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Wed 19th Dec 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Research reveals extent of industry reliance on foreign workers, particularly in restaurant sector: The huge extent the hospitality industry relies on foreign workers, particularly in the restaurant sector and seasonally in pubs, has been highlighted by new research. The findings by software provider Fourth revealed that as of November 2018, more than two-fifths (42%) of staff in the industry were from the EU, while 10% came from the rest of the world. The percentage of British workers was down from 50% in July to 48%. However, the numbers spike significantly for quick service restaurants, with almost two-thirds (65%) of workers coming from outside the UK – 54.5% from the EU and 10.5% from the rest of the world. While the reliance on foreign workers remains high, there has been a significant influx of UK workers to the sector, rising 8% since September. On the other hand, the restaurant industry’s reliance on foreign workers is increasing further, particularly in skilled back-of-house roles. In July, almost one-third (30%) of restaurant workers in back-of-house roles were from the UK but this number has now fallen to 26%, with EU workers climbing from 58% in July to 62% in November. As rest of the world workers account for 12% of the workforce, almost three-quarters (74%) of workers are from outside the UK. From a regional perspective, the hospitality industry’s reliance on EU workers is significantly exacerbated in London, with more than half (52%) of the workforce from the EU. Northern Ireland (46%) and east England (45%) also rely heavily on EU workers. New EU entrants to the industry fell from 41.5% in July to 38.5% in September. The statistics for November, however, reveal this has now reverted to 44%. The driving force behind the growth has been an influx of seasonal workers to the pub industry. During the past four months, the make-up of the pub workforce has remained relatively flat, with 78% of workers from the UK, 17% from the EU and 5% from the rest of the world. However, November saw a marked increase in the proportion of EU workers in the pub industry, with figures altering to 68% from the UK, 26% from the EU and 6% from the rest of the world. Fourth said these figures directly correlate to a surge of EU workers seen in June, suggesting seasonal workers from the EU support the pub trade when it enters a busy period. In August and September there was a surge in new starters from the UK, with figures rising to 54.5% in September from 52% in July. November figures show this trend has also reverted, with 47% of new starters coming from the UK and 8.5% from the rest of the world. The number of UK workers leaving the industry fell to 48% in November after rising to 55.5% in September. Meanwhile, the number of EU workers leaving the industry increased to 42% in November after falling to 37.5% in September, while leavers from the rest of the world increased slightly to 8.5% in November, up from 7% in September. Mike Shipley, analytics and insight solutions director at Fourth, said: “This further reveals our industry’s reliance on foreign workers, particularly in the restaurant and quick service restaurant sectors, as well as back-of-house roles. Among the many challenges our industry faces, people are often listed as the biggest concern and ensuring a pragmatic immigration system after Brexit, along with a conscious, combined and concerted effort to attract young UK talent into the industry, is imperative.”

Industry News:

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator – one month to go, speakers for day one: There is one month to go until the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its second year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 40 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Day one will feature Think Hospitality managing director James Hacon, who will share campaigns and innovations raised from the past year. The speaker line-up features KAM Media insight director Blake Gladman; Kamila Sitwell, founder of Divine Eating Out; Richard Dickson, head of partnerships at Carbon Free Dining; Jon Knight, chief executive of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group; Inception Group head of marketing Simon Allison; Lunar Lemon founder Craig Melvin; Abokado head of marketing Vineeta Anuj; Beds and Bars marketing director Sophie Herbert; Ben Calleja, co-founder of Fast Fine Restaurant Group; Feya founder Zahra Khan; and Hannah Clark, Me:Mo Interactive account director. Chris Miller, founder of the White Rabbit Fund, will talk to four concept founders – James Hennebry (Rosslyn Coffee), Yasmine Larizadeh (The Good Life Eatery), Rik Campbell (Kricket) and Loui Blake (Kalifornia Kitchen) – about their entrepreneurial journey. Anders Houmann, of Victor Group (Denmark); John Rigos, chief executive of Aurify Brands (the US); and Martti Siimann, chief executive of NOA Restaurant Group (Estonia) will reveal how to create concepts that customers love. Meanwhile, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls will host a panel featuring Elliotts managing director Anthony Knight, SSP senior commercial manager Claire Small, Be At One brand manager Giles Denning, and Stacey Plaine, senior F&B marketing manager of Marriott International, to discuss the future for marketing in the sector. A new industry think-tank – Restaurant Of The Future – will define the future of eating and drinking out. The panel will feature Angela Malik, strategy director of Think Hospitality; Russell Danks, Punch marketing and strategy director; Storm Fagan, Just Eat head of product; AllDay Industry (New York) founder David Helbraun; The TMRW Project partner Emma Underwood, and Kamilla Seidler, of The Expedition (Bolivia). Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London, cost £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Sector ‘already making efforts to cut salt: UKHospitality has highlighted efforts by hospitality businesses to cut salt in food while reiterating that, for most customers, eating out is not an everyday occurrence. The call came in response to today’s (Tuesday, 18 December) report by Public Health England (PHE) urging a cut in salt content in a bid to reduce deaths from heart attacks and strokes. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality venues have made significant efforts to reformulate menus, provide greater choice and transparency, and reduce salt. These efforts have been recognised by PHE’s report and we will continue to work towards targets to reduce salt and promote healthier attitudes to food. It should be remembered that, for the vast majority of our customers, eating out is not an everyday occurrence. It remains an occasional treat, which should be factored into wider efforts to promote healthy eating and drinking.”

