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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 15th Apr 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

New Code of Practice for tied tenants will begin next month: The government will introduce a new Code of Practice for tied tenants of pub companies with more than 500 pubs that takes effect next month. The provisions of the Code of Practice have been unveiled after a consultation process. In a briefing note sent to members last night, Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The new Code will be introduced on 26 May 2016 and will be effective immediately – any rent review which takes place from 27 May 2016 will be governed by the new provisions and will give tenants the right to have detailed tied rent assessments, request a Market Rent Only (MRO) alternative and take a case to the Adjudicator for any behaviour or rent event after that date. The government has also confirmed that all the code provisions, aside from MRO will carry over should be a tied pub be sold to a landlord not covered by the statutory code until the lease ends of the first rent review, whichever is sooner. Tied tenants will have a right to request an alternative MRO free-of-tie rent assessment at rent review, renewal (contracted in agreements only) or if there is a significant increase in price or substantial change in circumstances. The original proposal that an MRO option would only be available at rent review where the rent increases has been abandoned, tenants will have a right to request an MRO assessment irrespective of whether the rent increases, decreases or stays the same. An MRO request can also be triggered outside the rent review process where there is a significant increase in price. This is assessed by reference to the relevant ONS Price Index and for beer, it must be more than 3% above the index, for other alcoholic drinks it is 6% above (both are inclusive of duty) and for other tied products and services, a price increase of more than 20% above the relevant ONS Price Index. The price comparison period is over 12 months on a like-for-like cost basis and referring to prices actually paid by the tenant. MRO may also be triggered if there is an event which has a significant impact on trade. The requirement for this to be an event which only affects that particular pub has been removed, but the change has to be one of long term change to local economic, environmental or employment factors or as a direct consequence of changes in the tie imposed by a pub owning business (such as) removal or a particular tied product. The tenant will have to provide a written analysis of the forecast impact on trade for the next 12 months.” Introducing the Code, Minister for Small Business Anna Soubry said: “I have had to take some tough decisions, and I am certain that parties on different sides of the debate will find they disagree with some of the conclusions. However, it is my job to strike a balance which ensures that tied tenants of the largest pub-owning businesses are no worse off than free-of-tie tenants, that there is fair and lawful dealing between pub-owning businesses and their tied tenants and that all this takes place without placing undue burdens on businesses.”

Industry News:

New benefit for Propel Premium subscribers: Propel Premium subscribers are to receive a new benefit next week – a copy of the Propel Blue Book guide to sector turnover and profitability. The Blue Book lists and ranks 200 sector companies by turnover, profitability and profit conversion. It also provides a five-year overview of profitability and directors’ salaries. Meanwhile, the next audio recording, to be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday, 22 April, will feature Just Eat’s chief operating officer Adrian Blair giving his overview of the company’s progress and the takeaway market. Operators, drinks companies, law firms, accountants, distributors and marketing firms are among the first companies that have signed up to receive the Propel 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. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 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, 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
Four places left for Advanced Social Media Masterclass: There are just four places left for next week’s Advanced Social Media Masterclass. More than 85 sector companies have signed up for the event, with some sending as many as four delegates. They include YO! Sushi, Apartment Group, TLC Inns, Thai Leisure Group, Enterprise Inns, Be At One, FrogPubs, The Deltic Group, The Big Chill, Camino, MyLahore, ETM Group, Coaching Inn Group, Maxwell’s, Ignite Group, JW Lees, Pebble Hotels, Everards, Novus, Snug Bars, Anglian Country Inns, McMullen, Gaucho, Wright Brothers, Star Pubs & Bars, Burning Night Group, Charles Wells, Pug Pubs, Stable Pizza, Whiting & Hammond, Noble Inns, Brakspear, Eclectic Bar Group, Meatailer, and Signature Pub Group. 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

AccorHotels to create on-site vegetable gardens to cut food waste by 30%: French hotel group AccorHotels said it would create vegetable gardens at its sites to cut food waste by 30% as it forges ahead with plans to improve environmental sustainability. The group also said its on-site restaurants would be required to weigh and record any food thrown away. Amir Nahai, who heads up AccorHotels’ food operations, said changes to menus were also in the pipeline as in some of its hotels restaurants could offer up to 40 main courses. He told the Daily Mail: “In the future we’re going to have menus with ten, 15 or 20 main courses, with more local products. We are also going to support urban agriculture with the creation of 1,000 vegetable gardens in our hotels by 2020.” AccorHotels said it was also aiming to improve energy efficiency at its sites, with the ultimate target of making them carbon neutral. In a previous five-year environmental plan, AccorHotels said it cut water consumption by nearly 9%, energy consumption by 5.3% and carbon emissions by 6.2%. According to estimates by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation, up to one-third of food produced is wasted.
