Tue 20th Dec 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing
Story of the Day:
Ascot Inns managing director to launch Thirsty Bear pizzeria concept, targets six-strong estate: Ascot Inns managing director Vince Healy is set to launch pizzeria concept Thirsty Bear having secured a venue in Reading. Healy, who has formed Thirsty Bear Group with New York pizza restaurateur Michael Wheeler, will launch the concept following a £500,000 refurbishment of the Wynford Arms in a joint investment with Star Pubs & Bars. Healy is looking to expand the concept and is looking for sites to create a group of up to six venues. Work at the Wynford Arms, which has been closed for 18 months, will double the pub’s trading area and transform the interior. The downstairs space will be opened up to create a bar with an open plan pizza kitchen and dessert and barista coffee stations. Disused accommodation upstairs will be converted to a lounge with comfortable seating, while a roof garden will be created on a roof extension to seat 45 people. Award-winning pizza chef Fabio Ferrarini will train Thirsty Bear’s kitchen staff, with the new venue expected to open in mid-March. Authentic New York-style pizza will be central to the menu, cooked on an imported £20,000 pizza oven. Thirsty Bear will also offer ribs and chicken wings, smoothies and shakes, and desserts such as Mississippi mud pie and New York-style cheesecake. Drinks will also have an American focus, with beers such as Lagunitas, 30 hard-to-find bourbons and ten American gins. Half of the wine list will be from the US. Healy and Wheeler are looking for town centre sites with a 100-cover minimum capacity and external seating in the southern, western and northern home counties to roll-out the concept. They will consider 15-year-plus tied and free-of-tie leases as well as freeholds. Healy said: “The Wynford Arms is the ideal location for our first Thirsty Bear. With Cross Rail coming, Reading is undergoing redevelopment and there are hundreds of homes being built in the area surrounding the pub. We believe the combination of a unique pizza, fresh pasta and a great drinks range will be a superb addition.” Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens added: “The pizza recipe is second to none and Thirsty Bear will bring a distinctive concept unlike any other in Reading.” The project follows Star Pubs & Bars’ £310,000 refurbishment of the Thatchers Tavern in Woodley, Reading, with TM Dining in September. It brings Star’s total investment in the town to £810,000 in the past four months.
Itinerary unveiled for third Craft Beer Retail Study Tour:
The itinerary has been unveiled for the third Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour. The event, which this year focuses on east London, takes place on Thursday, 26 January and will visit six of London’s leading craft beer retailers and a cider specialist during the seven-hour tour. It starts at Urban Pubs and Bars’ ping-pong concept Bat and Ball
at Westfield Stratford. The tour will then visit Tap East in Stratford, the brewpub operated by Mike Hill and Richard Dinwoodie
, the duo previously behind Utobeer. The next stop will be Mason & Company, a specialist craft beer bar and deli at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
. The tour will then head to brewery and pizza venue Crate Brewery
and fresh tank beer venue Howling Hops
, both based at Queen’s Yard. It will continue to artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable
, which is 76% owned by Fuller’s, in Whitechapel before finishing at Dinerama in Great Eastern Street, the street food craft beer concept run by Henry Dimbleby and Jonathan Downey
. The tour will again be led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, who will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation and analysis, and spot up-and-coming trends. The day includes travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. Email email@example.com to book or for more details.
