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Thu 25th May 2017 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

CAMRA sees slight income fall, membership up 5.3%: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) saw income fall slightly to £13,940,948 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £14,016,249 the year before. Total reserves decreased to £3,266,872 compared with £3,392,421, according to accounts filed at Companies House. By the end of 2016, CAMRA had increased its membership by 5.3% to nearly 185,000 members. The organisation is currently embarking on its “Revitalisation Project”, which will determine its future direction. It stated: “Total income has decreased in this financial year (£13.9m, down 0.5%), primarily due to a decrease in income from festivals to £9.7m (2015: £9.8m) and publishing and other trading income to £1.1m (2015: £1.2m), partly offset by a rise in subscription income to £2.9m (2015: £2.7m). Higher costs and lower income related to festivals were the primary drivers of the fall in contribution to £2.9m (2015: 3.0m). Campaign costs were broadly unchanged year-on-year at £1.5m, while administration costs rose to £2.1m (2015: £1.8m), including costs for the Revitalisation Project and an increase in IT investment. The lower contribution and higher administrative expenses were partly offset by an exceptionally large legacy (£0.5m) shown in other operating income. The overall operating deficit of £0.3m is broadly the same as 2015. Operating performance was partly offset by an increase of £0.1m in investment values (2015: £0.1m) and tax credits of £0.1m (2015: £0.1m) so overall reserves fell by only £0.1m. At the end of the financial year the organisation held reserves of £3.3m (2015: £3.4m) with net current assets of £0.2m (2015: £0.6m) and fixed assets of £3.5m (2015: £3.2m). These assets include investments of £2.5m (2015: £2.5m) and bank balances of £1.6m (2015: £1.9m), which are £0.3m lower than 2015, largely due to the income and expense deficit and higher capital expenditure than previous years. During the year the organisation incurred £0.4m capital expenditure (2015: £0.3m).”

Industry News:

Chief executives and founders sign up for Inspirational Leadership Masterclass: Senior chief executives, company founders and chairmen are among those looking to improve their leadership skills by signing up for Propel’s Inspirational Leadership Masterclass. Companies attending include The Porterhouse, We Are Bar, Dip & Flip, Wright Brothers, Pie & Pint Inns, Living Ventures, Hop Stuff Brewery, Fired Up Pizza, Brunning & Price, New World Trading Company, Fancy Crab Restaurants, Crate Brewery & Pizzeria, Cambscuisine, Bone Daddies, Davy’s, Punch, Mitchells & Butlers, Castle Rock Brewery, Vaulkhard Group, The Ivy Collection, My Lahore, Jamie’s Italian, Brindisa Tapas Kitchens, Chilled Pubs, Oakman Inns, Ponti’s, McMullen’s, Anglian Country Inns, The Yummy Collection, The Inn Collection, Admiral Taverns, True North Brew, FrogPubs, Joe Delucci’s, The Alchemist, The Piano Works, 16 Hospitality, The Barons Eden Group, and Chameleon Bar and Dining. Propel has partnered with the UK’s leading thinker and teacher on multi-site foodservice management Professor Chris Edger and Tony Hughes, cited by many current industry leaders as the most influential figure in their career, for the event. Edger and Hughes will draw on their book, eMotion – how leaders mobilise positive feelings in super-performing teams, to outline the “ten moments of emotional truth” of leadership that separate the best from the rest. The event takes place in the Chartered Accountants Hall at One Moorgate Place, London, on Thursday, 8 June and Edger and Hughes will explain their book’s key proposition – that focusing on mobilising positive emotions lies at the heart of inspirational leadership. Speakers will include David Singleton, vice-president of hospitality at Al Tayer Group, who will outline how he instilled desire in workers to join his teams and gave them the confidence to perform and the aspiration to develop. Gary Topiol, managing director EMEA of Nudge Rewards, will outline the new technologies and interventions that will transform employee recognition and communication processes during the next ten years. Click here to see the full speaker schedule. 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.

Propel Multi-Club summer conference open for bookings, two free places for operators: The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and party is now open for bookings. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 6 July at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, will also involve the Propel summer party in the evening. Operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com. The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler, The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton, and Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nisha Katona, Amber Taverns managing director James Baer, and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns.

