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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 16th Dec 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Starbucks reports pre-tax profit of £34.2m: Starbucks UK has reported its biggest ever pre-tax profit of £34.2m for the year to the end of September, compared to a profit of £1.9m in 2014, which was its first profit since arriving in Britain in 1998. Sales fell to £405.6m from £408.7m in 2014 after Starbucks closed 17 loss-making stores and handed 74 cafes over to franchise partners. The company now owns 397 stores in the UK. A further 209 are held by franchise partners and 226 stores are licensed within train stations and airports. Kris Engskov, Starbucks head of Europe, Middle East and Africa, said the company had lifted its profits by growing like-for-like sales in its owned stores by 3.8% and stripping out £16.5m of costs by “aggressively” renegotiating its leases. Engskov said Starbucks still had a number of loss-making sites but this was a “small percentage and a fraction compared to what we had three years ago”. Starbucks paid £8.1m in tax, of which £7m was corporation tax. In 2014, by contrast, it paid £11.4m in tax. However £10.8m of this was due to it paying tax on its losses, which it did not legally have to do. Its corporate tax bill last year was just £437,433. In 2012 it emerged that despite sales of £3bn over a decade, Starbucks only paid £8.5m in corporation tax and nothing from 2008 to 2012. Starbucks opened its first sites serving alcohol in the evenings this year. “We are very pleased with how people are responding to our evening programme,” Engskov said. It also committed to paying all of its UK staff the living wage, meaning a pay rise for around 4,500 employees. “We are very supportive of apprenticeships and I think the government has got to encourage businesses to employ young people. We have redoubled our efforts and you can expect to see us investing even more in apprentices. It isn’t just good for employment, it’s good for business. Our turnover of staff on our apprentice schemes is lower than staff on traditional recruitment,” Engskov added.

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Win 12-months’ free Sky subscription for a licensed venue in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: A 12-month free Sky subscription for a licensed venue 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: Who won the 2015 Formula 1 drivers’ championship? a) Lewis Hamilton b) Nigel Mansell c) Jenson Button. 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 Gareth Morgan, of the Conservative Club in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, who was yesterday’s winner of a M&S Christmas hamper worth £100. Sky has partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes still up for grabs include tickets to an NFL match at Wembley, the 2016 British Grand Prix and a Barclays Premier League football match. There is also a 46-inch HD Smart television to be won. Good luck!

Industry News:

Forbes names Eataly as one of world’s 25 most disruptive brands: Influential business magazine Forbes has named Italian foodservice brand Eataly, due to open in London in partnership with Selfridges, as one of the 25 most “disruptive” brands in the world in 2015. The list is largely made up of app-based start-ups, such as Uber, and established brands widely regarded as trailblazers, including Apple. Forbes, which placed Eataly 23rd on the list, described “disruptive” brands as those that “grow in leaps and bounds, changing the trajectory of consumers’ viewpoint of the brand and the marketplace”. The company, headquartered in the Lingotto area of Turin, said in a statement it is “delighted to be the only Italian brand on the list – disruptive brands destroy old frameworks and involve clients by anticipating trends and allowing them to feel like part of the company”. Eataly has grown from a single store in Turin to a network of 28 stores worldwide, which boasted a turnover of €300m in 2014 in under ten years. At present, the majority of Eataly stores, some 16 of them, are in Italy but earlier this year founder Oscar Farinetti announced plans for a global expansion. Eataly has a number of flagship international stores, notably in Seoul, New York, Tokyo and Istanbul but by 2018 the brand will be present in most of the world’s biggest cities. London, Hong Kong, Paris, Mexico City and Moscow will all see stores open over the next two years, transforming the company into a truly global brand. “Our aim is to continually challenge consumer habits,” the company said. Last year, Eataly said it planned to open its first London food hall in September 2016 in a joint venture with Selfridges. Eataly chief executive Luca Baffigo Filangieri announced the proposed Selfridges deal at the Luxury & Finance investor conference organised by the Italian stock exchange, outlining the fast-growing company’s ambitious expansion plans. “I’m very excited about this: we’re opening in London in September 2016 at Selfridges on Oxford Street,” Filangieri said, declining to give further details.

