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Thu 8th Mar 2018 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Foodservice price inflation dips to 2.5% in January: Foodservice price inflation dipped to 2.5% in January, according to the latest CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index. The figure is a fall from year-on-year inflation of 5.1% recorded in December and marks the lowest point reached by the index since early last year. The report said it was partly the result of seasonal trends driven by the supply and demand of key foodservice items, but may also be an indication that some of the inflationary pressures that have beset the industry in the past couple of years might be easing. It also pulls inflation in the foodservice sector down to broadly in line with the wider level of UK inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. The CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index identified a relaxation of inflation in key categories including bread and cereals (2.3%), and milk, cheese and eggs (0.2%), while fish prices fell 2.6% year-on-year after months of high inflation. Troughs in inflation are to be expected in the early part of any year but are significantly sharper than usual in 2018, indicating a degree of price correction in the aftermath of the EU referendum and the consequent weakening of the pound against the euro and dollar. Despite the positive signs, the Foodservice Price Index outlined a number of inflationary challenges that lie in wait for the sector in 2018 and beyond. They include the impact of Brexit on the availability of migrant labour, on which vegetable, fruit, and fish and meat-processing industries have depended in recent years. There is further uncertainty over oil prices, trade tariffs and supply from the UK meat industry; the impact of the “sugar tax”; and the effect of the recent cold weather. Prestige Purchasing head of consulting and insight Christopher Clare said: “FPI has seen another fall this month as multiple categories see dramatic drops, notably fish and dairy which are by far the most volatile categories. If the index continues downwards we may finally see FPI reach levels comparable to those of 2016. However, price fluctuations and continued uncertainty about Britain’s economic future will exacerbate volatility.” The CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index is jointly produced by Prestige Purchasing and CGA using data drawn from more than 50% of the foodservice market and about 7.8 million transactions per month.

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

One in five meals in Europe eaten out of home as sales rise €4.1bn: One in five (18%) of meals in Europe were eaten out of home last year as more flexible menus and an increase of meal occasions from breakfast and all-day brunch through to dinner led to a €4.1bn (£3.7bn) rise in foodservice sales to €335.9bn, according to a new report by market research firm IRI GIRA Foodservice. The company said the 2.5% increase from last year was driven by an increase in families with no children and single parents as well as more people working away from home and the rise of delivery services such as Deliveroo. Food and drink represented €111bn of purchases, made up of 70% food sales and 30% beverages. More than one-third (35%) of sales in the sector were by large foodservice groups such as McDonalds, Compass, Sodexo, Elior and Burger King, with the top 15 foodservice groups generating 39% of turnover. In total, 48.5 billion meals or snacks were sold across Europe in 2017, a rise of 1.5% from the previous year, highlighting a return of consumer confidence across the region. IRI Gira Foodservice predicts this will increase to 50 billion meals by 2020. Other key trends highlighted in the report include celebrity chefs driving an increase in premium eating out occasions, healthy food trends leading to a rise in restaurants focusing on the origin of products, consumers spending more when ordering digitally, blurring of the boundaries between table service, self-service and quick service restaurants, and increased demand for “food to go” in service stations and convenience stores. IRI GIRA Foodservice chief analyst Virginie Pernin said: “Understanding and targeting customers according to their needs and at different times of the day and for different eating occasions is critical. Food marketers are becoming more mindful to the need to appeal to human emotions to sell new concepts or provide a surprising or personal experience.” The study looked at more than 1.7 million foodservice outlets in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.

CAMRA members to start voting this week on organisation’s future: Members of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) can start casting their votes this week on the organisation’s direction and purpose, including whether to widen its remit and move its focus beyond traditional pubs and clubs. The proposals follow a root-and-branch review of the organisation’s purpose and objectives, which involved the consultation of all 191,000 members. If approved, changes could include CAMRA festivals offering a wider range of beer, cider and perry, new campaigns to drive up the quality of beer in all licensed establishments, and CAMRA’s national competitions accepting a wider pool of entries. Voting online and for postal entries will continue until Wednesday, 18 April or in person at CAMRA’s annual general meeting three days later. CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: “It’s always been important our members have a say throughout this review process and we’re now at the point where we’ll be giving all our members the chance to vote on the final recommendations. The beer and pub landscape has changed over the past 47 years and continues to evolve. We’re determined to remain relevant to drinkers of all types so we continue to offer a compelling reason for people to join our organisation.”

