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Fri 29th Jul 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Numis – Domino’s Pizza just keeps on delivering: Numis Securities leisure analyst Richard Stuber has said Domino’s Pizza just “keeps on delivering”. Retaining a ‘Buy’ rating on the shares with a target price of 446p following the company’s first-half results, Stuber said: “System sales of £495m (+17% year-on-year) was driven by double-digit, like-for-like sales growth and 31 store openings across the group. Profit before tax of £40.9m (+21% year-on-year) was 7% ahead of our forecast, a combination of top line and better return on investment margin. Earnings per share of 19.9p (+23% year-on-year) and dividend per share of 10.5p (+17% year-on-year) were each 9% ahead of our forecast. Following £47m of acquisition costs and £15.3m of share buybacks, the company ended the first half with net debt of £10.9m (December 2015 £40.4m net cash). UK like-for-like sales grew 10.9%, a small acceleration versus 10.7% reported for weeks one to nine. Order volumes rose 8.3%, while price contributed 2.2%. Online now represents 81% of all delivered sales, with 62% from mobile. 30 stores were opened (18 ‘splits’) and, as a consequence, Domino’s is targeting 70 new stores in 2016, up from 65. Ebitda for franchisees rose 30 basis points to 15.4%. National Living Wage increases were more than offset through increased sales and lower food prices. Republic of Ireland reported +12.7% like-for-like (+8.6% in FY15) and Switzerland +11.7% like-for-like, both ahead of forecast. Its German joint venture ‘has performed well and in line with plan’. Management has confirmed it is comfortable with leverage of up to 1.25 times net debt to last 12 months Ebitda in the medium term. We forecast £109m Ebitda in 2018E; barring further mergers and acquisitions, this suggests shareholder returns of up to £150m. The company has made a ‘sound start’ to the second half, with a tailwind from the Euro 2016 championships. Food costs are mostly hedged until the first half of 2017. We nudge up our FY16 like-for-likes to 7% (from 5%) and profit before tax to £82.3m. Year to date, Domino’s has outperformed the FTSE 250 by 14% and now trades on 26.2 times 2017E price-to-earnings ratio and 3.8% free cash flow yield. The combination of high returns (asset-light), clear growth roadmap (targeting 1,200 stores in the UK versus 899 currently), and leading e-commerce platform makes this a key sector pick. With 18% upside to our target price, we retain our ‘Buy’ rating.”

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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Halal restaurant app launches £150,000 crowdfunding campaign: Halal Dining Club, an app that allows users to discover, book and review halal restaurants, has launched a £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to drive marketing and product development. The company, founded by Siddika Jaffer, is offering a 13.04% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “We’ve come a long way in a short time on a shoestring budget. We’ve completed qualitative research with diners and restaurants to ensure we design a solution that really meets their needs. We’ve built a fan base of more than 8,000 diners through our Facebook page and have curated a restaurant database of more than 1,300 halal restaurants. We are excited about what we’ve created and confident it will meet the needs of this growing, affluent and under-served group of diners and restaurants. But to grow we now need investment to build up the database to offer the widest range of restaurant options; make improvements to our app and platform to deliver all the features and benefits our diners and restaurants are looking for; fully launch the app with a marketing campaign that will drive downloads and usage; and drive sales of our customer engagement platform to restaurants. By 2020 we aim to deliver a curated database of 10,000 halal restaurants across five countries (UK, Singapore, Canada, US, Australia) where there are a large number of halal diners searching for dining options; have 1.7 million registered app users; 2,000 restaurants signed up to our customer engagement platform; and the average user booking a table for three, four times a year.”

