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Fri 1st Jul 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Alan Yau reveals he spent more than £30m on Mayfair restaurant Park Chinois, developing new food social platform: Wagamama founder Alan Yau has revealed he spent more than £30m on his latest Chinese restaurant concept – Park Chinois in Mayfair. The restaurant in Berkeley Street, which opened last October and occupies 15,200 square feet, seats 300 for dinner with room for 50 at the venue’s two bars. Yau told Business Reporter: “For my last project, Park Chinois, I spent more than £30m on one restaurant. I can’t tell you the precise numbers because it is slightly embarrassing. It has taken us three years to develop the project because to do 18th century Louis XIV classicism is extremely hard.” Yau is now developing a food social platform called Disrupting Taste. He said: “On the demand side, there will be people who are seeking taste and people who have the taste, and on the supply side there will be the food providers – not just the restaurants but anything and everything you can put in your mouth.” The idea came about ten to 12 years ago, when Yau started to get enquiries from friends and customers about places he would recommend to eat at in different cities. He said: “It really led me to think I could develop the idea further into a technology platform. In those days it was very hard for me to do that because I have no training in that sector. About six or eight months ago something clicked and I was able to process the idea the same way I am able to incubate an idea for the restaurant business.” Yau has started working on a beta version of the platform. He said the idea was not to create yet another restaurant selection platform, where a huge number of people put a numeric value on a restaurant or food experience, but rather it would be about the quality of the experience and the people rating the taste which, he pointed out, is subjective. He added he hoped it would also give a voice to the smaller players in the industry and the “one-man bands operating a market stall” across the world.

Industry News:

Bar and Nightclub Conference open for bookings, panel members revealed: This year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, is now open for bookings. It takes place on Tuesday, 11 October at Bafta, Piccadilly, and follows the successful launch of the event last year. It will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards for bar and nightclub operators at Cafe de Paris in the evening. In a panel session, ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls will talk to Alan Miller, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, Mick McDonnell, national co-ordinator of Best Bar None, Paddy Whur, of Woods Whur, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, and Richard Stringer, chief executive of Kornicis, about the challenges, opportunities and threats to the bar and nightclub sector. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel, added: “Last year’s event was a big hit, highlighting the importance of bar and nightclub culture in creating a vibrant evening environment in the UK’s town and cities. This year’s event will also feature a host of the UK’s best operators – and offer strategic insights into the key drivers affecting the market.” Tickets are priced at £95 for operators who are ALMR members and £145 for non-ALMR members – there is a £20 early-bird discount for operators booking in June. Supplier tickets are £145 for ALMR supplier members and £195 for suppliers who are not ALMR members. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity at jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Online searches for UK hotel rooms in America soar following Brexit vote: The Brexit vote and subsequent drop in the value of sterling has sparked huge demand from American travellers looking to grab a vacation bargain, with hotel searches for UK destinations up more than 50% year-on-year, according to Hotels.com. With the pound at a 30-year low compared with the US dollar, Britain has become a great-value destination for Americans, with travellers wasting no time in seeking the best deals. Josh Belkin, vice-president of Hotels.com North America, said: “For many Americans the UK is a dream destination. It’s no secret Americans have a real fondness for British accents, their TV shows, their pubs and the Royal family so, with the strong dollar, travellers can act fast to turn that dream into a reality. As we head into peak summer season, Americans eyeing a trip to the UK will want to lock-in their hotel reservation now while they are getting a real bargain.” The Hotel Price Index for 2015 showed US travellers paid an average $257 per night for a hotel in London last year. However following the Brexit vote, one five-star West End hotel was available in August for as little as $131 per room, per night, ETN Global Travel Industry News reports, with even better deals available on four-star central London hotels, with prices as low as $82 per room, per night.

