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Thu 21st Jul 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Caprice Holdings owner Richard Caring vows to protect foreign staff rights after Brexit vote: Caprice Holdings owner Richard Caring has told foreign members of staff he will fight “tooth and nail” to protect their rights following the “absurd” Brexit vote. Caring, whose company operates the Ivy, Bill’s Restaurants and J Sheekey brands, told staff they should have “no concerns” about being able to stay in the country depite the EU referendum result, the Evening Standard reports. In an email to staff, Caring labelled the Brexit vote an “absurd result” and, addressing the company’s immigrant workforce, said: “I would like to say that as a company we are proud to have you working with us and would also like to assure all of our immigrant partners they should have no concern regarding their status in the UK on a long-term basis if that is what they so choose. I cannot believe that at any time anyone who has been working in this country for a period of time will be asked to leave because they are classified as an immigrant. I would assure you this will not happen, will not be allowed to happen and that I, along with the vast majority of employers in this country, would fight tooth and nail to ensure your stability and tenure so you might carry on and be welcome as a solid and respected part of UK industry.” Caring said the UK was not racist despite comments from the “tiniest minority of the population which every country has to some degree”. He added: “There has been talk of foreigners not working or being welcome in this country... these people are ignorant and their voice will not be heard.”

Industry News:

Nominations open for ALMR Late Night Awards: Nominations have opened for the 2016 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) Late Night Awards, with the winners announced at this year’s Dusk ’til Dawn event on Tuesday, 11 October. The Late Night Awards will follow the annual Bar and Nightclub Conference for the late-night sector and night-time industries, with both events held in association with Propel. Nominations can be made via the ALMR website in the following categories: late-night food, late-night drinks, late-night entertainment, service and team development, marketing and promotions, and late-night venue. They are open to hospitality venues trading beyond midnight, including pubs, bars and restaurants as well as nightclubs and live music venues. Initial nominations of self or peers need to be submitted by Friday, 26 August and up to three nominations can be made in each category. Nominations should be for the company, rather than individual outlet, with the exception of the best late-night venue category. A panel of judges will decide a shortlist for each category, which will then be published for open voting. Participants can vote in all categories across multiple nominees, but may not repeat vote. The top three in each category will be announced in advance of the ceremony, where the winners will be crowned. Dusk ’til Dawn will again be held at Cafe de Paris in London, with attendees enjoying a gala dinner before the awards presentation. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is the fourth year of the Late Night Awards in its current incarnation and, like the late-night sector, they continue to innovate and impress. We have been consistently pleased with the fantastic variety and the strength of the nominees each and every year. The awards provide us with a snapshot of the late-night economy, one that is giving the UK some of its most vibrant and ground-breaking businesses. This is once again a chance for the wider licensed hospitality sector to acknowledge and celebrate the contribution of late-night venues. The awards process is open and inclusive with the finalists judged by industry leaders. This is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate some of the great work being carried out by hard-working and dynamic businesses in a vital sector.” Tickets can also be purchased for the event by calling Jo Charity on 01444 810304 or emailing jo.charity@propelinfo.com – more information can also be found on the ALMR website.

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 in this year’s haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index report, which will be published in September. Data and comments will not be attributed to respondents.

New Pubs Code due to come into force today: The new Pubs Code is due to come into force today (Thursday, 21 July) after government approved the regulations. The introduction of the new code, which reforms the relationship between tenants and big pubcos, was delayed after problems with its initial drafting. However, the regulations have now been approved by both the House of Commons and House of Lords. For retailers in Scotland, a new voluntary code for tenants of companies with fewer than 500 tied pubs will also take effect from today. Any disputes regarding matters that arose before 21 June will continue to be dealt with by the Pubs Independent Rent Review Scheme and the Pubs Independent Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

US restaurant like-for-likes flat in June, visits down 1.9%: Restaurant industry like-for-like sales in the US were flat in June, according to the latest monthly MillerPulse survey, as both quick-service and casual dining concepts struggled to bring customers in the door. Like-for-like sales were flat for quick-service concepts and down 0.1% for casual dining chains. Restaurant visits fell 1.9% for the month, the worst performance for the industry since January 2014. Like-for-like growth has been below 1% every month this year except February, which had an extra day. Quick-service visits fell 1.3% in June – the third straight month of declines after a winter when companies such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King competed aggressively on price in an attempt to gain more customers. Casual dining visits fell 2.5% – the worst for the category since February 2014. Larry Miller, co-founder of the MillerPulse survey, told Nation’s Restaurant News: “When sales and traffic are weakening, it’s hard to see the bright side.” However, Miller said margins should be strong in the industry because there was “little or no cost pressure”. He believed the pricing gap between restaurants and grocers should diminish over time as food costs bottom out and grocers’ ability to cut prices is reduced. In addition, comparisons for the industry get easier. “That said, the sales gains are likely to be small,” Miller added. “Probably 1 to 2% above current levels.”

