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Wed 27th Nov 2019 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Laine Pub Company to launch music venue and ‘vinyl bar’ in Birmingham this week: Multiple pub operator and brewer The Laine Pub Company will open a music venue and “vinyl bar” in Birmingham on Thursday (28 November). The company will launch Dead Wax Digbeth in the former Wagon & Horses pub in Adderley Street  – one of three venues it acquired when it bought Urban Art Bar earlier this year. Dead Wax Digbeth will be housed in a renovated and expanded building incorporating two music spaces upstairs, both with capacity for 120 people, and one outside in the “Duck Bath” yard with space for 230 gig-goers. The main bar will have a capacity of 100 and serve craft beer and pizza. Visitors will be able to play albums and singles from the bar’s 4,000-strong record collection and enjoy vinyl-only sets from a line-up of DJs. Manager Ben Drummond told The Business Desk: “It is an incredibly challenging time for venues and bars in the city and across the UK so we’re doubly thrilled to bring Dead Wax Digbeth to life with a team that has worked hard to create a very special offering.” Laine Pub Company is backed by Patron Capital. It operates more than 60 pubs, mainly in London and Brighton, and produces a range of craft beer in its production brewery in Sussex and three brewpubs. The group also operates five pubs in its Mash Inns partnership with Ei Group. Earlier this month the company launched a brewing apprenticeship for its beer business, Laine Brew Co.

Industry News:

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator day two line-up revealed: Details have been revealed of the day two line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its third year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Day two will feature Supersonic’s Mark McCulloch, who will reveal the change marketers need to make in 2020 to be successful. Moreton Reynolds director Mimi Moreton will ask Emine Mehmet, senior group digital manager at Inception Group, and Rosie Prior, digital and brand manager at Petersham Nurseries, how they develop digital strategies that build audiences, engage their community and deliver for their brands. Sam Bourke, director of sales and marketing at ETM Group, and Wireless Social chief executive Julian Ross will share how ETM Group has leveraged technology to capture and segment data to deliver real-time personalised guest engagement, targeted loyalty and sponsored promotions. Typhoon Hospitality general manager Rachel Persoon will chair a panel featuring consultant Emily Chambers; Virginia Anne Newton, director of media relations and special events at Restaurant Geranium; and Josh Craddock, food and beverage marketing director at The Doyle Collection; who will share tips on promoting premium experiences. Daniel Davies, group chief executive of Rockpoint Leisure, will reveal how he is engaging local creatives across startup businesses in his New Brighton regeneration scheme. Puttshack marketing director Sophie Evans will talk about taking on a new challenge in the experiential leisure sector and how she gains buy-in and delivers a strategy that drives real commercial results. Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will interview Be At One co-founder Rhys Oldfield about his journey from bartender to building and exiting the 32-strong cocktail bar group. Olive & Key founder Callan Price will lead a panel featuring Hayley Simpson, of Lucky Pineapple; Josh Jarvis, of Wingshack; Andy Young, of Black Milk; and Ragnar Eiríksson, of Vínstúkan Tíu Wine Bar; who will discuss their concepts and share their entrepreneurial journey. SpiceBox founder Grace Regan will reveal why she left Silicon Valley to start a restaurant concept in London. Think Hospitality partner Heleri Rande will lead a panel featuring London Union founder Jonathan Downey and Graffiti Spirits Group co-founder Matt Farrell to discuss the evolution of food halls. City Pantry chief operating officer Sharon Lee will host a panel featuring Wagamama business development director Andre Johnstone, Eatclever co-founder Robin Himmels, and Pizza Hut Restaurants UK head of marketing Priten Mistry to discuss the formats and opportunities being fuelled by the growth of delivery and take out. Matthew Bushby, UK marketing director of Just Eat, will share insights into the evolving delivery market and advise how brands can increase their visibility and order volumes. Emma Causer, group sales and marketing director at Zonal, will lead a panel featuring Tortilla managing director Richard Morris, Sushi Shop chief executive Christopher Jones and Marco Pierre White Restaurants managing director Brandie Deignan on how to create a culture that embraces and encourages innovation. Laura Vana, head of research and development at Siigur Restaurants, will explain why it’s important to let children enjoy their food in a creatively messy way and how restaurants can develop their relationship with food. Meanwhile, Adam Handling Restaurants chief executive Adam Handling; Villa Mama founder and chief executive Roaya Saleh; Bistrot Pierre marketing director Arpita Anstey; Remarkable Pubs managing director Elton Mouna; and Think Hospitality chairman Michael Ingemann will determine the biggest challenges the industry faces for the next 20 years and suggest how to overcome them. Click here for the day one line-up. Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place, London, are £575 plus VAT for operators for the two days and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Propel Premium subscribers to receive Mark Derry video in latest from exclusive series on how to succeed in the casual dining market: Propel Premium subscribers will receive their latest video on Wednesday (27 November) as part of a series in which some of the sector’s top casual dining operators talk about their progress in the current challenging market. The videos feature a wide spectrum of company leaders and entrepreneurs talking about the strategies they have put in place to make sure their businesses have been able to survive, thrive, evolve or pivot. The latest video features Brasserie Bar Co chairman Mark Derry, who talks about the steps the group continually takes to make it future-proof – from moving into the pub sector to its daily quest to control costs and improve NPS scores. Videos will be sent out each day at 5pm and 2pm on a Friday. 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 columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,500 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

