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Thu 6th Oct 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Startup aiming to match millennials with shift work in London’s hospitality sector raises £1m for launch: London-based startup Gig, which aims to match millennials with shift work in the capital’s hospitality sector, has raised £1m in seed funding to help fuel its launch. The recruitment app puts individuals, dubbed “Gig seekers”, in touch with employers that are offering short-term, temporary employment opportunities, with users able to search for opportunities and book themselves on to shifts through the app. The platform also handles all payments, and Gig claimed seekers would receive their pay within 24 hours of completing a shift. Founded by Antony Woodcock, the startup taps into the prevailing Gig economy trend defined by companies such as Uber and Deliveroo, and gives hospitality and retail venues the option of hiring an “on-demand” workforce. Woodcock told BDaily: “We always talk about nine to five being so last century. Millennials are used to, and seek out, things that give them instant gratification. Gig enables people to wake up one morning, find and book work through the app, complete a shift and then automatically get their pay within 24 hours – it doesn’t get much more instant than that. We also pay holiday pay up front so people will always walk away with that little bit extra in their pocket each week.” Riaz Ladha, chairman of Omni Group, which has partnered with Gig, added that the “traditional temporary recruitment model” was rapidly becoming an anachronism, and the startup’s on-demand model was far more in keeping with the expectations of millennials. He added: “The millennial generation now wants more flexibility and more immediacy, and Gig serves both on a plate.” The app is launching for hotels, cafes and restaurants in London first before rolling out to other major UK cities later this year.

Industry News:

Fleurets – operators face getting their fingers burned as record rents set across London: Operators are facing getting their fingers burned as record rents are set across London, Fleurets senior associate Philip Smith has warned. Smith highlights Borough Market, Shoreditch, Berkeley Square, Trafalgar Square and Leicester Square as hot spots. Smith said rents for restaurants in Winchester Street had increased from £30 per square foot on the ground floor in 2005 to £85 in 2015. Over recent years, rents per square foot in the Shoreditch Triangle have doubled, settling at circa £50. However, Smith said Dirty Bird’s acquisition of 42-44 Kingsland Road, completed in July 2014 at a stepped rent rising to £235,000 per annum, was “ruffling the feathers of operators”. Meanwhile, Sexy Fish acquired 4-6 Berkeley Square at £1.1m per annum, with Nobu having to accept a 59% increase at a subsequent rent review. Smith said Fuller’s acquisition in March 2014 of the former Albannach (now the Admiralty) at £300,000 per annum set “landlords chasing a new tone”, while an arbitration involving the Lord Moon of the Mall in Whitehall has since been concluded, whereby a 50% increase in rent has been awarded, equating to £70 per square foot. Meanwhile, TGI Friday’s has agreed a rent of £1.8m per annum for the former Yates’s site in Leicester Square and Smith warned other operators may be priced out of the market. He added: “September 1666 – The Great Fire of London broke out in Pudding Lane, bringing devastation to the City over four days and changing the landscape of London forever. 350 years later, while the destruction caused by the Great Fire has long since been replaced, another fire has been raging in central London, and its boundaries are ever widening. With limitations for space in the prime pitches and fierce competition between occupiers, record rents are being set with new open market lettings. The inevitable backdraft for existing occupiers will be at the next rent review. While the Great Fire was contained within the City, rental growth in London’s leisure property market has spread like wildfire – east and west, and north and south of the river. With continued gentrification of secondary locations, and aggressive expansion driven by private equity backing, as long as consumer preferences remain unchanged, competition to secure new premises will fuel rental growth and rent reviews will continue to be hotly contested. Whichever side of the debate you sit on, landlord or tenant, in times of significant rent inflation it pays to take professional advice from an industry expert. The burning question is – how long until this Great Fire starts to die down?”

