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Wed 8th Mar 2017 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Just Eat pinpoints technology developments as it makes more than 88 million takeaway deliveries in 2016: Just Eat, the global marketplace for online food delivery, delivered 88.1 million takeaway orders in 2016, the year in which the UK market passed the £6bn mark for the first time. Following the announcement of its full-year results for 2016, the company said technology developments had “made food discovery more exciting”. Last year, the company delivered the world’s first takeaway by self-driving robot and became the first five-star-rated iOS food delivery app. The company said it would “continue to push boundaries in 2017”, a year that kicked-off with a record-breaking New Year’s Day, with “40 orders a second at peak times”. Just Eat grew the number of restaurants on its UK platform in 2016 to 27,600. The company said desserts and breakfast dishes were its fastest-growing categories in the UK. Italian food remained the nation’s favourite choice for Just Eat deliveries, with Chinese food second and Indian cuisine third. Just Eat said it processed an average 4.3 orders per second globally in 2016, while global revenues grew by 52% to £376m and profits almost doubled to £115m. Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield said: “Brits embraced online food delivery in 2016, ordering a greater breadth of cuisines and on more occasions throughout the week. Technology developments have made food discovery more exciting. In 2016, we delivered the world’s first takeaway by a self-driving robot and Just Eat became the first five-star-rated iOS food delivery app. Thanks to collaborations with leaders in social media, augmented reality, gaming and virtual reality, consumers will see us continue to push boundaries in 2017. In 2016 we took an important step forward in our journey to create the world’s greatest food community. We used our scale to deliver more cuisine choices to more customers. We delivered more orders than ever before to our restaurants, an average of 3,000 per restaurant, and kicked off 2017 with a record-breaking New Year’s Day, which saw 40 orders a second at peak times.”

Industry News:

Propel Premium members to receive expanded database of multi-site operators: Propel Premium subscribers will soon receive an expanded database of multi-site companies. 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

Win a 30-litre keg of London Pride Unfiltered: To celebrate the launch of London Pride Unfiltered, brewer and retailer Fuller’s has teamed up with Propel to offer five days of prizes. Today’s day-three prize is a 30-litre keg of London Pride Unfiltered. Yesterday, Gavin Drew, of Foundation Inns, was the lucky winner of a 30-litre keg. 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. To win, all you have to do is email LondonPrideUnfiltered@Fullers.co.uk with your name and company by 2pm today. Terms and conditions apply. Anyone interested in stocking London Pride Unfiltered should email customer.services@fullers.co.uk or call 023 9271 4444. Check tomorrow’s newsletter for another London Pride Unfiltered prize draw.

More than 250,000 business rates appeals still unsettled from 2010: Companies have been warned they face “chaos” when new business rates are introduced next month after it emerged more than 250,000 appeals against the last revaluation in 2010 have yet to be settled. A new wave of appeals is expected to be unleashed on a creaking system still working through challenges lodged by businesses seven or more years ago. In addition, almost 800 appeals against the valuations from 2005 remain unresolved, the government’s Valuation Office Agency (VOA) revealed. VOA figures show there were more than one million appeals against the 2010 valuation list, of which a quarter are unresolved. More than seven out of ten were rejected. There were 936,000 appeals against the 2005 valuation list, of which 780 are outstanding. Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, said: “An already chaotic situation is about to get a whole lot worse. It is clear that, through no fault of its own, the valuation office is underfunded and overrun. With next month’s increases and the lack of clarity concerning the new appeals process, thousands of small businesses are facing huge increases and an uncertain future.” However, a government spokesman added: “The figures clearly show how the appeals process is being clogged up by spurious claims, with over 70% of appeals leading to no change to a business’s rateable value.”

Brighton mayor campaigns for bars and restaurants to turn down the noise: A mayor who suffers from hearing loss has joined forces with a charity to encourage pubs and restaurants to reduce background noise. Cllr Pete West, who is mayor of Brighton and Hove, volunteered to raise awareness of the “Speak Easy” campaign by charity Action On Hearing Loss, which aims to talk to restaurants, bars and cafes about background noise. West and charity volunteer Megan Gibbs visited popular restaurants including Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia, Wagamama, Nando’s, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, and PizzaExpress. They measured the decibel rating and assessed whether or not they felt the noise levels gave a pleasant ambience or were intrusively loud. West said: “The Speak Easy campaign has given me a welcome way to feed back to restaurateurs the experience I have as someone living with hearing loss. It was disappointing to find most restaurants we visited were unnecessarily noisy, making it difficult and tiring to hold a clear conversation. We could, though, see simple steps that would improve this, like turning down the music, softening hard surfaces and breaking the rooms up a bit to create some quieter, more intimate spaces. Staff awareness training of hearing loss would help too.”

