Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head CPL Learning Link Paul's Twitter Link Hobgoblin Banner
Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 17th May 2018 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Carluccio’s CVA imminent: Carluccio’s is on the verge of entering into a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), Propel understands. The majority of Carluccio’s 103 UK restaurants are profitable but a tail of sites – thought to be about 30 in total – are marginal or loss-making and weighing on the wider group. Propel has learned the CVA could be entered into as early as today (Thursday, 17 May) after restaurant staff have been briefed. The CVA would only apply to landlords in the UK. No suppliers or creditors would be affected and neither would the 14 restaurants Carluccio’s operates overseas. If the CVA is put in place, the process will be run by KPMG. All creditors would vote on the CVA and it would need to receive the support of 75% to be approved. Propel understands if the CVA goes through, landlords of the affected restaurants would be given a number of options. If Carluccio’s decided to close a site it would not do so for six months unless the landlord wanted the property back immediately. Carluccio’s is also willing to enter into talks with landlords to see if new terms can be agreed. KPMG was appointed to look at the group’s strategic options following a change of leadership, with former chief executive Neil Wickers stepping down in January after three years in the post. He was replaced by Goals Soccer Centres boss Mark Jones, who previously headed Pizza Hut’s UK business. Carluccio’s was co-founded by Antonio Carluccio, the restaurateur and television chef, who died last November. He cut his stake substantially more than a decade ago. In its latest accounts available at Companies House, Carluccio’s reported UK turnover increased by 2.7% to £140.9m for the year ending 25 September 2016. Ebitda before non-cash exceptional expenses fell 12% to £13.2m (2015: £15.0m). It is believed the Ebitda performance has declined significantly further during the 2016/17 financial year.

Industry News:

Last chance to sign up for Finance and Investment Conference this week: This week is the last chance to book for the sector’s foremost investment and finance conference, which takes place on Thursday, 24 May. A host of sector operators and investors have signed up. They include Urban Pubs and Bars, Beds and Bars, Chopstix, Bone Daddies, Buzzwork Holdings, Bank of Ireland, Albion & East, Urban Village Pubs, The Wright Brothers, Ottolenghi, Crussh, Pubs of Distinction, Oakman Inns and Restaurants, Green & Fortune, Chameleon Bar & Dining, Mowgli, Shepherd Neame, Benito’s Hat, Noble Inns, ABC Pub Co, Lisini, Coaching Inn Group, Dip & Flip, Dalziel & Vine, Barclays Bank and Aprirose Real Estate Investment. For the full speaker schedule, click here. 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

Asahi becomes first alcohol brand to partner with Deliveroo: Asahi Super Dry, the super-premium beer relaunched in January, will partner with Deliveroo this month to offer Deliveroo Editions’ first alcohol sampling. The sampling will run until 31 May via select Deliveroo Editions sites and include a chilled 350ml Asahi Super Dry can when ordering food. The brand will also partner on the Deliveroo app giving customers a chance to taste the beer. Deliveroo Editions was launched in May last year and hosts collections of hand-picked restaurants. Customers will have to opt-in to receive the sample beer and show proof of age on delivery. Rory Russell, Deliveroo’s global marketing manager for special projects, said: “We are excited to be working with a fantastic alcohol brand such as Asahi Super Dry, which will complement the amazing meals we deliver. Through Deliveroo Editions, restaurants are able to reach new customers in new locations and, thanks to our partnership, we will be introducing those customers to the new taste of Asahi Super Dry.”

