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Fri 18th Aug 2017 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Sector like-for-likes up 0.6% in July, restaurants slightly outperform pubs: Britain’s managed pubs and restaurants saw collective like-for-like sales up 0.6% in July compared with last year, the Coffer Peach Business Tracker has revealed. There was little difference between trading inside and outside the M25, with London ahead 0.5% compared with a 0.7% like-for-like increase for the rest of the country. Restaurant chains just edged ahead of pub groups in performance, showing a collective 0.9% like-for-like growth rate against 0.4% for pub and bar operators. “It’s an essentially flat market out there, with the modest 0.6% growth rate exactly the same as we saw in June,” said Peter Martin, vice-president of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM. “Despite all the media talk of fragile consumer confidence, it appears the British are continuing to go out to eat and drink as much as they did last year, which is good news. However, the increased cost pressures operators across the sector face this year, particularly from increases in business rates and food costs, means margins are being squeezed and businesses are feeling the pinch. Operators have been looking for efficiencies but also increasing prices to mitigate rising costs. According to CGA’s latest Business Confidence Survey this summer, more than 80% of operators have introduced at least some price rises this year, with a third implementing them across the board. These latest trading figures show those rises haven’t stopped the public spending, but neither have they significantly boosted income for operators. It remains a tough market.” Total sales growth in July among the 37 companies in the tracker cohort was 3.7%, 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 1.6% ahead for the 12 months to the end of July. Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations, at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “The market is essentially stable, with little dynamic movement in any of the sub-markets, geographically or by sector. The good weather in July should have benefited wet-led venues, which makes the relatively strong figures from the restaurant sector encouraging.” Paul Newman, head of leisure and hospitality at RSM UK, added: “These latest figures will be greeted with a degree of relief by operators. Despite household budgets becoming increasingly stretched, consumers continue to indulge in eating and drinking out. We’ve seen businesses that develop exciting and affordable concepts outpacing competitors and attracting investors keen to support ambitious roll-out plans.”

Industry News:

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass open for bookings: Propel will host Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 29 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include building the case for strategic growth, developing multi-unit managers from players to coaches and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Mastering Multi-Units founder Lee Sheldon will also talk about how to successfully drive profitable growth for your business. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book tickets, email Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Bookings open for Social Media for Profit masterclass, Bar and Nightclub Conference: Bookings are open for two Propel events – the Social Media for Profit masterclass and the Bar and Nightclub Conference, which will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn awards. The Social Media for Profit masterclass with Mark McCulloch, founder and group chief executive of brand, marketing and digital agency WE ARE Spectacular, takes place on the afternoon of Thursday, 14 September at One Moorgate Place in London. For the full schedule, prices and booking details, click here. Meanwhile, this year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Propel, takes place on Monday, 9 October at Bafta, Piccadilly. It will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn awards for bar and nightclub operators at Cafe de Paris in the evening. For full schedule, prices and booking details for the conference click here. For details about Dusk ’til Dawn, email jo.charity@propelinfo.com

CPL Training Group launches right to work validation service: CPL Training Group has launched a tool that enables businesses to validate documents to prove a person’s identity and right to work status. Supported by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), PeopleSearch has been launched to safeguard businesses against Home Office regulations, which can include a fine of up to £20,000 per illegal worker and a five-year prison sentence. Accessed via a web link, PeopleSearch validates an individual’s right to work entitlement by enabling employers to enter personal details, upload ID documents, and verify document authenticity. The tool screens details against a host of cloud-stored data that is sourced securely from an accredited partner to produce an instant “pass” or “fail” result. If a search is inconclusive, further checks can be undertaken. PeopleSearch validates a wide range of details including driving licence, ID card, passport and travel visa numbers. The tool offers three levels of search structure plus a corporate search recommended for high volumes. CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies said: “Within licensed retail and hospitality, it’s difficult for companies to ensure each employee is entitled to work in the UK. Without a sustainable and reliable solution in place, it doesn’t matter how rigorous your due diligence procedures are because it’s not always enough to escape Home Office penalties. The PeopleSearch database is one of the most important products we have launched. Businesses can validate an individual’s right to work status in an instant – saving time and safeguarding compliance with UK law.” ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls added: “This is a very useful resource that will provide employers with the confidence and reassurance they need when employing non-UK workers. This is particularly relevant to the UK’s eating and drinking out sector, which is so reliant on non-UK talent. PeopleSearch will provide employers with peace of mind, which is particularly useful during this time of political and economic uncertainty regarding Brexit and the ongoing debate regarding the status of non-UK employees.”

