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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 12th Aug 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sky News reports The Restaurant Group to replace Danny Breithaupt: Sky News has reported that The Restaurant Group is to dispense with the services of its chief executive Danny Breithaupt after less than two years in charge. Sky sources claimed that Andy McCue, who stepped down as the chief executive of Paddy Power after its recent merger with Betfair, was the likely successor. McCue has been without a full-time role since departing the merged gambling group in April, although leisure industry sources said that other executives could also be logical candidates for the role. The Restaurant Group said in April that it was launching a review of its operating strategy, including its property portfolio, programme of site openings, brand positioning and overheads. It added that it would update the City on the review when it reports interim results later this month, although that is now likely to be delayed following the appointment of Breithaupt’s successor. In April, it announced the departure of its finance director Stephen Critoph. Barry Nightingale, a former finance chief at the airline Monarch, was named as his successor. The Restaurant Group, which operates more than 500 sites, has warned investors that this year’s profits are to be no higher than £80m. Despite a partial recovery, the shares have still lost close to half their value over the past 12 months.

Industry News:

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass open for bookings: Propel will host Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 30 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. His interactive seminar will include contributions from Sticks ‘n’ Sushi UK managing director Andreas Karlsson and Eric Partaker, co-founder and brand evangelist at Chilango. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include developing multi-unit leaders, leading a team through a strategic growth plan, and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. To book tickets, email Anne Steele at

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 the hottest concepts in Vegas, 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 or call 01444 810304.

Greene King and San Lorenzo among companies named and shamed for failing to pay National Minimum Wage: Brewer and retailer Greene King and London-based independent Italian restaurant brand San Lorenzo were among 198 companies named and shamed on the government’s newly published list of employers failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage. The list of the companies issued with a Notice of Underpayment that had arrears of more than £100 included Greene King, which owed £211.89 to one worker and San Lorenzo, which operates three restaurants in London, which topped the list owing £99,541.98 to 30 workers. Between them the named companies, which were all investigated by HM Revenue & Customs, owed £466,219 in arrears. All money owed to workers on the list had been paid back to them, business minister Margot James said. She added: “This government is determined to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few. That means making sure everyone gets paid the wages they are owed – including our new, higher, National Living Wage. It is not acceptable that some employers fail to pay at least the minimum wage their workers are entitled to. So we’ll continue to crack down on those who ignore the law, including naming and shaming them.” Since the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy scheme was introduced in October 2013, 688 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of more than £3.5m. The National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour) for workers aged 25 and above was introduced in April and has meant a pay rise of more than £900 a year for someone previously working full-time on the National Minimum Wage (£6.70 per hour).

Rotating street food offer to launch at Angel Central, Islington: CBRE Global Investors has revealed that a revolving street food offer will launch today (Friday, 12 August) at Angel Central, the key retail and leisure destination in Islington, north London. The first two street food operators to be taking space at Angel Central are rolled duck specialists The Rolling Duck and the UK’s only paleo street food vendor Feed Me Primal, which will be serving grain-free, gluten-free food. The Rolling Duck will trade on 12, 19 and 26 August as well as 2 September. Feed Me Primal arrives today and will be back on 9 September. Matthew Barratt, of CBRE Global Investors, said: “We look forward to welcoming to Angel Central two of the best street food operators in the business. They will add further diversity and quality to Angel Central’s industry leading offer and are indicative of the sense of vibrancy we are seeking to create in the centre. I am confident both operators will delight and entice customers, and bring fast, delicious food to the heart of Islington. We also anticipate announcing further brands in the coming weeks.”

CPL and MatchPint partner for sports pubs training video: MatchPint, the UK’s leading sports pub app, and CPL Animate, part of CPL Online, have partnered to deliver a free training video for sports pubs ahead of the new season. The video highlights the potential value of sport to pubs, and how to make the most of the opportunity it provides. Supported by preliminary findings from research between CGA Strategy and MatchPint, sport is worth an estimated £80,000 to pubs each year. Given the expense required, the video outlines three key ways to maximise the return on investment and related tips on building a reputation, broadening the range of content, and being proactive through online marketing. CPL Animate produced the three-minute animation video based on feedback from MatchPint customers, data from CGA Strategy, and search behaviour on sports fans on MatchPint’s app and website last season.

