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Fri 6th Jul 2018 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Yoyo partners with Preoday to launch pre-ordering app: Mobile payment, loyalty and marketing platform Yoyo has partnered with ordering technology provider Preoday to create a way for UK retailers and caterers to provide pre-ordering services. They have launched an app that delivers mobile payment, digital loyalty, personalised rewards, digital receipts and pre-ordering. The companies said while large high-street brands such as Starbucks and JD Wetherspoon had been able to deliver ordering ahead functions to customers through apps built in-house, their new platform would put “pre-ordering into the hands of retailers large and small without the need for costly in-house tech teams”. Yoyo chief executive Michael Rolph said: “We have already taken customer identification, previously only the domain of the biggest brands, and democratised it. Through our partnership with Preoday we can now do the same when it comes to offering the most enhanced personalised customer services to retailers and caterers, big or small. By creating a frictionless payment, loyalty and order-ahead experience based on consumer identity and purchasing preferences, Yoyo is now acting as the engine of business growth for our partners.” Preoday chief executive Nick Hucker added: “Our two technologies are natural continuations of each other. Both promote better customer engagement, digitising the in-store customer experience and providing operators with the data they need to further their customer relationships. In the current retail climate, operators increasingly want ‘an app’ for their customers but we see little point in investing in a technology with little or limited functionality. By working with Preoday and Yoyo and integrating our technology with company operations, clients can collect the data they need to hone their business services and deliver an experience customers can get the most out of.” Preoday helps food, retail and ticketing businesses offer branded online and mobile pre-ordering facilities to customers purchasing food, beverages and merchandise. Yoyo, which also launched in 2014, identifies the purchasing preferences of customers by capturing basket data at point of sale, enabling retailers and caterers to deliver personalised mobile payment and loyalty experiences to in-store customers.

Industry News:

Women’s Entrepreneur Conference open for bookings: Propel has partnered with Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott to launch the sector’s first conference featuring an all-female line-up of company leaders. The event, which is open for bookings, takes place on Tuesday, 4 September at One Moorgate Place, London. Speakers will be Wahaca founder Thomasina Miers (“How to ascertain if your business idea is genius or madness”); Mowgli founder Nisha Katona (“From barrister to bunny chow: why risk it all for restaurants?”); Sophie Bathgate, of Sophie’s Steakhouse (“What I would do differently next time”); Artizian founder Alison Frith (“How to market a startup”); Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bars founder Mary Mclaughlin (“Growing an idea from startup to sustainable”); Eve Bugler, founder of BabaBoom (“How to keep the joy when it’s all on your shoulders”); Jane O’Riordan, founder of The Dynamo (“The importance of patience”); Sally Jackson, owner of The Pink Pig Farm (“The ten hardest lessons I’ve learned”); Christine Winton, of Siam Eatery (“Can you have work-life balance when you start a business?”); Vanessa Hall, co-founder of Jack & Alice (“The importance of staying true to your values when you start and expand your business”); and Laura Harper-Hinton, co-founder of Caravan (“Why people are key to your success”). Elliott said: “Female entrepreneurs are making an enormous contribution to the hospitality sector – but we need even more of them. The conference is intended as a showcase of some of the sector’s best female entrepreneurs and to encourage even more of them to take the plunge.” Propel managing director Paul Charity added: “If our sector is to truly serve its market, we need more companies led at senior levels by women. We hope companies send their brightest female talent to the conference to pick up inspiration and develop their entrepreneurial talent. We also believe it’s a great opportunity for male colleagues to gain insights into female entrepreneurial skills.” Tickets are £195 plus VAT for Propel Premium subscribers, £245 plus VAT for operators and £395 plus VAT for suppliers and can be booked by emailing or calling her on 01444 817691.

