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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 1st Dec 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greene King facing increase in cost pressures of more than £30m in next three years: Greene King is facing an increase in cost pressures of more than £30m over the next three years. The company is expecting a National Living Wage net cost of £4m in both 2017 and 2018, plus £6m in 2019, while the full-year impact of the apprenticeship levy is expected to be about £3.5m per annum from 2018. The business rates revaluation has led to a £7m bill in 2018, with a further £4m in 2019. Utilities are expected to rise 9% next year to between £4m and £5m, while it expects there will be a foreign exchange impact of £2m this year in the cost of food and drink purchases and “further exposure beyond”. Chief executive Rooney Anand told analysts at the company’s first-half results presentation that the company would deal with these costs in a number of ways – by working with suppliers to mitigate cost inflation to its customers; improving productivity driven by IT automation, self-service and ways of working; improved labour scheduling and deployment; and reviewing its existing cost base. He said the company was not necessarily looking at price increases and added that the company preferred to “follow rather than lead”. He added: “We have not warned anyone about raising prices. We tend to adopt a neutral approach and not pull the level too aggressively either upward or downward. Customers are very savvy when it comes to what things cost.” The company has slowed the debranding of Fayre & Square and expects this to now be complete by the end of 2018. Without Fayre & Square, pub company like-for-likes would have been up 1.9% instead of 1.3%. Anand said Fayre & Square had been in decline for about two years before it was acquired in the Spirit deal in June 2015. He added: “It has continued to decline so we are focusing on stabilising that part of the business in the next 18 months.” Greene King is spending £35m to £40m to convert a total of 70 sites this year and forecasts a return on investment of between 15% and 20%. In this financial year, it expects its pub company to open ten to 15 new sites and dispose of between 65 and 75, while its tenanted Pub Partners business is expected to dispose 50 to 60 sites. The company has also received 24 valid Market Rent Only option claims, which are in “line with expectations” and currently with the Pubs Code adjudicator. Despite the added cost pressures, Anand said the company was well positioned to outperform the market. He said the pub market was still expected to grow, led by managed, branded and franchised pubs, with a more positive outlook for mainstream/premium against value. That coupled with the “continued resilience” from wet-led pubs with less capacity entering the market versus eating out and future growth underpinned by premiumisation and new occasions such as breakfast and coffee, along with the company’s strong position, meant it was well positioned to outperform, Anand said. He added: “We are still talking about a market that is set to grow. While we are looking at a period of uncertainty, particularly in the middle of next year, and added cost pressures, we are well positioned to outperform. At the heart of our business is the pub experience. It’s about making sure we get people out of their homes and into our pubs by making them feel like home. We want to be the best pub company rather than the biggest – that’s the best for our customers, communities, teams and shareholders.”

Industry News:

Next Propel Premium audio presentation to feature Living Ventures’ David Mansbridge: The next audio presentation sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (2 December) will feature David Mansbridge, director of training and compliance at bar and restaurant operator Living Ventures, who presented at this month’s People & Training Conference. Mansbridge talks about the company’s approach to recruitment, people development, retention, fostering first-class service standards, and creating a unique company culture centred on its staff. 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

