Propel Morning Briefing Mast HeadAccess Banner  
Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head Paul's Twitter Link Paul's Twitter Link

BrewDog Banner
Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 21st Oct 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Intertain boss – we will search the estate for secondary space after success of ‘stick hall’: Intertain chief executive John Leslie has reported the company will search for secondary space after the success of Felsons, a pool hall launched in an unused area above its Bournemouth Walkabout site. Speaking at the Bar and Nightclub Conference – organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Propel – Leslie said: “It is a stick hall with a difference and we have done this in what was previously a completely unused space. We have called it Felsons. Eddie Felson was a real-life character so we have named it after him – he was played by Paul Newman in the film The Colour of Money. Amazingly, nobody had registered the intellectual property for Felsons as a stick hall or as a pool hall in the UK. But we have now and we have effectively launched a new brand with it. It was previously a derelict first-floor space. It has seven pool tables, one of which is outside, and it has developed a following of its own, quite separate from the Walkabout downstairs. It is almost like having a new venue with no extra overheads and it is producing £10,000 a week in sales. £2,000 of that is straight from the table – so a 100% margin on that; £100,000 a year just out of the tables – thank you very much.” On general plans for the future, he said: “We want to complete the refurbishment of our existing estate, which will take us another 12 to 18 months, continue to acquire for Walkabout – good track record so far and we want to continue with that – and we have got some interesting stuff to do in secondary space as well.” Leslie reported his Walkabout venues now have average sales per week of circa £34,000 and average site Ebitda of £320,000. He added: “Probably the most exciting part of our journey has been to actually get off the ground with our acquisition programme. Last year, we acquired four venues, two of them were former Après units in Solihull and Lichfield, a site in Brighton, and we acquired a site in Manchester Printworks as well. After an average spend of £750,000, the results of them have been outstanding. We all know the investment cycles within this industry can be relatively short but to get a payback in sub two years – we are more than comfortable with that.”

Industry News:

More than 300 booked in for Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday 3 November, extra speaker added: More than 300 attendees have booked in for the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 3 November at Congress Hall, London. An extra speaker has also been added to the schedule. Steven Pike, managing director of HospitalityGEM (soon to be rebranded as HGEM), will illustrate how guest experience management has evolved in recent years, and will leave the audience with a modern framework that can be applied to their own businesses. Operators of multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book up to two free places. Companies already attending include Jamie Oliver Restaurants, Big Easy, Black & Blue Restaurants, Thorley Taverns, Cabana, Urban Pubs and Bars, Wahaca, Grand Union Bars, Thai Leisure Group, Whiting & Hammond, Friska, We Are Bar, Stonegate Pub Company, Chipotle, Carluccio’s, Laine Pub Company, Oak Taverns, Mitchells & Butlers, Casual Dining Group, Busaba Eathai, Pieminister, Sugar Hut Group, Searcys, All Star lanes, Mas Q Menos, Costa Coffee, Wright & Bell, Darwin & Wallace, Snug Bars, Young’s, Maxwell’s, Punch, Enterprise, Pizza Hut, Vapiano, Chozen Noodle, City Pub Company, Pret A Manger, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Azzurri Group, Porky’s, Giggling Squid, Smashburger, Apartment Group and SSP. The full speaker schedule can be found here. To book free places, email Anne Steele on

BII People and Training Conference fully booked, waiting list now in operation: The BII’s People and Training Conference on Monday, 21 November at Bafta Piccadilly is now fully booked and a waiting list is being run. The speaker schedule can be found here. Operators can book free places by emailing Anne Steele on Tickets for suppliers cost £149 plus VAT. Bookings have also opened for the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs), taking place in the evening at Cafe de Paris. Tickets for the evening event cost £150 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing

