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Fri 22nd Jul 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Wagamama adds 22.9% to like-for-likes in two years after site managers set sales targets: Wagamama has posted a 22.9% increase in like-for-like sales in two years after asking site managers to set budgets. The company saw 13.1% added to like-for-like sales in the year to 24 April 2016, while its four US stores saw a 11.3% increase in like-for-likes, with 25.2% achieved in the fourth quarter. Like-for-like sales growth in the UK hit 16.2% in the fourth quarter of the most recent financial year. The UK business saw an increase in covers and spend-per-head. Deliveroo was in 76 of its sites at the year-end and delivering “strong sales and profit growth”. Chief operating officer Jane Holbrook told Propel the executive team had been “shocked by how ambitious sales targets produced by site managers had been” but targets had consistently been beaten. She said: “Wagamama does not discount, and the money others spend on discounting we can spend in areas like training and staff incentives. We provide managers with lots of autonomy because we want to attract and keep the best people.” Holbrook said general manager turnover at Wagamama was now below 10%, while general turnover was at about 60%. Wagamama is targeting 15 new openings a year in the UK to add to its existing estate of 120 – ten were opened in the most recent year. Holbrook reported its most recent openings in Staines and Bromley were producing “amazing” numbers. The company expects to open a flagship site in New York in the autumn. The company has also signed franchise agreements in the past year for four key European countries – France, Spain, Portugal and Italy – and has a total of 38 restaurants internationally. Turnover increased 19% to £228.1m in the most recent year and adjusted Ebitda was up 28% to £38.7m. Turnover at its existing four US sites rose to £6.2m, compared with £5.2m the year before.

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

Loyalty app Droplet closes: Loyalty app Droplet has closed after its owners admitted they had failed to build a profit-making business. The company was launched in 2012 by Steffan Aquarone and Will Grant after they were inspired to create something that made paying for goods easier. Droplet had been eyeing significant growth during the past year, running two separate crowdfunding campaigns and aiming to sign up partners in 20 UK towns and cities by the end of 2016, reports the Birmingham Post. A statement posted by Aquarone on the Droplet website said: “We’re extremely sad to announce that Droplet is being withdrawn. We started Droplet with the hope of making payment simpler, friendlier and mobile-first and more recently to allow merchants to offer better loyalty rewards to their customers. But sometimes things don’t work out. We always knew it would take significant investment to give Droplet the scale it would need to succeed. In spite of being well supported by our investors and having tens of thousands of customers and hundreds of paying merchants, we never got to the scale to make Droplet viable as a profit-making business.” Aquarone said customers with remaining balances would be reimbursed in due course. He is also seeking a buyer for the technology and support materials.

NPD Group – foodservice delivery winning customers at expense of restaurant drive-thrus in US: Foodservice delivery is the ultimate in dining convenience and is winning customers in the US at the expense of restaurant drive-thrus, according to a new report by insights firm NPD Group. Delivery grew by 69 million visits (orders), while drive-thru traffic fell by 128 million visits between May 2012 and May 2016, the company said. The growth in foodservice delivery is even greater when pizza delivery is taken out of the equation. Pizza delivery still makes up more than 60% of foodservice delivery visits, but traffic has declined by double-digits during the past four years. Consumers instead are ordering delivery from a variety of restaurants, including quick-service Asian and burger, full-service and fast casual said the report entitled Delivery: A Growth Opportunity On The Horizon. Foodservice delivery options are especially important to Generation Z and millennials. Currently, these two groups represent 51% of the US population, a large target group who will drive the growth in delivery far into the future. These consumers want to eat their favorite foods when they want it, regardless of where they are, as well as order and pay for it with the click of a button. NPD Group restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs said: “If delivery fits a restaurant operator’s business model and is operationally feasible, now is the time to consider adding it as an option for customers. It’s one way to stay competitive and relevant in a low-growth foodservice environment. However, before moving ahead with a delivery programme, it is important to understand the growth opportunity along with the potential barriers to use that might exist from the consumer perspective.”

