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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 18th Oct 2017 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Stonegate will not make revised offer for Revolution, Deltic still willing to discuss merger: Stonegate Pub Company has said it will not make a revised offer for Revolution Bars Group after its £101.5m takeover bid was rejected. Meanwhile, Deltic Group has said it is still willing to talk to Revolution Bars Group about a merger after almost 54% of shareholders voted against Stonegate’s 203p per share cash offer. At least 75% needed to vote in favour for the deal to go through. Stonegate said: “Stonegate notes the outcome of the shareholder meetings and the scheme has lapsed. Stonegate wishes Revolution and its shareholders every success in the future as Revolution continues as an independent business. Stonegate has built its business by being a disciplined buyer of pubs and pub estates. Since creation, Stonegate has grown to more than 700 sites and is the UK’s leading drinks-led licensed retailer as a result of this discipline.” Chairman Ian Payne added: “We put forward what we believed to be an attractive proposal and made an offer at a 62% premium to the undisturbed share price that was unanimously recommended by the board. However, we respect the shareholders’ decision and wish them all the best.” Meanwhile, Deltic stated: “Deltic and its holding company Ranimul notes with interest the announcement by Revolution Bars Group confirming the lapse of Stonegate’s offer for Revolution following the shareholder vote at the Revolution court meeting, at which some 53.76% of the Revolution shares that were voted were cast against the scheme. Deltic was bound by the restrictions in rule 2.8 of the code but had reserved the right in certain circumstances to announce an offer or whitewash proposal (such as its revised merger proposal) and take other action that would otherwise be restricted under rule 2.8 of the code within the next six months following the date of that announcement. Those restrictions do not apply in circumstances set out in that announcement, including in particular (a) where the board of directors of Revolution so agrees (following the lapse of Stonegate’s offer), or (b) a third party announces a firm intention to make an offer for Revolution.”

Industry News:

Pubs call for action over looming £60m business rates bombshell: Pub sector trade bodies and consumer associations have jointly called on the government to take decisive action on unfair business rates. The call for action follows Retail Price Index inflation figures of 3.9%, which will see the sector pay an additional £60m in business rates from next April – equivalent to more than £1,500 per pub. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping, Campaign for Real Ale and Society of Independent Brewers are calling for the extension of business rates relief for pubs and an increase in the amount of relief to £5,000 – which would reduce the level of overpayment by about one third. The group is also calling on the government to switch to using the Consumer Price Index to calculate rates at the earliest opportunity, which would lessen the impact in 2018 by £6m. The group said the proposed business rates increase was further compounded by the impact of last year’s rates revaluation that continues to lead to an increase in taxes just a year on. Eating and drinking out businesses, particularly pubs, have been hit hard by the latest rates revaluation. Further increases risk undermining investment and could ultimately threaten jobs. The pub sector is already overpaying on rates by more than £500m and faces further increases of more than £125m during this revaluation period. In a joint statement, the five industry and consumer bodies said: “Pubs have been hit disproportionately hard by the recent business rates increase and we need decisive action urgently. Pubs and other venues pay about 15p per pint in business rates. This is indicative of the skewed and unfair nature of the current system, which unreasonably punishes businesses that are vital economically and important social hubs. If the government does not take steps to address this inequality and provide support for vital businesses then investment is going to continue to be undermined and jobs will be at risk. With the current political and economic instability surrounding Brexit, decisive action on business rates would be welcome and timely support.”

Rising food prices help push inflation to five-year high: Rising food prices helped push inflation to a five-year high in September. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation rose to 3% last month, up from 2.9% in August and in line with expectations. It matches the level in April 2012, with the rate last higher in March that year when it reached 3.5%. The ONS said food and non-alcoholic drinks rose by 0.8% month-on-month in September after falling by 0.1% during the same period last year. Transport costs also put upward pressure on the headline rate in September after recording a smaller month-on-month fall of 1.3% in contrast to a drop of 2.3% in 2016. On an annual basis, prices rose by 3% last month, its highest level since October 2013 when it climbed by 3.9%. ONS head of inflation Mike Prestwood said: “Food prices and a range of transport costs helped push up inflation in September. These effects were partly offset by clothing prices that rose less strongly than this time last year.” It came as the Retail Price Index, which is used to set next year’s business rates, was unchanged last month at 3.9%. Despite coming in shy of expectations, the rate still ensures businesses face a hefty tax hike in 2018 on top of the £23.9bn the government is expected to haul in from businesses this year. The Consumer Price Index, including owner-occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH), was 2.8% in September, up from 2.7% in August. CPIH is the ONS’s preferred measure of inflation, which includes costs associated with living in, maintaining and owning a home.