Licensing Act Committee hears from health experts: The House of Lords Licensing Act 2003 Committee will meet next week to explore the effect relaxed licensing laws are having on public health. On Tuesday (25 October), the committee will hear from Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman of the Alcohol Health Alliance; Dr Adrian Boyle, of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine; Jeanelle de Gruchy, director of public health for Haringey Council and a member of the Association of Directors of Public Health; and Professor Colin Drummond, chairman of the Faculty of Addictions Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists. They will be asked whether England and Wales should add public health to the objectives of its licensing laws as Scotland has – and how? They will also be quizzed on whether access to alcohol should be further restricted; what official data tells us about the relationship between licensing and public health; the merits of limiting access to types of alcohol such as super strength instead of where it can be bought; and their views on taxation and price controls and how health risks differ between on and off-sales?

Nottingham BID commissions independent study of city’s night-time experience: The Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), in partnership with Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping and specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, has commissioned a study of the evening and night-time experience in Nottingham city centre. This will be an independent assessment of how the city centre currently functions and performs with a view to developing an enhanced after-dark strategy for the city centre for the benefit and enjoyment of people who live, work and study in the city and those who visit in the evening. The study will begin at the end of November and involve consultations with those with a role in shaping the city after dark. This includes venue owners and operators as well as key user groups, including students and young adults together with representatives of the police, Nottingham City Council, the universities, and city centre management professionals such as town planners and architects. There will also be a public exhibition and consultation event to give local people the opportunity to have their say and contribute. “We are fortunate we have a great range of venues in the city centre and we have secured Purple Flag status for seven consecutive years, which acknowledges that Nottingham is a vibrant and safe place for a night out. However, we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Jeff Allen, Nottingham BID chairman. “By commissioning this independent study and working in partnership with our members – licensed premises and retailers in the city centre – as well as organisations that have a role to play in the city after dark, we can work together to shape what the city will look like in the evening and at night in years to come.”

Food trucks to gather at new Peckham Feastival street food event: A new 11,500 square foot street food event, Peckham Feastival, which will feature a “collection of London’s finest food trucks”, is to launch next month. The trucks, plus two bars, comfortable sofas, Birdies Crazy Golf and live DJs, will be open every Friday and Saturday in November and from Thursday to Sunday in December. The event will take place in a warehouse in Peckham’s Copeland Park. Food trucks set to appear include Forza Win, The Cheese Truck, Popdogs, and Rainbo.

Soho Estates pledges commitment to invest in the West End: The boss of Soho Estates has voiced his commitment to invest in the West End. John James, son-in-law of the late Paul Raymond, said he was convinced the “already-thriving Soho” would attract even more visitors thanks to the new night tube and impending arrival of Crossrail at Tottenham Court Road. He added that Britain’s vote to leave the EU had not affected growth plans. He said: “We are rebuilding (nightclub) Madame Jojo’s, which will be bigger and better, and investing in Walker’s Court to make it the centre of entertainment. This country is resilient, London is a centre of vitality and I think we have a good strong leader in Theresa May.” New accounts for Soho Estates Holdings show the value of the company rose 16% to £657m in the year to 31 March. Pre-tax profits rose to £94.6m from £47m as it included property revaluations in its accounts for the first time.

Heritage Lottery Fund offers £4m grant to restore historic pub: A semi-derelict pub is to be transformed with a £4m grant. Funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Heritage Enterprise scheme will restore the Fellowship Inn in south London and make it commercially sustainable, with a cinema, new live music venue, cafe, micro-brewery, bakery and artists’ studios. Built in the 1920s for returning First World War veterans and their families, the pub was at the centre of the Bellingham “homes for heroes” estate in Lewisham, which was constructed to ease inner city crowding. The Fellowship Inn originally had two bars, a 200-seat dance and music hall, a vast function room, which often hosted wedding receptions, an off-licence bottle shop, and family accommodation. Jim Ripley, chief executive of Phoenix Community Housing, said: “This is the best news Bellingham has had in decades. We’re so proud to have the opportunity to restore this historic pub and create a thriving venue for our residents and the wider population of south London to enjoy.”