Cobra beer boss backs BBPA calls for new Indian visitor visa: Cobra beer creator Lord Bilimoria has responded to a recent blog post by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) backing calls for a new Indian visitor visa to boost UK tourism. He said: “For centuries, the UK and India have shared deep economic and cultural ties and the two nations have a long and important history of trade and enterprise. Following the recent – and catastrophic – Brexit vote, it is now more vital than ever Britain sends a strong message to the world that it is still open for business, and its trading relationship with India is absolutely pivotal to that message. The British brewing and pub industries in particular are enormous beneficiaries of overseas tourism and any steps to encourage more visitors from India – and indeed across the world – would be hugely welcome.” More Indians are travelling abroad than ever before, with numbers growing 10% year-on-year. Despite this, fewer Indian tourists have been coming to Britain during the past ten years, with France becoming the top European destination for more than 500,000 visitors a year. Seven out of ten overseas tourists visit a pub when in the UK.

Company News:

Enterprise appoints Richard Woodward as Bermondsey Pub Company ops director: Enterprise Inns has appointed Richard Woodward as the new operations director for its managed division, the Bermondsey Pub Company. Woodward joined Enterprise in June 2014 as divisional director. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, including ten years with McDonald’s, where he had various roles including regional manager, followed by ten years at Punch Taverns as a regional manager and later regional operations director. In his new role, which he began this week, Woodward is responsible for leading operations at the Bermondsey Pub Company, which currently comprises 26 pubs, driving business performance and overseeing its expansion as part of Enterprise Inns’ five-year strategic plan. Enterprise Inns group commercial director Paul Harbottle said: “Richard has been a fantastic asset to our business since he joined two years ago and has been responsible for several innovations that have significantly enhanced our operations in the West Midlands. He was an obvious choice for the role as operations director for the Bermondsey Pub Company.” Woodward added: “I am thrilled to have this exciting opportunity to grow our managed business at this key stage in its development. The Bermondsey Pub Company is a fantastic group of pubs and we’re working with a great team. So far business has been strong and the future looks even better. I am looking forward to working with the team to build on this success as we head into a period of expansion. We aim to have 200 pubs by 2020.”

Speratus Group sells two Scottish pubs to G1 Group as it plans Boozy Cow expansion: Bar and restaurant operator The Speratus Group has sold two pubs to Scotland’s largest independent managed operator G1 Group. Speratus, led by Garreth Wood, has sold the Illicit Still in Aberdeen and The Golf Tavern in Edinburgh for an undisclosed sum. Staff at both venues have also transferred to G1 Group, which manages more than 55 venues including bars, hotels, cinemas and a casino in Scotland. Speratus plans to invest £500,000 in existing outlets and expand its range of Boozy Cow burger bars with a site in Stirling opening in September. Managing director Martin Brown told The Press & Journal: “These are exciting times at the Speratus Group as we focus on reinvesting in our venues as well as opening additional Boozy Cow burger and cocktail bars in new locations in Scotland and England. We are moving ahead with our plans to expand the Boozy Cow concept and will be opening our new venue in Stirling in early September, and we are actively exploring opportunities in other cities across the UK.” Speratus now comprises the Nox and Paramount nightclubs in Aberdeen, the Auld Hundred, 99 Hanover Street and Copper Blossom in Edinburgh and Boozy Cow burger and cocktail bars in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Loungers signs deal for Northampton site: Cafe bar brand Loungers has signed a deal to open a site in Northampton. The company has agreed a 15-year lease with Legal & General, which owns the Grosvenor Shopping Centre, for Welsh House, which sits at the Market Square entrance to the complex. Loungers said it promised a “new lounge offering a homely and relaxed cafe/bar atmosphere over two floors”. The site would also have external seating in Market Square. Loungers plans to open later this year, subject to planning permission to the borough council for change of use and after Legal & General undertakes a “comprehensive refurbishment” of Welsh House. James Whitehill, senior fund manager at Legal & General Property, told the Northants Herald & Post: “We are delighted to welcome Loungers to Northampton and in particular to the Grosvenor Centre. We are confident Loungers will provide a great addition to our shoppers and we are excited to not only bring an important and historic building back into economic use but also to improve the food and beverage offer within the centre.” Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, currently has 84 sites. Earlier this year, the company revealed it had a fully formed pipeline of openings for 2016.

