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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 25th Jul 2016 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

CGA – restaurant and bar operators overwhelmingly pessimistic following Brexit, Leon reports business down 3% and looking at more overseas investment: Owners of restaurants and bars are overwhelmingly pessimistic following the European referendum result, according to new research. The study by consultants CGA Peach revealed fears of a decline in consumer spending, as diners stay at home, leading to cuts in investment, compounded by staffing problems caused by Brexit. A survey of 800 leading business owners and directors in the sector revealed just 15% of operators were optimistic about the market for the next six months, much lower than the 75% who were optimistic at the start of the year. John Vincent, co-founder of Leon Restaurants, told The Mail on Sunday he had a “very demoralised team who think they are not welcome in Britain any more”. He added: “We have some remarkable young people who are feeling really down and unwanted right now.” Vincent, who together with Leon co-founder Henry Dimbleby has advised the government on its healthy eating initiatives, said business was already 3% down on what it would have been had the referendum vote gone the other way, and said the company had already been hit by the fall in exchange rates. He said: “We’re going to look at more overseas investment. We’ve just opened in Schiphol, Amsterdam’s airport, and if it’s going to be more difficult here, then why not?” Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed believed Brexit would have a negative effect on their business. In the longer term the picture was a little brighter, but only just – about 29% of operators are optimistic about the market as a whole over the next two years. Tellingly, not a single operator raised their expectations, either in the short or long term, after the referendum. CGA Peach vice-chairman Peter Martin said: “Confidence has plummeted since the beginning of this year. You’ve got the falling pound, falling customer confidence, potentially higher costs – Italian restaurants who source food from Italy, for example – and there will be much greater competitive pressure. There will certainly be casualties in the industry, maybe among companies who are over-leveraged or who can’t crunch their costs. There could also be more consolidation.” While there is expected to be less investment in the industry by operators, one silver lining could be that property rental prices, a major cost for restaurants and bars, could fall. Martin added: “However in the long term there is huge concern about overseas labour. In the sector there are a lot of good people from the European Union who will be concerned about what’s going to happen to them. And even if people are allowed to stay here, what about companies trying to recruit in the future?” While the economic climate might be tough for businesses, diners may benefit because there will be increased competition in the sector, said Martin. He added: “People will probably spend less and companies will have to be very entrepreneurial and innovative to attract customers. Whether we wanted to be here or not – here we are. It is a challenging time for the industry, but it’s an exciting time.”

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

Cask Marque key to cask ale sales growth in pubs, survey reveals: A survey of Cask Marque pub licensees has found 81% had seen positive growth in cask ale sales while 79% said the Cask Marque award had brought in extra customers. The key reasons for licensees joining Cask Marque were to improve beer quality (33%), increase beer sales (20%), and the prestige of the award (21%), the survey showed. Of the licensees surveyed, 81% said their objectives had been achieved while 94% felt Cask Marque was value for money and 98% would recommend it to other licensees. On marketing they were very aware of the CaskFinder app, with 73% having seen consumers scan the QR code on the certificate and 89% of visitors had purchased a drink. The most popular free points of sale were the pump clip stickers (49%) followed by bar runners (29%). When talking about the assessors’ visits, 90% of licensees agreed the assessors took time to help improve beer quality and 53% said they had resolved the issue on the day of the visit. Meanwhile, 64% of licensees said they would be supporting Cask Ale Week. Independent research by Enterprise Inns showed Cask Marque pubs within the estate had grown total beer sales by 4.4% against non Cask Marque pubs while a regional brewer put the figure within their estate as 6%. Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said: “With renewal rates at 87%, without adjusting for people who have left the trade, it is not surprising the survey was positive about Cask Marque. Beer quality, staff knowledge and passion are so important for the cask sector and the dividend is that pubs who can deliver grow their total beer sales.”