Importance of knowledgeable front-of-house staff on wine choices highlighted in new report: The importance of knowledgeable front-of-house staff on wine choices has been highlighted after a new survey revealed they were the greatest influence for diners when selecting their tipple. The findings – by Veraison, the training arm of Berkmann Wine Cellars, and guest experience management experts HospitalityGEM – showed 57% cited a recommendation from their waiter or waitress led to them being more adventurous with their choice. Despite this influence, the research revealed a significant majority of diners (53%), felt front-of-house staff in both restaurants and bars did not know enough about the wines on their wine list and 42% would be more inclined to buy a bottle of wine if a front-of-house team member recommended it. The survey highlighted the need for knowledgeable and confident front-of-house staff in creating the ideal dining experience and consequently potential for greater profit for the business. At present, familiarity is key when it comes to decision-making – the most common reason to choose a bottle of wine is whether it is a recognisable brand, grape or region (45%), followed by the food the diner chose (22%). Clara Rubin, of Veraison, said: “With 64% of diners choosing wine over any other beverage to accompany their meal, it’s worrying how prevalent the lack of knowledge is among front-of-house staff. Veraison aims to build confidence in frontline staff by empowering them with relevant knowledge that will enable them to ‘own’ their list and engage with the commercial objectives of the business.”

Sarah Clover appointed specialist adviser to House of Lords committee on Licensing Act 2003: Sarah Clover, a barrister at Kings Chambers in Birmingham, has been appointed as the specialist adviser to the House of Lords select committee on the Licensing Act 2003. The committee was convened on 25 May, chaired by Baroness McIntosh of Pickering, to conduct post-legislative scrutiny of, and report on, the act, which included flexible opening hours, single premises licences and personal licences. The committee on the Licensing Act 2003 will issue a call for written evidence and hear oral evidence on the strength of which it will reach conclusions and make recommendations that will be published in a report in March 2017. Clover will assist the committee with its inquiry, the witnesses to interview, interpretation of oral and written evidence, and also provide support during the committee’s drafting of its report. The committee will publish its call for evidence in due course, stating the specific areas to be investigated.

Service charges should no longer be added to restaurant bills, new survey shows: Most Britons think service charges should no longer be added to restaurant bills and want tighter regulations to make businesses more transparent about tipping, a new survey has found. Two-thirds of people (63%) wanted to see the removal of discretionary service charges from their bills and 58% thought the entire tip, except tax deductions, should go to employees, the poll for the Institute of Customer Service (ICS) revealed. The survey also found 84% want the government to amend consumer protection laws so businesses are clearer about the cost of service and cover charges in the leisure, hospitality and tourism sectors. The ICS said customers should be able to offer a payment directly to those who service them, but only if they choose to and at an amount they think is appropriate. It said the arrangement would lead to employees understanding they would be the direct recipient of a reward if they worked hard to provide an excellent service, and businesses would benefit from more engaged staff delivering better service and therefore improving their long-term relationship with customers. ICS chief executive Jo Causon said the findings, part of the organisation’s response to the government’s consultation on tipping, gratuities and service charges, showed a” new normal is needed, where greater transparency inspires greater trust between consumers and organizations”. She added: “The current lack of clarity, consistency and understanding around how service charges are paid to, and received by, employees is creating mistrust among consumers and dissatisfaction among employees. Customer priorities are changing. They are more concerned with employee attitude, behaviour and competence than they are with price – and they want to reward great service properly. We also know that engagement increases when employees feel they are treated fairly, meaning a transparent approach to tipping is more likely to build engagement and, with it, excellent levels of service.”

Company News:

Sugar Dumplin to open three new sites this year, plans central London restaurant in 2017: Sugar Dumplin, the Caribbean barbecue restaurant and bar, has revealed it will open three new sites this year. The brand, founded last year by Norris Panton and Craig Ince and which has venues in Glasgow and Camberley in Surrey, is launching sites in Kingston, Wembley, and Leeds. It is also looking to open a permanent site in central London next year having tested the concept at a pop-up residency within the Mewe360 Incubator in Soho Square. The first site, which will have 60 covers, will open in Kingston at The Rotunda in mid-July. This will be followed by a restaurant with 100-plus covers at the London Designer Outlet in Wembley in late August and a kiosk within Leeds Trinity Kitchen in the early autumn. Panton and Ince, who founded Sugar Dumplin to “make fresh Caribbean food accessible to everyone”, said each new restaurant would follow the brand’s Caribbean Rum Shack theme, with candle-lit beach huts “to give diners a feeling of being transported to sandy shores, cocktail in hand, enjoying live music”. Operations director Panton said: “In 2015, trade research found Caribbean food was in high demand but under-represented on the UK restaurant scene, we wanted to change that. We want to make it available to all, at a reasonable price. Inspired by our heritage, love of food and good times we’ve tried to bring the essence of the Caribbean to the UK, creating an honest menu that stays close to our roots. Each restaurant has captured something unique from the history of the Caribbean. We’re all about making customers feel special – just like they do when they holiday in the Caribbean.”

