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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 15th Jun 2017 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector like-for-likes fall 0.4% in May, restaurants outperform pubs: Britain’s managed pubs and restaurants saw collective like-for-like sales fall 0.4% in May compared with last year, the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker has showed. Groups trading in London did slightly better with like-for-likes up 0.1%, compared with a 0.6% fall outside the M25. “May’s numbers will be a disappointment for operators as they come after a 4.4% increase in April but the truth is we are seeing an essentially flat market,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA Peach, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. “Eating and drinking out has proved resilient, with the public continuing to go out even through the last downturn. Our BrandTrack consumer surveys show frequency of both eating and drinking out-of-home staying fairly constant over recent years. The problem hasn’t been so much consumer confidence but business confidence, with mounting cost pressures on operators from rising wages, business rates and food costs. The latest fall in sterling following the general election result will only add to that. Restaurant chains did marginally better than pub groups in May, with flat like-for-likes compared with a 0.7% decline across managed pubs. Drink-led businesses did better than food-led operations, due mainly to the weather, but overall it’s been sluggish across the board.” Total sales growth in May among the 35 companies in the Tracker cohort was 2.4%, reflecting the continuing if more subdued effect of new openings over the year. The underlying annual sales trend shows sector like-for-likes running at 1.3% ahead for the 12 months to the end of May. Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure, said: “Like-for-likes in May were below inflation. Pre-election jitters will likely have weighed on consumer confidence. Worries over the uncertainty created by a hung parliament, a fraught Brexit process and fears surrounding terrorist attacks could deter some consumers, particularly from visiting city centre restaurants, although ‘staycations’ may offset this in some parts of the country. A weak pound will also help. There are continued headwinds in the eating-out market and despite these numbers the pub sector is generally trading stronger.” Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM, added: “While spending on eating and drinking out continues to be prioritised, the growth in pop-up dining and number of new concepts increases the need for established operators to refresh and innovate their offering just to maintain market share. With inflation continuing to rise and wage growth stagnating, consumers are starting to feel the pinch. We expect these factors to lead to more consolidation in the sector.”

Industry News:

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.

Global volume of alcoholic drinks consumed falls 1.4%: The volume of alcoholic drinks consumed globally fell 1.4% in 2016 to 250 billion litres, according to alcohol industry tracker IWSR, a second consecutive year of decline and only the third since data collection started in 1994. ISWR said the fall was due to people drinking less beer, which accounts for three-quarters of all alcohol consumed by volume. Worldwide beer consumption shrank 1.8% to 185 billion litres last year. However, because the world’s drinking-age population grew in 2016, beer consumption per drinking-age adult declined 3.2% in real terms. ISWR said the decline was almost entirely due to downturns in three of the five biggest markets – China, Brazil and Russia – which account for 99.6% of the global decrease. China is the largest market for beer by volume, drinking a quarter of all beer. However, consumption per person peaked in 2013 and dropped further last year with Chinese drinkers turning from cheap local brews to premium products and imported beers. Beer’s appeal is also waning among China’s older drinkers, with over-30s moving to wine and over-40s favouring national spirit baiju. Consumption in both Brazil and Russia fell 7%. A study last year by Liesbeth Colen and Johan Swinnen, of the University of Leuven, found beer becomes more popular as countries become richer but consumption falls when the population reaches about $27,000 per person, when consumers become more aware of health issues and opt for more expensive drinks. The study also found beer consumption rises as countries become more globalised and, when international drinks companies move in, punters may change their favourite tipple, The Economist reports.

McDonald’s goes chic by introducing knives and forks in France: McDonald’s has introduced knives and forks at its sites in France as it attempts to revamp its image. The company is offering cutlery at its 1,400 French sites following a trial at ten restaurants. So far, however, the knives and forks are only plastic. Knives and forks will only be handed to customers who order premium “signature” burgers. The move could be extended to other countries – McDonald’s began offering table service in France before rolling it out to other European countries last year. Xavier Royaux, head of marketing at McDonald’s France, told Business Day: “In recent months we’ve seen a reorganisation of the burger market and an expansion of product offerings, including the gourmet burger, so as pioneer and leader it was vital for us to position ourselves. Cutlery is a development rather than a break with the past, in the same way we’ve brought in table service, now available at more than 80% of our restaurants.” Burgers are on the menu at three-quarters of France’s restaurants, with sales estimated at €8.3bn a year. About 70% are bought at McDonald’s, which holds the largest market share but faces increasing competition from gourmet burger joints.