Nominations invited for Wireless Social Female Entrepreneur of the Year: Which female entrepreneur has most impressed you in the past year? Propel is inviting nominations for the Wireless Social Entrepreneur of the Year, which will be presented on Tuesday, 4 September at the end of the Women’s Entrepreneur Conference. Readers are invited to sent their nominations to Propel managing director Paul Charity at

UKHospitality warns against tourist tax: UKHospitality has reiterated its message that a tourist tax in Edinburgh, or any part of the UK, could be disastrous for hotels and the hospitality sector. The move follows City of Edinburgh Council leader Adam McVey’s tweet that a tax would be introduced in the city “in the next 12 months”. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The introduction of another tax aimed at hard-working, innovative and economically and socially important hotels in Edinburgh could have a potentially disastrous impact on businesses. Adam McVey has rather blithely announced on social media that a tourist tax would be introduced in the city within 12 months, yet there has been no meaningful consultation with the businesses at risk and no wider discussion with the national organisations representing the hospitality and tourism sector. Hotels and hospitality businesses already face a mountain of costs and any additional tax, no matter the cost, would present vital employers with a significant barrier to growth. The UK is one of only three EU countries not to have a reduced rate of VAT on hotel and tourism services. By comparison, the rate of VAT on hotel rooms in EU countries is about half of the 20% rate applied in the UK. In the majority of EU countries that have some form of tourist tax, there is a reduced rate of tourism VAT. The Scottish government is rightly of the opinion that any such tax would be harmful to businesses in the country and we welcome tourism minister Fiona Hyslop’s assertion no measure should or could be introduced without agreement from the government and discussions with the hotel sector. UKHospitality and its predecessors, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and British Hospitality Association, have consistently opposed the introduction of any tourist taxes in the UK and the UKHospitality board met in London to confirm its ongoing opposition to such a costly and potentially destructive measure. No tourist tax in any part of Scotland or the rest of the UK should even be considered without the full involvement of the hospitality sector. A full and wide-ranging consultation must first be carried out to gauge the appetite of the sector and for policy-makers to identify the pros and cons of such a measure.”

New Elephant and Castle ‘town centre’ to feature restaurants and cinema after plans approved: Delancey’s revised application to redevelop the Elephant and Castle shopping centre in south London has been approved. Southwark Council’s planning committee narrowly voted in favour of the redevelopment scheme, which will take ten years to build. The shopping centre will be replaced by a town centre-style scheme that will form the heart of a wider regeneration scheme. The “town centre” will feature 170,000 square feet of restaurants and shops alongside a 1,000-seat multi-screen cinema and a 500-capacity cultural venue. The scheme will also include several housing blocks providing almost 1,000 homes, while there will be a landmark building for the London College of Communication. Delancey investment director Stafford Lancaster told Construction Enquirer: “Our proposals offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver a new town centre for the area, with each of these elements dependent on being delivered together. The new town centre will include a range of high street and independent retailers, enhanced restaurant and leisure opportunities, and much-needed housing on a site where there is currently none.” Full approval is subject to a Section 106 agreement and the mayor of London’s consent.

Company News:

Shake Shack has room for a ‘few more’ London sites as it makes City debut: Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati has said the company has room for a “few more” sites in the capital as it launched its first restaurant in the City of London. The company has opened a venue in Cannon Street targeting City workers’ lunch needs. Shake Shack agreed a new 15-year lease with landlord Morgan Capital on the 3,608 square foot restaurant at 45 Cannon Street. Rosati told City AM that regional expansion was also on the cards. He said: “I get excited to think about all the UK – there are a lot of cool cities. As we keep growing, if a neighbourhood says we want our own Shake Shack, we’ll take a look.” Despite the well-publicised headwinds suffered by a number of restaurant chains, Rosati said Shake Shack hoped to keep its prices accessible by sourcing British produce. He said: “We try to keep our prices low. If we didn’t localise the menu, this would be a lot harder.” Shake Shack joins other operators at 45 Cannon Street including London-based independent coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee, Indian grab-and-go concept Pali’s Kitchen and Canada-based health brand Freshii. In May, the company also signed for a unit at Boxpark Wembley, which will open later this year. Shake Shack was founded in New York City in 2004 and now has more than 170 sites around the world.