Planned government migrant worker policy ‘unfair’ on hospitality sector – ALMR: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has branded government plans to effectively name and shame employers of non-UK nationals as “unfair” and “misguided”, while revealing its “lack of understanding” of the hospitality industry. The ALMR pointed out that migrant workers make up 24% of the hospitality workforce and carry out valuable jobs in roles that can be “hard to fill”. It added that research had flagged a need to recruit 11,000 chefs by 2024. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Any plan to spotlight those businesses deemed not to be doing enough to support British workers would be hugely unhelpful and shows a lack of understanding of the way in which many operate. Pubs, bars and restaurants do not actively recruit abroad, they recruit locally, and it is unfair to imply that businesses are failing to support the UK workforce or failing in their duty to provide opportunities or training. Pubs, bars and restaurants invest a significant amount of time and money in their employees, whether they are UK or non-UK nationals. Any implication that UK businesses are failing the UK populace by hiring migrant workers is unfair and uninformed. Migrant workers make up 24% of the total hospitality workforce and they do a valuable and much-appreciated job in roles that can be hard to fill. Research by People 1st shows the hospitality industry will need to recruit 11,000 chefs by 2024. With colleges reporting a decline in interest for full-time chef programmes, hospitality businesses will have to work hard to fill these and other vacancies, and non-UK workers will make a vital contribution filling these gaps. This is not a deliberate effort to undermine the British workforce, it is a sector responding to pressures and attempting to fill a very difficult skills shortage. The government does not need to determine what is or isn’t an appropriate proportion of non-UK workers, and measures to effectively name and shame such employers are unhelpful and misguided.”

Colliers – community buyouts helping to preserve local pubs for next generation, increasingly familiar feature of UK hospitality sector: Community buyouts are helping to preserve local pubs for the next generation and becoming an increasingly familiar feature of the UK hospitality sector, according to agent Colliers International. The company is backing community stakeholders seeking to keep their local pubs open. One example is the Packhorse in Southstoke, near Bath, which was saved after it was declared an Asset of Community Value under the 2011 Localism Act – the first time this had been enforced by Bath and North East Somerset Council. Simon Wells, a hotels director at Colliers International, believes the trend is likely to continue as the UK pub sector fights back against a combination of rising prices and decreasing footfall. He said: “Like so many community pubs, the campaign to save the Packhorse has suffered more than its fair share of ups and downs. The community stakeholders who have kept the light burning for the Packhorse may have negotiated the fund-raising and legal hurdles against all the odds but they are not out of the woods yet – they still need to refurbish the old building before relaunching to the public. But it’s great to see another of our legendary watering holes has been saved for the community. As well as preserving a valuable community resource, our research tells us having a good pub in your locality can add up to 10% to the value of your home.” Community co-operatives and shareholder groups have bought The Bell in Bath and The Fleece in Hillesley, Gloucestershire. Meanwhile, The Muddy Duck in Monkton Farleigh is being let to the villagers until a new landlord is found. Peter Brunt, of Colliers International, said: “While the community stakeholder model is becoming fairly familiar, some communities will not have sufficient numbers of customers with adequate funds to make a donation towards their upkeep. We are aware of more than one occasion when a wealthy individual has come forward to save the local pub from closing. But we have seen many examples of old pubs being given a new lease of life through refurbishment, a new menu and imaginative diversification. Some of our buyers have turned the process of revamping failing pubs into a very lucrative fine art, and there is no reason to think properly advised community owners shouldn’t prosper.”

New CAMRA director calls for more protection for Scotland’s pubs: The new director for Scotland and Northern Ireland of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has called on Scotland’s politicians to take action to protect the country’s pubs. Sarah Bellis made the call as she presented CAMRA’s Scotland and Northern Ireland Pub of the Year award to a pub that has been in the same family since 1858 – Staggs (also known as the Volunteer Arms) in Musselburgh. She said: “Staggs is a fine example of just how good a well-run pub can be and such pubs, serving fine products to discerning drinkers, demonstrates how Scotland can have a positive drinking culture. Politicians of all parties should call time on their anti-alcohol stance, tackle the disparity between the price of drinks in pubs and shops, and get behind Scotland’s pubs, where people can drink responsibly in a supervised environment instead of excessively consuming cheap supermarket booze at home. Appointing a minister for pubs would be an excellent first step and would be welcomed by the 60,000 people whose jobs are connected to the pub industry.”

