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Wed 25th Nov 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BHA – foodservice companies have captured 42% of UK consumer expenditure on food and drink: The British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) latest report on the foodservice sector shows businesses now serve more than four million customers each day, representing sales of £83.9bn – 42% of total consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering in the UK. One in four meals in the UK is now consumed out of the home. Upward trends point to continued growth in out-of-home dining over the next five years. The leading companies surveyed by the BHA expect the sector to generate 10,000 new jobs in the next 12 months on top of the 268,000 currently employed by companies. The BHA report presents findings of an annual national survey of companies. Respondents underlined expectations for growth in the demand for “street food”, healthy options and reduced sugar in meals served. Longer-term trends remain uncertain, in particular consumer demands of the millennial generation. Results also show 100% of companies surveyed are providing healthier alternatives and lower calorie options in addition to: 94% reducing salt in their meals; 88% including more fruits and vegetables in menus; 88% training chefs on cooking healthy options; 81% reducing fat in meals; 81% reducing added sugar in meals; 75% removing artificial trans fats; 69% including calorie labelling on menus and 50% reducing calories per portion. Ufi Ibrahim, BHA chief executive, said: “This is a remarkable achievement and significant work is ongoing to further improve menus and choice in the foodservice sector. Similarly, there has been positive engagement across many restaurant and hotel caterers, demonstrating the willingness of industry to work with government to improve public health and reduce obesity in the UK. Significant investment has been made by many companies to bring reporting in line with the Responsibility Deal. We would therefore urge the Department of Health to revive the Responsibility Deal, building on the commitments of hospitality businesses. Continuity of the programme would help to encourage the participation of greater numbers of businesses.” A separate independent study for the BHA by Oxford Economics confirmed hospitality as a whole is the UK’s fourth largest industry. In 2014, it accounted directly for 2.92 million jobs. Adding in indirect employment of 775,000 (where hospitality firms purchase goods and services from UK suppliers) and induced employment of 941,000 (where hospitality and supply chain employees buy consumer goods and services), the total economic impact of hospitality is over 4.6 million jobs, 14% of total employment in the UK. This equates to gross value added of £143bn, some 10% of UK gross domestic product.

Industry News:

Propel and Thinking Drinkers launch second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: Propel is launching its second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour on Thursday, 28 January in London, this time focusing on south London. The tour, led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, will visit seven of London’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour tour. McFarland and Sandham will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation analysis, and spot up-and-coming trends. Site visits will include Q&A sessions with London’s leading retailers, looking at award-winning sites, a hybrid bottle shop and bar, beer-centric retail, mobile canning, beer sourcing, direct sourcing, menus, brewing on-site and a host of other issues. The day includes lunch and breakfast and travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 for non-ALMR members. Email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com to book or to obtain further details.

London Union – we have a strong site pipeline, including a site in Philadelphia, plus lots of international approaches:
London Union, the street food market company led by Henry Dimbleby and Jonathan Downey, has reported it has received head of terms on a 10,000 square foot site in Philadelphia and has a strong pipeline of new sites in the UK. The company has so far raised £605,000 on crowdfunding platform Seedrs, towards a target of £3.5m in return for 10.01% of its equity. The company told investors on Seedrs: “We’ve had quite a few questions about details of our current leases as well as our property pipeline. The fact that we are able to negotiate short and long-term leases as well as obtain planning and licensing consent on a variety spaces is a core strength of the business. We already have leases signed on the following sites: Dinerama in Shoreditch has a five-year lease on approximately 15,000 square feet, Model Market in Lewisham has a ten-year lease on approximately 10,000 square feet; Hawker House in Canada Water has an 18-month rent-free lease on approximately 25,000 square feet of warehouse space and approximately 8,000 square feet of outdoor space for the spring/summer; The Lewisham Union in Lewisham has a ten-year lease on approximately 30,000 square feet. These sites are either low rent or no rent: we pay around £6 per square foot on Model Market, less than £5 per square foot in Shoreditch and £0 per square foot in Canada Water. Lewisham Union is £3 per square foot. By 2019 we plan to have 12 local sites open as well as the flagship market in central London. We hope to have at least six of the local sites open by next summer. The six will be made up of the four existing leases we hold plus the following two sites where we are in negotiations: Dalston Yard, where we expect to be able to agree another spring/summer license to operate from 1 May to 30 September 2016 (and) a second Dinerama site in W12 on 15,000-25,000 square feet of space. In addition to these we currently have a strong pipeline of over 20 potential sites in discussion with landlords and agents. Some examples include: our circa 110,000-150,000 square foot flagship market at the location of an iconic but disused market in central London; a 15,000 square foot site under railway arches near the Tower of London; an approximately 30,000 square foot old mannequin factory in Earls Court; a 10,000-15,000 square foot disused market in Tooting; a 60,000 square foot warren of arches alongside one of London’s busiest tube and train stations; a huge disused retail store and car park adjacent to Wembley Stadium. We have no immediate plans to open outside of London but will look seriously into doing this once our local markets are established next year. Despite this, we receive regular enquiries regarding opportunities for new openings, joint ventures and franchises abroad. So far we have been approached in relation to South Africa, Hong Kong/Shanghai, Sydney/all of Australia, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam and Dubai. In the past few months, Jonathan Downey has visited sites and met traders and potential bar partners in Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Austin. We have also received heads of terms on a 10,000 square foot space in Philadelphia.”

