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Mon 1st Aug 2016 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

New SRA boss plans ‘more impact’ as he challenges UK hospitality industry to become best in the world: The new Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) chief executive said he was planning “more impact” as he challenged the UK hospitality industry to become the best in the world. Andrew Stephen said he had a three-fold mission – to challenge SRA members to be even bolder; inspire diners to turn their passion for good food into action; and lead the whole UK hospitality sector to be the most sustainable in the world. Stephen has joined an organisation that has grown from 50 member sites at launch in 2010 to more than 6,000 under the stewardship of former managing director Mark Linehan, who left the SRA last month. Stephen said: “The SRA has already, in its short history, played a hugely significant role in guiding the UK hospitality industry along a progressive path to the point where it’s on the verge of being a world leader. While the challenges are greater than ever before, more people want to eat genuinely ‘good’ food when they dine out. It’s our job to make sense of the complicated and complex issues, frame the debates and present solutions for chefs, restaurateurs and the public so that together we can make the progressive, positive changes needed. Restaurants and foodservice businesses can do so much more than just feed people and are absolutely key to creating solutions to the challenges we face.” Through its Food Made Good programme, the SRA will provide its members and other forward-looking businesses in the industry with a simple, structured means of breaking down the big issues, turning them into a series of engaging and manageable campaigns, working alongside the relevant partner organisations who will help provide expert advice and information. Stephen added: “From 2017, we’re planning a lot more impact and we will be working flat out to help organise the issues, challenges and solutions for consumers and foodservice businesses, providing the platform for a progressive, ongoing conversation between the hospitality sector and the Great British dining public.” Giles Gibbons, who along with restaurateurs Henry Dimbleby and Mark Sainsbury founded the SRA, said: “Mark Linehan helped the SRA become a genuine partner for restaurants and hospitality businesses across the UK and beyond. We are delighted to have Andrew joining us with a clear mandate – to lead the sector to be the best and most sustainable in the world.” Most recently, Stephen was a director at 2degrees, the world’s largest platform for sustainable business, helping major food businesses and retailers overcome supply chain challenges. Prior to that, he worked for film production companies, social enterprises, and advertising agencies specialising in opening up the sustainability conversation to new audiences and markets.

Industry News:

More than 50 companies take part in haysmacintyre and Propel benchmarking survey, deadline Tuesday: More than 50 sector businesses have now taken part in the third annual haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index benchmarking survey for multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators in association with Propel. 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. Companies taking part receive a copy of the final report. If you would like to complete the survey and receive the final report, please click on this link. The survey will 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.
Propel Premium subscribers to receive enlarged database at end of August, next Propel Premium recording to feature Rufus Hall: Propel Premium subscribers will receive a copy of the Propel database of 700 multi-site companies at the end of this month, an addition of 200 companies to the first database they received when the service was launched in March. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “The growth of our database of multi-site companies is testament to the growth of professionalised foodservice companies in the sector.” This Friday (5 August) subscribers will also receive an audio recording of sector executive Rufus Hall explaining how he and his team built a unique people culture at Orchid Pub Company, which was recognised by the Sunday Times as one of the UK’s best employers. Propel Premium subscribers, whose subscription lasts a year from the date of signing up, also receive the Propel Blue Book guide to sector turnover and profitability. The Blue Book lists and ranks 200 sector companies by turnover, profitability and profit conversion. It also provides a five-year overview of profitability and directors’ salaries. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same, but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email Anne Steele on
Liverpool college partners with RACA to provide Michelin-star training: Liverpool has become the first city in the north of England to secure a partnership with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts (RACA) to train chefs to Michelin-star standards. The City of Liverpool College has been chosen to work with restaurants across the north west to deliver RACA Chefs Apprenticeships, regarded as the gold standard for chef training in Europe. It is only the third college outside London to be chosen to deliver the course. Chefs aged 16 to 19 will receive the highest level of training while working alongside professionals at high-end restaurants and hotels in the region. Successful candidates will be recruited for the first intake in September. The new recruits will undergo an intensive culinary traineeship before they start paid employment in the industry, under the guidance of senior chefs, in January. The first apprentices will be expected to achieve NVQ Level Two in Professional Cookery by January 2018 and complete the apprenticeship with a Level Three in July 2019. RACA member, chef, and City of Liverpool College partner Paul Askew said: “If we’re going to improve the food culture and the level of gastronomy in the north, this is an important part of that jigsaw so (young chefs) can remain on their home turf, still get the level of quality training and qualification, and hopefully we retain them in the region.”
