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Thu 18th Feb 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Star Pubs to invest £75,000 in chef consultancy as part of drive to expand food sales to 50% of all sales by 2020: Star Pubs & Bars is to invest £75,000 in independent chef consultancy advice to help 100 of its licensees – it follows the provision of consultancy advice to 36 pubs in 2015. The support will be focused on driving food sales and will be tailored to each pub’s needs. It will help licensees with every kind of food business from those with fledgling offers looking to expand to those who have built up big established food operations. Training chefs will spend at least two days working with licensees and their kitchen teams at each participating pub. Support will meet the bespoke needs of individual pubs but will predominantly address one of the top five food issues Star says face licensees: menu development and new menu training; modern food presentation techniques; food quality and speed of service during peak trading times; increasing GP and yield control; and kitchen standards. Licensees will also receive a comprehensive action plan full of ideas, observations and practical solutions from the training chefs after their visit. Independent chef consultancy firm, Food Development Services will deliver the support. Trainers have been individually selected by Star for their extensive experience as chefs in top pubs, hotels and restaurants as well as for their coaching credentials. The initiative is a key part of ‘Star Food’, Star’s comprehensive food programme launched in 2015 to further its ambition that food will account for 50% of the estate’s sales by 2020. Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Success is not just about delivering great food, it’s about making food a profitable income stream generating maximum sales for licensees. With considerations ranging from kitchen ergonomics to supplier negotiation it’s an incredibly complex and challenging area, especially for licensees without a catering background. Star Food is about giving licensees the advantage in a competitive market place where customers are demanding on trend and great value yet ever more premium food and drink. Having witnessed the difference this bespoke chef support makes, we’re delighted to be extending it in 2016.” Graham Anderson, of the Eastfield Inn in Bristol, was one of the licensees to receive the chef consultancy in 2015. Anderson said: “This type of training is really, really good, particularly so for pubs that are just starting up, struggling with their food offer or changing it in some shape or form. It is very targeted to the individual pub concerned. The trainer listens to what you need to get out of it and helps you get there. It was great to have the training, we will make a lot more money as a result.”

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. To book email
Geof Collyer – ‘I’m looking forward to not getting up at 5am’: Deutsche Bank leisure analyst Geof Collyer is to step down at the end of next month after 30 years covering the sector – and reports he is looking forward to ending his 5am starts. Collyer said: “After 30 years of getting up at 5am each day, I have also decided to hang up my slide rule, HB pencil and A3 graph paper and actually retire from broking at the end of March this year (am 60 in May anyway, but always neater to do these things at the end of a tax year). It’s ten years since my only sabbatical (my heart bypass), and, in the last 30 years, I have not had more than three weeks off at any one time, so I am going to take some time out – hopefully around six months – to recharge the batteries. After that, who knows? Carolyn (his wife) says I can’t just sit around the house watching rugby or cricket or writing smutty novels all day; gardening is her department and I am not allowed to do any DIY. There is only so much time one can devote to playing tennis or learning to play golf properly, so I will have to find something else to occupy part of my time, which hopefully means that I can use my sector knowledge, built up over the past 35-40 years, to some useful effect at some point. I have a few irons in the fire, none that involve full-time or getting up at 5am, but you just never know if they will work out until you have a proper date to leave and start something new.”
Nando’s set to open on site of JD Wetherspoon pub in Stanmore: Nando’s is set to open a new site in Stanmore, north west London, on the site of a JD Wetherspoon pub, which is unexpectedly closing this month. JD Wetherspoon is shutting The Man in the Moon in Buckingham Parade on Sunday, 28 February and said the decision was a “commercial one”. The pub was not among those the company put up for sale last year. In its place will be a Nando’s restaurant, reports the Harrow Times. JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We can confirm that The Man in the Moon in Stanmore is closing. The last day of trading will be 28 February. As we understand it Nando’s will be moving into the site. We understand that the pub’s loyal customers will be disappointed with the decision and we thank them for their custom over the years. This is a commercial decision by the company to close the pub. All of the pub’s staff will be re-employed at other Wetherspoon pubs. The deal had to be completed with the pub’s landlord very quickly and that is the reason for the short notice given about its closure.”
