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Wed 22nd Mar 2017 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Energy efficiency provides better returns than new openings, new report reveals: Energy efficiency provides better returns than new openings, according to a new report. The 2017 hospitality sector energy benchmark, comprising 32 of the leading pub and restaurant operators and now in its sixth year, showed that well-planned energy reduction programmes are a quicker way to increase profitability, averaging three years, than new openings, which can take up to eight years to pay back. With annual energy costs of £457m per year and with overall increases of between 15% and 18% expected for the sector this year, energy management is a major focus for operators. Despite being the second-highest controllable cost, profitability in new openings is often lost through inefficient use of energy driven by poor equipment choices and bad operational practices due to lack of training and enforcement, the report stated. The step-repeat approach of brand roll-outs means the inefficiency is repeated. The report showed £20m is invested annually by the sector on efficiency programmes, which is on average 7% of participants’ annual energy spend. Leading operators are reinvesting up to 10% of energy spend and achieving an additional 2.7% on margins against the most inefficient operators. Operational engagement is still the biggest win with the quickest payback, and savings of up to 35% can be achieved. The report also showed there has been an improvement on governance with increased traction and accountability at board level, with 65% of companies appointing responsibility to the finance director, which “makes complete sense” given almost all decisions around energy efficiency investment are financially based. Three in four operators now have a multi-year plan, which is also an increase on previous years, while 88% have a dedicated budget to make it happen. Three years is the average payback required and 70% have a cross-functional team to ensure successful implementation, although there is still heavy reliance on external expertise and data verification. The benchmark distils best practices from all operators in their approach to reducing energy use, water and waste. It covers five areas – governance, financials, buildings, operations and resource allocation.

Industry News: 

Finance and Investment Conference open for bookings: The Propel Finance and Investment Conference is open for bookings. Speakers will include Tom Horbye, of the UK’s leading equity investment platform Seedrs, on which food and beverage companies have had considerable success raising capital, who will provide insights on how to successfully raise capital on the crowdfunding platform. Stuart Lucas, co-founder and chief executive of Asset Match, will explain how private companies in the sector, including BrewDog, West Berkshire Brewery and Black Sheep Brewery, are creating liquidity for their shareholders through Asset Match. Meanwhile, Jason Katz, co-founder of Kings Park Capital, which has investments in Abokado, Inn Collection, Fuel Juice Bars and 7Bone Burger Co among other leisure sector companies, will talk about how his company assesses investment opportunities and adds value to its portfolio companies. Click here to see the full programme. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 11 May at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.

Advanced Social Media Masterclass open for bookings: The Propel Advanced Social Media Masterclass is now open for bookings. The event is in association with Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell and, among many topics, she will reveal what “family friendly” looks like in the digital era by drawing on recent research to show what families really want and how to make the most of this lucrative market using social media to attract families to your pub or restaurant. Other speakers include Alice Judge-Talbot, founder of creative marketing consultancy A & Co and lifestyle blog More Than Toast, who will talk about online influencers, who they are and why operators need them. She will reveal the sites, blogs and social media accounts with highly engaged audiences that possess the power to make your place or product a hit. Meanwhile, Colin Sneath, managing director of hospitality social media consultancy Huddle Media, will look beyond basic “likes” and “retweets” and explore how you can use analytics to inform your business strategy. He will use case studies to reveal how measuring and monitoring key metrics can lead to continuous performance improvement and a sector-leading social media presence. Click here to see the full programme. The full-day event takes place on Friday, 7 April at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Tickets for the event are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com or calling 01444 817691.

Three new coffee shops opening every day in UK, sector up 12% to £8.9bn – new report: An average 3.4 new coffee shops are opening daily across the UK, with the sector pouring £8.9bn into the UK economy, an increase of 12% since 2016, according to new research commissioned by UK Coffee Week. The UK Coffee Report estimated there are 22,845 coffee shops in the UK, employing 150,000 baristas – a 5% rise in staff numbers compared with a year ago. It also found four in ten Britons increased their coffee consumption during the past year. In total, 1,222 stores opened in the UK in the past year alone. If this rate continues, it is estimated the number of coffee shops in the UK will overtake pubs by 2030. The big three chains contributed 19% of total coffee shop sales, with market leader Costa recording 8% sales growth and Starbucks and Caffe Nero’s sales growing by 9% and 7% respectively. Brits are drinking 2.3 billion cups of coffee per year in coffee shops – a 4% rise from 2016 – while the data also shows 39% of Brits stated their coffee consumption had increased during the past 12 months, and a further 48% kept their consumption the same. UK Coffee Week founder Jeffrey Young said: “The UK has embraced coffee culture in a phenomenal way that has seen the industry grow and thrive to the size it is today – and it’s continuing. Through the combination of coffee shop growth and the premiumisation of at-home, the UK’s coffee offer is one of the best in the world.” UK Coffee Week starts at London Coffee Festival (6-9 April) then runs from 10-16 April nationwide.