London enjoys tourism ‘Brexit boom’ throughout July as visitors take advantage of fall in sterling: London enjoyed a remarkable “Brexit boom” in tourism during July, as visitors flocked to the capital in record numbers to take advantage of the pound’s fall in value. The 13% currency depreciation triggered by the “Leave” vote left sterling at its lowest level against the dollar for more than 30 years at one stage – turning the capital into a “bargain destination” for millions of travellers, according to tourism chiefs. Hotels, airlines and attractions all reported a dramatic spike for London bookings in July, while British “staycationers” contributed to the surge as people were put off travelling abroad by the cost of holidays and the exchange rate. Tourism Alliance chairman Bernard Donoghue said initial research by his organisation suggested there were 18% more foreign visitors and 11% more British tourists this July, compared with the same month last year. Online accommodation service Airbnb said it saw a 24% uplift in London visits in the month following the June 23 referendum compared with the month before, as guests from 164 countries booked to stay at homes in the capital. Europe’s biggest flight-booking website Opodo said travel from the continent to London was up 42% in the four weeks after the referendum, with the biggest increases seen in travellers from Denmark, Latvia, Estonia and Norway.
Kerb promises to boost standard of street with all-year Camden Market launch: Eating options at Camden Market will be transformed when street food business Kerb introduces a seven-day-a-week presence. It will offer 35 stalls and run 364 days of the year. Choices include pizzas from Fundi, Korean and Mexican mash-ups from Kimchinary, tacos, burritos and tortas from Luardos and buttermilk fried chicken from Mother Clucker. There will also be a beef bourguignon burger courtesy of new operator Le Patate, Andalucian and Middle Eastern fusion dishes from Nazari, and Szechuan crispy squid from new stall Ink founded by one half of burger stall Bill or Beak. The full lineup is: Arepazo Bros, Baba G’s, BBQ Dreamz, Bian Dang, Blu Top Ice Cream, Burger & Beyond, Club Mexicana, Crabbieshack, Cupcakes ‘n Shhht, Fundi Pizza, Ghetto Grillz, Hanoi Kitchen, Ink, Killa Dilla, Kimchinary, Kolkati, Kothu Kothu, Louisiana Chilli Shack, Luardos, The Mac Factory, Maize Blaze, Makatcha, Mother Clucker, Oli Baba’s, OMD, Oh My Dog, Other Side Fried, Nazari, Le Patate, Roti House, Sonita’s, Square Root Soda, Stakehaus, Toastits, and Yu Kyu. There will also be a bar run in collaboration with Camden Town Brewery that will serve the brand’s lagers, ales and IPAs, alongside drinks made with locally distilled gin Half Hitch. The market will launch on Friday, August 12 and will run between 11am and 6pm Monday to Thursday, 11am to 10pm on Friday and Saturday and 11am to 7pm on Sundays. Kerb founder Petra Barran said: “Kerb was set up to bring together talented traders and to raise the standard of street food in London. Camden is the perfect place for us to grow our mission and engage Londoners with the best and most diverse food offering out there.”
BBPA raises concerns over proposed Camden licensing policy: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has raised concerns over plans by Camden Council to change its licensing policy in ways, the BBPA said, that would damage local pubs. The BBPA’s comments came in a detailed submission to the council’s consultation on its draft licensing policy, which closed on Friday (29 July). The BBPA said key aspects of the proposals would place new burdens on Camden’s pubs, where about 250 venues employ more than 6,000 people, generating £700m for the local economy in the central London borough each year. In particular, the BBPA expressed concerns that the council intended to make public health its own consideration in licensing decisions, a purpose for which the BBPA said the 2003 Licensing Act was not intended and that contradicted previous government decisions. It said it was also concerned about the proposed introduction of a late-night levy, despite other councils such as Milton Keynes and Cheltenham turning away from this approach in recent months. In the submission the BBPA raised a number of other concerns, including the sale of higher strength beers and cumulative impact policy evidence. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I hope Camden listens to these concerns as pubs are vital to the local economy. Camden’s draft policy is far too specific a tool to be effective in promoting wider public health objectives, which should be done through targeted campaigns and raising public awareness. Powers under the licensing regime are rightly focused on dealing with issues in and around specific premises, such as public nuisance, crime and public safety. A late-night levy is not a partnership, but a tax. I hope Camden will consider a more partnership-based approach through schemes such as Business Improvement Districts, Pubwatch and Best Bar None, which encourage businesses, the council, and police to work together to share best practice and promote a safer drinking environment.”
