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Mon 6th Mar 2017 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

St Austell to build Bath Ales brewery, appoints Tim McCord as general manager: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery is set to build a brewery for Bath Ales, which it acquired last July, and has appointed Tim McCord as its general manager. The four-vessel Hare Brewery will be built at Bath Ales’ headquarters in Warmley, between Bath and Bristol. Work is due to start in September with completion by spring 2018. Total brewing capacity will be 50,000 barrels (14.5 million pints) and the facility will also feature new bottling and canning facilities. The brewery will allow Bath Ales to create new beer styles in cask, keg and bottles, including the capability to brew traditional continental-style lagers. St Austell Brewery said the new brewery would put Bath Ales “on the map as having some of the most sophisticated and technologically advanced brewing and packaging facilities in the south west”. McCord, meanwhile, will play a key role in driving Bath Ales’ future growth. With a comprehensive licensed trade and brewing background, McCord has more than 20 years of senior drinks industry experience. As well as holding the consultant role of managing director at Dartmoor Brewery in Devon, McCord was also responsible for leading the set-up, launch and strategic direction of the new Salcombe Brewery and its brands. Prior to that, McCord held senior sales roles at Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and Punch. St Austell Brewery chief executive James Staughton said: “When we announced the coming together of St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales we committed to a long-term significant investment in the brands, pub estate, people and the brewing facilities. The creation of a new brewhouse will ensure we’re able to offer even more of what Bath Ales’ customers know and love. Alongside the appointment of Tim, we’re looking forward to being a part of Bath Ales’ next chapter and building on the legacy created by its founders.”

Industry News:

Propel Premium members to receive expanded database of multi-site operators: Propel Premium subscribers will receive an expanded database of multi-site companies this Friday (10 March). A total of 200 multi-site companies have been added to the database this time, which now features 900 multi-site companies in all. 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 digital version of Propel Quarterly magazine a week before publication plus regular audio tapes featuring sector executives and experts. 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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Fuller’s launches five-day London Pride Unfiltered competition: To celebrate the launch of London Pride Unfiltered, brewer and retailer Fuller’s has teamed up with Propel to offer five days of prizes. Brewed true to London Pride’s original recipe, the beer is dry hopped for added character and flavour. Fuller’s goal was to make the beer as natural as possible so it is centrifuged – rather than filtered or pasteurised – to retain taste and complexity. For today’s prize, we have 20 London Pride Unfiltered limited edition T-shirts to give away. To win one, all you have to do is email LondonPrideUnfiltered@Fullers.co.uk with your name and company by 2pm today. The winners will be revealed on the Propel website – www.propelhospitality.com – and keep an eye out for another London Pride Unfiltered prize draw tomorrow. Anyone interested in stocking London Pride Unfiltered should email customer.services@fullers.co.uk or call 023 9271 4444. Terms and conditions apply.

BBPA calls on chancellor to back British beer in Budget following huge rise in exports to China and India: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has called on the chancellor to back British beer in this week’s Budget following new figures published by HMRC revealing a 6% overall rise in exports to non-EU countries, including a 500% rise to China and 417% increase to India. Exports to EU countries also showed solid growth, up 5%. The association said beer was the UK’s third most valuable food and drink export but added that further tax cuts were required to foster growth. British beer exports last year rose to £584m, an increase of £84m from the previous year, with more than one billion pints of beer exported. Currently, 63% of British beer exports go to the EU. The BBPA said that although UK beer duty was not payable on exports, a high rate of beer duty acted as a barrier to growth. The BBPA is also developing an export strategy to support the government’s Food and Drink Action Plan that will chart a path for continued export success as Britain prepares to leave the EU. The BBPA’s strategy will stress the importance of a tariff-free trade deal with the EU that does not generate additional red tape or barriers to trade. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It has been a great year for British beer exports but we can do more. Continuing tariff-free access to our biggest market is essential as we leave the European Union, and our new export strategy will underline this. In addition, our strategy will set Brexit as an opportunity for government to move towards a more competitive tax regime, which will help brewers invest and trade in developing markets around the world. It is vital the government shows its support for our brewing industry, which produces beers sought after the world over. This is why we are calling on the chancellor to cut the duty rate by one penny in the Budget.”