Swoope launches order-ahead app for busy Birmingham workers: Swoope has launched an app that allows busy office workers to pre-order food at independent restaurants and bars in Birmingham. The company behind Swoope said it is the UK’s “only app that connects smartphones to tills” and works with most major payment providers. The app allows users to search a list of independent partners and place an order from their phone. A notification is sent when their order is ready for collection. Swoope chief executive Lee Nazari said Swoope offers a “plethora of quality eateries for ravenous workers without them having to pay a premium for the pleasure”.

Restaurants shunning bricks-and-mortar sites in favour of delivery-only kitchens: Up and coming restaurant brands are shunning the conventional and costly growth strategy of multiple bricks-and-mortar sites in favour of delivery-only kitchens and pop-up stands. The move is aimed at harnessing the rapidly growing trend of food on the go and delivery meals and could signal the burgeoning of what is being dubbed the “restaurantless restaurant”. It is also a business-savvy way of swerving some of the increasingly punitive costs associated with large physical estates and often leads to capital expenditure being more rapidly recouped. Clockjack was an early adopter of a delivery-only site and plans further sites to keep up with demand. Co-founder Jerry Goldberg said it would be difficult to open even one small restaurant for less than £500,000, whereas a delivery kitchen could be leased and fitted for about £100,000. He told the Telegraph: “The property costs for a kitchen are significantly lower than a restaurant as you don’t have to have a prime location for a delivery site.” Goldberg said the rent on the basement kitchen the business opened near London’s Monument in June is a quarter of the one at its Soho restaurant, in spite of them being the same size. He added: “The rules have not been written – they are being written as we speak but customers are saying they want delivered restaurant food. People are working out how to satisfy that demand and we have taken the bull by the horns. We are trying to be at the front of this as it is not a fad, it’s a long-term trend.”

Owner of Nottingham-based breastfeeding cafe concept to open second site, in Beeston: The owner of Nottingham-based breastfeeding cafe concept The Milk Lounge is to open a second site, in Beeston. Charlotte Purdie launched the concept in the Nottingham suburb of Arnold last year after feeling uncomfortable when taking her son Bobby out to coffee shops. Now she is opening her second site, in Beeston, next month. Mirroring the Arnold site, the cafe, based in a former bookshop in Chilwell Road, will provide a changing room with enough space for pushchairs; a feeding room with a small toy corner and an en-suite bathroom; an activity room; and a bottle-warming station. It will also offer professional breastfeeding support for mums. Purdie told the Nottingham Post: “It has been a massive learning curve from when we first opened. I think the Milk Lounge works because we take all our customers’ suggestions into consideration and put them into practice whenever we can.”

M&B hires comedian to train Harvester staff in art of adding fun to the dining experience: Mitchells & Butlers has hired a comedian to train staff at its Harvesters restaurants in a bid to add some fun to the dining experience. The company is working with Rhys James, who has been training staff in comedy tactics and conversation starters. The move follows a Twitter poll by Harvester that revealed the top dining situations where people felt humour could be helpful. Those with screaming children topped the poll, with 34%, followed by fellow diners too distracted by their phones to have a conversation (26%), an awkward date (21%), and a boring family dinner with (19%). Harvester divisional director Rob Pitcher told the Mid Sussex Times: “Our ethos is based on ‘feel-good dining’ and we believe training our staff in comedy will help bring family and friends closer together. Introducing more humour to the server-and-guest relationship is something we consider important. We want guests to know that if they go into a Harvester, they will not only be served delicious food but they’ll have a brilliant experience too!”