VisitEngland awards quality assurance scheme licence to AA, prompts ‘monopoly’ concerns: VisitEngland has awarded the new licence for its National Quality Assurance Scheme to the AA. The country’s official tourist board sent a message to members stating: “Following a rigorous tender and evaluation process, VisitEngland has appointed the AA as licence-holder to run all our National Quality Assessment Schemes, subject to contract. The AA has been inspecting and rating hotel and guest accommodation in the UK for over 100 years and follows the same common standards used by VisitEngland and the national tourist boards for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Quality in Tourism continues to operate the schemes until the new licence comes into effect, which we anticipate will be on 1 April.” However, a hospitality industry source told Propel that as the AA ran the only competing scheme in the industry, VisitEngland had created a “market monopoly as the AA will operate both schemes with no other choice in the market”. He said: “My key concern is if I wanted to be with the AA, I would already be with the AA, and there has been zero communication with regards to how the AA will meet regulations with regards to my data. How do they plan to keep the two schemes separate, maintain data integrity and ensure my data is not used for commercial gain as they are a commercial company?”

Company News:

Moody’s affirms Stonegate rating as it refinances: Rating agency Moody’s affirmed Stonegate Pub Company’s stable rating ahead of its successful £585m refinance last week. The money refinanced the existing £480m senior secured notes, funded a £42m dividend and allowed the return of £41m capital invested by the parent company. Emmanuel Savoye, an assistant vice-president at Moody’s, said: “Moody’s decision reflects the company’s improved Ebitda achieved over the last 12 months, good top-line growth resulting from new sites acquisitions as well as above-market like-for-like sales growth, and improved Ebitda margins, which balance the debt increase in the context of the notes refinancing.” The improved Ebitda was driven by continued good sales performance, with group like-for-like sales growth of 3% in the financial year ending September 2016 compared with 1.2% the previous year, higher margins due to better sales mix and pricing initiatives, and the successful integration of newly acquired businesses. As a result, reported revenues and company reported adjusted Ebitda increased by 14.4% and 22.3% respectively in FY2016 compared with the previous year, while the company reported adjusted Ebitda margin increased to 14.9% from 14%.

JD Wetherspoon puts new burger, bagel and breakfast options on the menu: JD Wetherspoon has added new gourmet burger, bagel and breakfast options to its menu, alongside two new hotdogs and a quinoa salad. The New York deli burger is a 6oz beef patty with pastrami, mustard mayo and gherkin, while the Empire State burger features two 6oz beef patties with American cheese slices and maple-cured bacon. Two hotdogs have also been added to the menu – State dog (with Monterey Jack cheese and pepper sauce, maple-cured bacon, gherkin and crispy onion), and Bombay dog (curry sauce, tomato, onion, coriander and crispy onion). The quinoa salad features rice, avocado, adzuki beans, grilled red and yellow pepper, red cabbage, chia seeds and kale and is offered on its own or with pulled chicken or grilled halloumi. The two new bagels are a New York-style pastrami bagel (mustard mayo, rocket and gherkin) and smashed avocado bagel (tomato, onion and coriander), the latter appearing as one of three lighter additions to Wetherspoon’s breakfast menu alongside new scrambled egg on toast and beans on toast options.

Hampshire-based franchisee opens 50th Costa Coffee site: Hampshire-based businessman Robin Arkle has opened his 50th Costa Coffee franchise. The opening in Ilfracombe, Devon, makes him the second-largest Cost Coffee franchisee. Arkle and business partner Andy Hirst run Premier Coffee and sister company Jurassic Coast Coffee from above a Costa store in Southampton. They operate sites in Hampshire, Dorset, Devon, Wiltshire and Sussex, employing 600 staff with an annual turnover of £22m. Arkle and Hirst took on their first Costa Coffee site in Fleet, Hampshire, in 2004. At the time, Whitbread owned 300 Costa Coffee outlets – there are now 2,000 stores, with half of them run by franchisees. Arkle plans seven openings this year and believes there is room for the brand to open another 400 to 500 sites. Arkle believes the rise of coffee can be linked to the disappearance of pubs, with three of his outlets in former boozers. He said: “Coffee shops have grown at the same rate pubs have closed. They are replacing the pub as a place for people to meet. The smoking ban has had a huge impact on pubs, especially if they don’t have an outside smoking area. Most of our outlets have external seating areas. Coffee shops also appeal to women in the way pubs never have.” Premier Coffee also operates two staff training centres – in Southampton and Tiverton.