Company News:

Hubbox chief reveals expansion plans: Hubbox, which runs neighbourhood restaurants specialising in burgers, hotdogs and beer, has revealed more details of its expansion plans with two new sites and the relocation of its Exeter venue. The Richard Boon-led business currently has sites in St Ives, Bristol, Exeter, Pentewan, Plymouth and Truro and is set to launch a restaurant in Taunton and a second site in Plymouth. Boon said: “Taunton has a thriving high street but limited casual dining. Our research shows we will be well received.” Hubbox’s restaurant in Old Town Street, Plymouth, is limited by size, leading the company to secure a second site at the Royal William Yard development. Boon said: “We’ve got a beautiful building with a great interior to work with. Plymouth is more than man enough to have two Hubbox sites.” Regarding relocating the Exeter site, Boon said: “Exeter was our first bricks-and-mortar site but is limited by its size – people see it’s full and move on. We have a vision for larger sites that enable us to offer more to our customers, with bars and a longer all-day trading including breakfast and a great coffee offering. We have been looking at various sites in Exeter and found one that fits the bill.” Hubbox was recently named best chain in the Bristol Good Food Awards. The company has received £3.4m of external investment and has Loungers co-founder and chairman Alex Reilley as non-executive chairman.

BrewDog reveals Edinburgh as home of first airport site with more to follow: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has revealed Edinburgh will be home to its first airport site, with more openings to follow. The company will open the bar in the new extension of the airside terminal this summer. BrewDog stated: “BrewDog Edinburgh Airport will be taking off very soon. We believe airport bars should serve amazing beer, in the right way, in a location you want to be in rather than one you head to as the only resort. We love the fact many US regional airports have small-scale brewery taps from local breweries for those who are passing through and love craft beer. We are committed to doing likewise for the people who travel through Edinburgh, with more airport BrewDog bars pencilled into plans for the future. Edinburgh is the first arrival but one we hope will be joined by others. As well as BrewDog craft beer, BrewDog Edinburgh Airport will also serve a range of food. We are looking to move away from stilted atmospheres and baffling carpets and bring an airport bar in our house style that welcomes everyone who loves great beer, great food and amazing service.”

Pho secures Guildford site: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho has secured a site in Guildford, Surrey. The company is to open a venue at Tunsgate Quarter, the new 80,000 square foot retail and leisure development in the town centre, after agreeing a deal with owner Queensberry. Pho has taken a 3,700 square foot unit at the centre. Stephen Wall, who founded Pho with wife Juliette, said: “We are really looking forward to opening our doors at Tunsgate Quarter. The newly remodelled centre is the ideal location for us in Guildford, and we are excited to introduce everyone to our healthy Vietnamese food later this spring." Chris Daly, senior leasing manager at Queensberry, added: “Pho signing is testament to Queensberry’s vision for Tunsgate Quarter and the ongoing interest from top brands. Pho will bring an exciting and different offer to the centre." The Walls opened their first restaurant in Clerkenwell, London, in 2005 after they quit their jobs, travelled the world and found themselves inspired by Vietnamese cuisine. The company currently operates 25 sites.

Des McDonald to launch north London kosher restaurant: Restaurateur Des McDonald is to launch kosher restaurant Tish in Belsize Park, north west London, for his next venture. McDonald, who is behind projects such as the rooftop restaurant at Selfridges, will launch Tish Bar & Kitchen in May as the “finest and largest kosher restaurant and bar London has ever seen”. A spokesman told Hot Dinners: “The gourmet food and beautiful dining room and bar with stunning courtyard terrace will rival the best restaurants in the West End.” In January, McDonald closed his £3m izakaya-style rooftop restaurant Rofuto at the Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham due to “inconsistency in the market and fluctuations in trading”.

Tapas Revolution sells lease of Shoreditch restaurant to owners of new Burmese concept: Tapas Revolution, led by chef Omar Allibhoy and managing director Mac Plumpton, has sold the lease of its site in Shoreditch, east London, to the owners of a new Burmese restaurant concept. Dan Anton and Zaw Mahesh will launch Lahpet at the venue in Bethnal Green Road after securing the site through agent Davis Coffer Lyons. The 2,000 square foot, ground-floor corner unit with outside seating has space for 60 covers. Lahpet started out as a residency at Maltby Street Market in 2016 before moving to a more permanent site in London Fields, Hackney. Anton and Mahesh are of Burmese descent and aim to make the country’s cuisine more accessible by being one of London’s only specialist restaurants. Burmese cuisine is a mix of Chinese, Laotian, Indian and Thai. Tapas Revolution, which now operates six sites, continues to expand in new locations following a £2.5m investment from Mobeus Equity Partners in 2017. It recently announced two new sites in the north west of England, in Chester and at Halle Place, the new £11m food quarter at Manchester’s Arndale scheme.

