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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Sun 20th Jan 2019 - Imbiba makes investment in new immersive entertainment concept The Dream Corporation
Imbiba makes investment in new immersive entertainment concept The Dream Corporation: The Dream Corporation has secured $1.1m of investment to introduce a new leisure and hospitality concept with immersive entertainment at its heart. The investment is led by Imbiba, the specialist investor in the UK leisure and hospitality sector, and is supported by technology angel investors, with growth plans across major UK cities. The funding will enable the team, led by alumni from McKinsey, Oval Space and Milk & Honey, to build exclusive virtual reality experiences. The first of these is to be installed in Otherworld, a permanent site scheduled for opening in Haggerston, east London, in mid-2019. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Imbiba and our angel investors," said Chris Adams, chief executive and co-founder. "Building on our sell-out 2017 pilot, we have developed unique, multisensory technology that immerses you more deeply into virtual worlds than anything else on the market today. This new investment will accelerate our growth across the UK and beyond." The Dream Corporation was founded in 2017 by Adams, a former management consultant and e-sports entrepreneur, and Ed Wardle, a former screenwriter to Oscar-winning film-makers. Virtual reality is the fastest growing segment of the UK’s entertainment and media sector and will be worth more than £1.2bn by 2022, according to PwC predictions. "Otherworld is the Disney World of the 21st century but it will grow from a world into a universe," said Wardle, chief creative officer. "Free from physical and spatial constraints, it can provide a limitless number of impossible and exhilarating experiences." Simon Wheeler, a founding partner at Imbiba with more than 20 years of operational and investment expertise, said: "When you combine the growth in competitive socialising and the constant evolution of the leisure market with the immense possibilities of immersive technology, it makes this a very compelling business proposition. With a strong proof of concept already in place, Chris and Ed are a great management team that we can’t wait to start working with.” Alex Moore, co- founder of Rosa's Thai Cafe will join the board as chairman. Otherworld in Hackney will host 14 virtual reality immersion rooms, integrating heat, wind, rumble and scent effects that respond dynamically to the experiences. The team plans to expand quickly to major UK cities while enriching its core virtual reality content offering. The bar will feature a selection of craft beer, wine and cocktails that "strays from the old, beaten track into fertile new ground". Street food concept Lords of Poké is bringing its vibrant, California-inspired poké bowls and Hawaiian pulled pork to “replenish players' health” after their gaming session. 

Deliveroo to ramp up effort to display calorie information: Food delivery platform Deliveroo has made a commitment to lead the way in displaying calorie information, helping consumers “make healthy choices when they order”. Deliveroo is introducing new technology changes that will enable restaurants to display calorie information for each menu item, helping consumers make informed choices. Already, major national restaurant brands including Burger King, KFC, Pho, Jamie's Italian, YO! Sushi and Barburrito have signed up to adding calorie information to their menus. All restaurants who work with Deliveroo in the UK will be able to add calorie information for each dish and customers will be able to see the information from February. This will be rolled out globally to all restaurants Deliveroo works with in 13 markets across 2019. Deliveroo will be writing to all restaurants on the platform urging them to make use of these measures. Leading nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert is working on a specially-designed, exclusively-for-Deliveroo, healthy menu made up of dishes from nine restaurants on the platform. The meals on this menu will be nutritionally selected following specific criteria – being low in fat, salt and sugar and high in fibre. There will be more than 70 dishes on the menu. This menu will be labelled as “nutritionist recommended” on the platform so it is quick and easy for consumers to find. As part of the company’s long-term commitment to having healthy options for all occasions and at all price points, Deliveroo is working with hundreds of restaurants to help them create new healthy dishes and menus. Deliveroo is preparing a major marketing campaign aimed at highlighting healthy options on the platform. Deliveroo is working with hundreds of gyms across the country, including Pure Gym, David Lloyd, Everyone Active and Nuffield Health, covering 274 gyms locations in the UK. Will Shu, founder and chief executive of Deliveroo, said: “Deliveroo’s outlook is simple – the way to eat healthy is by having more information and more selection. Consumers should have amazing food whenever and wherever they want it, but Deliveroo wants to also enable customers to be aware of what they’re eating. We want to make it simpler, easier and quicker to find healthy meals with new information and new options on our platform. The way to eat healthy is not by excluding foods. There should not be a choice between healthy food and amazing food. We are pleased to be working with our restaurant partners and nutritional experts to empower consumers and to expand the healthy options available to them.” Libby Andrews, marketing director at Pho, added: “So much of our menu is healthy enough to eat daily, and we’re excited to share this information with our customers via Deliveroo at a time when most people are looking to make better diet and lifestyle choices. We hope it will make Pho an even more popular option for a healthy night in.” 
Spotlight on Patisserie Valerie's banking irregularities and the links between the company's former chief executive and finance boss: The Times has reported The Financial Conduct Authority is investigating HSBC and Barclays over potential governance failings in their monitoring of current accounts and overdraft facilities for Patisserie Holdings. The newspaper stated: "The City watchdog is scrutinising the banks about bounced cheques worth millions of pounds that were paid into Patisserie Holdings’ accounts at the year’s end, which may have allowed the business to hide its true financial position. It has questioned the regulatory compliance teams at both banks over the governance of two ‘secret’ overdraft facilities for Patisserie Holdings, in which £9.7m was run up. A report by PwC for Patisserie Holdings has revealed funds were being moved between the two current accounts through cheques being paid in at bank branches, according to people who have seen the report. Each cheque would boost the bank balance of the Patisserie Holdings account temporarily at the end of the financial year. The cheque would bounce back days later, but the updated bank balance would not be recorded." Meanwhile, the Financial Times has reported on the close links between former chief executive Pay May and former finance chief Chris Marsh. The newspaper stated: "(Chairman Luke) Johnson installed Marsh as finance director when he acquired a majority stake in 2006. Chief executive Paul May, who is a partner at Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners firm and has close connections to Marsh, was also present from the start of Johnson’s tenure. The three men sold £30m worth of shares at the time of Patisserie Holdings’ initial public offering. (May and Marsh) sit on several other boards together, including a buy-to-let property company and a motor racing team. Many of May’s other business interests are registered at the address of AMI Associates, an accounting firm in Hatfield controlled by Marsh.

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