Rosa’s Thai Café and Coal Shed sign for One Tower Bridge: Rosa’s Thai Café and Brighton-based The Coal Shed are the latest brands to sign up for the new hospitality offering at One Tower Bridge, Berkeley’s mixed-use development in central London. The brands will join former MasterChef: The Professionals star Tom Simmons, who is launching a Welsh restaurant, and Caprice Holdings-owned Ivy brasserie at the development. They will sit alongside Sir Nicholas Hytner’s and Nick Starr’s 900-seat Bridge Theatre, with all venues due to open this autumn. Rosa’s Thai Cafe will occupy a 1,250 square foot site in Duchess Walk, the development’s new pedestrianised street. Earlier this month, Rosa’s Thai Cafe secured a 1,500 square foot site at Seven Dials. It currently operates eight sites in London – in Brixton, Carnaby Street, Chelsea, Islington, Soho, Spitalfields, Victoria and Westfield Stratford. It will be the second venue for steak restaurant The Coal Shed, which has taken a 2,300 square foot space overlooking the recently completed public piazza. Rosa’s Thai Café co-founder Alex Moore said: “It’s a location we know has great lunchtime and dinner potential. We’re very excited to be returning to the neighbourhood and opening at One Tower Bridge.” The Coal Shed director Razak Helalat added: “Having enjoyed wonderful and humbling success in Brighton with both The Coal Shed and The Salt Room restaurants, we are incredibly proud to bring The Coal Shed to One Tower Bridge. Since opening nearly six years ago, it feels like a natural progression to be opening to a new audience in London.”

Atlas Pub Co to bring Buca Di Pizza brand to Manchester: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co is bringing its Buca Di Pizza brand to Manchester. The company operates two restaurants in Leeds and will open its new venue in Manchester city centre’s Lloyd Street in the spring at the former Baltic Cellar site. Buca Di Pizza offers unlimited “Tutto” pizza and prosecco deals, boozy bottomless brunches and “traditional classics with modern twists”. Pizza varieties include the Snake Charmer (Goan coconut curry sauce, chilli-glazed paneer, lamb koftas and onion bhajis). Buca di Pizza also offers pasta dishes, cicchetti and cocktails. The first site opened in Leeds in late 2014, followed by a second in the city’s grade II-listed Stratford House last year. For the first time, the Manchester venue will also feature a cocktail and prosecco bar and a delicatessen selling Italian produce. Atlas Pub Co was founded by brothers Geoff and Nicolas Thornton and opened its first restaurant, The Terrace, in Leicester in 2002. The company opened its first bar in Leeds – Épernay – in 2005, followed by The Pour House in 2011, which it has since sold, and Atlas in 2013.

Specialist lasagne restaurant Mister Lasagna to open third London site, in Belgravia: Mister Lasagna, a specialist restaurant dedicated to the humble pasta dish, will open its third London site, this time in Belgravia, on Friday (10 March). Mister Lasagna prepares 21 varieties of lasagne fresh each day. The new restaurant in Elizabeth Street will also feature two new dessert lasagnes on its menu – Nutella and Oreo. The concept is the brainchild of Alessandro Limone and offers lasagne dishes such as ham and cheese, mushroom, pesto, carbonara, vegetable, four cheeses, and Napoletana (meatballs, egg, bolognese, ricotta and bechamel). The venues also offer rotating specials, while there is a choice of four sauces to accompany each lasagne, plus desserts including tiramisu, caramel panna cotta, and white chocolate souffle. The restaurants also offer a takeaway service as well as coffee, savoury tarts, sweet pastries, pasta and a selection of Italian liqueurs. Limone states on the company’s website: “The demand for Italian food in London is huge and lasagne is one of the most popular dishes. Mister Lasagna offers traditional Italian cooking just like my grandmother would serve to me when I was a little boy. When you mention lasagne, many people think of the well-known bolognese recipe, but with our 21 varieties we hope to change London’s perception on this classic dish.” The other Mister Lasagna sites are in Rupert Street, Soho, and Air Street, Piccadilly.

