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Fri 10th Mar 2017 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Ben’s Canteen reaches £250,000 crowdfunding target to open third site: Neighbourhood concept Ben’s Canteen has reached its £250,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to help open a third site and fund the growth of the restaurant group. The company, founded in 2011, is offering a 23.81% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 82 investors have pledged £258,830 and it is now “overfunding” with 29 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £50,000. Ben’s Canteen is looking to expand after the success of its sites in Clapham Junction and Earlsfield. The company is due to open a site in September in the phase one development at Battersea Power Station – Circus West Village – which will have direct access to large areas of adjoining public open space, including a section of the new six-acre riverfront park leading into Battersea Park. Battersea Power Station itself stretches over 42 acres, with a project value of £9bn. Opening there will fuel further growth for Ben’s, the aim being to reach a total of ten sites in the next five years. Owner Ben Walton added: “I am hugely excited about Ben’s Canteen number three. I believe that as well as a fantastic business proposition, we are also giving investors a set of exciting rewards and a chance to be part of our journey. What drew me to this particular site was the sense of history and the chance to be situated among the old and the new was too good to miss. We focus on burgers, wine and brunch, three of the largest trends in London and beyond. We are well positioned to grow as these markets continue their upward trajectory. I’m confident the three sites will become ten as we continue to grow.” The crowdfunding campaign is offering an opportunity to invest in Full Larder, which trades as Ben’s Canteen. Ben’s Canteen is an award-winning concept having been voted Best Restaurant in Wandsworth in the 2015 and 2016 Time Out Love London Awards and named among the Evening Standard’s Top 25 Brunches in London.

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 an overnight stay with breakfast and dinner for two plus 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. The final prize of the competition is an overnight stay with breakfast and dinner for two at a Fuller’s hotel – or one of its pubs with boutique bedrooms – plus a 30-litre keg of London Pride Unfiltered. Yesterday, Kevin McAnulty, operations manager of The Duck & Rice in Soho, 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. We will name the winner of the overnight stay in Monday’s newsletter.

Pubs Code Adjudicator makes five awards after completing first arbitration cases: Pubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) Paul Newby has made five awards after completing the first cases referred for arbitration. He said more than half the accepted cases were at a stage where parties were agreeing procedure between themselves before the process reached the final stages. He added that this indicated the new framework was “working to achieve fairness and choice for tenants”. Newby said: “As part of arbitration, parties are encouraged to continue to negotiate and I am pleased to see this process is bringing pub-owning businesses and tenants to the negotiating table. In many cases this is leading to the narrowing of issues, a stronger negotiation position for tenants and swifter settlement. It shows arbitration is fulfilling its purpose – tenants and pub-owning businesses are talking and coming to agreement between themselves. As more cases reach award stage, I will see where we can identify general principles and make information and advice available to tenants and pub-owning businesses to guide their future relationships. Some big issues such as what a Market Rent Only compliant tenancy looks like are in the arbitration process. All cases will be considered on an individual basis. My team and I are working very hard to progress all referrals. However, the parties in any dispute have significant control on timing because at each stage of arbitration tenants and pub-owning businesses both have to respond with information or views or take action independently of the PCA to allow the process to move forward. The code is also new and, inevitably, many of the issues raised are the first of a kind and take some time to resolve.” Newby said he was continuing to gather information about the code and urged any “individual or organisation with information about potential code breaches to bring that information to me” to be treated in the “fullest confidence”. Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added: “While the details of cases are confidential, it is important for everyone to understand the general principles being established by the cases so many similar issues can be resolved at the earliest stage. We continue to work with the adjudicator and our members to ensure there is clarity for everyone.”

