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Thu 15th Aug 2019 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Bruce Pubs withdraws bonds from NEX Exchange: Bruce Pubs, a subsidiary of Scottish pub operator Bruce Group Scotland, has decided to withdraw the company’s bonds from trading on the NEX Exchange. The withdrawal date will be Friday, 6 September. The company stated: “The company’s directors have decided it is no longer in the interests of the company, its shareholders or bondholders as a whole for the company’s bonds to remain traded on the NEX Exchange. The principal effects the withdrawal will have on holders of the company’s bonds include the following – there will no longer be a formal market mechanism enabling the company’s bondholders to trade their bonds on the NEX Exchange (or on any other recognised market or trading exchange); while the company’s bonds will remain freely transferable, they may be more difficult to sell compared with the securities of other companies whose bonds are traded on the NEX Exchange (or any other recognised market or trading exchange); it may be more difficult for the company’s bondholders to determine the market value of their investment in the company at any given time.” In March this year Bruce Group Scotland, which owns 19 pubs and live music venues in Edinburgh and Fife including The Royal Mile Tavern, George IV Bar, Whistlebinkies and Stramash, said the bond offer for Bruce Pubs – which was first announced in December – would enable it rapidly grow the business. The group said it has identified a “substantial” pipeline of acquisition opportunities including a portfolio of 11 tenanted units as it looks to expand into areas including Glasgow. Kevan Fullerton, who founded the business in 1999 with Scott Piatkowski, said the fund-raising would enable it to take advantage of “excellent” potential for growth. Bruce Group aimed to raise as much as £20m for Bruce Pubs by way of bonds with a 7.2% return and secured on new acquisitions. In March, Fullerton stated on NEX Exchange: “Brexit is having an unsettling effect on the market and although initial interest in the bond has been good, there have been no significant subscriptions yet. As a board of directors, we believe we have a strong story to tell and can demonstrate a successful track record with public houses spanning back to 1999. I believe ultimately investors will recognise the value of our proposition. We continue to work with our broker and other advisers to generate interest in the bond. We are about to embark on a PR campaign to increase awareness of our fund-raising activities and generate investor interest.”

Industry News:

Premium and loose-leaf options drive tea sales in UK coffee shops: Premium and loose-leaf options are driving tea sales in UK coffee shops, according to World Coffee Portal’s annual analysis of the out-of-home tea segment. Project Tea UK 2019 estimates 3.6 million hot teas are drunk in the UK’s specialised coffee shop segment every week – 4.4% of the average UK coffee shop sales mix. Tea revenues were £302m in 2018, up 11.1% year-on-year, with UK out-of-home tea sales forecast to reach £329m for 2019, an 8.9% rise from the previous year. While UK industry leaders remain positive in their outlook for sales, almost two-fifths (37%) of tea drinkers surveyed perceive tea out of home as “poor value for money”. The report said introducing a premium range of loose-leaf tea could generate “value-driven narratives around provenance, preparation and appreciation”, which could also spark interest from the almost one-third (31%) of respondents who choose loose-leaf tea rather than tea bags. The report said major UK coffee chains such as Coffee#1, Benugo and Boston Tea Party had contributed to the tea premiumisation trend by offering scaled loose-leaf tea. The report also stated operators should seek to expand their tea ranges to boost sales, with more than one-fifth (21%) of respondents purchasing a green, herbal or fruit tea on their last visit. More than two-fifths (42%) of respondents are more likely to buy tea at independent coffee shops versus branded chains (22%) because of a desire to support local businesses and the perception independents offer “greater attention to detail in terms of tea preparation and service”. More than three-fifths (61%) of UK industry leaders surveyed described the short-term sales prospects for out-of-home tea as positive, a 6% reduction on the previous year. More than three-fifths (61%) of respondents said better-quality beverages would encourage them to drink more tea out of home, while an increased menu range would compel 40% to do so. Allegra founder and chief executive Jeffrey Young said: “Tea is yet another category of UK hospitality that’s seeing a shift towards premiumisation. Premium teas provide further opportunities for foodservice operators to increase average spend and increase the breadth of their customer base.”