Iona Pub Partnership to hold fifth national trade show next month: Iona Pub Partnership, which operates more than 120 tenanted pubs in Scotland and is owned by Stefan King’s G1 Group, is to hold its fifth national trade show. The event – its biggest to date – will take place on Thursday, 15 September in The Flying Scotsman at The Corinthian Club in Glasgow from 1pm to 4pm. This is a new home for the annual show having outgrown its previous venue at The Tennent’s Training Academy. The event will feature more than 40 brands and Iona said it aimed to showcase the best national suppliers and support networks to its tenants, both existing and prospective. Iona will also use the event as a launch platform for its Pub Buyer’s Guide, a literature set created for tenants which aims to help build awareness and fruitful relationships with the hospitality industry’s leading brands. Craig Grant, Iona’s in-house marketing and supplier relations manager, said: “We are thrilled to be returning for a fifth year with our trade show, and to have it at The Corinthian Club this year is a true testament to the continued success and growth of the event. It’s also such an exciting year for us in terms of new acquisitions and investments, so I for one am delighted we are opening up this event to any prospective tenants on the day who have an interest in being their own boss.”

Plans lodged to expand new Chester dining quarter by adding five further restaurants: Plans have been lodged to expand the new dining quarter in Chester city centre by adding five further restaurants. HIG Chester Property Sarl and Bride Hall Real Estate Partners have lodged an application with Cheshire West & Chester Council to convert retail and office space on the ground and first floors of Pepper House, part of the Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Pepper Street. The extension would create five restaurant units featuring external dining areas in the form of south-facing terraces, reports Insider Media. The scheme to regenerate the north side of Pepper Street represents the second phase of the development of a new dining quarter for the city. The first phase, which involved creating four restaurants on the south side of the street, is already complete and the units have been handed over to The Restaurant Group brands Chimichanga and Coast to Coast, Las Iguanas, which is owned by Casual Dining Group, and Individual Restaurants’ new £3m venue Opera Grill. The second-phase application has been submitted in advance of terms being agreed with specific restaurant operators, although talks were ongoing with several potential tenants, the applicants said.

Company News:

Enterprise and Oakman joint partnership opens first site: Hunky Dory Pubs – the new “managed expert” partnership between Enterprise Inns and Oakman Inns – will open its first site today (12 August). The Beech House in Solihull has undergone a £1.2m joint investment from Enterprise and Oakman and features a city garden with terraces and pergolas. The 660 square metre site features a mix of solar and low-energy lighting, while the outdoor areas have been designed to produce a sense of “mystery and enchantment”. Inside there is a theatre-style open kitchen complete with Josper charcoal oven, which is at the hub of the Mediterranean-style menu offered across the Oakman portfolio. One of five managed expert collaborations within Enterprise’s estate, Hunky Dory Pubs was formed only three months ago. Enterprise Inns chief executive Simon Townsend said: “The opening of our first Hunky Dory site marks an important milestone in the development of our managed expert model. We’ve worked closely with Peter (Borg-Neal) to find the right venue and create the perfect retail offer to ensure the business will thrive.” Oakman Inns chief executive Peter Borg-Neal added: “We are delighted to get the first Hunky Dory site open and I am confident The Beech House, Solihull, will be a huge success as our first-class team of people and excellent concept provide all the ingredients for a compelling consumer offer. We were presented with a great building to work with and I believe we have managed to make the best of it.” Borg-Neal said Hunky Dory had identified four further sites and were working alongside Enterprise to identify several more. Enterprise has four other pubs under its managed expert model, all operating under the Hippo Inns brand, its first managed partnership with Rupert Clevely, founder of Geronimo Inns. Further pubs are expected to open in the coming months under the Mash Inns partnership with Laine Pub Group and through the Frontier Pubs venture with Food & Fuel. Enterprise expects to have ten pubs trading under its various managed investments relationships by 30 September.

White Brasserie Company acquires Buckinghamshire pub: The White Brasserie Company, part of Brasserie Bar Co, has bought the leasehold of The Village Hall in Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire, for an undisclosed sum. The company has acquired the detached, two-storey pub on the edge of Gold Hill Common in a deal brokered by agent Savills. The Village Hall can seat up to 110 customers, plus another 150 on an external terrace and in the beer garden. It has operated as an independent public house for more than ten years. Mark Derry, chief executive of Brasserie Bar Co, said: “We were delighted to find a pub with such potential in such a perfect setting. Each pub we open has its own special character and ambience and we are excited to revitalise this site and make it a much-loved venue for locals and visitors.” Chris Bickle, licensed leisure director at Savills, added: “We are pleased to have secured the sale of The Village Hall, which offers a sought-after location and a customer base well-aligned with The White Brasserie Company. The licensed leisure market has seen increased activity in the regions around London and the M25, and we expect this trend to continue.” The White Brasserie Company currently has 11 venues in Greater London, Surrey, Hertfordshire and Cheshire, with each offering a combination of traditional English pub and French brasserie. The Village Hall will now undergo an extensive refurbishment.

