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Wed 20th Sep 2017 - Trail to join accelerator programme, sector boosts lettings in Liverpool and Manchester
Hospitality smart checklist app Trail to join UK Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator programme: Trail, a smart checklist tool that helps hospitality operators streamline their daily processes, has been selected to join the inaugural UK Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator programme to help scale and expand the business. The company, founded in 2014 by Joe Cripps (ex-Fourth) and Wil Grace, was one of five companies in Bristol chosen for the six-month programme. Run by members of Oracle’s research and development team, the programme provides mentoring from technical and business experts, state-of-the-art technology, a co-working space, access to Oracle customers, partners and investors, and free Oracle Cloud credits. It also offers an ever-expanding global network of startup peers. Cripps said: “We’re a young startup and the Oracle programme offers unrivalled global enterprise experience and support, helping take Trail up a gear during our first year of growth. From using machine-learning to derive the perfect service day to the ‘Internet of Things’ and automation of repetitive and mundane tasks, Oracle’s experts can help us tackle complexity and save teams time. In return, Trail offers a means to deliver critical insights and actions to a young and highly mobile workforce – a way to offer enterprise tech to a whole section of the workforce previously out of reach.” Trail spent two years developing the product with Itsu, Tossed and Ei Group while recent customers include Leon, Gail’s and Bill’s. Trail said the number of sites where the app is used has tripled in six months, with a target of 600 by January 2018. It raised £1m this year from a network of hospitality-led angels on top of a previous £1.5m.

Food and drinks sector boosts lettings in Liverpool and Manchester: Retail and leisure lettings in Liverpool and Manchester have been heavily weighted towards food and beverage (F&B) operators in the past 18 months, according to agent Savills, as the sector continues to grow in both cities despite a slowdown in expansion by national F&B brands across the UK. In Liverpool, 40% of new city centre retail and leisure occupants since the first quarter of 2016 have been F&B operators, rising to 41% for Manchester. An increase in street food and healthy grab-and-go operators, many of them independent, is driving F&B growth in both cities, Savills said. Liverpool city centre saw 161 retail and leisure sites open in the past 18 months, of which 65 were F&B brands. Among the 65 deals, 25 involved cafes and restaurants. Since the first quarter of 2016, one-quarter (25%) of the city’s F&B lettings have involved change of use of A1, A2 and B1 properties. There have been 246 new retail and leisure occupants in Manchester city centre since the first quarter of 2016, of which 102 were F&B. Cafes and restaurants accounted for almost a quarter (24%) of those openings. A third of F&B lettings in Manchester during the period saw operators change planning use from A1, A2 and B1. Savills retail research director Tom Whittington said: “Two to three years ago, many F&B operators were seeking larger, combined units. Partly due to the increase in independent operators, there is now growing appetite for smaller spaces. This has seen the average unit sizes let to F&B brands in Liverpool and Manchester reduce 25% to 805 square feet over the last year and a half, largely due to increased growth in grab and go operators.” Manchester tops Savills’ ranking for growth in the UK’s casual dining sector since 2015, with 32 city centre openings. Liverpool ranks ninth, with ten openings during the period.

Good Housekeeping names Food Awards winners: PizzaExpress has been named best high-street restaurant chain in Good Housekeeping’s 13th annual Food Awards, as voted for by the magazine’s readers. The brand topped a poll of more than 5,000 votes, with Nando’s and Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia named as runners up. Readers voted San Pellegrino as best soft drink, beating Fever-Tree and Schweppes, while Aldi beat Waitrose and Sainsbury’s to the best supermarket title and was also named best wine retailer. Waitrose won the “best supermarket for British produce” category ahead of The Co-op and Morrisons. The BBC’s MasterChef won best cookery show on television, ahead of Saturday Kitchen and Mary Berry Everyday. Jamie Oliver was named best celebrity chef ahead of Mary Berry and James Martin. However, the former Bake Off star beat Oliver to the best cookbook title. Good Housekeeping executive editor Michelle Hather said: “Our readers are incredibly discerning – they love to cook and shop around for the best produce.”

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