Velocity forms partnership with Concur: Velocity, the digital hospitality solution, has announced the integration of its app with Concur, the global leader in integrated travel and expense management. Customers can use the Velocity app, now available in the Concur App Centre, to pay their bills instantly at premier restaurants and clubs in London, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco – and immediately submit the expense receipts. “Our corporate clients will now enjoy a smoother experience with Concur every time they dine on business,” added Zia Yusuf, Velocity co-founder and co-chief executive, who, during his previous role as executive director at Goldman Sachs, experienced first-hand the frustrations that submitting numerous expenses can bring. The partnership strengthens Velocity’s offer to frequent diners in the $32bn corporate dining market and confirms its position as the world’s leading international mobile payment and loyalty platform for the high-end diner. Adrian Lloyd, business development director at Concur, said: “Our partnership with Velocity allows our customers to dine at the world’s best restaurants and bars without having to wait for their bill or process numerous receipts. This industry-first agreement will save organisations time and money by allowing staff to process their expenses automatically. What’s more, it provides firms with additional insight.”

Alton Towers reports ‘human error’ caused rollercoaster crash: The crash on the The Smiler rollercoaster at Alton Towers, which left four people seriously injured and could result in almost 200 job losses, was caused by “human error”, the Staffordshire theme park has confirmed. The park’s operator Merlin Entertainments also said The Smiler, which was at the centre on the accident in June, would reopen next year. A statement from Alton Towers said the crash was a “result of human error culminating in the manual override of the ride safety control system without the appropriate protocols being followed”. The impact of the accident has hit Alton Towers operator Merlin Entertainments, with a reduction in visitors to Alton Towers leading to an 11.4% decline in like-for-like revenues year-on-year. The statement added the ride will include an “extensive set of new safety measures” once it reopens, along with “an additional level of authorisation” to ensure there is no manual override. “The technical improvements include multiple additional CCTV cameras and additional manual reset buttons around the track which require staff to inspect each individual section to verify it is clear before authorisation can be given to restart the ride,” Merlin added.

BII launches Licensee of the Year competition: The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the leading professional body for the UK’s licensees, has opened entries for its annual Licensee of the Year awards, with a brand new prize of a trip on a European study tour. Sponsored by BT Sport, Licensee of the Year aims to identify the publican who has demonstrated the highest levels of business acumen and commitment to their staffs’ personal development as well as the progression of their own business. Speaking about winning the competition in 2015, Keith Marsden, joint licensee of The Prince of Wales in Birmingham, said: “This is the biggest accolade you can get, and receiving recognition from your peers to say that you are at the top of your game is a bonus. It’s great for customers and staff too; affirming staff that they’ve made the right decision in their place of employment, and confirming for customers that they’ve chosen a fantastic pub to drink in. It’s helped to create a real sense of pride in our business, and really boosted staff culture and morale.” The closing stage of the competition will see all six finalists attend a panel judging day in May 2016, where they attend an interview in London with a panel of industry specialists. To celebrate getting to the finals, these six licensees will receive their trophies and celebrate in style at the BII’s annual summer event on 7 June 2016. The well-deserved winner will receive the top prize of a European study trip. For more information about the BII’s Licensee of the Year awards visit: https://www.bii.org

