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Fri 12th May 2017 - Update: McMullen, Heavenly Desserts, Mac & Wild et al
McMullen reports profit rise as turnover approaches £80m: Hertford-based brewer and retailer McMullen has reported a boost in pre-tax profit as turnover approached £80m. The company saw turnover increase 5% to £79,215,000 for the year ending 1 October 2016, compared with £75,401,000 the previous year. Operating profit was up 16% to £12,272,000, compared with £10,555,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit rose to £12,219,000, compared with £10,407,000 the previous year. Chairman Charles Brims said: “During last year we invested in several existing pubs including The Peahen in St Albans, the Nag’s Head in Covent Garden and The Plough in Enfield. Last month, we opened new-build pub The King’s Mead, near Ware, and later this year we will open another new-build pub, in Colchester. This continuing investment in pubs and people and the resultant benefit to all those who rely on our business is only possible to the extent we generate profits to fund it.” The company contributed more than £22m in tax during the year – almost double its pre-tax profits. It added that with business rates rising by 28%, the recent introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy and the “stealth” beer duty inflation escalator, profit growth would now be “more challenging”. Managing director Tom McMullen said: “The continuing success of our business is dependent on the commitment of all our customers, employees, shareholders, business partners and suppliers. We are confident we have a sound and stable business model, not only to weather possible volatility in the general economy but also to seize opportunities to their mutual benefit.”

Heavenly Desserts launches franchise concept with plans for 200 sites: Artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts has launched a franchise concept with plans to open 200 sites across the UK. The business, founded in 2008, has stores in Nottingham, Birmingham, Leicester, Preston, and Derby. Its menu includes desserts such as cookie dough in Belgian milk chocolate and Madagascan vanilla gelato. Heavenly Desserts franchise director Paul Davies said: “We anticipate another five stores will come on board in 2017, followed by strong but steady growth throughout the UK. We offer our franchisees financial support, training and recruitment, store development, operational and marketing support, and future planning advice, so each store reaches its full potential.” Heavenly Desserts director Yousif Aslam added: “Heavenly Desserts is a well-proven brand and concept and we have worked hard over a number of years perfecting it. Our stores appeal to a wide range of customers, from families and couples to parties.” Heavenly Desserts has appointed Nottingham-based Fraser Brown Solicitors as legal advisors during the franchise expansion.

Mac & Wild makes winter pop-up permanent for second London site: Game expert Mac & Wild has made its winter pop-up in Devonshire Square permanent, the Scottish operator’s second London site. The 4,000 square foot, 100-cover Mac & Wild Devonshire Square features an outside craft beer bar, a gun room with virtual shooting simulator, and an array of “Highland-inspired experiences”, including haggis-making masterclasses. The restaurant offers lunch and dinner, with brunch on Saturdays, while the menu features a selection of Mac & Wild favourites, which focus on seasonal Scottish produce. The drinks list features more than 100 whiskies, alongside Scottish craft beer, wine, gin and cocktails. The lower-ground-floor bar will house Kaleidoscope, a whisky bar from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which will open on Wednesday, 31 May. It will be the society’s first non-members’ site outside Scotland and offer Mac & Wild snacks. Mac & Wild was founded by Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon, who moved on from a market stall and pop-up to open a debut restaurant in Fitzrovia in September 2015.

Kricket to close Pop Brixton venue to focus on sourcing second permanent site: Indian small plates concept Kricket is to close its site at Pop Brixton, Lambeth Council’s space dedicated to startup businesses, to focus on finding a second permanent venue in the capital. In January, Kricket launched its first permanent site – a 70-cover restaurant in Denman Street, Soho, set across two floors with an open kitchen and counter dining for walk-ins. Its menu includes robata-grilled dishes alongside bread, meat and fish dishes baked to order in a clay tandoor. The drinks menu features six regularly changing cocktails “with an Indian touch”. Kricket co-owners Rik Campbell and Will Bowlby told Hot Dinners: “We couldn’t have asked for a better place to open our first restaurant and, while we will be focusing our attention on our restaurant in Soho for the time being, we hope to return to Brixton one day soon.” Kricket’s final day of trading at Pop Brixton will be Saturday, 27 May.

Frogmore secures £14m loan for new-build Southwark hotel: Real estate investment manager Frogmore has completed a £14.4m loan from OakNorth Bank to acquire a site in Southwark, central London, to build a 275-bedroom hotel. Frogmore has submitted planning permission for a site in Ufford Street, a ten-minute walk from Waterloo and Southwark stations and close to major London tourist attractions and Michelin-starred restaurants such as Mark Hix’s Hixter. Frogmore has invested and sold more than £6bn of real estate since 1995. Its assets include Stratford Shopping Centre, while it also developed South Place Hotel in Moorgate, an 80-bedroom boutique hotel with restaurant and brasserie operated by D&D London. Frogmore chief executive Jo Allen said: “Southwark has been experiencing a shortage in hotel room supply for several years. In Kensington and Chelsea there are three times as many hotel rooms. In Westminster there are more than seven times.” OakNorth Bank property finance director Damien Hughes added: “Southwark’s regeneration in recent years has put this south London borough on the map and made it a prime location for homes, international tourism and business. We look forward to working with Frogmore on future projects.”

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