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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 26th Apr 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Indian restaurant owners call on government to introduce one-year chef visas: Indian restaurant owners in the UK have sent a 75-page document asking the government to introduce one-year visas so they can bring in chefs from the sub-continent amid fears new immigration laws will lead to business closures. The document stated: “We propose a tightly controlled, temporary work visa scheme where expert chefs from outside the European Union are allowed to enter the UK on very strict employment terms. These terms would limit their employment to a maximum of one year with no right of return, no chance of residency or out-of-work benefits.” The letter added the curry industry was “paying the price” for the UK’s immigration laws and suggested short-term visas, similar to those in Germany and the US, where workers had to leave the country after their term, with “no burden” on taxpayers. Restaurant owners estimated immigration laws could lead to a third of the UK’s 12,000 curry restaurants and takeaways being forced to close. Under the government’s reviewed tier two category of visas for non-European migrants, chefs have to earn £29,570 to be able to work in the country, which the industry said was unrealistic. The Home Office told Business Standard: “We want to nurture more home-grown talent and encourage young people in this country who want to pursue a skilled career. This means the restaurant sector offering training to attract and recruit resident workers to meet their staffing needs.”

Industry News:

Busaba Eathai chief executive Jason Myers to present at Propel July conference: The Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 7 July at the Oxford Belfry, just off the M40, is open for bookings. The event features a full-day conference followed by Propel’s summer party, which this year includes an early evening paint-balling expedition followed by a barbecue and karaoke at the hotel. Jason Myers, chief executive of Busaba Eathai, the Thai brand founded by Alan Yau, sets out how the brand has been reshaped for national roll-out, its use of technology, its USPs, delivery success, and its market potential. Operators of multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice companies can claim up to two free places by emailing Jo Charity on

Nightclub sector launches year-long campaign to champion sector: Trade body The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has unveiled a year-long #nightlifematters series aimed at celebrating British club culture. Kicking off with six nights in six cities across the UK, the events are the first in an ongoing programme of club nights, talks and exhibitions that seek to celebrate UK nightlife and its cultural heritage. A NTIA spokesman said: “Despite having incubated labels who represent some of the UK’s best musicians – including Adele, Dizzie Rascal, The Prodigy, and FKA Twigs amongst others – British club culture is under threat. Increasingly strict licensing laws, aggressive development and a lack of understanding about the benefits of our night-time economy have meant in the last ten years, nearly half of the UK’s clubs and live music venues have closed. Venues up and down the country are taking part, including Fabric (London), Sub Club (Glasgow), Haunt (Brighton), Hidden (Manchester), Rainbow Venues (Birmingham), Motion (Bristol), and Lakota (Bristol). We’re encouraging the silent majority to make their voice heard by signing up to the #nightlifematters manifesto at” Supporters can email local councillors and MPs directly through an email form embedded on to the website and will be notified about upcoming events taking place as part of the #nightlifematters series. Tom Findlay, of Groove Armada, said: “Nightlife matters across Britain because it nurtures and sustains all our creative industries. It’s part of what makes Britain great – our club culture is admired across the world. Nightlife matters because it employs loads of brilliant people, bringing different ages, colours, genders, and ethnicities together for a common goal. I can’t imagine our country without it and it’s time we showed one of our great national pastimes a lot more love and respect.” Pete Jordan, director at MADE Festival and the Rainbow Venues, added: “The UK has a nightlife and festival industry that is revered the world over. We are currently seeing more threats to venues and their licences for a variety of reasons, which could in time, destroy the industry. Supporting the Nightlife Matters initiative from the NTIA is essential, and will help the industry safeguard itself from the real issues that exist and could change the cultural landscape of cities and towns forever.” 
