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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 3rd Dec 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Carlsberg – visiting the pub remains number one out-of-home leisure activity but increased competition forcing trade to fight for share of market: Visiting the pub remains the number one out-of-home leisure activity for UK adults but increased competition is forcing the trade to fight for its share of the market, a new survey has found. The second annual Carlsberg UK Consumer Insights Report, which explores the current trends and consumer buying behaviours shaping the UK on-trade, has found consumers are enjoying a new-found confidence, while value-seeking habits developed during the recession remain. The report reveals consumers spent a record £145m in the leisure market in 2014. Almost 60% of people surveyed are looking for new experiences, forcing pubs to compete with coffee shops and restaurants, which are growing in visits ahead of pubs, up 5% and 4% respectively, versus 2% for pubs. At home occasions are also rising as consumers spend more time in their homes to save money during the week, which is driving the trend for treat occasions at the weekend. 81% stated they want to moderate their drinking. 47% said they visit the on-trade weekly, with visits to pubs, coffee shops, gyms, restaurants, sports events and shopping all in growth – this rises to 62% with the under 25s. Over 35s are just as likely to visit a coffee shop as a pub, while millennials are just as likely to go to the gym or go shopping as go to the pub. The number of women visiting the on-trade has grown by 1.4% since 2011, with 23% now visiting the pub weekly. The quality of food now outranks value for money for consumers when choosing a pub while digital platforms, including social media, are growing in importance. Carlsberg director of brands and insight David Scott said: “While the report highlights new and ongoing challenges for the UK pub, the study also delivers key insight to trends and opportunities, including value in sport or all-day dining in pubs, and an in-depth understanding of today’s pub-goer. For example, we know that four in five people are now really thinking about their alcohol habits and plan to moderate their drinking – a significant consumer movement and opportunity for pubs. The on-trade environment is ever-changing and the variety of occasions and options available to consumers continues to grow, meaning we need to work with pubs nationwide to provide reasons to visit, and return.”

The Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition:

Win two tickets to 2016 British Grand Prix in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Two tickets to the 2016 British Grand Prix are up for grabs (see terms and conditions here) on day three of the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: What medal did Anthony Joshua win at the 2012 London Olympic Games? a) Gold b) Silver c) Bronze. Once you have chosen your answer, you can enter by clicking here. We will announce the winner in tomorrow’s newsletter along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Congratulations to Lee Cayford from The Kings Head in Winchmore Hill, Greater London, who was yesterday’s winner of two tickets to a Barclays Premier League football match. Sky has partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes still up for grabs are a free 12 months’ Sky subscription for a licensed venue, tickets to an NFL match at Wembley as well as more tickets to Barclays Premier League football matches and the 2016 British Grand Prix. There are also M&S Christmas hampers worth £100 and 46-inch HD Smart televisions. Good luck!

Industry News:

Benchmarking survey reveals bright outlook for sector as companies see increase in turnover and Ebitda margin: The outlook for the hospitality sector is bright with companies seeing substantial rises in turnover and Ebitda, according to the results from this year’s Propel and haysmacintyre benchmarking survey. All the indicators from the data collected for The haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index, which includes results from 80 sector companies, point to a positive future and “continued growth in the sector”, said report editor and haysmacintyre head of hospitality Andrew Ball. This year’s average turnover per site per company was £1.03m, a 3.6% increase on last year’s figure while turnover on the whole was up 18% as companies expanded. Ebitda as a percentage of turnover has grown significantly from 11.1% in last year’s survey to 13.4%. Ball hopes to expand participation in 2016. He added: “We are committed to making The haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index an annual event in the hospitality industry calendar and one that will add value to our own clients as well as the wider sector.” Companies who took part in the survey will receive a copy of the full report in the coming days – and interested parties can apply to take part in next year’s survey at

Another New York restaurant scraps tipping: The movement to do away with tipping in New York gained steam with the announcement this week that fine-dining restaurant Eleven Madison Park will move to a model in which service is included in menu prices. Eleven Madison Park owner Will Guidara told Eater NY that he would raise the price of the restaurant’s prix-fixed menu to $295 from $225 in the new year, when minimum wage rates in New York City rise $2.50, to $7.50 per hour, for tipped employees, and increase 25 cents, to $9, for non-tipped employees. Guidara said he would keep tipping in place at his á la carte restaurant, The NoMad, also in New York. The movement to do away with tipping was given a shot in the arm earlier this year when respected restaurateur Danny Meyer said he would gradually eliminate tipping at all of his 13 full-service restaurants, which started in November with The Modern at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Guidara worked for Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group for many years, including a stint as general manager of The Modern.

