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Wed 27th Jul 2016 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Starbucks launches retail division, Schultz devolves duties: Starbucks has launched a new retail group – Siren Retail – with chief executive Howard Schultz stepping away from certain duties to focus on growing the company’s higher-end businesses such as roasteries, special reserve stores, and its investment in Italian restaurant Princi. Schultz said the move was part of a “long-term strategic plan that would further elevate the company”. This month, Starbucks became global licensee and investor in boutique bakery and cafe Princi. The number of standalone Princi locations will be expanded and Princi will become the exclusive food purveyor at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms in Shanghai and New York. Announced earlier this year, these immersive coffee experiences will bring Starbucks’ line of premium, small lot Reserve coffees to life in a retail space. The Shanghai and New York roasteries are on track to open in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In an open letter to employees, Schultz stated: “What we have created with the Roastery is the most dynamic, immersive retail experience the industry has ever seen. With its stunning success, we will now accelerate and globalise the Roastery experience, building more roasteries in iconic cities and threading the Roastery experience into hundreds of new coffee-forward Reserve stores around the world, which will also integrate the spectacular culinary experience of our new Italian food partner, Princi.” In the new organisational structure, Cliff Burrows will head up Siren Retail and be responsible for building out the Princi organisation, including stand-alone stores. Kevin Johnson remains chief operating officer and president, while John Culver will take on the role of group president of Starbucks Global Retail. Currently, Starbucks has nearly 24,000 stores worldwide and offers Reserve coffee in nearly 2,000 locations in 30 countries. Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room debuted in December 2014 in the company’s home town of Seattle.

Industry News:

Haysmacintyre and Propel benchmarking survey deadline extended: The deadline of the third annual haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index benchmarking survey for multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators in association with Propel has been extended. 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 will now close on Tuesday, 2 August. 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

European hotel industry sees 2.7% revpar growth in second quarter, UK up 1%: The European hotel industry saw revpar grow 2.7% in the second quarter of this year, with the UK seeing a 1% increase, according to data from STR. The UK reported occupancy down 0.7% to 78.9%, average daily rate up 1.7% to £89.71, and revpar increase 1% to £70.82 for the quarter. STR said it was still too early to quantify the impact of the Brexit vote in late June on the UK and European hotel industries. Across Europe, occupancy was up 0.6% to 73.9%, average daily rate increased 2.1% to €114.33, with revpar growth of 2.7% to €84.49. Among the best-performing cities in the quarter was Amsterdam, which saw year-on-year increases in all three areas. Occupancy rose 1.4% to 85.4%, average daily rate was up 5.0% to €154.22, and revpar grew 6.4% to €131.67. STR analysts credit city marketing efforts for a 10.1% year-to-date demand increase in Amsterdam, where demand was up 11.4% specifically in the city centre during the second quarter. France reported decreases across all three areas, with occupancy down 5.5% to 68.2%, average daily rate falling 7.5% to €138.43, and revpar dropping 12.6% to €94.34. The country has seen consistent performance declines due to security concerns in the country. Even Euro 2016 could not push performance into positive territory as June produced a 5.5% decrease in occupancy to 75.1% and a 5.3% drop in average daily rate to €157.13. Europe’s results were mostly positive when compared with June 2015. The region reported a 0.7% dip in occupancy to 77.1% but average daily rate was up 1.3% to €119.48, while revpar increased 0.7% to €92.18.

Coca-Cola Life sales fall by more than 50% in first six months of 2016: Coca-Cola Life sales more than halved in the first six months of 2016, Marketing Week has reported. Figures by Nielsen show UK Coca-Cola Life value sales for the six months ending 2 July 2016 were £5.6m, down 54.5% on the same period last year. In comparison, total UK Coca-Cola sales for the same period were £521m, 7.6% down on last year. Coca-Cola Life was launched in 2014 as a lower-calorie option. It is the brand’s first cola sweetened using a blend of sugar and stevia plant extract and contains 45% less sugar and calories than original Coca-Cola. At the time of the launch, Coca-Cola Europe president James Quincey said Coca-Cola Life complemented “existing brands and is well positioned to meet changing lifestyle trends, providing people with a great tasting, lower calorie cola sweetened from natural sources”. However, some criticised its positioning as a “healthy” product, with Marketing Week columnist Mark Ritson stating the launch spelled the “start of the end of Coca-Cola”. Late last year, IRI figures showed that since the introduction of the new product in August 2014, the Life brand had grown into a £28.9m business, with analysts saying it had attracted a “small but loyal following”. Sales peaked in October 2014 after a period of heavy promotion, with value sales hitting £4.1m for the four weeks to 11 October.