Savills seeks experiential leisure brands for Paddington Central: Savills is seeking “innovative, unique and forward-thinking” experiential leisure brands after it was named leasing agent of British Land’s Paddington Central mixed-use campus. Since acquiring Paddington Central in 2013, British Land has invested almost £100m to transform the London campus, including upgrading public areas and boosting the retail and leisure offering. Foodservice operators include Azzurri Group-owned quick service Italian concept Coco di Mama, independent seafood restaurant London Shell Co and wine bar business Vagabond. Storey, British Land’s flexible workspace brand, also operates from Paddington. British Land recently submitted a planning application for 5 Kingdom Street, which includes proposals for 370,000 square feet of commercial space and 87,000 square feet of community, retail, leisure and cultural facilities in the “Box”, a former Crossrail works site. Savills leisure director Carlene Hughes said: “It is a hugely exciting time for the experiential leisure scene and we’re looking forward to acquiring innovative, unique and forward-thinking brands to join the high-calibre line-up at Paddington Central.”

East Midlands hotel becomes UK’s first to launch escape rooms for conference guests: The Yew Lodge Hotel in Kegworth, Leicestershire, has become the first in the UK to launch escape rooms for conference guests. The 113-bedroom hotel, which includes a Marco Pierre White New York Italian restaurant, 17 meeting rooms and a spa, has partnered with escape room company Houdini’s to convert two rooms themed as USS Redemption and Houdini’s Last Secret, which will house up to six people each session. Heather Thornton, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, said: “Escape room experiences are perfect for away days, corporate entertainment, team-building and recruitment. We’re always looking for ways to diversify. To be the first hotel in the country to open bespoke internal escape rooms shows we’re ahead of the curve. These rooms also have a synergy with Marco’s philosophy of eating out. Marco often says going out for a meal is a form of getting away from the hustle and bustle of daily life. This escapism allows us to sit down and enjoy a meal with friends and family so these rooms are an extension of that ethos.”

Call for entrants to Charity Pub of the Year Awards: Pubs are being asked to enter the Charity Pub of the Year Awards, organised by PubAid and the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. Entries have already been received from all sectors of the industry, including managed and leased pubs from operators such as Ei Group, Punch, Wadworth, Fuller’s, JW Lees, Hawthorn Leisure, St Austell and Joseph Holt as well as independent licensees. The competition is open until Monday, 30 September. All finalists will be invited to attend a reception with their MP in London, where the overall winner will be announced. PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “Whatever size pub you run, whether you raise money for a national charity, local cause or support your community in other ways, think about entering and receiving recognition for the great work carried out by you, your team and customers.” To enter the awards, click here

Company News:

MatchPint buys French equivalent: MatchPint, the online and mobile pub-finding platform that connects sports, pubs and brands, has announced it is set to launch in France after buying £1.1m valued Allomatch, the platform’s French equivalent. Founded in the UK, the move marks the platform’s third global territory having launched in Ireland in the spring. The Allomatch platform, founded in 2007 by friends Fabrice Bernhard and Benoît Charles-Lavauzelle, counts more than 900 bars and restaurants as customers, working with the likes of Charles Wells, Beds and Bars and a host of independent retailers to save time, engage sports customers and increase footfall. Leo MacLehose, co-founder and chief executive at MatchPint, said: “We are delighted to welcome Allomatch into the MatchPint family. Fabrice and Benoit have built a great business in France and we’re looking forward to working with Allomatch customers to deliver more value in the next year through product upgrades and international activation campaigns. You don’t have to be a sports fan to get captured by a sporting moment when surrounded by friends in a pub. We’re obviously incredibly excited to be growing into new countries. What’s great is that watching sport with friends over a beer is a shared moment without borders. Every country does it. This is the first step in proving the international scalability of the business, with a launch in Australia and New Zealand planned for December and further countries in Europe and the US in 2020.”

Monty’s Deli signs for Kerb’s Seven Dials Market: Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli has signed to open a site at Kerb’s Seven Dials Market, which will launch in London’s West End next month. Monty’s Deli started as a market stall at Kerb’s King’s Cross site in 2012 and the Seven Dials opening will be its third permanent venue following the recent closure of its much-loved Hoxton restaurant. Founded by Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt, Monty’s Deli is renowned for Jewish comfort food such as its reuben salt beef or pastrami sandwiches, with meat produced in-house alongside freshly baked bagels and homemade mustard. Ogus said: “After the heartbreak of closing our restaurant in Hoxton, it’s really great to announce we are reuniting with Kerb at Seven Dials Market. The area has an incredible heritage for some of London’s finest salt beef and we want to bring some of those wonderful flavours and Jewish deli traditions to a whole new generation.” Seven Dials Market is Kerb’s first bricks-and-mortar site and will “occupy the space between street food and the full-service restaurant experience”. The 22,000 square foot market is housed in a 19th century banana warehouse. Monty’s Deli, which has sites in Market Halls Victoria and Old Spitalfields Market, will join other brands at the venue including Claw, Club Mexicana, Yum Bun, INK, Square Root, Rice Guys, Pick & Cheese, Tim Anderson’s Nanban and a new pasta restaurant from the original Franco Manca team, Strozzapreti.

