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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Tue 12th Jul 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Peach Pub Company issues invite to smaller companies to share its central headquarters and support function: Peach Pub Company co-founder Hamish Stoddart has issued a unique invite to smaller companies to share the firm’s central support function, plug into its existing platform and access areas such as IT, purchasing, sales and marketing function, and controls. Stoddart said: “I’d love a smaller business with similar values to come and share the advantages of our scale, and to take them through the six to 15-pub pain barrier. Given we have two chartered accountants of quality, it could even be someone powered by investor money.” The invitation to mentor a smaller company is in line with Peach’s business philosophy, which has been built on recruiting a series of equity partners who run the business in collective fashion with co-founders Stoddart and Lee Cash. The company currently has 17 pubs and turnover of £25m. It is targeting opening two to three pubs a year and turnover of £35m, producing Ebitda of £4m. Stoddart added that the “shared ownership” model meant one partner who left recently had earned £1m in ten years and left the company with an additional £500,000 payment for his equity stake. Anyone who would like to explore the Peach Pub Company offer to share support should email Paul Charity on paul.charity@propelinfo.com who will forward the details to Hamish Stoddart.

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 Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

UK foodservice sector outperforms big European neighbours: The UK foodservice industry outperformed its four largest European neighbours in 2015, according to figures produced by NPD Group for the Propel Multi Club Conference. The UK industry grew by 1.5%, compared with 1.2% growth in Spain, 0.9% growth in Germany, 0.4% growth in Italy, and 0.2% growth in France. All day-parts in the UK grew in 2015, with breakfast up 4.3%, lunch up 1.6% and dinner growing by 0.6%. A 1.8% rise in non-deal traffic also meant growth was no longer driven by deals and promotions. NDP Group added that consumers had reported a rapid rise in foodservice standards in the past seven years, with 70% describing their experience as “very good” or “excellent” in 2015, compared with 54% in 2008.

BHA calls for Seaside Tsar: A Seaside Tsar should be appointed to help Britain’s forgotten seaside towns fight back from decades of decay, according to new research that paints a grim picture of the problems many coastal communities face. The report, commissioned by the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said people living in seaside towns were more likely to be poorly educated, unemployed, unemployable, lacking in ambition, claiming benefits, and living in multiple occupation housing. A separate survey, conducted by the owners of Butlin’s, found more than half of the British public had not visited the British seaside in the past three years, while 65% believed the British seaside was run-down and in need of investment. Nine out of the ten most deprived neighbourhoods in the UK are seaside communities, according to the Department for Communities and Local Government 2015 Index of Multiple Deprivation. The collapse of shipbuilding and fishing, the decline of the traditional seaside holiday, growing drug use, and cutbacks in budgets affecting maintenance of public places, street cleaning, tourism promotion and the provision of education had all contributed to the situation, the report stated. The BHA report – Creating Coastal Powerhouses – said businesses in seaside towns were more likely to fail, especially if they provided accommodation, and called on the government to create Coastal Enterprise Zones to encourage businesses to move to and invest in the coast. The association, which represents more than 40,000 businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry which, in turn, employs 4.5 million people, cites the successful regeneration of Folkestone in Kent and along the Jurassic Coast in Dorset and east Devon as examples of how the British seaside can recover.

CBRE – steady growth in June for commercial property returns and rental values but capital value growth slows: UK commercial property rents grew by 0.2% in June despite uncertainty in the build-up to the EU referendum, according to the latest CBRE Monthly Index. Capital values grew by 0.1% in June, a drop on 0.2% in May, but the 0.6% total returns for the month matched returns seen almost every month of the year to date. In H1 as a whole, rental value growth hit 1.1%, compared with 1.7% in H1 2015. Capital values grew by 0.6% for H1 2016, compared with 4.1% in H1 2015. Total returns were also lower, from 6.7% in H1 2015 to 3.0% in H1 2016. This lower return partly reflected an increase in stamp duty land tax in March. Miles Gibson, of CBRE UK, said July’s monthly index would give a clearer indication of how monthly-valued assets had been affected by Brexit.