McDonald’s sites in Japan become sponsored gyms for Pokémon Go: McDonald’s restaurants across Japan have become the first sponsored gyms for Pokémon Go, which launched in the country yesterday. The mobile game, which has added $7.5bn (£5.7bn) to Nintendo’s market value, is currently available in 30 countries, including the US, Australia, New Zealand and much of Europe. However, Japan has had to wait as Niantic was concerned its servers would not be able to handle the onslaught of eager Japanese Pokémon fans. The tie-up with McDonald’s also confirms a rumour that emerged last week when multiple users on Reddit analysed the code in the Pokémon Go app and found mentions of McDonald’s in the code, as well as an image file of the “Golden Arches” in a folder included in the app’s .apk file. Niantic chief executive John Hanke told the Financial Times on 13 July its business model for Pokémon Go was to offer it as a free download and make money via in-app PokéCoin purchases as well as by enabling companies to sponsor specific locations, which is similar to the business model for its previous game app Ingress. A UK spokeswoman for McDonald’s told Campaign the brand would “not be entering any partnership with Pokémon Go” for the time being.

Company News:

Moody’s downgrades PizzaExpress rating from stable to positive after two quarters of negative like-for-likes: Ratings agency Moody’s has reduced its rating on PizzaExpress to stable from positive after two negative quarters of like-for-like sales. The agency stated: “The change in outlook from stable to positive reflects the weakening performance since the positive outlook was assigned in June 2015, notably in terms of like-for-like sales growth, which have been negative in the last two quarters after a very strong year in 2015. The negative like-for-like sales reflect strong comparable sales from the previous year, but also higher competition in the UK characterised by an increasingly crowded market place due to continued new restaurant openings, and slowdown in the growth rate of the casual dining market since late 2015 due to declining consumer confidence. In addition, Ebitda margins have decreased in the UK due to lower volumes and investments in new concepts such as takeaway. As a result, leverage remained stable at 6.6x as of the last 12 months to April 2016, compared with the same period last year. Continued positive like-for-like sales, stable Ebitda margins, and deleveraging were among the conditions for the positive outlook assigned in June 2015. PizzaExpress has reported negative like-for-like sales of -1.2% and -3% in the last two quarters in the UK and Ireland, citing lower footfall as the main driver. Although we believe positive fundamentals remain for the UK casual dining market, we also recognise it is being affected by increasing competition, while the recent outcome of the UK referendum to leave the European Union may lead to a period of economic uncertainty. Trading has, however, been supported by new restaurant roll-outs, with total revenues increasing by 15.2% year-to-date to April 2016 compared with the previous year. Ebitda margins in the UK remained high for the industry but trended lower to 22.4% year-to-date to April 2016 from 23.4% the year before. The decrease in margins is due to lower volumes and investments in new concepts, in particular in the delivery segment. We view the company’s acquisition in February of Firezza, a small delivery chain in the UK, and its recent agreement in May with Deliveroo, to enable it to grow in the delivery sector positively, because of the growing trend in home delivery, which will support volumes. We also note margins will be negatively affected by the planned increases of the minimum national living wage, with the cost estimated by the company at £2m pro forma for the year.”

Gorgeous Pubs buys Highgate venue from London Brewing Company, plans further acquisitions: Gorgeous Pubs, led by former Geronimo Inns employee Rob Laub, has bought The Bull in Highgate, north London, from London Brewing Company for an undisclosed sum. The off-market deal was secured by agent Savills, with Gorgeous Pubs looking to grow the group with further acquisitions. The grade II-listed, 5,000 square foot brewpub venue is set over two storeys and benefits from two trading floors, with customer seating for 140 and external terrace seating for 70. It also has a midnight licence for the sale of alcohol. Dating to about 1730 as a public house, The Bull is on the edge of Highgate Village and has a free-of-tie interest. London Brewing Company, which is headed by Dan Fox and also operates The Bohemia and O’Neills pubs in Finchley, acquired the venue in 2011 and carried out a substantial refurbishment. The business has an on-site micro-brewery, producing cask ales for sale in The Bull and for distribution. Gorgeous Pubs entered the London pub market in 2014 with the acquisition of The Prince Arthur in London Fields, Hackney. It also acquired The Shillibeers in Islington in late 2015, which was recently sold to West Berkshire Brewery. Laub said: “We are delighted to have secured the acquisition of The Bull and look forward to continuing the development of the business and becoming the heart of the community.” Fox added: “We are extremely proud of what the team has achieved at The Bull over the past five years, which would not have been possible without the support of our loyal customers. We wish Rob all the best with his new venture.” Chris Bickle, director of licensed leisure at Savills, said: “London Brewing Company took The Bull as a closed venue and developed a highly successful business over a short period of time. We are delighted to have secured an off-market deal to Gorgeous Pubs. Quality assets such as this, which are free of tie, unaffected by Market Rent Only option issues and with substantial unexpired lease terms, are highly desirable.” Paul Tallentyre, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, which acted for the purchaser, added: “Free-of-tie leases are increasing in value due to the uncertainty surrounding the leasehold market. The Bull is a great site with good potential to develop trade already established. Gorgeous Pubs is now looking to grow the group with further free-of-tie and freehold sites in London.”