CDG Group – unsustainable London rents will lead to rise in remote kitchens and reverse premiums: The “unsustainable” rent-to-turnover percentages hospitality businesses are suffering in central London will lead to an increase in remote central kitchens and reverse premiums from landlords, agent Cedar Dean Group (CDG) has predicted. In its Restaurant Rents Report 2018, which surveyed 600 businesses, CDG said without intervention over rising rent and rates restaurants would be forced to close or relocate and “by the time landlords wake up, it will be too late”. CDG said London restaurant, bar and leisure operators had “hit breaking point”, with more than four-fifths (84%) stating they would be forced to close sites or relocate if rent and rates continued to rise as forecast. A further 90% described the forecast increase in rents and rates as “high” or “unsustainably high”. The report said restaurants were spending an average of 21% of turnover on rent, already more than CDG’s forecast for 2021 and up from 16% last year. Historically, the maximum percentage of turnover spent on rent should be 12% but this had increased 70% during the past five years and 140% in the past decade. Rent and rates were coming in at circa 30% of turnover, which at double industry standard was “unsustainable”. The scenario could see an increase in reverse premiums as landlords struggle to shift empty space and lead to an exodus of restaurants from central London to the suburbs or cities outside the capital. The report calls on landlords to subscribe to an “affordability statement”, where if an operator’s rents and rates exceeded 25% of turnover, landlords could provide a rent concession during which a lease couldn’t be assigned until arrears were made up. CDG chief executive David Abramson said: “We always knew the upward-only rent review system created a cliff edge for operators but these statistics are much worse than we saw a year ago. One thing the last few months has shown is high rent and rates are not just affecting businesses that need to improve but also operators that invest substantial sums in the capital city, including the likes of Ripley’s, Believe It Or Not, Jamie’s Italian and Byron, which have all suffered closures. It is plain and simple – the numbers just don’t add up. Without intervention, the restaurants will be forced to close their doors and, by the time landlords wake up, it will be too late.”

Tide turns as paper straw sales rise 777% to outstrip plastic: The tide appears to be turning in the fight against marine pollution as paper straws outsold their plastic counterparts last year, according to data from Manchester-based catering equipment supplier Stephensons. Plastic straw sales fell heavily between July 2017 and March 2018, overtaken by paper straw sales, which grew 777% to 32 million. There was also an increase in demand for polyactic acid straws, which are another more environmentally friendly alternative to plastic. Managing director Henry Stephenson said: “This data reflects a seismic shift in the buying ideology of operators and consumers. Sustainability and environmental credentials have quickly become integral factors in our industry – and I think it’s fantastic. In the past 12 months we’ve made significant efforts to promote paper straws as an effective alternative to plastic. The results from this data work as a positive landmark to reflect that and, ultimately, are a sign of where the industry is heading. Eyes in the hospitality trade are firmly set on a more sustainable future – and we will all work towards that.” Stephensons, which is in its 150th anniversary year, has also moved to offer a number of compostable and recyclable options for street food, takeaway and home delivery services. Meanwhile, Pret A Manger has announced it will use paper straws only across its estate by the end of June.

Teapigs first to win Plastic-Free Trust Mark: Teapigs has become the first tea company to be awarded the Plastic-Free Trust Mark by environmental group A Plastic Planet. It is thought that up to 96% of the UK’s teabags contain plastic, something major companies have pledged to eliminate. A Teapigs spokeswoman said: “Late last year we switched from a plastic inner bag to a material called Natureflex. It is made from wood pulp so it’s 100% plant-based and compostable.” A Plastic Planet co-founder Sian Sutherland added: “Now we all know the damage our addiction to plastic has caused, we want to do the right thing and buy plastic-free. But it is harder than you think and a clear no-nonsense label is much needed. Our Trust Mark cuts through the confusion of symbols and labels and tells you just one thing – this packaging is plastic-free.”

Company News:

