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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 15th Dec 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Opening boom spreads to UK regional towns: Nearly two in three British towns have seen their numbers of pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs rise or stay the same in the last year, the latest edition of the licensed trade’s Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA Peach has revealed. The exclusive research shows that of 236 British towns with more than 100 licensed premises, only 85 saw their stock fall in the year to end-September. The growth is being driven by casual dining restaurants in particular, with more than four in five towns – 203 out of 236 – increasing their number of food-led licensed premises over the year. The figures are more evidence that the licensed trade is back in growth after years of steady decline, mostly driven by the closure of drink-led pubs. Across the whole of Britain, the Market Growth Monitor measured a little over 124,000 licensed premises at the end of September – 0.6% more than at the same point in 2014. This marks a slight slowdown in growth in the three months since the last Market Growth Monitor, but overall trends are broadly positive across the whole country. The latest findings follow figures in the first edition of the Market Growth Monitor that showed many cities have sharply increased their numbers of licensed premises. Other findings from the new research include: Southport and Solihull are the two large towns with the most new openings over the year, each growing their numbers by 4.1%. Taunton, Worthing, Cheltenham and Stockton-on-Tees all grew their numbers of licensed premises by at least 3%; over a five-year measure Milton Keynes is the town with the fastest growth, increasing its number of licensed premises by 37% in the last five years; some large towns continue to see a decline in their numbers of licensed premises, with the north of England particularly affected – Burton-on-Trent, Oldham, Rotherham, Stafford and Barnsley have all seen their numbers of licensed premises fall by more than 10% in the last five years; cities continue to attract new openings, with Coventry, Leicester, Cardiff, Exeter, Liverpool, Bradford and Bristol all increasing their supply of licensed premises by more than 5% in the last year. CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin said: “This is more welcome news for the eating and drinking out sector. Our first Market Growth Monitor showed that many large UK cities are sharply increasing their numbers of restaurants and bars, and this latest data shows the pattern is fanning out to suburban and market towns too. It is particularly pleasing to see the growth extended well beyond London and the south east, with more and more operators recognising potential in the regions. While capacity remains an issue, it is encouraging to see the sector firmly on the front foot.” 

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Win M&S Christmas hamper worth £100 in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: A M&S Christmas hamper worth £100 is up for grabs (see terms and conditions here) in today’s Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: What is the nickname of Super League grand final winners Leeds? a) Camels b) Stags c) Rhinos. 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 Adam Lewis, from Projectpub in Malton, North Yorkshire, 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 include a free 12 months’ Sky subscription for a licensed venue, tickets to an NFL match at Wembley, the 2016 British Grand Prix and another Barclays Premier League football match. There is also a 46-inch HD Smart television to be won. Good luck!

Industry News:

Operators complain about Global Payments crash: Operators have complained about losing takings after Global Payments, the subsidiary of HSBC, crashed on Friday evening between 5pm and 9.30pm, meaning they couldn’t take card payments. One operator told Propel: “It was a nightmare – we think it cost us between £15,000 and £20,000 on the evening. At one site we had our busiest ever lunch and we were expecting to take £10,000 on the day – but ended up taking just £5,000. Customers were streaming out of sites when they realised the problem and had no cash on them. We used swipe machines but some sites ran out of slip. The same thing happened about eight or nine months ago and we had to fight and fight to get compensation – if it’s like last time we’ll only get around one-third of lost earnings back.” The Myddleton Arms in Islington posted on Instagram: “Unfortunately we can’t take card payments for the time being as the #globalpayments system is down across the UK. Grrrr.” Other operators took to Twitter to report the problem. Bristol-based Aquilla Restaurant said: “If you are visiting us or any other establishment tonight please be aware that global payments card processing systems are down! #HSBC #mare.” MeatLiquor added: “Due to circumstances outside of our control, we are unable to accept card payments. Cash only. Apologies for any inconvenience.” One customer who planned to visit dim sum, gourmet Chinese teas and artisan cocktails restaurant Ping Pong tweeted: “Yet again system down at South Bank. Won’t be risking another visit.” Global Payments area manager Tony Wood said: “Please accept our apologies for any payment processing issues experienced on the evening of Friday, 11 December. We are continuing to work diligently with the third party provider to identify their issue from last Friday. The matter was resolved that evening and all functionality was restored. However we appreciate this impacted some card payment terminals that required to be reset. Although our systems were fully operational at all times, we always strive to ensure the highest level of satisfaction from our customers and recognise and understand the inconvenience caused by our third party provider.”