Fourth Analytics reveals sector pay levels: Figures mined from Fourth Analytics on the pay for thousands of hourly-paid UK hospitality workers reveal average rates have now hit £7.71 – and not just for employees aged 25 and above. The £7.71 figure is an average based on the analysis of the hourly pay of all age cohorts – including under-21s and workers aged between 21 and 24. Average pay – with the under-21 group analysis removed – reveals the average hourly rate in hospitality has hit £7.92. This rate is 72p – or 10% – ahead of the National Living Wage (NLW) of £7.20, a new rate introduced for workers aged 25 and above in April. Days before the statistics were extrapolated, legislative increases were also introduced to the NLW for workers aged 18 to 20 and 21 to 24. Mike Shipley, analytics and insight solutions director at Fourth, said: “With actual pay significantly outstripping the legal minimum for all age thresholds, businesses are clearly experiencing very strong employment-cost inflation. Clearly it is difficult to predict whether this momentum will continue but there’s no sign of a levelling off at the moment. We expect to see the hourly-rate average in hospitality hitting £8 in January 2017, and we could well see average rates approaching £8.50 by April 2017 – when the next incremental increase comes into force. This could see the minimum legal living wage (for over-25s) move up to between £7.50 and £7.65.” Fourth Analytics can reveal the actual average hourly pay for all ages in hospitality (£7.71) has risen by 12.6% in the past two years – and is up by 24p in the three months since June alone. Shipley added: “What’s particularly striking is the under-21s are fast catching up, earning on average £1.53, or 29%, above their legal rate. This could be driven by wage parity policies, and also general competitive pressure for good people.” The latest figures also reveal the gender pay gap has now disappeared. Previously, males earned 13p more per hour in June 2016 and 21p more in 2014. This is a blended figure across the hospitality sector, with men earning more on average in the pub and restaurant sectors, while women earn more in the quick service restaurant and hotel sectors. Since the introduction of the NLW, the regional pay gap between London and areas beyond the M25 has narrowed – from 25p in 2014-2015, to 11p (October 2016). Consequently, companies with operations outside London have seen staffing costs rise more sharply, placing pressure on operating margins. 

Company News:

Banana Tree reports rise in turnover and Ebitda: Banana Tree, the eight-strong South East Asian restaurant group, has reported a 12.5% increase in turnover to £9m in the year to 30 April 2016. Like-for-like sales for the period were up 5.1% and site Ebitda increased from £1.3m to £1.7m. Group Ebitda was £1.2m in the period. Banana Tree continues to trade well in the current year, with like-for-like sales up 6.6% for the five months to 30 September 2016, and the company is on track to reach sales of £10m, site Ebitda of £2m, and Ebitda of £1.6m in its current year. Led by founder William Chow and wife Anne, the group is currently in advanced talks on another site.

Aubaine founder launches free-range chicken concept in Marylebone: Aubaine Group founder Hani Nakkach has launched a free-range chicken concept – Chickens and Foxes – in Marylebone. The new venue in Baker Street specialises in rotisserie chicken to eat in and take away, offering only award-winning “Label Rouge” chickens. Label Rouge certification means hens are able to wander freely and are fed pesticide-free whole grain. All the birds at Chickens and Foxes are also halal and are slow-cooked in a rotisserie oven, the benefits of which include “juicy, tender meat that is bursting with flavour”. Chickens can be ordered whole or by the half or quarter, accompanied by a lemon and herb or hot and spicy sauce. The restaurant also offers roast dinners, with all the trimmings, on Sundays. Side dishes range from salads to more hearty choices such as tabbouleh and roast potatoes. Desserts include homemade chocolate and raspberry pot, while a concise drinks menu features soft drinks, cider, lager, ale and wine. Chickens and Foxes is open daily from 11am to 11pm. Nakkach launched Aubaine restaurant, boulangerie and patisserie in 2004. Today, Aubaine operates ten restaurants in London.