Fleurets – expansion and evolution of South Bank’s hospitality scene to continue for ‘foreseeable future’: Agent Fleurets said the expansion and evolution of the hospitality scene at London’s South Bank is set to continue for the “foreseeable future”. In its first South Bank Leisure Property Focus report, Fleurets said the combination of boutique shops, restaurants and vibrant open spaces promised to bring a taste of Covent Garden to the South Bank. It said competition between new entrants for accommodation was “fierce across all leisure sectors”, driving keen rental and capital values and “whetting investor appetite”, while providing opportunities for operators to capitalise on an “ever-expanding customer base”. The report said four and five-star hotels dominated South Bank room supply, accounting for about 45% of market share, followed by budget hotels accounting for 32%. According to AM:PM Hotels, there are 13 hotel schemes and a potential 1,300 new rooms in the pipeline, which would increase room supply by more than 30%. Fleurets said STR Global key hotel performance statistics revealed average daily room rates (ADR) and revpar rates remained strong. ADR rose from £127.56 in 2013 to £137.58 in 2015, while revpar increased during the same period from £111.87 to £116.48. Regarding the restaurant sector, the report said vast numbers of tourists and office workers had put the South Bank high on the target list for operators, while many were making “excellent use of previously undesirable space” such as warehouses, wharves and railway arches. The report also highlighted the number of independent and small multiple operators in roads just off the main river frontage, including Bermondsey Street. Fleurets said a key sign of Bermondsey Street’s attraction to operators was illustrated by the sale of the Garrison restaurant to City Pub Company for a substantial sum and the Woolpack to Young’s for between £4m and £8m, according to the Land Registry. Moving on to pubs and bars, the report branded the quantity and choice in South Bank as “phenomenal”. Philip Smith, senior associate at Fleurets’ London office, said: “Over the last 200 years, the South Bank has developed from an area of marshland into a vibrant destination for workers, residents and tourists. With the intensive ongoing developments around London Bridge and Tower Bridge, the opportunities for leisure operators to capitalise on an ever-expanding customer base are huge. With limitations on available space, competition between new entrants for accommodation is fierce across all the leisure sectors, in turn driving keen rental and capital values and whetting investor appetite in the South Bank market. At a time when there is a degree of uncertainty in the air, there is clearly strong positivity for South Bank’s leisure scene, which looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.” To view the full report, visit

Investors urge SABMiller to revise terms of £71bn AB InBev deal: A horde of City fund giants is cranking up the pressure on SABMiller to revise the terms of its £71bn sale to Anheuser-Busch InBev throwing into doubt the biggest takeover yet of a British company. The charge is being led by Aberdeen Asset Management, according to sources familiar with the discussions, reports The Sunday Times. The £293bn fund has demanded SABMiller reconsider the cash element of AB InBev’s bid, which has dived in value relative to a cash-and-stock alternative because of the fall in the value of sterling. SABMiller has also held talks with other top shareholders about the structure of the deal, the sources added. SABMiller chairman Jan du Plesis has pledged to review AB InBev’s offer once the deal is approved by regulators in China. He said he would “take into consideration all relevant facts and circumstances”. When Beijing gives the green light, which could be this week, AB InBev will issue a share document containing the latest recommendation from the SABMiller board. It is understood du Plesis has not yet made a decision about whether to recommend the offer to SABMiller’s shareholders. The complicated structure of the deal was designed to give SABMiller’s two biggest shareholders – the cigarette company Altria and the billionaire Santo Domingo family in Colombia – the chance to avoid a hefty tax bill by taking a mix of cash and AB InBev shares, which cannot be sold for five years. When the deal was struck in November, other investors were expected to take the cash-only option, which is worth £44 a share. But currency swings and a spike in AB InBev’s share price have raised the value of the stock alternative from £39 to above £50. A source close to AB InBev said the company remained confident the cash offer reflected “compelling value” for shareholders of SABMiller. But a growing number of SABMiller investors do not share that view, with the pressure to renegotiate the deal being stoked by activist investors Elliott Management, which has a 1.5% stake, and the Children’s Investment Fund, which holds nearly 1%.
