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Wed 5th Dec 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Just Eat reports record UK order numbers, reaches 100,000 restaurant partners globally, GBK joins line-up: Online food delivery business Just Eat has reported record UK order numbers and revealed it has reached more than 100,000 restaurant partners on its platform worldwide with Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) joining the line-up. More than 1.5 million takeaways were ordered in the last weekend of November, making Black Friday the busiest Friday for Just Eat and contributing to the biggest month in the UK in the company’s history. Just Eat also took orders for a record number of meals during last weekend’s X-Factor Live final with 574,000 takeaway orders on Saturday (1 December) – Just Eat’s biggest day on record. The company, whose network of restaurant partners deliver to 95% of UK postcodes, saw orders peak between 6pm and 7.15pm on Saturday as an average of 31 orders were placed per second by Just Eat’s UK customer base of more than 11 million. The top three cuisines opted for were Italian/pizza, Chinese and Indian. Just Eat has also announced GBK is the latest restaurant brand to join its books. Customers will be able to order from 40 branches across London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff and Just Eat has scrapped delivery charges and removed minimum spend on GBK orders between now and Sunday, 16 December. Just Eat also reached more than 100,000 restaurant partners on its platform worldwide in November, offering customers in 13 countries more than 100 cuisines. UK managing director Graham Corfield said: “Our ambition is to be the food app that offers whatever food you’re craving. We know people love to mix and match between their local takeaway and getting their go-to dish from their favourite high-street chain restaurant. We’re delivering for the nation.”

Industry News:

Martin Dinkele to feature in next video for Premium subscribers: Martin Dinkele, deputy managing director of Morar HPI, will feature in the next 30-minute video for Propel Premium subscribers, which will be sent out on Friday (7 December). Dinkle looks at the factors and attributes that drive a higher or lower NPS score, how these scores vary across different foodservice segments such as coffee shops and restaurants – and examines the levers businesses can pull to boost their NPS scores. Premium subscribers receive regular video recordings of key speakers from Propel events and conferences. They have included sector investor Luke Johnson, Ceviche founder Martin Morales, City Pub Company founder Clive Watson, brand strategist Ian Dunstall, Chozen Noodle chief executive Matthew Kirby, Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity, consultant James Hacon, Imbiba partner Darrel Connell, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi group chief operating officer Andreas Karlsson, Mowgli founder Nisha Katona, haysmacintyre partner Andrew Ball, Carluccio’s chief executive Mark Jones and Swingers co-founder Matt Grech-Smith. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, access to our database of 1,300 multi-site companies, and discounts to attend Propel conferences and events. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “We plan to compile an invaluable library of senior leaders and advisors offering insights and advice, a resource Premium readers can tap into.” An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com to sign up or call her on 01444 817691.

Foodservice price inflation hits highest level in more than a year – expected to continue rising: Foodservice price inflation is at its highest level in more than a year after increasing again in October and is expected to continue rising, the latest Foodservice Price Index from CGA and Prestige Purchasing has revealed. As in previous months, the highest inflation numbers were in the fish and oils and fats categories. Inflation has increased month-on-month since August and the figure is now at its highest since September 2017. With significant year-on-year movements in categories such as vegetables, dairy and soft drinks, the latest inflation rise is a sign harsh summer weather is still affecting prices – a trend the index forecasts will continue into 2019. The vegetable category saw a rapid rise in inflation in October resulting from the hot and dry summer weather, which has reduced crop yields in some key product areas such as potatoes and has started to affect the market through shortages. Supply challenges in this category look set to continue into 2019, with inflation in this category expected to remain under pressure in the short term at least. Mild weather conditions this autumn have led to reports of improvements in grass growth, while milk production has surpassed expectations. October saw the largest drop in milk market prices since January, falling 1.5 pence per litre on September. Recent high milk prices have shifted demand from manufacturers that seek to maximise their profit margins through alternative products such as cheese, the index said. In the soft drinks category, inflation has risen more than 9% year-on-year. The index said demand in the global soft drinks market was growing concurrent with foodservice price inflation movements but, while the industry was booming, it expected to see inflation decrease in the future. The bread and cereal category has seen a downward movement month-on-month but is still up against last year’s corresponding period. Following poor growing conditions globally this year, the index said it expected inflation to continue to rise but the monthly downturn was a result of increased Russian exporting following fears trade tariffs would be imposed. The index expects bread and cereal inflation to rise early next year as stock-to-use ratios are at their lowest for more than 20 years. The Foodservice Price Index is jointly produced by CGA and Prestige Purchasing using foodservice data drawn from 7.8 million transactions per month. More information on specific categories is available on a subscription basis.

