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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 25th Feb 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Simon Kossoff – Carluccio’s has potential for more than 200 UK sites and even more in the US: Carluccio’s chairman and co-founder Simon Kossoff has said there is potential to grow the brand to more than 200 sites in the UK and even more in the US. The company, which opened its first restaurant in 1999, now has about 100 outlets in the UK, growing at about ten a year. It has also launched its second site in the US, this time in Washington, this week and has a franchise in the Middle East. Speaking at Casual Dining in London yesterday (Wednesday, 24 February), Kossoff said there was potential to double its presence in the UK and do something “even bigger” in America. He said: “We could have something north of 200 (sites in the UK). I’m confident we can keep growing. Our owner is from the Middle East and we will continue to grow that franchise. The US is about something else. When you look at what we have in the UK, in the US you can do as many (sites) as you like. It’s too attractive to ignore. We have a new site in Washington and are planning to open three more.” Kossoff said the company’s move into the US market had been made easier because of its “authenticity”. He added: “(Co-founder) Antonio (Carluccio) gives us that authenticity. You have to be clear on what the brand is and what it delivers because no one has time to work it out any more. Antonio had some brand awareness in other countries but not at all in the US but selling the message there was simple because of the authenticity the brand has. There was no resistance to the concept or the brand. There is one thing though – on every single level though I can’t find people as good in the US as in the UK.” Kossoff also said the company had endured a difficult start in Peterborough but the site was now “doing better”. He added: “It started well but if drifted away. It was our fault – we had the wrong management team.” The company also launches its grab-and-go format Via Carluccio’s in Tottenham Court Road in London tomorrow (Friday, 26 February). The 1,500 square foot site will serve pastries and coffee in the morning before turning to its traditional Italian offering in the afternoon, with the outlet open until 8pm. Kossoff said: “If the test site is successful then we will do a couple more. If that then works we will look to grow.”

Industry News:

Propel to launch Premium service: Propel is four years old on 1 March and is launching a Premium subscription service. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same, but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service from 1 March. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each day, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. Subscribers will also receive a copy of the Propel database of 500 multi-site companies, which will be updated every six months, and receive a digital version of Propel Quarterly magazine a week before publication. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT per year, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email

Whitbread – Europe exit potentially damaging: Whitbread has warned that an exit from the EU could be “potentially damaging” to its business. Although the bulk of its operations are in the UK, Whitbread said in a statement that the uncertainty generated by a decision to leave the EU “could negatively affect consumer confidence and the general economic outlook in the UK”.

Former nightclub in Cheltenham named CAMRA Pub of the Year: Three years after being opened on the site of a former nightclub, the Sandford Park Alehouse in Cheltenham has been named the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Pub of the Year. Pub owner Grant Cook put in an offer on the grade II-listed building while on holiday in Thailand – a decision rewarded by the pub being named the best in the country. To create his perfect pub, Cook put up extra walls, a Georgian-style stairwell and converted the main dance floor into a cellar. He said: “At every stage of the competition, we’ve been delighted to get to the next round and, of course, we are thrilled to emerge from the last four on top. Winning the south west round seemed like the biggest achievement because there were so many pubs we were up against.” The award-winning pub has ten real ale hand pumps and one dedicated to real cider and also holds an annual cheese and cider festival. Pub of the Year organiser Paul Ainsworth said: “The Sandford Park impressed the judges on every level, but especially the quality and choice of its real ales, where the scores were among the highest ever recorded in the contest. Judges also appreciated the stylish modern decor, the knowledgeable, welcoming staff and the lively atmosphere. One judge said, ‘I might consider moving to Cheltenham!’ Given the all-round excellence of the other three finalists, a win this year is a great achievement.” To win the National Pub of the Year competition, the Sandford Park Alehouse had to win its local competition, then fight off tough competition at the regional stage, before being put forward as one of four finalists. The whole process took 12 months with hundreds of hours of judging by dedicated CAMRA volunteers. The three other finalists were The Drovers Rest in Carlisle, Kelham Island Tavern in Sheffield and The Yard of Ale micropub in Broadstairs, Kent.

