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Fri 27th Nov 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Ralph Findlay – some of our franchised pubs are taking between £20,000 and £30,000 a week: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay has told Propel the company’s 550-strong franchised division is one of the two key reasons – alongside its new-build pub restaurant strategy – that average profit per pub has grown 40% since 2012. Findlay reported the company now has franchisees who are achieving sales of £20,000 to £30,000 per week with a high food mix at sites previously taking in the region of £15,000 to £20,000. The estate has also seen the growth of multi-site franchisees, with one now running three sites. The success of Marston’s franchise strategy has now prompted the company to invest in its first new-build franchised site, which will see the same levels of investment as its managed pubs – the site will be located in Tyne & Wear. Meanwhile, Findlay said the company would step up its plans to build lodges next to new-build pubs, with five planned in the current financial year – the co-location strategy adds about £3,000-a-week to takings at its pubs. He also said the company is pleased with how the trial of its new Generous George format has progressed. It has added two more to the four it had at the year-end – and expects to add four more before the end of the current financial year to reach an estate size of ten. Findlay said the company had access to significant distribution for it beer brands and “could be interested” in adding to it portfolio if the right brand could be acquired.

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Prizes galore up for grabs in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Sky has partnered with Propel to launch a Christmas Advent Calendar competition in December to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes up for grabs in the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar include two free 12-months’ Sky subscriptions for a licensed venue, tickets to Barclays Premier League football, rugby league, the 2016 British Grand Prix and an NFL match at Wembley plus M&S Christmas hampers worth £100 and 46-inch HD Smart televisions. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “We are delighted to partner Sky and to be able to offer these wonderful prizes to our readers and give them an early Christmas present.” Each weekday from next Tuesday (1 December) until 22 December, one of these fabulous prizes will be up for grabs starting with a 12-month free Sky subscription for a licensed venue. All you need to do to enter is answer a multiple-choice question. Each day, we will announce the previous day’s winner along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Good luck!

Industry News:

Final panel line-up confirmed for Propel and Elliotts Advanced Marketing Masterclass: The final panel line-up for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass has been confirmed. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will leads a discussion with newly appointed Thai Leisure Group marketing director Iain White-Duncan, ETM Group group marketing manager Zoe Knowles and Greene King partnership director Russell Danks about where they see success, their plans for the future and other topics discussed throughout the day. Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the event, which takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The day will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing including contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. It will also include the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential and how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives. 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. 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

Finalists announced for 2015 ALMR Operations Managers Awards: The finalists for the 2015 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ (ALMR) Operations Managers Awards, the annual search for the best in the licensed hospitality, have been announced. The nominees for business development manager of the year representing leased or tenanted pubs are: Martin Bailey from Everards; David Bigio of Thwaites; Stephen Carr, Dominic Doran, Jason French, Caroline Griffiths and Steve Morris of Enterprise Inns; Caren Geering and Edwin Pope from Admiral Taverns; and Richard Foster of Star Pubs & Bars. The area manager of the year finalists representing managed pubs are: Alessandro Bertie and Simon Miles from Casual Dining Group; Martha Ingham and Sarah Pibworth of Mitchells & Butlers; David Layton of Novus Leisure; Howard Nye from Anglian Country Inns and Russell Quelch of Deltic Group. Nick Bish, from the ALMR, said: “We have always been exceptionally proud of the way the awards recognise and reward the best operations managers regardless of size of business. I have nothing but admiration for the phenomenal ability of these individuals to develop the company’s growth strategy by supporting, guiding and encouraging licensees to produce popular and profitable retail businesses.” The entry paper judging sees the nominations whittled down to a group of finalists who are assessed over a day of routine business before heading to the ALMR Masterclass, which will have contributions from leading personalities in the sector, including Everards Brewery managing director Stephen Gould, Brewhouse & Kitchen co-founder Kris Gumbrell and Eclectic’s Jim Fallon. The winning area manager and business development manager will be announced at the ALMR Christmas Lunch on Thursday, 17 December at Old Billingsgate, London.