Wadworth will strategically add to managed estate: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has said it will strategically add to its managed estate this year. The company reported managed like-for-like sales increased 3.65% for the year ending 30 September 2017 and said this area would be its “engine for growth”. Group turnover increased 8% to £67,963,000, compared with £62,650,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £5,440,000, compared with £3,607,000 the previous year. Operating profit before exceptional items rose to £6,873,000, compared with £6,600,000 the year before. Ebitda increased 13% to £10,809,000, compared with £9,515,000 the previous year. During the period the managed estate grew from 48 to 54 pubs, while the company spent £7m on three acquisitions – the Bird in Hand in Maidenhead, The Stag in Alcester and The Dolphin in Botley. There were also three transfers from tenancy during the year – the Plough Inn in Sparsholt, The Inn In The Park in Poole and The Three Crowns in Devizes. The company stated: “This has been a second year of solid progress for Wadworth as we have continued to develop the company for the long term. This year we have established a firm foundation for the future. From 2018 our aim is to selectively add new managed pubs to our estate while continuing to invest organically to deliver consistent profit growth. The set-up phase of our strategy has taken a little longer than we first envisaged but we believe it is important to get it right and we continue to invest in a number of areas including the brewery and our support centre to bring them into the modern era and have established a solid business infrastructure with a much-improved people capability. Undoubtedly we are stronger and better positioned to deliver the growth we aspire to over the coming years. Strong trading success from our pubs this year has been offset by an increased overhead base for the business. We see managed as being our engine of growth and have supported this area of the business in particular with additional resources. Total managed house sales were up 16.2%. Average managed house profit per pub has increased 5.8% on a like-for-like basis. Tenanted has also had a strong year and grown overall profit contribution by 2.5% with six fewer pubs. Tenanted pub numbers now stand at 159 as at year end and average profit per pub has also grown by 2.9% on a like-for-like basis. It has been slower in our beer business to get the cut-through we hoped for this year but there are relationships being strongly re-established now across all channels and I remain encouraged by the foundations that are in place in a channel where results are never instantaneous.”

Gordon Ramsay reports £3.8m loss, replacing Maze in January with new concept: Chef Gordon Ramsay has reported like-for-like sales at his UK restaurants increased 1.4% for the year ending 31 August 2017. Meanwhile, Ramsay will close his Mayfair restaurant Maze in January next year and replace it with a new concept. Ramsay is also continuing to look for new sites in the UK and internationally. Since the year end, a new five-year banking facility has been secured with Barclays. The details were revealed in accounts filed at Companies House for Gordon Ramsay Group’s holding company Kavlake. Turnover fell 1% to £51,400,000, compared with £51,922,000 the previous year, which the company said was down to the five-month closure of its Plane Food restaurant at Heathrow Terminal 5, which has seen sales increase in excess of 25% since reopening. International revenue was up 52% to £5,471,000 ,compared with £3,576,000 the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was down to £4,032,000 compared with £4,599,000 the year before, while the company made a pre-tax loss of £3,805,000 compared with a profit of £102,000 the previous year. In the report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The expansion programme continues in 2018 with five planned venues. This includes one site in China and four in North America, including a new concept in Las Vegas called Hell’s Kitchen, which opened at the beginning of January 2018 and is already performing ahead of expectations. A new ten-year lease has been signed for Maze and Maze Grill Mayfair. Maze will close in January 2019 and a new concept will be launched. The group continues to actively look for new restaurant locations in the UK and internationally. A number of new international contracts are being actively negotiated. However, contracts have yet to be signed.” Ramsay operates 14 restaurants in London and 18 overseas. During the period, the number of employees increased to 820 from 766 the year before.

Deliveroo to make all staff shareholders: Deliveroo is to make all its employees shareholders in the company. The move will see the majority of the company’s 2,000 staff given share options totalling almost £10m (circa £5,000 each). The deal will apply to all current and future permanent staff and across all levels. In a message to employees worldwide, founder and chief executive Will Shu said he wanted all staff to be “owners” and share options were his way of thanking staff and “making sure this truly is our company in every way”. Following its Series F fund-raise last year, the company has raised $957m to date and is valued at more than $2bn. Shu said: “Employees at Deliveroo have made the company what it is today and what sets us apart is our immense hunger to win, strong focus and care, and clear vision for the future. Our phenomenal growth and success has been made possible thanks to the hard work, commitment and passion of the people who make this company what it is, and that deserves recognition. This is why I want all employees to be owners in Deliveroo and have a real stake in the company’s future as we expand and grow.” Deliveroo has its headquarters in London and operates in 12 markets across the globe. The company said it will have created almost 600 tech jobs in London by the end of 2018 in the space of only two years.

