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Tue 15th Nov 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Minimum pricing to impact at least half of alcohol sales in Scotland: At least 50% of alcohol sold in Scotland fails to meet the impending minimum price legislation, according to new research. Spirits will suffer the biggest impact as 69% of volume currently sold is below the 50p per unit threshold, according to measurement company Nielsen, which analysed till sales in nearly 1,200 stores in Scotland. Beer is the next most impacted (67% of volume is below the threshold), followed by cider (51%), while only 3.5% of wine sales would be impacted. When looking at the top 50-selling products in each category, instead of total volume sales, 76% of the most popular spirits fail to meet minimum pricing, compared with 74% in beer, 54% in cider and 12% in wine. Blended scotch and vodka are the two categories impacted most by minimum pricing legislation. Blended scotch, overall, will require prices to rise 20% to meet the threshold, while vodka requires a 16.3% increase. Nielsen senior client manager Marika Praticó said: “Wine is, by far, the least impacted and so has the most to gain from minimum pricing. Overall, wine will need to raise prices by the least amount. Thus, it becomes more affordable relative to other alcohol.” Praticó noted that enforced price rises aren’t necessarily bad for the spirits industry – in fact it could result in increased revenue, as long as demand doesn’t fall beyond a certain “tipping point.” She said: “This break-even figure is 12.5%, as long as any potential decline in demand doesn’t exceed this the industry will benefit thanks to the higher price point. Should demand fall by more than 12.5%, that’s when their revenues will decline.” Nielsen’s analysis also raised four potential implications of minimum pricing legislation on retail behaviour. As with wine, premium brands, particularly spirits, are likely to benefit as the price differential between them and cheaper brands diminishes. “It’s a good time for people to ‘trade-up’ to the more expensive brands, which is likely to have a negative impact on supermarkets’ own-label offerings,” said Praticó. She also expects a “near extinction” of major price-saving deals offered by retailers in spirits, beer and cider, as most would potentially take the price paid for each unit of alcohol below the threshold. In terms of shopper behaviour, there could be an increase in cross-border alcohol shopping as well as the “inevitable stockpiling” of alcohol before the legislation comes into force, which could mean a “bumper Christmas for alcohol retailers”.

Industry News:

Propel and James Hacon partner for Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass, open for bookings: Propel is partnering with leading sector public relations and marketing expert James Hacon for the Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass, which is now open for bookings. The event takes place on Thursday, 12 January at One Moorgate Place in London. It will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing across the sector, including how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives and the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential. There will also be the latest insight into consumer behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers. The event will feature contributions from leading companies about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. Hacon, who is Thai Leisure Group brands strategy director, will also lead a panel discussion with marketing directors from leading brands. Tickets are priced at £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Anne Steele on

Next Propel Premium audio presentation to feature Roy Ellis: The next audio presentation sent to Propel Premium subscribers this Friday (18 November) will feature serial sector entrepreneur Roy Ellis, who presented at last month’s Bar and Nightclub Conference. Ellis sets out how his Mission Mars vehicle has hit annual turnover of £23m only three years after launch and the group’s plans for Albert’s Schloss. Propel Premium subscribers also receive the Propel Blue Book guide to sector turnover and profitability. The Blue Book lists and ranks 200 sector companies by turnover, profitability and profit conversion. It also provides a five-year overview of profitability and directors’ salaries. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same, but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. Subscribers will also receive a copy of the Propel database of 700 multi-site companies, which will be updated every six months, and receive a digital version of Propel Quarterly magazine a week before publication. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email Anne Steele at