New Mexican brand to open in Soho next month: Corazón, a Mexican-style taco restaurant, is set to launch in Soho next month. Agents Restaurant Property acquired the site for Corazon in Poland Street. It has a ground floor of 830 square feet and a basement of 365 square feet, with a new 20-year lease. The “taqueria” will serve Mexican comfort food, with tacos at the heart of the menu, plus daily specials. Inspired by Mexico City’s Condesa neighbourhood, the eatery will be casual, with 55 covers. Corazón is the passion project of Laura Sheffield, a native Texan via New York City, who has spent more than a decade managing some of the UK’s most celebrated pubs and restaurants, including Corbin & King’s Fischer’s and The Riding House Café. She discovered a love for Mexican food while growing up in Texas. Chef Paul Daniel’s menu was developed during several journeys through Mexico’s distinct culinary regions and along the coast of California. He has more than 20 years’ experience in London restaurants, including Sartoria, Smiths of Smithfield, and as opening head chef of The Luxe in Spitalfields, before taking the role of head chef at The Riding House Café, where he worked with Sheffield. Most recently, he held the role of executive chef for the Village London group. Corazón’s menu will focus on a selection of ten signature tacos, along with daily specials.

Jason Atherton’s The Social Company to launch Temple & Sons restaurant in the City: Jason Atherton’s The Social Company will open the doors to Temple & Sons, a new City grill restaurant and bar, on Monday, 21 November. Adjacent to the iconic Tower 42, Temple & Sons is a second partnership for Atherton with Restaurant Associates. It will take a more casual approach in contrast to the fine dining at neighbouring sister restaurant, City Social. The venue will be set across two floors, each offering a different dining experience – an 80-cover grill restaurant and a 40-cover all-day deli and bar serving snacks and small plates, championing British produce throughout. Executive chef Paul Walsh, who also heads up City Social, will oversee the kitchen. James Boyle, managing director of Restaurant Associates, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Jason and his team again. The work we have done together at City Social has been outstanding and we hope to mirror some of this success at Temple & Sons. There is an appetite for a more casual style of dining in the City of London, and we are thrilled to be part of its growing food scene.” Atherton added: “Temple & Sons is my tribute to our great British produce and dining traditions. Following the success of our partnership with Restaurant Associates on City Social, I’m very happy to be working with them again.”

Bourgee smashes sales targets at new Chelmsford site: Steak-lobster lounge restaurant concept Bourgee has said it “smashed” all booking and sales targets during the opening weeks of its new Chelmsford site. The company’s second restaurant opened on 1 October at the city’s new £3m dining quarter. The 120-cover, two-storey site has a bar central to each floor. James Welling and Mark Baumann launched the “affordable luxury” brand in Southend in 2014 and have already agreed deals for sites in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, with discussions at an advanced stage on a property near Colchester. Welling said: “The start in Chelmsford has been phenomenal, with thousands of bookings taken. Performance in terms of revenue has also been staggering and we have already hit the heights of Southend. While we have barely scratched the surface in terms of promoting our full offering, we are delighted with the start we have made and look forward to driving performance further in the coming weeks as we ready ourselves for our Bury and Norwich sites to open.” Last month, Welling told Propel the company would build a cluster of sites in Essex and East Anglia before gradually advancing across the country in an “organic, measured way”.

Three Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic to make UK debut: Three Michelin-starred chef Anne-Sophie Pic will make her UK debut when she opens a French restaurant in the Four Seasons hotel in central London. La Dame de Pic will operate out of a grade II-listed building near Tower Hill Street. Pic, one of the few female chefs to be awarded three Michelin stars, has opened renowned restaurants all over France. She is known for her unlikely flavour combinations and La Dame de Pic’s menu is likely to be similar to its Parisian counterpart, which has flavour mash-ups such as white cheese ice-cream with rocket and cardamom for starters, or beef with smoked coffee for mains. The interior of the restaurant, which will open early next year, will evoke the feel of classy Parisian brasseries, with wood carvings, leather banquettes and mirrored columns, Hot Dinners reports. The venue will also feature a private wine cellar.