Greene King reports IPA demand increases by 1,600% in China:
Greene King is shipping 50,000 cases of India pale ale (IPA) to China following a surge in demand after president Xi Jinping drank a pint of the beer with David Cameron on his state visit to the UK. The company said demand for IPA from China had increased by 1,600% after Jinping’s visit to Greene King’s pub The Plough at Casden in October. He and Cameron drank beer and ate mini-fish and chips at the pub, close to the prime minister’s country residence, Chequers. Beer importers in China reported a spike in demand for IPA after pictures of the two politicians appeared on social media. The Chinese Communist party liked the image because it is seeking to portray Jinping as a man of the people. Rooney Anand, Greene King’s chief executive, said the order boom coincided with the Chinese new year in February. He told The Guardian: “If the British prime minister chooses to drink IPA that’s normal but if the president of China chooses to drink a certain drink it attracts lots of interest. We’ve had a sixteen-fold increase in orders from China for IPA in the last few weeks and 50,000 cases are on a boat now to arrive in time for Chinese new year.” Anand said his export team was putting extra effort into building contacts with importers of British beer to China, where the year of the monkey starts on 8 February.

Starbucks begins Delivery by Postmates trial in Seattle: Starbucks is collaborating with leading on-demand delivery service Postmates for a pilot in Seattle, where customers can have Starbucks food or beverages delivered to them within designated areas of the city. Starbucks Delivery by Postmates, the latest addition to the company’s digital offerings, is an extension of the Starbucks Mobile Order & Pay feature, a popular aspect of Starbucks’ app. “Our customers are highly engaged with Mobile Order & Pay, placing five million transactions a month, so delivery becomes a natural extension that provides another easy and convenient way to meet them where they are in their day,” said Adam Brotman, Starbucks chief digital officer. Initially, customers will be given a 60-minute window for delivery but most orders will arrive in less than 30 minutes.

Family brewers report growth in tourism and brands produced: The Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB), whose members currently operate about 4,200 pubs in the UK, has released the results of its annual members’ survey showing a boost from brewery tourism and an expansion in brands produced. The results reveal while the market remains challenging, tourism represents a key area of growth and is enabling brewers to maintain their market share. Tourism is a valuable source of sales and brand awareness for family brewers, with 56% of members offering a visitors’ centre. The demand for this type of attraction is clearly growing, with 192,260 visitors throughout the last 12 months; over 64,170 more than in 2014, representing an increase of over 50%. Alongside the interest in visiting a traditional British brewery, the desire to stay in a pub is also on the rise, and in an effort to meet this demand accommodation at managed houses is also up, with IFBB pubs offering a total of 129 additional rooms year-on-year. The family brewers are offering customers 704 beer brands between them, across cask, keg, seasonal beer, bottled and canned formats. This is an increase of 94 from 2014, representing growth of 15.4%. Overall, family brewers brew 685,000 barrels of beer per year, which equates to 30% of the total cask market. Peter Wells, chairman of the IFBB operations committee, said: “Our annual members’ survey truly provides an unrivalled insight into our historical and culturally rich brewing industry. The market still presents its challenges but the results of this research prove that our members are continuing to make their brands and pubs a success, particularly by making the most of the opportunities available to them through tourism.”

