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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 2nd Jun 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Downing backs ambitious Norbury pub and restaurant development scheme in ‘under-served’ part of London: Investment firm Downing has backed an ambitious development that will see a pub and four restaurant units built in Norbury, south London. Antic London, the operator of more than 40 pubs led by Anthony Thomas and backed by Downing, is to help support the running of the scheme. It follows the acquisition of a collection of freehold buildings for £800,000 by Holte North, which is also backed by Downing. Holte North will commit a further £1m for the scheme that will see the site redeveloped into a pub for Antic along with four units that could be used for restaurants. Licensing and planning permission have already been secured, with the planning application attracting more than 150 letters of support from the local community. Antic London chairman and non-executive director Mark Crowther said: “Despite being well populated, we identified that Norbury is under-served by good quality pubs. We are excited to create a food and beverage development which we intend to become the heart of this vibrant community.” Downing head of licensed leisure Steve Kenee said: “We are delighted to back Holte North in acquiring a collection of derelict freehold buildings in Norbury, for development into a pub and four small units. The location of the property was highly attractive, especially as we consider there to be a scarcity of good quality pub sites in London. We believe that Norbury is currently under-served with quality pubs and restaurants and we anticipate strong demand for an Antic London-style offering in the area. Our extensive experience in the sector enabled us to act quickly in supporting this acquisition. We were willing to invest in an area of London where other food and beverage operators have so far been reluctant to open up, and we are delighted to bring the site back into use.”

Industry News:

Professor Chris Edger’s Brands Masterclass next week: Professor Chris Edger’s new Brands Masterclass, which examines how to create and evolve powerful brands, is next week. The event takes place on Friday, 10 June in the Chartered Accounts Hall at One Moorgate Place in London. Companies signed up to attend include Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King, Marston’s, PizzaExpress, The Restaurant Group, Thai Leisure Group, Loungers, Intertain, Rank, Cabana, Coaching Inn Group, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Cambscuisine, Drake & Morgan, Tesco Hospitality, Aubaine, Giraffe, My Lahore, Elliotts, Excelerate Resources, TLC Inns, Twisted Bars, Hall & Woodhouse, JW Lees, Coal Bar & Grill, Pieminister, SA Brain, Castle Rock Brewery, Rank, Oakman Inns, Gaucho, Dishoom, Buzzworks, Jackson & Rye, Square Pie, Wright Brothers, Maxwells, Gather and Gather and Pure. 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 Janfranco Caro, creative director, and Sarah Mannerings, head of interior design, 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, group strategy director at Thai Leisure Group, 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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Wyn Ellis – pub and restaurant market now essentially flat in terms of supply and demand: Numis Securities leisure analyst Wyn Ellis has said the pub and restaurant market is now essentially flat – both in terms of supply and demand. Following the latest Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA Peach, Ellis said: “The underlying eating and drinking-out market is essentially flat, both in terms of site numbers and sales growth. The decline in site numbers over the past decade has bottomed out, but market conditions have tightened over the last quarter. The latest CGA Peach Business Leaders’ Survey of senior executives shows that while optimism remains high, it is lower than at the start of 2015. Like-for-like sales growth among managed pub and restaurant companies is currently running at just 1.3% year-on-year, as measured by the Coffer Peach Business Tracker, and that is only about half the rate of this time last year. AlixPartners’ Paul Hemming said: ‘We then see the bulk of the market producing flat-to-plus-three like-for-like sales, with a tail of offerings, including the likes of Frankie & Benny’s, finding the current competitive market conditions challenging after years of success.’ Dining restaurants and food-led pubs continue to open – a trend led largely by a crop of entrepreneurial food-driven businesses, together with continued conversion of drink-led pubs to food establishments by pub groups. This is helping to offset the ongoing decline in marginal sites and, in particular, community pubs. The report highlights a strong performance by two key groups – a selection of established operators, and entrepreneurial newcomers. The report argues that chains such as Botanist and Leon are showing there is plenty of growth for well-run offers that fit a target market. As the competitive nature of the market becomes more pronounced, so are the experiences of the winning concepts versus the rest.”