Inquiry orders developers to restore pub brick-by-brick: Campaigners and a London council have won the battle for a historic pub to be rebuilt “brick by brick” after it was torn down by developers. Westminster City Council demanded the Carlton Tavern in Maida Vale be fixed up to as close to its original state after it was demolished last April. At the time councillors complained the demolition was “unlawful”, with plans to list the building to protect it from redevelopment after the council snubbed an application last January. But the pub was reduced to rubble just months later, which was challenged by the council via an enforcement notice. The council was backed by campaign group The Friends of Carlton Tavern and had their wish granted following a five-day public inquiry in May. The Planning Inspectorate heard the appeal by developers CTLX against a notice demanding the pub be rebuilt. The company has now been given two years to restore the building after the inspector agreed the “rare public house” would have been listed had it not been torn down.

Westminster revealed as UK’s capital for McDonald’s: Westminster in central London has been revealed as having more McDonald’s restaurants than anywhere else in the UK. Mirror Online conducted an analysis of 1,200 McDonald’s outlets across Britain to work out where the brand’s presence was most concentrated. The information was broken down by local authority area – and how many people each restaurant has to serve per head of population. There are 18 McDonald’s branches in Westminster – one restaurant for every 13,461 people living there. Compare that with the average across the UK – where overall there is only one McDonald’s for every 52,763 people – and it is almost three times as many as the rest of the country. Second on the list was Bolsover in Derbyshire, with one McDonald’s for every 19,445 people, closely followed by Cannock Chase, Newport and Crawley.

Starbucks boosts staff pay in the US by between 5 and 15%: Starbucks boss Howard Shultz has told staff the company will boost staff pay by between 5 and 15%. He said: “Effective 3 October, all partners and store managers in US company-operated stores will receive an increase in base pay of 5% or greater. The range of increase will be determined by geographic and market factors and is intended to ensure Starbucks remains a retail employer of choice in all the markets where we operate. Second, to recognise the contributions of our tenured partners in our ongoing success, we will be adding a future annual enhancement to our ‘bean stock’ programme. Specifically, we will be doubling the annual bean stock award for partners who reach two years of continuous service with the company. The combination of these changes will result in compensation increases between 5% and 15%. We are evolving our benefits programme and online benefits platform so partners may shop, compare and choose health coverage with the similar convenience and personalisation people experience when they shop, compare and choose airlines and airfare. Starting 18 July, interactive tools on our site (mysbuxben.com) will allow partners to personalise their health coverage, select an insurance carrier and choose a coverage level that fits their needs, as well as a competitive price that fits their budget. In simple terms, the new healthcare options allow partners to only pay for the coverage they want and will actually use. We estimate eligible partners could save as much as $800 annually by moving to a plan that better meets their needs. For partners selecting family coverage, savings are potentially more, perhaps as much as $2,600 annually.”

ALMR chief executive calls on Theresa May to guarantee rights of non-UK EU nationals to stay in UK: Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers Kate Nicholls has called on the next PM Theresa May to guarantee the rights of non-UK EU nationals to stay in the UK. She said: “With Theresa May now confirmed as the next UK Prime Minister, the government must act decisively to secure our long-term economic stability, business and consumer confidence. The reaction of the markets today shows how valuable certainty and stability is for investors and the same is true for business, particularly in hospitality which is a key engine of economic growth and employment. We now need a clear road map to lock in competitiveness and allow companies to reliably plan ahead for the future – particularly around recruitment. The new Prime Minister will set the tone for the UK’s approach to the EU negotiations and we are pleased that she has sent a clear signal that nothing will be rushed and no steps will be taken until we know what is needed from them. She must ensure that the needs of sectors like hospitality and small businesses are taken into account – simple access to the single market, the ability to hire the right people and driving down the costs and burdens of regulation. Above all else, we call on Theresa May as one of her first acts as the new Prime Minister, to  guarantee non-UK EU nationals, many thousands of whom work in our pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants, to be granted the right to remain in the UK both before, during and after the negotiations. We need a clear Brexit employment strategy.”