Carluccio’s to open its first site in Edinburgh, eyes more venues in the city: Carluccio’s will open its first site in Edinburgh next year after acquiring a site in The Mint Building, South St Andrew Square, from Chris Stewart Group through agents Savills and Kelion Sworn. Carluccio’s added that it was actively looking for more sites in Edinburgh, with Savills solely retained for future acquisitions in Scotland. The new venue, due to open in February 2018, will join the company’s other sites in Scotland – two in Glasgow and another in Aberdeen. Carluccio’s will occupy the ground floor and basement of The Mint Building, totalling 4,439 square feet, and has taken on a new 25-year lease. Estelle Forrester, director in Savills Scotland’s retail team, said: “With the significant regeneration under way at St Andrew Square and a number of national leisure operators already confirmed for the area, we are confident this site will serve our client well – benefiting from strong footfall and close proximity to the main shopping streets and business locations.” Carluccio’s operates almost 100 sites across the UK. Earlier this month, the company said it was set to expand its Irish footprint by opening a site in Cork to sit alongside its two venues in Dublin. Chris Stewart Group was advised by Cushman and Wakefield during the deal.

Rugby stars back new smokehouse concept: Four Gloucester Rugby stars are backing a new smokehouse-style restaurant in the city. England player Jonny May and team-mates Charlie Sharples, Henry Trinder and Paul Doran-Jones are all investors in the American-inspired Grillshed, which is set to open on the city’s Main Basin waterfront in October. Beef brisket and pulled pork burgers will be served up alongside the likes of seared tuna steak and a range of salads. Gluten-free options such as buttermilk chicken will also be available from a kitchen run by Californian chef Shane McBagley. Doran-Jones said: “Gloucester has really been getting things going in terms of its regeneration and, having been away and come back again, it’s clear to see how much progress is being made. It was an easy decision for us because the city gives us so much and it was very easy for us all to fall in love with the project and identify with it.” The four Cherry and White stars, with Doran-Jones as the venture’s chairman, have teamed up with Gloucester-based former Team GB volleyball player Jody Gooding and a team of businessmen including Barry Chandler, who runs Montpellier Lodge restaurant in Cheltenham, and Joby Mortimer, who is drinks company Budvar’s UK on sale trade director, for the venture.

MOD Pizza opens second UK site, in Brighton: Fast casual artisan pizza brand MOD Pizza has launched its second UK site, at Brighton Marina. The company has opened the 2,943 square foot venue in the new West Quay development at the marina, which is also home to other restaurant brands including Five Guys and TGI Friday’s. MOD’s artisan-style pizzas are made on demand to diners’ individual specifications using fresh-pressed dough and signature sauces. Pizzas are hand-cooked in a bespoke 300-degree oven and there are more than 30 featured toppings to choose from. MOD Pizza is the brainchild of Scott and Ally Svenson and has been brought to the UK in a co-venture with Sir Charles Dunstone and Roger Taylor. It launched its first site in Leeds earlier this year and three more restaurants – in London, Newcastle and Nottingham – are due to open before the end of 2016.

The ONE Group to launch second STK site in Miami, restaurant within Meliá Hotels’ first US location: The ONE Group will open a second site in Miami for its international steak restaurant brand STK, this time within Spanish group Meliá Hotels’ first US location. The 4,900 square foot STK Miami will open within the new ME Miami hotel in Biscayne Boulevard, becoming a sister site to STK Miami Beach restaurant, which opened last year. In addition to the restaurant, The ONE Group will provide comprehensive food and beverage services for the hotel. ME Miami expands the company’s relationship with Meliá Hotels International that includes similar partnerships at ME London and ME Milan. The ONE Group chief executive Jonathan Segal said: “We are thrilled to be part of Meliá’s first US location. STK Miami will be our second opening in Florida this year, following Orlando, and marks another milestone in our plan to strategically expand the company. With nine STK locations currently in development, we are excited to bring our unique vibe dining experience to several new cities across the globe.” Other STK restaurants in development include Edinburgh, San Diego, Denver, Boston, Dallas, Austin, Toronto and Puerto Rico.

