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Tue 16th Feb 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

£500,000 crowdfunding campaign launched to create ‘world’s best cocktail bar’ in London with ‘guest’ staff: A £500,000 fund-raising campaign has been launched on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to create the “world’s best cocktail bar” in London. Nathan Engelbrecht and Andrew Copsey have co-launched Guest, which is offering a 25% equity stake in return for the investment, which will be used to secure a venue for the bar, refurbish the site and start an international PR campaign. So far three investors have pledged £52,020 with 60 days remaining. The pitch states: “We plan to create the world’s best cocktail bar. We will only have the best staff in the industry. We plan to obtain this level of staff by only hiring each person on a day-to-day ‘guest shift’ basis. These creative individuals will bring their skill and flair to create the most exciting cocktails in the world. Expanding upon the idea, we want to engage with pop-up operators, food truck cooks, and junior chefs from Michelin-star restaurants to develop our food offering. We have identified three sites on Broadwick Street, which we are considering. Most importantly, we have quietly been approaching the best cocktail personnel we know and have built up our first two months’ rota. Our main revenue stream will be through the sale from drink and food. We plan on an average 60-75% margin on drinks and food. Popular venues have a certain plateau and therefore, the larger the site the better daily take. With that in mind, we are looking for a larger than usual 150 capacity venue. We will be a live music venue but we plan to have special events for famous musicians or festivals. Lastly, we will look to use the food and cocktail recipes generated by our guests over time to exploit various publishing options.”

Industry News:

Propel partners with Digital Blonde for Advanced Social Media Masterclass: Propel is partnering with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the Advanced Social Media Masterclass, building on last year’s Social Media Masterclass with all-new content. The event takes place on Wednesday, 20 April at One Moorgate Place in London and will provide a comprehensive overview of how to make the best use of social media. Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell will share research into the importance of social media in customers’ lives as well as insight into the psychology of food and drink marketing in order to produce persuasive social media activity. The day will also include advice on using storytelling techniques to achieve stronger results in marketing and social media campaigns as well as how to use analytics to develop a social media strategy. There will also be a first-look at Digital Blonde’s “Love, Lust and Trust” research, which will unveil the best loved pub and bar brands and what can be learned from their social strategies. Tickets are £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers members and £345 for non-members and to book email

Ed’s Easy Diner withdrawn from sale: Ed’s Easy Diner, the American diner chain, has been withdrawn from sale after failing to attract offers in line with its £90m valuation, The Times has reported. The auction had attracted the interest of American buyout company TPG, which owns Prezzo, and Bowmark Capital, former backer of Las Iguanas, according to The Sunday Times. Ed’s currently has circa 50 diner sites across the UK, with a further seven BBQ and Grill sites, a ‘Dinerette’ and ‘Shake’ stand.