Talented Mr Fox founder to launch Scout bar in Shoreditch championing British ingredients: Cocktail guru Matt Whiley, founder of London-based drinks company Talented Mr Fox, is set to open a new bar – Scout – in Shoreditch, east London, on Tuesday, 11 April. The new venue in Great Eastern Street will aim to “shift the way we think about cocktails and drinks” by championing seasonal British ingredients. The drinks list will change regularly as produce from farmers and growers comes in and out of season. Scout’s drinks menu will feature ten cocktails, five house ferments, five beers – one brewed in-house – and a small selection of natural wine. Sample cocktails include strawberry wine with gin lemon balm and whey, and burnt beetroot with horseradish, apple and hay vermouth. Sustainability will be another key focus, with every usable part of each ingredient incorporated to cut waste. The snacks menu will feature dishes such as toasted sourdough with house kohlrabi, sauerkraut and London coppa. In addition to the ground-floor bar, Scout will also feature The Laboratory – a ten-seat private area offering an exclusive menu of daily changing drinks and a first look at cocktails in development. The space will also host tastings and mixology masterclasses as part of a monthly events programme. Whiley told Hot Dinners: “If it’s not in season in the UK, we won’t buy it. We have amazing produce in this country and I really want to celebrate what’s local, native and seasonal to the British Isles.”

Michelin-starred Matt Gillan fails with Redroaster crowdfunding campaign: Matt Gillan, who won a Michelin star at South Lodge Hotel in West Sussex and the main course section of the Great British Menu television show two years ago, has failed in his crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. Gillan was bidding to raise £80,000 for his new Redroaster coffee house by day and restaurant in the evening project in Kemp Town, Brighton, opening in partnership with former Mitchells & Butlers executive Mike Palmer. The project raised £14,655 when it ended yesterday. The money was to be spent on developing the garden.

Edinburgh-based multi-site operator to launch riverside cafe in Musselburgh: Franco Martone, who operates Bar Italia and two Italian restaurants in Edinburgh, plans to open a riverside cafe in Musselburgh, East Lothian. Martone has submitted an application to East Lothian Council to convert a former Baptist church hall in High Street into the new venue. He hopes to increase the cafe seating area by creating an upper-floor level and external public terrace, with views over the River Esk, the East Lothian Courier reports. The planning statement issued by Edinburgh-based Format Design on behalf of Martone said: “The proposal would take advantage of the riverside setting. It is intended to introduce more of a promenade feel along Eskside, which is presently considered to be a missed opportunity. It would create a very attractive place to sit and have a coffee, particularly on the balcony overlooking the Esk. This would have a positive impact on the town centre.” Martone’s Edinburgh restaurants are Ciao Roma in South Bridge and Hispaniola in Drummond Street. All the family-run company’s sites also offer the Martone range of ice cream and sorbets to take away.

Marco Pierre White chef rejoins Marco: A chef who helped Marco Pierre White attain two of his three Michelin stars at his famed Harveys restaurant in London has taken the reins at a current Marco Pierre White venue. Jason Everett, who worked with the Hell’s Kitchen star and restaurateur for two years, is now heading up the Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill at Cadbury House in north Somerset as executive head chef. Alongside Gordon Ramsay, Everett was instrumental in helping Pierre White attain two of his three Michelin stars, making Harveys the hangout of choice for the London celebrity scene. He said: “Marco has always kept in touch to see what I’ve been up to so we got together at the 25th anniversary exhibition of his ground-breaking White Heat book. It was there he asked if I would be interested in taking over the steakhouse at Cadbury House. The things I learned with Marco while at Harveys have never gone away and I plan to pass on that knowledge to the team here. It was a small kitchen but ultimately helped build my career and I want to do the same for those coming into the sector.”

