Story of the Day:
CGA – Christmas is the perfect time for premiumised offer: Pub, restaurant and bar operators across Great Britain may face an uncertain trading environment this Christmas but consumers are still likely to spend an additional £562m on drinks out of home, with 211 million visits expected at pubs, bars and restaurants during the festive period, according to statistics from CGA. Despite fewer people visiting the on-trade during Christmas last year (down 4%) those consumers who did went out more often and spent more money. Sales lifts were primarily in drinks, with the value of sales rising 4.4% on the previous year, while the value of dry sales dropped slightly by 0.7%. Drinks sales accounted for 55% of the total sales mix through the on-trade (pubs, bars and restaurants) during Christmas 2016, a one percentage point rise over its share of sales in 2015. Food sales accounted for 45%, down one percentage point on the previous year. “Last year consumer confidence was muted pre-Brexit. This year consumer confidence is still shaky so it is unclear if consumers will rein-in spending or want to treat themselves,” said Phillip Montgomery, CGA client director (drinks). “However, Christmas is a crucial time for operators, who need to make sure they are making the most of footfall throughout December by encouraging customers to trade up with special promotions, new products and exciting, tempting offers.” CGA statistics show operators that attract a festive crowd benefit from a higher consumer spend. Average spend on a celebratory occasion was £56.02 during Christmas 2016, compared with £44.70 on an average social occasion during December. About 9.3 million people who went out celebrating last Christmas (47%) tried something new when they went out with hot alcoholic drinks, sparkling wine, cocktails and Champagne among the favourite choices. Spirits remain the favourite Christmas tipple – accounting for 18.9% of total serves, an increase of almost 4% against an average four-week period. Vodka, dark rum, blended whisky, gin, tequila and non-cream liqueurs see the biggest trade-up. More than one-third of people (36%) were willing to pay extra for a better-quality drink than they would normally choose, influenced by wanting a treat (57%), friends (32%), and recommendations from bar staff (24%). “For operators, Christmas is an opportunity to leverage sales through their premium offer and suppliers should help with ranging decisions. It’s also essential to have engaging bar staff and good POS material promoting your offers – our research showed 57% of consumers noticed outlet promotions, so it’s important to plan early and promote your offer clearly and effectively,” Montgomery added.
London hotel market reports 11th consecutive month of average daily rate growth: Hotels in London reported an 11th consecutive month of average daily rate growth during September, despite a year-on-year decline in occupancy levels. STR data for the month revealed a 1% rise in average daily rate to £165.39, although occupancy fell 1.6% to 86.9%. Revpar also fell during the month, by 0.6% to £143.69. STR said London’s hotel supply continues to grow and pressure the market’s occupancy levels. Supply increased 3.9% during the month, while demand rose 2.3%. STR analysts noted demand was likely to have been boosted by the Defence and Security Equipment International Fair, which took place from 12 to 15 September and was estimated to have attracted more than 34,000 attendees.
Liberal Democrats call for 12.5% cap on business rate increases: The Liberal Democrats are calling for business rate increases for pubs to be capped by 12.5%, as they are currently in Scotland. It comes as research by the party revealed thousands of pubs hit by crippling hikes to their business rates have yet to receive any funding from the government’s flagship pub relief scheme. Chancellor Philip Hammond announced last March that pubs hit by higher rates would receive a £1,000 annual discount. But six months on, four-in-ten councils in England still haven’t even been able to start distributing the relief, with many blaming software problems, absence of clear government guidance and lack of time to put local schemes in place. Freedom of Information data requests show 150 local authorities have started distributing funds, with a total of £6.7m paid out to more than 6,500 pubs. However, 100 local authorities are still finalising schemes, leaving an estimated 4,500 pubs still waiting for relief. Of these, 41% were waiting for software to be updated or tested, 21% said they were awaiting final approval from their local council, and 15% were in the process of contacting local eligible pubs. Another 7% blamed delays on a lack of clear guidance from the government. The revelation comes after the Campaign for Real Ale recently warned 21 pubs were closing each week in Britain, with higher business rates the latest “ticking time bomb” to devastate the sector. Some pubs are seeing their business rates more than double, including The Baum in Rochdale, which will see its rateable value increase by 377%, or The Sandford Park Alehouse in Cheltenham, which faces an increase of 181%.