Company News:

Burger & Lobster – some of the regional sites are too big for us: Burger & Lobster has admitted some of its regional sites are too big – and it wants to scale down restaurant sizes. A spokesperson for the brand said the 170-cover restaurant in Manchester’s King Street, open for 11 months, was too big and the company was now searching for a new Manchester city centre space with about 90 covers. The company had considered putting half of the space back up for lease but decided it was too complicated to make the necessary modifications to the listed building. The spokesperson also denied reports Burger & Lobster was looking to leave Manchester and Cardiff after putting both leases on the market, and said the business wanted to find a new space that provided the intimacy of its flagship restaurant in Mayfair – a 60-cover space in a former Irish pub, which opened in 2011. The spokesperson added: “We haven’t put an offer in on anywhere (else) yet because we haven’t found the space we need, and because it depends what happens with the other venues we own. We sat down last week to say where we’d start to look, but nothing has been fully decided. We want to do a Burger & Lobster in Manchester but in a smaller venue. This 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 ambience we’re able to create in Mayfair. Manchester has been amazing for us. We’ve learnt a lot and it is a completely different trading pattern and space. We have no intention to leave Manchester at all, and we might evolve the concept a bit.”

Initial part of J D Wetherspoon’s first pub and stand-alone hotel development to open in Huntingdon next week: J D Wetherspoon will open Sandford House in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, on Tuesday, 19 July, seeing in the initial stage of its first pub and stand-alone hotel development. The 22-bedroom hotel will open next door to the pub on 4 October. The £4m development is on the site of The Old Post Office and George Hall in George Street. The pub will have a Rolls-Royce and royal carriage theme when it opens, creating 75 jobs. The pub’s manager, Sarah Hemingway, told the Cambridge News: “Myself and my team are looking forward to welcoming customers into the pub and we are confident it will be a great addition to the Huntingdon community.” Before it became a post office, the grade II-listed building was a substantial private home belonging to coachbuilder Charles Sandford Windover and was known as Sandford House. The adjacent factory made carriages for royalty and then custom-built car bodies, including 800 for Rolls-Royce. J D Wetherspoon bought the buildings in 2013.

Oxford’s biggest comedy club seeking new premises: Leisure businesses in Oxford’s Hythe Bridge Street have received notices to vacate their premises to make way for redevelopment plans, which have recently moved forward following Nuffield College’s agreement to enter a joint venture with Oxford City Council to create a master plan for the Oxpens area of the city. The Glee Club has been operating from Hythe Bridge Street since 2010 and is now looking for an alternative site for its 225-seat comedy club. Glee Club founder and managing director Mark Tughan said: “2016 was turning out to be a record year for the Glee in Oxford, with many sold-out Saturday shows as well as some high-profile appearances by comics on tour, and one or two unannounced “work in progress” shows from the likes of Sarah Millican and Jon Richardson. We would like to hear from publicans, venue operators and landlords who might have rooms or ancillary space that could be used to hold around 250 people at tables, for about 75 shows a year, including every Saturday night. We would be interested in a joint venture – with our partner looking after food and drinks (with us as promoter) – or a letting where we became operators, much like our other three venues in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham. We also like to bring some of the live music we promote at our other venues.” Interested parties should call Tughan on 0121 693 2248 or email mark@glee.co.uk