Survey shows Greggs best for Wi-Fi: A survey by Wi-Fi software company Devicescape has found Wi-Fi at Greggs is the best out of the 40 most used shops and restaurants that offer Wi-Fi. The top five was rounded off by M&S, Boots, PizzaExpress, and Asda. Locations including Caffe Nero, M&S, and KFC require more steps to get online – like asking for personal details or using more splash pages. John Lewis, Barclays and Patisserie Valerie ranked higher in terms of being far more accessible. Mike Hibberd, Devicescape director of marketing, said: “The real takeaway here is not that Greggs has better Wi-Fi than the next brand but that the quality of high street Wi-Fi in the UK is really very good across the board. At the very least the connectivity offered by the brands we’ve listed, and many more we have not, is good enough to stream video to a smartphone.”

Greene King spends £1m on pub advertising campaign: Greene King has invested more than £1m in a new advertising campaign for its pubs. The pub company’s team members and customers were not only the stars of the show, but also the adverts’ directors, as they were handed cameras to film every day moments and events for a new “To the Pub” campaign. The project has resulted in a series of memorable adverts for Greene King pubs, documenting real people in today’s pub. The new “To The Pub” campaign builds on the success of Greene King IPA’s “To The Pub” adverts, which launched earlier this year, evolving the story from beer to wider aspects of a British pub in 2015. Launching this month, the £1m advertising campaign will run over the next year on national TV channels. From Sunday lunches to good times with friends, the adverts vary from tender moments to light-hearted pub banter, all captured by pub teams and customers. By featuring real people and real stories, the campaign aims to evoke a feel-good feeling from viewers about their local and increase awareness of Greene King as a pub retailer. Following the acquisition of Spirit Pub Company earlier this year, Greene King now has more than 3,000 pubs, hotels and restaurants, making it one of the biggest pub companies in the country. Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King, said: “Outside of the industry, our brand is often most associated by consumers with beer. Last year our retail pubs’ revenue reached a record £1bn, which is even before the acquisition of Spirit. With some of the country’s best loved pub and restaurant groups under our belt, and hundreds of popular Greene King local pubs, it is the right time to increase our pub brand awareness and invest in TV advertising, particularly at Christmas, which is a time for celebrating and spending time with friends and family.” To view the ads, visit http://bit.ly/1MFdlWz

Peter Borg-Neal – I’m meeting George Osborne and will raise the VAT issue: Oakman Inns & Restaurants founder Peter Borg-Neal has expressed his disappointment the Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement failed to address the key issues of business rates and VAT – and will raise the issue with Osborne personally. He said: “Business rates are a horribly unfair taxation without representation and they need root and branch reform. I believe we need a change in the way business rates are assessed that looks at profitability rather than turnover. High quality pubs and restaurants that serve quality, freshly prepared food have higher turnover and higher costs than more value led concepts – which might have lower sales but the same profit. However, they employ more people and they tend to lift the quality of the retail environment. It is unfair that they are taxed disproportionately. It is a shame that the uncertainty will continue whilst we wait for the outcome of the review. Arguing about the various types of business rates relief is to miss the point. We need to get on with a new structure that delivers fairness without the need for a complex myriad of concessions. I was unsurprised but disappointed that there is no sign of VAT reform. I make no apology for banging on about the ridiculous anomalies that exist. For example, a supermarket can produce a ready meal in a factory, package it up, transport it to a hub, then to a store and then retail it and apparently there is no value added. A restaurant or pub operator puts an apple on a plate and that attracts 20% VAT. That is clearly unfair and needs to change. However, as an industry we deserve more support from number 11 and the fight will go on. I am meeting George Osborne at a Business Briefing session this week and top of my list will be the VAT argument.”

Company News:

Ladhar Leisure to rebrand itself as Crafted Projects as part of major growth strategy, unveiling new look gin and craft beer bar today: North east-based Ladhar Leisure is rebranding itself as Crafted Projects to fit the company’s profile of developing contemporary destinations for food, craft ales and cocktails. The company is making the change as part of its major growth strategy set to take shape early next year. It plans to turn the Lounge opposite Newcastle’s Central Station into a contemporary Neapolitan-inspired pizza and cocktail offering to be called Central Oven and Shaker, creating about 30 jobs. It will also launch phase one of its White Hart Yard scheme as it plans to turn 30,000 square foot of the grade I-listed property between Grey Street and the Cloth Market into a food and drink destination inspired by pop-up developments in London. Detailed plans are in the process of being submitted and, subject to permission, the first phase should be opened at Easter, creating approximately 40 full-time and up to 60 part-time jobs. The company will also unveil its new look gin and craft beer bar Pleased to Meet You in the city today (Friday, 27 November) after a £500,000 investment. Extensive seating has been added along with the creation of a dedicated dining area with an additional bar, luxury events space, private dining facilities as well as an experimental cocktail club – Viceroy – discreetly hidden in the basement. The refurbishment has seen the site expanded into two adjacent shop units and also created 25 jobs. Director Barry Ladhar said: “We cannot wait to show off the new look Pleased to Meet You. Customers old and new will be surprised at just how much space has been created and we have put that space to good use. It has been an incredibly busy year – as well as our developments on Tyneside we have refurbished The Globe pub in London Bridge and we are looking forward to an equally fruitful new year. The Oven and Shaker will be a fantastic new addition to the food and drink scene while we are extremely pleased at the progress we are making, working with the council and other stakeholders, to develop White Hart Yard.”

The Restaurant Group opens new £1m Joe’s Kitchen ‘centre of excellence’ in Stoke: The Restaurant Group has opened a new £1m Joe’s Kitchen site in Stoke – its biggest investment in the brand to date. The brand, which takes inspiration from London’s Borough Market, has opened the 4,000 square foot restaurant at the Trentham Estate, which will act as a “centre of excellence”. The venue has created 50 jobs and offers a menu of British classics as well as a range of alcoholic and healthy cocktails. The Restaurant Group already operates a Frankie & Benny’s at the site, which is on a former car park and has 60 shops, restaurants and cafes. Operations director Neal Bates told the Stoke Sentinel: “We aim for the Trentham store to become our centre of excellence, where staff from other stores will come and train and where we will trial new food and drink. It’s a great site as there are lots of satellite villages around. After the success of the Frankie & Benny’s outlet there, we thought Joe’s would also be a winner.”

Red Dog Saloon to open first site outside of London in Southampton: Landlord Hammerson has secured an opening by American barbeque restaurant, Red Dog Saloon to WestQuay Watermark, its £80 million dining and leisure development in Southampton, marking the brand’s first move outside of London. Offering diners its signature range of authentic Kansas City style barbecue dishes, Red Dog Saloon has signed up to take a 3,506 square foot unit that will be located on the lower promenade of the development. Red Dog Saloon’s restaurant in Southampton will be the brand’s fourth in the UK, having launched its debut restaurant in Hoxton Square, London which was followed by further openings in the capital in Clapham South and most recently in Soho. Sarah Fox, head of restaurants and leisure at Hammerson, said: “Securing Red Dog Saloon to join the fantastic and varied line-up of restaurants we will be bringing to Southampton is a great result for the scheme. We are particularly pleased that the brand selected WestQuay Watermark to take its first step outside of London, joining a number of others that will also be making their Southampton debuts, as this reflects the confidence that the brand has in the city as a leisure and retail hub.” Tom Brooke, founder of Red Dog Saloon, added: “I am thrilled to be expanding our brand out of London and to customers in Southampton. I look forward to offering a unique and fun concept to WestQuay Watermark.”

Everards publishes first images of new brewery, shops and restaurant complex: Leicestershire brewer and pub retailer Everards has published the first images of the new brewery, restaurant, cafe and cycle centre it wants to build as part of a £30m investment in relocating its existing brewery and creating a new visitor attraction and parkland. Called Everards Meadows, the new headquarters will sit on land between Soar Valley Way and the county police headquarters at Enderby. A planning application, which was submitted to Blaby District Council this week, includes plans to open up meadows between the development and the River Soar with cycle ways and footpaths. Everards has already started building a new £4m brewery yard at the Optimus Point industrial estate, a few miles away near Glenfield. Despite starting work on that project, the overall plans depend on the company getting planning permission for 26 new shops, restaurants and cafes, and a big Next store on the site of its current head office next to Fosse Park. If permission is given early next year, Everards would get “tens of millions of pounds” for the land from Fosse Park owners the Crown Estate and Gingko Tree Investment. Everards Meadows has been designed by Nottingham architects Franklin Ellis using tradition stone with the buildings flowing naturally into the surrounding countryside. Managing director Stephen Gould told the Leicester Mercury: “We would like to attract the finest quality businesses to run the cafe-bar – and kiosks attached to it – and restaurant, which we will construct and own.”
 