Greene King lodges plans for £3m Farmhouse Inns site near Bolton: Greene King has lodged plans for a £3m Farmhouse Inns in Over Hulton, near Bolton. The company has applied to Bolton Council to build the pub restaurant on the site of the Logistics North business hub, creating up to 80 jobs. The building would be in the northernmost area of the employment park, to the immediate west of the roundabout that provides access to the site from Junction 4 of the M61. It would open from 7am until 1am and have 105 parking spaces. A Greene King spokesman told the Bolton News: “Farmhouse Inns offer a safe environment and a welcoming culture for the enjoyment of all their customers and the benefit of the surrounding community. The restaurant would be a facility for employees and users of Logistics North and for residents of nearby communities.” Last month, Greene King opened its 40th Farmhouse Inns site, in Stoke. It is an evolution of the 12-strong Cloverleaf carvery business Greene King acquired in 2011 for £55.8m. The company said in December it expected to expand the brand to between 55 and 75 sites.

Multi-site operator opens fourth pub after taking on Punch site in Uttoxeter: Multi-site operator Mujdat Karatas has opened his fourth pub after taking on a Punch venue in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire. Karatas has relaunched The Old Bramshall Inn following a joint £385,000 investment, creating 20 jobs. The Stone Road pub has been remodelled to open up the space with a new-look bar and dining area as well as an alfresco terrace. Karatas told the Uttoxeter Advertiser: “The Old Bramshall Inn has huge potential and we’re really excited about plans for its future. Our talented chefs will cook up a comprehensive new food offer, using locally sourced produce where possible, with a range of freshly prepared dishes from pub classics to griddled steaks or curried scallops and king prawn risotto. We’ll also serve a great Sunday lunch menu and a wide range of real ales, national and international lagers, and a great selection of wine.” Punch new business development manager Alex Felix-Thomas added: “Under Mujdat and the team, the Old Bramshall is sure to become a great destination for locals and customers from further afield.” Karatas’ other sites are the Horseshoe Inn in Church Broughton, Derbyshire; The Railway Inn in Congleton, Cheshire; and The Horseshoe in Church Lawton, Cheshire.

Aberdeenshire-based pizza restaurant owner to open third site: Aberdeenshire-based pizza restaurant owner James Cummings is to open his third site next month. Cummings, who owns Heavenly Pizzas in Aberdeen and Kintore, is launching rock legends-inspired venue Slice N Easy. It will take over the restaurant at Aberdeen’s Bauhaus Hotel in Langstane Place and will have a separate entrance, creating up to 12 jobs. The restaurant will feature the artwork of Scottish artist Bob Harper, showcasing the music industry’s most famous faces. The pizzas will also be named after rock legends, including Elvis, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton. Cummings told the Evening Express: “I think Aberdeen needs a good independent pizza restaurant with a funky vibe and drinks menu. I own Heavenly and thought it was time to get into the bar and leisure scene, so we will be the new kids on the block. It will be a bit different. Aberdeen is in the doldrums just now so hopefully we can inject a bit of a vibe into the city centre.”

Australian-themed restaurant concept The Outback to launch in Cardiff this month: Australian-themed restaurant concept The Outback will launch in Cardiff at the end of this month. The Welsh capital’s first Aussie-themed restaurant will serve exotic meat such as crocodile and kangaroo, as well as homemade cocktails. The menu at the restaurant in Cowbridge Road East will also include ostrich meat, venison and wild boar burgers, alongside barramundi fish and scallops, native damper bread, and Australian-style barbecue and kakadu plum sauces. Owner and chef Ciprian Craciunescu has used his travels in Australia and New Zealand to craft his menu. He told Wales Online: “The whole concept of The Outback is a mix between Australian contemporary cuisine and native bush food, with hints of British and Italian cuisine, blended in a 100% fine dining adventure. We even imported Australian mountain peppercorns and salt flakes so we can make the place 100% authentic. And all our wines are Australian!”