Starbucks expansion to create company’s largest distribution centre and increase capacity by 35%: Starbucks will add more than 1.2 million square feet of space to its distribution centre in York, Pennsylvania, making it the company’s largest facility when it becomes fully operational in mid-September. The expansion will increase Starbucks’ distribution capacity by 35%, create 300 full-time jobs, and add $490m to the York area economy via additional work with local businesses. The distribution centre is next to Starbucks York Roasting Plant – one of the largest coffee-roasting plants in the world. Jim Wells, vice-president of Starbucks distribution and supply chain operations, said: “As we looked at our long-term growth plans for the business and the current demands for distribution at scale, we needed to invest in additional capacity. Since opening our roasting facility here in 1995 with just a handful of people, we now have more than 500 full-time (staff) with plans to hire 300 more over the next three to five years.” As part of the expansion, the company will also further invest in The Starbucks Inclusion Academy, its on-the-job, six-week training programme that helps those with disabilities gain work experience in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution roles. Similar training opportunities are being evaluated for other Starbucks manufacturing plants and distribution centres in the US.

M&B to convert Toby site in Northampton to Miller & Carter restaurant: Mitchells & Butlers will convert its Toby Carvery site in Northampton to its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand. The company will close the restaurant in Talavera Way this month before reopening its as Miller & Carter at the end of September, creating 80 jobs. As well as new outdoor seating, the refurbished restaurant will also feature booth seating and modern artwork. Simone Assenza, general manager at Miller & Carter Northampton, told the Northants Herald & Post: “Bringing the first Miller & Carter to Northampton is extremely exciting for the brand and we’re really pleased to be able to grow the team further.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 sites in the UK.

Fish and chip chain Blue Lagoon opens Stirling city centre site, 12th Scottish venue: Family-run fish and chip shop chain Blue Lagoon has opened a restaurant in Stirling city centre, its 12th site in west Scotland. The 60-cover restaurant, which also includes delivery and takeaway services, has opened in Port Street as part of a wider £600,000 expansion investment funded by Clydesdale Bank. Blue Lagoon was founded in the early 1970s by Italian-born Ersilio Varese and is now run by his son Angelo, who told the Stirling Observer: “We’re always looking for opportunities to expand and when this site became available we had to take it. The location of our outlets is very important to us. All of our sites are in central areas of large towns with high footfall. When we purchased the property it was a pub that had been closed for around a year, so it needed a lot of work to make it fit for purpose. We’ve gutted the inside and also taken on some structural work to increase the size of the windows at the front of the premises.”

New sourdough pizza concept Firebrand launches in Marylebone: New wood-fired, sourdough pizza concept Firebrand Pizza has launched in Marylebone. As well as traditional Neapolitan pizzas, the restaurant in Lisson Grove also offers pasta, salads and a cocktail menu. The concept is the brainchild of Guy Holmes, who is also behind marketing agency Captivate Hospitality, and Bibars Ozdamir, who owned the restaurant Ozz which has been replaced by Firebrand. The wood-fired oven is the centrepiece of the restaurant, heating to 400C and cooking pizzas in less than 90 seconds, Hot Dinners reports. Other dishes from Neapolitan head chef Moreno De Marco include pesto with roast potatoes, rosemary, pine nuts and mozzarella; Italian sausage with mushrooms, truffle oil and tomato; lemon ricotta ravioli with creamy chestnut sauce; and tagliatelle with fresh pesto and grilled salmon.

Premium ready meal company using recipes from restaurants and chefs fails in £100,000 crowdfunding campaign: Crowd Cook, which produces premium ready meals using recipes from restaurants and chefs, has failed in its bid to raise £100,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Richard Counsell and with Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton as head chef, was seeking the funds to complete its commercial kitchen and establish online channel sales. It was offering a 25% equity stake in return for the investment. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately, Crowd Cook did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” The pitch stated: “We’re based on a family farm in Somerset and produce premium ‘ready meals’ using recipes licensed from well-known local restaurants and popular food bloggers. Our recipe for success is simple. For chefs, we create a new revenue stream and extend their brand to a much wider audience. For consumers, Crowd Cook means easy to cook, delicious meals designed by chefs at local restaurants they already know and love. Finally, UK retailers can sell an innovative new local brand to local consumers. The seed investment will enable us to complete the commercial kitchen, begin sales to retailers and direct to consumers online, and continue to sign up more of the UK’s best restaurants to Crowd Cook.”