Operators need to ‘rethink’ core menu items to tackle food inflation – report: Foodservice operators need to rethink many of their core menu items to protect their business from inflation and other rising costs in the months ahead, according to the new spring 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast. The new “Lynxometer” analyses a basket of goods routinely bought by hospitality and catering operators and revealed a 9% increase in March 2017, compared with a year ago. Other issues highlighted in the report include continued challenges with imported produce following wet weather and freezing temperatures in southern Europe at the start of the year; high global demand for dairy produce; volatile salmon prices; high demand for British meat; and current or planned rises in the price of wine. Lynx Purchasing managing director Rachel Dobson said: “Clearly we’re in for some challenging times ahead, with food and drink inflation combining with other increased costs. Consumer confidence will be key so those operators that offer appealing, innovative menus that represent good value will be in the strongest position. We’re urging operators to give their menus a thorough ‘spring clean’ to identify dishes where they can build in a defence against the impact of rising costs.”

Company News:

Boparan paid £13m for Giraffe business: New documents show Tesco sold its Giraffe restaurant business to Boparan Restaurant Holdings for £13,057,949 in June last year, compared with the £48.5m Tesco paid to buy the business in 2013. Companies House documents show the Giraffe business produced turnover of £57m in the year to 28 February 2016 (2015: £55m) and Ebitda profit of £2.3m. The company stated: “The estate is comparatively immature, with almost a third of the estate trading for less than two years at the year-end. Some immature sites have performed below sales expectations and management has reflected this with a prudent approach to future earnings forecasts. The financial results are hugely influenced by site asset impairments of £6.8m (2015: £2.3m) and thus show a loss on ordinary activities before taxation of £9.1m (2015: loss of £4.1m). Net current liabilities at the balance sheet date is £14.8m (2015: £17.9m) and net liabilities is £2m (2015: net assets £6m).” Giraffe was launched in 1998 as a “family-friendly global food concept” and was acquired by Tesco in 2013 in a deal worth £48.5m when it had 47 restaurants. The group operated 57 restaurants, which includes 12 franchised sites. Prior to the sale to Boparan, Tesco closed seven Giraffe restaurants located in its Tesco Extra stores. At the time of the sale, Giraffe managing director Tom Crowley said: “We are very excited about the acquisition of our business by Boparan Restaurants Holdings. This now provides us with the opportunity to really focus on developing the Giraffe business to its full potential throughout the UK and overseas.” Ranjit Singh Boparan, chief executive of Boparan, added at the time: “We invest in businesses that add value to our portfolio and Giraffe represents an appealing proposition for both customers and landlords. We believe the brand has significant potential for further growth and look forward to working with Tom and his team to develop the group.”

Buccaneer Holdings reports profit boost: Buccaneer Holdings, which runs eight managed pubs in the south west of England, has reported a turnover and profit boost. The company saw turnover climb to £7,328,359 in the year to 1 November 2016, up from £6,968,694 the year before. Pre-tax profit climbed to £341,939, compared with £199,303 the year before. The company’s managing director is Tim Ruthven, who previously worked for Moreland’s Brewery, Hall & Woodhouse, and Finch’s, before moving to London and working with Whitbread, where he ran 12 managed houses. Buccaneer Holdings has ambitions to grow to 12 sites.