Center Parcs set to open in Ireland in 2019 after planning consent granted: Plans have been approved for Center Parcs to build a €200m (£168m) holiday village in County Longford that would create 1,750 jobs. The company last year revealed plans for the new resort, which would include up to 500 lodges, more than 100 indoor and outdoor activities, a spa, a range of restaurants and cafes, and the iconic Subtropical Swimming Paradise. An Bord Pleanála – the national planning appeals board for Ireland – has now granted approval for the scheme. The new resort, which is expected to open to guests in 2019, could create about 750 jobs during construction and, once open, would have the capacity for up to 2,500 guests and a workforce of up to 1,000. Center Parcs estimated that when operational the new holiday village would add about €32m to Irish GDP per annum. At the time the plans were revealed, Center Parcs chief executive Martin Dalby said the development would have “all of the ingredients” that had made the company so successful in the past. Irish premier Enda Kenny added: “The prospect of 750 construction and 1,000 permanent jobs is fantastic news for County Longford and the Midlands. Center Parcs will provide a massive boost to the area and contribute significantly to the local and regional economy.”

Diageo – our focus is protecting Scotch whisky from Brexit: Diageo is focusing on protecting its Scotch whisky business and global trade in the wake of the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, chief executive Ivan Menezes told CNBC. He said: “Out of Brexit, our focus is really on ensuring we keep Scotch whisky healthy – the trade agreements in Europe and around the world. Johnnie Walker (Diageo’s leading brand of whisky) was in over 100 markets long before Coca-Cola left the shores of America. Our business is built on global trade and that, to me, is the most important aspect we keep so the Scotch whisky industry and our business remains competitive and healthy.”

Neville and Giggs unveil vision for £200m Manchester city centre development: A partnership that includes former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs has unveiled its vision for a £200m, 700,000 square foot mixed-use scheme in Manchester city centre. The St Michael’s Partnership aims to transform the Jackson’s Row area of the city with a 200-bedroom, five-star hotel and 30,000 square feet of retail and leisure space, including two sky bars/restaurants. The development includes the 31-storey Number One St Michael’s, which will house the hotel and 153 apartments, and a 21-storey office block known as Number Two St Michael’s. There will be three new public spaces: The Garden – 11,000 square feet with room for alfresco restaurants – and the 14,000 square foot St Michael’s Square. A 15-metre staircase will link the two spaces with eating and drinking venues situated around the steps. Neville said: “Our vision is to deliver the biggest statement in architecture and development Manchester has seen in modern times. Our wish is for St Michael’s to become the premier destination in the city that people come to enjoy all year round.” The St Michael’s Partnership, formed by Neville, Giggs and Brendan Flood, has joined with Singapore’s Rowsley, Beijing Construction, Engineering Group International, and Manchester City Council to bring forward the plans. The strategic planning framework was approved by the council late last year.

Seedrs expands to Benelux region with Amsterdam office opening: Crowdfunding platform Seedrs is expanding to the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg (Benelux) region, with the launch of an Amsterdam office. It is the first time Seedrs has put a commercial team on the ground in continental Europe and it said it intended to open further offices in the near future. Seedrs stated: “The Benelux team will be responsible for building relationships in the Benelux startup and early-stage investment ecosystem, and for bringing Benelux deal flow to the Seedrs platform to raise capital. Seedrs has long accepted investors and entrepreneurs from across Europe, and we already have an office in Lisbon for software development. The launch of Seedrs’ Amsterdam office comes after it was granted an EU-wide Financial Services Passport by the UK Financial Conduct Authority on 13 July. The passport allows Seedrs to provide services anywhere in the European Union.”

Andy Murray, Victoria Pendleton and Will Greenwood among investors in crowdfunding campaign of healthy recipe startup Mindful Chef: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray, Olympic gold-medallist Victoria Pendleton, and England rugby World Cup winner Will Greenwood are among those who have invested in healthy recipe box startup Mindful Chef’s crowdfunding campaign. The company has raised £1,083,862 from 206 investors so far on Seedrs – nearly three times its original £400,013 target – as it looks to expand marketing efforts and develop an app. Other investors in the “farm to fork” business, founded last year by Robert Grieg-Gran, Giles Humphries and Myles Hopper, include Tossed founder Vincent McKevitt, who has invested more than £60,000. 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. Seedrs said in its monthly recap: “Mindful Chef delivers all the good-for-you ingredients to create healthy, delicious evening meals, and has raised 268% of its campaign target by securing more than £1m on Seedrs from 200 investors. It can now count triple tennis grand-slam winner Andy Murray (and Seedrs adviser), Olympic gold medallist Victoria Pendleton and rugby champion Will Greenwood to its growing list of high-profile investors.” 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.”