Host of companies sign up for Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass:
A host of companies have signed up for the Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass. They include Whitbread, PizzaExpress, Bourne Leisure, Frederic Robinson, ASK Italian, Dirty Martini, FrogPubs, Eclectic Bars, Enterprise inns, Star Pubs and Bars, Le Bistrot Pierre, Thai Leisure Group, My Lahore, Living Ventures, Beds and Bars, Black and White Hospitality, City Pub Company, The New World Trading Company, Greene King, Marston’s, Be At One, PizzaExpress, Mitchells & Butlers, Oakman Inns, Young’s, Coaching Inn Group, TRG Concessions, Cambscuisine, Electric Star Pubs, Coal Grill & Bar, Signature Pub Company, Epic Pub Company, Parkdean Resorts, Namco UK
and True North Brew Company
. 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 previously 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 and will reveal how the company 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 to drink or dine out, what inspires them, how they plan their evening and how they prefer to book. Cote marketing director Andrew Gallagher
will reveal what’s at the top of his marketing agenda and what he thinks will have an impact on 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 share 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 Knight, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Michel Roux Jr begins reimbursing staff paid less than minimum wage: Chef Michel Roux Jr has begun reimbursing staff he paid less than the legal minimum wage to at his Mayfair restaurant Le Gavroche. Current and former chefs at the restaurant are in line for payments after it was revealed Roux was paying kitchen staff, who worked up to 68 hours a week, as little as £5.50 an hour. The wages worked out at well below the £7.20 legal minimum for people aged over 24. Roux Jr has now written personally to former chefs apologising for their underpayment and promising to make up shortfalls in their pay. He has also sent substantial four-figure cheques to others. Roux Jr wrote: “It has been brought to my attention that some ex-staff may have been underpaid and this may affect you. If this is the case then please accept my apologies and reassurance this was not intentional.” He asked former staff to “confirm any shortfall that may be due”. A spokeswoman told The Guardian letters had been sent out and said: “Of the people he has been in contact with in the kitchen team, he will settle with everybody who feels they have a legitimate claim and he will honour it.” Roux Jr had said despite being hands-on at the two Michelin-starred restaurant, he had not noticed the long hours some of his kitchen brigade were working and said “in no way was it done intentionally”. Last week, Roux Jr announced a decision to include service on all diners’ bills from the end of January. He said it would clear up any ambiguity about what the service charge was for after it was revealed Roux Jr was using it to pay wages.
Speciality brand Coffee Island launches first UK site, in Covent Garden: Coffee Island, which operates a number of speciality coffee shops across the Mediterranean, has launched its first UK site, in Covent Garden. The concept offers “perfectly engineered coffee that mixes scientific geekiness and a fondness of direct trade with farmers”. The store in St Martin’s Lane also offers sweet and savoury breakfast options, alongside fresh sandwiches, salads, and meat and fish dishes. Consumers are shown how to prepare their own brew at the Home Barista Station, while coffee-making artefacts, beans and blends from all over the globe are available to buy on-site. Coffee Island searches and reserves micro-lots of limited edition, single origin speciality coffee from small, carefully selected farms, which produces unique blends. The company was named “best coffee chain in southern Europe” at this year’s Allegra European Coffee Awards.
Enterprise Inns helps publicans expand businesses using segmentation tool: Enterprise Inns’ leased and tenanted division Ei is helping its publicans to expand their businesses by using its segmentation tool to identify additional sites in their area. The tool has assisted Bristol-based publicans Amy Devenish and Tom Brownell to branch out and take on their second site, The Duck & Willow in Downend. Brownell, who is also an award-winning chef, wanted to take on another food-led pub and using segmentation, Ei publican partnerships was able to identify the perfect outlet and transform it from being wet-led to food-focused. As part of the transformation, Enterprise Inns has also invested £250,000 to extensively refurbish the Victorian building, consolidating its interior rooms into one large social space that now acts as a hub for the local community. Devenish said: “With the help of Ei publican partnerships and its advanced segmentation tool, we have been able to grow our estate by targeting a pub that suited our offer.” Brownell and Devenish also run Ei publican partnership site The Gloucester Old Spot in Bristol. Meanwhile, The White Horse in Hambrook, Bristol, has received a joint investment of £385,000 from publican Alison Weaver and Enterprise Inns. This is the third Ei publican partnerships pub taken on by Weaver and is due to open in March following a significant refurbishment. Her other pubs are The Kings Arms in Bristol and The Port of Call in Clifton. Ei publican partnerships divisional director Nick Gatehouse said: “Our segmentation tool provides us with detailed information about all pubs in our estate, along with insight into competition in the local area. So if a publican tells us they feel ready to take on another site or want to transform their offering, we can quickly identify suitable pubs in our estate that are available and help ensure they get the best chance to develop and thrive.”
