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Thu 2nd May 2019 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Yum! Brands reports KFC UK sales up 19% in first quarter against last year's delivery saga: Yum! Brands has reported KFC system sales in the UK rose 19% for the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, compared with the previous year when a delivery saga resulted in 750 of its sites being closed due to a mass chicken shortage. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales in the quarter increased 5% with US like-for-like sales up 2% – system sales worldwide rose 3%. Operating margin increased 8.1%, driven by refranchising and like-for-like sales growth. KFC opened 372 restaurants in 46 countries during the period. Operating profit was up 7% to $236m. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut system sales in Europe, including the UK, were up 3% – the continent accounts for 9% of Pizza Hut’s system sales globally. Individual figures for the UK were not included in the announcement. Pizza Hut sales were up 3% globally, with like-for-likes flat. US system sales, which account for 46% of global sales, fell 1%. Pizza Hut opened 172 restaurants in 39 countries during the period. Operating margin increased 5.1%, driven by refranchising and lower franchise and property expense due to lower advertising spend associated with the US Transformation Agreement. Operating profit was up 11% to $97m. Taco Bell like-for-like sales increased 4% and system sales were up 7%. Operating profit increased 5% to $138m. Taco Bell opened 62 restaurants during the period, including 12 international sites. Yum! Brands’ total revenue in the quarter fell 9% to $1,254m. 
 

Industry News:

Mark Wingett to look at what's in new Greene King chief executive's in-tray in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will look at what is in new Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie's in-tray as part of his latest opinion piece, which will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (3 May) at 5pm. He will also give his views on Toby Smith's appointment as chief executive of the Coffeesmiths Collective and Laine Pub Company's move out of its south east heartland. In a new regular feature about leadership, he also talks to ex-Wagamama chief executive Jane Holbrook. Subscribers will also receive a 30-minute video on Friday in which Mark Ashley, author of Be Better Than Yesterday and former director of retail operations at Geronimo, who now runs his own eponymous company, gives insights into his unique method of developing and improving productivity and retaining front-line teams. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular video recordings of key speakers. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,400 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Propel summer conference and party open for bookings, Mario Bauer to present, two free places for operators: The Propel Multi Club summer conference and party is open for bookings. It takes place on Thursday, 27 June at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40. The conference will be followed by the summer party, with an evening barbecue, the Big Fat Quiz and the legendary sounds of DJ Big Lee. Mario Bauer, advisor to Vapiano and former chief executive of franchising, will reveal his do’s and don’ts of franchising internationally. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Rooms (bed and breakfast) are also available at £125 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing Anne.

Other upcoming conferences: The Finance and Investment Conference is on Friday, 24 May. Click here for details. The Coffee Conference takes place on Tuesday, 11 June. Click here for details. 

Multitude of emerging trends and brands hint at ‘bright, diverse future’ for UK’s high streets: A multitude of emerging trends and brands hint at a “bright, diverse future” for the UK’s high streets including a “more diverse assortment of restaurants”, according to a new report by the Local Data Company (LDC). The study reviewed more than 650,000 retail and leisure units and found the number changed or redeveloped (demolished, merged, split or converted) increased 32% in 2018, revealing the growing trend for landlords to reconsider use of retail and leisure spaces to meet changing consumer needs. The number of units redeveloped in 2018 rose from 2,706 in 2017 to 3,577 in 2018. LDC said this trend was helping to mitigate the significant slowdown in store openings, which resulted in an overall net loss of occupied units of 7,550 in 2018 – or 1.2% of the entire retail and leisure market. The closure rate increased marginally, with 50,828 shops closing in 2018 compared with 50,767 in 2017. Retail parks were hit hardest, with a 2.3% year-on-year rise in the vacancy rate to 7.1%. However, the vacancy rate on high streets rose only 0.3% to 11.5%, while shopping centre vacancies increased 0.5% to 13.5%. The amount of brands with five or more stores nationally continued to fall, from a 4,010 decrease in 2017 to a 6,537 fall in 2018, the highest decline in the past five years. However, the decline of independent units slowed from a 1,483 decrease in 2017 to a 1,013 fall in 2018, boosted by growth in new leisure concepts. Lucy Stainton, head of retail and strategic partnerships, said: “Beneath some stark high-level numbers we can see a multitude of emerging trends and brands that hint at a bright, diverse future for our high streets. A more diverse assortment of restaurants are increasingly opening on our high streets, serving fresh and exciting cuisine such as Iranian, Malaysian and, of course, vegan. The significant increase in structural redevelopment of retail space in 2018 indicates landlords, place managers and councils are starting to take action to review how much retail stock is in the market and how much is actually required. We expect this trend to increase and lead to a redefinition of not just our high streets but shopping centres and retail parks too.”
 