Plans unveiled for new leisure hub featuring restaurants and cinema at Exeter shopping centre: Plans have been unveiled for a new leisure hub featuring restaurants and a cinema at the Princesshay shopping centre in Exeter. The proposal would see part of the bus and coach station site next to the centre transformed into new restaurants, shops, a cinema and an outdoor amphitheatre. Named Princesshay Leisure, it will sit alongside Exeter City Council’s St Sidwell’s Point leisure centre and a new bus station. Outline planning permission was granted by the council for the scheme earlier this year but the Princesshay Partnership, which includes The Crown Estate and TH Real Estate, has now revealed more details about the plans. John Grinnell, of The Crown Estate, told the Plymouth Herald: “The extension of Princesshay will significantly improve the range of restaurants, retail and leisure amenities available in the city centre, which will be a great boost for inward investment into Exeter, for local trade and business, and for jobs and growth. We’ve been working hard since receiving outline consent earlier this year so we’re really looking forward to showcasing the detailed plans.”

Company News:

Caledonian Heritable reports pre-tax profit increase, plans to monitor performance of tenanted pubs: Caledonian Heritable, the Scottish operator of pubs, restaurants and nightclubs led by Kevin Doyle, has reported pre-tax profit increased to £7,036,650 for the year ended 31 October 2015, compared with £5,054,364 the year before. Turnover from continued operations, including the group’s share of joint ventures, rose to £35.1m, compared with £34.4m the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. The company stated: “The directors are satisfied with the profit level for the year. The directors, however, will continue to monitor the cost base closely and also the performance of the tenanted public houses.” As well as pubs and restaurants, Caledonian Heritable also operates a golf course and has a property investment and plant hire business. 

Chinese Buffet eyes north east as part of £8m expansion plans: The Chinese Buffet, which was founded in Bolton by Peter Wu with Paolo and David Hu in 2006, has set its sights on opening a number of venues across the north east as part of wider plans to invest £8m and create 400 jobs. The company opened its first restaurant in the north east in Darlington’s Feethams Centre earlier this month and hopes it will be the “first of many”. The company, which specialises in all-you-can-eat buffet food, is looking at Hartlepool, Sunderland, Durham, Middlesbrough, Scarborough and York as potential locations in which to expand. Hu told Insider Media: “We are excited and happy to invest in the north east and plan to continue this expansion with more restaurants. I am confident that, with the food and service we offer, we will be the first choice for Chinese cuisine here.” The company now operates 11 restaurants across the country and aims to have a portfolio of 20 by 2018.
Tortilla lodges plans for restaurant in Brixton: Mexican restaurant group Tortilla has lodged plans to open a site in Brixton, south London. The company has applied to Lambeth Council to open the 54-cover venue in Brixton Road on the site of Surprise Surprise shoes, reports Brixton Buzz. If approved, the restaurant would be the company’s 18th in the capital. The application stated: “A new Tortilla restaurant would contribute to the vitality and viability of Brixton. While the proposed restaurant use would have 54 covers, Tortilla offers a takeaway element. This takeaway element would increase the pedestrian footfall within the area and increase the vitality and viability of the area.” Tortilla was launched in 2007, bringing burritos and tacos to London by taking inspiration from the self-proclaimed burrito capital of the world, San Francisco. The brand has since grown to 29 restaurants in the UK, with its first in Scotland due to open in Glasgow this summer.