Leisure operators most pessimistic about Brexit: Middle-market consumer businesses such as retail and leisure operators are more pessimistic about the impact of Brexit on their business than any other sector, according to the latest YouGov survey commissioned by audit, tax and consulting firm RSM. RSM’s Brexit Monitor index, in which any reading above 100 (on a scale of zero to 200) indicates businesses are more optimistic than pessimistic, showed sentiment among consumer businesses over the impact of Brexit on their business during a five-year period registered just 91 on the index. This was a decline of 14 points over the previous quarter and the lowest score of any sector group included in the survey. By comparison, manufacturing sector businesses were the most positive, registering 126 on the index, closely followed by technology, media and telecommunications companies with an index score of 122. The national survey of more than 300 UK leaders of mid-market companies also revealed that despite political difficulties, respondents were quite bullish about the prospects of a good Brexit deal. In total, 45% of those surveyed said they were confident the government could achieve a good deal. This was more than double the 21% who said they were not confident of a good deal. A total of 60% of respondents said access to the single market, either through a new trade deal or continued membership, should be a negotiation priority for the government. Securing the rights of EU citizens in the UK was the second most-important consideration at 27%. Andrew Westbrook, a retail specialist partner at RSM, said: “It’s striking the consumer business sector is most despondent about the impact of Brexit when compared with other industries. Uncertainty around the UK’s future trading relationship is a major sticking point. As the long-term view moves out of focus, consumer businesses are finding it harder to make confident strategic decisions. Should you invest in that huge tech update? Should you still expand overseas and, if so, where? The result is inertia. Clearly not everyone will struggle. Well-branded companies with distinct concepts and products will continue to thrive, as will those that adapt quickly to changing consumer tastes.”

Takeaway sector demands business rates overhaul: The British Takeaway Campaign, an industry umbrella body led by Just Eat, has reiterated its call for a fundamental overhaul of the business rates system and called on councils to stop sitting on much-needed rates relief. Responding to inflation data for September, which will set the level of business rates next year, British Takeaway Campaign chairman Ibrahim Dogus said: “Business rates are one of the biggest burdens on takeaway businesses and a further increase will deliver a hammer blow at a time when they are already grappling with rising food and wage costs. With a third of takeaways already saying they will be negatively hit by the last business rates review and many firms yet to receive the rates relief they are due, this latest increase could have a serious impact on the sector’s ability to continue to grow and create jobs. That’s why we’re calling for the government to overhaul the business rates regime to make it fairer and more transparent. That includes more frequent revaluations. As a first step, it should ensure local councils stop hoarding business rates relief funds and that these are released as a priority.” Earlier this year, the British Takeaway Campaign released independent research that revealed the takeaway sector supports 231,000 jobs, while takeaways themselves directly contributed £4.5bn in gross value-added contributions to UK GDP in 2016, rising to £9.4bn when factoring in the multiplier effect of supply-chain and employee spending – equivalent to 0.5% of GDP.

Plans unveiled for £75m scheme featuring bars, restaurants and cinema in Dartford: Plans have been unveiled for a £75m scheme in Dartford, Kent, including a six-screen cinema, bars, restaurants and a hotel. The project, which involves regenerating the Westgate area of the town, also features a new public square, additional town centre parking and 140 homes. Dartford Borough Council has appointed Muse Developments to work on the project. A council spokesman told Kent Live: “The scheme will provide Dartford with new facilities that meet the regeneration needs of long-term residents as well as those who are new to the town. Accompanied by a series of bars and restaurants, the six-screen cinema included in the project will create a family-friendly day and night attraction.” The proposal also includes converting a former Co-op building in Spital Street into a 107-bedroom hotel. Muse Developments is looking to submit a planning application in summer 2018 and to start on-site by spring 2019.