Itsu reports turnover and Ebitda increase, like-for-likes sales up 2.3%: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has reported an increase in turnover and Ebitda. The company saw turnover rise 22% to £82,647,288 for the year ending 31 December 2015, up from £67,869,415 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Ebitda increased 6% to £7,331,883, compared with £6,841,726 the previous year underpinned by like-for-like sales growth of 2.3%. Pre-tax profit fell to £1,216,229, compared with £2,239,530 the year before. The company stated: “During 2015, the business grew revenues by 22% versus 2014 to £82,647,288 (2014: £67,869,415) and Ebitda by 6% to £7,331,883 (2014: £6,841,726). This was underpinned by like-for-like store sales growth in the year of 2.3%, and a continued new store expansion programme. Profit for the financial year fell to £434,150 (2014: £1,609,918), the key driver being a significant increase in depreciation in the year to £6,115,654 (2014: £4,602,196) due to a greater number of new shops and significantly increased IT investment. A further ten new stores (2014: ten) were opened in the year, including successful regional openings in Cambridge, Reading and Stansted airport, as well as the opening of flagship stores in Westfield (Shepherd’s Bush) and Bicester Village. In 2015 the business also began to develop a more ambitious delivery business, which the directors believe will be a substantial contributor of future growth. The directors also believe the company continues to build firm foundations for future multi-channel expansion across the UK and also internationally.”

Splendid Restaurants opens Hong Kong cafe-inspired concept Cha Chaan Teng in London: Splendid Restaurants, sister company of Splendid Hospitality Group, has opened premium casual Hong Kong cafe-inspired restaurant concept Cha Chaan Teng in Holborn, London. The restaurant in Kingsway is based on the popular cafes found in Hong Kong in the 1950s and 1960s – all-day diners fusing western influences with traditional Cantonese cooking. The 4,000 square foot basement site comprises 170 covers in the bar, dining room and at a 16-seater “bao table”. Jeremy Pang, television chef and School of Wok creator, is executive development chef and has curated a menu that includes macaroni soup, crusty rolls with a variety of fillings, and sharing dishes such as chilli tiger prawns with lobster claws and whole crispy sea bream. Mixologists Soulshakers have created cocktails inspired by the Chinese tea culture, available alongside beverages by The Real Tea Co and Chinese draught beer. Splendid Restaurants group operations director Mark Hall said: “We’re delighted to introduce Cha Chaan Teng and the Hong Kong cafe concept to London. We have always admired Jeremy’s refreshing and authentic cooking style and together we’ve created something unique.” Cha Chaan Teng is the latest addition to the Splendid Restaurants portfolio, which includes Southern US-inspired chicken restaurant brand Absurd Bird – about to launch its second London site – and Jack & Alice wine bar and pantry, also in Holborn.

Cleckheaton-based Italian restaurant owner to open tapas bar in town: Cleckheaton-based Italian restaurant owner Pino Bianco will start expanding his portfolio by opening a tapas bar in the West Yorkshire town. Bianco, who owns Aldo’s, is launching Tappino’s in Westgate at a former coffee shop site. Many of the materials being used in the renovation are recycled, with pallets and scaffolding planks and poles a prominent feature in the new venue, which is expected to open next month. Bianco told the Telegraph & Argus: “It is something I have been wanting to do for a long time. This property became available and I thought it would be the right spot and meant we could stay local to Cleckheaton with the new venture. It’s going to be tapas Italian-style as I wanted to create a different concept to our existing Italian restaurant. Tappino’s is a completely different kind of place – you won’t be able to get a full portion of lasagne or pizza like you can at Aldo’s.”

North east multi-site operator opens third site: North east multi-site operator David Whitehead has opened his third site after taking on The Waterline in Newcastle, which is owned by Star Pubs & Bars. A joint £700,000 investment has seen the pub, located in a former bonded warehouse and which had been closed for a year, transformed and renamed The Jolly Fisherman On The Quay, creating 20 to 25 jobs. It features a bar with booth and freestanding seating on the ground floor, opening out on to a new terrace with tables and chairs. Upstairs there is a new restaurant with an outside terrace, while two kitchens have been installed to cater for the two different offers and increased focus on food. Whitehead also runs the Jolly Fisherman in Craster and the Plough Hotel in Alnwick. The pub is open from 9am for coffees, teas and pastries/snacks. Drinks include premium beers and craft ales, as well as a selection of ciders, wines, cocktails and branded spirits. Whitehead told Chronicle Live: “The Jolly Fisherman On The Quay is all about cooking with fresh fish and locally sourced produce to create top-quality seafood dishes and I’m looking forward to seeing the restaurant full of happy diners enjoying our food, whether it be couples, families, friends or groups.”