Pubs and restaurants lead the way as consumer spending grows 3.3% in November: Pubs and restaurants led the way as consumer spending grew 3.3% year-on-year in November, according to the latest data by Barclaycard. Continuing the recent trend, spending was up 11.3% year-on-year at pubs, while restaurants saw 8.3% growth compared with the corresponding month last year. Entertainment also enjoyed a strong month for spending, with an 8.7% year-on-year rise and ticket sales soaring 30.5% – the highest increase since November 2014 – as the Spice Girls reunion tour and movie Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes Of Grindelwald boosted sales. Spending on essentials rose 4.0% bolstered by a rise in petrol spending of 8.9%. However, the overall 3.3% growth in spending was the lowest level since March 2018, when the high street was affected by the Beast From The East. The retail sector continued to face tough times as consumers held off spending ahead of the festive season. Clothing spend fell 2.9%, the biggest fall since October 2017, while department stores and electronic stores saw dips of 7.1% and 4.9% respectively. Barclaycard said November’s figures reflected a cautious mood among consumers, with little more than half (52%) of UK adults stating they have confidence in their household finances – the lowest level since Barclaycard began tracking this data in 2015. Non-essential expenditure also saw a drop last month to 2.9% growth, again the lowest level since March this year, while only two-fifths (40%) of Brits reported feeling confident in their ability to spend on non-essential items. While Black Friday was much-hyped again this year, only 16% of consumers said they expect to spend less in December as a result of making Christmas purchases in the final week of November. Barclaycard director Esme Harwood said: “November was a mixed month, with department store and clothing spending contracting but entertainment remaining strong. It seems shoppers are yet to make their main Christmas purchases for friends, family and loved ones – despite many retailers offering Black Friday discounts to try to boost sales. This may be unsurprising given we’ve seen consumer confidence in household finances fall to a record low, likely influenced by ongoing political and economic uncertainty. As the final countdown to Christmas begins, it will be interesting to see whether shoppers will be enticed back to the high street during the next few weeks.”

Curry houses must ‘innovate or die’, warns Britain’s biggest takeaway owner, delivery firms will launch ‘first serious Indian high-street chain’: Ajmal Mushtaq, owner of Britain’s biggest takeaway restaurant, Mushtaqs, in Hamilton, Scotland, has warned more than a third of the country’s independent takeaways could disappear in the next five years unless they “keep ahead” of technological advances in the sector. He also said a delivery company would be behind the “first serious Indian high-street chain”. Mushtaq, a former City management consultant, predicted there would be a “huge shake-out in the industry”, with many long-established curry houses going out of business. He said: “The main reason these businesses will fail will be their inability to keep ahead of the technological advances in this sector. The rise of aggregators such as Just Eat has shed a positive light on the multibillion-pound takeaway industry. This is now attracting hundreds of millions of pounds of new investment into the sector from companies such as Deliveroo and UberEats. It is going to be hard for a traditional operator to compete on technology. The problem will be further compounded by the rise of dark kitchens owned by the likes of Deliveroo. It is only a matter of time before someone launches a serious Indian curry high-street chain. I predict it will be one of the larger online aggregators, UberEats, Just Eat or Deliveroo, and they will replace the small independent with management, slick marketing and consumer-relevant technology. These companies don’t need two takeaways on every high street – they need one industrial kitchen on an out-of-town business estate, catering for all popular cuisines.”

Company News:

Brewhouse & Kitchen acquires Worthing hotel for 23rd site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub group, has acquired Beechwood Hall in Worthing, West Sussex, for its 23rd site. The property in Wykeham Road was built in 1829 and is known locally as Swiss Cottage. The building was converted into a hotel in 1931. Agent Fleurets marketed the property’s freehold off a guide price of £750,000 plus VAT, with the sale price undisclosed. The property will now undergo a major refurbishment. Nick Earee, of Fleurets, said: “Beechwood Hall previously traded as a hotel offering eight en-suite letting bedrooms as well as a bar restaurant with 80 covers and a breakfast/meeting room.” Earlier this week, Brewhouse & Kitchen opened a site in Southsea, Hampshire, while it launched another West Sussex pub, in Horsham in September, following another deal brokered by Fleurets.