Chimichanga and Spaghetti House join dining club brands: Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga and London restaurant company Spaghetti House, owned by the Lavarini family, have joined the Tastecard and Gourmet Society dining club brands. Chimichanga is available as a two-for-one offer for Tastecard members and 25% off the total bill (including drinks) for Gourmet Society members across 37 restaurants in the UK from Thursday to Sunday. Meanwhile, Gourmet Society members can enjoy 25% off a whole bill, including drinks, when ordering from the á la carte menu at Spaghetti House. Matt Turner, chief executive of Tastecard and Gourmet Society, told BDaily: “We are really pleased to have Chimichanga and Spaghetti House as some of the newest members of our dining clubs. Both chains are popular additions to our growing range of restaurant members and we are delighted to be able to offer food-lovers great savings on some of their favourite menus.” Both restaurants join Tastecard and Gourmet Society as a record number of restaurant sign-ups have been achieved for both brands. 737 eateries were signed up across the UK in April, including a range of independents and popular chains.

Meatcure passes 50% mark in £350,000 crowdfunding campaign: Gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure has passed the 50% mark in its £350,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs as it looks to open five new sites in the next two years. The company, led by Paul Rigby and Rob Martyniak, is offering an 8.56% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 96 investors have pledged £176,565 with 43 days remaining. Meatcure has three sites in the East Midlands – in Market Harborough, Leicester and Leamington Spa – with its fourth due to open shortly in Bedford and negotiations taking place on a fifth in Hinckley. The pitch states: “Meatcure’s first three restaurants have already demonstrated there is a sizeable and profitable market in the East Midlands. This investment is designed to enable Meatcure to accelerate our expansion into nearby locations and market niches, ahead of potential pursuers, to establish Meatcure as the go-to brand in this space across the region, the country and the island. Meatcure did not invent the burger, but we do feel we do it in a particularly good way. This Seedrs investment will help fund five new restaurant openings in 2017/2018. So far, Meatcure has proved it can build a restaurant for £100,000 or less, sometimes a lot less. Our first unit in Market Harborough was launched for £82,000. Our current fit-out in Bedford is currently on track to match previous set-up costs and we feel likely to come in under £100,000 too. All of the Seedrs funding will be put towards opening new units, targeting less than £100,000 per fit-out, and accelerating our growth. All profits from new units will be reinvested.”

Rocket Leisure launches Shoreditch bar, third London site: Rocket Leisure, which operates Venn Street Records in Clapham Common and Northcote Records in Battersea, has opened its third bar in the capital, this time in Shoreditch. Old Street Records is a 300-capacity venue in Old Street, spread over two floors and featuring shelves filled with record sleeves, band posters on the wall and new vinyl releases available to buy at the bar. It is hosting live music six nights a week, with an “eclectic programme of soul, funk, jazz, rock and classic pop”, Hot Dinners reports. The drinks list features signature cocktail Sour Records – whiskey sour with pistachio syrup – and Late Breakfast (grapefruit vodka with pink grapefruit juice, house-made marmalade syrup, grapefruit bitters and egg white). On week-nights, the bar offers two-for-one cocktails from 5pm to 8pm. The venue also serves Italian thin-crust pizzas with a variety of fresh toppings and dips. Rocket Leisure was founded by Tom Jackman, Russell Taylor and Howard Taylor. They opened Venn Street Records in 2010 and Northcote Records in June 2013.

New British barbecue concept MeatUp launches in Wandsworth: New casual, all-day restaurant and bar concept MeatUp has opened in Wandsworth, south west London, bringing a “new flavour of British barbecue”. Owner Sachin Kanna – previously of Raffles and Libertine – said the concept was “born out of a love for hosting parties” and features “food made with the best ingredients and well-made drinks”. The distinctively British menu features premium-aged steak, lobster, shellfish, ribs, burgers and rotisserie chicken, alongside lighter options. The late-night bar also hosts live music and DJs alongside an extensive prosecco list sourced from Bibendum, a selection of craft beers from Meantime Brewery, and classic cocktails. The decor has been designed by Keane Designs (Burger & Lobster, Manchester House). The venue in Old York Road features a dining room with kitchen counter seating and communal dining (50 covers), a bar area with counter-top seating (37 covers) and outside seating (six covers).