Best Bar None appoints new chairman: Philip Smith, The Lord Smith of Hindhead, has been appointed chairman of Best Bar None as the scheme moves to its next stage of growth and development. Lord Smith, who was a leading contributor to the Licensing Act 2003 select committee review, has worked closely with the industry in his roles as vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and executive member of the All Party Parliamentary Non-Profit Making Clubs’ Group. Outgoing chairman Robert Humphreys will revert to his previous role as vice-chairman. Lord Smith said: “I’m delighted to join Best Bar None at a time when it is increasingly important for the industry to maintain self-regulation in demonstrating licensed premises are well run, responsible businesses that have a positive impact within our towns and cities. There is a huge opportunity for the industry to work hand-in-hand with local government and build positive relationships with the police and other emergency services as we roll-out more schemes across the country.” Best Bar None has active programmes across 70 towns and cities that have helped to reduce alcohol-related disorder and boost the local night-time economy.

Liverpool-based festival operator submits food hall plans for Cains brewery site: Independent Liverpool, which operates food festivals in the city, has submitted plans for a food hall in a former warehouse at the Cains brewery site. The company, founded by Oliver Press and David Williams, said Independent Liverpool Markets (ILM) would showcase food and drink from local suppliers and give young chefs and street food traders a chance to grow their businesses. The space would also feature a bar and events space, while businesses would operate from converted shipping containers inside the main events hall, the Liverpool Echo reports. Ajmail and Sudarghara Dusanj, who own the Cains site, plan to transform the complex into a “brewery village”. While that plan comes to fruition, they are looking for temporary uses for other parts of the site. ILM’s planning application states: “Independent Liverpool has talked to a lot of street food vendors and in most instances their goal is to open a restaurant with the concept successfully trialled at food market stalls. We hope taking a pitch with us would really put them on their way to opening a permanent business.” The Dusanj brothers’ plans for the one million square foot brewery site include a craft brewery and visitor centre, artisan food market, 94-bedroom boutique hotel, arthouse cinema, restaurants, bars and 725 apartments.

Former ALMR chief ‘reluctantly’ removes foie gras from Peak District pub menu following protests: Former Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive David McHattie has removed foie gras from the menu at his Peak District pub. McHattie, who owns The Bridge Inn in Calver with wife Sam, started serving the dish in March. However, after four protests outside the pub in the past few months the McHatties have decided to change the menu, reports the Derbyshire Times. In a statement they said: “The activists will crow victory, but so be it. We cannot and will not put our principles before our guests’ experience at The Bridge so we have decided to remove it from the menu. Peaceful protest is fine but these people know the law, exactly how far they can push it. While their actions have increased awareness and sales, their behaviour just continues to reach new depths, which is totally unacceptable to our guests. Our family and team have been abused to their face and online, often waking to 80 or more disparaging comments on their Facebook pages. Their actions are deplorable. The government should do more to protect law-abiding citizens going about their own business from intimidation and abuse.” A spokesman for protest organisers Nottingham Animal Rights said: “While this is fantastic news The Bridge Inn has seen sense, as with other establishments in Nottingham and Derby, and removed foie gras from the menu, we do not see it as a victory for us. It is a victory for the geese and ducks that are abused and tortured every day to produce such a horribly cruel dish.”

Jamie Oliver offers free food and drink to families affected by London tower blaze: Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has offered to provide free food and drink to those affected by the devastating blaze at Grenfell Tower in west London. In an Instagram post he wrote: “To any of the hundreds of families affected by this terrible fire at Grenfell Tower, Notting Hill, you are all welcome to hang out in my restaurant and be fed and watered by my Jamie’s Italian team. We are in the Westfield just around the corner. Food and drink free of charge so just go and speak to my manager Juan and we will sort you out and give you some love.”

Company News:

Soho House opens Cecconi’s in Brooklyn: Soho House has opened its first public New York restaurant, an offshoot of London-born Cecconi’s, inside the newly opened Empire Stores in the Brooklyn area known as Down Under the Manhatan Bridge Overpass (Dumbo). The Cecconi’s Dumbo space makes use of the former warehouse’s archways, which have been transformed into doors that open on to the stone path between the building and the East River. Dramatic views of the Manhattan Bridge are visible from parts of the dining room and bar, as well as from the newly installed patio with tables, sofas, and lots of flowering plants. A third private dining room space also provides views out on to the water and into Manhattan. Soho house will open a private club above Cecconi’s on the top two floors of the building later this year or in early 2018.