Gourmet Burger Kitchen opens Beverley site: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has opened its site in Beverley, East Yorkshire, creating more than 30 jobs. The restaurant’s first 100 customers received a free cheeseburger to celebrate the launch of the venue in Flemingate shopping centre, which opened in November. The 106-cover, 3,756 square foot restaurant is adjacent to the six-screen, 1,000-seat Parkway Cinema. The venue’s decor has been inspired by Beverley’s cobbled streets, with rich oak timbers mixed with mid-century design pieces, colours and textures, reflecting the “celebrated culture” of the town, the Hull Daily Mail reports. Gourmet Burger Kitchen chief operating officer Keith Bird said: “With the opening of Flemingate the town of Beverley is thriving, so the time seemed right to open a restaurant in the area. As a new destination in town Flemingate is attracting a lot of attention, so when it came to location the centre stood out for us. The presence of Debenhams and the cinema, together with Flemingate’s proximity to the Minster, helped to seal our decision.” Gourmet Burger Kitchen was founded 15 years ago in Battersea and now operates more than 70 restaurants across the UK.

New cocktail bar and pan-Asian restaurant concept Hyde Kensington launches in London: New cocktail bar and pan-Asian restaurant concept Hyde Kensington has launched in London. The venue in Kensington High Street is a warmly lit space adorned with eclectic art pieces by acclaimed British artist JJ Adams, The Handbook reports. It also features plush sofas and high bar seats. Signature cocktails include Mad Hatter (Bombay Sapphire gin with Hyde ginger brew and fresh lemon juice served in a smoking glass teapot) and Shell Shock (Bacardi Negra, Bacardi Superior, Hyde’s own caramel and coconut mix, and pineapple juice served in a ceramic seashell to share). The food menu features Pan-Asian dishes such as mixed bubbling and smoking sashimi, and sirloin beef bulgogi with lotus root crisps. Hyde Kensington is open from 4pm to 1am on Wednesdays and until 3am, Thursday to Saturday.

Yorkshire-based multi-site operator opens Bird & Beer concept in Beverley: Yorkshire-based multi-site operator Alonzo Goulbourne has launched “California-style” concept Bird & Beer in Beverley. Goulbourne said inspiration for the new restaurant and bar came from California-style chicken restaurants in the US. The restaurateur, who operates six venues in East Yorkshire, including Caribbean restaurant Roots in Beverley, told the Hull Daily Mail: “We wanted to open a really good chicken restaurant with a California style. They’re all around San Francisco and LA. Bird & Beer is a chicken restaurant with craft beers in a really relaxed environment.” The venue in North Bar offers 70 different beers, including 17 on draught. There is space for 80 diners inside, with booths as well as open tables. A spacious outdoor area has more tables, with wicker seating and outdoor heaters. Former Arsenal and Hull City footballer John Hawley, co-owner of the property, added: “It’s a new concept for this area and, from what I have seen, it should be a big success.” Goulbourne’s portfolio consists of the first Roots restaurant in Hull, along with Mexican-themed El Chupitos, Fish and Chip Kitchen, and Aunt Bibby’s Smokehouse, all in Hull.

Bitters ‘n’ Twisted opens Bodega Cantina in Leicester, third Midlands site: Birmingham-based multiple operator Bitters ‘n’ Twisted has opened a third Bodega Cantina, this time in Leicester – the company’s first site in the East Midlands. The company has invested £200,000 in the South American-themed bar and restaurant in St Martin’s Square. Bitters ‘n’ Twisted, founded by Matt Scriven in 2006, has nine other bars and restaurants in the West Midlands, including two other Bodega Cantinas, in Birmingham and Worcester. The concept sees street food favourites such as burritos, nachos and tacos alongside Peruvian and Ecuadorian-inspired mains. There is also a dedicated vegan menu, while drinks include hand-made cocktails. Scriven told the Leicester Mercury: “We are proudly independent – this is our tenth year in business and Bodega Leicester is our tenth venue. People come to us because they don’t want the uniformity and charmless atmosphere of a chain. They want something authentic and niche where they can step into the vibrancy, colour and carnival atmosphere associated with South America.” Last month, Bitters ‘n’ Twisted reported an increase in turnover for the year ending 31 August 2015 of 21% to £6.9m. Overall pre-tax profits increased by 17.7% to £1.15m. Like-for-like sales in the period increased 6.4% to £6.1m, with like-for-like pre-tax profits increasing 18.5% to £1.16m.