Former D&D chef launches fish and chip cafe in West Didsbury: Edward Preston, a former chef at D&D London’s Orrery restaurant, has opened a fish and chip cafe in West Didsbury, Manchester. Preston has launched Ida’s Fish Bar in Burton Road on the site of the former Fish Bait restaurant. The site seats 16 diners inside and another 12 outside and has been fitted with quirky seaside stylings and art deco touches. It serves freshly landed fish and chips alongside US and South American-inspired seafood specialities such as Californian fish tacos, New England clam chowder, Hawaiian ahi poke, and Peruvian sea bass ceviche. The cafe is also licensed, selling a range of beer, wine and prosecco. Preston has named the cafe after his grandmother Ida, who grew up in her father’s fish and chip shop in Kearsley, Bolton, between the wars. He told the Manchester Evening News: “Fish and chips wasn’t something I set out to do but I looked around and saw there were so many for sale, it felt to me the industry needed a new lease of life.”

London-based dating app with cocktail twist completes crowdfunding campaign: Rendeevoo, the London-based dating app with a cocktail twist, has completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Seedrs having raised nearly £60,000 as it aims to lay the foundations for aggressive expansion. The company, co-founded by George Christoforakis and Jorn Vanysacker, was seeking £50,000 in return for a 3.3% equity stake. It has now completed the campaign having raised £59,566. Users browse the profiles, find someone they like, and then “place an order” by choosing where they want the date to take place and when. Then, they pay for one cocktail at one of the bars or cafes the app has partnered with. When the chosen date also pays for their drink, the transactions are processed and the date can proceed. The pitch stated: “As of February, we feel Rendeevoo is a well-polished product with a validated user interface, and with more than 20 cafes, cocktail and wine bars on board. We take a 50% commission on each booking from our partnering venues, so the app is always free to use for the end-consumer. Our immediate plan is to further solidify our presence throughout London within 2016, and lay the foundations for an aggressive international expansion.”

The Restaurant Group sees plans rejected to bring Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito to Bexhill: The Restaurant Group has had its plans rejected to bring its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito brands to Bexhill, East Sussex. The company applied to Rother District Council to build the restaurants, along with a 112-space car park at Glyne Gap, opposite the Ravenside Retail Park. However, the authority has turned down the proposal over concerns about its location in the Combe Valley Countryside Park, reports the Bexhill Observer. The council believed the scheme would cause “unacceptable harm” to the existing open character and views of the countryside park, in particular by closing off views to it from Bexhill and through the urbanisation of the character of the application site. Another concern was the potential to set a precedent for developing the park and reducing the gap between Bexhill and Hastings. The Restaurant Group previously said the development would generate more than £2m annually and create 141 jobs.

Specialist pasta restaurant to open first site outside Italy this summer, in Shoreditch: Specialist pasta restaurant and shop Savurè is to open its first site outside of Italy, in Shoreditch, east London. The Turin-based concept is launching the restaurant in Paul Street following the success of its Pastificio con Cucina shop. The open-plan restaurant will feature floor-to-ceiling windows, sharing tables, booths and a patio for al fresco dining. Artisanal Italian products will be displayed in whitewashed wooden cabinets in the restaurant and marble worktops will showcase daily pastas for guests to choose from. At the heart of Savurè will be the Il Pastificio – the Pasta Lab that showcases the chefs kneading, rolling and cutting the pasta, all prepared that day on the premises, offering more than 200 different combinations to choose from, using authentic Italian recipes and traditional methods. Customers will be able to create their own combination or simply follow tradition. The Savurè shop serves fresh pastas, sauces, wines and artisanal Italian products for those who want to recreate the experience at home.