Company News:

Douglas Jack issues ‘Buy’ note on Restaurant Group shares: Numis Securities leisure analyst has issued a ‘Buy’ note on The Restaurant Group shares. He said: “Recent weakness, largely in response to concerns over the National Living Wage (NLW), has created a good buying opportunity, in our view. Ironically, we believe the NLW could emerge as a positive, not a negative, for The Restaurant Group, due to it having a greater impact on other operators. We expect RTN to fully offset the NLW through cost savings, in addition to which it has just made menu price increases in a market with less NLW-related supply growth and promotional activity. Over the three years to March 2015, restaurant supply grew at a CAGR of 6.7%, but 56% of this occurred in high street locations. However, since March 2015, the pace of restaurant supply growth has slowed to just 2.0% annualised. This was caused by independents pulling back, possibly due to the NLW. Whereas the NLW is likely to have a material impact on low pay/price operators, RTN should be less affected with half of its staff being under the age of 25, and more than 60% of those over 25 already earning more than the NLW. We would be surprised if management has not already made the £1.6m of cost savings needed to offset April 2016’s NLW. Our forecasts assume a £2.0m impact from the NLW, but include no mitigation action (such as cost savings and price increases) or trading benefit (even though RTN’s historic like-for-like sales are correlated to NMW increases). RTN’s like-for-like volumes have been growing at 1-2% pa over the last four years, although with minimal food price inflation over the last two years. Against a backdrop of a 32% reduction in restaurant market price promotions, we noticed that RTN put up menu prices at Frankie & Benny’s by 2.0-2.5% last week, including the addition of clever family value offers. In our view, this further adds to the upgrade risk in 2016E. We estimate that H1’s new openings generated weekly sales that are almost 13% above the company average. Hence, we expect RTN to accelerate expansion as market supply growth slows. We forecast c.10% earnings growth in each of the next three years, during which net debt is forecast to fall by 30%. Our positive recommendation reflects increasing returns, an excellent site pipeline and our view that the NLW will redistribute profit from low price/cost operators and independents to strongly-positioned companies, like The Restaurant Group.”

Giraffe reports turnover up, losses increase: Giraffe, the restaurant brand bought by Tesco for £50m, has reported turnover rose to £55,021,630 in the year to 1 March 2015, up from £44,486,245 the year before. However, losses for the period were £3,943,363, compared to a loss of £398,827 the year before. The number of employees rose to 1,317 compared to 1,140 in the year before. The company stated: “The results are mainly influenced by site assets impairment – the impairment for the period is £2.3m (2014: £1.7m).” The impairment charge was reduced from £3,089,825 after trading improved at three sites allowing the release of a previous year impairment of £796,000.

Chilango raises £3.4m as crowdfunding round ends: Mexican brand Chilango has raised a total of more than £3.4m with its funding round on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having now ended. The company, which is looking to expand in the UK and overseas, was offering 3.26% of its equity as it looked to raise £1m – but it exceeded its target with 1,519 investors pledging a total of £3,433,010. Its largest investment was £400,000 while over £500,000 was invested in the final 36 hours of the round. The pitch stated: “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.

Bakkover launches Inferno pizza concept in Nottingham: Bakkover Foods has launched its new pizza concept Inferno, trading under the Inferno Group vehicle, in Nottingham’s Trinity Place, opposite the Intu Victoria Centre. Inferno serves custom-made pizza in super-quick time using 900-degree ovens. Customers can craft their own pizza with over 50 freshly prepared toppings (for over a million different combinations) or select from one of the six Hall of Flames signature pizzas, including The Inferno. Whatever the pizza, however many toppings, it’s all for less than £7. Michael Johnson, operations manager at Inferno Nottingham, said: “You can’t escape the UK’s love affair with pizza – so what better way to satisfy that appetite than opening an interactive, new pizza place where you can create your own freshly made pizza, get great value for money and be ready to enjoy it in less than five minutes? Nottingham is fast gaining a reputation for its vibrant food culture; we’re proud to be part of this exciting new phase.”

CD Pub Company acquires fourth site: Classic Developments (CD) Pub Company has secured its fourth site with the letting of the Old Chequers Inn in Crowle, Worcestershire, on a free-of-tie basis. The company has acquired the property off a guide rent of £45,000 per annum through agent Fleurets, which was acting on behalf of a private landlord. CD Pub Company now plans to refurbish the 17th century two-storey building to deliver a “high quality pub dining experience”. Development director David Mills said: “We’ve been looking for the right venue to complement The Forest at Feckenham for over a year and our highly acclaimed head chef Tom Robinson will be based at The Chequers, but oversee the menu development and food preparation at both pubs. We are investing nearly £500,000 in a full scale stylish refurbishment of the pub, both inside and out, which includes a new roof and an increased electrics supply to the pub.” Established in 2008, CD Pub Company also operates the Stag at Offchurch and The Moorings at Myrton, which are both in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.