Longhorns BBQ expands smokehouse following Camerons Brewery deal: North east-based restaurant company Longhorns BBQ has expanded its Ouseburn smokehouse having clinched a deal with Camerons Brewery to supply six of its pubs across the north. Longhorns, which specialises in authentic Texan barbecue food, will be aided in the move by a six-figure investment from the North East Growth Plus Fund, managed by FW Capital. The company, which also has restaurants in Jesmond and Newcastle city centre and employs more than 50 staff, has achieved a seven-figure turnover within just two years. Longhorns BBQ co-founder and managing director Michael Dixon said: “We are passionate about providing high-quality, Texan-style barbecue food and an authentic experience. Following the success of our Newcastle restaurants, we reached an agreement with Camerons Brewery group to supply them. Thanks to the support we’ve had from the FW Capital team, we’ve been able to expand our central smokehouse to meet this increased demand and take on more north east staff.” Michael Vassallo, FW Capital senior investment executive, added: “Longhorns is an exciting company with high brand values and very strong growth prospects. Customer feedback has been great and they have a really strong management team in place.” Longhorns, which recently launched a new menu, plans to open more restaurants this year. The North East Growth Plus Fund invests between £350,000 and £1.25m per round in established north east businesses.
Meatcure opens Bedford restaurant, fourth site and first outside East Midlands: Gourmet burger restaurant company Meatcure has opened a restaurant in Bedford, its fourth site and first outside the East Midlands. The new venue in High Street is open daily, offering burgers, steaks, salads, sharing plates and desserts, alongside shakes and hard shakes. It also has separate brunch, lunch and children’s menus. Earlier this month the company, led by Paul Rigby and Rob Martyniak, postponed its Seedrs crowdfunding campaign, blaming uncertainty caused in part by Brexit. Meatcure was looking to fund-raise £350,000 to open five new sites in the next two years. However, the company told investors: “We’re still on target to self-fund our growth organically at a rate that ensures successful, efficient and profitable delivery of great restaurants to impressive market towns.” Meatcure’s three other sites are in Market Harborough, Leicester and Leamington Spa. It is set to open a fifth site, in Hinckley, in the autumn.
Poppie’s Fish & Chips opens Soho restaurant, third London site: Poppie’s Fish & Chips, the music, nostalgia and chippie concept owned by Pat “Pop” Newland, has opened its third London restaurant, this time in Soho. The new venue in Old Compton Street is on the site of the former 2i’s Coffee Bar, the “birthplace of British rock ‘n’ roll”. Fresh fish will be delivered daily from Billingsgate – to be served from 11am to midnight with hand-cut chips, wallies and mushy peas – while the restaurant will also feature live music. Newland said: “Hopefully Poppie’s can bring a bit of East End charm and a bit of 1970s Soho to Old Compton Street. I love live music and I’m really excited we’ll have a stage in the Soho shop like we do in Camden, with music and dancing.” The restaurant also offers cod or haddock (in edible-inked newspaper if taking away), battered or classic sausages, fishcakes, saveloys, jellied eels, and bottled wine and craft beer. Newland started in the fish and chips business in the 1950s at 11 years old, cutting newspaper to wrap the portions as they were dished out. The other Poppie’s Fish & Chips venues are in Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, and Hawley Crescent, Camden.
Chipotle reports like-for-likes down 23.6% in second quarter: Chipotle Mexican Grill has reported like-for-likes fell 23.6% in its second quarter ended 30 June 2016, an improvement from the nearly 30% decline in the first quarter. The company said the like-for-like sales decline included a 19.3% drop in transactions. Net income for the quarter was $25.6m, falling from $140.2m a year ago before a series of foodborne illness incidents began in the second half of 2015. Revenue declined 16.6% to $998.4m, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. The results were an improvement over the first quarter, when Chipotle reported its first quarterly loss as a public company. It opened 58 restaurants during the quarter, bringing its total number of sites to 2,124. Chipotle founder, chairman and co-chief executive Steve Ellis said: “We returned to profitability and saw a modest improvement in comparable sales trends in the second quarter. Our most recent marketing efforts, led by our Chiptopia frequency programme, are off to a nice start in the third quarter, as customers are embracing the programme, and nearly 30% of all transactions are engaged in Chiptopia.”