Fenchurch manager receives hospitality award from the Queen: Jennifer Santner, manager of the Fenchurch Restaurant at Sky Garden, on top of London’s Walkie Talkie building, was awarded the Gold Service Scholarship, receiving her prize from the Queen. Swiss-born Santner received the major hospitality prize during a ceremony at Claridge’s. She told the Evening Standard: “It’s really nice to be recognised this way, it’s good for the industry and it will reflect on Sky Garden and the Fenchurch.” Santner beat seven other national finalists at The Connaught, Mayfair, earlier this month, serving wine and dishes to a table of four. She said: “The toughest thing is the nerves you have to deal with on the day.”
Starbucks opens third express store, first outside US: Starbucks has opened its first express store outside the US – in Union Station, Toronto, Canada. The railway station deals with 250,000 passengers a day, with hundreds disembarking trains at the same time. Rossann Williams, Starbucks Canada president, said: “Designed with the commuter in mind, the express store takes what is best about our cafes and refines it for faster service.” The venue is the third “espresso shot” Starbucks following the two that opened early last year in Wall Street and the Empire State Building, New York. There are no seats at the 400 square foot venue in Canada and customers are greeted by an employee with a handheld device that electronically sends their order to a barista. Customers see a digital menu board with options tailored to the most popular Starbucks products in Canada, with a focus on espressos and breakfast sandwiches.
£90m mixed-use development including restaurants and hotel planned in Cheshire: A £90m mixed-use development including restaurants and a hotel is planned for Alderley Park in Cheshire. The scheme, featuring 161,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a pub, 100-bed hotel, 410,000 square feet of office space, a 25,000 square foot indoor sports centre and 275 homes, will go before Cheshire East Council’s strategic planning board next Wednesday (24 February). There would also be a 150,000 square foot multi-storey car park providing up to 534 spaces in addition to a waste transfer station and public realm landscaping, reports The Business Desk. The application, submitted by Alderley Park, is for outline planning permission but for full planning permission for the demolition of existing buildings on the site.
Firebrand Brewing Co launches £125,000 crowdfunding drive: Cornwall-based Firebrand Brewing Co has launched a £125,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for new equipment as it scales up to its next level of production. The company, founded by Joe Thomson and Stephen Medlicott, is offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “We have two beer brands, Firebrand Brewing Co brewing modern style US inspired craft beer, and Penpont Brewery, which was our starting point, formally established back in 2009, brewing more traditional real ale. Since mid-2015 we have been made aware of a huge demand for contract brewed craft beer (brewing for other beer brands or breweries short of capacity) and with minimal marketing this has pushed our production towards our current facility capacity. Our restaurant/bar in Launceston was established by us in 2014, as a showcase for our beers and smoked food. Recently contract brewing has become a significant revenue and we anticipate in the next 12 months for contract brewing to grow to 47% of our brewery turnover, with Firebrand Brewing making up 41% and Penpont Brewery 12%. The restaurant averages a steady turnover of £4,166 plus VAT per week, which aims to increase to an average of £5,000 plus VAT over the next 24 months. The funding from this round of investment shall be used firstly to commission our new 25BBL brewery, which we have already obtained on hire purchase, however we need to purchase further equipment and installation costs. Secondly the funding shall be used for working capital as meeting demand and stock shortfalls have been our biggest problem. Firebrand brewing hopes to look at options for selling the business or expanding further in around year four from now.”

Company News:

Piers Adam to launch Copper Dog sister restaurant and bar in Dubai, every detail of Scottish venue to be replicated: A “whisky hotel”, the Craigellachie in Speyside, will recreate its Copper Dog restaurant and bar in Dubai, replicating every detail down to the glasses it will serve Scotch in. Hotel manager Kevin Smith and two members of staff will travel to the Gulf state in the coming weeks to run the venture, which will launch in March. The restaurant’s granite stonework will be recreated at the sister venue, as will its pitch-pine panelling – which comes from traditional distillery equipment. Pictures that adorn the walls of Copper Dog will be reproduced while dram glasses will be flown to the United Arab Emirates. The menu will showcase some of Scotland’s finest produce, such as Sutherland’s of Portsoy smoked salmon and Aberdeen Angus beef. Smith told The Press and Journal: “We want to bring Dubai the best that Scotland, and especially Speyside, has to offer. We’re working with local suppliers like Johnstons of Elgin for yards of tweed for the interiors and the coopers from Balvenie for decorative cask ends.” The Craigellachie Hotel is owned by London-based Piers Adam, who also runs some of the most successful bars and nightclubs in Dubai. Adam spent £3m revamping the 26-room Scottish property before reopening it two years ago.