Recognition of event and smoothness of booking process main drivers behind reviews for special occasions: Recognition of an event and the smoothness of the booking process rather than the food and drink are the main drivers behind positive and negative reviews for special occasions, according to new research by guest feedback service Feed It Back. The statistics, which were taken from thousands of social reviews across the restaurant, quick service restaurant and pub industries between May and November, demonstrate special occasions in general generate positive reviews but have the propensity to drive extremely negative reviews if dealt with badly. Reviews referencing graduation had the most positive results, in particular on Google where 78% of reviews received the top five-star rating, compared with 64% for anniversaries and 52% for birthdays. Birthday reviews were more polarised on Google, where almost a fifth of reviews received the minimum one out of five stars, while 52% of reviews scored the maximum five-star rating. Anniversaries received the lowest score overall, with a fifth of reviews scoring the minimum rating possible on Google and Facebook. The data revealed guests are particularly upset when they have flagged a special occasion at the time of booking but feel ignored or let down on arrival. In contrast, analysis of the positive reviews indicated customers are happier when the booking process has been smooth and information or special requests have been taken on board. Staff going the extra mile and taking some of the stress away from the organiser were also cited as contributing factors to positive reviews. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “Interestingly, the main drivers behind positive and negative reviews are not related to food and drink but rather the smoothness of the booking process and recognition of a special occasion. With this information, operators should focus on introducing systems to identify when customers are booking a special occasion and treat them accordingly on arrival.”

Company News:

Drake & Morgan reports ‘good’ like-for-like sales and Ebitda growth in current financial year as full-year turnover increases 15.9% to £49.7m: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, has reported “good” like-for-like sales and Ebitda growth in its current financial year. It comes as the company saw turnover increase 15.9% to £49.7m for the year ending 25 March 2018. Like-for-like sales were up 1.2%. Adjusted Ebitda remained flat at £5.0m while adjusted pre-tax profit was down to £1.3m, compared with £2m the year before. Three sites opened during the period – The Sipping Room in Canary Wharf, The Listing in the City of London and The Allegory in Shoreditch. Since the year end, The Anthologist One St Peter’s Square in Manchester has launched while a further two Corney and Barrow Bars have been refurbished and are “performing well”. Chief financial officer James Sherrington said: “2017/18 was another year of progress for the business as the market faced challenging trading conditions. Despite this, like-for-like sales were positive and although margins were impacted by cost inflation in staff, food costs and property costs, we were able to maintain Ebitda in line with the previous year while making investments to support future growth. Trading in the current year has been positive with good like-for-like sales and Ebitda growth.” Drake & Morgan currently operates 23 sites.