FSA backs MP’s calls for display of food hygiene scores to be made compulsory at restaurants and takeaways in England: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has backed Conservative MP Michael Fabricant in his calls for the display of food hygiene scores to be made compulsory at restaurants and takeaways in England. Fabricant, who is MP for Lichfield in Staffordshire, made the demand back in September and has now met with FSA chairman Tim Bennett, who has supported the proposal. The MP now plans to initiate a debate in Parliament in the new year in a bid to get legislation introduced. It is the law in Wales all premises must display their score on the door and Fabricant said it should be introduced in England. Currently, all hygiene ratings are displayed at He told the Lichfield Mercury: “While a few critics of my proposal have said that food hygiene scores can easily be found on the excellent Rate My Place website, I say that the reality is that people on a night out are hardly going to bother to check that before entering a local restaurant after having a drink in a pub. And the FSA agrees.” Bennett added: “The FSA’s board favours mandatory display of hygiene ratings in England as there are potentially increased benefits for consumers and businesses. We have gathered evidence of the impact of mandatory display in Wales and are carrying out further analysis to present a case to government for its consideration.”

Alcohol prices forecast to continue to deflate in 2016: Prestige Purchasing forecasts 2016 will see food inflation rise slightly to 0%, with soft drinks returning to inflation at 0.5%, whilst prices for alcoholic beverages continue to fall with deflation at -1.0%. This follows on from 2015, where food inflation has remained negative for the second year running, according to the findings of Prestige Purchasing’s Annual Food Inflation Report. Using data from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), the report places headline food inflation for 2015 at -3.1%. In the food retail market, the much-publicised arrival of discounters, as well as the rise of online and convenience shopping has put footfall in the large out of town assets under pressure. The supermarket’s relative dependence on these assets has forced them to be more aggressive on price to drive volume. This means retail food inflation fell faster than the foodservice sector. The Foodservice Price Index, which has been used to produce this report, places food and drink deflation for the foodservice sector at -1% for 2015. These headline inflation figures come in contrast to last year’s forecasts, where industry experts expected inflation to return to positive figures. However, the strengthening pound, the Russian ban on EU food products and falling oil prices has put downward pressure on prices. Prestige Purchasing chief executive David Read said: “The arrival of new competition for supermarkets in the form of discounters, coupled with new routes to market from online and convenience stores, has put footfall for large out of town stores under pressure. The supermarket’s relative dependence on these assets has forced them to be more aggressive on price to drive volume. This has contributed to increased downward pressure on the inflation rate for retail food prices. However, the foodservice market hasn’t been exposed to the same market dynamics, and this has lead to a widening gap between foodservice prices and retail prices.”
Matthew Clark predicts drinks trends for 2016: Drinks distributor Matthew Clark has predicted drinks trends for 2016 and said consumers will be in the market for funkier labelled wine and quirkier grape varieties. The company also anticipates premium lager growing amongst the prosecco drinking demographic, with vodka and rum also enjoying increased limelight. Consumers are increasingly more willing to opt for wine paired menus it said. As well as interesting label design, customers will also be on the lookout for larger formatted bottles next year. Matthew Clark wine development specialist Rachel Love said: “We’re seeing customers attracted to wines with bright colours, eye catching designs, and more playful names. We expect to see customers moving away from perennial favourites and delving into something a little different, New Zealand Pinot Gris is one to watch! Food pairing is a trend that is continuing to grow; consumers enjoy learning about what works well with food and also see it as an opportunity to trade up on wines without breaking the bank.”

Company News:

Sourced Market hits £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 hit 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 192 investors have pledged £750,500, meaning it is “overfunding” with five days left, although the company has set a maximum target of £1.5m. The pitch states: “We are seeking to raise £750,000 to open our second site at 12-15 Marylebone Lane, which is currently at the design stage and is scheduled to open on 1 March 2016. In the event we raise our maximum £1.5m target, we intend to use the proceeds to also open sites three and four. Site three is in the Nova Victoria development, the lease has been exchanged and the site opening date is September 2016. If we fall short raising the full £1.5m, we intend to raise additional equity and/or debt from alternative sources to open sites three and four and continue our expansion plans. The cost of opening each site is circa £400,000 and circa £100,000 is required for pre-opening costs and working capital for the first 12 months until the sites become profitable.” The Sourced Market business plan shows sales of £12,317,000 from four sites in 2020, producing site Ebitda of £1,860,000.