Craft spirit launches have increased 265% globally since 2011, new research reveals: Craft spirit launches have increased 265% globally since 2011, new research from Mintel has revealed. Spirits positioned as craft have so far accounted for one in seven (15%) of new global spirit launches this year, up from only one in 20 (5%) in 2011. Of all craft spirits launched in this time, half (49%) have been in the US and 42% in Europe, compared with just 4% in Latin America and 3% in Asia Pacific. It seems the surge in launches of craft spirits has been backed globally by strong consumer demand for artisanal alcoholic beverages. More than half (55%) of US alcohol drinkers agreed craft alcohol brands were of higher quality than big brands. That demand is mirrored across Europe with France (55%), Italy (53%), Germany (50%) and Poland (46%) agreeing spirits from small/craft distillers were more appealing than large, mass-produced brands. In the UK, 37% of dark spirits/liqueur drinkers were prepared to pay more for craft variants. When it came to the “craftiest” spirit, whisky reigned supreme, accounting for 43% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 37% in 2011. Gin was next, accounting for 23% of global craft spirit launches in 2015, up from 9% in 2011. Millennials are driving demand for craft spirits around the globe, with three quarters (75%) in the US agreeing craft alcohol brands were higher quality than big brands, while 34% in the UK said craft drinks were worth paying more for. Almost half (47%) of the craft spirits launched in the US in 2016 were flavoured, up from one fifth (21%) in 2015. Indeed flavour remains a key driver in spirit choice in the US, with 41% of US white spirit drinkers looking for a flavour they like when choosing white spirits, while fruit (36%) and sweetened (34%) topped the list of flavours US dark spirit drinkers are currently consuming. In Europe, about one fifth (23%) of consumers in Poland agreed spirits with added flavour were worth paying more for, followed by 19% in Spain, 18% in Germany and 18% in Italy. Mintel global drinks analyst Jonny Forsyth said: “Craft spirit launches are growing at a rapid pace and will continue to rise in more mature markets – particularly the US – as consumers continually seek ‘special’ offerings. Despite being a relatively small sector of the market, craft spirits are growing in response to the huge consumer-led demand for more authentic, more distinctive, more local, less processed, and more interesting spirit brands.”

Company News:

Porky’s BBQ launches £650,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion after two-week delay: London-based barbecue restaurant Porky’s BBQ has launched its £650,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for its next phase of growth having been forced to delay the campaign for two weeks. The company, founded by Simon and Joy Brigg, is offering a 7.51% equity stake in return for the investment as it looks to grow its five-strong estate to 15 sites in the next three years, including its first outlets outside the capital. As exclusively revealed by Propel, the initial launch was postponed after “some additional questions” from Crowdcube. The pitch states: “Porky’s BBQ has been totally self-funded to this point. We are a family-run business looking for £650,000 to open two new sites this year. We have a turnover of £3m (year-ending April 2016) and serve 3,000 covers a week. The funds will be used to acquire new sites and fit-out each restaurant accordingly and continue to grow the team. At our current rate of growth, we are forecasting to triple in size in three years. By then, we hope to have 15 sites across London and the fringe areas, such as Guildford, Kingston and St Albans. The exit for investors would be in three years. At that point, we would look to realise more capital and help by involving trade investors, private equity, flotation, and new and private investors. Ideally, we would be looking for a large private equity firm to invest and provide the finance and knowledge to take our brand to a national level.” Porky’s BBQ has sites in Bankside, Camden, Shoreditch, Crouch End and recently opened a site in Chelsea. It forecasts Ebitda of £1,256,379 by June 2017, rising to £1,933,655 the following year and to £2,814,393 by June 2019.