Australian coffee house chain Gloria Jean’s to open 13 UK sites in 12 months with plans for 190 in ten years: Australian food and beverage company Retail Food Group has signed a franchise agreement that will see 13 coffee houses from its Gloria Jean’s Coffees brand open in the UK during the next 12 months, and 190 sites within ten years. The 20-year agreement has been signed with UK businessman Naweed Nasir, whose other business interests include Glasgow-based meat and poultry producer Green Valley Foods, Kam City reports. The first Gloria Jean’s site will open in Glasgow in July, joining more than 900 outlets in 50-plus markets across Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia and South Pacific. Gloria Jean’s will join Retail Food Group brands C2U, Donut King and Crust Gourmet Pizza Bar, which the company also plans to launch into the UK this year. Mike Gilbert, Retail Food Group chief executive – international, said: “The agreement will not only enable the first Gloria Jean’s outlet to open in the UK but will also be our first outlet outside Australia to represent the ‘Gloria Jean’s of the future’ – a significant brand renovation where all elements of the brand have been rigorously reviewed and tested. We are excited to be launching the Gloria Jean’s Coffee rebrand into the UK market as we believe it has a unique positioning and modern feel from the store design to the menu that UK consumers will love. The UK is an important strategic market for Retail Food Group and a natural platform from which to plan further expansion into European markets.” Retail Food Group has a network of more than 2,400 outlets across nine brands and more than 80 territories.

Buff & Bear reopens Newbury pub in second joint venture with Star: Buff & Bear Saloons, led by former Geronimo Inns managing director Ed Turner, wife Betty and business partner Shane O’Neill, has reopened The Dolphin pub in Newbury, Berkshire. The town centre pub, which had been closed for almost a year, has reopened following a £500,000 joint investment with Star Pubs & Bars, its second site with Buff & Bear. The listed building now features five rooms including The Garden Room, which seats 40 diners and opens on to an outdoor space featuring bookable garden huts, a pagoda and seating for 60 people. There are five bedrooms upstairs, with rainfall showers and boxes of Lego. The drinks list includes cask ale from local SIBA members, wine from Davys Wine Merchants, gin, craft bottled beer and cocktails. A “mindful drinks” list includes mocktails, juice and low and no-alcohol beer. The food menu features light meals such as buttered leeks and crab on toasted rye, while mains include chicken, leek and tarragon pot pie. Ed Turner said: “We’re disrupting Newbury with a look that reflects our personalities and enjoyment of life. It’s more like coming to stay for the weekend at our house or going for an evening out in a modern-day members’ club.” Star Pubs & Bars regional operations director Neil Convery added: “Ed and Buffy have done it again. They’ve created another outstanding pub.” Buff & Bear’s other site is the Old Ale & Coffee House in Salisbury, Wiltshire.

Drake & Morgan head of people Paul Glenn joins HR consultancy: Paul Glenn has left his position as head of people at London-based bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan and has joined HR consultancy The People Factor. Glenn, who joined Drake & Morgan in 2013 as head of recruitment after six years at Novus, has been appointed talent director at Northamptonshire-based The People Factor and will handle all internal resourcing projects. A company spokesman said: “Paul specialises in all aspects of the recruitment process – from resourcing and advert-writing to one-off assignments. His strengths lie in his sector experience and vast network coupled with an in-depth understanding of the hospitality sector, making him best placed to assist with all aspects of the recruitment and succession-planning process.”

Mac & Wild heads home to the Highlands for third site: Game expert Mac & Wild, which operates two Scottish restaurants in London, is heading home to the Highlands for its third site. Founders Andy Waugh and Calum Mackinnon have taken over the visitors’ centre at the Falls of Shin tourist attraction. Suppliers will be hand-picked to support the local community and, as in their London restaurants, meat will be predominantly butchered at the Waugh family’s business only six miles from the new site. Mac & Wild At Falls Of Shin will feature a 50-cover restaurant, a pavilion offering street food, outside seating for 60, and a gift shop selling local produce. It will also host foraging walks and masterclasses, with plans to add other experiences such as sheep-shearing sessions. Alongside signature Mac & Wild dishes, the restaurant’s menu will focus on seasonal produce from local farmers and fishermen. Waugh said: “This is an incredibly exciting project and offers us the opportunity to work even more closely with our producers and ingredients growing on the doorstep.” The visitors’ centre previously belonged to former Harrods owner Mohamed Al-Fayed. It was destroyed by fire in 2013 and rebuilt by the Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust. Mac & Wild opened its first permanent restaurant in Fitzrovia in 2015, launching a sister site in Devonshire Square last spring.