Company News:

Mitchells & Butlers offers 15 pubs to let, two on assignment: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has decided to seek to let 13 pubs from within the Orchid Pub Company portfolio, within an assignment of two other Orchid leases. M&B owns the freehold on 13 of the pubs, which are being let, it is thought, because they do not fit within the company’s brands portfolio. M&B already has 55 pubs that it lets to other operators sitting within its leased division, formerly known as its franchised division – the pubs do not carry M&B brands and are let to single site and multi-site licensees. The pubs in the 15-strong package are: Parsons Pig, Crawley, (new lease); Marquis of Granby, Old Harlow (new lease); Bold Forester, Southampton (new lease); Olde Bull, Gwent (new lease); Seven Stars, Stafford (new lease); Owens, Southsea (new lease); Westbury Park Tavern, Bristol (new lease); Shirley Inn, Croydon (new lease); Bran Stand, Manchester (new lease); Hollow Tree, Warrington (new lease); Farmers Arms, Liverpool (new lease); Tumbledown Farm, Cannock (new lease); and Fox & Hounds, Grantham (assignment); and Crown Point, Sevenoaks (assignment). A spokesman for M&B said: “We are constantly reviewing our estate, looking for opportunities to deliver the best value from our assets, whether that’s through our managed or leased portfolios. This is part of that process and each site is being reviewed independently.”

Yummy Pub Company to open sixth site on 9 December: Yummy Pub Company is to open its sixth site on Wednesday, 9 December. The Daniel Defoe pub in Stoke Newington has been renamed The Stoke Newington Tea House. It is an extension of its partnership with landlord Charles Wells and will have a focus on tea. Food-wise the pub will be offering Yummy’s popular British main and tapas menu with a twist. In addition to a range of Charles Wells beers, the teams will also be offering 100 different loose leaf teas from around the world served morning noon and night alongside a tea cocktail menu. Top-end coffee will also be available and they’ll be a retail space too. Anthony Pender, of Yummy Pub Company, said earlier this year: “We’re really excited to be adding a high street site to the Yummy line-up and we’ll be transforming The Stoke Newington Tea House by drawing inspiration from what has worked well at our other sites as well as bringing some totally new, original and unusual ideas to the table. We’re delighted to be working with Charles Wells once again for our latest project, the team are always flexible and supportive in helping bring our vision to life at our partnership pubs.”

ETM Group founders launch Asian grab-and-go concept: ETM Group founders Ed and Tom Martin have launched new breakfast and lunch-on-the-go concept in London. The Martins have opened Yum Som in Leadenhall Street that specialises in Asian-influenced salads, built fast and fresh to order layering rice or noodles with healthy greens, vegetables and fruit, meat or tofu, and finished with Asian herbs, crispy toppings and tailor-made dressings. The menu also features grab-and-go options including: rice paper rolls; glass noodle salads; small pots; Yum Subs and soups. The breakfast selection features smoothie bowls; spiced porridge; shaobing (layered Chinese flatbread with a variety of fillings); cold-pressed juices and Union coffee. Customers can opt to takeaway or eat in the 1,471 square foot 24-cover venue. Together under the ETM Group umbrella, the Martins have opened a dozen successful, award-winning gastro-pubs and restaurants/bars in prime locations across London. Yum Som is open from 7am-5pm Monday to Friday and closed at weekends.

Chilango passes £2.5m mark on Crowdcube: Mexican brand Chilango has passed the £2.5m mark on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having extended the offer. The company, which is looking to expand in the UK and overseas, is offering 3.26% of its equity for £1m – so far, £2,525,190 has been pledged from 1,142 investors with seven days left. The largest investment to date is £280,000. Chilango has also now posted links to videos from some of the key industry people on why they have invested in this round of funding. These include Carluccio’s chairman Simon Kossoff, former Costa Coffee managing director Mike Dowell and ex-Domino’s Pizza UK chief executive Chris Moore. The pitch states: “Long-term we believe Chilango is a multi-billion pound brand in the making, and we have an incredible group of deeply experienced investors that support us in our vision.” The company has previously raised £2m through a mini-bond on Crowdcube.