Licensing update: Licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners produce a useful monthly summary of topical issues. The latest can be accessed here

Company News:

Redcomb Pubs buys Faucet Inn site in Whitehall: Redcomb Pubs, owned by Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, has purchased The Old Shades in Whitehall to add to its growing portfolio of pubs and inns with rooms. Previously owned by Faucet Inn, The Old Shades is grade II-listed and in the heart of Westminster, just off Trafalgar Square. The Old Shades is a favourite with local office workers, with numerous civic offices nearby, as well as tourists looking for a traditional London pub. Shotton said: “We are delighted to bring The Old Shades into the Redcomb family and see our collection of great pubs grow once more. Strengthening our central London portfolio is a key strategy for the accelerated growth of Redcomb and integral to the diversification of venues we operate. The Old Shades is a well-established and well-known quality pub, loved by locals and tourists alike. We look forward to working with the team there, introducing our successful, tried and tested Redcomb formula of providing top-notch food, drink and hospitality, as well as taking on the legacy of this historic, traditional British pub.”

Italy’s oldest pizzeria to open first franchised UK restaurant after securing London site: L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, the oldest pizzeria in Italy, has secured its first UK site, in London. The company will open the restaurant in Church Street, Stoke Newington, having acquired the free-of-tie lease through agent Savills from a private vendor off a guide price of £115,000. The former craft beer bar and cafe will operate as a pizzeria under a franchise agreement with L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele, which was founded in Naples in 1870. The venue is arranged over basement, ground and first floors, extending to about 2,022 square feet (187 square metres) and is let on the remainder of a 16-year lease at a rent of £44,000 per annum exclusive. Serena Sarnatoro, of L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele-London, said: “There are a lot of pizzerias in London but what sets us apart is our collaboration with the oldest and best-loved pizzeria in the world. Stoke Newington is renowned for its foodie culture – and discerning diners won’t be disappointed.” Chris Bickle, a director in Savills’ licensed leisure team, added: “Stoke Newington is a well-established location for independent food and beverage operators and the marketing process attracted a great deal of interest. We continue to see plenty of activity in the leisure sector, particularly outside London’s Zone 1, where opportunities tend to be more accessible.” The vendor was unrepresented.

7Bone secures Camberley and Reading sites, third and fourth restaurants: Better burger brand 7Bone, which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital (KPC), has secured sites for its third and fourth restaurants – in Camberley, Surrey, and Reading, Berkshire. The Reading restaurant will be in St Mary’s Butts, at a site formerly occupied by Turkish restaurant Mangal. The council has granted 7Bone Holdings a licence to serve food and drink daily until 11.30pm. The Camberley site, for which the company is already hiring staff, will open in Park Street in the town centre, close to the train station. 7Bone’s menu includes corn dogs, cheese steaks and buffalo chicken, alongside burgers such as The Robert Johnston (aged beef patty with cheese, truffled garlic mushrooms and truffle mayo), and The Dirty Linda (chicken-fried halloumi with American cheese, dirty slaw and 7bbq sauce). The drinks menu includes imported beers and “dirty cocktails”, reports Get Reading. 7Bone’s other restaurants are in Bournemouth and Southampton. KPC co-founder Jason Katz recently said 7Bone had a pipeline of six sites “within a two-and-a-half-hour radius” of its existing outlets. He told Propel: “We think the management team has what it takes – it is focused on regional growth and has a product that can stand up to any other provider. The burger market is enormous and we are backing a brand we believe can take share in a competitive market.”

JW Lees reports record turnover and Ebitda: North west retailer and brewer JW Lees has reported turnover rose 0.2% to £64.1m, with Ebitda up 1.6% to £8.9m in the year to 31 March 2016. Operating profit was up 3.8% to £6.6m. The company said: “JW Lees strengthened its senior management team during the year by hiring Tony Spencer as director of retail and Nicola Waring as the company’s first director of people. 2016 has been a year of consolidation for JW Lees and, although we have not acquired any new sites, we have spent a record £5.3m on improving our pubs with the aim of building the best pub estate in the north west by raising quality, standards and service. Major refurbishments were carried out at more than 40 sites, including The Greyhound in Ashley, The Parrswood in Didsbury, The London Bridge in Stockton Heath and The Boathouse in Chester, where we not only added a floating beer garden in the form of a barge but also 21 bedrooms, which takes our managed estate to 185 bedrooms in total. JW Lees paid out a profit share of £317,000 to team members because the company has achieved its budgeted profits for the fourth year in a row.” Managing director William Lees-Jones added: “We are proud to be reporting a record year and our business is growing steadily. We remain hungry for acquisitions of both managed and tenanted pubs as well as hotels in the north west.” The company sold eight pubs in the year considered “not economically capable of being developed in the future” and some parcels of land in the year for a profit of £426,000.