Company News:

Castle Rock Brewery reports 38.4% pre-tax profit rise: Tynemill, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub operator which trades as Castle Rock Brewery, has reported pre-tax profit up 38.4% to £319,722 for the year ending March 2016. Turnover, however, dropped 4.1%, with the majority caused by the four-month fire-enforced closure of the Willowbrook pub in Nottingham and the transfer to a tenancy of the New Barrack Tavern in Sheffield. Managing director Colin Wilde said the company had made “good progress” in the year and continued to invest in its people, premises, equipment and systems. He added: “In parallel to this we’ve further consolidated our debt position with long-term debt reduced by a further 1.6% during the year. Competition remains fierce, with more of our pubs facing competition from similar operators as they expand their estates. We also share localities with the growing number of smaller, low-cost operations known as ‘micro-pubs’, who are pitching their offering to our core customer sets. The brewery also faces a perpetual battle against new micro-breweries trying to break into, and compete for space in, a very crowded market. This has resulted in downward price pressure. It also puts downward pressure on brewery volumes and means the company has had to invest more heavily in its sales force and has commenced direct deliveries to the free trade to back up the sound wholesale plan. The strategy of continually looking to improve and innovate, while recognising that not everything goes out of fashion, will continue to be at the forefront of the thinking of the company. Good progress has also been made in the operations of the business, with a strong focus being placed on improving both efficiency and effectiveness at every level.” The year saw the promotion of Jon Cox to finance director in recognition of his strong achievement in his former role as head of finance. Company chairman Geoff Newton added the role of brewery sales director during the period.

McDonald’s plans $400m sale of Malaysia and Singapore franchise rights: McDonald’s is planning a sale of 20-year franchise rights in Malaysia and Singapore that could collectively fetch at least $400m. Suitors for the fast food operations in the two south east Asian markets have begun sounding out banks for financing, according to sources close to the deal. A potential bidder is in talks with lenders for as much as $300m in funding, they said. McDonald’s is seeking local franchise partners to run its restaurants in Malaysia and Singapore as it pursues an international turnaround plan put in place after chief executive Steve Easterbrook took over last year. The company, which has a $112bn market value, is revamping its ownership models throughout Asia, including plans to sell operations in China, Hong Kong and South Korea. A McDonald’s spokeswoman told Bloomberg it had adopted a “development licensee model” for the two markets. It is negotiating with candidates “who are committed to helping accelerate growth and innovation in Malaysia and Singapore”, she added. Unlike in its other major markets – including the US – most McDonald’s outlets in Asia are company-owned. It aims eventually to have 95% of its restaurants in the region under local ownership, it said in March. McDonald’s currently has more than 120 restaurants with about 9,000 employees in Singapore, while in Malaysia the company runs more than 250 sites.

MOD Pizza secures first London site: Agent Shelley Sandzer has acted for MOD Pizza in a deal that sees the fast casual artisan pizza concept take its first site in London. The 6,200 square foot site, located at 17-18 Irving Street, is due to open in November. Following a successful debut in Leeds earlier this year, the central London site near Leicester Square marks the latest in a UK expansion that includes sites planned for Brighton, Nottingham and Newcastle. Nick Weir, joint managing Partner at Shelley Sandzer, said: “We are very happy to have acted as advisors on this deal and help deliver on the brief given to us by MOD Pizza. Taking into account the momentum behind the brand, we are confident the prime position of this site will be perfect for them.” TK Retail Property Consultants represented the assignor on the lease, Café Concerto.