UK independent coffee shop ‘flourishing’, new survey reveals: The UK’s independent coffee shop sector is flourishing with almost a third (31.1%) of business owners reported to have seen a turnover improvement of 20% or more, according to a new survey. Nine in ten (92.3%) coffee shop owners expect their growth to continue in 2016, while a quarter (24.7%) are confident they will perform at least 20% better than the previous year, the findings by the Caffè Culture Show revealed. Nearly a quarter (24.6%) of independent coffee shops reported an average turnover of more than £200,000 per outlet in 2015, with coffee sales being the biggest growth area for independent coffee shop owners in 2015 (50.5%), followed by lunch (41.9%), and breakfast (26.8%). When asked to predict the biggest consumer trends of 2016, the small business owners surveyed overwhelmingly pointed to the rising demand for healthier food and drink options. Caffè Culture Show event director Cheryl Carroll told startups: “Growing demand for healthy food and drink options is a trend we’re definitely seeing reflected at the Caffè Culture Show with an increasing number of low fat, low sugar, gluten and allergen-free ranges on offer.”
New Hampshire restaurant chain marks Equal Pay Day by charging women less: The Works, a New Hampshire restaurant chain, marked Equal Pay Day yesterday (Thursday, 14 April) by charging its female customers less than male patrons. Equal Pay Day is devoted to raising awareness of the pay gap between men and women in the US – nationally, women earn just 79 cents to every dollar a man earns. The Works charged women 79 cents to the dollar, or 79% of their total bills. “It’s been a problem that’s been around for a really long time, decades I would say,” Don Brueggemann, manager of The Works in Concord, said. “And I think many of us thought it would kind of work itself out but it has been very persistent over the years. We’re feeling like this is a way to highlight that issue.”
BBPA develops productivity tool for pubs: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has helped develop “How Good’s Your Business Really?” (HGYBR), a free online productivity tool for managers in the hospitality sector, and is urging licensees to make the most of the new tool. HGYBR uses five short surveys to assess a business across key performance areas, and benchmarks the user against their competition. It has been developed as part of an initiative led by Sir Charlie Mayfield (chairman of the John Lewis Partnership), with the support of the government, and is a provocative call-to-arms challenging business managers to test what they’re leaving on the table by continuing “business as usual”. The BBPA helped to develop the tool with McKinsey & Company during the pilot phase, ensuring the tool’s relevance to the pub sector. HGYBR provides practical advice on steps businesses can take to improve, information on key industry trends businesses should be preparing for, and an assessment of how much extra profit a business could make by improving their performance. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “There are considerable cost pressures on pubs. Looking at how we can improve productivity and become more profitable is essential. This should prove to be a really useful tool to promote effective business management in pubs, and I would urge licensees to try it.”
BrewDog accused of ‘exploitative behaviour’ by small marketing agencies: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has been accused of “exploiting” small marketing agencies after dismissing several from a pitch process without letting them present their ideas. The company contacted the agencies in December last year with a brief and met with them in January to discuss initial ideas. The agencies claimed they began to prepare for a pitch but recently received an email telling them they had been dismissed because their ideas were not “punk” enough. One source told Campaign Live: “To receive a copy-and-pasted email telling me we hadn’t won the business and critique work that they had never seen is unbelievable and embarrassing on their part. It’s such a shame when a company makes such an attribute of its independent spirit and then exploits other independents for its benefit.” Sarah Warman, BrewDog’s head of marketing, said the company had listened to the agencies’ ideas, which had been disappointing, before telling them they were not progressing to the next stage. “We’re only going to hire an agency that we adore,” Warman said, adding BrewDog was still looking for a suitable agency.

