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Fri 5th Aug 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BrewDog to invest $22.5m in opening US brewpubs if $50m raised: BrewDog will invest $22.5m in opening brewpubs in the US if its newly launched Equity for Punks US raises the full $50m targeted – $50m is the maximum BrewDog can raise under current regulations. The net proceeds from the offering, assuming it is fully subscribed, are expected to be about $46.6m after the payment of offering costs including broker-dealer and selling commissions, printing, mailing, legal and accounting costs, and other compliance and professional fees that may be incurred. The company stated: “In the US, we have the potential to go much bigger, much harder and ultimately, much better because, unlike BrewDog’s European operation, we are not starting from scratch. We have finalised two distribution deals and are negotiating others in several states with craft beer distributors in the US ready and waiting for our beers. We already have a strong reputation in the US with customers who are familiar with our beers and our story, so we will be servicing a demand that already exists. We have a team and an infrastructure already in place with plenty of experience, having rapidly grown a craft beer business in the UK under their belts. Because of all of these factors combined, we plan to turbocharge our growth trajectory in the US. Our first BrewDog bar in America will be the on site bar at our Columbus brewery and is scheduled to open in late 2016. In addition, we are currently negotiating to open a second location in the Franklinton area near downtown Columbus. Given the US laws we must comply with, American bars all have to be brewpubs so each bar we have in the US will have small batch brewing equipment on site and will brew its own special beers to sit on tap alongside the beers we will brew at the Columbus brewery. Although we only anticipate about 5% of our overall Columbus production will be sold in our own bars, we believe they will contribute in excess of 25% to our overall turnover during the first five years given the additional mark-up on selling direct to the customer and also the revenue generated from other items such as food and drinks we will sell.” The US operation lost $252,760 in the six months to the end of 2015. BrewDog owns 100% of BrewDog USA and at the end of Equity for Punks USA BrewDog will still own at least 80% of the American company with the remaining balance being held by investors in Equity for Punks USA. 

Industry News:

Propel and ALMR launch Las Vegas study tour: Propel and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) are heading to Las Vegas for their next study tour, which has opened for bookings. The visit takes place between Saturday, 25 March and Tuesday, 28 March 2017. After five hugely successful trips to Chicago, Propel and the ALMR have decided to check out Las Vegas. The trip provides two food study tours where delegates can explore Vegas’ hottest concepts as well as two early evening bar tours, led by James Hacon. The trip also includes three nights’ stay at the MGM Grand Hotel, two hosted dinners and the chance for delegates to explore Vegas at their own leisure. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight into the trends and concepts that are shaping Vegas and leading the way in the US market, which will no doubt provide fresh ideas and inspiration for delegates.” For more information or to book, email Jo Charity at jo.charity@propelinfo.com or call 01444 810304. 
 
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.” Today (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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com  
 
SIBA predicts Brexit boost for craft beer: As consumer confidence falls and experts predict negative consumer effects following the Brexit vote, a glimmer of positivity is coming from an unexpected source. The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) is predicting a boost in consumer passion for local beers from Britain’s craft breweries as past experience of economic downturn shows consumers opt to “trade-up on treats”. Mike Benner, managing director of SIBA, said: “There is plenty of doom and gloom following Brexit and while it may be the case that many consumers will look for better deals on household spending generally, for beer there are some important lessons to be had from recent history. In the 2008-09 recession we saw many consumers applying ‘quality over quantity’, choosing premium local ales over mainstream beers. We also saw a strong ‘community-comfort’ effect whereby in times of uncertainty people tend to associate themselves more with their own local communities. In many ways it was these consumer trends that drove the continuing growth of local craft beer. We expect that trend to continue in the coming months of uncertainty. These effects could be positive for British craft-brewed beer in both the on and off-trade.” SIBA is also predicting the weaker pound will have positive effects for pubs as more UK citizens choose to holiday at home and more overseas tourists are attracted to UK shores. Benner added: “We know that the great British pub and our unique British beer are an essential part of the tourism mix and we may see some positive effects as ‘staycations’ rise and tourism authorities work to boost the number of overseas visitors. It is essential that pubs get their range right in light of this, ensuring that quality local beers from craft breweries feature heavily in their offer.” While the biggest market for SIBA brewers is local, about 17% of members exported their beers in 2015 and SIBA expects this to increase in response to the weaker pound. Benner said: “Many SIBA members are understandably anxious over the uncertainty of trade deals following Brexit, but will also look to maximise the opportunity which arises from the growing interest in craft beer around the world. British beer is unique in this booming global market place and craft brewers will see opportunities arising from this.”
 