BII reveals 2019 NITAs winners: The British Institute of Innkeepers (BII) has revealed the winners of the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) for 2019. The NITAs, held in association with and organised by Propel, recognise those companies and individuals for whom people and training are at the heart of their business. The winners were revealed during a ceremony at the Café de Paris in London’s West End. The winners were – Best Casual Dining Training Programme: The Grey Mare; Best Training Programme – Leased & Tenanted: Greene King; Best Training Programme – Managed Under 50: Brewhouse & Kitchen; Best Training Programme – Managed Over 50: BrewDog; HR Manager of the Year: Lee Woolley, of Stonegate Pub Company; Best Apprenticeship Training Programme: Fuller’s; Most Innovative Recruitment Strategy: Brewhouse & Kitchen; and Professional Trainer of the Year: Alex Double, of Brewhouse & Kitchen. The Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award was chosen by a panel led by Beds and Bars chief executive and founder Keith Knowles. The award recognises an individual working in the on-licensed retail sector who leads by example and demonstrates training and people are at the core of what they do. This year the award went to Brewhouse & Kitchen chief executive and founder Kris Gumbrell. Meanwhile, outgoing BII chief executive Mike Clist was also recognised with a Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement award. Clist said: “The NITAs are a vital part of recognising and celebrating the most successful individuals and businesses in the licensed retail market. All the finalists have shown they value, support and champion their people by continuing to invest in and develop their training programmes. Encouraging further innovation in our fantastic industry is key to ensuring businesses thrive for years to come.”

Reviews show beef can ‘make or break’ an operator’s Sunday roast: Beef is the ingredient that can “make or break” a roast dinner when dining out, according to new data from guest feedback service Feed It Back, with the word “beef” driving more than one-quarter (28%) of positive reviews. Conversely, “beef” also features in more than two-fifths (42%) of all negative reviews, indicating its importance in a roast dinner, the company said. The way beef is cooked is also important to consumers, with the word “cook” featuring in almost one-fifth (18%) of positive reviews across the industry. Guests unhappy with how their beef was cooked often referred to it as “tough”. Chicken and pork are less likely to drive endorsement across the sector, accounting for 6% and 4% of positive reviews respectively. However, both meats accounted for more than one-fifth (21%) of negative reviews, indicating customers aren’t wowed by the product but expect a certain level of quality. Potatoes are another key component in a roast dinner, with almost half (47%) of negative reviews in the pub and bar and restaurant sectors referencing the word “potato”, with “cold” and “hard” the most common complaints. Yorkshire puddings are also a key driver of negative reviews, accounting for more than one-quarter (27%) of all bad feedback, with “greasy” the biggest complaint trigger word, while gravy made up 14% of positive reviews. Guests disappointed with gravy described it as “tasteless” or “watery” and also referred to quantity. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “Roast on a Sunday is a special occasion and the insight shows consumer expectations are high. Beef – often the most premium meat on the menu – is a make or break plate item that will leave guests feeling satisfied or disappointed.”