More women took the lead for Valentine’s bookings this year: More women took the lead and booked a restaurant table for Valentine’s weekend this year, according to online bookings service liveRES. Despite men still being ahead in making Valentine’s reservations, women are catching up. This year, 47.09% of bookings over Valentine’s weekend (including Friday) were made by women, compared with 45.8% last year and 42.7% in 2014. Not surprisingly, a Sunday table for two was the favoured choice. However, 31.7% of the weekend bookings were made for Saturday. Olivia FitzGerald, liveRES managing director, said: “There is real competition out there to grab a share of the Valentine’s Day eating out market and it’s essential operators make sure their offers and customer communications are targeted towards both male and female consumers, especially those organised to book ahead.” liveRES is part of Zonal Retail Data Systems, a solutions provider to more than 8,000 UK leisure and hospitality businesses. 
Online multi-roaster coffee subscription service Aromapass launches £70,000 crowdfunding drive: Online multi-roaster coffee subscription service Aromapass has launched a £70,006 fund-raising drive on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to test the market in the UK. The company, co-founded by Francesco Parretta and Marco Moschini, is offering a 10% equity stake in return for the investment and has so far seen 31 investors pledge £9,576 with 57 days remaining. The pitch states: “We plan on launching Aromapass in the UK where we can take advantage of the knowledge of the market and the leads we gained with our previous business (Aromataste). We plan to increase the market share in one market and then roll-out the brand in countries with similar profiles to the UK, like Germany, the Netherlands and the Nordics (Finland and Sweden) through our flexible and light business model and also thanks to the outsourcing of the supply chain. Our customers can choose from three subscription plans, subscribe in a few clicks directly from the homepage and receive a choice of three different coffees that we select each month. We have been part of the H-Farm Ventures acceleration programme for the last four months. We developed the beta version of and created the tasting box. We are now ready to market test in the UK. In 2016 (September-December), with our launch strategy (£100,000 investment), we plan a total cost of £80,000 made up mainly by sales and marketing expenses to test the UK market and administrative costs due to settlement costs, which we are confident will be lower in 2017. We intend to use the money to complete the web page and to market test. Our launch sales and marketing plan is based on creating brand awareness and acquiring 740 (single subscription) plus 225 (six months’ and 12 months’ subscription) early adopters in the UK within April 2016.” 
Sarumdale interest rate hedging claim against Barclays to be pursued through liquidator: A claim against Barclays Bank for alleged mis-selling of interest rate hedging products to pub company Sarumdale is set to be pursued by the company’s liquidator after administrator Bebbies Traynor involvement in the situation ceased, former Sarumdale director Mike Lloyd has told Propel. He said: “The case is very much alive – these products were not sold to us, they were much enforced upon by Barclays. We appealed to put the company is the hands of liquidators (to pursue the claim).” A court notice ending Sarumdale’s administration states: “The director of the company maintained that the claim against the bank should be continued and not withdrawn as part of the administrator’s exit route.”
STR Global – number of hotel rooms under contract in Europe increases 15.8%, Greater London has most rooms under construction: The number of hotel rooms under contract in Europe has increased 15.8% with Greater London having the most rooms under construction, according to the January 2016 STR Global Pipeline Report. The report showed there are 1,152 hotels totalling 167,251 rooms under contract, which is a 6.3% year-on-year rise in rooms under construction. The under contract data includes projects in the “in construction”, “final planning” and “planning” stages but does not include projects in the “unconfirmed” stage. The region reported 62,205 rooms in 460 hotels under construction for the month. Among the region’s key markets, Greater London reported the most rooms under construction with 4,792 rooms in 33 hotels. Three other markets reported more than 2,000 rooms under construction: Istanbul, Turkey, (4,679 rooms in 24 hotels); Moscow, Russia, (3,830 rooms in 16 hotels); and Greater Berlin, Germany, (2,330 rooms in six hotels).
LGA – restaurants, pubs and bars should be made to spell out calorie content of food and drink to help tackle ‘obesity crisis’: The Local Government Association (LGA) has said restaurants, pubs and bars should be made to spell out the calorie content of food and drink they sell to help tackle the nation’s “obesity crisis”. It is calling on ministers to include a requirement for companies with more than 20 outlets to display calorie counts on menus and at counters in its forthcoming childhood obesity strategy. The LGA pointed to the example of New York, which has been running a calorie count scheme since 2008 with the backing of the city’s restaurant sector. Izzi Seccombe, the LGA’s spokeswoman on community wellbeing, told the Press Association: “Food and drink with high calorie content is clearly a factor behind obesity, and the subsequent health problems it can cause. Clear and prominent signs indicating the number of calories in a product should be mandatory. We need to take bold action in changing our environment if we are to beat obesity, and that includes when we’re sitting at a table in a restaurant reading a menu or ordering at the counter.”
2016 BHA Hospitality & Tourism Summit to take place on 27 June: The fifth British Hospitality Association (BHA) Hospitality & Tourism Summit will take place on Monday, 27 June at The Grange St Paul’s Hotel in London. The summit attracts leaders, chief executives, politicians, investors, and suppliers to discuss the issues that matter most within the industry. The 2016 agenda focuses on issues affecting the whole industry, including alleviating the impact of the National Living Wage, the industry’s stance on the Europe in-out debate, continued devolution, gaining competitive advantage in the global tourism marketplace, making the digital economy work for the industry, improving profits, and future trends. BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “The summit is the Davos of hospitality and tourism; connecting leaders of the UK, who are seeking solutions to the big issues affecting our industry. It provides an exclusive platform for inspiration, innovation and debate. It is our ambition to ensure the future success of our industry and a level playing field for tourism and hospitality businesses that operate in the UK.”