Wahaca diners eye compensation after company admits liability over norovirus outbreak: Diners who fell seriously ill after eating at Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca may be in line for substantial payouts after the restaurant company admitted liability in a number of cases. About 160 customers and 200 staff complained they contracted norovirus last year, forcing nine of the Mexican restaurants established by MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers to close temporarily in November. Lawyers acting for some of the diners said they hoped to secure “swift justice”, with payments in excess of £15,000 expected for those left seriously ill or facing long-term complications. One diner, Sarah Cousins, 16, of Wallingford, Oxfordshire, was hospitalised with severe gastric symptoms after visiting the Westfield branch in White City at the end of October. The A-level student, who has Type-1 diabetes, went on to develop potentially life-threatening illness ketoacidosis. She was absent from college at a critical point in her studies. Her father, Dr Mike Cousins, instructed lawyers in Irwin Mitchell’s public health team to investigate and Wahaca’s insurers have accepted blame for its seven clients. Wahaca co-founder Mark Selby told the Evening Standard: “We were contacted by the Cousins family in November and spoke with them directly regarding their daughter Sarah. Following a claim from their lawyers, we are now in correspondence with them to ensure Miss Cousins’ case gets resolved swiftly and fairly.” A spokesman added: “Any cases brought to Wahaca’s attention are being dealt with on an individual basis and are being treated as swiftly and fairly as possible.” Public Health England said a report on the case would be published shortly.
 
Rooney Anand – ‘Greene King has kept family feel but we like to retain the best bits of the companies we acquire’: Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, who has quadrupled turnover to £2bn a year since he took over in 2005, has told Management Today that the company has strived to retain the “best bits” of companies it has acquired while retaining its own “family culture”. He said: “I confess the limit of my career ambition was to be a marketing director, so in a sense I’m on overtime. You feel a deep apprehension verging on panic when you become an MD, but you grow up quickly. As a general manager, you feel really accountable. When you become a CEO at a listed company, it’s amplified – you feel like your PDR (performance and development review) is being conducted in public every 12 weeks. I haven’t been hugely proactive in managing my career. I’d probably still be working for United Biscuits if someone hadn’t called me. But by being situ for long periods of time, it does force you to think about what worked and what didn’t last time. You have to reflect, analyse and think – that makes you better at business. There was a real family feel in Greene King when I arrived and hopefully that hasn’t diminished one iota. It’s like a Patek Philippe, you look after it for a generation then hand it on. I think that comes from having a family presence – when I arrived, the nephew of Graham Greene the novelist was still on the board. The previous chairman and chief executive Tim Bridge was with the company for 45 years, his mother was a King. Acquisitions have been a big part of Greene King’s success since even before I took over in 2005. You’re well advised to learn from the companies you acquire rather than just imposing your way. Greene King is a bit like Britain – we’re magpies, we nick all the best ideas and that makes us better.”

ALMR successfully challenges Tower Hamlets levy: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has successfully challenged the decision by Tower Hamlets Council to introduce a late-night levy. The ALMR, working with licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen, Sarah Clover of Kings Chambers Birmingham, and Charles Streeten of Francis Taylor Buildings, challenged “significant flaws and failings” in the consultation process. The judicial review was lodged in April following the council’s decision to adopt the levy on 20 January with an implementation date of 1 June. The council accepted it did not conduct mandatory consultation on the implementation date and its documents were “likely to mislead” consultees. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Local authorities are required by law to propose a start date for the levy, which Tower Hamlets did not do. It also showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the legislation when it stated any levy would only be applicable to those premises selling alcohol after midnight. The council may not have intentionally sought to deceive businesses but the reality is the consultation document omitted crucial information required by businesses to make an informed decision. The ALMR and Poppleston Allen’s work has ensured a late-night levy was not introduced on the back of faulty procedure. The council will be forced to consult again if it still wishes to introduce the measure in the area. The ALMR will scrutinise any further action by the council and forcefully oppose any measures that heap additional costs on hard-working venues and threaten jobs and investment in eating and drinking-out businesses.”

Eataly makes Moscow debut: Italian food emporium Eataly is to open its first store in Moscow on Friday (26 May), with the outlet set to be the second-biggest in its network. The 7,500 square metre space is in the Kievsky Shopping Mall and will feature 19 dining options, including two cafes, 11 takeaways, six themed restaurants, a gourmet restaurant, and six production workshops for cheese, beer, ice cream, bread and pastries. Several of the products, such as fresh pasta and cheese, will be produced locally, combining freshness with the need to respect sanctions imposed by Russia on some European food and wine products. Eataly’s local partner in the venture will be LLC Prostor. The Moscow store is Eataly’s 16th global opening.