Buzzworks granted licence to open ninth site: Ayrshire restaurant company Buzzworks has been granted a licence to open its ninth site. The company, owned by brothers Colin and Kenny Blair, has been given the go-ahead by North Ayrshire Council to open The Corner House in Kilwinning on the site of the Stag and Hound pub, creating 40 jobs. Buzzworks is investing £750,000 to convert the building into a restaurant with seating for more than 100 guests and an intimate private dining room for up to 20 people. It said the food would focus on “simple dishes with big flavours”, similar to its most recently opened venue – The Mill House in Stewarton. Colin Blair told the Irvine Times: “It will be a stunning venue – beautifully designed, cosy and comfortable and welcoming to all. We are sure it will be a great addition to the town and one we can all be proud of.” Buzzworks operates eight other sites across Ayrshire, including Longhouse in Kilmarnock and Treehouse in Ayr.

Provenance Inns to transform coach house as part of £1m North Yorkshire hotel expansion: Provenance Inns will convert a former coach house in the grounds of five-star hotel and restaurant The Cleveland Tontine in North Yorkshire into additional rooms as part of its £1m move to turn the site into a boutique hotel. Provenance Inns, led by Chris Blundell, acquired the Tontine last month, the company’s ninth site in a portfolio that includes The Black Bull in Moulton, The Carpenter’s Arms in Felixkirk, West Acre Lodge in Boltby, and The Punch Bowl in Marton cum Grafton, which was once under the control of Men Behaving Badly star Neil Morrissey. Located in Staddlebridge, between Northallerton and Stokesley, the Tontine already has seven newly refurbished bedrooms. Provenance Inns director Michael Ibbotson said: “The condition of the coach house has deteriorated over time and we felt it provided a great opportunity to achieve two goals – to restore it and to be able to offer more rooms for our guests at this unique location on the edge of the North York Moors National Park.”

Birmingham’s Two Towers Brewery upscales to larger site: Two Towers Brewery, which started life in the kitchen of an Edgbaston house in 2009 and began trading from a premises in Mott Street a year later, is set to relocate to larger premises in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. Birmingham City Council has approved proposals submitted by Two Towers owner Mark Arnott-Job to relocate to a former jewellery manufacturing site in Shadwell Street. The new site is next to The Gunmakers Arms, a grade II-listed pub the brewer leases after reopening it in December 2015, six months after its licence was revoked. Work is already under way to convert the Shadwell Street building into a micro-brewery. It will comprise ten barrels with a brew completed once or twice a week and deliveries taking place six to ten times a week. A viewing window has also been installed for customers taking part in brewery tours. The approval is subject to “safeguarding conditions”, including limiting the use of the premises as a micro-brewery only. Two Towers ales are stocked in pubs across Birmingham, as well as venues in Halesowen, Alcester, Sutton Coldfield, Lichfield, Northampton, Worcestershire and Derbyshire.

JD Wetherspoon opens £2.2m Chatham pub: JD Wetherspoon has opened its £2.2m pub in Chatham after the transformation of a former post office. The Thomas Waghorn in Railway Street is named after the 19th century postal pioneer, who created a new mail route from England to India in the 1800s and is commemorated with a nearby statue. It is Wetherspoon’s second pub in the Medway region. The new pub has two floors, with the bar on the ground floor and an external terraced area with seating, which leads down to the courtyard garden and a designated smoking area. An original stone arch entrance and several other original features remain from the building’s former life as a post office, which dates to 1902.

Birmingham-based restaurant owner to open second site in city: Birmingham-based restaurant owner William Sui is to open his second site in the city in September. Sui, who owns the 100 Degree Flaming Grill and Bar in Essex Street, is launching seafood restaurant Peninsula Lobster on the site of the former Futurist Cinema in John Bright Street. The grade II-listed building, which is undergoing a £700,000 refurbishment, opened as a cinema in July 1919 before closing in the 1990s following the rise of multiplexes. Sui said he was keen to use the historic features of the property to create the venue, which will include a restaurant and bar, private lounge, function suite and balcony bar. The restaurant will serve sharing seafood platters of lobster, crab, creole fish, prawns, and calamari mussels as well as a catch of the day, along with steak. He told the Birmingham Mail: “I grew up eating fresh seafood simply cooked. I’ve also spent a lot of time travelling in Portugal and the Mediterranean where you can get incredible seafood platters.”