Fever Bars to turn former JD Wetherspoon pub in Nuneaton into bierkeller brand: Fever Bars, which operates 27 sites across the UK, is set to transform former JD Wetherspoon pub the William White in Nuneaton town centre into one of its Bavarian-themed bars. Fever Bars, which operates a nightclub in the Warwickshire town, will close the pub in Newdegate Street at Christmas and reopen it as a German bierkeller in February following a £200,000 refurbishment. Fever operates its Bierkeller brand in Taunton and Cheltenham. The concept features ten draught beers from Germany and “Around the World in 80 beers”, which offers a beverage from every continent in the world. The new bar will open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, with traditional food and a live oompah band, the Nuneaton News reports. JD Wetherspoon closed the William White in August following “pest control issues”. Following its closure, the company took its other pub in Nuneaton – the Felix Holt in Stratford Street – off the market.
Absurd Bird opens Bath restaurant, fourth site: Absurd Bird, the Southern US-inspired chicken restaurant brand from Splendid Restaurants, part of the Splendid Hospitality Group, has opened a restaurant in Bath, its fourth in total. The venue has launched in the new Little Southgate food quarter in the city centre, joining Thai Leisure Group-owned Thaikhun and Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes. The new restaurant will use free-range chickens from Creedy Carver Farm in Devon, which will be smoked on site, marinated in secret recipe sauces, fried or grilled, and served with sides. Signature dishes include chicken and waffles in a smoked sweet gravy and maple syrup, and sweet potato bake with toasted marshmallows. The interior takes its inspiration from New Orleans, Bayou and Louisiana. At the centre of the double height space, surrounded by French quarter-style balconies, is a Mardi Gras-inspired bar, which offers cocktails created by mixologists Soulshakers. Absurd Bird group operations director Mark Hall told the Bath Chronicle: “We are delighted to be coming to Bath, it’s a fun and vibrant city with an audience which will fit perfectly with the Absurd Bird brand. The other Absurd Bird sites are in Exeter, and Soho and Spitalfields in London. Splendid Restaurants has said it is targeting a further ten openings during the next five years.
Hop Stuff Brewery passes 50% mark in £500,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: London-based Hop Stuff Brewery, which was launched in 2013 following a successful crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube, has passed the 50% mark in its £500,000 fund-raise on the platform as it looks to expand. The company, founded in Woolwich by James Yeomans, is offering an 8.23% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 175 investors have pledged £258,210 with 38 days remaining. The pitch states: “We have a great brand, unique team and strong growth record. In 2015 we opened our first bar – The Taproom. The Taproom offers our local community an opportunity to try awesome craft beer and our exceptional sourdough pizzas seven days a week. Revenue this year is expected to surpass £1m, from just £60,000 only three years ago. Underlying net profitability is running at about 10% and set to rise with the growth of our own outlets and cost-saving efficiency of the new brewhouse. Next year we’re hoping to open two more bars across London and the south east and increase revenue to more than £2m. By 2020 we are forecasting revenue growth to more than £5m per annum. We have ambitious plans to expand the brewery – this will allow us to produce up to 1,000 kegs a week! We’re working with relationship banks to asset finance the new brewhouse so we can use the cash for working capital, marketing, resourcing and fit-out. We’ll also be looking to aggressively acquire sites for new Taprooms across London and the south east. With regard to an exit, it would be easy to reach for examples like Camden – although we back our brand, we’re a little more realistic. In year three we’ve allowed for a dividend, this could easily fund a buyback instead. The other option is a market float.”
Greene King puts Loch Fyne site in Ipswich on the market: Brewer and retailer Greene King has put its Loch Fyne site in Ipswich on the market, with the sale being handled by agent Fleurets. The venue in Duke Street has been one of the Suffolk town’s most popular restaurants since it moved into the former electricity sub station in 2002. The 465 square metre venue has space for 150 diners across two floors and is close to the university and waterfront but a significant walk from the town centre. A Greene King spokesman told the Ipswich Star: “After an extensive review of the business, we made the difficult decision that the restaurant no longer fits within our core estate and we have therefore decided to sell.” Greene King bought Loch Fyne for £68m in 2007 to diversify from its core brewing and pubs business. However, the brand has been deemed surplus to requirements following Greene King’s £774m takeover of rival Spirit last year. Loch Fyne was built into a nationwide chain by Mark Derry and Ian Glyn, who also helped celebrity chef Raymond Blanc establish Brasserie Bar Co. There are currently 37 Loch Fyne restaurants in the UK, one more than when Greene King acquired the brand.