Taxation a massive concern in uncertain times, says BBPA chairman in final major speech: David Forde, chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), has labelled taxation a “massive concern” as the industry takes up the challenge of responding to uncertain times. Speaking at the BBPA’s annual dinner, his final major speech as chairman, he said: “The UK beer and pub industry is taking up the challenge of responding to uncertain times – but action is needed to avoid an unsustainable tax burden on the sector. Despite uncertain economic times, huge investment in the sector is creating new pubs as well as major investment in the brewing industry.” However, Forde sounded a note of caution, particularly on government taxation policy, adding that recent trends worried him greatly, with taxation a “massive concern”. Reflecting the BBPA’s campaign for a cut in beer duty in next month’s budget, he made a plea for government not to damage the industry with additional taxation and to ensure the sector had access to the skills its businesses need. In return, he said, the industry would continue to provide close to 900,000 jobs, supporting about 50,000 pubs – the third most popular tourism attraction in the UK.
Homeslice to open fourth London site, on Monday: Better pizza brand Homeslice is to open its fourth restaurant – Homeslice City – on Monday (16 October) at the new Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London. The concept offers 20-inch pizzas available whole or by the slice, alongside natural wine, frizzante prosecco on tap, locally sourced lager, a rotating selection of London craft beer, and seasonal cocktails. Interiors at the new restaurant will feature marmoreal stone, brass counters and a reclaimed brick floor. The sunken open kitchen and cocktail bar will give customers an eye-level view of the team at work. A Homeslice spokesperson said: “Homeslice is really excited to be part of the new iconic Bloomberg Arcade. We hope to create a space that has the hallmarks of a signature Homeslice offering while reflecting the unique building and architecture that surrounds us. As we expand, our aim above all else is to maintain the culinary integrity and style of service we already offer.” Homeslice was founded by Mark Wogan, Alan Wogan and Ry Jessup, starting off with a hand-built wood-fired oven in the courtyard of London Fields Brewery in 2011. The brand opened its first bricks and mortar site – in Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, in 2013 – followed by restaurants in Wells Street in Fitzrovia and Old Street in Shoreditch. Homeslice will join other operators at Bloomberg Arcade that include Brigadiers, a new concept by JKS Restaurants; Hawaiian poké specialist Ahi Poké; Bleecker Burger; restaurant, bar and coffee roasting concept Caravan; and wine bar, restaurant and wine shop Vinoteca.
Richard Corrigan reports slight dip in UK turnover: Richard Corrigan Restaurant Holdings, which operates three restaurants in London, has reported UK turnover fell slightly to £8,988,355 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £9,088,631 the previous year. The company, owned by chef Richard Corrigan, saw group turnover increase 8% to £10,802,785, compared with £10,018,451, after Irish revenue almost doubled to £1,814,130 compared with £929,820 the previous year. The company operates Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill, Corrigan’s Mayfair and Bentley’s Sea Grill at Harrods in London – its flagship site that recorded profits of more than £360,000. Pre-tax losses fell to £6,460 compared with £31,753 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House – this took into account non-cash depreciation costs of £690,079. Corrigan has ploughed about £6m into his Virginia Park Lodge venture in County Cavan in Ireland, with three more years of investment planned in the property. The number of employees during the period increased to 180, compared with 162 the previous year.
Lusso launches new juice and coffee concept at Royal College of Art, Kensington: Lusso, part of CH&Co Group, has launched a juice and coffee bar at the Royal College of Art, Kensington. The Juice D Bar is the first phase of planned redevelopment to introduce a food court concept at the college. The new approach will create three defined outlets catering for different food and beverage choices throughout the day – drinks and snacks, grab-and-go meals, and refectory dining. Sharon Linney, operations director for Lusso, said: “The official launch of Juice D Bar was a vibrant, energetic affair and it was great to collaborate with our suppliers to bring the concept to life. The staff and students loved the transformation of the outlet into a fresh and inviting space, and the juice, coffee and snacks went down a treat. As a trusted partner of the Royal College of Art, we want to ensure our catering offer is the first choice over the high street. This is a key motivation behind the new food court approach, which offers quality food and beverages at distinct dining destinations. We’re looking forward to progressing to the next phase.”