Wine merchant, shop and bar concept Traders to launch at St Katharine Docks this weekend: New wine merchant, shop and bar concept Traders will launch at St Katharine Docks this weekend, in time to welcome returning Clipper Round The World Race yacht crews. Traders, drawing inspiration from centuries of merchant ships sailing up the Thames, will offer wine, coffee, craft beer, vermouth cocktails, soft drinks and light eats, as well as artisan pantry goods available from the shop. A wine tap wall, which will offer discovery wines of the week from around the globe, will be fitted out later in the year. The 50-cover, waterside terrace overlooks the central basin and luxury marina at St Katharine Docks. Launch beers will include Beavertown, Two Tribes, Anspach and Hobday, while weekly wine tastings during launch month will include Biancavigna Prosecco Spumante Brut from the Veneto, and English sparkling wine Digby Fine English Leander Pink Brut. Traders will be open from 9am to 9pm, Sunday to Wednesday, and until 11pm from Thursday to Saturday. This weekend there will be special drinks offers for Clipper wristband wearers and anyone bringing in a Clipper flag.

Burrito brand Boojum to open third and largest restaurant in Belfast, seventh Irish site: Belfast-based burrito brand Boojum will open its third and largest site in Belfast on Thursday (26 July). The new 95-cover, 3,300 square foot restaurant, the brand’s seventh in Ireland, is also aimed at the corporate catering market, with a separate kitchen on-site. The new restaurant is on the ground floor of a former bank in Great Victoria Street. Brothers David and Andrew Maxwell took over Boojum last year, a Mexican brand launched by John Blisard in Belfast’s Botanic area. David Maxwell told the Belfast Telegraph: “We have seen really strong growth in Dublin and Belfast. The Abbey Street store (in Dublin) is doing really well, and is outperforming where we thought we were going to be. This won’t be the last project we do in Belfast. In the next three weeks, we will probably announce three more stores. And one of those will be in a new city. The next big project for us would be opening up in a new market. That will be in the south, and it’s the first time Boojum has done that in four years.” Talking about the corporate catering move, Maxwell added: “With this store we have geared up to go for larger, corporate catering orders. The way it’s set up, for us to process a large corporate order there would be zero disruption to the main line. Currently in the Belfast stores we don’t have that luxury. It’s a big step for us.”

Malhotra Group sees alcohol licence bid rejected for proposed American diner and bowling alley concept in Jesmond: Newcastle-based pub, restaurant and hotel operator Malhotra Group has been refused an alcohol licence for its proposed American diner and bowling alley concept in Jesmond. The company had its application rejected by Newcastle City Council following objections by Northumbria Police and the city’s director of public health. Malhotra Group plans to launch the concept –The Den – on the site of the former Louis restaurant in Osborne Road and wanted to sell alcohol until midnight on weekdays and Saturdays, and until 11.30pm on Sundays. Malhotra Group operations director Atul Malhotra told Chronicle Live: “We are naturally extremely disappointed with the outcome of the hearing. We are waiting to receive the written decision and will take stock after this and decide internally what to do moving forward with this particular situation.” In the planning application’s design and access statement, the company said: “The building has lain vacant for two years but a new interior and concept hopes to give the venue a new lease of life. Jesmond is an area popular with students of Newcastle and Northumbria University as well as local families, so the plans to incorporate a boutique bowling alley, cinema screen and table games area would be something different for the Jesmond community to enjoy.”

T&R Theakston reports turnover and profits boost: T&R Theakston, based in Masham, North Yorkshire, has reported a year of growth, featuring increased turnover, profits and shareholders’ funds. Its brands include Old Peculiar and Best Bitter and the company is controlled and run by direct descendants of founder Robert Theakston. Accounts for the year to 31 December 2015 revealed the company made a pre-tax profit of £600,000, up from £560,000 in 2014, on turnover that rose from £4.48m to £4.55m. The results cover the second full year of a long-term commercial agreement with Heineken UK as exclusive distributor of Theakston’s branded cask, keg and bottled beer in the UK, an arrangement directors said was proving successful. Accounting for the company’s entire UK trade turnover, other than its visitor centre in Masham, the Heineken deal was said to safeguard and strengthen the company’s “continuing independence”, allowing it to focus on “continuing to grow the strength of the Theakston brand in the future”. Executive director Simon Theakston said: “We are pleased with this set of results. The company is making good progress in a fast-changing market. The addition of new, modern craft ale brands to our well-known existing range of beers in the last year has further broadened our appeal to a widening consumer base.” Robert Theakston, a farmer from the hamlet of Warthermarske, near Masham, established the company in 1827 after taking the lease of the Black Bull inn in Masham and starting to brew ale. The brewery business is run by his great-great-grandsons, Simon, Nick, Tim and Edward Theakston.

