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Wed 20th Jul 2016 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Coffer Peach Tracker – overall like-for-likes up 1.8% on June 2015, pub chains helped by TV football, outperformed casual dining: Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales up 1.8% in June against the same month last year, boosted mainly by later school holidays, according to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Pub chains, which also benefited from televising of the Euro 2016 football tournament, reported collective like-for-likes up 2.0% for the month, while restaurant groups were ahead 1.4%. “The later school half-term break, which this year fell in June against May in 2015, was a big factor in the improved performance, having had a corresponding negative impact last month,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group, RSM and UBS. “The truth is that the eating and drinking out market remains sluggishly slow, with underlying growth of only about 1% year on year,” he added. “The sales growth in June essentially all came in the first week, which enjoyed a double-digit boost. Our weekly figures show that the rest of the month was generally negative, despite football being on TV. Pubs did benefit from the football, with drink-led pubs and bars, especially those outside London, up 3.8% on last June, but that was generally evened out by a drop off in eating out. There is also some evidence that drink-led businesses have benefited from the National Living Wage putting a few more pounds in the pockets of younger, blue collar workers, although that’s not replicated across the market,” Martin said. Regionally, London had a tougher month than the rest of Britain, reversing the situation in May. Like-for-like sales inside the M25 were up just 0.1% in June, against plus 2.5% outside. Total sales for the month among the 33 companies in the Tracker cohort were up 5.7% on June 2015, reflecting the fact groups are still opening new sites, especially outside London. “Despite some fluctuations from month to month, the market is showing only slow underlying growth reflecting both increased competition and more uncertain economic times. The annual trend shows sector like-for-likes were running at just 1.1% up for the 12 months to the end of June, with restaurant chains up 2.0%, pub groups ahead 0.5% and very little difference between London and the rest of the country,” Martin added. “As for the impact of the Brexit vote, July figures will give a clearer picture, but early indications from our weekly data suggest little difference either way, although that might be down to the weather.” Trevor Watson, executive director valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The overall increase in total sales from the participating companies continues to show the extent to which corporates are winning trade from independents. The sample is showing a slight reduction in number of outlets, as operators continue to refine and improve their portfolios. We expect to see this trend accelerate as operators seek to maximise returns from their prime estate. The economic headwinds that were building in the early part of 2016 are likely to be with us for the rest of 2017, fuelled by Brexit economic uncertainty and international terrorism. The change in the value of sterling will help to sustain revenue figures in London, but will lead to increased cost pressures for all operators, some of which will probably be passed on through price increases. That could help support this index over the next few months.”

Industry News:

Haysmacintyre and Propel benchmarking survey launched: The third annual haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index benchmarking survey for multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators in association with Propel has launched. The foremost financial benchmarking study for pubs, restaurants and bars – covering trading, staffing, capital and funding, and property – the survey report will deliver quality financial data and benchmarking intelligence to help hospitality businesses understand their sector better and improve operations. If you would like to complete the survey and receive the final report, please click on this link. The survey closes on Wednesday, 27 July. Information provided will be reproduced anonymously within this year’s haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index report, which will be published in September. Data and comments will not be attributed to respondents.

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), 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), and HOP Vietnamese (authentic Vietnamese “fast, fresh and fearless” food). 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

Cask Marque to sponsor CAMRA 2017 Good Beer Guide: Industry watchdog for quality beer Cask Marque will sponsor the 2017 Good Beer Guide. The 44th edition of the Campaign for Real Ale’s (CAMRA) Good Beer Guide will be published in September and list the best 4,500 pubs in the country chosen by its 180,000-plus membership. The book will also include the growing number of breweries, which continues to hit record levels. Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said: “The Good Beer Guide is dedicated to rewarding pubs for their excellent quality beer, their customer service and the overall atmosphere and benefits that each establishment brings to the consumer. As a leading pursuer of excellence in the cask ale industry, Cask Marque is delighted to once again team up with CAMRA to support this publication, which is essential reading for so many pub-goers.” Good Beer Guide editor Roger Protz added: “Cask Marque has been striving for years to ensure Britain’s pubs meet the highest standards of beer quality and this has been an integral factor in rewarding so many Cask Marque-accredited pubs with an entry into the guide. Cask Marque’s support of the guide also illustrates the book remains vital reading matter for those seeking to find the perfect pint in their local area or in a place they may be visiting.”