McMullen opens 14th Chicken & Grill site, 15th to follow next year as company ‘remains focused’ on acquisitions: Hertfordshire-based brewer and retailer McMullen has taken its Chicken & Grill concept to 14 sites  – with number 15 to follow next year. The company has launched The Kings Reach in Biggleswade and said it “remained focused” on adding acquisitions to the estate. The new-build site has been named to reflect the local area and the recent royal theme adopted by its sister pubs, The Prince Louis, Princess Charlotte and Prince George. Joint managing director Heydon Mizon said: “Several members of our team live in Biggleswade and they have long suggested we should open a pub there. After a long search-and-build process we are delighted to have finally opened. The Chicken & Grill concept is a small part of Macs – it was developed in 2008 as part of our diverse pub, bar and hotel estate. The next Chicken & Grill will be built in Cambourne in 2019, with the opening planned before Christmas, and we remain focused on new acquisitions to our estate.”

Michelin-starred chef Rohit Ghai to launch Indian dining concept at Boxpark Wembley: Rohit Ghai, former executive chef of Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Jamavar, is to launch an Indian dining concept at Boxpark Wembley. Ghai and business partner Abhishake Sangwan will open KoolCha offering an extensive menu of Indian comfort food. The offer will focus on traditional north Indian Kulcha flatbread “filled with innovative flavours” and served alongside dal, raita and chutneys. Ghai will also give secret family recipes a contemporary twist while the drinks menu will feature iced tea, cocktails and Indian beer. Ghai and Sangwan have headed a number of successful operations in the past including Hoppers, Trishna and Jamavar, where Ghai was awarded a Michelin star within the first ten months of the restaurant opening. KoolCha is the second solo venture for Ghai and Sangwan following the recent launch of fine dining restaurant Kutir in Chelsea. Ghai said: “KoolCha will be a new pan-Indian restaurant concept that promises to reinvigorate the Indian food space. We are excited to launch KoolCha at Boxpark Wembley, which will provide a great platform for our brainchild to flourish as part of London’s most exciting casual dining community.” KoolCha is the latest vendor to join Boxpark Wembley’s line-up ahead of its opening on Saturday (8 December). Traders include Italian street food brand Wolf, artisan coffee concept Boki and Bombay Burrito, which offers Indian/Mexican burritos and bowls. Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “Rohit has worked at an impressive number of world-class restaurants and KoolCha will be no different. Who knows, could this be the first Michelin star for Boxpark?”

BrewDog starts roasting own coffee: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has started roasting its own coffee. The coffee is produced and packaged alongside beer at its Ellon headquarters and the company is looking to sell the coffee online. BrewDog stated: “Fabio Prete has been doing amazing work with our development team in the new Ellon roastery, sourcing and crafting coffee beans from Brazil to make the very first Ellon-made BrewDog coffee. The beans come from Fazenda Passeio – the heart of Brazilian coffee country – and Fabio has worked up a pair of different roasts. From now on, if you order an espresso in our bars or rock a French press cafetiere you will enjoy the work of our roastery. You’ll soon be able to buy the BrewDog coffee our roastery has produced from our bars as beans so you can take them home and put them to the test on your own rig. Fabio has also started to harness some of the many casks in our barrel store to create a barrel-aged coffee blend. We also hope to have BrewDog-roasted coffee for sale in our online shop soon. The parallels between artisan coffee and craft beer are obvious – both take dedication, innovation and a passion for working with raw ingredients. We love being able to serve coffee in our bars to showcase these similarities – and now we love even more the fact this coffee is roasted and packaged in our Ellon brewhouse, right alongside our craft beer.”

Sourced Market closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than £880,000 for fifth site: Sourced Market, the hybrid deli and dining brand, has closed its crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube to open a fifth London site after 464 investors pledged £884,960. Investors were offered 6.98% equity for their investment, which gave the company a pre-money valuation of £10m. Sourced Market has said it is close to securing a site for its fifth venue. A spokesman said: “We have been offered a number of great opportunities in recent months but the one with the greatest potential for us is at Southbank Place, a new development of offices and apartments located between Waterloo station and the London Eye. The site benefits from high footfall from four key customer types – office workers, tourists, travellers and residents of apartments in the scheme. The site is therefore likely to be busy seven days a week across the day. Located above a gym, we would also be perfectly placed to offer gym members their pre or post-workout energy fix. The lease is under negotiation but the proposed terms are favourable due to a relationship we have with the gym and its desire for the site to be occupied by a brand that will fit its demographic. We would expect to be able to open the site in late spring 2019. It would be a great, profitable addition to our growing family of markets.” Sourced Market is backed by Pembroke VCT and had £6.4m net revenue last year. On average, more than 11,000 customers per week are served at its flagship St Pancras store. The company previously raised £1m of investment through a Crowdcube bond in 2016.