AB InBev – ‘we’re focused on completing SABMiller takeover as quickly as practical’: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has said it is focused on completing its takeover of SABMiller as quickly as practical after its revised offer was recommended for approval by the UK company’s board. The deal, estimated to be worth £79bn after the offer was raised from £44 to £45 a share this week, represents a “compelling opportunity” for all shareholders of both companies, AB InBev said. It stated: “AB InBev and SABMiller have worked very closely since November last year. The teams have made significant progress on the regulatory process around the world, the disposals in the US, China and Europe, as well as general integration planning and AB InBev’s bond financing programme. AB InBev believes the proposed combination represents a compelling opportunity for all SABMiller and AB InBev shareholders and continues to intend to recommend the combination to its shareholders. Following previously announced clearances in the EU, South Africa, the US and China, all of the pre-conditions to the proposed combination have been satisfied. AB InBev has obtained approval in 23 jurisdictions. In the remaining jurisdictions where regulatory clearance is still pending, AB InBev will continue to engage proactively with the relevant authorities to address their concerns in order to obtain the necessary clearances as quickly as possible. The combination remains subject to certain other terms and conditions, which are set out in the 11 November 2015 announcement, including approval by the SABMiller and AB InBev shareholders. AB InBev continues to focus on working closely with SABMiller to take the necessary steps in preparation for completing the combination as quickly as practicable and expects the transaction to complete in 2016.”
BIS committee urges replacement of Pubs Code adjudicator: The Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) committee has said the Pubs Code adjudicator should be replaced because of a conflict of interest. BIS committee chairman Iain Wright has called on secretary of state Greg Clark to reopen the appointment process after concluding that current adjudicator, Paul Newby, would be unable to command the trust of pub tenants. Wright has also urged the government to choose a candidate who can “attract the confidence of tenants as well as pub companies”, reports City AM. In a letter to Clark, Wright stated: “While the committee has no reason to question Paul Newby’s integrity or his qualifications for the job, his long-standing relationship with pubcos through his past work and a continued financial connection has created a strong perception of a conflict of interest. The Pubs Code has the potential to significantly improve the embittered relationship between pubcos and many of their tenants, but it will only work if the adjudicator is seen to be independent and is able to command the confidence of all the industry’s stakeholders. The committee would like to see a new Pubs Code adjudicator appointed from outside the sector to ensure this important role is – and is seen to be – independent and impartial.” In May, Newby argued he had “genuinely seen [the pub industry] from all angles”, responding to criticism his previous employment at big pub companies including Enterprise Inns and Punch Taverns would have an impact on his ability to mediate. Newby was appointed on 2 May to oversee the Pubs Code – a new regulatory framework governing the relationship between the UK’s six largest pubcos and their tied tenants in England and Wales. Under the code, which was implemented earlier this month, tied tenants now have the legal right to the Market Rent Only option under the code at rent review or renewal.

Company News:

Thai restaurant chain Chilli Banana to open Didsbury venue, fifth north west site: Thai restaurant chain Chilli Banana will open a new venue in Didsbury this autumn, its fifth site in the north west. The new 70-cover restaurant will launch in Lapwing Lane in October at the site of former newsagents Inman’s, which closed last summer after 85 years of trading. Chilli Banana specialises in Thai street food, with dishes such as Pad Thai, Kow Soi, and Kow Man Gai, which recreate the “feel and taste of Bangkok’s unique street atmosphere”. It will also offer a takeaway service. Chilli Banana owner Stephen Wigfield told the Manchester Evening News: “We’ve looked at Didsbury for many years and it has never quite worked out but I particularly like this location. We hope it will be more of a destination restaurant and people will travel from all over to come here. It’s a lovely Victorian parade of shops and we’re really glad to be a part of that. Our ethos is to be part of the community and we’ve had some very good feedback from residents and other businesses.” Chilli Banana’s other sites are in Liverpool, Macclesfield, Wilmslow, and Bramhall in Manchester.