Southwark Council uses powers to protect pubs from change of use: Southwark Council has used its powers to restrict developers from turning pubs into shops, offices or homes without first seeking full planning permission. Currently, a pub can be demolished or converted into a number of other uses without a developer needing to submit a planning application. Notably, The Elephant & Castle pub nearly became a branch of Foxtons estate agents because of these permitted development rights (PDR). In that case the pub was registered as an Asset of Community Value, which removed the PDR. Southwark has lost a third of its pubs in the past decade, with 164 traditional pubs currently trading in the borough. Now the council’s planning committee has agreed to impose an article 4 direction, which means developers would need to submit a planning application before turning a pub into an estate agent or shop. The planning committee’s decision takes immediate effect, with a six-week consultation period being held before a decision is made as to whether the measure will be made permanent. Southwark is the second London borough to introduce the policy, after Wandsworth. Mark Williams, Southwark Council’s cabinet member for regeneration and new homes, told London SE1: “We value the role local pubs play for our residents and we know many of them in the borough are well used and much loved by local people. As well as supporting local businesses and jobs our pubs play a vital role in the heart of the communities they serve. This is why we felt it was important to make sure the council and local community have a say when pubs are put forward for development to help ensure that changing the use of pubs only happens in the right circumstances and in the right areas.”

Uber launches UberEats in Birmingham: Uber has launched its food delivery service UberEats in Birmingham. Following its successful UK launch in London last year and Manchester last month, the food app is now online in the city. The service promises to deliver restaurant-standard dishes to homes and offices. It has signed up more than 100 foodservice brands, including natural fast food brand Leon, French artisan bakery and patisserie Paul and barbecue-style restaurant Rub Smokehouse. Using a network of bicycles and mopeds, the service will initially deliver in central Birmingham before potentially expanding in the coming months. As well as aiming to deliver in 30 minutes, the food delivery firm is also offering no minimum order size. UberEats general manager Mathieu Proust told The Business Desk: “We’re really excited to be launching UberEats in our third city. We have been blown away with the quality of the food in the city and can’t wait to get the service fully up and running. We have a very successful taxi business here and are confident UberEats will be just as popular.”

Sunsail and race winners Mast-Jaegermeister UK call on companies to compete in 2017 Drinks Trade Regatta: Sunsail and 2016 winners Mast-Jaegermeister UK are calling on drinks industry businesses to join them in raising funds for charity in this year’s Drinks Trade Regatta. Formerly known as the Interbrewery Regatta, the event takes place from 2-4 June on a fleet of Sunsail First 40s yachts, leaving from Port Solent. The cost is £3,200 per yacht, which includes VAT and a £1,000 charity donation. The top three overall teams will be able to donate a percentage (first place 50%, second 30%, and third 20%) to a charity of their choice. The two-day event includes dinner at the Royal Yacht Squadron and a prize-giving ceremony in Port Solent. Crews can be novices as skippers can be provided for an additional cost by Sunsail, which facilitates the event. The 2016 Regatta was organised by Beds and Bars chief executive Keith Knowles and his team, which won the 2015 event. The event raised more than £15,000 for charity, with 16 teams taking part. Faucet Inn and Anglian Country Inns took the other top spots, while other competitors included Shepherd Neame, Brilliant Beer Company, Peach, Young’s, HSBC, Christie & Co, John Gaunt, St Austell Brewery, Zonal, Magners (C&C group), Matthew Clark, RSM UK, Yummy Pub Co, Admiral Inns and Sky. For more details on charters or the event, call Terry Hunt at Sunsail on 02392 222 221 or email terryhunt@sunsail.com

Community and pubs minister welcomes hospitality apprentices to House of Commons: Community and pubs minister Andrew Percy welcomed 100 apprentices from the hospitality sector during their visit to the House of Commons as part of Apprenticeship Week (6-10 March). The apprentices were accompanied by ministers, MPs, parents, trade associations and company representatives. Percy said: “Before I became an MP, I was a teacher and saw the value of apprenticeships in my own area. This (hospitality) industry offers a range of brilliant jobs that contribute to the UK economy. It’s a good industry to get into and to make a career in.” Stonegate Pub Company chairman Ian Payne spoke at the event about his own career, in which he began in a pub aged 17 and worked his way up from “bar to board”. He added: “We work in an industry that employs 1.5 million people so let’s never forget how important our jobs are to the UK’s industry and economy. I totally refute that a job in this industry is not a proper or less of a career option than in other industries in the UK. In 2016, one in eight of all new jobs in the UK were created in this industry.”