KAM Media launches pub customer insights report: KAM Media has launched a report that aims to help operators and brands understand the evolving needs of pub customers in the UK. On-trade Outlook 2019 includes data, commentary and opinion, with 1,000 pub-goers asked more than 100 questions plus insights from industry experts and interviews with 100 publicans. The report found consumers are drinking less but spending more when they do. The main reasons were “to make having a drink more of a treat” (34%), “to reduce my alcohol intake” (34%) and “I’d rather have a premium drink and can’t afford to have that all the time” (29%). This trend has led to almost three-quarters (71%) of publicans seeing an increase in the purchase of premium drinks in the past 12 months. KAM Media said consumers would happily spend more on a product if they believed the entire value-for-money proposition was good, including atmosphere, speed of service, perfect serve and knowledgeable bar staff. The study found more than four-fifths (84%) of customers want to see more events and activities in their local, while 94% believe visiting a pub or bar to socialise with friends is good for their mental health. Almost nine-tenths (88%) of publicans believe their pub is a central part of their community. KAM Media strategy and insight director Blake Gladman said: “We need to embrace the changes the modern world presents and combine it with the traditional values at the core of the pub and bar sector. We can’t afford to lose focus on either aspect otherwise we lose the heart and the head. The future is bright but only if we continue to move at the pace our customers expect and demand.” Managing director Katy Moses added: “We believe this report provides the most concise and relevant content for any business looking to grow and succeed in the on-trade in the next 12 months.” The full report is available to buy from KAM Media. For more details, email blake@kam-media.co.uk

National Trust pub becomes first in Britain to put carbon footprint of each meal on menu: A National Trust pub has become the first in Britain to put the carbon footprint of each meal next to the item on the menu. The greenhouse gas emission calculations were made by professor Mike Berners-Lee, a leading expert on greenhouse gases, and the brother of web inventor Tim. Sticklebarn in Cumbria, which is run by the National Trust, has made the change as part of their pledge to run a sustainable business. One of the worst offenders on the menu is a plate of nachos with Ropa Vieja chilli – featuring slow roasted beef with chilli, chocolate, coffee, sour cream and guacamole, which creates 5.74kg of greenhouse gases. This is the equivalent of driving 14 miles in a car or charging a smartphone 732 times. A slow roasted lamb burger with rosemary salt, brioche and wedges produces 4.53kg in emissions, largely because of the methane released by sheep. The lowest impact items on the menu are vegetarian, and include a black bean burger (0.86kg) and apple and walnut salad with baked polenta (0.97kg). Sticklebarn's food and beverages manager Gareth Fuke told the Daily Telegraph: "Food is such an important part of people's lives and there is much more awareness and interest in seasonal and local. The carbon calculator is a way of quantifying this. It helps us plan the menu and provides diners with choices."

Bookatable and SevenRooms begin global partnership: Michelin’s reservation service Bookatable has launched a global partnership with SevenRooms, a reservation, seating and guest management platform used by restaurant operators in more than 250 cities worldwide. The partnership allows SevenRooms clients to benefit from the extensive web and app reach of Bookatable’s reservation market place, while enabling Bookatable to expand its restaurant choices. Bookatable chief executive Michel Cassius said: “This partnership provides SevenRooms clients with the opportunity to benefit from Bookatable’s unique market place position while offering consumers even greater access to some of the best restaurants in the world.” SevenRooms chief executive Joel Montaniel added: “This partnership further delivers on our promise to open up as many direct booking channels as possible for restaurant operators, giving them the resources they need to own their guest relationships and deliver on highly personalised service and marketing.”
 
Sector companies and bosses shortlisted for Evening Standard Business Awards: A series of sector companies and bosses have been shortlisted for this year’s Evening Standard Business Awards. Food to go retailer Greggs has been nominated in two categories – consumer business of the year for its “profit growth and introducing the world to vegan sausage rolls” and business of the year. Greggs is joined in the consumer business category by Whitbread for its Costa Coffee deal with Coca-Cola and fresh cream cake retailer Cake Box for tapping into a growing market with egg-free cakes. Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain and Kate Swann, outgoing boss of UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group, have been nominated in the business leader of the year category. PubLove, the joint venture between Ei Group and Ben Stackhouse that houses backpacker hostels and serves its own burgers, is up for the SME and startup of the year award. The winners will be announced in June.
 