Europe report makes employment case for lower VAT in hospitality: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and HOTREC, the umbrella association of hotels, restaurants and cafes in Europe, have jointly published a report highlighting the benefits low VAT can have on job creation and competitiveness in the EU. The report stated lower VAT rates on hospitality services, which almost all EU member states apply to accommodation and two-thirds to restaurant services, were key to Europe’s competitiveness as a tourism destination. In light of the findings, the ALMR is calling on the industry to take part in Tax Equality Day on Wednesday, 20 September with on-trade outlets cutting the price of food and drink for the day to highlight the benefit of a tax reduction. The report showed the share of international tourism arrivals to Europe dropped from 60% to 51% between 1990 and 2015. Europe ranks second, behind Asia and the Pacific region, in terms of international tourism receipts (€336.6bn). However, receipts are rising at a lower level (1.5% and 3.4% in 2012 and 2015 respectively), versus the rest of the world (4.3% and 4.4%). The report states that low VAT in the long-term is key to reversing those negative trends by sustaining and creating jobs in hospitality. The sector created 2.5 million jobs in the last decade (a 29% growth versus 7.1% in the overall economy), as well as fostering investments to develop an even more qualitative and sustainable tourism offer. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Our report provides powerful evidence in discussions around the effect of VAT on our industry, which already faces high taxes. Importantly, it demonstrates how low VAT will encourage growth in employment.”

Company News:

Hagger – Beautiful Pubs’ third venue has brought ‘King’s Cross vibe to Leicester’: Sam Hagger, owner of The Beautiful Pubs Collective, has told Propel its third pub has brought the “King’s Cross vibe to Leicester”. Hagger has launched The Knight and Garter in Leicester city centre following a six-month, £1.4m refurbishment of Molly O’Grady’s. As with its other pubs, the venue in Hotel Street is owned by Everards, with the Leicestershire-based brewer and retailer contributing £1m to the project. Hagger said: “The Knight and Garter is one of the bigger licensed venues in the new-look city centre and the area is becoming like an independent quarter.” The Knight and Garter features a terrace overlooking Leicester’s new piazza as the city centre undergoes massive development and is the first venue in the Midlands to offer unpasteurised Budweiser Budvar, alongside a “carefully considered” spirits range. The 82-cover restaurant is hidden from the main bar with diners led through a book cabinet into a space featuring a glass walkway that allows guests to watch dishes arrive from the kitchen. Downstairs, the Gallery Bar doubles as an art gallery. Hagger said the company also had planning permission to convert the upper floors of the building into a 14-bedroom boutique hotel. He told Propel: “We’ve had nine years of sizeable like-for-like sales growth and this is our first major investment for four years. Our other pubs receive a yearly sparkle, though, that’s why we’re Beautiful Pubs. We have no finance, no loans or debt. We can focus on day-to-day business without the banks. Last year’s turnover was £2.2m. We’ve got a really good bottom line and employ 88 staff. There can’t be many operators like us. When we have good weeks we can spend more on the pubs.” Hagger founded Ssoosh Inns – or The Beautiful Pubs Collective as it is known locally – in 2008. Its other pubs are the Rutland & Derby Arms in Leicester and its debut pub, The Forge Inn in Glenfield, where Hagger said expansion work would “begin soon”.

BrewDog lodges plans for Franklinton bar in US: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has lodged plans to open a bar in the Franklinton area of Columbus in the US. The company wants to convert a former auto-repair shop in West Town Street into the new venue, complete with rooftop bar and patio. The 4,000 square foot first floor will feature a bar, cask display and retail section. Folding windows will open on to the patio, which will have seating as well as a fire feature and food truck. The 3,000 square foot rooftop bar will include another fire feature and bar, reports Columbus Underground. BrewDog is currently test brewing at its $30m brewery and headquarters in Canal Winchester.

