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Tue 6th Mar 2018 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Google sells restaurant review guide Zagat to The Infatuation: Google owner Alphabet has signed a deal to sell Zagat, the restaurant review guide, to restaurant discovery platform The Infatuation for an undisclosed amount. The Infatuation chief executive Chris Stang said: “Iconic brands don’t become available very often, and Zagat is about as iconic as it gets. It is the perfect complement to what we have been building at The Infatuation.” The Infatuation is a nine-year-old site that includes in-house reviewers across cities such as London, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. Infatuation and Zagat will operate as two distinct brands, “with individual platforms and distinct purposes and points of view”, The Infatuation said. Specifically, The Infatuation will retain its editorial-first focus while Zagat will expand user surveys and develop a new tech-driven platform that will create a “stronger, more meaningful alternative to other crowdsourced restaurant reviews”. Jen Fitzpatrick, vice-president of product and engineering at Google, said: “Zagat has helped us provide useful and relevant dining results for users across our various products. The Infatuation is an innovative company that will be a terrific home for the Zagat brand.” Zagat was founded in 1979 by Tim and Nina Zagat as a “revolutionary guide to bring user-generated content to the mainstream”. At one point it covered more than 90 cities worldwide through reviews based on the experiences of millions of consumers. Google bought Zagat in 2011 for $151m and incorporated its content into Google Maps and other services. A possible sale was rumoured earlier this year.

Industry News:

Social Media Strategy In A Day opens for bookings: Social Media Strategy In A Day, an event aimed at allowing companies to develop and hone their social media strategy, has been launched – and is open for bookings. The event features all-new content and insights to allow companies to increase brand exposure and broaden their reach. Propel has partnered with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the one-day advanced workshop that will cover everything a marketing department should be thinking about when it comes to social strategy. The event, which takes place on Thursday, 26 April at One Moorgate Place in London, will open with Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell revealing updates from recent industry reports and analysing insightful statistics. Attendees will be among the first to hear what she took away from the SXSW conference in the US. You will also learn the “top ten principles of persuasion for hospitality businesses”, which will show you how to apply psychological principles to help people buy your products and services. Craig Hill will help you unearth your brand character and show you how to tell others about it in an interesting and engaging way. During the “inspiration session”, you will look at ten killer social media campaigns – what worked and why are people talking about them. The “interactive guide to content brainstorming” will force you to look at a campaign in a more emotional and engaging way, while the Digital Blonde team will also look at the changes Facebook made to its algorithm earlier this year and reveal what it means for your social account. The “understanding user behaviour” section of the event will answer key questions such as how do you engage with millennials and do Gen Z even use Facebook any more? Fewell will round up the morning session by sharing the latest updates on the incoming General Data Protection Regulation. The afternoon will start with a quick-fire round of 20 questions in 20 minutes, while Jamie Riddell, of pay-as-you-go analytics platform BirdSong Data, will reveal useful things about user behaviour in the hospitality sector. The “ultimate content toolkit” talk will reveal the tools you need to create engaging content cost-effectively from your mobile phone. Social copywriter Nicola Proud will share her top copywriting hints and tips and reveal how to write Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts that stop people scrolling. The event will also reveal how to use Instagram stories to drive revenue for your business and show the key differences between the social advertising platforms on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Finally, the team will tell you where to find influential people, what to pay them and how to successfully build them into your strategy. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Edinburgh named UK’s top spot for hotel development: Edinburgh is the UK’s top spot for hotel development, according to agent Colliers International’s latest UK Hotels Market Index, which paints a positive picture for the sector. The index analyses 34 UK locations, with Edinburgh rising four places from last year mainly driven by “strong occupancy levels and average daily rate growth that resulted in a four-year upward revpar trend combined with constrained new supply”. Regional markets have continued to catch up to London in terms of attractiveness to investors, with Bath ranked second moving up ten places as a result of a strong average daily rate and a lower active pipeline. Belfast was ranked third, rising 16 spots thanks to the city’s positive four-year revpar trend and relatively low land prices. The rest of the top ten locations in order of rank were Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, Plymouth, London, Oxford and Glasgow. London’s return to the top ten was driven by the city’s average daily rate recovery. Manchester dropped out of the top ten following minimal revpar growth in 2017 alongside a relatively large development pipeline and increasing land costs. In the UK overall, the index revealed continued year-on-year growth for the sector, with revpar rising 3.8%, significantly ahead of GDP growth. The top five markets for average daily rate were London (£149), Bath (£122), Edinburgh (£103), Oxford (£102), and Cambridge (£95). The top five markets for revpar growth during the past four years were Belfast (12.6%), Hull (9.7%), Plymouth (8.4%), Sheffield (7.6%) and Edinburgh (7.5%). The top five markets with regards to hotel performance in relation to the costs of development were Belfast (4.38), Edinburgh (4.31), Bath (4.27), Cardiff (4.08) and Glasgow (4.08). Marc Finney, of Colliers International, said: “Cities such as Bath and Belfast have really upped their game in the past year to make it into the top five despite failing to feature in the top ten last year. It is also noticeable how markets like Plymouth and Hull have started to catch up on lost ground.”