Pret A Manger launches vegetarian-only pop-up at Soho site: A Soho branch of Pret A Manger has become the brand’s first in the world to go “veggie only” following a surge in sales of meat-free dishes. The Broadwick Street site will be a “no carnivore” zone during June. Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said a double-digit growth in sales of vegetarian dishes was down to menu expansion and improved recipes. He warned the Soho pop-up might not be a money-spinner but the objective was rather to encourage more people to forego meat more often as part of the company’s “Not Just For Veggies” campaign. Schlee said: “Our takings in the shop will probably drop, but the pop-up will signal that Pret is serious about providing veggie and vegan options.” Pret’s website stated: “After months of preparation and hundreds of recipes tested, our little veggie pop-up has popped up. Throughout June we will be showcasing 100% veggie and vegan recipes in the heart of Soho. This isn’t a new ‘concept store’ or even a new idea. It’s just a fun way to get your feedback and your comments on new veggie food ideas that could be made available in Pret shops up and down the country.”

Benugo to launch delivery service in central London: Cafe-deli and restaurant operator Benugo will launch a delivery service in London today (Thursday, 2 June). The company will offer a wide range of its foods. As well as sharing boxes and platters, the delivery menu also includes options for vegetarians, vegans, and those looking for a healthy option. The service will be available Monday to Friday (free delivery, minimum order £30). Founder Ben Warner said: “We are very excited to be able to take our top quality, locally sourced, seasonal food direct to London’s busy workers. Whether catering for a morning breakfast meeting or an informal lunch, the new delivery service provides great food, quickly, and will feature the same delicious produce that can be found in our shops.”

Rotisserie chicken concept Clockjack starts expansion with Deliveroo partnership, second London restaurant to open in July: Free-range rotisserie chicken concept Clockjack has begun expansion by launching a kitchen delivery hub in London’s Square Mile as part of a partnership with Deliveroo. The company will also open its second restaurant in the capital in July. The hub, near Monument tube station, offers ethically reared, free-range rotisserie chicken served on the bone or in salads or wraps, plus sides and desserts. Orders placed online will be delivered to homes and offices in a two-mile radius in less than 30 minutes. The service is available Monday to Friday, from 11am to 10pm. Clockjack’s debut 50-cover restaurant opened in Soho in 2012. Its second, 75-cover site will be in Powis Street, Woolwich. Clockjack was founded by Jerry Goldberg, former chief operating officer of Centre Parcs Europe, and Fraser Duncan, former managing director of private equity company Terra Firma. Goldberg said: “Deliveroo’s rapid growth has demonstrated a huge customer appetite for quality, branded restaurant food delivery, but restaurants have failed to keep up with this fundamental consumer-led change. Clockjack is at the leading edge of the restaurant sector’s response – a restaurant-branded kitchen dedicated to delivery only with no front-of-house operation.” Clockjack plans more delivery-only kitchens across the UK. A clockjack was a Tudor spit-roasting device.

Fine-dining app Lux Rewards launches crowdfunding campaign for UK expansion: Lux Rewards, an app that connects fine diners with hand-picked local restaurants, has launched an £80,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it aims to expand across the UK. The company, founded by James Courtney, is offering a 16.67% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Lux aims to flip the restaurant discount model on its head by creating a luxury offering that incentivises higher spending customers to dine at featured restaurants. Our aim is to make fine dining a more pleasant and rewarding experience. Customers can discover high-quality restaurants and collect reward points for dining at them. Customers can spend their points on a range of luxury rewards or donate them to charity. To date, Lux has been funded by directors’ loans – £80,000 of investment will enable us to further develop the app and reach our 5,000-download target. After recently launching with our first restaurants in Bristol and Bath, we aim to scale rapidly across the UK, starting with London. Lux has built a business model which centres on targeting consumers with a high disposable income and taking a percentage of their spend. A target commission of 10% of the total bill should mean good revenue potential in our model. Lux will aim to establish a marketplace using a ‘points-per-pound’ concept. Essentially, the greater the commission a restaurant agrees to pay, the higher the advertised points will become and the higher up the app they will be featured. Therefore, restaurants are incentivised to increase our commission when they have spare capacity in order to gain additional traffic. The UK full-service restaurant market has previously been valued at £17.9bn and there are more than 25,000 non-casual restaurants, meaning Lux has the potential to grow into a multimillion-pound business.”