Bar and restaurant operator MC Group takes on fourth Star Pubs & Bars site as it looks to build pub portfolio: Bar and restaurant operator MC Group, led by Yoga Mogantas and Nayan Chande, has taken on the Grand Union pub in Uxbridge, west London, its fourth Star Pubs & Bars site in the south east. The Grand Union is the company’s first traditional pub as it looks to build a portfolio in the sector. The pub will reopen as The Runway in late November following a joint £330,000 refurbishment. It will be refurbished in a vintage country pub style with a traditional bar, lounge and restaurant. A new kitchen will be installed to enable The Runway to focus on food. MC Group plans to acquire further pubs in high-traffic locations inside and just outside the M25, focusing on sites with potential to develop trade based around British and British-Indian fusion food with healthy options. MC Group has taken The Runway on a 20-year lease and is interested in pubs with long FRI leases or freehold purchases. Star Pubs & Bars operations director Tim Galligan said: “Yoga and Nayan are highly experienced hospitality operators. Their food, service, social media and retailing standards are excellent with their sites scoring 100% in Star’s recent mystery visits. We’re delighted they are bringing this expertise into the pub sector and to be working with them on their first pub venture.” MC Group’s other Star Pubs & Bars sites are Tamara Lounge in Uxbridge, Namaste Lounge in Northwood, and Rickshaw Road, which will open in Slough in mid-November. Its other sites are in Northwood – Krave Dessert Café and the William Jolle, which is being refurbished as a gastro-pub to open in 2018.
Mowgli to launch Birmingham restaurant next week for fourth site: Indian street food restaurant Mowgli is set to open its latest site, in Birmingham next week. The 364 square metre restaurant will open in the city’s Grand Central shopping centre on Monday (16 October) alongside Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho and Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution. Mowgli, which operates two sites in Liverpool and one in Manchester, was founded by food writer Nisha Katona, who gave up her career as a barrister to build Mowgli three years ago to create an Indian home kitchen based on the dishes of her ancestors. She said: “Mowgli is all about the smash and grab zing of fresh home cooking. Birmingham is such an exciting, multicultural city and Grand Central is a pulsing street food hub that is going from strength to strength. I’m so proud to lead my Mowgli family to Birmingham. It’s such a warm embracing city it already feels like home, and we look forward to a long and happy future there.” In July, Mowgli secured £3.45m in expansion funding from independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager the Foresight Group.
Oliver pulls plug on Jamie magazine: Jamie Oliver has pulled the plug on his self-titled food magazine. The circulation of Jamie magazine, which launched ten years ago, has fallen from more than 75,000 in 2009 to 47,000 this year. While circulation rose 4% in the first half of 2017, last year it was down 10%. Rival Sainsbury’s Magazine has a circulation of 166,000, while BBC Good Food magazine sells 186,000 a year. Jamie Oliver Group said the availability of food recipes on the internet had contributed to falling magazine sales. A spokesman for Hearst, which publishes Jamie magazine, told the Daily Mail: “After careful consideration, the Jamie Oliver Group has taken the decision to close Jamie magazine to focus on serving its audience needs via digital platforms.” A Jamie Oliver Group spokesperson added: “We have conducted extensive research into our audience needs and, while Jamie’s books are more popular than ever, our audience is increasingly looking to digital platforms to find content. This behaviour shift presents a continued opportunity to develop exciting and innovative ways to deliver trusted food content to our engaged audience, at scale.” Last week, Jamie’s Italian reported a loss of £9.9m after a £10.9m hit from the closure of six restaurants at the start of the year – the company made a £2.4m pre-tax profit the year before.
More details emerge of Stonegate’s plan to convert Exeter Walkabout site to pub format, will ‘sit better’ in market place: More details have emerged about Stonegate Pub Company’s plan to convert its Walkabout site in Exeter to a pub format, which it believes will “sit better” in the market place. The company will invest £450,000 to transform the venue in Fore Street into the Exonian. It will launch in the middle of November featuring live music alongside craft beer, gin, cocktails and a food menu that will include wings, nachos, ribs and 11 varieties of burger. Live sports, a customer loyalty scheme, a library of board games and a calendar of live entertainment are also on the agenda. Stonegate bought the Walkabout brand nine months ago, converting some of its original pubs to the brand and others to different formats. Chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “With such vast success in both high street and traditional pubs, we have a fantastic opportunity to review the market place in which our premises sit and where a different format is best for the area, local economy and, of course, the community. We have the flexibility and experience to make that change to deliver a better venue. The Exonian is in a fantastically vibrant city and will be a better day-to-night offer geared at tourists, locals and students, and a highly social environment to work or relax before partying in the evening. We’re thrilled and passionate about the transformation, so much so we are delighted to invest such a significant sum into the city.”
