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Wed 17th Jan 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Mission Mars looks to accelerate growth after completing pub business merger, December like-for-likes up 9%: Mission Mars is looking to accelerate growth after merging its pub business Flying Pig & Lobster into the group. Co-founder Roy Ellis told Propel the company was currently working on funding solutions that would allow the expansion of Mission Mars’ three businesses – Albert’s Schloss, the £3.5m bar, restaurant and live entertainment concept that launched in October 2016 in Manchester; Flying Pig & Lobster; and Neapolitan pizza concept Rudy’s, which it acquired in March last year. He said: “We plan to double turnover during the next three to four years from about £26m this year to about £55m by 2021. Over the past two years we have assembled one of the most talented teams in the industry. We believe the time is now right to deliver on our mission to create world-class food, drink, entertainment and hospitality experiences in venues across the UK. We’re looking for 15,000 to 20,000 square foot sites in London for Schloss and pubs that require love and transformation in wealthy northern towns, suburbs and villages, while Rudy’s sites need to be 2,500 to 4,000 square feet in towns and cities ideally along the M62 corridor.” Ellis said like-for-like sales were up 9% for the six weeks ending 1 January, while overall sales increased 11% from £3.5m to £3.9m. He added: “Pub performance was about flat – in our view reasonable after exceptional trading last year. Like-for-likes at Albert’s Schloss were up nearly 20%, driven by additional entertainment-led evenings and events, notably our in-house Kunst Kabaret (a burlesque cabaret show) and duelling pianos as well as strong Bavarian Manchester Christmas markets. Rudy’s traded about 90% up on the past year, mainly due to additional opening sessions and 16 additional covers.” Mission Mars is a joint venture between Revolution Bars founders Ellis and Neil Macleod, and The Trof Group founders Adelaide Winter and Joel Wilkinson. Their fellow shareholders are Simon Rimmer and Charlotte Kemp.

Industry News:

Inaugural Restaurant Marketer & Innovator ‘30 Under 30’ revealed: The inaugural Restaurant Marketer & Innovator “30 Under 30” list, which recognises 30 talented future leaders in marketing, innovation and strategy roles within the sector who are under 30 years of age, has been revealed. A panel of industry and agency leaders worked through the applications to compile the 30-strong list of outstanding professionals, who were recognised at a ceremony held at The Vaults at Revolution in Leadenhall Street, London. The list is Aimi Gibbons, marketing manager – EMEA Restaurants & Bars, PPHE Hotel Group; Alice Lee, assistant communications manager, Pizza Hut Restaurants; Amy Gatt, brand manager, Late Night London, Novus; Andrew Leedham, sports and promotions marketing assistant, Greene King; Anthony Knight, group sales and marketing director, Maxwell’s Restaurant Group; Charlie Gerard, executive director, VIP Pizza; Claire Small, group marketing manager, ETM Group; Ebonie Dunstan, digital marketing manager, TGI Friday’s; Elizabeth Cranney, Tank & Paddle brand manager, Novus; Elizabeth Stancombe, marketing manager, Brindisa Kitchens; Emily Chambers, group sales and marketing manager, The Social Company; Geoff Campion, account manager, Fleet Street Communications; Giles Denning, brand manager, Cafe Rouge; Hayley Simpson, head of marketing, communication and events, The Breakfast Club; Kara Duggan, account director, Fleet Street Communications; Kelly Kerskstra, director of operations, Typhoon Hospitality; Lauren Smith, communications manager, Vital; Lexie Brown, marketing manager, Cabana; Lisa Campbell, guest experience manager, Las Iguanas; Matt Jaggar, head of digital and media, Coaching Inn Group; Megan Lewis-Thomas, head of food development and marketing, Casual Dining Group; Michael Duffy, marketing manager, Mitchells & Butlers; Oliver Taylor, director of insight and research, Elliotts; Ollie Payne, marketing manager, Wagamama; Rachel Persoon, head of communications, Typhoon Hospitality; Scarlett Burgon, head of brand marketing, Dirty Martini; Sophie Herbert, head of sales and marketing (UK & Paris), Beds and Bars; Stacey Plaine, senior marketing manager, F&B, UK Marriott International; Vicky Barber Smith, head of marketing, Franco Manca; and Yasmine Larizadeh, managing director and co-founder, The Good Life Eatery.