Line-up for Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass revealed: The line-up for the Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass, in which Propel is partnering with leading sector public relations and marketing expert James Hacon, has been revealed. Hacon will share industry-leading marketing campaigns and activity from some of the biggest and best brands across the globe and share tips on how to capture ideas and apply this innovation to a brand. He will also share his strategy and direction for marketing at Thai Leisure Group, where he will reveal how it has refined and defined the Chaophraya and Thaikhun brands, developed the proposition, and delivered a research-based, award-winning marketing campaign. Charles Banks, of The Food People, will dive into the hot new concepts, foods and products in the international market to see what eating trends are shaping the industry, how the traditional business model is evolving, and how millennials are changing the models and concepts of the future. There will be a guided group session sharing best practice, seeking advice and sharing stories. Oliver Taylor, senior insight manager at Elliotts, will share the latest insight on how consumers are making decisions on where to go drink or dine out, what inspires them, how they plan and how they prefer to book. Cote marketing director Andrew Gallagher will reveal what’s on the top of his marketing agenda and what he thinks will impact this during 2017. Helen Baptist, senior vice-president of Fishbowl USA, will show how data can be leveraged to understand and better target customers to drive revenue, and shares top tips on data-driven wins. She will also share real-life case studies from leading-edge, fast-growing US concepts, including Blaze Pizza, Average Joe’s and Jamba Juice. There will be also be a panel discussion led by Hacon with Maxwell’s marketing manager Anthony Wright, G1 Group marketing director Lyn MacDonald, and Drake & Morgan marketing and sales director Pooja Sharma Jones about where they see success, their plans for the future, and other topics discussed throughout the day. The event takes place on Thursday, 12 January at One Moorgate Place in London. 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

BrewDog offers ‘double or loss’ opportunity to Equity for Punks USA investors: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is giving investors in its Equity for Punks USA campaign the opportunity to double or lose their share investment – by choosing red or black. BrewDog stated: “In 2009, we tore up convention and reinvented small business finance with Equity for Punks. We are going to shake the yawn-inducing financial establishment to its foundations. We are introducing the most audacious and unconventional way to invest in a business since the dawn of time. Invest your money, choose black or red, and we will take all the share money and spin the wheel – streaming the action live online for you to watch. One spin, potentially millions of dollars on the line. If we win, you double your equity. If we don’t, you lose it. But you’ll keep all your Equity for Punks benefits for life and you get to join us on this crazy ride. This is investment. Bigger. Faster. Amplified. This is not about taking a chance, this is about taking a stand. A stand for independence. A stand for rebellion. A stand for non-conformity. This is not normal investing. This is not corporate America. This is not Wall Street. This is Equity for Punks USA.”

SNP was outspent by JD Wetherspoon in Brexit campaign: The SNP has been accused of barely lifting a finger to try to prevent the Brexit vote after it emerged the party spent less than JD Wetherspoon on its EU referendum campaign. Official figures released by the Electoral Commission showed the nationalists spent only £90,830 on fighting to keep the UK in the EU, despite the party’s upper limit being £700,000 and its buoyant finances following a surge in party members. This was less than the £98,597 it spent unsuccessfully fighting the Glenrothes by-election for Westminster in 2008 and the £94,585 spent by pub chain JD Wetherspoon campaigning for Leave.

McDonald’s expands fresh beef test in US: McDonald’s is expanding a test of its most dramatic menu change in decades – the addition of fresh, never-frozen beef. The company is adding fresh beef patties to 75 restaurants in north east Oklahoma, following a test that started earlier this year in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. The fresh patties will be used in McDonald’s Quarter Pounder burgers. McDonald’s chef Chad Schafer said: “These burgers are hotter and juicier than our previous quarter-pound patties, and are made with fresh 100% North American beef that’s simply seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper.” Switching to fresh beef represents a massive challenge for McDonald’s – the company has long relied on an extensive network of suppliers that make, freeze, and ship beef patties to its 14,000-plus restaurants in the US. Expanding the test would require a massive shake-up to that supply chain, reports Business Insider. Some franchisees have warned that at restaurant level, it would introduce a whole range of new food safety issues. The potential for foodborne illnesses is higher when uncooked meat is kept at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the United States Department of Agriculture. But other franchisees said the change could improve business with “faster cook times and a juicier product”.