El Gato Negro founder to open second restaurant: Simon Shaw, chef patron and creative director of Manchester-based El Gato Negro, has revealed plans for a new restaurant in Ancoats. Shaw is launching Canto, which means “corner” in Portuguese, in the Fairbairn Building in Henry Street. The restaurant will open in the autumn headed by Porto-born Carlos Gomes – current head chef at El Gato Negro – who has previous experience at Michelin-starred Barrafina and Koya. Canto will focus on “simple, modern, authentic Portuguese dishes”. Shaw said: “The Portuguese food movement is in its infancy in the UK but it’s happening, with some really great restaurants emerging in London in the past few years. It would be easy for me to open another Spanish restaurant but I wanted a fresh challenge and to take people on a journey. It’s always been on my radar to open a modern Portuguese restaurant and, when Carlos joined the team with the same long-term vision, everything fell into place."

Jones & Sons to launch second London site: British restaurant and cocktail bar Jones & Sons is to open a second London site, in Angel next month. The concept, launched by Andy Jones in 2013, will open its new venue in Parkfield Street with a continued focus on “honest British food and artisan cocktails”. The main restaurant will cater for 70 covers, with full table service, plus a further 24 covers on a private balcony outside. The kitchen will be headed by Kieran Hope, who has been head chef at the debut Jones & Sons site in Dalston from the start having previously worked at east London restaurants such as Bistrotheque, Le Pont de la Tour and Hix. Jones & Sons offers brunch, lunch, bar plates, bottomless brunch, and a la carte and fixed-price menus, which will change every six to seven weeks. The concept also ranked third in GQ magazine’s Sunday Lunch Guide.

Beirut-based The Lebanese Bakery launches in UK: Beirut-based The Lebanese Bakery has headed to the UK for its second site. Brothers Samer and Bassam Chamoun have launched a site in Covent Garden. The restaurant, based in Drury House in Russell Street, seats about 30 people but also offers takeaway options. The venue specialises in manousheh (Lebanese flatbread) with toppings such as za’atar, cheese and chopped tomatoes. All food is cooked in a traditional Arabic basalt rock oven, Hot Dinners reports.

Cranberry cider-maker Cranes passes halfway mark in crowdfunding campaign to boost on-trade distribution: Cranberry cider-maker Cranes has passed the halfway mark in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to boost on-trade distribution. The company, led by twin brothers Ben and Daniel Ritsema, produces three flavours of cranberry-based cider and a liqueur. The company is offering 4.78% equity in return for investment and so far 130 investors have pledged £80,375 with 31 days remaining. Cranes launched a campaign on Seedrs in 2016 that raised more than £190,000, double its original target, with investors including Brothers Drinks. Cranes underwent a full rebranding last year and has agreed a UK distribution agreement with Paragon Brands. The pitch states: “Our aim is to be one of the top three leading brands in the UK’s fruit cider and fruit liqueur markets. We believe people will always enjoy a drink but are increasingly looking to choose one that has healthier ingredients without impairing the taste. We believe our ciders provide that choice to the mass market and along with our liqueur we are building a strong distinctive brand. We feel our partnership with Paragon Brands ensures the successful navigation of this market with its vast experience, contacts and track record. With listings already in numerous major wholesalers, we are in a great position to advance in this sector. In the shorter term, we will use the funds to deliver our marketing plan to help achieve our 2018 revenue target, invest in increasing distribution and support sales in the on-trade through Paragon Brands, support working capital so we can produce larger batches of cider and liqueur, and invest in production capability to ensure we can meet the expected sales demand in 2018.”