Benchmarking survey shows narrow majority of companies unfazed or happy over Brexit vote: One early result from the haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index benchmarking survey in association with Propel, which saw more than 110 companies take part, has revealed a narrow majority are either unfazed or happy with the Brexit vote. 47% had a neutral viewpoint judged the rise in tourism as a result of a weak pound as balancing out the negatives of exiting the EU. Meanwhile, 6% who saw the result as positive anticipated increased tourist revenue as an outcome. 47% of respondents saw the implications as negative citing staffing issues, falling consumer confidence and rising costs as their concerns. The full haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index Report based on the survey will be launched on Tuesday, 6 September. 

Eataly to open second New York site next week: Eataly is opening a second New York City location next Thursday (11 August). It occupies a 40,000 square foot space on the third floor of World Trade Center Tower 4 with new offerings (like breakfast) and views over the 9/11 Memorial. Visitors will be greeted with a bread display, angelic chandelier and world map upon ascending an escalator to the storefront where espresso, fresh vegetables and more than 10,000 imported Italian products will be on offer. “At Eataly Downtown we’ve chosen ‘Bread’ as our theme so we have a platform to break bread and talk about culture in one of the most important and most diverse cities in the world,” said chief executive Nicola Farinetti. Beyond the bakery customers are offered five restaurants, mozzarella and salad bars, pasta and pastry counters, two coffee bars, and a vegetable butcher. Eataly Downtown also has cheese, seafood and meat counters. It also has floor-to-ceiling views above the 9/11 Memorial. “It’s a very emotional, very powerful place,” says partner Joe Bastianich. 
 

Company News:

Agent Fleurets marketing one of Notting Hill’s last wet-led pubs: Agent Fleurets is marketing one of Notting Hill’s last wet-led pubs, which is held on a 20-year Full Repairing and Insuring Enterprise Inns lease that started in 2001 and has a rent of £64,935.34 per annum – the lease is available for offers in the region of £180,000. Situated in Kensington Street, which runs parallel to Holland Park Avenue, The Uxbridge Arms is located within 150 metres of Notting Hill Gate tube station. Andy Frisby, of Fleurets, said: “The Uxbridge Arms is almost the last traditional wet-led style pub in Notting Hill, and therefore presents a superb opportunity to capitalise on the demand for a niche product in an affluent area.”
 
HSBC Securities issues ‘Buy’ note on JD Wetherspoon shares: JD Wetherspoon was the subject of a new research report issued by HSBC Securities in which it was maintained as ‘Buy’ by analysts at the firm. HSBC Securities issued a target price of 910p on Wetherspoon’s shares. According to the price target, it now means the analysts believe there is a potential increase of 7.5% from the company’s share price on Tuesday of 846.5p. There are 115,612,000 shares in issue of JD Wetherspoon, which at trading of 846.5p on Tuesday brings the business’s market capitalisation to £978.66m.

