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Sat 29th Dec 2018 - Alison Brittain, Nisha Katona and Thomasina Miers awarded New Year’s Honours
Alison Brittain, Nisha Katona and Thomasina Miers awarded New Year’s Honours: Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain; Nisha Katona, founder of Indian street food restaurant Mowgli; and Thomasina Miers, founder of Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca are among the hospitality industry personalities to be featured in the New Year’s Honours List 2019. Brittain has been appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business, while Miers was honoured with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire for her work in the food industry. Katona was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to the food industry. Being made a CBE marked the end of a pivotal year for Brittain who has overseen the sale process of the Costa Coffee chain by Whitbread to Coca-Cola for £3.9bn, allowing the company to focus on Premier Inn, the UK’s largest hotel brand with nearly 800 properties. The Costa deal was approved last week by the European Union and is expected to complete in January. Whitbread shareholders will benefit from a £500m share buyback programme. Brittain was new to the hospitality industry when she took over as chief executive of Whitbread from Andy Harrison in January 2016. Brittain joined Barclays Bank as a graduate trainee and later became head of retail banking at Lloyds Banking Group. Former barrister Katona launched her first Mowgli venue in Liverpool’s Bold Street in 2014, with the brand growing to six sites so far. She said of receiving her MBE on Twitter: “It’s beyond belief – our little Liverpool startup and a simple Dahl – I feel like God has just patted me on my back while I stare into my pans.” In September, Katona was named Wireless Social Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year at the first Women’s Entrepreneur Conference, which was organised by Propel and Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott. Miers first came to prominence in 2005 as winner of the BBC’s MasterChef competition. After her MasterChef win, Miers spent six months at Petersham Nurseries Cafe, working for head chef Skye Gyngell, before forming a business partnership with Mark Selby to launch their first Wahaca restaurant in London’s Covent Garden in 2007. It now has 25 outlets. Earlier this year, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £4.7m following an outbreak of norovirus in 2016 but said the business has managed to recover from the aftermath of the event. In addition to running Wahaca, Miers has contributed food and recipe articles for The Times, The Guardian and Country Life and written seven cookery books. In total 1,148 people have received an award this year.

Seven Brothers Brewery hits £500,000 crowdfunding target for four beerhouses: Manchester-based Seven Brothers Brewery has hit its £500,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it looks to open four beerhouses and expand production. The company, founded three-and-a-half years ago by brothers Keith, Kit, Guy, Luke, Daniel, Nathan and Greg McAvoy, raised £200,000 on Crowdcube in 2016. Now Seven Brothers Brewery is back and is offering 5.88% equity in return for the £500,000 investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £8m. So far, 851 investors have pledged £503,030 and the campaign is now “overfunding” with 11 days remaining. The pitch states: “Since introducing our bars in December 2016, revenue has increased from £204,000 to £708,000 (Ebitda minus £51,000). We raised £200,000 in July 2016 and moved into a new brewery in October 2017. We have gained listings with Booths supermarkets and Co-op stores as well as supplying to The Restaurant Group, T3 Manchester airport and Manchester Piccadilly station, providing further brand exposure. We also sell to the expanding chain, Hotel Football, as part of its partnership programme. We supply to Mission Mars group, hotel chain Melia Group and more. The fundamental part of our strategy is a further four beerhouses. Our aim is these will form the backbone of the whole business. Vertical integration means we will have a ready-made client for the brewery and the beerhouses will benefit from a strong gross margin.” The company also plans to use the investment to expand production at its brewery in Salford to 100,000 litres as well as grow the team. Last month, the company secured its second beerhouse after agreeing heads of terms for a site at the Middlewood Locks development in Manchester.

Propel launches Leadership Summit, open for bookings: Propel is launching the Leadership Summit, which will see a select group of the sector’s most experienced bosses share their expertise on leadership. The full-day event, in partnership with Elliotts, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February at One Moorgate Place and is open for bookings. Speakers will include Will Stratton-Morris, chief executive of Caffe Nero, who will talk about building high-performance teams. Alasdair Murdoch, chief executive of Burger King, speaks about the role of leadership in business turnarounds. Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, about the lessons of leadership he has picked up in his career in the sector. Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Ten Entertainment, will give his views on leadership and the customer experience, while Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron, will talk about empowering people and trust and getting the team to “buy in” through clear communication and vision. Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s, will explain how the company is building the quality and skillsets of its general managers to lead the business out of decline. Simon Townsend, chief executive of Ei Group, will give his views on the challenges of leadership during a period of immense change and Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress, will give her top ten tips on leadership. Meanwhile, Loungers founder Alex Reilley will talk about the adaptations involved in growing a business from one site to more than 100, celebrating success and the art of succession, while Ann Elliott will give her views on the power of mentoring to grow talent in organisations. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “With the industry facing such challenging times, effective leadership has never been more important. This is an unmissable opportunity to learn from high-profile leaders in our sector.” Prices are £295 plus VAT for Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book, email

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