Burger King rolls out delivery to another 34 sites: Burger King is rolling out delivery to another 34 UK sites after success at eight trial sites. Staff deliver from midday to 10pm each day – with up to 400 orders being placed a week. A spokeswoman from the Fallowfield branch told the Manchester Evening News: “The service has done really well so far and there are plans to add the delivery to services at Burger Kings in Manchester such as the Lowry, Piccadilly Gardens and The Trafford Centre in the next few months.” Although delivery is free, there must be a minimum spend of £14. Staff at one site told the newspaper that dozens of orders were being placed each week – with many diners placing orders for customised burgers. A Burger King spokesman said: “The service has been good so far considering it is still relatively new. However, in the next month or so vouchers will be posted in a three-mile radius for customers to use.”

Beatles legacy worth £82m a year to Liverpool: A group which includes a renowned musician has been set up to help Liverpool realise the full economic potential of The Beatles following a report that the Fab Four’s legacy brings in almost £82m a year. Peter Hooton, founder member and lead singer of The Farm, will chair The Beatles Legacy Group. Joining him will be Claire McColgan, the city’s director of culture; Chris Brown, director of Marketing Liverpool; Bill Addy, chief executive of the Liverpool BID Company; and Dr Mike Jones, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Popular Music. Jones was also co-author of The Beatles Heritage In Liverpool report. The group plans to work with key stakeholders linked with The Beatles and residents who live in and around key sites such as Penny Lane and Mathew Street. Hooton said: “I’m delighted I’ve been asked by the mayor to chair the Beatles Legacy Group. I’ve always been passionate and proud of Liverpool’s musical heritage, especially our most famous sons, The Beatles. I hope The Beatles Legacy Group can come up with strategies and ideas to enhance the already superb attractions the city has to offer to attract even more visitors in the future to our ‘City of Music’.”

Family-run Italian in Lewisham reaches top spot on TripAdvisor: A family-run 40-seater Italian restaurant in south east London reached top spot on TripAdvisor. Trattoria Raffaele, a few doors down from Lidl supermarket in Sydenham Road, has even been getting booking enquiries from Beijing and Arizona after taking the prized number one spot on TripAdvisor. Owner Raffaele Giannandrea said: “We find it quite amusing because not everybody knows where Sydenham is. We get a lot of foreigners coming over. A family came from Arizona recently. A lot of Chinese people are showing an interest. But because they stay in central London, Notting Hill and places, they ask ‘are you far away?’ It’s not very far away really, but when they get to London it fizzles out a bit once they see where we are.” Giannandrea grew up around the restaurant, which has been on the high street for 45 years, when it was run by his father Dominic, now 78. Giannandrea returned to Sydenham in 2008 and took over the family business, transforming it from an “old-fashioned” traditional restaurant, changing the name and giving it a fresh, modern feel. He said: “We started everything from scratch. We introduced our fresh pizza, fresh pasta, breads. Everything is made here. It’s still a very Italian restaurant. When we opened eight years ago there weren’t any pizza places around here but as things progressed and the area’s got a little bit better, we’re selling more fish, meat and doing different specials every week.” Despite the changes, the ethos of the place has remained the same, bringing the atmosphere and simple, rustic dishes of a traditional southern Italian trattoria to Lewisham. Reviews on TripAdvisor saw it crack the website’s top 20 London restaurants, eventually rising up the rankings until it finally made the top spot on Monday (22 February). It was later ousted by another local restaurant, Fiddie’s Italian Kitchen in Swiss Cottage.

Parliamentary Pub Chef award winners crowned at House of Commons: Young Pub Chef and Pub Chef of the year were crowned at the inaugural Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Awards, held at the House of Commons on Tuesday night (23 February). Run by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, in partnership with Nestlé Professional, more than 120 nominations were received from MPs who selected a pub chef from within their constituency. Robert Yuill, of The D’Arcy Thompson in Dundee, won Young Pub Chef and Milan Hukal, of the Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, near Ipswich, won the Pub Chef category. Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “There is already huge talent in the sector and we must work with MPs, colleges and the whole pub sector to ensure the next generation of pub chefs has the skills, support and opportunities to take the sector even further.”

