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Fri 6th Apr 2018 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

C&C Group managing director Andrea Pozzi – ‘failure of Matthew Clark and Bibendum would have had ripple effect on sector’: C&C Group managing director Andrea Pozzi has argued it’s good for the UK hospitality sector that Bibendum and Matthew Clark are now properly funded in the wake of the acquisition of the companies from Conviviality. He stated: “Our new colleagues have had a difficult few weeks coping with the business uncertainty and the challenges of maintaining high-quality customer service. We do not underestimate the personal impact on them as well as friends and family and are grateful for the incredible display hard work and loyalty. Support from suppliers has also been encouraging with a range of companies from Diageo to all the major brewers (Heineken, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Molson Coors and Carlsberg) confirming resumption of supply. This will really help Matthew Clark in particular maintain its unrivalled position as the UK’s leading national wholesaler. This is of course great news for our customers who have displayed incredible patience over the past few weeks. We hope to gradually normalise service as we move through the month. Our immediate focus is in ensuring funds can flow to the many small suppliers caught by recent payment delays. This will take a little time and again we are grateful for the offers of support from the larger industry players in allowing C&C to prioritise appropriately. The near failure of these two businesses would have had a ripple effect on the economics of many of our customers and of course suppliers. It’s good for the UK hospitality sector that these great companies are now properly funded.”

Industry News:

Finance and Investment Conference open for bookings: The Propel Finance and Investment Conference has opened for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 24 May at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Speakers will include Steven Kenee, of Downing, who will set out how Downing LLP has provided almost £24m of funding for Oakman Inns and Restaurants over the past three years using a variety of innovative funding solutions ranging from EIS funds to bonds from its award-winning Downing Crowd platform. Sector investor Luke Johnson will give his state-of-the-sector overview in conversation with Propel managing director Paul Charity. Meanwhile, Peter Hansen, partner at Sapient Corporate Finance, will provide an overview of mergers and acquisitions trends, give his views on where we are in the economic cycle, and predict what lies ahead. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.
 
Birmingham hotels lead English city rivals for long-term growth: Birmingham’s hotels are continuing their long-term growth in occupancy and revenue in the face of data that suggests England’s business and tourism market is beginning to come under sustained pressure. Analysis of data by The Business Desk showed Birmingham hotels have outperformed their city rivals, including London, Manchester and Leeds, on key metrics over the past five years. Revpar, which combines occupancy levels and room rates, has increased in each of the past five years in Birmingham. In total, revpar has increased by 43% since 2012, compared with the UK average of 23% and London growth of just 8%. This means city hoteliers are now generating an average of £51.32 per room per night – £15 more than in 2012. Data for the first two months of 2018 suggested the positive trend is set to continue with Birmingham’s occupancy rates up 2.8%. The UK average showed a like-for-like increase of just 0.1%, with Manchester and Leeds both showing drops of about 5%. Those cities also saw a slight reduction in prices meaning revpar was down about 6% while Birmingham’s hoteliers nudged up their average daily rate to deliver a 3.5% improvement in revpar. Emma Gray, director of marketing and communications at the West Midlands Growth Company, the regional body responsible for tourism, said: “Birmingham has seen record-breaking increases in its domestic and international visitor numbers since 2012, with a 17% and 52% growth respectively, and our hoteliers are reaping the benefits with occupancy rates and revpar at their highest levels. With the 2022 Commonwealth Games and HS2 on the horizon, we anticipate confidence in the region’s tourism sector and hotel scene will continue to grow.”
 
Easter has little impact on March sales as wet-led operators perform strongly: Easter had little impact on sales in March in what was a strong month for drink-led operators, according to S4Labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. Analysis of wet-led sales across more than 100 sector businesses showed average like-for-like growth of 4.3% compared with the previous year. It was a leaner month for food sales, with on average a 2.0% decline compared with the year before. S4Labour said Good Friday, which last year fell in April, appeared to have had little impact on revenues – removing it from the data had negligible effect.

