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Thu 14th Jul 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Piper Private Equity – opportunity for challenger brands remains undiminished by Brexit: Yasha Estraikh, an executive with private equity firm Piper Private Equity, backers of Be At One and Loungers, has argued that opportunities for smaller challenging brands remain undiminished by Brexit. He said: “With a constant dialogue with entrepreneurs in the consumer space, what struck us at Piper is entrepreneurs’ penchant for cutting out the noise and inspiring those around them to stay confident and motivated. For a strong multi-channel, multi-market consumer brand turning over sub-£20m, the growth opportunities remain undiminished and most will be well insulated from the macro-economic storm higher up. While big retailers such as M&S and Sports Direct post gloomy results and consumer confidence stumbles, innovative retailers and challenger brands will continue to win market share as consumers become fussier with their discretionary spend. The modern entrepreneurial brand is naturally hedged by appealing to its loyal global customer base via social media and with products that tap into the experiential, affordable self-purchase and gifting markets. These entrepreneurs understand that consumers will increasingly want to socialise, and treat themselves and others around them. Infinite plug-ins via Shopify, global advocate nurturing via Instagram, target audience reaching via Facebook advertising, and simple international selling and fulfilment via Amazon make scaling a brand these days both easier and more competitive. We here at Piper are very proud of the UK’s SME entrepreneurs, who are increasingly the powerhouses of innovation, growth and employment, providing 33% of the UK turnover and 48% of private sector employment. In Piper’s current fund alone, our investee entrepreneurs have hired an extra 3,500 people since we invested.”

Industry News:

CGA – global cocktail consumption highlights opportunity for British bars and suppliers: The US has a higher cocktail consumption rate and more ingrained cocktail culture than Britain or France, presenting a great opportunity for British bars and suppliers to learn from their cross-Atlantic counterparts, according to new research from CGA Strategy, which has retailer specialist CGA Peach as a division. The International Cocktail Report revealed cocktails in Britain have moved beyond small demographics and high-end venues, with nearly four in five (78%) British bars now selling them. But the American market remains more developed, with US drinkers choosing from an average repertoire of 6.7 regular “go to” cocktails, compared with 5.3 in Britain and 5.6 in France. However, British cocktail drinkers buy an average of 3.1 cocktails per visit, nearly as many as their US counterparts (3.2), and substantially more than French drinkers (1.9). The report also identified trends in mixed drinks that operators could learn from – such as the surging popularity of spirits such as tequila, mescal and pisco. There are huge opportunities in the British mixed drinks market, the report concluded, especially if bars and suppliers can persuade people to enjoy cocktails across the day, as they do in the US and France. Currently, only 5% of British cocktail drinkers consume them before 2pm, while almost half (44%) of US drinkers who eat out at brunch do so with a cocktail. CGA client services director Rachel Perryman said: “In Britain the cocktail heartland is still a high-tempo, drink-focused night, but in the US there are far fewer pre-conceived barriers around ‘the right occasion’ for cocktails. An opportunity exists to make like our American and French counterparts and broaden our cocktail consumption across the occasions and dayparts.” The International Cocktail Report is based on interviews with 5,300 out-of-home cocktail drinkers in Britain, France and the US.

Whitbread to focus on its strengths with Premier Inn international growth strategy: Whitbread said it planned to focus on its strengths regarding the company’s Premier Inn international growth strategy, concentrating on a smaller number of specific markets where it could generate “good long-term sustainable returns” and where there is the “greatest long-term opportunity to build scale”. Premier Inn will focus on continuing to grow its businesses in Germany and the Middle East and commence a “phased withdrawal” from its operations in India and South East Asia. The company said expansion plans for Premier Inn in the UK remained unaltered, as did Costa’s UK and international growth plans. Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain said: “In April I laid out a three-point plan to build a bigger and better Whitbread. I reiterated the strong growth prospects for Whitbread in the UK, where we have laid out bold milestones for Premier Inn and Costa and confirmed that Whitbread also has an exciting future beyond the UK. A key strategic theme is to focus on our strengths internationally and that means identifying those opportunities to invest our capital and management time wisely to generate the best and most sustainable returns. To build a successful future for Premier Inn overseas, we must focus on those markets where we can grow scale and where our brand proposition is most compelling for our customers.”