Chef Stefano Stecca to launch eponymous restaurant in Chelsea: Chef Stefano Stecca, formerly of renowned London restaurants Locatelli and Novikov, is to launch his own restaurant in Chelsea. The restaurant – Stecca – will open in Hollywood Road, Little Chelsea, on Thursday, 1 June offering traditional Italian cuisine including crudi – a raw fish dish that will be made using freshly caught Cornish fish. Meat will aim to be organic and as local as possible from small producers hand-picked by Stecca. Dishes will include linguine with sweet chilli and lobster sauce, risotto with black truffle, and homemade tagliatelle with wild forest mushroom. The 40-cover restaurant will also feature a small garden and a bar on each floor. Stecca told Hot Dinners: “I always try to create simple, traditional cuisine using fresh, seasonal food to enhance the flavours in my dishes.” In October, Stecca partnered with Kurt Zdesar to open Italian restaurant concept Fucina in Marylebone.

Sunderland-based operator Pub Culture to open second city site: Sunderland-based operator Pub Culture will open its second site in the city on Friday (26 May). The company, which acquired the Dun Cow from Camerons Brewery last year, is launching The Peacock on the site of the former Londonderry pub, creating 30 jobs. It has spent 12 weeks refurbishing the grade I-listed building with the pub having a focus on real ale, live music and freshly made food. The ground floor will house a main bar as well as two lounge areas, while there will be a function room upstairs staging live music curated by the team behind The Think Tank in Newcastle. The bar will serve eight cask ales on rotation and 12 keg and craft ales, which will also change regularly, as well as more than 60 bottled beers. Food will also have a local flavour, including homemade corned beef, panackelty and beef dripping chips. The menu has been devised by David Gill, who also runs the kitchen at The Chop House above The Dun Cow. Operations director Joe Smith told the Sunderland Echo: “Like The Dun Cow, the ethos of the pub is about reinstating the history and bringing a marvellous building back to life.”

Middle Eastern ice-cream cafe concept Gelato Divino to open first UK site, in Derby: Middle Eastern ice-cream cafe concept Gelato Divino is to open its first UK venue, in Derby. Gelato Divino was founded by Al Qubaisi Group in 2010 and operates 35 sites in the Middle East specialising in 120 flavours of gelato. Plans submitted by Abdulla Muhammad, who is behind Gelato Divino UK, have been approved by Derby City Council planners, subject to a number of conditions. The venue will open in London Road at a site formerly occupied by The Spot camera shop.

Peruvian restaurant concept Señor Ceviche to open second site next month, in Fitzrovia: London-based Peruvian restaurant concept Señor Ceviche will open its second site next month, in Fitzrovia. Founder Harry Edmeades will open the venue in Charlotte Street on Thursday, 1 June, introducing several new dishes, an exclusive brunch offering, and an underground pisco bar. The restaurant’s design will echo Lima’s grand colonial architecture, embracing the “colourful, artistic and youthful character” of the Barranco District of Peru’s capital. The menu will include favourites served at its Carnaby site as well as new dishes such as barbecued scallops with aji amarillo and pisco butter; and yellowfin tuna with yuzu tiger’s milk, wasabi and miso. Exclusive to Charlotte Street, the weekend brunch will include sweet potato waffle with crispy lamb shoulder and huacatay salsa; and Peruvian sausage with root vegetable hash, corn bread and onsen egg. Downstairs, a cocktail bar will showcase the Peruvian spirit of pisco alongside cocktails such as pisco with lime, Thai basil, jasmine and plum sake. Edmeades launched Señor Ceviche in Carnaby in 2014.

Dublin-based healthy food delivery firm Camile Thai launches full waiter service at London site: Dublin-based healthy food delivery firm Camile Thai has launched full waiter service at its London site, its only venue outside Ireland, and at one Dublin venue, with plans to roll-out the concept if successful. Camile Thai co-founder Brian O’Sullivan said the Phibsboro and London sites offered sit-down dinners and Thai-inspired brunch, with beer and wine available. “This is not our main business model – it is a slight departure from our usual,” he told FFT.ie. “Depending on how the restaurants in London and Dublin go – if it works we could expand more.” The company has also refocused its efforts from cookery classes to cooking demonstrations to “boost its presence in the community”. O’Sullivan said the monthly cookery demos were not for profit but allowed the company to “get more involved in the community and have more of a presence”. Camile Thai operates 14 sites in the Republic, with another in Belfast. The London venue is in Tooting Bec.