Bird to open fourth site, in Westfield Stratford City: Free-range British fried chicken and craft beers concept Bird will open its fourth site later this year, in Westfield Stratford City. Co-founder Cara Ceppetelli said: “It’s been an incredible two years for Bird and Westfield Stratford City presents an exciting opportunity to expand our brand. Londoners have really embraced what we are about – high quality, free-range fried chicken the way it’s meant to be – and we look forward to bringing this ethos to our Stratford site.” Bird, which launched in Shoreditch in 2014, also has sites in Islington and Camden.

Healthy recipe box startup Mindful Chef hits £400,000 crowdfunding target: Healthy recipe box startup Mindful Chef has hit its £400,013 target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to expand marketing efforts and develop an app. The “farm to fork” business, founded last year by Robert Grieg-Gran, Giles Humphries and Myles Hopper, is offering 11.76% equity in return for the investment. So far 134 investors, including Tossed founder Vincent McKevitt, have pledged £432,176 and it is now “overfunding”. The largest investment to date is £100,009.18. The company’s aim is to promote convenient healthy eating through a range of gluten-free, organic items delivered to consumer’s homes. Users select recipes online, noting any dietary preferences, and Mindful Chef sources and delivers the relevant produce, which consumers cook at their own convenience. Recipes rotate weekly and are created by head chef Louise Mitchell. The pitch states: “We focus on the healthy and premium end of the recipe box market and ship all the ingredients you need to make two-to-five evening meals – all with fresh organic produce and no refined carbs (no pasta, no white rice, no bread). We pride ourselves on our innovative uses of vegetables in evening meals that are both gluten-free and dairy-free. We ship nationwide, and cater for one-person, two-person and four-person boxes. To our knowledge, we also offer the UK’s first and only vegan recipe box, alongside our meat and fish options.”

Sheffield-based Stancill Brewery to open first pub next week: Sheffield-based Stancill Brewery will open its first pub next week. The company, founded by Tom Gill and former JD Wetherspoon barman Adam Hague two years ago, has bought the freehold of the Horse and Jockey in Wadsley. It is transforming the site into a “brewery tap”, with ten new handpumps added to the bar, allowing it to feature the brewery’s complete range of beers, including its latest addition, Stancill Lager. The pub, which will reopen on Friday, 29 July, dates to 1833. Gill told the Sheffield Telegraph: “It’s significant as running a pub is very different to running a brewery, but it’s an exciting step in the growth and evolution of our business.”

Starbucks to trial British-made recyclable coffee cup: Starbucks is to trial a British-made recyclable coffee cup amid concerns 2.5 billion disposable cups are dumped in landfill or incinerated every year in the UK. Most people are under the impression coffee shop chain takeaway cups are recyclable but 399 out of 400 cannot be recycled because they are manufactured with a plastic coating, the Daily Mail reports. However, British entrepreneur Martin Myerscough has developed the Frugalpac cup, which has a thin plastic membrane that floats away during the recycling process, meaning materials can be re-used. The issue hit the headlines earlier this year when anti-waste campaigner and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign against coffee cup waste. That led Starbucks to offer customers a 50p discount on drinks if they brought in their own cups. The company has now gone a step further by agreeing to trial the Frugalpac cups. A Starbucks spokesman said: “We are very interested in finding out more about the Frugalpac cup and will be testing it to see if it meets our standards for safety and quality with a view to trialling its recyclability.”