Fish and chip concept Fryday launches in Yorkshire ahead of northern roll-out: Fish and chip concept Fryday has launched its debut site, in Castleford, West Yorkshire. The venue has opened in a 955 square foot ground-floor unit in the Xscape leisure complex. Agent CBRE, which secured the venue, has been instructed to identify key sites across the north of England for the brand to roll out the concept, including a flagship restaurant set to open in central Leeds in the autumn. Fryday focuses on smoked fish and skin-on chips made to a traditional Irish recipe. It is the brainchild of Dublin-born Andrew Daly, who has worked with Diageo, Mars and Bic and has 15 years’ experience with Walmart, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. The Fryday brand was trialled on St Patrick’s Day in Trafalgar Square, which led to “inward investment for expansion”. Daly said traditional fish and chip shops had “failed to keep pace with the digital takeaway market” and Fryday would launch an online ordering service with its own app. He added: “The high-footfall locations we’re targeting will bring great food and theatre to our customer experience, where they can watch their ripple chips being cut and prepared on-site.” Ross Jackson, of CBRE, added: “We are delighted to support Fryday’s acquisition plans. We are working to find more sites throughout the UK.”

Camerons secures site for third Head of Steam in Leeds: Camerons is set to open its third Head of Steam pub in Leeds after agreeing a deal for a former bank branch. The company has agreed terms to let the former Lloyds Bank in Park Row in the city centre. The 7,500 square foot unit will open this summer as the brewer’s 16th Head of Steam in the UK, with pubs in Cardiff, Tynemouth, Sheffield, Newcastle, Nottingham, Liverpool, Hull, Durham, Manchester, Birmingham and Huddersfield. The pub chain already has a venue in Mill Hill close to Leeds station and a sister site in Headingley. Camerons Brewery chief executive Chris Soley said: “Leeds is obviously a city we know well and we’ve had great success with the two venues. We are looking for larger venues as part of our growth and we’re delighted to have found the location in Park Row. This site allows us to include our latest food menu and provide space for our experiential games area and private hire and tasting events.” James Fox, director of the retail team at CBRE in Leeds, added: “Park Row is a prominent street in Leeds city centre that fuses the financial district with the main retail district and is an excellent location for a new Head of Steam.”

Chilango’s new vegan burrito delivers highest first-week sales in company’s history: Mexican brand Chilango has reported its new vegan burrito has delivered the highest first-week sales of any limited-time offer in the company’s history. THIS Isn’t A Chicken Burrito launched on 23 July and has become the brand’s second-highest selling burrito, beaten only by the chicken burrito itself. Made from soy and pea protein, non-chicken pieces are lightly spiced with a blend of piquin, paprika and cumin, chargrilled and glazed with Chilango’s homemade salsa and a squeeze of fresh lime. The product is collaboration with THIS – a plant-based protein substitute that “looks and tastes like chicken”. Marketing director Katie Lister said: “It is a phenomenal launch for Chilango and we have been blown away by the response and feedback so far.” Vegetarian and vegan choices now make up almost 20% of Chilango’s main meal sales, growing more than 5% since 2018, with THIS Isn’t Chicken contributing by doubling its target since launch. Last month Chilango, which operates ten sites in London and one each in Birmingham and Manchester, told Propel it was looking to open more sites in the capital. 

Sales of Dragons’ Den rum soar: The boss of a West Sussex-based rum business has reported a boom in sales following his appearance on Dragons’ Den. Paul Stanley pitched Cloven Hoof Rum to the Dragons on Sunday (11 August) but failed to secure investment. Following the appearance, the company’s social media interaction has rocketed and sales have climbed. Stanley said: “I found two investors who know the industry inside out. They believe in the award-winning taste of Cloven Hoof. It was great to get the Dragons drinking Cloven Hoof Rum – the fact they didn’t invest won’t slow us down. We’ll keep on raising the Hoof and making a great success of the rum.”