Whitbread secures licence for new-build Premier Inn in Woolwich: Whitbread has secured a licence for its proposed new-build 128-bedroom Premier Inn site in Woolwich, south east London. The company is planning the hotel in Beresford Street, which it hopes to complete in 2017, as part of the larger Woolwich Arsenal redevelopment. A licensing hearing was required after trading standards, police and public health officials sought the imposition of their preferred Challenge 25 policy, whereas Whitbread was holding out for Challenge 21, which it operates throughout all its premises in England and Wales. Greenwich Council granted the licence with the Challenge 21 condition as sought, as it found no evidence had been produced to suggest Whitbread did not operate Challenge 21 effectively across its estate. Licensing solicitors John Gaunt appeared for Whitbread.

PubLove reports 20% rise in sales for street food brand Burger Craft, delivers 10,000th burger: PubLove, the six-strong London group founded by Ben Stackhouse, has revealed its street food brand Burger Craft has seen a 20% rise in sales in 15 months with help from Deliveroo. The company has now delivered its 10,000th burger through the delivery service startup. Stackhouse said Burger Craft, which involves a “superior” burger being paired with a locally sourced London craft beer, has created the group’s fourth largest “kitchen”, without a single rise in overheads. He added: “Pub sales have also benefited as we make our neighbours aware of our offer through marketing collateral in delivery bags.” Of the award-winning concept, he said: “Following an off-chance taste of a wrapped burger, it became clear our steaming process continues in the greaseproof wrapping, enhancing the flavours. We also limit delivery to 1.7km, with creations we know travel well. The casual dining market has been using Deliveroo for a long time, it just hasn’t taken on as well in the pub sector yet. We’re ahead of the trend and can honestly say it has driven more people into pubs, helping them realise what we have on offer, and creating brand loyalty.”

Manchester-based Evuna lodges plans for third site, in Knutsford: Evuna, the Manchester-based Spanish wine bar and restaurant, has lodged plans to open its third site, this time in Knutsford, Cheshire. The company has submitted an application to Chester East Council to open the venue in King Street on the site of the former Smallbones kitchen store, creating 20 jobs. As well as the main bar area and seating for informal tapas dining, there will be booths to provide more formal seating. The bar area will also serve as a charcuterie and deli display, as well as a cake and patisserie counter. Co-owner Jane Dowler told the Knutsford Guardian: “We’re thrilled to be bringing Evuna to Knutsford. This is our first restaurant outside Manchester and we chose it because we live in Cheshire and knew this great town really well. There are no other Spanish restaurants in Knutsford so this was an excellent opportunity for us and the grade II-listed building really lent itself beautifully to our rustic brand.” Evuna originally launched in Deansgate in Manchester city centre in 2003, with a second restaurant opening in the Northern Quarter in 2013.

Stonegate wins top HR award: Stonegate Pub Company has won the award “Best Learning and Development Strategy” at the HR Excellence Awards. The judges for the award summarised their thoughts by saying: “With great results, an innovative approach and a desire to keep the strategy evolving, it’s impressive.” Stonegate was selected for its excellence in continuing to evolve the “Albert’s Theory of Progression” programme, beating competition from shortlisted global players Vodafone and Pizza Hut, among others. The “Albert’s App” technology, developed by CPL, has revolutionised communications and engagement in the business, contributing to the growth of individuals enrolled on the programme and halving staff turnover levels. The HR Excellence Award is the fourth Stonegate Pub Company has achieved since its first success in 2014. Chief executive Simon Longbottom added: “It is a credit to our operational leaders and managers who identify and nurture talent in the business and support people in their development through our career pathway. We are determined to continue developing our people strategy.”

Chef with Michelin star experience buys first site: A chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant has bought French restaurant Casanis in Bath through agent Christie & Co. Casanis was purchased by first-time buyer Henry Scott, who has ten years of experience in the restaurant and hotel trade as a chef. He has worked all over the world, from Michelin-starred Mayfair restaurant Hibiscus to venues in Sydney, Australia. His latest role was as a sous chef at The Abbey Hotel in Bath, whose owner Ian Taylor will be in the background of Scott’s new venture as a mentor. The restaurant has now reopened under the name Henry’s, serving a combination of French cuisine previously offered at Casanis as well as Scott’s own dishes from his classically trained background. The previous owners of the restaurant decided to part with the business after retiring. Nicholas Calfe, director in Christie & Co’s Bristol office, said: “The business had been confidentially marketed with previous interest from an overseas buyer. However, we are pleased the new owner is local and we wish Henry all the very best of luck in his new venture.”

