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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 11th Jul 2016 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Operators advised to get up to speed to capture millennial market: Operators need to get up to speed and get mobile if they want to capture the millennial market, according to new research. The findings, by hospitality management solutions company Zonal Retail Data Systems and CGA Peach, showed 18 to 24-year-olds are increasingly influential, accounting for 29% of the UK adult population and 42% of “eating out” trade. They are prepared to use technology to search, browse, book, order and pay for their meals when dining out. The findings have been included in a white paper Get Smart To The New Wave with insight from sector specialists. The research also showed 56% of millennials believed social media has increased their awareness of eating and drinking out brands. Meanwhile, 54% are interested in using their personal devices to speed up ordering and to pay for their bill. More than a quarter preferred to be updated on news, offers and menus from their favourite restaurants through their preferred digital channels, compared with only 3% of the over 65s. Nearly 40% used social media to find out about special offers while 45% of 18 to 24-year-olds participated in one or more loyalty schemes for their favourite dining destination. Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Millennials live in a socially connected world with mobile technology at the centre of everything they do. The vast majority (86%) use social media every day and make decisions based on their digital usage. This new wave of consumers offers a great opportunity for operators; but to capitalise retailers will need to future proof their businesses using the latest technology. Never before have operators had the opportunity to know so much about their customers, their habits and what they order and when they visit. This invaluable information provides an unprecedented opportunity to target campaigns at individuals in order to drive frequency of visit and loyalty.” CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin added: “Pubs and restaurants need to respond to increasing demand from this influential age group by investing in the right technology and making sure that it’s relevant and can adapt not only for today but tomorrow’s customers.”
 

Industry News:

Propel partners insights firm Horizons for Casual Dining Study Tour: Propel is partnering with insights firm Horizons for the first Casual Dining Study Tour. The “food of the world” study tour takes place on Wednesday, 7 September and features a full-day tour, on foot, around Shoreditch and Spitalfields sampling the casual dining scene in an area packed with innovation. The tour, which runs from 10am to 4pm, will visit Dishoom (Bombay-style street food with vintage decor and upscale touches), Porky’s BBQ (a taste of Memphis with fuss-free food and authentic slow-cooked meat), GB Pizza Co (wood-fired pizzas topped with seasonal British ingredients served in a cool, casual environment), The Real Greek (healthy seasonal menus and meze sharing platters), Leon (Mediterranean flavours packed with variety and natural healthiness), Wahaca (Mexican market eating from little treats to long-marinated pork and zingy salsa), Byron (better burgers – a simple thing done well), The Breakfast Club (traditional dishes and unusual offerings), Galvin Brothers’ HOP (craft beer, classic pub dishes and premium hotdogs), and Comptoir Libanais (wholesome, healthy Lebanese food in a souk-like setting). Tickets are £345 plus VAT for ALMR members and £395 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. To book your place, call Jo Charity on 01444 810304 or email jo.charity@propelinfo.com
 
Fine-dining app Lux Rewards hits crowdfunding target for UK expansion: Lux Rewards, an app that connects fine diners with hand-picked local restaurants, has hit its £80,000 target 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. So far, 92 investors have pledged £80,310 and it is now “overfunding” with six days remaining. The largest investment to date is £35,000. 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. 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 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. 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.”
 
BBPA sets out new self-assessment model for business rates and calls for more frequent revaluations: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called for more frequent revaluations of business rates and has set out proposals for a new self-assessment model. The BBPA is supporting the government’s objective of moving to more frequent revaluations of business rates, to at least a three-yearly process. To help make a system of frequent revaluations work better for both pubs and the government, the BBPA has set out proposals for a new self-assessment model in its consultation response. This would be based broadly on the current methodology, but with greater flexibility built in, to help avoid additional costs and administrative burdens on the pub sector. Business rates already make up about 10% of pub operating costs. Currently, business rates are calculated based on an outlet’s Fair Maintainable Turnover (FMT), the level of revenue that a reasonably efficient operator would be able to generate in the premises. In practice, rates can be based on actual turnover, and this can penalise successful businesses that are performing beyond expectations. The BBPA said reforms to the business rates system should focus on FMT, while increased frequency of revaluations would ensure rates are more closely aligned with current market conditions. The BBPA’s proposed self-assessment model would give licensees greater insight into the process, and added transparency. This would also allow for the government’s aim of more frequent revaluations without significant cost, to either government or businesses, the BBPA said. It is also calling for a light-touch approach when it comes to compliance and enforcement of any new scheme – one that does not penalise genuine mistakes or self-assessments put forward in good faith but are subsequently disputed. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “We have always believed that the pub sector needs more frequent rates revaluations, which is essential in ensuring that the business rates burden is spread more fairly and better reflects the current market. The self-assessment approach that we are putting forward offers both pubs and the government a way of achieving this in an efficient way that would be good for both.”
 