Tourism VAT cut can happen, says campaign chairman: Cut Tourism VAT Campaign chairman and Butlin’s boss Dermot King has said the current political climate is the best opportunity to reduce tourism VAT to 5%. King pointed to the Conservative-DUP Confidence and Supply Agreement, which pledged to undertake detailed research into the impact of VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and others, including Sinn Fein, support a reduction in tourism VAT (currently 20% in the UK). In the Republic of Ireland, the rate is only 9%. King criticised the government for not giving the tourism industry the recognition it deserves by continuing to levy VAT on visitor accommodation and attractions at 20%, almost double the rate of European rival destinations. In 2016, the World Economic Forum ranked the UK as the second-least price competitive nation regarding tourism out of 136 countries. Hospitality and tourism is the UK’s fourth-largest industry, employing more than 4.6 million people. The campaign has the backing of 126 MPs across all political parties and leading select committees, alongside three national newspapers and 46,000 businesses nationwide. 

UK food and drink exports grow 8.5% to £10.5bn, highest first-half value on record: Total exports of food and drink grew 8.5% in the first six months of 2017 compared with last year to reach £10.2bn – the highest first-half value on record. The UK’s top three export products were whisky, salmon and beer, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) report. It said contrary to recent export trends, stronger growth was reported to EU countries (+9.0%) than to countries outside the EU (+7.6%). Ireland, France and the US were the top three destinations for UK food and drink in terms of overall value. Positive growth was reported in all top 20 markets apart from Spain and Japan. The three export markets that saw the greatest percentage growth in value in the first half were South Korea (+77%), China (+35%), and Belgium (+39%). The rapid growth in exports to growing east Asian markets was led by South Korea, which is fast gaining a taste for British beer, while overall exports surged to £156.3m. The FDF said that while the fall in the price of the pound had helped to boost UK export competitiveness, this currency weakness has also led to an increase in the cost of many essential imported ingredients and raw materials. This had resulted in the UK’s food and drink trade deficit increasing by 16% to -£12.4bn in the first half of 2017.

Tim Martin rubbishes Ryanair’s calls to restrict airport alcohol sales: JD Wetherspoon chairman and founder Tim Martin has rubbished Ryanair’s calls to limit the sale of alcohol at UK airports. Martin said the budget airline’s proposals to limit passengers to two drinks prior to boarding would be unfair on the vast majority of travelling customers. Ryanair proposed a ban on the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants before 10am at British airports and for passengers to be served no more than two drinks before their flight. The Irish company’s calls followed a UK Civil Aviation Authority report that recorded a 600% increase in disruptive passenger incidents between 2012 and 2016. In most cases alcohol was involved, the authority said. Martin, who operates 16 pubs in airports across the UK, told The Times: “Overall, alcoholic drinks in our airport pubs are 38% of sales, the rest is food, soft drinks and tea and coffee. It’s a much lower percentage of alcoholic drink sales than on the high street which, for us, would be about 55% because we do more food than most. It would be a good idea to investigate who is misbehaving and to target action, if possible, at those sorts of people. I think addressing the cultural aspects would be better than imposing the limits Ryanair has suggested because I think they’d be unfair on the 99% of people who behave well.”