UKHospitality backs proposed countrywide introduction of agent of change principle: UKHospitality, the new unified voice for the sector following the merger of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and British Hospitality Association, has backed the launch of a consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework and has called on the government to ensure protection for hospitality venues. Draft proposals include the planned implementation of the agent of change principle, providing protection for existing venues including nightclubs, pubs and music venues. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The UK-wide introduction of the agent of change principle would provide welcome protection for existing venues at risk from nearby developments. This is a sensible measure that many, including ourselves, have actively campaigned for, so it is encouraging to see it included in draft proposals. UKHospitality will respond to the survey advocating the introduction of the agent of change principle in the strongest possible terms to ensure music venues, nightclubs and pubs that are integral to local communities are not lost. The proposals also include a chapter dedicated to ensuring the vitality of town centres. If the government wishes to ensure the ongoing viability of town and city centres, it needs to undertake an immediate review of the business rates system that is crippling high-street venues. It is also pleasing to see a commitment made to deliver more for first-time homebuyers. As a sector that provides employment for many young people, we welcome proposals that provide stability and opportunities for young people to invest in their futures.” Meanwhile, UKHospitality is hosting a series of forums across the UK to give hotel operators the chance to discuss Online Travel Agencies contract terms with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA will present on two aspects of hotel online bookings – its ongoing consumer law investigation into online hotel booking platforms and its previous competition law work. The forums will take place in in Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London and Manchester.

Wales-Ireland foodservice scheme gets £1.5m backing: A University of Wales Trinity Saint David scheme to drive innovation in the food and drink sectors of Wales and Ireland has been given £1.52m (€1.7m) backing. The Catalyst Project, which has been given £1.16m of EU funding, was unveiled by cabinet secretary for energy, planning and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths. The scheme will work with 60 businesses to develop specialist products, access new markets, and ensure packaging is sustainably sourced and minimised. The aim is to encourage business growth and create employment opportunities. Supported through the EU’s Ireland-Wales Co-operation Programme, University of Wales Trinity Saint David will lead the scheme alongside WRAP Cymru, the Institute of Technology Carlow, Tipperary County Council and Carlow County Council. Griffiths said: “It’s great to see how partners on both sides of the Irish Sea are collaborating to increase sustainability and drive design and innovation which, in turn, will help reduce waste, boost competitiveness and enable businesses to diversify and reach new markets.” Catalyst Project manager Chris Holtom said: “Catalyst builds on previously successful Ireland-Wales projects. We look forward to working with Welsh and Irish businesses to help them develop new and sustainable products, processes and services as well as create jobs.”

Company News:

Brother of late Tim Bacon to launch nightclub in Hale: The brother of the late Tim Bacon, founder of Living Ventures, is to launch a nightclub in Hale, Greater Manchester. Chris Bacon and his wife Laura, along with business partner Steve Smethurst, will launch Club Arvina on Saturday, 17 March. The 250-seat venue – named after the Latin word for “bacon” – will be based in the former Surburbia restaurant in Ashley Road. Among the services on offer to guests will be hair and make-up on arrival and a concierge service for them to book a restaurant or chauffeur. Downstairs will offer a dancing space with music as well as live entertainment such as “explosive dancers and lively percussionists”. The opening is part of a broader launch for the Arvina brand, which also includes Hair Arvina, Club Arvina and Concierge Arvina. Chris Bacon told Altrincham Today: “We aim to provide the ultimate VIP clubbing experience, making sure every customer is looked after to the highest standard. Arvina has 20 tables that can be pre-booked, with hosts to greet you from the door to your table and make your night. Arvina will provide the best service you can ask for from a nightclub from start to finish, and we will make sure your night is one to remember.” Living Ventures previously owned the site between 2009 and 2014, when it was acquired by the team behind Suburbia, which ceased trading last September after going into administration. Tim Bacon passed away in April 2016. Last month, Italian casual dining group Gusto raised £50,000 for the Tim Bacon Foundation, a charitable trust launched in his name to support cancer charities and, specifically this year, the new Proton Beam Therapy Centre at The Christie Manchester.