BrewDog craft beer hotel project raises $133,704: BrewDog’s crowdfunding campaign to raise money to open a craft beer hotel and sour beer brewery next to its brewery in Canal Winchester has so far raised $133,704 from 871 backers. The company stated in its pitch: “We want to create the top craft beer destination on the planet. Our brewery in Ellon, Scotland, has become a destination for craft beer fans across Europe and we want to build an even more amazing beer destination Stateside. With The DogHouse focused on amazing craft beer from BrewDog and our favourite breweries worldwide, we’re creating the ideal environment in which to immerse yourself in the ultimate beery weekend. The BrewDog hotel and sour beer brewery will cost $6m to build and furnish, and the proceeds of this campaign will enable us to fast-track the project through to completion. The designs are well under way and we should have these finalised by June. The build will then be accelerated for the hotel to be operational by quarter three 2018.”

Gordon Ramsay-trained chef heads kitchen at new Chromos concept in Canterbury: Matt Laville, who trained under celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and has worked at three Michelin-starred restaurant Arzak in Spain and Jason Atherton’s Michelin-starred Pollen Street Social venue in London, is heading the kitchen at new concept Chromos in Canterbury. As well as a restaurant with circus entertainment, the venue in Stour Street also features a cocktail bar, barber’s shop, mini-cinema and Kent’s first cereal bar. Chromos describes itself as “unique and delicious” and promises to “satisfy customers whether they desire a delightful three-course meal or appetising breakfast cereal, providing a solution for morning, evening and night”. Laville told Kent Live: “I had only met the owner once when the idea was put to me and I thought it was a pretty cool initiative. The more I thought about it, I was thinking ‘this is going to be a challenge’ but after years of grafting in Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s nice to do something a bit different. My true love is fine dining but I want to make it work and help it to expand.” Venue manager Gemma Back added: “It’s completely crazy but I think it’s going to bring a breath of fresh air to the social life in Canterbury.”

Soho House Farmhouse plans ten ‘pigsty’ pods at Oxfordshire retreat: Soho House Farmhouse plans to build ten “pods” in the style of pigsties to house an extra 40 guest bedrooms at its Oxfordshire base. However, those living nearby claim the extra bedrooms will increase traffic on country roads. The plans have received more than a dozen objections, including one from Judge Charles Harris, who said the pods were “quite manifestly wholly incongruous”. He demanded to know why the local council in “this attractive part of the world” should accept “corrugated iron as an acceptable material”. He added: “The developers seem to favour shabby-looking, part-metal constructions which look like something from a smart part of Soweto. No doubt they feel this is ‘chic’, like jeans with holes in the knees, but if people want to stay in tin shacks they should go elsewhere.” Judge Harris, who lives nearby, also raised concerns about the roads that, he said, were already in “poor condition”.

Yotel beefs up senior management ahead of ‘affordable luxury’ hotel expansion: Yotel, the budget accommodation chain launched by YO! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe, has made a number of senior appointments as it expands its chain of “affordable luxury” hotels. Belinda Atkins, former brand operations vice-president of Wyndham Hotel Group, has been appointed to Yotel’s newly created role of senior vice-president of global operations, supported by Keir Wingrove as assistant vice-president for openings and transitions. The London-based positions come as Yotel plans to open properties in Boston, Singapore and San Francisco this year following a new hotel at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Other properties are planned for 2018-19 in Clerkenwell in London, Dubai, Miami, Williamsburg and Singapore Changi airport. The company has also appointed Nikhil Manchharam as managing director of business development for Asia, while Jurian Schouwe joins as vice-president of business development for northern Europe. Rohan Thakkar has been promoted to vice-president of development, based at Yotel’s London headquarters, focusing on the rest of the EMEA region. Yotel chief executive Hubert Viriot said: “We are in a position where we are experiencing global expansion at an unprecedented pace. These are exciting times and the acquisition of these industry talents to our team is testament to the strength and attraction of the Yotel brand in the industry.” Woodroffe launched the first Yotel at Gatwick airport in 2007. He later sold the company to a Kuwaiti property giant.

Cheese Truck founder opens permanent site in Camden: Music festival trader The Cheese Truck, founded by Mathew Carver in 2014, has opened a permanent site in Camden. The company raised £130,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in November to fund the opening of The Cheese Bar at Camden Market. The Cheese Bar offers a cheese-focused menu championing cheese-makers from within the M25, while the restaurant features floor-to-ceiling display fridges housing more than 30 British cheeses, as well as a changing selection of 20 craft beers. Carver said: “After travelling the length and breadth of the UK serving grilled cheese sandwiches from our trucks Alfie and Audrey, we’re so excited to be taking up residence in Camden Market.”