Conran to open Albion restaurant in Clerkenwell, third London site: Restaurateur Sir Terence Conran and Peter Prescott will open an Albion restaurant in Clerkenwell on Monday (6 June), the brand’s third London site and largest so far. Housed across two floors in the Turnmills building, Albion will comprise multiple dining areas (grill restaurant, oyster bar, cheese and charcuterie corner, cocktail bar), retail spaces (grocery, bakery, craft beer and wine shop, pie room) and take-out counters (food, hot drinks and juices). The new venue will encapsulate Albion’s focus on seasonal British food, offering breakfast, brunch, lunch, supper and late-night cocktails. Breakfast offerings will include kedgeree, kippers and devilled kidneys, while the brunch and lunch menu will feature signature doorstep sandwiches, fish and chips, sausage and mash, and pies. The supper menu will include a range of steaks, chops and fresh fish. Albion’s own-brand, cook-at-home suppers will be available from Friday, 1 July. Prescott said: “Clerkenwell is simply the perfect fit for our newest and biggest Albion yet. There’s so much going on in the area from a design perspective, and a rich and long history of craftsmanship and creation. We hope our food, drink and overall ethos will be well received.” Conran and Prescott opened the first Albion in Shoreditch in 2009 as a cafe, bakery and shop. The second site – Albion Bankside – opened at South Bank in 2013.

Chestnut Group to open first managed site this month: Suffolk-based hospitality company Chestnut Group will open its first managed site – The White Horse pub in Easton, near Woodbridge – on Friday, 17 June. The company is currently refurbishing the site, which dates to the 18th century and features a central bar, the “Club Room” and three dining areas. Michelin-experienced Dominic Clarke has been appointed head chef as the company aims to re-establish The White Horse as a “quintessential English pub serving outstanding dishes and drinks with a local provenance”. Dishes will include dingley dell pork belly, sticky pigs cheek with barbecue hispi cabbage, cider onions and sage quaver, coq au vin, and fish and chips. Clarke said: “There is a real vibrancy in the east Suffolk region. We want to capture that at The White Horse by delivering a memorable, home-from-home hospitality experience to all our guests, whether local or visiting the region. Serving quality dishes with local flavours will be right at the heart of it.” The Chestnut Group’s first opening was The Packhorse Inn in Moulton, near Newmarket. It also owns The Rupert Brooke in Grantchester and is also due to reopen the nine-bedroom Ounce House in Bury St Edmunds as The Northgate this summer. As well as a bar, dining area, private dining, and meeting room facilities, The Northgate will have a “Chef’s Table”, giving diners the opportunity to see their meal being prepared from start to plate.

London-based coffee shop concept Tap Coffee increases equity offer in £400,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: London-based coffee shop concept Tap Coffee has increased its equity offer in its £400,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open two sites as it aims to build a ten-strong estate by 2020. The company, founded by Richard Lilley, who previously worked for the Rushmore Group, is now offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment having initially offered 16.67%. So far 80 investors have pledged £58,030 with nine days remaining. The largest investment to date is £10,000. Lilley said: “The crowd has spoken and we have listened, deciding to up our equity offering to 20% for the £400,000 target! We believe this represents a fantastic opportunity; in the next 18 months we plan to nearly double turnover while already on track to increase profit.” It currently has three central London cafes as well as an online retail operation and is seeking the investment to expand and “take its coffee philosophy to a wider audience”. The pitch states: “Your investment will fund the opening of two new London shops in the next 18 months; our wider ambition is to go on to open ten sites by 2020 after further funding.” The company forecasts Ebitda of £68,256 by next March, increasing to £164,516 the following year and £304,911 by March 2019.

Star Pubs & Bars shows 6% improvement in pint quality: The latest independent retail audit by Star Pubs & Bars has shown a 6% improvement in drinks dispense during the past year, bringing the number of perfect pints served to 88.2%. The mystery visitors who audited the pubs previously had hands-on training in how to serve a perfect pint, making their assessment the most rigorous in the pub industry. The audit also saw an increase in service and standards of 3%, bringing scores from 80.7% to 83.9%, and a 1% increase in the quality of food to 84.7%. Managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “We’ve seen standards rise by 5% across the board since 2014. A great pint is an essential part of a pub’s appeal and can make or break a pub’s reputation. I am pleased to see our free Pint Perfection training and efforts of licensees and their staff are bringing such great results. Almost nine out of every ten drinks served in a Star pub is now a perfect serve. This is good news for drinkers and good news for pubs, as our sales data has shown improving pubs increase volume sales by 7%.”