Managing director to leave Sustainable Restaurant Association: Mark Linehan is to step down from his role as managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), the not-for-profit membership organisation he has helped put at the forefront of the hospitality industry, placing responsible dining at the heart of the foodservice sector’s menu. The SRA has now started its search for a new leader of the organisation which Linehan helped grow from 50 to almost 6,000 member sites in the UK, as well as extend its reach into sectors such as contract, university and school catering. Giles Gibbons, SRA chairman and founder, said: “When Mark took up the reins at the SRA in 2010 we had only just launched, with 30 members and a bag full of ideas. Mark has not only overseen a 100-fold increase in the number of our member sites and ensured our Food Made Good Rating is regarded as the industry gold standard, but he has also helped put sustainability on the menu for all foodservice businesses. We are immensely grateful for all his endeavours and wish him well in his next project.” Linehan said: “After more than five years as managing director of the SRA, I have decided now is the right time (for both me and the organisation) to move on to pastures new. I am immensely proud of what we have achieved at the SRA in that time, bringing the issues we care about into sharper focus, making sustainability something that no restaurant or foodservice operator can ignore, and creating a movement of like-minded people who want to do business in the right way. As the SRA enters its next phase of development with Food Made Good at the heart of what it does, I believe it is in great shape for my successor.”

Company News:

Star Pubs & Bars to invest £20m in estate in 2016: Following a record investment in 2015, Heineken is set to spend a further £20m in improving its Star Pubs & Bars estate during 2016. Nearly 30% of Star Pubs & Bars’ 1,050 pubs will benefit from this investment fund. The 2016 investment programme will include 78 major refurbishments with an average spend of £170,000, creating about 750 jobs in pubs around the country. Star’s major pub refurbishments will focus on ensuring its licensees can improve their food offer, with new kitchens and more flexible areas within pubs that can be used for private dining areas and gatherings, including meetings and parties, or to provide extra covers during peak trading. These investments will help deliver the company’s ambition that 50% of sales from Star pubs will come from food by 2020. Lawson Mountstevens, Star Pubs & Bars managing director, said: “In the last three years we have invested £58m to safeguard the great British pub. We work in partnership with our licensees to improve their pubs for the consumers they serve and help them grow their sales. Great community pubs need to adapt to changing consumer needs and we’re investing to ensure Star licensees can do just that.”

McDonald’s withdraws the Big Breakfast: McDonald’s restaurants in the UK have taken the Big Breakfast off the menu as part of the “ongoing development” of its UK restaurants. The Big Breakfast consists of a sausage patty, hash brown, scrambled egg and a toasted muffin. A tweet from the company stated: “Sorry to disappoint. We’ve made some changes to our menu which means we’ve stopped selling the Big Breakfast.” Fans of the breakfast have been unhappy, with one trying to set up a government petition to overturn the decision. The “Make McDonald’s bring back the big breakfast” was rejected, however, as neither government nor parliament have powers over the McDonald’s breakfast menu. A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “Whilst we are sad to see the Big Breakfast go, we are continually developing our menu and this is particularly true of our breakfast items. In recent years we’ve added wraps, bagels and porridge as well as expanding our McCafe drinks range, and some items have to be removed to allow for this ongoing development.”

YO! Sushi, Giraffe and Pret A Manger to feature at expanded Dubai International airport: YO! Sushi, Giraffe and Pret A Manger, making its debut in a Middle Eastern airport, are to open at Dubai International in the wake of an increase in its capacity from 75 million to 90 million with the opening of Concourse D. The $1.2bn project has been designed to enhance service and boost capacity for more than 70 international airlines. The concourse is linked to the newly renovated Terminal 1 by a dedicated airport train that can transport 300 passengers at a time. Designed around a central atrium, Concourse D offers short walks to open gates, which will allow travellers to board directly from the waiting area, giving them more time to enjoy food and beverage outlets, Dubai Airports stated. Concourse D will also feature Starbucks, KFC, Krispy Kreme, McDonald’s, Brioche Doree, The Noodle House, Caviar House & Prunier, Draft House sports bar, and Costa Coffee.