Company News:

Dirty Martini – regional growth always part of strategy, potential for more than 50 sites across the UK: CG Restaurants chief executive Scott Matthews has told Propel regional growth was always part of the strategy for its Dirty Martini brand, with the potential for more than 50 sites across the country. Matthews said the “real light bulb moment” came when the company decided to generate a “data heat map” to pinpoint where many of its customers lived, leading to a first Dirty Martini outside the City and West End, in Islington. He said: “We secured a smaller site compared with our others, 200 capacity, in a residential area, with a smaller team and much lower cost base. This became a template for Dirty Martini and showed a great opportunity for us in those sort of areas. This (success) gave us great confidence to spread our wings outside London and regional growth was always part of our strategy. Wales being my homeland, I knew Cardiff really well. We secured a perfect site in St Mary Street, near the stadium and station, really in the thick of it regarding footfall. We delivered 12,000 pre-booked covers in the first ten weeks of trading and 40,000 in the first six months, which for us was a really great result. This gave us the assurance that continued regional expansion was the next step.” Dirty Martini’s success in Cardiff has led to a regional roll-out, with sites opening in Leeds and Manchester next month and a third launching in Birmingham in early February. The increase in staff members – the three openings will create 100 jobs – has also led the company to beef up its head office by employing a new head of HR and senior training manager, and creating a recruitment manager role to support the new openings. Matthews said the Manchester site received more than 400 job applications in the first three days. Regarding the future of Dirty Martini, Matthews said: “Our target has always been to achieve 20 sites by 2020 and a turnover of £30m, which we believe we are on track to deliver. Long-term, after completing brand research with Elliotts agency and working closely with CACI on location finding, we believe conservatively we have the potential to open more than 50 sites across the country.”

Wagamama opens second New York site: Wagamama has opened its second New York site – at 55 Third Avenue in East Village. It is the second Wagamama location in Manhattan, with the first opening in Fifth Avenue in November last year, occupying a three-story space overlooking Madison Square Park. The new restaurant has an industrial look with exposed brick, pendant lamps and rich wood accents. There are wooden stools and booth seating at individual tables as well as long benches for communal eating. The previous tenant of the new site was M2M, an Asian grocery that opened in 2002.

D&D London to launch third restaurant with Francesco Mazzei, at Battersea Power Station next month: Restaurant operator D&D London will launch its third concept in partnership with Italian chef Francesco Mazzei next month. Fiume, which means “river” in Italian, will launch at Circus West Village, part of the £9bn Battersea Power Station redevelopment. It will join Mazzei and D&D London’s other ventures – Sartoria in Savile Row and Radici in Islington. Head chef Francesco Chiarelli will run the kitchen at 120-cover Fiume, which will feature an open kitchen with wood-fired oven, bar counter dining for 15 people, and a piazza-style terrace for up to 50 guests. The restaurant will pay homage to the Mezzogiorno, the Southern area or “the boot” of Italy, which holds a special place in the heart of Calabrian native Mazzei. Dishes will include Burrata tortelli with hazelnuts and sage as well as aubergine parmigi. The bar will offer classic and contemporary Italian cocktails alongside a bespoke list of fine Italian wines. Throughout the year, Fiume will also host interactive events for the local community, including wine-tasting dinners and exclusive cookery classes with Mazzei. Earlier this month, D&D London, which operates restaurants in London, Leeds, Paris, New York and Tokyo, reported UK like-for-like sales increased 3.0% for the year ended 31 March 2017. Turnover increased 16% to a record £125.0m compared with £107.8m the year before.

Wasabi opens first of five sushi counters in partnership with M&S: London-based sushi and bento business Wasabi has opened the first of five sushi counters in partnership with Marks & Spencer. Wasabi has launched the fresh sushi counter inside the Marks & Spencer store in Westfield Stratford. This will be followed by openings at the Pantheon in Oxford Street on Friday (20 October); Milton Keynes on Thursday, 26 October; Marble Arch on Thursday, 2 November; and Kingston on Tuesday, 7 November. The counter sells a range of raw sushi and hot meals, including rainbow and harmony sushi box sets and chicken katsu curry rice. Wasabi managing director Frederic Lluch said: “We’re excited to be opening five Wasabi sushi and bento counters with Marks & Spencer over the coming weeks, welcoming and serving more customers with our high-quality, great-value sushi and hot food.” Marks & Spencer head of hospitality Steve Kemp added: “The opening of this first counter is the result of months of collaboration and we can’t wait to hear what our customers think.”