Hospitality bosses risking workforce stress burnout: Hospitality businesses are in danger of having their workforces experience burnout, as despite a huge number of employees feeling stressed at work, few bosses are doing anything to help, according to new research. For those working in hospitality, work is by far the most common cause of stress (64%). Yet 64% of workplaces do not offer anything to help alleviate this – 42% higher than the UK average – according to a study of 3,000 UK workers carried out by Perkbox, the employee benefits platform, as part of the 2018 UK Workplace Stress Report. This is despite the fact more than one in four (27%) struggle to be as productive at work when stressed, and 30% find it difficult to concentrate as a result. Meanwhile, 39% suffer from anxiety and one in three (33%) lose sleep as a result of stress in the workplace. Almost one in ten (9%) will even turn to calling in sick due to stress. Meanwhile, one in five (21%) of hospitality workers admit to looking for a new job in a bid to alleviate stress, while 18% don’t do anything at all to help de-stress. Perkbox chief executive and co-founder Chieu Cao said: “It’s worrying to see how little hospitality businesses seem to be considering stress levels within their workforce to be a problem. Considering the fact many of the employees in the hospitality industry will be liaising with customers on a daily basis, it is particularly ironic to see more than half of workers in this industry say their bosses do not do offer anything to help them alleviate stress levels. This can have hugely damaging effects on morale, productivity and sickness absence – all of which ultimately contribute to a company’s overall success –and it is important for bosses to recognise the contribution that work makes to employee stress levels.”

Deliveroo expands reach as it adds 80 restaurants in west London: Deliveroo has added more than 80 restaurants to its platform in west London, expanding the reach of the delivery service in the capital. Hounslow, Southall, Ruislip and Hayes will be served by the expansion, which is estimated will create work for 40 extra riders. Brands available in the area including KFC, Pepe’s Piri Piri, and Man V Food. Deliveroo UK and Ireland managing director Dan Warne told City AM: “We’ve seen a big appetite for Deliveroo in Greater London so far – we’re excited to be working with even more great restaurants in the area, and to be serving the people of Hounslow, Southall, Ruislip and Hayes.” Deliveroo has expanded quickly since its launch in 2013, with a 2019 initial public offering now potentially on the cards. But it has faced criticism for the employment practices used to hire its riders. Last year it was also embroiled in a row with Westminster City Council, which pledged to crack down on delivery apps following noise complaints from residents. 

Company News: 

Novus looks to grow Balls Brothers brand after reporting return to like-for-like growth: London bar and restaurant operator Novus is looking to grow its Ball Brothers brand beyond its current ten sites having reported a return to like-for-like growth. Chief executive Toby Smith told Propel the company had continued its investment programme into the new financial year with the opening of Balls Brothers in Canary Wharf and Tank and Paddle in Heddon Street. He said: “We are delighted with the early numbers from both sites and are continuing to be on the look out for high-quality sites in London that can be added to our estate with a particular focus on growing the Balls Brothers brand beyond its current ten sites.” It comes as Novus reported like-for-like sales increased 0.8% for the year ending 25 June 2017 compared with a fall of 0.5% the year before. Turnover fell to £100,310,000 compared with £103,025,000 the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was down slightly to £3,994,000 compared with £4,045,000 the year before due to a “backdrop of continued fixed costs”. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £5,749,000 compared with £6,503,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. During the year, Novus acquired three sites that traded under the name Rocket Restaurants for a total consideration of £794,000. Novus achieved a 0.5% improvement in gross margin, with drink margin 0.6% ahead and food margin 0.9% behind. Total net finance cost in the period was £4.8m and includes non-cash elements totalling £4.5m in respect of the bank debt payment-in-kind interest and the amortisation of debt issuance costs. At the period end, Novus had net third party debt of £38.0m compared with £36.3m the previous year. The company stated: “The full year like-for-like sales result of positive 0.8% comprises a gain of 1.2% in the first half and a gain of 0.3% in the second half. The first half benefited from a very strong December (like-for-like sales of +3.1%) and the second half benefited in the third quarter (like-for-like sales +2.9%) and declined in the fourth quarter (like-for-like sales -1.9%) due to terrorist attacks in Manchester and London. The company’s strategy to improve its sales performance has included targeted capital investment. During the year the company undertook six significant refurbishment investments (Gem, Mayfair Exchange, Minster Court, Shoe Lane, Austin Friars and Hays Galleria), with a total capital investment of £1.4m. The director is pleased with the initial results of these investments. Over the course of the year the group has invested in its digital platform (£0.1m). The digital investment has focused on the group’s new customer experience dashboard and online bookings. The group successfully expanded its drinks portfolio by introducing more premium brands, providing a further boost to the group’s retail offer.” Novus operates 43 venues, with 38 in London – all centrally based in either the West End or the City – and five in major regional cities.