Cirrus Inns reports reduced losses: Cirrus Inns, which owns 14 freehold pubs and two London long leaseholds, including Guy Ritchie’s former pub The Punchbowl in Mayfair which has its freehold owned by Star Pubs & Bars, has reported losses reduced to £1,612,511 in the year to 30 June 2015, down from £2,041,767 the year before. Turnover rose to £9,915,285, compared with £6,632,248 the year before, with like-for-like sales up 23.6%. The company, which is Good Pub Guide Pub Group of the Year 2016 and bought four pubs in the year, stated: “Overall, while the company made an operating loss after head office costs for the year, the sites are profitable and the management team is anticipating that all sites currently owned will be profitable for the financial year commencing July 2015. At a site operating level, prior to head office costs and eliminating the cost of site acquisition, the Ebitda margin stood at 16% for the year to June 2015, compared with 13% for the previous period.” At the end of the financial year, the company had £2.4m cash or cash equivalents available for the purpose of financing ongoing business and new site acquisitions. The net operating loss was £366,000 after head office costs and before interest, tax and depreciation. Shareholder deficit stands at £7,485,130.

City Pub Company starts work on Cheltenham bar and restaurant at former fire station site: City Pub Company has started transforming an Edwardian fire station in St James Square, Cheltenham, into a restaurant and bar. The launch is planned for early May. Peter McDonald, City Pub Fund chief operating officer, told the Gloucestershire Echo: “There will be a main bar area once we have removed the mezzanine floor and a kitchen in the engine house. Upstairs will be a private dining room. We will open at about 8am for breakfast and then remain open all day for brunch, lunch and evening meals. We will serve a range of platters, smoothies, beers, wine and cocktails. We are most definitely aiming at the premium sector of the market.” Designer Katherine Howard, who is working on the project, said: “We are keeping the old fire station doors. Downstairs there will be a big horseshoe bar and banquette seating round the walls.” The renovation is costing about £600,000 and 15 jobs will be created. Cheltenham was among key towns and cities that City Pub Company targeted late last year as it announced plans to build a 30-strong portfolio by the end of 2017. It currently has 21 sites across its two companies – City Pub Company (East) and City Pub Company (West) – having secured a second outlet in Winchester and a third pub in Cambridge, both due to start trading this year.

New Bath concept to offer customers choice of 20 types of dough: A new pizza concept coming to Bath in March will let customers choose what dough their base is made out of. The restaurant, opening in The Corridor, will be named Dough and is run by a man with 20 years’ experience of serving pizza at music festivals, and a dough-spinning master. It gives diners the choice of having a pizza made out of ten different doughs, including hemp, gluten-free, pumpkin, kamut or multi-cereal. Offering this kind of variety has never been done before, according to Dough owner Massimo Nucaro. He said: “We are trying to revolutionise the way we make pizza. Customers can have a description of what each dough is good for. There will be an option for someone who is focused on their fitness and comes in for a pizza in the evening and doesn’t want lots of carbs and wants more protein. Or, if they want a dough that has lots of vitamins, there will be another option. We are targeting people who care about the food they put into their mouths.” The restaurant is set to open at the beginning of March. Fellow Dough director Emiliano Tunno is an award-winning pizza chef – and a skilled dough acrobat.

US customers voice frustration at changes to Starbucks loyalty scheme: Starbucks customers in the US have voiced their frustration on social media after being told of changes to the company’s loyalty scheme that will come into effect in April. The changes, which mean the scheme will become less generous for lower-spending customers, are being introduced following a consultation with loyalty scheme users. Starbucks said the number one request from members was for more stars – the currency of My Starbucks Rewards – to be awarded based on what they buy, no matter how often they visit. At the moment US customers earn one star per transaction, as do UK customers, but in future the former will earn two stars per $1 spent. However, while they will earn more stars, other changes mean rewards will cost more stars – instead of getting a reward every 12 stars they will get a reward every 125 stars. The new scheme, simply called Starbucks Rewards, brings in a monthly “double star” day for the highest-tier members, Gold. The changes were announced by Starbucks US channels, and did not mention the UK scheme, which offers a reward every 15 stars. On changes to the rewards scheme in the UK, a Starbucks spokesman told Marketing magazine: “We’re always working on exciting ways to reward our loyal customers and listening to feedback to ensure we continue to surprise and delight My Starbucks Rewards members. We have no further updates to My Starbucks Rewards in the UK to share at this time.”