Propel partners with Piper, investors in fast-growing consumer brands, for food delivery survey, findings to be presented at next Multi Club Conference: Propel has partnered with Piper to conduct a survey to hear operators’ thoughts and experiences on food delivery and the effect it has on their business. The survey should take no more than ten minutes to complete and participants will be sent a copy of the research. All individual responses are confidential and data will only be viewed in an anonymous, non-attributable and aggregated way. Neither Piper nor Propel are compensated by any company to conduct the survey and will not sell individual responses or pass them to third parties. To take part in the survey, click here. The findings will be presented by Yasha Estraikh, of Piper, at the next Propel Multi Club Conference. The full-day event takes place on Wednesday, 7 March at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s, London. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Supply Chain Masterclass open for bookings: Supply Chain Masterclass, which will look at how to achieve best-in-class supply chain efficiency, is open for bookings. The one-day event, launched by Propel in partnership with Food Partners founder and managing director Campbell Askwith, will take place in the Fifth Floor State Rooms at 30 Euston Square, London, on Wednesday, 21 February. The event will pose the question: “Who should be responsible for a restaurant, pub or hotel group’s purchasing strategy?” Speakers will include Leon French, category procurement director at Brakes, who will look at the real impact of Brexit and other material factors that have influenced inflation during the past 18 months and provide a view into the future. Former Intertain chief operating officer and now sector non-executive director Simon Kaye will discuss the opportunities to speedily challenge practice and deliver projects and value by thinking laterally. Jeremy Ward, previously chief information officer for Kempinski Hotels and chief operating officer of Iris and now a cloud strategist with Cloudreach, will discuss the current trends in mobile technology and what you should be preparing for when looking to implement solutions and systems for your customers. Tickets are £295 for Propel premium members and £345 for others. To book, email Anne Steele on anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.

CBI – skills reforms have ‘alienated’ companies: The vast number of skills reforms, 28 in the past 30 years, has alienated companies, confused learning providers and failed to deliver on skills requirements, according to a new report by the CBI. The In Perfect Harmony report urges policy-makers, businesses and providers to collaborate on designing a stable national framework for skills based on “regulating for quality rather than designing qualifications”. The CBI said the current reform programme could meet skills needs if the government ensured it reflected business views on new T-Levels, apprenticeship reforms and the National Retraining Partnership. Key recommendations include making a national skills plan central to the government’s Industrial Strategy; allowing the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to regulate performance of the skills market; evolving the Apprenticeship Levy into a flexible skills levy; piloting local Apprenticeship Levy pools in at least four English regions ahead of a full roll-out by 2020; and creating local skills plans that address an area’s demands. CBI managing director for people policy Neil Carberry said: “Skills are vital if we are to adapt to new technologies, increase our global competitiveness and deliver higher wages. They are the very heart of a successful industrial strategy – but that means we need a skills approach that lasts for 50 years, not five. Too often, skills reforms have been well-intentioned but don’t work for learners or businesses across the country, so the system is reinvented again. The Apprenticeship Levy is the latest example of a policy that’s not yet right. The CBI has been clear it must evolve for the levy to work effectively. There is an opportunity to establish a stable framework for skills in England – by the government reviewing the levy and creating a world-class technical system through T-levels. If we all work together to get this right, confidence can be built that the English skills system won’t keep changing, enabling firms and skills providers to invest. Companies need to get stuck in and engage to help create a more flexible and business-focused skills system that will benefit their people, their business and the local economy.”

Coventry nightclub to be ‘first in UK’ to accept Bitcoin: A Coventry venue is set to become the first nightclub in the UK to accept Bitcoin payments. From the start of February, operator Kevin McCloskey will allow the cryptocurrency to be used for entry, drinks and private hire at S7ven and Daddy Cools, which are housed under one roof in Spon Street. McCloskey told the Coventry Telegraph: “With cryptocurrency the very hot word on everybody’s lips right now, myself and venue manager Renan Santos have spent several weeks casually discussing this subject and the fact this actually not so new online currency option is clearly becoming the future of the payment world and the future in general. Initially from the first week in February, we plan to accept Bitcoin payments for pre-booked drinks packages. By mid-February, we hope to have interfaced our instant Bitcoin payment system with our current EPOS system, meaning you can pay by Bitcoin for entry and drinks at the bar in real time.” Bitcoin is the world’s leading virtual currency, operating independently of any bank or central authority. Coins are transferred directly between users and are kept in a digital wallet that can be accessed on a computer or mobile device. A number of retailers now accept Bitcoin.