Company News:

Steve Easterbrook – McDonald’s focus on value menu innovation and delivery in UK leading to average transaction value and restaurant visit growth: McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook has said the company’s focus on value menu innovation and delivery in the UK is resulting in balanced growth in average transaction value and restaurant visits. During a conference call, Easterbrook told investors that customer satisfaction scores were also improving as “more guests were able to enjoy McDonald’s in our modernised Experience Of The Future restaurants”. He said: “The UK has achieved a remarkable 13 consecutive years of comparable sales growth. The market’s focus on value menu innovation and McDelivery is resulting in balanced growth in average transaction value and visits, including record visits for March. The progress we are seeing in the US, UK and Australia demonstrates our Velocity Growth plan is working and enabling us to deliver broad-based growth across our segments.” Easterbrook said delivery remained a key part of the company’s plans and had grown to a $3bn business for McDonald’s globally. He added: “It has been one of our most successful accelerators from the start, probably due to the speed at which we began to implement it and because we began scaling our delivery offering at a time when customers are eating out less. We believe there’s a lot more opportunity to grow. We now offer McDelivery in more than 20,000 restaurants across more than 75 countries, which is more than half of all McDonald’s restaurants globally. We’re seeing solid growth in delivery and it continues to be a meaningful contributor to comparable sales in a number of markets. Awareness remains one of our greatest opportunities with delivery so we’re committed to making sure more and more customers are aware of McDelivery.” Easterbrook said the acquisition of Dynamic Yield would help the company to “accelerate growth and offer customers an even easier, more enjoyable, experience”. It has now deployed menu boards with automated suggestive selling at 700 restaurants using the technology. He added: “We also have access to strong data science and engineering talent, who will help us stay ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting with our customers in more personalised ways. In addition to using technology to create seamless experiences, we’re also maintaining our focus on improving the fundamentals of running great restaurants.” When asked where McDonald’s stood on adding a plant-based dish, Easterbrook said his culinary teams were “paying close attention to it”. He added: “The key for us is to identify the sustaining consumer trends.”
 
Wakeling joins Patisserie Valerie as operations director: Bruce Wakeling, formerly of Vital Ingredient, SSP and Spirit Group, has joined Patisserie Valerie as operations director. Wakeling was most recently consulting director at Wraphic after joining from Vital Ingredient, where he worked with Patisserie Valerie managing director Paolo Peretti, who joined the cafe business in March. Writing in his blog last month, Peretti said the business would launch a two-week trial of a new menu, which would be rolled out to all stores in the next month if it proved successful. He said in addition to simplifying the menu, the company had “started the journey to ensuring everything it sells is ‘lovingly hand-made’, which is quite a task but something everyone believes is really important as we go back to the ethos that helped make Patisserie Valerie such a well-loved brand”. Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital bought Patisserie Valerie in mid-February following a period of turmoil triggered by the discovery of accounting irregularities in October. Matt Scaife, a partner at Causeway, said 96 cafes were trading profitably from day one of the deal after the administrator closed 76 unprofitable outlets. However, he added the fund was ready to invest more in the business, which has about £50m in revenues, to boost profits and growth. Scaife previously told Propel it had started opening earlier at a handful of London sites. He said: “Patisserie Valerie is known for its lunchtime and afternoon trade in particular but people like to grab a pastry and a coffee at breakfast and we see a real opportunity in that area as we look to improve the take-out offer.”

Ping Pong to consolidate estate: Ping Pong, the London-based dim sum chain, is to consolidate its estate, with the disposal of sites in Westfield London and Wembley Designer Outlet Village. The company, which is led by chief executive Art Sagiryan, has instructed Davis Coffer Lyons to market the leasehold interest in the two sites. Rob Meadows, executive director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Ping Pong operates eight dim sum restaurants within its portfolio in the capital. The company has taken the decision to exit these two sites as they do not meet their current returns on capital required. Both sites are more suited to significant daytime trading which is not the core of the Ping Pong offering.” The Westfield unit is 4,900 square foot and is held on a lease expiring in October 2034. It occupies a prominent position with outside seating on the southern terrace close to the exit for Shepherds Bush underground station. Comprising 5,600 square foot with outside seating, the Wembley lease allows for restaurant, bar or retail use. The current lease expires in December 2033 and has a passing rent of £195,265 per annum.