Whitbread completes £52m forward-funding deal for new Shoreditch hub by Premier Inn: Whitbread has completed a £52m forward-funding deal for its hub by Premier Inn which is being built in Shoreditch, east London. The deal with an undisclosed UK pension fund follows three recent forward-funding deals by Whitbread on new London hotels in King’s Cross, Westminster and Farringdon. Whitbread will develop the Shoreditch hotel over the next 24 months with hub by Premier Inn leasing the hotel when it opens. The yield to the fund on completion is about 3.9%. Whitbread plans to grow its Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn estate to 85,000 bedrooms in the UK and Ireland by 2020, up from about 70,000 currently. For London, it is looking for 18,000 to 20,000 bedrooms in total in the same time-frame. Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants estates director Simon Hobbs said: “We’re unlocking value from freehold assets through investment deals like this latest example at Shoreditch and ensuring we maximise return on invested capital. By building excellent and well-located hotels and structuring deals around our proven Whitbread covenant, we can make our estate work hard for the benefit of our customers and shareholders.” There are currently six hub by Premier Inn hotels open in London plus two in Edinburgh. BNP Paribas Real Estate advised Whitbread on the deal, while Gerald Eve represented the pension fund.
New World Trading Company rolls out Trail partnership: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company (NWTC) has rolled-out operations management app Trail across its portfolio as it continues expansion. The app provides a daily list of tasks that guide a venue’s teams through procedures such as opening checks, food safety and cashing up. When integrated with EPOS and rotas, Trail becomes a “central operational hub”. NWTC is opening more than six sites a year, with a 16th site for its Botanist brand launching in West Bridgford earlier this week. With each opening, Trail helps staff and managers maintain “consistent standards from day one”. NWTC operations director Matt Bamber said: “After a successful pilot with Trail, we have now rolled this innovative product out across the rest of our 20-strong estate. We are excited to be working alongside Trail as we continue to expand.” Trail co-founder and managing director Joe Cripps added: “NWTC is a phenomenally successful group. Trail was a natural fit as we give the company complete operational visibility across all their sites. As they expand, they can focus attention where it is needed most.” Trail’s other customers include Ei Group, formerly Enterprise Inns, natural fast food brand Leon, and Scottish brewer and retailer Brewdog. This week, Trail won the global expansion award at Retail Recharged.
China is Starbucks’ biggest growth opportunity with expansion lasting decades, says chief executive: China is Starbucks’ biggest growth opportunity with expansion lasting decades without letting up, chief executive Kevin Johnson has said. Although the US would remain a major market, Johnson said China was “key” to the company’s future. He told Bloomberg: “China is our second-largest and fastest-growing market. We can build stores in China for decades and still have opportunity for growth there.” In July, Starbucks announced plans to buy out partners in its East China joint venture. The company agreed to acquire the remaining 50% of the business in a $1.3bn transaction, giving it complete ownership of about 1,300 cafes in Shanghai and the Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. The company is betting that China’s growing middle class and urbanisation will boost demand for coffee in what is traditionally a tea-loving country. Slowing sales in the US have only added pressure to expand overseas, and Starbucks has set a target of operating 5,000 cafes in mainland China by 2021.
Adnams reopens flagship Southwold venue following nine-month refurbishment: Suffolk brewer and pub operator Adnams has reopened its flagship venue, the Swan Hotel in Southwold, following a nine-month refurbishment. The 17th century, 35-bedroom hotel has undergone a “once in a generation” transformation, with the new look reflecting Adnams’ brewery and distillery in the Suffolk town. Two new restaurants have been created – The Still Room and The Tap Room – overseen by Adnams’ new executive head chef Ross Bott, who has worked alongside Adam Simmonds, Pierre Koffmann and Atul Kochhar. Guests can also enjoy afternoon tea in the Drawing Room, with private dining available in The Juniper Room or The Reading Room. Design references include copper fittings to reflect the distillery, local figure “Southwold Jack” on bespoke tiles, swan motifs, and vibrant Adnams’ colours such as bright pink paint on modern four-poster beds. Emma Hibbert, marketing director at Adnams, told the Ipswich Star: “The Swan has been a focal point in Southwold for over a hundred years and the work will ensure this is still the case long into the future. We wanted to celebrate the link between the hotel and our brewery and distillery to create an unbeatable staycation spot in Suffolk.”