SSP launches Sip & Stone concept at Belfast International airport: Transport hub foodservice specialist SSP, which operates a portfolio of more than 450 brands, has launched restaurant bar concept Sip & Stone at Belfast International airport. The menu focuses on locally sourced dishes, recipes and ingredients alongside international beer and wine, and premium spirits. An in-house bakery offers freshly baked cakes and muffins alongside grab-and-go sandwiches and freshly ground barista coffee. The decor takes inspiration from Northern Ireland’s Giants Causeway, while the venue is open from breakfast to the last flight. SSP UK and Ireland chief executive Simon Smith said: “SSP has innovated this space from a traditional food village to a modern concept, with an environment in tune with the needs of the aspirational customer. We’ve worked closely with the airport to underscore Belfast’s culture and culinary traditions.” Belfast International airport managing director Graham Keddie added: “I’m sure passengers will enjoy sampling some iconic culinary delights on offer at Sip & Stone.”

South east London-based operator to take on GC Mallen pub for third site: South east London-based operator Vin Read is to take on a GC Mallen pub for his third site, Propel has learned. Read, who operates Tanyard Lane in Bexley and Kelsey House Bar & Kitchen in Beckenham, will operate a pub in New Eltham that GC Mallen will open following the conversion of Greek restaurant Nico’s in Pope Street. GC Mallen, led by Garry Mallen, has submitted plans to Greenwich Council to turn the restaurant into a pub, with hopes to reopen it as Pope Street Bar & Kitchen. Mallen told Propel: “I’ve exchanged contracts and complete on 9 April on Nico’s in New Eltham. It’s another pub that will be let out rather than operated. The tenant will be Vin Read, from Fest & Revel, who operates Tanyard Lane in Bexley and Kelsey House Bar & Kitchen in Beckenham.” Last month, GC Mallen reopened rebuilt pub The Greyhound in Sydenham ten years after it was illegally knocked down by developers. GC Mallen carried out a six-month, £450,000 refurbishment of the site after acquiring the freehold for £800,000 last summer. The company operates 12 pubs.

McDonald’s UK promotes Alistair Macrow to run nine high-growth markets: Alistair Macrow, formerly senior vice-president, chief marketing officer at McDonald’s UK, has been promoted to a global marketing role based in London. Macrow has become the latest McDonald’s UK executive to move into a more senior role and is now chief marketing officer for high-growth markets covering China, Hong Kong, Italy, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. He joined McDonald’s in July 2007 as UK marketing director, later becoming vice-president of marketing and food, then senior vice-president in January 2014. Before joining the company he spent five years at movie and games rental firm Blockbuster, the last two as managing director of its online division. In 2016, he was named Marketing Society Leader of the Year – recognising his contribution to McDonald’s consistent growth since he joined. Emily Somers, who remains vice-president of marketing and food development, is now the most senior marketer for the brand in the UK. Somers joined McDonald’s in September 2015 from Havas Worldwide London, where she was managing director. She previously spent five years as client service director at Leo Burnett, where she headed up the McDonald’s business. McDonald’s UK chief executive Paul Pomroy told Campaign: “Alistair has been part of the UK business for more than a decade and has been an integral member of our team. As UK chief marketing and communications officer he has spearheaded bold advertising campaigns, launched numerous menu items and led our work in challenging the myths around our business – leading his team and our agency partners to win numerous industry awards.” McDonald’s is led by Englishman Steve Easterbrook who, having joined the company in 1993, became chief executive in 2015.

Merchant House Group launches London’s ‘smallest bar’ for third site in the capital: Merchant House Group, led by Nate Brown and Lewis Hayes, has launched “London’s smallest bar”, The Brig, for its third site in the capital. The venue, which is in the same alleyway as the company’s flagship site Merchant House of Bow Lane, can only squeeze in four guests. Its ceiling and bar are made from whiskey casks to offer a “below-decks” feel. Guests who book a one-hour slot receive a four-digit pin number to enter the venue and enjoy bespoke cocktails served by their own bartender and play their own music. All drinks are included in the price. Brown said: “The versatility of the space makes it the perfect intimate oasis from the hustle and bustle of the city.” Merchant House of Bow Lane is a large basement cocktail bar with the “largest collection of gin and rum in the UK”. Brown and Hayes are also co-founders of drinks consultancy The London Bar Consultants. They opened their second bar in the capital, Merchant House of Fleet Street, in June.