Jay Rayner – ‘time for restaurants to get rid of tips’: Restaurant critic Jay Rayner has said it is time for restaurants to get rid of tips. Writing for The Guardian, he said: “It’s time, I think, to acknowledge that the notion of tipping is a crass, outmoded, dysfunctional and ultimately inefficient system, ill-suited to a service-industry age. We’ve all read stories over the years about high-street chains charging fees to administer tips or using them to top up wages. Clearly, it’s now so muddled and tainted as to have outlived its usefulness. The restaurant business needs to follow the lead of a few enlightened souls and scrap the concept of tips and service charges altogether. Either we regard waiters as literally servile, to be rewarded at our whim, or we think they have the right to the dignity of a wage that’s both reliable and reasonable. Do I need to tell you I think the latter is the only way forward? The naysayers argue that without tips we have no way of showing our approval or disapproval. Not true. We could show our disapproval exactly as we do now – by never visiting the restaurant again. And as to showing approval, there are various ways, including saying an effusive thank you, which is something people who are already being paid properly always appreciate. The one real argument involves the knotty issue of VAT, which is not applied to tips that are freely given. But surely it’s not beyond the wit of the industry to sit down with the tax authorities in both Whitehall and Brussels to argue the case for a lower VAT rate for the hospitality industry – say 17.5% – to deal with the matter? Alternatively, restaurateurs can simply take the hit, as both Danny Meyer of the Union Square Group in the US and the Gallivant Hotel near Rye have already done, arguing that it’s better for business in the long term if quality employees are incentivised by secure incomes. In turn, diners will see menu prices rise, but they’ll know that the price they see is the price they pay, and that the people serving them are properly looked after.”

Company News:

Burning Night Group applies for licence to open Bierkeller in Birmingham: Burning Night Group has applied for a licence to bring its large-capacity Bierkeller concept to Birmingham. The company has lodged an application with the city council to open the brand in Broad Street at the former Brannigans site, reports the Birmingham Mail. One of the regular features of a Bierkeller night is an appearance by The Amazing Bavarian Stompers, who were the first British comedy oompah band to appear at a major German beer festival. At Bierkeller venues, waitresses serve beer in steins by 7.30pm “to get the party started early with party spirit games and competitions”. The Bierkeller sites also feature The Shooters sports bar as well as the Around The World in 80 Beers bar. Earlier this year, the company told Propel it was aiming to open a Bierkeller in Birmingham in August. Burning Night Group opened its first Bierkeller in Leeds six years ago and has since expanded into Liverpool, Manchester and Cardiff. It is also planning to open a site in Nottingham in June.
Wagamama to open fifth Manchester site: Wagamama is set to open its fifth restaurant in Manchester – in the revamped St Peter’s Square. The company is opening the site in spring 2017 in the new 2 St Peter’s Square, which is currently under construction. The building next door – One St Peter’s Square – has a San Carlo Fumo restaurant on the ground floor. Wagamama global brand director Simon Cope told the Manchester Evening News: “We’re thrilled to be opening the doors to our new restaurant in Manchester next spring, where Wagamama will continue to reinforce positive eating by using fresh ingredients, served in atmospheric surroundings. We look forward to hearing what our new and valued customers in Manchester make of our latest arrival and hope that they enjoy all we have to offer at St Peter’s Square.” The company’s other Manchester sites are in The Printworks and Spinningfields as well at MediaCityUK and its largest UK branch at The Trafford Centre.