Olivia Fitzgerald to become managing director of Majestic Wine’s commercial division: Olivia Fitzgerald is to leave her position as managing director of Zonal’s marketing technologies division to become managing director of Majestic Wine’s commercial division. She said: “I start next Monday (9 April) and can’t wait to get my teeth into the new role – I think we have an amazing opportunity to grow this part of the business over the next few years.” 

Pret trialling new set of flexible working options as it reveals gender pay gap of -0.2%: Pret A Manger has revealed it is trialling a new set of flexible working options as it reported its gender pay gap for hourly paid workers is -0.2% as a median average. Of the 8,171 employees employed as at 5 April 2017, 4,900 were female and 3,271 were male. Meanwhile, the mean pay gap was 4.8%. The company had a median bonus pay gap of 14.7%, which the company said was down to three key factors – part-time working; the bonuses paid to senior executives, where there are proportionately more men than women; and the different bonus schemes operated by Pret. The company stated: “Having reviewed the data, we have identified within our shop-based team member population the mean pay gap is negligible, ranging from 0.20% to -2.31%. Our mean pay gap for our shop managers is -0.39%. The main factor driving the 4.8% mean pay gap is we have more men in senior positions than women in our support centre. Turnover in senior positions is extremely low, with 102 years of Pret tenure among our ten UK-based operating board members (at April 2017). Our median pay gap of -0.2% demonstrates that the median pay for women is greater than that for men. It is vitally important at Pret we continue to ensure our recruitment and development practices offer equal opportunities for all. We are pleased gender pay reporting has created a conversation around female representation at all levels, and we are excited to be trialling a new set of flexible working options to provide clear, barrier-free pathways to progression for all our employees. We look forward to continually measuring our gender pay in years to come to understand what is working and to identify further need for change.”

McDonald’s worker – there may be a bigger strike ahead: A McDonald’s staff member, Tristan Bentley, who took part in a strike at McDonald’s UK last September that led to a 6.7% pay rise, has predicted a bigger strike may lie ahead to win a £10 an hour “living wage”. Writing in I News, he stated: “We won’t be shy in saying £7.83 is not a living wage and will continue to ask for a real living wage of £10 for all workers doing the same work, regardless of age. More than this, we have shown the way for thousands of other McDonald’s workers across the country. We know there are now mistreated and underpaid workers from McDonald’s rising up across the country, ready to join in our fight against this global giant. We are fierce, and we are willing to do whatever it takes to win £10 an hour, union recognition and a total end to zero-hours contracts. We have the power to eradicate wages that discriminate by age, we have the power to get rid of the culture of fear that lingers in McDonald’s and we the workers can lead this change to push up from the bottom. On 4 December we discovered a voice we never knew we had as McDonald’s workers. McDonald’s workers know now if we want change then it has to come from us. We know we can and will win change when we stand together. We will leave it a better workplace than when we entered, and we will make sure all workers in fast food can live a decent life. Workers across the country are joining together to get a better deal, and whispers of strike are starting to circulate again. This time in more stores, in more cities. We will rise, we will fight. We are the McStrikers and we will not be silent, we will not be scared. We will do whatever it takes to win a better life for all McDonald’s workers.”
 
Frontier Pubs reports sales of £2.7m in first full year: Frontier Pubs, the partnership between Ei Managed Investments and pub operator Food & Fuel, has reported sales of £2,702,628 in the period to 24 September 2017 – the company was incorporated on 8 April 2016. It made an operating loss of £209,243 and a loss before tax of £209,077, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Frontier Pubs opened its first pub, The Chandos, in Honor Oak Park, south London, in September 2016. The model focuses on craft beers and pizza with the venues also showing sport. It now has seven sites having launched the Victoria Tavern in Holloway Road, north London, last month. Food & Fuel is led by Karen Jones, who is co-founder of Cafe Rouge and former chief executive of the Spirit pub group. Ei Group currently has nine managed joint venture partnerships. 