Intertain set to open Walkabout in Chelmsford after exchanging contracts on JD Wetherspoon pub: Walkabout operator Intertain is set to open a site in Chelmsford, Essex, after exchanging contracts on a JD Wetherspoon pub. Intertain has secured the lease on The Thomas Mildmay in French's Walk, which is currently trading but was one of 34 sites put up for sale by Wetherspoon last November. Once contracts are completed on the new venue, work will start immediately on transforming it into a potential new Walkabout bar. Intertain chief executive John Leslie said: “This new site presents a fantastic opportunity for us. Situated overlooking the river in an excellent location in busy Chelmsford, the bar itself offers a large and adaptable space ideally suited to a new-style Walkabout. After we have completed the building work, we will be able to offer excellent live sport, zoned VIP areas, brilliant party nights and a great daytime food offer. We are looking forward to building our brand in this great city.”

London-based diner and cafe VQ to open first non-24-hour site in Notting Hill next month, third venue in total: VQ, the London-based 24-hour cafe and diner, is to open its first non-24-hour site, and third in total, in Notting Hill at the start of next month. The 60-cover venue in Pembridge Road will be open from 7am on weekdays and 8am at weekends and close at 3am from Thursday to Saturday, 1am from Monday to Wednesday and midnight on Sundays. The restaurant will feature wood panelling and leather banquettes and booths. A feature light wall will help enhance the ambience of the space and place an emphasis on the movement of light and changing colour spectrum throughout the day. The menu will include burgers, all-day breakfast, as well as salads, pasta, small plates and old favourites such as fish and chips. VQ has been serving customers round the clock for 20 years in Chelsea and more recently in Great Russell Street. It said it had more than 26,000 diners every month across the two sites and seeing like-for-like sales growth.
 
Red Oak Taverns sells two pubs on Isle of Wight to Havenbrae Pub Company: Red Oak Taverns has sold two pubs on the Isle of Wight through agent Christie & Co. Red Oak Taverns acquired both sites in August 2015 as part of its 146 pub acquisition of the GRS pub estate. Having been closed for a number of years, both The Loft, a former nightclub in the High Street in Ryde, and Sportsman’s Rest, named recently as an Asset of Community Value, have been acquired by Hampshire-based Havenbrae Pub Co. Plans are afoot to reopen both pubs following an extensive refurbishment programme, giving Havenbrae a presence on the island with the aim of restoring the assets for use by their local communities. Richard Wood, of Christie & Co, said: “It’s been a pleasure being involved in a deal that sees two former public houses reopen their doors after several years of being closed, illustrating demand from regional pub companies for licensed premises in the area. Over the past 12 months, we have seen that 84 % of the pub properties sold by Christie & Co continued to trade as pubs, and it’s great to see this trend continuing, especially at a time when publicans are constantly under pressure. We are seeing a huge rise in demand for pub properties that can be operated as community pubs, which put ‘the local’ back at the heart of community life.” Peter Harding, owner of Havenbrae Pub Co, added: “We are delighted with these two new acquisitions, which now give us a diverse portfolio of public houses throughout the south. We are hoping to have these two new sites open for business shortly.”
 
Greene King plans Farmhouse Inn at Scottish site: Greene King has submitted a plan to build a Farmhouse Inn in Broxton, Scotland – an earlier plan to build a Hungry Horse was turned down with Greene King winning the case on appeal. The company said more than £1m could be pumped into the economy and 33 jobs created thanks to its plans for Broxden. Greene King made the claim as it issued revised scheme details, with the restaurant now set to have more floor space. The controversial scheme for a Costa Coffee drive-thru and Hungry House eatery was refused in 2014 in the face of local opposition and resistance from councillors. But it was overturned on appeal last August. Full plans for the restaurant – now branded as a Farmhouse Inn – have been lodged, although they leave out details of the proposed drive-thru, which are to be dealt with separately. Supporting documents for the scheme include an economic impact statement. Agents Turley Planning said in support: “Greene King’s policy is to employ local people. There is a clear focus on training and staff development which will enhance the local skills pool.” It later said the development would “generate a £1.24m annual uplift in productivity (gross value added) in the Scottish economy, once fully operational”.
 