Salad supplier collapses in the wake of Brexit woes: A supplier of fresh salads to supermarkets and restaurants across the UK that had a £30m per annum turnover has ceased trading with the loss of about 260 jobs. Ian Vickers and Chris Stevens, of business advisory firm FRP Advisory, have been appointed as joint administrators to Southern Salads, which has ceased trading with immediate effect with all but a “handful” of staff made redundant. The family-run Kent-based business has traded for about 30 years. In 2014, Southern Salads invested heavily to expand its production capability, which put pressure on working capital with the expected increase in turnover never materialising, FRP said. Turnover in 2016 reached more than £30m as the company produced more than 50 tonnes of salad each day. But Southern Salads faced an “unprecedented pressure” on cash flow in the immediate aftermath of the EU referendum vote. The decline in sterling left the business grappling with an immediate fall of between 10% and 20% in its purchasing power for overseas-grown salads. Vickers said: “With insufficient protection from its currency hedging arrangements, pressure increased on cash flow as the business traded through to this spring. The company was unsuccessful in negotiating any significant changes to its pricing terms with its suppliers in mainland Europe while also being unable to pass on its cost increases to supermarkets and its other customers.” The company relies on European suppliers for fresh fruit and vegetables from the Netherlands and Poland in the north to France, Italy and Spain in the south.

Company News:

Veeno opens first West Midlands site as it becomes first restaurant brand to launch at £30m Stratford-upon-Avon development: Italian wine cafe Veeno has become the first restaurant brand to open at the £30m Bell Court complex in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire. The company, led by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino, has opened the 90-seat cafe on the ground floor of the development, beneath the new Everyman Cinema that launched in June. It is the company’s 12th venue and first in the West Midlands. Veeno will be joined by Nando’s, which will open its venue on Wednesday (23 August), as well as better burger brand Byron, Mitchells & Butlers brands Miller & Carter and All Bar One, and Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian. Zecchino said: “Bell Court is a great location and we’re very excited to be part of this development.” Veeno plans to have expanded to 80 sites by the end of 2020.

HMSHost International opens first UK airport site for KFC: KFC has opened its first site at a UK airport. HMSHost International, which operates food and beverage concessions in airports, has opened the site in the departures lounge of Manchester airport’s Terminal Three, creating 50 jobs. KFC serves its breakfast menu until 10am while the full menu is also available – from 4am until last flight. HMSHost International chief executive Walter Seib said: “This agreement with KFC marks a significant milestone in our strategy to increase our footprint in the rapidly expanding and dynamic UK market place through a strong international brand. We’re delighted to open this popular concept as part of the ongoing development of Terminal Three.” Manchester Airport commercial director Stephen Turner added: “We are delighted to launch the first KFC airside at a UK airport and I am sure the outlet will be incredibly popular with our passengers in Terminal Three.” HMSHost operates four other stores in Terminal Three, which sees more than 8.5 million passengers through its gates each year.

Atlas Pub Co signs deal to bring Buca di Pizza concept to Hull: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co has signed a deal to bring its Buca di Pizza concept to Hull. The company, founded by brothers Geoff and Nick Thornton, has agreed a deal with developer Wykeland Group to open a site in the city’s £80m Fruit Market development. The pizzeria and bar will open in Humber Street following an investment of £175,000. The 1,900 square foot venue will have 80 covers inside with seating outside for up to 20 diners. Geoff Thornton said: “The Fruit Market area has such an interesting and very European feel. The developer, Wykeland Beal, has a clear vision and there are new retail, galleries and venues opening all the time. We’re retaining many of the original features, such as the tiled floor, and it will have a lovely rustic feel.” In June, the Thorntons said they were focused on growing the Buca Di Pizza brand to ten restaurants across the M62 corridor in the next three years. The first site opened in Leeds in late 2014, followed by a second in the city’s grade II-listed Stratford House last year and a third, in Manchester, in June. The company is also set to open a venue in Beverley, Yorkshire. Wykeland Beal and Buca Di Pizza both dealt direct.