Italian wine cafe Veeno to open three venues as catalyst for further growth: Italian wine cafe Veeno will open three venues in the coming months – in Bristol, Edinburgh and Harrogate. Directors Andrea Zecchino and Nino Caruso said the acquisitions would be the catalyst for further growth, with plans to open up to ten Veeno venues in the next 12 months. Veeno is based on Aperitivo culture, where friends and family enjoy food and drink in an informal setting. Zecchino said: “Temple Quay is a new area of Bristol with exciting plans. Edinburgh is a big market with a lot of competition and we need to be there to bring the Veeno brand to a national level. Harrogate is smaller, but is the perfect niche market to promote a high-quality food and drink offer.” The latest acquisitions have been funded by angel investors, with talks in progress to raise further capital to roll-out more venues towards Veeno’s ambition to have 70 to 80 sites by 2020. All wines at Veeno are imported from Caruso’s family vineyards in Sicily. Caruso said: “We are excited to be expanding the Veeno brand out into new regions and creating up to ten new jobs in each of those areas.” Veeno opened its first venue in Manchester in 2013 and now has sites in Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and York.
Michelin star Windermere restaurant The Samling to more than double capacity: Michelin-starred Windermere restaurant The Samling is more than doubling its capacity with a new development. The dining space will be expanded to provide dining for 48 people as well as a bar area, chef’s table and wine cellar. Samling general manager Alasdair Elwick told the Westmorland Gazette: “Over the past three years we have added a smokehouse, development kitchen and growing operation. As a result of this improvement, demand for our restaurant has dramatically increased and we haven’t been able to cater for this demand. Our new restaurant capacity will make it easier for people that aren’t staying at the hotel to dine.” The restaurant is part of The Samling Luxury Country Hotel in the Lake District.
Old Northampton Group to open fourth site: Old Northampton Group (ONG) is to open its fourth site in Northampton. The company is launching pub restaurant The Lighthouse, which it said would have the “largest range of beers and ales in the county”, reports the Northampton Chronicle. ONG has already invested £6m in the town with its three venues – Sazerac Bar, Old House and the Department of Meat and Social Affairs. Now it will open The Lighthouse in Wellingborough Road on the site of the former Allen Lyman office supplies as part of a £3m development in the street. The Lighthouse will feature a 100-seater restaurant and is expected to create 30 jobs when it launches in the spring. ONG is also planning to create two new retail units and six “purpose-built flats” a few doors away in the former Platinum Motors building. It also recently gained planning permission to extend Sazerac Bar to double the clubroom capacity and create a roof garden.
Turtle Bay set to continue rapid expansion by opening in Solihull: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is set to continue its rapid expansion by opening a site in Solihull. The company has applied to Solihull Council for a licence for a 3,486 square foot venue on the site of the former Allied Irish Bank in Station Road, reports the Birmingham Mail. The application requests the sale of alcohol up to midnight from Sunday to Wednesday and until 1am from Thursday to Saturday. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema in 2010 and has 26 sites across the UK. The company will open its second Liverpool site next month and has also applied for a licence to launch a restaurant in Norwich.
Barrio Bars to open fourth site in Brixton next month: Barrio Bars, the London bar operator led by Ferdie Ahmed, will open its fourth site in Brixton next month. The company will launch the venue in Acre Lane, which will take inspiration from the local markets, arcades, brewers and distillers of Brixton, reports The Handbook. The bar will feature a vintage caravan alongside reclaimed materials and upcycled furniture. It will serve tequila, mezcal, piscos, cachacas as well as brewery-fresh copper tank beer, local beers and Latin craft beers. Executive chef Ernesto Paiva will be turning to his Peruvian heritage and focusing on Anticuchos – skewers of spiced, marinated meats that are sold from the street carts of Lima. Barrio Bars’ other sites are in Angel, Soho and Shoreditch.
Holdi opens third Indian restaurant in north west: Holdi, founded by Bangladesh-born restaurateur Rukon Kamaly, has opened its third Indian restaurant in the north west of England. The new venue in Manchester Road, Lostock Gralam, near Northwich, opened this week. Holdi was shortlisted recently for “best newcomer” at the British Curry Awards. Kamaly started cooking in his early teens while training in one of London’s leading Indian restaurants. Holdi also has restaurants in Liverpool and Ellesmere Port.