Company News:

Pret A Manger to open first campus-based venue, second Exeter site: Pret A Manger will open its first campus-based venue at the University of Exeter, its second site in the city. The venue is expected to open near the end of April and follows the launch of a 130-cover Pret A Manger site in Exeter in September. It will sell organic coffee and handmade natural food, including sandwiches, salads, wraps, baguettes and hot options, which will be made on-site. Caroline Cromar, Pret A Manger group director of food, told the Express & Echo: “This is an exciting new area for Pret and one we hope will have a real impact on the students living and studying on campus. We know it can be difficult to prepare fresh meals every day when living away from home.” The move comes after students asked for more food and drink options on campus. Phil Attwell, director of campus services at the university, said: “The new outlet will help to further expand the offering of fresh, healthy foods available to our staff and students.”

Casual Dining Group plans 20 Bella Italia openings by May, four this month: Casual Dining Group’s Bella Italia brand is opening four new sites this month. They signal the start of a busy four months for the Italian restaurant chain, which has 20 new openings scheduled between now and the end of May. The first two February openings are on busy London suburb retail parks, at Colliers Wood, which opened last week; and at Orpington, which welcomed its first customers yesterday (Monday, 15 February). The others, at Glasgow’s Silverburn Shopping Centre tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 February) and in High Street, Kingston-upon-Thames (Wednesday, 24 February), are both former La Tasca sites. Casual Dining Group bought the La Tasca chain of Spanish-style tapas bars last summer. The £915,000 Colliers Wood restaurant, in The Tandem Centre, has 180 covers across 4,400 square foot, and is described as “an excellent unit within a very busy and sought after location”. Bella has agreed a 15-year lease with landlord Santander (CF Trustee). At Orpington, the £750,000 restaurant is in the new retail and cinema scheme called The Walnuts, and covers 3,400 square foot, accommodating 124 diners. The lease agreed with landlord Rockspring Property Investment Managers is 20 years. Casual Dining Group property director Phil Derbyshire said: “These four openings mark the beginning of a really busy four months for Bella, with sites set to open in some of the premier leisure retail schemes in the UK.” February’s openings will bring the number of Bella restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales to 97, with recent new openings including Mansfield, Walsall, and Gloucester.

Camerons unveils new Head of Steam for Sheffield: Camerons Brewery has reported its eighth branded Head of Steam venue will be opening in Sheffield. The brewery will be converting the Old Monk venue, located in the city centre in Norfolk Street close to the Crucible and Lyceum theatres, in early April. The company acquired the Old Monk in early December and it has been running the venue in its current guise since then. Chris Soley, director and general manager at Camerons, said: “When we saw the opportunity of adding the Old Monk to our estate it was always our intention to turn this venue into one of our premium Head of Steam cask and craft outlets. 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.” The venue will include a new island bar in the centre of the main trading area and will have 16 keg lines and eight cask ale hand pulls. A selection of rotating craft beers from UK and world brewers will feature along with a range of Camerons and local breweries cask ales. In addition a selection of premium wines, spirits and cocktails will also feature. The brewery has continued its relationship with Longhorns, which will be running the kitchen at the Head of Steam, serving a selection of its barbecue smokehouse foods. Work begins at the site tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 February). The news follows the recent acquisition of a new site in Headingley, which will also be opening in early April as a Head of Steam venue.