Churchill’s Fish & Chips opens Cambridge restaurant, sixth site in south of England: Fishnchickn franchise concept Churchill’s Fish & Chips has opened its sixth site in the south of England, this time in Cambridge. The venue in New Bar Hill features a sit-down restaurant as well as a takeaway service that also operates an online click and collect service. A Fishnchickn spokesman said: “We have listened to feedback and rebranded our Fishnchickn store to Churchill’s to offer a new customer experience. We have introduced free customer Wi-Fi as well as launching our pre-order and collect app. We have also introduced a new menu where ethical products and quality are at the heart of our sourcing policy to ensure we give you the best fish and chips possible.” Fishnchickn was founded in 1923 and its Churchill’s concept offers traditional fish and chips, using sustainably sourced cod and thick-cut chips, alongside freshly prepared, barn-reared chickens wrapped in secret-recipe coatings spit roasted or cooked in front of customers. It operates 35 stores across the south of England, while Churchill’s other sites are in Chelmsford, Fleet, Peterborough, Romford and Stansted.
Coffee Republic opens 34th UK franchise site, in Muswell Hill Broadway: Coffee Republic has opened its 34th UK franchise site, in Muswell Hill Broadway, north London. The new 100 square metre outlet, which has 32 covers, represents the latest expansion for the company and is in line with its 20 new planned franchise openings per year. Coffee Republic is in its biggest period of growth since new owners took over in 2009. The franchise was relaunched in 2013 and has grown steadily from the 16 UK sites operating then. Further new franchise openings are already planned for 2016 – in Blackfriars station, Colchester, Croydon, Dalston, Stourport, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Isle of Man.
Costa Coffee trials in-store recycling systems in bid to ‘lead industry’ in fight against paper cup waste: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee is trialling in-store recycling systems at 50 of its UK stores as it ramps up plans to “lead the industry” in the fight against coffee cup waste. It will also change the recycling symbol on all its paper cups. Costa energy and environment manager Ollie Rosevear told the Mobius Loop symbol would be replaced by the iconic “Tidy Man” logo to encourage more consumers to responsibly dispose of their cups. Costa joins Starbucks and Caffe Nero in excluding the recycling symbol from its cups as the industry comes to terms with the rising number of single-use cups being discarded rather than recycled – 5,000 coffee cups are thrown away every minute in the UK but less than 1% of those are recycled. Rosevear said: “We’ve been doing some tests at 50 sites in Manchester and London. With in-store recycling, we’re actually recovering cups directly from the store, backhauling them and then they are recycled by our partner Veolia, so we have full responsibility for the waste we have direct control over.” Costa has partnered with Keep Britain Tidy to offer a money-off incentive to consumers who bring a reusable cup into stores, while Rosevear revealed Costa had invested a “significant amount of money” into new research with Sheffield University on what happens to its paper cups once they are taken away by consumers. Propel recently reported Starbucks would trial the Frugalpac cup, a British-made recyclable coffee cup developed by entrepreneur Martin Myerscough.
Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza to launch permanent site in Bristol: Sourdough concept Bertha’s Pizza, which has operated at events across the UK from the back of a Land Rover Defender, is set to launch a permanent site in Bristol. The pizzeria will open in early August at The Old Gaol Stables in the Wapping Wharf development. Centrepiece to the new venue will be a three-tonne, hand-built Neapolitan oven, which runs at more than 500C, cooking pizzas in 60 seconds and creating flecks of char on the characteristic long-ferment sourdough base. The pizza menu will change seasonally, while the venue makes its own mozzarella and charcuterie. Bertha’s Pizza will open from Wednesday to Sunday between 5pm and 10pm. Kate Faragher, Bertha’s co-founder, said: “Bertha’s will be a friendly, owner-run, neighbourhood restaurant serving simple, affordable food which brings a smile to your face. We will continue to team up with the best producers, the more local and sustainable the better.” Bertha’s Pizza will continue to attend events in its Land Rover. The business was a BBC Food & Farming Awards finalist.
Chef and entrepreneur opens York city centre restaurant: Chef and entrepreneur Neil Bentinck has opened Skosh, a restaurant in York city centre offering a “grazing-style menu of contemporary and internationally influenced dishes” served from an open kitchen. Bentinck, formerly a chef at Michelin-starred The Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton, near Beverley, said Skosh – Japanese for a “small amount” – would be a “natural culmination of family influences, worldwide travels and professional growth”. The restaurant in Micklegate serves snacks, small plates and sharing platters, alongside signature dishes such as skosh fried chicken with sorrel emulsion and fermented vegetable slaw, Thai-style beef cheek with pineapple, salted duck egg and coconut, and scallop ceviche with charred watermelon, radish and curry. Bentinck told BDaily: “We aim to bring a contemporary dining experience that reflects many international influences, with a British twist.”