BBPA expresses disappointment at proposed Late Night Levy in Hackney: The British Beer & Pub Association has expressed its disappointment at a decision by Hackney Council to consult on implementing a Late Night Levy in the borough. Chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is very disappointing to see a vibrant central London borough like Hackney seek to impose this new tax on local businesses, many of which are already reeling from rocketing business rates in the capital. An extra new tax would only deter investment further. It is also a real disincentive for local businesses to work constructively with the council on improving the borough – it undermines partnership schemes between pubs, councils and the police, which can produce very positive results. Other councils in big cities such as Bristol and Leeds have stepped back from a levy, and only weeks ago Cheltenham became the first council to abolish its levy completely, as it didn’t raise the money expected. This is a move in the wrong direction. We will be making all these points very clearly to the council and I hope it reconsiders these plans.”

Sector public relations consultant named in ‘Power Book’: Sector media relations consultant Eddie Gershon has been named in the PR Week Power Book 2017 – the guide to the UK’s most influential communications professionals. It is the third consecutive year that Gershon, who runs the eponymous Gershon Media Relations, has been listed. His clients include JD Wetherspoon, Welcome Break and the VAT cut campaign.

Company News:

Potting Shed secures fourth site, in Guiseley: Potting Shed Trading, a company founded by the Burning Night management team and funded by the Downing EIS Pub fund, has secured its fourth site. The company has acquired the former HSBC bank in Guiseley, which will now undergo refurbishment. It will add to Potting Shed’s portfolio of contemporary gastro-pubs, with a signature garden theme and menu of wood-fired pizzas, homemade classics, cocktails and craft ales. Bingley in West Yorkshire was chosen as the location for the first Potting Shed in April 2015, and the company opened a further pub in Beverley, East Yorkshire, in August last year with a third due to open soon in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Each site has seen substantial investment, breathing new life into formerly disused buildings and converting them to create a distinctive trademark look, including brightly coloured wooden sheds in large garden areas for private bench seating. Steven Kenee, partner at Downing LLP, said: “We have been really impressed with the progress of the first two sites and we look forward to bringing the concept to the people of Guiseley.” Allan Harper, founder of Burning Night Group and director of Potting Shed Trading, added: “Potting Shed bar and grill has been so successful since we launched the first one less than two years ago that it’s given us real confidence to open more. Location is always crucial in everything we do and this particular site in Guiseley offered us a great opportunity to create something that’s different and fun, which we’re sure customers will enjoy.”

Sloane Bros fails in £150,000 crowdfunding bid: London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros has failed in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Joe Chakra, was offering a 7.5% equity stake in return for the investment as it looked to open outlets in shopping centres across the UK as well as overseas franchises. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately, Sloane Bros did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” The pitch stated: “The funds from this round will be used to secure new UK locations and to launch the business-to-business packaged products business, as well as set up the franchising infrastructure. We believe the company would represent an excellent acquisition opportunity by adding a product line extension to several strategic acquirers, which would be more likely to provide better returns to the company’s shareholders than a listing or private equity sale. However the company would, of course, entertain all approaches.” Earlier this year, Chakra told Propel the company was looking to build a 16-strong UK estate in the next five years.

Douglas Jack holds Domino’s Pizza forecasts following slowdown in like-for-like sales growth: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has held his forecast on Domino’s Pizza following a slowdown in its like-for-like sales growth. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 400p, he said: “UK like-for-like sales were 4.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 1.5% in early 2017, versus 3.9% in the third quarter of 2016 (against comparable of 14.9% in the third quarter of 2015, 11.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 10.5% in the first quarter of 2016). The Winter Survival deal (which accounted for more than 30% of sales in January 2016) did not perform as well as last year (due partly to a diluted offer, removing the cookies), a softer market, and Pizza Hut becoming more aggressive. UK and Republic of Ireland operating profit rose by 16% to £86.5m in 2016, with margins rising by 65 basis points. Online sales were 72% of delivered sales (from 67%), with mobile sales accounting for 73% (from 64%) of online sales and app downloads rising to 14.9 million from ten million. Our forecasts cautiously assume UK margins fall in 2017E. UK and Republic Of Ireland franchisee profitability rose by 6.5% to £161,000 per mature store, by our estimates, with franchisee margins falling slightly due to higher labour investment by franchisees. The company has now locked in most of its food costs for 2017E, with food cost inflation rising to circa 5%. Although this is unlikely to help franchisee profits and store growth, franchisee demand for new stores is strong and 80 new stores should open in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2017E. Like-for-like sales were up overseas – by 10.3% in the Republic of Ireland and by 9.3% in Switzerland. Swiss losses remained at £1.3m. The company has acquired Dolly Dimple’s in Norway and assumed a controlling shareholding in the Norway, Sweden and Iceland Domino’s businesses but is still not providing guidance for the Nordics. As we said last week, one cannot expect like-for-like sales to grow by double digits forever or for new stores’ average sales not to contract and, to partially compensate this in the investment case, excess cash generation should be recycled into overseas expansion and share buybacks. However, we did not expect like-for-like sales to fall below our 3% forecast assumption.”