Historic London pub demolished illegally to be rebuilt ‘brick by brick’ following planning inspector ruling: Historic London pub the Carlton Tavern will have to be “rebuilt brick by brick” after a planning inspector ruled it had been demolished illegally. The inspector dismissed the appeal by developer CLTX after Westminster City Council served an enforcement notice demanding the Maida Vale pub was rebuilt as closed to the original as possible after it was bulldozed in April last year. The council had rejected an application for redevelopment of the site in January 2015 and the pub was levelled with no prior warning to the council, no approvals, or proper health and safety procedures in place. CLTX has been given two years to rebuild the pub, which is deemed an Asset of Community Value and was being considered for grade II-listed status when it was demolished. The planning inspector agreed it was “highly likely that it would have been listed had it not been demolished”, calling it a “rare public house”. The inspector said in the report: “I see no reason from the information available why a detailed and accurate reconstruction could not be undertaken.” Cllr Robert Davis, the council’s cabinet member for the built environment, told ITV News: “I am pleased that we have won the battle and I look forward to seeing the Carlton Tavern turned back into a thriving community pub. This sends a clear message to developers across the country that they cannot ride roughshod over the views of local communities.” The Carlton Tavern was built in 1920-21 for Charrington & Co.
 
Brexit has critical implications for UK’s beverage sector, new Rabobank report states: Brexit will have critical implications for the beverage sector given the UK’s role as both a major importer of wine and a major supplier of scotch, according to a new report by Rabobank. The report breaks down the impact of Brexit on different beverage sectors. The report said the Brexit vote would have critical implications for the wine industry, with knock-on effects felt in nearly all major wine-producing regions. It stated: “The prospect of the largest wine-importing country in the world leaving its free trade agreement with the largest wine-producing region in the world will have an obvious impact on trade flows in the long term, but the marked devaluation of the British pound will begin to drive some of those changes almost immediately. The EU is, by far, the largest supplier of wine to the UK – France, Italy and Spain alone supplied 60% of British imports in 2015 – and assuming the soft British pound reduces demand for wine imports, those wines will need to find new markets. EU suppliers are expected to redouble their efforts in other markets, such as the US and China, which will impact domestic suppliers, as well as other foreign competitors.” For beer, the report said although the UK was a fairly open beer market (18% of consumption volume is imported and 13% of production volume exported), most leading brands were owned by international brewers with production facilities in both the UK and abroad. It said British brewers, including the craft beer sector, could see domestic competition ease as foreign competitors were affected by weakness in the British pound and the long-term threat of trade barriers. For the global spirits market, the report stated the weakness of the British pound would begin to have an impact on British spirits imports but would provide opportunities for scotch exports in the near term. It said scotch suppliers were clearly concerned about the potential of losing the free trade agreement with their largest market. However, it added that if Scotland broke away from the UK and remained in the EU, this would alleviate the problem for scotch suppliers but EU wineries might be “less happy about providing free access to the EU market for scotch without receiving reciprocal access to the British market for wine”.
 
FCA to revisit rules to check crowdfunding protects: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it will revisit the rules on crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending to check customers know the risk of placing their money on such platforms. The industry has ballooned from £500m in crowdfunded investments in 2013 to £2.7bn last year, the FCA said. The regulator said it was exploring whether inexperienced customers are properly informed before placing their money into these online vehicles. It added any rule change should “support the development of this dynamic market”.
 