Former ALMR chief executive opens second pub: Former Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) chief executive David McHattie and his wife Sam have opened their second pub, the Bridge Inn in Calver in the Peak District National Park, offering a new concept in “social eating and drinking”. A significant investment has effectively doubled the size of the pub’s trading area, created a new kitchen and improved the riverside garden, while retaining the character of the 17th century building. David and Sam McHattie already operate the successful Devonshire Arms in nearby Baslow. David McHattie said: “We are really excited. The Bridge Inn is very different from The Devonshire Arms and it has been a wonderful building to work with. It looks amazing and the feedback so far has been excellent, with guests genuinely amazed by the transformation. It is such a great space to enjoy the sociable experience it affords locals and visitors alike.” Samantha added: “The buzz ahead of us opening was huge and I know everyone locally has been really excited by the refurbishment. This is a pub with a proud history and now an investment has been made to modernise the offer while respecting the integrity and history of the Bridge Inn. Following the success of The Devonshire Arms we had been offered numerous sites with different pub companies but wanted to wait for the right opportunity, and we have found it with the Bridge Inn. It is exciting both for ourselves, the local area and Sheffield to see the very personal vision we had for this pub become a reality.”

CAMRA campaigners bid to save Camberley pub: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has urged Surrey Heath Borough Council to designate the Cambridge Hotel in Camberley an asset of community value (ACV). CAMRA said the pub, which closed on 3 July, was “part of Camberley’s heart and soul”. Stonegate Pub Company took over the Cambridge Hotel in 2011 but recently sold it to London-based investor Shaviram Group, citing the venue as not being a “viable business”. Meanwhile, Shaviram has described the pub as suitable for a “residential development”, reports Get Surrey. An ACV would halt any redevelopment for six months to give groups time to raise money to buy the property. CAMRA spokesman Kevin Travers said: “ACV status offers a valuable level of protection and we have used it to save pubs in the past. It raises the profile of the pub, reminding people it has always been a community asset and engendering a feeling of ownership in the community.” The Cambridge Hotel was built in 1862, while Camberley was still called Cambridge Town. It is the last of 16 pubs that once stood in London Road.

England cricket star to open first pub: England pace bowler Stuart Broad is set to open his first pub in partnership with fellow cricketer Harry Gurney and Dan Cramp, who runs the Larwood & Voce pub at Trent Bridge cricket ground. The trio have set up the Cat & Wickets Pub Company and rented the Three Crowns in the Leicestershire village of Wymeswold from Punch Taverns. They have started a major refurbishment ahead of a reopening in the first week of August. Former England one-day international Gurney told the Loughborough Echo: “In the long-term we hope to have a little group of pubs. We are having a new garden, a pizza oven is going in outside and there is a complete refurb inside. It’s going to give the pub a new lease of life and hopefully provide the village with a nice local pub that does decent, reasonably priced food. Part of the beauty for Broady and I is that while we are playing cricket neither of us needs the money out of the business in the near future so we can allow it to grow organically. I am running the finance side of the business. That interests me, which Dan is more than happy with. He’s happy running a good pub so he will forward the invoices on to me and I will do the book-keeping. Broady will do the PR and will have a big input into the business. He already has contacts in the wine trade.”

Starbucks curates special ‘Unity’ playlist for US stores: Starbucks has started playing a special “Unity” playlist collection at more than 7,500 of its company-operated stores in the US. The playlist is also available for employees and customers through Starbucks’ Spotify profile. The company stated on its website: “For decades, music has been both a mirror that reflects society and culture, and a magnet that unifies people and helps them express common emotions. In the wake of current events, Starbucks Entertainment Team has curated music to foster togetherness through songs that transcend generations and genres.” Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz added: “I am deeply troubled by the events of not only the past week, but the last few years as we face the dysfunction and discord present in our great nation. With stores in nearly every community across America, Starbucks has long served as a place for connection. And while ours is but a small role to play, I am humbled and honoured to share this curated music selection during a time when our country needs to heal and demonstrate empathy for one another more than at any recent time in our history.” The top five tracks on the playlist are Lean On Me by Bill Withers; Wake Up Everybody by John Legend, The Roots, Common and Melanie Fiona; Peace Like A River by Paul Simon; I Shall Be Released by Nina Simone; and Love’s In Need Of Love Today by Stevie Wonder. Music heard in Starbucks stores reaches nearly 90 million customers globally a week.