Welcome Break commercial and marketing director steps down: Lisa Parsons, commercial and marketing director of motorway services operator Welcome Break, has stepped down after four years, Propel has learned. Parsons had been in the role since June 2014 having previously joined the company as interim marketing director the year before. She previously worked for then PizzaExpress owner Gondola Holdings on a consultancy basis having left her position as commercial director of Tragus Group in 2012 following a management restructure. Welcome Break chief executive Robbie Bell said: “Lisa has left to spend more time with her growing family. Lisa played an important part in the continued success of Welcome Break and we thank her for outstanding service. We are currently recruiting Lisa’s replacement.”

Lunya founders see scope for expansion of smaller restaurant format as they prepare to launch debut site: Restaurateurs Peter and Elaine Kinsella have said there is scope for expansion of their Lunyalita format as they prepare for its debut. The Kinsellas will launch Lunyalita on Friday, 13 July at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool, creating 30 jobs. The concept is a smaller version of the Catalonian deli, restaurant and bar in Liverpool and Lunya restaurants in the city’s Hanover Street and in Manchester. The Kinsellas have invested £300,000 in the new 3,000 square foot venue, which will be run by an all-female management team. Peter Kinsella told The Business Desk: “We wanted something more intimate and the natural intimacy you get in these rooms in the Royal Albert Dock is fantastic. There could possibly be more. Because it is small, it is more replicable compared with our other restaurants.”

MJMK to launch Portuguese concept Casa do Frango in London Bridge this month: London-based hospitality company MJMK is to launch Portuguese concept Casa do Frango in London Bridge this month. The 85-cover restaurant will open in Southwark Street on Friday, 20 July specialising in “frango”, regional Algarvian-style piri-piri chicken cooked over wood charcoal using traditional techniques. The grill will be overseen by experienced Algarvian pitmaster Lucidio da Fonseca Monteiro, who has moved to London for the project. The concept is the brainchild of MJMK founders Marco Mendes, Jake Kasumov and Reza Merchant, inspired by their time together in the south of Portugal. The wood-fired grill will be the focus of the open plan kitchen. As well as frango, the menu will include regional charcuterie, cheese, seafood, salads and desserts. Starters to share will include grilled chorizo while sides will include Arroz Africano, a rice dish that highlights Portugal’s close ties with Africa. Mains will consist of frango, octopus rice and grilled vegetables in piri-piri. The drinks list will feature Portuguese varieties celebrating the growing reputation of the country’s winemakers. A vaulted ceiling with a giant glass skylight will allow natural light on communal tables and counter dining. Decor will include suspended ceiling fans and hand-painted detailing on the bar-front that will resemble Portuguese trams. A “hidden” bar will open later this year. MJMK, which also owns and operates S11 bar and health food cafe Homegrown, both in Brixton, will open neighbourhood pub The Belrose in Belsize Park later this month.  

Escape Live to launch second Birmingham site and sixth in total: Escape room operator Escape Live is to launch its second site in Birmingham and sixth in total. The company, which runs four escape rooms at its venue in Henrietta Street in the Jewellery Quarter, plans to add four or five games at a new location in Constitution Hill. The venue could open by late summer and feature a cafe and conference area. Escape Live’s other sites are in Coventry, Stratford-upon-Avon and Southend, with another planned in Leamington Spa. Escape Live’s debut site in Birmingham is one of the most highly rated attractions in the Midlands on TripAdvisor, with more than 70,000 visitors since its launch in 2015. Escape Live co-founder John Dalziel told Birmingham Live: “We launched our first venue with two rooms and in the space of three years we have grown beyond our expectations. We doubled the number of experiences in our first venue and now we have taken another site, which means we will more than double again in the city. Escape games are, themselves, growing in popularity but what we have worked hard to do from day one is ensure the quality of our games is of the highest standard and they set a great challenge. The addition of the cafe and conference area brings an added option for people to extend their time with us. They can have a bite to eat and plan their tactics, while businesses can host meetings and events combined with a team-building experience.”