Boxpark partners with LWE to launch music concept HotBox: Boxpark Croydon and underground event organisers LWE are to launch music concept HotBox, which will see the venue host a series of shows from UK musicians. The events will take place during the next five months and utilise Boxpark Croydon’s 20,000 square foot events space, which has previously hosted performances by artists such as Stormzy. LWE will curate a series of evening performances from musicians, DJs and singers. Known for holding parties in unusual locations, LWE pioneered the Printworks space in London. The first HotBox will be on Saturday, 28 April featuring DJ Sir David Rodigan and guests. Boxpark events and marketing manager David Byrne said: “We wanted to take our event offerings at Croydon up a notch and help establish the venue as a major music destination.” LWE co-founder Paul Jack added: “Boxpark Croydon is an amazing events space and in one of London’s fastest-growing boroughs for culture. Boxpark Croydon is the perfect place for us to launch HotBox.” Meanwhile, Boxpark has had its application to extend licensing hours at Boxbar, the largest bar at the Croydon site, approved. Boxbar can now open until 1.30am and serve alcohol to 1am. Previously, the bar had to close at 11pm and 10pm on Sundays.

Revolution Bars Group lines up Bristol site for Revolución de Cuba: Revolution Bars Group is lining up a Revolución de Cuba site in Bristol. The company is set to open the venue on the harbourside at a site formerly occupied by Bordeaux Quay restaurant. Bordeaux Quay closed at the end of 2017 having opened in 2006, reports the Bristol Post. Revolution Bars Group operates 72 premium bars, trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands. There are currently 14 Revolución de Cuba sites with the brand set to add further venues in Birmingham at the end of the month and in Newcastle this summer.

Camden Bars acquires Leyton pub: London-based operator Camden Bars has acquired The William The Fourth pub in Leyton. The company has completed the purchase on a freehold with vacant possession basis from a private client. The site sits on the corner of High Road and has a ground-floor area of circa 2,497 square feet and a rear garden. There are also seven en-suite bedrooms and a two-bedroom manager’s flat as well as an outbuilding that previously housed a micro-brewery. AG&G acted on behalf of the seller, while Davis Coffer Lyons represented Camden Bars. Camden Bars’ other sites include The Camden Head in Camden and The Junction Tavern in Kentish Town.

Mowgli founder expresses anger over ‘imitation’ Iceland range: Nisha Katona, founder of Indian street food restaurant Mowgli, has expressed her anger after Iceland launched a range of Indian meals she claims appear to be imitating her food. Former barrister Katona, who launched Mowgli in 2014, said she was “completely eviscerated” after learning about Iceland’s new Mumbai Street Co products. They include Gunpowder Chicken and Mother Butter Chicken, which are the exact names of two items on the menu at Mowgli. In a statement on her Mowgli Facebook account, Katona said: “I have been inundated with raised eyebrows and questions about this bolt out of the blue. I must post my response to put your minds at rest. Can I stress these frozen Iceland things have nothing whatsoever to do with me and my Mowgli. Those names are mine and I put as much effort into the names of my dishes as I do into the dishes and design of every part of Mowgli.” An Iceland spokesman told the Liverpool Echo: “There is no connection whatsoever between our Mumbai Street Co range and Mowgli Street Food. All our dishes are made to our own unique recipes and their names are in common use in Indian cuisine.” Mowgli currently operates two sites in its home city of Liverpool and one each in Manchester, Birmingham and Oxford.

North west-based brothers to open third site for tapas bar brand Porta and fourth site in total: North west-based brothers Joe and Ben Wright are to open a third site for their tapas bar brand Porta, in Salford, and their fourth venue in total. The Wrights launched the concept in Chester as a sister site for their Altrincham bistro Joseph Benjamin, opening a second Porta, in Altrincham, in 2016. The 60-cover Salford venue will open in Chapel Street at a former bank branch offering the same formula of “laid-back tapas and drinks”. The main dining area will be on the ground floor, with space upstairs for a bar or function room. An outdoor terrace could also be created in Bexley Square, with the brothers hoping to launch the site this summer. Ben Wright told the Manchester Evening News: “The location is great. It’s five minutes from Spinningfields so you’re not asking people to come too far out of Manchester city centre. We’re trying to make the most of the building. It has beautiful parquet floors, and huge high ceilings and windows. What we’ve done with all our sites is make the most of their original features rather than trying to create a look.”