‘Fast casual lunch’ firm Zucla raises double its £90,000 crowdfunding target with month to go: Zucla, which “creates fresh and healthy tailored lunches cooked in front of you from its Fleet Street theatre kitchen”, has raised more than double its £90,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, with almost a month still to run. The company, founded by Dev Shah, is offering a 17.28% equity stake in return for the investment and is raising funds to launch more sites. So far, it has raised £198,420 from 126 investors and is now “overfunding” with 27 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £25,000. Zucla said it had served more than 40,000 lunches since launching in January and seen 14% monthly revenue growth. The pitch states: “Within 12 months of closing this funding round, we aim to open two more sites. With two sites up and running we see sales projections for year-end 2017 of more than £1.1m having served over 200,000 lunches. Our three-year outlook is to create eight sites in total. The funds will be used to open a second site. The third site and onwards we aim to fund from retained earnings and either lease financing or bank loans. To date, the directors have invested more than £215,000, plus an interest-free loan of £30,000 from family and lease financing (less than £50,000). Zucla serves “real food” to people who care about what they eat! Fresh, healthy food cooked right in front of you in our theatre kitchen. Each of our dishes can be tailored and served in minutes. Fleet Street London, our first site, is where we offer a large variety from three distinct zones – wok/stir-fry, curry and salads. Customers have thousands of permutations to bespoke their lunch. Zucla aims to create a new segment – fast casual lunch.”

Hull-based, high-end Indian restaurant Tapasya starts expansion with second city site: Hull-based, high-end Indian restaurant Tapasya has started expansion by opening a second site in the city. Tapasya founders Mukesh Tirkoti and Tapan Mahapatra have invested £1m in the new site in the CatZero building in Humber Dock Street. Tirkoti has run five-star hotels and restaurants in India and opened destination restaurants in London. As well as its evening menu, Tapasya@Marina is the first restaurant in the region to offer Indian afternoon high tea, served by a dedicated tea butler. The teas are served alongside traditional Indian snacks, including naan khatai – Indian cookies – green pea and potato filler Punjabi samosas, railway lamb patties, and deep-fried tiger prawn pakodas. A company spokesman told the Hull Daily Mail: “Guests taking afternoon tea and high tea will have the opportunity to discover some of the finest and rarest teas from across the world. Tapasya@Marina has created its own indulgent take on this tradition, which is served on a three-tiered silver stand. From the savoury to the sweet, each element of your high tea has been given a contemporary twist with an Indian influence.”

Las Iguanas to launch Chelmsford restaurant this month, submits Colchester town centre plans: Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas will open a restaurant at the new Bond Street development in Chelmsford, Essex, on Monday, 31 October, its 45th site, while it has also submitted plans to open a venue in Colchester town centre. Las Iguanas will join better burger brand Byron, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast and Bill’s Restaurant at the £150m complex, which also features a John Lewis store and Everyman Cinema. The restaurant will feature the brand’s new winter menu, with additions to the tapas menu, including taco planks and corn and habanero fritters. New desserts include Kahlua chocolate cortado, while new cocktails have been added, including Watermelon Margarita (Olmeca Tequila with watermelon and lime). Meanwhile, Las Iguanas has submitted plans to Colchester Council to open a restaurant in Greytown House, close to High Street. The company hopes to open the venue next year and create 40 jobs. 

Comptoir Libanais opens Bath restaurant, 15th site: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, has opened its 15th site, this time in Bath. The 170-cover restaurant has opened in the new Little Southgate food quarter in the city centre, joining Thai Leisure Group-owned Thaikhun and Splendid Hospitality’s Deep South-inspired gourmet chicken brand Absurd Bird. Comptoir Libanais, owned by Levant Restaurants Group, signed a 20-year lease for the 4,000 square foot unit at the complex, which is owned by Aviva Investors and British Land. The opening is its second in the south west this month, following the launch of a site in Exeter. Comptoir Libanais also opened a site in Soho earlier this month, and is set to open two further restaurants in London – its first in-store restaurant in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store and a venue in Gloucester Road, Kensington, that will launch in November.