Sugar Hut offers franchise opportunities: Sugar Hut, the brand launched by The Only Way Is Essex star Mick Norcross, is offering franchise opportunities as it looks to continue expansion. The company operates sites in Brentwood and Liverpool and is aiming to open venues in Newcastle and Cardiff. Chief executive Terry Pullen said: “We are now offering brand partners the opportunity to share in our national expansion through a franchise relationship. Sugar Hut is currently discussing this opportunity with various existing operators and new businesses alike, who are keen to capture and work with the unique proposition of high-profile exposure and instant awareness packaged exclusively with distinctive entertainment and operations.” Pullen added that Sugar Hut’s decision to franchise would ensure “we capture the original and exclusive overall lifestyle experience our guests enjoy by working with committed owner/operators in city locations nationwide”.

Costa Coffee becomes first UK brand to use Snap Spectacles: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee has become the first UK brand to use Snap Spectacles. Costa has launched a social marketing campaign using Snap’s wearable camera glasses, Spectacles, to give fans a teaser of the product before it launches in the UK. The campaign from AnalogFolk will take Snapchatters behind the scenes of its cafes to show how baristas make coffee from a first-person perspective. Snap Spectacles film in circular video, giving viewers the ability to rotate their phone to see more of the video. The new creative content series will air on the company’s Snapchat channel, Costacoffeeuk. It will not extend the content to channels beyond Snapchat as it is difficult to take Spectacles-filmed content outside of the Snapchat platform, the company said. A spokesman told The Drum: “Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social platforms outside of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It makes sense for us to take this step with Snapchat and broaden our content offering to this first-person Snap Spectacles perspective.” Snap Spectacles launched in the US in September.

Mu Mu to open third site, in Wellingborough this month: Northamptonshire-based gourmet burger company Mu Mu is to open its third site, in Wellingborough later this month. The company will open the venue in High Street on Friday, 31 March. It has applied to Wellingborough Council for a premises licence to sell alcohol and play recorded music indoors, reports the Northamptonshire Telegraph. Mu Mu opened its first site in Kettering in 2014 followed by an outlet in Northampton in December 2015. It sells elaborate burgers, pizzas, cocktails and “freakshakes”, which are milkshakes topped with cakes, doughnuts and other sweet things. The restaurants feature an industrial, urban theme and loud music. Last year owners Gareth and Emily Disante said they were looking to build a chain of six sites in the East Midlands.

Greene King builds website support package for pubs: Greene King Pub Partners has teamed up with business management consultants Retail Impact Solutions to launch a service that will allow its licensees to build and maintain their own websites. The package includes website construction, maintenance and management of the site for the first year, help with updating social media for the duration of the licensee’s tenure, a site visit and photography. Greene King is part-funding the service, with licensees able to select from packages ranging from entry level (bronze) to premium (gold). Retail Impact Solutions can also provide training and has support packages to manage a pub’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites. Greene King Pub Partners has produced a toolkit outlining the digital support services on offer, including how to set up a wi-fi network for guests and further digital training, including a “marketing through social media” course. Greene King Pub Partners managing director Clive Chesser said: “The aim is to ease licensees’ workloads by taking the managing of online communications away from them. Having it looked after professionally means they can be assured their website is being regularly updated and showcases what the pub offers. We know people increasingly look online for which pubs to spend their money in. This is part of a wider strategy of providing the right digital solutions for licensees, including the further development of our online ordering, which can now be accessed from one platform.” Meanwhile, Greene King has made a donation of £15,000 to Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund to help to support rural pubs that want to diversify their services for the benefit of their communities. This is the fourth year Greene King has given to the fund, bringing the total donated to £60,000.