Wild Beer Co closes in on £1m crowdfunding campaign target within first five days: Somerset-based brewer Wild Beer Co is close to completing its £1m crowdfunding campaign within only five days of launching the fund-raise. The company is offering 3.85% equity for investment in its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. So far it has raised £917,5200 from 641 investors with 25 days remaining. The company wants to use the funds to build a destination brewery, including a visitor experience with bars, a restaurant, and shop, develop its current facility into an oak and wild fermentation specialist, and develop its bar and restaurant business. Wild Beer Co’s pitch states: “This is the dream of Brett Ellis and Andrew Cooper who, in 2012, created a brewery that thought wildly different and encouraged you to drink wildly different. We have a passion for wild fermentation and barrel ageing to make beers with complexity and unusual flavour. We have helped create a market within the UK craft beer scene, have become world-renowned for what we do, and now export to 22 countries. This isn’t just about beer, it’s about challenging perceptions, creating a movement and battling against a tradition that says only pints are beautiful and quantity is more important than quality. The funds will not only shape the future of Wild Beer but allow us to continue pushing the boundaries of the beer industry. Our aim is to stay at the forefront of the UK wild fermentation and barrel-ageing beer scene and continue growing our business.” Wild Beer Co operates bars in Bristol and Cheltenham.

Mooboo backs down after staff complaints over 40 hours of unpaid training: 12-strong tea chain Mooboo has backed down after a row over requiring staff to do 40 hours of unpaid training to become “tea artists” – without any guarantee of work. Now the company has back-tracked following multiple complaints. It stated: “In view of the recent feedback, we are prepared to implement a new training process in which all trainees will be paid according to our company set levels once the trainee has entered into our training contract. All our branches will implement the new training procedure with immediate effect to all new trainees.” Mooboo specialises in “bubble tea”, an Asian drink containing tea mixed with fruit or milk and chewy tapioca balls or fruit jelly. The chain has 12 cafes across the UK in Coventry, London, Birmingham, Bradford, Newcastle, Hertfordshire, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

Greene King reaffirms commitment to training young people: Greene King has reaffirmed its commitment to easing the hospitality industry’s skills gap. The UK’s largest pub retailer and brewer will continue to train young people throughout 2017 through its award-winning apprenticeship scheme and The Prince’s Trust Get Into Hospitality programme. Research shows that in order to keep up with demand, the UK’s hospitality sector will require an additional 1.3m staff, including 11,000 chefs, by 2024. Greene King is mitigating this by boosting recruitment of all back-of-house positions, including chefs. It is also continuing to invest in its two key training schemes – the Greene King Apprenticeship Programme and the Get Into Hospitality Programme, in partnership with The Prince’s Trust. Both schemes provide the skills young people need to work in the hospitality industry and, in doing so, help to mitigate the industry-wide skills gap. Last year, the pub company and brewer announced it would offer 10,000 apprenticeships over the next three years, and it is on track to fulfil this pledge. The business has welcomed more than 9,000 apprentices through its doors since the launch of its award-winning scheme in 2011. Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King, said: “It’s more important than ever that we continue to bring young people into the hospitality industry and show it can provide a stable, exciting and rewarding career path. It is becoming recognised that there is a skills shortage for back-of-house roles, so we’re keen to develop talent in this area. Our successful apprenticeship scheme, and The Prince’s Trust Get Into Hospitality programme, allow us to do this. We’re looking forward to welcoming many more apprentices throughout 2017.”

Oxfordshire-based operator Inndeavour acquires Enysham pub, fourth site: Oxfordshire-based operator Inndeavour, led by Kerr Smith and Sarah Robinson-Smith, has acquired its fourth pub in the county. Agent Savills sold the freehold of The Evenlode in Eynsham, near Witney, to Inndeavour on behalf of a corporate client for an undisclosed sum. The deal involved a simultaneous surrender of the leasehold interest. The detached pub offers 2,518 square feet of ground-floor trading space divided into a bar at the front and 116-cover restaurant at the rear. The venue also features three bed and breakfast rooms, with scope to add more subject to planning consent. The company will carry out a full refurbishment during the next few months with a view to opening this summer. It will offer fresh food all day and competitively priced beer and wine. Savills licensed leisure director Chris Bickle said: “The Evenlode occupies a prominent position on the main A40 that links Oxford and the Cotswolds, presenting a significant opportunity for a quality pub and accommodation model. The deal reflects the good levels of operator demand for pubs with rooms we are currently experiencing across many regions.” Inndeavour’s other pubs are the Easington House in Banbury, The Lion in Wendlebury, and The Pickled Ploughman in Adderbury.

