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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 8th Dec 2016 - Update: Byron, Camden Town and Thali Cafe
Sky News – Byron to hire new chief executive and chairman: Dalton Philips, the former‎ boss of supermarket chain Wm Morrison, is to named as the chairman of better burger brand Byron, Sky News has reported. Philips will join the company alongside Andrew Manders, formerly of the Fired Earth‎ retail chain, who will become Byron’s chief executive in place of the founder, Tom Byng. The duo will be charged by Byron’s owner, the private equity group Hutton Collins, with accelerating the chain’s expansion. Byng has decided to leave to pursue new entrepreneurial ventures. Byron has already doubled in size by number of outlets and turnover since Hutton Collins took control three years ago. It is claimed there is ample scope for it to double again to more than 140 sites over time. Its turnover‎ last year was more than £80m. Hutton Collins is an experienced investor in British restaurants, having held a stake in Wagamama, the Asian dining chain, for some years. Sky News reported that the arrival of Philips and Manders is expected to be announced later this week, with the new chairman a particularly notable appointment following his stint at the helm of one of the UK’s big four supermarket chains.

Camden Town set to roll-out flagship beer in New York: Craft beer maker Camden Town Brewery is planning to roll out its flagship Hells lager across bars and restaurants in New York from later this month, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The nine-year-old brewer will offer New Yorkers a taste of north London in the first phase of a multi-national expansion funded by FTSE 100 parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev, which will take its brew to bars in the US and Europe. AB InBev is also making one of the largest investments in British beer-making in a generation by funding Camden Town Brewery’s £25m new site in Enfield in north London. Camden Town Brewery was bought by the Budweiser-maker at the end of 2015 for £85m. The brewery’s founder Jasper Cuppaidge built Camden into one of the leading firms in Britain’s craft beer movement after setting up the beer business in 2007 from the cellar of his Hampstead pub, The Horseshoe. AB InBev’s latest transatlantic beer migration comes after it emerged last week that it will move into Europe for the first time with a chain of pubs based on its popular US craft beer brand Goose Island. The food-led pub pilot will open in south west London before Christmas, with a second site planned for the capital next year alongside a third in Belgium.

Bristol restaurant chain eyes cities throughout the UK: Bristol-based award winning Thali Cafe is planning to open in key cities across the UK after establishing itself in the city. “We aim to be a disruptive force in the casual dining marketplace,” said the company founder Jim Pizer, who started the business in 2001 serving his favourite Indian dishes from a stall at Glastonbury Festival. “We believe we are breaking the mould of out-dated perceptions of Indian food in the UK and creating an entirely new space in the ethnic casual marketplace. Because Indian food has been with us for so long now, it has become rather predictable. Many of the familiar favourites like Tikka Massala were actually created in this country to appeal to British tastes. Our customers are looking to experiment and try out authentic dishes. We’ve spent a long time going around India and searching out the very best recipes and brought them back to the UK. So, for instance, we have fish dishes from Goa, meat dishes from Rajasthan and street food from Mumbai. We encourage our customers to eat many of the dishes with their hands, allowing a deeper connection with the food that they eat.” Since 2001, Thali Cafe has expanded to a chain of five outlets across Bristol. The latest is a 120-seater restaurant in the historic Tobacco Factory, Southville. With an injection of venture capital behind them, the company has ten more outlets in its sights over the next five years, with top targets including Bath, Birmingham, Exeter, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Reading. Bristol-based property consultants Williams Gunter Hardwick have been appointed to lead the search for locations with a lively bar and casual dining scene. “We know there’s a real appetite for authentic international cuisines,” said director Stuart Williams. “A surprisingly high percentage of Thali customers are female – 70% – which might be explained by the wide range of vegetarian dishes on offer and the accent on healthy, lean cuisine some of which is also gluten free. That said, many of Thali’s current customers have Indian roots and appreciate the authenticity of the dishes, which has to be the ultimate compliment.”

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