Mobile technology continues to shape eating and drinking out sector: Mobile technology and a quest for interactive and personalised experiences is shaping the out-of-home eating and drinking sector, according to the latest GO Technology report from Zonal and CGA. The quarterly report, which tracks the hospitality technology habits of 5,000 British adults, revealed almost one-quarter (22%) of 18 to 24-year-olds use a smartphone to settle their bill. However, trust and lack of personalisation are key barriers to more widespread uptake, with almost one-fifth (16%) refusing to order via their mobile because of “customisation issues”. A similar number (17%) of respondents would pay by mobile more often if they had “confidence in the payment app”, suggesting brands should prioritise establishing customer trust. Almost one-quarter (22%) would be tempted to pay by mobile more often if they were offered an exclusive, app-based loyalty scheme. The typical monthly spend on eating and drinking out by those who pay by smartphone is £97 per month – £14 more than the British average – revealing further opportunities for operators. More than one-quarter (26%) of respondents use their mobile to find a restaurant, while 23% use it to check a menu, a 7% rise since mid-2018. The number of people using a mobile device to book has also risen during the period, from 14% to 20%. When it comes to technology such as augmented reality (AR), one-quarter (25%) of 18 to 24-year-olds believe AR in menus and ordering would enhance their visit. Zonal group product director Alison Vasey said: “As dietary requirements and preferences evolve, coupled with the growth in delivery and click and collect, the ability to customise orders within apps will become more important. However, it’s important brands don’t lose sight of the personal touch and any technology solution adopts the brand’s personality to build trusted relationships that last.” Karl Chessell, business unit director of food and retail at CGA, added: “Mobile devices are transforming the way people and brands interact but, as with all forms of technology, there’s still a huge opportunity to improve engagement. Establishing trust, focusing on convenience and rewarding loyalty are just three of many ways to achieve that. Operators that provide a secure and satisfying mobile experience can secure an important edge in an ultra-competitive market.”

Top ten ingredients used in Michelin restaurants are meat-free, says study: The ten most-used ingredients in Michelin restaurants are meat-free with more than half of them vegan, according to a new study by online shop Sous Chef. The ingredients are potato, beetroot, lemon, mushroom, apple and tomato (all vegan), with chocolate (vegetarian) top of the list and caviar, lobster and crab (pescatarian). Potato and caviar both appeared on more than two-thirds (72%) of the online menus analysed, behind chocolate (80%). Beef, chicken, pork and lamb appear much further down the list, according to the study. Pork was the top-ranked meat, appearing on 52% of menus, ahead of duck, chicken, beef and lamb. Sous Chef founder Nicola Lando said: “Eating less meat requires cooks to be slightly more imaginative in the kitchen so it’s exciting to see Michelin chefs finding unusual ways to serve meat-free dishes.”

Job of the week: COREcruitment is seeking an ambitious and passionate operations director for a London-based luxury food and beverage company. The business is looking for candidates from a retail, restaurant or hotel background who must have experience and knowledge of premium/luxury products and high-end customer service. The candidate will have national responsibility and must have strong knowledge of high-revenue businesses and experience in a senior, multi-site group leadership role. The basic salary is between £150,000 and £200,000 plus bonus and benefits, with a relocation package available for the right candidate. For more information or a confidential chat, email Hollie@corerecruitment.com

Company News:

Japanese fusion cafe concept Sushi Cupcake to take over Dayrooms Café space in Holborn: Japanese fusion cafe concept Sushi Cupcake is to launch in Holborn, central London, before Christmas. The grab-and-go venue will open in Theobalds Road, catering to the area’s large demographic of office workers. As well as sushi cupcakes, the concept will offer noodle bowls, sides, smoothies, a matcha bar, desserts and Japanese-style breakfast. The 355 square foot venue was formerly occupied by The Dayrooms Café, which will now focus on its venue in Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill. The lease for the unit is on assignment. Danielle Agami and Gabriella Sether, surveyors at Restaurant Property, both acted on the deal. They said: “Sushi Cupcake will open its first site in a beautifully refurbished unit perfect for its innovative concept and in line with its trendy fit-out plans.” No other agents were involved in the deal. Australian boutique lifestyle brand The Dayrooms launched its debut café in Notting Hill in July 2017, expanding to Theobalds Road for a second site a few months later. Zumrud Mammadova and Aytan Mehdiyeva launched The Dayrooms to provide a “UK stage for rising stars and emerging young Australian talent”, opening a womenswear shop in Westbourne Grove. 