Enterprise Inns and Fine Leisure grow Dexters brand with £300,000 Scunthorpe reopening: Enterprise Inns and multi-site operator Fine Leisure, led by David Butler, will reopen the Black Bull, near Scunthorpe, under the Dexters brand in March following a £300,000 refurbishment. The 18th century building in Wrawby Street, Brigg, will become Dexters Alehouse & Kitchen of Brigg after being taken on by multiple pub operator Butler. It will be the third family-style gastro-pub under the Dexters brand, with the Enterprise-owned Dexters Alehouse & Kitchen in Cleethorpes and Dexters Alehouse in Lincoln. Butler has others planned for Hull – also with Enterprise – and Louth. As with its sister venues, the Brigg pub will offer craft beers, cask ales, fine wines, coffee and food. Butler said: “I’m delighted to be working with Enterprise on another Dexters venue. Our partnership in Cleethorpes has proved hugely successful, and there’s no reason we can’t make it work in Brigg. By investing a significant amount, Enterprise has shown confidence in the brand I’ve developed, and in turn I’m confident they’ll continue to provide the kind of support needed to make this latest venture a success.” Enterprise regional manager Sean Gifford said: “We’re sure [Butler] will do another superb job in Brigg. He is exactly the sort of innovative, energetic, entrepreneurial operator Enterprise is always keen to work with and support.”
Agent acquires six sites for Brunning & Price in six months: Agent Christie & Co has reported it has acquired three further sites for The Restaurant Group’s Brunning & Price gastro-pub brand, taking total acquisitions to six over the past six months. The new additions to the group are the former Punch-owned Haycutter near Oxted, Surrey, The Garden House, just outside St Albans and the Haighton Manor, north of Preston. These followed swiftly on from three other successful acquisitions in 2015 including The Wobbly Wheel, now the Falcon, near Banbury, The Jolly Farmers, renamed The Pheasant, in Buckland, near Reigate and The Fox Revived, Horley. Brunning & Price is made up of a group of 54 pubs, split between the north west and south east and has been part of The Restaurant Group since 2007. Over the past two years, Brunning & Price has acquired a number of new sites with Christie & Co’s assistance and is still looking to acquire further sites in 2016. Christie & Co is retained to assist Brunning & Price in looking for locations between Lancashire and Kent in both rural and semi-rural areas with plots of at least 1.25 acres or urban sites with the ability to create a bar restaurant venue seating at least 120 people. Simon Chaplin, head of pubs and restaurants – London at Christie & Co, said: “We’re very pleased to have a flourishing and long standing relationship with Brunning & Price leading to their most recent successful purchases of these six pubs in the last few months. As they continue with expansion outside of their current core area of the north west and the south east, we are looking for suitable buildings and sites throughout the West Midlands and around locations such as Milton Keynes, York, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford and Cheltenham as well as along the M4 to bring their individual style and quality to a wider audience.”
Ibérica to open seventh site in Leeds in April: Spanish restaurant group Ibérica will open its seventh site in Leeds in April. The company is currently converting the grade II-listed Hepper House, which was purpose-built as an auction house, into a restaurant, reports the Yorkshire Evening Post. The venue, which will occupy 5,700 square foot of space, will have capacity for 150 diners over three floors. In addition, the venue will also have an its own in-house delicatessen and wine bar, which will be accessible from a separate entrance on the opposite side of the building and will serve smaller plates. Spanish designer Lazaro Rosa Violan is designing the restaurant, which will have dark blue tones, dark wood interiors, a curved staircase and wood panelling. Ibérica’s executive head chef Nacho Manzano has developed the menu, which will offer tapas along with larger dishes such as paella. The brand currently has five restaurants in London and one in Manchester.
Bao to open second Taiwanese street food venue – in Fitzrovia: Taiwanese street food concept Bao will add a second site in Windmill Street, Fitzrovia, London, in May, little more than a year after opening its first venue. The restaurant will offer a similar menu to its Soho site, which opened in April 2015, of Chinese snacks and steamed buns, along with new sharing dishes. The no-reservations policy will still apply, with the restaurant seating 47, plus another ten outside. There will also be an expanded drinks list, to include cocktails and champagne. Bao’s Fitzrovia menu will feature snacks such as cured ribcap, pickles and fermented chilli bean dip, while sharing dishes will include ox heart with Sichuan dressing. Chi Shiang rice bowls will include octopus with bottarga. Wai Ting Chung, who started Bao as a street food stall with her brother Shing Chung and his wife, chef Erchen Changold, told Bloomberg: “We were overwhelmed by the success of Bao Soho but the small space always meant we would be restricted in the dishes we could offer. Taking on a new site allows us to cook a new range of dishes and a different environment in which to experience Bao.” The enterprise is backed by JKS Restaurants, whose restaurants include the Michelin-starred Gymkhana in Mayfair.