Nez adds employee rewards feature: Nez, the London-based food and drinks offer app, has launched a new feature, Nez Perks, which enables companies to reward employees with credit for local restaurants, cafes and bars. Nez Perks encourages companies to reward employees with a meal from a nearby restaurant or cafe, with local partners reaping the benefits of increased footfall and higher retention rates. Nez stated: “This is an exciting development for London’s food-to-go sector as it creates a platform for restaurants to connect directly with local consumers and develop a regular customer base at scale. When an office joins Nez Perks, employees are given a weekly or monthly top-up with the amount chosen by the employer to use at one of our partners. The employee can use their credit at one of Nez’s partners, all discoverable via the Nez app.” Nez Perks is currently available at more than 350 London food and drinks partners including Benugo, K10, The Good Yard and Honi Poke. These partners are also benefiting from the social aspect of Nez Perks as the majority of users are using their credit as a reason to go out for lunch with other members of their team. Honi Poke founder Vladimir Martynov said: “Nez Perks is exactly what I’ve been looking for from a food app. It brings in regular and locally based customers and, more often than not, they come in as a group. We’re already seeing the benefits on a weekly basis.” Nez Perks tackles the challenge of pleasing a large team with one offering by providing a variety of options from its numerous partners. Since the launch of Nez Perks, the platform has seen a 78% employee uptake with a 4.6 satisfaction rating at partner offices. Founder and chief executive Joe Zender said: “We are always looking for new ways to drive footfall for our restaurant partners and Nez Perks is undoubtedly doing that. We believe this is going to revolutionise the way employers reward their staff and create a strong loyal customer base for our restaurant, cafe and bar partners.”

Chipotle pays $700,000 in bonuses through new worker retention programme: Chipotle has shared $700,000 among more than 2,600 workers as part of the cash bonus incentive programme it launched in June. The employees, who work at 135 restaurants in the US and Canada, are the first hourly workers to benefit from a new quarterly cash bonus programme that rewards employees with a week’s worth of pay in exchange for helping restaurants meet sales, throughput and cash-flow targets. The bonuses are calculated by averaging each employee’s weekly pay per quarter, with the initiative launched to tackle Chipotle’s 144.9% turnover rate. Chief people officer Marissa Andrada told Nation’s Restaurant News: “It is exciting to see how many locations qualified and the high level of engagement from our restaurant teams.” Other Chipotle perks include a $5,250 annual tuition assistance programme and an end-of-year cash bonus.

Birmingham’s Nocturnal Animals closes after star chef departs: Birmingham bar and restaurant Nocturnal Animals has announced its closure only days after the departure of its star chef. Earlier this week head chef and founder Alex Claridge announced his immediate departure from Nocturnal Animals, which opened in November. Claridge said his decision to leave the Bennetts Hill venue with immediate effect would enable him to focus on The Wilderness in the Jewellery Quarter. Nocturnal Animals tweeted: “Since Alex Claridge’s departure the business owners for Nocturnal Animals have regrettably taken the decision to close the venue for the foreseeable future while they make a plan. We want to thank everyone for the support shown since opening and our team for all their hard work and dedication. For anyone that has gift vouchers for the venue, these will be honoured at The Wilderness.”

Hotelier receives £17m funding package: The owner of two four-star resorts in Shropshire and Hampshire has secured a finance package of £17m for ambitious development programmes. Lion Quays Resort in Oswestry and Langstone Quays Resort on Hayling Island in Hampshire are owned by Dr Ashok Bansal and family, whose portfolio includes a number of nursing homes in Wales and IT company Medic Creations. The new funding arrangement from Allied Irish Bank (GB) will enable Dr Bansal to continue his ambitious development programmes at both luxury resorts. Lion Quays was purchased by the Bansal family in 2015. Set on the Llangollen Canal near Shrewsbury, the resort’s facilities include 82 bedrooms, seven conference and events suites catering for up to 400 guests, two restaurants and Café Ash, which opened in the spring. Lion Quays has already benefited from a £1.5m investment in its bedrooms, conference rooms, waterside restaurants and bar. A further £1m is planned to extend the resort’s leisure club and spa facilities. Langstone Quays was added to the Bansal family’s portfolio a year ago. Located on Chichester Harbour in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the 148-bedroom resort has already benefited from a £1.2m investment including the regeneration of the bar, restaurant and wedding and events suite. A further £1m is planned to create a “unique leisure destination”.