HospitalityGEM and Trail reveal guest experience reporting partnership: Guest experience management experts HospitalityGEM has partnered with operations management app Trail to add guest experience reporting to a range of data feeds to help general managers keep on top of their operation. Trail is an operations management app that distributes tasks for teams to follow step by step. It focuses on management of repeat processes and delivering business critical tasks to the right people at the right time. Using the app allows businesses to scale efficiently, cut admin and maintain operational standards. Reports from guests, including detailed mystery visits, can now appear in the “trail” of daily tasks, all of which are tracked to ensure appropriate actions are being taken throughout the day to maintain a consistently high standard of service. Managers view headline results and can link to a deeper level report where required. HospitalityGEM managing director Steven Pike said: “Co-ordinating data and actions in this way will help managers to be better informed and more effective in driving standards and revenue.”

Web-enabled ‘universal supper club’ launches crowdfunding campaign: Web-enabled “universal supper club” Social Republic has launched a £75,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs for marketing and to improve its technical software. The company, founded by David Chapple and Sebastian Sulinski, is offering a 4.76% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Social Republic is a web-enabled membership community for people who want to join social dining events and take part as an organiser or host. Another way to think of it is as a 'universal supper club’. We aim to make it easier to organise an initial event and start supper clubs with less risk and commitment. We also aim to support the true social process throughout and after the meals. Events can occur in any venue such as pubs, bistros, restaurants and homes – or anywhere the organiser desires. Joining is free. We alert registered members to events happening in the areas where they live, work and visit. To be a guest or organiser requires a modest subscription. Our first release in 2011 showed users wanted the service, were prepared to pay for it, and interest came from across the country. We have gained valuable insights into cluster activity and the positive effect of marketing in localised areas. In 2016, we released a second beta embodying the lessons learned, and to enable a more effective business model. We are now ready to initiate marketing and engage with partners. We intend to use the proceeds to improve the software, for marketing, and to bring in support for operations and marketing.”

Locanda Locatelli sommelier named UK’s best for Italian wine: Matteo Montone, sommelier at Michelin-starred London restaurant Locanda Locatelli, has won the Best UK Sommelier 2016 award at Italian food and wine expo Bellavita. The award, sponsored by prosecco brand Villa Sandi and overseen by the UK Italian Sommelier Association, saw 16 sommeliers battle it out in a series of tests, including blind tastings and food and wine pairings. Montone beat Valentin Rodosa, of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and Jonathan Giffin, of China Tang, in the final. The finalists were asked to serve VIP guests with wines to complement their chosen dishes and to describe the wines, prepare cocktails, identify wine emblems, vineyards and leading wine personalities. Bellavita is the largest “made in Italy” food and wine trade show in the UK. This year it took place at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London.

Company News:

Costa Coffee reports 30% increase in footfall at Pokémon spotting stores: Following the launch of mobile app game Pokémon Go last week, Costa Coffee has seen a 30% increase in footfall across its Pokémon spotting stores. Pokémon have been sighted in two Worcester Costa stores – in St Martin’s Quarter and The Cross – since the app launched last Thursday, which in turn has resulted in a 10% sales uplift on the day of launch. Following the rise, Costa is encouraging players to share their Costa Pokémon sightings via the Costa Facebook page and is looking into introducing a Pokéstop selector on its online store locator. Pokémon Go player Jordan Scriven, 21, from Dudley, said he managed to capture more than 50 Pokémon at a Worcester Costa store. He said: “I came down to Worcester on the train and noticed there was a Pokéstop at Costa. In the last hour I’ve caught about 50 Pokémon!” Scriven also identified that the St Martin’s Worcester store is a PokéGym, a location where Pokémon can be trained. Caroline Harris, UK marketing director at Costa, said: “Our stores are proving to be the perfect place for Pokémon across the country to hang out. With our free Wi-Fi and irresistible coffee, we’re looking forward to seeing more Pokémon finders and Pokémon characters come through our doors over the summer.”