Brew Cafe team opens all-day dining venture Antipodea in Kew: The team behind independently owned and operated Brew Cafe has opened an all-day dining venture in Kew called Antipodea. The 80-cover restaurant is in a 1,073 square foot site in The Old Post Office in Station Approach, close to Kew Station and The Royal Botanic Gardens. Antipodea offers favourites from the Brew Cafe menu alongside a selection of wood-fired pizzas, robata grill dishes, daily bakes, and seasonal specials. The group’s new executive chef James Brown has devised an “internationally influenced” menu alongside his partner-in-food at Brew Cafe, Moran Etedegi, who has worked alongside fellow Israeli Yotam Ottolenghi. A takeaway service offers a selection of Home Brew products with the motto “Made by Brew, Finished By You”, while a retail area sells produce from the group’s bakery and butchery. As well as wine and cocktails, Antipodea offers freshly made juices, smoothies and Brew Coffees. Brew Cafe was founded by restaurant entrepreneur Jason Wells, who launched a first site in the UK in 2009 following openings in Melbourne and New York. There are now five Brew Cafe sites in London – at Wimbledon, Clapham, Putney, Wandsworth and Chiswick.
Subway opens 750th non-traditional store in UK and Ireland: Subway has opened its 750th store in a non-traditional location in the UK and Ireland – at a Co-op store in Norwich. Non-traditional stores are located in off-high-street sites, such as petrol forecourts, convenience stores, hospitals, transport hubs, universities and colleges. The new venue in Earlham Green Lane is the tenth in an East of England Co-op site, with further development planned for next year. Subway UK and Ireland country director Peter Dowding said: “The opening of the 750th non-traditional store in the UK and Ireland is a fantastic achievement. It reflects the hard work of the brand’s development agents and the strong corporate partnerships we have forged with companies, such as East of England Co-op. Non-traditional development has been a great area of growth for the brand over recent years, and we expect further growth into 2017 and beyond.” East of England Co-op head of retail operations Brendan Smith added: “We’re excited that our store at Earlham Green Lane marks a milestone for Subway and has enabled us to create more jobs for local people. Partnering with Subway has enhanced our offering to customers and we look forward to exploring further opportunities in the new year.” Subway has more than 2,300 stores in the UK and Ireland.
Encant owner Victor Garvey reveals name and location for second site: Victor Garvey, chef-patron of modern Spanish restaurant Encant, has revealed the name and location of his second venture. Garvey will launch Rambla in Dean Street, Soho, next year. Rambla’s menu will focus on Catalan cuisine, the food of Garvey’s youth, and takes its name from Barcelona’s famous thoroughfare, La Rambla, where he lived as a child. The menu will be divided into three sections – Cru (raw and cured); Mar (seafood); and Muntanya (mountains). In common with Encant, the menu at Rambla will be complemented by an all-Spanish wine list available by the glass and bottle, as well as a variety of gin and tonics and classic cocktails. With 60 covers over two floors compared with only 22 at Encant’s single storey, Rambla will be substantially more spacious than Garvey’s intimate first site, which opened in Covent Garden in March. The interior of Rambla will be light and atmospheric, reminiscent of Barcelona’s elegant-but-casual beachfront restaurants. Garvey originally envisaged his second solo venture to be a larger version of Encant, with the same name. However, as the menu and interior design evolved it became apparent the two restaurants would be very different so he decided Rambla should have its own name. Garvey said: “Rambla will bring to Soho many of the characteristics our guests love about Encant, while also being very much its own place. The food will be familiar to anyone who knows Catalan cuisine, while also being innovative and fun, with great drinks and service to go with it. I’m really excited to be opening in Dean Street and hope Rambla will both contribute to and draw on the street’s incredible energy.”
Danish baker Ole & Steen launches debut UK site: Danish baker Ole & Steen has launched its debut site in the UK. The company has opened a 120-cover, 4,400 square foot restaurant at St James’ Market in Haymarket, London, after securing the site through agent Shelley Sandzer. The concept was launched by Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallbaek, who operate 50-site bakery chain Lagkagehuset in Denmark. The Ole & Steen menu features freshly baked bread, stews, soups and sandwiches. Ole & Steen UK operations director Alastair Gordon said: “As this is Ole & Steen’s first restaurant and shop outside Denmark it was hugely important to secure a busy, central location. We are glad to be in the company of other exciting operators and can’t wait to introduce our new brand to the food-loving people of London and visitors from around the world.”