Cosmo to reopen Leeds restaurant next month under new luxury concept: World buffet brand Cosmo is reopening its Leeds restaurant in Boar Lane next month under a new luxury concept following a major refurbishment. The Cosmo Luxe restaurant will provide guests with a “more upmarket dining experience incorporating elegant surroundings with gourmet dishes”. The refurbished outlet will be Cosmo’s pioneer restaurant for the new Luxe brand. Diners will be able to choose from more than 150 dishes cooked to order at food stations. There will also be a section in the restaurant offering diners Asian cuisine and a new range of fresh salads. In addition, there will be a chocolate fountain, a DIY ice-cream counter and a selection of hand-made, artisan patisserie on offer. The new interior will include marble floors, grey concrete surfaces, green onyx leather chairs, and glass. Cosmo opened its first restaurant in 2003 and plans to have restaurants in more than 20 locations by the end of the year.

Chinese Buffet to open Liverpool restaurant, first city site and 11th in total: Chinese Buffet, which was founded in Bolton by Peter Wu and Paolo and David Hu in 2006, is to open its 11th site, in Liverpool. The company has bought the former Damon’s restaurant in Speke, which will be its first city site. It plans to invest more than £1m in the property in Speke Boulevard that was home to Damon’s for 15 years to turn it into its flagship branch. Paolo Hu told the Liverpool Echo: “We’re going to extend the restaurant because we’re expecting it to be busier. The building will be about a quarter bigger than it is now. It looks like a circular building but part of it is not a complete circle – but we’re going to complete the circle. We continue to look at extending our brand and our business. It’s our first one in a big city. The current restaurants are in big towns like St Helens, Wigan and Bolton.” The Chinese Buffet will now apply for planning permission for the restaurant extension and hopes to reopen the site before the end of the year.

Manchester-based Tattu launches Leeds city centre sister site: Adam and Drew Jones, who operate Chinese restaurant Tattu in Spinningfields, Manchester, have started expansion of the concept by opening a sister site in Leeds city centre. The brothers have opened the restaurant at a 5,500 square foot ground-floor unit in the Bond Court development creating 80 jobs. The 180-cover, split-level restaurant also features external seating, while Tattu executive chef Clifton Muil has created three new dishes inspired by Yorkshire produce – Yorkshire beef puff dim sum, Kimchi crab cakes using Whitby crab, and Yorkshire pork ribeye steak. The site also features a cherry blossom tree adorned with white petals in tribute to Yorkshire’s white rose. Adam Jones told Hospitality & Catering News: “The dining scene here in the city is expanding rapidly, there’s some really exciting operations opening with a lot of interest from London outfits too. We saw an opportunity to be part of that growth and we’re looking forward to joining other establishments in the city to offer something completely different.”

JD Wetherspoon has Leeds doctor’s surgery plans refused, bids to triple hotel rooms in Corby, adds 22 bedrooms in Hull: JD Wetherspoon has had its plans to convert a doctor’s surgery and pharmacy in east Leeds into a pub refused because of traffic and waste removal concerns. The company planned to build a two-storey kitchen extension and beer garden. A dental care practice would be retained, with an entrance on the ground floor and treatment rooms on the floor above. Leeds City Council said the proposed loading and unloading arrangements for the site would cause “pedestrian and vehicle conflict”. Meanwhile, the company is seeking to triple the number of rooms at The Saxon Crown in Corby, Northamptonshire. JD Wetherspoon opened the 12-bedroom hotel in Elizabeth Street in 2014 following a £2.25m refurbishment. The company proposes to turn the floor above a British Heart Foundation shop next door into 30 bedrooms. The hotel already features two conference rooms, a ground-floor bar and beer garden. Spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “The scheme does not affect the charity shop. The investment would be in excess of £1.5m and the scheme would create additional jobs. The hotel has been a great success and that is the reason for Wetherspoon looking to increase the number of rooms. We believe the extra rooms would be a benefit to the town.” Wetherspoon is also opening a new 22-bedroom hotel at one of its pubs in Hull following a development project costing more than £2.5m. The hotel will open on Friday, 23 June above The Admiral Of The Humber, which launched in 2000. A total of 30 jobs are being created. To coincide with the hotel opening, the pub has been fully refurbished and a first-floor roof terrace beer garden added.