NPD forecasts foodservice trends for 2016: Insights firm NPD Group has made it forecasts for key foodservice trends in 2016. They are: experimentation and customisation less loyalty, more variety. Consumers want new flavours, fusion foods, and premium options. Winners create customisable food, and small sharing dishes to facilitate experimentation and fun. They evolve the menu regularly to drive frequency and encourage “word of mouth” visits; super-convenience – “convenience” is no longer enough. Consumers don’t want to waste time; they don’t want to queue; they want an easy life. Winners invest in technology; apps and websites must be improved; click and collect pervades: everything for everyone – operators widen the net. Consumers are busy, their days are not rigid, and they want everything available all the time. Winners extend opening hours, and offer more menu variety; alcohol in fast food, breakfast in pubs; adaptable to everywhere – be wherever the consumer is. Consumers need access to operators. They travel more than ever, but also work from home. Winners open smaller premises or new “micro-sites” – outside of large locations with high footfall – offering a narrow menu to suit the different premises; “human” customer relationships – innovation and creativity to engage. Consumers need new reasons to engage with brands in a recovering market awash with choice. Winners utilise ads and social media to provide a “human” interaction with consumers, moving from a transactional (bland, product-based) to a friendly (warm and conversational) relationship. Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice for the UK and France, said: “Consumers are much more demanding than they were a few years ago. They expect higher quality of food and beverages, they enjoy diversity and want to live an experience when eating out; as a result, consumers are harder to satisfy and less loyal. Operators who will win in this difficult market will embrace consumers’ expectations; they will constantly think about raising their game to surprise their guests.”
Starbucks site suffers tax non-payment graffiti attack: A Starbucks site in Tudor Square, Sheffield, has suffered a tax non-payment graffiti attack. Vandals splattered the facade of the shop in green paint, leaving the message “Pay UR tax”. A Starbucks spokesman said: “It’s a pity that this vandal is so ill-informed. We pay our taxes and in our last financial year we paid over £11m in corporation tax.”
BBPA partners VisitEngland to launch scheme for pubs: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has partnered with VisitEngland to launch a new scheme for pubs. The Quality Assessment Scheme will provide pubs with a VisitEngland accreditation based on the quality of their service, welcome, food and cleanliness. The BBPA and VisitEngland hope the new service for “tourism” pubs will help to spread best practice and raise standards. It is open to pubs with or without accommodation. Pubs will pay an annual fee and receive a mystery visit from an experienced assessor who will test all aspects of the customer experience – from arrival to departure. Scores will be awarded in each area, which will allow for benchmarking across the sector. VisitEngland will award special accolades annually for “top performers”. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Raising standards, and providing the right support in doing so, is a vital challenge for the tourism and hospitality industry. This new quality standard demonstrates VisitEngland’s great commitment to putting pubs right at the heart of its work, and we were delighted to work closely with them in its development. I’m also very pleased that BBPA member pubs will receive a discount when they join the scheme.”

Company News:

Sourced Market raises more than £700,000 of £750,000 crowdfunding target: Sourced Market, which serves 12,000 customers a week in St Pancras producing net annual revenue of £2.9m and Ebitda of £372,000, has raised more than £700,000 of its £750,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, led by Ben O’Brien and Dan O’Niell, is offering an 8% interest bearing mini-bond as it looks to expand with more sites. So far 176 investors, including further investment from its venture capital backer Pembroke (on identical terms), have pledged £714,000 with five days left. Sourced Market has posted the new interior designs for its Marylebone site, which is expected to be fitted-out in January. In the current financial year to September 2015, sales were up by 14% compared to the same period last year. The company has recently announced that it will be working with music promoters AEQ next year at the British Summer Time Hyde Park festival, organising and managing over 50 street food traders as a British street food trader. The Sourced Market business plan shows sales of £12,317,000 from four sites in 2020, producing site Ebitda of £1,860,000.