Urban Leisure Group to open new restaurant concept featuring florist in Paddington in April: London-based Urban Leisure Group will open a new restaurant concept specialising in pizza and featuring a florist in Paddington in April. The company is launching Heist Bank in North Wharf Road, reports Hot Dinners. The 6,000 square foot site will have a restaurant for 50 diners as well a private function room in the basement with karaoke, Nintendo consoles and self-service beer kegs. There will also be an in-house artisan florist from Botanique, which has a flower shop in Exmouth Market. The site will have a wood-fired oven to cook pizzas made from local cheeses, cured meats and with seasonal toppings. The menu will also feature slow roasted lamb, steak and trout, which will also be cooked in the oven. Urban Leisure Group has seven other sites in the capital, including Graphic in Soho, which was its first venue to open in 2008.
Wetherspoon certified as a ‘Top Employer’: JD Wetherspoon has been certified as a Top Employer United Kingdom 2016. It is the 13th consecutive year that the company has been certified by The Top Employers Institute, the independent organisation behind The Top Employer Awards. The certification is based on independent research that shows that Wetherspoon has “outstanding HR policies and excellent working conditions”. Wetherspoon was the only pub company to be recognised. A total of 70 companies were named as Top Employers, including Intercontinental Hotels Group, KFC, Asda, DHL, Harrods and Santander. Wetherspoon was assessed on primary benefits, secondary benefits and working conditions, training and development, career development and company culture. Personnel and legal director Su Cacioppo said: “We are very proud to be named as one of the UK’s top employers. It is even more pleasing that it is our 13th consecutive year to receive this accolade. The company employs more than 37,000 staff across its pubs and at its head office and we are committed to offering each and every one the best opportunity to succeed and grow within the company.”
TGI Friday’s to open new site in Walsall this week: TGI Friday’s will open a new site in Walsall on Friday (19 February) – its first in the Black Country. The company will launch the restaurant at the £12m Walsall Waterfront complex in the town centre, off Wolverhampton Street, reports the Express & Star. It will join Greene King’s Hungry Horse brand, PizzaExpress, Chiquito, which is owned by The Restaurant Group, and Casual Dining Group’s Bella Italia. An eight-screen Light cinema anchors the complex. TGI Friday’s other restaurants in the West Midlands are in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Solihull.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen to open venue in £14m Bolton redevelopment: Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) is to open a venue in the Market Place Shopping Centre redevelopment in Bolton. The company will open a venue in one of the large, ground-floor units in the refurbished Victorian vaults, with an opening expected in June or July. Nando’s and Italian restaurant brand Prezzo will also open in the vaults. GBK has formally applied to Bolton Council for a late-night licence. The £14m vaults scheme is part of a wider £19m redevelopment that will also see a nine-screen cinema created. Bolton Council deputy chief executive Keith Davies told the Bolton News: “When we see more names like GBK taking space in the vaults, the more it is an endorsement of the investment strategy.” The Bolton launch will be GBK’s 71st site, following on from its venue in Southampton city centre, which will open on Monday, 22 February.
Family-run Manchester-based cafe-bar Mary and Archie to start expanding by opening second site on Friday: Manchester-based cafe-bar Mary and Archie is to start expanding by opening its second site on Friday (19 February). The family-run company, which has an outlet in Burton Road, Didsbury, is launching the new venue in the neighbouring suburb of Chorlton, in the former Crema unit on the corner of Manchester Road and Kensington Road. The venue will cater for about 50 to 60 covers inside, with more seating on the wraparound terrace outside. Behind the bar there will be eight keg lines, four cask ales and a wide range of bottled beers to choose from, as well as a cocktail menu. Elli Peake, who owns and runs the business together with chef brother Tom and their mum Bev West, said it would have much the same vibe as the Didsbury site but with an even bigger range of beer and a stronger focus on food. She told the Manchester Evening News: “In Didsbury it’s mostly burgers and pizzas and there will be an element of that, but with more of a focus on small plates and specials, and slightly more upmarket. We really like Chorlton and we think what we do will fit in really well.”