Hard Rock International to open second UK hotel in Glasgow, aims to establish brand in Britain: Hard Rock International has revealed it will open its second UK hotel, this time in Glasgow. Director Josh Littman said the group had signed a contract for a site in the city but did not elaborate on the location or specific details. However, he said the new hotel would be part of the company’s aim to establish the Hard Rock Hotel brand in the UK. Last month, it agreed a deal with GLH Hotels to revamp London’s Cumberland Hotel into its first Hard Rock Hotel premises. The 900-room Cumberland, which is close to the first Hard Rock Cafe that opened in Park Lane in 1971, will be converted to reflect the signature Hard Rock Hotel experience and is due to reopen in summer 2018. Rebranding of the Cumberland will see it adopt the Hard Rock music theme, with unique memorabilia and décor. It will also include a Hard Rock Cafe. The company is understood to be eyeing locations in other UK cities such as Birmingham and Liverpool, reports As well as about 200 Hard Rock Cafes, the group currently operates a global portfolio of 23 hotels and is believed to have set a target of doubling this by the end of the decade.

JD Wetherspoon reopens Devon coaching inn following £3m refurbishment: JD Wetherspoon has reopened the White Hart Hotel in Okehampton, Devon, following a £3m refurbishment. In May, JD Wetherspoon bought the 17th century coaching inn for about £900,000 as part of plans to expand its hotels arm. The White Hart Hotel has a long, rich history and has held a licence since 1623. The reopening has created 70 jobs, the Tavistock Times Gazette reports. The hotel, which is set on the first, second and third floors above the pub, has 23 en-suite bedrooms, while the pub is now wheelchair accessible and features a large outdoor seating area. Historical photos and artwork by local artists all feature in the new décor. The listed White Hart Hotel is one of the longest-established hotels in Devon and was part of Trafalgar Way – the route used to carry dispatches overland from Falmouth to the Admiralty in London with news from the Battle of Trafalgar.

Buffet restaurant brand Mimosa opens Loughborough restaurant, sells Telford site: Buffet restaurant concept Mimosa has opened a venue at the new multimillion-pound cinema complex in Loughborough and has sold its site in Telford. The 180-cover Loughborough restaurant serves Chinese, Indian, Thai and Japanese food in a buffet-style setting. It joins a number of other brands that have opened at the site, including PizzaExpress, Nando’s, Loungers’ Centro Lounge, Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia, Starbucks, and an eight-screen Cineworld cinema. The restaurant has been decked in thatched bamboo-style roofing over wooden tables and chairs and is surrounded by oriental wall art created by Trafford Parsons. It has employed 20 people in full and part-time positions. A spokesman for the company told the Echo: “It is an all-you-can-eat buffet. It is a trendy restaurant with freshly cooked food. It has an open plan kitchen – we will also have dishes made to order such as Indian and Chinese dishes, and pizza. There is also a function room at the back for up to 70 people.” Meanwhile, Mimosa has sold the lease of its Telford restaurant for £400,000 to concentrate on its other venues. The site at the Southwater leisure complex has been bought by former Handmade Burger Company general manager Sham Uddin and his wife Laura, who are launching Four Corners World Buffet, reports Shropshire Live. It will close on Monday, 1 August before reopening towards the end of the month. The new restaurant will offer Chinese, Indian, Italian and Mexican food and all jobs have been secured as part of the buyout. The other Mimosa sites are in Aldershot and Camberley.

Richmond-based sushi cafe to start expansion by opening second site, in Chiswick: Richmond-based sushi cafe Yuma Sushi is to start expansion by opening its second site, in nearby Chiswick. Founder Julia Carr is launching the venue in Acton Lane on the site of the former Barista cafe. Refurbishment of the site will start shortly, with the outlet due to open by the end of August, reports Yuma Sushi’s website said it provides the “taste and lightness of Japanese cuisine in a selection of appetising combinations, freshly prepared by our highly qualified chefs” and also offers home delivery. Carr, who launched Yuma Sushi in Brewers Lane, Richmond, two years ago, said she was looking forward to opening the Chiswick venue and already had quite a few customers from the W4 area.