Second Canteen and Cocktails opens in Newcastle: Two north east leisure entrepreneurs have opened a second Canteen and Cocktails site, this time in Newcastle and are looking at rolling out the concept in the north of England. Barry Faulkner and John Adamson have launched the bar and restaurant in Dean Street following a £500,000 investment, creating 40 jobs. The concept, which opened its first venue on Teesside last year, mixes the industrial north east with the American Deep South. The decor at the Norton venue has an industrial edge with exposed light bulbs, large stripped back solid wood tables and Victorian washroom toilets. Canteen and Cocktails serves authentic American pit barbecue food – such as “Crock ‘O’ Bones” and “Kentucky Piggy Treat” – cocktails and shows all major sporting events. Live music and DJs are also playing at weekends. Faulkner, who co-owns La Pharmacie, the accompanying Medicine Bar in Middlesbrough’s Corporation Road and the town’s Empire nightclub, told ChronicleLive: “There’s potential to roll the name out across the north too, so we’re looking to Harrogate and Leeds and will open up one at a time.” Adamson is director of the Ramside Estates group, which includes Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, in Carville, County Durham.

TGI Friday’s launches first virtual reality restaurant experience: TGI Friday’s has launched the UK’s first virtual reality restaurant experience for this year’s festive season, ensuring a Christmas party like no other. The fully-immersive 360-degree experience transports guests to the snow-covered Lapland Province for 90 seconds. Guests at Friday’s will be able to take the reins of a dog sled pulled by ten huskies which weaves through a snow-capped Lapland landscape at breakneck speeds, as the tree branches pass overhead and the scenery whizzes past. The award-winning restaurant chain created this experience further to carrying out research to investigate what Brits look forward to the most in the build-up to Christmas, or as Friday’s puts it – the #JingleEffect. The research revealed dog sledding was the Christmas activity adults in the UK would like to try above anything else. It also discovered Lapland is Brits’ dream Christmas location, and a white Christmas would be a “festive wish” for nearly half of Brits (43%). Friday’s then brought all this to life in the virtual experience. The trial has already been piloted at TGI Friday’s Westfield Stratford in London and is set to make further visits at selected restaurants across the country throughout December. The experience uses the new Galaxy Gear VR headset, released just this month, and is powered by the Galaxy S6 generation of smartphone and Oculus virtual reality technology. Rachel McDowell, marketing manager, TGI Friday’s UK, said: “We always pull out all the stops for Christmas at Friday’s, like our UK-first mistletoe drone last year. We thought long and hard about how to top that this year for guests as part of our Jingle Effect campaign and we couldn’t think of a better way of doing that than making people’s Christmas dreams come true virtually at Friday’s.”

New cocktail and ‘hip’ lounge concept opens in Andy Thornton building in West Yorkshire: New cocktail bar and “hip” lounge concept Vine has opened at a converted mill in West Yorkshire. The concept has been launched by Lynda Gianotti and Chris Ball at the historic Victoria Mills in West Vale near Halifax. Vine serves a wide selection of classic and bespoke cocktails, fine wines and craft beers, transforming into a “hip” lounge later in the evenings. The industrial-themed interior features scaffold-style drink stands with reclaimed pine tops that have been matched with French cafe bar stools in a mix of antique red and pewter finishes. The lounge area includes a run of fixed button-back banquette seating and cast iron cruciform tables with reclaimed pine tops and French cafe-style metal chairs facing large window-like mirrors with steel frames. The converted mill is also home to Indian restaurant Cinnamon at the Mill and Catch Seafood Restaurant as well as furniture wholesaler Andy Thornton, whose management team bought the mill ten years ago.

Leon to hit double-figure openings in 2015 with two new sites:
Healthy food brand Leon is to open two more sites this year – making a total of 11 in 2015. The company, led by John Vincent, will launch in Pancras Square on Monday (30 November) and at Leadenhall Market on Monday, 14 December. The openings will bring the total estate to 33 sites, all located in London. Last month, Leon secured an £11.5m funding package from HSBC to help the brand expand both in the UK and overseas and restructure existing debt.

