Story of the Day:
Live&Loud, backed by former Punch boss, launches £500,000 crowdfunding campaign: Live music specialist Live&Loud has launched a £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for expansion. The company, whose backers include former Punch chief executive Giles Thorley, matches hospitality venues and artists to make booking live gigs easier. Live&Loud is offering 5.78% equity in return for investment, which gives the company a pre-money valuation of £8.1m. The pitch states: “The traditional methods of booking events are highly inefficient with communications going through an agent, manager or ‘the drummer’. Artists are usually paid in cash and there are delays in getting responses from venues, which we believe is due to every component being manual. The Live&Loud platform acts as a digital broker between artists and venues, which aims to make it easier to organise events. It allows artists to promote themselves and venues to find artists relevant to their needs. The two parties interact directly to plan, book, promote and update the gig. We work on a ‘freemium’ model to venues and charge 15% commission to artists on booking through the platform. We believe the Live Music Act amendment of 2015 has been game changing in allowing 121,300 UK premises to host live music without a live music licence. Research shows there’s 44% to 60% growth in sales when a venue hosts live music; and 80% of customers stay longer if there is live music, while 70% will spend more. This investment will enable us to scale up our operation by growing our team as well as rolling out our UK-wide marketing campaign.” Live&Loud was founded by music veterans Mick and Ben Newton, while directors include former Sony Music chairman and EMI president Nick Gatfield, and Bond Aviation chief executive Peter Bond, a founder investor in Soho House.
Social Strategy In A Day open for bookings:
Social Strategy In A Day, an event aimed at allowing companies to develop and hone their social media strategy, has launched and is open for bookings. The event features all-new content and insights to allow companies to increase brand exposure, broaden their reach and ensure their digital marketing really delivers. Propel has partnered with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the one-day advanced workshop, which will cover everything a marketing department should be thinking about when it comes to social strategy. The event takes place on Thursday, 4 April at One Moorgate Place in London. Insights will include how to drive business via social media; which social media activity works best for each generation; the key to successful storytelling; and the latest findings in consumer psychology and how they can benefit your social media communications. There will also be tips on how to improve your food and drink photography and rebuild trust on social media in the wake of fake news, alongside insights on key apps, how to make the most of Instagram and Facebook, and how to make your social spend count. Those who book tickets can submit questions ahead of the event for the Digital Blonde team to answer in special “20 questions in 20 minutes” sessions. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
European hotel rooms see strong growth in value but Manchester records fall: Hotel values across Europe registered another strong year in 2018 showing 3% growth and reaching new highs, according to the annual European Hotel Valuation Index (HVI) compiled by global hotel consultancy HVS. Although the increase was more modest than that of 2017, at 3.9%, 2018 saw recovery in many cities as well as a levelling off in values for some markets. The HVI ranks percentage change in the values of typically four and five-star hotels in 33 major European cities in euro and local currency terms, as well as ranking each market in terms of the average price per hotel room. Hotels in Lisbon, Moscow, Paris, Brussels and Berlin filled the top five slots in terms of highest percentage growth in euro terms, with the year’s biggest climber, Lisbon, seeing a 9% uplift. Only six of the 33 markets analysed experienced a value drop, with those at the bottom of the index in euro terms including Barcelona, which was badly affected by civil unrest surrounding the Catalan independence movement; Hamburg, Manchester and Warsaw, which all suffered from an influx of new supply in the market; and Geneva and Stockholm, which were affected by currency dynamics in 2018. In terms of the absolute value of hotel rooms, those in Paris, London, Zurich, Geneva and Rome filled the top five slots for the most expensive in Europe, with Birmingham, Sofia, Bratislava, Bucharest and Manchester at the bottom end of the ranking. “Demand for hotel accommodation remains vigorous across most markets in Europe and, while economic growth for this cycle might be beyond its peak, hotel demand is unlikely to suddenly fall away,” said HVS London director Sophie Perret. “For investors the advice is to factor in a slightly longer exit window and be cautious but there are some good deals to be had by those seeking to acquire hotels in many European cities.”