Marco Pierre White to open second central London restaurant tomorrow: Celebrity chef and restaurateur Marco Pierre White will open his second central London restaurant tomorrow (Wednesday, 16 December). Marco’s New York Italian will be situated within the Mercure London Bridge hotel and will be the tenth new opening this year for his Black & White Hospitality franchise business. The £200,000 London Bridge venue will be debuting the new menu for the brand, which brings a twist on traditional Italian food by combining the taste of America with inspirational flavours. The new menu includes Spaghetti di Pomodoro and Pizza Americano (tomato, mozzarella and spicy sausage) as well as hickory smoked baby back ribs. It is the 11th Marco’s New York Italian in the UK and will be the fourth to be introduced at a Mercure hotel, following in the footsteps of Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon and Leicester.
Friska to open in Birmingham as first step in national roll-out: Independent healthy eating brand Friska is opening a new outlet in Birmingham next year. The unit in Eleven Brindleyplace will launch in February and be the company’s seventh site and its first outside of Bristol. It will cover 1,700 square foot across the ground and first floors where it will employ six staff and serve food such as soups, burritos and sandwiches. The company, which was founded in 2009, is the brainchild of Griff Holland and Ed Brown and plans to expand nationwide over the next five years. Holland said: “We’re really excited to be opening our first store outside Bristol and Birmingham was the obvious destination. Brindleyplace is a thriving business location, with a vibrant social scene around its central square. We’re focused on continuing our successful growth in 2016 and are confident that Brindleyplace will be the first of many Friskas in Birmingham.” Jonathan Lawes, director at Cube Real Estate, which asset manages Eleven Brindleyplace, added: “Friska is a thoroughly modern business with exciting plans to take its unique brand of food and beverages across the country and we’re pleased to see it come to Birmingham.” Friska has signed a five-year lease. It was represented in the letting by Hartnell Taylor Cook while Bilfinger GVA acted on behalf of the landlord.

Ed’s Easy Diner opens new site at Doncaster shopping centre: Ed’s Easy Diner has opened a new restaurant at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre in Doncaster. The company has launched the 2,600 square foot site on South Central Square on the upper level following the relocation and upsizing of two existing Frenchgate brands, Blue Inc and Garage Shoes. Ed’s Easy Diner chief executive Andrew Guy told the Doncaster Free Press: “Frenchgate is a fantastic opportunity for Ed’s Easy Diner and we are very pleased to be opening in the centre. Frenchgate is the heart of shopping in Doncaster, and its impressive line-up of brands is very popular with consumers. We were attracted by its position as a leading destination, combined with such a prominent location that captures the centre’s high footfall, and look forward to bringing our unique and authentic American food to the town.”

Three brands to open at Bluewater, Earl of Sandwich to make UK debut: Land Securities has announced Earl of Sandwich is to make its UK debut at Bluewater shopping centre. Owned by Earl Enterprises, the Earl of Sandwich is to open a 551 square foot site in Bluewater’s Winter Garden, its first in the country. It has 27 outlets in the US and the menu will feature made-to-order signature hot sandwiches, as well as a range of hand-tossed salads and wraps, pastas, Earl’s pizzas, soups, fresh fruit smoothies, triple chocolate brownies and coffee by Nespresso. Joining Earl of Sandwich in the Winter Garden is Shawa, sister brand to Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese-inspired canteen-style restaurant founded by Tony Kitous. The 472 square foot Shawa will offer healthy high quality Lebanese street food, and Bluewater is the brand’s first location outside central London. Completing the trio is a champagne bar in Bluewater’s Village, called Oh You Pretty Things, complete with a classic Citroen H van that has been converted to serve as the bar itself and dedicated seating. All three will launch before Christmas. In addition to the three new brands, Lola’s Cupcakes, is relocating to a 284 square foot unit on Bluewater’s lower Thames Walk. Lola’s will open in January. The news coincides with a strong year for Bluewater’s dining brands, with catering sales up 8% year-to-date. Shelley Sandzer acted for Bluewater. CBRE represented Earl of Sandwich. Shawa, Oh You Pretty Things and Lola’s Cupcakes all dealt direct.