Company News:

Smoking Goat founder to open restaurant concept Kiln in Soho in September: Smoking Goat founder Ben Chapman is to open a new restaurant concept in Soho in September. Chapman is launching Kiln, a side-of-the-road-type restaurant, with a short grill menu plus a speciality daily noodle dish. The cooking is inspired by the rural simplicity of the Thai borderlands, where dishes combining Burmese and Yunanese spicing and flavours are cooked on a wood-burning kiln oven and grills using British produce. The restaurant will feature high stools at a long, stainless-steel counter that curves around the length of the room. The counter will sit in front of an open kitchen where guests can watch chefs preparing and cooking dishes around the kitchen’s centrepiece, the wood-burning kiln. The grill menu includes northern-style, cumin-heavy offal larbs and roast goose with pickled greens and grilled aged sirloin. Kiln will also serve a daily-changing speciality noodle dish made with its own-recipe chewy egg noodles, starting with Pressed Duck Gravy Noodles. The wine list will feature many “low intervention wines” and will be constantly evolving; with only one or two cases of each wine available. Chapman said: “Many of Kiln’s recipes have been developed while travelling with the team in the northern Thai regions, particularly villages near the Myanmar border where the Chinese influence is most prevalent. As with Smoking Goat, our aim with Kiln isn’t to replicate these dishes in London but to base what we do around the most flavourful, well-sourced ingredients we can get here rather than import.”

Interesting Eating Company opens first Ultimate Café in south of England: Liverpool-based The Interesting Eating Company has opened its first Ultimate Café in the south of England and fourth in total as part of its partnership with Ultimate Outdoors, the outdoor clothing and equipment store owned by JD Sports. Interesting Eating Company, which operates cafes in Ultimate Outdoors stores in Preston, Dudley and Nottingham, opened the new venue in a store in Kingston-upon-Thames, featuring a rear terrace overlooking the Thames. Interesting Eating Company director Nichola Lee said: “We are thrilled to continue our expansion across the country. As an independent, not only does it give us a great sense of pride and achievement to have struck up the long-term partnership with Ultimate Outdoors, it is fantastic to see how far the Ultimate Café brand has developed over the past two years. Having established The Interesting Eating Company in Liverpool in 2012, we have built on our knowledge and understanding of suburban areas that ultimately pioneered the concept of the in-house coffee shop brand.”

Coyote Ugly-inspired bar to open in Birmingham next month: A bar inspired by the cult film Coyote Ugly will open in Birmingham at the end of August. Victoria Mancini, who has also worked in the nightclub industry, is launching Coyote Bar in Digbeth. It is opening in an empty building in Lower Street next to Spotlight, which is home to Digbeth Dining Club. The concept features female bartenders – also known as coyotes – regularly dancing and singing on the bar. Guests will be able to enjoy American-style food and drink and watch American sports on televisions spread across the bar. Mancini told the Birmingham Mail: “It will be in the style of the Coyote Ugly film but there will be a lot more than just girls dancing on the bar. We’ve got immersive stuff happening like theatrics, fire-breathing, and dress-up options for visitors. I was absolutely obsessed with the film Coyote Ugly when it came out. The concept, the girls, the attitude. I wanted to create something a bit alternative and as I work closely with a lot of women, it basically fell into place.” The venture is separate to the Coyote Ugly bar that is set to open in Cardiff in September, when Liliana “Lil” Lovell will bring the brand, which has 21 locations in four countries – the US, Russia, Ukraine and Germany – to the UK.