Greene King water-saving strategy leads to Footprint Award: Greene King and water management consultancy Waterscan have scooped a Footprint Award in the “economic sustainability” category for the strategy which helped save the Suffolk-based brewer almost £1m in water costs. Waterscan’s online water management system has so far saved Greene King the equivalent of 304 million pints across multiple sites. In total, 149 audits of high-consuming pubs were conducted by Waterscan technicians. The company then identified and fixed leaks on supply and internal pipes, fixed faulty water storage tanks, taps, urinal controls and toilets and also resolved shared supply and meter reading issues. Overall, Greene King’s water consumption was reduced by 173,000 cubic metres (12.13%) – or 304 million pints over a three-year period versus a 2012 baseline across this part of its estate. The Footprint Awards judging panel stated: “Water is rapidly becoming a key issue and Greene King has taken an excellent lead on this. We hope others will focus on water.” Founded in 2011, the Footprint Awards focus on sustainability and responsible business practice in the foodservice sector.

Hugh Osmond starts expansion of Coppa Club concept with Tower Bridge launch: Sector investor Hugh Osmond has started expansion of his Coppa Club concept by opening a restaurant overlooking London’s Tower Bridge. The venue is the first London outpost of a rapidly growing business that started upriver in Sonning-on-Thames. Coppa Club bills itself as an “all-day space you can use to work in, meet people or just hang out”. The venue has a raised lounge, 250-cover restaurant, and a cafe with booths. A large, south-facing terrace is designed to make the most of the river views. The menu, created by former Jamie’s Italian executive chef Matt Fanthorpe, focuses on “thoughtful, unfussy, European food” – from small plates and snacks to grilled mains, sourdough pizzas and salads. There is also a wide selection of breakfast and brunch dishes. Coppa Club managing director Tiffany Renwick said: “What Coppa does is put a great restaurant, a great bar, a great coffee shop and a great work space all under one roof.” The concept is one of a “members club without a membership fee”. Coppa Club is in Lower Thames Street and opens daily from early morning until late. The brand’s second London venue will open shortly, off Oxford Circus. Osmond worked with Luke Johnson to launch the flotation of PizzaExpress in 1993. He founded Punch Taverns in 1997 and private equity firm Sun Capital Partners in 2001, which acquired Strada in 2014.

Enigma Leisure reopens former Atmosphere Bars and Clubs site in Llandudno after three-year closure: Enigma Leisure has reopened the Broadway Boulevard nightclub in Llandudno, Wales – three years after its closure in the wake of the administration of former operator Atmosphere Bars and Clubs. The Broadway Boulevard – based in the former Grand Theatre – features four bars, including cocktail and VIP serving areas, and a stage for bands. It is open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights and more than 30 staff have been employed, reports the Daily Post. Bijan Sharifian, who ran the club for 14 years up until 2008 and now works for Enigma, is again operating the venue.

Speciality tea shop T2 opens in Milton Keynes: Speciality tea shop T2 has opened a site at The Centre MK in Milton Keynes. The company has launched the 1,063 square foot shop, which features more than 200 different loose leaf and herbal tisane teas from around the world, in the Silbury Arcade, adjacent to Cath Kidston and L’Occitane. T2 global marketing director Jane Hoban told Insider Media: “The UK market is very important for us as a brand emerging globally. We are hugely excited to bring our growing tea family to Milton Keynes and to be opening in The Centre MK alongside such a great high-end and international brand mix.” Ed Sellick, asset manager at Hermes Investment Management, which owns the complex, added: “We have a growing mix of lifestyle brands opening in The Centre MK. In addition to our latest openings, T2 is a great international brand to add to the line-up. The store offers a diverse retail experience providing unique and fragrant teas from all around the world, appealing to a wide range of our customers.” MMX Retail and CBRE acted for The Centre MK, while MMX represented T2.