Tony Conigliaro to open joint venture with Rob Roy Cameron in Mayfair on Monday: London-based mixologist and bar owner Tony Conigliaro and chef Rob Roy Cameron will open their joint venture in Mayfair, central London, next week. Gazelle, in Albemarle Street, will operate as an all-day dining venue across two floors. The site will seat 32 in the main dining room, six in the downstairs cocktail bar and a further 36 in the upstairs bar and lounge. Like Conigliaro’s Hackney bar Untitled, which launched last year, Gazelle, which opens on Monday (9 July), will be as much a restaurant as a bar. The new venture will be Conigliaro’s seventh venue. He is the founder and owner of Drink Factory, a group that includes his original bar, 69 Colebroke Row, as well as Bar Termini Centrale, Untitled and Luciole. He is also involved in Jim’s Cafe in Clapton.

Brighton-based Bison Beer opens third site: Brighton and Hove-based bar operator and micro-brewer Bison Beer has opened its third site in the city. The company has launched a pub in North Road, Brighton, following a £100,000 funding package from HSBC, creating 20 jobs. North Laine Bar, Kitchen & Hideout offers craft ale, including the company’s own See Side APA, alongside bar snacks such as deli meat, cheeseboards and olives. Founded by Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy, Bison Beer has a bar in Hove and a bottle shop in Brighton’s East Street. Cregan said: “It is really exciting to launch our third venue with the support of HSBC. It will help raise our profile further and create more jobs for the community.” Lucy Wynn, HSBC’s area director for business banking in south London, added: “Bison Beer is an established brand in Brighton and Hove. We have no doubt its third location will be just as popular. The company is rapidly becoming a household name in East Sussex. With our funding Jack and Nick have expanded at an incredible rate, with plans to grow the Bison Beer brand even further.”

Southampton-based operators secure second site: Southampton-based operators Piers Kannangara and Thomas Dyer have secured their second site. Kannangara and Dyer, who operate Heartbreakers Bar in the city, have acquired the former Wild Lime bar in Portswood. Davis Coffer Lyons assigned the lease on behalf of Abbey Inns. Kannangara and Dyer, who joined forces last year, intend to retain much of the bar’s character while incorporating elements of their other operation in the city. Kannangara also owns and operates The Social Bar in Southampton and co-owns street-wear brand Addict Clothing. In 2011 Dyer founded live music promotion company Psychedelia, which has twice been voted one of the UK’s top independent promoters at the Live Music Awards. Keith Goodwin, associate director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Piers and Thomas have an excellent understanding of the bar and club scene in Southampton and we have no doubt it will be a great addition to their growing group.”

Belfast-based James Street South Group reveals £300,000 plans to merge venues: Belfast-based James Street South Group has revealed plans to merge two of its venues in the city in a £300,000 project. The company, headed by Niall McKenna, opened restaurant James Street South in 2003 followed by the Bib Gourmand-winning James Street Bar + Grill in 2011. The combined restaurant will provide seating for up to 70 customers and include a bar and enhanced kitchen space. McKenna told Insider Media: “This is a really exciting time for us and the city of Belfast. Lonely Planet has decreed Belfast as the place to visit in 2018 and, with many new hotels open and planned coupled with record visitor numbers, Belfast’s potential is fast being realised. We are working on a new name and brand for this venture, which we’ll announce in the coming weeks, and look forward to welcoming customers old and new when we launch in September.” James Street South Group’s additional restaurants, Hadskis and Cast and Crew, will continue to operate as normal.