Peak District hotel owners open £1m bar and restaurant concept Grafene in Manchester: The owners of a Peak District hotel have opened a new bar and restaurant concept on a former Brasserie Blanc site in Manchester. Paul and Kathryn Roden, who own Losehill House in Derbyshire, have invested £1m to launch Grafene in King Street. An open pastry kitchen takes centre stage at the 120-cover restaurant, with two private dining areas dedicated to wine tastings and pairings. The venue also houses the Island bar, serving light bites, vintage champagne, local beers and “scientifically inspired” cocktails. It also features a large outside dining area. Head chef Darren Goodwin’s menu includes starters such as smoked ham terrine with cider jelly, pickled cauliflower and piccalilli, while mains are dominated by fish and game, including Goosnargh guinea fowl with braised leg and hunter’s sauce, and sea trout with black quinoa. The restaurant features an open pastry kitchen, with the dessert menu created by Cristina Molteni, formerly at The Ritz in Paris. Highlights include lime and strawberry cheesecake with strawberry sorbet. A seven-course taster menu is also being created.
Stonegate reopens Nottingham city centre bar with new name following £300,000 refurbishment: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened a Nottingham city centre site with a new name following a £300,000 refurbishment. The company has revamped the former Cape site in Pelham Street, which is now called Faradays. The two-storey building has a new industrial design that includes corrugated iron, reclaimed wood and surrealist images on the walls upstairs, connected to the ground floor by a spiral staircase. The bar has been named after Faraday Road, home to the Raleigh Factory. The bar has several nods to the famous bicycle manufacturer throughout, with cogs, wheels and bike imagery. Stonegate has opened up the second floor, called Static Attic, as a lounge area for large groups and a corner for live musicians. It is also set to introduce cocktail masterclasses. The food menu was changed just before Cape closed at the start of the month and will remain the same with hand-stretched, stonebaked pizzas as well as favourites such as beef and ale pie, chicken tikka masala and scampi. General manager Matt Sporne told the Nottingham Post: “Nottingham needs a bar that specialises in the whole package – premium food, extensive drinks menu, atmosphere, customer service – and that’s what we’ve created.”
Urban Standard opens Cardiff bar and restaurant, third site and first outside Bristol: Bristol-based independent bar and restaurant company Urban Standard has opened its third site, this time in Cardiff. The company, founded by Tim Moores and Dom Wood, has opened Society Standard on the site of the former Cardiff Sportsgear shop in Whitchurch Road. The new 1,800 square foot venue is split between two open plan rooms and can seat 100 customers. The main bar, which offers plenty of seating at smaller tables, is on one side with an open plan kitchen and larger tables on the other. Full-length, bi-fold windows offer diners pavement-side eating in warm weather, with a covered terrace to the rear. Dishes include Tuscan tartine with whipped ricotta, tomato and olive tapenade, and grilled sourdough; and mac ‘n’ pork sandwich with macaroni cheese and a fried egg. Local beers from The Waen Brewery and Pipes Beer are also available. The company’s other venues are The Urban Standard and North Street Standard, both in Bristol.
Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia opens new pizza concept: Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia, owned by multi-site operator Peter Sanchez-Iglesias, has opened its new pizza concept Pi Shop. The 40-seat pizzeria has launched at the former Bristol General Hospital building alongside Casamia, which relocated to the site after 19 years in Westbury-on-Trym in January. Pi Shop is inspired by Casamia’s original roots, reflecting the origins of the restaurant that started out serving a range of authentic Italian pizzas. It features an open plan kitchen and wood-fired oven and has a menu of sourdough pizzas and homemade ice creams. The decor has a laid-back Italian feel intertwined with Bristolian influences. Sanchez-Iglesias told the Bristol Post: “We’ve had a fantastic reception since we reopened Casamia at The General and we think guests are going to love the different feel of Pi Shop, which will offer great, tasty food in a relaxed atmosphere.” Pi Shop is the first of two new dining concepts being launched with Paco Tapas, named after Sanchez-Iglesias’ father, due to open later this summer.
