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Thu 25th Apr 2019 - Update: Heineken, Chipotle and BigDish
Heineken to invest £50m in pub estate: Heineken, which operates the UK’s third largest pub business with 2,700 sites under the Star Pubs & Bars banner, has announced a record investment of £50m to refurbish nearly 150 pubs across the UK, creating an estimated 1,200 hospitality jobs. These pubs will benefit from an average investment of £250,000. The investment programme will see everything from gardens, kitchens, bars, snugs (and even the all-important toilets), given a bespoke refurbishment to fit each pub’s individual character. Every pub will benefit from Smart Dispense – a state of the art, environmentally friendly cellar dispense technology, which saves CO2 and water for every pint of beer and cider served. David Forde, managing director, Heineken UK, said: “We believe in the Great British pub. We’ve invested just shy of £200m in the last six years into hundreds of our Star Pubs & Bars businesses – all with bespoke refurbishments that respect the heritage of the buildings, keep the soul of the pub, and give a fresh and welcoming look for its locals. Pubs are the hubs of communities – they’re where people meet, chat and laugh, where we enjoy everything from pub quizzes to karaoke, from a quiet pint to a fabulous home cooked meal. Some would have you believe the pub is in danger. We are in the business to keep pubs open and thriving, providing a boost to the local community.” The 200 year-old Extraordinary Hare pub in West Hendred near Oxford, is the latest to benefit from Heineken’s refurbishment programme. The pub had been boarded up for four years. Following a £500,000 investment, the pub, which is the only one in the village, is now thriving. The re-opening also created ten jobs for the community. Licensee Kate Hayden said: “The Extraordinary Hare had been closed for so long that it had been forgotten by many people. There’s plenty of competition and expectations are high, so changes had to be eye-catching to put it back on the map. The response has been amazing. Residents are delighted to have their local back and are using it for all sorts of different occasions.” Chief executive of the not-for-profit Pub is the Hub scheme, John Longden OBE, said: “With local shops and services closing in many parts of the country, pubs have an increasingly vital role to play as hubs of their communities. Heineken’s continued investment to ensure its pubs remain relevant to the residents they serve, is extremely welcome and positive news for all.”

Chipotle reports like-for-like sales up 9.8% in First Quarter: Chipotle Mexican Grill has reported like-for-like sales rose 9.8% in it First Quarter to 31 March with online sales up 100.7%. Revenue increased 13.9% to $1.3bn. The company plans on opening between 140 and 155 new restaurants this year. “The ongoing improvement in each of our key operating metrics over the past few quarters gives us confidence that our mission to win today and cultivate the future, is resonating,” Brian Niccol, chief executive of Chipotle, said in a statement. Chipotle’s sales suffered from a string of food-safety incidents dating back to 2015 that scared off customers. Niccol, the former head of Yum Brands’ Taco Bell who joined Chipotle one year ago, has sought to revitalise the brand by expanding its menu, investing in online ordering and delivery and running advertisements focused on the use of fresh ingredients. Mr Niccol’s strategy has won over investors. Shares in Chipotle have surged 65% on the year after a 49.4% rally in 2018. The 9.9 per cent increase in like-for-like restaurant sales is its fifth consecutive period of accelerated growth and better than the 7.29% gain expected by analysts.. Digital sales accounted for 15.7% of overall sales during the quarter.

BigDish updates on progress: BigDish, the food technology company that operates a yield management platform for restaurants, ha reported its system goes live Basingstoke and Exeter to go live on or around 30 April 201.9 Territory 3, beginning with Brighton, expected to go live in May. Chief executive Sanj Naha, said: “We are extremely happy with the speed of the progress being made at BigDish. We are delighted to announce that Basingstoke and Exeter are going live at the end of April on the app, and Territory 3 next month. We can’t wait to watch BigDish continue to expand and develop over the coming months.”

Finance and Investment Conference open for bookings: The Propel Finance and Investment Conference has opened for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Friday, 24 May at One Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA. Christie & Co director Ramzi Qattan will give an overview of the current pub, restaurant and hotel mergers and acquisitions market; Andrew Ball, partner at haysmacintyre, will give his top ten insights on how to spot and prevent internal and external accountancy fraud; and Mission Mars chief executive Roy Ellis will talk about finding a funding partner, the BGF, to facilitate expansion of the company’s bar brand, Albert’s Schloss, and pizza business, Rudy’s. Meanwhile, Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will talk about creating a communications campaign that complements a sales or investment process, touching on the company’s recent work with Be At One. Fraser Anderson, partner at Sapient Corporate Finance, will look at the particular investment attractions of the retail coffee market in the wake of Sapient’s recent sale of a majority stake in Coffee#1 to Caffe Nero, while Oakman Inns and Restaurants founder and chief executive Peter Borg-Neal will talk about growing the company through new financing routes and partnerships and adapting to the economic climate. TriSpan European operating partner Robin Rowland will discuss the opportunities and challenges to being a new entrant in the UK and European scene and what the UK can learn from its US investment peers, while Charlie McVeigh will talk about lessons learned selling five hospitality businesses including Draft House to BrewDog and his investment criteria in the current climate as he seeks to make as many as three new investments. My Million Pound Menu investor Chris Miller, founder of White Rabbit Fund and investor in Kricket, Island Poke, Lina Stores and Kym’s, will talk to Propel managing director Paul Charity about his investment criteria, understanding the market and developing his investments. David Campbell, chairman of Bill’s Restaurants, will talk to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about investing in a downturn on refreshing a business, enhancing its offer and re-engaging its people, and the results of this work so far. The day will conclude with Mark Stretton leading a panel session featuring Imbiba partner Darrel Connell, TriSpan advisory partner Brandon Stephens, and Tamweel Capital partner Ali Aneizi about the current prospects for the sector, growth opportunities, and mergers and acquisitions trends. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium subscribers and £345 plus VAT for all others. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

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