CGA – sector needs to do more to promote itself as a place to work: With hospitality operators facing mounting challenges in recruitment, new CGA Peach research suggests the sector needs to do more to promote itself as a place to work. Figures from CGA Peach’s October BrandTrack survey of 5,000 British adults found that only a quarter (24%) would recommend the hospitality industry as a career or part-time profession, while a third (34%) would not. The rest (42%) don’t know. The finding highlights the scale of the problem recruitment teams face as they try to sell hospitality as a sector in which to work and build a career. Many restaurants and pubs are already struggling to recruit enough good staff, and any new restrictions on the flow of foreign workers into the UK as a result of the Brexit vote will add to the challenges. However, the BrandTrack research also highlighted more positive attitudes towards hospitality work among younger people. Roughly a third of those aged 18 to 24 (33%) said they would recommend the industry as a career or part-time profession, compared with fewer than one in five of those aged 45 to 54. Those living in city centres (38%) are also much more likely to recommend it than those living in suburban (18%) or rural (20%) areas. CGA Peach vice-president Peter Martin said: “Our BrandTrack research shows that only a third of people recommend hospitality as a place to work, and that is disappointing. But even more are uncertain about it, which along with a generational shift gives pubs and restaurants an opportunity to update people’s attitudes. Hospitality can be a great place for young people to work flexibly and build careers. The challenge for us all is to sell it as such.”

Merlin Entertainments to axe 70 jobs at Alton Towers: Merlin Entertainments is set to axe 70 jobs at Alton Towers as it continues to look for cost efficiencies after fines imposed following last year’s Smiler rollercoaster crash. The operator is understood to have started a formal 30-day consultation period on the redundancies, with staff in its hotel operation and other parts of the business all affected, reports The Business Desk. Earlier this year, the theme park cut almost 100 jobs as it responded to falling visitor numbers in the wake of the accident on its Smiler rollercoaster in June 2015. The accident, which caused life-changing injuries for two people and left others seriously injured, resulted in Merlin Entertainments being fined £5m in September after a judge described the accident as “needless and avoidable”. While visitor numbers picked up in the latter part of the season, the figures are still well down on 2014.

Budding entrepreneurs given chance to question Leon co-founder John Vincent: Budding entrepreneurs are being given the opportunity to question John Vincent, co-founder and chief executive of natural fast food brand Leon. They are being invited to experience Leon’s “Eat Well, Live Well” programme on Saturday, 3 December at Oval Space, Bethnal Green, London. Attendees can put questions to Vincent as well as hear from and network with fellow business students and owners. A light lunch will be provided. Vincent co-founded Leon with Henry Dimbleby in 2004 to make it easier for everyone to eat well. Vincent took over the day-to-day running of the company in 2014, leads the menu innovations and has co-authored three of the Leon cookbooks. Leon now has 40 restaurants in the UK, one in Amsterdam and Vincent has his sights set on the US. For more information and to register for the event, which is free, click here.

Company News:

Daniel Thwaites reports pre-tax loss in ‘challenging’ first half: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has reported a pre-tax loss in a “challenging” first half of the year. The company saw pre-tax losses of £300,000 for the six months ending 30 September 2016, compared with a profit of £5.7m the year before. Turnover for its continued operations increased 5% to £44.0.m, compared with £41.8m the previous year. Net debt was £34.9m (2015: £29.1m), which has increased due to a number of investment projects that are under way. Sales grew 5% in its pubs segment. It sold eight “poor quality” pubs and a piece of land for £1.4m, at valuations that were broadly in line with their net book values. The company spent £2.3m on pub investment projects in the first half of the year, including extending and refurbishing The Bonny Inn at Salesbury, near Blackburn, together with major refurbishments at The George in Torrisholme, near Morecambe, and The White Boar in Bury. In its inns segment, sales increased 5% compared with last year, aided by major refurbishment schemes at The Lion in Settle and The Toll House, Lancaster, which were completed in the second half of 2015. In its hotels and spas segment, sales for the first half of the year grew 7%, which included the benefit of the additional 30 bedrooms that were completed in December 2015 at Cottons Hotel & Spa, Knutsford. Operating profits grew by only 2% due to the impact of implementing the National Living Wage. In August, work started on a new 54-bedroom lodge, which is on part of the site of The Solent Hotel & Spa in Fareham, Hampshire, it is scheduled to open in time for Easter 2017. It has continued with its accelerated programme to refurbish its bedrooms, completing 37 bedrooms in the half year. Chairman Ann Yerburgh said: “The first half of the year has been challenging due to the impact of the implementation of the National Living Wage from April 2016 and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. The first half of the financial year has provided us with good underlying growth in all areas of the business. During this period we have started work on a number of development projects that, once completed, should help the company continue to grow. While the decision to leave the European Union has created some uncertainty in the financial markets, particularly around inflation and interest rates, we have a well invested business that is in a strong position to weather any further economic or political storms and take advantage of opportunities as they arise. We continue to develop a pipeline of potential freehold properties to acquire and hope to be able to add further properties to our portfolio in the second half of the year.”