Salisbury Pubs set to reopen fire-ravaged Enterprise Inns venue in Hertfordshire: Salisbury Pubs is set to reopen The Alford Arms in Frithsden, Hertfordshire, following a £400,000 refurbishment to fix extensive fire damage. The company, founded by David and Becky Salisbury, will reopen the Enterprise Inns-owned venue on Monday, 22 August. Fire ravaged the top two floors of the pub but the Salisburys have taken the opportunity to significantly improve the venue during the refurbishment. David Salisbury said: “Considerable investment has been made in improving our energy efficiency and updating technology, such as an online reservations platform.” Becky Salisbury added: “When we took the Alford Arms over, some 17 years ago, we set out to create a pub which we wanted to drink and eat in. Fortunately the local community seemed to share the same idea as us and quickly took us under their wing. We can’t wait to welcome them back to The Alford! The Alford has been awarded Herts Dining Pub of the Year ten times by the Good Pub Guide, recently appeared in the Sunday Times Top 20 gastro-pubs list, and was national winner of the inaugural FreeFrom Food awards. Enterprise Inns regional manager Adam Hancox added: “Becky and David are model publicans and the heart and soul of the community. Since the fire, we’ve worked closely with them to ensure the insurance procedure was as smooth and timely as possible.” Salisbury Pubs also operates Enterprise Inns site The Royal Oak in Marlow.

Crewe-based independent craft beer bar starts expanding with second site, in Nantwich: Crewe-based independent craft beer bar Beer Dock has started expanding by opening its second site, this time in Nantwich. The concept, founded by Sam McGarrigle, has opened the venue in a former job centre in Swinemarket. It features floor-to-ceiling shelves full of beer, lager and cider from across the globe. There is also a tasting area with ten craft beers on draught, complete with a central seating area. McGarrigle told the Crewe & Nantwich Guardian: “What we offer is very different and I hope it adds to an already vibrant food and drink scene around the town. We pride ourselves on stocking one of the largest selections of bottled beers from around the world, but we remain committed to offering a wide range of beers from Cheshire breweries, which all helps to boost the local economy.” Beer Dock opened its first site in Nantwich Road, Crewe, in 2013 and is eyeing nearby Alsager for its third site.

Newcastle Brewing gets go-ahead for micro-pub and brewery in city: Newcastle Brewing has been given the go-ahead to transform a disused tyre yard in Newcastle into a micro-pub and brewery. The company, founded by father-and-son team Mike and Leo Bell, is set to move into Arch 2 in Ouseburn later this year, after Newcastle City Council granted permission for the mixed-use venue. Newcastle Brewing, which produces beers including Newcastle IPA and Ouseburn Brown Ale, will build the brewery, which will also house a taproom, cafe and workshops around the courtyard. The development at Stepney Bank will see the single-storey workshop refurbished, with a two-storey extension added. Its design is inspired by materials available in the Ouseburn valley, and will use recycled steel, painted brick and have large industrial doors, reports Chronicle Live. The Bells started out with a DIY brewing kit but moved on to found their own craft brewery and are currently based in the Newcastle Enterprise Centre in Ouseburn. The application states: “The possibility of developing Arch 2 presents a very timely opportunity. It offers the capability to increase production capacity, and add our own taproom and a cafe to enhance local facilities.”

West Yorkshire-based La Casita opens third site, in Horsforth: West Yorkshire-based Spanish bar and restaurant concept La Casita has opened its third site, in Horsforth. The company, owned by Simon Miller, Oliver Renton and Ben Riley, has opened the venue in Town Street. The restaurant, which also features a charcuterie bar, has been renovated and fitted with furniture and memorabilia imported from Spain. All of the charcuterie served at La Casita, which means “little house”, and the majority of its wines and cavas come directly from Spain. Miller, who was a quarter-finalist in the BBC show MasterChef in 2012, told the Ilkley Gazette: “The bar is something we’re very proud of as drink is such a massive part of Spanish culture. From sangria to gin to Rueda white wine, the list is endless, and our bar range is carefully selected.” La Casita opened its first site in Ilkley in 2014, followed by a second in Boston Spa last August.