Tommi’s Burger Joint to open Soho restaurant this summer, third London site: Tommi’s Burger Joint, which has restaurants in Marylebone and King’s Road, is set to open a third venue in London, this time in Soho, later this summer. The new restaurant in Berwick Street will offer Tommi’s regular favourites – burger, steak burger or chicken burger – with lots of sauces, fries or sweet potato fries and regular specials, with some new dishes added. Tommi’s popular shakes, including coffee shake and coconut shake, will also be on offer, Hot Dinners reports. The Tommi’s Burger Joint concept was launched in Iceland in 1981 by Tomas Tómasson, who brought the brand to the UK in August 2012, opening at a temporary site in Marylebone Street. There is also a Tommi’s Burger Joint in Berlin and another in Copenhagen.

Banwell House Pub Company opens second Bath site: Banwell House Pub Company, led by Toby Brett, has reopened the New Inn at Monmouth Place in Bath after a two-month refurbishment – the company also operates Victoria Pub & Kitchen in Upper Bristol Road. The New Inn’s two bars have been knocked into one, with a new bar, parquet flooring and decoration throughout. A new staircase has been put in to access the “sunniest” roof terrace in Bath and a private meeting room that can be booked for meetings and small parties. The beer offer is six real ales, craft ales, and local cider. There is also a good-quality wine selection from Great Western Wine. The pub’s food offering is simple but quality, featuring “doorstep” sandwiches made with Bath Bakery bread, homemade scotch eggs, local pork pies, and craft burgers. Banwell operate four sites in total.

Peyton and Byrne to open fifth outlet at Kew’s Royal Botanic Gardens: Contract caterer and cafe operator Peyton and Byrne will open its fifth catering outlet at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. The 130-cover, 3,300 square foot restaurant will be the company’s first at Kew to feature all-day table service when it opens in mid-August. The venue will also include an 80-cover dining terrace, as well as a bar and private dining room, and feature original museum artefacts and archives alongside Edwardian and colonial-style furniture. The predominantly plant-based British menu has been created by executive chef Lawrence Keogh, with an emphasis on natural, seasonal ingredients. Keogh’s passion for pickling and preserving will also be in evidence, with some ingredients grown at Kew. The bar will specialise in gin and vermouth, with home-made, plant-infused spirits and Kew-inspired botanical cocktails. Artisan and craft beers will also be available. Peyton and Byrne founder Oliver Peyton said: “This is a really exciting new project and we look forward to working closely with Kew to grow the ‘Why Plants Matter’ concept through the dishes we serve and the ambient restaurant space we will create.” Peyton and Byrne also operates the Orangery Restaurant, Victoria Plaza Café, White Peaks Café and The Pavilion at Kew.

Greene King seeks partner for Newcastle city centre ‘speakeasy’: Brewer and retailer Greene King is looking to transform its Newcastle city centre pub The Northumberland Arms into a Prohibition era-style “speakeasy”. Greene King promises a lavish new interior, with cocktails served in teapots and a “hidden” entrance and is looking for an entrepreneur to join forces with to drive the project. The Northumberland Street bar is tucked into a side entrance to neighbouring Intu Eldon Square, leading visitors underground. Greene King said it would construct a “bookshop” frontage to disguise the pub entrance, giving the venue a distinctive selling point, with 1920s styling throughout. Greene King said a refit would take as little as a month, but the plans would not move forward until an entrepreneur took on the project and licence. Anyone seeking to be involved in the partnership would need to make a minimum investment of £30,000. Greene King Pub Partners managing director Clive Chesser told Chronicle Live: “The new bar would benefit from an experienced operator with a proven track record in developing and growing the night-time drink and food trade.”