New German sports bar concept set to open in Liverpool: A new German sports bar concept is set to open in Liverpool. The Kaiserkeller is launching at The Rubber Soul Complex in Mathew Street on Saturday, 27 August, creating 20 jobs. It plans to screen all top sporting events live and will also feature pool and beer pong tables. Regular entertainment will also be provided in the form of live oompah bands to create a complete German experience. In addition to a variety of German beers, food platters including bratwurst, pretzels and other themed foods will be available. The Kaiserkeller is the latest addition to the growing Rubber Soul complex, which already includes Route 66, Heaven, Eric’s and the original Rubber Soul. Jimmy Boland, general manager of Rubber Soul Complex, told The Guide Liverpool: “With The Kaiserkeller we plan to give Liverpool an authentic German experience. Based underneath the original Rubber Soul, everything from the decor to the food will make you feel as though you have stepped under the city to find your own little slice of Germany. Our focus will be on creating a great atmosphere with hostesses, live oompah bands and a fantastic selection of great German beers. We look forward to welcoming sports fans, party goers and, of course, the steady stream of tourists that frequent Liverpool’s iconic Mathew Street.”
Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers extends £150,000 crowdfunding campaign: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has extended its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube due to ongoing conversations with investors. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, is offering a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment as it looks to increase capacity and fit out its first bar. So far, 183 investors have pledged £82,570 with 13 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 company said: “Due to ongoing conversations with investors, Seven Bro7hers has been granted an extension until 11.59pm on Saturday, 13 August.” 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.”
Pieminister launches brunch menu at Bristol restaurants: Pie specialist Pieminister has launched a brunch menu at its Stokes Croft and Broad Quay restaurants in Bristol. Exclusive to the brand’s home city, the menu is served every weekend from 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays, and 10am to 12.30pm on Sundays. It features a range of different options, including a brunch pie. The Banger consists of free-range British pork sausage, smoked bacon, roast plum tomatoes and a crisp rӧsti potato top. It’s served on a bed of bubble and squeak and topped with a free-range poached egg, with a side of homemade smoky baked beans, reports Bristol Bites. There are also two gluten-free options, as well as sourdough toast with different toppings. Lighter dishes are also available in the form of overnight oats and granola.
Wildwood opens Crawley site: Tasty brand Wildwood has opened a restaurant in Crawley – its second West Sussex site. The company has transformed the former A Chef Buffet site in High Street after it applied for listed building consent to refurbish part of The George Hotel into a restaurant and also create a deli area that sells fresh produce inside the main entrance, reports the Crawley News. Wildwood already has delis at several of its sites, offering freshly baked pastries and breads, plus artisan products such as olive oil, as well as salads and sandwiches. Wildwood operates more than 30 sites in the UK. Its other West Sussex restaurant is in Chichester.
Marco Pierre White opens 15th Steakhouse Bar & Grill, in Lincoln: Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White has opened his 15th Steakhouse Bar & Grill, this time on Lincoln’s waterfront at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel. Lincoln is the fourth DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel to partner with Marco Pierre White Steakhouse, which is operated under franchise by Black and White Hospitality. The restaurant is on the fifth floor of the hotel. Hilton general manager Richard Metcalfe told the Lincolnshire Echo: “When we spoke to our guests there was a theme that people wanted a really good quality steakhouse at a location that’s in the centre. When you look at which brand will enable us to deliver the best quality steak house, there was only ever one choice – and that was Marco Pierre White.”
Alderley Edge-based cafe concept set to start expansion after acquiring second site, in Hale: Alderley Edge-based cafe concept Village Cafe is set to start expansion after acquiring its second site, in Hale. Village Cafe has revealed it will open in Ashley Road on the site of Cafe Gourmand, the French-inspired cafe patisserie that closed last week. It posted on its Twitter account: “We will be opening a new cafe in Hale!” Village Cafe, which serves breakfasts, lunches, hot and cold drinks, and snacks, launched its first site in London Road, Alderley Edge, in 2013.