Camerons acquires 16th managed site: North east brewer and retailer Camerons has added the 16th managed pub to its estate with the acquisition of The Old Monk, Sheffield. The venue, located in the city centre on Norfolk Street close to the Crucible and Lyceum theatres, becomes the company’s first pub in the “Steel City”. Chris Soley, director and general manager at Camerons, said: “The Old Monk is a fantastic opportunity for Camerons and we are delighted to see our pub group extend outside our traditional north east area. It will bring our pub brand and our exciting new ale range to a new consumer base as well as offering a selection of beers from the fine brewers in the region. The prime city centre location, so close to the Crucible Theatre, was a key reason why we took over the Old Monk and we believe that it will develop into one of our flagship pubs.” Camerons will run the operation at the venue without any major changes until the new year when it will review and look to make a significant investment to develop the business further. All staff, including management, at the site have been retained.
Papa John’s franchisee open fourth site in Wales this year, plans five more in 2016: Papa John’s franchisee Umar Malik has opened his fourth store in Wales this year and is looking to add another five to his portfolio in 2016. Malik has added Cardiff to his estate of franchised outlets in Neath, Newport and two in Swansea, one of which opened in 2014. He said: “I first discovered a passion for pizza while studying for my MBA in Carlisle. I worked as a delivery driver for a rival firm and later discovered Papa John’s. The concept of ‘Better Ingredients, Better Pizza’ impressed me from the outset. I’d never seen repeat business like it and customers just kept coming back for more! I funded my first Swansea Papa John’s through savings plus a business loan from HSBC. Since then, the franchise has gone from strength to strength and I have opened four stores this year and progress won’t stop here. With the help of the Papa John’s franchisee incentive scheme I am looking at opening five additional stores, also in Wales, next year too. As the capital of Wales, Cardiff is a great location. It’s a big city and people were missing out. I am now delighted to have trained up 30 staff ready to be able to deliver on our special opening promotions.”

Coffee Republic signs ten-site franchise deal with Co-op: Coffee Republic has signed a franchise deal with the Mid Counties Co-Operative Group that will see, initially, ten new franchises in its major superstores, based in and around the Midlands and Wiltshire. The first of these new concept stores will be opening in Highworth, Swindon, followed by the second in Walsall, West Midlands, in early January 2016. The roll-out programme will continue throughout 2016, in addition to the planned 20 new Coffee Republic UK franchises per year.‎ Coffee Republic currently operates four company owned sites and 24 UK franchises, with 20 international venues.
Busaba Eathai names January for opening of first UK site outside London in Manchester: Thai restaurant Busaba Eathai will open its first UK site outside London in Manchester on Monday, 18 January. The company, founded by Wagamama restaurateur Alan Yau, will open the flagship 7,000 square foot venue at The Printworks inside the former Cafe Rouge unit. The 170-cover restaurant and bar will be spread over three floors, with the main dining area, bar and open kitchen downstairs, plus more seating for diners upstairs and an outdoor terrace overlooking Exchange Square. Busaba Eathai chief executive Jason Myers told the Manchester Evening News: “We’re extremely excited to be bringing the Busaba experience to Manchester. It’s our next natural step and has long been in demand from our fans. In a city that’s buzzing with atmosphere and culture, it made total sense for us to open the doors to our flagship restaurant here. Evolving the brand regionally is of huge significance to us, and is important that our new staff be recruited locally; allowing us to create additional job opportunities in the thriving hospitality scene.” Busaba Eathai currently has 12 restaurants in London and a site in Dubai. It is also opening in Liverpool early next year and has signed to open its first Scottish venue in Edinburgh. 
Belfast restaurateur starts expanding portfolio by opening second site in city: Belfast restaurateur Michael Karan has started to expand his portfolio by opening a second site in the city. Karan, who also owns the Ambrosia Restaurant in Ormeau Road, has opened tapas restaurant Solo Kitchen and Bar. He has invested £250,000 refurbishing the former Wimpy and neighbouring Carlton Bar in Wellington Place, creating 20 jobs. Karan told Belfast Live: “Research has shown that people choose where they eat depending on how convenient it is to get to. Our position makes us uniquely attractive for our city centre customer base. Overall, Solo Kitchen and Bar will accommodate 120 people, 40 of which will be in our new tapas bar and the remainder in our casual dining area where customers will be offered an eclectic mix of Asian and European food. We have a small but very highly experienced team and we believe the time is right to offer Belfast something different.”