Indian restaurateurs to start Tapasya expansion with £1m venue at Hull marina: The owners of high-end Indian restaurant Tapasya in Hull will start expansion by opening their second site in the city. Mukesh Tirkoti and Tapan Mahapatra have invested £1m in the new restaurant – Tapasya at Marina – which will open in the city’s Fruit Market area in September. Overlooking Hull Marina, the restaurant will offer Tapasya’s signature cuisine using farm-to-table seasonal ingredients. The restaurant will be at the heart of a new waterside urban village. Mahapatra told Hull Daily Mail: “We’re excited by the vision for the renewal of the Fruit Market and the substantial investments being made to make the area a thriving place of culture, creativity and commercial activity.” As well as the new village, the £80m regeneration of the Fruit Market will include independent shops and restaurants. Tirkoti said: “The new restaurant will bring 30 new jobs to Hull. We will also offer a takeaway menu for boat owners in the marina, which will be the first of its kind in the area.” The first Tapasya opened in Beverley Road in 2013.

Burning Night Group confirmed for Birmingham opening: Burning Night Group has confirmed its intention to open a bierkeller and sports bar in Birmingham’s Broad Street after agreeing a lease deal on the former Brannigan’s site. The company, which operates venues in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Cardiff under the Bierkeller, Around the World, and Shooters Sports Bar brands, has taken a 15-year lease on the 22,000 square foot property. The Broad Street venue will comprise all three of Burning Night Group’s brands and the company is investing in a significant refurbishment, with an opening scheduled for later this year. The premises has been vacant since Brannigan’s closed in 2013 and was acquired by Addington Capital and a fund advised by Tristan Capital Partners in 2014. Alex Wagstaff, partner at Addington Capital, said: “We are very pleased to welcome The Burning Night Group to Birmingham. It is a superb venue for any ambitious leisure group and it promises to provide something new and vibrant to the already busy Broad Street nightlife experience. We have worked hard to provide an attractive site to this exciting new company, which is making its first investment in the city.” The lease deal was completed by agents Lambert Smith Hampton (LSH) and Fleurets and the Burning Night Group will pay an annual rent of £190,000. Richard Jones, head of retail and leisure (Midlands) at LSH in Birmingham, added: “This is a premium venue in a very popular nightspot in the city centre and it is great news we have helped to attract The Burning Night Group here. The night-time economy is vital and with the footfall in the area calculated at many millions of people each year, opening a new venue of this calibre is a major boost to the leisure offering in Broad Street.”

James Strawbridge to head St Austell Brewery restaurant launching in Cornwall next week: Celebrity chef James Strawbridge will head up the kitchen of a quayside restaurant in Cornwall when it launches next week. Havener’s Bar and Grill will open in Fowey Town on Monday, 18 July following a £1m makeover of the building by owners St Austell Brewery. The Cornwall-based brewer bought the premises in November, with the grade II-listed building comprehensively renovated to create a 150-cover restaurant inside with further seating for 100 outside and takeaway facilities on the quay. The menu, which features gumbo, crab claws and oysters alongside burgers and fish and chips, has been designed to show the best of local produce at family-friendly prices. Strawbridge, of Hungry Sailors and Saturday Farm fame, told West Briton: “We want people to come to Fowey and have their first experience of truly luxurious seafood but we also want to inspire people to go home and try out our menus for themselves. We want to engage with people through masterclasses and workshops and get them to ask questions about the menu. It’s all about confirming Fowey as a true destination for great food.”

Marcus Samuelsson to bring New York restaurant Red Rooster to Shoreditch hotel: Renowned New York City chef Marcus Samuelsson is set to bring his Harlem restaurant Red Rooster to London. The new venue will be part of the Curtain hotel in Shoreditch, which is due to open in late 2016 or early 2017. The hotel’s owner Michael Achenbaum, who also operates the Gansevoort hotel in New York, said the Curtain would feature a private members’ club and a retractable ceiling over the rooftop bar and cafe. Samuelson confirmed to The Observer his legendary yardbird fried chicken and Helga’s meatballs would be on the menu, with the chicken marinated in buttermilk and coconut milk, coated in spices including Ethiopian spice berbere, and fried. Samuelson told Jay Rayner: “Some of the dishes are going to be interpretations of east London, of the dishes of the Jewish community that used to be there and of the Bangladeshi community that’s there now. I’ve always been a fan of the restaurant scene in London so I’m really excited to bring something really fun, social, and delicious.”