Vapiano launches Bankside breakfast takeaway and delivery services: Vapiano, the Italian fresh casual dining brand, has launched a breakfast takeaway service at its site in Bankside, south London, alongside a delivery service via Deliveroo. The breakfast range consists of four freshly made-to-order juices, homemade breakfast pots, hot croissants and coffee. Vapiano said it would consider expanding the breakfast service in the future but planned to start gently and assess sales and feedback. A new kitchen has been built in the Bankside restaurant to accommodate demand for deliveries and takeaway orders to avoid a negative impact on the busy restaurant’s pasta and pizza stations, the company said. In August, Vapiano UK reported Ebitda in the UK rose to £1,126,451 in the year to 31 December 2015 (2014: £699,644). Turnover rose to £11,418,638 from £9,160,629 the year before. The company stated that sales in its Bankside site “continue in double-digit sales growth”. Vapiano has four restaurants in the UK – three in London and one in Manchester.

Costa Coffee hires new group HR director: Whitbread’s Costa Coffee brand has hired Kate Seljeflot as group HR director, replacing HR director Jo Bennett, who retired at the end of September. Seljeflot joins Costa after 14 years at Diageo, where she was most recently global talent director, responsible for senior appointments and succession planning, as well as overseeing Diageo’s diversity and inclusion strategy. In addition, Seljeflot oversaw key brand initiatives, including Diageo’s global graduate programme. In her new role, Seljeflot will harness her years of experience of working with global markets and her proven track record for effectively driving significant change, to lead the global HR team and Costa’s international expansion. She is responsible for all employee-related issues, including executive talent appointments, organisation effectiveness, resource planning, recruitment and training. She reports into new managing director Dominic Paul, who said: “We are delighted to announce Kate as our global HR director. She will be a driving force in the continued expansion of our workforce at a highly progressive time. Costa is an incredibly people-centric business and we want to retain our heritage and DNA while continuing to grow.”

Domino’s Pizza multi-site franchisee secures 24-hour licence for Chester city centre site: AKS Partners, a multi-site franchisee that operates a large number of Domino’s Pizza stores in England and Wales, has secured a 24-hour licence for a site in Chester city centre. Nottingham-based law firm Fraser Brown helped AKS Partners secure the licence for its new store in Foregate Street – in the heart of the council’s saturation zone. Police were concerned the extended hours would have a detrimental effect but Fraser Brown licensing specialist Walaiti Rathore worked with AKS Partners to obtain a premises licence allowing the store to operate between 5am and 3am the next day, with a 24-hour delivery service. Rathore said: “The key was to meet with police to discuss and address concerns and agree a proposal that allowed them to support these hours in a saturation zone, which is very rare. This case is an excellent example of parties working in partnership, even in the most challenging circumstances, and achieving a result they can all work with.” AKS Partners operates 27 Domino’s Pizza sites, with another 14 planned to open in the next three years.

Calabrese brothers to launch poultry restaurant and cocktail bar concept Holy Birds in the City: The Calabrese brothers, who founded acclaimed bar The Hoxton Pony in 2008 and 250-cover bar and restaurant Wringer & Mangle in London Fields last year, are set to launch a poultry restaurant and cocktail bar concept in the City. The Holy Birds, in Middlesex Street, will take inspiration from Sixties music and art, offering free-range birds from chicken, duck and grouse to wood pigeon, quail and pheasant. For the downstairs bar, the brothers are teaming up with their father, cocktail legend Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese, for the first time. Calabrese senior, who started in the industry in the 1960s, has pulled together a list of authentic cocktails from the time, Hot Dinners reports. Gerry Calabrese has won a multitude of awards, including Best Bar UK and Best Bar London, and worked as a consultant for major global beverage companies in product development, as well as launching award-winning Hoxton Gin. He also opened cabaret-themed bar Baroque in Mayfair and Ink nightclub in Leicester Square in 2013. Gerry’s brother Jon is head of operations at their company Calabrese House. In 2014, Salvatore Calabrese’s bar Salvatore’s – at The Playboy Club in Mayfair – was named London’s favourite nightspot out of 1,176 different venues in the city on ratings website TripAdvisor.