Company News:

Rick Stein not planning any more restaurants (and he likes McDonald’s): Chef entrepreneur Rick Stein has said he doesn’t plan to open any further restaurants for the time being having just opened his first site in London. Stein launched Rick Stein Barnes last week having acquired The Depot Riverside Restaurant & Bar last year. However, Stein said he was not driven by profit and therefore wasn’t pushing for further openings. He told the Evening Standard: “I said I’d never open in London so it took a lot of soul-searching. I’m not looking for a central restaurant – I don’t want the competition and costs. What I like about Barnes is it has its own identity – London is a series of villages. It’s not about the commercial side, it’s just fun. I’ll be using this restaurant personally. We needed to grow a bit because we have talented top management and we need to pay them a salary that makes them want to stay, but I think we are happy now. I don’t think I’ll take over the world. We have all these restaurants and the worry is they have to deliver the same quality.” Stein also said he is partial to a bit of fast food, adding: “A lot of my customers wouldn’t go to a McDonald’s but we are all after the same thing in this business – pleasing the customer. I don’t know why people get so aerated about it. I like McDonald’s.” Stein has 14 restaurants across the UK, including in Marlborough, Padstow and Winchester.

Yorkshire-based burger company KerbEdge secures investment for expansion: Burger company KerbEdge has secured investment from Leeds-based entrepreneur Matt Haycox to fund expansion plans. Adam Bryson launched KerbEdge three years ago, offering hand-crafted burgers made from Yorkshire produce. It operates in two Camerons Brewery Head of Steam venues, in Hull and Tynemouth, and from a Citroen van called Cyril. Bryson has secured £40,000 of immediate funding from Haycox to buy out an existing shareholder, with access to more as the business grows. Bryson told BDaily: “I needed a partner to help me move the business forward and take it to the next level. The future for KerbEdge will involve more than just beef, especially given Matt doesn’t eat red meat, which means the team is now putting together chicken options! We’re looking to grow the business and develop standalone KerbEdge sites. To move the business forward it was time for me to get advice as well as funding, and that’s where I believe Matt can prove essential.” Haycox, a consultant for Access Commercial Finance, added: “Adam is highly driven and full of great ideas to drive the business forwards, so it is a pleasure to work with someone who makes my job easy.”

7Bone lines up fifth site, in Eastbourne: Better burger brand 7Bone, which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital (KPC), is lining up its fifth site, in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The company has applied to Eastbourne Borough Council to convert Coopers Magic Shop in Cornfield Road into its latest outlet. The restaurant would have 90 covers, reports the Eastbourne Herald. 7Bone’s menu includes corn dogs, cheese steaks and buffalo chicken, alongside burgers such as The Robert Johnston (aged beef patty with cheese, truffled garlic mushrooms and truffle mayo), and The Dirty Linda (chicken-fried halloumi with American cheese, dirty slaw and 7bbq sauce). The drinks menu includes imported beers and “dirty cocktails”. 7Bone’s other restaurants are in Bournemouth, Camberley, Reading and Southampton. KPC co-founder Jason Katz previously told Propel 7Bone had a pipeline of six sites “within a two-and-a-half-hour radius” of its existing outlets. He said: “We think the management team has what it takes – it is focused on regional growth and has a product that can stand up to any other provider. The burger market is enormous and we are backing a brand we believe can take share in a competitive market.”

Sheffield-based pizza company Proove Pizza starts expansion with second site, plans further restaurants across north: Sheffield-based pizza company Proove Pizza has started expansion by opening its second site, in Manchester, and plans further restaurants across the north of England. The company has opened the 2,000 square foot venue in the suburb of West Didsbury in a former launderette in Burton Road, creating 20 jobs. The restaurant seats 75 diners and has a fully licensed bar. Proove Pizza, which is the brainchild of Deepak Jaiswal and business partner Rob Engledow, already has a 60-seat restaurant in Broomhill, Sheffield, which opened in 2015. They hope the new restaurant will accelerate brand development and a second location in Manchester has already been earmarked. Jaiswal told Insider Media: “Our vision has always been to develop the Proove brand, to make it synonymous with delicious and authentic Neapolitan pizzas here in the UK. We intend to open further outlets across the north of England to expand our offering, while keeping our brand values of providing quality product and service consistent.”