German Doner Kebab reveals Scottish growth plans: Glasgow-based German Doner Kebab has revealed plans for further growth in Scotland. The company has opened stores in Dundee and Glasgow over the past 12 months in response to growing consumer demand for its healthy kebabs. Now it is set to open three more stores during 2019, in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. A second Glasgow branch and a site in Edinburgh's Lothian Road are scheduled to open in July, with Aberdeen set for early in the fourth quarter. The expansion will see a total investment of more than £2m in Scotland alone and create in the region of 150 jobs. German Doner Kebab is part of the Hero Brands group and has opened 33 outlets across the UK during the past two years. German Doner Kebab UK managing director Daniel Bunce said: “As a business with its heart in Scotland, we are excited to be announcing further growth plans across the country. Our new outlets in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen will give us key strategic locations to reach more consumers while also creating significant job opportunities throughout the country. We will also continue to explore and identify new opportunities as we forge ahead with an aggressive growth strategy for Scotland and the rest of the UK.” German Doner Kebab currently operates stores in the UK, Sweden, Dubai, Abu-Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain. In March, the company revealed it had signed a franchise agreement with the Ajlan & Bros Group for 100 stores in Saudi Arabia over the next ten years.

200 Degrees to double up in Birmingham: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees is to double its presence in Birmingham. Propel understands the eight-strong business, which is backed by Foresight Group, has lined up an opening in the city’s Temple Street. 200 Degrees already operates a site in the city’s Colmore Row. The company is also believed to be working on a possible opening in Liverpool. In December 2017, 200 Degrees received £3m investment from Foresight Group. Co-founder Rob Darby told Propel at the time the funds would allow the company to expand to between 20 and 25 sites over the next few years as well as develop the wholesale side of the business. The company recently opened its eighth site, in Lincoln’s Sincil Street, as part of the £12m Cornhill Quarter retail and leisure scheme. The 90-seater site, which features the company’s first courtyard, hosts 200 Degrees’ fifth barista school, which overlooks the coffee shop below. 200 Degrees operates two outlets in Nottingham and one each in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Leicester and Sheffield and is set to open a site in Manchester this year.
 
Nixon joins Le Pain Quotidien as director of operations: Lee Nixon has left Costa Coffee, where he was operations director UK drive-thru, to join Le Pain Quotidien, the all-day bakery and cafe concept, as director of operations. Nixon, who had been with Costa since February 2009, replaces Nicolas Gaillot, who left Le Pain Quotidien earlier this year to join Imbiba-backed wine bar business Vagabond as director of operations. Before joining Costa, which is owned by Coca-Cola, Nixon worked at Caffe Nero, TGI Friday’s and McDonald’s. At Le Pain he will report into UK managing director Adrian Johnson, the former Patisserie Valerie managing director and EAT chief executive who joined the circa 30-strong business last year. Johnson was also formerly managing director of Costa Retail. Le Pain currently operates more than 250 sites across 19 countries in cities such as New York and Paris.

Bruce Group releases second tranche of bonds as part of £20m fund-raise for growth: Edinburgh-based pub operator Bruce Pubs has released a second tranche of bonds on the NEX Exchange Growth Market as it bids to raise £20m to support its growth. The directors have announced another 10,000 bonds of £1 each have been admitted to trading. They represent the second tranche of Bruce Pubs’ 7.20% fixed-rate, secured £20m bond programme. Bruce Pubs is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bruce Group, which is based in George VI Bridge in Edinburgh. Bruce Group is a holding company, established in 2002, which owns and operates 19 bars in Edinburgh and Fife on a tenanted or managed basis through its subsidiaries. Its estate includes Whistle Binkies, the Mash House, the Fiddler’s Arms, George VI Bar, The Royal Mile Tavern, the Belle Angele, Village, Opium and Jamie’s Bar. Last month, Bruce Group predicted a threefold increase in revenues to £12m for the current financial year, up from £3.4m in 2016. The forecast came after the group recorded turnover of £6m for the first six months of the financial period. It has also announced a 30% increase in profitability during the past 12 months as it pushes ahead with its long-term expansion plans. The business said last month it had identified a “substantial” pipeline of acquisition opportunities, including a portfolio of 11 tenanted units as it looks to move into areas including Glasgow. Its board includes former RBS banker Ken Hillen, who was also head of commercial and corporate for Scotland at the Bank of Ireland until 2009.