Arc Inspirations secures second The Box site: Arc Inspirations, the bar and restaurant operator led by Martin Wolstencroft, is to open its second The Box bar in Leeds city centre, following the success of its first site in Headingley. Following a £1.3m investment, The Box is set to open in the autumn, creating 50 jobs. The new Leeds bar will host 150 covers and span more than 8,000 square feet across two floors and will be located in the financial district. Wolstencroft said: “We are thrilled to announce the evolution of our long-standing and most successful concept, The Box. Looking to Leeds city centre for the second location, we’ve taken the elements our customers love about what we do and worked to broaden its appeal, beyond a place as a firm favourite for students, to an inner city local for day and nights out, for residents, workers and visitors to the city. We’ll feature a range of craft beers, draught cocktails, accompanied by authentic Mexican street food, experiential games and live sport screens. A unique screening and taproom will provide a great space for private gatherings or corporate events. We brought Nik Lowery in as our new property director in February and this is his first acquisition for us – and with a quick turnaround. He saw the success of our Headingley venue and increased demand for the brand and seized an opportunity to branch The Box out across the north of England. The brand will add another great choice of where to go out in the city and complement Manahatta and Banyan, our popular outlets we operate nearby.”

Individual Restaurants wins licensing approval for new Gino D’Acampo site in Birmingham: A new Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant is to open in central Birmingham later this year after Individual Restaurants won approval for a site in Temple Row. Work will begin this summer on transforming the building, which is currently occupied by Allied Irish Bank. The 8,000 square foot, 200-seater restaurant will be spread over two floors, offering all-day casual dining. It will feature a prosecco bar, deli, ice cream bar, open kitchen and a leisure space including private bar, private dining, games room and “posh bowling”. The high-profile site was secured by Manchester leisure property agent Jenics. CBRE acted for the landlord Epic UK. CBRE director Nik McCarthy said: “This follows on from the letting to The Ivy in Epic UK’s adjoining building and Gino’s will be another fantastic addition to this part of the city, further cementing its position as the premium leisure pitch.”

Carluccio’s opens third site in partnership with Marriott: Carluccio’s has opened a 3,000 square foot restaurant and deli in the London Marriott Hotel in Maida Vale, west London. This is the third opening in a Marriott hotel for the group, which has opened at Heathrow and London’s Regents Park in the past 18 months and is the latest in a line of Carluccio’s “new generation” restaurant openings. Located on the ground floor of the 226-bedroom, four-star hotel, Carluccio’s can be accessed via the hotel or its own entrance in Kilburn High Road. The 146-cover restaurant features an aperitivo and espresso lounge bar, outdoor terrace, retail area and deli. Carluccio’s will be responsible for all the food and beverage operations at the property including conferences, events and room service. Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s, said: “This is our third venture with Marriott and we have now proven our all-day trading format is particularly suited to hotel operations where breakfast and impromptu dining are an integral part of the guest offer.” Carluccio’s currently operates 105 restaurants in the UK and Ireland and 14 overseas.

Brothers behind North East Brewing Company launch £450,000 crowdfunding campaign to open beer and food matching pub restaurant: Brothers Garry and Matt Fawson, who lead North East Brewing Company, have launched a £450,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a pub and restaurant that matches beer and food. The Fawsons are offering a 13.04% equity stake in the venture, called Beeronomy, in return for the investment. The bar and restaurant is earmarked for Hood Street in Newcastle city centre. The pitch states: “In our opinion, no-one has yet produced a chain of bars that has specifically set out to match craft beer and food, or what we call Beeronomy. Our vision is to create an environment to showcase award-winning craft beers from around the world, and pair them with matching food of exceptional quality. Some people will say craft beer can complement and enhance food in ways that wine cannot. Even with traditional wine-friendly foods, beer often shows superior versatility and flavour compatibility. No matter how complex or refined the dish, we believe there is a terrific beer out there that will provide a perfect accompaniment. To develop and deliver Beeronomy we have engaged award-winning chef, Rhian Cradock, to be retained as a consultant for gastronomy ideas and menus to keep Beeronomy ahead of competitors. He will conduct weekly staff training as the menu and beers change. The restaurant and pub will be designed as a distinctive and comfortable environment appealing to discerning and adventurous consumers. There will be a strong emphasis on customer service and staff will be trained to ensure they maintain the highest standards. Training will be carried out by Annabel Smith of Cask Marque to create beer sommeliers to give advice on beer styles and flavours.” 

Conviviality appoints administrators: Conviviality has appointed Matthew Callaghan, Ian Green and David Baxendale of PricewaterhouseCoopers as joint administrators. The company stated: “Companies now in administration are Conviviality and Conviviality Brands. No other companies in the group have had administrators appointed and such other companies continue to trade. The company continues to engage with parties interested in its retail business, which trades under the names of Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience, Wine Rack and Central Convenience. PricewaterhouseCoopers will provide further updates in due course.”