ALMR urges licensees to accept new-look proof-of-age card: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has urged licensees to accept the new-look Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) card. Following a Home Office campaign urging young people not to use passports as proof of age, the new cards feature the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Security Industry Authority logos. ALMR chief executive and PASS interim chairman Kate Nicholls said: “The NPCC logo on the cards sends an important message that the police, alongside the Home Office and Trading Standards, recognise the card as valid ID. Mandatory licensing conditions make it clear only approved physical photo ID can be accepted at the door or at the bar, and licensees and door staff should accept PASS cards as valid ID.” Rachel Kearton, NPCC lead for alcohol and licensing, added: “Lost passports cause a major problem not only for the owner but for the police should they fall into the hands of criminals. It makes no sense for young people to take these valuable documents into town for a night out. I would like to see PASS used more frequently in the night-time economy.” PASS is also supported by the British Beer & Pub Association, British Institute of Innkeeping and the Wine & Spirits Trade Association.

Company News:

McDonald’s to offer recycling in all restaurants: McDonald’s has said it is responding to customers’ number-one request by setting goals for switching to environmentally friendly packaging and offering recycling in all its restaurants by 2025. Currently, the company offers recycling in about 10% of its restaurants and has committed to eliminating foam packaging from its global supply chain by the end of 2018. McDonald’s said it would work with industry experts, local governments and environmental groups to improve packaging designs, create new recycling programmes, set progress benchmarks, and educate its employees and customers. Tom Murray, vice-president of corporate partnerships at the Environmental Defense Fund, one of McDonald’s partners on the waste reduction and recycling initiative, told Reuters: “These goals have the potential to be transformational because no other restaurant has the scope and global supply chain of McDonald’s. When McDonald’s began its waste reduction efforts nearly 30 years ago, the business and environmental benefits were immediate – the company saved an estimated $6m a year.”

Nando’s opens music studio at Soho restaurant: Nando’s has launched a music studio at its restaurant in Frith Street, Soho. The move follows the company’s launch of Nando’s Music Exchange, a programme that inspires the exchange of global music through mentoring and workshops. The programme has been backed by leading music artists such as Stormzy and Ella Eyre. Successful applicants will record their own music at the studio with the help of an in-house engineer. The studio is open five days a week. A Nando’s spokesperson told the NME: “We’re really excited to open our first music space, not only for our growing network of artists but also for our fans looking for a unique restaurant experience. Some of the best ideas have started over peri-peri – or so we’re told – so we’re looking forward to hearing what happens when we bring together chicken and tunes!” Meanwhile, Nando’s has opened its new-build restaurant in Hull. The single-storey, 375 square metre venue has been built on a car park at Kingswood Retail Park. The new venue is close to Cineworld and Hollywood Bowl and joins restaurants at the complex that include My Restaurant from Gino D’Acampo, The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s, Pizza Hut, KFC and McDonald’s. Nando’s has more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 400 in the UK and Ireland.

Wok to Walk to open tenth UK site, in Birmingham: Fast food chain Wok to Walk is to open its tenth UK site, in Birmingham. Franchisee Starboard Dining, part of Starboard Group, will open the outlet in New Street after agreeing a ten-year lease with landlord Hortons’ Estate. The 770 square foot site was previously occupied by mobile telephone operator EE. Wok to Walk opened its first restaurant in Amsterdam in 2004 and the franchise group now has more than 70 outlets around the world. Starboard Dining plans to open the Birmingham venue in March. Steven Tommy, estate manager of Hortons’ Estate, told Insider Media: “This area of the city is enjoying a new lease of life thanks to the number of new bars, restaurants and shops. Wok to Walk offers something a little bit different and will be a great addition to the fast-food mix.” Wright Silverwood advised Hortons’ Estate on the letting.

City Pub Group adds Exeter freehouse to portfolio: City Pub Group, the owner and operator of an estate of 34 premium pubs across southern England, has added The Old Fire House in Exeter to its portfolio. The company has bought the freehouse from operator Flamequire through Devon-based agent Charles Darrow after a brief, confidential marketing campaign. The Old Fire House, which has been operated by Flamequire for many years, is popular with Exeter’s students and is recognised as one of the region’s best ale and cider pubs. Charles Darrow director Jon Clyne said: “Having known the directors for many years, a confidential disposal was the only way in which we could preserve the quality of the operation and we were delighted to agree terms with City Pub Group in quick fashion. The business continues to trade in the same vein as in past years, with no major changes planned. Quality freeholds such as The Old Fire House are few and far between and, while the sale price is undisclosed, we believe it is the highest-value sale of a freehold public house without letting accommodation in Devon.”