AB InBev acquires Italian craft brewer: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has acquired Italian craft brewer Birra del Borgo. In 2005, Birra del Borgo was founded by Leonardo Di Vincenzo in Borgorose, a small town in the province of Rieti on the border between Lazio and Abruzzo. Di Vincenzo said: “Our voyage since we started in 2005 has been a great adventure. Today the beer sector has become very competitive and it is necessary for us to make a next step to ensure that we can continue to evolve in terms of brewing techniques and in terms of the complexity and taste variation we can offer to consumers. We believe partnering with AB InBev is a great opportunity to do exactly that – it will allow Birra del Borgo to grow in a sustainable way while staying true to our unique identity and the philosophy that we have followed since the very beginning.”
ALMR reveals Operations Managers Awards set for ‘significant change’: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has revealed its Operations Managers Awards, the annual search for the best people in the licensed hospitality industry, is set for a significant change ahead of the launch of this year’s competition. The organisation said it had been working with mentor judges, past winners and senior industry figures and had plans for a “step change that will identify, challenge and develop the emerging leaders of our industry into 2016 and beyond”. This year’s competition will be launched in London on Thursday, 12 May. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The vision of a brilliant, effective and improving cohort of operations managers is a vital ingredient in the awards.”
Chris Evans’ Surrey pub on market for £1.25m, celebrity’s last site to be sold: Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has put the freehold of The Mulberry Inn pub in Chiddingfold, Surrey, on the market for £1.25m through agent Christie & Co. Evans once owned three pubs but The Mulberry Inn is the last after the sales of the Lickfold Inn, near Midhurst, West Sussex, and The Newbridge Inn in Monmouthshire. The Mulberry Inn comprises a main bar and 70-cover restaurant, three letting rooms, three-bedroom staff accommodation, and beer gardens seating about 100. Christie & Co said the pub attracted a “strong mix of leisure and weekend guests as well as corporate business throughout the week”. Richard Wood, of Christie & Co, said: “The Mulberry Inn represents a fantastic opportunity for either an existing owner/operator or multiple operator to acquire a well-established business with a high reputation.” 
Eataly to expand into Canada: Eataly, the international Italian food emporium that blurs the line between supermarket and restaurant and plans to open in London in partnership with Selfridges, will open its first Canadian store in Toronto next year in partnership with the Weston family. Oscar Farinetti, Eataly’s founder, co-owner and chairman, said a location in central Toronto had been found and the Westons would have 52% of the real estate and retail project, with Eataly taking the rest. “We’ve been looking for a location for a long time,” he said after giving a talk on Eataly at the American University of Rome. “It’s coming for sure.”
Takeaway fish and chips remain a top treat – report: The UK’s love of fish and chips continues, especially among the over-60s, with almost a third of respondents in London buying the meal once a week, according to research commissioned by seafood company Young’s. A total of 39% of respondents said a takeaway meal was the best way to treat themselves on a weekly basis, with one-quarter naming fish and chips as their favourite, rising to almost half (45%) among the over-60s. On average, consumers admitted to spending £18.06 on takeaway fish and chips each month. However, this figure rose significantly in London to £23.97. In terms of regularity, 22% of consumers said they bought fish and chips once a week, rising to almost one-third (31%) for those living in London. More than half of respondents (58%) favoured cod, with haddock the second most popular fish at 20%. However, almost half (45%) said they regularly bought battered sausage, while 8% opted for a pickled egg. Regarding accompanying sauces, ketchup was top choice (41%), followed by vinegar (30%) and tartar sauce (20%). Unrelated recent research by market insights firm NPD Group revealed there are more than 10,000 fish and chip shops in the UK. 

Company News:

YO! Sushi refreshes branding to highlight ‘true taste of Tokyo’: YO! Sushi has worked with design agency & Smith to refresh its branding to highlight the origins of its food and reposition its restaurants as places to experience a “true taste of modern Tokyo”. The agency has created new graphics for YO! Sushi’s restaurants, menus and staff uniforms, which feature black-and-white patterns inspired by anime and manga comics. The new menus also feature Kanji script – so customers can learn the Japanese names for each dish – while they also resemble a magazine/newspaper, featuring art, fashion and music articles, The Drum reports. Dan Bernstein, director of & Smith, said: “We wanted to give everyone a taste of what’s going on in Tokyo right now. That’s where the zine/newspaper menu idea came from. It gave us the chance to show some nice snippets of art, fashion and music alongside their food. The idea is that the editorial content will change four or five times a year.” The new design has been rolled out across all 70-plus YO! Sushi sites in the UK and will launch at all the company’s US sites by the end of this month. 