Craft coffee and cocktail bar Roc & Rye to launch in Manchester next month: Manchester-based bartender Sean Finnegan, formerly of El Capo, Kosmonaut and Mash And Air, is to launch his first stand-alone bar, Roc & Rye, with business partners Maritza Haydon and Matt Bonner. The 150-cover craft coffee and cocktail bar will launch in a grade II-listed building in King Street on Thursday, 6 July taking inspiration from the building’s original 1880s interior. Roc & Rye has a brand advocacy partnership with Pernod Ricard UK and will feature an on-site drinks laboratory and offer aged Jameson whiskey served from a barrel behind the bar. Regarding the food menu, Finnegan told The Business Desk: “We wanted to give Roc & Rye customers the experience of sampling undiscovered artisan food from the local area and we’re proud to be able to curate a diverse menu that gives regional producers a platform to showcase home-grown speciality cuisine.” The cocktail list, entitled Hard Shakes and Heart Breaks, will include the signature Lost At Sea (Jamesons, cherry and grapefruit shrub, cherry liqueur, mezcal and sweet Vermouth).

Greene King unveils festival startup support package for licensees: Brewer and retailer Greene King has unveiled a support package for its Pub Partners licensees, giving them the chance to host their own tailored festival. The company said the package offered specialist advice and guidance on creating the “perfect drinks-themed event to help pubs attract new visitors and provide something extra for regular customers”. Working with specialists Aspall for cider festivals and Fever Tree for gin festivals, the new toolkit aims to help licensees make the most of every new season. The beer festival would feature a choice of beers from Greene King’s Bury St Edmunds brewery, including one-off seasonal ales. Greene King Pub Partners managing director Clive Chesser said: “We have created the opportunity for our licensees to embrace even more creativity and innovation. This extra support for starting up their own festivals could help them reach out to even more of their local community and showcase what they have to offer. We need to keep attracting people into our pubs to maximise trading opportunities and festivals can be an ideal way of doing this. One of our toolkit’s key messages is these events take a lot of planning but if managed properly can lead to big rewards, bringing more people into the pub while licensees simultaneously prove they’re capable of running high-profile events.”

Yorkshire-based Jinnah Group to launch Bradford hotel with rooftop restaurant and chef training space for seventh site: Yorkshire-based Jinnah Group has unveiled plans to turn a Bradford building into a 25-bedroom hotel with rooftop restaurant, banqueting and conference rooms, and a centre of excellence for chefs. The family-run company, which operates six restaurants in Yorkshire, has acquired Kingfisher House in Filey Street following a £650,000 loan from Lloyds Bank. It plans to invest more than £2.5m to convert the 35,000 square foot space with Mi7 Developments to create more than 150 jobs and build one of the largest banqueting and conference venues in northern England. The restaurant would feature a rooftop dining area and offer a range of foods, including Kashmiri, Chinese, Italian, Mexican and Mediterranean. Jinnah Group was founded in 1994 and specialises in traditional Kashmiri cuisine. Managing director Saleem Akhtar told Insider Media: “The curry industry in the UK is worth an estimated £4bn, with £500m attributed to Bradford alone. Our plans will help cement Bradford’s title as the UK’s curry capital, with our centre of excellence providing highly-skilled chefs for the growing industry.”

Camerons Brewery launches staff rewards scheme: Camerons Brewery is offering a new rewards scheme to its employees. The company is working with London-based Perkbox to offer staff discounts and rewards at major brands such as Tesco, Amazon, Starbucks and Netflix. The Perkbox platform will be offered to all Camerons staff in its head office in Hartlepool and 23 managed pubs. Camerons director and general manager Chris Soley said: “As part of our commitment to the development of our growing brewery and retail pub estate it is important we make Camerons a place where people want to come to work. We have invested significant funds into the training and development of our staff over the past five years and as part of that we were also looking at ways to recognise their efforts with additional benefits and rewards to ensure we retain them. The Perkbox platform allows us to offer our staff a huge range of discounts on major brands and services. In addition, it also allows us to reward individual employees who go over and above their normal working roles with vouchers, tickets or experiences.” 

Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams has boutique hotel plans approved: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams has had his plans for a new boutique hotel in Liverpool approved. Developer Elliot Group originally submitted a proposal for an apartment block in Norfolk Street, with plans revised to a £70m 306-bedroom luxury hotel after Adams became involved in the scheme. Vincent Residence & Hotel, overlooking Queens Dock, will feature 50 “oversized” serviced apartments, a basement events space, and rooftop services including a pool, lounge, spa, gym and outdoor circuit-training terrace. It will be the second city centre hotel for Adams’ Vincent brand after construction began on the Times Hotel By Vincent earlier this year – another partnership with Elliot. Adams told the Liverpool Echo: “The development has a great waterfront location with superb views and guests will feel they have chosen to stay in a very special place.” Adams also operates the Vincent Hotel in Southport and the Vincent Cafe & Cocktail Bar and Vincent Kitchen, both in Liverpool.