Bravo Inns reopens St Helens pub saved from the bulldozers, company’s 38th venue: North west pub operator Bravo Inns, which purchased the Boars Head in St Helens when it was facing demolition, has reopened the pub. The company said it had restored the pub in Elton Head to bring it back to the “heart of the community”. The property was set to be bulldozed and replaced with a large food store and smaller retail unit before Bravo Inns stepped in to give the pub a last-minute reprieve. Bravo Inns managing director Ken Buckley previously told the St Helens Star: “We will try to make it the focal point of the area and I hope we’ll bring it back to the heart of the community. This is our 38th pub. Bravo has been going for eight years and all of our pubs are in the north west. As with all of our pubs we will provide a sports package and traditional games, darts, dominoes and pool and hopefully get involved with local activities.”
Costa Coffee supports Project Waterfall: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee is supporting Project Waterfall during UK Coffee Week by donating 20p from every purchase of its Old Paradise Street Limited Roast No11 to the charity. The company is running the nationwide fundraising initiative until Sunday (17 April) to raise money for Project Waterfall, which aims to bring clean water and sanitation to coffee-growing communities that are supported by The Costa Foundation. The Costa Foundation is present in nine countries – Columbia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Peru, Uganda and Vietnam. Now in its sixth year, Project Waterfall has raised a total of £325,000. Through its 20p donations, Costa Coffee is hoping to raise more than £15,000 for the charity this week. Kerry Parkin, head of corporate social responsibility at Costa Coffee, said: “We are inspired by the work that Project Waterfall does and hope that our contribution will help more farmers from coffee-growing communities gain access to clean water and sanitation.” Allegra managing director Jeffrey Young added: “Since founding UK Coffee Week in 2011, we’ve raised nearly a third of £1m, which is absolutely incredible. We are grateful to all of our sponsors for their help in raising money and were thrilled to hear that Costa will be supporting again this year.”
Hathor Inns to open bar and restaurant concept Passing Clouds next to Filthy McNasty’s in Newcastle city centre: Irish bar operator Hathor Inns will open new concept Passing Clouds next to its Filthy McNasty’s venue in Newcastle city centre. Construction is under way on the new bar and restaurant on the ground floor of the former Bambu nightclub in Bigg Market. Hathor Inns acquired the site after owners PBR went into administration. Hathor opened Filthy’s in August, with quirky, vintage-style seating and a pavement cafe. A stage hosts live music with the centrepiece a 40ft shipping container. Passing Clouds is being designed to be a more upmarket neighbour to Filthy’s, an “offbeat and lively brand known for its music nights”. The name comes from a brand of cigarettes that was once made in Newcastle. Adrian Waddell, director of operations at NE1, which is championing the Bigg Market rejuvenation programme, told Chronicle Live: “This commitment and investment in the area raises confidence and in turn encourages businesses and property owners to invest in their own business concerns. News that Passing Clouds is opening soon is further evidence of this growing confidence and willingness to invest and is good news for the city as a whole, as well as for the Bigg Market.” Hathor Inns operates four Filthy McNasty’s venues, with the Newcastle site the latest to open. The other venues are in London, Belfast and Nottingham.
Des McDonald to open London’s biggest gin bar at Holborn restaurant on Monday: Restaurateur Des McDonald will open London’s biggest gin bar at his Holborn Dining Room site on Monday. The Gin Bar will stock the capital’s widest selection of the spirit with more than 400 varieties available. Gins will range from well-known brands to small batch distillers. More than 100 of the gins will be UK distilled, including the Northumberland Gin Company’s Steam Punk Gin, based on a classic gin recipe from 1892 and incorporating a blend of seven botanicals. International gins will include the eco-friendly Forest Dry Gin Spring, made in Belgium from purely seasonal botanicals grown at the distillery. Holborn Dining Room, which is based at the Rosewood Hotel, said on its website: “Relaxed yet stylish, the copper-topped Gin Bar at the Holborn Dining Room offers London’s largest collection of gin, specialising in gin cocktails as well as classic cocktails, spirits, wines and craft beers all served alongside the restaurant’s a la carte food menu.” McDonald, who also runs London venues Vintage Salt and Q Grill as well as sites in York and Edinburgh, is opening £3m Japanese-style rooftop restaurant Rofuto in Birmingham later this month.