The Lowry reports turnover and Ebitda boost in year leading to £53m acquisition: The Lowry Hotel, the five-star hotel in Salford, has reported a turnover and Ebitda boost in the year leading to its £53m acquisition. The hotel saw turnover increase 5% to £13,266,000 for the year ending 30 April 2017 compared with £12,665,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Ebitda increased 7% to £3.2m compared with £3m the year before, while pre-tax profit rose 25% to £1,690,000 compared with £1,347,000 the previous year. In May this year, Singapore-based CDL Hospitality Trusts acquired 100% of the issued share capital of the Lowry Hotel from North Low SARL for about £53m. The company stated: “The current year’s performance reflected another year of growth as the hotel showed improved occupancy and average daily rate by 4% and £5 year-on-year respectively. The hotel experienced growth in the leisure and transient business through packages and leisure individual demand. This was linked to concerts and events in the city plus packages and offers the hotel created in the year.” The hotel, which opened in 2001, offers 165 rooms in Dearmans Place next to Trinity Bridge in Salford. In 2015 and 2016, the guest rooms, public areas, hotel spa and six luxury suites were refurbished.

Lancashire-based operator Toastie Taverns launches debut micro-pub as it eyes new revenue stream: Lancashire-based pub operator Toastie Taverns, which runs 27 pubs across the north west, has launched its first micro-pub as it eyes a new revenue stream. The Toastie Tavern has opened in Chorley on the site of former cafe bar the D’Owd Inn in Market Street. The company, led by Frank Smalley and Lesley Humphrys, also operates The Crown in Chorley’s Chapel Street. Smalley told the Lancashire Post: “This is a pilot to hopefully roll out some more. We’re going to have to go through a learning curve.” Bar manager Daniel Hull added: “Cask ale is not a science, it’s alchemy. Selection is just as important and I will bring the good folk of Chorley the greatest beers in the peak of condition.” Alongside cask ale and craft keg beer, the Toastie Tavern also offers a range of cocktails.

BrewBroker almost doubles equity offer as it extends £380,000 crowdfunding campaign: BrewBroker, which describes itself as an online market place for the global brewing industry, has almost doubled the equity on offer as it extends its £380,000 crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube by two weeks. The company is now offering a 45.60% stake in return for the investment instead of the previous 25%. So far, 218 investors have pledged £266,930 with 22 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £100,000. The aim of BrewBroker is to enable businesses to search, sell and buy brewing services from one another. It likens itself to Airbnb and Uber by “taking an established industry at a certain stage and disrupting it using a sharing economy model”. The company was founded last year by drinks marketing expert Toby Chantrell and Ben Morgan-Smith, a digital industry veteran. They have been advised by Craft Beer Rising founders Daniel Rowntree and Chris Bayliss. Rowntree said: “After some feedback from our larger shareholders and advice from Crowdcube, we have decided to reduce the valuation of the business. We feel the new valuation better reflects where we are currently with the platform development and more importantly gives shareholders in this round increased equity and ownership of the business. We have also extended the raise by two weeks.” BrewBroker said a huge rise in consumer demand had led more breweries to contract-out production or sell excess capacity to maximise efficiency. BrewBroker said providing a “simple digital platform to facilitate mutually beneficial relationships between two parties” would “transform the way the industry operates”.

Cheshire-based multi-site operator acquires third site after taking on Ei Group pub: Cheshire-based multi-site pub operator Stephen Evans has acquired his third site, and third with Ei Group, following a joint investment of £250,000. Evans is taking on The Old Rathbone in Frankby. The Wirral pub, formerly known as The Farmer’s Arms, will reopen on Thursday (19 October). The investment has doubled the size of the kitchen and created a new decking area and children’s play area. The Old Rathbone will also have refreshed interiors, including an additional seating area, as well as improved food and drinks menus. Evans said: “I grew up in the Wirral and the Farmer’s Arms was always a pub I admired so I’m looking forward to adding this to the portfolio, under a new name.” Ei Publican Partnerships regional manager Karen Evans added: “Stephen has a wealth of experience operating a number of pubs in the north west so it was a very easy decision for us to make when he expressed interest in the site.” Evans also operates The Old Sessions House in Knutsford and The Montgomery in Eastham.