Brothers open new restaurant and bar concept Cut & Chase in York: Two brothers have opened a new restaurant and bar concept in York. Wes and Joel Taylor have launched Cut & Chase on the site of the former Kafeneion cafe in Goodramgate. The site features a 50-seat restaurant and a private dining room for 14, along with an open kitchen where “everything is homemade”. The menu includes the Cut & Chase Grill – a six-ounce sirloin steak, quarter duck breast, Sykes House Farm sausage, flat field mushroom with garlic butter, vine-ripened tomatoes and free-range farm egg; and orange and honeycomb cheesecake with a duet of orange and creme anglaise drizzle. The bar serves a range of cocktails as well as wine, spirits and beer. Wes Taylor told YorkMix: “It’s a step up from your pub grub but it’s not quite fine dining either. It’s something in the middle because we feel there is a niche in the market where people can eat good wholesome foods. There will be British, homemade and traditional dishes from Yorkshire but with a bit of a twist.”

Pizza Hut to expand removal of preservatives and antibiotics from menu items at US restaurants: Pizza Hut, which is owned by Yum! Brands, has said it will expand its removal of preservatives and antibiotics from menu items at its US restaurants during the next year. The company said that by the end of July, it would remove preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), mainly used to prevent oils from becoming rancid through oxidation, from the chain’s meats. By March 2017, it would ensure cheeses had no artificial preservatives. It said it would also remove “antibiotics important to human medicine from chicken” by the end of next March, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. The announcement follows pledges in May last year when the company said it would work towards dropping artificial flavours and colours, trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup from its menu items at domestic restaurants. Pizza Hut has also created a microsite to highlight its food-ingredient commitments. Jeff Fox, Pizza Hut chief brand and concept officer, said: “Our enhanced and expanded commitment to superior restaurant-quality food is the result of listening closely to our customers.” Pizza Hut said it had already eliminated partially hydrogenated oils, or artificial trans-fats, and monosodium glutamate, or MSG. It added 15% of its pizzas have only a third of the daily recommended dietary allowance for sodium, and 20% would meet that criteria by 2020. Pizza Hut has about 6,400 restaurants in the US.

Caprice Holdings opens Ivy Café in Wimbledon Village, sixth London venue: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, has expanded its Ivy concept with the brand’s sixth venue in the capital – in Wimbledon village. The 120-cover Ivy Café has taken over a former Barclays site in High Street. The venue is open seven days a week for all-day dining – serving breakfast, brunch, elevenses, snacks, lunch, cream tea, cocktails and dinner. Signature dishes include shepherd’s pie, chicken liver parfait with caramelised hazelnut, toasted ciabatta and cherry, and Szechuan pepper compote and lobster risotto with fennel, lemon and tomato. A 20-cover private dining room is available for hire, with customers able to select from a range of menus specially created by executive chef Sean Burbidge. Martin Brudnizki Design Studio, which worked on sister site The Ivy Café Marylebone, has consulted on the interior, with pendant lighting, marble floor tiles, caramel-coloured leather banquettes, burnt orange leather bar stools and an antique pewter bar. Caprice Holdings also operates The Ivy Restaurant in the West End, The Ivy Brasserie Kensington, The Ivy Chelsea Garden, and The Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden. It also owns The Ivy restaurant, bar and lounge in Dubai.

Freehold of site in Leeds let to Pret A Manger sold for £3.7m: A grade II-listed retail site in the centre of Leeds let to Pret A Manger has been bought for £3.7m. The building sits on the corner of Lands Lane and Albion Place and was bought by Alterity Investments, which is part of Northern Ireland property developers Deramore Property Group. It was bought from Hanro. The price reflected a net initial yield of 4.73%. The 5,611 square foot prime retail property is let to Pret A Manger on a ten-year lease from March 2012 at a current rent of £185,000 a year. The building comprises basement, ground and three upper floors. Knight Frank and Gavin Black & Partners advised Hanro. Green & Partner advised Alterity Investments.