Company News:

UK debut for Steak ’n Shake diner concept attracts 300 job applications: A total of 300 people have applied for jobs at US diner concept Steak ’n Shake, which is set to open its first UK franchise in Chester on Saturday, 10 December. Husband-and-wife team Barry and Sarah Bellamy have invested in the venture in Frodsham Street, which will operate from premises formerly occupied by a Marks & Spencer menswear store. Most of the 40 available staff positions have now been filled, with training set to start this week. The Bellamys are promising a “wow” interior, with all meals cooked to order using fresh ingredients and at a price that “won’t break the bank”. Steak ’n Shake was founded in 1934 by Gus Belt, who converted a gas station and chicken restaurant in Normal, Illinois, into a hamburger stand. Today the company employs 20,000 people at more than 500 restaurants, of which the majority are company-operated but many are franchised. Today the major shareholder in the business is American entrepreneur Sardar Biglari, who owns Maxim magazine. The company has an international development team headquartered in Monaco, which is masterminding the expansion across Europe and the Middle East, with Steak ’n Shake restaurants already open in France and Italy.

Ennismore launches Tandoor Chop House in Covent Garden: Glenagles owner Ennismore has opened its new Tandoor Chop House restaurant concept, in Covent Garden. The company has opened the 65-cover venue in Adelaide Street, combining dishes found in a traditional English chop house with Indian spices cooked in a tandoor. The restaurant features three brass tandoor ovens, oak-panelled walls, scarlet leather banquettes, marble tables and mosaic floors with Indian-inspired patterns. The menu includes tandoori masala chicken, beef boti, Amritsari lamb chops and tandoor masala pollock. Ennismore head of restaurants Graham Hall previously told Propel: “It’s a simple but good offer. It’s ideal for lunch and for pre-theatre dining, hence the Covent Garden location, with a selection of plates to share as well as individual dishes. We’re looking to roll it out over the next couple of years – there’s certainly an opportunity there.”

Health inspectors closed Peyton & Byrne cafe due to ‘mouse infestation’: A venue run by contract catering company and cafe operator Peyton & Byrne, owned by Great British Menu judge Oliver Peyton and his sister Siobhan Peyton, was shut down after health inspectors discovered it was infested with mice, a court was told. Prosecutors said mouse droppings littered the stockroom, washroom, and food preparation areas of the Peyton & Byrne cafe at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in central London. Westminster Magistrates’ Court was told mouse faeces was found on trays used for sandwiches, on weighing scales, among olive oil bottles and on top of boxes of ingredients. The restaurant, at the gallery in Carlton House Terrace, was shut down after failing the inspection on 9 September last year, but has since reopened. It faces eight health and safety breaches over the alleged infestation, but the prosecution may be thwarted as Peyton & Byrne has since entered administration. Prosecutor Kirsty Panton said the case was delayed in September because Peyton & Byrne asked for more details of the prosecution case and questioned the assertion the cafe also had a rodent problem. She added that Westminster City Council would explore whether it can claim wasted costs against Peyton & Byrne if it can convince the court the company entered administration to dodge prosecution. The case was adjourned until 3 January for the council to contact administrators Deloitte.

Innis & Gunn completes crowdfunding campaign having raised nearly £2.5m: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has completed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having raised nearly £2.5m. The company, founded by Dougal Sharp, was aiming to raise £1m in return for a 2% equity stake, primarily for the roll-out of its Beer Kitchen brand. It has now completed its campaign, with 2,012 investors pledging £2,474,530. The largest investment was £200,000. Innis & Gunn intends to double its turnover to £25m during the next three years and the capital raised through the Adventure Capital campaign will be used to accelerate its immediate growth priorities. Sharp previously told Propel the primary aim of the fund-raise was to allow Innis & Gunn to roll-out The Beer Kitchen bar and restaurant brand, which it launched in Edinburgh in July 2015. It has since opened sites in Dundee and St Andrews, while a bar is due to follow in Glasgow, which will house the company’s first micro-brewery, before its first international venue in Toronto, Canada. It is also looking to take the brand south of the border. The company also plans to expand beer production at the Inveralmond Brewery in Perth, Scotland, which it acquired earlier this year and is now called the Innis & Gunn Brewery. Production volume is forecast to triple in the next two years to 30,000HL. The company will also install a barrel-ageing hall and new filtration technology that will expand the development, giving it the capacity and capability to “brew some of the beers we’ve not been able to”. 