Deliveroo to double business team as it hits 10,000-company milestone, expands hotel partnerships programme: Deliveroo has said the team behind its business service will double in size this year. Deliveroo said companies were increasingly seeing food delivery as an important offering to attract and retain staff alongside traditional perks such as gym memberships and health insurance. More than 10,000 companies have signed up for the Deliveroo for Business service in 14 markets worldwide. Deliveroo said it would also expand its hotel partnerships programme this year, in which guests order room service exclusively through Deliveroo for Business. The company said analysis of Deliveroo for Business orders revealed distinct food trends among different industries, with lawyers the most selective eaters while consultants liked to order protein-heavy food such as lean meat and modern Greek cuisine. Meanwhile the UK’s technology workforce, which makes up more than one-third of all Deliveroo For Business orders, opt for Japanese food, particularly sushi, ramen and noodle dishes. Data also revealed more than three-fifths (63%) of orders are for workers staying late at the office, with 7pm the most popular time to select a meal. Deliveroo UK managing director Dan Warne said: “Deliveroo for Business has grown as companies across a range of industries look to offer their employees amazing meals that work for them. We’re really excited to expand this offering, allowing workers to shun stale sandwiches for great local food delivered straight to their desk.” Deliveroo relaunched its corporate offering in September with the room service offering rolled out globally following a trial in Australia and the addition of a catering service aimed at large-scale events. Deliveroo for Business launched in September 2016.
Freshly Chopped opens first UK mainland site, plans to learn more about market before considering roll-out: Irish salad chain Freshly Chopped has opened its first mainland UK site, in Manchester. The company-owned store in Piccadilly Plaza is the brand’s 60th in total and follows openings in Drogheda and Cavan in Ireland since the start of 2019. Co-founder and managing director Brian Lee told Business World: “We see this first store as a pilot to learn more about the market and assess how Brexit impacts on the sector before committing to opening more stores in England. We will be very careful and deliberate with our roll-out strategy and we have created a new supply chain that we think is Brexit-proofed to deliver the same experience our customers in Ireland have come to love. There’s vast demand in the British market for healthy fast food and we have been inundated with requests to open in Britain during the past six years, both from Irish people living abroad and British people who have seen what we have been offering in Ireland.” Lee founded Freshly Chopped with Andy Chen in Dublin in 2012. The company has undergone rapid expansion in the past two years, more than doubling its workforce and stores across international locations. As well as salad, the brand offers “training” and “build-your-own” menus alongside soup, smoothies, hot drinks and cold-pressed juice.
Camerons acquires York bar for 29th managed site: Camerons Brewery has acquired Sutlers bar in York for the 29th venue in its managed estate division. The pub in Fossgate will maintain Sutlers’ current food and drink range, with all 20 staff retained. Sutlers opened in March 2015 at a former Army and Navy store offering cask and craft beer, continental coffee and a menu focusing on traditional British dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. The bar trades over three storeys with private bookable space on the upper floors. Camerons director and general manager Chris Soley said: “The bar is the perfect fit as we look to add quality city-centre venues to our estate. We have been looking at a number of venues in York over the past few years and Sutlers was always one we felt would be a great acquisition. It will be business as usual at Sutlers for the immediate future and we want the pub to operate the same way it has done previously. The venue itself is fantastic and we were really impressed by the offer.” In addition to its core brewing operation, Camerons’ pub estate consists of more than 70 venues. Last week, Camerons announced it would convert its Head of Steam site in Leicester into a second venue for its Sanctuary concept.
JD Wetherspoon to launch two pubs in Ireland by middle of May: JD Wetherspoon is to launch two pubs in the Republic of Ireland by the middle of May. The company will open the Tullow Gate in Carlow, County Carlow, on Wednesday, 1 May and The Silver Penny in Dublin on Friday, 17 May. Wetherspoon will also start development work during May on its pub and 89-bedroom hotel in Dublin. Keavan’s Port Hotel is set to open in January 2020. A total of €27m euros is being invested in the pubs with the creation of 570 jobs. The three venues will bring the total number of Wetherspoon sites in Ireland to eight, with more in the pipeline. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We have enjoyed great success with our five pubs in the Republic of Ireland and look forward to opening the three new outlets. We will continue to look for other sites.”