Purecraft to open second venue, in Nottingham city centre in March, as part of expansion: Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, which has a venue in Birmingham, will open its second site in Nottingham city centre on 21 March, creating more than 25 jobs. The company said it was looking to expand to six or seven venues across the UK. The Nottingham site is a former HSBC branch in St Peter’s Gate, which is undergoing a £500,000 refurbishment. Purecraft’s three directors are former Michelin-starred Dorchester chef Andreas Antona, Purity Brewing Co boss Paul Halsey and Martin Hilton, who told the Nottingham Post: “It’s a very simple concept. We do cask beer and keg beer – we believe in really high-quality beer and a great range. Our mission is to create new beer fans.” The venue will offer beers from Purity brewery – a sister company of Purecraft – as well as many others from around the world. Dishes will include braised lamb shoulder; lamb faggot with beer-braised onions, minted peas and potato puree; and Beedhaus streaky bacon with Purity beer ketchup. The venue will also serve local cheeses. The bar will feature a function room available for private hire and beer tastings. Hilton said Purecraft was eyeing sites in Leeds, Manchester and London.

Local consortium buys Greene King pub in Manchester, match day favourite for United fans: A local consortium of businessmen have bought Greene King’s The Gorse Hill in Stretford, a favourite watering hole of Manchester United fans on match days. The three-story pub in Chester Road closed in December. Chorlton-based Ajmal Nasir and two friends, trading as AA Trading UK, bought the property from Greene King for £420,000. Nasir said the upper floors of the pub would be turned into flats, with the pub remaining open downstairs. The deal was secured last month. Nasir told Manchester Evening News: “It’s very much a pub for the local community and it is important that it stays open. There will be a refurbishment in the not too distant future.” Former landlord Andy Seale has returned, with a launch evening on Saturday (27 February), on the eve of United’s Premier League game versus Arsenal at Old Trafford, traditionally one of the biggest games of the season. The Manchester United Supporters Trust was formed at the pub in 1995. Seale said: “People have been knocking on the windows asking when we are going to reopen again. People like the atmosphere in here. It’s a great meeting point.” The pub is considering serving food and will remain open through the week, as well as on match days.

Caffe Nero opens University of Kent campus site: Caffe Nero has opened a site on the University of Kent campus in Canterbury, next to the Essentials grocery store. Student Ella Stacey wrote a Facebook post announcing the venue. She wrote: “Real shame that the uni doesn’t have an independent or local cafe there instead. Wasted opportunity.” Another, Alastair Duncan, linked to an article about Caffe Nero’s tax avoidance charges, and wrote: “Kent students will know better.” However, other students welcomed the new venue. Jeff Howe wrote: “Nice to have some decent tasting coffee at last!”

Living Ventures to trial new Budweiser Budvar beer: Living Ventures is to trial a new beer, Kräusened, produced by Budweiser Budvar. Simon George, sales director of Budweiser Budvar UK, said: “2015 has been a strong year for Budweiser Budvar in the UK trade and we are confident that the addition of Kräusened lager strengthens our portfolio and provides a point of difference in 2016. The lager, which has a slight natural haze from the Kräusening technique, appeals to the consumer interested in looking for crafted lagers as well as the beer connoisseur looking to enjoy another product from the award-winning cellars of our Czech brewery.”