Boston Tea Party offers 25p discount to customers using reusable coffee cups: Cafe group Boston Tea Party is offering customers who use a reusable coffee cup a 25p discount off their hot drink. The company is launching the initiative in a bid to cut the amount of coffee cups ending up in landfill. It also plans to introduce Boston Tea Party-branded reusable cups in the near future. Managing director Sam Roberts said: “We use a Seda cup and plastic lids for all our takeaway coffees. Seda paper and plastic products are 100% recyclable, however the caveat on that is the infrastructure within the UK to handle the recycling of two-sided polycoated paperboard is very underdeveloped. We sat down with a company called Vegware, which is a ‘completely compostable’ packaging company to run through their products and the likely waste stream. We concluded that unless we could somehow persuade our customers to hold on to their cups and get them into a commercial composting facility either via their workplace or home, the cups would very likely end up in landfill. Compostable cups do not degrade in landfill. With this in mind, we decided not to invest the additional £30,000 to £40,000 per annum these compostable cups and lids would cost us, but rather use these funds to invest in what is, in our opinion, the only truly environmentally friendly option, a reusable coffee cup. So we will be offering all our customers a 25p discount off our hot drinks every time they use one. We’ll also be launching new BTP-branded reusable cups in the near future, so watch this space for these coming to your cafe soon.”

Georgiou starts Tongue & Brisket expansion with Soho sister restaurant: Salt beef specialist Bambos Georgiou has started expansion of his Tongue & Brisket concept by opening a second site, this time in Soho. Georgiou, who opened the debut Tongue & Brisket in Leather Lane market, Holborn, also owns two B&K Salt Beef Bars in the capital – in Edgware and Hatch End. Tongue & Brisket specialises in hand-cured and hand-carved salt beef, with everything made from scratch using traditional recipes and methods. The menu is reminiscent of New York’s salt beef delis, featuring a selection of sandwiches served on rye bread with mustard and pickled cucumber, Just Opened London reports. Diners can opt to add extra toppings such as sauerkraut and chopped liver, while the restaurant also offers a “Meat & Salad Box” and, for something lighter, chicken soup served with a matzo ball.

Sprinkles Gelato lodges plans for site in Salisbury: Dessert parlour Sprinkles Gelato has lodged plans to open a site in Salisbury. The company has applied to Wiltshire Council to open the venue in New Canal in the former Santander building next to the Odeon cinema, creating four jobs. It wants to open the outlet from 10am to 11pm Mondays to Saturdays and 11am to 10.30pm on Sundays. Tim Hance, of agents Prime Retail, told the Salisbury Journal: “This is a secondary retailing location within the city and, being adjacent to the cinema, is attractive to A3 restaurant users. With numerous shops in better locations, it is unlikely the demand/supply imbalance will change in the short/medium term.” Sprinkles Gelato opened its first site in Southampton in 2012 and has venues across the south of England, including Bournemouth, Portsmouth and London.

New Italian-influenced restaurant concept opens in Bristol: A new Italian-influenced restaurant concept has opened in Bristol. Cousins Ben Harvey and Dominic Borel have launched Pasta Loco in Cotham Hill on the site of the former Havana Coffee cafe. The restaurant has capacity for about 40 diners and has floor-to-ceiling windows at the front that open out on to the street, reports the Bristol Post. The restaurant also features black-topped pine tables and bench seating. All pasta is made fresh in the kitchen daily. The wine list is not exclusively Italian, with ten of the 17 wines offered by the glass. There is also a range of bottled beers and cocktails.