Faucet Inn gets Babel go-ahead in Norwich: Faucet Inn has been given the go-ahead for a new Babel bar and restaurant on The Terrace in Norwich – it already operates a Babel venue in Clapham Junction, London. The company sought permission for an alcohol licence from 10am until 1am each day and opening hours from 7am to 1.30am. But ahead of a meeting of Norwich City Council’s licensing committee, the hours being sought were changed, with closing time at 12.30am and the premises licence until midnight. Norfolk police did not object to the proposal but proposed that, after 11pm, the consumption of alcohol and soft drinks would not be allowed outside the main seating area of the building. Tim Shield, solicitor for Faucett Inn, said of the new venue: “It’s a very-much food-led concept. Food will be a very important part of the offer. Alcohol will be an important part of the offer and music will be a part of the offer. It is certainly not a pub. We are ready and we are looking to open later on this year.”

Second phase of Chester dining quarter gets go-ahead: The second phase of Chester’s dining quarter has received approval. Planning consent is in place for five new restaurants within Grosvenor Shopping Centre opposite the first phase of the Pepper Street dining quarter, which features Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, Opera Grill steakhouse, The Restaurant Group-owned Coast to Coast, and Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga. Computer-generated pictures reveal images featuring names and logos that bear more than a passing resemblance to those of Jamie Oliver, Wagamama and Cote. However, they are spelled differently. The real identities of the potential operators are as yet unknown.

Molson Coors takes over UK distribution of Belgian and Dutch craft beer brands Palm and La Trappe: Molson Coors has taken over UK distribution of craft beer brands belonging to Belgium-based Palm Belgian Craft Brewers and La Trappe Trappist ales from the De Koningshoeven brewery in the Netherlands. The deal follows the long-term partnership agreement that was finalised between Molson Coors and Dutch brewer Bavaria in July 2016, which gave Molson Coors UK exclusive rights in the on and off-trade to the sales, distribution and customer marketing of Bavaria and its portfolio of brands in the UK. The two distribution deals will bring Belgian craft beers including Palm, Brugge, Rodenbach and Cornet, alongside De Koningshoeven’s full La Trappe range, into Molson Coors’ portfolio. The deals will initially be a focus for Brew & Press, the Molson Coors business unit launched in London last year. Molson Coors UK customer excellence director Andy Hadley said: “We are excited to be taking these iconic beers from Belgium and Holland into the Molson Coors portfolio, giving our customers even more choice in an area of the market currently seeing substantial growth. The demand for interesting and different beers continues to grow, and we think these beers can play an important role for Molson Coors and our customers.” Molson Coors already distributes Bavaria brands including Bavaria Premium, Bavaria 0.0%, Hollandia, Holland Import and Claro in the UK.

MasterChef judge Monica Galetti opens Fitzrovia restaurant: Monica Galetti, judge in BBC television series MasterChef: The Professionals and former senior sous chef at Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche in Mayfair, has opened her own restaurant in Fitzrovia. The restaurant – Mere – is a joint venture between Galetti and her sommelier husband David. The venue in Charlotte Street is set over two floors, with a 20-seat ground-floor bar that offers cocktails and snacks and a basement restaurant with more than 60 covers. Mere offers a seasonal menu featuring a “lighter take on the classics” as well as new dishes, Hot Dinners reports. The name Mere comes from a combination of the French word for mother and the Samoan word for Mary, the name of Galetti’s mother.

Malmaison opens Brighton Marina boutique hotel after multimillion-pound renovation: Boutique hotel chain Malmaison has opened a new venue following a multimillion-pound renovation of a property at Brighton Marina. The hotel features a Chez Mal bar and brasserie, terraces with views over the marina, private balconies, and five high-tech business and events spaces catering for eight to 140 guests. Malmaison Hotel du Vin chief executive Paul Roberts told Hotel Owner: “We’re truly excited to bring Malmaison to Brighton – we feel the city and brand are a perfect pair. The team has worked tirelessly to transform the hotel to create something truly special. Malmaison Brighton makes a bold statement in the Brighton hotel scene and we are incredibly proud of the transformation.”

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