Steve Richards – Casual Dining Group created 5,000 jobs in a year: Casual Dining Group chief executive Steve Richards has revealed the company has created 5,000 jobs in the past year having opened 27 new restaurants, mostly in leisure parks. Richards said Bella Italia is now “firing on all cylinders” and is now “one of the brands of choice for property landlords”. He also reported Cafe Rouge, a business that was in double digit sales decline, is now “back in very substantial growth”. Of La Tasca, Richards said some sites would be converted to the company’s other brands but other sites will see investment and remain trading as La Tasca. He also stated La Tasca’s five US sites, in the Washington area, would be sold to their existing management in the US. The company is, however, about to open a Bella Italia site under franchise in India.

Loungers to open 75th site today: Loungers, the all-day cafe bar group, will open its 75th site, and 20th site of 2015, today (Wednesday 16th December) in Bury St Edmunds. The opening of Edmundo Lounge in a former Officers Club unit on Cornhill in the town follows the recent openings of Teatro Lounge in Clevedon, Drago Lounge in Newport, Zinco Lounge in Swansea and the groups 12th Cosy Club in Bournemouth. Edmundo Lounge is set over two floors of a grade II-listed building and comprises of 150 covers internally and is Loungers’ first opening in Suffolk and is the furthest east the Bristol-based group has ventured to date. Reflecting on the groups 2015 openings Loungers managing director Nick Collins said: “We set out to open 20 sites in 2015 and we’ve achieved our goal. The business is significantly bigger than this time last year with hundreds more jobs created and with both our top and bottom lines enjoying very satisfying growth. We’re very comfortable with the speed of the roll-out and feel we have the talent and strength-in-depth in our ops team to continue at pace and we’re excited at the prospect of developing out the 2016 pipeline.” It is understood that Lounge sites are due to open in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Hinckley and Newquay in the first two months of next year and that the group’s thirteenth Cosy Club will open in Hereford in mid-February.

Wagamama signs franchise deal to debut in Oman: Wagamama has signed a franchise deal with Bin Mirza International (BMI) to open in Oman for the first time. The move makes Wagamama the seventh to join BMI’s portfolio of international brands as part of the company’s efforts to bring unique dining concepts to Oman. Simon Cope, global brand director at Wagamama, said: “Our approach with regards to franchising has been to look for partners that have the right mix of experience and success with great restaurants. BMI is a perfect fit, a trusted name in the business associated with bringing exceptional dining concepts to life. I look forward to adding Oman to the list of addresses where our signature Japanese-style cuisine is served.” Other BMI franchises include British candy connectionists Spun Candy, Canadian-based Second Cup cafes and CinnZeo bakeries, in addition to boutique bakery BreadTalk, Steak Escape Grill, and Nando’s from South Africa. 
Former Jason Atherton chef to open new restaurant concept in Newcastle, eyes sites elsewhere in country: Chef James Walton is to open a new restaurant concept in Newcastle and is eyeing sites elsewhere in the country. Walton, who has worked with top-rated chefs including Jason Atherton, Rowleigh Leigh and Yotam Ottolenghi, is launching The Haymarket in Percy Street in January under the vehicle Michigan Foods. The restaurant, part of the grade II-listed Bruce Building that is currently undergoing a £5m refurbishment, takes its title from the popular Haymarket pub, also on Percy Street, which opened as a pub in 1833 but was demolished in 1987. The new venue will offer Mediterranean and other global fusion cuisine and will have the same name and font and a similar logo to its namesake, as well as references in the interior design. Walton, who has worked at leading venues in London’s Soho – including The Social Eating House, Dehesa and Nop – told ChronicleLive: “I have wanted to open my own restaurant since I first started working in the food industry. I trained at the North West Culinary Academy of Vancouver in Canada, and then have been in London for several years learning from head chefs at the top of their game, so now I can bring my own ideas to the fore. I am very passionate about food and this is my dream. The longer-term goal is to open a series of restaurants elsewhere in the country, but we will start with The Haymarket.”