El Gato Negro sets date for Manchester launch: Simon Shaw’s Michelin-bibbed El Gato Negro tapas bar concept will finally open in Manchester on Monday, 22 February after its relocation from Ripponden, Yorkshire, was hit by months of delays. The venue will feature a street-level wine and charcuterie bar, seating nearly 50 around marble-top tables, with a main restaurant upstairs, which includes an open finishing kitchen. Ripponden offerings such as morcilla Scotch eggs, anchovy crostini and baby roast chicken remain on the menu, alongside new dishes such as onglet steak with patatas a lo pobre and rack of baby pork ribs with Pedro Ximénez glaze. The Black Cat cocktail bar with a retractable roof is on the top floor, offering Spanish wine and sherry cocktails, as well as spirits. The restaurant was originally due to open last autumn but the launch had to be put back because “delicate” work took longer than expected. Last month Shaw, former executive head chef at Harvey Nichols in London, said he was also searching for a site in Leeds for further expansion of the El Gato Negro concept.

BrewDog registers 23 beers with Vegan Society: BrewDog has become the latest brewery to embrace veganism by registering 23 of its beers, including flagship brews Punk IPA and Five AM Red, with The Vegan Society’s vegan trademark. BrewDog is one of a growing number of breweries to reject the use of isinglass, the product derived from dried fish bladders historically used in the fining of beer. The irreverent Scottish craft beer brewery, which prides itself on pushing the boundaries in brewing, has in fact never used animal products in any of its beers throughout its nine-year history. Sarah Warman, head of marketing, said: “Registering our beers with the Vegan Society now, despite them never having animal products in, is part of our bid to make craft beer brewed with passion available as easily possible. Here’s to the craft beer revolution, and vegan punks everywhere! Everyone should be able to drink great beer, and we’re proud that particular dietary choices won’t keep you out of a BrewDog bar or BottleDog. That’s why we’re also rocking epic gluten-free and alcohol-free beers in our venues – craft beer for the people!” 

Real Junk Food Project to open first permanent restaurant in Manchester: The not-for-profit Real Junk Food Project, which aims to highlight food waste and food poverty, will open a restaurant in Manchester in mid-March. Mary-Ellen McTague, who worked in Michelin-starred kitchens including Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, will be head chef at the venue set in The Wonder Inn on Shudehill. The not-for-profit restaurant will only serve food that would otherwise go to waste, sourced from wholesalers, supermarkets and restaurants, with customers settling the bill on a “pay-as-you-feel” basis. The restaurant itself, which has evolved from a series of pop-up events held since 2014, will also be made entirely from salvaged materials. Director Corin Bell told the Manchester Evening News: “Our goal from the start was to find a space in which to open a permanent ‘waste food’ restaurant. We’ve found that home with our partners at The Wonder Inn. We’re not sure if we’re the most upcycled food venue in the UK, but we can’t find anyone who’s gone quite as far as we have.” Founded in Leeds, the Real Junk Food Project has grown into a network of pop-up projects all over the UK.
Plans for Leeds development featuring restaurants, bars, micro-brewery and cinema get go-ahead: Plans for a development in Leeds featuring restaurants, bars, a micro-brewery and cinema have been given the go-ahead. Developer Carillion has been granted permission by the city council for the scheme at the Tower Works, an old pin factory, on the South Bank. The project will see the site transformed into 90,000 square foot of retail space, featuring restaurants and bars, 127,014 square foot of office accommodation and 160 homes. As part of the scheme the grade II-listed Engine House will be converted with a micro-brewery on the ground floor and an art house cinema upstairs. A total of ten buildings will be constructed with work expected to start on the development in June. Tower Works is the home of T R Harding’s pin factory, which was built in the mid-19th century to supply the textiles industry and closed in 1978. Cllr James McKenna, chair of the city plans panel, told The Business Desk: “The redevelopment of the Tower Works site will create a dynamic new hub for businesses, residents, visitors and shoppers which will be a cornerstone in the regeneration of the whole area.”