Former Polpo chef director Tom Oldroyd to open second London site: Former Polpo chef director Tom Oldroyd is to take over The Duke of Richmond pub in Hackney for his second site in the capital. Oldroyd, who launched his eponymous restaurant in Islington in 2015, will launch The Duke of Richmond Public House & Dining Room in Queensbridge Road in the summer offering French dishes using seasonal British produce. The 85-cover Hackney venue will be much larger than Oldroyd’s Islington site and will be split into a general pub and separate dining room with their own menus. The 30-cover dining room will offer a seasonal French a la carte menu with dishes such as grilled Orkney scallop with charred purple sprouting broccoli and truffled beurre blanc, and Swaledale lamb en croute with green beans and wild garlic butter. Desserts will include rum baba with grilled pineapple and whipped cream. The pub itself will offer “elevated pub grub” such as Toulouse sausages with mash and roast shallot, alongside local beer and cider, a European wine list and classic cocktails. On Sundays, the venue will feature an all-day pub roast & rotisserie menu. The design of the venue is being overseen by Oldroyd’s fiancée, actress and television presenter Meryl Fernandes.

Pizza Rossa to cease trading: Pizza Rossa, the by-the-square pizza concept led by Corrado Accardi that secured two rounds of funding on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, is to cease trading. Writing to investors this week, Accardi said the board had decided to close the company after 30 March. The company revealed street works near its only restaurant, in Whittington Avenue in the City of London, had resulted in a 40% drop in sales last summer, with the effects felt until November. It also blamed new operators opening in the Leadenhall area, as well as a proliferation of food markets in the City. The company raised £600,000 across two equity crowd raises on Crowdcube. Pizza Rossa will now try to sell the brand or pay all creditors and strike off the company, giving any leftover money to shareholders. If that fails it could go into liquidation, reports City AM. All tenants in the building, including The CoffeeWorks Project, will need to leave at some point as Leadenhall Court will be knocked down to make way for a skyscraper. Accardi said in the letter: “While we know this news is frustrating, disappointing and unexpected, we gave Pizza Rossa our best. I personally worked full time and was 100% dedicated to Pizza Rossa since December 2013. I did not receive any salary or other compensation for the first 18 months. I was remunerated with less than £1,000 a month for the following two years and I further supported the company’s cash flow by freezing payment of the last six months of my salary.” 

Scotland-based escape room company heads south of the border for fourth site: Scotland-based escape room company Breakout Games is to open its fourth site as it heads south of the border. Hollie Kelly, who runs the company with husband Gilan, has converted premises in Tower Street, York, to provide a range of rooms in which participants race against the clock to crack puzzles and codes in a bid to escape. The new venture, Mindlock York, will feature a Viking Valhalla room in which two teams of up to six people compete against each other. Breakout Games has taken a five-year lease on the building. Hollie Kelly told Insider Media: “York is a great tourism destination with the right customer demographic for our entertainment-based business. We also see Mindlock York appealing to companies and organisations because of the team-building experiences we can offer through our escape games.” Breakout Games launched its first venue in Aberdeen three years ago. It has since gone on to open escape rooms in Inverness and Dundee.

Investors close on 'Salt Bae' restaurant chain in $1.5bn deal ahead of UK debut: Investors are circling the steakhouse chain belonging to Turkish restaurateur Nusret Gökçe, known as Salt Bae, who is about to make his UK debut. The Nusr-Et Steakhouse chain is set to come under new ownership by the end of the week as a consortium of buyers closes in on a £1.08bn ($1.5bn) deal reports The Financial Times. Singapore's Temasek, GIC, and London-based Metric Capital are all reported to be part of the deal to buy the chain's owner D.ream Group, a subsidiary of Dogus Group. Originally established in Istanbul, Nusr-Et has since expanded to 13 sites, including Miami and Manhattan in the US, and is set to open its first site in the UK, in Knightsbridge, central London. Gökçe has been dubbed Salt Bae because of the way he sprinkled salt on a steak in a social media video that has been viewed more than nine million times.