Jamie Oliver set to make debut in Cyprus: Jamie Oliver is set to open his first restaurant in Cyprus by bringing his Jamie’s Italian brand to the country. The restaurant will be launched by Avantage B&R Italian Restaurants, which is related to Lysandros Ioannou and PHC Franchised Restaurants Public, which operates more than 90 outlets across the island, reports PHC operates brands such as Wagamama in Cyprus and Greece, Caffe Nero, Mediterraneo, Pizza Hut, KFC and Taco Bell, both owned by Yum! Brands, as well as other local concepts and catering and banqueting events. The first restaurant will be located in Nicosia with more following in other cities.
HospitalityGEM reports 25 new clients in 2015 and £400,000 revenue boost: Guest experience management expert HospitalityGEM has reported it secured a total of 25 brands within the hospitality and leisure sector as new clients in 2015 and grew its revenue by over £400,000. HospitalityGEM’s new clients include a number of prominent national brands such as premium bar operator Revolution Bars, which uses regular mystery visits and revisits across its estate and smokehouse chain, Reds True Barbecue, which has introduced monthly GEMvisits across its six sites to monitor its brand standards and gain valuable feedback from customers to perfect its offering. Benito’s Hat, the London-based Mexican food group and the Oklahoma styled barbeque restaurant group Grillstock are utilising both GEMvisits and GEMdirect to gather feedback from its diners and monitor brand consistency and service standards. Other notable organisations that have called upon HospitalityGEM’s skills this year include Tossed, Empire Cinemas, Village Hotels and Cotswold-based luxury hotel operator, Lucky Onion. Steven Pike, managing director of HospitalityGEM, said: “2015 has been a fantastic year for HospitalityGEM. The large volume of exciting new contracts is testament to our dedicated and personalised approach to helping our clients deliver outstanding guest experience management. We are excited to be increasing our influence within the hospitality sector and are constantly refining our portfolio of services, demonstrating our ability to adapt to the varying needs of our clients, both existing and new. It is getting harder and harder for operators to stand out within thriving hospitality market, already brimming with choice. This year we have helped more clients than ever before to find new ways to engage with their audiences, create memorable experiences, and build a successful business in the process.”
BrewDog to open new site in Rome on Friday: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog will open a new site in Rome this Friday (18 December). The company stated: “Our new centrepiece for this incredible city is located at Via delle Terme di Tito 80, 00184 – at the corner of Via del Monte Oppio. If this sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. BrewDog Roma is 30 seconds walk from a handy navigational aid (and architectural wonder) – the internationally renowned Colosseum.” It will offer 20 taps featuring BrewDog beer and specially selected guest breweries, majoring in beer from the Italian brewing scene. BrewDog’s third Italian bar after Bologna and Florence will serve sandwiches, hot dogs and paninis.
Filmore & Union to open new site in Beverley, plans expansion into Manchester and north west in 2016: Healthy eating cafe and restaurant company Filmore & Union is to open a new restaurant and cocktail bar in Beverley and plans to expand outside its native Yorkshire into Manchester and the north west in 2016. The company, which launched in 2011, will open its 11th site in Saturday Market, Beverley, in February on the former site of the Sugarbird boutique. Founder and owner Adele Ashley told the Hull Daily Mail: “The reason we decided to open our new store in Beverley is because there was already the customer demand for it. We already have lots of customers from the area who visit us at our restaurants in York and Wetherby, so we know there is a good market here.” Ashley said as well as expanding into East Yorkshire next year, the company has plans to open new venues in Manchester and across the north west in 2016. The company operates a bakery at its head office in Wetherby, which produces granola, brownies and other baked goods, while all other food is produced on site.
The Chinese Buffet opens 11th site in Huddersfield: Bolton-based The Chinese Buffet has opened its 11th site, this time in Huddersfield. The company, founded by Peter Wu and Paolo Hu in 2006, has invested £750,000 converting the former Peter’s department store in King Street into a 250-seater restaurant, creating up to 50 jobs. The restaurant has a fully open kitchen, two bars and a balcony dining area for the summer. Diners can sit in booths with bench-style seating and there is also a separate function room with a capacity of 80-100 people with a private bar, karaoke and business conference facilities. The company has also launched a new menu, which will be rolled out from the Huddersfield site, and also plans to review its wine list. Hu told the Huddersfield Examiner: “I believe this restaurant is one of the best restaurants in Huddersfield – it’s the biggest Chinese restaurant at 10,000 square feet. It’s a very stunning restaurant and one of the best, if not the best, we’ve done so far. I think it will be the talk of the town.”