Camerons to open tenth Head of Steam pub next Saturday, in Newcastle: Brewer and retailer Camerons will open its tenth Head of Steam pub next Saturday (6 August) on Newcastle Quayside. The company is opening the venue in Broad Chare on the former site of The Eye on the Tyne, which Camerons acquired from Greene King last year. It will feature 16 keg lines, with a selection of rotating craft beers from UK and world brewers, eight cask ale lines including beers and real cider from around the region and beyond, plus a selection of premium cocktails, spirits and soft drinks. A snug area will be included at the pub along with a new dedicated beer-tasting room, which could also be used for meetings, events and parties. Camerons food development chef Kieran Burke has created a new food concept, which will include a brunch menu as well as a range of British pub classics with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. There will also be a variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options that will be constantly updated. Camerons chief executive Chris Soley said: “When we took over the Eye on the Tyne it was always our intention to turn this into a Head of Steam pub. The location is perfect and we are really excited to have a venue in an area that is now associated with craft and cask beers. We are delighted to be opening a new Head of Steam back in the city where Tony Brookes first started the group. The design and style of the venue will be in line with our Head of Steam pub in Sheffield, which opened in April this year and has been a huge success.” Camerons, which acquired the Head of Steam brand in 2014, added to its portfolio earlier this month when it bought seven Leeds Brewery pubs.

Staffordshire-based pub operator acquires second site: Staffordshire-based pub operator Martin Young has acquired his second site in the county. Young, who owns the Three Tuns public house in Fazeley, has taken over the lease at the iconic Moat House in Tamworth in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. The Moat House, which is in Lichfield Street and has been empty since the end of 2014, was built by the Comberford family in 1572, and was famously visited by Charles I in 1619 during his tenure as the Prince of Wales. The pub offers a bar and restaurant, library, separate function room, extensive gardens and parking for more than 80 vehicles. Young said: “We are looking forward to showing our customers an extensive range of gins, cask ales, craft beers and wines alongside a good portfolio of products many would expect to find in such a venue.” Charles Jones, business agent at Christie & Co’s Birmingham office, who brokered the sale, added: “The Moat House is a fantastic property which is steeped in history and has significant potential. Martin has an excellent reputation for running pubs that are valued at the heart of the local community, and we’re delighted he has taken on the Moat House with plans to operate the business as an important local asset.”

Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers passes 50% mark in crowdfunding campaign: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has passed the 50% mark in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to increase capacity and fit-out its first bar. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, is offering a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 172 investors have pledged £77,070 with two days remaining. Seven Bro7thers distributes its beers to pubs and restaurants across the UK and is in advanced discussions to stock its brands in Tesco stores. The pitch states: “Since we launched in 2014 we have grown steadily and need to update the brewery to keep up with the demand for our beer and also to fuel our ambition. We are seeking £150,000 to increase capacity with the procurement of five additional fermenting vessels to keep up with demand, procure canning and bottling lines, and fit-out our first craft beer bar in Manchester.”

Yorkshire-based pub group Ainsty Inns opens fifth site, in York city centre: Yorkshire-based pub group Ainsty Inns has opened its fifth site – the historic Minster Inn in York city centre. The pub, which is owned by Marston’s, had closed after previous licensees Dave and Sally Roberts said it was no longer financially viable. Ainsty Inns owner Antony Pratt said the pub would soon start a food offer and had already introduced a wider range of spirits and bottled beers. He said: “Many of the pubs I have taken on have been in a similar position to this one. We want to keep it alive for York – but it is evolution, not revolution. I want it to be warm and welcoming, offering quality products, including quality craft ales and premium craft spirits and an exciting wine offering. For us it is about providing great hospitality and a great welcome.” Ainsty Inns’ other pubs are The Chequers Inn at Bilton-in-Ainsty; The Swan and Talbot in Wetherby; The Beehive in Thorner; and The Duke of York at Gate Helmsley. The Chequers Inn and Swan and Talbot are on the shortlist for Best Yorkshire Pub at the White Rose Awards.