Hancock’s doubles estate to six with slew of openings, signs for seventh site: Hancock’s, the family-owned, Rochester-based restaurant group, has opened three outlets in Hampshire to double its estate to six. The American kitchen and bar concept opened its first outlet in Chatham, Kent, in July 2017 offering US dishes such as gumbo, fajitas, dirty dogs, and chicken and ribs smoked on-site. Earlier this year, the company launched restaurants in Camberley, Surrey, and Maidstone, Kent, with all outlets trading well ahead of expectation, the company said. This month, Hancock’s has opened restaurants in Eastleigh’s Swan Centre, Farnborough’s St Mead’s Centre and in Whitely Shopping Centre in Fareham, creating 60 jobs across the three sites. The Eastleigh venue seats 126 diners, while the restaurants in Farnborough and Fareham accommodate 110 and 120 covers respectively. The group has also signed to open a 150-cover, 4,500 square foot restaurant at the St James Dover development in Kent early next year, creating 25 jobs. Hancock’s director David Chick said: “2018 has certainly been a busy year for our group and these latest openings are in line with our strategy to engage with popular retail locations. We seek retail hubs that enjoy consistently high footfall levels to complement our ‘everyone’s welcome’ approach.”

Nathan Outlaw to open seafood-focused restaurant at The Goring: Two Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw is to open a seafood-focused restaurant at The Goring hotel in London’s Belgravia. Outlaw will open the venue, which will have a heavy tilt towards seafood from his native Cornwall, in late spring. The restaurant will be housed in an ornate orangery, ensuring the indoor and outdoor spaces are linked throughout the seasons. The Goring chief executive Jeremy Goring said: “Some of the best seafood in the world comes from the pristine waters around Cornwall. We’re looking forward to bringing this West Country treasure to London, with the help of Nathan Outlaw.” Outlaw, who currently operates five venues, added: “Creating a new restaurant with such an iconic British hotel is a huge highlight in my career. I can’t wait to get cooking!” The new venue will sit alongside the hotel’s flagship restaurant, The Dining Room, which is led by executive chef Shay Cooper. Meanwhile, the hotel’s bar is to be transformed into a destination in its own right serving classic cocktails and British spirits.  

Blackburn-based operator reveals plans to double franchise restaurant portfolio to 20 sites by end of 2019: Blackburn-based operator Assad Khalil has revealed plans to double his portfolio of franchise restaurants to 20 by the end of next year. Khalil has just opened his fourth outlet for chicken restaurant concept Pepe’s, in Burnley, his ninth restaurant in total. He aims to launch more Pepe’s branches as well as a number of Treatz dessert parlours and German Doner Kebab sites. Assad opened his first Pepe’s franchise in Whalley Range, Blackburn, four years ago and has since added venues in Slough, Preston and Wembley. He told the Lancashire Telegraph: “A sixth and seventh will be in the Yorkshire area soon and we have plans to open inside the food court at Trafford Centre next year.” Assad also operates four Treatz sites and revealed plans for a new branch in Blackburn. He is also opening four German Doner Kebab restaurants in the north west, including one in Blackburn.

Pakistani restaurant brand Tipu Sultan to turn Nottingham bar into third venue, four further sites in pipeline: Pakistani restaurant brand Tipu Sultan is set to turn the former Fat Cat bar in Sherwood, Nottingham, into its third site. The rapidly expanding group has restaurants in Birmingham and Leicester and is also opening venues in Manchester, London, Luton and Bradford, according to its website. Fat Cat has stood empty for more than a year, Nottingham Post reports. Plans have been submitted to Nottingham City Council to increase the size of the car park at the site and install large umbrellas in the former beer garden. The proposals also show booths for seating downstairs and male and female prayer rooms upstairs. Tipu Sultan is named after the 18th century ruler of Mysore and promises a “majestic dining experience worthy of an emperor”. Offering a full halal menu, Tipu Sultan’s signature dish is Sultani chops (marinated and chargrilled mutton chops) with other mains including peshwari chicken. The brand operates a strict no-alcohol policy.

Grocer and kitchen concept Melrose and Morgan launches £250,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand across London: Grocer and kitchen concept Melrose and Morgan has launched a £250,000 campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand into other London neighbourhoods. Founders Ian James and Nick Selby are offering 12.20% equity in return for investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £1.8m. They plan to use the funds to open two shops in 2019, aiming for ten by 2022. The brand currently operates two shops in the capital, in Primrose Hill and Hampstead. The company said last week it saw a 15% increase in customers and an 8% rise in sales across both its sites compared with last year. The pitch states: “Melrose and Morgan is a place in which to buy essential food items but also discover something new while enjoying coffee or brunch. We source artisan produce and make our own award-winning products we retail in our shops, online and through independent retailers. The business has a strong commitment to offering seasonal and hand-made produce from small-scale producers, which is more than ever at the forefront of British consumers’ minds. Having launched in 2004, we have established a firm business model with two shops, a central production kitchen, our own brand of products spanning more than 50 skus, and a wholesale business. The business has undergone an extensive restructure including the appointment of a new management team, the refurbishment of each site, rebranding, relaunch of the website with a fine food offering and new product development. We sit in a growing sector and research shows the food-to-go market is expected to increase 28% and the UK grocery market grow 15% in the next five years. Melrose and Morgan is now ready to expand and plans to open two shops in 2019, aiming for ten by 2022.”