Pact Coffee startup aims for additional £1m via Crowdcube to expand overseas: London startup Pact Coffee aims to raise £1m on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand overseas. Founded in 2012, Pact Coffee delivers freshly roasted coffee by post. The coffee is roast, ground and shipped within seven days. The company has thousands of customers in the UK but to scale up and take advantage of a “home coffee” market Pact believes is worth more than £1bn, it launched a Crowdcube campaign on Tuesday (24 February). The company, based in a former biscuit factory in Bermondsey, said it would use investment to expand into at least two other European markets and launch more products. Stephen Rapoport, founder of Pact Coffee, told Business Insider: “We want to change the coffee industry for the better and to do that we aim to grow to a thousand times our current size. Investment from the crowd is going to help take us there.”

Davardi’s Pizza to open second Manchester restaurant to celebrate 45th anniversary: Family-run Davardi’s Pizza will open its second venue in Manchester as the company celebrates its 45th anniversary. The original Davardi’s opened in Walkden, Salford, in 1971 and will launch its second venue in the “trendy village” of Monton at the end of March. Davardi’s, run by husband-and-wife team Robert and Sarah Lindley for the past nine years, was the first pizza restaurant to open in Salford. Sarah Lindley told Manchester Evening News: “We’ve been in the area for such a long time, we have so many regular and loyal customers and hope to get that in Monton.” The new venue will offer a takeaway service with a restaurant and bar upstairs. New pasta dishes will be added to the menu. Tom Lindley, who runs the Walkden venue with sister Jennifer, said: “It’s the perfect way to celebrate 45 years of Davardi’s. We’ve been looking for a second place for a while and we’re pleased we’ve secured Monton.”

Sheffield street food market opens third burrito bar: A Sheffield-based food business has opened its third burrito bar in the city as part of wider expansion plans. The Street Food Chef is run by husband-and-wife team Richard and Abi Golland and sells burritos, tacos and quesadillas. The independent business has opened its latest venture in Glossop Road, which is bustling with students and hospital staff. Richard Golland said the aim had always been to run four or five shops in Sheffield. He said: “We want to build a strong business model with a recognisable brand before we start to look outside the city. Our strategy has been to open small shops in areas where people work or study, offering a great lunch and pre-evening meal. Nationally, there has been an increase in demand for freshly made and quickly served meals. This need has been met by the street food revolution and also the rise in fast casual restaurant chains such as Leon and Chipotle.” The Gollands started The Street Food Chef as an events business in 2010 and chose to serve Mexican street dishes because it fitted their objective of “serving great tasting fast food that will make customers feel good too”. For a year, they travelled the UK trading at markets and festivals. While approaching the council for a street pitch, Richard Eyre, of the Sheffield city centre management team, asked if the business could put a mobile kitchen in the shopfront of an otherwise derelict building in Pinstone Street. Six months later, in February 2011, the burrito bar was open and a further 12 months after that, The Street Food Chef opened its licensed canteen in Arundel Street. The company employs 40 staff and continues to trade at Yorkshire events and festivals.

Chocolate-themed bistro concept to launch in Aberdeen: Award-winning chocolatier Jamie Hutcheon will launch the UK’s first chocolate-themed bistro in Aberdeen on 10 March. Hutcheon established his Cocoa Ooze chocolate-making business in 2008, when only 17, and will now pair his produce with dishes created using local ingredients. The bistro will operate from Cocoa Ooze’s premises in Belmont Street. Starters will include hot smoked salmon with beetroot, white chocolate and horseradish, alongside main dishes such as duck with ginger and orange chocolate sauce and Asian vegetables. Hutcheon told the Evening Express: “Cocoa Ooze is all about being daring and unique and the bistro exemplifies that perfectly. For me this is the next stage in our development and something I am truly passionate about. We are creating something fresh in Aberdeen that is all about the experience of being one of a kind and enlightening the senses. We have carried out a range of taste tests, flavour-matching food to different varieties of chocolate, and we are excited about what we have created.” Gluten and dairy-free options will be available.