Harry Ramsden’s to open £2.5m next-generation restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow: Fish and chip restaurant brand Harry Ramsden’s will open its next generation £2.5m restaurant at Blackpool Tower tomorrow (Thursday, 21 July). “Harry Ramsden at the Tower” features a modern take on seaside design, which has been specially created for Blackpool and its iconic landmark. As well as a wide-ranging menu of fresh, cooked to order rotisserie and grilled seafood and meat dishes, together with Harry’s world famous fish and chips and much more, the new outlet will provide takeaway as well as sit-in facilities for more than 200 diners. In addition, the new-look outlet, which has created 100 jobs and safeguarded another 30 following the closure of the company’s Promenade restaurant, will include gin and craft beer bars and a standalone cocktail bar as well as smoothie and juicing stations. £2.1m has been invested in the venture by Boparan Ventures, the owners of Harry Ramsden’s, with Blackpool Council contributing £400,000 towards building works. Harry Ramsden’s chief executive Joe Teixeira said: “Harry’s is moving into the next phase of its evolution, where we book-end our classic and most loved favourite dishes with a new range of innovative, tasty and great value options served in modern-day, seaside surroundings, and we are thrilled to showcase this new face of Harry Ramsden’s in the north’s favourite town. We believe Blackpool’s most iconic landmark is the ideal location from which to unveil the modern-day face of Harry’s, as both brands combine the proudest of heritages wrapped up firmly in a family focus. Just as the Tower itself recently enjoyed a major revamp, with this new opening we will unveil a totally new look which retains all the key elements which Harry himself introduced, but better reflects the modern-day face of Harry Ramadan’s.”

Tiny Rebel reveals plans for new £2.6m brewery in Newport to support growth: Award-winning brewery Tiny Rebel has revealed plans for a new £2.6m brewery and community space in Newport, South Wales. The new premises mark the start of significant expansion that will increase the brewery’s capacity more than five-fold. Since it was started four years ago by co-founders Brad Cummings and Gazz Williams, Tiny Rebel has rapidly grown. As well as opening two Urban Tap House pubs in Cardiff and Newport, the brewery has released a list of limited edition beers alongside a strong-performing core range, which includes its Welsh red ale, Cwtch – the Champion Beer of Britain 2015. Due to the success, Tiny Rebel has found itself at full capacity, spurring plans for larger brewing facilities to meet increasing demand. The new site will cover nearly 30,000 square feet and will include a bar and event space as well capacity for bottling and canning lines. It will also have significantly increased storage, which will allow for a large increase in production. In total, the new site allows for the business to expand capacity to five million litres annually – nearly nine million pints. Cummings said: “Tiny Rebel Brewery started life in a garage, born out of our passion for flavoursome, drinkable beers. Four years later, the business is making dramatic progress. We’ve established ourselves with award-winning brews like Cwtch and built a growing community of Tiny Rebel fans. This £2.6m relocation and expansion is a project we’ve been looking at for the past 24 months and one all the Tiny Rebel team have put their heart and soul into. As we were desperate for additional capacity in both brewing and packaging, this will enable us to do even more to support the growing demand for Tiny Rebel beer, both at home and abroad.”