Douglas Jack cuts TRG profit before tax forecasts by 5% again: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has cut his profit before tax forecasts on The Restaurant Group (TRG) by 5% again after the business indicated recent trading had been tough and Wagamama saw a slowdown in like-for-like sales. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 145p, Jack said: “Wagamama’s recent decline in like-for-like sales growth could be attributed to tough comparables. In the same period last year like-for-like sales were up 12.0% so the two-year run-rate was 9% per annum, consistent with the like-for-like sales of the previous three quarters. Could there be more to it than that? Wagamama’s 6.3% like-for-like sales were split evenly between like-for-like price, volume and delivery, which means the pace of delivery growth has slowed from 4% even though delivery is meant to be in high growth and unaffected by the drag of declining retail and leisure park footfall. Against this footfall backdrop, 2% to 4% in-store like-for-like volume growth was never going to be sustainable over the long term due to current capacity constraints during peak trading periods. Over the first 34 weeks, group like-for-like sales were up 3.7%. As Wagamama’s were up 9% during this period, the rest of the company was up circa 1%. Given the subsequent change in Wagamama’s like-for-like sales and the trading backdrop – the company cited disruption at Gatwick due to Thomas Cook and tough cinema comparables – we estimate group like-for-like sales are now up almost 3% after 46 weeks. Circa 3% like-for-like sales are slightly ahead of our full-year forecast assumption – but it needs to be under the current unhelpful backdrop. Wagamama’s £54.9m moving annual total Ebitda with 147 sites is £1.5m ahead of our forecast at the time of the acquisition. We cut our forecasts by 5% in September and we are cutting our 2020E and 2021E forecasts by circa 5% to reflect less optimistic trading trends and no drop in interest costs. TRG’s valuation isn’t strenuous – it could unlock some upside by selling some assets. For example, we estimate selling its pubs could lever the company and generate a circa 20% jump in equity value. However, it would also make the business wholly reliant on leasehold restaurants while taking away one of the pillars that supports like-for-like sales.”

Restaurateur Alessio Matrone opens third site for IT restaurant and gallery concept, in Mayfair: Restaurateur Alessio Matrone, who launched bar restaurant IT Ibiza in 2015 and a sister site in Milan in March this year, has brought the brand to London. The restaurant has launched in Mayfair’s Dover Street offering dinner, aperitivo, art and Balearic DJs. Chef Gennaro Esposito, of two Michelin-starred restaurant La Torre del Saracino on Italy’s Amalfi coast, has created the menu at the former art gallery, which doubles as a space for emerging artists. Esposito’s menu includes pomodoro with homemade tomato sauce; olive soup with almond fennel purée and scabbardfish; and IT’s signature dish, which features raw sea bass, red prawns and tuna served in a glass ball. The venue also offers thin-crust pizza while brunch is served all day on Sunday. IT Ibiza offers a restaurant and bar, while IT Milan features two restaurants and a bistro.

Breddos Tacos and Belzan founders to open Mexican taqueria in Liverpool next month: Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney, who have grown Mexican concept Breddos Tacos in a joint venture with Gleneagles owner Ennismore, will open a Mexican taqueria in Liverpool next month having joined forces with the founders of city restaurants Belzan and Volpi. They will launch Madre at the Royal Albert Dock on Saturday, 7 December. The 100-cover restaurant, opening at the grade I-listed site on the Atlantic Pavilion, will offer seating over two floors, a dedicated bar, and a large courtyard. Madre, which means “mother” in Spanish, has been inspired by the food culture of Mexico City. The Breddos and Belzan partnership was born after a sell-out pop-up in Liverpool last year. Lunch at Madre will feature a varied selection of tacos, while the evening menu will also feature larger sharing plates. The drinks list will focus on margaritas, craft beer and natural wine.

Bottles & Battles founders to open second site for Italian wine bar concept, in Chelsea next month: Franco Mancini and Daniele Marano, founders of wine merchant Bottles & Battles in Mercato Metropolitano in Borough, are to launch a second site for their Italian wine bar concept Bottles next month. The pair, who have teamed up with pop-up restaurant Sood for the venture, will open the venue in Chelsea on Monday, 9 December. The venue in Draycott Avenue will add to the debut Bottles site in Spitalfields Market, which opened in July 2018. The concept focuses on regional Italian wine made by independent producers and small farms alongside Italian small plates. The Chelsea site will also offer fresh juice, light lunches and an aperitivo menu influenced by “classic Italian tipples”. The glass-fronted, 50-cover wine bar will feature a timber wine wall, with guests able to buy their favourite bottles, a copper-topped bar, and seating set alongside a cheese and meat display. The white and blue-tiled dining area will be set beneath a central skylight, while the downstairs dining room will host private dinners and Italian supper clubs.