Cafe Football reports pre-tax loss in first full financial year: Cafe Football, the restaurant company run by former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, has reported a pre-tax loss in its first full financial year of operation. The company saw a pre-tax loss of £266,813 for the year ending 30 June 2015, compared with a loss of £253,676 for the part-year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Turnover nearly doubled to £1,256,891, compared with £692,284 the previous part-year. Neville and Giggs opened their first Cafe Football at the end of 2013 at Westfield in Stratford, east London, followed by a branch at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium in March 2015. Diners are treated to matches on big screens while they enjoy meals such as “Giggsy’s venison sausage”, “Nev’s noodle pot” and “Boss burgers”, including beef, pulled pork and lime aioli. A Cafe Football spokesman said the company was pleased with current trading and “excited” with the growth opportunity when West Ham moves to the Olympic stadium later this year. It is looking at expansion in the UK and overseas. Growth plans would be supported by Singaporean investor Rowsley, which bought a 75% stake in the business last November.
Beds and Bars boss launches scathing attack on Enterprise Inns: Beds and Bars chief executive Keith Knowles has launched a scathing attack on landlord Enterprise Inns over the lack of support it has had with its site in Camden, north London. In an open letter to Nathan Wall, Enterprise divisional director for Greater London, Knowles accused the company of being “totally self-interested with no interest in its tenants or the communities it serves”. He wrote: “I ask what has Enterprise done to assist us in the running of our site in Camden in the last five years? What training has been offered? Marketing? Promotions? What detail does your team have in the location, its changes/challenges? Are you aware of the affect of the Late Night Levy imposed? Do you know the conditions on our licence, the affects on profitability? Sorry but what I see is a totally self-interested company with no interest in its tenants or the communities it serves. I know I am not the only multiple who is treated like this. I am very happy to have this correspondence published, and for you to have the answers to my questions when we meet.”
BrewDog eyes outdoor stadium for next AGM: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has said it hoped to use an outdoor stadium for its AGM next year, following concerns the event could be moved from the company’s home city of Aberdeen. BrewDog boss James Watt revealed he is in talks with the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) – which held this year’s event attended by 6,000 “Equity Punks” – to construct an outdoor arena similar to the one used for an Elton John concert last year. It comes after concerns were raised the event could move to another city, such as Glasgow, as the company continued to expand. During a question and answer session on Twitter, Watt said: “We are speaking to the AECC about increasing the capacity for next year. If we can do this we want to keep it here.” When asked whether BrewDog would consider creating a stadium-type set-up similar to the Elton John concert, Watt replied: “That is exactly what we are looking into.” AECC senior sales manager Anna Mackenzie said: “BrewDog shareholders have travelled from all over the world for the last five years to attend the Punk AGM at AECC and we would love to continue welcoming them to the city.”
McDonald’s seeks to apply ‘forensic analytics’ to replicate UK success around the world: McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook has told analysts the company is applying “forensic analytics” across the business to replicate its 40 consecutive quarters of UK growth around the globe. “We’ve reacted to changing consumer demands at every price point,” he said. “One example is the new ‘Signature Collection’ that was piloted in the UK in the first quarter. We’re also innovating around service. As we roll out table service, our mobile app and digital self-service kiosks, we’re providing more choice and flexibility for consumers and allowing them to experience the McDonald’s of the future.” Easterbrook added the company was well on its way in its aim to become a “modern burger company” and was seeking to sustain its positive momentum. “The turnaround is taking hold and customers are responding well to the changes,” he added. “We are pleased with the progress – we are serving fresher food and the overall service experience has improved. Many critical markets are returning to growth, increasing profitability for both the company and our franchisees.”