HMSHost International adds to Manchester airport portfolio with three new outlets: HMSHost International, which operates food and beverage concessions in airports, has opened three new outlets at Manchester airport. The company has launched Flat White, The Nook and Kiosco at Terminal Three. Flat White is a coffee shop that also serves sandwiches and baked treats, while The Nook is a premium food and beverage outlet offering views of the runway. Kiosco has a grab-and-go offer enabling passengers to choose from a selection of drinks and snacks. HMSHost International chief executive Walter Seib told BDaily: “We are delighted to be increasing our portfolio and building on our current operations at Manchester airport’s Terminal Three with our three new arrivals – The Nook, Kiosco and Flat White. Our partnership with Manchester Airports Group, and specifically the team at Manchester airport for these concepts, has always been about creating something great together.” Manchester airport commercial director Stephen Turner added: “Each outlet offers something different and perfectly complements the existing food and beverage portfolio in the terminal.”

Global Brands to expand base as export sales soar: Global Brands, the Chesterfield-based drinks company, has submitted plans to extend its warehouse facility in Clay Cross in a move that could create new jobs. The firm wants to add an extra 33,000 square feet to its Clay Cross facility and create four new jobs. Global Brands was set up in 1997 by Steve Perez and has grown to become one of the largest independent drinks suppliers in the UK. The move comes after the company reported a 16% increase in sales, taking turnover to £42m for its financial year ending 30 September 2017. Gross profit went up to £11.8m, from £10.8m, for the same period. The company, which has a portfolio of 19 brands, saw total exports for the year grow by 50%. Global Brands now distributes to 59 countries internationally. Perez said: “Consumer demands and taste preferences sit at the heart of what we do and is really driving our growth to keep pace with a fast-changing market. Understanding what people want, whether that’s premium tasting mixers made using only natural ingredients or something different to sweet tasting fruit ciders, has seen us trail-blaze. We created the alcoholic soda drinks category and established ourselves in the highly competitive premium tonics, mixers and soft drinks market.” During the last year, Global Brands increased its number of employees by 16%, taking total staff numbers to more than 160.

Rosa’s Thai Cafe reveals more details about debut regional site, in Liverpool: Thai restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe has revealed further details about its debut regional site, in Liverpool. The company, founded by husband and wife Alex and Saiphin Moore, will open its first site outside London at the new Albert Dock development this summer. Housed within a grade II-listed former warehouse, the new Rosa’s Liverpool restaurant will be split over two floors and host up to 88 diners. The interior will retain the original open brickwork of the building, with huge arches looking out on to the docks and an open theatre kitchen. Paying homage to Albert Dock and Liverpool surroundings, Rosa’s Thai Cafe will take influences from its waterfront surroundings. Saiphin Moore said: “It’s a great fit for us, a city full of genuine people who like to have fun and love good food. That’s what we’re all about, and it’s why we’ve chosen Liverpool for our first location outside of London. To have found such a great site at the Albert Dock is the icing on the cake.” Chris Wright, portfolio manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments, who has overseen the Albert Dock development, added: “Securing Rosa’s Thai Cafe marks the first phase in our long-term plan to reinvent Albert Dock with an eclectic offering of restaurants, retail and leisure that Liverpool locals will want to visit regularly.” Rosa’s Thai Cafe opened its first site in Shoreditch in 2006 and currently operates 13 sites in the capital.

Urban Pubs & Bars reinvents Neighbour in Kentish Town as burger venue: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has reinvented its Neighbour Bar & Restaurant in Kentish Town, north west London, as a burger venue. The company closed the site in Kentish Town Road earlier this week and has now reopened it with the new offer. In a Facebook post, it said: “We try our best to be great neighbours, and great neighbours listen to what their neighbours want. You guys spoke – we listened!” The range of burgers on the menu has been expanded from one to ten. In addition to its six-ounce British beef chuck and rib cap patty in a cream enriched bun with grilled onions, crispy streaky bacon, Emmental cheese and a secret burger sauce, there is a burger of the week and new offers such the Seoul Food burger with kimchi, green onions and Korean barbecue sauce. A beer cellar has been added downstairs that serves six premium and craft draught beers instead of just one, with a range of local craft brews, reports Hot Dinners.