Aluna operator to launch Thai bar and restaurant concept in Birmingham this week: Nishil Nathwani, who owns Aluna bar and restaurant at The Mailbox in Birmingham, is to launch new bar and restaurant concept Siamais in the city centre. The venue will open in Brindleyplace on Friday (24 March) at a site formerly occupied by Thai Edge, which was founded by Nathwani’s parents Harish and Nancy. They opened sister restaurants in Cardiff, Bristol and Leeds. However, they are now retiring. The Cardiff restaurant closed because of redevelopment of the St David’s Centre, while the Thai Edge in Bristol was recently converted into an Aluna bar. Thai Edge Leeds has been bought by a third party, which now has sole rights to the name. Siamais will offer a 60-seat bar and 100-cover Thai restaurant. Nathwani told the Birmingham Post: “I’ve chosen the name Siamais to reflect the nature of Siamese twins – two different people sharing one body. The bar and restaurant will have separate entrances divided by a curtain. I grew up with Thai Edge and its great cuisine. I want Siamais to be the best of both, with new and authentic chefs in the kitchen and front-of-house staff we’ve trained at Aluna.”

Four restaurant brands agree deals for sites at proposed £50m Banbury leisure scheme: Four restaurant brands have agreed deals to open sites at a proposed £50m waterfront leisure development in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Birmingham-based Handmade Burger Company, Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, The Restaurant group brand Chiquito’s and Nando’s have all secured units at the CQ2 scheme being developed on behalf of Aberdeen Asset Management. The extension to the Castle Quay shopping centre will feature an eight-screen Light cinema, six restaurants, a 117-bedroom Premier Inn and a 30,000 square foot Lidl supermarket. The identity of two further restaurant brands will be confirmed shortly, making the scheme 100% pre-let. Construction is set to begin this autumn with completion in late 2018. Cameron Murray, of Aberdeen Asset Management, told Property Week: “These are well-known names and new entrants to the town, which will offer a huge amount of variety for existing and new visitors to Banbury.” BWD and Jackson Criss are joint letting agents on CQ2.

Byron opens Norwich restaurant, first Norfolk site: Better burger brand Byron has opened a restaurant in Norwich – its first site in Norfolk. The company has opened the venue in the courtyard at the Intu Chapelfield shopping centre, creating 30 jobs. Marketing director Paul Coppin told the Eastern Daily Press: “We’re excited to be opening our restaurant doors in such a cultural city and look forward to welcoming diners to our latest Byron. We can’t wait to welcome proper hamburger fans to our new restaurant to try our hamburgers and our new menu additions for spring!” Byron was founded by Tom Byng in 2007, with the first restaurant opening in Kensington High Street, London. It currently has 70 branches in the UK.

Giraffe World Kitchen launches first menu since rebrand: Giraffe World Kitchen, which is owned by Boparan Restaurant Holdings, has launched the first menu since its rebrand. The menu is available at all Giraffe World Kitchen sites, including the four recently refurbished venues that boast interiors evoking “far flung corners of the world, taking inspiration from every continent”. The menu includes a new “world tapas” selection, with dishes such as crispy patatas bravas and Japanese-style karaage chicken. The Turkish pide also starts a new section with a breakfast pide. Other new dishes include Indian street food kati roll, enchilada chicken tinga from Mexico, Giraffe World Kitchen’s “Bowls for the Soul” and a range of salads. There is also a selection of drinks such as pre-dinner spritzers, cocktails, wine and beer, as well as “world smoothies” including mango lassi – a traditional Punjabi yogurt drink. Giraffe World Kitchen marketing director Alex Meyer said: “This is our most exciting menu yet with some of the best-kept secrets from around the world brought together for our customers to enjoy. We love discovering delicious tastes and flavours from all over the world and bringing them back to share. It’s what Giraffe World Kitchen is all about.”

Travelodge starts work on its largest new-build hotel, 15 openings this year: Travelodge has started work on its largest new-build hotel, which will open in the City of London next year. The 395-bedroom hotel will be close to the Gherkin in Middlesex Street and feature an on-site restaurant. The company has also said it will open 15 hotels in the UK this year, bringing its portfolio to 558 sites in the UK, Spain and Ireland. The new additions are five in London (Brent Cross, Bromley, Romford, Wood Green and Harrow), as well as in Bath, Dudley, Inverness, Newcastle, Peterhead, Redhill, Stirling, Thurrock, West Bromwich and York. Travelodge chief executive Peter Gowers told Business Traveller: “With room to grow, we have identified 250 further locations where we believe we can take Travelodge in the years ahead. We expect to further extend our national network and to add more rooms in London where, with average hotel prices currently at almost twice the level of the UK regions, customers are crying out for more good-quality, low-cost places to stay.”