Bundobust to start expansion with Manchester opening in the autumn: Indian street food kitchen and craft beer bar Bundobust is set to start expansion with the opening of its second site, this time in Manchester. The company, which has a site in Leeds, will open its new venue in a 4,000 square metre basement in Piccadilly, formerly home to all-you-can-eat Chinese restaurant Buffet Metro. Bundobust was founded by Mayur Patel, whose vegetarian restaurant Prashad was runner-up in Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant TV series in 2010, and Mark Husak, of Bradford bar The Sparrow Bier Café. The menu at the 140-capacity venue will centre around south Indian street snacks such as vada pav (fried spicy mashed potato ball coated in chickpea flour in a brioche bun), and bundo chaat (a cold snack made with samosa pastry, turmeric noodles, chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney and yogurt). The beer selection will feature 16 keg lines and a handful of cask ales on rotation, as well as bottled beers. Patel told the Manchester Evening News: “The kitchen in Leeds is really small so this will give us the space to come up with new dishes and become a bit of a development kitchen for Bundobust. It will be casual and informal – not quite a restaurant, not quite a bar, but something in between.” Bundobust will open in September or October.

Meat-free hotdog concept Not Dogs to launch in Birmingham city centre: Vegetarian hotdog concept Not Dogs is set to launch in Birmingham city centre. The company has been operating a food truck at festivals but has signed a three-year lease on a site in Link Street, between Grand Central station and the Bullring, which will open at the end of the summer. Not Dogs was founded by Jane Whitehead and Katie McDermott and was runner-up in the tastiest startup category of the Virgin Food Festival 2014. Hotdogs include Original Frank (quorn bratwurst with ketchup, French mustard, American cheese sauce and caramelised beer-fried onions), while the 30-cover restaurant will also offer meat-free burgers, waffle fries, coffee, healthy fizzy drinks and breakfast options. Whitehead told the Birmingham Mail: “We hope one day to be in every city in the country. As well as being a fun and innovative brand, we want to appeal to meat-eaters and vegetarians – a third of our customers so far have been meat-eaters. Link Street is in a great position as it’s not as expensive as the main Bullring, where one day we’d hope to be.”

Flood-hit Yorkshire pubs reopen following £500,000 Enterprise Inns investment: Three pubs in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, devastated by the December floods, have reopened following a £500,000 investment by Enterprise Inns. The Stubbing Wharf and Shoulder of Mutton in Hebden Bridge, and the Shoulder of Mutton at neighbouring Mytholmroyd, have been fully refurbished. Matt Browne, who runs the Stubbing Wharf and the Shoulder of Mutton at Mytholmroyd, said following the flooding it was “like walking into a car crash”, with water coming five feet up the walls and tearing away furniture, plaster and radiators. At the Stubbing Wharf, all floor joists were ruined and a wall collapsed. While the pubs were closed, Browne took on Enterprise pub The Fisherman’s at Bingley. Following the refurbishment, a brand feel has been created for all three pubs, with a country dining theme. The Shoulder of Mutton in Hebden Bridge, run by Lesley Wood, fared equally badly, with the cellar five feet deep in water and four feet in the bar and restaurant. Working in partnership with Enterprise, Wood also took on then-closed pub the Ling Bob in Wilsden, which employed The Shoulder’s nine staff. Enterprise regional manager Tim Gillatt said: “We wanted to go beyond the insurance work and make the businesses stronger, not just put things back as they were before.”

London-based pub owner to open new bar and restaurant concept in Shepherd Market on Monday: London-based pub owner Duncan Watson-Steward is to open a new restaurant and bar concept in Shepherd Market. Watson-Steward, who owns The Star in Highgate, is launching Hatchetts in White Horse Street on Monday (4 July). It will pay tribute to London institution Hatchetts, which was originally a hotel and coffee house in nearby Piccadilly with a reputation going back to Dickens, reports Hot Dinners. The upstairs bar area will serve snacks, including steamed English asparagus with fried duck egg and Morecambe Bay brown shrimps; and braised fennel and Berkswell terrine with shaved milk turnip, capers, lemon and chervil. Meanwhile, the restaurant downstairs will offer dishes such as Devonshire crab and nectarine salad with brown crab mayo, cucumber, samphire and borage; and chicken-glazed cod with steamed cockles and clams and seaweed jelly. Drinks will focus on single malt whiskies, a short wine list and a section devoted to champagne cocktails.