CD Pub Company opens fourth site: Classic Developments (CD) Pub Company has taken on its fourth site after reopening the Old Chequers Inn in Crowle, Worcestershire. The company has invested £500,000 refurbishing the 17th century property, creating more than 20 jobs, having secured the site in December on a 20-year lease. The 120-seat pub restaurant has a new roof, increased electricity supply and new dining areas with the decor featuring tartan fabrics and furnishings. The menu is described as Anglo-French and includes a showcase cheeseboard with a wide selection of locally sourced speciality artisan cheeses and a Swiss-style cheese fondue as a sharing starter. There is a range of local beers, cask ales and spirits as well as wines from around the world, offered by the bottle or glass. CD Pub Company operations director Charles Harris told the Worcester News: “The chance to introduce our successful formula to the village of Crowle for great food at great value in a great atmosphere is very exciting and we’ve already started to become an integral part of village life.” The company also operates The Forest at Feckenham in Redditch, Worcestershire, along with The Stag at Offchurch and The Moorings at Myrton, which are both in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire.
Greene King unveils partnership with The Prince’s Trust: Brewer and retailer Greene King has unveiled a partnership with The Prince’s Trust to launch a scheme giving unemployed young people an opportunity to step into work. The “Get into Hospitality” programme will offer 150 of the UK’s most disadvantaged 16 to 25-year-olds the chance to develop skills in the hospitality sector, achieve accredited hospitality qualifications and support them into jobs and other positive outcomes in the industry. Subject to successfully completing the three-week programme, Greene King aims to offer jobs and a place on its award-winning apprenticeship scheme to as many course participants as possible. There will be ten programmes offered around the country over the next 12 months, with the first scheme launched in London yesterday (Monday, 25 April). Other locations include Liverpool, Portsmouth and Glasgow. Rooney Anand, Greene King chief executive, said: “We know that many young people find it difficult to get their first job, particularly in disadvantaged areas and we believe pubs can help them get on to the career ladder. As a leader in the hospitality industry, we want to support young people into work by offering opportunities to learn a skill and a trade and help them start their career journeys. Our programme with The Prince’s Trust, which does such fantastic work, will enable us to do this.” The scheme includes training in many aspects of hospitality, including guest service, alcohol licensing laws and food preparation. While on the programme, students will also receive help with CV writing and interview techniques, as well as career support and guidance from their Greene King “buddies”. Each “buddy” is an experienced Greene King team member, who will mentor the youngsters offering invaluable support throughout the programme. The first step of the free course is a recruitment day for prospective youngsters, held by The Prince’s Trust in each area. Candidates will then meet representatives from both organisations, and find out more about the programme. From there, students will be chosen to attend the programme, which is split between classroom-based learning and a practical placement at a nearby Greene King pub.
Euro Garages buys former Italian restaurant in Surrey, plans £8m investment in site: Euro Garages, the petrol forecourt and service station operator that features food outlets, has bought a former restaurant in Cobham, Surrey. The company acquired the former San Domenico restaurant on the A3 a few days before its intended auction. A spokesman told Get Surrey £8m would be invested in the site, and 65 jobs would be created once it was operational. The former San Domenico site, situated within 6.5 acres of grounds near the Painshill roundabout, has been empty for more than 30 years. It operated as an Italian restaurant in the late 1970s and through the 1980s, with stars including Sir Tom Jones and Eric Clapton dining there. Euro Garages operates more than 350 sites, which feature food outlets such as Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and Greggs.