Duck’N Roll to launch third permanent site: Duck’N Roll, the street food venture from Michelin-starred chef Pascal Aussignac and business partner Vincent Labeyrie, is to launch in Camden Market on Thursday (6 October). It already trades at Street Feast’s Dinerama and Trinity Kitchen Leeds. Aussignac said: “Duck links all of Gascony and south west France – it’s everywhere. We started Club Gascon as the first French restaurant to serve just ‘small plates’ and, for me, Duck’N Roll is a natural progression – to take duck, to take the smaller plates concept, and to present this beautiful ingredient in a more interesting way and to a wider audience. The Camden Market launch will be the biggest and best Duck’N Roll yet, offering full counter-service and an adjacent bar-seating area, and will be open seven days a week.”

Comptoir Libanais opens Soho restaurant, 14th site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its 14th site, this time in Soho. The 398 square metre, 94-cover site in Poland Street offers a variety of dishes to eat in or take away. Breakfast offerings include pastries, granola, yogurt, egg dishes, and the signature Comptoir Full Breakfast, while lunch dishes feature hot and cold mezze, grilled halloumi and meat, and a selection of tagines. Drinks range from homemade lemonades and freshly squeezed juices to cocktails and Lebanese wine and beer. The venue also features the Comptoir Libanais Souk Shop, selling imported gifts, hand-crafted accessories, spices and sweets. The Soho opening is the first of three Comptoir Libanais restaurants to launch in London in the next few months. Later this month, the group’s first in-store restaurant will open in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store, while the Gloucester Road, Kensington, site will launch in November. This week, the company opened its first site in the south west – in Exeter – with another to follow later this month, in Bath.

Boss Burgers rebrands Harrogate restaurant following ‘market saturation’: Independent restaurant company Boss Burgers has rebranded its Harrogate site as a pizza concept following an influx of burger chains in the North Yorkshire town. The venue in King’s Road has relaunched as The Secret Pizza Co following “saturation” of the burger market. The company said it had taken the decision to rebrand as a “pre-emptive” move following the recent arrivals of Five Guys and Byron. Adam Kettering, managing director of Boss Burgers, said independent restaurants in Harrogate were under increased pressure following the emergence of “several large chains”. He told the Harrogate Advertiser: “With the recent influx of chain restaurants in Harrogate, what’s the point of sitting around and waiting to get swallowed up? Very good restaurants have gone under because of a lack of footfall. From a business perspective, this a pre-emptive move.” The Secret Pizza Co pop-up began in the company’s Hyde Park restaurant in Leeds delivering “hand-made, quality pizzas using the freshest ingredients”. Kettering said the company had been looking to turn the successful pop-up into a restaurant and the Harrogate site appeared to be the “perfect opportunity”. He added: “I know Boss Burgers was very popular in Harrogate but I think there’s a gap in the market for what we have changed the business into. I’m surprised so many burger places have opened up here. There were other independent burger restaurants before us but the chain openings have diluted the market place. There’s nobody really doing what we’re doing now and, from a customer perspective, we will still be making fresh products at a decent price.”

Pear Tree Café concept launches overlooking Battersea Park boating lake: Pear Tree Café, a new concept by former sous chefs Annabel Partridge and Will Burrett, has opened overlooking the boating lake at Battersea Park, south London. Mainly a daytime cafe, it offers breakfast and a seasonal all-day lunch menu until dusk on weekdays, brunch at weekends, and regular pop-up supper clubs on winter evenings. There is room for 100 diners inside and 350 outside. Breakfast dishes include six-grain porridge with hazelnuts, Jersey butter, heather honey and apple; and smashed avocado with wood sorrel, pickled cucumbers, feta, chilli, spring onion and za’atar. Lunch dishes include grilled onglet steak with borlotti beans, chard and salsa verde; and chickpea pancake with grilled aubergine, mint and labneh, Hot Dinners reports. Weekend brunch includes buttermilk pancakes with roasted figs, blueberries, borage honey and Jersey butter; and baked eggs with chorizo, preserved lemon yogurt, crispy kale, and sourdough. There is a short, regularly changing wine list along with English beers, classic cocktails and bar snacks.