Robinsons makes first pub acquisition since 2009: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons Brewery has bought The Three Mariners pub in Lancaster, its first acquisition since 2009. Purchased from Mitchells of Lancaster, the historic pub has joined the Stockport brewer’s portfolio of 300 sites, spanning the north west, Cumbria and north Wales. The pub acquisition will bolster the brewer’s estate in Lancaster where it runs the Wagon and Horses venue. The Three Mariners, a 15th century pub, is one of only two sites in Britain with an original gravity-fed cellar and is the only cellar to be cooled by the natural spring seeping through from the castle rock. William Robinson, managing director (pubs division) for Robinsons Brewery, said: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to acquire this historic tenanted pub in Lancaster city centre. The Three Mariners is a perfect fit for Robinsons and the purchase strengthens our presence in Lancaster. We remain committed to investing back into in our pub estate, supporting and improving our tenants businesses and we will continue to look for further excellent pub acquisitions, which will have a positive impact on our pub portfolio.”
Meat and Shake founder looking for first site in central London: The Muslim founder of no-alcohol burger bar and smokehouse restaurant Meat and Shake is looking for his first site in central London after the concept proved a huge hit. Faraz Ahmad opened his first site in Tooting at the peak of London’s burger boom two years ago because of a lack of venues serving high-quality halal meat on “dry” premises that would appeal to Muslim diners. Following the success of the 50-seat restaurant, Ahmad opened a second branch, a Southern American-style smokehouse in Ealing, in August followed by a third in Watford last month. Ahmad told the Evening Standard he was looking at several sites in central London but had ruled out Soho because “no alcohol wouldn’t work for us there”. He added the restaurants, which do not advertise their halal and non-alcohol status, have been popular with non-Muslims who make up about 70% of the clientele. Ahmad, who grew up in Essex and whose family are of Pakistani origin, said the economics have proved a challenge because of the “fantastic” profit margins on alcoholic drinks. He believes halal restaurants are “far behind” the trends that have transformed meat eating in London over the past five years. He said: “We are trying to educate Muslims about processes such as dry-ageing. The biggest challenge was finding good halal butchers. In the end I stumbled across a good old traditional British butcher called Macken Brothers who said they were halal when I was in Selfridges.”
Cineworld hits 2,000-screen milestone: Cineworld Group, Europe’s second biggest cinema chain, has reached the milestone of over 2,000 screens across its portfolio, with the opening of its 217th cinema in Hinckley, Leicestershire. 2015 has witnessed more openings than Cineworld Group has ever made in one year, with 19 new cinemas opened across four countries. This is made up of 11 cinemas in the UK, five in Romania, two in Poland and one in Israel. Mooky Greidinger, chief executive of Cineworld Group, said: “Passing the milestone of 2,000 screens is a fantastic achievement for Cineworld Group after a hugely successful year of new cinema openings. Our vision is to be the best place to watch a movie and I’m delighted that we have been able to bring this vision to more towns and cities across Europe. We remain committed not just to opening more screens, but also to ensuring we bring the latest innovations to our customers.” 
Beds and Bars brand Belushi’s reports 70% increase in breakfast sales: Belushi’s, the brand operated by Bed and Bars led by Keith Knowles, has reported a 70% increase in breakfast sales. The brand, which has nine sites across the UK and five in Europe, has seen the uplift having made a number of changes to its offering under the guidance of UK food support manager Gustavo Galvao, who joined head office in January having previously worked in the kitchen. Fundamental to the sales increase has been a complete menu overhaul, which has seen the traditional cooked breakfast introduced at the expense of lighter options. Galvao also devised the “Bad Ass Breakfast Bap”, combining bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns in a toasted brioche bun with homemade barbecue Jagermeister baked beans. With the exception of the pancake stack, all the breakfasts served at Belushi’s include hash browns from potato specialist Aviko. Galvao added: “Two of the most important things to our customers are speed of service and value for money. Our breakfasts are really quick to prepare and when they come out with the hash browns on, they look massive – the customer feels like they are getting something bigger and better, but for us the cost of the hash browns is low. The gross profits are crazy even though we sell a breakfast for £5! It means we can offer value for money and still bring in the margins, so it’s win-win.”