Sakagura launches yakiniku barbecue menu: Sakagura, the Japanese dining experience and sake bar in Mayfair, has launched a yakiniku barbecue menu. Created by head chef Jin Yackshin (Gordon Ramsey Group) and executive chef Kanji Furukawa (Shoryu Ramen), the menu at the Heddon Street restaurant offers a range of meat, all wet-aged in specialist Japanese KuraBan fridges and served alongside a “shichirin” barbecue so diners can cook the meat themselves, together with a selection of Japanese dipping sauces. Meat includes Japanese and Australian wagyu sirloin, pork belly, and Goosnargh chicken thigh, while lighter options feature fresh courgette, asparagus or eryngii mushroom, as well as steamed white koshihikari rice, tofu and wakame miso soup or wafu salad. Sakagura, which opened in November, is the first joint venture between the Japan Centre Group, sake Royal Warrant holders Gekkeikan, Japanese plum wine brand Choya, and the Toridoll Corporation.

South Shields-based fish and chip restaurant Colmans to start expansion by opening second site: Award-winning fish and chip restaurant Colmans is to start expansion by opening its second South Shields site this week. Colmans owner Richard Ord will launch the £1m venue on Friday (26 May) having turned a bandstand and public convenience – known locally as Gandhi’s Temple – into the new restaurant. The site, which has created 40 jobs, also includes a cocktail bar and takeaway. It will be called Colmans Seafood Temple, a sister venue to Colmans in Ocean Road, which opened in 1926 and won best restaurant in the National Fish and Chip Awards last year. General manager Alex Vladoiu told the Shields Gazette: “Colmans Seafood Temple will be different to every other fish and chip restaurant in the north east because, as well as featuring fish and chips, it will offer a range of local and sustainable seafood and will host a small plates seafood bar serving cocktails.”

Japanese restaurant Dinings starts expansion with Knightsbridge opening: Japanese restaurant Dinings has started expansion by opening a second site, ten years after its debut in Marylebone. Dinings SW3 has opened in grade I-listed Walton House in Knightsbridge featuring a ten-seater sushi bar and 24-cover private dining room. The restaurant offers a similar menu to the Marylebone site, focusing on izakaya-style sushi and sashimi using seafood landed from Cornish day boats, alongside robata-style dishes cooked on a Josper grill. New dishes include reel-caught Scottish lobster with yuzu kimizu sauce, sweet soy-marinated Chilean sea bass with sansyo pepper, and cabbage steak sakamushi style with fresh truffle. Dinings SW3 also offers its own-label sake with seasonal variations. Dinings, which is led by executive chef and managing director Masaki Sugisaki and business partner Nick Taylor-Guy, also operates a residency at The Norman Hotel in Tel Aviv.

Former Chiltern Firehouse chef to launch cantina concept in Camden: Former Chiltern Firehouse chef Lee Andrews is to launch a cantina concept in Camden. Gabeto Cantina will open in The Stables Market in Chalk Farm Road on Thursday, 6 July offering the best of British brasserie dining and a terrace bar, The Handbook reports. Marylebone restaurant Chiltern Firehouse, owned by André Balazs, has become a magnet for A-list celebrities.

London-based Simple Health Kitchen to start expansion with second site, in Baker Street: London-based healthy eating concept Simple Health Kitchen is to start expansion by opening its second site in the capital next month. Personal trainer Bradley Hill founded Simple Health Kitchen after a life-threatening illness turned his attention to diet and nutrition. Having opened the first site in Watling Street in St Paul’s, he will now double up with a venue in Baker Street. The seasonally updated menu will include a turkey and cranberry burger, sweet potato falafel, and a variety of salads made on site. There will also be a range of protein pots, snacks and low-calorie desserts, as well as cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Simple Health Kitchen is also launching a healthy cocktail range, skinny champagne and gluten-free beer.

Loungers opens Evesham site: Cafe bar brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has opened a site in Evesham, Worcestershire. The Orto Lounge has launched in Market Place following a £529,000 refurbishment, with eclectic artwork, pop art-inspired table tops, vintage sofas and school benches. Operations manager Mike Roscoe told the Evesham Journal: “We’re in an enviable spot in Market Place – in the heart of Evesham.” Earlier this month, Loungers reached the milestone of 100 sites following the opening of Capo Lounge in Mansfield. The Orto is the group’s 83rd Lounge, while it also operates an 18-strong Cosy Club estate. Further Lounges are due to open in Southend and Rustington, West Sussex, in the next couple of months. The company was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop.