Encant owner Victor Garvey to open Rambla restaurant in Soho in September: Victor Garvey, chef-patron of modern Spanish restaurant Encant, will launch his second venture – Rambla – in Dean Street, Soho, in September. The menu will focus on Catalan cuisine, the food of Garvey’s youth, and takes its name from Barcelona thoroughfare La Rambla, where he lived as a child. The menu will be divided into three sections – Cru (raw and cured); Mar (seafood); and Muntanya (mountains). Dishes will include fresh Mediterranean sea urchin with Iberico lard toast, jumbo scallop with smoked roe sauce and crystallised veal jus, and Catalan black pudding sandwich with green apple slaw. It will feature an all-Spanish wine list as well as gin and classic cocktails. With 60 covers over two floors compared with 22 at Encant, Rambla will be substantially more spacious than Garvey’s first site, which opened in Covent Garden in March 2016. The interior of Rambla will be light and atmospheric, reminiscent of Barcelona’s elegant-but-casual beachfront restaurants. Garvey said: “Rambla will bring to Soho many of the characteristics our guests love about Encant, while also being very much its own place. The food will be familiar to anyone who knows Catalan cuisine, while also being innovative and fun, with great drinks and service to go with it.”

Prospect begins brewing at new Bolton headquarters: Prospect Brewery has begun brewing at its new headquarters in Bolton. It has fired up the equipment at its site in Great George Street and marked the milestone by creating pale ale Silver Tally – its 1,500th brew. The brewery, which is in the process of moving off the Bradley Hall Trading Estate in Standish, has also had its application for a bar at the new headquarters approved by Wigan Council, meaning it will also be able to offer tours. Co-owner Patsy Slevin told Wigan Today the company will not be fully settled in its new home, a former windows showroom, for several weeks but admitted it was good to return to brewing quicker than it had forecast. Prospect will continue moving equipment to the new site and hopes to have the bar and tours up and running in either April or May. The brewery has created more than three million pints of ale since being formed in 2007.

Greene King to close Bath city centre pub next month: Greene King is to close its Bath city centre pub The Grapes next month. The company said it would shut the Westgate Street venue on Sunday, 9 April after agreeing to surrender the lease to the landlord. A spokesman told the Bath Chronicle: “To be able to continue to invest in our core estate, from time to time we have to make the difficult decision to close pubs. After careful consideration, we have decided to surrender the lease for The Grapes back to the landlord. The pub will cease trading at the end of the day on Sunday 9 April and, until then, remains open for business as usual.” A former wine merchants, the building became a pub at the turn of the 19th century.

Irish hotel group O’Callaghan launches first UK site: Ireland-based O’Callaghan Hotels Group has opened its first UK site, at the CB1 development around Cambridge railway station. The four-star hotel – The Tamburlaine – features a restaurant, bar and standalone cafe. It also provides 155 bedrooms and suites fitted with the latest technology, along with meeting rooms featuring audio-visual equipment. Artist Jyll Bradly has produced the public art that features at the front of the hotel. Bryan O’Callaghan, chief executive of O’Callaghan Hotels Group, told Cambridge News: “The Tamburlaine will be a great addition to the community and we hope to establish it as much as a place to meet up for locals as it will be for business and leisure travellers. Our reputation has been built on friendly, high-quality service for the discerning visitor and we are looking forward to catering for the UK market.” A spokeswoman for CB1 developers Brookgate said: “The exclusive hotel is a major contribution to the transformation of the area around the station, creating a destination and a sense of place in what will be a new city quarter for Cambridge.” O’Callaghan Hotels Group operates hotels in Dublin, Gibraltar and Annapolis in the US.