Chef Stefano Stecca launches eponymous restaurant in Chelsea: Chef Stefano Stecca, formerly of renowned London restaurants Locatelli and Novikov, has launched his own restaurant in Chelsea. The restaurant – Stecca – has opened in Hollywood Road, Little Chelsea, offering traditional Italian cuisine including crudi – a raw dish made using freshly caught Cornish fish. Meat is as organic and local as possible and sourced from small producers hand-picked by Stecca. Dishes include linguine with sweet chilli and lobster sauce, risotto with black truffle, and homemade tagliatelle with wild forest mushroom. The 40-cover restaurant also features a small garden and 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.

All Bar One to ditch plastic straws: All Bar One, the brand owned by Mitchells & Butlers, is pledging to end plastic straw usage across all its 52 sites by kicking off its #strawsuck campaign. As part of the pledge, it is calling on other bars and businesses to commit to getting rid of plastic straws. All Bar One will either remove plastic straws or replace them with an environmentally friendly alternative. The brand said it currently served straws in 25% of its drinks, uses an average 1,600 straws a week per bar (about 13,000 a day as a brand), and buys 4.7 million straws a year. Oakman Inns, led by Peter Borg-Neal, launched its own Ban The Straw campaign for Earth Day in April.

Cheshire-based Broad Oak Pub Company reopens former New Moon site acquired by JW Lees: Cheshire-based Broad Oak Pub Company has reopened the Hanging Gate pub in Weaverham. The pub was previously operated as Italian restaurant Casa Matta by New Moon Pub Company before it went into administration last year. The pub has returned to its former name following extensive development by JW Lees, which bought the site in December, and Broad Oak Pub Company. It boasts restored original features, open fires and snugs. A new food menu is on offer as well as real ales brewed by JW Lees along with a gin and wine range. Darren Crawford, owner of the Broad Oak Pub Company, told the Northwich Guardian: “We run traditional village pubs with a great fresh food offer and we’ve brought a real gem back to life in Weaverham. JW Lees spotted the potential in the pub and has worked with the team at Broad Oak to turn it into a valuable community asset. For me, the Hanging Gate is a special place full of memories and there is a bit of a twist in the story. The Hanging Gate is where I first dated the lady who is now my wife, so it is important to me that we have been given the pub the love it deserves, creating a place for new stories to begin.” The Broad Oak Pub Company operates six sites in Cheshire and works exclusively with family brewers.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe to open tenth site next month, in Seven Dials: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the London Thai restaurant brand, will open a site in Seven Dials next month. The company, founded by Alex and Saiphin Moore in Brick Lane in 2006, will open the venue in Earlham Street on Wednesday, 5 July. It will be the group’s tenth restaurant following recent openings in Brixton and West Hampstead. Based in a five-story Georgian residence, the restaurant will occupy a three-story space seating up to 75 covers, with a private dining room on the third floor. The decor will take its cues from Georgian domestic architecture, while incorporating the familiar Rosa’s motifs. Alex Moore said: “We’re very excited to be opening a new Rosa’s in the heart of London’s theatre land. It’s one of the buzziest parts of town and we can’t wait to introduce a whole new crowd of Londoners to some of Thailand’s most exciting cuisine.”

London-based restaurateur Ali Eren opens fourth site: London-based restaurateur Ali Eren has opened his fourth site, this time in Canary Wharf. Eren has launched Mediterranean-style restaurant Jazzgir in Harbour Exchange Square. The menu by head chef Raffaele Biancarddeu includes tuna carpaccio with pressed cucumber, white asparagus puree and pea shoots in a Martini dressing, and fresh pappardelle with white rabbit ragu. There are also 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. Eren is also behind Turkish halal restaurant Kilikya in St Katharine’s Docks and Italian venues Bellaria in Fitzrovia and Bacco in Holborn.