Nick Batram – there’s a tough road ahead for Mitchells & Butlers new chief executive:
Peel Hunt leisure analyst Nick Batram has argued Phil Urban, Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) new chief executive, has “a tough road ahead”. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note, he said: “FY15 results were broadly in line but the return to the dividend list was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, that’s where the good news started and finished. Current trading is weak and this together with the National Living Wage means 2016 will be even more challenging. Phil Urban is the latest in a long line of chief executive’s to outline how he will get the top line moving. He has a tough job on his hands and M&B still looks more like a value trap than a compelling recovery story. The group generated circa £30m more free cash in the current year compared to last driven by better working capital and ended the year with circa £89m of net cash flow and net debt of £1,870m. The circa £21m dividend won’t move the needle but does bring M&B back on the dividend list with management promising a progressive dividend policy going forward. Capex came in flat at circa £162m (below guidance), and management guide to a higher maintenance capex going forward to protect its established business and expand with its smaller high value brands. Market supply has grown at significant pace taking share away from pubs to the casual dining space, new openings have reached dizzying heights with supply coming close to circa 2,000 new openings in 2015 (M&B had circa 1,800 outlets in FY15). This competitive effect will also manifest itself in competition for new staff as the National Living Wage continues to present head winds. Management do not guide to an impact to National Living Wage though we expect margins to remain challenged going into FY16. Focusing on the smaller, high value brands may be the right move going forward but questions remain on whether this will deliver results of sufficient scale in the context of the overall group. Shares collapsed from the start of the year, as trading was increasingly affected by competition and weaker like-for-like trading. The group now trades on 10x FY16 price-earnings ratio though we expect this to remain challenged given current trading. With a dividend announced this year, the group trades on circa 2% yield, hardly compelling but it does at least give investors something. We keep our forecasts under review till we get more colour on management’s plan for the estate going forward and the impact of the National Living Wage.”

Quilvest completes sale of YO! Sushi for circa £82m: Quilvest Private Equity has completed the sale of YO! Sushi to Mayfair Equity Partners for a total consideration of approximately £82m. Quilvest acquired a controlling stake in YO! Sushi in March 2008. Over the last seven years, YO! Sushi has undergone transformational growth, with net revenues almost tripling and recording a compound annual growth rate of 14% under Quilvest’s ownership and stewardship. It stated: “The company’s UK restaurant estate has grown from approximately 30 mostly London-centric sites to 75 units today spread across the entire UK. The company has also successfully expanded internationally, in existing territories such as the Middle East as well as in new territories such as Norway, Denmark and more recently the US, where Quilvest actively supported the company in structuring and setting up its US expansion strategy, including the opening to-date of four company-owned restaurants in Florida and New Jersey.”

Young’s reopens Esher pub following £500,000 refurbishment: Pub operator Young’s has reopened The Bear in Esher, Surrey, following a £500,000 refurbishment. The company has given the pub a fresh lease of life and serves a seasonal British menu. Taking inspiration from its location just minutes from Sandown Park racecourse, the horse-riding heritage is acknowledged with decorations including bridle and helmet accessories. There is also a nod to the nearby former Brooklands motor racing circuit, with pictures of the historic track and its famous cars adorning the walls. The expansive outdoor area comes complete with heaters and knee rugs. The menu includes juniper and hazelnut duck breast with sprout tops and damson jus; and Wiltshire cured bacon, sautéed potatoes, saffron cream and poached duck egg as well as a selection of Sunday roasts. The bar stocks a range of cask-conditioned and seasonal ales alongside lagers, pale ales, ciders, craft beers and an expansive wine list.

Enterprise Inns pub in Gloucester wins restoration award: Enterprise Inns’ Northend Vaults pub, which underwent a £250,000 refurbishment before reopening last year, has won the Best Major Restoration or Sensitive Alteration category at the Gloucester Civic Awards 2015. The company won the accolade that recognises significant schemes that have ensured the future of a large historic building. Extensive refurbishment of the Northgate Street pub, run by Steve Wood, began in April 2013, and it reopened a year later. The investment by Enterprise saw first and second floor repairs to a water damaged timber frame and lime rendered walls. A room on the first floor, which was damaged by fire, was split into a new kitchen and bathroom, while exposed brickwork was repointed throughout the pub. Enterprise regional manager Simon Wilson and regional property manager Ian Menhinick were joined at the awards ceremony by Sarah Shields, designer at ABA Architecture, which was behind the restoration work. Wilson said: “We’re delighted to have won this award. We were up against some very stiff competition, including large and significant developments at two of Gloucester’s best-known historic buildings. Our publican Steve deserves to be recognised for helping put the pub back on the map following what was a significant investment by Enterprise in this landmark Gloucester pub.” The awards are run jointly by Gloucester Civic Trust, the city council, local newspaper The Gloucester Citizen, and Marketing Gloucester.