Douglas Jack – we’ve upgraded our Greene King forecasts by 3-4%: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued an ‘Add’ recommendation on Greene King shares and upgraded his forecast by 3-4% after yesterday’s (Wednesday, 2 December) half-year results. He said: “Half one profit before tax increased by 47% to £121m largely due to the acquisition of Spirit Pub Company. Adjusted earnings per share was up 15% in half one, with managed like-for-like sales up 2.0%. We are upgrading our 2016E forecasts by 4% (other years by 3%) due to £3m of incremental acquisition synergies and £9m of positive fair value accounting adjustments in 2016E. We are upgrading our 2016E profit before tax forecast (from £241m to £251m; consensus £238m) which still assumes minimal like-for-like growth despite even softer comparables in half two. Our upgrades solely reflect increased guidance for acquisition synergies (of £12m rather than £9m in 2016E; £35m rather than £30m in total) and fair value accounting adjustments. Our ‘Add’ recommendation reflects the attractive dividend and a return to earnings growth in 2016E.”

McDonald’s hires new strategy chief from Kraft Foods: McDonald’s has named Chris Kempczinski as its strategy chief, as part of a wider reshuffle at the top. Kempczinski joins McDonald’s from Kraft Foods, where he served as executive vice-president of the firm’s international business outside the US, representing roughly $3bn in net revenue across 80 countries. Prior to which, Kempczinski worked for PepsiCo for eight years – in his last role he was responsible for the company’s non-carbonated beverage brands including Aquafina, Lipton, AMP Energy, Izze, Tropicana and Dole Juice Drinks. Kempczinski will report to McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook. “At this time in our business, Chris brings an unparalleled level of strategic expertise coupled with a fresh perspective to our brand management team,” Easterbrook said. “Chris is a proven global leader with a solid track record of success and will play an instrumental role moving our brand forward.” Kempczinski is the third senior hire from outside to join the firm in recent months, long known for its insider promotion track record. In June, the fast food giant hired Robert Gibbs, Barack Obama’s former administration press secretary, to be global communications chief, and McDonald’s also brought in Silvia Lagnado, a former marketing executive at Bacardi and Unilever, to take on the role of marketing chief.

BrewDog offers support for new businesses with free work stations at five bars: BrewDog is offering to support the launch of new businesses by providing free work stations at five of its UK bars. It stated: “Making the leap into a new business is daunting enough so we are extending a helping hand to budding entrepreneurs up and down the country, by launching a new start for start-ups. For the next month, we are adding a Business for Punks workspace to five of our UK bars. A workspace (will be) solely reserved for new business start-ups, with coffee, stationery supplies, super-fast Wi-Fi and Business for Punks bibles on hand for added inspiration. These ultimate hot-desks will be trialling at the following BrewDog bars – DogHouse Merchant City, BrewDog Liverpool, BrewDog Manchester, ShuffleDog Leeds and BrewDog Soho.” Start-ups have been asked to send a 140-character pitch via each bar’s Twitter account for a chance to be chosen for a month’s free start-up space.

St Austell Brewery strengthens pub estate by acquiring site in Exton: St Austell Brewery has strengthened its pub estate by acquiring a site in Exton, Devon. The company has bought the Puffing Billy Inn, which is on the Exe Estuary cycle trail between Exmouth and Topsham, for an undisclosed price. The sale was made by Torquay-based agent Bettesworths after being instructed by owners Robert and Tina Palace to explore the market on a confidential basis. St Austell Brewery has brought in experienced pub operator Adam Holland and his family, who are relocating from Kent to run the pub. Bettesworths managing director Matt Bettesworth told the Exeter Express & Echo: “The Puffing Billy is a rather iconic pub and well known throughout Devon and further afield. I am delighted that St Austell Brewery have not only completed on the sale but also found very competent and experienced operators in the Holland family to run this rather special venue.” The Puffing Billy is the latest pub in the Exeter area to be acquired by St Austell Brewery, which already owns the Dolphin in Burnthouse Lane, the Mill on the Exe in Bonhay Road, the Samuel Jones on the Quay, the Globe in Topsham and the Blue Ball Inn at Sandygate. The company owns 168 pubs and inns across the south west and employs more than 1,000 people.