Walter and Monty charcoal-grilled street food pop-up launches permanent City site: Charcoal-grilled street food pop-up Walter and Monty has opened its first permanent London site, next to the Gherkin building in the City. Best known for popping up at Night Tales and other markets across London, Walter and Monty is billed as “street food with Michelin expertise”, Hot Dinners reports. The concept’s founders are Alex Kaye and head chef Nick Ross, who formerly worked with US chefs Daniel Boulud and Scott Conant at Scarpetta. The menu has a strong focus on meat and fish, charcoal-cooked with eastern flavours. Dishes include beef picanha, sourced from Smithfield, and butterflied leg of lamb marinated in mint, garlic and lemon. The dishes can be wrapped in a flatbread or served with rice and salad. The six side sauces include Scotch bonnet and feta and garlic. Salads are another main focus and include Beans and Peas Salad (kidney beans, chickpeas, coco beans, lentils, fava beans, French beans, red onion, diced fennel, black olive, feta cheese, and oregano vinaigrette), and Cauliflower Salad (50% roasted cauliflower, 50% deep-fried cauliflower, brown butter croutons, crispy pancetta, shaved parmesan cheese, and cumin vinaigrette). The design of the restaurant comes from the same people who put together Night Tales, with two large grills in an open kitchen. The venue in Bury Court also features banquette seating, and is initially only open for lunches, from 11am to 3pm, with breakfast and dinner to be added later.
Plans to convert Victorian railway arches into Brighton’s ‘most unusual restaurant’ get go-ahead: Plans to convert Victorian railway arches at Brighton station into a new restaurant have been given the go-ahead. Network Rail has been granted permission by the city council to convert disused storage space in the goods yard, reports Juice Brighton. Network Rail wants to update Trafalgar Street Arches with a refurbishment mixing huge modern triple-glazed windows while retaining period pieces of its railway past. The company said it hopes the regeneration project will help to transform the area between Trafalgar Street and Fleet Street into “an important and lively thoroughfare in the coming decades”. The site was used last summer when it was home to a temporary market of 26 independent stallholders for six months while its last permanent tenant was St Martin’s Vintner wine shop. The arches were originally built in 1883 as an expansion of the goods yard for the station. Under the plans, architects are looking to open up the space to create what Network Rail has dubbed the “most unusual new restaurant in Brighton’s recent memory”. Other architecture features to be retained include a lift cab previously used to take goods up from the yards to the railway platform, which will be converted into a dining room.
Former Tattershall Castle Group pub The Richmond Arms in London to close this month with no buyer found: The Richmond Arms in south west London will close on Saturday, 23 April as no buyer has been found since owner Tattershall Castle Group (TCG) went into administration. The closure of the pub in The Square, Richmond, was announced on the venue’s Facebook page. The post read: “Since our owners TCG went into administration in October last year they have been looking to find a new owner for us. Unfortunately this has not happened due to the landlord not willing to extend the lease, so the Richmond Arms will close and not reopen in any form. This place is so close to many of us, we have laughed and cried here together for over 30 years. We will all miss this wonderful place in a different way. To thank you all for being loyal customers over the years would be wrong as that is not what you were to us. You are our family here and you are the reason this pub is as great as it is.” The Richmond Arms was known as the last gay bar in south west London, with the nearest south of the river located in Clapham High Street.
Strada rolls out iC analytics to cut energy use following successful pilot: Strada will roll-out Carbon Statement’s iC analytics platform across its estate to control and reduce energy consumption following a successful pilot. Carbon Statement, which provides energy cost-saving products and solutions to the hospitality sector, said energy use was reduced by more than 20% in a number of the pilot restaurants by identifying and targeting energy waste that had occurred through operational and maintenance practices. A Carbon Statement spokesman said despite energy being one of the highest operational costs, usage was largely uncontrolled across the sector. He said: “Achieving the piloted results will improve Strada’s ranking within the Hospitality Sector Carbon Reduction Forum (HSCRF) energy benchmark.” HSCRF measures the relative efficiency of more than 25 major operators in the sector and demonstrates the impact on operational margins. Strada chief financial officer Jackie Freeman said: “We are always looking at ways to maximise our resource efficiency and energy is a major controllable cost. iC analytics helps us identify where energy waste is occurring as it uses hospitality-specific metrics and provides the restaurant teams with actionable information. As a result, we’re confident we’ll achieve the piloted results across our estate and improve profitability whilst also minimising our environmental impact.” Strada operates 40 Italian restaurants across the UK.