Soho building freehold let to PizzaExpress to be auctioned with guide price of more than £2.5m: The freehold of a building in Soho, London, which is let to PizzaExpress, is to be auctioned by Allsop next month for a guide price in excess of £2.5m. PizzaExpress, which has a 73-cover restaurant in the Greek Street property, pays an annual rent of £110,250 with rent reviews every five years. It has a 25-year lease from 21 December 1995, which suggests a buyer paying the guide price would earn a gross initial yield of 4.41%. The freehold is one of 237 lots due to go under the hammer at The Berkeley in Knightsbridge on Monday, 5 December and Tuesday, 6 December.

Butcombe Brewery appoints pubs division managing director: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewery, owned by Liberation Group, has appointed Jayson Perfect as managing director of its pubs division. The role will see Perfect working alongside Geraint Williams, who is managing director of the company’s brewery and sales functions, to support the growth expected by the business following its recent secondary buyout backed by Caledonia Investments. Perfect brings a wealth of experience not only from his previous role as tenanted trade director at Bridport-based Palmers Brewery, but also from his time spent at Fuller’s in London. Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther said: “Jayson’s appointment comes at an important time for the group. We have made no secret of our aspirations to extend our reach in the UK, building on the incredibly successful model we have established in the Channel Islands. As an already highly successful regional brewer, our West Country pubs are central to our plans by providing the best beers, food and service, and Jayson will lead our strategy in that respect.” Perfect added: “I’m thrilled to be joining Butcombe Brewery at such an exciting time on its journey. The business has real vision and dynamism and I am looking forward to being a part of that.”

JD Wetherspoon launches Christmas menu: JD Wetherspoon has launched its Christmas menu, which has moved away from its traditional festive offering of turkey and all the trimmings. Starters feature British pork and smoked bacon pate and breaded brie, while main dishes include turkey pie and brie and cranberry vegetable burger. Desserts on offer are Christmas pudding and milk chocolate honeycomb cheesecake. There is also a selection of deli deals such as turkey salad wraps or turkey and bacon paninis, with light bites featuring mince tarts and white chocolate and cranberry muffin. Hot drinks include Black Forest hot chocolate topped with cream, gingerbread latte, and Orchard Pig Juggler mulled cider. The Christmas menu is available until Thursday, 22 December.

Plans revealed for new restaurant terrace at MediaCityUK as part of £13m scheme: Plans have been revealed for a £13m investment at the Lowry Outlet at MediaCityUK in Manchester, which will include the development of a new waterside restaurant terrace. Owner Peel Outlets, which has rebranded as Lifestyle Outlets, said the new terrace, which will also feature an upper level balcony along the waterfront, would form the first phase. A new entrance and steps would be created from the entrance of the outlet to access the waterfront. Inside the centre, new escalators would provide a direct link to the cinema, while an expanded leisure area with more family entertainment is also planned. A full redesign of the existing food hall is envisaged, as well as a full centre refurbishment with new ceilings, furniture, escalators and improved lighting throughout. All new and existing shops would get new shop frontages, including fully glazed floor-to-ceiling windows and illuminated signage. Phase one, which is already under way, will also bring in new anchor tenants to the scheme. Lifestyle Outlets managing director Jason Pullen told Insider Media: “It is Lifestyle Outlets’ passion for creating vibrant destinations that inspired us to create what will be a truly stunning waterfront dining terrace with views over the Manchester ship canal, Old Trafford and the Manchester skyline.”