New sushi cafe concept set to open in Wilmslow: A new sushi cafe concept is set to open in Wilmslow, Cheshire. Zumu Sushi has applied to Cheshire East Council to convert a vacant unit in Bank Square previously occupied by The Goal Post sports shop into the new venue. The proposed scheme would work within the existing layout of the building with no structural changes, reports Zumu Sushi said in its application the cafe would create eight jobs.
St John turns Spitalfields site into new bar and restaurant: St John Restaurants, led by Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver, has revamped its Spitalfields venue in London to create a new bar and restaurant. When St John Bread and Wine opened in Commercial Street ten years ago, the group used the space as a bakery. Now, with the bakery moving to a site in Druid Street, Bermondsey, where it sells doughnuts, bread, bag-in-box wines, and Eccles cakes among many other products, the Spitalfields site has been transformed into a dedicated restaurant and bar. The all-French wine list has been complemented by a revamped beer offering, curated by Melissa Cole. Customers can dine at the venue or just grab a drink, Hot Dinners reports. The menu will change regularly, while Henderson and head chef Arnold Hoeksma have also been working on new breakfast dishes. St John also operates the Smithfield Bar and Restaurant and the St John Maltby restaurant in Bermondsey.
New ethical coffee house concept opens in Bingham: A new ethical coffee house concept has opened in Bingham, Nottinghamshire. Former English teacher Georgia Barnes has launched Folks and Fables in Long Acre. The site features a cafe downstairs, while the first floor has a lounge that is available for art classes, book clubs, creative writing workshops, craft afternoons and supper clubs. A literary theme, inspired by Barnes’ former profession, runs throughout the business right down to the crisps, which have quirky names such as Pastrami in the Rye and The Secret of Mr Salt. Customers can “create their own adventure” at the Buddha bar packed with fresh fruit, greens and grains for breakfast smoothies and lunchtime salads. Unusually, the menu is vegan as standard and non-vegan products are the ones labelled. The coffee is Fairtrade and some of the more obscure loose-leaf teas include jelly and ice cream and iced banana chai latte. Barnes told the Nottingham Post: “I’ve always wanted a creative coffee house since working in coffee shops before going into teaching.”
Numis Securities – no quick fix for The Restaurant Group but it has support from its concessions and pubs: Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett said there was no quick fix for The Restaurant Group but it had support from its concessions and pubs. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 370p, Barrett said: “We do not expect any single solution to an issue that has been building for some time. Nor do we expect mergers and acquisitions/divestments to form a major part of the strategic review. In theory, the separation/sale of concessions or pub restaurants could release substantial value but we believe management is more inclined to invest in these areas – to make the group more balanced – than to sell them. Management suggested in a recent conference call it was reviewing the operating strategy, and would give its findings with the interim results. Instead we expect a rapid change in menu offering, pricing and staffing using all operational tools to drive revenues and limit margin pressures from the living wage, food/beverage imports etc. More importantly, we believe the group should also address the tail of underperforming sites, closing some and eradicating duplication in the estate (eg Stoke, where a new opening caused like-for-like sales to decline 19% in each of the other two). We would also welcome a more realistic assessment of long-term expansion plans, dropping the group’s current target for 850 to 950 units within eight to ten years, which would have required more than 50 annual openings. Until newer brands such as Coast to Coast are established, such growth was reliant on a strong pipeline for food and beverage. Overall, we believe investors would rather see a smaller number of high-quality openings in pubs/airports than expansion elsewhere, where The Restaurant Group competes for sites with private equity-backed businesses. We take a cautious view of prospects for FY16, particularly given weak consumer confidence in the wake of Brexit. Our forecasts use an assumption for like-for-like sales of -3.5%, broadly in the middle of the company’s -2.5% to -5% guidance. That implies -3.9% for the remainder of the year and no improvement from the run rate in weeks nine to 17. Our cost assumptions result in a fall in Ebit margin from 13.0% to 10.6%.”