Gaming cafe concept acquires Pizzabuzz site in Shoreditch: Pizzabuzz, the pizzeria concept developed by Meredith Group, has assigned the leasehold interest of its only site to a gaming cafe concept. Platform Social Gaming, trading as Platform Hub One, will open at The Alphabeta Building in Worship Street in Shoreditch, east London, following a deal brokered by Davis Coffer Lyons. The triple-fronted A3 premises comprises 3,000 square feet on the ground floor. Platform Hub One has paid a premium for the assignment of the existing 20-year lease at a passing rent of £110,430 per annum. The landlord is Triton Court. Sally French, agency and leasing at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Leisure property in Shoreditch continues to be in high demand. The site generated a great deal of interest and commanded a substantial premium. Competitive socialising as a trend shows no sign of slowing and this is the perfect locality for this concept to launch. We wish it every success with its new venture.”
Dubai-based restaurant group Grillo opens debut UK site, in Leicester: Dubai-based restaurant group Grillo has opened its first UK site. The company has launched The Peri Experts, which specialises in “healthier” fast food, in Leicester. The venue has opened in Granby Street in the former home of Boneyard restaurant. The duo behind The Peri Experts are cousins Akeel Zicar, who is based in Leicester, and Waseen Sawani, who is based in Dubai. The restaurant has tables and chairs in the central area, with booths around the edges, while there is an open kitchen to the rear. As well as a selection of chicken, there are pizzas, burgers, wraps, prawns and lamb chops on the menu, reports Leicestershire Live. The new restaurant has opened under the name The Peri Experts as Grillo is already trademarked in the UK. Grillo operates four restaurants in Dubai.
Blind Tiger Inns brings Beatles-connected pub back to former glory for 15th site: Blind Tiger Inns, the north west-based, wet-led operator led by Chris Tulloch, has reopened a Liverpool city centre pub for its 15th site. The company has relaunched The Grapes in Mathew Street, the Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars venue known for its Beatles connection. The Grapes dates to the 1960s, when it was the only pub in Mathew Street. Tulloch told the Liverpool Echo: “The pub is well known and has a historical background so we have worked hard to retain its original features. We have even discovered a few that have been hidden over the years, such as beautiful fireplaces and exposed brick walls. We’ve brought everything back to its former glory.” Blind Tiger Inns, which saw net sales increase to more than £5m in 2018, operates community pubs across the north west and Merseyside. The pub is known locally as The Beatles pub as it was a favourite watering hole of the Fab Four in the Sixties.
Hampshire-based operators to open seafood and wine bar in Southsea for third site: Hampshire-based operators Lucy and Bill Branson are to launch a seafood and wine bar concept in Southsea for their third site in the county. The husband-and-wife team will open The Briny on Southsea seafront at the end of March in partnership with Steve Martin. Former fish and chip restaurant Rocksby’s is being transformed to offer a Scandinavian coastal theme. Lucy Branson told The News: “We have kept a coastal theme and will serve fresh produce with an emphasis on seafood. Being on the seafront is the perfect location and during the renovation we have tried to make it as open as possible so people can enjoy the view. I’m also excited for our seafood bar, which will serve raw and cooked seafood. We saw a lot of raw bars in Australia and wanted to incorporate that.” The Bransons’ other sites are The Tenth Hole in Eastern Parade and The Canteen in Old Portsmouth, while her brother-in-law and parents own Abarbistro in Portsmouth.
Preston-based 85 Group eyes bar restaurant for second site in Lancashire town: The 85 Group, which operates Baluga bar and club in Preston, has submitted plans to launch an upmarket bar and restaurant in the Lancashire town. The company has applied to convert a former shop and offices in Friargate into a bar on the ground floor and an events space, bar, art gallery and co-working space on the first and second floors. The venture – Uptown Pony Club – would go under the banner “pizza not ponies”. Director Nick Carter told Blog Preston: “Uptown Pony Club has been in the making for more than a year and is undoubtedly a concept Preston hasn’t seen before. The name isn’t one you’ll forget. All I’ll say is there will be pizza, and no ponies! It will be the opposite of Baluga in terms of look, feel and offering. We’ll actively encourage a culture of working and socialising together. We love Preston and are heavily invested in the city and its future. The bar and restaurant is only one small part of what we’re trying to achieve – and we’re really excited to get started.”