Simon French – Vianet provides ‘attractive visibility and stability’: Cenkos Securities leisure analyst Simon French has said the business model of hospitality insights and data management company Vianet provides “attractive visibility and stability”. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 93p following the company’s trading update yesterday (Thursday, 30 June), French said: “The business continues to trade in line with expectations during the first two months of FY2017E. Revenue from continuing operations is noticeably ahead of the comparable period with all business areas progressing well, with Vending Solutions in particular making good progress. The group highlights that whilst economic uncertainty and foreign exchange volatility (circa 7% of revenue from Europe and US) is generally unhelpful, it looks forward positively to the remainder of the year and is confident in the medium and long-term prospects of the group. We therefore hold our forecast unchanged at £3.3m Ebita to leave the stock trading on a FY2017E price-to-earnings ratio of 13.3 times, an EV/Ebitda of 6.3 times and a yield of 6.1%. Given the uncertain general economic environment post Brexit, we think the group’s business model, where 69% of revenue is recurring, provides attractive visibility and stability. Combining this with a strong net cash balance sheet helps underpin our ‘Buy’ recommendation.”

BrewDog launches 2016 graduate scheme, video pitches must be submitted by friends: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its 2016 graduate scheme, in which friends of the applicant must submit 30-second “pitch” videos to try to gain one of two positions. The company is looking to employ one recent graduate on the production side and another on the “business” side. BrewDog, which took on three graduates last year, already runs a referral scheme. BrewDog stated on its blog: “We are seeking two recent graduates to join our crew – one to rock our production side (think brewing, packaging, lab, spirits), and the other for the business side (supply chain, procurement, sales, marketing). As we never do things in the expected way, we are sourcing this intake via 30-second pitch videos submitted by their friends. If you have what it takes, we would love to hear from you (and also those closest to you)! No-one knows what you are really like better than your best friend (aside from your mum, but she might only show us baby pics), so we want to hear from the mate who is going to convince us their graduate friend – you – is right for the job.” The successful candidates will complete a two-year scheme, rotating through different departments at BrewDog’s headquarters in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.

Stonegate Pub Company launches Popworld ‘appy hour’ app: Stonegate Pub Company has launched a new app for its Popworld nightclub brand, featuring a range of exclusive drink offers called “appy hour”. The free app – available through App Store and Google Play – employs Bluetooth technology to detect nearby users, notifying customers when “appy hour” is activated and sending a code that can be used to receive a discount on a selection of drinks at the bar. Discounted drinks include pints of Carling and Strongbow, bottles of Becks and WKD, shots, cocktails and bottles of wine. Popworld venues will also be able to activate special discounts for limited times throughout the night, while the app also allows users to access Popworld playlists. Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 660 pubs across its Proper Pubs, Yates, Common Room, Slug and Lettuce, Town, Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns, and Venues brands, including 16 Popworld sites.

Busaba Eathai launches new summer menu: Busaba Eathai, the Thai chain founded by Alan Yau and led by chief executive Jason Myers, has launched a new summer menu featuring dishes inspired by the “heat and flavours of Bangkok and beyond”. The menu focuses on seasonal ingredients, with new small plates “ideal for a light summer bite”, including duck and pineapple lettuce bites with cucumber, mint, shallots and sweet chilli lime dressing, and bang-kick prawns (tempura prawns with Thai-seasoned mayo and mango). The main menu features four new dishes, including two salads – Thai summer beef, and grilled chicken and mango – with two new curry dishes – patpong chicken noodles (curried noodles with shiitake mushrooms, green beans and crunchy chow-chow), and fish curry with starfruit. New drinks include Q-cumber (sparkling mineral water with cucumber extracts) and fresh coconut water served in a whole coconut. The group, which has been backed by Phoenix Equity Partners since 2008, operates 14 locations in the UK and one in Dubai. As part of continued northern expansion, Busaba recently opened sites in Manchester and Liverpool, with a Leeds restaurant to be fully operational by early 2017.

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