Wahaca to launch food product range: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca will launch a new food product range from Monday (25 July). Developed by Wahaca co-founder and former MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and her team, the new soft taco kits and Mexican ingredients range will, for the first time, give customers the opportunity to experience a taste of the brand’s authentic Mexican street food at home. The range is being launched in partnership with All About Food and will be available in up to 900 Tesco supermarkets as well as selected Wahaca restaurants. The taco kits come in three varieties, each varying in its level of heat, ranging from mild to hot, and will include tortillas, marinade and salsa. They are the “tomatillo & garlic mojo”, “tomato & smoky chipotle” and the “fiery habanero & achiote”. The range of individual ingredients available will include the “tomato & smoky chipotle”, and “garlic & chipotle” marinades as well as “tomatillo” and “chipotle” salsas. Miers said: “We are so excited to launch our soft taco kits this month. It has certainly been the year of the taco and so we are thrilled to be able to offer these simple, easy-to-use kits which will allow our customers and loyal fans to create a taste of Mexico in their own home.”

Turtle Bay to open Exeter restaurant next month, first site in Devon: Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, will open a restaurant in Exeter next month. The company will open its first Devon site at the new £12m Queen Street dining quarter at the redeveloped Guildhall Shopping Centre on Tuesday, 23 August, creating more than 50 jobs. It has invested £800,000 in the 215-seat venue, which spans 4,015 square feet and will feature an open kitchen and island bar. Customers can expect to see repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and old speakers. A spokesman told the Exeter Express & Echo: “The restaurant is designed to create the perfect atmosphere for enjoying bold, spicy food and drink, and its ‘look’ is as vibrant and lively as you might expect, with each restaurant designed bespoke for its location.” Other restaurant brands set to open in the dining quarter include The Stable, the artisan pizza and cider brand in which Fuller’s has a 76% stake, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, barbecue restaurant Grillstock, and Faucet Inn’s Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. Turtle Bay, which was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema in 2010, has 29 sites across the UK.

Individual Restaurants’ Opera Grill opening to complete Chester Dining Quarter: Individual Restaurants’ new venue, Opera Grill, will complete Chester’s Dining Quarter when it opens in the “first two weeks” of August. The Manchester-based group’s new venue will be the flagship for its Restaurant Bar & Grill brand. It will be in a former Methodist chapel in Pepper Street, sandwiched between Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas and The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, which opened last year along with Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga. The 250-cover restaurant will feature rooftop dining, with three bars over two levels, including a glazed pavilion on the first floor. The ground floor will also feature a stage for live performances by DJs, musicians and perhaps even opera. The open kitchen area will include large, wood-fired ovens, creating a “theatre of food”, where diners will “see the production from beginning to end”. Individual Restaurants’ other brands are Piccolino, Bank Restaurant & Bar, and its collaborations with celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo.

Thai Leisure Group launches new Thaikhun children’s menu: Thai Leisure Group has launched a new children’s menu for its Thaikhun brand. More than 50 parents and children were invited to get involved in developing the menu with parenting blogger Alice Judge-Talbot. The “mix and match” concept sees youngsters choose from a selection of dishes, with each element served separately allowing children to experiment with new tastes. Flavours include Thai green curry, pad thai and creamy nut-free chicken satay. Served with a crunchy vegetable pot to start and ice lolly for dessert, the menu also includes a drink. Additionally, Thaikhun has teamed up with National Geographic Kids Magazine to give youngsters a mini-magazine filled with activities and fun facts about Thailand. Thai Leisure Group managing director Ian Leigh said: “We are extremely excited to have launched a menu we know our customers will love, because they’ve helped us to create it. Our aim is to bring families together with an experience parents will love and that excites young diners, leaving a lasting impression. For the most adventurous young diners, Thaikhun is offering free creepy crawlies, an experience the little ones won’t soon forget.”