JD Wetherspoon closes Exeter pub for £2m revamp: JD Wetherspoon has closed The Chevalier in Exeter for a £2m revamp that will include adding two roof terraces. The pub in Fore Street will be closed for five months while the work is carried out. As well as the new roof terraces, the refurbishment will include work on the basement kitchen, toilets, outside furniture, lighting, landscaping and staff accommodation on the third floor. However, the upstairs dance floor will remain where it is. Spokesman Eddie Gershon told Devon Live: “The Chevalier is an extremely popular pub in Exeter. The project will enhance the pub for its customers. The addition of two roof terraces and extending the pub is something we have been keen to do for a number of years and we are delighted this is now happening.” The new-look pub is due to reopen on Tuesday, 11 July.

Wales-based operators take on second Ei pub: Wales-based operators Steven and Sally Gill have taken on their second Ei Publican Partnerships pub. The Gills, who operate The New Inn in Rhuddlan on the north coast of Wales, have taken on The Cayley Arms in the seaside resort of Rhos-on-Sea. The pub will close in early April to undergo a refurbishment and is expected to reopen in time for Easter as The Cayley Flyer. Ei Publican Partnerships used its segmentation tool to analyse the pub’s performance, and the revamped venue will feature a new mid-market offering with home-cooked pub food and an improved drinks range, including cask ale and cocktails. The Cayley Flyer will also offer a Sunday carvery and live music. Steve Gill said: “The pub is in a fantastic location overlooking the Irish Sea and we can see huge potential. We’ve worked hard at The New Inn and turned it around, increasing turnover by 170%. We’ll be hoping to achieve the same kind of success at The Cayley Flyer.” Ei Publican Partnerships regional manager Matthew Croft added: “We are delighted Steve and Sally are taking on The Cayley Flyer. They are dedicated and passionate operators so, when the pub became available, I knew they’d be the perfect fit.” The pub’s new name pays homage to inventor Sir George Cayley, who built The Cayley Flier, a glider that made the first recorded flight by a fixed-wing aircraft in 1853, 50 years ahead of the Wright brothers.

New concept Florentine to launch in London with signature ostrich egg dish: New concept Florentine will open on London’s South Bank on Thursday, 23 March offering international sharing plates, including a seasonal ostrich egg for six to share. The all-day restaurant will launch in Hercules Road opposite the recently reopened Lambeth North tube station. Dishes will include flatbread with toppings, home-roasted almonds glazed with truffle honey and rosemary, braised ox cheek with creamy mash, and grilled sea bass with Amalfi lemon. The Ostrich Egg features an entire egg fried or scrambled, with Portobello mushrooms, heritage tomatoes, streaky bacon, Cumberland sausages and black pudding. Weekend specials will include bottomless brunch on Saturdays and slow-cooked roasts on Sundays, with a DJ and live music programme in the bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The bar will offer cocktails, including superfood fruit and vegetable versions, sparkling English wine and craft beer from Portobello Brewing Co, Frontier Craft Lager and BrewDog. The wine list will feature 45 bins.

Head of Steam heads back to Liverpool: Camerons Brewery plans to bring its Head of Steam brand back to Liverpool. The Head of Steam in Lime Street, next to the station, was once one of the city’s most popular pubs but was acquired two years ago by JD Wetherspoon, which renamed it the North Western following a £2m refurbishment. Now Head of Steam is set to take over the Abbey pub in Hanover Street, the Liverpool Echo reports. Camerons Brewery has submitted a planning application to refurbish the pub, including replacing the bar with an “island” bar in the centre of the room, new booth seating and a new fireplace. In its application, Camerons stated: “The proposed development seeks to enhance the appearance and improve the local amenities for the community and visitors.” Head of Steam has 14 pubs in the north east and Yorkshire, including one at Huddersfield train station and others in Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. In December, Camerons Brewery reported an Ebitda boost as sales increased past the £70m mark after the company enjoyed “significant growth”.