McDonald’s franchisee to add three sites in Greater Manchester: McDonald’s franchisee Roger Khoryati is to open three sites in Greater Manchester to add to his existing nine outlets. A new venue in Ashton-Under-Lyne has already opened and will be followed by one in Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester, next week and the third in Cheetham Hill early next year. Khoryati said: “We’re thrilled to be opening here in Piccadilly Gardens after all the hard work, providing a welcome boost to the Manchester economy. It’s great that we have been able to offer so many jobs to local people. All staff will have access to McDonald’s industry leading training and development programmes. The new look restaurants show how we are committed to offering our customers’ more choice and fast service. Technology has a huge role to play in all walks of life, including our customers’ eating out experience, so the new tech we’ve introduced recognises the way people live their lives today.”
New Brazilian barbecue restaurant to open in Harrogate: A new Brazilian barbecue restaurant is to open in Harrogate after the sale of a popular venue on Princes Square was completed by property consultancy Christie + Co. The Square Bar & Restaurant in Harrogate has been sold off a £45,000 guide price to make way for a “Bodega Steakhouse”, inspired by the new owners’ roots in South America and their time working for Brazilian rodizio chain Fazenda. Located next to the new cinema complex, Square Bar and Restaurant serves British dishes with a European twist, cooked with ingredients sourced from across Yorkshire. The new Bodega will offer traditional Brazilian dishes as well as cured meat and sushi. Oliver Brown, of Christie + Co, said: “Being a prime located and excellent performing business, Square Bar & Restaurant attracted a lot of interest from experienced operators. As Harrogate continues to be a desirable location, we have agreed deals on two other sites in the last month and we are in touch with a large number of potential purchasers who are currently interested in taking space in the area.”
Grainstore Brewery undergoes management buy-out: A brewery in Rutland has undergone a management buyout (MBO) following the retirement of its previous owner. Grainstore Brewery, based in Oakham, brews and supplies traditional English ales to bars, wholesalers and beer festivals across the UK. Following the retirement of co-founder Tony Davis, his son William and business partner Peter Atkinson have taken the reins. Tony Davis founded Grainstore with friend Mike Davies in 1995 after leaving his role as head brewer and production director at Ruddles Brewery. The business currently employs a team of 20 and now plans to increase production at its base on Station Approach over the next three to four years. The MBO was supported by Newby Castleman. John Griffin, a partner at the firm, said: “It was important to support Peter and William during the management buyout transition so they could concentrate on the day-to-day running of the brewery, without the financial pressures that came along the way.”
Online beer distributor EeBriaTrade launches £250,000 crowdfunding drive: Online beer distributor EeBriaTrade has launched a £249,992 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company, which launched in June and whose customers include BrewDog and Innis & Gunn, is offering 7.69% equity as it looks to expand and acquire new beer customers. The pitch states: “EeBriaTrade takes a revolutionary marketplace approach to the huge business-to-business beer distribution industry (worth £16.9bn in the UK, £141bn in Europe and £66bn in the US). Our model enables breweries to sell directly to pubs, cutting out national and regional distributors entirely, with even large breweries seeing us as a valuable new approach to an industry in need of change. In the five months that EeBriaTrade has been live, we’ve become a major cause for concern for incumbent distributors and we’re looking for investment to rapidly grow this opportunity and to cement our position in the industry. EeBriaTrade has developed from the successful business-to-consumer marketplace, which has been trading for two years. Working directly with breweries we discovered huge inefficiencies in the business-to-business market, and addressing these with EeBriaTrade is now a major focus of the business. We intend to become the go-to distributor for independent pubs, bars, restaurants and beer shops all over the UK. By being much more flexible, efficient, cheaper and offering a much wider range than our competition we expect to gain market share at their expense. Distributors such as Matthew Clark (who have an annual revenue of circa £800m) and smaller more regional distributors such as LWC (£171m), James Clay (£24m), Nectar (£22m), Dayla (£23m), operate a more traditional warehouse model and these are the types of distributor from which we expect to take market share. Operating a marketplace model means that we: hold no stock, with none of the associated spoilage risk, have no warehouse rent or management costs, are highly scalable, have no minimum order size, can pass on these margins so we are cheaper for pubs, and able to pay the breweries more. The founder of a small regional distributor applied to work for us, as he recognised that our model will cause a lot of issues for traditional businesses like his. In the longer term there is the potential to roll-out our model internationally, with marketplaces set up within new countries, but also for cross-border sales, opening up a much larger market to all our breweries and pubs. We now sell beers from over 100 breweries, including agreements to distribute beers for US, Italian, Estonian and Irish breweries, we have more than 900 registered outlets on EeBriaTrade, more than 600 product lines (we believe that this is more than any other distributor), stock listed worth over £6m (which would take up 4,000 cubic metres if we had a warehouse!), sales have grown by 89% per month since June. The investment will be made into Eebria, which owns the EebriaTrade platform. Eebria is the company that previously received investment on the Seedrs platform.” So far 66 investors have pledged £72,103 with 60 days left. 
