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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 4th Apr 2016 - Update: Fulham Shore, Casual Dining Group, Brewhouse & Kitchen, JDW, GBK
Fulham Shore reports estate grown to 29 sites: Fulham Shore, led by David Page, has reported its estate has grown to 29 sites and has indicated it expects to report results in line with market expectations for the financial year ended 27 March. Since December 2015, Fulham Shore has opened an additional Franco Manca site in Stoke Newington and a Bukowski Grill franchise restaurant in Soho. As a result, Fulham Shore has opened the following new restaurants during the 2015/16 financial year just ended: The Real Greek restaurant in St Martin’s Lane in London’s West End; seven Franco Manca pizzerias in Soho, Ealing, Bermondsey, Earls Court, Covent Garden, Wimbledon and Stoke Newington; and one Bukowski Grill restaurant (under the franchising agreement announced on 2 November 2015) on D’Arblay Street in Soho, London. This takes Fulham Shore’s estate to 29 restaurants, comprising nine The Real Greek sites, 19 Franco Manca and one Bukowski Grill. Fulham Shore is on site and planning to open a further four Franco Manca restaurants in time for Summer 2016, including the first two Franco Manca pizzeria outside of London, in Guildford and Brighton. The company continues to build its pipeline of new restaurant openings and to review further investment opportunities. The company has implemented the Government’s National Living Wage for all employees, including those under 25 years old. This has been fully budgeted for in the company’s growth plans.

Brewhouse & Kitchen lines up five more openings for next six months: Brewpub group Brewhouse & Kitchen is planning five openings in the next six months having opened its tenth site at Southbourne, Bournemouth. Managing director Simon Bunn said: “Acquiring the Malt & Hops in Southbourne has been a fantastic edition to the Brewhouse & Kitchen estate and has been warmly welcomed by local residents and supporters. Our vision for this once-loved, once beautiful pub has never waned over the two years it has taken us to bring it to fruition. Our first challenge was to unlock the freehold from a tricky situation, which was aided no end by using the services of James A Baker Associates. Then came the biggest challenge – the renovation. Being boarded up and left to fall into disrepair for a period of eight years had certainly taken its toll on this once much-loved pub. The result is a beautiful building and garden with trading space of 260 inside and 100 external covers. Just like every one of our pubs, Brewhouse & Kitchen – Southbourne offers a genuine and authentic experience of brewing on site promoting artisan craft beer, over the more major, mainstream brands, and carries a range of 22 draught beers, of which at least six will have been brewed on site. As our tradition, these beers are matched to our new spring/summer food menu. In addition, there is opportunity for guests to come and receive a unique experience working with the pub’s head brewer for a day, learning how to brew beer, or enjoying a fantastic evening of fun and education where they can attend a beer masterclass, or a food and beer matching experience.” Having started 2015 with just three existing B&K sites and three unbranded pubs, the conversion of these units plus the opening of Gloucester Quays, Southampton, Sutton Coldfield and now Southbourne, takes the company to ten sites with a further two under development and three in legals , all are due for opening during 2016. Kris Gumbrell, chairman of Brewhouse & Kitchen, added: “Our brand is going from strength, but we remain focused on creating a unique pub experience and strong returns for investors, we see considerable scope not only grow the number of pubs within the brand but also to further develop and innovate our offering, with, for example, our new Gluten Free Menu and the addition of our own brewed Keg Craft beer, alongside our existing cask range to every site.”

Casual Dining Group reports like-for-likes up 3.4% in most recent 12 weeks: Casual Dining Group has reported like-for-like sale up 3.4% in the most recent 12 weeks and total sales up 17.8%. The company 30 new sites due to open before Christmas and 37 more in the pipeline. Chief executive Steve Richards told The Times: “It’s a very dynamic and unforgiving market. You have to keep improving and innovating. It’s tough but if you get I right you can do well.” 

Chapel Down reports £1.7m raised for its beer and cider business: Curious Drinks Wine producer Chapel Down Group has closed its successful equity crowdfunding campaign for its beer and cider business, Curious Drinks. The campaign, which went live on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform in October 2015, has raised £1,710,700 with 895 investors, exceeding its original £1m target by 71%. £1.16m has been raised through the crowdfunding, enabling both customers and traditional investors to participate in the offer. Curious Drinks has 895 new shareholders, with individual investments ranging from £100 to £35,000. Shareholders benefit from a comprehensive package of shareholder rewards including free tours, an ongoing 25% discount on Curious beers and cider, limited edition beers and their names etched on brewery fermentation tanks. A particularly high level of interest has been from Curious Drinks’ home county of Kent, the source of almost a third of investments, demonstrating the support from the local community. £550k has been raised through the Placing, including £275k from the directors of Curious Drinks and Chapel Down. Placing will remain open for investments of over £25,000 until 29 April 2016. The new funds will be used to construct a state-of-the-art brewery and visitor attraction in the heart of Ashford, Kent, offering ideal transport links to London and the continent. Construction is expected to begin in Summer 2016 and be fully operational by Spring 2017. Proceeds will also be used to further strengthen the Curious Drinks team, enhance its domestic and international routes to market and further develop the brand. Frazer Thompson, chief executive of Curious Drinks, said: “The success of our Curious Drinks crowdfunding campaign is further testament to the revolution taking place in the British beer business. Customers want great beer and we’re delighted that they love Curious as much as we do. We are pleased to welcome nearly 900 new shareholders who we know will become fantastic brand ambassadors. Since launching Curious Drinks, we have been thrilled by its rapid success. But to have earned the support of 895 shareholders who believe in the brand and who want to support us on our journey with their hard earned cash is truly humbling.”