13 Enterprise Inns pubs named winners in Time Out Love London awards: 13 Enterprise pubs have been named winners in the Time Out Love London Awards 2015. Celebrating local businesses that “make London amazing”, the awards saw about 70,000 readers of the popular listings magazine and website vote for their favourite independent restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and shops. The 13 Enterprise winners were 11 best pubs, one best restaurant, and a best cultural venue: They were The Aeronaut – Acton, The Alma – Islington, The Amersham Arms – best cultural venue, New Cross, The Auld Shillelagh – Stoke Newington, The Bell – Walthamstow, The Camberwell Arms – Camberwell, The Carpenter’s Arms – Hammersmith, The Cavendish Arms – South Lambeth, The Great North Wood – West Norwood, The King Edward VII – Stratford, Pizza East Portobello – best restaurant, North Kensington, The Portobello Star – Notting Hill and Westbourne Park and The Waterway – Maida Vale. Enterprise sales and marketing director James Armitage said: “We were pleased when two of our pubs won in last year’s inaugural Love London awards, so having 13 winners for 2015 is fantastic. It’s evidence, too, that we’ve some top quality publicans in the capital who are clearly providing the sort of pubs – and restaurants and cultural venues – that people want to visit, and which they clearly love. Enterprise is always looking for energetic and entrepreneurial people to take on our pubs and, with our support, make them thriving businesses; just like these winners.”
Steamin’ Billy Brewing reports turnover growth in first half, considers issuing a ‘Steamin’ Billy bond’ to fund expansion: Leicestershire brewer and retailer Steamin’ Billy Brewing has reported turnover up 13.9% to £2.33m in the 26 weeks to 27 September, with growth in operating profit and Ebitda as the group expands to ten managed pubs. The company is also considering issuing a “Steamin’ Billy bond” next year to fund further acquisitions. Operating profit was unchanged at £220,000 with underlying Ebitda up 4.9% to £290,000 (2014: £0.28m). Like-for-like income was up 2.8%. It has also bought the freehold of a pub in Alvaston, Derby, from Star Pubs & Bars. Billy Allingham, managing director of Steamin’ Billy Brewing, said: “Following the introduction of a non-executive board in 2014, we have appointed a financial controller and implemented a cloud based accounting system to give us more real time information, thus enabling the central management team to take reactionary measures. We have made better use of the technology available to us to increase margins, reduce wastage and reduce labour costs. Therefore, the appointment of the financial controller has been cost neutral in the period, and as margins continue to improve, the appointment should drive additional profitability in the group. We continue to invest in our pubs; making them welcoming to our guests, and invest in our teams, with CPL online training, individual staff recognition and rewards, and a quarterly pub prize. We look forward to 2016 as we seek to acquire more neglected pubs, as well as the possibility of a Steamin’ Billy Bond to fund further acquisitions.”

Glasgow-based bubble tea company set to start expanding by opening two new sites: Glasgow-based bubble tea company Tempo Tea Bar is set to start expanding with two new locations opening in the next few weeks. Brother and sister team May Gem and Liam Tan opened their first Tempo Tea Bar on Queen Street in Glasgow two years ago and the pair have now set their sights on expansion. The Tans will open their second site at the Silverburn shopping centre in Glasgow before Christmas with a third outlet launching in Edinburgh near to Waverley Station in the next few weeks. May Gem Tan told Herald Scotland: “We wanted to open another store and wanted to do Glasgow first as it would be easier to manage. We decided to go for a shopping mall for balance. When it is rainy people tend to go to shopping malls so our Queen Street store might be quieter but then that would be offset in summer, as people are more likely to be outside. We thought it would be a good fit.” The Edinburgh venture, located in the Waverley Arches development, also marks Tempo’s first move into franchising. May Gem Tan said Tempo is looking at further franchising opportunities around Scotland for next year as the popularity of the initial location has exceeded expectations.
