aren’t made between 9am and 5pm. The majority of people start thinking about their Christmas plans after they’ve finished the working day, with the most popular times to make a booking being 5.30pm-6pm and 8pm–8.30pm. “Given that most people are booking outside traditional office hours, it’s really important that operators make sure that their online booking facility is easy to use on a mobile device, especially when people are browsing when commuting from work or watching TV after a busy day,” said Olivia FitzGerald, managing director of LiveRES. Surprisingly, the research by LiveRES and Zonal shows many customers are now prepared to leave their Christmas party plans until the last minute, with 60% of all party bookings coming in during December itself. Although the busiest single day is in November, only 25% of all this year’s party bookings will be made during this month.

Nando’s favourite location in UK for first dates: Nando’s is the UK’s favourite location for a first date, according to new research. Mobile dating app Clover analysed data from 500,000 UK users to see where people were going on first dates, with Nando’s coming out on top. Costa Coffee and Starbucks were second and third respectively while fellow coffee company Caffe Nero came sixth. Other restaurants inside the top ten were Wagamama in eighth and Bombay-style cafe Dishoom in ninth. Meanwhile, McDonald’s was the highest fast-food restaurant in 12th. The study found some disagreement between the sexes with women preferring their first date in a coffee shop and men choosing a restaurant. Clover chief executive Isaac Raichyk said: “We were surprised to see most people choosing to meet at coffee shops and casual restaurants for their first date. We expected fine dining, bars and nightclubs to rank much higher, but clearly people want to meet in a relaxed environment. Men seem more willing to commit to a first meeting over dinner at a restaurant versus women who prefer being able to screen dates quickly over coffee.”

Company News:

Beds and Bars reports 14% increase in like-for-like sales in October: Pan-European hostel and bar operator Beds and Bars, led by Keith Knowles, has reported a 14% increase in like-for-like sales in October, equivalent to a £352,000 rise in turnover. The sales increase was driven by a 21% increase in like-for-like wet sales, a 15% increase in like-for-like dry sales and a 7% increase in like-for-like accommodation sales. There was 16% increase in like-for-like sales in the UK, largely driven by 20% increase in like-for-like wet sales and a 17% increase in like-for-like sales in Berlin, largely driven by 29% increase in like-for-like wet sales. Murray Roberts, managing director of Beds and Bars said: “This is a fantastic achievement; a true reflection of our team’s hard work and the business strategies we’ve implemented over the past year. Improved controls, more accurate measures and talented team members are the primary drivers behind our continued growth, and success. This is just the start and you can expect many more exciting announcements from Beds and Bars in the coming months.” Beds and Bars operates 20 backpacker hostels, bars and pubs, in ten cities and seven countries across Europe. Key locations include London, Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam. The company’s St Christopher’s Inns brand is the largest independent chain of backpacker hostels in the world, without private equity backing. 

PizzaExpress opens flagship Glasgow West End site, unveils Ludlow site: PizzaExpress has opened a flagship restaurant in Glasgow’s West End. The brand has opened on Byres Road, at the site of the former Paperinos restaurant, with capacity for 226 people and 42 staff recruited. The new restaurant’s artwork pays tribute to optical engineering firm, Barr & Stroud, based across the road in Ashton Lane. John Henderson, manager of PizzaExpress Glasgow Byres Road, said: “This is a long-anticipated opening in the West End of Glasgow. We will have a beautiful new restaurant and can’t wait to show it off to our customers.” The company has also opened a new restaurant at Silverburn shopping centre, creating 105 jobs for the local area. Meanwhile, PizzaExpress has also opened its controversial Ludlow outlet. The restaurant in Castle Street, in the former Marches Pub premises caters for 165 people and has created 29 jobs. When plans first surfaced last year concerns were raised by some in the community about the impact on the town’s character and councillor Andy Boddington, Ludlow’s member for Shropshire Council, objected to the design scheme.