Company News:

San Carlo Group eyes further openings as revenue tops £45m: San Carlo Group is eyeing further openings on the back of the success of its Fumo and Cicchetti brands after revenue topped £45m. Accounts filed under Templeton Holdings, the parent of San Carlo, revealed turnover reached £45.9m in the year to 30 September 2015, up from £39.3m a year earlier. Pre-tax profit also climbed to £2.6m from £2.1m in 2014. The company said the growth was down to the openings of Cicchetti in Covent Garden and Fumo in Manchester during the year, adding the directors were “extremely pleased” with how successful the brands have become. As a result, the San Carlo Group is now considering opening further Fumo restaurants in London and Liverpool. Managing director Marcello Distefano, the son of company founder Carlo, also confirmed the group is considering sites in Birmingham and Leeds. He told Insider Media: “The San Carlo Group continues to operate successfully through its different operations. San Carlo restaurants have performed well in an increasingly competitive market. The Cicchetti and Fumo brands have shown consistent growth and provide the focus of growth over the coming years.” The group’s flagship venue opened in Birmingham’s Temple Street in 1992 and it has since gone on to open San Carlo restaurants in Liverpool, Manchester, Leicester, Leeds, Bristol and London. Other brands include Fumo in Manchester and Birmingham, Flying Pizza in Leeds, London’s Signor Sissi, and Cicchetti restaurants in Manchester and London. Manchester is also home to Selfridges’ concessions Gran Café and Bottega. International franchises in Bahrain and Qatar are also set to launch this year as the company aims to develop a global brand. They will join established venues Cicchetti in Doha and Signor Sissi in Bangkok.
 
M&B to take last unit in £50m Bournemouth cinema and restaurant complex for Miller & Carter brand: Mitchells & Butlers has agreed a deal for the last of the 12 restaurant units at the £50m BH2 cinema and restaurant development in Bournemouth town centre for its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand. Legal & General Property will launch the 120,000 square foot scheme, which includes a ten-screen Odeon cinema, on the site of the former West Central leisure centre in February 2017. Other brands to open at the complex include TGI Friday’s, Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, Handmade Burger Co, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, Frankie & Benny’s, Joe’s Kitchen and Chiquito, and Prezzo. All have taken 15-year leases and will pay rents in the mid-£30s per square foot, Property Week reports. Odeon will pay “a market rent” for a 25-year lease reviewed in line with RPI. Most brands are new to Bournemouth. David Huck, chairman of local agent Goadsby, the scheme’s joint agent with CBRE, said the 5,500 square foot letting to Miller & Carter was significant because it would cater both for families and the pub trade. BH2 gained planning consent in 2007 and construction is well under way, with tenants expected to begin fit-out in October. There are more than 40 Miller & Carter steakhouses in the UK.
 
McDonald’s to take $235m charge in second quarter for headquarters move and franchising more restaurants: McDonald’s has said it will take $235m in pre-tax charges in its second financial quarter on costs related to moving its corporate headquarters to Chicago and franchising more of its restaurants. The company, which plans to move to the city in spring 2018, did not say if the figure included costs related to buyouts. McDonald’s said it would release more details on the charges when it reports second-quarter results later this month, adding it expects to “incur additional strategic charges in connection with these ongoing initiatives”. It said in November it aimed to refranchise 4,000 restaurants by the end of 2018. Refranchising lowers the company’s liability because it puts more restaurants under franchisees, who are considered independent business owners. McDonald’s franchisees already operate more than 90% of its restaurants, which number 36,000 worldwide. The company also said late last year it aimed to save $500m in general and administrative expenses, most of that by the end of 2017. These are costs related to a business’ day-to-day operation, including everything from rent and insurance to some salaries.
 
Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Cosy Club and Wagamama lined up for Chelmsford city centre development: Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Wagamama and Loungers brand Cosy Club have all been lined up for a planned split of an Argos store in Chelmsford city centre. Plans submitted to the city council would see the Argos store in Meadows Retail Park split into four. Argos would give up more than half the space it occupies to make way for ground-floor and first-floor restaurants. Cosy Club would occupy the upper floor, while Wagamama and Gourmet Burger Kitchen would be sited downstairs. It was thought Wagamama was looking to move to the rear of a former Next store on the corner of High Street and Springfield Road, the Essex Chronicle reports.
 
Itsu eyes continued regional expansion with Nottingham opening: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, plans to continue its regional expansion with a new site in Nottingham. The company has submitted a planning application to the city council to open a restaurant and takeaway at a former unit occupied by fashion chain USC in Clumber Street, The Business Desk reports. Metcalfe opened the first Itsu venue in Chelsea in 1997. Last month it opened a store in Kingston, Surrey, the company’s 68th site, most of them in London. Itsu secured £40m of funding from HSBC last October to drive ambitious expansion plans.
 