Yorkshire Meatball Co raises more than £130,000 as it completes crowdfunding campaign: Yorkshire Meatball Co has completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having raised more than £130,000 as it aims to roll-out franchised restaurants nationwide and launch branded retail products in UK supermarkets. The company, founded by father and son team David and Gareth Atkinson, was aiming to raise £100,000 in return for a 12% equity stake. It has now completed the campaign with 237 investors pledging £130,650. The largest investment was £10,000. The pitch stated: “Our strategy is to lay the foundations of a quality, national food brand through the establishment of three principal revenue streams: owned-restaurants, franchised-restaurants, and branded retail products. Our original Meatball and Craft Beer Bar launched in Harrogate on 1 March 2014. In early 2015 we attracted the attention of our first franchise partnership, with leading hotel group Splendid Hospitality Group, which launched our first franchise in York in October 2015, where we continue to refine and develop our franchise model for further roll-out. In late 2015, we successfully trialled a pub-kitchen format in Harrogate. With potential format variations from take-out to pub-kitchen and street food, we see a wealth of scope for diversifying the concept further.” The company expects to make a pre-tax profit of £77,934 at the end of this year, rising to £245,949 in 2017 and £601,555 in 2018.
JD Wetherspoon successfully applies to have condition removed for beer garden noise meter at new St Ives pub: JD Wetherspoon has successfully applied to have a planning condition removed for its new site in St Ives, Cambridgeshire, which required the company to install a noise meter in the beer garden. The company was granted permission by Huntingdonshire District Council to convert a vacant shop unit in Market Hill in February, despite concerns from neighbours about noise. As part of the permission, the council added a condition that required JD Wetherspoon to install a noise meter in the beer garden to monitor the level of noise generated by revellers and to ease the fears of residents. However, head of development and acquisitions Jon Randall successfully applied to have the condition removed because it was deemed not to be practical, reports the Hunts Post. A report to the council said: “On the face of it, a noise monitor seems like a good idea, however it would only be possible to find out if the guideline level of 50 decibels was exceeded at the end of a 16-hour period.” It also noted if a noise meter was installed, there would be no way of telling the specific noise that triggered it, suggesting a nearby bird or a dog could inadvertently do so. The council agreed and removed the planning condition but ordered JD Wetherspoon to provide a noise management plan – to be approved by officers.
Hotel Chocolat eyes float next month: Hotel Chocolat has firmed up its intention to float on the London Stock Exchange, with the listing likely to take place within the next month. The group first revealed plans to go public in March and has now said it is likely to take place some time between early and mid-May. Hotel Chocolat sells its products online and through a network of 84 stores in the UK and abroad. In the year to 28 June 2015, it had an audited revenue and Ebitda of £81.1m and £7.9m respectively. It is understood the float could value the company at about £150m. The company was founded in 1993 by Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris and has traded under the Hotel Chocolat brand since 2003. Speaking last month, Thirlwell said: “We are very excited at the prospect of listing as it is the next logical step in our growth plans and will enable us to accelerate the many initiatives that we have in place, in particular additional investment in our British chocolate manufacturing, in new stores and in our digital offering.”
Fat Buddha opens third site in Sunderland: Fat Buddha, the north east-based Asian-inspired restaurant owned by Hot Buddha, has opened its third site in Sunderland. The company, led by industry veteran Bob Senior and Eddie Fung, has spent £2m developing the restaurant on the seafront as part of a scheme to refurbish the promenade shelter in Whitburn Road, creating almost 50 jobs. As well as the restaurant upstairs, the building also includes public toilets, a cafe, disabled changing facilities and a new office for the RNLI on the promenade level. Senior told the Sunderland Echo: “We understand that with a new restaurant, people are going to be expecting a lot, so we are going to open with low numbers, just to make sure we give everybody the best experience we can while we find our feet.” Fat Buddha also has restaurants in Durham and Newcastle.