Michelin-starred chef Robert Ortiz to open first solo restaurant, in Birmingham next month: Robert Ortiz, the Michelin-starred chef behind acclaimed Peruvian restaurant Lima in Fitzrovia, is to open his debut solo site, in Birmingham next month. Ortiz will launch Chakana at a former bank branch in Alcester Road, Moseley. The 60-cover restaurant takes its name from ancient symbol the Incan Cross. Chakana will feature a stripped-back design with textures and colours inspired by Peruvian weaving. The venue will also feature a bar and private dining area, while the menu will focus on classic Peruvian dishes such as sea bream ceviche and beef pachamanca. Drinks will include wine, cocktails and a spirits list specialising in traditional Peruvian brandy pisco. Ortiz said: “Birmingham has always had a place in my heart and after seeing the way the city is flourishing, I could think of no better place to open my first restaurant.” Ortiz became head chef of Lima in 2012 and gained his Michelin star a year later, making Lima Europe’s first Peruvian restaurant to receive the honour.

Itsu joins Refill initiative: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has joined City To Sea’s Refill campaign aimed at reducing public reliance on single-use plastic water bottles. Itsu has committed to offering free tap water refills at its 73 UK sites to customers who bring a reusable bottle – regardless of whether they make a purchase. A Refill sticker will be displayed on store windows with all sites added to City To Sea’s app, which tells users where the nearest Refill point is. The interactive map currently lists more than 20,000 Refill points across the UK, with dozens of businesses having joined the campaign since its launch in 2017. Other foodservice companies involved in the campaign include Greggs, Pret A Manger, Starbucks, Leon, Costa and The Inn Collection Group. City To Sea aims to have Refill locations in every UK town and city by 2021. Head of campaigns and marketing Jo Morley told Edie: “We have made good headway in tackling the high street but we know from our own research one of the biggest barriers to people refilling is a lack of facilities when they’re travelling.” 

Speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo to start expansion with Fitzrovia site: London-based speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo is to start expansion by opening a site in Fitzrovia next month. The company, which is led by Can Eren, launched its debut cafe and roastery in Richmond in June 2018. It will now open a central London site in Margaret Street offering breakfast and lunch to eat in or take away alongside sustainably sourced coffee. Kiss the Hippo Fitzrovia’s menu will include vegan banana cake, scrambled eggs on sourdough toast, desserts and baked goods such as a cinnamon roll with white chocolate icing. Set across two floors, the venue will feature a minimalist look with “exposed beech accents and Scandinavian-style furniture”. Kiss the Hippo said it is dedicated to supporting the people at every link of its coffee chain – from the “farmers who grow the coffee to the guests who enjoy the final cup”. 

Hoxton to launch seafood restaurant on new Southwark hotel’s rooftop: Hoxton, the hotel brand owned by investment company Ennismore Capital, is to open a rooftop restaurant at its new Southwark site. Seabird will be a Mediterranean-inspired, seafood restaurant on the 14th floor when the hotel opens on Friday, 6 September. Hoxton has teamed up with restaurateurs Joshua Boissy and Krystof Zizka, of acclaimed New York bar and restaurant Maison Premiere, whose menu will feature the “largest selection of oysters available in a London restaurant” alongside a wide-ranging crudo menu. There will also be a raw bar, while the decor will include whitewashed floors, Mediterranean tiling and tables topped with scallop-edged tiles. The space will also feature a heated terrace for year-round dining, the Evening Standard reports. Cocktails will come frozen, bottled or on draught, with a wine list focusing on biodynamic varieties from small European producers. Hoxton operates hotels in Shoreditch and Holborn, with international sites in Paris, Amsterdam and the US. 