Five Guys to open second Leicester restaurant in September: Better burger brand Five Guys is to open a second restaurant in Leicester in September. The company is opening the new-build site at the Meridian Leisure Park in Braunstone Town. It will join Casual Dining Group brand Bella Italia as well as The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito at the complex. Rebecca Newman, spokeswoman for Meridian Leisure, which runs the site, told the Leicester Mercury: “We’re extremely excited about the opening of the new Five Guys. It is a great addition to our already diverse offering of restaurants on the park.” Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, and opened its first UK restaurant in Covent Garden in 2013. It has 45 other restaurants in the UK, including its other Leicester outlet in Cheapside, which opened last October.
 
Marston’s to launch Lost & Found restaurant in Leeds under Revere brand: Marston’s brand Revere Pub Company will launch a new restaurant – The Lost & Found– as part of a £2m overhaul of Greek Street in Leeds. The new restaurant will offer premium British food alongside sandwiches and cocktails. Greek Street has undergone a 32-week transformation, including pedestrianisation, as part of an ongoing refurbishment. Elizabeth Ridler, partner with property consultancy Knight Frank in Leeds, told The Business Desk: “The profile of Greek Street is currently being transformed with new bars and restaurants, together with a Dakota hotel opening early next year. An exceptional number of amenities are available in the immediate vicinity, including Carluccio’s, Gusto, The Alchemist and All Bar One.” Revere Pub Company is a rapidly expanding collection of bars, pubs, restaurants and boutique bedrooms across the UK. In February, it launched American-inspired smokehouse concept Low, Slow & Juke in Westminster, London.
 
Burger & Lobster puts ‘too big’ Manchester and Cardiff sites up for sale: Burger & Lobster has put its Manchester and Cardiff restaurants up for sale because they are “too big”. The company said it was looking for alternative sites in both cities and wants the new spaces to provide the intimacy of its flagship restaurant in Mayfair, London – a 60-cover venue in a former Irish pub, which opened in 2011. The Manchester restaurant, which is based in King Street, opened 11 months ago while its Cardiff site, which opened in December 2014 at The Hayes development, is the company’s biggest, with room for more than 300 diners. A Burger & Lobster spokesman said it was looking for a site with about 90 covers to replace the 170-cover restaurant in Manchester. He told the Manchester Evening News: “We want to do a Burger & Lobster in Manchester but in a smaller venue. Manchester and Cardiff were bigger business for us. In London we can probably trade at that size, but there isn’t as much footfall and therefore we don’t get the Burger & Lobster ambiance we’re able to create in Mayfair.” It is just over three months since the restaurant group pulled out of opening its first outlet in Scotland at the £107m Marischal Square office and hotel development in Aberdeen, citing opportunities in America as a higher priority as it gears up to launch its second site in New York City in September. Set up by steakhouse group Goodman Restaurants, Burger & Lobster has 14 restaurants in the UK, plus four international franchises in Stockholm, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Kuwait.
 
Marco Pierre White to open restaurant in Bridgwater: Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White is to open a restaurant in Bridgwater, Somerset. Pierre White is bringing the MPW Steakhouse Bar & Grill to the forthcoming Mercure Bridgwater hotel, which is under construction on the site of the former Co-Op store on the crossroads at Eastover. It follows an agreement between Black & White Hospitality, which owns a number of Marco’s restaurant brands, and DC Hotels, which is developing the Mercure Bridgwater hotel. Pierre White told Somerset Live: “Somerset is one of my favourite parts of the UK, and I’m incredibly excited to watch the new restaurant unfold. We have a very successful restaurant at Cadbury House in Congresbury (the new Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini and Espresso Bar that opened last month) and I can see a lot of similarities here.” Mercure is part of international hotel group Accor and the four-star, 100-plus bedroom venue is due to open in late 2017, following a £9m building and redevelopment programme.
 
North east-based Danieli Holdings eyes Newcastle opening for expansion of Yolo bar-restaurant concept: North east-based Danieli Holdings is looking to expand its bar-restaurant concept Yolo with a second site, this time in Newcastle city centre. The company, led by Neill Winch, opened the first Yolo, which stands for You Only Live Once, in Ponteland, Northumberland, in September 2015. Now Winch hopes to open a second Yolo venue at a site in High Bridge. Collective Design is working on interior designs for the venue, with a possible name tweak to reflect its location. The three-storey site spans 2,556 square feet. A licence application has been submitted asking for permission to open from 7am to 2.30am, Chronicle Live reports. Danieli Holdings is known for its security, nursing home and property divisions, and the city centre venture would mark the company’s third bar venture after its takeover of Bar B, formerly Bannatyne, in The Gate, Newcastle.
 