JD Wetherspoon to launch drinks calorie count display this week: JD Wetherspoon will become the first pub operator to display calorie counts for its drinks when it launches the initiative on Wednesday (8 March). The information will be introduced on new menus. Among the most calorific drinks is a pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar real ale, which carries a hefty 253 calories. A pint of Stella Artois lager has 227 calories, while a pint of Guinness has 204. There are also 204 calories in a pint of Foster’s lager, while a pint of Strongbow cider has 187. The drink with the fewest calories is Pepsi Max, which has only two in a 398ml glass. The move comes after a poll found 90% of people do not know the calorie count of a pint of beer, with 80% unaware how many calories are in wine. Tim Martin, chairman of the 930-strong group, said: “We want our customers to have as much information as possible so they can make informed decisions about the food and drink they enjoy at our pubs.” Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has lost its chance to revive its controversial plan to convert a disused central Welwyn Garden City house into a boozer, the borough council has confirmed. A council spokeswoman told the Welwyn Hatfield Times no appeal against its refusal of planning permission from JD Wetherspoon had been received, and the deadline had expired. Wetherspoon, whose second planning application for 22 Parkway was rejected in August after vigorous opposition, has said it is “considering its options” for the 1920s house.

Bao and pickle cafe concept Bun House to launch in Soho this month: Bao and pickle cafe concept Bun House is set to launch in Soho this month. The street diner in Greek Street will open on Monday, 27 March offering traditional, Canton-style bao buns with Chinese pickles made in-house, plus sides such as prickly cucumber-style salad. Bun House will also offer homemade “house fries”, which are made from deep-fried duck tongues rather than potatoes. The venue will only have room for ten covers and mainly focus on grab and go. Individually priced steamed bao buns will include char siu with sticky barbecue pork belly, plus lamb, chicken, fish and vegetable options, alongside a selection of sweet dessert buns. Chinese soft drinks and craft beer from Hong Kong will top the drinks list. A cocktail bar named Tea Room will sit below the restaurant – with its own entrance and 3am licence. It will also offer food from the main restaurant until late. The concept is the brainchild of Alex Peffley and wife Zee. He said: “London is my favourite place to eat in the world but there are a lot of foods we grew up with or tried while travelling that are poorly represented here.”

Teesside-based multi-site operator to launch sky bar and pizza projects in Middlesbrough: Barry Faulkner, who operates La Pharmacie bar and the Empire nightclub in Middlesbrough, is set to launch two new projects in the town. The entrepreneur, who also co-owns the Canteen and Cocktails concept with sites in Norton and Newcastle, plans to open a sky bar on the 17th storey of Teesside’s tallest building, Centre North East, which is undergoing a multimillion-pound redevelopment. Faulkner is also partnering with Ashley Whem, with whom he co-owns the Empire, to launch a pizza and charcuterie concept – Scrann – in Norton. Regarding the sky bar, Faulkner told Gazette Live: “It is the tallest building between Leeds and Newcastle. There is nothing else like it around here and the views are stunning. There will be a big island bar in the middle and nice comfortable seating where you will be able book a table for the night.” Faulkner hopes fit-out work can begin in July, ahead of an opening in October. The 80-cover Scrann will offer wood-fired sourdough pizzas and charcuterie and is set to open in May.