Cooking Collective to launch ‘sunshine food’ concept in Flat Iron Square: Catering company The Cooking Collective will launch new restaurant concept Lupins in Flat Iron Square, near London Bridge, next month. The menu will use “British ingredients infused with global flavours” to create a “sunshine food” concept, which will include small plates, snacks, and a wine list focusing on natural, organic and biodynamic wines from Suffolk-based Smashing Wines. Snacks from The Cooking Collective co-founders Natasha Cooke and Lucy Pedder will include sumac lamb scrumpets with pomegranate molasses, while the small plates collection will include polenta-crusted anchovies with wild garlic and onion salad. Desserts will include rhubarb with ginger, vanilla yogurt and shortbread. Designed by Studio Juice and overseen by architects Goldstein Ween, the restaurant will maintain the exposed brickwork of the railway arch wall, surrounded by light wood panelling. Cooke and Pedder stated: “We named Lupins after the English garden flower. We wanted it to sound friendly and informal, emulating a neighbourhood feel. Lupin seeds are also a snack in the Mediterranean and Latin America so the name perfectly showcases our fusion of British and global flavours. We can’t wait to share our passionate cooking and ‘sunshine food’ with London.”

BrewDog partners with publishers to release ‘beer bible’: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has partnered with Octopus Publishing to release its “beer bible” –  Craft Beer For The People. The book, which is “coming soon”, will cover the company’s philosophy and history alongside that of the wider craft beer community. There will be a detailed section on how to homebrew, featuring ten BrewDog recipes and the same number from craft breweries “we truly admire”. The book will also include tasting sheets, food pairing suggestions and a chance to design your own personal beer mat. BrewDog stated: “We have put pen to paper on the ultimate beer bible – the BrewDog book is coming soon. Craft Beer For The People is about bringing down the walls and spreading the word at the same time. We have partnered with the amazing guys at Octopus Publishing and produced a beer book like no other. We want this book to be something you’ll read on the sofa, take with you in the kitchen and carry to bars to consult, annotate and spill beer on.”

Hong Kong-style egg waffle concept Bubblewrap opens permanent site in Soho: Bubblewrap, a Hong Kong egg waffle concept that has cut its teeth as a festival food truck, has opened a permanent site in Soho. An egg waffle is similar to a pancake and is cooked in a waffle iron, rolled up like an ice cream cone, topped with a scoop of gelato and covered in sauce and fruit, Hot Dinners reports. Egg waffles have been around since the 1950s, when they appeared in Hong Kong as a way of using up broken eggs, before becoming a popular street snack. Bubblewrap offers plenty of flavour combos such as cocoa waffle with berries, sea salt and dark chocolate, and a matcha waffle with mochi and red bean. There are 14 toppings to choose from and nine sauces, including Nutella and condensed milk. The venue in Wardour Street also offers Hong Kong-inspired soft drinks such as Lemon Chill and Silky Milk Tea.

Douglas Jack – Cineworld is a real winner: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Cineworld is a “real winner”. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 675p, he said: “Rest of world sales increased by 13.3% in 2016 in local currency but by 26.6% in sterling terms, driven by box office (+13.2% in local currency) and retail (+17.9% in local currency). Like the UK, we forecast just 1% growth in box office per screen in 2017E. During 2016, the company added 142 new screens gross, opening 78, acquiring 64 (Empire) and selling 29 smaller screens, bringing the total to 2,115. We forecast 150 new screens in 2017E, followed by 218 in 2018E, representing a 17% increase in the estate in two years. This, major refurbishments and ongoing investment in IMAX, 4DX and Superscreens are all financed by internal cash flow. UK cinema market attendance rose by 6.9% in January (versus -8.8% comparable), followed by an 8% increase in weekend box office in February. We now view our 2017E forecast assumption of 1% growth in box office per screen as cautious given the benefit of subscriptions growth, circa 3% forecast average pricing growth, and investment in IMAX, 4DX and Superscreens. In our view, the valuation has priced in strong growth in 2017E but we would buy on weakness ahead of strong expansion and a potentially very strong film slate in 2018E.”

Global Brands launches can format for Franklin & Sons range: Drinks distributor Global Brands has made its Franklin & Sons botanically crafted tonics and mixers range available in 150ml cans to complement its bottled offering. The range of cans consists of Natural Indian Tonic Water, Natural Light Tonic Water, and will also see the introduction of lemonade and soda variants in the coming months. Franklin & Sons brand controller Justin Horsman said: “This format addition offers the perfect accessory to a luxury venue. The range gives the hotel industry a point of difference. With an incredible story more than 100 years old, hoteliers can share the history and provenance of every serve with their customers.”

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