SaladPride debuts at Seven Dials: SaladPride, the new healthy dining cafe concept, has opened its first stand-alone cafe at 2 Neal’s Yard, Seven Dials. The new 333 sq ft cafe serves fresh salads, soups, sides and smoothies that reflect the founder David Bez’s interest in natural, simple and good-looking food that is healthy, sustainable and local. The opening follows the success of Bez’s two recipe books, a KickStarter campaign and a blog, which he started six years ago, when posting daily pictures of his lunchtime salad creations. The former graphic designer and art director’s recipes have now been translated into more than 26 languages, and have attracted interest from the likes of Stylist, Emerald Street, The Huffington Post and The Times. The SaladPride blog now boasts a global following in excess of 50,000. Charles Owen, portfolio executive at Shaftesbury, said: “This is an incredibly exciting addition to the Seven Dials that will bring an innovative and on-trend dining concept to Neal’s Yard. SaladPride’s unique offer and concept design brings an added element to the area that is already renowned as one of the best places in the capital for independent restaurants and cafes offering high quality dining options.” David Bez, founder of SaladPride, added: “I am thrilled to be realising my dream cafe concept at Neal’s yard. The distinctive and vibrant feel of the area and status of the Seven Dials as a haven for foodies makes it a perfect match for me. I am confident that Seven Dials will serve as the perfect backdrop for my innovative and sustainable menu.” SaladPride joins popular Homeslice pizza restaurant and international bar and restaurant Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels and recent additions to Neal’s Yard in 2015 including 26 Grains – the West End’s first grains-based cafe, and Free Range People bakery.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen and new concept Riva Lounge to open in Beverley: Wykeland Group has Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Riva Lounge are to open restaurants at Flemingate, the 162,561 square foot retail and leisure development in Beverley that opened in November last year. Gourmet Burger Kitchen is to open a 3,756 square foot restaurant adjacent to the six-screen, 1,000-seat Parkway Cinema. The brand, which was founded 15 years ago in Battersea and opened its 70th restaurant earlier this year, will open this June with 106 covers. Independent operator Riva Lounge is a new concept 3,650 sq ft restaurant positioned as an authentic European lounge and café bar, and was conceived following extensive research by the founders Shaun and Julie Thompson. Riva Lounge’s 116 cover restaurant will be complemented by a dedicated bar area and a separate gelato counter. Set to open in May, work has already begun on the fit-out. Commenting on the two signings, Dominic Gibbons, managing director of Wykeland Group, said: “Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Riva Lounge are two key additions to Flemingate’s line-up. They reaffirm the centre’s position as a complete day-out, with Flemingate offering visitors a high quality combination of shopping and leisure previously unavailable in the catchment. The brands are also a great complement to one another, providing visitors with even more choice whilst both bringing something new to Beverley.” Keith Bird, chief operating officer at GBK, added: “With the opening of Flemingate, the town of Beverley is thriving, so the time seemed right to open a restaurant in the area. As a new destination in town, Flemingate is attracting a lot of attention, so when it came to location the centre stood out for us. The presence of Debenhams and the cinema, together with Flemingate’s proximity to the Minister, helped to seal our decision and we can’t wait to open.”

Christie Group reports revenue growth: Christie Group has reported revenue growth of 4.5% to £63.7m (2014: £61.0m) for the year to 31 December 2015. Operating profit remained stable at £3.8m (2014: £3.7m). Christie & Co was awarded ‘UK’s most active agent’ in the Leisure and Hotels category by the Estates Gazette for the sixth year in succession. Christie Finance wins ‘Commercial Mortgage Introducer of the Year’ at the Business MoneyFacts Awards. David Rugg, chief executive of Christie Group, said: “During 2015 we expanded our team, our network & our range of services and grew our client base. We have developed our systems for implementation in 2016 and are soundly based for the future.”

Hawthorn Leisure to buy 11 Wetherspoon pubs: Hawthorn Leisure has agreed to buy 11, town centre, managed pubs from JD Wetherspoon. This marks Hawthorn Leisure’s fourth acquisition since June 2014, and provides additional scale to Hawthorn Leisure’s operation by adding to the existing 50 managed/franchise pubs. Chief executive Gerry Carroll said: “We are delighted to welcome these eleven pubs and their management and staff to Hawthorn Leisure. This is another exciting development for our group, as we continue to invest in developing our high quality estate of pubs across the UK. In the past year, we have made fantastic progress in further building our team and operational capabilities, both in leased / tenanted and managed pubs, and we look forward to continuing this trajectory of growth. Our relentless focus on people, quality and delivering great value will ensure these pubs continue to offer a fantastic proposition for their existing and new customers.” The purchase price has not been disclosed. Completion of the acquisition is expected in early May.

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