PizzaExpress to put Rustichella pizza back on menu following social media vote: PizzaExpress is putting its Rustichella pizza back on the menu following a social media vote. The company pitched the Rustichella against its Etna pizza after demand from customers to reinstate them to the menu. PizzaExpress fan Murray Robertson started an online petition on Change.org to bring back the pancetta, roasted tomato and Grand Padano-laden Rustichella, which was removed from the menu in 2015. Given additional popular demand to reinstate the fiery Etna recipe to the menu, PizzaExpress decided to let customers decide which creation would make a comeback. And in a social media vote it was the Rustichella that came out on top with 58%, which means it will be back on PizzaExpress’ menus across the country from Tuesday, 20 September. Robertson said: “I offer my sincere thanks to PizzaExpress for bringing back the Rustichella. What started as a slightly tipsy declaration one night in April has somehow gone on to become the most unlikely of victories.”
 
Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers hits £150,000 crowdfunding target: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has hit its £150,000 fund-raising target 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, 239 investors have pledged £159,550 and it is now “overfunding” with nine days remaining, having been granted a 13-day extension earlier this week. The largest investment to date is £25,000. The company also secured the site for its first bar this week and plans to open two more by the end of 2018. 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.”
 
Pret A Manger trials Petit Pret in Hong Kong: Pret A Manger is trialling a new shop model in Hong Kong, Petit Pret, to speed up expansion. Petit Pret will be found in smaller kiosk units at the mass transit railway stations with the Best of Pret food selection on offer. The planned expansion will establish at least three more outlets of the new Petit Pret brand by the end of the summer, including one at the central Hong Kong station and another in Olympian City by the end of August, and one at the Kowloon Bay mass transit railway station by early September. 
 
Starbucks set to return to Horsham after four-year absence: Starbucks is set to return to Horsham, West Sussex, almost four years after it left the town The company has submitted a planning application to take over the empty unit previously home to the Phone Clinic, next to Poundland, in West Street. Starbucks used to run a store in the high street but it closed in October 2012. The new shop will be located on the ground floor and will have indoor seating as well as 14 outdoor tables. Job advertisements have also gone up online looking for new staff. It has not yet been confirmed when the store is set to open.
 
New restaurant concept ‘blending London style with Latin American spirit’ to open in Mayfair next month: A new restaurant concept “blending London style with Latin American spirit” is set to open in Mayfair in London next month. Mnky Hse, which will have capacity for more than 450 customers, is launching on the site of the Dover Street Wine Bar in Dover Street. It will serve high-quality, contemporary Latin American food and drink, alongside live music and DJ performances. Housed over two floors, it will have a bar/lounge area upstairs and an eclectic restaurant downstairs, that will evolve into a very different, night-time setting. The menu will combine traditional elements of Latin American cuisine with modern British seasonal ingredients while the bar will boast a vast list of premium cocktails and mezcals. Mnky Hse will have quirky, decorative features will include a series of classic paintings that will be transformed under UV light, and a giant Mnky face logo mosaic installation. The upstairs restaurant and bar will boast a sleek look; with dark-wooden parquet flooring, a Murano crushed chandelier in the lobby, 3D-honeycomb back-wall and leather-clad banquette style seating. Downstairs, an open plan kitchen will overlook banquette seating that will be adjustable to accommodate dancing and encourage table-hopping. A series of private booths will be built into artistically designed vaults, covered with vintage steel lift doors. There will also be a spacious bar lounge for customers to enjoy the downstairs entertainment. Both floors will house a stage to host international and resident DJs and act as a creative platform for other live musicians and performers.