Burger King replaces new chicken sandwich after customers brand it ‘disgusting’: Burger King is replacing its Tendercrisp chicken sandwich following poor feedback from customers, with some branding it “disgusting” and “gross” on social media. Burger King’s new crispy chicken sandwich features a four-ounce patty, smaller than the previous version, while the company has also revamped its marinade and cooking process to make the chicken patty “crispier on the outside and juicier on the inside”. It also features lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise in a potato bun. To promote the new menu item, Burger King is airing television adverts featuring customers who made negative comments about the chicken sandwich on social media. In one of the ads, customers are blindfolded and led into a Burger King to try the new menu item. “They went crazy about the new sandwich,” Alex Macedo, president of Burger King North America, said. He told Business Insider: “The Whopper is America’s favourite burger but, on the chicken sandwich side, we haven’t been as successful and quite frankly it’s one of the fastest-growing categories.” The new crispy chicken sandwich will be available in all Burger King restaurants from Thursday (9 March).

Foxlow secures Soho site: Knight Frank Investment Management (KFIM) has let the ground and basement floors at 8-10 Lower James Street in Soho to Foxlow. The site will be the fourth in London for the brand, which is part of Hawksmoor Group, following the success of others in Clerkenwell, Balham and Chiswick. Savills advised KFIM and agreed the terms directly with Foxlow. The brand has agreed a new 20-year lease for 3,900 square feet (362 square metres) of the recently redeveloped site. Benji Ashe, of the central London retail department at Savills, said: “We are very pleased to have secured this letting to Foxlow at 8-10 Lower James Street, following a successful planning application to change the use of this space from office to restaurant. This high-calibre brand will enhance the appeal of the building for office occupiers as well as creating a dining destination in its own right.”

Unsecured creditors owed more than £390,000 after 11-strong Bath Bakery enters administration: Bath Bakery, which operates 11 sites in the city and surrounding area, owes an estimated £393,000 to unsecured creditors after entering administration, with a likely deficit regarding these claims of £282,000. Bath Bakery was founded in 2011 and also operated a separate production facility. It was put into administration earlier this year, with Allan Cadman and Stephen Wainwright, of Manchester-based Poppleton & Appleby, appointed to oversee the process. According to a report by the administrators based on information from Bath Bakery director Mark Slevin, factors that led to the company’s decline included competition from in-store supermarket bakeries, the impact of the National Living Wage, a rise in the cost of ingredients following a fall in the pound, and “poor management”. The administrators said Bath Bakery had been losing money in its retail activities for some time, although its commercial bakery operations were more successful. The assets of eight Bath Bakery outlets were sold to Bristol-based, family-run baker Parsons Bakery for £40,000 in January. Parsons had previously offered £450,000 for nine shops in a deal scheduled to complete in October 2016. This offer, which was accepted, would have enabled the business to focus on commercial bakery production. However, the deal was delayed and, when the company was unable to pay December wages, administrators were appointed.

M&B opens Miller & Carter steakhouse in Surrey following Harvester conversion: Mitchells & Butlers has opened the latest site for its Miller & Carter steakhouse brand following the conversion of a Harvester on the outskirts of Redhill, Surrey. As well as an exterior revamp, the restaurant in Salfords also includes booth seating and modern artwork. Miller & Carter serves 12 cuts of Red Tractor Farm Assured meat, including rib-eye, fillet and chateaubriand. Mitchells & Butlers plans to open more than 25 Miller & Carter sites this year as it continues expansion of the brand. Four further sites are due to launch this month, with another four venues listed as “coming soon” on the company’s website.