Ice-cream manufacturer Jaconelli to cease production from April, blames decline in eating out: Ice-cream manufacturer Jaconelli, which supplies PizzaExpress, JD Wetherspoon and Burger King among others, will stop production from April after almost 80 years in business. The company’s factory in Cleveland Road, Scarborough, has been sold, with 12 staff being made redundant. Two Jaconelli-branded outlets run by franchisees will still be able to trade as long as the ice cream is made in the same way by another manufacturer. Joint-owner Denis Jaconelli told The Yorkshire Post: “We sell to companies such as PizzaExpress, JD Wetherspoon and Burger King in places like Spain, Portugal and the Middle East. So if we have something on a Wetherspoon’s menu our production could be 14,000 pallets a week, but once it comes off the menu that drops to zero. Over the past five or six years there’s been a decline in eating out. The credit crunch saw many people opt for dining at home and if they did go out they’d be more likely to go without a pudding.” The company has been sold to an un-named international frozen dessert manufacturer. Jaconelli first started operating in Newborough in 1937, making only handmade vanilla gelato.
Multi-site operator takes on seventh venue with Chichester pub lease: Multi-site operator John Whelan has taken on his seventh pub. Whelan has acquired the lease of the Greene King-owned the Globe in Chichester, West Sussex, which will reopen tomorrow (Friday, 19 February) under the new name The Foundry. The six-figure investment has seen the pub in Southgate undergo a transformation both inside and out and it will offer a new and expanded menu as part of the changes. The Foundry will continue to show Sky Sports and BT Sport in one area of the pub, with the other parts dedicated to dining and other more informal areas. Whelan told the Chichester Observer: “I have a huge passion for pubs and being right next to the train station I could see there was so much potential here to wow everyone stepping off the train with the first Chichester pub they see. It is a completely fresh start for the pub, so we decided to rename the pub to show this as clearly as possible.”
Compass Hospitality signs eighth UK hotel: Thailand-based Compass Hospitality Group has signed its eighth hotel in the UK – the 72-bedroom Victoria Hotel in Chadderton, Oldham. The hotel also has a restaurant, lounge, function rooms and landscaped gardens. The former manor house was jointly acquired by Singapore-based Seacare Hospitality and Compass Hospitality, who partnered in the acquisition of Big Sleep Hotels’ portfolio in Cardiff, Cheltenham and Eastbourne in August. Compass Hospitality president Harmil Singh said: “Within ten months of our entry into the UK market in April 2015, we now have eight hotels under management in the UK. The Victoria Hotel marks an important milestone and we intend to build on our market presence here.” Compass Hospitality Group’s other UK hotels are in Halifax, Nottingham, Oxford and Shrewsbury.

Revere opens Low, Slow & Juke smokehouse in Westminster: Marston’s brand Revere Pub Company will open its American-inspired smokehouse concept – Low, Slow & Juke – in Westminster, London, today (Thursday, 18 February). The bar and restaurant is taking over the space that used to be The Abbey Pub, a huge basement area in Abbey Orchard Street, and will serve crafted cocktails and London artisan beers, alongside smoked and slow-cooked barbecued meats. Main meat dishes are hand-rubbed and rested for 24 hours before being smoked for 16 hours. Specialities include St Louis slab ribs, beef brisket, and beef ribs and honey with barbecue glaze. Total capacity of the dining and bar areas is about 150, with several areas suitable for private group bookings.
Greene King pub restaurant at centre of salmonella poisoning investigation reopens following voluntary closure: A Greene King pub restaurant at the centre of an investigation into an outbreak of salmonella poisoning has reopened having shut its doors voluntarily last month to carry out work on its drainage system. Grove Farm, at Enderby, near junction 21 of the M1, is back in business following the work, reports the Leicester Mercury. In a statement the company said: “People can be reassured they can eat at Grove Farm with confidence and we would like to emphasise the work was not related to our kitchen and food preparation standards and practices.” Grove Farm previous closed before Christmas and all bookings over the festive period were cancelled. It followed a number of diners at the pub falling ill. It then reopened early last month after “intensive cleaning” and a variety of tests, which the owners said included a negative result for salmonella – but then shut again several weeks later. Public Health England (PHE), which is investigating the outbreak, revealed last month 105 cases of salmonella were originally reported, some of which were linked to the pub. It is understood the cases occurred in a limited geographical area, between April and December last year. However, PHE said no further cases had been reported since the pub shut for the first time in December. 