Whitbread agrees deal for Premier Inn at Manchester’s First Street scheme, plans to redevelop Deansgate site: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn has signed a deal for a 200-bedroom hotel in First Street, Manchester. The company has exchanged a pre-let agreement with Ask Real Estate and its partners on the scheme, the Richardson family and Patrizia. The Premier Inn will occupy the top five floors of a 16-storey mixed-use development that secured planning permission in December. Construction will start this summer with completion due in early 2021. The deal will simultaneously see a second joint-venture partnership between Ask Real Estate, the Richardson family and Whitbread to bring forward a planning application to redevelop the Premier Inn Deansgate Locks site adjacent to First Street, with a separate 480,000 square foot mixed-use scheme. A planning application for the development will be submitted to Manchester City Council in May, a source said. Nicholas Johnston, acquisition manager for northern England at Premier Inn, said: “As a major investor in Manchester we are continually looking at our portfolio of Premier Inn hotels to ensure we are in the best possible locations and provide a consistently high quality experience for our guests. The decision to redevelop the Premier Inn Deansgate Locks site and bring a latest-generation Premier Inn to First Street reflects this. Working with Ask Real Estate and its partners, we are able to increase the number of Premier Inn bedrooms in the popular micro-location and bring our latest format to the area. It’s an excellent opportunity to improve our portfolio in the city and be part of one of Manchester’s most successful business and leisure destinations.”
Glasgow-based burger restaurant reveals second-site plans as it wins national title: Glasgow-based burger restaurant El Perro Negro is set to open its second site in the city. Owners Nick Watkins, Peter McKenna and Ivan Stein currently operate from a small space in Argyle Street but plan to open a second restaurant in Woodlands, in May. Watkins revealed the planned opening as El Perro Negro won the National Burger of the Year title. A total of 15 finalists competed in two rounds that saw them cook a technical burger, which was made with ingredients supplied, alongside their own-recipe burger they submitted at the entry process, reports the Glasgowist.
KRO Hospitality acquires Preston hotel out of administration, strengthens senior team: Manchester-based KRO Hospitality has acquired the Samlesbury Hotel in Preston out of administration in an undisclosed deal that has saved 50 jobs. The hotel will undergo a £1.5m refurbishment and relaunch as Mercure Preston Samlesbury Hotel in April after KRO chose Mercure, part of the Accor brand, as franchise partner. KRO will operate the 80-bedroom hotel, which also features a restaurant, bar, and eight meetings and events spaces. The refurbishment will see the addition of a new concept, The Five Barred Gate Bar & Grill, which will draw on the roots of the hotel’s previous incarnation as a pub. Meanwhile KRO Hospitality has appointed Damien Le-Hoste as operations director and Natasha Lindsay as group director of sales and marketing. Lindsay will be assisted by Cathy Savage, who rejoins the company as sales manager at the new hotel. KRO Hospitality owner Kim Eivind Krohn said: “It is a fantastic hotel with enormous potential and is in an ideal location to attract business travellers and leisure guests.” In November, KRO Hospitality became a franchise partner of Indian restaurant Asha’s after acquiring its branch in Manchester. KRO also owns the Velvet Hotel in Canal Street and neighbouring restaurant Mr White’s English Chophouse, operated by Black and White Hospitality.
North Shields-based pie shop owners to open speakeasy for second site: North Shields-based pie shop owners Stephen and Victoria Bones are to open a speakeasy in a former church for their second site. The husband-and-wife team will launch The Blind Pig in Front Street on Saturday, 9 March. The name derives from a phrase used in the 1920s prohibition era to describe a hidden bar. It will offer cocktails, beer from local and international breweries, ale, wine and soft drinks, reports Chronicle Live. The Bones currently operate pie shop concept Pie & Bottle in West Percy Street.