Wolf to double up in Manchester: Italian street food restaurant Wolf is to double its presence in Manchester after securing a site in Spinningfields. The concept, which is led by Tim Entwistle, is understood to have secured the former Wahu unit in The Avenue for an opening later this year. Wolf recently opened its debut site in the city, at the Arndale Centre’s Halle Place food court. Last month the company secured its seventh site in Nottingham, in the former Graham Hill menswear shop in Market Street following a deal brokered by agent FHP. The building is being refurbished and Wolf will occupy the ground floor and basement with the upper floors converted into two-bedroom apartments. Wolf currently operates sites at Boxpark Wembley, Chiswick, Manchester, Reading (two sites) and Leeds. The brand offers an Italian-based street food menu including salad, pasta, piada and focaccia. Wahu opened in 2014, replacing an EAT site.
 
JD Wetherspoon gets go-ahead for new Edinburgh pub after varying existing bingo hall licence: JD Wetherspoon has been given the go-ahead for a new pub in Edinburgh. The company will invest £2.5m to refurbish the former Empire Bingo hall in Nicolson Street into a 400-seater pub, creating 100 jobs. The plan has been approved after Wetherspoon decided to vary the existing bingo licence instead of applying for a new one. The property is in one of the city council licensing board’s areas of over-provision, and councillors had indicated they would reject the application, reports the Edinburgh Evening News. Clerk of the licensing board Nick Smith told councillors: “It is a significant change in terms of the operation but the capacity remains unchanged. It’s an existing licence.” Wetherspoon won permission to change the premises into a pub at the third attempt last year and has now passed a licensing hurdle. Police urged councillors to turn down the application and said granting permission would be “inconsistent with protecting and improving public health”. Archie McKay, representing Wetherspoon, told councillors the proposed 9am commencement of selling alcohol would be pushed to 11am and an agreed 430 capacity reduced to 400. He added: “This particular proposal is for the former bingo hall that has laid empty for a number of years. They are licensed premises with the same trading hours and same capacity.”
 
Fletchergate Industries launches bar, kitchen and arcade for eighth Nottingham venue: Fletchergate Industries, which is behind Nottingham venues The Hockley Arts Club and Das Kino, has launched a bar, kitchen and arcade for its eighth site in the city. Penny Lane has opened in the Lace Market inspired by seaside family holidays to Blackpool and Brighton. The all-day bar and kitchen occupies a 7,000 square foot, purpose-built unit and features a “nostalgic” amusement arcade. The decor features a “1950s glam vibe”, with flashes of neon and bold-coloured textures. Operations director Michael Johnson said: “Penny Lane is our flagship venue and features some of our most exciting and adventurous ideas yet. People have bought into the concept and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We feel the bar encapsulates the vibe of family holidays, summer trips and iconic piers, and everyone having a go on the games and enjoying the food seems to fit that mood perfectly.” Fletchergate Industries’ other sites are The Walrus, The Brooklyn Social, The Bowery Club, nightclub Pom Pom and live music venue Trade.

Ei Group bolsters sustainability efforts with electric vehicle charging scheme: Ei Group is strengthening its sustainability efforts by installing electric vehicle charge points at its pub support centre in Solihull and across its managed operations business. Phase one of the scheme will see five free-to-use double chargers installed at its pub support centre. Phase two will see the installation of charging points in car parks at selected sites across the Ei managed operations business. The scheme, in partnership with provider ChargePoint Services, will then be rolled out to further pubs in the division. Paul Harbottle, group commercial director at Ei Group, said: “As a business, we are committed to reducing our environmental impact and running a more eco-friendly and sustainable operation. We have a growing number of plug-in hybrid electric cars as part of our company car fleet, so this investment in installing the charge points makes sound business sense. Electric cars are the future, so as a forward-thinking company, rolling out the installation of charge points across our managed estate gives customers another reason to visit our pubs and lets them charge up while enjoying a great experience with us. As the scheme progresses, we will also look to support publicans interested in this technology within our Ei Publican Partnerships.”