French artisan patisserie and boulangerie Orée set to launch UK flagship cafe in Chelsea: French artisan patisserie and boulangerie Orée will launch its UK flagship cafe in Fulham Road, Chelsea. Orée will offer freshly baked viennoiserie, artisan bread and fine patisserie, alongside a selection of breakfast dishes, salads and coffees, to eat-in or take away. The 2,949 square foot venue will include a 38-cover seating area and a working bakery. Executive head chef Sebastien Charrier and head bakery chef Olivier Malebrera will use a selection of 20 specialist French flours to create a number of exclusive recipes. Orée will serve 12 different types of bread, as well as a seasonal bread of the month. The patisserie counter will include French classics such as pain au chocolat alongside traditional British options such as scones with jam and clotted cream. New offerings include matcha and raspberry tea cakes and lemon and yuzu meringue tartelettes. Breakfast and brunch options will include chia pudding with seasonal fruits, while at lunch, customers can choose from a selection of tartines topped with French and British classics. Coffee will be supplied by London coffee roasters Climpson & Sons, while Paris-based Kusmi will supply a wide variety of teas.

Malt maker led by former Marston’s chairman acquires German and Polish companies: Malt maker Anglia Maltings, led by former Marston’s chairman David Thompson, has acquired Tivoli Malz and its subsidiaries GlobalMalt Group, based in Hamburg, Germany, and GlobalMalt Polska, based in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The group, which supplies many of the UK’s craft brewers with their raw materials, currently has three separate businesses: Crisp Malting Group, comprising five maltings, three in East Anglia and two in Scotland; Edme, comprising a wholegrain ingredient plant in Essex; and Micronized Food Products, comprising a cereal ingredient plant in North Yorkshire. Tivoli’s annual capacity of 180,000 tonnes of malt will bolster Anglia Maltings’ current production of 250,000 tonnes. Thompson, who was chairman of Marston’s for 13 years and on the board for 33 before stepping down in 2013, said: “The brewing, distilling and food industries across the globe are significantly changing: the role of suppliers can sustain the success of companies trading in these evolving conditions. We are committed to support our customers in meeting the challenges of their respective markets. The addition of GlobalMalt puts us in an even better position to do this.” Anglia Maltings, headquartered in Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, reported pre-tax profits increased 33.5% to £13m for the year to 31 December 2014, on turnover of £117m. 13% of its business was exports in 2014.
Birmingham bar operators to open second site at former Mitchells & Butlers pub: Birmingham bar operators Mark and Chrissy Rafferty are to start expanding their portfolio by opening a second site – in a former Mitchells & Butlers pub vacant for nearly two decades. The Raffertys, who own The Pickled Piglet in Gas Street, are launching The Pig & Tail at the former George and Dragon in Albion Street this summer following a £100,000 investment, creating ten jobs. It will sell craft beer, small dishes and sharing plates. Historical records indicate there has been a pub on the site since 1851 since when it has undergone several extensions and additions. It also housed a brewery before operating solely as a pub, latterly by Mitchells & Butlers before its eventual closure in the late 1990s. Mark Rafferty is now in talks with two West Midlands breweries with a view to selling their drinks and possibly launching new beer brands. He told the Birmingham Mail: “The two venues will be very different. There’s a lot of passion out there at the moment for craft beers and it’s all about British produce. Working with the breweries, we will also look to create our own beer in the future as well.”
Whitbread gets go-ahead for £4.5m 68-bedroom Premier Inn in Whitley Bay: Whitbread has been given the go-ahead for a £4.5m 68-bedroom Premier Inn in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear. The company has been granted permission by North Tyneside Council to build the hotel, which would create 69 jobs, next to the grade II-listed Spanish City Dome, which is being restored as part of a wider regeneration project in the town, reports Chronicle Live. The architects said the project had involved seven months of extensive pre-application discussions, and the materials had been chosen to reflect the surroundings. Planning officers had recommended approval and said in their report: “The addition of this new hotel coupled with the proposals for the restoration of the adjacent Spanish City Dome and the wider ambitions to improve the Whitley Bay coast through the Whitley Bay masterplan will bring added value to this area.”