Motorway services operator Westmorland reports turnover boost: Motorway services and hotel operator Westmorland has reported turnover increased to £96,373,000 for the year ending 2 July 2017, compared with £92,948,000 the year before. The family-owned business, whose sites include Tebay services on the M6 in Cumbria, Gloucester services on the M5, and Cairn Lodge services on the M74 in Scotland, saw pre-tax profit fall to £5,813,000 compared with £6,131,000 the year before following a £0.5m payment to charity partner Gloucestershire Gateway Trust, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Westmorland is known for selling “home-cooked, locally sourced produce in beautiful settings”. The company stated: “Fixed assets at the end of the year remained steady at £64.3m (2016: £64.3m) and year-end cash balances were strong at £9.5m (2016: £11.7m). A total of £1.6m was invested in the estate in the year. We also repaid £6.3m of borrowing, with net debt decreasing to £29.1m (2016: £33.3m) and we benefited from reduced interest charges. Financial management remains strong with high liquidity, very competitive debt margins and a very strong bank covenant cover. Net assets grew to £27.8m (2016: £24.6m). The first graduations of the business’ Academy Programme took place, with 80% of the business’ team leaders being internally promoted. The company will continue to invest in its core businesses as well as look for new opportunities that enable it to strengthen its identity.”

Parogon Pub Group to reopen Staffordshire pub following £1.15m makeover for sixth site: Parogon Pub Group is to reopen the Seven Stars in Brocton, near Stafford, next month for its sixth site following a £1.15m refurbishment. Parogon acquired the pub last year and the makeover is expected to create 60 jobs, including kitchen, waiting and bar staff. The aim is to provide “quality fresh food and high service standards”. Director Richard Colclough told The Sentinel: “Diners are growing ever more demanding in the quality and standard of their experience. Staff who have an in-depth understanding of the available wine and food help to ensure they have a great time.” Parogon Pub Group was founded by Colclough and business partners Philip Sharp, David Myers and James Keates. The company now employs 320 people and has a turnover in excess of £10m. Its other venues are The Wayfarer in Stone, The Swan With Two Necks in Blackbrook, The Orange Tree in Stoke-on-Trent, and The Blockhouse Grill in Whitmore, all in Staffordshire, and The Boars Head in Walgherton, Cheshire. The company is also set to open The Broughton Arms, near Crewe, for its seventh site later this year. Previously, Colclough told Propel: “We want to build a small group of pubs and restaurants, not finance a big chain and sell it off. We want to be around for the next 25 years.”

Greene King bids to build Farmhouse Inns venue near Middlesbrough: Brewer and retailer Greene King has applied to build a site for its Farmhouse Inns brand near Middlesbrough. The development next to the Parkway Shopping Centre in Coulby Newham has yet to be approved by Middlesbrough Council. Greene King has applied for an alcohol and premises licence ahead of the decision to sell alcohol daily from 10am to 12.30am with live and recorded music at the venue during the same hours, Gazette Live reports. The pub could be built on land to the south and west of Newham Way, a 0.46-hectare site that is currently grassland, with the opening creating up to 80 jobs. Last month, Greene King opened its multimillion-pound new-build Farmhouse Inns site near Nottingham. The company recently reported average weekly sales of £58,000 per pub for the Farmhouse Inns brand, with Ebitda per pub of £539,000. 

South west-based hotel group looks to future as sales dip: South west-based hotel group Manor House has reported a slight dip in turnover and pre-tax profit as a result of the “Brexit effect” but the company hopes stabilisation of the economy will lead to an increase in bookings. The company operates the Manor House Hotel and golf resort The Ashbury Hotel in Okehampton, west Devon. They comprise 204 and 222 en-suite rooms respectively, as well as restaurants, bars, space for sport, and craft and hydro spas. The company reported turnover fell to £15,161,804 for the year ending 31 March 2017 compared with £15,389,979 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit was down to £1,472,737, compared with £1,636,458 the year before. The company stated: “With consumer spending expected to increase as the economy stabilises, it is the directors’ view bookings will start increasing at a satisfactory rate in the near future. This is due to the unrivalled levels of facility the business has to offer and the largely untapped potential of the extra rooms added during the height of the recession. Bedroom, bathroom and public area refurbishments are also continuing, with all ground-floor bathrooms, shower rooms and wet rooms already upgraded. These improvements will be finished during 2018.” During the financial year the company also completed the development of ice skating, curling and roller skating facilities at the Manor House Hotel, which it said had “proved very popular”. The Manor House Hotel was developed in 1978 and The Ashbury Hotel was added in 1989.