Wagamama to open Colchester site: Wagamama will open a site in Colchester High Street in time for Christmas. The new restaurant will open on a site formerly occupied by Coffee Aroma and William H Brown estate agents. The cafe has been closed since earlier this year, while the estate agent is relocating. Wagamama has lodged a licensing application with Colchester Borough Council for the venue to open from 10am to 12.30am, Monday to Saturday, and 10am to midnight on Sundays. Colchester councillor Darius Laws told the Daily Gazette: “Wagamama is a great brand to welcome to our historic town and will offer more choice for everyone. Colchester is the sleeping giant of the east and ensuring top retail and restaurant brands are here is critical to our future as a leading destination.” Wagamama will open its latest restaurant next week, which will also be in the east of England. The 130-cover restaurant in Ipswich will open in the Buttermarket Shopping Centre on Monday (10 October).

Covent Garden bar and bistro founders to launch wine delivery app: Ian Campbell and Will Palmer, the team behind The 10 Cases wine bar and bistro in Covent Garden, will uncork their own wine delivery app – Drop – on Monday (10 October). Drop enables wine to be delivered anywhere in London Zones 1 and 2, with no minimum order and only a nominal delivery charge if you require it within the hour. Wine, cheese, bread, smoked salmon, and charcuterie will be delivered via an electric bicycle, with app users choosing from more than 150 wines, entering their preferred colour, price range and style. Wines will be delivered from Drop HQ, opposite The 10 Cases in Endell Street, with the space featuring a small wooden bar amid the bottles. Campbell said: “Our firm belief with wine has always been that quality and enjoyment don’t have to mean spending a lot of money, but rather on taking time to root out the diamonds in the rough.” Palmer added: “With Londoners taking a greater interest in what they’re drinking, without wanting either to spend a fortune nor waste money on a Herculean hangover-inducing wine from the corner shop, Drop is the ideal wine app.” The Drop app is available on iPhone and Android devices. Drop HQ will open to the public in early November.

McDonald’s nears $400m deal to sell Singapore and Malaysia franchise rights to Saudi Arabia’s Reza Group: McDonald’s is nearing a deal to sell 20-year franchise rights for its Singapore and Malaysia outlets to Saudi Arabia’s Reza Group, in a transaction estimated at up to $400m, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Reza Food Services, which owns and operates McDonald’s restaurants in the western and southern regions of Saudi Arabia, has tapped Malaysian bank CIMB to finance the deal, said two of the sources, who declined to be identified as the deal has yet to be publicly announced. The deal was expected to be completed by the end of the year, a source said. McDonald’s has about 120 restaurants in Singapore and 260 in Malaysia. The move is in line with the company’s reorganisation of its Asian operations, bringing in partners as it switches to a less capital-intensive franchise model.

Caprice Holdings to open The Ivy in St John’s Wood this month, seventh London site: Caprice Holdings, owned by Richard Caring, will open its latest site for The Ivy, this time in St John’s Wood, on Wednesday, 19 October. The new restaurant will open in the high street at a site formerly occupied by Megan’s Grill & Bar, The Handbook reports. The venue will comprise a main bar, restaurant and two outdoor dining terraces. As its sister sites, The Ivy St John’s Wood will feature interiors by Martin Brudnizki Design Studio and offer all-day dining, including brunch, afternoon tea and cocktails. Last week, Propel revealed Caprice Holdings had applied to open a 150-cover site for The Ivy in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, which would open in spring 2017. A Caprice Holdings spokesman said: “Each (Ivy) location is carefully hand-picked to value, reflect and add to the local area.” Last month, Caprice Holdings opened Ivy Clifton Brasserie in Bristol, the first venue for the brand outside London. The other Ivy sites in London are in Wimbledon Village, the West End, Kensington, Chelsea, Covent Garden, and Marylebone. The company also owns The Ivy restaurant, bar and lounge in Dubai.