Merlin Entertainments signs partnership deals to launch Bear Grylls and Peppa Pig attractions: Merlin Entertainments has revealed plans to develop new attractions in the UK and overseas after signing two new intellectual partnership agreements. The company, which operates themes parks and tourist attractions worldwide, including Legoland and Madame Tussauds, is developing a first attraction in Birmingham alongside survival expert Bear Grylls. The Bear Grylls Adventure will target the adventure-based experiences market and is scheduled to open in 2018. Merlin Entertainments has also signed a multi-territory agreement with Entertainment One to open Peppa Pig-themed attractions and accommodation. The deal excludes the UK but gives Merlin exclusivity in all territories other than China. Attractions are set to open in two countries by the end of 2019. The new partnerships were announced as part of a trading update, with Merlin reporting a 12.4% rise in total revenue for the 40 weeks ended 7 October 2017, with like-for-like sales up 0.3%. The company said it had experienced “difficult summer trading” for its Midway London and European theme parks following a “series of terror attacks and unfavourable weather”.

Simon Rogan launches secret standalone site for Aulis fine dining concept: Chef entrepreneur Simon Rogan has launched a standalone site for his Aulis fine dining concept. Rogan originally launched the experimental kitchen at Claridge’s in Mayfair last year. Having parted ways earlier this year, Rogan has now launched an outpost for Aulis at a secret location in central London that is only revealed when diners reserve a space. By day it operates as a “culinary workshop”, while at night it becomes what Rogan calls a “clandestine kitchen”. Seating only eight, diners will be able to try new Rogan dishes for the first time as he gears up for the opening of Roganic in London later this year. Rogan told Hot Dinners: “Aulis London will offer guests the opportunity to sample dishes not yet seen on Roganic menus. With only eight seats, Aulis London can give our customers a really up close and personal insight into how we operate. We are going to have a lot of fun there.” Rogan also operates the two Michelin-starred L’Enclume restaurant in Cartmel, Cumbria, which lost its number one spot in the Good Food Guide this year to Nathan Outlaw’s restaurant in Cornwall after four years at the top. 

Manchester-based Evuna opens third site, in Knutsford: Evuna, the Manchester-based Spanish wine bar and restaurant, has opened its third site, this time in Knutsford, Cheshire. The company has launched the venue in King Street on the site of the former Smallbones kitchen store, creating 20 jobs. The restaurant within the grade II-listed building is spread over three floors and features a new outdoor space with retractable roof. The main restaurant is on the first floor, while there is a basement bar and traditional wine cellar, which is visible through glass paving from the street outside. There is also a tapas bar on the ground floor. Evuna also offers a changing, monthly wine focus where customers can try a range of Spanish wines from regions such as Catalunya, Galicia, Rioja or Navarra by the glass. Co-owner Jane Dowler told the Manchester Evening News: “It has been hard work and our biggest restaurant yet but we’re so pleased with the results.” Evuna launched in Deansgate in Manchester city centre in 2003, with a second restaurant opening in the city’s Northern Quarter in 2013.

Hotel Chocolat to open shop+cafe format site in Birmingham: Hotel Chocolat is to open a site for its shop+cafe format in Birmingham city centre. The company has agreed a ten-year lease with landlord Hortons Estate at an annual rent of £102,500 for a property in New Street that was previously occupied by sports nutrition store GCN. Hotel Chocolat has two other sites in Birmingham – in the Bullring and Grand Central shopping centres – but neither has a cafe. The New Street store will sell a range of chocolates and gifts as well as serving food and drinks in the Cocoa Bar Café. Hotel Chocolat has expanded the number of shops with cafes it operates to 16 and said it saw scope for many more when it announced its full-year results last month. Hotel Chocolat co-founder Peter Harris told the Birmingham Post: “We are thrilled to be expanding our portfolio with the launch of our first cafe store in Birmingham. Ideally placed in the heart of the city, it promises to offer customers the perfect retreat, serving our signature cocoa-based drinks.” Wright Silverwood advised Hortons Estate.