McGettigan’s opens first UK site with Enterprise, plans further expansion: Irish pub group McGettigan’s has opened its first UK venue at an Enterprise Inns site in Fulham Broadway, west London. McGettigan’s, which opened its first venue in the 1960s in Queen Street, Dublin, said plans were in place to open further UK sites. The menu, overseen by the company’s group head chef Derek Flynn, includes classic dishes such as Irish stew and the “full Irish” breakfast as well as the company’s signature dishes – buffalo hot wings, Atlantic salmon, and gourmet bangers and mash. As well as Guinness, the bar serves Irish whiskeys, ciders, ales and stouts alongside drinks from London-based brewer Meantime Brewery. Dennis McGettigan, chief executive of the Bonnington and McGettigan group, said: “To open our first venue in London is a real landmark for us and we are extremely excited to be here. We have worked closely with Enterprise to identify the perfect venue and to understand the local market.” Enterprise regional manager Joy Jones added: “We are proud to be working with McGettigan’s to launch this fabulous pub concept. I’ve been working with them over the past few months, helping them to get their brand in place and facilitating the right product range for their customers. It’s an incredible brand. We love what they’ve done with the site and they’ve been a pleasure to work with. We’re looking forward to a successful business relationship.” McGettigan’s has 13 sites across Ireland, the Middle East, Singapore and New York.

Shoreditch bar McQueen to host ‘posh dog’ pop-up Rockadollar: Shoreditch bar and restaurant McQueen has partnered with “posh dog” pop-up Rockadollar to host a three-month residency at its new McQueen Outdoor terrace. Rockadollar, the brainchild of former Hawksmoor head chef Richard Sandiford and events manager Emma Jerrard, is a concept offering “pimped-up posh dogs”. The special McQueen Outdoor menu features The Magnificent Seven (pork dog with onglet steak, Dutch chilli, ginger, happy-fried onion, micro-coriander, black sesame, and kewpie mayo); and vegetarian option The Cheese Bullitt. McQueen Outdoor serves signature cocktails and has a champagne bar serving more than ten different brands and vintages. Designed by McQueen owner and interior designer Dezzi McCausland, the new space features quilted leather panelling and Chesterfield seating throughout, with graffiti-style street art by Belfast artist Visual Waste. McQueen Outdoor is the other side of Tabernacle Street from the main restaurant and bar, with the Rockadollar pop-up running until the end of October.

Team behind Glasgow-based pub Yesbar opens new French and Scottish-inspired venue in city: The team behind Glasgow-based pub Yesbar has opened a new bar and restaurant concept in the city offering French and Scottish cuisine. Liberté has been launched just off Sauchiehall Street on the site of the former Black Sparrow pub. It has been designed to look like a Parisian side-street bistro, with a beer garden to the rear and wicker seating outside the front in keeping with the French vibe, reports Glasgow Live. The bar and restaurant has a cross-cultural menu of French favourites such as baked camembert, boeuf bourguignon and crème brulee, as well as a range of Scottish dishes. There is also an extensive wine and cocktail list.

Ampersand Events launches interactive dessert concept Artist’s Palate: CH&Co Group-owned caterer Ampersand Events has launched dessert concept Artist’s Palate, which invites diners to decorate their own desserts with colourful edible gels. The concept was revealed at an exclusive dinner at the Guildhall in London as part of an “inspirational menu” to showcase the commercial potential of the City venue. The menu was created by executive chef Glyn Wiltshire, with the team transforming the Guildhall’s Crypt into a Midsummer Night’s Dream experience. For the Artist’s Palate, guests were served a white-glossed dessert and given an artist’s pallet, apron and brush, alongside an array of edible gels in pots and tubes. Ampersand Events group general manager Richard Meyer said: “Our client and guests embraced the opportunity to design their own desserts and it had people talking long into the night.” Ampersand Events was founded in 2011 and provides catering services for events at London venues such as gardens, cathedrals, museums and art galleries.

New Italian concept operating as deli and patisserie by day and wine bar at night opens in Cardiff: A new Italian concept that operates as a deli and patisserie by day and wine bar at night has opened in Cardiff. Italian pastry chef Piero Cutrupi and Jonathan White, who has more than a decade’s experience in the food industry, have launched Nine Yards in St Mary’s Street below the Bunk House hostel. Inspired by the European cafe culture, the venue has sliding wooden doors that open to display a selection of pastries freshly made on the premises and which are available during the day. The savoury offerings are simple and seasonal and there are also traditional Italian coffees, reports Wales Online. In the evenings, it exclusively stocks an Italian wine list with a selection of proseccos topped with Italian sorbet. Beer is also on offer.