Food sales soar across St Austell managed estate: An increasing taste for fine dining amongst pub-goers – including no less than 3,500 lobsters sold in 2015 – has helped food revenue at St Austell Brewery’s 25 managed pubs top £15m this year. Nick Hemming, catering and development manager at St Austell Brewery, said: “In the last ten years we’ve seen a huge shift in what people think about pub food and how they now use pubs to eat out, but there’s still more to do. So it’s no surprise that our best-selling dish of 2015 is still fish and chips, but also that people are trying new things as evidenced by our huge sales of dishes like mussels and 3,500 lobsters from our Coastal Pub and Kitchen menu. We see trends continuously changing and that keeps it exciting as we then develop new interesting and diverse menus to meet demand. However, it’s all underpinned by a commitment to using fresh locally sourced ingredients, cooked to order which is what customers want.”
Zonal appoints two new directors for liveRES: Zonal Retail Data Systems, the provider of hospitality solutions, has appointed two directors for online bookings business, liveRES, which is part of its marketing technologies division. David Charlton has joined as sales director and Symeon Breen is the new director of development for the Staffordshire-based division, which includes TXD Digital Marketing, and is headed by managing director Olivia FitzGerald. Breen, who was one of the founders and the chief technology officer of liveRES, has spent the past 18 years building reservations systems in the leisure and hospitality industries, from technical functionality, programming and security through to sales generation and marketing. As development director, he will focus on the quality and delivery of liveRES as well as other marketing technologies products such as table management and digital marketing tools offered through TXD. Charlton also brings a wealth of experience to the role, having spent the last decade working in hospitality technology. He previously worked at Bookatable as UK sales director before moving into the mobile payment and loyalty space for restaurants, helping launch new concept brands such as Zapper and the Velocity app. He will be looking to grow the sales team as it focuses on growing the liveRES portfolio, which currently includes Spirit Pub Company, Carluccio’s, Giraffe, Living Ventures and Red Hot World Buffet.
Brighton ethical chicken brand Hen hits £100,000 crowdfunding target, submits offer for property in London: Hen, the ethical chicken brand founded in Brighton by Philip Ilic, has hit its £100,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company is offering 11.76% equity as it looks to raise funds to expand into London by opening a second site among other projects. So far it has seen 120 investors pledge £102,660 and is now “overfunding” with two days remaining. The largest investment to date is £30,000. Responding to questions from investors, Ilic also said the company was submitting an offer yesterday (Monday, 14 December) for a property in Fitzrovia, London, and was in discussions with two parties about potential franchises, one of whom wanted to sign a five-restaurant deal over a three-year period. He said: “As the ones in discussion are fully managed, there is actually very little work in regards to franchise manuals, and training systems, apart from a very extensive contract we have to do before we can move forwards with this as it will be effectively us managing them for the franchisee for a fee. We shall see how this pans out over the next week, and then after the new year, but if we sign this deal we potentially will be ready to go with the first franchisee right away in the new year. So the most important aspect in when we open either a company owned restaurant or the franchisee restaurant is in finding the right location and also having the right management team to be able to cope with the openings. From when we put in an offer for a premises with an agent and are accepted and the time we actually sign the lease with the landlord and get the keys is about six-eight weeks, kind of like buying a house. This is also if everything goes relatively smoothly. After this it may take up to another eight weeks to fit out the restaurant and to fully open. So from the time an offer is put down to the time the restaurant has its grand opening, will take about four months. I am actively looking at restaurant properties now, and we will be even more proactive with this after the holidays and after this funding round is complete with our partners So if we find the right premises and have an offer agreed on by February, we will hopefully have something open by June 2016. I also have a bunch of really good management people I know in London who are just waiting to get involved, so once I can confirm an opening or two, I can draw on these great people. In terms of the non-managed franchises, we should be ready to start taking potential franchise partners in two-three months from January with the help from Seeds Consulting, who will help with setting up all the back of house systems for the future franchisees.” On the Fitzrovia site, he said: “It is unlikely any decision will be made by the leaseholder before the new year though. The length of the lease will depend on the current lease assignment, which I am currently unaware off, but it would be a minimum of seven years and within the 1954 act, which means we can renew it. But either way, I am confident we will find a great premises either way with our amazing agents.”