Salmon Bars snaps up waterside unit at Durham development: North east operator Salmon Bars will open a new venue in a waterside unit at Durham’s Freemans Reach development. The restaurant is set to open next month at a 1,540 square foot unit. Salmon Bars director Andy Maher said the venue was in a “fantastic location” and a “great opportunity right in the heart of this beautiful and historic city”. He added: “Our bar and restaurant will add further to the quality of offer available in Durham, which already has a vibrant social scene.” Freemans Reach is a regeneration project in the heart of Durham, which has already secured more than 1,000 jobs in the city centre by providing sustainable offices for National Savings and Investments and Her Majesty’s Passport Office. The next stage of the project will be the transformation of the Milburngate site into a premium development that will include restaurants and a boutique cinema. Councillor Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Salmon Bars to what we’re sure will be a hugely successful and totally transformed area of the city.”

Stonegate installs its first Meantime tank beer system: Stonegate Pub Company has installed Meantime’s “Brewery Fresh” tank beer in one of its pubs for the first time. SABMiller-owned Meantime Brewing Company worked closely with Stonegate to install the specially engineered, custom-built tanks at The Minories in Tower Hill. The tanks allow unfiltered, unpasteurised London Lager to taste as “fresh as the day it was made”. The installation sits at the heart of the pub and features copper piping from the tank to the founts, adding a touch of theatre. Derek Avington, head of marketing for Stonegate’s traditional pubs, said: “Innovation on craft beer installation has been key to our strategy, with a need to meet high expectations of the millennial drinker. Our newest refurbishments feature eye-catching craft beer walls, so we’re delighted this installation adds to that dynamism, encouraging further category growth.” Meantime Brewing marketing director Rich Myers added: “By embracing the latest technology we are able to bring drinkers great-tasting beer as fresh as the day it was made, and we’re excited to welcome The Minories as our latest Brewery Fresh pub.”

Papa John’s extends Planet Ice partnership to five sites with Peterborough opening: Papa John’s has extended its partnership with Planet Ice, the largest ice leisure brand in Europe, by introducing the pizza brand at a fifth venue, this time in Peterborough. The launch at the Peterborough ice rink follows openings in Planet Ice’s Milton Keynes, Uttoxeter, Coventry and Basingstoke sites. Anthony Round, Papa John’s business development manager, said: “We are delighted to be able to bring our top quality pizza to a wider audience and be associated with such a well-respected leisure brand – it’s a recipe for success.” Andreas Petrakas, Planet Ice brand business development manager, added: “Planet Ice now serves one million customers a year across all our ice rinks in the UK and we have ambitious plans to grow, both in the UK and overseas. We first introduced Papa John’s in 2015 and pizza has now been fully integrated into our proposition in five key venues. Customers can buy tickets to skate and eat, which goes down well at special pizza parties or a family evening out watching one of our ice hockey matches.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus in the UK.

Muffin Break reports 10% increase in cold drink sales since launch of new Muffin Shake range: Bakery chain Muffin Break has reported a 10% increase in cold drink sales since it launched its new Muffin Shake range in May. The drink is made by blending a traditional milkshake with one of Muffin Break’s freshly baked muffins, topped with cream and more muffin crumbs. It is available in three flavours – chocolate chip, apple and cinnamon, and blueberry – as an eat-in or takeaway option. Muffin Break marketing manager Gemma Sandells said: “We are always happy to see a positive customer reaction towards our unique and experimental offerings. The Muffin Shake brings a refreshing flavour twist to the high street, which has clearly appealed to our customers. We will continue to experiment and expand our food and drink ranges to bring customers tasty options to try out that offer something different to the norm.” Also on the drinks menu is a premium coffee blend made from 100% Arabica beans, which has been exclusively developed to complement the Muffin Break UK food range.