Albion and East to open second site next month, in Brixton: Albion and East Group, which is supported by The Imbiba Partnership, will open its second site next month, in Brixton. The company is launching Canova Hall in Ferndale Road on Friday, 22 September. The 4,579 square foot bar and restaurant, which will have 200 covers in total, will focus on the building’s history as a workers’ canteen. Split over basement and ground floor, the market-style venue will offer a relaxed workspace environment with hot-desking, fast Wi-Fi and coffee during the day before transforming into a late-night venue. As well as hand-made pizzas from a wood-fired oven, the venue will offer food inspired by Italian street vendors and homemade pasta. Customers will be able to use a cocktail trolley to mix their own drinks or “book a bartender”, who will create cocktails at their table. As with Albion and East Group’s debut site, Martello Hall in Hackney, Canova Hall will feature an on-site gin distillery. Last month, founder Sarah Weir told Propel the company aims to open two sites next year.

New York-based dim-sum restaurant brand Red Farm to open first UK site, in Covent Garden: New York-based dim sum restaurant brand Red Farm is to open its first site in the UK, in Covent Garden. The brand, which has two sites in New York City, will make its UK debut when it opens in Russell Street in the autumn. Red Farm is renowned for its clever twists on Chinese dim-sum, with its most popular dish, the Pac Man shrimp dumplings, resembling characters from the iconic arcade game of the same name, Hot Dinners reports. Alongside its dumplings and rice and noodle menus, Red Farm offers main dishes such as sautéed lobster with egg and chopped pork, and grilled prime Creekstone strip steak. The drinks list includes cocktails alongside wine and craft beer. Red Farm’s founders – chef Joe Ng and Chinese food expert Ed Schoenfeld – also operate Decoy bar below the brand’s Hudson Street restaurant in West Village.

JD Wetherspoon to open £4.5m pub in Kent this month, plans Birmingham train station venue: JD Wetherspoon is to open its largest pub later this month, a £4.5m “super Spoons” in Ramsgate in Kent (population 40,400). The Royal Victoria Pavilion will open on Tuesday, 29 August creating 150 jobs on the site of the Victorian pavilion building in Harbour Parade that has previously housed a casino, dance hall, bar and nightclub. The pub will be Wetherspoon’s largest, with a customer area of almost 11,000 square foot, plus ground-floor and first-floor terraces. The grade II-listed building has been carefully restored, keeping as close as possible to the original concept completed in 1903. A zinc roof has been installed in keeping with the original building while circular windows have been reinstalled. Manager Charlotte Mason told Kent Live: “We are confident (the pub) will be a great addition to the Ramsgate community.” Meanwhile, the company has submitted plans to open a pub at New Street train station in Birmingham city centre. The group has submitted a licence application for a unit at Hammerson’s Grand Central shopping centre that has been vacant since the development launched two years ago.

Tamatanga doubles up with Birmingham opening: An Indian restaurant in Nottingham is to open its second branch, in Birmingham. Tamatanga, which has been trading in Nottingham for almost nine years, will launch the venue between The Mailbox and Grand Central in Birmingham’s Navigation Street. The restaurant will open next month and serve home-style Indian cuisine for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. It will also feature a bar with an extensive cocktail menu. Operations director Rahul Khurana told The Business Desk: “We’re excited to bring Tamatanga to Birmingham in September. This is the perfect place for us. It’s buzzing and pulsing with life and aspiration. We like to do things different – let’s just say we’re not your average Indian. We feel we’re the perfect addition to the local food and drink scene, catering to the appetite and passion of those around us and further out.”

Bradford Brewery opens debut standalone site: Bradford Brewery has reopened city centre pub Exchange Ale House, which has lain empty for four years, for its first permanent site outside its brewery tap. The company has taken on a lease from Trust Inns for the bar, which is below the grade I-listed Wool Exchange in Market Street. The pub has undergone extensive refurbishment, with the vaulted ceiling and flagstone floor retained. The bar allows Bradford Brewery to showcase its Made Of Bradford merchandise alongside a selection of its keg and cask ales and a hot food offer. In June, Bradford Brewery announced it had doubled sales following a “refocus” as the company ramps up to reach the “next level”. As well as the new bar, the company is looking to offer a more extensive programme of events at its brewery tap site as it looks to “develop other revenue streams”.

Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes to expand into Manchester: Sports bar Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes is following its rapid success in Leeds with the launch of an outlet in the heart of Manchester. The new venue will open on the corner of Mount Street and Central Street on Thursday, 24 August. Owner Seema Dhiman said the bar would house 24 televisions showing everything sports-related from football and tennis to Nascar racing. Dhiman told The Business Desk: “I love sport and was fed up of going into bars where it was a little bit rough and the service wasn’t great. Our motto is ‘be nice or get out’, so Brotherhood is the perfect bar for people who want to watch sport, with no trouble, who want to have a drink and enjoy great service. In all those three years of opening our doors in Leeds, we’ve never had any major trouble in the bar.’’

Marston’s gets go-ahead for Scottish developments: Marston’s has been granted a licence for its latest proposed Scottish expansion – a 190-cover carvery off Fulton Road on the outskirts of Dundee. It has also been given the go-ahead to build a lodge hotel next to its pub on the outskirts of Forfar in the east of Scotland. “Overprovision”, which is currently a hot topic for debate in Dundee, was not raised by the board, licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners, which represented Marston’s on the applications, told Propel. Marston’s hopes to open the Dundee development in summer 2018. It has also been granted permission by Angus Council to build a two-storey, 36-bedroom lodge hotel in Forfar’s Orchardbank Industrial Estate, which already features McDonald’s and KFC restaurants. Marston’s has 18 developments open and trading in Scotland.

Greene King appoints TVC Group to new consumer PR brief for brewing and brands division: Brewer and retailer Greene King has appointed TVC Group to a new consumer PR brief for its brewing and brands division. The agency has been tasked with handling consumer PR across several of Greene King’s flagship alcohol brands, including Greene King IPA, Old Speckled Hen, and London Glory. Greene King communications director Greg Sage told PR Week that TVC Group would also support events around the brewer’s new Craft Academy, which is designed to attract new talent to the brewing industry. Sage said the agency was one of “a number” that currently work with Greene King. He confirmed Finsbury handled the brewer’s financial PR.

French-trained chef entrepreneur to open Berkshire gastro-pub: Chef entrepreneur Dom Robinson is to open a gastro-pub in Berkshire in the autumn. Robinson is launching The Blackbird in the hamlet of Bagnor, near Newbury. He said the venue would focus on “flavour and good, honest cooking” using his French training to bring the best out of seasonable, traceable, sustainable and local produce. The menu will feature venison tartar with Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts and truffle; salt marsh lamb rump with courgettes, sea herbs and smoked sardine; and pot roast game of the day. As a lover of potatoes, one of Robinson’s specialities will be hand-cooked “lardy chips”, which feature in many of his dishes. There will also be bar snacks such as scotch eggs made on-site using locally sourced ingredients, while the charcuterie trolley will feature home-cured meat and pickles. Drinks will include a selection of ales, many sourced locally, and wine. The decor will feature rustic wooden furniture, exposed copper piping, leather armchairs and an antique pedal-operated organ. Robinson said: “I want to go right back to basics and focus on doing everything as perfectly as possible. My cooking is about keeping things simple, focusing on flavour and using the techniques I’ve learned to get the best out of ingredients.”

Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai to open second Belfast site: Dublin-based healthy food delivery company Camile Thai is to open its second Northern Ireland site as it strengthens its presence in Belfast. The company is opening the venue in a former Co-op supermarket in the Ballyhackamore area of east Belfast. Camile’s first foray into the city was in Lisburn Road when it opened in a former Marks & Spencer Simply Food unit. Stephen Deyermond, of agents TDK, which acted for Camile, told the Belfast Telegraph: “Camile is trading really well in Lisburn Road and we expect Ballyhackamore will also do very well. Ballyhackamore has quickly established itself as one of Belfast’s main foodie destinations and the addition of Camile adds to the already great offer in the neighbourhood.” Camile Thai also operates 14 sites in the Republic of Ireland and one in London, in Tooting Bec.