Camilla Fayed opens ‘roots to stem’ restaurant Farmacy in Westbourne Grove: Camilla Fayed, daughter of former Harrods owner Mohamed, has launched “roots to stem” restaurant Farmacy in Westbourne Grove, London. The all-day, plant-based food concept is planned as the first of many, with dishes such as the Farmacy burger – a millet, black bean and mushroom burger with garlic aioli, goji ketchup, pickles and tomato, served in a wholemeal vegan bun, Hot Dinners reports. Other dishes include Reuben Sandwich (mushroom, sauerkraut, sprouts mix, almond and paprika mayo in sourdough bread), Middle East Super Bowl (steamed buckwheat with baba ganoush, spirulina, hummus, sprouted quinoa, tabbouleh and sweet potato falafel), and Bee Grateful (probiotic spirulina yogurt with chia seed porridge, fruit, almonds and bee pollen). Healthy drinks include syringe shots featuring flaxseed oil, cayenne pepper and even cannabis oil mixed into juices and cocktails. Fayed told the Evening Standard that Farmacy would be a “destination to share my philosophy that putting nutrition first does not compromise good food and good times”. She added: “My ambition is to deliver a piece of health and vitality through the expansion of the Farmacy brand in express ‘grab-and-go’ outlets, initially across London.”
Marston’s submits plans for new-build pub restaurant in Nantwich: Marston’s has submitted plans for a new-build pub restaurant in Nantwich, Cheshire. The company has applied to Cheshire East Council to build the property on land between the A51 Nantwich bypass and the access road to Alvaston Business Park, reports the Crewe Chronicle. It said the pub restaurant, which would be “food-led”, would also include an outside children’s play area and beer garden and create up to 50 jobs. The planning statement said: “The proposed pub restaurant would offer a different retail concept to any public house currently located within a town centre. Town centre public houses in larger centres such as Crewe tend to offer a wet-led offer. It is considered that there is not a direct comparison, and the proposed development would operate and cater for a different market than within town centres. In this regard, it can be seen that the proposed development would not impact upon the vitality and viability of the nearest town centres.” It added there were a “range of benefits” to the pub plans, including the “creation of economic development on a vacant site”, the creation of “between 40 and 50 permanent jobs” and the delivery of a “well designed building” in an accessible location.
Loungers opens Cosy Club in Derby city centre, 13th UK site: Loungers has opened a branch of The Cosy Club at a landmark building in Derby city centre, its 13th UK site. The former Royal Hotel in Victoria Street has undergone a £750,000 refurbishment, with the new venue described by Paul Alexander, Cosy Club senior operations manager, as “quirky, eccentric and playful”. He told the Derby Telegraph: “The quirkiness of the interior is mirrored with the staff and their personalities. We’ve employed people for their personality and have spent the past few weeks training them up. We open at 9am for breakfast/brunch and stay open for lunch and after-work drinks and meals. People can pop in for a bite to eat with their little ones. Equally, we’re here for girls on a night out having cocktails, or guys who want to rock up for some drinks. Husbands can come in for a meal with their missus, or groups can come in if they’re celebrating a special occasion.” The first floor of the 19th century listed building was last used as the Royal Nightclub, which closed in 2013. Loungers will also launch a Cosy Club this month in Hereford.
New vegetarian and vegan cafe concept opens in South Shields: A new vegetarian and vegan cafe concept, believed to be the first in South Tyneside, has opened in South Shields. Chay Hobson has launched the Roots Cafe in Westoe Road to give “people a chance to dine on more natural treats”. Hobson, who previously ran a cafe in the Scottish Borders 16 years ago, told The Shields Gazette: “I wanted to give people options instead of another cafe that serves pasties and sausage rolls. It’s called Roots Cafe because the food is stripped back down to its roots – none of it is processed. Everything served is made by me. The only thing we buy in is the bread buns.”
Turtle Bay to open Staines site in June: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay will open a site in Staines, Surrey, in June. The new venue in High Street will open on Tuesday, 14 June and feature a floating island bar, Caribbean booths and repurposed shipping containers, one of which will be used to house the open kitchen “jerk shack”, Get Surrey reports. The 228-seater, £800,000 restaurant will create more than 50 jobs. Signature dishes include jerk chicken, jerk prawns, Turtle Bay patties, trini doubles and curry goat. The central bar and indoor veranda-style drinking spaces mean people can order drinks without having to dine. Earlier this month, Turtle Bay received planning permission to open a site in Norwich. The company, 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.