Roux family to open second fine dining restaurant in Scottish luxury hotel in May: Albert Roux and Michel Roux Jnr, supported by Roux Jnr’s daughter Emily, will open their co-branded fine dining restaurant at Crossbasket Castle, Lanarkshire, on Sunday, 1 May. The restaurant will seat up to 25 and will be run by chefs trained in Roux kitchens. The family opened the first of their jointly branded fine dining restaurants at Inverlochy Castle, a country house hotel near Fort William, earlier this month. Roux told the Daily Record: “The ‘Albert and Michel Roux Jnr’ restaurants will offer menus in the style of Le Gavroche but with a contemporary and distinctly Scottish twist, focusing on ingredients that are, as far as possible, hyper-local to the location.” The 14th century Crossbasket Castle in High Blantyre is managed by Inverlochy Castle Management International, which already hosts five Albert Roux-led restaurants in Scotland. Blantyre businessman Steve Timoney and wife Alison Reid-Timoney have invested more than £9m during the past five years restoring the castle, which will also open as a luxury hotel and event venue on the same day. They have added a Grand Ballroom, which overlooks waterfalls on the River Calder, with capacity for 250 guests.
Marston’s lines up venue at Skegness Town’s football ground: Marston’s plan to build a restaurant and pub on Skegness Town Football Club’s ground has won the support of local councillors. Marston’s has applied for planning permission as part of a development with Aldi, which is expected to create 200 jobs. The football club will relocate from Burgh Road to Wainfleet Road. Richard Wherry, a director for developers Quora, told the East Lindsey Target: “We are delighted to announce that Aldi and Marston’s have been confirmed as tenants. We are also having detailed discussions with a number of other retailers for the site.”
Former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist buys Sunderland cafe: Former MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Leon Dodd has bought a cafe in Sunderland and plans to expand its offering. Dodd, who reached the finals of the BBC television show in 2008, has acquired The Rowan Tree in Sea Road in the Fulwell area of the city. He has refurbished the site and plans to add a pop-up restaurant. Dodd, who trained under Michelin-starred chef Terry Laybourne at his Bistro 21 restaurant in Durham, before heading up Harbour Lights in South Shields, told the Hartlepool Mail: “I think it’s the best spot on Sea Road and I have a lot of plans for the front. I’m in the process of getting an alcohol licence and aim to start a pop-up restaurant from the first weekend in March. I’ll do it once a month at first and see how well it goes. There’s a lot of Indian and Italian venues around here, but we’ll be serving more modern English food, as well some Asian dishes, as I’ve travelled a lot around Thailand. During the day we’ll be serving quiches, pies and scones, it will be very cafe-esque.”
M&B to convert ‘haunted’ pub into Miller & Carter steakhouse: Mitchells & Butlers will transform its “haunted” The Three Nuns pub in Mirfield, near Huddersfield, into a Miller & Carter steakhouse. The pub has closed for refurbishment and is due to reopen in mid-March. The current pub building dates to the 1900s although it is reputed there has been an inn on the site since the 15th century. When the pub was refurbished in 1985, workmen reported a series of supernatural goings-on, including doors opening and closing on their own, footsteps on the cellar steps and ghostly figures appearing and disappearing. An exorcism was carried out at the pub in 1991 and in recent years several ghost hunts have taken place. There are two Miller & Carter steakhouses in nearby Leeds and 40 in total in the UK.
Former Marco Pierre White chef buys Cornwall pub: Chef Tom Franklin-Pryce, who has worked with Marco Pierre-White, has bought a pub in Cornwall. Frankin-Pryce has acquired the Coldstreamer Inn in the village of Gulval, near Penzance. He spent nearly a year working at the pub before deciding to buy it and has put his own ‘Asian-fusion’ stamp on the menu as well as sourcing real ales from across Cornwall and the UK. Frankin-Pryce, who was previously head chef at the Porthminster Beach Cafe in St Ives, used a £40,000 enterprise finance loan from NatWest, coupled with his own savings, to purchase and refurbish the site. He told the Plymouth Herald: “I love working here so when the chance came to buy the place I had to grab it. I worked hard with the previous owner to build its reputation and I’m looking forward to taking it to the next level.”

Bedlam hails 300% increase in production levels, eyes more expansion with new brewery and store: Sussex-based craft brewer Bedlam said its production volumes rose by 300% last year following deals with pub operators Metropolitan and Indigo and distribution through experts such as Pigs Ears. The company said it would significantly raise production levels further by building a brewery with a tasting facility and an on-site store, as well as an online shop. Bedlam has also undertaken a rebranding exercise across its range. Dominic Worall, Bedlam managing director, said: “It’s been a great year for us but our long-term view is to continue creating readily accessible beers that are sessionable, consistent and of high quality.” Bedlam initially started as a hobby by a group of friends in 2012.
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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