Taunton multi-site operator becomes first to sign up for Enterprise Inns’ new Tenancy Plus agreement: A Taunton multi-site operator has become the first to sign up to Enterprise Inns’ new Partnership Tenancy Plus agreement. Launched in June, its many benefits enable experienced publicans to focus on running a successful business without distractions, such as repairs or redecoration and with the advantage of match funding for improvements. The first to sign was Justin Bushen who took over the Kings Arms, in Staplegrove Road, Taunton, on 11 July. Bushen has been in the hospitality business for 18 years and also operates a hotel and a second pub. He praised the process of finalising the agreement, completed in less than a month, as “really easy and stress free”. Under Partnership Tenancy Plus, Enterprise makes a commitment to ensure all trading and living areas are in strong decorative order and that it will take responsibility for internal as well as external repair, along with contributing up to £1,000 a year towards maintenance costs. Bushen said: “It means right from the off you have a pub that you can be proud of. You can concentrate on making the business the best it can be without the worry of redecoration.” For the Kings Arms – a community-led sports pub with a skittle alley, pool, darts and Sky television – that involved being repainted, new carpets in the living quarters and “a little bit of sparkle” in the trading areas. The match funding offered by Enterprise was a definite encouragement to publicans to invest, said Bushen, who plans to refurbish the skittle alley and add two letting rooms to the pub in the new year. That will involve an investment by him of about £10,000.
 
D&D London relaunches Kiosk with healthy options: D&D London has relaunched the Kiosk at Le Pont de la Tour, a small store serving takeaway options, situated 100 metres down the road from the French restaurant and bar. Following an interior refurbishment, the colourful redesign reflects the healthy new menu that now features a range of fresh cold-pressed juices, seasonal fruit smoothies, French crepes, takeaway coffee, sandwiches and salads. New cold-pressed juices include the Flu Fighter (orange, lemon, and grapefruit) and Immunity Booster (carrot, apple, and ginger. Also new to the Kiosk are a choice of Le Pont de la Tour crepes such as spinach, feta and olives; goat’s cheese, bacon and mushroom; and classic lemon, butter and sugar. Gluten-free alternatives are also available. The Kiosk is open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4pm and weekends from 10am to 5pm.
 
Sprinkles Gelato starts expanding outside southern England heartland with Coventry opening, tenth site in total: Dessert parlour Sprinkles Gelato has started expanding outside its southern England heartland with an opening in Coventry. The company has opened the outlet at the Old Fire Station in Hales Street – its tenth venue to date. It sells authentic Italian gelato ice cream as well as an array of other sweet dishes – from freshly made crepes with accompaniments, to American-style waffles. The grade II-listed building now home to Sprinkles Gelato was built in 1902 and for a time it housed Coventry’s famous “rainbow brigade”, made up of ten yellow fire engines, five red appliances, a Green Goddess – and even a pink one. It was decommissioned in 1976 after Radford Road fire station was built. It was previously used as a bar, restaurant and nightclub, which shut in 2013. Sprinkles Gelato opened its first site in Southampton in 2012 and has venues across the south of England, including Bournemouth, Portsmouth and London. Last month it lodged plans to bring the brand to Salisbury in Wiltshire.
 
Vine Hotels acquires Sheffield site: A hotel group chaired by Greg Dyke has added to its portfolio with the acquisition of a four-star establishment from the Principal Hayley group. Vine Hotels, chaired by outgoing Football Association boss Dyke and owned by Garin Davies and Andrew Rouse, has acquired Kenwood Hall Hotel, formerly the Sheffield Marriott, in Sheffield’s S7. A multimillion-pound investment has been pledged and refurbishment works have already begun at the hotel. Improvements will be made to bedrooms and public areas as well as reopening the currently closed spa treatment rooms. Vine Hotels has a history of operating within the Sheffield area, including the DoubleTree by Hilton Sheffield Park, and would work alongside local businesses and suppliers. Chief executive Davies said: “We are delighted to have added Kenwood Hall to our portfolio, it is a truly stunning property. We have seen fantastic performance in our hotels over the past few years and this luxury hotel is an exciting addition to the portfolio.” Kenwood Hall is one of Sheffield’s four-star hotel properties, with 114 bedrooms, spa and leisure facilities, and also hosts weddings and special events. 
 