Burger & Lobster reports 100% increase in traffic to new-look website: Burger & Lobster has reported a 100% increase in traffic to its new-look website. The company appointed BPL Digital to redesign the site to “return it to the brand’s roots while stressing the quality, freshness and simplicity of the offering”. The site now allows users to find their six nearest Burger & Lobster restaurants through location services as well as access to the menu at that particular site. BPL Digital also simplified the layout for mobile users while with Burger & Lobster having international franchises, the site is natively translated into Chinese and Arabic. As well as the 100% increase in traffic, BPL Digital has been able reduce the server size for the site dramatically, cutting the monthly running costs in half. Burger & Lobster is now in discussions with BPL Digital about the second phase of the project and plans to add new features to the site next year.
Elephant Collective coffee shop brand branches out with pizzeria, third Cheshire site: Cheshire-based Elephant Collective, which operates two coffee shops in the county, has branched out to launch its first pizzeria at a former NatWest bank in Neston. Entrepreneurs Emma and Adam Mitchell launched their debut Elephant coffee shop in Neston high street in 2012, winning a Cafe Society Gold Award. In 2014, they opened the Elephant Lounge & Bar in nearby Parkgate, which won the Best Coffee Shop Design in the UK award in 2016. The new Elephant Bank Pizzeria & Bar has cost the couple almost £500,000 and created 30 jobs. They told The Chester Chronicle: “We have always had a huge passion for Italian food, coffee and culture. We have been working away for the past 12 months to keep the original features of the bank and merge them with our crazy design. Our goal is to give Neston a great venue with an atmosphere and selection usually reserved for exclusive city centre venues. The food menu is our own rustic take on classic Italian. There is also a great choice of craft beer, wine, spirits and our own cocktails, as well as our famous coffee selection.”
Leelex opens ‘gin hotel’ in Portobello Road: Restaurant and bar company Leelex, co-founded by Ged Feltham, has opened “gin hotel” The Distillery in Portobello Road. The 5,970 square foot venue consists of four separate elements split over four floors. The 1,309 square foot basement houses modern visitor centre The Ginstitute, where guests can learn about the history of gin and try their hand at blending their own. The brand’s own Portobello Road Gin is also produced on-site using a 400-litre still. The 1,713 square foot ground floor houses a pub called The Resting Room, with spirits stored in barrels above the bar, while the first floor is home to new restaurant concept GinTonica, a Basque-inspired tapas restaurant. On the top floor there is a private dining room called The Boardroom, with a VIP bar and choice of three boutique rooms – each fitted with mini-bars and record players. Feltham told the Evening Standard: “Not only does the new distillery mean we can continue to produce our product in Portobello Road, it has allowed us to expand our hugely successful gin-making experience, The Ginstitute, which had outgrown it’s original venue. We are proud purveyors of London spirit and look forward to exciting guests from around the globe with amazing gin and other wonderful new distillates and aged spirits.”
Costa to turn waste coffee grounds into renewable fuel: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee has partnered with biomass specialists Bio-bean to turn more than 3,000 tonnes of waste coffee grounds a year into renewable fuel. Grounds will be collected by Bio-bean from more than 850 Costa stores in the UK to produce biomass pellets and “coffee logs” for wood-burning stoves. The scheme is being rolled-out nationwide following a successful trial in the summer. Costa energy and environment manager Oliver Rosevear told BusinessGreen the partnership would deliver “significant cost reductions” in Costa’s waste disposal process, as sending the coffee to Bio-bean was cheaper than using alternative waste disposal methods such as incinerators and anaerobic digestion plants. The partnership applies only to stores that Costa owns and manages itself, although Rosevear added the firm was “already in discussion” with its network of franchisees and other partners to join. Bio-bean founder and chief executive Arthur Kay added: “Costa has proven this can work at scale, save companies money and save a huge amount in terms of emissions in the process. It has set the example and the gold standard in terms of where others now need to get to.”