Koh Thai Tapas opens tenth site, in Winchester: Koh Thai Tapas has opened its tenth site, this time in Winchester, Hampshire. The company has launched the restaurant in Jewry Street in the premises left vacant by the closure of Bangkok Brasserie, owned by city restaurateur Miff Kayum. Kayum sold the lease to the building after his business empire collapsed, which saw him liquidate his other two restaurants – Kyoto Kitchen, which he still operates, and Bengal Sage. Kit Butler, manager of Koh Thai Tapas in Winchester, told the Hampshire Chronicle the company had been looking to bring the restaurant to the city for four years, but was waiting for the right place. Koh Thai Tapas has nine other restaurants, including Bournemouth, Ringwood and Portsmouth, and secured its 11th site, in Romsey, last month.
 
Liverpool-based multi-site operator opens rodizio pizzeria concept in city: Liverpool based multi-site operator Graffiti Spirit has opened a new rodizio pizzeria concept in the city. The company has launched Santa Maluco in Castle Street on the site of a former Starbucks. It offers pizza by the slice or for sharing, bringing “Brazilian flare mixed with some old authentic Italian tradition”, reports the Liverpool Echo. It also features a cocktail menu, which includes the “Five Dollar Shake” that consists of vodka, Chambord, blueberries and ice cream. Graffiti Spirit also operates Santa Chupitos, Salt Dog Slims and El Bandito in the city.
 
Turtle Bay set to open £1m restaurant and bar in Chelmsford next month: Caribbean restaurant and bar Turtle Bay is set to open a £1m site in Chelmsford, Essex, on Friday, 5 August, creating more than 50 jobs. The restaurant is one of four under construction as part of a food quarter revamp of the High Chelmer shopping centre. The occupants of the other three units are thought to be steakhouse brand Bourgee, Carluccio’s, and French brasserie Cote. A company spokesman told the Essex Chronicle: “Turtle Bay is all about celebrating the lively, colourful, soulful and, above all, delicious experiences the Caribbean has to offer. Our mission is to capture the spirit of celebration the Caribbean is famed for around the globe – making customers happy by delivering a hedonistic combination of joyous food, wicked drinks and a fun, laid-back atmosphere. Diners can expect to see shipping containers transformed into seating areas, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood, tyre sinks and a whole wall made from old speakers.” Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema in 2010 and has 29 sites across the UK.
 
Nottingham-based micro-pub operator opens Derby site: Nottingham-based micro-pub operator The Barrel Drop has opened a site in the former Saddlers Bar premises in Sadler Gate, Derby. The company has launched Hop Gate, which features 13 craft keg beer lines, one lager, four casks, lots of cans, and also has more than 40 spirits will be on offer. The property has undergone a comprehensive refurbishment and features a large outside terrace to the rear. Owner Chris Farman said: “We are looking forward to bringing something new and unique to Derby. Hopefully the bar will provide a cosy atmosphere to all drinkers.” Darran Severn, of FHP Property Consultants, which acted on the deal, said: “This quirky property sits in an excellent location and is well suited to this user. The leisure circuit continues to bolster its offer in Derby and there is more to come in the next few months.”
 
Arran Brewery plans crowdfunding push to fund further expansion: Arran Brewery is set to launch a new crowdfunding initiative to fund its expansion plans in the UK, Europe and the US and bring bottling production in-house. Arran Brewery managing director Gerald Michaluk told the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald: “We have a significant US advantage having our own import business there, while bringing bottling in-house makes business sense.” Arran Brewery used a first round of crowdfunding in late 2013 to open import companies in the US and Spain, to purchase sites for expansion, and to complete the first phase of an upgrade of its brewery on the isle of Arran. It also developed a lager brewery, hotel and visitor centre on the banks of Loch Earn in St Fillans, Perthshire. In addition, Arran’s Devils Dyke Brewery in Cambridgeshire, which the company acquired in April 2015, is set to begin production later this summer. The small brewery, attached to The Dykes End pub in Reach, is the staging post for the company’s expansion into the London market. The brewery will produce up to 50 different beers a year and act as a research and development centre, with beers sold exclusively to 26 craft beer outlets in London and Cambridge. Arran has also been seeking expansion through acquisition, having recently failed to purchase the Loch Ness Brewery from its liquidator. Michaluk said: “We are looking for strategic partners in the UK and around the world.”
 