Turkish restaurant Wood Oven BBQ lodges plans for fourth site, in Barking: Turkish restaurant brand Wood Oven BBQ has lodged plans to open its fourth site, in Barking. Owner Ahmet Tofan has applied to Barking and Dagenham Council to convert the Barking Arms pub in Station Parade, which closed last month. The restaurant, which is set to open next month, would create up to 20 jobs and also offer a takeaway service. Kenan Kara, of Advance Architecture, told the Barking and Dagenham Post it would be “a modern-looking restaurant with a contemporary design offering affordable fine dining”. Wood Oven BBQ’s other sites are in South Woodford, Potters Bar and Woodford Green.
 
Cote gets go-ahead for Godalming site: French brasserie Cote has been given the go-ahead to open a restaurant at The Square in Godalming, Surrey. The company will open the restaurant in a two-storey, grade II-listed property in the High Street, which was formerly a doctors’ surgery. The new restaurant will have about 122 covers inside with another 54 seats within a new outdoor courtyard. Cote has agreed a 25-year lease from the property’s owner, Godalming Town Council. Town clerk Louise Goodfellow told Get Surrey: “We are pleased to have achieved our aim of seeing this prominent, much-loved but recently neglected building occupied again. Under Cote’s care the building will have a new lease of life and continue to serve the community albeit in a different way from when it was a doctors’ surgery. We look forward to the addition of Cote to the town’s selection of good restaurants.” Cote currently has 80 sites in the UK.
 
Yorkshire Bank backs opening of speciality beer shop in Northampton: A new speciality beer shop has opened in Northampton after securing the backing of Yorkshire Bank. Beer Guerrilla in Wellingborough Road is the brainchild of husband and wife team Matthew and Cherie Boot. It sells a range of craft beer, real ale and cider from across the UK, US, Germany and Belgium and also comprises a tasting area for customers. Yorkshire Bank’s funding supported the purchase of stock along with fridges for the properties. The Boots also invested their own equity and have secured grant funding from Northampton Borough Council. Matthew Boot said: “This is the first store of its kind in the Northampton area and all the research we’ve done tells us that there is huge potential in the town for the concept. The annual Northampton Beer Festival regularly attracts more than 8,000 visitors and we believe there is a great opportunity to establish a real community amongst the people interested in beer locally. There are great new beers being launched all the time and our aim is to create a hub for quality beer in Northampton and establish a business that the area can be really proud of.”
 
Garden centre invests £1m to add restaurant, coffee shop and deli to boost turnover by 42%: A Bedfordshire-based garden centre has expanded its facility with a new 350-seat restaurant, coffee shop and deli, following a £1m loan from HSBC. Poplars Garden Centre in Dunstable completed the expansion earlier this year to help the business keep pace with demand from the centre’s restaurant visitors. It is anticipated the increased capacity and additional services will enable the restaurant to increase turnover by more than 42%. The expansion has also enabled the family-run business, which sells locally sourced produce, to create an additional 15 jobs to support the increased services, including new bakers and a pizza chef. Managing director David Little said: “Our business is situated close to Junction 12 of the M1, and as such we are popular with coach visitors as well as members of the local community. We have a high demand for our restaurant and we simply couldn’t meet such high levels of demand prior to the new extension. HSBC’s support has enabled us to extend our restaurant facility, marking the start of an exciting new stage in the growth of our business. We’re now able to offer guests breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea, as well as a greater range of meal choices, all within our expanded restaurant.”
 
