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Tue 23rd Jul 2019 - Update: Starbucks, Rosa's Thai, Wingstop, Fever-Tree
Starbucks signs deal with Brightloom: Starbucks has announced a deal with Brightloom (formerly eatsa), a San Francisco and Seattle tech company that is working to create a best-in-class end-to-end digital customer experience platform for the restaurant industry. The company stated: “Starbucks is granting Brightloom a software license to select components of Starbucks proprietary digital flywheel software. In connection with the licensing agreement, Starbucks will take an equity stake in Brightloom and receive a seat on the company’s board of directors. Brightloom will combine its existing technology assets with software licensed from Starbucks industry-leading digital flywheel. The combination will lead to the development of a cloud- based software solution for the restaurant industry that will connect customers to their favorite restaurant brands – particularly valuable given the recent hypergrowth of mobile ordering and third party delivery platforms.” Brightloom plans on making available the software solutions to Starbucks global license partners and will open this platform up to the entire restaurant industry of merchants. Starbucks will continue to drive software development of the Starbucks digital flywheel for all its company operated markets. “We’re delighted to partner with Brightloom and drive a broad innovation agenda that extends relevant customer experiences from brick-and-mortar to a digital-mobile customer connection,” said Kevin Johnson, chief executive of Starbucks. “At Starbucks, we have experienced first-hand the power that comes through digital customer connections that are relevant to the customer. The results we’ve seen in customer loyalty and frequency within our digital ecosystem speak for themselves, and we’re excited to apply these innovations toward an industry solution that elevates the customer experience across the restaurant industry.”

Rosa’s strengthens head office team: Rosa’s Thai Cafe, the TriSpan-backed group, is understood to have strengthened its head office team, with two new senior appointments. Propel has learned that the Gavin Adair-led business has appointed Gillian Lambden as people director, a role she currently holds at Be at One and formerly held at Franco Manca and Itsu. Lambden will be leaving Stonegate at the end of September to take up a position with Rosa’s. She joined Be At One in May 2018, and has played a key role in both evolving the people strategy for the brand since then and also supporting the process of integrating the brand into Stonegate. Lambden’s replacement will announced in due course. At the same time, it is thought that Gavin Healy, former head of food and executive chef at Wahaca, has recently joined the 17-strong business. Healy spent ten years at Wahaca, stepping down at the end of last year. Earlier this year, Rosa’s opened its second regional site, in Leeds, at the Trinity Centre. The group made its regional debut earlier this year in Liverpool, at the Royal Albert Docks, and is believed to be in talks over sites in Manchester and Birmingham, plus several other sites in London.

Wingstop begins UK expansion, secures Dalston site: US chicken brand Wingstop is set to open its second site in the UK, after securing a unit in London’s Dalston. The company, which made its UK debut last year in Shaftesbury Avenue in the West End of London, has secured the La Petite Bretagne site in Kingsland High Street, on the same run as Tortilla and Pizza Union, for an opening later this year. Sammy Weinbaum at CDG Leisure acted on behalf Wingstop UK. Wingstop has more than 1,000 restaurants internationally, including 25 owned by US rap star Rick Ross. It said that the Shaftesbury Avenue site would be the start of a rapid UK expansion programme. In 2017, the company into an agreement with Lemon Pepper Holdings (LPH), led by Rita Sharma – the founder of Besttravel.co.uk, to launch and roll out in the UK. The plan is to grow to 75 sites over the next 12 years. The LPH board includes Saul Lewin of V2 Leisure, which was involved in launching Novikov in the UK in 2011 as well as brokering the launches of Sumosan Twiga, Park Chinois, and most recently opened MNKY HSE in the UK; as well as Tom Grogan, co-founder of Lutti London, a privately-owned real estate investment group.

Fever-Tree reports strong First Half: Fever-Tree, the supplier of premium carbonated mixers, has reported sales up 13% to £117.3m for its First Half ended 30 June 2019. Adjusted Ebitda was up 8% to £36.7m (H1 2018: £34.0m). Tim Warrillow, chief executive of Fever-Tree said: “It has been an encouraging first half for the group with growth across all our four regions, most notably in the US, where we have made significant distribution gains and operational progress. While we have not been immune to the impact of the unseasonably poor weather in the UK, we have further strengthened our market leadership position within the UK and have seen positive momentum in Europe and the rest of the world reflecting our increasingly global footprint. The move to long mixed drinks is gathering momentum and starting to win share from beer and wine. Our broad range of high-quality mixers, relationships with spirits companies, brand strength and our growing international distribution network provide us with confidence in the significant global opportunity that lies ahead for the group. Whilst we remain mindful of the tough comparators over the remainder of the summer in the UK, the board anticipates that the outcome for the full year will be in line with its expectations.”

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