Company News:

Bristol-based pop-up restaurant and events company The Chocolate Bear Kitchen hits crowdfunding target: Bristol-based pop-up restaurant and events company The Chocolate Bear Kitchen, which provides menus for all diets, has hit the target in its £35,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to begin expansion. The company, founded by James Gordon, is offering a 12.28% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 124 investors have pledged £38,400 and the fund-raise, which expires at midnight on Thursday (14 July), is currently overfunding. The pitch states: “With as many as one in five of the UK population having a food intolerance and 12% of Britons following a vegan or vegetarian diet, it’s so difficult to find a place to eat where everybody gets a choice to eat what they want. Our menu is 100% gluten and refined sugar-free and about half of our menu is vegan. Building on our success as a pop-up, we see an eventual commercial preparation site in Bristol followed by expansion across the UK. This investment is planned for us to increase our staffing, improve our marketing strategy and acquire equipment, meaning we will no longer have to pay rental fees and will have the capacity to host even more pop-up events. There is not a restaurant or pop-up company we know of in our local Bristol area that offers a 100% gluten-free menu with a mix of vegan, vegetarian and meat dishes.”

CG Restaurants & Bars acquires ninth Dirty Martini site: CG Restaurants & Bars has announced the continued growth of its Dirty Martini brand, with the addition of a ninth site, this time in the City of London – it has acquired Mary-Jane’s from the Mint Group. CG will invest £1.2m to transform the 6,500 square foot Minories venue into the group’s ninth Dirty Martini. Mint Group will focus on the roll-out of its restaurant business Mommi and all Mary-Jane’s staff will transfer to CG Restaurants & Bars. Scott Matthews, chief executive at Dirty Martini, said: “This is an incredibly exciting opportunity for Dirty Martini. Over the past three years we have had outstanding success in the City, growing by 8% year-to-date versus 2015 and we strongly feel that Dirty Martini Minories will be a great addition to the portfolio.” The bar group currently operates seven sites across London in Bishopsgate, Clapham, Covent Garden, Hanover Square, Islington, Monument and St Paul’s and will open its first site outside London – in Cardiff – in October.

Brunswick Developments confirms Brighton Marina lettings to Five Guys and MOD Pizza: Brunswick Developments, represented by agent Savills, has confirmed it has let restaurant space at Marina Boardwalk in Brighton to Five Guys and MOD Pizza. The scheme forms part of the new mixed-use West Quay development at Brighton Marina, which is due for completion this month. Five Guys and MOD Pizza have both agreed new 15-year leases, with the former taking a 3,288 square foot (305 square metre) unit at a rent of £115,080 per annum and the latter a 2,943 square foot (273 square metre) unit at a rent of £103,000 per annum. The deals follow recent lettings at West Quay to TGI Friday’s, Casa Brasil, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas. At 127 acres (51 hectares), Brighton Marina is the largest marina complex in Europe and one of the biggest leisure schemes in the south east of England. It is home to an eight screen Cineworld, Rendezvous Casino and numerous multiple restaurant brands, including Café Rouge, Coast to Coast, Zizzi, Nando’s, Prezzo, Frankie & Benny’s, Wetherspoons and Pizza Express. The West Quay development has created an additional seven restaurant units and more than 850 high-end apartments. Carlene Hughes, associate director of the leisure team at Savills, said: “Five Guys and MOD Pizza will further strengthen the restaurant offer at Marina Boardwalk and enhance Brighton Marina’s reputation as one the UK’s premier leisure schemes. Talks are under way about letting the last remaining unit and we look forward to announcing more details in due course.” Montagu Evans acted for Five Guys and MOD Pizza.

Domino’s launches hybrid burger-pizza in India: Domino’s Pizza has taken its fight for the quick service restaurant sector in India to the burger realm by launching a hybrid burger-pizza. The cunningly named BurgerPizza will hit Domino’s stores in India this week. The BurgerPizza comes in two vegetarian and non-vegetarian variants. Unlike most burgers, it doesn’t have a patty but is loaded with herbs, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese and is oven-baked. Dev Amritesh, president and chief business officer of Domino’s Pizza India, told The Economic Times: “It only looks like a burger, but has all the goodness of a pizza inside.” The branded foodservice industry in India is set to reach $8bn by 2020, according to a recent Euromonitor consumer food service report. In terms of the quick service restaurant market share, burgers occupy 29.9%, compared with 26.7% for pizzas. Abraham Koshy, professor of marketing at Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, said he believed brand loyalty for Domino’s had outgrown product loyalty for pizzas. He said: “By launching burgers, Domino’s will make itself product independent.”