Nightclub operator Harewood sees capacity of Vipers Room club slashed, forced to employ ‘experienced picker’: Harewood, the nightclub company led by sector veteran Paul Kinsey, has had the capacity of its flagship Vipers Room site in Kingston slashed and been forced to employ an “experienced picker” to spot potential troublemakers as part of new licensing conditions. The “picker” sits in an office at the Thames Street venue and watches the nightclub’s door camera before deciding which clubbers should be let in. The “picker” was employed after Kingston Council ordered the queue to be “pro-actively monitored” as one of 14 new licensing conditions after a fight temporarily closed the venue down at the end of October. These included reducing capacity from 920 to 750 people, an earlier last admission time of 12.30am and an earlier closing time. Kinsey told the Kingston Guardian: “The Viper Rooms is Kingston’s most stylish venue and unashamedly operates a strict door policy. We have one admission rule which is that if we believe that you, or someone with you, would be likely to spoil the night if we admitted you and your group we refuse the whole group. We have an experienced ‘picker’ based behind a camera in the office who, judges whether they think the people trying to get in are right or not.” Harewood rebranded the club as an upmarket cocktail bar at the end of August after more than a decade as McClusky’s.

North Bar set to open new site in Harrogate in January: Yorkshire-based craft beer company North Bar will open a new site in Harrogate in January. The company will open the venue in a vacant unit in Cheltenham Parade facing the back of Harrogate Theatre, reports the Yorkshire Post. The site will have a bar on the ground floor with the first floor primarily for private hire, although there will be some additional customer seating. Although specialising in cask beers, the new Harrogate North Bar is expected to serve a range of spirits, soft drinks and pastries during the day. North Bar, which launched in 1997, operates six bars in Leeds and earlier this year entered the craft brewery business through its new offshoot, North Brewing Co.

Bristol-based steak brand The Ox opening second site in city and third in total today: Bristol-based steak brand The Ox is opening its second site in the city – and third in total – today (Friday, 27 November). The company is opening the new restaurant in Whitladies Road, Clifton. The menu will remain similar to its Corn Street counter part, but with a new head chef, there will be some subtle differences. Co-owner Nathan Lee told the Bristol Post: “We will be offering Sunday roasts, and the layout of the restaurant is quite different – it’s slightly bigger but it’s all in one room. We have an open bar at the front, so we will be able to cater for people who want to come in and just have some cocktails. We can’t do that in our Corn Street restaurant because of the way it’s set out.” As well as the Corn Street venue, The Ox also has a site in Cheltenham, which opened last month. Lee set up Bristol bars Hyde and Co and The Milk Thistle with two business partners five years ago before launching The Ox with Jason Mead in November 2013.

Matthew Clark relocating Yorkshire operation to Wetherby and invests in major warehouse facility: Drinks distributor Matthew Clark is relocating its Yorkshire operation to Wetherby and investing in the construction of a major warehouse facility. The company is moving from Derwent Valley Industrial Estate in Dunnington, near York, to the Thorp Arch Estate, which will be home to Matthew Clark’s 62,925 square foot warehouse. Building work is set to commence in January and the site is due for completion in the summer. Matthew Clark has been based at Derwent Valley for 15 years, and is transferring all 90 jobs to the Wetherby site. Three former units with a combined area of 93,614 square foot have been demolished at Thorp Arch – a former Royal Ordinance wartime munitions factory – to make way for the warehouse, which will feature nine dock levellers and 6,350 square foot of office space. Matthew Clark’s regional managing director Ian Gordon said: “Our business has grown dramatically during the past few years, which has meant that we are unable to continue to operate from our existing site. Our new warehouse will enable us to continue to offer our customers industry leading service and the best selection of our award-winning range of drinks. This new development paves the way for the next phase of growth of the Matthew Clark business.” Matthew Clark is headquartered in Bristol and supplies more than 16,000 hospitality venues in the UK.