Gourmet burger restaurant Belted closes Carlisle site as it focuses on larger cities to develop concept: Gourmet burger restaurant Belted has closed its Carlisle site as it aims to focus its attention on larger cities to develop the concept. The company, which also has a restaurant in Edinburgh, opened the outlet in a former post office building in Warwick Road in 2014. A private agreement has been reached between Belted and Burge Halston, which owns the property, to take back the premises. A Belted spokesman told the News & Star: “Belted is now closed having enjoyed three years looking after the good people of Carlisle and beyond. Belted is handing its lease back to the landlords, Burge Halston, due to the lack of viability. With agreeably one of the best locations in Carlisle, Belted will look to develop the concept in bigger cities.” Belted said outstanding vouchers could be used at its Edinburgh restaurant.

Plans approved to build 485-acre South Wales holiday resort with hotel and Alpine zone: Plans have been approved to build a 100-bedroom hotel and luxury lodges at a new holiday resort in South Wales. The Afan Valley Adventure Resort, which the owners are touting as “the world’s ultimate outdoor adventure”, will cover 485 acres between Cardiff and Swansea. It will feature an Alpine Zone with “all the thrills of a traditional ski resort complete with lifts, time gates, slalom courses, tubing, moguls, ski school, toboggan runs and bustling alpine bars”. Investment agency Properties of the World has put £130m into the project, which is set to generate £6.5m a year in customer expenditure. The lodges will be managed by an experienced resort operator and leased to holidaymakers with an opportunity to enjoy two weeks’ free personal usage a year. Properties of the World chief executive Jean Liggett told Hotelowner: “Afan Valley Adventure Resort will offer activities for the whole family.”

Turtle Bay to open Plymouth restaurant in September: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is to open a site in Plymouth in September. The company has been granted permission by the city council to open the venue in a former post office in St Andrew’s Cross that closed at the end of last year. Turtle Bay plans to invest £800,000 in the 215-cover restaurant, creating more than 50 jobs, reports the Plymouth Herald. The refitted 480 square metre site would feature an island hut bar, indoor “verandah” and open kitchen. The decor will feature repurposed shipping containers, oil drum lampshades, reclaimed wood and disused speakers. The company, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and has 37 sites across the UK, having opened its first restaurant in Milton Keynes in 2010.

Red Mist Leisure adds rooms to north Hampshire pub: Red Mist Leisure, the pub company founded by Mark Williams and Mark Robson, has added seven en-suite bedrooms to The Red Lion pub in Odiham, north Hampshire, completing a £500,000 refurbishment. Each of the seven bedrooms at the venue in High Street is named after an aircraft flown out of RAF Odiham. The Farnham-based company reopened the village pub last month for its eighth site, restoring its original name for the first time in 300 years. Now in its 14th year, Red Mist Leisure’s other pubs in Surrey and Hampshire are The Stag On The River in Eashing, The Queens Head in Clandon, The Duke Of Cambridge in Tilford, The Exchequer in Church Crookham, The Wheatsheaf in Farnham, The Cock Inn in Headley Village, and The Royal Exchange in Lindford.

Hollywood Bowl Group continues investment with Cwmbran rebrand: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, has invested £250,000 in the refurbishment and rebrand of Bowlplex Cwmbran in South Wales. The venue remained open during the project and is the sixth Bowlplex centre to be rebranded since the 11-strong company was acquired by Hollywood Bowl Group last year. The “new generation” Hollywood Bowl site includes 20 pre-bookable, fully computerised lanes; a Hollywood Diner concept; and an upgraded bar with decor “celebrating all things Americana”. The diner offers American classics, including gourmet burgers hotdogs, shakes and desserts. The centre’s amusement offer has also been transformed. Hollywood Bowl Group chief executive Steve Burns said: “Customer reaction has been very positive so we’re extremely excited about the future for Cwmbran following this investment.”

Staycity to add 12,000 rooms in gateway cities: Dublin-based aparthotel operator Staycity is embarking on a major expansion plan across Europe that will boost its room count by about 12,000. The operator has more than 3,000 apartments in ten European cities but plans to have 15,000 rooms by 2022. This would mean developing 50 additional properties. The UK and Germany will be the focus for the expansion, alongside gateway European cities. About 2,500 rooms are already in the pipeline in locations including Liverpool and Dublin and are scheduled to open in the next two years. Staycity is also negotiating new deals in London, Edinburgh and Berlin. Staycity chief executive Tom Walsh told Property Week the company wanted to “bulk up” its presence in large cities such as Manchester and Birmingham, and enter new ones such as Leeds and Bristol. The company launched its second site in Manchester last month. Walsh said: “We will have a huge year in 2019, when our stock will almost double.”

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