Pint Shop to create special brew for Oxford opening: Pint Shop, the award-winning Cambridge beer house that specialises in meat, bread and beer, is collaborating with De Molen Brewery, a Netherlands-based craft brewer, to brew a beer to celebrate the opening of its second site in Oxford later in the year. The collaboration comes after Pint Shop brewed a gin and tonic beer with Nene Valley brewery earlier this year, which proved hugely successful. The Pint Shop team will head to De Molen Brewery this month to brew Grapefruit Pale Ale to be sold at its new site. De Molen is an award-winning brewery with a list of accolades, including being rated tenth out of 100 in RateBeer’s “Best Brewers in the World”. This partnership also adds to a long list of renowned collaborations for De Molen brewery, including with Redchurch Brewery and Brew By Numbers. Pint Shop co-owner Rich Holmes said: “We really enjoyed visiting Nene Valley to brew our gin and tonic beer earlier this year, and can’t wait for this trip to De Molen. Our plan is to partner with two different brewers each year to produce a series of outstanding beers. The last beer was a huge success with the people of Cambridge and we hope the next brew will be equally as popular with our new customers in Oxford. We’ll certainly look to continue to create beers to tie in with special events, and also our expanding site portfolio.”

Restaurant opportunities available in new Swansea leisure quarter: Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has brought the last two A3 units at the new City Gates restaurant and leisure quarter in the centre of Swansea to market. The units have flexible sizes, ranging from 3,010 square feet to 15,715 square feet. The City Gates complex already features a 12-screen Vue multiplex cinema, a 116-bedroom Premier Inn, and restaurants including TGI Friday’s, The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito’s, Nando’s, and American-style burgers and ribs concept Smoke Haus. The complex also has its own 255-space multi-storey car park and is close to the city’s universities. Davis Coffer Lyons associate director Connie Start said: “We are seeking two further food and beverage operators to complement the mix and create a dynamic tenant line-up at the scheme. The City Gates has a prominent city centre position, close to the Waterfront Marina and within easy walking distance of the National Waterfront Museum and the indoor water park.”

Koh Thai Tapas to launch 11th site with Romsey restaurant opening this month: Koh Thai Tapas will open its 11th site, this time in Romsey, Hampshire, on Thursday, 28 July. The opening, on the site of the former Berties restaurant, will come within weeks of the company launching its Koh Noi concept in Winchester. The 80-cover Romsey restaurant will offer several smaller dishes, including 24-Hour Ribs, Jungle Curry, and Special Crispy Squid. For busy office workers there will be a “Light Lunch – Eat in 30 Minutes” menu offering a selection of healthy dishes for less than £10, served from midday to 3pm. Koh Thai Tapas chief executive Andrew Lennox said: “Romsey is a fantastic addition to the Koh Thai Tapas brand. Customers from Romsey visiting our Ringwood and Salisbury restaurants have been pestering me to open for some time – and it’s finally happened.” Lennox predicted Koh Thai would be a hit with families during the school holidays, with a focus on reasonably priced healthy eating combined with a “dining experience” for the parent as well as their offspring. Kevin Marsh, from Savills, acted on behalf of Koh Tai in the Romsey deal. The first Koh Thai restaurant opened in Boscombe, Dorset, in 2009. Its 12th site is expected to open later this year.

New British small plate concept Grain launches in Colchester: New concept Grain, a restaurant featuring a menu focused on British food offered in small plates, has opened in Colchester, Essex. Paul Wendholt and Jordan Sidwell opened the venue in North Hill on the site of the former Hudson and Hudson restaurant. Its British menu replaces the conventional three-course meal with five or more starter-sized plates under four different headings – garden, water, land, and sweet. The cost is reflected in the smaller portions so diners can afford to experiment. The owners’ vision is to have an immersive workforce, with front-of-house staff comfortable in the kitchen and chefs who happily chat with guests. Wendholt told the Daily Gazette: “It doesn’t matter to us whether we’re hugely busy straight away because what we’re doing is so different and we also need to understand how our back-of-house systems work and what we expect from ourselves and our staff.”