Plans submitted to replace former ISIS nightclub in Nottingham with five restaurants: A former nightclub will be demolished and replaced with five new restaurants after revised proposals for the development were granted planning permission. The former ISIS nightclub in Redfield Way closed in 2009 after a spate of violent incidents. Nottingham City Council’s planning committee granted DLA Architecture permission for six A3 units – meaning they can be used for restaurants or cafes – in December. However, an amended scheme for five A3 units – which could create 140 jobs – has been presented to councillors. CGI images shown to the planning committee gave a glimpse of what the units may look like – with mock names such as Dando’s, Pizza Press and Live Fries, presumably named after Nando’s, PizzaExpress and Five Guys. The development, plans of which have been submitted on behalf of Oakgate Retail and James Farhad Eftekhar-Khonssar, has also been scaled back by 2,400 square feet since December. Three of the revised units will be 4,000 square feet, while the other two will be 3,000 square feet. One of the units will now have its back to the road – a change “driven by the commercial needs of the scheme”.

Bath craft brewery lands national listing with Handmade Burger Co: Electric Bear Brewery has secured a significant listing with Handmade Burger Co. The Bath-based brewer will see two of its core range of beers stocked in 27 Handmade Burger Co restaurants across the UK. British pilsner Edison and Livewire IPA will feature on the menu alongside seasonal rotating guest beers such as Elemental, a 4.4% ABV crystal rye IPA, and the brewery’s popular milk stout, Split Milk. Electric Bear founder Chris Lewis said: “We’ve only just celebrated our first birthday and if someone had told me this time last year we would see our beers behind the bar at Handmade Burger Co, I wouldn’t have believed it. The team has worked incredibly hard to brew some great beers and to get them out across the country. It’s a crowded market for craft breweries at the moment so it’s great to see the quality of our beer has been recognised by such a well-known restaurant group and that our passion and hard work is paying off.” Handmade Burger Co recently opened a restaurant in Bath city centre, which will take stock of Electric Bear beers. Chris Sargeant, of Handmade Burger Co, said: “We spend a lot of time sourcing the best local products and ingredients for our restaurants and Electric Bear is the perfect craft beer to serve alongside our burgers.

Tasty to bring Wildwood to Birmingham city centre: Tasty is set to open a site for its Wildwood brand in Birmingham city centre. The restaurant will be at a site formerly occupied by the Yorkshire Building Society in New Street. In the 1980s, the building housed a Pizza Hut. The new restaurant will create 40 jobs although an opening date has yet to be revealed, the Birmingham Mail reports. It is the latest addition to New Street following the opening of an Apple store and the anticipated launch of a 180-cover restaurant by better burger brand Byron, which is due to open this year and will be the company’s first West Midlands site. Earlier this month, Tasty opened its first Wildwood site in Wales, at Llandudno. Wildwood currently operates 49 restaurants, with openings due in the next couple of months in Worcester Park in Surrey, Bournemouth and Edinburgh, which will be the brand’s first site in Scotland. Last month, Tasty reported sales increased by 28% in the 28 weeks to 3 July on the corresponding period to £21,794,000 (2015 – £17,050,000). Adjusted operating profit, before pre-opening costs, non-trade items and interest, was £1,925,000 (2015 – £1,684,000), a 14% increase on the corresponding period and adjusted pre-tax profit for the period increased by 17.5% to £1,615,000 (2015 – £1,375,000).