Plans for pizza cafe just yards from new Pizza Hut delivery store in Irvine get go-ahead: Plans for a pizza cafe in Irvine – only yards from a Pizza Hut Delivery site that opened in the Scottish town last month – have been given the go-ahead. Bennett Developments and Consultants had its application to convert the office formerly occupied by ex-MSP Margaret McDougall in Eglinton Street approved by North Ayrshire Council. The site is only yards from the new Pizza Hut Delivery site in Quarry Road, reports the Irvine Times. The cafe will focus solely on selling pizza but will offer cafe-style seating as well as a takeaway service. The planning statement said: “The premises, which have been vacant for a number of months, occupy a central location in the street and the possibility of them remaining empty would have had a potentially detrimental impact on the area. The proposed use will introduce a concept, now becoming more common in larger towns, namely a pizza cafe where the menu is restricted to pizza albeit with an astounding arrange of toppings and the opportunity to enjoy these straight from the oven to the table in the intimate surroundings of a cafe-style environment.”
Custodian REIT sells Premier Inn in Dudley for £4.45m: A Premier Inn in Dudley has been sold for £4.45m. It was let to Whitbread on a lease expiring in 2038. The 22,317 square foot business in Castlegate Business and Leisure Park was sold by Leicestershire-based property investment company Custodian REIT to an unnamed buyer. The property was part of Custodian’s first portfolio acquired on its admission to the London Stock Exchange in 2014 and the sale was £340,000 ahead of a valuation conducted in March, Insider Media reports. However, Custodian stressed the sale was not a reaction to pressure from investors. Richard Shepherd-Cross, managing director of the company’s external fund manager Custodian Capital, said: “Contrary to many open-ended property funds, a number of which have halted redemptions to allow them time to sell properties to meet their redemption obligations, this sale is part of our normal asset management. We are delighted to have crystallised an 8.3% valuation gain, capitalising on market demand for long-term secure income and securing a price reflecting a net initial yield of 5%. We expect to redeploy the sale proceeds on our committed pipeline, providing better long-term growth potential and a higher running yield to enhance shareholder returns.”
Chipotle to launch first better burger site in the autumn: Chipotle, still struggling to win back customers after a series of food scares, plans to open its first better burger restaurant this year. The company will open a Tasty Made location this autumn in Lancaster, Ohio, which is south east of Columbus. The menu will be limited to burgers, fries and milkshakes, it said. Joint chief executive Steve Ells said early fast food burger chains had “focused menus,” and Chipotle wanted to create a restaurant around that model. The remark may have been aimed at McDonald’s, which has seen its menu mushroom over the years. Before its recent setback, Chipotle had found enormous success in positioning itself as an alternative to traditional fast food chains. That spawned numerous other “fast-casual” concepts that tout better ingredients, or a format where people can walk down a line and pick the ingredients that go into their order. Chipotle already has an Asian food concept called ShopHouse, which lists 15 locations, and a pizza concept called Pizzeria Locale, which lists five locations. The company had signaled its intent to move into hamburgers, filing a trademark application for “Better Burger” earlier this year and noting its belief that the “Chipotle model” could be applied to a variety of foods. An address linked with Chipotle was on a trademark application for “TastyMade,” the website Eater reported earlier this month.
Carluccio’s opens site in £3m Chelmsford dining quarter: Carluccio’s has opened a restaurant in Chelmsford, Essex. The company has launched the outlet in the new £3m dining quarter at the High Chelmer shopping centre. The restaurant has space for 132 diners and also features an outside terrace. As well as the dining area, there is a deli, offering ciabatta sandwiches, salads, tarts and cakes, and a food shop for customers to buy food to cook at home. The new dining quarter is also home to French brasserie Cote, which opened last week, while Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay and steak and lobster restaurant Bourgee will complete the line-up. Last month, Propel reported restaurant brands have been flocking to Chelmsford, with 20 due to open within a year, including Wagamama, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Loungers brand Cosy Club.
New chicken-only restaurant concept opens in King’s Lynn, owner looks to build chain: A new independent restaurant concept offering only chicken has opened in King’s Lynn, Norfolk, with its owner aiming to build a chain. Adam Cook has launched Chicken Coop in Tower Street where the chicken, which comes from a local supplier, is prepared on site and slow-roasted for two hours on a rotisserie. Cook told the Eastern Daily Press: “We’ve kept the menu simple but a lot of effort goes into the food we serve. We also like this concept of the enjoyment that goes into sharing a roasted chicken, and that’s what we try to celebrate as part of the restaurant experience. Our hope is to make this restaurant work and replicate the model elsewhere to build a chain.”
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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