Growing coffee shop brand Caffe Ginevra opens third site in north east with fourth to follow next year: Rapidly expanding north east coffee shop brand Caffe Ginevra has opened its third site, in Billingham, near Stockton-on-Tees. The venue has launched in the atrium of Wynyard Park House, a commercial building at the centre of Wynyard Business Park. Caffe Ginevra has two Northumberland sites, in Prudhoe and Blyth, with plans to open a fourth on the outskirts of Newcastle in the new year. Founder Anthony Finn, who runs the business with wife Amy, told BDaily: “We put our heart and soul into everything we do. We love the Italian coffee environment. At Wynyard we’ve started with a basic menu, including baguettes, home-made soup, baked potatoes and pies. We will add to this as we find out what people want, and so far it’s working. We’re very excited about the opportunity.” Anthony Cape, asset manager at Northumberland Estates, the property firm behind Wynyard Business Park, added: “When the opportunity arose for a new cafe operator, Caffe Ginevra was an obvious choice. We like Anthony’s approach, the service he provides for his customers and, of course, his coffee.”

Honi Poké to launch online calorie counter, unveils new vegan menu: Hawaiian poké specialist Honi Poké is set to launch an online calorie counter. The feature will allow diners to calculate the nutritional values of their poké bowl, including sodium and sugar levels. The move comes as the company launches a new vegan menu developed by food consultant Nellie Nichols, who was previously head of food at Pret A Manger. Three new vegan bowls have been introduced – Korean barbecue pulled “pork” made from jackfruit, falafel with pineapple, and avocado and mango. Other new offers include mini poké bowls, a daily-changing soup and a trio of special bowls featuring teriyaki chicken, sriracha mayo salmon, and chorizo chicken. Honi Poké founder Vladimir Martynov said: “Nellie has helped us evolve our menu to appeal to the ever-growing vegan market as well as introduce new lines and ideas into the fold. Our menu will continue to innovate to stay ahead of the competition.” The company has sites in New London Street in the City and Dean Street in Soho. 

South Tyneside-based Mambos Group opens delivery-only restaurant for fourth site: South Tyneside-based Mambos Group has opened a delivery-only restaurant for its fourth site. The company, run by the family of Geordie Shore star Sophie Kasaei, has launched Mambos Express next to its Mambo Italiano venue in South Shields. All the dishes from Mambo’s usual menus are available to order from Mambos Express including stonebaked pizza, pasta, risotto, Tuscan beef, chicken Milanese, peppercorn steak and Mambo surf and turf, reports Chronicle Live. Mambos Group’s other sites are Mambo Wine & Dine in South Shields and Mambo’s II in Hebburn.

Michelin-starred restaurant Fera to close at Claridge’s on New Year’s Eve: Michelin-starred restaurant Fera is to close at Claridge’s at the end of the year. The last service at the Mayfair venue, launched by two Michelin-starred chef Simon Rogan in 2014, will be on New Year’s Eve. An industry spokeswoman said she thought Fera would be replaced by a concept by Daniel Humm, the chef behind New York restaurants Eleven Madison Park and NoMad. He has previously told the Telegraph: “I love London and the sense of British hospitality you feel at places such as Claridge’s.” Rogan’s website states: “After three successful years, Simon and Claridge’s have mutually agreed to end their partnership.” In 2016, Rogan launched a new dining experience at Fera – Aulis – that functioned as a development kitchen and private dining room. Rogan’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Enclume in Cumbria, which opened in 2002, has been consistently named one of the best in the UK. He also operates Rogan & Co in Cartmel and Roganic in Marylebone, while he runs versions of his Aulis concept at L’Enclume and as a stand-alone space in Soho.