Oak Tree Hotels sells Chippenham site off guide price of £1.7m: Oak Tree Hotels, represented by international real estate advisor Savills, has sold Stanton Manor Hotel in Stanton Saint Quintin near Chippenham to an overseas investor from a guide price of £1.7m. The 23-bedroom country house hotel dates to 1840 and features a lounge bar, restaurant, function room and conference facilities. Set within 4.3 acres (1.7 hectares) of gardens and grounds, Stanton Manor also holds a wedding licence and accommodates up to 200 guests in an outdoor marquee. Smaller ceremonies can take place in the 12th century Church of St Giles, which is situated near the property’s entrance. Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, said: “This sale emphasises the high level of demand for country house hotels and wedding venues, with Stanton Manor generating significant interest from domestic and overseas buyers. The regional hotel market in the UK is very strong and appetite for quality assets like this one is as high today as it has been for ten years.” The purchaser was unrepresented.
Boho cocktail bar opens in Camden: Camden Management, the team behind tapas bar Gansa, Caribbean restaurants Ma Petite Jamaica and Cottons, and Creole bar and kitchen The Bayou, all in Camden, have opened another venue in the borough – Boho – which will feature “good music, classic cocktails and proper British food”. The bar in Inverness Street is open six days a week, offering traditional English food, including bar snacks such as pulled pork croquettes with barbecue mayonnaise and fish goujons. Cocktails include the Royal Mojito (Havana 3, lime, mint and sugar topped with prosecco), and Fig Caipirinha (Germana Cachaca, crème de fig, gomme, lime wedges and fresh figs). Boho Camden will also feature regular live music, with an “eclectic mix of energetic performers and DJs”.
Leon relaunches children’s cookery competition: Natural fast food brand Leon has relaunched its children’s cookery competition Cook5. Co-founders John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby started the contest in 2013 with the aim of getting more children aged five to 15 to learn how to cook at least five savoury dishes before they leave school. Youngsters can take part by visiting www.leonrestaurants/cook5 and start uploading pictures of the savoury dishes they have produced. Every participant who reaches the target of cooking five dishes will receive a Cook5 certificate and a Little Leon e-book. Every month, the person whose recipe receives the most “votes” from friends and family will win £50 and everyone who cooks five dishes will be entered into a grand annual prize draw for £500. An additional prize of £2,000 will be awarded to the school that gets the most students cooking five dishes, to invest in teaching cookery. Vincent and Dimbleby decided to start the competition having been asked in 2012 to conduct a review of school food by then secretary of state for education Michael Gove. While researching food technology lessons the pair found the majority were about baking biscuits or muffins, rather than proper dinners. They also discovered research showing fewer than half of families eat together every day and 60% of 18 to 25-year-olds leave home without being able to cook five simple things. Vincent said: “Cook5 is all about positivity; we’ve kept our recipes simple so children, and their parents, who don’t usually cook feel they can have a go. Cooking is like alchemy; you can spin gold from really basic materials. We want to get more and more children back into the kitchen and experience that magic for themselves.” Last week, the competition’s latest winner Charlotte Foster, from Stanwick, Northamptonshire, joined Vincent for an afternoon of naturally fast cooking at Leon’s headquarters in Borough Market, London.
Round pound deal proves winner for Coaching Inn Group: Coaching inn operator The Coaching Inn Group, which has ten sites, has reported a 40% uptake for its latest staff incentive to stay at a sister property for only a pound. The new incentive, which ran throughout January and February, saw staff from across the ten sites given the opportunity to stay at one of the group’s other coaching inns for only £1 a night. The Coaching Inns Group managing director Kevin Charity said: “This was a really popular incentive and staff have been swapping stories about best experiences, best practice and ideas worth sharing. We pride ourselves on our staff retention levels and have developed a package of benefits and incentives that not only make our staff feel valued, but also help bring in new employees as we grow. It’s important staff know that they have a career with us, not just a job, and incentives like this are great to ensure staff know they have room to move and grow as our business grows. It’s part of our comprehensive investment in staff development, which includes our unique training programme to find and fast-track future leaders of the hospitality industry. Having the right people in place, offering top-notch customer service, is vital to our success as we continue to grow and reach our target of 15 quality coaching inn sites before the end of the year.”