Ramside Estates takes over lease of Durham Cricket Club venue: North east-based bar and hotel group Ramside Estates has taken over the lease of a venue at Durham Cricket Club. The company has transformed the former Austin’s restaurant into Sticky Wicket. Large screens have been installed so guests can watch major sporting events while a range of sports memorabilia – including vintage cricket bats – decorate the venue. The new menu includes a range of traditional favourites such as bangers and mash and fish and chips, along with American-style grazing and sharing dishes. Jack Brown, Ramside area operations manager who also looks after Ramside’s Newcastle bars, Colonel Porter’s and Bar Beyond, said: "The venue has undergone a huge transformation and will be a great addition to the local area." Ramside Estates also owns the Ramside Hall Hotel, Golf and Spa and Hardwick Hall Hotel in County Durham.
 
New World Trading Company opens third The Florist, at Intu Watford: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company has opened the third site for its The Florist brand, in Watford. The company has launched the 9,000 square foot venue in the retail and leisure extension at the Intu Watford shopping centre. The Watford Florist features a new menu without the deli and rotisserie offerings at the brand's other sites. General manager David Morbin said: “The centre is already a very popular and vibrant retail and leisure destination and we’re pleased to be offering a new dining and drinking experience to this affluent catchment.” Rebecca Ryman, regional managing director at Intu, added: “The Florist is another exciting brand that will really benefit from our investment at Intu Watford and the new space we have created.” New World Trading Company launched The Florist in Bristol in February last year and subsequently opened a venue in Liverpool. New World Trading Company also operates The Botanist, The Oast House, The Trading House and The Canal House brands. Earlier this week it revealed plans to bring The Botanist to Warrington. The venue is set to open at the Time Square development in December.
 
Sub Cult lines up permanent site in the City: Sub Cult, the US deli-style sandwich concept, is set to open a permanent site in central London. Propel understands the award-winning street food concept, which is led by Ben Chancellor and Gareth Phillips, has secured a site in Watling Street for an opening this summer. Founded in 2014, the business has been operating out of Brockley Market and in various City locations offering weekday lunches. It was also running a pop-up that has now closed at Boxpark Shoreditch. The concept has won praise and collaborations from leading chefs David Muñoz, Tom Sellers, Dan Doherty and Tom Aikens. The business has been supported by Adam Hyman, founder of CODE Hospitality.
 
Former Eclectic national sales manager launches event planning company: Melissa McMurdock, former national sales manager of Brighton Pier Group's Eclectic Bars division, has launched a venture aimed at helping people organise their event or night out. McMurdock has started Out Out Entry, which aims to partner customers with "innovative and experiential venues and activities" across the UK. Based in Brighton, Out Out Entry organises events such as hen and stag do's as well as group outings and corporate events. The company has also teamed up with a host of venues to offer daytime and evening brunch packages. McMurdock told Propel: "We are excited to be bringing an innovative and forward-thinking third-party company to the hospitality sector. Out Out Entry will focus on working with venues to fill those 'hard to fill' time slots and maximising revenue in busy periods by partnering customers with venues for their perfect night out. I have loved building packages and events for customers over the past ten years and look forward to organising many more through Out Out Entry. I would like to thank the teams at The Deltic Group, Brighton Pier Group, Stonegate and Revolution Bars Group for being so supportive thus far." McMurdock left Eclectic Bars earlier this year after two years and has also previously worked for Stonegate Pub Company and Intertain.

Dessert bar Whisk to pop up again, at Angel Central: Dessert bar Whisk is returning for a three-month pop-up in London. Patisserie chef Simon Jenkins and entrepreneur Randon Burns have again teamed up to bring Whisk to a new home at Angel Central in Islington having agreed a deal with landlord CBRE Global Investors. The 2,100 square foot first-floor venue is double the size of its first pop-up site in Bethnal Green last year. Open five evenings a week, Whisk will offer its three-course dessert tasting menu – amuse bouche, choice of dessert from six options paired with dessert wine or tea/coffee, and petits fours to finish. Whisk will run from Tuesday, 14 May until Saturday, 3 August between 5pm and 11pm from Tuesday to Saturday. The menu will change over the course of the pop-up to incorporate seasonal British produce. Burns said: “After a successful debut in Bethnal Green, we wanted to find the perfect location for our second pop-up, and we were excited when we found this space. Islington’s affluent demographic and central London location provides us with confidence that it will be a success when we open for business over the summer."

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