Hotel Football partners with Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio brand: Hotel Football has signed a partnership agreement with Marriott International’s independent hotel brand Tribute Portfolio. The deal gives Hotel Football access to Marriott Bonvoy members and enables it to use Tribute Portfolio’s booking tools. Hotel Football remains majority owned by Singaporean businessman Peter Lim and former Manchester United players Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Philip Neville. GG Hospitality, the management company owned by the same group, will continue to manage and operate the hotel. Located metres from Manchester United’s Old Trafford home, the 133-bedroom hotel also houses Cafe Football, the Old Trafford Supporters Club events space, and Heaven, a five-a-side football pitch and events space with retractable roof. There is also the Players’ Lounge and Stadium Suite. GG Hospitality chief executive Winston Zahra said: “We have established Hotel Football as a strong concept in Manchester during the past four years. This new association with Marriott International helps us reach new travellers.” John Licence, Marriott International vice-president premium and select brands Europe, added: “We are delighted to welcome Hotel Football as the first Tribute Portfolio property in Manchester.” Tribute Portfolio’s other UK site is the Great Northern Hotel in London’s King’s Cross.
Superbowl UK and Reel sign for Bishop Auckland leisure scheme: Tenpin bowling operator Superbowl UK and cinema operator Reel have agreed deals to open at the forthcoming £45m Fieldon Bridge scheme in Bishop Auckland, County Durham. Superbowl UK is to open a 14-lane bowling alley, soft play centre, indoor assault course, amusement arcade and diner and bar at the retail and leisure park. Reel Cinemas has also signed up to the 130,000 square foot park and will operate a seven-screen cinema. Building work on the scheme is due to start in October, with the cinema and bowling operators both aiming to open in October 2020. WSB Property Consultants, which is the agent for development manager Total Property Solutions, said it was also in negotiations with several other leisure and retail operators. Superbowl UK was represented by Walker Simpson, while Reel was unrepresented, reports Insider Media.
Seasoned restaurateur and licensee Nick Botting takes on Fuller’s pub in Richmond: Seasoned restaurateur and licensee Nick Botting has taken on The Angel & Crown in Richmond, south west London, which is owned by Fuller’s. Botting has breathed new life into the 450-year-old pub in Church Court, which includes appointing Georgio Bassani as head chef. The decor features vintage prints of Kew Gardens flowers and muted colours on the walls, while there is a private dining “snug” to the rear featuring a real fireplace. The food menu consists of traditional pub food “recreated for a modern diner”, with dishes such as lentil, spinach and gorgonzola wellington; and macaroni cheese with bacon and truffle. Botting said: “The moment this pub became available I knew I could turn it around. It’s in the prettiest part of Richmond and has a big local following.” South African by birth, Botting came to the UK aged 21 and worked in venues such as TGI Friday’s and The Roadhouse in Camden, north London, before moving to Cornwall and opening his own restaurant. He returned to London to run the Young’s-owned Coach & Horses in Kew, which he has since left.
Northern Powerhouse Developments adds Huddersfield site to estate: Northern Powerhouse Developments (NPD) has boosted its portfolio by acquiring a venue on the outskirts of Huddersfield. The company plans a sympathetic refurbishment of the 31-bedroom Pennine Manor Hotel in Scapegoat Hill. The acquisition brings the number of hotels NPD operates in Yorkshire to four. Its nationwide operational portfolio, which includes sites in Wales and Devon, now stands at 11. Its other Yorkshire hotels are The Imperial Crown in Halifax, The Old Golf Course in Huddersfield and Scarborough’s Esplanade Hotel. The Elland-based company, which has Peter Moore, the man who brought Center Parcs to the UK, on its board, has a further eight developments under way across the country. NPD chairman Gavin Woodhouse said refurbishment of Pennine Manor Hotel would include a new spa complex, an alfresco bar and a dining area.