Scotland’s Edinburgh Collection signs franchise deal: Scotland’s The Edinburgh Collection, owners of The Howard and Channings, two of Edinburgh’s most prestigious five and four-star hotels, has signed a franchise agreement with Choice Hotels International, one of the largest hotel companies in the world, in a bid to bring more business to Edinburgh. With immediate effect the two hotels will join Choice Hotels’ European portfolio, comprised of almost 500 hotels, and be the first in the UK to become Ascend Hotel Collection members, Choice’s highest hotel offering. Ascend Hotel Collection members are distinctive, independent hotels in prime business or leisure travel destinations, providing guests with an upscale boutique hotel experience with superior service. The two properties will be known as The Howard, an Ascend Hotel Collection member, and Channings Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection member.

Punch Taverns announces 2016 roadshow details: The Punch Taverns roadshow, now in its 13th year, will visit eight venues in 2016. The events provide existing and potential publicans with support, offers, advice and resources. The roadshow kicks off on 20 September at Chester Racecourse, which has had the highest attendance for the past four years, and finishes at Life Centre, Newcastle, on 13 October. The other events are at Severnside, Bristol (22 September); Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh (27 September); Elland Road, Leeds (29 September); Bolton Macron Stadium (4 October); Excel, London (6 October); and Ricoh Arena, Coventry (11 October). More than 130 suppliers will be at each venue and publicans can meet key Punch team members including chief executive Duncan Garrood, who said: “The teamwork was outstanding and the passion and energy a pleasure to witness at last year’s roadshows. It was clear talking to attendees that they went away with tangible help and innovative ideas to improve their businesses.” The company said more than 8,000 people attended its 2015 roadshows, including 1,942 Punch publicans, almost two-thirds of its entire estate. It claimed 96% of attendees said they enjoyed the roadshow, with 98% saying they would return this year. Punch said the total order value from its 2015 roadshows topped £2.5m, while attendees took home more than 10,000 POS kits, with another 120,000 samples given away.

Former Bingham head chef to launch British restaurant Anglo in Farringdon: Mark Jarvis, former head chef at the Bingham in Richmond as well as Blueprint Cafe, Zuma, Texture and Le Manoir, will open British restaurant concept Anglo in Farringdon in March. Jarvis is joined in the kitchen by Jack Cashmore, former chef de partie at Sat Bains, with the menu described as “accessible, modern British fine dining (aka bistronomy), with ever-changing menus that update weekly”. Dishes on the a la carte lunch menu include Jerusalem artichoke soup with raw Orkney scallop and winter truffle, wood pigeon with chestnut cream, chicory and coffee, and old spot pork cooked in whey, kohlrabi and fermented apple. The restaurant will serve a set tasting menu of six or more courses in the evening and will seat 40, taking over the site left by Fabrizio in Cross Street.

Kaspa’s to open Wolverhampton city centre site: US-style dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s Desserts will open a venue in Wolverhampton city centre in mid-April. The venue will be the company’s 31st site, with 17 locations and 13 to open soon, according to Kaspa’s website. Kaspa’s, which offers waffles, speciality ice creams, sorbet, frozen yogurt, sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies and crepes, will be located at two units in the multimillion-pound i10 office and retail development. Kaspa’s manager Bali Dhanjal told The Business Desk: “The council has provided great support to us and we are looking forward to establishing ourselves in the city centre.” The i10 building, next to the railway station, was completed in December and forms part of a £120m Interchange scheme. Greene King will open its Hungry Horse pub and restaurant – The Sunbeam – at the development on 30 March.

Loungers opens Newquay town centre venue: Cafe bar brand Loungers opened its venue in Newquay yesterday (24 February), creating 25 jobs. The company has launched the Concho Lounge in Bank Street in the town centre, on the site of the former Newquay Arms pub. Loungers said it had invested more than £675,000 in transforming the site into a “retro home from home where dramatic artwork will sit next to oversized vintage sofas and statement light fittings”. Hector Main, Loungers operations manager, told the Cornish Guardian: “Newquay is the perfect location for our Lounge concept. There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part in the foodie scene here.” The Concho Lounge menu features tapas, burgers, chilli, mac and cheese, and daily specials. There is also a children’s menu. Loungers was started by three friends in Bristol in 2000 and now has nearly 80 sites in the UK, including venues in Truro, Falmouth and Plymouth.

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 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers members and £345 plus VAT for non-members. To book, email

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