Newcastle-based Spanish food and drink importer lodges plans to open tapas restaurant in city: Newcastle-based Spanish food and drink importer Kaltur Food has lodged plans to open a tapas restaurant in the city. The company has applied to the city council to transform the former End Clothing shop in High Bridge into the Kaltur Restaurant, which would specialise in hot and cold Spanish food, wines, sherries and cocktails. It has applied for a premises licence to open from 10am to midnight, and also proposes to have a small area to sell wine and food to take away, reports Chronicle Live. The company runs a business importing Spanish food and drink to sell online and through its shop in Heaton. It sells cheese, olive oil, cold meat, aperitifs, seafood, snacks, condiments and wine. Kaltur Food’s origins lie in the olive oil business, which it has been involved in for more than four generations, under the Olivares Campo de Jódar name, harvesting its own olive groves in Jódar, southern Spain.

Wasabi to open restaurant in Oxford this autumn: London-based sushi and bento business Wasabi is to open a site in Oxford this autumn. The company is opening the restaurant in the former Vodaphone shop at the junction of Cornmarket Street and Market Street, creating 30 jobs. Spokesman Sam Rees-Williams told the Oxford Times: “We are very excited about opening a new branch in Oxford. We started out 13 years ago as the only food retailer selling individually wrapped pieces of sushi. For shoppers it will make a change from the usual sandwiches and salads, and as well as sushi there will also be hot food bento boxes featuring hearty Japanese classics like chicken katsu curry.” Wasabi opened its first site in 2003 on London’s Embankment and now has 46 restaurants in the UK.

Berber & Q Grill House team to open second site on Monday, in Exmouth Market: The team behind London-based Berber & Q Grill House will open its second restaurant in the capital on Monday (25 July). Josh Katz and Mattia Bianchi are launching the Berber & Q Shawarma Bar in Exmouth Market. The new 40-cover venue will specialise in shawarma, slow-cooked on a rotating spit over hot coals. Lamb shawarma will lead the new menu, with Middle Eastern-style rotisserie chicken also central to the offering. Diners will be encouraged to make wraps with the meat and condiments. Enormous, bi-fold windows will open out on to Exmouth Market and feature a takeaway hatch. Inside, there will be a bar, an open kitchen and a second dining room, with seating comprising a mixture of tan leather bar stools and steel-framed low stools, tucked under reclaimed wood tables. The drinks offer will include Middle Eastern frozen slush cocktails, wine and beer. Katz, who has previously worked at the Ottolenghi, Galvin Bistrot Deluxe and Zest restaurants, will take influence for Berber & Q Shawarma Bar from Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Israel as well as closer to home – the shawarma houses of Golders Green he visited as a schoolboy growing up in London. Bianchi said: “Shawarma Bar will continue Berber & Q’s relaxed and informal vibe, a place to celebrate good company and down-to-earth eating and drinking. Exmouth Market seemed a fitting location for our second restaurant too – we’re lucky to be in the company of many great restaurants and chefs.”

Martha Ortiz to launch Mexican restaurant at InterContinental London Park Lane: Renowned chef Martha Ortiz will bring her celebrated Mexican gastronomy to London in a new restaurant at InterContinental London Park Lane. The restaurant’s exclusive entrance will be at the convergence of Mayfair, Knightsbridge, Hyde Park and Piccadilly. The restaurant will open in early 2017, designed by David Collins Studio (Zedel, Bob Bob Ricard, The Wolseley), and feature many references to Mexican design and culture. The InterContinental already houses a restaurant led by celebrity chef Theo Randall. Ortiz, chef patron of Mexico City’s award-winning Dulce Patria, is recognised for resurrecting and reinvigorating Mexican culinary traditions. She has penned eight cookbooks and appears regularly on television in central America. She said: “We will deliver the beauty, vibrancy and spirit of Mexico to London in a total experience of the senses.”