Admiral Taverns appoints Hudson Sandler for new external PR brief: Admiral Taverns has appointed Hudson Sandler to a new brief handling its external PR. The pub company has asked the agency to expand Admiral’s corporate profile and regional and industry presence. It owns more than 900 pubs across the country, run by tenant publicans. Admiral Taverns has worked with Fleet Street Communications for a number of years, and will continue to do so on a project basis. Admiral Taverns head of recruitment and people development Suzanne Smith told PR Week: “We are excited to be working with Hudson Sandler and feel their experience and knowledge in the pub sector will be invaluable as we look to develop our PR strategy and take the Admiral message out to a broader audience.” Hudson Sandler client director Kate Hoare added: “Admiral Taverns is a fantastic company, empowering licensees across the country to run great community pubs and we are delighted to be supporting them in the next stage of growth and development.” Earlier this year, Hudson Sandler was hired by Greene King for a new trade media brief.

Turtle Bay opens new site in York: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay has opened a new site in York as it continues its rapid expansion. The company has opened the 10,000 square foot venue in Little Stonegate after agreeing a 25-year lease with property company Rushbond. It features a 130-cover restaurant with a kitchen and a six-sided central cocktail bar and has created about 60 jobs. Turtle Bay currently operates 22 restaurants nationwide and has its sights firmly set on Yorkshire for its next phase of expansion having launched in Huddersfield and plans in place for openings in Leeds and Sheffield before the end of the year. Turtle Bay founder Ajith Jayawickrema told Insider Media: “When we decided to expand into Yorkshire, York was an obvious location. The city has a huge tourist market, a thriving student population and discerning local residents who appreciate venues that stand out from the crowd.”

New World Trading Company to open new bar and restaurant concept The Club House in Liverpool in January: New World Trading Company will open its new bar and restaurant concept The Club House in Liverpool at the end of January. The company is launching the concept in a specially created pavilion-style building within Chavasse Park in Liverpool ONE. Designed by Paul Danson Imagineering, the traditional décor is inspired by a New England-style Hamptons manor house, boasting a striking interior complete with white panelled walls, an entrance foyer leading to a grand staircase with feature chandelier, a wrap around first floor terrace and private dining room for up to 15 guests. Away from the 200-cover split-level restaurant will be a dedicated beer tasting room complete with self-service taps. Externally the venue features a huge outdoor area that can cater for another 400 covers and features an outside bar and barbecue. The Club House will offer an extensive craft beers and ales list, cocktails, champagne and wine. There will be an open kitchen with a focus on deli, rotisserie and barbecue style dishes as well as live music. More than £100,000 will be invested solely in staff training prior to the launch, and 80-100 jobs will be created. New World Trading Company managing director Chris Hill told the Liverpool Echo: “Liverpool has never seen anything quite like this building and the level of curiosity and intrigue surrounding the build is rising daily. We are on target for our scheduled opening date of the end of January and we cannot wait to bring a little bit of the Hamptons to Chavasse Park.”

Birmingham hospital consultant to open new Italian restaurant in city: Birmingham hospital consultant Luca Laghi is to open a new Italian restaurant in the city. Laghi, who works as a consultant geriatrician at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston, is launching Casanova’s Kitchen on the site of the former Love’s Restaurant at Canal Square in Browning Street. He will run the venue, which is expected to open in February/March, with the help of his mother Angela – who ran bars and restaurants in Italy before she retired – and his brother and sister. Laghi, who will continue working at the hospital, said the restaurant will serve traditional Italian food with handmade pasta that customers can seen being made. He told the Birmingham Mail: “I came across the building while I was looking for a house. It is in front of the canals and looks so cosy inside, such a nice environment. Then I had the idea to use my passion for food and the skills that I have learned over the years. A dear friend of mine, Gabriele Gamberini, who passed away last year, worked as a food merchant and taught me all about buying quality food. He is a great inspiration for me in opening the restaurant.”