East London-based operator to open third pub: East London-based operator Ronnie Finch will open his third pub, on Thursday (6 December). Finch will relaunch the Leytonstone Tavern in the Cann Hall area of Leytonstone. Formerly The Woodhouse Tavern, the pub has been closed for four years since it was saved from demolition by a community asset order. The original lounge bar will remain while the other side of the property will be used for casual dining. The menu will focus on seasonal “comfort” food, with pub classics and Sunday roasts. The pub will offer local and international craft beer and cider as well as gin. Finch said: “There are lots of great things happening in the area at the moment and The Tavern aims to be the neighbourhood pub at the heart of it all.” His other pubs are The Duke in Wanstead and The Coach & Horses in Leyton, while he also owns Danish bakery The Bread Station.

Derbyshire-based operators eye expansion for craft beer pub concept after adding rooms to Chesterfield site: Derbyshire-based operators Andrew Watterson and Neil Turner are eyeing expansion for their craft beer pub concept having added bedrooms to their Chesterfield venue. Watterson said they had structured The Crafty Dog business specifically so it was scalable. He revealed the plans after opening six bedrooms at The Crafty Dog in Chesterfield following a £50,000 loan from Enterprise Loans East Midlands. A further two bedrooms will open in 2019. Watterson and Turner developed the idea for The Crafty Dog after more than two decades of experience in the licence trade and identifying a gap in the market for a craft beer-led venue in north Derbyshire. The pub in Chatsworth Road offers more than 30 craft beers and a menu of bar snacks, burgers and sharing platters. Watterson told The Business Desk: “We noticed there was a real gap in the market for a great craft beer-led pub and, being just four miles from the edge of the Peak District, it seemed like a missed opportunity. One day we decided to start the ball rolling to open our own venue. Our ultimate goal is to be able to roll out The Crafty Dog concept across multiple sites and we have structured the business specifically so it is scalable and our sites can support multiple income streams.”

Empire Cinemas to launch art-house cinema and casual dining concept in Bath this month: Empire Cinemas is to launch art-house cinema and casual dining concept Tivoli just before Christmas, in Bath. The venue will launch in the SouthGate centre on Friday, 21 December with a cafe-bar lounge complemented by four 50-seat screening studios. There will also be a bookable 20-seat Directors Lounge And Screen. The cafe-bar lounge will offer cakes, pastries, coffee, wine, beer and cocktails throughout the day. Other dishes will include takes on movie-night favourites such as wild boar hotdogs, gourmet burgers, pizza, sharing platters and grilled cheese sandwiches, with food and drink available in lounge areas or during screenings from extra-wide studio sofas set between individual tables. Tivoli is funded by an Italian design group wishing to remain in the background as it makes its first move into the leisure sector, while Empire is providing cinema expertise. Justin Ribbons, chief executive of Empire Cinemas, said: “We are very excited to open this concept in the UK just before Christmas. We look forward to welcoming guests to Tivoli.” SouthGate is jointly owned by Aviva Investors and British Land. Ben Grose, British Land head of national leasing, said: “Tivoli will deliver a fantastic customer experience and will be a huge attraction for consumers in Bath.”

Hop diversifies into evenings with fifth site, at City of London’s Cheesegrater: City-based Vietnamese street food concept Hop has opened its fifth site and first to offer sit-down meals in the evening. Founder Paul Hopper has opened the venue at the base of the Leadenhall building, more commonly known as the “Cheesegrater”, as the brand diversifies from its grab-and-go status. The restaurant offers an evening sit-down dining experience and cocktails alongside its daytime menu. The evening menu consists of small plates including chicken wings, vegetable gyoza and steamed bao buns with a choice of fillings. The cocktail list features Asian twists on classics such as the Hot Damn, Vietnam – a spicy margarita with a sriracha salt rim. The 80-cover Leadenhall site has become Hop’s flagship venue. The bar is a Hop first, with seating across two levels and banquettes and larger tables alongside small tables. Hopper founded Hop in 2015. Its other sites are in Broadgate, Coleman Street, Cullum Street and London Wall. 