Celebrity chef Michael Caines to open fine dining restaurant in North Wales country house hotel: Two Michelin-stared chef Michael Caines will open his new fine dining restaurant in late August/early September at Palé Hall Hotel in Gwynedd, North Wales. Caines is working alongside new owners Alan and Angela Harper on refurbishment of the grade II-listed country house hotel in Llandderfel, near Bala. Caines told the Daily Post: “This represents an exciting development for us and I’m delighted to be working with Alan and Angie to realise their vision for Palé Hall to become a destination hotel and restaurant in a dramatically beautiful part of the world. Their ambitions are aligned with my own in creating a relaxed and friendly dining experience to delight our customers, offering a signature menu that makes the most of the finest locally sourced ingredients.” The restaurant will feature three dining areas offering breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. The largest will be the grand main dining room, followed by the Venetian-themed alternative dining room, and the library for private dining. The 18-bedroom hotel will host musical evenings and outdoor activities in the grounds. Palé Hall dates to the late 19th century and has hosted some of Britain’s most famous figures, including Queen Victoria and Winston Churchill.
 
Bath-based Electric Bear Brewing Co expands brewing capacity as it celebrates first anniversary: Bath-based Electric Bear Brewing Co has expanded its brewing capacity as it celebrates its first anniversary. As a result of growing demand and sales, Electric Bear will add two 20-barrel fermentation tanks to its brewery in Brassmill Lane. The new fermenters and 2,000-litre conditioning tank will see the brewery increase its brew days to four per week to keep up with nationwide distribution. Chris Lewis, founder of Electric Bear Brewing, said; “It’s been an incredible first year and we’ve been overwhelmed by support from the trade in terms of stocking our beer and the locals visiting the taproom. Year one was all about producing consistently good beers but we also wanted to have some fun and experiment with flavours, which we’ve been doing with our World Series range. Year two is going to see us being more experimental and placing our focus on keg beers. The reaction we’ve had to our World Series range of keg beers has been outstanding and it’s what we enjoy brewing. Expect to see plenty more interesting flavours and beer styles coming out of the brewery.” Since launching in July 2015, Electric Bear has gained stocking in pubs, bars and independent bottle shops across the country. The brewery has recently appointed new head of sales Ryan Read to continue a nationwide sales push with a focus on key cities, including Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and London. A first anniversary beer is being brewed and will be available from August.
 
London-based aparthotel operator set to open site in Edinburgh: London-based aparthotel operator Apple Apartments is set to open a site in Edinburgh as part of a £150m Old Town revamp. The company will manage the boutique hotel, which is due to launch next year on the site of a historic former school building, yards from the Scottish capital’s Royal Mile. The building will be converted into 21 double-height serviced “apartments”, each with a mezzanine level providing separate sleeping and living areas. It will also have 24-hour butler service, an exclusive customer lounge and a gourmet restaurant, which will also provide room service for guests. The rooms would overlook a light-filled glass atrium forming part of a central galleried hall, which has remained unchanged since the building was first designed in 1901 as an infant school by Edinburgh School Board architect Robert Wilson. Launched in 2013, Apple Apartments specialises in the conversion of small-scale period buildings into high-quality serviced apartments. The company is run by Scottish businessman Billy Cowe and his brother Peter, who have been involved in global property management and development for the past 15 years. Billy Cowe told Herald Scotland: “We knew straight away that this historic building would be perfect for our next specialist conversion project. There is a huge growing demand for high-quality serviced apartments in good city centre locations serving both corporate and leisure markets.”
 
The Ivy set to open Bristol site next month, first venue outside London: The group behind The Ivy in London is set to open its first UK venue outside the capital, in Bristol, next month. Troia UK Restaurants is opening the Ivy Clifton Brasserie on Tuesday, 2 August in the former NatWest building in Caledonia Place in Clifton Village. The site is currently being refurbished into the 130-cover restaurant after a 20-year-lease was previously agreed with landlord West Country Properties, reports the Bristol Post. It will offer an all-day dining menu and be open seven days a week. Troia UK Restaurants has also submitted plans to open the Ivy in Bath city centre while it is also in negotiations to open a rooftop restaurant at the £100m redevelopment of Salterns Marina in Poole, Dorset.
 