Krispy Kreme opens drive-thru doughnut store and production hub in Peterborough: Krispy Kreme has opened a drive-thru doughnut store and production hub in Peterborough. The company opened the 4,577 square foot Hotlight site in Hampton having previously agreed a deal with landlord Sladen Estates. The venue has about 40 seats, a drive-thru lane and a production hub supplying doughnuts to all Krispy Kreme in-store cabinets within a one-hour radius. The new venue is one of only 11 Hotlight sites in the country. It opens from 8am and also serves coffee and Kreme shakes. Chief marketing officer Judith Denby told the Peterborough Telegraph: “Our Hotlight stores provide the ultimate way for doughnut-lovers to experience the joy and excitement of Krispy Kreme. It will allow customers to see and smell the magic at work in its unique doughnut theatre – a true sensory experience. From hand-dipping the doughnuts to sprinkling and piping the decorative finishes, Krispy Kreme’s skilled production teams will be working around the clock to ensure each doughnut in its 16-strong range is unique and tastes delicious.”

Family-run business opens vegetarian Indian restaurant, second Norwich site: The husband-and-wife team that operates the Namaste India vegetarian restaurant in Norwich has opened a second site in the city. Vijay and Urmila Jetani will open Namaste Village in Queens Road with Vijay’s brother Dalsukh, his wife Drashti and friend Rudhika Vaghasiya. Vijay Jetani told the Eastern Daily Press: “The family aspect is one of our biggest strengths – the business keeps us together as a family, we all work as a unit, all live together in one house and share lots of the same philosophies. Everybody who cooks learned through their mothers – watching, experimenting and tasting. This means we have authentic Indian recipes that are unique to our family.” Like Namaste India, the restaurant offers only vegetarian food, with several vegan and gluten-free dishes. Vijay Jetani added: “We are all vegetarians, so I would not feel true to our principles serving meat dishes when we don’t eat it ourselves.”

Star Pubs & Bars reports 17% increase in applications for its pubs: Star Pubs & Bars has seen a 17% increase in applications for its pubs in the first six months of 2016. This has made it the busiest half-year ever for applications, with interest in taking on a Star pub at a three-year high year in June. Experienced pub operators accounted for 40% of applicants, while those with wider hospitality experience accounted for 17%. To encourage applicants from outside the pub industry, Star is increasing the level of one-to-one support at the start of the application process. The extra support will help those without licensing experience understand what is involved in running a pub prior to putting together detailed business plans for their interviews. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “We are seeing strong applicants coming forward, often with hospitality experience or a business management background. It is important as an industry we continue to look at ways to attract and support these prospective licensees as they have the skills needed and bring fresh ideas and energy to the industry.”

Intu Bromley opens alfresco dining area and extends opening hours to boost night-time footfall: Intu has opened an alfresco dining area at its Bromley shopping centre and extended retailers’ opening hours in a bid to boost night-time footfall. Retailers at Intu Bromley have extended their opening hours until 7pm to attract the expected rise in visitors to the restaurant terrace, where casual dining brands including better burger brand Byron, Carluccio’s, Giraffe, Wagamama, and YO! Sushi will now open until 11pm. Car parks at the centre will also remain open later – until midnight. The extension, which is also the second UK site for American pizza brand Project Pie, forms part of Intu’s £600m, three-year development programme to bring new leisure facilities to its shopping centres. Intu regional director Rebecca Ryman said: “I’m delighted our retailers are embracing the improvements these new restaurants are set to bring Intu Bromley’s trading by staying open later as this will attract new customers from further and for longer.”

IOVOX and liveRES unite for slice of PizzaExpress bookings: Online booking service liveRES and call tracking and analytics specialist IOVOX have joined forces to provide PizzaExpress with a fully integrated online and telephone-based table reservations system. liveRES, which is part of Zonal Retail Data Systems, won the online reservations account following a competitive pitch. A key part of its success was the flexibility of the liveRES system to integrate with IOVOX’s over-the-phone booking service. The new system will be rolled out across the 450-strong PizzaExpress estate and means customers can make bookings 24 hours a day online or by telephone. The cloud-based platform will also allow PizzaExpress to access booking statistics and fully automate its reservations and table management. Olivia FitzGerald, liveRES managing director, said: “The combined insights created by liveRES and IOVOX will enable PizzaExpress to become ever more agile and react to customer behaviours as people become increasingly mobile. Smartphones and internet access have led customers to make bookings on the go, so it makes sense for restaurants to match demand and adopt technology that helps deliver the ultimate customer service.”