Five Guys eyes Maidstone: Better burger brand Five Guys is eyeing a site in Maidstone, Kent. The company has applied to Maidstone Borough Council to open the restaurant in Earl Street, next to one of the entrances to Fremlin Walk shopping centre. In its application, Five Guys said it was “very excited” to be in a “prime site within Maidstone town centre”, reports Kent Live. Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family. It opened its first UK site in Covent Garden in 2013 and now has 83 restaurants in Britain.

Gorgeous Group to launch cafe bar concept Rake’s near Liverpool Street station next month: Hospitality consultancy Gorgeous Group, led by Robbie Bargh, is to launch cafe bar concept Rake’s in London next month. The venue will open in the Andaz Liverpool Street Hotel next to the train station on Friday, 1 June. Rake’s will feature a lounge, private dining room and pergola-adorned main space and offer “simple and comforting food” alongside coffee and cocktails. Rake’s menu will include the Rake’s Benedict and a walnut waffle served with lemon crème fraiche, berry compote and rose honey syrup. Sharing plates will include broccoli and corn-fed chicken and chorizo croquettes, while larger plates will include buttermilk chicken burger and a rainbow salad bowl. Cocktails will be named after William Hogarth’s series of paintings, The Rake’s Progress. The venue will feature three spaces – The Front Room, which will house the main cafe bar and feature DJs on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights; The Parlour, a lounge area with sofas; and No.3, a “secret room” bookable for private parties. Contemporary art illustrating the “personality of a modern day rake” will adorn the walls. Interiors by Russell Sage Studio will include Hogarth-inspired graffiti walls, pink plaster, Victorian marble and vintage lights. Russell Sage Studio director Russell Sage said: “Hogarth is one of London’s most extraordinary storytellers, with The Rakes Progress attracting thousands of people a year. We used these inspiring canvasses to ensure guests will be surprised and delighted by this unusual drinking and dining experience.”

Social enterprise coffee brand Porter’s opens fifth site in Wales: Social enterprise Porter’s Coffee Shop has opened its fifth site in Wales and second in Colwyn Bay. The 60-seater site venue at Colwyn Bay Leisure Centre offers a range of healthy eating options alongside sweet treats and Porter’s own blend of coffee. The chain is run by CAIS Social Enterprises. Catering manager Mark Welsh told North Wales Pioneer: “We’re thrilled to open our doors in yet another new location as Porter’s continues to expand. Our menu includes a fresh salad bar and our usual selection of naughty-but-nice sweet treats. We love to support local suppliers wherever we can.” Clive Wolfendale, CAIS Social Enterprises chairman, added: “Porter’s is now a national chain offering good jobs, employment support and a high-quality range of food and drink. All proceeds from our coffee shops are used to support vulnerable people in Wales.” Porter’s other sites are in Rhyl, Ely and Cardiff.

Papa John’s launches barbecue pizza range: Papa John’s has launched a range of barbecue-flavour pizzas. The range includes the BBQ Cheeseburger Pizza (beef with onion, tomato, cheese and pickles on a barbecue sauce base), The Great British BBQ (chargrilled chicken, spicy beef, pork sausage and bourbon-marinated barbecue pulled beef), and The Hog Roast (spit roast-style thyme and black pepper pork shoulder on an apple sauce base). Louise Wardle, of Papa John’s, said: “It’s time to look forward to summer and some great outdoor eating.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and now has more than 350 stores in the UK and over 5,000 sites in more than 45 countries and territories.