Krispy Kreme opens new Glasgow city centre venue: Krispy Kreme has opened a new sit-down site in Glasgow – in the Buchanan Galleries shopping centre, creating 40 jobs. Doughnuts will be delivered to the city centre venue each morning from the company’s Hotlight site at Intu Braehead, the company’s largest UK outlet, which opened in Glasgow in December. Krispy Kreme is set to launch a takeaway site in the city later this summer, this time in Silverburn shopping centre. Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer Judith Denby said: “We are hugely excited to be expanding in Scotland due to the fantastic reaction we have received at our stores in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee.” Krispy Kreme UK entered the market in October 2003 in London and currently operates more than 70 stores across Britain.

Prezzo opens second Birmingham site: Prezzo has opened its second Birmingham site, this time in the suburb of Moseley. The company has converted the former Kwik Fit tyre depot in Alcester Road into the 4,000 square foot restaurant. It has agreed a 25-year lease on the property through agent Cushman and Wakefield. Ed Purcell, who works as part of the company’s retail team, said: “This deal shows the continuing improvement of Birmingham’s suburbs and their growing attraction for chains who, in the past, may have shied away from them.” Prezzo has more than 220 restaurants in the UK, including its other Birmingham site in Harbourne.

North west pub and hotel owner launches Wigan brewery: North west pub and hotel owner Paul Bolton has launched his own brewery to tap into the UK’s growing appreciation for craft beer. Bolton has invested a “six-figure” sum to launch Windmill Brewery at Standish Hall Farm, near Wigan. The company takes its name from the Parbold-based Windmill pub, which Bolton owns. Brewing equipment was specially manufactured and transported by low-loader across the 302 miles from Fort William in north west Scotland. The investment includes two vats, enabling the company to make two different beers simultaneously, with capacity for the production of up to 18,000 pints per week. If the enterprise proves successful, Bolton said there was room to expand production further and introduce additional beer styles. Windmill Brewery will initially bring a pale ale and dark bitter to market, with two other beers in the pipeline. Bolton, who also owns West Tower in Aughton, a hilltop wedding venue overlooking Liverpool, told BDaily: “The beer market has been transformed over the past couple of years, with consumers seeking authenticity and distinctiveness. The big brewers are struggling to keep up, which leaves room for nimble breweries like Windmill to come up on the inside rail.”

Rum Kitchen opens Brixton venue, third London site: London-based Caribbean food and cocktail concept Rum Kitchen has open its third site in the capital and biggest to date, this time in Brixton. The company has opened the 2,500 square foot restaurant in Coldharbour Lane on a site formerly occupied by Brixton Cycles. The 110-cover venue also features a small outside terrace area for another 20 covers, reports Brixton Buzz. In the kitchen, a mix of charcoal and wood-fired ovens, a custom grill and a smoker turn out dishes including jerk chicken, chilli cheeseburgers and island-spiced baby squid. Ross Clarke, who previously worked for Heston Blumenthal at the Fat Duck, has developed the menu for the new site. The drinks menu includes more than 200 types of rum and 40 house cocktails. The company’s two other restaurants are in All Saints Road in Notting Hill and Carnaby Street in Soho.

Pop-up street food firm The Ethical Chef to open permanent restaurant in Carmarthen: Award-winning vegan street food pop-up The Ethical Chef is set to open a permanent restaurant in Carmarthen. Founder Deri Reed has run a weekly stall at Cardiff’s Riverside Farmers’ Market and at festivals such as Glastonbury and Green Man. He will now open a 70-cover restaurant in his home town and has launched a £20,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to get The Warren ready to open by the end of August. Dishes are likely to feature Ethical Chef favourites such as Leeky Welsh Rarebit, Glastonbury Chilli, and Feta and Polenta Cake. The restaurant’s lunchtime menu will be complemented by freshly ground speciality coffee and loose-leaf tea, as well as a selection of homemade cakes. In the evening, the drinks menu will shift to a growing selection of craft beer, local cider, wine and gin, with plans to host arts, music and creative events throughout the year. Reed told Wales Online: “I’ve always been passionate about wholesome, local, seasonal produce. We want to champion fantastic local produce as well as engaging with the community and teaching them more about where their food is from and how it is prepared.”