Manchester multi-site operator MAD puts Chalk back on the market, opens cocktail bar this week: Manchester-based multi-site operator Mark Andrew Developments (MAD) has closed its restaurant Chalk in Didsbury less than nine months after acquiring the venue, but will start expansion of its Fitzgerald cocktail brand with a second site opening on Saturday (3 December). A MAD spokesperson said the group had intended to keep Chalk open until the new year but a “major fault with the extraction” had forced the company to close it earlier than expected and move Christmas bookings to its other sites. Chalk is now being marketed by agents Christie & Co, with leasehold offers of about £300,000 being sought. MAD said it intends to “focus on developing new and existing bar-lead venues as part of its expansion programme into 2017”. The group will open the new Fitzgerald in Heaton Moor above its recently launched Tusk bar. A spokesperson told Manchester Confidential: “MAD has a number of exciting openings to announce early next year, including a mega bar in central Manchester and the expansion of an existing brand to three times its current size – both due to complete in February.” MAD’s other Manchester venues include Infamous Diner, Hula and Rosylee.

Everards partners with bike company to open cycle centre at redeveloped brewery site: Leicestershire-based brewer and retailer Everards, led by Stephen Gould, has partnered with Rutland Cycling to open a 10,000 square foot cycle centre at the proposed Everards Meadows country park in Leicester, part of the company’s £150m redevelopment of its brewery site. The store is due to open in spring 2018 in the park, where cycle trails will be built to link the traffic-free Grand Central Way to Leicester city centre. Together, the two businesses are investing more than £1.6m in the cycle centre. Gould said: “Sharing a passion for our local area, we both believe there is a fantastic opportunity to introduce more people to the joys of cycling in our region. The park will not only feature a new brewery but also high-quality restaurants, cafes and visitor experiences.”

Loungers to open 16th Cosy Club next week, in Liverpool: Cafe brand Loungers will open its 16th Cosy Club next week, in Liverpool. The company has invested £825,000 in the 5,900 square foot restaurant on the first floor of the Liverpool ONE shopping centre. The 300-cover venue will open on Wednesday, 7 December, creating 35 jobs. It will offer “informal casual dining, drinking and lounging in a homely and family friendly environment”. Loungers senior operations manager Paul Alexander told The Business Desk: “At Cosy Club, we serve up a sense of being somewhere special with a hint of nostalgia. From a lazy breakfast to family lunch or a night out in your glad rags, we’re set apart by the character of our team, elegance of our design, and quality of our food and drink. We’re in the heart of Liverpool ONE and we’re thrilled to be part of such an exciting development. Our purpose is simple – every customer leaves feeling splendid.”

Pearmain Pubs acquires seventh site: Surrey-based Pearmain Pubs has acquired its seventh site – The Grantley Arms in Wonersh, near Guildford, off a guide price of £2m. The company has bought the pub from City accountants Chris Frederick and Richard Cryer in an off-market deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. Frederick and Cryer bought The Grantley Arms little more than a year ago. After running it with Matt Edmonds, former head chef of Searcys at the Gherkin, the sale has officially been agreed and Pearmain Pubs is due to take over in the new year. Frederick and Cryer continued to work in London and, despite the pub flourishing, recognised it would require further investment and time to take it to the next level. Richard Wood, business agent at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said: “This was an off-market sale we managed confidentially without staff or customers knowing until Chris and Richard were ready to announce their plans. The pub received several bids from large pub companies and smaller local operators, all keen to continue the success Chris and Richard built up. It was eventually sold off a £2m guide price. Freehold pubs of this size and nature in Surrey come to the market rarely. This means that when they do, the outstanding demand from operators drives prices up, benefiting anyone who wants to sell.” Pearmain Pubs was founded in 2008. Its other sites include the Three Horseshoes in Laleham and The Old Plough in Stoke d’Abernon.