Simon French – Just East acquisition of Hungryhouse should allow operational and financial synergy benefits to be realised: Cenkos Securities leisure analyst Simon French has said the provisional clearance by the Competition and Markets Authority for Just Eat’s acquisition of Hungryhouse should allow for operational and financial synergy benefits to be realised. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 703p, French said: “The acquisition will fit well in our opinion with Just Eat’s existing UK platform and should allow for both operational and financial synergy benefits to be realised. This encouraging news should be well received by investors and follows on from strong interim results released in July. The company will next update the market on its third-quarter order performance on 31 October. The stock trades on a 2017E price-to-earnings ratio of 41.7 times (falling to 31.1 times in 2018E) but this excludes the likely earnings contribution from the Hungryhouse acquisition. While clearly very expensive, highly visible UK-centric growth opportunity stocks are hard to find in this market, ‘Buy’.”
Inn Collection Group eyes new-build Northumberland hotel and restaurant: North east hospitality company Inn Collection Group (ICG), which is backed by private equity firm Kings Park Capital, is in talks about running a new hotel and restaurant in Amble, Northumberland. ICG is looking to operate the venue, which is set to be built on an undeveloped site in Coquet Enterprise Park after planning approval was granted earlier this year. An ICG spokeswoman confirmed to the Northumberland Gazette the company was “currently involved in legal negotiations” and would announce its proposed offering at a later date. In July 2016, ICG opened a £4.5m pub with rooms at the redeveloped Quayside in Blyth. The Commissioner’s Quay Inn was purpose-built by Northumberland County Council’s economic development company, Arch, and boasts 40 bedrooms across four floors. ICG is the biggest private bedroom provider in Northumberland, with more than 200 bedrooms across its north east estate. Its portfolio includes The Bamburgh Castle Inn in Seahouses, The Lindisfarne Inn at Beal, and The Hog’s Head Inn at Alnwick. The group also operates The Seaton Lane Inn near Sunderland, The King’s Head Inn at Newton-under-Roseberry, and the Kingslodge Inn at Durham.
Sushi handrolls concept Inigo to launch in Soho next week: Australian entrepreneur Jeremy Bliss and Charlie Hall, of hospitality site Code London, are to launch sushi handrolls concept Inigo in Soho next week. The venue will open in Great Windmill Street on Monday (16 October) offering handrolls that combine traditional sushi with the portability of a sandwich – and finished with a blow-torch. Rather than cones, the handrolls will be tube-shaped and contain an array of Japanese-inspired ingredients. There will be six rolls to try, alongside rotating specials, salad and soup. Coffee and breakfast will be served from 9am. The interiors will feature “warm colours with modern touches while retaining a strong Japanese aesthetic”. The store will also feature a crafted marble counter and an art deco-inspired steel counter, where the handrolls will be finished. Inigo said it would shun plastic wrapping in favour of compostable packaging, with excess food donated to local charities. The playlist will be curated by Luke Pritchard, lead singer of The Kooks, who is a friend of Bliss’ and also an investor in the business. Bliss said: “Inigo is a collaboration between friends and disciplines. Sushi handrolls are a hugely popular meal and snack back home in Australia and we are very excited to bring them to London.”
JD Wetherspoon to close Thornton Heath pub: JD Wetherspoon is to close The Flora Sandes pub in Thornton Heath, south London. The property in Brigstock Road will be handed back to the landlord in May 2018. Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Croydon Advertiser: “We can confirm the company has served its notice break on The Flora Sandes pub in Thornton Heath. We appreciate the pub’s loyal customers will be disappointed by the forthcoming closure. However, Wetherspoon has to make decisions that are right for the business and on occasion we do close pubs.” There will be no redundancies as staff will be relocated to other Wetherspoon pubs in the area. The pub at Ambassador House is popular with Crystal Palace fans on match days. Another Wetherspoon pub in nearby Croydon – The Milan Bar in High Street – has been up for sale since June but is not due to close until a buyer is found.