Fabric fund-raise passes £250,000 in fortnight, boss calls for Licensing Act changes as appeal date fixed: A fundraising campaign to save Fabric nightclub has passed the £250,000 mark in its first two weeks, while its managing director Gary Kilbey has called on the hospitality and music industries to unite behind his push to “change guidance under the Licensing Act”. The iconic Farringdon nightclub had its licence revoked last month following the drug-related deaths of two teenagers, with Islington Council claiming Fabric had a “culture of drug use” its staff were “incapable of controlling”. In an effort to save the nightclub, Fabric’s owners launched a crowdfunding campaign on its own website to fund a legal appeal. The fund-raise has now passed the £250,000 mark and Fabric managing director Gary Kilbey revealed the club has been given a court date for their appeal, reports the Evening Standard. In a statement published on Facebook, Kilbey revealed the club had hired industry experts in a bid to save Fabric. He wrote: “Words cannot express how humbled we all are at the overwhelming support.” Kilbey added that as well as appealing against the revocation of Fabric’s licence, the club was also appealing to change the guidance under the Licensing Act. He wrote: “We have put this to a number of trade and music industry organisations and associations to seek their opinion, advice and support. We want to ensure this is something the industry as a whole is able to get behind.” Fabric’s appeal will be heard at Highbury Magistrates’ Court on Monday, 28 November.

Crussh launches new autumn menu: Crussh, the healthy food and juice brand with 26 sites across London, has launched its new autumn menu. It features two new drinks that use raw-pressed turmeric – a latte and a juice – along with four super grain hot pots and a coconut milk porridge for breakfast. Crussh head of marketing Helen Jones said: “We’re really excited with the new products we’ve developed for customers to enjoy this autumn. Keeping our menu fresh, with innovative products, is something Crussh has always been known for and we want to keep that up. With turmeric’s current press coverage, it’s a great time for us to offer drinks that incorporate its celebrated health benefits. We use fresh turmeric over powder as it gives a much cleaner, smoother taste and texture. A turmeric latte or a juice with turmeric, ginger, apple and pear are great for this time of year to help keep colds at bay.”

Scottish ice cream manufacturer Crolla’s to continue gelateria franchise expansion with Dundee opening: Crolla’s Gelato, the gelateria arm of The Crolla Ice Cream Company, one of Scotland’s oldest ice cream manufacturers, will open a site in Dundee. The 120-year-old, family-run company is continuing expansion of its franchise operation following openings in Aberdeen and Preston as well as its company-owned parlour in Glasgow. Local entrepreneur Jamie Shankland is set to open the franchise in Perth Road in the next two months. Peter Crolla, fifth-generation owner of the franchise, said the redevelopment of the city meant it was a prime location. He told the Evening Telegraph: “I was looking at Dundee as a potential site – it was always our plan to open shops in all the major cities in Scotland. Dundee is a city that is on the up with a lot of development going on. I think there will be a lot more people coming to the area in the future. Jamie approached us saying he was looking to open a franchise in the city. We held various meetings with him and we are excited about the future.”

Cairn Group secures Birmingham site, first Midlands venue: Bar, restaurant and hotel operator Cairn Group will open its first Midlands venue after securing a site in Birmingham. The Newcastle-based company is launching Lobby in Hill Street as part of its £50m expansion strategy. It said it was opening the venue to “capitalise on the development of the Grand Central shopping centre as well as the increased footfall to New Street station”. The bar, which Cairn Group said will involve “significant funds”, is scheduled to open this autumn following extensive construction and development work, reports The Business Desk. Lobby will offer cocktails and street food-style tapas dishes and feature a heated terrace. Earlier this year, Cairn Group revealed plans to invest £50m into growing its nationwide portfolio of venues, which currently stands at more than 50 hotels, bars and restaurants, including the Jalou, 97 & Social, Juniper, and Columbus Bar.

Tennent’s reveals trade show dates: Scottish beer brand Tennent’s, which is owned by C&C Group, will host its annual trade shows on Monday, 31 October at Hampden Park, Glasgow, and Tuesday, 1 November at BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh. More than 1,000 brands will be represented at each show from 45 suppliers, together with the full range of Tennent’s-owned brands. Tennent’s on-trade sales director Alan Hay said: “Our shows provide a great way for licensees to secure the best deals ahead of the critical festive trading period. We know our customers and suppliers truly value these events. Last year’s trade shows were a real success and we’re striving to make sure this year’s will be the best yet.”