New real ale bar concept opens in Burnley: A new real ale bar concept has opened in Burnley. Andy Taylor, who has worked in the pub industry for 20 years, has launched Bar Central in his home town. The 70-capacity site in Manchester Road specialises in real ales brewed in the region. Taylor told the Lancashire Telegraph: “I’ve always wanted my own bar in Burnley. I was brought up in Duke Bar and have worked in the trade for 20 years. I worked at The Duke of York, The Falcon and the North Valley in Colne before moving away to work in Newcastle. I’ve managed a pub up there for the past 12 years. When this opportunity came up it was too good to miss. I intend to work with local, independent breweries, which are seeing a bit of a revival, but we also serve wine and spirits.”
New vegan restaurant and live music concept Moon On The Water launches in Cleethorpes: New vegan restaurant and live music concept Moon On The Water has launched on Cleethorpes seafront. The name of the venue in North Promenade was inspired by a George Orwell essay. The large space has room for 500 people and as well as regular live performances by a wide range of artists, Moon On The Water directors Sally-Ann MacDonald, Billy Miller and Warren Jolly, plan to offer workshop space and host yoga classes. Jolly told the Grimsby Telegraph: “We will be able to offer bands and artists proper dressing rooms, practice areas for them, and workshops. With a capacity of up to 500 people, the potential is incredible.”
Nottingham-based coffee roaster opens first shop: Nottingham-based coffee roaster Outpost Coffee has opened its first coffee shop. The company, which supplies coffee to cafes across Nottingham, has opened the artisan venue in Stoney Street on the former site of The Music Exchange. Drinks include Clever Dripper, Kalita and Aeropress from single-origin beans, espresso, macchiato, cortado, flat white, cappuccino and latte. Owner Greg Campher told the West Bridgford Wire the coffee shop was the natural progression for the business.
Pirate-themed bar and nightclub concept BarBaric launches in Southport town centre: A pirate-themed bar and nightclub has launched in Southport, serving rum cocktails to “shipmates looking for a fun night out on the town”. BarBaric is the brainchild of Olivia Baughan, who will run the bar that was bought by her parents earlier this year. The venue on the corner of West Street and Waverley Street in Southport town centre has been fully refurbished. The site previously housed the nightclubs Purple Money and Room 38, the Southport Visiter reports.
Zenith Hygiene completes acquisition of chemicals company CCL Pentasol: Zenith Hygiene Group, the supplier of cleaning and hygiene products to the sector, has completed the acquisition of CCL Pentasol, a UK-based supplier of chemicals for the food, dairy, brewing, beverage and pharmaceutical industries, for an undisclosed sum. CCL Pentasol will add new, growing markets to Zenith’s portfolio. The first part of the integration process will see CCL Pentasol’s water treatment division rebranded as Zenith Water Engineering. Zenith said it expected the market to grow in importance for its businesses as water became “even more of a precious commodity”. Zenith Hygiene Group chief executive Ringo Francis said: “As a business, we thrive on innovation and efficiency; our customers are at the heart of our business model and I am confident they will welcome the delivery of a combined, wider array of services and products to meet our goal of providing them with a fully integrated offer.” The acquisition was funded through the company’s balance sheet following the £13.9m funding package from Santander secured in April.
Peel Hotels appoints Bespoke boss as non-executive director: Peel Hotels has appointed Bespoke Hotels chief executive Haydn Fentum as a non-executive director. Fentum is also co-owner of Bespoke Hotels, which primarily specialises in hotel management and sales and marketing contracts on behalf of independent owners. Bespoke has about 120 contracts worldwide, the majority of which have been initiated and negotiated by Fentum. Peel Hotels chairman Robert Peel said: “I am delighted Haydn has agreed to join our board and we can only benefit from his wealth of experience within our industry.”
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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