New Mexican restaurant concept opens in Norwich: A new Mexican restaurant concept has opened in Norwich. Jason Coolbaugh, who is originally from California in the US, has launched Blue Agave in Upper King Street on the site of the former Overburys Solicitors. As well as making its food in-house from Mexican-sourced ingredients, the restaurant also serves beer from the Cerveceria Mexicano brewery, as well as 49 brands of tequila. Coolbaugh told the Eastern Daily Press: “My earliest memory of cooking was making quesadillas with my sister when I was just five, so I’ve always loved Mexican food. Growing up so close to the Mexican border, the food was everywhere. I live and breathe Mexican food – I have grown up eating it all my life – but I often found some flavours were missing over here.”

Bristol-based pop-up restaurant and events company The Chocolate Bear Kitchen launches crowdfunding campaign: Bristol-based pop-up restaurant and events company The Chocolate Bear Kitchen, which provides menus for all diets, has launched a £35,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to begin expansion. The company, founded by James Gordon, is offering a 12.28% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “With as many as one in five of the UK population having a food intolerance and 12% of Britons following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s so difficult to find a place to eat where everybody gets a choice to eat what they want. Our menu is 100% gluten and refined sugar-free and about half of our menu is vegan. Our first pop-up for 30 covers in May sold out in early April. We added another date, which then sold out, and our following has increased ever since. We were approached by The Feast Collective, who provide catering at a number of music festivals and are now featured at Camp Bestival as one of the food traders. Building on our success as a pop-up, we see an eventual commercial preparation site in Bristol followed by expansion across the UK. This investment is planned for us to increase our staffing, improve our marketing strategy and acquire equipment, meaning we will no longer have to pay rental fees and will have the capacity to host even more pop-up events. There is not a restaurant or pop-up company we know of in our local Bristol area that offers a 100% gluten-free menu with a mix of vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes.”

Krispy Kreme opens stores in Manchester and Leith: Krispy Kreme has launched two new venues, one within the Arndale Centre, Manchester, and the other at the Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith. The Arndale Centre site is the sixth Krispy Kreme store in Manchester, including outlets in the city centre, Piccadilly railway station, and Intu Trafford Centre. Ocean Terminal was designed by Sir Terence Conran and is built on former industrial docklands on the north side of the Scottish city. In May, Krispy Kreme was subject to a $1.35bn buyout by JAB Beech, a JAB Holding subsidiary that owns Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Roasters. Krispy Kreme UK entered the market in October 2003 in London and currently operates 70 stores across the UK. Krispy Kreme also recently opened its first stores in Bangladesh and Cambodia as part of expansion plans into Asia.

Manchester-based experimental beer company Carbon Smith Brewery launches £100,000 crowdfunding campaign: Manchester-based experimental beer company Carbon Smith Brewery has launched a £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to buy bigger kit and build a tap bar. The company, founded by Ollie Shorley-Smith, started in an Edinburgh bedroom but now operates from an archway on the Piccadilly Beer Mile. It is offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “We passionately care about beer. Our entire motivation is to spread the ethos and philosophy of what good beer should be. We brew high-quality, innovative and experimental beer but our current kit is far too overworked. It’s time to upsize, but just going for a larger kit felt like only half the battle, so we’re going to war with a three-pronged attack. This is a bespoke 10BBL (1,600L) kit to continue brewing our regular brews complemented by an ever-changing premium and super-premium range of intensified beers, bigger in their complexity and ambition. Then there’s the ‘BrewSpace’ – a living breathing community of craft beer enthusiasts with access to all the advantages of a commercial brewery. To brew truly amazing beer yourself you need the same kit as the professionals, which is out of reach for the majority of home brewers. We plan to construct several 60-litre stainless steel kits, perfect miniatures of what the professionals use with full pressure and temperature control. With the brewery open to the public to brew, we feel it would be abhorrent for there not to be a bar. We would like to install a simple, six-to-eight tap line-up plus bottle fridge. If there is a spare corner somewhere, you may just spot a bar billiards table too.”