Dream Hotel Group to open first UK Unscripted in Birmingham: Hotel brand and management company Dream Hotel Group has unveiled plans to debut Unscripted Hotels, its newest lifestyle brand and hospitality concept designed for the progressive, creative traveller, in Birmingham in 2020. “Driven by hyper-local food and beverage, innovative design, and a culture of friendly service, Unscripted gives adventurous travellers what they want in a lifestyle brand – an authentic experience that delights the senses and enhances their lifestyle,” said Dream Hotel Group chief executive Jay Stein. “Birmingham is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse cities in the UK and therefore an ideal destination for the Unscripted flag. We’re fortunate to collaborate with visionary developers such as Ciel Capital, which shares our ambitions to grow and develop our lifestyle brands in Birmingham and other established and emerging cities worldwide.” Unscripted Birmingham Central Hall will feature 135 guest rooms and five dining and nightlife venues, including a rooftop lounge on the third floor and two restaurants flanking the street level. The boutique hotel is part of the restoration and redevelopment of the former Methodist Central Hall at the northern end of Corporation Street, opposite the Victoria Law Courts. Dream Hotel Group plans to sign another 30 hotels and resorts worldwide across all its brands – Dream Hotels, Time Hotels, The Chatwal, and Unscripted Hotels.
Former NOPI head chef to launch solo venture at St James Market: Ramael Scully, former head chef of Yotam Ottolenghi’s NOPI restaurant in Soho, is to launch his first solo venture, at the St James Market development in central London. The eponymous Scully restaurant and bar will open early next year taking influences from the chef’s ancestry – his mother is of Chinese and Indian descent while his father’s background is Irish and Balinese. Scully has been amassing ingredients ranging from homemade spices, vinegars, pickles, syrups and preserves through to “programmes” of oil and animal fats, dairy and sprouts. Ottolenghi told Hot Dinners: “(Ramael) has an insatiable appetite for bold and vibrant colours and irreverent blends of ingredients. His kitchen is an exciting and unexpected place to be.” Scully added: “I’ve been waiting a long time for this.”
Greene King fined £140,000 over hygiene failings: Greene King has been fined £140,000 after admitting hygiene failings at a Chertsey pub, The Twynersh in Thorpe Road, after a prosecution brought by Runnymede Borough Council (RBC). The council, which has responsibility for environmental health, made three separate visits to the pub where officers documented the failings. These included failing to ensure the premises were kept clean, failing to ensure wash basins were provided with hygienic hand-washing and drying materials, and failing to ensure surfaces and utensils used for food preparation were properly cleaned and, when necessary, disinfected. Greene King admitted the failings during a hearing at Guildford Magistrates’ Court. Councillor Jonathan Wilson, chairman of RBC’s environment and sustainability committee, said: “When it comes to commercial food hygiene, RBC has an important role in supporting business premises to meet acceptable standards. Most food outlets in the borough meet the required standards. On occasion, when standards aren’t being met, our advice about the required improvements are usually followed. It is very rare, such as in this case, where legal action needs to be taken.”
Norwich coffee shop Café Pure starts expansion with second city site: Norwich coffee shop Café Pure has started expansion by opening a second site in the city, in St Georges Street. The concept is owned by Wymondham-based The Chill Bar Company, which launched Café Pure to introduce a “new, fresh, innovative and personal offer” at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Chill Bar Company owner Carl Mann told the Eastern Daily Press: “We have spent almost ten weeks transforming the site into a modern cafe and hope everyone welcomes our fresh homemade soup, sandwiches, cakes and coffee.”
Access Group to launch hospitality division next month: Software provider Access Group will officially launch its hospitality division next month. It follows the recent addition of EPOS and stock management company Intelligent Business Systems (IBS) along with workforce management and managed payroll services software house Selima to the Access Group’s growing portfolio of business management solutions. IBS and Selima products will be integrated into Access Group products such as financials, payroll and business intelligence. Access Group chief executive Chris Bayne said: “The hospitality sector is exciting, dynamic and a growing opportunity but it’s also challenging. Its unique nature warranted the creation of a dedicated division within Access Group, where our team will focus on delivering great business value by combining IBS and Selima with our extensive range of complementary software products and services.” The new hospitality division already works with sector companies such as Brighton Pier Group, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Inception Group, Pod and Revolution Bars Group.