Manager of Tunbridge Wells restaurant closed when parent company went into administration in talks to buy site: The manager of a restaurant in Tunbridge Wells in Kent that closed last week when its parent company went into administration is in talks with administrators to buy the site. The Camden Quarter, which is operated by Turners Fine Foods, shut when food wholesaler Silverstar Foods called in administrators KPMG. But manager Gerri Stevens has revealed she is in discussions with KPMG to buy the business and could reopen the restaurant, which serves “eclectic modern European” food, by the end of the month. Stevens, who had managed the restaurant for the past two-and-a-half years, told the Times of Tunbridge Wells: “Not very many people actually realised the place was operated by Turners and because they left us alone most people thought it was independently run. We managed to create quite a unique place and we don’t want to lose it so we are in the process of talking to the administrators about buying back the business. There is also the issue of whether we have to renegotiate the lease with the landlord. Although we will keep the same sort of menu, we may change the name for a fresh start.” The placing of Silverstar Foods into administration resulted in the loss of more than 450 jobs.
 
Fife-based restaurateur to start expanding seafood concept by opening second site, in Dundee: Fife-based restaurateur Gordon Spink is to start expanding his Tailend seafood concept by opening a second site, in Dundee. Spink, who launched the venture in St Andrews six years ago, is opening the new venue in Nethergate on the site of the former iconic Deep Sea Restaurant, which he acquired in 2014. Deep Sea, which is said to have served The Beatles and two James Bonds, was a Dundee institution for 77 years before it closed. It is currently being refurbished and is due to reopen under the Tailend name next month. Spink’s daughter-in-law Jessica, who will be the restaurant’s front-of-house manager, told the tele.co.uk: “The restaurant will have a more industrial feel to it but it will also have some similarities to our St Andrews premises. Gordon had a great relationship with the Deep Sea’s owners so we will be paying homage to it in some capacity, maybe with some old photographs.”
 
Meantime Brewery Company launches virtual reality brewery tour in truck: Meantime Brewing Company has launched “Hop Wheels”, a technologically innovative truck that takes its Oculus Rift virtual reality brewery tour on the road, giving craft beer fans across the UK the opportunity to see into the heart of Meantime’s state-of-the-art brewery in Greenwich. The inside of the truck is dedicated to Meantime’s incredibly popular Virtual Reality brewery tour head-sets, featuring two gaming-chairs that will provide consumers with a full 360 virtual reality experience. Meantime have worked in partnership with digital agency Kerve to bring this innovative truck to life. The experiential vehicle features a range of tools and activities that will appeal to craft beer aficionados and new drinkers alike, including an interactive screen accessible from outside the truck. Consumers can use the screen to learn more about Meantime’s beers, have a go at making their own Virtual Brew and watch Meantime videos, aligning perfectly with one of the brands founding principles of “embracing technology”. Content includes information about Meantime’s diverse beer range, details of the ongoing “Make Time For It” campaign and competitions to win crates of beer. Truck visitors will also be able to try their hand at brewing by using the popular Virtual Brew app, which also has the ability to help consumers discover which beer to try, based on their personal flavour preferences. Since Meantime launched its Virtual Reality brewery tour last year, nearly 10,000 consumers and bar staff have been “transported to the brewery”. Coupled with the 15,000 people who have visited Meantime’s actual brewery in the past 12 months, that is 25,000 people who have been educated and immersed in the Meantime brand and beer. The virtual technology has thus far enabled Meantime’s regional team to bring the brewery to life for current and potential customers and fans based outside of London. It has proven to be an effective tool for educating bar staff about Meantime’s values and brewing process in a fun and engaging way, and with “Hop Wheels” now on the road Meantime can bring its brewery to a whole new audience across the UK.
 
Wagamama to open restaurant in Peterborough next month: Wagamama will open a restaurant in Peterborough city centre next month. The company will open the 151-seat venue in Long Causeway on the site formerly occupied by Blacks and Asylum Industries, creating 39 jobs. The restaurant will feature canteen-style benches as well as breakout areas and booths. Global brand director Simon Cope told the Peterborough Telegraph: “We are very pleased to be opening the doors to our new restaurant in Peterborough where Wagamama will continue to reinforce positive eating by using fresh ingredients, served in atmospheric surroundings. It’s an exciting time for us and we look forward to hearing what our new and valued customers in Peterborough make of our arrival.”

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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