Stonegate to reopen Coventry pub next Friday with new name and breakfast, craft beer and pie offer: Stonegate Pub Company will reopen the Castle pub in Coventry next Friday (4 December) with a new name and breakfast, craft beer and pie offer. The company will relaunch the Little Park Street venue as The Castle Grounds following a £300,000 refurbishment that is creating ten additional jobs. The pub, which in part dates back over 300 years, will open from the earlier time of 8am every day except Sundays to serve breakfast and freshly brewed coffee. The new main menu includes sharing platers, sandwiches and a range of freshly prepared pies. Also featuring are a selection of burgers, freshly grilled dishes and ale battered cod and chips prepared with the guest ale of the day. The pub will also be increasing its range of both cask ale and craft beers with ten taps on the bar. There will be offers and entertainment throughout the week while there are nine television screens dotted around the pub, each with its own small group of seating. General manager Jim Gallagher said: “The new name reflects the change in style and offer for the pub. Now open from 8am for breakfast, The Castle Grounds can provide customers with a relaxed alternative to the coffee shop for breakfast, whilst still providing a fantastic community atmosphere and great evening entertainment that the British pub is renowned for.”

Tampopo reopens Manchester site with new customer-influenced look: Tampopo has opened its Manchester Corn Exchange site with a new look. The pan-Asian brand has swapped the grab-and-go vibe of its previous restaurant and embraced a more comfortable approach on the back of a customer survey. The brand got in touch with its database of 50,000 customers when its former site closed asking what they wanted to see more of when it reopened following the redevelopment of the Corn Exchange into a food destination. According to boss David Fox, about 2,500 customers responded, suggesting changes that would improve the look and feel of the restaurant and the menu options. Gone are the familiar long bench seats that everyone associates with Tampopo – and in are cushioned banquettes and large social tables designed to encourage diners to sit and enjoy the space from lunchtime to late evening. The restaurant still seats about 100 people. The new lantern lighting and colour scheme were inspired by Fox’s travels around south east Asia. A standalone holding bar has also been added to create a space for diners waiting for a table or wanting a post-meal drink from Tampopo’s new cocktail list – such as a Singapore Sling or Saigon Negroni.

Arc Inspirations seeks to raise brand awareness by hiring Elliotts: Arc Inspirations has hired Elliotts as its fully integrated communications and design agency. Having opened its first site in 1999, the multi-bar brand and restaurant business, led by Martin Wolstencroft and chairman Chris Ure, operates 14 bars, including Banyan Bar & Kitchen, The Pit, Manahatta, Kith & Kin and The Box. Wolstencroft said: “Our primary aim over the next few months is to raise awareness of our brand. I am confident that Ann (Elliott), account director Sophie Ma and the Elliotts team are going to be very successful in helping us achieve this. Arc Inspirations has a number of brands openings in the next 12 months and I am looking forward to working with Elliotts at this exciting time.” Ann Elliott, Elliotts chief executive, added: “We are incredibly proud to have been appointed to work for Arc Inspirations. The team strongly believes in the brand and we are passionate about raising the company’s profile over the coming year.”

Parisian restaurant concept Frenchie to make UK debut in London: Parisian restaurant concept Frenchie will make its UK debut in London in February. The concept, launched by Greg and Marie Marchand in 2009, will open in Henrietta Street in Covent Garden. It is the first site outside Paris for the husband and wife team who are also behind the Frenchie Wine Bar, deli/sandwich counter Frenchie to Go and the wine shop Frenchie Caviste. The two-floor venue will feature an informal ground floor restaurant and bar. The basement space, with open kitchen that has several seats, can be configured for larger group dining or individual tables. Upstairs, 18 seats at the bar will be reserved for walk-ins. The menu at Frenchie Covent Garden will echo its Parisian counterpart, with dishes heavily influenced by Greg Marchand’s travels around the world. He will use, for the most part, British-sourced ingredients, and thus his dishes will evolve into new adaptations across the Channel. The menu will sit alongside an ever-changing wine list with a focus on artisanal Old World wines, craft beers and a short but seasonal cocktail menu. Greg Marchand spent several long periods in London cooking at the Mandarin Oriental, the Savoy Grill and the Electric House before joining Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, where the kitchen nickname “Frenchie” stuck. He said: “With Frenchie, I wanted to create a lively, yet relaxed place where you want to come but most importantly return again and again. I love London and I am so excited to have the opportunity to bring Frenchie over here and to feed on the energy, the diversity and the ‘richesse’ the city has to offer. I look forward to rediscovering the best of British – both the produce and the people!”