Northampton-based pub operator partners with micro-brewer to launch town centre taproom: England Diep, who operates Northampton pubs Sazerac Bar and The Old House, is partnering with local micro-brewer Maule Brewing Company to launch a craft beer taproom in the town centre. Maule Collective will open in Derngate in late spring at a former butcher’s shop. Maule Brewing Company founder Tom Maule told the Northampton Chronicle & Echo: “The bar will essentially be a taproom collection of award-winning beers we create for Maule Brewing Company alongside other amazing select beers that are part of the thriving and exciting craft beer scene. As the name suggests it will be a collective, bringing together the best of Northampton from the finest coffee to food collaborations. We believe Northampton has an array of talent and the demand for it so we want to mix up the offerings to take advantage of seasonality and keep things fresh – and we want to bring it all together under one roof.”

Taco Bell to make Liverpool debut this month: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is to make its Liverpool debut this month by opening a restaurant in Bold Street. Franchisee QFM Group will launch the venue on Thursday, 29 March. It will be the first of three the company plans in and around the city, with other restaurants due to open in New Mersey Shopping Park in Speke and Liverpool Shopping Park in Edge Lane, the Liverpool Echo reports. Taco Bell was founded in California in 1962 by Glen Bell. Today the chain has 6,500 restaurants worldwide including 23 in the UK. Currently, the nearest Taco Bell to Merseyside is in Manchester’s Arndale Centre. Taco Bell, owned by Yum! Brands, last month overtook Burger King to become the fourth-largest restaurant brand in the US, according to a report by research firm Technomic. Taco Bell’s system-wide sales jumped 5% in the US to about $9.8bn in 2017.

Lake District-based operators put hotel, pub and micro-brewery on market for £2m: Lake District-based operators Mark and Lesley Corr have put their hotel, neighbouring pub and micro-brewery on the market for £2m. The Coors are selling the Strands Hotel and the Screes Inn and brewery in the hamlet of Nether Wasdale through agent Christie & Co. Originally built as a hotel and post house, many of the original features remain with log fires and wooden beams throughout both buildings. The Strands Hotel has 14 en-suite bedrooms, lounge bar and restaurant, in addition to a three-bedroom owners’ accommodation. In 2007, the Coors added an on-site micro-brewery and recently opened the brewery shop. Last year, they bought the Screes Inn pub that has a further eight en-suite letting rooms.

Nando’s to launch Dover site next week: Nando’s is to open its Dover restaurant next week. The 129-cover venue will launch in the new St James shopping centre on Thursday, 15 March creating 32 jobs and featuring outside seating. Nando’s regional marketing director Mike Schoefield told Kent Live: “We’re thrilled to be opening the doors of our new restaurant in Dover and look forward to welcoming peri-peri fans through the door.” Propel first reported Nando’s would be part of St James in September 2015 but the development’s launch has been hit by delays, including complications connecting the town centre site to the main electricity network. Legal & General’s development will be anchored by a six-screen Cineworld cinema. Nando’s will be joined by Casual Dining Group brand Bella Italia and Frankie & Benny’s, which is owned by The Restaurant Group. Nando’s has more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 400 in the UK and Ireland.

Whitbread gets go-ahead for £8.6m Premier Inn in Somerset: Whitbread has received planning permission to build an £8.6m Premier Inn at the Bridgwater Gateway development in Somerset. The 100-bedroom hotel will be located on the Compass House site at the £150m business park. Premier Inn acquisition manager Paul Smith told Insider Media: “Bridgwater is a fantastic location and, as well as offering visitors greater choice in the area, the hotel will create 32 jobs and £8.6m of investment. We look forward to working with Bridgwater Gateway to deliver the hotel and opening our doors to the public later this year.” Tim Davies, head of the south west and Wales for agents Colliers International, added: “The Bridgwater Gateway business park offers an outstanding location off Junction 24 of the M5. This will be further enhanced by the presence of a Premier Inn.” Earlier this week, Whitbread acquired a portfolio of 19 hotels in Germany from Foremost Hospitality Group for an undisclosed sum.