Online beer distributor EeBriaTrade closes £250,000 Seedrs crowdfunding pitch: Online beer distributor EeBriaTrade has closed its pitch on crowdfunding platform Seedrs after going past its £250,000 fund-raising target. The company, which launched in June and whose customers include BrewDog and Innis & Gunn, was offering a 7.69% equity stake to fund expansion. The pitch closed with £287,777 pledged. The pitch stated: “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 time 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.”
New Mediterranean cafe and bar concept set to open in Leicester: A new Mediterranean cafe and bar concept is set to open in Leicester. Former lawyer Evangelos Polyzos has applied to the city council to convert the site of the Encol Computer Centre in Queens Road, which is relocating nearby. The cafe, set to be called Rosebud, will have about ten tables and create three jobs. Polyzos, who worked in bars and restaurants as a bartender and manager while studying for his degree, told the Leicester Mercury: “I want the cafe and bar to have Mediterranean food, because I am from Greece. The food will be served with beer from micro-brewers. I’m really excited to contribute to the local economy.”
Vaulkhard Group adding terrace to Barluga as part of company’s £4m development plans: Newcastle-based Vaulkhard Group has started the £180,000 extension of its Barluga city centre bar as part of the company’s £4m development plans. The venue in Grey Street will remain open during the work, which will see the first floor outside terrace extended to create an 80 square foot drinking and dining area, which is set to open in April. Barluga is the latest brand to benefit from Vaulkhard Group’s £4m development plans, which will be completed in 2018. Vaulkhard Group director Ollie Vaulkhard said: “We are delighted to have been given the go-ahead to start this project in time for spring. The design has been created to provide customers with an additional place to dine and drink in a relaxed setting, with views across the rooftops of Newcastle.” The terrace will offer a full-service bar and table service with capacity for 100 people, 75 seated. As well as a barbecue area, the terrace will have heated seats and be available for hire. Vaulkhard Group owns 14 bars, coffee shops and restaurants in Newcastle and the surrounding area, employing more than 100 staff.
Friday Beer Co extends £150,000 crowdfunding drive for second time: Brewer Friday Beer Co, founded by Gerald Williams, has extended its offer for a second time as it looks to raise £150,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, which increased its equity offer from 16.67% to 25% at the first extension, has extended the pitch for a further 12 days. So far 150 investors have pledged £111,620 with the largest investment to date being £14,570. The company stated: “Owing to discussions with new prospective investors and ongoing crowd momentum, the pitch has been extended and will close on 26 February.” In its pitch, the company said it aspires to be the UK’s next “BrewDog style of business” and sees it expanding over the years towards “Friday” branded city-based bars with novel “beer tank” dispensing systems selling its premium ales.
New all-day restaurant concept Dalloway Terrace to open at The Bloomsbury hotel next month: A new restaurant concept Dalloway Terrace, named after the eponymous character created by author Virginia Woolf, will open in central London next month. The venue will be based in The Bloomsbury hotel, based just off Great Russell Street in Bloomsbury, an area that was home to Woolf and has a rich literary history. With its fully retractable roof and hidden lower level, the dining space opens at 7am daily, for light breakfasts followed by brunch and an all-day dining menu. The menu, overseen by The Bloomsbury’s head chef Paul O’Brien, includes seared tuna pickled radish with wasabi and grilled aubergine, chilli hummus, feta crumble with rosemary bread. Guests will also be able to enjoy a traditional afternoon tea, inspired by the Bloomsbury Set (an influential group of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists), prepared by pastry chef Mariatu Kargbo, who has previously worked at The Dorchester, The Lanesborough and The Berkeley. The restaurant is led by Andrei Maxim, who has more than 15 years’ industry experience, having previously worked at The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Maze by Gordon Ramsay in Mayfair.
Dalata buys Dublin hotel site: Hotel company Dalata has acquired DS Charlemont, which owns the former Charlemont Clinic Site, in Dublin, from UK and Ireland regeneration developer, U+I, for €11.9m. The consideration is payable in cash. The site fronts on to Charlemont Street and Charlemont Mall on the Grand Canal. On 19 January 2016, Dublin City Council granted permission, subject to conditions, for a four-star 181-bedroom hotel with restaurant, cafe/bar and business facilities. The permission also includes three residential apartments and basement car parking. The planning conditions include revisions to the scale of the building, which are subject to the agreement of the planning authority. As part of the planning process, the permission is subject to review by An Bord Pleanala. The total size of the site is 0.95 acres. The company plans to complete the planning process, enabling the construction of a new Clayton Hotel, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2018. The overall investment in the project, including the site purchase, will be in excess of €40m, creating circa 100 new employee positions when the hotel is operational. Dermot Crowley, deputy chief executive business development and finance, said: “The Charlemont Clinic site is very well located in Dublin and is ideally suited to a Clayton hotel. The Dublin hotel market is significantly undersupplied at present and we are pleased to bring these additional bedrooms to the city.”