Living Ventures opens ninth The Alchemist site, in Newcastle: Living Ventures has opened the ninth site for its The Alchemist brand, in Newcastle. The bar is in the Grey’s Quarter dining complex at the Intu Eldon Square shopping centre. The Alchemist joins brands including Red’s True Barbecue, Handmade Burger Co, Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, and Crepeffaire in the £25m development that opened in October. The Alchemist managing director Simon Potts told Chronicle Live: “Our designers have worked on eye-catching plans for the venue that reflect the rich history of this fantastic city and we look forward to wowing guests with our molecular mixology and creative food offering.” Last month, Living Ventures revealed it had lined up a site in Nottingham, which would be the first for The Alchemist in the East Midlands. The company has also exchanged contracts on a site in Oxford, while another venue in MediaCityUK, Salford, is due to open in the summer. The other Alchemists are in Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester (two venues), Leeds (two venues) and London, alongside its first suburban site, in Alderley Edge, Cheshire.

Barbados-based restaurateur to open Manchester’s first dedicated poké concept: Barbados-based restaurateur Saman Golesorkhi is to open Manchester’s first dedicated poké concept. Golesorkhi, who has three restaurant ventures in Barbados, is launching Oké Poké in the Smithfield Building in Dale Street. Dubbed the “new healthy fast food”, poké is a combination of raw cubed fish and vegetables. Oké Poké will be geared towards the fast-food and lunchtime market and feature a small amount of seats but the emphasis will be on a takeaway offering. Golesorkhi, who studied in the city before moving to Barbados, told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s hard to get into the food scene in Manchester – there’s a big food scene and a lot of money invested in big projects. I had to be careful with my budget. I had to make sure my investment was behind something I one hundred per cent enjoy – and poké is one of those things. There’s definitely a niche in the market for it.”

M&B opens second East Midlands Miller & Carter steakhouse as it continues Toby Carvery conversions: Mitchells & Butlers has opened its second Miller & Carter steakhouse in the east Midlands following the conversion of its Toby Carvery in Enderby, Leicestershire. The company has opened the 180-cover venue in Leicester Road. It opened its first Miller & Carter site in the East Midlands in September in Rothley, reports the Leicester Mercury. Earlier this year, Mitchells & Butlers revealed it plans to open more than 25 Miller & Carter sites this year as it continues expansion of the 57-strong brand. Chief executive Phil Urban previously said conversion to the brand costs between £600,000 and £700,000 but was producing a 40% return on investment in the case of the most recent conversions.

Skyline restaurant plans revealed for £60m Birmingham tower: Developers have unveiled plans for a skyline restaurant on the 24th floor of the new £60m 103 Colmore Row office tower, which will replace the NatWest Tower. The 175-cover, 3,500 square foot restaurant will include a bar and 26-foot floor-to-ceiling windows. The interior will include black marble flooring, ribbed leather banquettes and dark mocha timber. The restaurant, which has yet to be named, will also feature a dedicated lift. There will also be a 50-cover cafe and bar on the ground floor of the building, offering informal dining during the day and a bar in the evening. Sandwiched between the two venues will be 224,000 square feet of offices over 19 floors. 103 Colmore Row is being developed by Rockspring Property Investment Managers and Sterling Property Ventures. A development team is currently shortlisting potential operators for both venues. Sterling managing director James Howarth told The Business Desk: “The restaurant at 103 will be an exciting addition to Birmingham’s already vibrant dining scene and synonymous with some of London’s skyscrapers. It will be a must-do for locals and visitors to the city.” The demolition of the NatWest Tower will be complete by the end of April. Work on constructing 103 will begin in the summer, with the building complete by summer 2019.

Essex club and bar operator fined for failing to protect staff from excessive noise: The operator of Qube nightclub and the Hudson bar in Colchester, Essex, has been fined for failing to protect staff from excessive noise. Elysium Leisure pleaded guilty at Chelmsford Crown Court to two counts of failing to comply with health and safety improvement notices regarding the control of noise at work. The company has been ordered to pay more than £10,600 following a prosecution by Colchester Borough Council. In 2014, Environmental Health officers visited Qube in Crouch Street and found Elysium Leisure had failed to make a sufficient assessment of employee exposure to noise. In January 2015, having still not produced the required assessment, the company was served with an improvement notice for Qube and a separate notice for Hudson, its bar in Head Street. However, the business failed to appoint a qualified contractor to assist them in undertaking the required actions until November 2015. Pleading guilty to the charges, Elysium Leisure was ordered to pay £4,000 in fines, £6,500 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.

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