Zip World reports 55% increase in turnover to £11m: North Wales-based adventure tourism operator Zip World has reported turnover increased 55% to £10,999,883 for the year ending 31 December 2017 compared with £7,118,721 the year before. Visitor numbers increased 54% to 327,134 from 211,983 the previous year and advanced bookings for 2018 suggested that number would be higher again. The company invested £4.7m in 2017, adding capacity at Zip World Velocity from Easter and a full year of operation for the company’s Fforest Coaster, as well as a focus on secondary spend for customers. Zip World grew Ebitda by 56% to £3.73m for 2017, up from £2.39m in 2016. The company plans further investment in its three existing sites throughout 2018. A statement accompanying the accounts filed at Companies House said: “We are proud to support the tourism industry and employ local people in North Wales and part of our ethos as a company is to build sustainable, long-term, quality employment opportunities in the region. As such, we are delighted the average number of people employed by the group increased again this year from 153 to 243. 2018 is set to be another record year for the group, with additional capacity at Zip World Velocity from Easter 2018 and a full year of operation for the Fforest Coaster. This will be supplemented by a further focus on secondary spend for our customers both before and during their visit.”

Tasty boss tops up shares: Wildwood operator Tasty has reported Jonny Plant, the company’s joint chief executive, has bought 311,250 ordinary shares of 10p each in the company at a purchase price of 14p per ordinary share. Following the purchase, Plant holds 4,154,579 ordinary shares, representing approximately 6.95% of the company’s issued share capital.
 
Neil Rankin to open third Temper site next month, in Covent Garden: Neil Rankin is set to open a third London site for his Imbiba-backed concept Temper next month, this time in Covent Garden. Following on from his Soho and City sites, the third Temper will launch on Monday, 14 May in the Mercers Walk development in Seven Dials. Whereas the debut Temper in Soho featured modern barbecue and Temper City focused on curry, the new site will turn the spotlight on pizza. The menu will offer two types of pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven and a range of ragu using game, goat and pork with gnocchi. In a Temper first, the site will also be open for breakfast, including freshly baked croissants and home-cured bacon and sausages. The drinks menu will focus on vermouth, with brands such as Cocchi, Lillet, Belsazar, Regal Rose and Asterly Bros served either straight or in a range of cocktails. There will also be a dedicated spritzer and Americano list along with some negronis on offer, reports Hot Dinners.

Whitbread wins planning permission for Farringdon hub by Premier Inn on appeal: Whitbread, working with development partner, Endurance Land, has secured planning permission to redevelop the Bowling Green Lane car park in Farringdon Road into a mixed-use hotel, office and retail/restaurant development. Adding to its growing portfolio in Zone 1 in London, the company will create a 180-bedroom hub by Premier Inn hotel on the site as part of a mixed-use development including more than 3,600 square metres of high-grade office space and three retail/restaurant units fronting on to Farringdon Road. The retail/restaurant units total 400 square metres of space. Whitbread will invest approximately £35m in the site. Planning permission at Farringdon was granted on appeal, with the planning inspector recognising the mixed-use development would provide a significant contribution to business floor space and would help meet increasing demand for hotel accommodation within easy reach of a major transport hub. Owen Ellender, development manager at Whitbread, said: “This site represents a significant development opportunity in one of London’s most vibrant and well-connected areas and is an excellent example of how flexible Whitbread can be to secure the best sites for Premier Inn and hub by Premier Inn. With the arrival of Crossrail, Farringdon station will be the only London station with important connections to all four points of the compass. The consented redevelopment will make best use of this important site by providing high-quality business, hotel and retail space in very close proximity to the station in a landmark new building, adding to and supporting the growing business demand in this exciting area of London.”
 
Conviviality boss resigns as Fever-Tree non-executive director: Conviviality executive chairman David Adams has resigned as a non-executive director of Fever-Tree. Fever-Tree stated: “Following the administration of Conviviality, a company of which David Adams is (executive) chairman, David has tendered his resignation as a non-executive director of the company with immediate effect and this has been accepted by the board.” Fever-Tree non-executive chairman Bill Ronald added: “On behalf of the board, I would like to thank David for his considerable contribution to the company since it floated on AIM. David has been a valued member of the board and I wish him all the best for the future.” Adams stepped into the role of executive chairman of Conviviality following the resignation of chief executive Diana Hunter last month. 

TGI Friday’s partners with Thorpe Park for free children’s ticket offer: TGI Friday’s has partnered with Thorpe Park to offer a free ticket with every kid’s meal purchased. Between now and 19 October, alongside the purchase of any Little League or Major League kid’s meal, little ones will receive a Thorpe Park voucher that their parents or guardians can redeem online alongside the purchase of a full-priced adult theme park ticket.

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