Full speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference on 16 March unveiled: The full speaker programme for the Propel Multi Club Conference on Wednesday, 16 March at Congress Hall, London, has been unveiled. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book up to two free places by emailing Adam Dickinson on The conference series is the best attended in the sector. Speakers are: Nicola Knight, analyst at insights firm Horizons, investigates the key trends in the UK foodservice market, including major menu trends, growth areas and discounting – and looks ahead to the key trends of 2016 and beyond. Adrian Blair, chief operating officer for Just Eat, provides an overview of the company’s role in the takeaway market, current key trends and future potential for operators to develop revenue. Steve Kenee, partner at investment firm Downing, talks about the firm’s long-term investment partnership with Antic London, developing an estate of more than 30 London pubs, the businesses USPs, the risks and rewards of operating near the leading edge of urban regeneration and the development of non-licensed premises. David Singleton, vice-president of hospitality for Al Tayer Group, provides an overview of the foodservice landscape in the United Arab Emirates, the brands that are winning, the potential for UK brands and his company’s approach to growing sales. Punch Taverns chief strategy director Neil Griffiths outlines the company’s evolved strategy, involving as much as £300m of investment over five years, developing operator and trading agreements, expanding its fledgling concepts and brands, taking greater control of its retail offer and realising additional value from its property portfolio. Simon King, managing director of Burger & Lobster, talks about the progress of Burger & Lobster in London and elsewhere, the unique thinking and philosophy behind the brand, sourcing quality ingredients, recruiting and training staff, evolving the offer, expanding outside of London and international prospects. Phil Sermon, managing director of Vapiano, talks about progress in the UK as well as the company’s fresh approach to recruitment, training and development of its people and interaction with its guests. David Mooney, co-founder of New Moon Pub Company, arguably the UK’s most versatile food pub operator, talks about the company’s approach at country and city pubs, its Beef and Pudding concept, New York-influenced The Bronx brand, its pizza concept Casa Matta, evolution and future plans. Roberto Morretti, chief operating officer of Bill’s, talks to ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls about the brand’s USPs, trading all-day, developing a retail dimension and staying true to the brand founder’s vision. Henry Dimbleby and Jonathan Downey, co-founders of London Union, set out their progress in creating neighbourhood food markets based on experiential food discovery, crowdfunding, their plans to create the world’s greatest food market and the development of 12 London neighbourhood markets.

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago open for bookings: The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is 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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