Douglas Jack – we estimate 26% equity return at Marston’s over two years: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has forecast a 26% equity return at Marston’s in the next two years. He said: “In 2015, profit before tax was up 10% to £91.5m versus our forecast of £90.9m and consensus of £91.4m. As a result, profit before tax rose by 15% in half two. Supported by trading starting well in early 2016E, we are holding our 2016E forecasts, on which basis we expect cash flow to be neutral and net debt/Ebitda to fall by 0.3x, despite the progressive dividend and strong expansion plans. Destination and premium like-for-like sales grew 1.8% (food 1.7%; drink 1.7%; accommodation 5.6%) in 2015, with Ebitda margins up 55bps and average Ebit per pub up 3%. Food share of sales is 58% in destination pubs (and 28% in premium bars/ pubs), so it is helpful that this estate is typically located in market towns, away from the pressure of restaurant supply growth. 25 new builds opened in 2015. In 2016E, we forecast 23 new builds, including two sites for Revere. Five of these new builds are expected to have co-located accommodation lodges, up from three in 2015. In taverns, managed and franchised pubs grew like-for-like sales by 2.0% and operating profits by 2.9% in 2015, driven by strong trading in franchise pubs, which account for circa 550 out of 859 outlets in the taverns estate. Also helped by disposals (average disposal multiple: circa 18x Ebitda), average profit per pub grew by 20% in 2015. We expect all this estate to eventually be franchised. Leased estate like-for-like profits rose by 4% (including rental income being up 3%) and brewing like-for-like own brewed ale volumes were up 5% in 2015. Due to the successful Thwaites’ acquisition, total brewing volumes were up 15%. We are holding our 2016E profit before tax forecast (£99.0m; consensus £98.8m), which is based on assumptions of: 1.5% like-for-like sales growth in destination and premium and taverns; 2% like-for-like profit growth in leased; and 3% like-for-like growth in own brewed ale volumes. We previously factored in a £2m impact from the National Living Wage, but have assumed no offsetting efficiency gains (even from the new EPOS systems).
As half two 2015’s 15% increase in profit before tax indicates, Marston’s is generating strong organic growth. Even on estimates of profit before tax growth slowing to 7% per annum, we estimate that Ebitda growth/dividends should drive a 26% equity return over the next two years if the 10x EV/Ebitda rating holds.”

Plans submitted to convert former Tolly Cobbold brewery into mixed use scheme including restaurants: Plans to convert the derelict Tolly Cobbold brewery in Ipswich into a new hub for homes, businesses, a conference centre and a range of cultural and leisure facilities have been unveiled. Pigeon Investment Management has submitted an outline planning application to Ipswich Borough Council on behalf of Cliff Quay Developments. The old fermenting hall inside the brewery building will be converted into a 250-seat auditorium, which will host lectures, entertainment and conferences, and there will also be an outdoor performance area. There will also be room for business start-ups and the existing Brewery Tap will be integrated into the conversion. In addition, more than 220 new homes will be built on surrounding land in a style designed to complement the brewery building along with small retail, restaurant and café facilities and a health club. There will be a new home for the Ipswich Transport Museum and a tourist attraction hosting the Cobbold family brewing archive. The brewery opened in 1896 but ceased operating in 2002.

B+B Collection adds York site for £2.15m: The Groves Hotel in York has been acquired by operator The B+B Collection in a deal negotiated by Colliers International. The sale was agreed for close to the asking price of £2.15m. Located in St Peter’s Grove, The Groves Hotel has 26 en-suite bedrooms, dining room, staff accommodation and private parking. The B+B Collection has acquired The Groves to join its portfolio of bed and breakfasts across the country, which includes pilot project B+B Belgravia, which opened in London in 2004. The brand has since gone on to open B+B hotels in Edinburgh, Weymouth and Wickham, with The Groves being its fifth acquisition in just over a decade. All the properties are historic, and all are listed, buildings redeveloped with design-led contemporary interiors which draw inspiration from their individual locations. Peter Bean, who advised the vendors on the sale, said: “Superbly situated an easy walk from the Minster, The Groves was acquired by the current owners in 2009 and converted from a training centre into a highly profitable bed and breakfast business. York was the natural next location for B+B Collection, which has grown a successful portfolio of hotels in cities, which enjoy a strong tourism trade. We look forward to seeing B+B Collection put its unique stamp on the property.” Colliers acted on behalf of the vendors, a private client.

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.

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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