Plans unveiled for vacant Manchester railway arches to host pop-up street food events and bars: Plans have been unveiled to transform vacant railway arches in Manchester into a space hosting pop-up street food events and bars. The site is within archways five to ten of a railway viaduct that leads to the former Mayfield train station and depot. Based in Temperance Street, it is in the city centre next to Manchester Piccadilly station. The Mayfield Partnership comprises London Continental Railways, Manchester City Council and Transport for Greater Manchester. It appointed U+I as its development partner for the scheme in December 2016. The proposal is to change the use of four of the archways to allow them to be used for pop-up street food events, bars, office space, a cinema, live music and theatre. Venues would operate for up to two years and would “raise public awareness of Mayfield and demonstrate potential of the area and the role it could play in further rejuvenating the city”, Insider Media reports.
Contemporary Chinese restaurant Numnum goes from pop-up to permanent, in Southwark: Contemporary Chinese restaurant Numnum has opened a permanent site following a pop-up in London’s Brick Lane. The 40-cover restaurant has launched in Scoresby Street, Southwark, serving modern southern Chinese wok dishes. The kitchen is headed by a team of Chinese chefs from different regions of southern China. The menu is small and will change constantly to use seasonal ingredients and allow the chefs to experiment with new dishes and flavours from their respective regions of China. Initial dishes include wonton noodle soup and golden honey and spice-roasted chicken.
Liverpool-based Hope Street Hotel to launch sister site: Liverpool-based Hope Street Hotel, which operates an eponymous hotel and neighbouring Michelin-starred restaurant London Carriage Works in the city’s Georgian Quarter, is to launch a sister site. The company will operate School Lane Hotel in a joint venture with YPG Developments. Work on the site in the Russell Building at Liverpool ONE will begin this spring. School Lane Hotel will offer 50 bedrooms, a restaurant, rooftop bar, gym, conference room and coffee lounge. Work is scheduled for completion in early 2020. Hope Street Hotel founder and chief executive Dave Brewitt said: “In the past ten years, Liverpool’s visitor economy has expanded by 66% and Liverpool ONE is at the heart of that growth. Its reputation for the quality of its offer and the experience it provides for visitors creates the perfect setting for School Lane Hotel.” In September, Hope Street Hotel reported turnover fell to £4,683,771 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £4,713,051 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down to £860,304 compared with £1,753,105 as the company continued expansion of the hotel’s capacity and services. Work on the expansion started in early 2017, with the scheduled completion date expected to be “early to mid 2019”.
Wagamama partners with Trail: Wagamama, now owned by The Restaurant Group, has rolled out operations management app Trail across its 135 UK restaurants. Trail’s app presents a simple list of tasks for teams to follow, only showing the “right tasks to the right people at the right time”. Tasks are distributed from a central location, which are time and date-stamped with the name of the person completing them. Tracey Colbert, director of risk and compliance at Wagamama, said: “As a business that believes in kaizen, the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement, we wanted to digitise our food and safety practices and have the added benefit of reducing the amount of paper in our business. We’ve rolled out to all locations with amazing feedback from our teams. Trail is making it easier for them to ensure our food and safety practices are upheld.” Trail managing director Joe Cripps added: “We set out to change the way hospitality businesses are run. For a brand such as Wagamama to validate this new way is a pivotal moment for the industry. It shows we’re solving real problems for hospitality brands of all sizes by driving consistent standards, food safety and operational efficiency.”
Reading-based Tutu’s Ethiopian Table to start expansion: Reading-based Tutu’s Ethiopian Table is to start expansion by opening a cafe for its second site in the town. Restaurant owner Tutu Melaku has taken over the former Chalkboard Café, which closed in 2017. The Palmer Park venue will relaunch on Sunday, 3 March. Melaku told the Reading Chronicle: “I am thrilled Reading Borough Council has given me this opportunity to expand Ethiopian Table.” Cllr Sarah Hacker, lead member for culture, heritage and recreation, added: “Tutu is famous in Reading for her delicious Ethiopian fare and I’m sure the new cafe will be very popular. It will be of great benefit to the community and I wish Tutu every success with her exciting new venture.”