Cheese Truck founder to open permanent site in Camden following crowdfunding campaign: Music festival trader The Cheese Truck, founded by Mathew Carver in 2014, will open a permanent site in Camden in February. The company completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this month after raising £130,000. The Cheese Bar will open in grade I-listed Camden Stables Market in February offering a full cheese-focused menu, including festival favourite the Cropwell Bishop Stilton bacon and pear chutney sandwich alongside new dishes such as Queso Fundido (a Mexican version of fondue), and Breakfast Poutine (bacon gravy, candied pancetta, dairy cheese curds and a fried egg). Desserts will include a dark chocolate ice-cream sundae made with honey and ewes milk cheese. The Cheese Bar will champion cheese-makers from within the M25, while the restaurant will feature floor-to-ceiling display fridges housing more than 30 British cheeses, as well as a changing selection of 20 craft beers. Carver said: “We’ve served more than 150,000 sandwiches and melted over 20 tonnes of British cheese. Now we’re ready to leave the trucks at home.” Carver is looking to open his next site in Deptford. The pitch for the company’s crowdfunding campaign stated: “We plan to open a third site in year three, funding it with cash flow in the business. Then we will continue to open at a rate of one site per year until we hit seven to nine sites in London.”

Calabrese brothers 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, have launched a poultry restaurant and cocktail bar concept in the City. The Holy Birds, in Middlesex Street, takes 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 have teamed up with their father, cocktail legend Salvatore “The Maestro” Calabrese, for the first time. Calabrese senior, who started in the industry in the sixties, has pulled together a list of authentic cocktails from the time. 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 venues in the city on ratings website TripAdvisor.

JD Wetherspoon gets conditional approval for another Ireland pub: JD Wetherspoon has received conditional approval to develop a premises at adjoining buildings in 17-18 Broad Street and 7-9 Arundel Square in Waterford, Ireland. Wetherspoon noted that the site “still needs a licence”. The company currently operates five sites in the Republic of Ireland – four in Dublin and one in Cork. In addition to the proposed pub in Waterford City, there are currently plans to open a site in Dublin’s Camden Street. Meanwhile, JD Wetherspoon has embarked on a new project to highlight the history of its pubs across the UK. Many of the company’s pubs are built on the site of interesting and, in several cases, unique buildings, including former banks, post offices, churches, theatres, cinemas and even an opera house. It has highlighted four pubs with historical connections on its website and said it would add “many more” in the future. The pubs featured so far are George’s Meeting House in Exeter, Shakespeare’s Head in London, The Rochester Castle in London, and the Waterend Barn in St Albans. JD Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin said: “We take immense pride in the restoration and refurbishment of wonderful buildings into Wetherspoon pubs. We feel it is right to celebrate the history of the buildings.” Customers can share stories about their local by emailing with the information added to the pub’s page.

Hook Norton Brewery adds to portfolio with Oxford acquisition, 38th site: Hook Norton Brewery has made its debut in Oxford following the acquisition of The Castle Tavern on the corner of Castle Street and Pembroke Street. The brewer’s 38th site dates to 1892 and will trade over the Christmas and New Year period before closing for an extensive refurbishment. Bruce Benyon, operations manager of Hook Norton Brewery’s tied estate, said: “This is an exciting time for the brewery. We have 38 great pubs and The Castle Tavern will really strengthen our portfolio. We will be serving a great mix of quality cask ales and craft keg beers.” The brewer, founded in the Cotswold Hills in 1849, operates pubs in an area spanning about five counties in central England. With the founder’s great-great-grandson James Clarke at the helm, Hook Norton’s award-winning ales include Old Hooky, Hooky Gold and Red Rye.