Whitbread launches expanded breakfast choice at pubs co-located with Premier Inn:
Whitbread’s Premier Inn brand is launching a new breakfast menu selection to widen the brand’s appeal to its customer base. The revamped menu has been developed following several months of customer research, and comes 18 months after the last breakfast menu refresh. The new menu introduces 16 new breakfast products in addition to the existing 21 strong range,. The new items range from fruity smoothies, Greek-style yoghurt and American-style buttermilk pancakes to bubble and squeak and black pudding. There have also been additions to the freshly baked options with a range of pastries available daily. The Premier Inn all-you-can-eat full breakfast, containing 32 offerings, is priced from £8.99, the Continental, containing 22 offerings, is priced at £6.99, and is available now in all Premier Inn hotels with Beefeater, Brewers Fayre, Table Table, Taybarns, Thyme and Whitbread Inns, and nationwide from January.

Bedford restaurateurs open second site in town: Bedford restaurateurs Manolis and Karen Christou have opened their second site in the town. The husband and wife team, which owns Greek restaurant Athena Palace in Midland Road, have launched Argentinian-inspired barbecue restaurant concept El Greco Eatery in Tavistock Street. Karen Christou told the Bedfordshire News: “We have had great success with our first restaurant in Bedford and decided to head over to this side of town. With restaurants you really have to move with the times, so offering our Argentinian-inspired barbecue gets people quite excited, as does our new surf and turf menu, which is very trendy right now. But most important I think it is our character that brings people back again and again. When people go out they want something special so we help them have the best night.”

Cote to open new restaurant in Haywards Heath on Monday: French brasserie Cote will open a new site in Haywards Heath, West Sussex, on Monday (7 December). The company is opening the restaurant in The Broadway on the site of a former newsagent and the neighbouring Nepalese and Indian restaurant Everest Spice. It will be the fourth Sussex venue for the brand having opened sites in Brighton, Chichester and Horsham.

Merseyside operator reports losses as a result of Liverpool restaurant and hotel oversupply: Merseyside-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Bispham Green Brewery, owned by the Ainscough family, has reported it has plunged into a losses after a sharp decline in turnover. Turnover was £3,216,995 in the year to 28 February 2015, compared to £3,683,508 the year before. Losses were £594,096, compared to a profit of £431,156 the year before. The company said the hotels and restaurants side of the business is “still being adversely affected by the oversupply of hotels and restaurants in Liverpool”. Spokesman for the board Martin Ainscough said: “2015-16 is proving to be another challenging year in all areas of the business. However, I remain optimistic that we now have in place strong teams to recover the business lost over the last few years.”

Camerons to convert tenanted site for sixth Head of Steam opening: North east brewer and retailer Camerons Brewery is bringing its Head of Steam pub brand to Teesside with the opening of a new venue on Norton High Street. Located at the site of the brewery’s previously run tenanted pub Perry’s, The Head of Steam will be the sixth venue in the Camerons premium cask and craft brand. Work is currently underway at the venue and the new site will open on Thursday, 17 December. The Head of Steam pubs are known for its diverse range of premium cask and craft beers from local and worldwide brewers as well as a high end selection of wines, spirits and cocktails. Chris Soley, director and general manager of Camerons, said: “Norton has established itself as one of Teesside’s most exciting new areas for food and drink and it is the perfect fit for our Head of Steam brand. We feel our venue will complement the other fantastic bars and restaurants in Norton and attract more customers to the area. The development of this venue shows our commitment to provide the north east with a selection of fantastic pubs in the region and we are delighted to introduce The Head of Steam to the Teesside area.” The Head of Steam will offer five cask ales with a focus on local breweries alongside 14 keg beers and lagers, five of which will rotate offering customers a diverse range of world beers. The fridges will have a focus on Belgian Trappist bottled beers as well as a selection of the newest American craft ales.