Goodbody downgrades Marston’s forecasts following reduction in openings guidance: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has downgraded his forecasts on Marston’s after the company reduced its openings guidance. Ruddy said: “Group revenue was up 20% underlying year-on-year to £528.1m (Goodbody: £493m), while adjusted profit before tax came in at £36.3m (Goodbody £37m), up 8% year-on-year. The strong growth was primarily driven by the acquisition of Charles Wells (brewery) in May 2017. On the outlook the group expects to deliver both revenue and profit before tax growth despite the weather impact to the first half, noting the drinks-led business is in good shape and the World Cup provides opportunity. Destination & Premium will benefit from weaker comparables. Openings are in line with expectations in the first half but the group has adapted a cautious tone on estate roll-out in the short term given high levels of new openings with ten pubs and five lodges expected in 2019, reducing the investment programme by £25m. At first glance this appears a soft update from Marston’s. The reduced openings guidance for FY19 appears to be driven by management’s growing caution around the trading environment and will lead to us reducing forecasts by 2% to 3% from then on. The dividend has been maintained and this may support the stock in the near term but we retain our cautious stance based on medium-term prospects and weaker cash flow profile. Destination & Premium revenue was up 4% year-on-year and underlying profit was £34.6m, broadly in line with the first half of 2017. Like-for-like sales were down 1.8% owing to poor weather in December, February and March. The margin was 16.7%, down 70 basis points year-on-year, due to the previously flagged cost headwinds. In Taverns, revenue was up 2.9% and operating profit was down 1.7% year-on-year with like-for-like sales up 2.9% and this is a continuation of the good trends seen in the last update. In Leased, revenue was up 3.9% and operating profit up 1.4% with operating margins of 52.6%, down 1.3%. In Brewing, revenue was up 79.2% and operating profit increased 28.8% to £13.4m driven by the Charles Wells acquisition. Net debt at the end of the period was £1,393m, compared with £1,329m at the end of September. The group is maintaining its dividend at 2.7p per share. It remains its policy to target dividend progression and achieving dividend cover of two times over the medium term.”

James’ Places opens boutique hotel: Lancashire-based James’ Places has launched a boutique hotel as part of its £10m project to transform a former textile mill in Clitheroe into a food, drink and leisure hub. A former weaving shed has been converted into 1823 Spinning Block hotel, which offers 32 bedrooms and retains many original features. The hotel is the latest phase in the redevelopment of the Holmes Mill complex, which includes a brewery, beer hall, food hall, and the Boiler House Café and Gelateria. Other venues in the James’ Places portfolio include coffee shop, wine bar and brasserie The Emporium in Clitheroe, the Royal Hotel in Kirby Lonsdale, the Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green, and the Waddington Arms pub in the Ribble Valley. 

Wirral-based Turkish restaurant lodges plans for second site: Wirral-based Turkish restaurant Ella Grill has lodged plans for its second site. The company, which launched its first venue in Prenton, has applied to Wirral Council to convert a former Lloyds TSB site in Old Chester Road, Bebington. Paul Doughty, who is the agent involved in the proposals, told the Liverpool Echo: “It’s a well-located building in a prominent position and we hope these plans will be approved. There’s a shortage of good-quality places to go and have a meal in Birkenhead generally, so we hope it will be a good addition to the local economy.”

Apex reopens Dundee hotel following £2.4m refurbishment: Apex Hotels has reopened its site in Dundee following a £2.4m refurbishment. Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa has had all 151 bedrooms and suites, as well as leisure facilities, transformed as part of the company’s £15m upgrade to its ten-strong portfolio. The company reported another year of strong growth during 2016-17, with a 6% rise in turnover to £65m from £61.3m the previous year. Apex Hotels chief executive Angela Vickers said: “Our seven-figure investment will only enhance our offering for guests and those using our spa and leisure facilities and, with further work earmarked for our conference and events space, local businesses and those further afield will be well catered for.”

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
 
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
 
Jameson Banner
 
Fentimans Banner
 
me&u Banner
 
Trail Banner
 
Transition Banner
 
Knorr Banner
 
Propel Banner
 
Jacuna Banner
 
Molson Coors Banner
 
Amstel Banner
 
Zonal Banner
 
Toggle Banner
 
Bizimply Banner
 
Zonal Banner
 
Heineken Banner
 
Taylors of Harrogate Banner
 
Sky Banner
 
Hello Beer Banner
 
John Gaunt Banner
 
COREcruitment Banner
 
KAM Media Banner
 
Access Banner
 
Startle Banner
 
Reputation Banner
 
Veneers Banner
 
Just Eat Banner
 
Yapster Banner
 
Punch Taverns Link Punch Taverns Link
Pepper Banner