SA Brain set to export one million pints to India by end of year: Welsh brewer and hospitality retailer SA Brain is on course to ship more than one million pints to India before the end of the year. A partnership with South Wales-based Worldwide Drinks has seen SA Brain ship in excess of 750,000 pints to India already this year. At the beginning of the year SA Brain embarked on the new venture, producing a Belgium-style witbier called Witlinger on behalf of a leading importer and distributor based in New Delhi, India. The beer has achieved a good level of distribution in New Delhi and is now being rolled out in Mumbai and Goa. SA Brain account manager Ross Gurney said: “Our partnership with Worldwide Drinks has given us the opportunity to drive our brands into significant growing markets across the world. We are passionate about what we do, our heritage and our brewing credentials as an established brewer for more than 130 years. We strongly believe the key to our continued success is the great beer we brew and we want to share this with as many people as possible.” SA Brain has been active in export markets for the past eight years and now exports to more than 20 markets across the globe, including New Zealand, Hong Kong, Russia and Scandinavia.

Robinsons reopens historic Anglesey pub: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reopened the George and Dragon in Beaumaris in Anglesey, North Wales, following an extensive refurbishment to emphasise the pub’s history and architecture. The grade II-listed building in Church Street dates to about 1410. Working with the Isle of Anglesey Borough Council and Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service, Robinsons’ in-house design team transformed the pub in six weeks. Oak beams and panelling have been restored and early 17th century fireplaces uncovered and brought back into use. A salvaged bar counter has become the focal point of the pub and features five copper hand-pulls offering a rotating range of Robinsons’ cask ales including Dragon’s Breath, a golden ale created to mark the reopening of the pub. Robinsons director Neil Robinson-Stanier said: “The history we found as we peeled back the layers has amazed us all. Scorch marks on the wood from hundreds of years ago along with the pub’s original wattle and daub structure are now available for all to see. The George and Dragon is of significant importance in Anglesey. We are sure the new look will guarantee it continues to be a popular drinking and meeting place for years to come.”

Restaurateur opens Hopscotch drinking and dining den in Brick Lane: Restaurateur and former Street Feast operations director Jonathan Cowley, who has worked with renowned London venues Chick ‘n’ Sours and Bleecker St Burger, has opened a drinking and dining den in the capital’s Brick Lane. The new concept – Hopscotch – offers small sharing plates and street food-style buns alongside a wide range of cocktails. Dishes include nanny goat with warm spice and hot sauce, crabdog with bergamot zest, and phi phi chicken with Thai spice and pickled cucumber. Deep-fried “bombs” are offered as snacks to accompany cocktails such as 24 Carat Colada (piña colada with yuzu and pineapple served in a giant golden pineapple for two to share). The subterranean drinking den features comfortable, art deco furniture set across three rooms. Artwork has been created by a new collective, Hopscotch is open daily until 1am.

Hammerson boosts food and beverage offer at Dublin leisure complex: Hammerson is welcoming seven new catering operators to the recently refurbished food hall in its Dundrum leisure complex in Dublin. The new brands, which will all be on level three of the centre, are Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee, Subway, fresh food takeaway specialist Chop’d, rotisserie chicken concept Poulet Bonne Femme, five-strong healthy Thai takeaway brand Kanoodle, French bistro Gastro, and European restaurant Origins. Hammerson worked with foodservice provider Aramark to bring the new brands to the centre. Dundrum already features Jamie’s Italian and Starbucks venues. Simon Betty, Hammerson director of retail, Ireland, said: “Welcoming seven new food and beverage operators to the centre will considerably enhance its existing offer, bringing it closer to the high standard of dining options we have across our European portfolio. These transactions clearly demonstrate the strong demand for space from food and beverage operators and I fully anticipate we will continue to attract new and exciting brands to Dundrum, reinforcing its position as Ireland’s leading retail, dining and leisure hub.”