Bill’s opens Chelmsford site: Bill’s Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring, has opened its latest site, this time in Chelmsford, Essex. The restaurant is in the £150m Bond Street development, with Bill’s joining a line-up that includes Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, international cafe restaurant brand Jamaica Blue, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, and better burger brand Byron. They will be joined by Prezzo and Greene King’s seafood restaurant Loch Fyne, while the complex also features a John Lewis store and Everyman Cinema. The opening takes Bill’s restaurants in the UK to 75, having opened its first site in Lewes, East Sussex, in 2001. The only other Bill’s site in Essex is in Colchester. The company will open its next restaurant – at Hammerson’s £85m Watermark scheme in Southampton – on Monday, 19 December. The Chelmsford site is open from 8am to 11pm, Monday to Saturday, and from 9am to 10:30pm on Sundays.

Papa John’s franchisee CPL Food Group opens two new sites, four further outlets in pipeline: Papa John’s franchisee CPL Food Group has opened two new sites – in Burnley, Lancashire, and Bridlington in Yorkshire – with a further four outlets in the pipeline. The stores, which have created about 15 jobs each, are managed by CPL Pizza Restaurants, which already has sites in Skegness, Lincolnshire, and Accrington in Lancashire. CPL Pizza Restaurants, which also runs 35 Burger King outlets, is owned and operated by Lamen Reddy and his business partner and investor Costa Peridakis. Lamen said: “We are excited to be diversifying and adding Papa John’s to our portfolio. Initially, we took over the Skegness Papa John’s in the summer and retained the staff to ensure they kept their jobs. The Accrington store followed as a new opening and is already exceeding our expectations in terms of sales, while Burnley and Bridlington have got off to a great start and are looking promising for the future. We have a further four Papa John’s in the pipeline and are committed to moving forward.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and has more than 4,800 stores in 40 international markets and territories, including 300-plus in the UK.

M&B to convert Sutton Coldfield pub into new Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery brand: Mitchells & Butlers has closed The Fox in Sutton Coldfield to transform the pub into its new Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery brand. Roll-out of the Stonehouse brand began in September, with venues offering 16 types of pizza, including Reggae Reggae chicken, pulled pork, duck and hoisin, and an all-day breakfast pizza topped with bacon, pork sausage, sliced mushrooms, tomatoes and an egg. There is also a fish finger pizza, which is topped with six fish fingers and a choice of ketchup or tartar sauce. As well as its “pizza oven” section, Stonehouse menus offer a carvery option, pub classic dishes, burgers, ribs, unlimited chips, salad and vegetables, as well as bottomless ice-cream sundaes. Drinks include BrewDog IPA Punk on tap, alongside other craft beers in bottles and cans, wine, cocktails by glass or pitcher, alcoholic slushies, and shots and bombs. Mitchells & Butlers has converted more than 20 restaurants to the new brand, with a pipeline that will take Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery to almost 50 venues. A Mitchells & Butlers spokesperson said: “The Fox will offer guests something for everyone, giving them the option to put on the plate exactly what they want, their way. Guests will have the choice of 100% fresh dough pizzas, juicy burgers and comforting slow-roasted carvery meat with all the trimmings.”

Stonegate Pub Company converts Slug and Lettuce in Tonbridge into craft beer bar: Stonegate Pub Company has transformed its Slug and Lettuce site in Tonbridge, Kent, into a craft beer bar. The pub has undergone a £250,000 refurbishment and reopened as The Gatehouse. The pub serves a variety of craft beers, ciders and cocktails and also has a broad food menu offering stone-baked pizzas, tapas as well as traditional English dishes. A Stonegate Pub Company spokesman told Kent Live: “The investment is really great news for Tonbridge. The town can look forward to a chic venue that embraces the craft beer revolution and a love for cask ale, cocktail treats and day-to-night experiences.” 

Plans for cinema and restaurant complex in Preston get go-ahead: Plans for an 11-screen cinema and restaurant complex in Preston have been given the go-ahead. The scheme has been approved by the city council as part of the £50m Markets Quarter project by Muse Developments. The cinema, which will include a large-format experience screen and the latest in cinema and entertainment technology, will be complemented by up to seven restaurants, served by a multi-storey car park. Council leader Peter Rankin told The Business Desk: “The new cinema is a key element of growing Preston’s leisure offer and making the city centre an even better place to visit, enjoy and stay. We’re also looking at up to seven new restaurants and bars as part of the cinema development – bringing yet more vitality and difference to Preston.” Muse Developments regional director Mike Horner added: “We will now continue to work hard to bring the development to fruition – we’ve already had huge interest from many top national restaurant chains wanting to be part of the scheme, so now’s the time to focus on making it happen.”