QHotels to invest £50m in sites over next two years, expects to break £200m turnover mark: Leeds-based group QHotels is set to invest £50m across 27 of its hotels in the next two years. The company, founded in 2003 with just two hotels, is this year expected to break the £200m turnover mark for the first time. Following a stellar year in which QHotels is already 12% ahead of last year’s figures, founders Michael Purtill and Ian Goulding are making an investment in the rooms as well as conference and events spaces. The company is spending £1m specifically on Wi-Fi for corporate customers and other residents. Purtill told The Business Desk: “We constantly look at ways to deliver better products and services and how we can continue to improve, based on our customers’ feedback. The £50m will be invested in areas specifically highlighted, such as Wi-Fi, to ensure that we continue to lead and innovate in the sector.” In November 2014, the company acquired six former De Vere Hotels and De Vere Luxury Lodges. Last year QHotels reported a turnover of £132m, excluding the six De Vere properties. The group is also a major player on the golf scene, with 11 resorts across the UK.

Harbour Hotels buys Chichester site for £6m: A grade II-listed boutique hotel in the West Sussex city of Chichester has been acquired by Harbour Hotels for more than £6m. The Ship Hotel features 37 bedrooms themed in the style of recent productions at the nearby Festival Theatre as well as a stylishly refurbished restaurant. It was offered with detailed planning consent for a large extension including 25 additional bedrooms. The property is located within Chichester’s Roman walls, close to the high street and historic cathedral. It was sold by Chichester Hotel Company, represented by Savills. Mike Warren, managing director of Harbour Hotels, said: “We are very excited to be taking the Harbour Hotels brand to Chichester; it’s an exciting location and a key strategic position from our perspective. The Ship is a prestigious, landmark property with some outstanding features. There is an excellent team of staff at the property and we are delighted to have such an addition to the Harbour Hotels portfolio.”

Small Street Espresso first brand to sign for Bristol scheme: Small Street Espresso has become the first retailer to sign up at Wapping Wharf, Bristol’s newest harbourside quarter. The company will open its second site at the development, featuring a shop for customers to buy coffees for home use along with expert advice available on selection and brewing techniques. The new shop will be twice the size of its existing site and will create up to four full-time jobs and about three part-time roles. Wapping Wharf will provide more than 600 apartments in total, with the first phase comprising 168 homes. It will also feature independent restaurants, cafes and shops. Stuart Hatton, director at Umberslade, one of the developers behind Wapping Wharf, said: “It is fantastic news that Small Street Espresso is going to open a new cafe at Wapping Wharf. As the first retailer to join this new neighbourhood for Bristol, they are a great indication of the type of business we are looking to attract, fitting in perfectly with our community ethos.”

Pub companies partner Orderella for National Pub Quiz: Orderella, the leading mobile ordering app which allows customers to order and pay for their food and drinks using their phone, and Beds & Bars, the leading operator of tourist accommodation and entertainment venues in Europe, have teamed up to provide a range of venues for the UK’s first National Pub Quiz on Tuesday 1 December. Bed & Bars will provide six venues from its Belushi’s brand in London and Bath, as well as traditional venues like The Flying Horse, St Christopher’s Pub and The Hercules Pillars. A host of other pub companies including Yummy Pubs and Banwell House have all signed up to take part in the event. National Pub Quiz Day will raise money, including £5 from each competing team that signs up, for the charity Team Margot Foundation, which supports the wonderful people charities and research related to bone marrow/stem cell transplants, blood disorders like leukaemia and those caring for child cancer patients. The quiz, which is being run in partnership with MyBigIQ, the quiz event specialists and digital integrated marketing specialists, D-Media, will be played simultaneously across all venues at the same time, with nine rounds of general knowledge devised to find a winner. Those looking to take part can do so whether they are part of a chain or independent. To participate in National Pub Quiz Day simply register a team of around five players at National Pub Quiz Day or turn up at one of the registered pubs on the night. Dennis Collet, CEO of Orderella, said: “We are delighted Beds & Bars have signed up for what is sure to be a really exciting night. The pub quiz is a British institution and we want to find out which pub has the best general knowledge in the country. There’s sure to be a lot of competitiveness out there, but teams shouldn’t worry about missing out on any questions while they’re at the bar. Quizzers can use the Orderella app to order food and drink and have them brought to their table so they don’t miss a thing! It’s also important to remember this is for a great cause and it is helping to raise awareness for the amazing work Team Margot Foundation does on a daily basis.”