Former Preston Park Tavern owner wins award for Brighton’s best burger at Coggings & Co, looks for second site: Former Preston Park Tavern operator Andrew Coggings, who now operates better burger brand Coggings & Co, has scooped the award for Brighton’s best burger at The Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards 2015. Coggings said: “We are thrilled to have won this award as it is purely about the standard of our burger and reflects the time and effort we put into sourcing the best possible ingredients. Our burgers are handmade on site every day and the judges recognised just how great our burgers are.” He also confirmed he is now actively looking for a second site for Coggings & Co. “We have been open for 18 months and we are now showing a healthy return on investment,” Coggings added. “The next stage is to look for a second site, probably still in Brighton & Hove but maybe further afield. We are also looking at options for funding as we have been approached by potential investors but we are also looking at the crowdfunding route.” The Preston Park Tavern in Brighton was awarded the title of “Most Sustainable Pub in The UK 2013” by The Sustainable Restaurant Association. Following the sale of the Preston Park Tavern in January 2014, Coggings opened Coggings & Co three months later, focusing on gourmet burgers using local produce from within Sussex. Coggings & Co makes its own burgers on site using steak delivered straight from a local farm and has over 20 beers, lagers & ciders, all from Sussex independent suppliers.

Freehold of Torquay development housing Loungers and Le Bistro Pierre sells for £4.33m: Property investor Custodian REIT has bought part of a Torquay leisure development, home to tenants including Loungers and Costa Coffee, for £4.33m. It has acquired the ground floor and part of the first floor of a leisure development in Abbey Sands, comprising four seafront food and drink outlets. The units are currently let to Le Bistro Pierre, Las Iguanas, Loungers and Jurassic Coast Coffee (trading as Costa Coffee). The units generate an aggregate passing rent of £285,000 per annum with unexpired lease terms ranging from ten to 20 years at an average of 17.5 years. The agreed purchase price of £4.33m reflects a net initial yield of 6.22% with strong occupational demand driving an estimated reversionary yield of 7.10%. Richard Shepherd-Cross, managing director of Custodian Capital (the company’s discretionary investment manager), said: “Abbey Sands is centrally located on an unrivalled seafront location, with the upper floors occupied by luxury residential apartments.”

Nick Batram – Just Eat is still delivering: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram has issued a ‘Hold’ note on Just Eat after yesterday’s (Tuesday, 3 November) third quarter trading update. He said: “Just Eat continues to achieve strong organic order growth, with management deserving praise for the consistency of the delivery and messaging. Grubhub’s issues highlighted last week were infrastructure related and focused on the logistics, something Just Eat doesn’t face. However, longer-term our caution on the robustness of the pricing model remains. Brands moving into delivery (ie PizzaExpress, Nando’s) whether directly or indirectly do present competition to Just Eat’s restaurant customers. Furthermore, we believe there will come a point when Just Eat needs to offer more to its restaurant customers to justify the fees. This doesn’t mean the model will break, we don’t believe it will, it’s just that the rating doesn’t allow for any setbacks.”

New restaurant concept offering just one choice of steak and chips opens in Colwyn Bay, owner already eyeing expansion: A new restaurant concept offering just one choice of steak and chips has opened in Colwyn Bay, Wales, with its owner already eyeing expansion. Bradley Walker has launched Steak Frites in Conway Road where the only choice for customers is how they want their steak cooked. The single choice is an 8oz Welsh ribeye steak, house béarnaise sauce on the side, unlimited French fries, and a green walnut salad bread. Walker told the Daily Post: “I think it is the smallest menu in Wales. It is simple and a lot of people like simple rather than being faced with a huge menu. Because we do one dish we have to do it well, which is why we have sourced Welsh meat for the rib eye steak to ensure we have the best.” Walker is already looking to expand the concept and added: “I want this to be the first of these bistros, I want to see it work and then open another. It is such a simple concept but one I think will work. I am building a brand and hope to expand once we have established this opening site in Colwyn Bay.”