Gourmet supper club operator to launch debut Pakistani restaurant in London’s White City: Aida Khan, who operated a gourmet Pakistani supper club, is to open her debut restaurant at the former BBC headquarters in London’s White City. The new concept, Shola, will launch in January featuring innovative cooking techniques and family recipes. Spices will be roasted and ground on-site, while masalas will be made from scratch. Dishes will include Beef Behari Kabab (slow-cooked, spiced beef with pepper, cardamom, cinnamon and chillies); and Khattee Daal, a mixture of lentils slow-cooked and tempered with curry leaves and whole red chillies. Desserts will include Naan Khatai, a glazed semolina and flour cookie sprinkled with pistachios. As well as operating Gourmet Karachi Supper club, Khan wrote and presented a travel food show that took her across Pakistan collecting and sampling recipes and cooking methods. She said: “I am essentially trying to change the way Pakistani food is portrayed and perceived in London. I grew up on very healthy, light food but Pakistani food in the UK is associated with stodgy curries. Our curries are not supposed to be dripping in fat or laden with cream and that’s the ethos behind my cooking. I want to communicate the nostalgia I have for the food of my childhood. At Shola our aim is to take you back to an era of simple, clean cooking, the way it has been done in our family kitchens for decades.”

JD Wetherspoon resurrects £3.5m Pwllheli hotel plan: JD Wetherspoon has resurrected its plans to build a £3.5m hotel in Pwllheli, North Wales. The company confirmed it would resubmit plans to expand the Pen Cob pub into a 40-bedroom hotel after its planning application was refused earlier this year. The move would create 30 jobs. Pwllheli mayor Eric Wyn Roberts told the Daily Post: “I am in favour of any development that brings people into the town and employs local people.” Wetherspoon opened the pub in December 2013. If the plans are accepted, it would be the company’s second hotel in North Wales. Meanwhile, Wetherspoon has reopened The Sirhowy in Blackwood, South Wales, following a £1.43m refurbishment and expansion project that has created 36 jobs. Wetherspoon purchased a former takeaway next door to extend the pub by about 750 square feet and the beer garden by more than 1,500 square feet. The enlarged garden is accessed via new bi-fold doors, while a Juliet balcony has been created. Inside, a new feature fireplace sits in the extended section of the pub, while pizza ovens have been installed in the extended kitchen and new staffroom facilities have been created.

Harcourt Inns to open fourth site, in Chiswick next month: Harcourt Inns, the venture from former Racine chef patron Henry Harris and James McCulloch, owner of The Harcourt in Marylebone, will open its fourth London site, in Chiswick next month. The company will launch The Crown under Harris’ direction in conjunction with head chef Daniele Zaffora. Front of house will be overseen by Ruth Leigh, formerly of Le Café Anglais and Dock Kitchen. The daily changing menus will be Mediterranean-focused due to Zaffora’s Sicilian heritage and showcase the best of simple, quality ingredients such as olive oil and tomatoes. The majority of produce will be sourced locally from small, family-run or independent suppliers. The drinks list will include beer from London brewers, wine, champagne, French spirits and classic cocktails. Formerly housing modern European restaurant Carvosso, the 6,000 square foot space in Chiswick High Road is a former police station and stables with capacity for up to 120 covers. The courtyard will have a retractable canopy roof, while two private dining rooms will open on to the main space and there will be a visible wine cellar occupying the former jail cells. Harcourt Inns’ other sites are the Three Cranes in the City, The Coach in Clerkenwell and The Hero of Maida in Maida Vale.

Russian entrepreneur launches international food bowl concept in Soho: A concept based on internationally inspired food bowls has launched in Soho. Russian born Zarifa Ragimova, who trained at London’s Le Cordon Bleu restaurant, has opened Bowls in a 1,830 square foot unit in St Anne’s Court. The menu offers dishes from the Caribbean, South America and south east Asia. The “beanie” bowls section includes salt fish callaloo with festival dumplings, while “greedy bowls” include miso cod with corn chowder, bock choy, cherry tomatoes, Thai basil and sea vegetables. There is also a ceviche section, sides and desserts alongside cocktails and prosecco on tap. Ragimova said: “I want to bring something to London that will become more than just a trend – it will be the way we eat in the future.”