Peel Hunt – Domino’s Pizza Poland making ‘steady progress’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Ivor Jones has said Domino’s Pizza Poland is making “steady progress” after the company announced it was raising £3.2m via a placing to accelerate the roll-out of new stores. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 75p, Jones said: “The group has sufficient cash to meet our previous forecast of 80 stores by 2020. The placing announced provides funds for an additional 20 stores, driving a three-fold increase in the estate in four years. New stores require capital of circa £125,000 and the placing should therefore comfortably provide funds to add 20 stores. Eventually there may be sub-franchisees with capital of their own to invest in further accelerating growth. However in the near-term, we believe Domino’s Pizza Poland will either build corporate stores itself or lend capital to sub-franchisees. Management says Domino’s Pizza Poland has continued to trade strongly in the third quarter and is on track to ‘meet market expectations’ for FY2016. 20 additional stores should add £1m to £1.5m of Ebitda to forecasts for 2020-21, and we expect the placing announcement to support the share price in making progress towards our 75p target price. We are not changing our near-term forecasts. The group is making steady progress towards critical mass in terms of store count, geographical coverage of Poland, and sub-franchisee base. The announcement confirms it will have the funds to get to critical mass and then press on to circa 400 stores using self-generated capital and through sub-franchised store expansion.”

Easyhotel gets go-ahead for new-build Barcelona hotel: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has got the go-ahead to build a hotel in Barcelona. The group, which last week made a conditional placing of up to 38 million new ordinary shares at a price of 100 pence each to raise £38m, revealed planning permission had been granted for the property. The company plans to build a 204-bedroom hotel in Gran Via, the main avenue of L’Hospitalet de Llobregat in the Spanish city. The group told Travel Weekly: “Easyhotel’s acquisition of the land for the new-build hotel is expected to complete in the coming weeks and the hotel to open in early 2018.” The company also plans new owned hotels in Birmingham, Ipswich, Liverpool and Manchester, together with franchise properties across Europe and Dubai. Easyhotel’s three owned hotels in the UK comprise 390 rooms and it has a further 17 franchised hotels with 1,405 rooms.

Speaker schedule for Propel Multi Club Conference unveiled: The full speaker schedule for the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 3 November at Congress Hall, London, has been unveiled. Operators of multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can claim up to two free places by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Richard O’Donnell, head of the leisure sector at Canaccord Genuity, will provide an overview of the restaurant sector M&A landscape, current valuations in the market and the do’s and don’ts when attempting to attract investment or sell a hospitality business. James Spragg, chief operating officer of Casual Dining Group, will give his views on how brands can be revived, majoring on a case study of how Cafe Rouge has been revived thanks to a focus on menu authenticity, investment in facilities and environment, staff training, and head office support. Fraser Bradshaw, partner at investment fund Imbiba, will talk about how it identifies opportunities in the market place, finds and backs talent, assimilates innovation from around the world, and its current group of investments – Darwin & Wallace, Camm & Hooper, Ruth & Robinson, Wright & Bell, and Casper & Cole. Ed Brown and Griff Holland, co-founders of healthy eating brand Friska, will outline the company’s approach to ethically sourced healthy food, service, its journey as a company from its south west base, and perspective on the healthy eating market. Christian Rose, managing director of All Star Lanes, will talk about the “brand’s revolution”, improving the food and beverage offer, updating design, the growing importance of “experiences”, market potential and expansion plans. Professor Chris Edger, the UK’s leading author on multi-site brand management and leadership, will draw on his forthcoming book written in partnership with Tony Hughes, eMotion – How leaders mobilise positive feelings in super-performing teams, to outline the “ten moments of emotional truth” of leadership that separate the best from the rest. Ian Leigh, managing director of Thai Leisure Group, operator of Chaophraya and Thaikhun, will share how the company is successfully retaining its unique company culture while moving forward its brands and rolling out eight sites per year. Brian Whiting, founder of gastro-pub operator Whiting and Hammond, will talk about the company’s £200,000, 24-hour fund-raise through Funding Circle to open its latest pub, partnering with pubcos, developing slow-starting sites to realise their potential, tikki huts, and menu evolution, including the introduction of a high-end smoker. British-born entrepreneur Jonathan Segal is founder of ONE Group, which operates the STK brand. He will discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with operating an international restaurant brand, with locations from Las Vegas to London, and Chicago to Ibiza, as well as regularly catering for the stars at the Oscars and Super Bowl. David Henkes, advisory group senior principal of food service insights and research firm Technomic, will provide insights on the hottest new concepts in the US, what makes them successful and their common threads. He will also report on which categories are performing best in the US market.

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