The ONE Group opens 12th STK site, in Ibiza, first licensed agreement restaurant: The ONE Group has opened the 12th site of its international steak restaurant brand STK, in Ibiza. The company has launched STK Ibiza at the Ibiza Corso Hotel and Spa at Marina Botafoch in Ibiza Town. It marks the brand’s first location in Spain, joining other European sites in London and Milan. The restaurant features two dining floors, as well as two private dining rooms, a main lounge, and a terrace with sweeping ocean views. The ONE Group chief executive Jonathan Segal said: “STK Ibiza marks a big milestone for the brand and our company overall, as the 12th STK. We are thrilled to open our newest location on an island internationally known as a destination for the best in nightlife and entertainment. STK Ibiza also provides an opportunity for the company to drive high-margin licensing revenue at low capital cost – a significant part of our strategy as we continue to expand the STK brand.” The ONE Group entered into a licensing agreement with Dubai-based Foxhole Holdings to develop the Ibiza property. The agreement includes a one-time entry fee, as well as ongoing royalties based on sales from the restaurant. Additional STK restaurants currently in development in cities across the globe include Edinburgh, San Diego, Denver, Boston, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Puerto Rico and Toronto.

BrewDog outlines ‘hit list’ for new bar locations: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has outlined its “hit list” of towns and cities for new bar openings and the criteria required for potential sites. The company is offering a £1,000 finder’s fee to anyone who identifies a suitable location. The company said UK locations to pay particular attention to are Brixton, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford and Peckham, while internationally it was eyeing Copenhagen, Paris, Reykjavik, Vienna and Zurich. BrewDog also outlined five criteria for sites – 1,800 to 4,000 square feet in size (550 to 1,200 square metres); ground-floor location (all on one level preferred); prominent frontages (lots of cool windows are ideal!); corner sites (always work well for a BrewDog bar); and away from major licensed/leisure areas (no retail or leisure parks). BrewDog stated in its blog: “As we move into the second half of the year it is high time we dusted off the covers of our BrewDog Bar Hunt Atlas to scour the globe once again. We have a hit list of UK and international sites on the radar and, as ever, we are drafting our legion of craft beer fans to aid us in that quest. As we can’t be everywhere at once, your help in unearthing potential sites can often be the difference in us opening a cutting-edge craft beer bar in a particular city. Oh, and if that weren’t reward enough, there’s also a £1,000 finder’s fee!” Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, 31 August.

Coffee#1 submits plans to open Warwick site: Coffee chain Coffee#1, which is owned by Cardiff-based SA Brain, has lodged plans to open a site in Warwick. The company has applied to Warwick District Council to open a store in High Street having agreed a deal to take over the site of the Warwick Antiques Centre, which is relocating nearby. Coffee#1 will take up the lease in early August, reports Antiques Trade Gazette. The company currently has 67 sites across the UK, with SA Brain having acquired the business in 2011.

Taco Bell opens first UK drive-thru, in Cleethorpes: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has opened its first UK drive-thru site, in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire. The company has launched its tenth UK site – and first opening of 2016 – at Meridian Point, creating 30 jobs. As well as the drive-thru, the 50-seat venue features an open kitchen and mobile phone charging points. Franchisee Arjun Patel, of Northgate Fast Food, told the Grimsby Telegraph: “We have had such a great response from each of our Taco Bell restaurant openings and are really excited to be able to bring that enthusiasm to Cleethorpes.” Nick Dawson, Taco Bell Europe general manager, added: “This is the sixth Taco Bell restaurant our franchisee Northgate Fast Food has opened in the UK. We are proud to have such a great local partner, with a strong synergy to the brand and a vision to continue to bring Taco Bell to the people of the UK.”

Rum & Crab Shack opens second site, in Exeter: St Ives-based Rum & Crab Shack has opened its second site, this time in Exeter. The seafood bar and restaurant has launched in Catherine Street on the site of the former Gourmandine Creperie and Bistro, creating 23 jobs. It serves a predominantly Louisiana-style seafood menu and more than 80 rums, including Dead Man’s Fingers, a spiced rum invented by the restaurant’s co-founders Al Roach and Chris McGuire. Alongside the rums, there is a range of guest cask ales and bottled Cornish and imported beers. McGuire told the Exeter Express & Echo: “Our restaurant in St Ives is seasonal so we felt as an independent business we would bring something new to the city.”