Starbucks to open Roastery in Japan: Starbucks will open a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Japan in 2018. Located in the Nakameguro district, an upscale neighbourhood known for boutiques and art galleries, the venue will be designed in collaboration with architect and Tokyo Olympics 2020 designer Kengo Kuma. Starbucks opened its first Roastery in Seattle in 2014, the most successful store opening in the company’s history. Since then, Starbucks has announced new locations will open in Shanghai next year and New York in 2018. At the 13,000 square foot site, consumers will be able to watch the whole process of coffee being created alongside artisan bread baked on-site by Italian food partner Princi. Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of Starbucks, said: “As it was when we opened Japan as our first market outside North America in 1996, the country continues to be an important and dynamic coffee community for Starbucks. We are proud to bring our customers a distinct, immersive and innovative retail experience that celebrates the craft of coffee in an unprecedented way.”

New US West Coast concept Pomona’s to open in Notting Hill: New West Coast/California-style restaurant and bar concept Pomona’s is set to launch in Notting Hill next month. The new venue in Hereford Road, at the former site of The Commander gastro-pub, will feature a 120-cover restaurant and an American bar headed up by Kestutis Sturba, former head bartender at Gordon Ramsay Restaurants. Chef Gareth Sanderson has taken inspiration from his extensive travels along the West Coast of America, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, Hot Dinners reports. Dishes will include sweet potato toast with avocado, labneh, lime and cilantro gremolata, and crispy pork belly with mojo de ajo, smoked polenta and winter leaf salad. Desserts will include caramel croissant and prune pie with crème Anglais.

Honey & Co team launches Middle Eastern grill concept in Fitzrovia: The team behind Fitzrovia restaurant Honey & Co has launched a Middle Eastern grill concept in the prestigious London district. Honey & Smoke has opened in Great Portland Street and offers a combination of meze and grill, with dishes including baba ganoush with burnt aubergine dip and seeded lavoush, charred marinated octopus with meshwiya, and pigeon with sweet onion, pine nuts and sultanas, Hot Dinners reports. Honey & Co was founded by husband-and-wife team Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich. Packer trained at the Orrery under Chris Galvin, while Srulovich learned to cook in his native Jerusalem. Packer and Srulovich have co-authored two books, including Food From The Middle East, which was voted food book of the year by The Sunday Times. On the Honey & Co website, the couple state: “The food we cook is the food we grew up on and also the food we grew to love – our moms’ and aunties’ food, the street food we always crave, the food we tried at our friends’ houses and, most of all, the things we miss from our childhood.”

Michelin-trained chef launches modern British cuisine concept Box-E at Bristol box park: New modern British cuisine concept Box-E has launched in Bristol. The restaurant is in Cargo, the box park that recently opened in Wapping Wharf. Box-E is the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Elliott and Tess Lidstone. Elliott Lidstone was most recently head chef at The Empress gastro-pub in Hackney, east London, and before that worked at Michelin-starred Berkshire restaurant L’Ortolan. Box-E spans two shipping containers and features an open kitchen and decked outside area. The feeling is very informal, with Tess front of house and Elliott in the kitchen, making the venue feel “more like eating at a friend’s house”, according to the Bristol Post. The food is modern British and seasonal, with a frequently changing menu showcasing local produce, fish from Cornwall and some foraged ingredients. Dishes include hake with braised leeks and autumn truffle, and crispy polenta with sprouting broccoli and buffalo Gouda. There is also an “unwritten” five-course tasting menu. The wine list includes organic cava, white Rioja and a natural wine made from grapes grown near Mount Etna.

Mediterranean dining concept to launch in Scunthorpe town centre: Mediterranean dining concept Magnolia Cafe and Restaurant is set to open in Scunthorpe town centre next month. The new venue will open on the corner of Frances Street and High Street at the former site of Hing Long, whose owners closed the Chinese restaurant earlier this year. Magnolia owner Orhan Ahmed, who has worked in the catering industry for more than 15 years, said he would launch the restaurant in “three to four weeks” and had invested £50,000 in the project. The opening will create 15 jobs. He told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: “We are going to offer English breakfasts in the day and then, after 5pm, it will be a Mediterranean restaurant. We will have two separate menus.”