Michelin-starred chef to launch new restaurant: Michelin-starred chef Kevin Viner is to launch a new restaurant, Neo, in Bournemouth, creating 50 jobs. Neo, located opposite the Bournemouth International Centre and overlooking the pier, will open on Friday (29 April). Viner, who began his career at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, was named the AA “chef’s chef of the year” in 1999, the year before Rick Stein received the accolade. Between 1993 and 2000 his restaurant Pennypots in Blackwater, Cornwall, had a Michelin star and he also ran Viners in Cornwall until 2010. More recently he has been consulting and cooking for the Prince and Princess of Monaco. Viner said: “I always loved Bournemouth and came here on holiday as a child, so when I decided to move into the restaurant business in 1989 it was the first place I looked. Unfortunately there was nothing available at the time so I went to Cornwall only intending to stay there for three or four years and ended up staying for 20. Now I am incredibly excited to be executive chef of a stand-alone restaurant in Bournemouth, which I’m confident will develop a fine reputation and become a culinary destination.” Neo will be able to accommodate up to 200 people with Chris Howard appointed as head chef by Viner.
Maki starts expansion with second London sushi site in Shoreditch: Maki, a hand-rolled sushi concept, has opened its second London venue – in Shoreditch. Maki started out as a street food stall before its founders – Scottish brothers Antony and Daniel Woodcock – opened a store near Spitalfields Market in September. The kitchen at the company’s second venue – at The Bower in Old Street – will be headed by Renard Ibasco, who previously worked for Japanese restaurant group Roka. Daniel Woodcock told Real Business: “Sushi chefs are hard to come by but we ensure we only hire the best. Unlike our competitors on the high street we have professional sushi chefs hand-rolling our sushi fresh every morning. By doing this we ensure our customers have access to the best taste, quality and choice on the market. Creating something in the food and beverage space was always an ambition of ours, so being in a position to open a second in a bustling place like Shoreditch is a good feeling.” Woodcock said Maki would concentrate on scaling across London, launching more stores during the next three to five years.
Cumbria and north Lancashire holiday park operator to open first pub: Cumbria and north Lancashire-based holiday park operator Holgates is to open its first pub on Saturday (30 April). The company is opening The Royal in the village of Silverdale, which has been empty since 2010. It has spent about £300,000 refurbishing the property to create a “warm, welcoming and stylish ambiance”, creating ten jobs. The kitchens have been refitted while meals will be available both in the bar and the pub’s second-floor dining room. There will be a strong emphasis on Cumbrian sourced ingredients, complementing the regularly changing selection of different craft ales brewed in Lakeland. Owner Michael Holgate told the Cumbria Crack: “This part of south Cumbria is growing in popularity all the time as a tourist destination, as we well know from the ever-rising number of visitors to Holgates’ Silverdale Holiday Park. Providing another high-quality facility for eating and drinking will, I think, increase its appeal even more – and the spending of extra visitors benefits all types of businesses in the area.” As well as Silverdale, Holgates’ other holiday parks are Bay View, Hollins Farm, Silver Ridge, Netherbeck, and Far Arnside.
Owners of Lincoln-based brewery lodge plans for micro-pub in city: The owners of Lincoln-based Cathedral Heights Brewery have lodged plans to open a micro-pub in the city. Steve Marston and his wife Sammi have applied to the city council to convert a health and beauty store in High Street. They hope to open the micro-pub by the middle of next month and said it would be separate to the brewery business. Steve Marston told the Lincolnshire Echo: “There will be local real ales, at least one local beer on, and at least three others on from around the country. There will also be a selection of real ciders and craft beer. As the business grows we will start changing it. The floor will be redone, for example. It is a separate venture between me and my wife, and we have put a lot of thought and effort into it.” The Marstons launched the brewery in 2013 at Churchill Business Park in the south of the city.
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 leading brands consultant Ian Dunstall on how to effectively differentiate a brand and its proposition while Chris Gerard, founder of gastro-pub business Innventure, will explain how to 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 members and £345 plus VAT for non-members. To book email

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