Cambridge-based micro-brewer lodges plans for Newmarket cafe and micro-pub: Cambridge-based micro-brewer Turpin’s Brewery has lodged plans to open a cafe and micro-pub in Newmarket. Owner Marcus Turpin has submitted plans to Forest Heath District Council to launch the Black Bess in Rous Road. It would specialise in small independently brewed beers and specialist coffee and tea, with produce sourced from around the Newmarket and Cambridge areas. Turpin hopes to sell a variety of goods, from beer to artisan bread and cheese, reports the Cambridge News. The Black Bess would open Monday to Thursday, from 8.30am and 11.15pm, from 8.30am to 11.30pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 8.30pm to 11pm on Sundays.

Caffe Nero appoints Space and Time Media to improve organic presence and customer engagement: Caffe Nero has appointed Space and Time Media to raise its organic awareness and drive its recruitment and new product launch campaigns via SEO, paid search, social, and online display. Caffe Nero digital brand manager Toni Popova said the move had helped the company improve its organic presence, engagement with customers new and old, and assisted its recruiter brand awareness. She told The Drum: “Space & Time has helped us create a digital strategy that enables us to connect with new and existing customers across all our channels. We’ve had huge success with the recent Tostati Melt campaign, resulting in vast reach and awareness. Our recruitment campaign continues to deliver impressive results daily to raise awareness of the fantastic opportunities we offer as an employer. Space & Time has also helped improve our organic presence online, particularly on mobile devices, appearing on map listings when customers want to find us on-the-go.”

CGA unveils new brand identity: CGA, the data and research consultancy for the out-of-home food and drink market that produces the Coffer Peach Tracker, is bringing together its drinks, food, retail and international operations under a single, focused brand identity. Current names CGA Strategy and CGA Peach, which reflect the company’s roots in the drinks and retail markets, will be retired as the business focuses its growth strategy under the new and simplified CGA banner. Chief executive Phil Tate said: “Our aim is to bring clarity to our services and ensure clients and partners always have full access to our unrivalled expertise and full range of services across the broad out-of-home market, in the UK and internationally.” A new logo and website accompanies the new brand identity, which was developed by brand, marketing and digital agency WE ARE Spectacular. 

Hull-based multi-site operator opens second site for Dope Burger concept: Hull-based multi-site operator Oliver Johnson has launched a second site for his Dope Burger concept. Johnson has opened the 50-cover restaurant in an empty property on the corner of New Cleveland Street. One of the walls is covered in street art, mirroring Dope Burger’s debut restaurant in Anlaby Road, reports the Hull Daily Mail. Johnson also operates Wagwan Chicken, which offers jerk chicken and Caribbean-style dishes. In April he launched Boss Burritos serving Mexican food.

Leicester-based hotel operator Maiyango reopens restaurant under new concept: Leicester-based hotel operator Maiyango has reopened its eponymous restaurant under a new concept. The AA rosette fine dining venue at the St Nicholas Place hotel, which closed in July, has relaunched as The Fish And The Chip. The restaurant, which has capacity for 80 diners, serves traditional fish and chips as well as dishes such as lobster and skinny fries and surf and turf burgers. Maiyango founder Aatin Anadkat told Insider Media: “We saw a gap in the local market and, a bit like Maiyango 12 years ago, set out to create something original. Although the concept will seem alien when compared with our high-end fine dining past, we have been able to create something nostalgic, fun and welcoming and have taken what we know about food, drink and hospitality and applied it to make The Fish And The Chip a brilliant experience.”

ITV plans to launch London-based theme park: ITV is looking for a location in London’s Zone 1 to launch a theme park that would promote its prime-time television shows. The venue would welcome about 250,000 visitors a year and offer a chance to “experience” shows such as Victoria, Downton Abbey and The Voice, the Evening Standard reports. A brochure issued on behalf of the broadcaster’s commerce and ventures team and sent to property industry professionals revealed the venue could include a 100-seat auditorium for “immersive cinematic presentations” and a restaurant. Visitors would also be able to view sets, costumes and artefacts from television shows as part of a “distinctive visitor experience”. ITV stated: “As part of our business we have a team that operates experiential events around our programmes, including the Emmerdale Studio Experience and This Morning Live, and are always looking at new ways to expand this and bring in new programme brands.” The broadcaster hopes to open the theme park next year.

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