Eight-screen cinema in Taunton sold for £9.1m: An eight-screen Odeon cinema in Taunton, Somerset, has been sold in a £9.1m deal. LondonMetric Property has sold the building to Asda Pension Fund in a transaction that reflects a net initial yield of 5.5%. It will become part of a portfolio managed by OLIM Property. The eight-screen, 27,000 square foot cinema is let to Odeon with a remaining term of 22 years. The rent rises annually in line with the retail price index between 1% and 5%. The property was part of a portfolio of ten Odeon multiplex cinemas acquired by LondonMetric in November 2013 at an overall net initial yield of 7.2%. The investor continues to own six Odeon cinemas and one Vue cinema with an average lease length of 22 years. Andrew Jones, chief executive of LondonMetric, said: “Since acquisition, this asset has generated a strong income return and benefited from yield compression as demand increasingly focuses on long and predictable income. It has been an excellent investment providing inflation linked income growth let to a strong covenant in a market that continues to strengthen on the back of an impressive film slate.” Knight Frank advised LondonMetric and Montagu Evans and Kitchen La Frenais Morgan advised the purchaser.
Tapas Revolution opens fifth site in Sheffield: Spanish television chef Omar Allibhoy has opened the fifth Tapas Revolution – in Sheffield’s Meadowhall shopping centre. The company has launched the 2,400 square foot site on the upper level of The Oasis Dining Quarter. The 70-cover restaurant features a copper-topped bar, open kitchen, burnt orange leather banquettes and marble tables with the design reflecting Allibhoy’s personal interpretation of the lively and bustling tapas bars in his hometown of Madrid. Complementing the food is a selection of Spanish craft beers and wine served in a Catalonian-style porrón – a traditional wine glass pitcher with a long spout. Allibhoy said: “The new Tapas Revolution in Meadowhall is my version of the tapas bars back home in Spain, and this location is great to showcase our delicious traditional food and grow the food scene in Sheffield. Meadowhall has many different cuisines and our Spanish tapas lends itself perfectly to the mix. The bar style allows visitors to stop for food or even just to have a drink with friends. I am pleased to bring a real taste of Spain to the north of England.” Alice Keown, food and beverage asset manager for British Land, which co-owns Meadowhall, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Tapas Revolution to Meadowhall. The brand’s tapas bar concept sits perfectly with our existing mix of great dining brands, and is also a great complement to Meadowhall’s aspirational retailers.” Davis Coffer Lyons and Smith Young acted for Meadowhall. 
East Coast Concepts invests in Neighbourhood concept: East Coast Concepts has unveiled plans to invest almost £1m in a refurbishment of restaurant-bar Neighbourhood in Manchester city centre. The group, which also runs Victor’s in Hale, is preparing to undertake a £850,000 programme of works in May ahead of a relaunch on Thursday, 2 June. A new Neighbourhood restaurant-bar is also set to launch in Liverpool in the autumn, at which point the group’s headcount will top 200. Neighbourhood in Spinningfields is expected to turn over £4.6m in net sales this year, with Victor’s contributing a further £2.5m and Neighbourhood in Liverpool forecast to add £4m in its first year. In addition, Ciaran Hogg has been appointed as East Coast Concepts operations director from Living Ventures’ flagship restaurant Manchester House. James Hitchen, owner and founder of East Coast Concepts, said: “Now is a very exciting time in our journey. We have the refurbishment of Neighbourhood in Manchester, a new menu coming soon, plus the opening in Liverpool. Work is due to start there in eight weeks with a launch date set for October. Since opening in November 2013, Neighbourhood has been central to the explosion of the restaurant and bar scene in Manchester. So we are glad to be building on this. It’s fantastic in fact. And I’m proud of what we are achieving in Manchester, Hale and Liverpool.”