Creams franchisee opens second Manchester site, eyes further expansion: Dessert cafe Creams franchisee SB Group has opened its second site in Manchester and is eyeing further expansion in the north west. Creams sold a franchise to SB Group, which opened a 1,550 square foot cafe in the Piccadilly Gardens area earlier this year and has now launched a 3,000 square foot site in Cheetham Hill. The two stores, launched with a £580,000 loan from HSBC, have created 20 jobs in total. SB Group forecast its investment would deliver a first-year turnover of £1.5m. Store manager Poz Bal told BDaily: “The franchise offers the ability to create our own stamp on the north and we see great potential for further expansion across the north west with the help of this funding.” HSBC’s Greater Manchester area director Sam Roden added: “The Creams Cafe franchise is a great example of a business taking advantage of a growing trend. SB Group saw the opportunity for a fantastic investment and took it and we are delighted to be able to support it on this exciting venture.” Creams, which was founded in London in 2008, currently operates 57 cafes in the UK.

Greene King wins employer of the year apprenticeship award: Brewer and retailer Greene King has been named Macro Employer of the Year at the East of England Apprenticeship Awards. The awards, now in their 14th year, are run by the National Apprenticeship Service and recognise businesses that grow their own talent. Since 2011, Greene King has supported more than 9,500 apprentices and offers bespoke qualifications that support a range of roles including front-of-house, kitchen and management that are tailored to each of the Greene King pub and restaurant brands. Greene King has pledged to deliver 10,000 apprenticeships during the next three years. Chief executive Rooney Anand said: “Apprenticeships are something we are really passionate about and our scheme has proved a real success. We want to support our team members’ career paths and their progression within the company, and we are proud our apprenticeship programme supports us to achieve those goals. We look forward to representing our region and the hospitality sector in the finals.” The company has progressed to the next stage of the competition and will compete for the title of National Employer of the Year in January.

Pembrokeshire micro-bakery lodges plans for permanent restaurant and coffee shop in Cardigan: A Pembrokeshire micro-bakery is hoping to open a permanent restaurant and coffee shop in Cardigan. Crwst is currently run by Osian and Catrin Jones from their home in the village of Blaenffos and operates at local markets and food fairs. Now they are looking to open their new venture in Priory Street on the site of hardware and household goods business Siop y Cardi. They have applied to Ceredigion County Council outlining their proposals for a change of use to a coffee shop and restaurant. Catrin Jones told the Tivyside Advertiser: “We feel like Cardigan needs something like this. There will be a cafe, takeaway and deli with local produce and on an evening it will operate as a restaurant. We are looking for an industrial look but with a warm and cosy feel to the place where people can relax.”

CPL Online launches data protection regulation e-learning course following partnership agreement: CPL Online, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, has entered into a new partnership with data security specialists Bytes Software Services. The agreement has seen the development of a newly launched e-learning course on general data protection regulation (GDPR), which aims to help businesses prepare, understand and comply with new legislation set out by the European Union. With the new legislation coming into force on 25 May 2018, the new course – GDPR Awareness – will ensure organisations adhere to rules concerning privacy and data security. The course has been written by GDPR compliance specialists and focuses on the logic behind data protection legislation, the history of GDPR, key definitions of core principles, and the rights of data subjects. CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies said: “The introduction of GDPR poses many challenges for any business which handles personal data, affecting more or less every sector in the UK. With this in mind, it’s essential that organisations, both small and large, take the necessary steps to cope with the changes ahead. It’s been designed as an accessible initiative to bring employers and their employees up to speed on the new regulations.”

James’ Places to open boutique hotel this month as part of £10m Lancashire leisure scheme: Lancashire-based James’ Places is to open a boutique hotel with a bistro and bar at the end of this month as part of its £10m project to transform a former textile mill in Clitheroe into a food, drink and leisure hub. The 1823 Spinning Block is the latest phase in the redevelopment of the Holmes Mill complex, which includes a brewery and beer hall, dubbed the “UK’s longest bar”, The Weaving Shed food hall, and the Boiler House Café and Gelateria. James’ Places acquired the grade II-listed site in 2015. Heidi Kettle, marketing manager for Holmes Mill, told the Lancashire Telegraph: “In keeping with the rest of the mill, the hotel will be stylish and imaginatively designed while remaining sympathetic to the building’s heritage. The Bistro, Bar and Grill, a modern British seafood and grill restaurant, will continue the food hall ethos of championing local produce, complementing the beer hall with its bar menu, the food hall, where customers can choose tapas and platters, and the cafe with its amazing cakes and pastries.” Other venues in the James’ Places portfolio include coffee shop, wine bar and brasserie The Emporium in Clitheroe, the Royal Hotel in Kirby Lonsdale, the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green, and the Waddington Arms pub in the Ribble Valley.

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