London-based restaurateur Ali Eren to open fourth site: London-based restaurateur Ali Eren is to open his fourth site, in Canary Wharf. Eren will launch Mediterranean-style restaurant Jazzgir in Harbour Exchange Square next month. The menu by head chef Raffaele Biancarddeu will include tuna carpaccio with pressed cucumber, white asparagus puree and pea shoots in a Martini dressing, and fresh pappardelle with white rabbit ragu. There will also be two cocktail bars serving classic drinks with a modern twist such as Triple M, a summery take on a Moscow Mule. Live jazz acts will perform daily from 5pm, reports Hot Dinners. Eren is also behind Turkish halal restaurant Kilikya in St Katharine’s Docks and Italian venues Bellaria in Fitzrovia and Bacco in Holborn.

Former central Brighton nightclub site acquired for hotel development: A former nightclub site in central Brighton has been acquired for a hotel development. Silvercoin Investments has bought the property in West Street for an undisclosed sum through agent Flude Commercial. Planning consent was secured in 2016 for the redevelopment of the site, which has been vacant for the past ten years, for a 133-bedroom hotel with associated facilities. Silvercoin is expected to develop the hotel during the next 18 months. Will Thomas, who heads retail and leisure agency services at Flude Commercial, said: “As well as providing high-quality hotel accommodation, the proposed development includes space suitable for retail and restaurant use. We expect good interest from prospective occupiers for this space.”

St Austell Brewery signs recruitment partnership: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has signed an exclusive partnership with Talem Recruitment Group to attract staff to its managed estate. St Austell Brewery operates 34 venues in its managed estate from a total of 177 pubs, inns and hotels across the south west. Plymouth-based Talem has begun its search for general managers to work across several of the company’s managed houses, with recruitment days in the pipeline and roles and potential sites available on its website. Talem director Donna Barnes said the initial task would be to recruit for roles in Cornwall. St Austell Brewery retail director Steve Worrall added: “The partnership with Talem will help ensure we continue to attract and recruit the very best managers across our managed estate.” This week, St Austell Brewery reported like-for-like sales in its managed estate for the year ending 31 December 2016 increased 5.3%. This growth was achieved in wet, food and accommodation sales, which were up 3.5%, 5.2% and 10.7% respectively on a like-for-like basis. Total revenue in the managed estate rose by 20% and, for the second consecutive year, all sites operated under management throughout the year achieved annual turnover in excess of £1m.

Buzzworks Holdings completes £250,000 refurbishment of Kilmarnock venue: Buzzworks Holdings has completed the £250,000 refurbishment of its Kilmarnock bar and restaurant The Long House. Work took place over several months during non-trading hours to minimise disruption. The Long House, one of nine venues in the company’s portfolio, has been refurbished inside and out, including a complete revamp of the function suite and the launch of a new menu. Buzzworks Holdings chairman Colin Blair said: “The Long House has been a popular venue since it opened in 2012 and we felt now was the ideal time to revamp our offering. We are particularly proud of the upstairs function suite, which can now cater for private dining, cocktail masterclasses and functions for up to 50 guests.” The Long House is part of Buzzworks’ House brand, which encompasses four Ayrshire venues – The Mill House, The Corner House, Treehouse, and The Coach House, which will open soon. The family-run business also operates the Scotts, Elliotts and Lido brands, employing 400 staff in total.

Bonnie Gull launches seafood bar and cafe pop-up in Mayfair: British seaside restaurant concept Bonnie Gull has launched a seafood bar and cafe pop-up in Mayfair. The company has opened the venue in the Brown Hart Gardens in Duke Street, offering a range of grab-and-go and eat-in options. The breakfast menu includes soft-boiled duck egg and marmite soldiers as well as London-smoked salmon, poached Arlington egg and toasted muffin. Lunch offers a counter display of freshly made salads along with plated dishes including lobster, fennel, watercress and orange and Selsey white crab meat with broad beans, courgette, and basil and mint dressing. Dinner features table service and a menu of small, large and sharing plates from the oyster and seafood bar. The drinks list features wine and spirits, including its signature “Bonnie Mary” cocktail plus a range of tea and coffee. Bonnie Gull managing director Alex Hunter said: “We are very excited to be opening a cafe and seafood bar at this urban oasis and hidden gem in the heart of Mayfair. Our offering will be a great summer pairing for this unique space, where local residents, workers and tourists can come and enjoy the best of British produce and feel like they are by the sea.” Bonnie Gull has sites in Fitzrovia and Soho.

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