Former Ei Group site named one of UK’s best waterside pubs goes on market: A pub once named by the Guardian as one of the ten best waterside pubs in the UK has been put up for sale. The Admiral Nelson in the village of Braunston, Northamptonshire, is being marketed by Christie & Co at an asking price of £550,000. The pub, which was previously owned by Ei Group until current owners Mark and Pam Davis and Liam Evans changed it into a freehouse, occupies a former farmhouse on the banks of the Grand Union Canal. Offering 30 covers across a lounge, bar and dining area, the two-storey property also features a games room and a beer garden overlooking the canal that can accommodate 100 covers. The pub offers real ale and home-cooked food, with traditional pub food on the bar menu and more contemporary dishes on the a la carte menu. Joshua Sullivan, business agent at Christie & Co, said: “The Admiral Nelson is a classic example of a quintessential canal-side inn. There is scope to build on the enterprise through the potential addition of letting accommodation.”

Kaspa’s lodges Rugby restaurant plans: Dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s has lodged plans for a site in Rugby, Warwickshire. The company has applied to Rugby Borough Council to open the restaurant at Chapel Street Dining in the Swan Centre. Chapel Street Dining is part of the old Co-operative Home And Living store, which shut in October 2015. In March last year, owner Caracal Properties was given permission to convert part of the property into four food outlets. Kaspa’s has taken a ten-year lease on a unit and plans a £500,000 fit-out, reports the Rugby Advertiser. The site is due to open later this summer offering the brand’s menu of shakes, smoothies, cakes and crepes. There are currently 52 Kaspa’s sites in the UK, with a further 20 listed as “coming soon” on its website.

Team behind Plymouth nightclub to open second site: The team behind Plymouth nightclub Factory is to open its second site in the city. It will launch Hanging Gardens on Friday, 27 July in Vauxhall Street in the former Planet building. As well as being a nightclub and bar, the venue will also offer something for the arts and music community. From Monday to Thursday, one of the two rooms will be used for events such as live music, spoken-word poetry, comedy, and film screenings. Meanwhile, the club will play house, techno and garage music in one of the rooms with house and disco tunes in the other. Events manager Simon Scullion told Plymouth Live: “We want it to be a place for everyone to enjoy and offer something different to the arts and music community.”

Empire to anchor £60m Peterborough shopping centre extension: Empire Cinemas is to anchor the £60m extension at Queensgate shopping centre in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. The ten-screen cinema will feature luxury seating including double sofas and individual electric recliners. The 77,000 square foot extension is being carried out in partnership with John Lewis and will include new leisure space and create 200 jobs. Leasing company Lendlease and landlord Invesco Real Estate said there had been “strong demand from a number of leading restaurant and leisure operators to take space”. Empire Cinemas chief executive Justin Ribbons said: “This will be our first cinema in the region so it will serve as a flagship for the community, providing visitors with the best-quality screens, seating and sound.” Lendlease head of retail Guy Thomas added: “The extension will cement the centre’s appeal as a retail and leisure destination. Empire Cinemas is the perfect partner and will bring a first-class cinema experience to Peterborough city centre.” CBRE and Time Retail Partners represented Queensgate, while Empire dealt direct. Empire Cinemas operates 129 Screens across 14 cinemas in the UK.  

East Yorkshire-based pizzeria Bert’s opens second site, in Hull: East Yorkshire-based pizzeria Bert’s has opened its second site, in Hull. The family-owned company, which has a venue in the village of Brandesburton, has opened a restaurant in the regenerated Fruit Market area, creating 24 jobs. The 80-cover Bert’s Pizza And Gelato spans 3,100 square feet and seats a further 32 diners outside. Owner Ellie Mewburn told BDaily: “The floor-to-ceiling windows are similar to those at our Brandesburton restaurant, which also has a view over an expanse of water. It’s us. The Fruit Market feels like the up-and-coming area in Hull right now. It’s the place to go for a dining experience and a great night out and it’s where we and our staff like to have nights out when we’re in Hull.” Regeneration company Wykeland Group is behind the development. Asset manager John Gouldthorp said: “We’re very excited about the opening of Bert’s Pizza and Gelato and we’re sure it will be a great success. The location on the ground floor gives Bert’s one of the best views of any restaurant in the region.” Unlike its debut site, Bert’s is offering gelato at the new restaurant alongside wood-fired pizza.