Sunderland pub owner forms new company to run site after taking control back from Camerons Brewery: The owner of the historic Dun Cow pub in Sunderland has formed a new company to run the site as a key element in the city’s emerging cultural quarter. Leighton Management, which bought the pub and restored it to its former Edwardian glory in 2014, has reached an agreement with Camerons Brewery to take control of the pub in High Street West. It has formed a new company, Pub Culture, to run the grade II-listed venue that is part of the Music, Art and Culture (MAC) Quarter centred around the ongoing transformation of the adjacent Old Fire Station. Under Camerons’ management, the Dun Cow won two Campaign For Real Ale national pub design awards and the brewer will continue to work with Pub Culture with a supply deal in place. All management and staff at the Dun Cow will retain their jobs with Pub Culture. Paul Callaghan, of the MAC Trust, told the Sunderland Echo: “The Dun Cow is integral to the development of the MAC Quarter. Camerons has been a fantastic partner in establishing it once more as a pub Sunderland can be proud of, and we are delighted the brewery will continue to supply the Dun Cow with its superb range of beers and spirits, which have become firm favourites with the city’s pub-goers.”

Jamie Oliver to open first Jamie’s Italian in Iceland: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is set to open a branch of Jamie’s Italian in Iceland. The restaurant will open at Hótel Borg in Reykjavik in spring 2017. Jamie’s Italian has 42 sites globally, with each restaurant featuring its own style. The Reykjavik restaurant will pay homage to Hotel Borg’s art deco style. Oliver told MBL: “I’m really excited to bring Jamie’s Italian to Iceland. Reykjavik is a beautiful city with a great cultural heritage and food culture with a real passion for unique Icelandic ingredients, all factors that fit us perfectly. We have received the unique opportunity to open at the respected Hotel Borg, which is a great honour. When we open our doors we will serve simple Italian food for the whole family made from the best ingredients we can get our hands on.”

Antic delays Norbury pub opening: Antic, the Downing-backed London pub operator led by Antony Thomas, has delayed the opening of its site in Norbury because of the “complicated” nature of the building project. The company was expected to launch The Norbonne and Stable in Norbury Mews, off Norbury Crescent, by mid-2017. However, in a post on its website Antic said there had been a delay. It now hopes the “pub element” will still be ready by summer 2017, which suggested any delay would be minimal, reports the Croydon Advertiser. The post said: “The team are pulling together the design package for Norbury Mews so we can start the build of this great little scheme. We hope to have spades in the ground in January, with the pub element up and running in the summer of 2017. It is quite a complicated new-build project, hence the delay to date. However, we thank you all for your patience and look forward to welcoming patrons to The Norbonne and Stable in the near future.” Antic, which operates more than 40 pubs in London, started its planning process for The Norbonne and Stable more than a year ago but hit a wall with Croydon Council over the design. It resubmitted altered proposals and was granted planning permission earlier this year.

Camerons Brewery reports Ebitda boost as sales rise past £70m mark: Camerons Brewery has reported an Ebitda boost as sales increased past the £70m mark after the company enjoyed “significant growth”. The company, which owns and operates almost 80 venues across the north of England, including its Head of Steam brand, reported turnover of £71.2m for the year ending 1 May 2016, compared with £60.9m the previous year. Ebitda was up from £5.5m to £5.8m, while it saw a pre-tax loss of £532,480 compared with a profit of £1.5m the year before. Camerons said it had continued to enjoy a strong operating and financial performance, leaving it “well on track” to achieve its five-year business plan objectives. A £30m refinancing package was also secured in December 2015, which the company said had provided it with a “sound and solid platform for further growth”. Of that total, £6.5m has been made available with £4m subsequently put towards acquisitions and portfolio-wide investments. Camerons said it had “continued to invest significantly” during the year having bought three outlets, while it also disposed of four non-core operations. Since the year-end, eight leasehold managed outlets have been bought – including seven from Leeds Brewery – while a further site has been disposed of, leaving the company in charge of 77 pubs. Financial director John Foots said the business was continuing to “perform very well”, with the company having expanded its Head of Steam brand by investing in outlets in Newcastle, Sheffield, Headingley and Hull. Foots added: “Recently we have added to our managed house portfolio by acquiring all seven Leeds Brewery outlets located in Leeds and York and we hope to further expand this brand over the coming 12 months. We are well placed to achieve further growth across all divisions over the coming 12 months.” 

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