Former Gordon Ramsay chef to open bakery in Nottingham: Former Gordon Ramsay chef Craig Poynter is set to open an artisan bakery in Nottingham. Poynter, who worked in Ramsay’s restaurant and Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, is launching The Bakehouse. He is converting an empty shop in Hockley into a bar, bakery and café, with coffee supplied by Nottingham roastery 200 Degrees. The open-plan layout will allow customers to see Poynter and other bakers making bread. Poynter, who learned to bake while working in the kitchen at Langar Hall in 2008, has launched a £10,000 crowdfunding campaign to fit out the premises ahead of a planned opening in October. He told the Nottingham Post: “The building, the suppliers and the demand are all in place – we just need help to make sure we have equipment we need to make it work. It will create a great sense of theatre and the smell of the freshly baked bread will waft through the whole venue.”

Patty & Bun opens Shoreditch site, fifth London venue: Better burger brand Patty & Bun has opened a site in Shoreditch, its fifth London venue. The new, 40-cover, 805 square foot restaurant in Redchurch Street is split over two floors and offers counter and bar seating upstairs, with an open kitchen and bar downstairs. As well as the usual Patty & Bun favourites, the venue offers some new sides, including beer nuts, potato chips with shrimp and chilli salt, fried potato soft egg with roast chicken mayo and chicken skin salt, and bacon chop, Hot Dinners reports. Agent Shelley Sandzer secured the site for Patty & Bun, whose other sites are in Old Compton Street in Soho, London Fields, Liverpool Street, and James Street in Marylebone.

Solita opens Preston restaurant, fourth north west site: Manchester-based burger and steak company Solita has opened its fourth site in the north west, this time in Preston. As well as steaks and burgers, Solita also offers wings, nachos, sharing plates, salads, grilled seafood, and hotdogs. Sides include pizza fries, buttered spinach, and salt-baked new potatoes. Desserts include deep-fried cookie dough and homemade cheesecake of the week. Solita also has sites in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, Didsbury and Prestwich. It also plans to open a second site in Prestwich, but was refused permission to open a steakhouse inside Manchester’s Barton Arcade in Deansgate in April.

Neapolitan restaurant concept O Ver launches in London featuring seawater pizzas: New Neapolitan restaurant concept O Ver has launched near Borough Market in south east London, championing the use of pure seawater in its dishes. The restaurant in Southwark Street told Hot Dinners its seawater was extracted from the “purest areas of the Mediterranean”, had multiple health advantages, and “significantly improved” the food’s taste and texture. Dishes include wood-fired pizzas, fresh pasta, homemade breads, Neapolitan street food, seasonal salads, vegan options, and handmade traditional desserts. Drinks include prosecco, organic wines and craft beers. The venue also offers a takeaway service. Chef Gugliemo Vuolo launched the concept in Italy and has now brought it to London.

Kent-based buffet restaurant to start expansion by opening second site, in Ipswich: Kent-based buffet restaurant Spoon World Buffet is set to start expansion by opening its second site, this time in Ipswich. The concept, owned by Mighty Rhino, has submitted plans to convert the former Iceland store and neighbouring closed Victoria pub in St Matthew’s Street into the new venue, creating about 40 jobs. The application lodged with Ipswich Council said the site would have seating for “well over 300 customers at a time”, making it the town’s largest restaurant. Spoon World Buffet offers Chinese, Indian, Thai, Brazilian, European, and Japanese dishes. Customers pay a fixed charge and can then fill their plate with as much food as they can eat. Kevin Shen, of Mighty Rhino, told the Ipswich Star: “If we get planning permission granted in the autumn we hope to open early in 2017. It will take us about five months to get the restaurant converted and fitted out.” Spoon World Buffet has operated in Chatham, Kent, since 2004.

Martin Morales launches Andina sister restaurant in Soho: Ceviche founder Martin Morales has opened his new restaurant, Casita Andina, in Soho. The new venue in Great Windmill Street is sister restaurant to Michelin-Guide listed Andina in Shoreditch, and offers a “unique insight into the Peruvian Andes through its food, art and traditions”. The 58-cover Casita Andina is set across two floors, with Peruvian art and textiles throughout. There is a ceviche counter on the ground floor, as well as a takeaway area and pisco bar. The upper floor is a 30-cover dining room leading to an open-air patio seating eight. The kitchen is headed by executive chef Vitelio Reyes, formerly of Michelin-starred Lima London. The lunchtime menu features five snacks, five hot dishes, five cold dishes and two desserts. Dishes on the dinner menu include pork tamale with salsa criolla, and crispy aubergine with uchucuta herbs. Morales also operates Peruvian restaurants Ceviche Soho and Ceviche Old St.