Meantime launches The Pilot Series: Greenwich craft brewer Meantime has launched The Pilot Series – a range of small-batch beers brewed at its new state-of-the-art Pilot Brewery. The Pilot Series will showcase new and unique beers, with a new style released every two weeks. Housed within Meantime’s brewery, the new range will be brewed on a high-tech Bavarian-style brewhouse. The first three beers within the series are Rye-PA, a 6% ABV rye IPA with a malty flavour; Sunset, a 9% ABV Imperial Red Ale, and CTRL-ALT, an Altbier inspired by an ancient Germanmstyle of brewing. Meantime will gauge the success of the beers at the rate by which they sell out. If a particular style proves to be very popular, it will be brought back by Meantime as part of its seasonal range the following year. Marketing director Richard Myers said: “Meantime has always strived to introduce the British public to a wide range of great beers and open their minds to trying something different. The Pilot Series gives us the perfect opportunity to continue to push the boundaries of modern craft and have a bit of fun experimenting with some unusual beer styles.” The range will be available exclusively on draught in a handful of selected partner outlets across London as well as Meantime’s own tasting rooms, the Beer Box bar and Greenwich Union pub. It can also be bought in 330ml bottles from the Meantime Brewery Shop and its website.
Denbighshire luxury spa to open fine dining restaurant: Llanrhaeadr Springs, a luxury spa in Denbighshire, Wales, will open a fine dining restaurant at the venue next month. The Dining Room will open in the old stable blocks of the 15th century coach house, located between Ruthin and Denbigh. The kitchen will be led by award-winning head chef and patron Kelvin Parry, who has created a menu inspired by quality Welsh produce. Job numbers are starting at eight and could expand to 20. Parry formerly worked at Michelin-starred Simon Radley’s at The Chester Grosvenor. Parry told the Daily Post: “I am delighted to be launching The Dining Room restaurant at Springs. I couldn’t think of a more ideal setting to be based.” Llanrhaeadr Springs owner Harry Barker said: “The arrival of The Dining Room at Llanrhaeadr Springs is testament to our ongoing success. I cannot wait to enjoy the fine dining experience Kelvin and his accomplished team will bring to the Vale of Clywd.” The Dining Room will open for breakfast and lunches on Monday, 2 May, with the a la carte menu served from Friday, 6 May.
Propel partners with Professor Chris Edger to launch new Brands Masterclass: Propel has partnered with the UK’s leading thinker and teacher on multi-site foodservice management Professor Chris Edger to launch a new Brands Masterclass to help create and evolve powerful brands. The event takes place on Friday, 10 June in the Chartered Accounts Hall at One Moorgate Place in London. Led by Edger, the all-day masterclass will showcase the advice of contemporary brand experts, who will address each aspect of a foodservice brand’s marketing mix. Each expert will deal with a specific dimension of brand longevity and success, making this programme an absolute must for UK foodservice brand leaders in 2016. The day will be split into three sessions to help delegates ensure their brands are evolved effectively to ensure long-term sustainability and success. Session one will cover leadership, proposition and product and will see Edger drawing on material from his newly-published book, co-written with Tony Hughes, senior independent director of The Restaurant Group, examining the leadership lifecycles of sustainable food brands. The session also features how to effectively differentiate a brand and its proposition and also create and evolve a compelling food and beverage offer. Session two will cover environment, estate and employer branding with Dan Einzig, founder of leading restaurant and brand design agency Mystery, looking at site design and creating a brand identity while insights firm CACI will explore how operators create a high quality estate. Former Orchid Group chief executive Rufus Hall will talk about creating a people-centric culture and the benefits of having an outstanding team ethos. The final session will look at execution and marketing with Dr Clinton Bantock, associate professor of the Academy of Multi-Unit Leadership, sharing how to achieve operational excellence while James Hacon, managing director of Elliotts, will look at examples of memorable marketing campaigns and the importance of rewarding loyal customers. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-members. To book email

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