Newark-based cider and ale house The Vaults acquires second site, in Bingham: Newark-based cider and ale house The Vaults has acquired its second site, this time in Bingham, Nottinghamshire. The company, owned by David and Toni Birch, has secured the lease of The Bingham pub for £35,000 in a deal through agent Davey Co. The pub, which is owned by a private landlord and is currently closed, features a lounge bar, restaurant and private dining area as well as an outside terrace. David Birch has been involved in running pubs and clubs for many years, most recently as a director of UK Bar Services, which provides mobile bar facilities for a variety of events throughout the country and in recent years has provided bars at major country and game fairs at venues around the UK. David and Toni Birch launched The Vaults in cellars in Newark’s historic Northgate in 2014.

Gail’s Bakery opens 30th site, in Richmond: Gail’s Artisan Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, has opened a site in Richmond, south west London. The bakery, which is in Litchfield Terrace and is the company’s 30th site, sells loaves, including Gail’s French dark sourdough, mixed olive sourdough, quinoa sourdough, and honey and almond sourdough. It also specialises in pastries, cakes, yogurt pots, seasonal soups, sandwiches, salads and quiches. A hot brunch menu is served until 3pm. Gail’s Artisan Bakery was founded in 2005, when founders Ran Avidan, Tom Molnar and Emma King opened the first site in Hampstead.

Brighton ethical chicken brand Hen launches London pop-up with MasterChef finalists: Brighton ethical chicken brand Hen has launched a London residency with MasterChef finalists Billy Wright and Jack Layer. The pop-up in Upper Street, Islington, will run for six months and features Hen’s “beak to feet” menu using high welfare chickens raised on Caldecott Farm in Worcestershire. Sides include chicken wings in sweet spicy hot sauce and, exclusive to London, crispy chicken feet, which all guests receive free on arrival. Chicken is available grilled by the quarter or half and all meat is served with a spiced buttermilk marinade and a choice of three other marinades – barbecue, South American-style red eye, and hot chilli. Hen Burgers are also on offer served pulled, fried or grilled and topped with chicken skin mayo, charred gem lettuce, tomato, and pickled cucumber. A concise drinks menu features signature cocktails, craft beers and regular guest brews from UK micro-breweries. A short wine list includes organic bottles from independent producers. Hen was founded by Philip Ilic in 2014. In December last year, he raised £150,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand the concept.

Numis Securities – Fuller’s operating model, quality asset backing and roll-out of Stable format will support growth in the medium term: Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett said Fuller’s operating model, quality asset backing and roll-out of The Stable format will support growth in the medium term. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 1,200p following the company’s first quarter results, Barrett said: “Managed like-for-like sales growth of 2.1% compares with 2.7% for weeks one to ten, implying a small slowdown (to circa 1%) in June and July. However, in the context of a wet June (1.4 times average rainfall) and the European football championship, this looks robust. Trends in the tenanted division (like-for-like profits -2%) and brewing (volumes -5%) are unchanged from week ten. Weakness in the brewing business was expected and should improve once the loss of a contract with Spirit Pubco annualises in the second half. Our FY17 forecasts currently assume managed like-for-like sales growth of 2%, margin growth of 20bp and flat tenanted profits. We remain comfortable with the managed like-for-likes but trim our tenanted assumption to -2%. This is offset by minor adjustments to tax and minorities, meaning our earnings per share forecast is broadly unchanged and we continue to expect circa 6% earnings per share growth in FY17. We note that each 1ppt on managed like-for-likes has a circa 4% impact on earnings per share. The company has made two site acquisitions in quarter one and we increase our capex forecast slightly to £50m. Management believes it is too early to discern any impact on trading following the EU referendum. In due course, we believe the weak pound could stimulate tourism in London after a soft patch (hotel occupancy -2.5ppt last quarter). We also remain confident that Fuller’s operating model, quality asset backing and roll-out of The Stable format will support growth in the medium term. Fuller’s trades on a CY17 price-to-earnings ratio of 16.2 times, EV/Ebitda of 10.8 times and free cash flow yield of 7.4%. This is in line with its closest peer, Young’s, on a price-to-earnings ratio of 16.7 times. While it represents a premium to the wider pub peer group, we believe this is deserved by the strong track record and quality of asset backing.”

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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