Carlsberg reports UK turnover decline and operating losses for 2015: Carlsberg’s UK turnover dropped by circa £55m to £914.9m in the year to the end of 31 December 2015, compared with £970m the year before. Operating losses before exceptional items were £6,667,000 in the year. There was a net gain of £17.2m on the sale of an investment property and £16.8m of proceeds from the sale of a licensing agreement. The company stated: “After a return to growth in 2014, during 2015 the market returned to the long-term trend of marginal decline, ending the year 1.5% down on the prior year. Price deflation in the off-trade failed to stimulate demand with volumes remaining flat year-on-year, whereas the on-trade fell by 2.9%. In the second half of 2014, off-trade volumes exceeded on-trade for the first time, and this trend has continued with the gap between the two widening throughout 2015. The market continued to fragment, with a shift towards premium beers within the world and craft categories, which continued to outperform the beer market as a whole. The standard lager market shrank by 5.9% in the year, with declines in both on and off-trade, whereas the premium beer category saw growth of 2.2%, with similar growth in both channels. Within Carlsberg, the business lost share within the off-trade, where it mutually agreed with a customer to exit from certain large-pack formats. In addition, the business reviewed its SKU range and decided to cease production of certain high complexity, low volume pack types, resulting in further volume decline. As a result, in November 2015 the UK business announced a reorganisation of its Northampton brewery and production facility to fit the future volume profile. Following employee consultation, this restructuring was concluded in the first half of 2016. Carlsberg UK’s on-trade volume development was broadly in line with the overall market decline, with market share staying around 11.5%. As for previous years, at a market level the national on-trade has fared better than the independent free trade, a trend that is replicated within Carlsberg’s own results. On 11 November 2015, the UK business announced its intent to conduct a review of its supply chain operation. The outcome of this review, announced on 29 June 2016, was the company would no longer provide porterage services and, as a consequence, has proposed to transfer its remaining secondary logistics operations to DHL Tradeteam.”

West Country-based Hubbox secures sixth site: Hubbox, which runs popular neighbourhood restaurants specialising in burgers, hotdogs and beer, is set to launch in Bristol in the spring. The brand has secured 113 Whiteladies Road, which previously housed Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, for its sixth site. Hubbox already operates in Truro, Exeter and Plymouth, has a beach bar on Pentewan Sands and a mothership – Hub – in St Ives. Managing director Richard Boon said: “We can’t wait to bring Hubbox to Bristol, which is my home town. We think the south west’s foodie city is going to love our handmade burgers, gourmet hotdogs, in-house-smoked pulled pork and beef brisket. Also on the menu will be some Hubbox favourites, including the National Burger Award-winning Big Kahuna, the Hub burger as highlighted in Deliveroo’s “top take-outs”, and the Mack Daddy, a crispy Cornish mackerel burger with shredded beetroot and horseradish mayo, alongside our vegetarian burgers, homemade nachos and children’s options. We’ll stock a rolling selection of craft beers – on draft, in bottles or cans – and a choice of cocktails, shakes and soft drinks. In Bristol we are also excited to serve coffee from Cornish roasters Origin, which Hub St Ives is renowned for.” Work starts on-site this week to prepare Hubbox Bristol for launch.

Coya to open second London site, in May: Coya, the Peruvian restaurant and members’ club concept, will open its second London site, on Tuesday, 2 May. The new venue will open in Bank’s new Angel Court development and feature a bottle library locker, a Pisco Lounge and Rum Round Table, alongside light and healthy South American cuisine such as ceviche, grilled meat and sharing plates. Coya, which also operates restaurants in Miami and Dubai, will open on the ground floor of the 24-storey development. It will be a sister site to the Latin American restaurant group’s first London venue, in Mayfair. The kitchen will be led by Sanjay Dwivedi, with a focus on Peruvian dishes with a refined twist and a touch of Asian and European influence. Drinks at the venue will heavily feature South American brandy pisco, with a pisco library in the Pisco Lounge. The Rum Round Table will seat six people, while the bottle lockers will allow regulars to keep their own bottle of spirits on the premises. In another twist, DJs at the venue will be female only. Coya chief executive Adam Bel Hadj Amar has previously said: “We seek out cosmopolitan cities around the world where we know the brand will fit and be welcomed. There is a global appetite for Peruvian cuisine given its light, fresh and modern approach and we look forward to introducing the brand to cities across the world.”