Punch launches guide to specialist services: Punch has launched a detailed guide demonstrating the support services the business offers to its tied publicans. The introduction of the new statutory Pubs Code has meant pub company codes of practice are no longer applicable. This has led to an information gap for Punch publicans as the Punch Code of Practice provided vital information on how systems and processes worked. The services guide has been developed to fill that gap and give publicans the important information they require. The guide is split into three sections and covers every aspect of a tied partnership with Punch – from starting out to the rights and responsibilities of the landlord and publican. Punch chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “We aim to provide our publicans with the support they need to become the best publicans they can be. By putting their business needs firmly at the heart of our own business model, we aim to work with them to deliver the best consumer experience in the industry – meeting the needs of the modern world. We’ve decided to create a guide to all the services we provide and also the responsibilities of our publicans, to make it as easy as possible for them to access support and run a successful, customer-focused business.” Punch is also in the process of creating a second customer services guide for its publicans in Scotland, who are not covered by the pubs code. This will sit alongside the enhanced Pub Sector Voluntary Code of Practice for Scotland.

Smashburger set to open restaurant in Brighton in October, second UK site: Better burger brand Smashburger is set to open a restaurant in Brighton in October, its second site in the UK. The company will open the 100-cover venue on the site of Mucho Burrito in North Street spanning two floors, reports Juice Brighton. Smashburger, which has 365 corporate and franchise restaurants in 35 US states and seven countries, was founded by former McDonald’s executive Tom Ryan. It signed a partnership with AL Ventures, part of MSG Group, last year to launch in the UK. The company plans to open 35 restaurants in the UK in the next few years. The first opened in Milton Keynes in May, with further sites lined up in Bath, Newcastle, Glasgow and Wednesbury. Smashburger’s name derives from the “smashing” process used in the production of its burgers.

Newcastle-based pizza company Slice gains permission for new deli and restaurant concept: Newcastle-based pizzeria Slice has gained approval for its plans to launch a new Italian deli and restaurant concept in Grainger Market. Slice, run by Agostino Benassi and his family, has been serving pizza fresh out of the oven for more than five years from its unit in the city centre market. Now the business, which regularly draws long queues of customers for its breakfast calzones and pizza slices, is looking to expand by taking on two units close to the market entrance that have lain empty since Greggs relocated from the site in February 2015. Plans have now been approved by Newcastle City Council to convert the double unit into a combined delicatessen and restaurant, to be called Little Italy – Italian Deli.

Franchisee bids to open Scotland’s first German Doner Kebab site: Prospective franchisee Alfy Hayat has submitted plans to open Scotland’s first branch of the German Doner Kebab (GDK) concept. Hayat and brother Akky have submitted an application to Dundee City Council to turn an empty shop in Lochee High Street into a restaurant under the umbrella of the GDK franchise. If the application is approved, it would be the first of three GDK sites the brothers plan to open in the city. Earlier this year, Scottish entrepreneur Athif Sarwar acquired master franchise rights in the UK and Ireland for the GDK concept. In June he told Propel: “Since launching in March this year we have opened five outlets in England and have already signed up another 70 potential franchises. I believe we’ve the capacity to have 300 restaurants in total.” He added: “Our kebabs offer a healthy alternative to burgers as they are lower in calories. The meat is 100% pure and is grilled, not fried. It is a simple franchise to operate as it does not require a qualified chef to prepare the meals, it’s more a case of assembling the ingredients.” GDK opened its first store in Berlin in 1989.