Greene King gets go-ahead for new-build Farmhouse Inns site in Nottingham: Greene King has had its plans approved for a £3m new-build Farmhouse Inns site at a Nottingham business park. Site owners Wilson Bowden will build a 12,841 square foot pub and 18,761 square foot Aldi supermarket on the Woodhouse Park development, which is currently being developed with 300 homes. The site, formally known as Nottingham Business Park, was originally meant for use as office space. However, low demand led Wilson Bowden to change its priorities for the scheme, The Business Desk reports. A Farmhouse Inns spokesperson said: “We are excited at the prospect of introducing a new family-friendly pub restaurant to the area, which we hope will be welcomed by local people. We believe it could become an important part of the community as well as bringing local employment opportunities, with the prospect of up to 80 full and part-time jobs.”

Redcomb Pubs to launch casual dining venture Lockhouse next month: Redcomb Pubs, led by Dan Shotton, will launch its new casual dining venture – Lockhouse – next month at the heart of the Paddington Basin redevelopment in London. The company will open the site, on the ground floor of waterside development 3 Merchants Square, on Wednesday, 14 December. Redcomb has invested more than £1.3m to develop the 3,700 square foot site to create a “casual, all-day dining and bar offering”. The venue will feature a 180-cover bar, restaurant and mezzanine, with an extended 70-cover exterior dining space. It will have a polished concrete bar, distressed leather seating and a large, theatrical, open working kitchen. The menu, developed by executive head chef Chris Spencer, will feature street food-inspired dishes, burgers, freshly made sandwiches and pastries, as well as a selection of puddings with a Lockhouse twist, alongside craft beer, cocktails, fine wines and premium roasted coffee. Redcomb is working with agents May & Company to explore opportunities to roll-out the concept to other “high-profile metropolitan areas” as well as identify new pub sites. Redcomb operates 15 pubs across London and surrounding counties and incorporates a number of pubs with rooms.

Plans submitted for £8.5m hotel at Eden Project: New plans for an £8.5m, 109-bedroom hotel at the Eden Project have been submitted to Cornwall Council. The hotel has been designed to blend into the countryside and have high standards of accessibility, energy-efficiency and sustainability. Its striking, unconventional design features prominent timber poles, cladding the outside of its two blocks. If the plans are approved, Eden would like to start construction in late 2017 and open the hotel in April 2018. Since Eden was opened in 2001, the project has always aspired to having an on-site hotel. Eden originally received planning permission for a hotel in June 2015. Following advice from hotel experts, a revised design was submitted in May 2016 with additional facilities. This revised application was withdrawn following public comments about the visual impact and scale of the proposals. A new design was developed to address the concerns of visual impact and scale. The hotel accommodation is designed to support existing projects and partners and also future developments at Eden, as well as provide accommodation for visitors to big events, such as the Eden Sessions series of summer concerts. It would have classrooms in it to support Eden’s educational programmes, including its apprenticeship scheme and degree-level courses. The footprint of the building is comparable to the previously approved scheme and, although the building is taller at the northern end of the scheme, this is located in a less visible part of the site. Eden executive director David Harland said: “We have always aspired to have a hotel at Eden and this is the culmination of years of work towards that aim. We feel that hotel accommodation at Eden would not only give an attractive option to our day visitors but also increases Eden’s appeal as a venue for weddings, conferences and events. This is part of our plan to enhance the year-round sustainability of Eden’s business.” 