‘Haunted’ Lincolnshire coach house inn up for auction at £1.5m asking price: Agent Christie & Co is bringing the freehold of the grade II-listed Exchange Coach House Inn at Brigg, Lincolnshire, to auction for an asking price of £1.5m. The 42-bedroom hotel with bar and restaurant comes with stories of ghosts, phantom footsteps, a headless monk and the ghost of a little girl reputed to have fallen from the roof. The venue was built in 1760 and bought by a group of wealthy farmers in 1895, who named it The Exchange Club. In the 1970s, the current owner, Joseph Mullen, restored the building as the Exchange Coach House Inn, which retains its ornate plasterwork ceiling, panelled walls and decorative fire surrounds. Mullen also added 22 en-suite bedrooms in grounds to the rear and a self-contained block with a further 20 bedrooms, bar, lounge and licensed cafe. Christie & Co director Mark Worley told the Lincolnshire Echo: “Over the past eight years, the hotel has been operating on minimal opening hours due to the current owner’s other business ventures. Pre-recession, the business was turning over in excess of £1m and generating profits of about £500,000. This was achieved with just 22 bedrooms. The hotel now stands ready to welcome a new owner to take full advantage of the investment our client, who is retiring, has put into the site.”

Shane Harrison launches paleo restaurant at Canalside, second London venue: Paleo diet specialist Shane Harrison has opened his second London restaurant, this time in the Canalside complex at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The 65-cover Shane’s On Canalside, a sister restaurant to Shane’s On Chatsworth in Clapton, offers wild game, fresh fish and locally picked plants. Dishes at the new restaurant include roe deer meat with nettle and blackberry juice. Harrison told the Newham Recorder: “I grew up in New Zealand so I was born and bred on farms. We would pretty much always eat food caught or foraged that day. The trend for eating this way is already here. People just don’t realise it. There’s a big move towards eating fewer grains and consciously thinking about where your food comes from.” Canalside is opposite the artists’ studios of Hackney Wick and will house 12 outlets, marking the latest phase in the reinvention of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Canalside, overlooking the Lee Canal, is part of the Here East complex on the site of the £300m former press and broadcast centre, housing BT Sport, a new Loughborough University campus, and a giant data centre.

Welcome Break to reopen Sarn Park services on Monday following £6.5m redevelopment: Independent motorway service operator Welcome Break will reopen its Sarn Park site on the M4 in Wales on Monday (25 July) following a £6.5m redevelopment. The service area at Junction 36 at Bridgend has been closed since November for the first major redevelopment of the services since opening in 1986. It will be open round the clock and managed by general manager Rob Thomas, who will head a team of 50 staff in total, with 30 additional jobs created by the project. The new-look service area will feature a new Starbucks cafe, Starbucks drive-thru, plus a refurbished Burger King and WH Smith store. There will also be a Deli-2-Go in the forecourt, offering hot and cold food and drink, a multi-screen video wall, soft seating and booth seating, as well as free Wi-Fi and charging sockets. Other features will include new washrooms and shower facilities, plus a unisex baby changing area, as well as a specially adapted Changing Places space for adults with disabilities and those unable to use standard accessible toilets. Welcome Break has also provided chargers for Tesla electric cars and a Collect+ click and collect service at WH Smiths. Welcome Break and Collect+ will bring more than 300 retail brands to customers, including John Lewis, M&S, Top Shop, House of Fraser and Amazon. Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie said: “The investment in Sarn Park highlights our commitment to the region. We are confident our customers will welcome the new-look services and that it will be a great asset to the area.”

Aberdeen micro-brewer Fierce Beer expands to new £250,000 facility, firm founded year ago with redundancy pay-outs: Aberdeen-based micro-brewer Fierce Beer, launched only a year ago by David McHardy and David Grant using redundancy pay-outs, has expanded with the opening of a £250,000 headquarters and brewing facility. The business is the only registered brewer in Aberdeen and has moved from Great Western Road to its new facility at Kirkhill Industrial Estate. Fierce Beer will produce eight beers for sale across the UK. McHardy told the Daily Record: “Launching Fierce has been extremely exciting and we carried out a lot of research initially, investigating the best local ingredients and the most effective way to bottle our beers. We have managed to gain the support of a number of larger craft beer breweries and businesses, which has been incredible, and I am looking forward to seeing how the company progresses over the next few months.”