Shaftesbury – The West End continues to flourish: Property landlord Shaftesbury, which has a portfolio of 257 restaurants, cafes and pubs in the West End, has reported sustained demand for sites. Chief executive Brian Bickell said: “The West End continues to flourish, benefiting from the long-term growth in London’s economy, population and visitor numbers. Our exceptional portfolio, based in the busiest and liveliest parts of the West End, is focused on shops, restaurants, cafes and pubs. Extending to over one million square foot, these uses produce 70% of our rental income. They have a long record of sustained demand and rental growth, unaffected by wider economic and property market cycles. I remain confident that our innovative and successful strategy will continue to deliver growth in rental income, long-term values and returns for shareholders.” Of its restaurant portfolio, it stated: “Planning policy in the West End generally seeks to regulate the provision of new restaurant space, in the interests of preserving a balance of commercial uses and the amenity of local residents. This, together with reluctance by existing operators to relinquish their valuable sites, severely limits the supply of space. Tenant demand continues at historically high levels. In our sought-after locations, we regularly receive numerous competitive offers for available units and pre-letting is common. Our areas attract interest from independent operators, established street food concepts, start-ups seeking their first site and existing small restaurant groups with new ideas and creative partners. With consumers keen to experience different concepts and tastes, these operators are particularly interesting and relevant to our villages, broadening our dining and leisure offer and bringing both customer and social media interest.”

Cru Kafe looks to raise £300,000 on Seedrs: Ethical coffee brand Cru Kafe is looking to raise £300,000 in an equity fundraiser on crowdfunding site Seedrs in exchange for 5.67% of the company’s stock. The Cru Kafe, which makes organic, Fairtrade coffee capsules for espresso machines, is looking for cash to help grow its business. Co-founder and chief executive Colin Pyle told City AM the company was looking to hire more staff, and invest in marketing, especially print and TV advertising. Cru Kafe also needs to “stabilise its working capital”, which Pyle said was the business’ “biggest issue at the moment”, and needed between £75,000-£100,000, as the company looked to reach new customers and sales channels. The company says its sales are growing at about 15% a month, up to £60,000 in October, and Pyle added the company “has lots more room to grow”. Pyle founded Cru Kafe two years ago on Kickstarter with John Quilter and Bodil Blain, and since then has raised £800,000. This is its first crowdfunding campaign, and Pyle said the group was also looking at other potential sources of investment. Kru Cafe has given itself a £4.9m valuation, which Pyle told City AM is based on annualised revenues of £60,000, and assumes 6.5x growth. The brand is stocked in upmarket outlets including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Wholefoods, Ocado and Partridges in Sloane Square, and has relationships with Soho House and Jamie Oliver’s restaurant groups.

Dalata appoints new general manager at Chiswick hotel ahead of completion of £20m upgrade: Ireland-based hotel operator Dalata has appointed Thomas Doyle as general manager of the Clayton Hotel Chiswick in London ahead of the completion of a £20m upgrade. Doyle joins from Jurys Inn, where he worked his way up to becoming general manager of the company’s Islington property. He said: “This is a very exciting opportunity for me and an important chapter in the history of the hotel.” The £20m project includes the addition of 104 bedrooms and the upgrading of the existing 227 bedrooms, a new bar and restaurant, new state-of-the-art meetings and events facilities, and a more spacious reception area. The hotel is open while the work, due to be completed in February, takes place. Meanwhile, Gaurav Puri, who previously worked at Claridge’s as a sous chef, has been appointed the hotel’s head chef. Clayton Hotel Chiswick, formerly the Chiswick Moran Hotel, was acquired by Dalata as part of the €452.3m [£324m] purchase of nine hotels from Moran Bewley’s Hotel Group in February and rebranded with the Clayton name in May.

Propel and Elliotts partner for Advanced Marketing Masterclass: Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass. The event takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. It will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing across the sector including how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives and the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential. There will also be the latest insight into consumers’ behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers as well as how to brief and work with an agency effectively. The event will feature contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will also lead a panel discussion with marketing directors from leading brands. Tickets are priced at £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com
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