Personalised coffee service Eight Point Nine launches £150,000 crowdfunding drive: Personalised coffee subscription service Eight Point Nine has launched a £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in return for 16.67% equity. The company, founded by Phillip Clarke and Chris Hewitt, has delivered over £50,000 bags of coffee since launching four years ago. The pitch states: “We’ve been really pleased with sales growth over the last 12 months, but we’ve barely scratched the surface. We believe that our co-brand partnerships will deliver us significant volumes of new customers. We need to invest now to maximise the opportunity and maintain our momentum. Having self-funded the business, we plan to invest in expanding our core team beyond the founders, to continue developing our technology platform (investment in mobile, social and our flavour-matching algorithm) and to invest in customer retention and advocacy. Revenues over the last 12 months exceed £110,000, and we believe we can achieve £694,000 in the next forecast year.” The company is forecast to make a pre-tax loss of £121,000 in year one, a profit of £202,000 at the end of year two and £1.1m in its third year. So far, 33 investors have pledged a total of £58,680 with 27 days left. The largest investment to date is £10,000.
Thornbridge Brewery to double beer proceeds donation aid to Cumbrian flood relief: Brewer and retailer Thornbridge Brewery is to increase its donations to a Kendal charity fund in the wake of last week’s floods. Marketing manager Alex Buchanan said: “In November we became one of the sponsors of Kendal Mountain Festival, a world class event that ‘sets the standard as an innovative, inclusive and creative celebration of everything outdoors’. We wanted to work with the festival as we felt they shared many of our values, striving for quality and fun whilst being inspired by the outdoors environment that we are blessed to work in. To celebrate the partnership we brewed ‘KMF’ a 4.8% pale ale, brewed with big American hops that entices with grapefruit and mandarin aromas before exploding with tropical fruit flavour. The beer was a big hit at the festival on draft and in bottle. We have been donating an amount from the sale of each keg and bottle to the Kendal Mountain Festival charity funds. However in light of recent suffering facing people in the area due to the flooding we will now be doubling our donations from each keg and bottle sold direct from the brewery and from selected Booths stores from which it will soon be available. We hope this donation goes a little way to helping people at this time in Kendal and the surrounding area.”
Itinerary unveiled for second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: The itinerary has been unveiled for the second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour. The event, which this year focuses on south London, takes place on Thursday, 28 January and will visit seven of the capital’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour period. It starts at the Four Thieves brewpub in Battersea, owned by Laine Pub Company. The tour will then visit hybrid craft beer and bottle shop We Brought Beer in Clapham Junction, which was founded by former BrewDog employee James Hickson, followed by the Craft Beer Co site in Clapham Manor Street. The next stop will be the Crown & Anchor in Brixton run by London Village Inns before heading to independently operated Stormbird in Camberwell Church Street, which was runner-up in the Timeout Love London Awards this year. The tour then continues to Late Knights Brewery’s micro-pub Beer Rebellion in Gypsy Hill and ends at Utobeer’s The Rake in Borough Market. The tour will again be led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, who will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation, analysis and spot up-and-coming trends. 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. To book, email
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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