Tattu to open Birmingham restaurant in February for third site: Contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu is to open its Birmingham city centre site on Friday, 1 February creating 80 jobs. The 160-cover, split-level restaurant will open in The Grand development in Barwick Street as the company’s third site. New dishes created by executive chef Andrew Lassetter will include chilli and sesame-roasted scallops with Chinese sausage, while the restaurant will also offer a dedicated lunchtime menu featuring the brand’s best-selling small plates and new dishes from the wok and grill. Interiors will be inspired by yin and yang, with the ground-floor space hosting a bar and private dining rooms to represent the yang element, while the main restaurant downstairs will reflect yin elements with oriental fretwork and Tattu’s signature blossom trees. Tattu owner and managing director Adam Jones said: “We have taken some new design risks with the site, which we feel pay respect to the heritage space within The Grand while marking the start of what we hope will be an exciting new chapter for the building. We look forward to welcoming guests in the new year.” Tattu launched in Manchester in 2015 with a second site opening in Leeds city centre in June last year. The company will open a fourth site, in Edinburgh, in late summer 2019.

Redemption opens third London site, in Covent Garden: Healthy restaurant and dry bar concept Redemption, which raised £363,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this year for expansion, has opened its third London site. The company, founded by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, has launched at Neal’s Yard in Seven Dials having agreed a deal with landlord Shaftesbury. The venue is Redemption’s flagship site and, at 1,629 square feet, the brand’s largest to date. The Seven Dials site offers exclusive features such as takeaway options and a retail space where visitors can buy merchandise including cookbooks and candles. Salway said: “The vibrant district of Seven Dials offers high footfall with international recognition and appeal, for our London flagship restaurant. We are pleased to offer Seven Dials’ visitors our brand promise of ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ through our alcohol-free drinks and plant-based menus, for the consistently increasing market of clean eating.” Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at Shaftesbury, added: “The concept by Redemption is very exciting, especially in this current market where the emphasis is on healthy, vegan and nutritious food. Redemption’s offer complements the many specialist retailers that unite in making Seven Dials a distinctive shopping, dining and leisure experience.” Hanover Green Retail represented Shaftesbury while Redemption dealt direct. Redemption’s other sites are in Notting Hill and Shoreditch.

Goodbody reduces Domino’s Pizza forecasts as international and UK franchise issues eat into margins: Goodbody leisure analyst Rachel Fox has reduced her forecasts on Domino’s Pizza Group as international and UK franchise issues eat into margins. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 245p, she said: “We update our forecasts to reflect Domino’s most recent trading updates. The underperformance in the international division is the primary driver behind our 5% reduction to our FY18 Ebit to circa £98m. Looking forward, we cut our FY19 Ebit by circa 7.5% to circa £105m, which reflects a reduction in our assumption on the UK store roll-out run rate; expectations international will remain loss-making; and our view the company will need to provide further promotional support to UK franchisees to resolve the well-documented conflict, which will have an adverse effect on company margins. Our review of UK franchisees accounts at Companies House indicates there has been a significant level of margin attrition across our sample from 2015 to 2017 (circa 380 basis points) and given the inflationary environment we think this will continue over our forecast horizon. This has been highlighted by media reports of a conflict between franchisees and the company. Management is now faced with a difficult conundrum, support franchisees’ profitability or work hard to drive growth through new/smaller franchisees. Additionally, the investments internationally have been continuously returns dilutive to the group and taking longer to break even than expected. We value Domino’s using a relative EV/Ebitda multiple of 11.3 times and a discounted cash flow. Applying an equal weight to each valuation yields a price target of £245p, circa 5% upside to the current share price. We downgrade to ‘Hold’ as we believe better opportunities lie elsewhere in the leisure sector.”

Boparan Restaurant Group opens second UK Slim Chickens site, in Cardiff: US brand Slim Chickens has opened a site in Cardiff for its second UK restaurant. Boparan Restaurant Group (BRG), which signed a franchise agreement with Slim Chickens USA earlier this year, has opened the venue at the St David’s shopping centre, which is owned by The St David’s Partnership. The 2,400 square foot restaurant has opened in the food quarter, offering seating for 92 diners and creating 40 jobs. The venue features ordering kiosks and a refillable drinks station as well as delivery and a click-and-collect service. BRG chief executive Tom Crowley said: “With incredible footfall and exposure to our target customer catchment, St David’s really stood out to launch our first site outside of London and as a launch pad for our regional expansion plans." Speaking on behalf of the St David’s Partnership, a joint venture between Landsec and Intu, Colin Flinn, regional managing director – west, added: “Fast-casual American brand, Slim Chickens, brings an exciting new element to our diverse mix of restaurants. Its decision to launch its first site outside of London and second in the UK highlights St David’s status as one of the UK’s premium retail destinations.” Slim Chickens, which has more than 80 outlets in the US, opened its debut UK site, in Oxford Street, London, earlier this year. BRG plans to roll out the fast-casual restaurant concept to other cities across the UK and Ireland. On the Cardiff site, The St David’s Partnership dealt directly and Slim Chickens represented themselves. 