Chef Bryn Williams opens debut central London restaurant: Chef Bryn Williams has opened his first central London restaurant, in Somerset House. Bryn Williams At Somerset House celebrates “modern British dining and the best of Welsh produce, with fruit and vegetables taking centre stage”. The restaurant is in the south wing of the arts and cultural centre in the Strand. The menu features small plates, seasonal mains and dishes “from the grill”. In a continuation of the veg-centric theme, a range of salads is also on offer alongside “fruit-heavy” desserts. The decor unites the building’s naval history and Georgian architecture with Williams’ Welsh roots. The space also houses a draught beer bar, the only one in Somerset House. Williams said: “I’m thrilled to be opening a new restaurant that is not only in a stunning location but where fresh, locally sourced produce is the focus, and fruit and veg take centre stage.” Williams is chef patron of Odette’s in Primrose Hill and Bryn Williams At Porth Eirias in Colwyn Bay, North Wales. He is also set to open a restaurant at Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium in north London. Before going it alone, Williams worked under Marco Pierre White and Michel Roux, and appeared on the BBC’s Great British Menu programme.

Drinks group Pure Wild Spirits launches £750,000 fund-raise to accelerate growth: Drinks group Pure Wild Spirits has launched a £750,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Growthdeck to accelerate growth. The company is seeking a combined investment through Growthdeck and capital investment company 24 Haymarket to fund expansion into premium retailers, bars and restaurants and initial exports to New York. The company launched the UK’s first birch sap spirit, Freya, in 2016, releasing a second flavour last November. The group owns the rights to all aspects of its products, including branding, recipe and bottle designs, and said it has opportunities to add new lines to its range. Birch sap has been listed as a new spirits category, and Pure Wild Spirits founder David Wallwork said Freya was showing signs of “disrupting” the market, with strong traction in premium bars in London, Manchester, Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and an imminent launch into Italy and New York.

Hull-based Tapasya Restaurant Group to launch Indian street food venture for third site: Hull-based Tapasya Restaurant Group is to launch a street food venture at Trinity Market for its third site in the city. The company, which operates restaurants in Beverley Road and Hull Marina, has completed a deal to launch Tapasya Kitchen in April. The company said it would also use the new street food menu at events, festivals and celebrations in and around the city. The menu will consist of popular Indian street food staples such as chaat, aloo tikki and kathi rolls. Tapasya Restaurant Group founder Mukesh Tirkoti told the Hull Daily Mail: “It is a wonderful opportunity for us to further invest and grow our brand in Hull. We look forward to offering our customers something new and exciting with our street food menu.”

Llandudno-based pizzeria Johnny Dough’s takes over Conwy pub for second site: Llandudno-based pizzeria Johnny Dough’s has taken over The Bridge pub in Conwy for its second site. Restaurant owner Morgan Austin will work alongside the four breweries that own the pub – Bragdy Nant, Conwy Brewery, Purple Moose and Great Orme – to relaunch as Johnny Dough’s At The Bridge. Austin told the Daily Post: “The brewers will still sell their great beer and we will run the kitchen. There is nothing like this with a wood-fired oven in Conwy so we won’t be taking trade from anyone and hopefully we will bring more people into the town. If this works, this is a concept I could roll out to other pubs.” Austin opened the debut Johnny Dough’s in Upper Mostyn Street, Llandudno, in 2016.

