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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 31st May 2016 - Update: Deliveroo, PizzaExpress, Gordon Ramsay, Carluccio’s, Fuller’s
Deliveroo signs partnership with PizzaExpress: Deliveroo has signed a deal with PizzaExpress, which currently has circa 460 UK sites. The brand will be the food delivery firm’s biggest customer and will generate a “significant” increase in revenue, Deliveroo founder Will Shu told The Daily Telegraph. Shu said: “When we asked customers for the one brand missing from Deliveroo, PizzaExpress was always top of their list.” PizzaExpress chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “We sell about one million pizzas through takeaway already, but it’s not that convenient for customers.” He added that he had considered launching his own delivery service but it was “hard enough competing with Prezzo, Zizzi and Ask without trying to compete on delivery”. According to both businesses, the partnership will result in a “significant increase” in sales. “Pizza has traditionally been delivered to people’s homes,” Hodgson said. “We think this could be significant for the business. We’ve seen how many people are taking advantage of Deliveroo.” Shu added: “The PizzaExpress partnership will let us go into a lot of new markets. We are already working with them in other countries.” PizzaExpress recently ran a trial with Deliveroo in Hong Kong where it has 15 restaurants. Hodgson denied that the delivery deal could jeopardise restaurant bookings or reduce the number of pizzas and dough balls PizzaExpress sells in supermarkets. “People still like escaping the house and coming to us,” he said. “And during the trial last summer we looked at what happened to sales of pizzas in local shops and saw no drop-off whatsoever.” Deliveroo has grown rapidly since it launched in 2013, raising almost £135m in venture capital to date. “There’s been a significant increase in demand for restaurant quality food delivered to the home and we didn’t expect that explosion,” Hodgson told The Daily Telegraph. “It’s about convenience. Some people don’t want to walk to the fridge, take out a pizza, warm up the oven and wait 11 minutes for it to cook, they prefer the tap, tap, boom of Deliveroo.”

Gordon Ramsay eyes return to the regions as operating losses narrow: Chef Gordon Ramsay is looking to open his first UK restaurants outside London for over a decade after his company increased sales and reduced losses. He is considering potential sites in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. He is also set to open three new restaurants in the US over the next 12 months, including a fish ‘n’ chip shop in Las Vegas called Gordon Ramsay’s Fish & Chips. The US restaurants will extend Ramsay’s partnership with Caesars Palace, the casino operator with which he already operates four outlets in the US. Stuart Gillies, the chief executive of the Gordon Ramsay Group (GRG), said he wanted to open a first restaurant in a major regional city within 18 months. “We are looking at properties in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. There’s a great dining scene there and we are just considering what the options are,” he said. The only UK restaurant Ramsay has opened outside London was Amaryllis, in Glasgow, in 2001 but it closed in 2004. GRG operates 14 restaurants in London and holds the license for 15 more around the world. Sales for Kavalake, GRG’s holding company, rose 12.6% to £50.3m in the year to 31 August 2015 after it opened new sites in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, France and the US, and two new Maze Grill restaurants and Heddon Street Kitchen in London. Despite the increase, Kavalake recorded its third year of operating losses, although they narrowed from £1.5m in the previous year to £1m. Kavalake remained in red after a £4m bill for legal costs relating to a fallout with Rowan Seibel, Ramsay’s business partner in the Fat Cow, a Los Angeles restaurant which closed in 2014. Kavalake’s debts stood at £21.5m, including a £14.2m loan from Ramsay himself, although that is down from £24.3m a year before. Gillies said he expected the group to return to profit in the current year, with the various legal disputes finally coming to an end. “I’m pretty comfortable we will be back in the black,” he told The Guardian. “Our forecasts look to be on target and there is nothing in the woodwork on litigation and that is great news after years under that cloud. We are glad to be in London in this period. There is more competition, but the more operators that come in they raise the level of quality. Certain restaurants will go but that’s the nature of business because the quality should remain. London is the capital of the world for quality and creativity.”

Carluccio’s opens first hotel site, adds pizza to the menu: Carluccio’s has opened at the London Marriott Hotel Regents Park, bringing its blend of modern Italian all-day dining, deli and foodshop to a hotel for the first time. Offering in-room dining, a breakfast buffet and a new, extended bar menu, the Carluccio’s restaurant is bespoke to the needs of the hotel guests. Meanwhile, the brand is launching a new menu this week and will unveil a updated look at its Spitalfields branch featuring four pizzas. Chief executive Nil Wickers told The Times: “Other than pasta, there is nothing more Italian that pizza and we are regularly asked by our customers for it.” The fascia of the Spitalfield’s branch has been updated to read “Carluccio’s Deli & Dining” with the deli integrated into the dining room. The kitchen is open plan and antipasti and desserts will be prepared by chefs at the deli counter. A further ten sites are expected to be concerted to the new format this year at a cost of circa £200,000 each. 

Fuller’s Beer Company boss Ian Bray steps down: Fuller’s, the London brewer and premium pub company, has announced that Ian Bray, managing director of The Beer Company, has decided to leave the Company in order to pursue new opportunities. He steps down from the Board, with immediate effect. The company stated: “The board has commenced the search for a replacement. Simon Emeny, chief executive, will oversee The Beer Company directly until a successor is appointed. The board thanks Ian for his contribution and wishes him well for the future.”

Report reveals another rise in UK distillery numbers: A report by accountancy group UHY Hacker Young has revealed that the total number of distilleries in the UK jumped by a third last year, from 21 to 28. ‘The popularity of boutique alcohols such as craft beer or artisan gin has been a factor in the strong numbers of newly licensed producers over the past five years,’ said the UHY report. It found that 37 new wine producers have set up in England over the past year while some 285 new breweries have sprung up in recent years Scottish micro-brewery BrewDog, known for its beers and ales, recently set up a distillery named Lone Wolf which will produce vodka, gin and whisky. Its 32% proof Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer retails for £106 per 375ml bottle, while the limited edition 55% End Of History beer cost £500 per 330ml bottle and came encased in a taxidermy squirrel or stoat. Kent-based English wine producer Chapel Down – which supplied wine to the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – has raised £1.7 million to build its own brewery for its Curious Drinks beer and cider business.

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