Fever Bars to relaunch Lincoln nightclub at former Lola Lo site: Fever Bars will relaunch a Lincoln nightclub this month after acquiring a former Lola Lo site from Eclectic Bars, which is owned by Brighton Pier Group. Following the acquisition in November and a £250,000 refurbishment, the new owners will launch Fever & Boutique on Friday, 17 March. The twin-themed basement club in High Street will offer two separate areas and different styles of music. The Fever Room will be the “party room”, with a new dance floor and velvet interior, whereas the Boutique Room will feature black leather walls, mirrors and laser lights with a soundtrack of R&B and house music. Fever & Boutique general manager John Mason told The Lincolnite: “We have all new everything, we are moving booth seats to different locations to give the venue a new feel. We want to give people a venue that’s a different atmosphere to where they go normally. It’s a twin-scene venue, with something for most people.” Lola Lo opened in April 2012, replacing Japanese-themed club Sakura, which was previously Po Na Na – all brands owned by Eclectic Bars. Fever Bars, led by managing director Mark Shorting, operates 27 sites across the country.

Banksy to open hotel by Bethlehem’s West Bank: Graffiti artist Banksy is set to open a hotel filled with his artwork a few metres from Bethlehem’s controversial West Bank barrier, which separates Israel from Palestinian territories. The anonymous British artist has launched Walled Off Hotel in a bid to attract tourists to the troubled region, The Sun reports. The nine-room, one-suite hotel has been decorated to “resemble an English gentlemen’s club from colonial times”, to acknowledge Britain’s historical role in the region. Guests will be offered traditional afternoon tea, while the hotel will also feature dozens of Banksy’s works, a themed bar and interactive exhibits. The artist has created a number of well-known pieces on the West Bank barrier itself, while the hotel is his latest work since Dismaland – a temporary exhibition in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, which offered a sinister take on theme parks. The hotel will open for bookings later this month.

Faucet Inn set to learn fate of Norwich Babel: City councillors in Norwich will decide on Monday (6 March) whether to grant a licence to Faucet Inn for a new bar/restaurant provisionally entitled Babel On The Terrace at Castle Mall. In documents lodged with Norwich City Council, Faucet Inn describes the venue as a “traditional licensed premises with a significant food offering”. Faucet Inn already runs a site called Babel in Clapham Junction, London. The licensing application states the actual name of the bar/restaurant “will be provided in due course”. The licensing application seeks permission for an alcohol licence from 10am to 1am each day, with opening hours from 7am to 1.30am. The applicant said the idea was to appeal to a “wide demographic of clientele, including families” and there would be a “premium food offering”, with “high levels of service and some waitress provision” in dining areas. It said noise mitigation measures would be built into the construction of the building and “it is not anticipated any issues will arise in relation to noise nuisance”.

Staycity appoints Markus Beike as development director for Germany and Eastern Europe: Dublin-based aparthotel operator Staycity has appointed Markus Beike as development director Germany and CEE, with a focus on developing the brand in Germany, Austria and Eastern Europe. Beike joins Staycity from CBRE Hotels, where he was managing director for northern and eastern Europe. His 30-year career has also included positions at Deutsche Bank and agents Christie & Co. Staycity group development director Barry Hickey said: “Markus will be a great asset to our expanding development team. He has a wealth of experience in areas where we are keen to gain representation as part of our ongoing European expansion, as well as being extremely well-known and respected in the property sector.” Beike added: “Staycity offers a simple alternative to a hotel, with a lot more benefits. It’s the right product for today’s business and leisure travellers. I am thrilled to support the development of the company in what will be new areas of expansion for the brand.” Staycity operates more than 3,000 apartments in ten European cities, including Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, London, Paris and Marseille. This year will see new openings in Lyon, Covent Garden and Manchester, including the first of a new four-star deluxe brand. Staycity intends to grow to 15,000 apartments by 2022.

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