20.20 delivers new restaurant brands for Thomson’s latest cruise ship: Strategic design consultancy 20.20 has delivered two new restaurant brands for Thomson Cruises’ new ship, TUI Discovery. Snack Shack is a casual dining option on the pool deck and features brightly painted beach huts doubling up as dining booths. Diners can choose to eat their “festival-style” food on picnic benches and tables or enjoy it poolside. The other concept is Gallery 47 Degrees. The two-storey space offers contemporary Italian dishes and can accommodate 910 covers. Glass divides break up the vast area. Kevin Paintin, 20.20 client director, said: “Snack Shack is casual and it’s fun. It creates the relaxed informality of a street food eatery but with a hint of Britishness.” Regarding Gallery 47 Degrees, he said 20.20 added a sense of intimacy to such a large area by reducing table sizes.

Nottingham-based operator to open new bar and restaurant concept in city: Brown and Brown Industries, the family-run company behind Nottingham restaurants and cafes such as Curious Manor, The Parlour, Cured, and Brown’s Cafe and Bistro, is set to open a new bar and restaurant concept in the city centre. Curious Townhouse, a sister outlet to Curious Manor in Trinity Square, is set to move into the former Loom bar and restaurant in High Pavement in the Lace Market area of the city. A statement on the company’s website said: “We are proud to be creating unique and unusual establishments within the Nottinghamshire area. We also aim to showcase locally sourced fresh products and jolly good food ideas. Our ambition is to be daring and to be that little bit different, occasionally throwing caution to the wind and pushing ourselves to the brink of madness!” A licence for the new Curious Townhouse venue in High Pavement has been secured. The Loom closed after its owners ran out of cash last month. It was opened in October by Vesper TPG, headed by Poseidon Kumar and his father Pradip Kumar. It doubled as an entertainment venue, with live shows on a purpose-built stage so guests could listen to music or watch a show.

Loungers launches Derby venue: Loungers has opened its latest venue, the Carnero Lounge, in Derby. The new Lounge, the company’s 71st, is in St Peter’s Street and has opened following a £650,000 investment. It features dramatic artwork, vintage sofas and statement light fittings. In April, Loungers opened a site for its Cosy brand in Derby city centre. Loungers operations manager Jenny Arnot said: “Derby is the perfect location for our Lounge concept. There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part.” John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, which promotes the city, added: “Our investment team has been working to convince Loungers of the business case for Derby. Their last investment in the city, Cosy Club, is thriving and we wish Carnero every success.” The next Lounges to open will be Novello Lounge in Telford, Shropshire, Paletto Lounge in Corby, Northamptonshire, and Croeso Lounge in Mumbles, Swansea.

New African restaurant concept opens in Colchester: A new African restaurant concept has opened in Colchester, Essex. Gilbert and Patience Ayisire, who own African grocery store Choice Food in Botolph’s Street, have launched Chez Afrique next door. The ingredients are sourced from around Africa but the prepared dishes are mainly west African, with an emphasis on Nigeria. Patience Ayisire, who will be head chef, told the Chelmsford Weekly News: “We are very pleased to be pioneers of the African restaurant in Colchester. We aim to offer a wide variety of African flavours.”