Maxxium UK rebrands to Edrington-Beam Suntory UK: Scotland-based spirits company Maxxium UK is to rebrand to Edrington-Beam Suntory UK Distribution, adding Effen Vodka, Sauza Tequila and Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey to its portfolio. The company said the move, which comes into effect on Sunday, 1 April, reflected the long-term strategic partnership between spirits producers Edrington and Beam Suntory. The business, a joint venture between Edrington and Beam Suntory, manages UK sales, marketing and distribution of a portfolio that includes The Famous Grouse, Jim Beam and Courvoisier. The company said sales rose 5% in 2017, while plans for growth include growing the “contemporary whiskies” category in the UK market, building presence in the growing luxury spirits segment, and developing new brands. Managing director Mark Riley said: “We are combining the heritage of both businesses from which we take our name and the long histories of the brands under our stewardship. This, together with our forward-looking approach to developing spirits to suit new tastes and audiences, will help us continue to grow with our customers.”

Everyman lodges plans for Altrincham site: Everyman has lodged plans for a four-screen cinema and bar in Altrincham town centre. The company, which has 22 venues across England, has submitted an application to Trafford Council to redevelop a vacant former unit in George Street that formerly housed JJB Sports. The cinema’s four screens and bar restaurant would be on the first floor with two units for retail or leisure use – spanning 4,000 square feet and 5,000 square feet – at ground level. Everyman chief executive Crispin Lilly told Altrincham Today: “Our focus is on experience – from a fabulous bar and food and drink menu, including wine and hand-rolled pizza, to comfortable sofa seating and a great programme of film and events. We aim to make every guest’s visit special no matter what they choose to watch and make them fall in love with a night at the cinema.”

Asahi UK strengthens management team: Premium beer business Asahi UK has strengthened its management team with two new appointments. The company has appointed Pete Rowe as on-trade sales director and Steve Young as his off-trade counterpart. The appointments come after Tim Clay was promoted to managing director in January. Clay was previously sales director of Asahi UK and formerly Miller Brands and has now taken the opportunity to reshape the senior management team to help drive its growth strategy. Young previously held the role of director of sales – off-trade for Miller Brands and had been with the company since 2008 holding a number of senior sales roles. Rowe joined Asahi UK in January 2017 as director of sales – on-trade and had previously been at Anheuser-Busch InBev for more than 14 years where he held a number of key sales positions. They will report directly to Clay and join the senior management team with immediate effect. Clay said: “I’m delighted to be bringing both Steve and Pete into the senior management team. At a time when we have just relaunched Asahi Super Dry into the UK market, this is an incredibly exciting opportunity for them to help shape strategy for our growth plans and launch this new product to the industry.”

M&B marks National Apprenticeship Week with MasterChef-style contest: Mitchells & Butlers marked National Apprenticeship Week with its own MasterChef-style competition to celebrate the company’s apprentice talent. The culinary competition, MABsterChef, saw chef apprentices battle it out through several elimination rounds to create, cost and produce a dish that could be the main course at Mitchells & Butlers’ annual, week-long Pride Awards recognition event, which hosts more than 1,600 general managers. The finalists, all working as apprentice chefs in several of the company’s portfolio of brands, took part in two rounds of cook-offs and presented their dishes to the judges. Vintage Inns apprentice Jodie Reed was crowned the winner. Group HR director Susan Martindale said: “Our competition has been a great way to discover and celebrate the immense talent across our apprenticeship programme. It has not only challenged but inspired our apprentice population in the lead up to National Apprenticeship Week. Across Mitchells & Butlers we have about 1,600 apprentices working with us and, through our 400 apprentice vacancies, continue to prioritise recruiting new talent into the business as well as growing our own through training and development to ensure we are nurturing future talent.”

Yorkshire-based gin-maker lodges plans for whisky distillery and visitors’ centre: Yorkshire-based gin-maker Harrogate Distillery has lodged plans to open a whisky distillery and visitors’ centre at its site in Harrogate. Harrogate Distillery, which trades as Whittaker’s Gin, was founded in 2015 and produces four London dry gins, including English Cassis Gin for Fortnum & Mason. The whisky distillery would have new stills and brewing equipment installed while the visitors’ centre would hold tours every three days for about 30 people. Solar panels would reduce energy costs, with additional plans for a herb garden and bee-keeping facilities, Insider Media reports. Harrogate Distillery produces around 3,000 bottles of gin a month with sales of about £600,000 a year.

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