Kaspa’s signs for St James Dover: Dessert parlour brand Kaspa’s is to open a site at the St James Dover leisure park in Kent. Kaspa’s has taken a 2,400 square foot unit at the development, which is owned by Legal & General Investment Management Real Assets (LGIM RA), with the deal meaning the £53.25m project is 86% let. Other operators include recently-signed American kitchen and bar concept Hancock’s, Nando’s, Burger King, a six-screen Cineworld and a 108-bedroom Travelodge. Kaspa’s Desserts founder and chief executive Azhar Rehman said: “Our aim is to change the way people view desserts. We strive to create an environment in our parlours where enjoying our menu with friends and family is an unforgettable experience.” An LGIM RA spokesman added: “The increase in casual dining choices and the inclusion of a cinema, health club and later store openings will build a stronger evening economy for the town.” JLL and HRH are joint leasing agents for St James Dover. JLL is also retail property manager, handling day-to-day operations on-site. Kaspa’s operates more than 60 sites across the UK, with a further 16 marked as “coming soon” on its website.

Black and White Hospitality opens first Marco Pierre White restaurant in Essex: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to seven restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, has opened its first site in Essex. The company has launched Marco’s New York Italian at the Holiday Inn in Brentwood, operated by LGH Hotels Management. The dining space features high and low tables and booths. Pierre White told the Harwich & Manningtree Standard: “I am thrilled to be working with the LGH team and opening new restaurants. The essence of my New York Italian is to enjoy your dining experience with excellent food and drink in relaxed surroundings, whatever the occasion, which fits perfectly with the ethos of Holiday Inn and their new open-lobby dining concept.” Black and White Hospitality operates 50 sites across the UK.

Chez la Vie restaurant to be brought back to Harrogate in former M&B pub: Tony Fulford, who operated Chez la Vie in Harrogate for almost 20 years, is bringing the restaurant back to the North Yorkshire town – in a former Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) pub. Fulford launched the restaurant in Station Parade in the mid-1990s. Now the venue is being brought back – to the Nelson Inn in the village of Hampsthwaite. The former M&B pub has been purchased from the current owners by a private buyer, who intends to “put the business back on the map and return it to its former glory”. Fulford said: “I was asked so many times whether I was going to reopen Chez la Vie so I am relieved to finally be able to give people an answer. I am delighted to be part of the purchase of this iconic property. I intend to reopen as Chez la Vie At The Nelson and bring back many of the elements of my French bistro into the family dining market.” Simon Hall, of agent Fleurets, who handled the sale, said: “The property generated a lot of interest from operators and developers but I am delighted Tony and his colleagues have secured the future of this wonderful public house.”

Budweiser Budvar reports record year for tank beer as sales grow 44%: Budweiser Budvar UK has reported its best year for Tankové Pivo tank beer since its UK launch in 2014. Sales in 2018 have grown 44% year-on-year, with the one millionth pint set to be sold in early 2019. Unpasteurised tank beer is shipped weekly from the company’s Czech brewery. Budweiser Budvar UK managing director Simon George said: “We have installed Tankové Pivo in 14 sites across the UK and they are enjoying good growth, supported by excellent new openings such as Arc Inspirations’ The Box in Leeds. The Budweiser Budvar brand is continuing to go from strength to strength. We want to partner with operators who do a brilliant job of educating their customers about the benefits of tank beer and we are really looking forward to 2019.” Arc Inspirations chief executive Martin Wolstencroft added: “The trend of customers wanting to know every pound they spend on an evening out is on a quality product, whether food, drink or entertainment, continues to grow. Our three Budvar tanks are integral features of The Box and we built the main bar around one of the tanks. Once our customers understand the commitment that goes into bringing the beer from the Czech Republic every week and how the beer stays fresh, it helps us demonstrate The Box is offering something different to other venues in Leeds.”

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