Mare Street Market opens all-day restaurant: Mare Street Market, the Hackney venue created by Marc Francis-Baum, co-founder of central London bar and pub operator Barworks, has opened a 45-cover, all-day restaurant. The Dining Room serves modern British dishes and is the final addition to the line-up of east London producers and artisans at the indoor market place. Head chef Dominik Moldenhauer, previously of Notting Hill’s The Shed, known for its farm to kitchen table approach, is overseeing a menu that focuses on traditional techniques such as in-house brining, curing and smoking. Decked out with vintage chandeliers and art-deco furniture that is available to buy, the space contrasts with the Dining Room’s contemporary menu. Moldenhauer said: “The Dining Room offers a refined menu focused on quality, seasonal produce with an unpretentious approach – and the backdrop of vintage chandeliers and furniture is truly something else.” Opened in March this year, Mare Street Market is home to Rebel Rebel florists, Stranger Than Paradise records, Flying Horse Coffee, and a rotating pop-up shop. The 10,000 square foot site features two other dining spots – the Deli & Off-Licence and Open Kitchen.

Sicilian supper club opens debut restaurant, in Stoke Newington: The chef behind Hackney-based Sicilian supper club Southbound has opened a debut restaurant in Stoke Newington, north east London. Cérès is the brainchild of Camille Tardieu, who creates dishes inspired by her Sicilian and Provencal grandmothers. After raising additional funds on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, Tardieu has opened her restaurant in Green Lanes offering a seasonally changing menu with dishes such as oxtail bourguignon in a dim sum bun with pearl onions, crispy pancetta and salty plum jam, and monkfish with golden beetroot, clams and tarragon beurre blanc. Cérès also offers a “brioche brunch” on Saturdays, which centres on homemade baked bread and artisan French pastries, Hot Dinners reports. Sunday lunch focuses on Mediterranean influences, with slow-cooked meat and whole fish dishes designed for sharing, alongside homemade pasta.

Cornish events company launches £250,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand offering at 10,000-capacity venue: Cornwall-based events company The Wyldes has launched a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for phase two of the development of its 10,000-capacity concert venue. The company is offering 4.76% equity in return for investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £5m. The 150-acre, eponymous venue near Bude overlooks an area of outstanding beauty and has hosted more than 50,000 visitors. Founded in 2008, the venue hosts its own festival and has seen a “6,313% increase in annual ticket sales between 2006 and 2018”. The pitch states: “The Wyldes has three permanent stages, eight bars, catering facilities, and a team and infrastructure in place. We are producing two or three large-scale music-based events per year during summer and we’re ready to improve our infrastructure and assets to bring a larger, more diverse range of increased-capacity shows throughout all seasons. These improvements will also increase the profitability of each event by reducing hire costs and enabling new revenue streams, including options for luxury accommodation on-site. Investment is also planned to aid in the launch of smaller-scale events including weddings, for which we are licensed, corporate functions and bespoke seasonal celebrations.”

Gin lab opens in former Prezzo site in Nottingham: A gin lab, restaurant and bar has opened at a former Prezzo site in Nottingham. Juni is the brainchild of Tom Masters and four private investors. Masters told The Business Desk: “Over the past few years the popularity of gin has grown rapidly and, to us, there was a clear gap in the Nottinghamshire restaurant scene we hope Juni will fill. Juni offers high-quality dining, independent gin and a fun, interactive experience.” The venue also offers private gin lab experiences, distilling classes, wine tasting and cocktail-making courses. Juni has taken over the former Prezzo premises in Low Pavement, which closed earlier this year. The Low Pavement branch of Prezzo was one of 94 across the country to close as part of a company voluntary arrangement agreed earlier this year.

Sheffield-based Abbeydale Brewery expands for 20% capacity boost: Sheffield-based Abbeydale is expanding its brewery to boost capacity. The company’s acquisition of an additional 7,426 square feet of space in units adjoining its brewery will allow it to increase capacity by 20%. The move follows Abbeydale Brewery’s recent £200,000 acquisition of four vessels, a malt milling system and laboratory equipment. As well as increasing brewing capacity, the new space will provide improved warehousing capabilities and new offices, with plans to create an events space. The investment represents the start of a major development programme for the brewer, which plans to develop its first lager and install a canning line next year. Abbeydale Brewery founder and director Patrick Morton told Insider Media: “It is fantastic we have been able to expand next to our premises and stay right at the heart of the thriving Abbeydale Road community, which inspires so much of our identity and is a key element of our ethos.” Abbeydale Brewery was founded in 1996 and operates two pubs – The Devonshire Cat in Sheffield city centre and The Rising Sun in Nether Green.

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