Prezzo lists 94 restaurants to close: Prezzo has listed the 94 restaurants it proposes to close as part of its Company Voluntary Arrangement. The document, which revealed like-for-like sales fell 8% in 2017, also showed that unsecured creditors, who were owed almost £36m, would receive just £600,000. Creditors will vote on the CVA later this month. The 94 restaurants that will shut, which includes the entire Chimichanga brand, are Abergavenny, Alton, Amersham, Arundel, Barnet (High Street), Barnstaple, Bedford (MEXIco), Belfast (Victoria Square), Belfast (Boucher Square), Beverley, Blackpool, Blandford, Bournemouth (Chimichanga), Braintree (Freeport Village), Brentwood, Bromley (Chimichanga), Canterbury, Cardiff (Chimichanga), Carlisle, Carmarthen, Catterick, Chatham (Chimichanga), Chelmsford (Baddow Road), Chester (Chimichanga), Cobham (Cleaver), Cramlington, Crawley (Chimichanga), Dalton, Darlington, Deansgate Manchester, Derby (MEXIco), Ealing (Chimichanga), Eastleigh (Chimichanga), Edinburgh (Pier Place), Falmouth, Fareham (Chimichanga), Glasgow Fort, Gloucester, Guildford, Halstead, Haywards Heath, Hereford, Hereford (Chimichanga), Hornchurch (Chimichanga), Ipswich (Chimichanga), Kettering, Kingston, Leicester (Silver Street), Lewes, Lincoln, Maidstone (MEXIco), Midhurst, Milton Keynes (Chimichanga), New Brighton, Newbury, Newcastle, Newquay, Northwood, Norwich (Thorpe Road), Nottingham (Low Pavement), Penarth, Peterborough (Chimichanga), Port Solent (Chimichanga), Poulton, Ripon, Sheffield (Valley Centertainment), Sheffield (Ecclesall Road), Silverburn Glasgow, Solihull (Chimichanga), South Woodford (Chimichanga), Southampton, Southampton (Chimichanga), St Annes on Sea, St Austell, Stamford, Stevenage (High Street), Stratford-upon-Avon, Sudbury, Taunton, Telford (Chimichanga), Tewkesbury, Wandsworth, Wandsworth (Chimichanga), Warrington, Watford (Chimichanga), West Bromwich, Wokingham, Woodley, Yate and Yeovil.

Free-of-tie lease of Marylebone pub brought to market: The free-of-tie lease of the Brazen Head pub in Marylebone, central London, has been brought to market by Davis Coffer Lyons on behalf of Lisson Estates. The property is available in a shell condition on a new lease with rental offers invited. It occupies a prominent corner location close to Marylebone and Edgware Road stations and comprises 2,185 square feet over ground floor and basement. The surrounding occupiers include retailers, restaurants, offices and residential properties.

Lanarkshire-based Dunns acquires Glasgow premium spirits wholesaler: Lanarkshire wholesaler and soft drinks manufacturer Dunns Food and Drink has acquired Glasgow-based premium spirits wholesaler Hotsauce Drinks for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition follows significant growth for Dunns in 2017 and will allow the privately owned wholesaler to extend its range. Dunns managing director Jim Rowan said: “This is a bold acquisition for Dunns but sends a clear message to our customers that we’re constantly trying to be at the forefront of consumer trends and are providing the brands and products they need to grow their businesses. The Scottish on-trade is a competitive market place but there are still plenty of opportunities in sectors such as premium spirits. Licensees are keen to offer a point of difference and providing their customers with a strong cocktail menu is a great way to introduce new and exciting brands. Bartenders are increasingly inventive and having access to a vast array of premium spirits and niche products allows them to stamp their own personality on their premises and meet a growing consumer desire for niche products.” Dunns has an annual turnover of more than £30m.

Merlin Entertainments non-executive director and audit committee chairman to retire: Merlin Entertainments non-executive director and audit committee chairman Ken Hydon is to retire from the board at the company’s annual general meeting in May. Hydon, who has been audit committee chairman since 2013, will be replaced by Trudy Rautio. She was appointed non-executive director in 2015 and is a US-certificated public accountant and management accountant. Rautio has many years of experience in finance having been chief financial officer at Carlson for eight years before her appointment as chief executive in 2012. Merlin Entertainments chairman Sir John Sunderland said: “Ken has made a major contribution to the company over the past five years. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Ken for all his hard work, support and commitment. We are delighted Trudy has agreed to become chairman of the audit committee and her extensive financial background will provide valuable insight.”

Domino’s unveiled as first ITV Hub sponsor: Domino’s Pizza has been unveiled as the first sponsor of on-demand video platform ITV Hub. The partnership will see Domino’s branding appear across programmes shown on the Hub, on web pages, and on the platform’s email newsletter. The creative includes a series of five-second idents featuring lines such as “The official food of plot twists” and “The official food of genuine LOLs”. The move is the latest in a string of deals between Domino’s and ITV. Last year the brand was the first sponsor of The Voice on ITV following the show’s move from the BBC. Before that, Domino’s was the first sponsor of The X Factor app. Domino’s sales and marketing director Tony Holdway told Campaign: “Domino’s and ITV Hub both deliver feel-good moments as well as making customers’ and viewers’ lives that bit easier, which makes this the perfect partnership.” ITV group sales controller Mike Barrett added: “With more than 21 million registered users, the ITV Hub offers a brilliant opportunity for brands such as Domino’s to really connect with our viewers and optimise the power of television.”

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