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Wed 3rd Feb 2016 - Imbiba partners reports progress at four companies
Darwin & Wallace secures fifth site: London-based bar and restaurant company Darwin & Wallace, which is backed by the Imbiba Partnership, has secured its fifth site. Managing director Mel Marriott told the Imbiba Partnership Conference at the Banking Hall in London yesterday (Tuesday, 2 February) the company would be opening at an undisclosed location in Battersea. She also told investors its fourth venue ­– on the site of the former All Bar One in Chiswick ­– would open in the next ten weeks. Marriott added the company’s third site No 1 Duke Street in Richmond was performing “well ahead of expectations” three months after it opened. She said: “Finding the right site can be a bit daunting. It was an ugly duckling. When I went to view it, I was told by the doorman it was £1 to get in. I was in there ten minutes and when I came out the doorman said to me ‘not for you then love’ and gave me my £1 back! But I saw a central Richmond location that had been overlooked.” The company has also introduced a loyalty card and an initiative called “cocktails al-desco” where complimentary cocktails are delivered to offices on a Friday afternoon. Marriott added: “What we are doing is evolving the village pub model for the 21st century. Our bars are fresh and they are timeless. They are all-day spaces to adapt to different crowds.” Launched in 2012, Darwin & Wallace other sites are No 11 Pimlico Road and No 32 the Old Town Clapham.

Wright & Bell to open first site in September, plans rapid expansion: Fledgling restaurant and bar company Wright & Bell, which is backed by the Imbiba Partnership, will open its first site in September and is planning rapid expansion. Managing director Jayne Baker, who worked for Mitchells & Butlers for 22 years where she helped to develop its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand, said the concept would launch in South Place in Finsbury Circus. The venue is spread over two floors with an informal restaurant and cafe/deli on one floor with a more sophisticated restaurant and bar on the other. Both floors would have open kitchens to give its chefs “a stage to perform” and there would be an emphasis on fresh food. She told the Imbiba Partnership Investor Conference at the Banking Hall in London yesterday (Tuesday, 2 February) the design of site number two, at an undisclosed location, was already being worked and was known as the “Department Store of Dining”. It features a restaurant, bar, cookery school and florist and Baker said she had been exploring the different offerings of restaurants in Europe to help develop her concept. Baker also told investors it was also potentially looking at a third site and there was a pipeline of openings planned. The sites being sought are in excess of 10,000 square foot and have 400-plus covers. She added: “It’s just our fourth month with Imbiba. What I can show you is my dream and my vision and how I heard the music. I heard success. For me being a restaurateur, being in hospitality, it’s all about the chatter of really excited guests. It’s about the wine pouring and the food cooking. I come from a hard-working background with family businesses in greengrocery and floristry, which I’m looking to take into Wright & Bell. Flowers and freshness will play an important part in the Wright & Bell concept. We are already going at quite a pace. I’m going to deliver you an amazing dream my dream.” 

Ruth & Robinson targets areas of London ‘in the ascendency’ as part of growth plans: Brooklyn bar concept Ruth & Robinson, which is backed by investment fund Imbiba Partnership, is targeting areas of London “in the ascendency” as part of its growth plans. Managing director Sarah Weir said the concept, which opened The Fourteenth Colonie in Clerkenwell last year, was looking at places such as Shoreditch, Brixton, Camden and King’s Cross when it came to potential openings. She told the Imbiba Partnership Investor Conference at the Banking Hall yesterday (Tuesday, 2 February): “We’re looking at areas where ‘generation Y’ live and work – they are our customers. That’s areas that are in the ascendancy (and) where regeneration has taken place. These are places mostly north and east of the City but some to the west and south.” Weir described Ruth & Robinson as a bakery/cafe-by-day and cocktails-by-night concept. She said: “There was an explosion in concepts when it came to eating out in the UK. It’s exciting, it’s non-stop and it’s world class. I waited for the same thing with bars and it never came.” Weir said there was a focus on speed – in terms of ordering, eating and paying but with emphasis on quality and freshness in both its drinks and food along with impeccable service. She added: “It’s a quality fit out. Counter dining is at the heart of what we do. It’s also about informality and individuality – cookie-cutter brands and service don’t work. I believe the first time people come is because they are new. The second time is because of how you made them feel.”

Camm & Hooper boss – ‘we’ve a number of sites in various stages of negotiation’: The boss of Camm & Hooper, the bar and restaurant company that is looking to “revolutionise the events sector” in London has said it has a number of sites at various stages of negotiation. Claire Lawson, who is managing director of the Imbiba Partnership-backed company, told the Imbiba Partnership Investor Conference at the Banking Hall one of its three sites – yesterday (Tuesday, 2 February) the company was keen to secure further space to meet that event demand. She added: “Camm & Hooper manage the most iconic properties in London and the design is interwoven with the local history and the community. All our spaces are flexible, offering an aspect to suit every occasion. We need our guests to have an amazing experience whatever the occasion. I look this industry and the people who work in it but you need to be creative, empowered, hungry and passionate.” Camm & Hooper’s other sites are Tanner & Co in Bermondsey and the Victorian Bath House on Bishopsgate Churchyard.

Starbucks energy specialist to receive MBE: Starbucks energy specialist Jaz Rabadia is to receive an MBE for her service to sustainability in the energy management sector and for promoting diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. She will accept the MBE, which was established in 1917 to mark civilian achievements, from a member of the royal family at Buckingham Palace later this month. The MBE is not the first time Rabadia has been honored for her commitment to the field of energy. She was named Young Energy Professional of the Year by the Energy Institute in 2014. Rabadia is fairly new to Starbucks, having joined the company in a newly-created position about a year ago. “Accepting an in-house energy role for a global organization was very appealing to me,” she said. “The fact that the organization was Starbucks and I would have a hand in shaping the role was an added bonus.” In Rabadia’s role, she’s focused on influencing the sustainable design of new Starbucks stores and developing environmental engagement tools for existing stores in Europe, Middle East and Africa region. She brings more than nine years of energy experience to Starbucks, after receiving her degree in mechanical engineering from City University London. In her final project prior to graduation, she completed an energy study at a large supermarket chain in the UK. Her work to implement energy-saving initiatives there resulted in her first role in energy management.

Sky invests £300,000 in sports marketing and app company InCrowd: Sky has invested £300,000 in mobile fan engagement and sports marketing company InCrowd. The investment in the UK-based company follows a series of Sky partnerships with pioneering technology companies in the US, helping to accelerate innovation. InCrowd, formed by the team behind the world’s leading sports data company, Opta, specialises in developing mobile apps, offering real time content, match analysis and interactive games, providing clubs and rights holders with a direct way to engage with fans. Sky Sports will work with InCrowd to explore new ways of delivering the best content to sports fans. InCrowd has also developed its own connectivity software that sits within its apps, allowing phones to share all available connectivity, rather that compete for it. Any information requested by an app user without a signal can be provided by the network, while the more phones that join the network, the better the solution works. Emma Lloyd, director of corporate development and strategic investments at Sky, said: “This is the latest in a series of investments in pioneering technology companies, which we know bring real benefits to customers. We’re really looking forward to working with InCrowd, a company that shares our passion for innovation, and for finding new and exciting ways to deliver content.” Aidan Cooney, co-founder and chief executive, InCrowd added. “Sky are world leaders in delivering content to sports fans wherever they are. We’re incredibly excited to be working with them to explore new ways of engaging with fans.”

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