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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 27th Apr 2016 - Update: Coaching Inn Group's £2m buy, Craved in discussion with investors
Coaching Inn Group makes £2m Cambridgeshire acquisition: Independent coaching inns operator The Coaching Inn Group has acquired The Golden Lion in St Ives, Cambridgeshire. The deal, worth more than £2m, is part of the Group’s £20m expansion plan, which has now seen them acquire five sites in the past 12 months. The 18th century, 25-bed Golden Lion offers a blend of historical architecture with modern practicalities in the heart of the picturesque riverside market town of St Ives and is well known in the community for its freshly prepared, seasonal menu. The Coaching Inn Group founder and managing director Kevin Charity said: “Over the past 12 months we have expanded The Coaching Inn Group with the acquisition of five new inns and have plans to add another four to the estate this year. The Golden Lion is a great example of the kind of property we want; great market town locations and businesses that will draw in locals and visitors from further afield alike. Victoria and the team have obviously done a fantastic job over the past decade and we look forward to continuing to work with them to build on the business’s fantastic reputation.” The latest acquisition follows the news that The Coaching Inn Group has reported a 29% increase in sales and 60% rise in profits as turnover tops £13m. The group is on track to reach its target of 15 sites before the end of the year. The Coaching Inn Group has 11 well-known hotels across Yorkshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire, Cambridgeshire and Wales and has built a strong reputation in the industry for transforming high quality coaching inns and revitalising their offer across food, beverage and accommodation. 

Hawksmoor co-founder-backed Craved extends £120,000 crowdfunding campaign for discussions with ‘larger investors’: Craved, an e-commercial business delivering British craft food and drink from producers across the country and backed by Hawksmoor co-founder Huw Gott, has extended its £120,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by David Voxlin, is offering a 13.04% equity stake in return for the investment as it seeks to expand. It has now extended the campaign for a further ten days for discussions with “a few larger investors”. Voxlin said: “We’re extending our campaign by another ten days, as we’re still in discussion with a few larger investors, which will require a bit more time. We now have 12 days until the end of our campaign, and we’re looking forward to adding a few more people with great experience to our investment team over the next few days.” So far, 132 investors have pledged £99,120 with the largest investment to date being £10,000. The majority of the funds will be used as working capital and to extend the product range. The pitch states: “We are aiming to build a Fortnum & Mason for the 21st century where independent, local, and craft are core values to our company, and we believe our food, drink and gifts not only taste amazing but support the local, independent producers as well. Craved London aims to be the only retailer in the UK focusing solely on British craft food and drinks, and we’re creating a new type of food brand that is more in tune with consumer expectations and macro trends in food retail.”

Scottish lobby group calls for Pubs Code parity: A Scottish on-trade lobby group has called for parity for the country’s pub tenants in view of the introduction of a statutory Pubs Code in England and Wales on 26 May. The Code applies to companies owning 500 or more tied pubs, including Greene King, Punch, Enterprise, Admiral and Star Pubs & Bars. The Scottish government has yet to commit to any action, leaving Scottish pubs without a way to exert the same, or indeed any, control. Despite an acknowledgement by the Scottish government early last year that the support of tied pubs is a devolved issue, there has been no legislative change to date. A study of the tied pub issue has been under way since summer 2015 but the Scottish government has yet to move to consultation or recommendations. Alan Hay, sales director on trade Scotland at Tennent’s, part of a coalition of industry names backing change, said: “The on-trade in Scotland has been very vocal on this issue for many, many years. We need parity with England and Wales, if not better. Addressing the management of tied pubs is a key step in protecting the overall health of our licensed trade, helping to stop inflated prices and uncompetitive, unfair business. The Scottish government has stated that they are listening but as yet nothing seems to be progressing. In the meantime, the rest of the UK has pushed on with their forward-thinking plans, to the delight of publicans. Unless action is shown soon, Scotland will be left behind, placing us in a vulnerable position.” In England and Wales, the statutory pubs code will also see Market Rent Only options triggered if prices are unreasonably increased on tied products – a protection not currently available in Scotland. Tenants will be able to tracks costs on a Producer Price Increase index – a monthly survey measuring factory gate costs – versus the often inflated prices offered to them as part of their tied deal. Hay added: “All we ask for is fairness. Whilst England and Wales will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of legislative change, Scotland stands still.”

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