TRG eyes ready-meals market, adds further delivery brands: The Restaurant Group (TRG), the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s operator, is believed to be eyeing the ready meals market. Propel has learned TRG has trademarked the name Meals Made, not for restaurant use but aimed more at the retail market, suggesting a range of ready meals/products is in development. Earlier this year the company launched two concession trials in supermarkets under the names Mezze Box and Grains & Greens. At the same time, the company has further ramped up its portfolio of delivery brands with the launch of a further Indian-focused concept and a Korean concept. As first revealed by Propel Premium, Daily Naan joins the group’s other delivery brands – Jumping Pans and Pyjama Hotel – in being made available through Just Eat out of the Foodstars unit in Battersea. The latter two brands are also available through UberEats. Daily Naan’s menu includes naan wraps priced from £6.50 to £9.50 and “curry combos” priced from £11 to £12. TRG has also launched Korean concept K-Bird, which offers chicken dishes at £5.95 and bao buns at £6.95. Earlier this year, Propel revealed TRG had added a further burger delivery concept thought its Frankie & Benny’s brand. The group has begun to roll out Stacks, which comes with the slogan “stack it up, pack it in and we’ll begin”, and offers eight types of burger including chicken katsu, buffalo blue and smoky beet, priced between £5 and £8. Last year TRG launched virtual brands Burger Burger and Kick Ass Burrito through its Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito concepts respectively. Earlier this year Propel revealed it had added a further two virtual brands to its portfolio. Through Chiquito it now offers the Cornstar Tacos virtual brand in circa 40 sites while the Birdbox brand, which focuses on chicken and burgers, is available through Frankie & Benny’s.

Sunderland-based restaurant owner takes over former Camerons pub for third site: The owner of Sunderland restaurant Mexico 70 and spin-off kiosk Mexico 73 has taken over a pub in the city that had been operated by Camerons Brewery for the past four years. Neil Bassett has taken over the Ship Isis in Silksworth Row, which is owned by the University of Sunderland. Earlier this month Camerons announced it wouldn’t renew its lease at the grade II-listed pub. All staff members have been retained, while Bassett intends to launch a new food offering and live music. He told the Sunderland Echo: “We had heard the lease was ending and various rumours about who might take it over and were worried it could destroy the soul of the place. You’ve got to know Sunderland to take over a place like Ship Isis. The food will be casual dining that suits the venue. We’ll use the same kitchen team as Mexico 70. This is a good, honest Sunderland pub with a great beer range. It won CAMRA’s Sunderland and South Tyneside Pub of the Year for 2019.”

Birmingham-based nightclub operator acquires city centre restaurant for new bar and late-night concept: Wayne Tracey, who operates Birmingham nightclub Snobs Bar & Grill, has acquired a city centre restaurant for a new bar and late-night concept. An office and banking hall until the 1990s, the grade II-listed property on the corner of Colmore Row and Waterloo Street was converted into burger and lobster restaurant Nosh & Quaff before it was rebranded to New York grill concept Jailbird. Tracey plans to launch premium bar and late-night concept Theatrix at the site at the end of the month. He said: “We are looking forward to opening Theatrix this August bank holiday in arguably one of Birmingham’s best locations, Colmore Row. We are working hard to restore the original details. Expect a relaxed atmosphere by day and spectacular entertainment at night.” Joshua Sullivan, senior business agent at Christie & Co, who handled the sale, said: “Birmingham appears to be bucking the trend with new operators entering the city centre such as Flight Club, Rudy’s and Franco Manca and this supports a positive outlook for the leisure sector.” Tracey is also due to commence trading at the former Bureau Bar in Colmore Row later this year. 

German hotelier Meininger submits plans for first north of England site: German hotelier Meininger has submitted plans for its second UK site and first in the north of England. Working with developer S Harrison, Meininger proposes to build a 12-storey hotel in Great Ancoats Street, Manchester. The 212-room hybrid hotel would include private rooms and dormitories and provide 785 beds in total. There would also be a lounge, breakfast room, bar, guest kitchens and a games room. Subject to planning, the hotel is expected to open in January 2022. The proposed site is currently a car park. S Harrison managing director Ann Scott told Place North West: “As well as bringing a leading hotel operator to Manchester, this development will complement regeneration work in this popular part of the city. Meininger is also looking to open a three-star, 90-bedroom hotel in Liverpool and is eyeing sites in Belfast, Cambridge, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Meininger has 26 hotels in Europe and opened its first UK site in London’s Hyde Park in 2006. It also plans to expand into the US with a hotel in Washington DC.

Curtice Brothers wins Great Taste Award: Curtice Brothers Organic Ketchup has been awarded a Great Taste Award for the second year running. The product was one of more than 12,700 from over 100 countries judged by a panel that described the ketchup’s flavour as “honest and fresh-tasting”. Curtice Brothers co-founder and chief executive Mario C Bauer said the company was looking to evolve the brand towards the hotel and restaurant sectors with a “focus on the European market”. Simeon and Edgar Curtice founded Curtice Brothers in 1868 in Rochester, New York, but the name was abandoned in the 1940s. Bauer and a group of restaurant executives revived the brand in early 2014. It has also launched an organic mayonnaise.

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