Byron secures £12m facility: Better burger brand Byron has secured a £12m banking facility to fund its national expansion plans – it has 65 restaurants in the UK at the moment. The business plans to reach 100 eateries in the next three years. The new agreement has been funded jointly by Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland’s corporate transactions team until 2021. Tom Byng, founder and chief executive of Byron, said: “Santander and Royal Bank of Scotland have proved to be supportive partners over the past two and a half years, during which time the business has nearly doubled in size. We are delighted to continue this partnership with a new funding package ,which will support our ambitious growth plans.” Gary Nutley, head of corporate transactions London and South at Royal Bank of Scotland, added that the bank would “remain committed” to supporting Byron’s growth ambitions. “This is an exciting period for the business and we are pleased to work in partnership with them,” he said. Andrew Tully, head of structured finance, financial sponsors, London at Santander, added: “This deal represents an increase in funding levels and reinforces Santander’s commitment to the branded casual dining sector. We look forward to working with the management team in this next phase of growth.”

Stew & Oyster lines up Otley opening: Leeds bar group Stew & Oyster has submitted plans to convert a listed former school in Otley. Stew & Oyster operates from venues in central Leeds, Oakwood and Boston Spa, serving real ale alongside a selection of the food it is named after. The business, which is owned by partners from eco-friendly development group Citu, has now advanced its plans for a new establishment in Otley’s Manor Square. A planning application has been lodged seeking permission to redevelop the ground and first floor of the Old Grammar School from professional offices and an art gallery into a restaurant and wine bar. According to a heritage statement drawn up by Ethical Planning on behalf of Citu, the applicant recognises it has a “responsibility to champion good design, appropriate methods and materials”. Only minor extensions or modifications are proposed to the 2,450 square foot space and substantial sub-divisions to the historic floor plan have been avoided. Stew & Oyster opened its first venue, off The Calls, in 2009 with further sites opening in 2012 and 2014. The business is currently seeking permission for a floating beer garden to the rear of its Calls Landing operation.

Four Sisters team opens second London site: The team behind The Four Sisters Bar in Islington, north London, has opened its second site in the capital. Simon Bastable and Andrew Green have launched The Four Sisters Townhouse in Bow Lane in the City. The venue offers cocktails, wine and beer as well as artisan bar snacks, sharing dishes and a light food menu. The 54-cover, 720 square foot venue is themed around a Victorian townhouse, including a collection of “eclectic curiosities” salvaged from yards around London. A raised seating area imitates the Four Sisters-style “study”, with a library wall, leather wingback chairs and banquette seating. The mixed drinks menu changes weekly, while a selection of wine and champagne, as well as Camden Town Brewery beer on draught, also feature. Bastable said: “Although adding elements such as an artisan food menu to our original concept, we will retain The Four Sisters Bar’s ethos of contrasting the dedication and professionalism of the bar team with the personality and tone of the venue itself, which is elegant yet mischievous with a wicked sense of humour.”

Plans for mixed-use scheme with restaurants submitted for Haverfordwest: A new mixed-use development, featuring retail and restaurant units, a hotel and a five-screen cinema could be built in Haverfordwest under newly submitted plans. The Conygar Investment Company has submitted two applications covering a retail-led development and cinema and restaurant scheme on two adjoining sites off Slade Lane South. Sainsbury’s had previously been granted consent for a 95,000 square foot superstore and petrol station on the land, but elected not to proceed with its plans last year. Following the decision, Conygar reacquired the 9.6-acre site for about £3m and has now brought forward its own application. Its proposals for the mixed-use scheme include ten retail units, ranging from an 1,800 square foot drive-thru cafe up to a 20,000 square foot variety store and a 60-bedroom hotel. It would also include 434 parking spaces.

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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