Deckers turnover nears £40m: Sales have risen to almost £40m at Deckers Hospitality Group, which owns hotels and restaurants across Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, with a strong performance from its drinks wholesale division and one of its sites. Deckers Hospitality Group’s accounts show a turnover of £38.4m for the year to 30 September 2015, after previously recording a turnover of £54m for the 18 months ending 30 September 2014. Deckers owns a range of hotels and restaurants, including the Royal Toby Hotel near Rochdale, the Best Western Pennine Manor Hotel near Huddersfield, and the Crimble Hall restaurant and Peacock Room restaurant, both near Heywood. Established in 1989, the Rochdale-based group’s majority shareholder is hotelier Cliff Brierley. The company accounts state: “The directors are pleased with the ongoing trading performance of the group, with sales up 7% when comparing like-for-like periods. This sales increase is mainly driven by the drinks wholesale division and the Royal Toby Hotel.” The group also reported pre-tax profits of £215,583 in the year to 30 September 2015, compared with £663,224 in the 18 months ending 30 September 2014. It also generated Ebitda of £666,113 in 2014/15, as opposed to £1.3m in the previous 18-month period. The directors said earnings were impacted by a considerable investment into two sites as part of a strategic five-year plan. During the period, Pennine Manor Hotel had a restyle to become a modern country house hotel and joined the Best Western group, while the Royal Toby’s Italian restaurant relaunched under the name Cenetta.

Malmaison owner submits boutique hotel plan for York city centre: Malmaison and Hotel du Vin owner Frasers Hospitality has submitted plans for a major hotel development in York city centre. The company plans to transform the former Aviva building in Rougier Street into a 124-bedroom Malmaison hotel, which would also contain 49 serviced apartments and create up to 90 jobs. Yorkshire Development One, an arm of Yorkshire Ventures, is behind the scheme and it is believed Frasers Hospitality has signed a 35-year lease on the property, The Yorkshire Post reports. The hotel represents a multimillion-pound investment and work could begin in early 2017. An extension to the rear of the property is planned, although radical alterations to the building are not expected. Frasers Hospitality’s purchase of the Malmaison and Hotel du Vin group last year comprised 29 lifestyle boutique hotels for £363.4m. The deal marked one of the largest overseas investments by a Singapore-based property firm in recent years. Colorado-based KSL Capital Partners had bought Malmaison and Hotel du Vin for about £180m in 2013. Frasers Hospitality’s global portfolio currently stands at 136 properties across 78 cities, while Malmaison has a presence in 15 cities across the UK. 

Jerusalem street food concept Tabun Kitchen launches in Soho: Jerusalem street food concept Tabun Kitchen has launched in Soho. Hanan Kattan, an award-winning film producer who grew up in a Palestinian household in Jordan, has opened the restaurant in Berwick Street. Breakfast dishes include shakshuka, featuring eggs and a rich tomato sauce, and Greek-style yogurt drizzled with aromatic honey and crushed pistachios. The lunch menu leads with freshly baked and prepared wraps made from high-protein flour, with fillings such as lean chicken and falafel. Another speciality is mussakan, a traditional Palestinian filling for tabun bread that uses marinated chicken, softened onions, roasted pine nuts and sumac. The dinner menu will change regularly, with the mini meze offering diners the opportunity to taste many flavours of the Middle East on one plate. A selection of desserts and fresh coffee and juices are also available.

Turtle Bay to open Norwich restaurant next month, first in Norfolk: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay will open a site in Norwich at the end of August – the company’s first in Norfolk. Turtle Bay is currently converting the grade II-listed building – formerly home to Fabric Warehouse on the corner of Bedford Street and Swan Lane – into the venue, creating 50 jobs. The 180-cover restaurant will span two floors, with a bar designed like an island hut, an open street food-style kitchen and a VW camper van transformed into a seating area. A Turtle Bay spokesman told the Eastern Daily Press: “The team have pulled out all the stops for their first restaurant in Norfolk, which will be a beach shack-inspired ray of sunshine. The bold, bright, joyful interior will be designed to transport Norwich guests to sunnier climes, and has been inspired by the independent spirit of its Lanes location.” Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 28 sites across the UK, having opened its first site in Milton Keynes in 2010.

Caffe Nero submits plans for second Chichester site: Caffe Nero has submitted plans to open a second site in Chichester, West Sussex. The company has applied to Chichester District Council to open the outlet in South Street on the site of the former Sicilia women’s clothes shop. It has sought permission to refit the premises and a formal change of use to allow the ground-floor shop to become a cafe, reports the Chichester Observer. The company, whose existing site in the city is in East Street, said it hoped to open the new venue in about a month’s time.