Nando’s opens Loughborough site: Nando’s has opened its 3,500 square foot venue at the new multimillion-pound Baxter Gate cinema development in Loughborough, creating 32 jobs. PizzaExpress, Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia, cafe bar brand Loungers, Starbucks and an eight-screen, 1,118-seat Cineworld cinema have also opened at the site. Asian buffet and bar Mimosa, Brazilian grill-house Preto, and Mexican bar and restaurant Loco Mexicana will also open soon. The development will create about 250 jobs in total and inject thousands of pounds into the town’s night-time economy, the Loughborough Echo reports. As part of the grand opening, Nando’s created its first Snapchat filters, geo-targeted for the people of Loughborough.

US and UK breweries unite to create Belgian-style beer using cider sediment and bourbon barrels: Derbyshire-based Thornbridge Brewery and US brewer Brooklyn have united to create Serpent, a 10% ABV Belgian-style beer. Serpent was brewed at Thornbridge and then refermented in Kentucky bourbon barrels using lees – the sediment produced during fermentation of cider – supplied by Herefordshire company Oliver’s Cider and Perry. Lovatt said: “The beer is unique and seems to exist somewhere between cider, beer and wild ales such as American-style sours. We like to think the alliance between Brooklyn and Thornbridge has created something genuinely ground-breaking but, most importantly, produced a great beer to drink.” Garrett Oliver, Brooklyn Brewery brewmaster, who came up with the idea, said: “The Serpent project captured the essence of collaboration brewing – this is about a beer that neither we nor Thornbridge could have made without each other.”

Speaker schedule for Propel summer conference confirmed: The speaker schedule for the Propel multi-club conference on Thursday, 7 July has been confirmed. The event also involves the Propel summer party in the evening and multi-site operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com. Cyril Lavenant, of NPD Group, will provide insights on the current state of the UK foodservice market, how the UK compares with the US and Europe, and predict future progress. Paul Chantler, founder of leading French brewpub company FrogPubs, will talk about selling cask ale in France, entering the better burger market, the French labour market, the importance of food in the French market, and breaking into the French off-trade. Jonathan Simon, of the Business Growth Fund, which has investments in Boost Juice Bars, Camino, Giggling Squid, Peyton & Byrne, Barburrito, Coaching Inn Group and Wear Inns, will explain the fund’s rationale for investment and appetite for further investment in the sector. Thom and James Elliot, co-founders of Pizza Pilgrims, will tell the story of their decision to embark on launching into the pizza category without a foodservice background, moving from pop-ups to permanent sites, lessons learnt, their mobile van and plans for the future. Simon Brigg, co-founder of five-strong Porky’s BBQ, will talk about how the company was founded, its Memphis-focused differentiation in the barbecue market, its BBQ lab, London expansion, plans to go portable and develop sauce and clothing ranges, and tips on crowdfunding in the wake of its £650,000 Crowdcube campaign. Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, which invested £30m in its pub estate last year and let more than 50% of pubs to multiple operators, will set out how the company is co-investing with record numbers of multi-site operators across its 1,200-pub estate, improving support for tenants and looking to develop them. Luke Bishop, managing director of award-winning Polpo, will talk about the brand’s USPs, people culture, menu development, expansion in the regions and at Harvey Nichols, plus working with the founder – Restaurant Man Russell Norman. Clive Watson, founder of City Pub Company, will talk about building a pub company from scratch, raising money, finding great sites, market differentiation, incentivising managers, creating USPs at each site, and possible flotation. Jason Myers, chief executive of Busaba Eathai, the Thai brand founded by Alan Yau, will set out how the brand has been reshaped for national roll-out, its use of technology, its USPs, delivery success, and its market potential. David Fitzgerald, director of business development at Venners, and Malcolm Muir, director of consultancy, will set out common types of fraud and theft the company comes across and the simple steps operators can take to prevent losses and avoid compliance mistakes. Hamish Stoddart, co-founder of Peach Pub Company, will set out progress at the 17-strong pub company, its USPs, unique “partnership” business model, team and site development, and plans for the future.

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