Snug Bars launches new cocktail menu: Snug Bars, led by Giles Fry and Ashley Moore, has launched a new cocktail menu across its seven venues in the Home Counties. The company, which won “Best Cocktail Menu” at this year’s Hertfordshire Food & Drink Awards, has introduced new cocktails that feature 1950s ingredients, white chocolate and bitters, 100% blue agave premium tequila and other flavours. The menu features new cocktails including The Snug Craft Cocktail, which changes every month, and is for four people to share. For every Craft Cocktail sold, £1 is being donated to Team Margot, the stem cell donor registration charity. Other new cocktails include the Absolut Gangster while classic drinks such as the Long Island Ice Tea, Pina Colada, Woo Woo and Bellini remain on the menu. Fry said: “Our customers visit The Snug to enjoy great cocktails with a twist, which they can’t find anywhere else. We are so proud of our new and unique additions to the menu this season, which we are sure everyone will enjoy.” All guests who download the loyalty app have the opportunity to win free drinks every week and “Happy Hour” has been extended to a daily event, offering two for one across all cocktails. The Snug is also running a Christmas party menu over the next month focusing on sharing platters and home-made comfort food.

Antic London opens Knowles of Norwood: Antic London, the operator of circa 35 pubs led by Anthony Thomas and backed by investment fund Downing, has opened Knowles of Norwood in West Norwood. It has opened in a former discount store and has been fitted out in Antic’s “vintage industrial” chic style, in this case reflecting the original hardware store premises from which the pub has taken its name. It features ales from Antic’s own brewery Volden. The website states: “Opening soon after the initial bar, the kitchen will serve a seasonal modern British menu – think home-made bar snacks and a cracking Sunday roast with all the trimmings.”

University plans to convert historic sauce firm’s Sheffield headquarters into pub: The former home of Sheffield sauce Henderson’s Relish on Leavygreave Road is set to be transformed into a pub. The iconic site’s planned new use has been revealed weeks after the University of Sheffield purchased the building from the Church Burgess Trust and pledged to keep it open to the public. A competition for architects to come up with a design will now be held and work is expected to start next year – although it is not yet clear when the pub will open or what it will be called. Pamela Freeman, managing director of Henderson’s, which is now based at a complex off The Parkway, said memorabilia from the company’s history would be displayed in the venue when it opened. She added: “We’re thrilled to be working with the university to keep the spirit of Henderson’s alive and are looking forward to displaying some of the company’s history within the new pub. This is a wonderful tribute to the importance of the Henderson’s brand to the city and we can’t wait to see the results of the design competition.” The university said it will work closely with the Henderson’s team to convert the building, which will retain its famous front and side signage. The site closed two years ago when staff moved out of the headquarters.

Vaulkhard Group pledges refurbishment of iconic Quilted Camel as venue celebrates 20th anniversary: Newcastle-based Vaulkhard Group is set to refurbish Newcastle’s iconic The Quilted Camel, which has been trading for 20 years, next year as part of its £4m development plans across its 14-strong estate. Director Ollie Vaulkard said: “Not only does the Quilted Camel mean a lot to us, but it is well loved among our customers so we are keen to honour its style throughout the refurbishment. At the time, we weren’t just building a brand new bar, we were doing it within a grade II star-listed building, which was unheard of in those days so there was a lot of buzz and excitement around the opening. When we first opened, the drinking culture was very different to what it is now with less availability of choice of venue or their offerings so originally we aimed to provide customers with something a bit more radical and invested as much as we could into refurbishing the venue, which had previously stood stagnant for seven years. We were the first leisure group to install a groundbreaking lighting system as part of the interior, and I can remember customers saying they thought it was unbelievable as the design was very state-of-the-art for that time. Because I had invested so much into it and paying people I realised I didn’t have enough money to put in the float for opening night so I had to sell my Fiat Tipo. Thankfully, I was able to buy it back the next day.” To celebrate The Quilted Camel’s 20th anniversary, the original menu from the day the venue opened will be offered to customers throughout December as a nostalgic way to mark the occasion. Vaulkhard Group now owns 14 bars, coffee shops and restaurants including Barluga (Newcastle and Morpeth), Perdu, Bealim House, The Mushroom, The Quilted Camel, All Seeing Eye, Blackie Boy, Pacific House, Blake’s coffee shop and Central Bean (Newcastle and Morpeth) and employs over 100 staff.