JD Wetherspoon plans for former Midsomer Norton cinema hit by further delays: JD Wetherspoon’s plans to open a pub in a former Midsomer Norton cinema have been hit by further delays. The company acquired the Somerset site in January 2015 and was granted a licence two months later. However, plans were delayed in April 2015 when roosting bats were discovered in the building. JD Wetherspoon got the go-ahead in November to begin work transforming the derelict building but a company spokesman said negotiations over access had caused further delays. The spokesman told Somerset Live: “We have planning and licensing. However, we are still negotiating on an area of land that would make our scheme better. Therefore, no on-site or opening dates agreed.” The cinema first opened as The Empire in 1913. It was one of the oldest surviving cinemas in England when it closed in 1993.

New tapas bar concept Jardelle to launch in Beverley next month: New tapas bar concept Jardelle is set to open in Beverley, Yorkshire, next month, after a compromise was struck over opening hours. Residents had objected to Murat Bayar’s licence application to open until 1am, with East Riding Council granting a licence until 11pm. The venue will open on the site of the former Panizzi restaurant and wine bar, alongside the town’s historic North Bar. Bayar told the Hull Daily Mail: “It won’t be another club or bar. It will be a nice, enjoyable place for people like myself, who want to stay out of the noise and the crowd.” The opening has created 15 jobs.

Bourgee to open Bury St Edmunds restaurant, first outside Essex: Bourgee, the luxury lobster and steak brand that debuted in Southend in 2014, is set to open its first site outside Essex. The company, headed by Great British Menu chef Mark Baumann, will open a restaurant in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Baumann has said he aims to grow Bourgee to 15 sites in the next three to five years, concentrating on east England. The second Bourgee site will open at the new £3m food quarter at High Chelmer shopping centre in Chelmsford in early August. The Bury St Edmunds site will be in the newly renovated Cupola House. Baumann tweeted a picture of the grade I-listed building with the message: “Scaffolding nearly off Bourgee Bury St Edmunds,” the East Anglian Daily Times reports. The company has started advertising for staff, with application forms stating: “A large lounge is furnished with creamy pony-skin booths/banquettes and textured rattlesnake bar stools, and is surrounded by a stunning dark-carpeted dining room for more formal dining.” Cupola House, owned by OMC Investment, formerly housed a Strada restaurant before fire destroyed most of the building in 2012.

Mediterranean fine dining concept Mora launches in Marylebone: Mediterranean fine dining fusion concept Mora has launched in Marylebone. The 58-cover restaurant in George Street also features a private dining room seating 18 and an outdoor terrace. Starters include scallops with fennel, orange and olives, and beef carpaccio with beetroot and caprino cheese, Just Opened London reports. Main plates include spaghetti with saffron and bone marrow ragu, tagliolini with black truffles and salted butter, and honey-glazed duck breast with chillies and raspberries. There is also a small plates menu, including quinoa and calamari fritti, and hand-picked crab salad with garden peas. Mora offers an extensive wine list alongside signature cocktails. The decor, designed by Dale Atkinson, of Roseandale Design, features antique mirrors, leather booths and hand-painted, textured walls.

Lincolnshire Brewing Company acquires first pub: Lincolnshire Brewing Company has acquired its first pub, on the outskirts of Lincoln. The company, founded by Claire and Karl Brown in 2014, has bought The George in Langworth, creating up to five additional jobs. The pub will remain open while it is given a facelift throughout the year and, once work is complete, will host tours, offer tastings, and hold other events. Claire Brown told the Lincolnshire Echo: “We have been looking for premises in Lincoln but they are so extortionate. Work has already begun and will carry on throughout the year and we’ll look at food in October, which will bring us up to Christmas. We have big plans.” Existing staff will remain at the pub and new roles are expected to be available later this year.

Domino’s Pizza lodges plans to open dine-in restaurant in Hull: Domino’s Pizza has lodged plans to open a dine-in restaurant in Hull. The company has applied to the city council to open the site in an empty building in Paragon Square, creating 35 jobs. The dining area, which will be on the first floor, is expected to contain about 40 seats, while a waiting area and kitchen will be on the ground floor. Kathryn Shillito, of Hull Bid, told the Hull Daily Mail: “Domino’s is excellent quality, with a very good, international reputation. I think, as a whole, we are seeing some really super restaurants and bars coming into the city centre. We are also seeing more and more empty buildings being turned into residential properties, which in itself will increase the demand for places to eat and places to drink. People are seeing Hull as a viable option to open a business.” Domino’s, which has five sites in Hull, launched its restaurant venture in 2013 but only a handful have opened in the UK.

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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