D&D London offering ethical water brand at all sites: Restaurant Group D&D London is selling ethical bottled brand One Water at its 35 sites in a move to help transform five million lives by 2020. Profits from One Water sales fund sustainable water projects, with more than £14m already raised to provide clean, safe water to more than three million people in the world’s poorest communities. By selling glass bottles of still and sparkling One Water, D&D London has become a key supporter, with the aim to help The One Brand hit a target of raising £20m for water projects by 2020. The One Brand founder and managing director Duncan Goose said: “More than two million people die every year from waterborne diseases and most are children under five years old. By serving One Water, D&D London and its customers are helping us to make a real difference on the other side of the world. It’s that simple.”

Plans submitted for new micro-pub in Peterborough: Plans to convert a vacant shop into a micro-pub have been lodged with Peterborough City Council. The applicant, Steven Williams, has filed a change of use application to convert 78 Storrington Way. The unit is in a residential area in Werrington and is part of a parade of shops serving the area. The property has been empty for a number of years. In planning documents submitted to the city council, the applicant said the venture would complement the existing businesses within the parade of shops and might provide them with “additional trade”. The application further added that the scheme would “fully respect the local amenity” and would not have an “undue or unacceptable impact on local people or businesses”. The micro-pub would be open from Wednesday to Sunday.

The Duck Truck opens at Boxpark Shoreditch, second London site: The Duck Truck has launched an “all-duck casual dining experience to eat in or take away” at Boxpark Shoreditch, the company’s second London site. The menu includes rotisserie-cooked crispy duck wraps, crispy duck salads, brioche duck buns, duck breast steaks, confit duck leg, and duck fat chips. The concept is the brainchild of Ed Farrell, who opened the first Duck Truck in a permanently sited Airstream caravan in Lamb Street, Spitalfields, in 2012. Farrell said: “Duck is such a misunderstood meat in the UK and my mission is to put duck on everyone’s plate. Ducks are raised with high welfare standards and the meat is so tasty. It’s the healthy option too, less fatty than chicken when comparing the meat and the fat has similar properties to olive oil.”

Gin brand owner to open first bar: The company behind Langley’s No 8 Gin has selected Birmingham as the location for its first bar. Charter Brands will launch the venue in Great Western Arcade later this year. It has agreed a lease on units 32 and 33, which total 1,700 square feet. Charter Brands director Mark Dawkins said: “We have worked hard to build the Langley’s brand over the past few years and we’ve seen the city of Birmingham take real pride and ownership in it, so it makes absolute sense that our first permanent bar is situated in the heart of the city centre. The buzz around gin shows no sign of abating and consumers’ thirst to learn more about the history of the product, coupled with the growth of experiential events, makes this the right time for us to do this.” James Roberts, centre manager at Great Western Arcade, added: “Over the past two years, we have repositioned the Great Western Arcade as the home of retail pioneers. Adding this bar to our existing offering reaffirms our position in the retail market and we’re delighted they have chosen the arcade as the home of their first permanent retail venture. We welcome about 100,000 visitors a week from across the shopping and commercial quarters, which puts us in the best position for retailers looking to target both markets.” Refurbishment work on the two retail units are now under way. Langley’s No 8 Gin is distilled in Oldbury, near West Bromwich.

Where The Pancakes Are pop-up to launch permanent London Bridge restaurant: Popular pop-up and street food trader Where The Pancakes Are will open its first permanent restaurant – at Flat Iron Square, London Bridge, in September. The brainchild of Patricia Trijbits, the restaurant will offer sweet and savoury pancakes, from breakfast buttermilk stacks to buckwheat blinis, served with a selection of craft ciders and prosecco. Along with simple pancake stacks served with chocolate sauce, maple-agave syrup and butter, or lemon and sugar, the menu will also include the “American” (smoked streaky bacon and blueberries), “Australian” (roast corn, grilled tomatoes, creme fraiche, preserved lemon, avocado and spinach), and “Hummingbird” (caramelised pineapple, toasted almonds, coconut, lime syrup and mint). There will also be a menu section dedicated to blinis, including buckwheat with salmon and creme fraiche or mackerel and salsa verde toppings, Hot Dinners reports.

MeatUp opens in Wandsworth: MeatUp has opened in Wandsworth Town, bringing “the British barbecue indoors”. Located in Old York Road, the all-day restaurant and late-night bar was created by former nightclub owner Sachin Khanna (Libertine and Raffles). Head chef Stephen Hinkley, who arrives via Meatopia and Foxlow (Hawksmoor Group), has created a menu based on British ingredients, working with some of the best butchers and farmers in the country.

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

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

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