Tim Hortons to open sixth restaurant in Scotland: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, is to open a sixth store in Scotland, this time in Ayr. The restaurant will open in the “coming months” at Whitletts Roundabout. SK Group is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons and the Ayr opening will continue its nationwide expansion plan. Tim Hortons’ debut UK site opened in Argyle Street, Glasgow, in early June and the brand has since added two venues in the city – at the Silverburn shopping centre and Strathkelvin Retail Park. Its other Scottish sites are in Hamilton and Dunfermline, while it has also opened a restaurant in Cardiff and five sites are earmarked for the Manchester area, including its first UK drive-thru. Kevin Hydes, chief finance and commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in the UK, told STV: “We’re excited to be bringing our expansion to the beautiful town of Ayr – our sixth store in Scotland. The buzz we’ve seen since our first opening in Glasgow last summer has exceeded all expectations and we can’t wait to open our doors and welcome guests from the Ayr community.” Tim Hortons is planning up to 100 UK sites. The company was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.

Made In Italy to relaunch original Chelsea site with new pizza concept: Italian restaurant group Made In Italy is to relaunch its original site in King’s Road, Chelsea, to feature a new pizza concept. The restaurant will reopen on Thursday, 1 February offering a choice of four dough bases – multigrain, classic Neapolitan, stone-ground semi-whole wheat, and gluten free, with a monthly changing special in the pipeline. The team will constantly experiment with new flavours and dough in a special “pizza laboratory”. The 100-cover restaurant, which has a 50-capacity terrace, will feature a new 45-cover private dining room and will add a cocktail bar on the upper floor. The restaurant will also offer vegan mozzarella alongside the group’s other cheeses, which are made in its own London parlour. Made In Italy owners Giuseppe, Sara and Angelo Corsaro have taken inspiration from recent travels around their homeland. Giuseppe Corsaro said: “Our aim is to be unique and a place where people can enjoy a good glass of organic Italian wine, eat unforgettable pizza and experience delicious cocktails prepared in front of them by our gifted bartenders. We are looking forward to the continued evolution of Made In Italy.” The company was founded 25 years ago and operates eight London restaurants in total. 

Know Collection to roll out free hospitality academy courses for unemployed: Liverpool-based operator Know Collection is to roll out its free hospitality academy courses for unemployed people throughout 2018, with the company having taken on three new recruits from the first cohort. The Know Hospitality Academy has just completed its first course as part of its new curriculum. After four weeks of on-the job training and tutoring at The Richmond Hotel in Hatton Garden, Yolanda Cabellero and Siyehena Begum have secured jobs in housekeeping while Annuar Ameir will now form part of the porter team. The courses are open to anyone aged 16 or over who is unemployed, with the second intake due to start training on Monday (22 January). Know Hospitality Academy founder Steven Hesketh, who is chief executive of parent company Know Collection, said: “If our first cohort is anything to go by, I’m very excited for the future of the academy. From start to finish all seven trainees got stuck in and had a thirst to learn and that’s exactly what we hoped for. I’m thrilled to have Yolanda, Annuar and Si as part of our growing team here at The Richmond and look forward to seeing them grow and develop within the business.” Other trainees have gone on to secure further interviews with large national hotel chains and hotels within the city. Know Hospitality Academy director Andi MacGregor added: “Jobs in the hospitality sector are so varied – not everyone has to be a waitress or receptionist. We’re looking for aspiring accountants, housekeepers and baristas too.”

Ippudo opens third London restaurant: Global ramen restaurant group Ippudo has launched its third London restaurant, this time in Charing Cross. The venue in Villiers Street offers new dishes including hakata niku ton ramen, which combines sweet and spicy pork with tonkotsu broth, tare sauce and options such as Tabasco sauce or a slow-poached egg. The rest of the menu is the same as Ippudo’s other London restaurants, in Central St Giles and Canary Wharf, with tonkotsu ramen, a la carte main dishes, and appetisers such as hirata buns. The 38-cover Charing Cross venue also offers a takeaway service until 8pm, Hot Dinners reports. Ippudo, founded in Fukuoka, Japan, by Shigemi Kawahara as an independent ramen restaurant in 1985, now operates more than 240 restaurants in 13 countries.