Private investor buys Leicestershire hotel out of administration for £7.5m: A Leicestershire hotel and spa which was on the market for £7.5m has been bought out of administration by a private investor. The 96-bedroom Sketchley Grange Hotel & Spa in Burbage comprises wedding and event facilities, conference space, a fitness centre and a recently refurbished restaurant and outdoor terrace. It will be managed by Focus Hotels under a long term management agreement. Adrian Berry, of Deloitte, said: “Following our appointment in 2012, we finalised the new extension and stabilised trading before appointing Then Hospitality under a management agreement in July 2013. The trading performance improved significantly under our appointment and we reinvested by refurbishing the function suites, dining room, leisure suite and bedrooms. The sale marks the start of a new chapter for the hotel and its staff but business and trading will not be affected.” The venue was sold by Savills and CBRE Hotels.
Barclays supports coffee shop diversification for pub: A pub in Pontyclun has diversified into the expanding coffee shop sector following a £150,000 investment supported by Barclays. The Boars Head’s new Piglets coffee shop and tea rooms is forecast to increase turnover by £100,000 over the next 12 months. Wayne Owen, owner of the Boars Head and Piglets, said: “We have built a solid reputation for the Boars Head over recent years and wanted to expand the business. By building the coffee shop onto the pub but with a separate entrance we have been able to combine the best of both worlds as I am able to manage both businesses from the same location and generate crossover trade.” Owen added in addition to offering a new revenue stream, the coffee shop provides additional space for private parties. Sharon Greer, Barclays Business banking manager, said: “As champions of local business, it is essential that we support local growing businesses such as the Boars Head.”
Eden Hotel Collection and RSC partner to buy second Stratford-upon-Avon hotel for £1m: The Rigby Group-owned Eden Hotel Collection and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) have partnered to buy a second Stratford-upon-Avon hotel. The two companies, which own the Arden Hotel, have acquired the grade II-listed Caterham House Hotel. Located on Rother Street, close to the centre of the town and the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Caterham House Hotel has ten en-suite letting bedrooms alongside several reception rooms and a large car park. The Eden Hotel Collection – one of the businesses of Midlands entrepreneur Sir Peter Rigby, who is the founder, chief executive and chairman of the Rigby Group – and the RSC jointly acquired Caterham House from the Young family, which has operated the hotel since 2002. The sale price is undisclosed but agent Colliers International said it was sold for in the region of the £1m guide price. Eden Hotel Collection group managing director Mark Chambers told The Business Desk: “Along with our partners the RSC, we are pleased to have this exciting opportunity to expand our offering in Stratford-upon-Avon.”
Experienced operators open luxury hotel and fine-dining restaurant at Dorset country manor: Experienced operators Alex and Gretchen Boon have opened new concept 10 Castle Street in Dorset. The Boons, who have a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector having run pubs including the King John Inn in Tollard Royal, Wiltshire, have spent a seven-figure sum converting the grade II-listed Cranborne Lodge in the village of Cranborne into a luxury hotel, restaurant, tasting room, bar and private members’ club, creating 35 jobs. The couple have taken out a 25-year lease and plan to add a spa and fitness centre as well as further bedrooms, reports Business Insider. 10 Castle Street features a fine dining restaurant, a bar, a tasting room and an outside terrace on the ground floor. Situated on the first and second floors is an exclusive private members’ club, including a members bar, dining room, drawing room, billiard room, children’s play room and nine bedrooms. Non-members can stay in the bedrooms for the night as “passing members”. The 18th century country manor, which was built by the Stillingfleet family, is owned by the Cranborne Estate.
Owner of Hull restaurant submits plans for new cafe-bar in disused shipping container: The owner of Hull-based Italian restaurant Al Porto has submitted plans for a new waterfront cafe-bar in a disused shipping container. Tony Ademi has applied to Hull City Council to convert the 40-foot container at Hull Marina to “encourage al-fresco drinking and dining in one of the city’s most picturesque locations”. The cafe-bar would be next to Ademi’s restaurant at Warehouse 13 in Railway Street and could also include an outside decking area for tables and chairs. Ademi told the Hull Daily Mail: “What we want to do with this new project is no different from what we have been doing with Al Porto for all these years. We want to bring some life and colour and culture to Hull, because it is a great place. Some people still think it is just a town at the end of the M62, but it is much more than that.” Al Porto is housed in one of the few remaining warehouses that formed part of the old Humber Dock. The renovated Hull Marina first opened in 1983 on what was the site of the old docklands railway. It is now home to luxurious apartment blocks, office buildings, bars and eateries.
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

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