Punch invests nearly £800,000 in three Highland sites: Punch is investing almost £800,000 in three Highland sites. The company is transforming the Blacksmiths pub in Culloden; The Eagle Hotel in Dornoch; and the Corriegarth Hotel in Inverness into “quality contemporary venues with a modern twist”. The Blacksmiths is undergoing a £200,000 makeover that will see its food offer revived, with much of the investment focusing on the 86-cover restaurant and kitchen facilities. A 50-plus capacity function room will also be updated and the bar area given a makeover. Punch is looking for an operator to take on the pub. The Eagle will receive a £275,000 investment and work is due to start on-site in early October. Built in the 1840s, the nine-bedroom inn is the oldest established hotel in Dornoch. The investment will focus on upgrading the en-suite bedrooms, the 60 capacity bar, plus the 45-cover restaurant that dishes up home-cooked food. In the autumn, the Corriegarth Hotel will undergo a £292,000 investment. It will see each of the six bedrooms at the inn refreshed alongside the bar and restaurant, which serves a range of homemade pub classics and specials and a choice of regional and national cask ales. Punch’s investment in the Highlands comes after the company revealed in April it would invest £3m in its 200-plus Scottish estate during the next 12 months.

Pachamama founders open second site in London: Creative Restaurant Group, which is behind the Marylebone-based Peruvian restaurant Pachamama, has opened its second site in London. The company has launched Chicama in King’s Road, Chelsea, which “marries the vibrant flavours of Peru with the fresh catches of Cornwall”, with no meat on the menu. The restaurant has been designed with sharing in mind and also has an outdoor terrace, reports Just Opened London. The small plates menu includes seabass ceviche with coconut yuzu, cucumber, samphire and radish; and scallops with charred mushroom “steak”, apple miso and plantain. The daily catch fish dishes, which are cooked over a robata grill, feature monkfish tail and lemon sole served in lobster oil chimichurri or fermented sweet potato sauce. Meanwhile, the cocktails are based on mezcal, Japanese whiskey, sake and pisco.

Honest Burgers opens 15th site, in South Kensington: London-based Honest Burgers, which is backed by Active Private Investment, has opened its 15th restaurant in the capital, in South Kensington. The company, led by Tom Barton and Philip Eeles, has launched the venue in Thurloe Street, reports Just Opened London. Diners can choose from beef, chicken or vegetarian burgers, all made from British produce. The beef patties are made from 35-day, dry-aged British steak, sourced from the Ginger Pig farm in Yorkshire. A simple selection of homemade sauces accompany the burgers and includes chipotle mayonnaise, curry sauce and bacon ketchup. There is also a brunch menu featuring avocado toast and its take on a fry-up, the “Honest Brunch”. Honest Burgers, formed when Barton and Eeles met while serving tables in a Brighton restaurant, opened its first site in Brixton in 2011.

Camm & Hooper to launch Soho Square site, fifth London venue: Imbiba Partnership-backed event and hospitality group Camm & Hooper will open its fifth London site – Six Storeys on Soho – in the autumn. The new venue will take inspiration from Soho Square’s Bohemian past, with the townhouse featuring six floors of bars, restaurants and private events rooms for the “discerningly curious”. Camm & Hooper, which is looking to “revolutionise the events sector” in London, said it would “challenge the concept of private member clubs by offering this experience to guests without a membership fee”. Six Storeys on Soho will host “intimate concerts, operas, plays, masquerade balls and private events”. It will comprise a restaurant and bar on the ground and first floors, with the other four floors providing their own “stories”. Individual floors or the whole house will be available to hire for events and special functions. Camm & Hooper managing director Claire Lawson said: “We are really looking forward to creating a special experience in the heart of Soho and London’s West End – and bringing our own indulgent escapade to life.” Camm & Hooper also operates Tanner & Co and Tanner Warehouse in Bermondsey, Banking Hall in Cornhill, and The Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate Churchyard.