Yorkshire-based hotel operator acquires second site: Yorkshire-based hotel operator Harimoor Hospitality has acquired its second site. The company has bought the 150-year-old Durker Roods Hotel in Huddersfield for an undisclosed sum through agent Colliers International. Harimoor Hospitality director Jay Patel told The Business Desk: “Durker Roods Hotel has been thoroughly refurbished in recent years and its picturesque scenery makes it the ideal place to record the special moments in life. This year, it was nominated for Yorkshire’s Best Wedding Venue award. We will look to enhance that reputation and deliver the highest level of service to our customers.” Harimoor Hospitality also owns The Welcome Inn in Rotherham.

Building that houses upmarket Harrogate seafood restaurant sells for £970,000: The building that houses Harrogate’s upmarket seafood restaurant Graveley’s has been sold for £970,000 to property investor and developer Marrtree. In addition to the restaurant, which is let to Graveley’s, the first and second floors of the property in Cheltenham Parade contain five apartments and the building produces an annual rental income of £73,400. Steven Jones, associate agency director at Eddisons, which acted on behalf of the vendor on the sale, told The Business Desk: “The property market in Harrogate is buoyant and the town’s desirability as a place to live and work gives it an edge over other nearby locations. The Harrogate leisure scene is particularly vigorous at present, with a number of national operators moving in.” Agent WSB Property Consultants represented Marrtree.

Numis – we expect Revolution Bars Group’s like-for-like sales growth to continue to outperform sector given ‘relative immaturity of brand’: Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett has said he expects Revolution Bars Group’s like-for-like sales growth to continue to outperform the sector given the “relative immaturity of the brand”. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 265p, Barrett said: “Like-for-like sales grew by 2.3% in FY16, broadly in line with our +2.5% assumption. This compared with +2.7% for the first 35 weeks, and implies second-half growth slightly below 2%. Revolution Bars Group has outperformed the more marked slowdown in the Peach tracker benchmark (that showed 0.2% average growth from March to June). We estimate the European football championship would have had a mild negative impact in second-half trading. Total sales of £119.5m were slightly ahead of Numis estimates of £118.8m, reflecting the phasing of new openings. The group opened five new sites in FY16, all of which are trading ahead of budget and resulted in total sales growth of circa 5% (52-week basis, with more than 10% in second half). Our 2016 forecasts are unchanged and we continue to expect margin growth of 20bp, giving Ebit of £9.1m (+8.4% year-on-year). We will review our FY17 like-for-like sales assumption of 2% once there is more clarity on the consumer outlook post-Brexit. Nonetheless, we expect Revolution Bar Group’s like-for-like sales growth to continue to outperform the sector given the relative immaturity of the brand and absence of a ‘tail’ of underperforming sites that has been a drag on several competitors. We remain comfortable with our assumption of five site openings in FY17 (8% estate growth). Four locations have already been announced (Reading, Harrogate, Glasgow and Aberdeen) and it seems reasonable that at least one more will open before June 2017. Encouragingly, recent openings have performed ahead of expectations, providing confidence in the roll-out potential in Revolution Bar Group’s two brands. Revolution Bar Group trades on a CY16 price-to-earnings ratio of 10.6 times, EV/Ebitda of 4.7 times, dividend yield of 3.3% and free cash flow yield of 11% (post maintenance capex). We view this as undemanding, even in an uncertain consumer environment, given that earnings growth is largely through self-funded roll-out.”

Elior buys specialist contract caterer: Contract caterer Elior Group has acquired a £70m-turnover contract caterer to the care and education sectors, less than two years after mid-market private equity firm LDC backed a £20m secondary buyout of the Cheshire company. LDC’s Manchester office originally backed the £20m secondary buyout of Waterfall Catering Group, which is behind Caterplus and Taylor Shaw, in December 2014 in a deal that supported the growth ambitions of the company’s management team led by chief executive Jim Lovett, finance director Gabrielle Higham, and chairman Vince Pearson. The transaction, which was led by investment director Richard Ibbett and director and co-head of LDC in the north west Johnny Bell, generated a 2.6x money multiple and an initial rate of return of 81% for LDC. Jim Lovett said: “LDC backed our vision and ambition as a management team to create an even stronger business and has provided unwavering support for our growth plans ever since. The deal with Elior Group provides a highly strategic outcome for our partnership with LDC and puts us in a great position to further develop our offering to customers within our core sectors in education and care.”

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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