Inamo to open third site, in Camden in November: London-based futuristic restaurant brand Inamo is to open its third site, in Camden in November. The oriental fusion brand, where guests order from illustrated menus projected on to their tables, will open the venue opposite Mornington Crescent tube station. It will feature a garden and roof terrace and serve pan-Asian food as well as a street food-style bar menu. New additions to the menu will include dishes crafted on an outdoor Japanese-inspired robata grill. The state-of-the-art ordering systems allow diners to instantly rate their dishes, change their interactive tablecloths, play games such as pong and memory, and also colour and draw directly on the table surface with “inadoodle”. Inamo chief executive Lee Skinner said: “We are excited to announce our second opening of 2016. After searching for an iconic site in NW1, we are delighted to share that we have secured the lease to the restaurant site directly opposite Mornington Crescent tube station, adjacent to Greater London House.” Inamo’s other restaurants are in Wardour Street, Soho, and Hanover Place, Covent Garden.

Good Food Society founders to launch Turkish street food concept in Marylebone this month: Yosma, a new Turkish meyhane and mangal concept serving Istanbul-inspired street food, is set to open on Monday, 22 August in Marylebone. The 150-cover eatery comes from restaurateurs Levent Buyukugur and Sanjay Nandi, founders of The Good Food Society, which operates Ristorante Frescobaldi London in Mayfair with Italy’s oldest wine dynasty, the Frescobaldis. For the group’s second project, the menu at the 4,814 square foot venue in Baker Street will be divided into cold meze, hot starters, mangal, clay oven and sides. It will also feature coal pits for roasting lamb and cooking fish delivered daily from Cornwall. Dishes from head chef Hus Vedat, previously of Jamie Oliver’s Barbecoa, will include Pancar (pit-roasted golden beetroot with garlic, olive oil and dill), and Dana Kaburga (short rib of beef wrapped in caul with pickled cucumber). The venue will also feature a lounge bar, with mixologist Matt Whiley creating a raki-based cocktail list. Agent Restaurant Property advised on the sale. The rent is undisclosed with a lease on assignment until 2024. Yosma will open for lunch and dinner, with breakfast launching at a later date. 

May Fair Bar team to launch Peruvian concept Monmouth Kitchen in Covent Garden this month: The team behind the May Fair Kitchen and May Fair Bar will open a Peruvian restaurant – with a touch of Mediterranean inspiration – at Seven Dials, close to Covent Garden, at the end of August. Monmouth Kitchen will be part of the Radisson Blu Edwardian boutique hotel, with a menu created by Amir Jati, formerly head of private dining at Nobu. The 106-cover venue in Mercer Street will also feature an outdoor terrace. Dishes will include avocado and corn salad with blackberry dressing, and smoked lamb cutlets with red anticucho, alongside three ceviche dishes – lobster, sea bass and tomato. Desserts will include Chocolate Caliente (warm Peruvian chocolate spring rolls served with fresh passion fruit sauce and coconut sorbet), while drinks will include wine, pisco sours and cocktails, Hot Dinners reports. May Fair Kitchen and May Fair Bar are both in the May Fair Hotel in Stratton Street, Mayfair.

Paris hotelier gets go-ahead for first UK site: Paris hotelier Jean-Louis Costes has been given the go-ahead for his first UK hotel, in London in partnership with Cadogan Estates. Costes plans to convert the 19th century property at One Sloane Gardens into an eight-storey, 40-bedroom luxury hotel. He is responsible for the Hôtel Costes in Paris, popular with celebrities and A-list Hollywood stars. The London hotel will feature a rooftop extension encompassing a fine dining restaurant and a coffee shop, while there will be a bar on the lower ground floor. The new hotel will have the “authenticity of an Edwardian hotel with the most contemporary infrastructure and servicing”, and all work carried out will be in keeping with the existing architectural style.

Family-owned holiday and leisure park operator reports turnover and pre-tax profit increase: A Hampshire-based, family-owned holiday and leisure park operator has reported a rise in turnover and pre-tax profit. Shorefield Holidays was established in 1958 and operates five self-catering holiday parks in Hampshire and Dorset. It provides holiday accommodation in chalets, caravans, holiday lodges, and touring and camping pitches. The business reported turnover of £22.8m for the year ended 31 October 2015, up from £22.4m a year earlier. Pre-tax profits also grew, rising from £3.4m to £3.8m. In the annual report filed at Companies House, Shorefield attributed its successful year to a change in “management and reporting practices”, adding that businesswoman Ruth Badger, a former contestant on BBC1 show The Apprentice, had “again been helping us to achieve our increased profitability”, reports Insider Media. Shorefield Holidays owns Shorefield Country Park, Oakdene Forest Park and Forest Edge Park in Hampshire, and Swanage Coastal Park and Merley Court Park in Dorset.

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, will reveal 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 bar and nightclub operators face 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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