Casa Brasil to open in Brighton Marina: Casa Brasil has signed a deal to open its fourth UK restaurant venue – at Brunswick Developments’ Marina Boardwalk in Brighton. The restaurant chain has taken a new 15-year lease on the 6,000 square foot unit that forms part of The West Quay Development Company’s first-phase development at The Boardwalk. The new site is set to open this summer. Casa Brasil has restaurants in Southampton, Bournemouth and Port Solent, with plans to open a fifth venue in Bristol before the end of this year. David Hall, of Casa Brasil, said: “The opening of our fourth restaurant marks a major milestone in the company’s development. In less than a year since its opening, Port Solent is already our fastest-growing outlet, accounting for more than 50% of our diners. The prospects for The Boardwalk are equally exciting as Brighton is another amazing waterside destination.” The unit was secured on behalf of Casa Brasil by Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell. Director Tom Holloway added: “Following the huge success of the Port Solent restaurant, the new unit at The Boardwalk is another exciting development for Casa Brasil.”

Peel Hunt – Domino’s Pizza Poland has moved from a concept to a credible roll-out proposition: Peel Hunt leisure analysts Ali Naqvi and Ivor Joners said Domino’s Pizza Poland has moved from a concept to a credible roll-out proposition. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 35p following the company’s first-half results, they said: “Like-for-like sales grew 28% versus circa 16% in the prior period. Total sales grew 57%, with the addition of five new stores in the period – two in new cities (Szczecin and Zielona Gora). Like-for-like sales and new store openings performed ahead of management expectations, driven by better site selection, marketing and promotions as well as growth in underlying brand awareness. The group traded well throughout the period, not skewed to Euro 2016 or aggressive promotions. We believe the group maintained strong margins in the period, which combined with better marketing and promotions activities could sustain the positive momentum going into the second half. The group opened five new sites in the period, including two by a new franchisee (JAR), which self-funded site openings in April and June. HLM, another franchisee, acquired its fourth site in July in Warsaw. We expect this trend to continue as brand recognition improves. The pipeline for opening remains strong. The group currently has two sites ready for opening in the second half. We maintain our ‘Buy’ recommendation and, in light of the strong and better than expected trading update, we are putting our target price under review. Once the group has released its interim results on 19 September, we will have greater clarity over medium and long-term growth forecasts on which to base our new target price. There is still much to be done, and a few years to wait until Domino’s Pizza Poland achieves profitability at group level. However, every update over the past few years has shown real progress and has built confidence that Domino’s Pizza is establishing itself as a national brand in Poland. The store model, operational structure, marketing and site development, now look fully formed and primed to exploit what is a considerable opportunity in an untapped market.”

Craft Beer Clan of Scotland launches whisky barrel-aged beer venture with Williams Brothers: The Craft Beer Clan of Scotland has formed a new brewing venture with craft brewer Williams Brothers of Alloa with the release of a series of whisky barrel-aged beers. Clan Brewing Company has produced four new beers using barrels from four whisky regions – Speyside, Highlands, Lowland and Islay – and is already exporting to markets in Japan, Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong. The company is headed by Chris Miller, who grew Harviestoun Brewery into one of the UK’s leading craft beer producers and has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector. Miller’s new venture was formed in partnership with Scott Williams, founder and brewmaster of Williams Brothers Brewing Co, and international whisky expert Charles PB MacLean. Miller said each of the four beer recipes, which are barrel aged for up to nine months, had its own flavour profile that matched the distinctive and subtle nature of the barrels sourced from Islay, Lowland, Speyside and Highland whisky casks. He added: “We’ve wanted for some time to bring something of our own to the market, which is why we launched the Clan Brewing Company. We’re excited about these new beers and what they say about Scottish brewing.” In the UK, the four Clan Brewing Company beers are being sold exclusively through The Whisky Shop’s 20 outlets as well as its Paris store and website. The new venture marks expansion for the Craft Beer Clan of Scotland, which was launched two years ago.

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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