Shepherd Neame reopens historic Kent pub following £275,000 refurbishment: Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame has reopened the East Kent pub in Whitstable following a three-month, £275,000 refurbishment. Dating to 1802, the historic pub is close to the town centre and beach. The makeover included creating an area at the front of the pub with bench seating, while the large garden at the rear has a new patio and a pergola-covered seating area with heating and lighting. Inside, more space has been created by moving the bar from the centre of the pub to the far corner, while a former games room at the rear has been opened up by removing the dividing wall. The pub will be run by new licensee Philip Outram, a drummer in a local rock and roll band. He said: “A new PA system has been installed as part of the refurbishment, and we are really passionate about continuing the East Kent’s live music tradition.” Shepherd Neame director of retail and tenanted operations Nigel Bunting added: “We are delighted with the East Kent’s new look and confident Philip will take the pub from strength to strength.”

Cote raises £66,000 for charity via pavlova sales: French brasserie Cote has raised £66,000 for charity Swings & Smiles through sales of pavlova – its September dessert special. The Berkshire-based charity provides play facilities for families who have children with special needs. Cote chief executive Alex Scrimgeour suggested the promotion after hearing about the charity’s need to raise £450,000 to build a dedicated facility. Swings & Smiles supports families from Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire and Surrey, as well as Berkshire. The lease on its home runs out in 2017 and it is aiming to build the new facility in the next two to three years. Swings & Smiles founder Sian Cook said: “It has been an incredible fundraising initiative and we are so grateful to everyone at Cote and their customers for their kindness and generosity. Through Cote, our fundraising has now reached 25% of the target.”

Champagne prices could rise £3 a bottle post-Brexit, highest percentage increase among wines – report: Champagne prices could rise £3 a bottle post-Brexit, the highest percentage increase among wines, according to the latest Wilson Drinks Report. However, the impact for consumers will be lower if producers focus on cash margins and not gross margin percentage, the report added. The effective increase in the cost of wines imported from Europe into the UK market, arising from the fall in the value of the pound, has put significant pressure on producer/distributor margins, the report said. Because of the nature of the value chain for wine, and the significant proportion of cost attributed to UK duty, the impact of a fall in the pound is much stronger for higher-value products where most of the cost relates to the product and not consumer taxes, it added. The Wilson Drinks Report looked at two scenarios – producers that try to maintain their gross margin percentage versus those that try to maintain the same cash margin for their wines. Assuming there is no change in the UK duty imposed on still and sparkling wine imported from Europe and VAT remains at 20%, a bottle of Champagne costing £25 before Brexit could go up by £3.06 if producers and retailers both maintain their gross margin percentage, equivalent to a 12% increase for consumers. A bottle of prosecco costing £9 pre-Brexit would need to go up by 66p if producers wanted to maintain their gross margin percentage. The report said the impact of sterling’s fall would be significantly reduced if producers focused on trying to maintain their cash margin instead of their gross margin percentage. In this case, Champagne would only need to increase by £2.30 for the same 15% fall in the pound. Wilson Drinks Report managing director Tim Wilson said: “While our analysis can perhaps be labelled as yet more Brexit scaremongering, it is worth remembering that the vast majority of wine purchased in the UK is bought on promotion, so a 4% or 5% increase in the regular selling price will likely have little impact on consumers.”

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
Monster Energy Banner
Casual Dining Banner
Pago Banners
Peppadew Banner
Commercial Kitchen Banner
Brixton Brewery Banner
Inch's Cider Banner
Santa Maria Banner
HDI Banner
Strongbow Banner
Propel Banner
Cynergy Bank Banner
John Gaunt Banner
Zonal Banner
HGEM Banner
Access Banner
Purple Story Banner
Propel Banner
Christie & Co Banner
CACI Banner
Sector Banner
Airship – Toggle Banner
COREcruitment Banner
Wireless Social Banner
Payments Managed Banner
Hospitality Rising Banner
Greene King Banner