South west-based operators add Wiltshire hotel to portfolio as they look to build 12-strong portfolio: South west-based operators Tudor and Lucy Hopkins have added the Stanton Manor Hotel in Wiltshire to their newly launched Sleeping Bear brand as they look to create a portfolio of up to 12 sites in the region. The property, which is a mile from Junction 17 of the M4, was sold off an asking price of £1.95m in a deal brokered by Colliers International. The Hopkins’ portfolio includes the Moonraker Hotel in Trowbridge and The White Hart in Wells. Stanton Manor in Stanton St Quintin, near Chippenham, features 23 letting rooms. The Hopkins, who specialise in the refurbishment and relaunch of hotels, are looking to create a group of ten to 12 hotels in and around Wiltshire and Somerset. Tudor Hopkins said: “Lucy and I plan to bring The Stanton Manor back to life and have employed an award-winning design company to transform the public areas and breathe life back into the business.” 

Cheshire-based hotelier submits plans to convert Elizabethan private home into boutique hotel: Cheshire-based hotelier Peter Heywood has submitted plans to convert grade I-listed Brereton Hall, near Holmes Chapel, from a private home into a hotel. Heywood told Cheshire East Council he wants to “bring a beautiful listed Elizabethan property into the public domain”. Heywood told Insider Media: “The properties I’ve converted into hotels allow people to enjoy them, which is what they were designed to do in the first place. These were not meant to be museum pieces – they were there to be shown as a sign of wealth and statement in the community. It would be a boutique hotel and there are few good-quality hotels in south Cheshire and between the M6 and M56. We see this as a very good opportunity.”

Everyman Cinemas reveals further details of Altrincham opening: Everyman Cinemas has revealed more about its bid to open a cinema in Altrincham town centre. It will submit a planning application to Trafford Council for a four-screen cinema in a former JJB Sports site at 74-88 George Street. The proposed cinema would be accessible from both Lower Market and George Street. Everyman hopes to open the cinema this year, one of five the company said it expects to launch in 2018. Everyman Cinemas chief executive Crispin Lilly told Insider Media: “We’re so excited to create something special in Altrincham. Our focus is really on experience, from a fabulous bar and food and drink menu, including wine and hand-rolled pizza, to comfy sofa seating and a great programme of film and events.” David Hopps, of Trafford Council, added: “We’re excited to be welcoming Everyman to Trafford. It promises to offer an experience that is very different and will hopefully appeal to regular movie-goers as well as people who don’t normally visit the cinema.” The company currently operates 22 venues.

Scottish restaurant Etive moves to Oban after outgrowing Taynuilt home: Scottish restaurant Etive, a joint venture between chef John McNulty and sommelier David Lapsley, has moved from Taynuilt to Oban after outgrowing its current home. The new venue has opened in Stevenson Street on the site of the former Light of India restaurant. The Etive opened in Taynuilt in early 2017 but has moved having outgrown the former coaching inn. Etive, which has an ethos of “where sea meets land”, offers a la carte and tasting menus featuring locally sourced produce. Lapsley has created a curated wine list with daily changing wine pairings by the glass to match the menu. McNulty said: “We are delighted to take over the old Light of India site, which was Oban’s first Indian restaurant and much loved in the area. We have worked really hard to establish the Etive so it is very exciting to be joining Oban’s culinary scene and introduce what we do to an even wider audience.”

Whitbread lodges plans for second Premier Inn in Hereford: Whitbread has submitted plans for a 65-bedroom Premier Inn in Hereford. The company has applied to Herefordshire Council to open the hotel and restaurant in Blackfriars Street, creating 25 jobs. It would be the second Premier Inn in the city, with the company already operating a hotel in Holmer Road, reports the Hereford Times.

Marston’s signs long-term winter barley deal with Holkham estate: Marston’s has signed a long-term contract for Norfolk-based Holkham estate to supply winter barley for all its beers. Marston’s marketing manager Joanne Wyke said: “Marston’s vision is not just about traceability and knowing the exact ‘provenance’ of every grain of barley in its beers, it is also about the flavour of that barley and the way it translates into extra flavour and complexity.” Earlier this month, Marston’s announced it would relaunch the Bedford brewery it acquired from Charles Wells in 2017 as Eagle Brewery. The brewery is the home of ale brands Bombardier, Courage and McEwan’s and will reopen next month with new beers in the making and the addition of a taproom, shop and visitor centre, while it will also host brewery tours.

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