Big Easy opening new £3.5m flagship site in Canary Wharf today: Big Easy will open its new £3.5m flagship Bar B.Q & Lobster Shack in Canary Wharf today (Wednesday, 4 November), creating 170 jobs. The 400-cover restaurant in Crossrail Place that has additional outside terraces, bars, take-out/retail and nightly live entertainment, will have opening spanning 18 hours a day. Exclusive to the new site is all-American breakfast served from 7am, full afternoon tea offering with European and American cakes, a takeaway shop and grab-and-go menu, offering fresh lobster rolls, pulled pork sandwiches, cold-pressed juices, American candy and other treats. A “Rum Bar” and Lounge will feature over 100 rums, an extensive cocktail menu and casks of rum on tap. The “Captains Table” private dining room will seat up to 26 with its own private terrace. The venue occupies an 11,000 square foot site, part of the top floor and roof terrace gardens of the new Norman Foster Crossrail Terminal. The bar display will feature over 500 bottles of whiskies and bourbons and will have 14 different draft beers and house cocktails on tap. The site also has a 14-metre open kitchen and one of the UK’s largest pit rooms, housing three enormous two tonne US-built smokers.
Young’s opens new pub in home borough of Wandsworth: London pub and hotel retailer Young’s has opened a new pub in its home borough of Wandsworth. The company has launched the Nine Elms Tavern on the banks of the River Thames at Riverlight – the St James development east of Battersea Power Station. The new pub includes an “upper deck” with views of the river, and a large outdoor terrace as well as the main bar area. It offers the full selection of Young’s beers, craft beers, fine wines and an extensive food menu. Young’s retail director Patrick Dardis told “We’re delighted to have opened our latest pub in Nine Elms. Wandsworth has been home to Young’s since 1831 and we’re proud to be playing a part in establishing this new part of the borough.”

Restaurateur opening new concept in Colchester today: Andrew Taylor, who has worked in various Michelin-starred restaurants in Europe as well as running his own in Sweden, is to launch a new concept in Colchester, Essex. Taylor is opening Dough & Bean today (Wednesday, 4 November) in North Hill in the former premises of the Hudson and Hudson restaurant. He has acquired the site for an undisclosed sum in a deal co-ordinated by agent Christie + Co, reports Property Magazine International. Dough & Bean’s menu will include toasted sandwiches, pizza by the slice, sweet and savoury bites and speciality coffee. Taylor has more than 19 years’ experience in the catering and hospitality sector. He has worked at Michelin-starred venues such as Operakallaren in Stockholm and De Engel in Rotterdam. He started his career at The Collection in Chelsea and ran his own restaurant in Karlstad, Sweden.

Camerons starts work on bottling plant: Camerons Brewery is building a new bottling plant as part of its 150th anniversary celebrations after receiving a seven-figure funding package from Royal Bank of Scotland and its asset finance partner Lombard. The brewery, founded in 1865 by John William Cameron, has a brewing capacity of more than 1.25 million hectolitres and a portfolio of 70 public houses. Its product range includes Strongarm & Gold Bullion along with a selection of seasonal ales including Galactico, Shotgun Wedding, Press Gang, Long Leg, Thirst Blood, Tontine and Festive Frolics. The new bottling facility will create six jobs. John Foots, finance director at Camerons Brewery, said: “The rationale behind the investment is we will now be able to offer both our existing and new customers a one stop shop facility where we will have the ability to brew and now bottle their product, improving efficiencies all around.”

Starbucks launches Christmas campaign: Starbucks has launched its Christmas campaign featuring a four-metre tall Red Cup installation that lights up when activated by tweets. The giant Red Cup installation – that smells like a gingerbread latte – will be at King’s Cross station until Friday (6 November) and will gradually light up as consumers tweet #RedCups. Tweets with the hashtag will feature across digital display boards throughout King’s Cross and Starbucks will also dish out gift cards. The campaign introduces its seasonal drinks range (which come in red cups) including gingerbread latte, toffee nut latte, eggnog latte and honey and almond hot chocolate. The brand, in partnership with Twitter, has also created a Red Cup hash-flag, which appears whenever #RedCups is tweeted. “We wanted to declare the red cups season officially open with an inclusive campaign showcasing the great organic community #RedCups creates online,” said Steve Flanagan, UK marketing director.

Jason Atherton to launch first range of tableware with John Lewis:
Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will launch his first range of tableware in January, exclusively with John Lewis. Atherton has designed the range in collaboration with Robin Levien of Studio Levien and it will be available in-store and online. The ethos of the collection is the “social” sharing of food with family and friends and smart use of space. The range reflects the same contemporary aesthetic found in Atherton’s restaurants, offering a clean and relaxed take on fine-dining at home. The Social collection uses a variety of materials including marble and oak and ceramics with a flecked glaze finish. Along with serveware and crystal glassware are pieces such as a lazy Susan, stone plates and presentation boards. The range is designed with storage in mind, both on and off the table. John Lewis tabletop buyer Emily Moody said: “We are delighted to be launching the new Social range, exclusively at John Lewis. Being able to combine Jason and Robin’s expertise to create a range that is both innovative and functional has been hugely rewarding. The result is a beautiful collection that brings a modern design aesthetic to the dining table.”