Peel Hunt – Just Eat has digital momentum: Peel Hunt leisure analysts Ali Naqvi and Ivor Jones said Just Eat has “digital momentum”. Retaining their ‘Add’ note on the shares, with a target price of 432p following the company’s first-half results, they said: “There aren’t many KPIs that disappoint with total revenue growth of 59% to £171.6m, a significant outperformance against consensus of £165.4m. Ebitda grew 107% to £53.4m (from first-half 2015 £25.8m), versus consensus of £46.0m. Total orders grew 55% to 64.9m (from +52% first-half 2015) and group like-for-likes grew 40% (from 47% in first-half 2015). Group adjusted earnings per share grew 81% to 5.6p (from 1.7p in first-half 2015). The UK remains the main contributor with top-line growth of 44% to £110.5m (from 48% in first-half 2015). UK orders grew 37% (from 49% in first-half 2015) and the UK generated Ebitda of £57.7m – a significant margin expansion to 52% from the first half of 2015 of 44% (growing 69% from £37.2m) and 45.8% in FY15. The group invested £17.1m in marketing in the period – 38% more than the first half of 2015 – and, given the performance in the UK, that shows how well the brand is resonating with consumers. Established markets continued to go well, with Denmark generating 12% revenue growth and a strong 47% Ebitda margin. The developing markets show strong revenue growth but will still require investment to get to scale. Management raises guidance by 3% to 4% (again from first quarter 2016), with the group expecting to generate FY16 revenues of circa £368m; Ebitda guidance has risen from £102m-£104m to £106m-£108m. Given the scale of the beat to consensus and Peel Hunt estimates, we put our forecasts under review but maintain our ‘Add’ recommendation. Shares currently trade on 46.4 times FY16 price-to-earnings ratio (consensus), falling to 31.3 times FY17.”

Bath restaurants plan gets go-ahead: Plans to redevelop an historic walkway and vaults below Bath’s Grand Parade to provide restaurant and museum space have been given the green light. Nash Partnership, on behalf of the council, submitted a listed-building application earlier this year for the change of use of space below Grand Parade. Work would also be undertaken to provide pedestrian access from street level via a new lift and stairs. The grade II-listed colonnade and vaults are located next to Pulteney Weir, close to the 18th century, grade I-listed Pulteney Bridge and grade II-listed Empire Hotel.

Full speaker schedule for Bar and Nightclub Conference revealed: The full speaker schedule for this year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, has been revealed. It takes place on Tuesday, 11 October at Bafta, Piccadilly, and follows the successful launch of the event last year. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls will provide an update on political and regulatory developments. Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, which has retailer specialist CGA Peach as a division, reveals details of new research of usage, areas of growth, food and drink trends and evolution within the UK bar and nightclub market. Toby Smith, chief executive of bar, nightclub and restaurant operator Novus Leisure, will talk about how the company is meeting the needs of customers in London’s evolving bar and nightclub scene, including offer evolution and social media developments. Luke Johnson, sector investor and executive chairman of Brighton Pier Company and investor in Grand Union Group, will speak about his career in the late-night sector starting at Oxford University, set out his reasons for investing in the sector, evolving the offer at the company, and his perspective on the future for the bar and nightclub sector. Serial sector entrepreneur Roy Ellis will talk about the launch of the ground-breaking Albert’s Schloss concept in Manchester a year ago, its USPs, versatility, first-year performance and roll-out potential – and set out the scope of the involvement of his Mission Mars business in Manchester’s late-night scene. Jimmy Bernstein will talk about his 14-strong US bar and live music concept Howl at the Moon. Bernstein was the keynote speaker at this year’s Bar and Nightclub Convention in Las Vegas. Howl at the Moon has sites in key US cities, including Chicago, New York and Orlando, Florida – the company has also licensed the concept to Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates it on four ships. John Leslie, chief executive of Intertain, will talk about evolving the Walkabout brand and opening new sites, working with new comedy partner Comedy Loft, the regulatory regime, its new Birmingham concept 6 on Broad Street and the company’s relationship with backer Better Capital. Leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC will provide a personal perspective on the key legal issues and developments facing bar and nightclub operators in the current climate. There will also be a panel hosted by Nicholls with Alan Miller, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, Mick McDonnell, national co-ordinator of Best Bar None, Paddy Whur, of Woods Whur, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, and Richard Stringer, chief executive of Kornicis, about the challenges, opportunities and threats to the bar and nightclub sector. Tickets are priced at £95 for operators who are ALMR members and £145 for non-ALMR members. Supplier tickets are £145 for ALMR supplier members and £195 for suppliers who are not ALMR members. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity at jo.charity@propelinfo.com

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