New healthy food concept KAI launches in Leicester: Healthy food concept KAI has opened in Leicester offering well-balanced dishes featuring fresh and locally sourced ingredients. The concept is the brainchild of Kiran Nagra, sister of Bend It Like Beckham actress Parminder Nagra, and chef Aidan Kettle. The venue in St Martin’s Square makes everything in-house, including gluten-free desserts. KAI, which stands for Kiran and Aidan’s Independent kitchen, offers a brunch menu, featuring pancakes made from organic flour, and organic granola. The lunch menu includes homemade curries with mint chutney and superfood salads. Drinks include turmeric and matcha lattes. In the evening, dishes are served in Buddha bowls, with hearty meals made with raw or roasted vegetables and quinoa or brown rice and added toppings of seeds and dressings. With all dishes, diners have the option of adding protein. Kettle told the Leicester Mercury: “Healthy eating does not have to be boring and going out to eat does not have to be unhealthy.”
New bar concept opens in Stockton: A new bar concept has opened in Stockton, County Durham. John Christie has launched Hope and Union on the back of an investment from Jomast Developments. The company has brought 9-10 Silver Court in the Wasps Nest Yard area of the town back to life. Hope and Union serves keg and cask ales, high-quality wines and a range of premium spirits. Plans are also in place to serve food. The bar’s name is rooted in the area’s heritage, having been taken from two of the engines used on the Stockton to Darlington railway in 1825. Christie told Insider Media: “We love Stockton, we love the people and we really hope that with the extension of The Georgian Theatre and all the other great venues around us, this little part of Stockton will become a vibrant, friendly place to spend your time.”
Startle launches DJ mix service: Interactive music service provider Startle, which was known as Virtual Jukebox before rebranding in October, has launched Startle Mixes, a technology service developed to give businesses the feel and experience of a live DJ. Startle Mixes provides music mixes created by profilers and DJs, who were given access to Startle’s multimillion-track digital music library to create a variety of tracks based on eight key categories for different occasions – from lunchtime drinks to late-night parties. For a monthly fee, operators get unlimited use of the tunes at their venues and can schedule mixes from their smartphone. A spokesman said: “Startle Mixes is a low-cost, zero-maintenance solution for bar and nightclub owners seeking to create that all-important, desired atmosphere every day of the week.” The cloud-based music provider, led by Andy Hill, has expanded from its original position as a jukebox replacement in pubs to enjoy a hugely successful year, having acquired digital signage and interactive content business Coadunatio and secured partnerships with Greene King, Domino’s Pizza and BT Sport among others.
Michelin-trained chef launches taqueria concept in Newcastle: Michelin-trained chef Shaun Hurrell has launched taqueria concept Barrio Comida in Newcastle. Hurrell, who worked for Michelin-starred chefs Marcus Wareing and Fergus Henderson in London, has opened a venue in the Quayside in a converted shipping crate that housed Riley’s Fish Shack. Barrio Comida offers eight taco fillings in addition to specials such as charcoal-cooked steak with salsa negra and grilled spring onion. Tortillas are made on-site and fish is sourced daily from North Shields. Authentic Mexican drinks include tequila, mescal and agua frescas, alongside Mexican beer, wine and cocktails. Hurrell told Chronicle Live: “You look for gaps in the market you feel you can do justice to and do a good job. I have worked in posh restaurants, you want your mates to come but they’ve got to wear a jacket and it costs £200 for a meal. I’m leaning towards a more casual style. I want to offer something that’s still gastronomically interesting but at a much lower price with a great atmosphere.”
North east-based Brickyard Bakery starts expansion with second site: North east-based artisan baker’s shop Brickyard Bakery has started expansion by opening a second site in the region, this time in Middlesbrough’s Dundas shopping centre. Chef Ed Trewhitt launched Brickyard Bakery in Guisborough town centre last year, offering traditional hand-crafted bread and cakes. Such was its success he opened a tea room next door and launched bread-making courses, while selling bread-making and baking kits and a jam and honey range. Trewhitt told BDaily: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the success of Brickyard Bakery in Guisborough. This business is something of a personal crusade for traditional bread – and social enterprise. I want to prove people can eat quality hand-crafted artisan products at supermarket prices.”