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Fri 13th Jul 2018 - Update: Arc Inspirations, McDonald’s, Brakspear
Arc Inspirations reports World Cup trading boost: Arc Inspirations, the bar and restaurant operator led by Martin Wolstencroft, has seen like-for-like wet sales increase by 43% across its estate during the four-week World Cup period. The company, which operates fast-growing brands including Banyan, The Box and Manahatta, also grew food sales by almost 10% across the tournament period. A standout performer was The Box bar in Headingley, which enjoyed a like-for-like wet sales increase of 75% and took £45,000 for the England versus Sweden quarter-final match on Saturday, 7 July. All bars in the estate enjoyed double-digit sales increases. Beer sales on the day of the England versus Croatia semi-final on Wednesday (11 July) were up by 351% across the estate on a like-for-like basis. Wolstencroft said: “Great weather, favourable kick-off times and an England team that performed well in a major tournament meant that we enjoyed a superb World Cup. Match days in our bars have been truly fantastic experiences and led to some stellar sales figures. What was very pleasing was how our hard-working teams handled the exceptionally busy match days from an operational perspective and continued to provide great service to customers.” Arc Inspirations plans to open three new sites this autumn, including two bars in Manchester.
 
McDonald’s shares fall amid US foodborne illness investigation: McDonald’s shares fell after two US states said they were investigating whether the company’s salads were linked to dozens of cases of foodborne illness. The company’s shares dropped 1.33% in after-hours trading to $157.00. The Illinois Department of Public Health said it had confirmed about 90 cases of cyclosporiasis – an intestinal illness caused by a microscopic parasite known as cyclospora – across the state starting in mid-May. About a quarter of those cases involved individuals who said they had eaten a McDonald’s salad before falling ill, the state agency said. Public health officials in Iowa also said they were probing a rise in Cyclospora infections, and had identified 15 people who ate McDonald’s salads before becoming sick. McDonald’s is co-operating with the investigation, according to both states. “Although a link has been made to salads sold in McDonald’s restaurants in some Illinois cases, public health officials continue to investigate other sources,” said Nirav Shah, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. McDonald’s said in a statement: “McDonald’s has been in contact with public health authorities from Iowa and Illinois about an increase in Cyclospora infections in those states. Out of an abundance of caution, we decided to voluntarily stop selling salads at impacted restaurants until we can switch to another lettuce blend supplier. We are in the process of removing existing salad blend from identified restaurants and distribution centres, which includes about 3,000 of our US restaurants primarily located in the Midwest. McDonald’s is committed to the highest standards of food safety and quality control. We are closely monitoring this situation and co-operating with state and federal public health authorities as they further investigate.” The Cyclospora parasite is commonly found in developing countries, and it has been at the centre of several US outbreaks, particularly in summer months, Iowa officials said. Infections are most commonly linked to eating fresh produce and have been linked in the past to imported products including raspberries, basil, snow peas and lettuce.
 
Domino’s Pizza Eurasia reports system sales up 28.1%: Domino’s Pizza Eurasia, exclusive master franchisee of the Domino’s Pizza brand in Turkey, Russia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, has reported group system sales growth of 28.1% for the six months ending 30 June 2018. Turkish systems sales were up 15.6% with like-for-like sales increasing 10.9% while Russian system sales grew 68.8%. The company reported group online system sales growth of 64.5%. Turkish online system sales were up 46.9% and Russian online system sales increased 106.9%. A total of 79 stores have been added over the past 12 months, bringing the total to 672. Chief executive Aslan Saranga said: ”We are very pleased with our performance for the first half of 2018. We were able to record double-digit like-for like growth in both of our main markets, despite the election period in Turkey. The growing franchisee base and pipeline are encouraging in both markets. In the first half of 2018, which is historically a slower period for store openings, we have added 29 stores – 21 in Russia, seven in Turkey and one in Azerbaijan, which was in line with our expectations as our geographic expansion outside of Greater Moscow in Russia continues, where we have added Voronezh, Kazan, and Nizhny Novgorod among other cities. We are happy to see that our advertising spend and capital expenditures on the digital front are paying off as the online portion of our business is continuing to increase. We are continuing with the deployment of the GPS tracker in Turkey to optimise delivery effectiveness and expect to finish it in the second half of the year. Our project to unify the online ordering back-end systems across the group is also on track to finish by the end of 2018. The board expects the full year adjusted Ebitda for 2018 to be in line with expectations.”
 
C&C Group completes bank refinancing: C&C Group, the branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks producer, has completed the refinancing of its group bank facilities. The company stated: “The board is pleased to announce it has completed the refinance and enlargement of its bank facilities with a syndicate of new and existing banks. The new facilities will comprise a five-year multi-currency revolving credit facility of €450m, and a three-year term loan of €150m. The margin, covenants and other material terms have been maintained in line with C&C’s existing revolving credit facility. In addition, the group has increased the facility size of its existing debtor securitisation.” Chief financial officer Jonathan Solesbury said: “This transaction secures increased facilities for the enlarged group with both the flexibility and scope to meet our long-term corporate objectives. Following the significant strategic developments we have made, it was pleasing to agree attractive terms on the new facilities both from our long standing banking partners and new lenders to the syndicate.”
 
Brakspear to reopen Cotswolds pub today following biggest project in company’s history: Pub operator and brewer Brakspear is today (Friday, 13 July) reopening the doors of the Frogmill near Cheltenham – its biggest project in its 240-year history. The 16th century inn in Shipton Oliffe, near Andoversfold, Gloucestershire, is now Brakspear’s biggest managed site and comprises a 100-cover restaurant, bar, 28 boutique bedrooms and wedding and conference facilities for up to 150 guests, all housed within extensive grounds. Brakspear purchased the grade II-listed Frogmill in December 2015 and the inn has been given an extensive eight-month redevelopment, including creating a bar in a former cellar space and transforming the inn’s former bar area into a cosy snug with open fire. The redesign has retained many of the building’s original features including fireplaces, flagstone floors, exposed beams and a wisteria-covered stone pergola and watermill in the grounds. The Frogmill’s new-look restaurant area has been extended with an open plan layout. The inn will offer all-day dining with seasonally changing menus, as well as daily specials. Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “The redevelopment of the Frogmill has been an extensive project, which has seen our biggest investment in a site to date. We are really excited about the potential of this fantastic inn. I’m really proud of what we have achieved in terms of the look and feel of the Frogmill and its food, drink and accommodation. We have a great track record of running successful, award-winning pubs and have a strong infrastructure and great team in place to enable us to replicate our success at this larger, more complex site.” The Frogmill takes Brakspear’s managed estate to 12 sites. The division was formed in 2013 with the opening of the Bull in Henley-on-Thames and includes pubs across the Cotswolds and south east. Eight sites – including the Frogmill – currently offer accommodation, with a total of just over 100 rooms.

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