Leoc UK closes Japanese restaurant Matsuri St James’s ahead of £2.5m refurbishment and rebrand to ‘keep up with London scene’: Leoc UK has closed Japanese restaurant Matsuri St James’s in London after 23 years of trading as it undergoes a £2.5m renovation to rebrand it as Onodera. The company said that in an industry where food trends were changing at an alarmingly fast pace, it needed to keep up with the London restaurant scene and therefore the rebrand was vital for the Bury Street restaurant, which formerly specialised in teppan-yaki. Opening in the spring, Onodera will accommodate more than 120 guests. The restaurant will offer a more modern approach to Japanese cuisine, moving away from teppan-yaki and focusing on more refined Japanese dishes, with an extensive wine and sake list offered in a smart casual setting. General manager Masahito Hori said: “We felt we needed to really consider what direction we wanted the restaurant to go in. With new restaurants popping up in London every day, we recognised that to be successful in such a competitive industry we would need to up our game. We’re extremely excited to bring you Onodera in spring 2017.”

Gipsy Hill Brewery opens debut brewhouse, in Crystal Palace: Gipsy Hill Brewery has opened its first brewhouse. The Douglas Fir is in Anerley Road, Crystal Palace, about a mile from the brewer’s headquarters. The bar offers Gipsy Hill’s core range and showcases its special brews. It features eight keg lines, two cask lines and a rotating guest line, alongside wine and spirits. The pub has been named after the single, five-metre piece of Douglas fir used to make the bar top. The south London venue was formerly a hair salon but now has room for 50 beer-lovers. Gipsy Hill marketing manager Michael Huddart said: “The Douglas Fir is an extension of our brewing ethos. It’s a place you can drink and talk to people. Our focus is to showcase some of the great produce being made. We love our local community – without them this project may have fallen at the first consultation hurdle. It’s been important for us to create a space that captures this. We want to be able to share our expertise and the love we have for brewing beer to everyone who walks through the doors of the Douglas Fir and hope this proves to be a great success and a warming sanctuary for a long time to come.”

The Diner launches customer loyalty app: The Diner, which is owned by Good Life Group, has launched a customer loyalty app. The app, designed and built by Como, is to support the ten-strong American inspired restaurant’s commitment to forming deeper relationships with its customers. The Diner invites customers to sign up to the app to which they are rewarded with a joining gift, which can used immediately with their next purchase. Customers are incentivised further with reward points for every purchase, which are housed in the “points shop” on the app. In addition to earning points, users can gain access to exclusive content and be the first to know about events and promotions happening across The Diner’s restaurants. The smart data tools and management hub enables The Diner to reach out to the right customers, at the right time, with the right promotion with targeted campaigns in a cool, fun and interactive way that’s in keeping with The Diner brand. Operations director Chris Todd said: “As we continue to expand it was important for us to build a platform that allowed us to connect and understand our new customer base nationwide and our customers that have been dining with us since formation ten years ago. The app allows us to do this whilst also rewarding them when they return.” The Diner has sites in London in the Strand, Gloucester Road, Shoreditch, Dalston, Spitalfields, Soho, Islington, Covent Garden and Camden, with its first restaurant outside the capital launching in Southampton early next month.

Restaurant owners open second site: The owners of a restaurant on Rutland Water have opened a second site in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. Ben and Roberto Ladjimi and Carlos Goncalves, who currently operate L’Oliveto, have converted the White Lion pub in Nottingham Street into their new venue. The pub had been closed for almost a year, with owners Punch putting it on the market in April. The new restaurant offers traditional Italian cuisine but has retained the old pub name. Ben Ladjimi told the Melton Times: “I have lived in Melton for 25 years and this was my dream to open a restaurant here. I came to this country with nothing and we have made a success of our restaurant at Rutland Water. Customers can come and eat here and then, at 10pm, they can go through to the room at the back to listen to live music.”

Esquires Coffee franchisee to open second site, in Guildford: Esquires Coffee franchisee Chris Rance will open his second site on Wednesday, 23 November, in Guildford, Surrey. Rance, who opened his first site in Buckingham in August, is launching the latest shop in High Street – Esquires’ 27th venue in total. Esquires marketing manager Kerry Noble said: “Guildford’s rich history and charm is a perfect setting for Esquires Coffee. Esquires is looking to open in unique and interesting locations – where local people can feel at home with a cup of premium, Fairtrade and organic coffee without feeling like they are in a mainstream generic coffee chain.”