Further details revealed for proposed £3.5bn theme park near Dartford: Further details have been revealed about a proposed £3.5bn theme park near Dartford, Kent, which would feature rides, roller coasters, a theatre, retail and food outlets, hotels and a nightclub. Developer London Resort Company Holdings has outlined its vision for London Resort, which would span 110 acres on a former landfill site in Swanscombe Peninsula. The park would feature five themed areas – Entertainment City, Adventure Isle, Action Square, Cartoon Circus and Land Of Legends – totalling more than 50 rides and attractions based on films and television shows. The park would be delivered in two phases. The first would be a stand-alone theme park featuring themed zones from the park’s partners and would take up two-thirds of the proposed space. The second phase would feature more themed zones and hotel rooms. A total of 3,550 rooms would be built, with the majority of the hotels included in the first phase. London Resort Company Holdings hopes to submit plans for the scheme by 2019. If approved by government, the park would create 33,000 jobs and could open in 2023, reports Kent Live.

Go Ape lines up first Warwickshire site: Visitor attraction Go Ape is lining up its first site in Warwickshire. The company is in discussions with Coventry City Council over opening a site in Coombe Country Park to the east of the city as early as April 2019. Go Ape has 33 sites in the UK and 16 in the US. Head of business development Ben Davies told Insider Media: “Go Ape is about encouraging people to live life adventurously and we look forward to bringing our park adventure experience to Coventry.” Prior to submitting a planning application, Go Ape liaised with Natural England and Historic England. City council deputy leader Abdul Khan said: “I am delighted Go Ape thinks Coombe could make a great location for its brand and style of adventure. Coombe is a jewel in our crown and it’s much loved by local people and visitors, who enjoy the natural beauty of the 500-acre site. Nestled in the trees, Go Ape will offer high adventure and fun for children, young people and adults alike without impacting on the areas of the site enjoyed by bird-watchers, nature enthusiasts and walkers.”

Chilli Banana secures new support base: Thai restaurant company Chilli Banana has secured a new base to support its five sites across the north west. The company has taken the final unit at Lawnhurst Trading Estate in Stockport. Chilli Banana has secured a 5,481 square foot unit on a five-year lease through agents JLL and Sanderson Weatherall. Rob Kos, senior surveyor at JLL, told Insider Media: “Chilli Banana has secured itself a support base that sits within easy access to its Wilmslow, Didsbury, Liverpool, Bramhall and Macclesfield restaurants.” Lawnhurst Trading Estate, which comprises 200,000 square feet of accommodation across 16 units, was acquired by Logicor in 2016.

Marston’s to launch new-build Rhyl pub restaurant in September: Marston’s is set to open its new-build pub restaurant in Rhyl, north Wales, in September. The Sun Verge will open as part of the £25m Rhyl waterfront regeneration scheme, creating 45 jobs. It will feature a 150-cover carvery and indoor and outdoor children’s play areas. Nigel Whitfield, of Marston’s, told the Daily Post: “We are extremely excited about The Sun Verge and hope it will build a great reputation locally, offering top-quality, value-for-money pub food.” The regeneration scheme incudes a Travelodge hotel, which is being built on the same site near the former Sun Centre. Denbighshire Council will hold the lease for the Travelodge and Sun Verge, allowing it to make money through rent. A council spokeswoman said: “This structure allows the council to support the funding, increasing the property yield and allowing Denbighshire County Council to make a small profit on the scheme through rent.” Last month, Marston’s had plans approved to build a hotel and restaurant in Arbroath, Scotland.

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