Worcestershire-based hotel owners acquire Cotswolds site for second venue, plan £1m investment: Worcestershire-based hotel owners Aidan and Sarah Stevens have acquired their second site, this time in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. The couple, who own the St Andrews Town Hotel in Droitwich, have acquired the 39-bedroom Stratton House Hotel from Oxfordshire-based St James’s Hotel Group for an undisclosed sum. The 17th century Stratton House Hotel, which is in the Cotswolds, is set to benefit from a £1m investment from the new owners. The couple bought the St Andrews Town Hotel four years ago and have since overhauled its 31 bedrooms, added an Orangery, and provided 14 jobs, expanding its team from 26 to 40. Aidan Stevens told Insider Media: “The success and support we’ve had since we took over the St Andrews Town Hotel has been fantastic and that has played a huge role in us expanding and having the confidence to take on our second venue. In many ways the template we’ve created in Droitwich, and the feedback from guests, has helped us to decide on the blueprint for the Stratton House refurbishment plans.”
 
North east-based bakery signs Co-op deal: North east-based bakery Bakers Pantry has signed a deal to have its goods stocked in Co-op sites across the region following a deal with Lakes & Dales Co-operative. The items will be available in the supermarket’s food-to-go in-store bakery counters. Bakers Pantry was established in 2015 when it bought and rebranded historic bakery business Donkins. The company now has four outlets in Ashington, one in Seaton Delaval and one in Morpeth, as well as a wholesale bakery business supplying hospitals and schools. Bakers Pantry also plans to open further retail stores across the region and build a new bakery facility to support its growth. Lakes & Dales Co-operative is part of Scottish co-operative group Scotmid, which operates 350 retail outlets across Scotland, Northern Ireland and the north of England. Lakes & Dales was formed when Scotmid merged with Penrith Co-operative in 2013. Stephen Brown, of Lakes & Dales Co-operative, told Insider Media: “Fresh bakery items are a really important part of our offer – our customers value the convenience of buying their favourite baked goods, savouries and cakes at their local grocery store. Bakers Pantry is an ideal partner for us – they have an excellent product range which is well-known and loved in the north east.”
 
Full speaker schedule for Bar and Nightclub Conference revealed: The full speaker schedule for this year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, has been revealed. It takes place on Tuesday, 11 October at Bafta, Piccadilly, and follows the successful launch of the event last year. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls will provide an update on political and regulatory developments. Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, which has retailer specialist CGA Peach as a division, reveals details of new research of usage, areas of growth, food and drink trends, and evolution within the UK bar and nightclub market. Toby Smith, chief executive of bar, nightclub and restaurant operator Novus Leisure, will talk about how the company is meeting the needs of customers in London’s evolving bar and nightclub scene, including offer evolution and social media developments. Luke Johnson, sector investor and executive chairman of Brighton Pier Company and investor in Grand Union Group, will speak about his career in the late-night sector starting at Oxford University, set out his reasons for investing in the sector, evolving the offer at the company, and his perspective on the future for the bar and nightclub sector. Serial sector entrepreneur Roy Ellis will talk about the launch of the ground-breaking Albert’s Schloss concept in Manchester a year ago, its USPs, versatility, first-year performance and roll-out potential – and set out the scope of the involvement of his Mission Mars business in Manchester’s late-night scene. Jimmy Bernstein will talk about his 14-strong US bar and live music concept Howl at the Moon. Bernstein was the keynote speaker at this year’s Bar and Nightclub Convention in Las Vegas. Howl at the Moon has sites in key US cities, including Chicago, New York and Orlando, Florida – the company has also licensed the concept to Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates it on four ships. John Leslie, chief executive of Intertain, will talk about evolving the Walkabout brand and opening new sites, working with new comedy partner Comedy Loft, the regulatory regime, its new Birmingham concept 6 on Broad Street and the company’s relationship with backer Better Capital. Leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC will provide a personal perspective on the key legal issues and developments facing bar and nightclub operators in the current climate. There will also be a panel hosted by Nicholls with 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. Tickets are priced at £95 for operators who are ALMR members and £145 for non-ALMR members. 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

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