Crussh to launch festive menu: Crussh, the healthy food and juice brand with 26 sites across London, will launch its festive menu on Wednesday (16 November). The menu features a super Stilton and cranberry salad; a turkey, bacon and Somerset brie toastie; a turkey, cranberry and herb stuffing wrap; a winter slaw with candied walnuts; a venison meatballs hot pot; three winter soups – festive ham hock and minted pea, festive curried turkey and festive sprout, lentil and bacon – and a gluten-free festive brownie. There is also a “Hangover Hero Super Smoothie”. Crussh head of marketing Helen Jones said: “After a fair few years of London office parties, I know too well what Christmas party season is like! So this year we’ve developed a smoothie to help people out – packed full of nutritious fruits and vegetables like beetroot, ginger and apple to help soothe the digestive system, ease the nausea and give that much needed energy boost. Plus, it tastes delicious. Combine that with our festive spelt sourdough toastie – turkey, bacon, Somerset brie and cranberries, and you should just about survive the day!”

African restaurant concept Monroe’s to launch in Cheltenham: New African restaurant concept Monroe’s is set to launch in Cheltenham. The restaurant is due to open this month in Albion Street at a site formerly occupied by the Masala Bites Indian restaurant, which closed in July. The outside of the property has been refurbished to feature stylish blue hoardings, while posters in the window announce the arrival of “Monroe’s authentic African cuisine”, Gloucestershire Live reports. One poster says the restaurant is “coming soon”, with an opening date of November 2016. As an added teaser, it also states: “Looking for something new? You don’t have to travel to the savannah, we bring it to you.” Monroe’s will open from 5pm daily and will be Cheltenham’s first African restaurant.

PizzaExpress opens restaurant in Glossop: PizzaExpress has opened a restaurant in Glossop, Derbyshire. The company has opened the site in Howard Town Shopping Centre, creating 25 jobs. The themes and decor in the restaurant are heavily inspired by the town’s rich cotton history – as it is set against the backdrop of a converted mill. Restaurant manager Taylor Johnson told the Derbyshire Times: “We are beyond excited to open our doors in Glossop and to get to know our customers in the local community.”

BB’s Coffee and Muffins lodges plans for Stoke shopping centre site: BB’s Coffee and Muffins has lodged plans for a site at the Freeport Talke shopping centre in Stoke. The company has applied to Newcastle Borough Council to open the venue at the former Living, Giving and Home shop at the complex. According to planning documents, the cafe will have seating for 36 people, with some in the mall area outside the front of the unit. At present the only dining options at Freeport are Burger King, Costa Coffee and Café Espresso, reports the Stoke Sentinel. The planning statement said: “The proposed cafe will increase customer choice in this location and complement the retail offer in the centre.” BB’s Coffee and Muffins offers more than 120 different muffin recipes, artisan coffee and savoury food such as sandwiches and paninis. The company, which operates more than 50 coffee shops across the UK and Ireland, was bought by Brentwood Investments from businessman Denis O’Brien last year for about €10m.

Cantonese canteen concept Duck Duck Goose to launch in Pop Brixton: Cantonese canteen concept Duck Duck Goose will launch at the start of next year in Pop Brixton, Lambeth Council’s space dedicated to startup businesses. The concept is inspired by the barbecue and roasted meat shops of Hong Kong and is led by former Le Cafe Anglais chef Oli Brown. Dishes will include char siu pork collar, pork belly with five spice, roast duck, and roast goose, alongside whole steamed sea bass with soy, ginger and spring onion, Hot Dinners reports. Starters and snacks will include Prawn Toast Revisited, the takeaway favourite updated with prawn mousse, kewpie mayonnaise, curly endive and kohlrabi with bonito flakes. There will also be traditional turnip cake, served with cep mushrooms and chilli. Desserts will include Cha Chaan Teng French Toast, served with condensed milk and soy ice cream, while the drinks menu will feature daily cocktails, tropical juice or traditional milk tea. The company’s website states: “Duck Duck Goose will be informal, affordable and buzzy. The utilitarian decor is a contemporary take on these cafes, with formica booths, pegboard and vinyl terrazzo tiles. The menu is divided into the classic Cantonese cooking techniques with barbecue roast meat, steamed whole fish and a prawn toast to end all others.”

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