Soho pop-up becomes permanent: Pop-up restaurant Shackfuyu has re-opened its doors as a permanent fixture on the Soho dining scene following an extensive refurbishment. Originally opened in February this year as a pop-up restaurant, Shackfuyu has re-opened after a successful nine months with a new look and menu. Owner Ross Shonhan has renovated the site in order to create a comfortable and permanent venue. Diners will now find a new bar with marble counter seating for 12, a 16 seat sharing table, and an additional private dining area in the basement. The colour scheme is significantly altered, the distinctive green walls replaced with dark grey, yet with flashes of green retained in the upholstery and wall tiles. 

JW Lees managing director – what we’ve learned about running a family business: William-Lees-Jones, managing director of north west brewer and retailer JW Lees, has given his views on how to run a family business successfully over several generations. In a blog for Business Insider, he wrote: “Running a family business, however, is doubly complicated – the additional dimension of family on top of the three traditional stakeholder groups – board members, shareholders and employees – means there are 15 possible permutations rather than just seven. No wonder that less than 10% of family businesses make it to the third generation, or ‘clogs to clogs in three generations’, as we say in Lancashire. So what’s the secret? It’s simple: talent, education, hard work and planned succession. No one can go on forever and JW Lees was lucky my father and uncle were happy to stand down from day-to-day roles over a decade ago. I then became managing director with the support of the family since we could all see that JW Lees worked better as one rather than a series of business units lead by different family members. But the planning for this had happened many years ago since family members cannot apply to join the business until five years after they have finished their formal education. We then employ them at a similar level to the job they held externally. Their joining is based on true meritocratic principles and each brings external experience and learning to their role. JW Lees is a relatively large business so we can find a place for any family member and our senior team is composed of 14 people, split 50/50 family/non-family with properly defined executive and non-executive roles. This has worked for the fifth and sixth generation of our family (G5 and G6), with G6 meeting once a month to talk about the wider family issues. It’s a fundamental part what we do: speaking regularly and frankly so that issues cannot become problems or create family tensions. We visit competitors – San Carlo, Hawksmoor or Toby Carvery. What we don’t talk about is the valuation of the business or potential deals: that would defeat the goal. But we do talk about the children’s education as well as planning the summer family barbecue following our AGM. Stewardship is a wonderful concept and places a focus on getting the business strategy right and investing for the long term. Too many entrepreneurs are wooed to sell out and then management teams are stalked by venture capitalists who can see unexploited value. This leads to optimising short-term results rather than building great long-term businesses. The same is true of investors – when Warren Buffet and Terry Smith invest, their time frame is always the same – forever – no planned exit but choosing the alchemy of the combined power of compound interest with great management teams. They understand that transactional costs and short-term imperatives get in the way of building great companies. Wake up people: the evidence says two-thirds of all deals do not add shareholder value; but they do keep the professional community in business.”

Marketing begins for phase one of Shoreditch village development:
Property agent Restaurant Property has begun marketing phase one of the Shoreditch Village development. It reports a well-known restaurant chain has already agreed terms for one of the units that are being marketed. Restaurant Property is currently talking to operators in the retail and restaurant world about the remaining A3 (restaurant) and A1 (retail) units at this new site. Handover of phase one is scheduled for October 2016. Mark Calder, director of leasing at Restaurant Property, said: “This is an area that has seen considerable growth in recent years and a place to be for trendy restaurants and brands. We anticipate the interest will be competitive for the retail and restaurants available within Shoreditch Village, as is the case with all of our central London developments in today’s market.” Shoreditch Village will be a vibrant mixed-use 150,000 square foot development. It will include a 200-room hotel, offices, residential and retail space, plus a food market and restaurants.

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 to book or to obtain further details.

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

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

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