Fuller’s names Hampshire site as its pub of the year: Fuller’s has named The Rising Sun in Milland, Hampshire, as its pub of the year. The Rising Sun, run by Ben Burston since February 2007, won The Griffin Trophy ahead of 391 other Fuller’s pubs for being “the epitome of a truly great pub”. As well as landing the title, it also took top prize in the best country/village pub category at the ceremony held yesterday (Tuesday, 3 November) at the company’s Griffin Brewery in Chiswick, west London. The Griffin Trophy awards recognise the efforts and achievements of the company’s top managers and tenants in five categories: outstanding achievement, best city/London pub, best hotel/inn, best town/local pub and best country/village pub. Fuller’s chairman Michael Turner said: “Ben is no stranger to The Griffin Trophy competition, having won his category last year. He has built on last year’s success, taking the pub from strength to strength. The Rising Sun is a true village local in the heart of the South Downs National Park countryside. It is renowned for its exceptional atmosphere, great food, well-kept ales, and charming staff.” Burston added: “This is a fantastic surprise. A pub is nothing without its people so I would like to thank all my customers who have supported the pub over the years and my wonderful staff, who make the pub what it is.” The prize for the winning pub comprises a £5,000 holiday, a staff party, an engraved plaque and the Griffin Trophy itself.

Papa John’s franchisee opens 12th site, eyes 40: Papa John’s franchisee Abdul Sattar Karami has opened his 12th site, this time in Oxford. Karami ‘s other 11 sites are in the Home Counties. “Oxford has a population of around 150,000 and is home to the UK’s oldest university,” he said. “In addition to its diverse student population, many families also live in the area making the location perfect for Papa John’s. As Papa John’s grows, opportunities become available and so we are also cooking up a few more expansion plans. I think owning 40 Papa John’s would be a nice round number.”

Moorhouse’s looking to expand by launching series of micro-pubs: Burnley-based brewer Moorhouse’s is looking to expand by launching a series of micro-pubs. The company – famous for its Pendle Witches brands – reckons the concept could be the right magic for expansion. After announcing growth of 6% for the last financial year with a turnover of near £6m, managing director David Grant believes it is now essential to grow a tied pub estate. Currently, the brewery owns four community pubs and has recently looked at acquiring small pub groups in the north. Grant told The Business Desk: “We now have our championship beers on the national stage with pubs in the south and prestigious London venues. But, to survive as an emerging regional brewer, our challenge is to sell more beer in line with our new brewery plan when we invested to treble capacity five years ago.” Grant is now looking at shops or small spaces to open micro-pubs to compliment the traditional pub model. He added: “These pubs would be in our core northern area, possibly as far afield as York or Chester, and could operate for 48 hours a week. We would sell the very best quality beers – both ours and guest ales – and have a limited but first class wine and food offering.”

Las Iguanas launches new kids’ menu in association with Shaun the Sheep:
Las Iguanas, the Latin American-themed brand owned by Casual Dining Group, has launched a new kids’ menu in association with children’s character Shaun the Sheep. The new menu includes a range of healthy options such as crispy chicken bites, crazy quesadillas and cod bites. All meals come with a salad of crispy lettuce, cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, baby tomatoes and pepper. Las Iguanas is also running its kids eat free offer throughout November. The new menu has been launched to celebrate Shaun the Sheep’s first 30 minute film this Christmas called “The Farmer’s Llamas”.

Pret A Manger bags MediaCity site: Pret A Manger is opening its eighth Manchester site with a spot in MediaCityUK this month. Currently scheduled to open on Friday, 20 November, the new shop is creating up to 20 jobs. The new site will feature free Wi-Fi and a seating area of 60 indoor spaces, with a further 30 outdoor spots for al-fresco dining during the warmer months. Sarah Bayley, manager of the new Pret, said, “The new MediaCityUK space has become an exciting, vibrant hub in Manchester and we’re thrilled to be part of the development. There are a lot of people working long and varying hours in the area so we’re looking forward to keeping them fuelled with fresh, handmade food and plenty of organic coffee throughout the day.”

Speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference:
The full speaker programme for the Propel Multi Club Conference this 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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