Heavenly Desserts lodges plans for York site: Artisan dessert restaurant Heavenly Desserts has lodged plans for a site in York. The company has applied to the city council to convert the former premium fashion shop Van Mildert in Blake Street, which shut earlier this year, reports York Press. A planning statement accompanying the application reads: “Heavenly Desserts recently agreed to let the unit with the view of expanding its growing cafe/restaurant franchise offering a range of luxury desserts in stylish, modern outlets. Although there has been interest from new tenants, in particular for the use of the premises for restaurant and cafe uses, no end user was secured. The lack of interest means if the application proposal is refused the unit is likely to lie empty.” Heavenly Desserts was founded in 2008. Last week it agreed a deal for a site at International Quarter London in Stratford – its first outlet in the capital.

Esquires Coffee opens in Stratford-upon-Avon: Esquires Coffee has opened its latest store, in Stratford-upon-Avon. The venue has launched in Alcester Road in the Arden Quarter offering the brand’s 2019 Christmas menu and a new drinks range in partnership with luxury popcorn brand Joe & Seph’s. The range includes a peanut butter hot chocolate and spiced mulled toffee apple, all served with triple chocolate popcorn. Esquires’ festive menu includes turkey and vegan nut roast sandwiches and peanut butter tray bakes. Store owner Martin Brown said: “We’re so happy to launch Esquires Coffee in Stratford – it’s a wonderful opportunity.” Doug Williamson and Gary Buckland founded Esquires Coffee in Vancouver in 1993. The brand expanded to the UK in 2000, where it now operates more than 40 sites.

Whistle Punks opens fourth site, in Bristol: Urban axe-throwing operator Whistle Punks, which is backed by Edition Capital, has opened its fourth site, in Bristol. The company has launched the site at the former Panache nightclub in All Saints Street. The venue features six axe-throwing lanes alongside a menu of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. On the food side Whistle Punks is working with Bristol-based pizza brand Pizzarova. Jools Whitehorn and John Nimmons launched Whistle Punks in 2016, which also operates sites in Birmingham, Manchester and London. Earlier this year the company secured £1.5m of new investment from Edition Capital that will enable the business to expand across the UK as the popularity of alternative sports and experiential leisure continues to rise.

Indian street kitchen and bar concept Indico opens second site, in Birmingham: Midlands-based Indian street kitchen and bar concept Indico has opened its second site. Owner Faheem Badur has added to his venue in Parkgate Shopping Centre in Shirley with a site at the Mailbox in Birmingham after agreeing a deal with complex owner Milligan. Indico’s menu is inspired by the north Indian street food scene and focuses on chaat and curry. As at its sister site, interiors at the Mailbox include bespoke artwork and graffiti. The venue, which sits by the Canalside entrance on Level 3, also offers beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. Badur said: “A lot of time and thought has gone into our new Indico restaurant. We wanted to remain true to our vibrant street food roots while creating a new experience at Mailbox. While Mailbox already has a fantastic collection of retailers, entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, we felt there was a real opportunity for a desirable and authentic Indian eatery to add to the mix.” David Pardoe, head of marketing, retail and tenant engagement at Mailbox, added: “Our customers have expressed a demand for a unique Indian experience so we’re pleased to add Indico to our offering.”

Wadworth crowns its ‘best of the best’: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has recognised the stand-out pubs and people from its managed and tenanted estates at its Best Of The Best Awards. The annual event took place this week at The Bear Hotel in Devizes, Wiltshire, with the 27 winners including Danny and Tara Adams, who run The Greyhound in Bromham, who scooped the best tenanted business partners award for the second year in a row. Other winners included Chris Masters, of The Hadley Bowling Green in Hadley (best manager); and Chris Dickinson and Sean Brady, of the Crown Inn in Tolldown (best managed turnaround pub). Chief executive Chris Welham said: “Our pubs are special and these awards recognise the dedication and hard work that goes into creating some of the great British pubs. The biggest winners are the communities that have these pubs at their heart.”

Brother Marcus opens third and largest site, at Spitalfields Market: Balham-based brunch brand Brother Marcus has opened its third and largest site to date, at Spitalfields Market. Founded by Alex Large, Arthur Campbell and Tasos Gaitanos, the concept focuses on eastern Mediterranean cuisine. The venue in Crispin Place is lined with banquette seating, with larger tables for groups, and features flagstone flooring and wicker lampshades. A large bread oven bakes pide (flatbread), while there is a dedicated grab-and-go salad counter that also offers falafel in wraps and pittas. In the evening the venue serves cocktails, natural wine and slow-cooked mezze dishes. The pergola-covered courtyard features hanging plants, festoon lighting and heaters, while the outdoors counter serves coffee, in-house pastries and salad to go, turning into a cocktail bar in the evening. A Brother Marcus spokesman said: “Our new home feels elevated and refined. Brother Marcus is growing up.” The debut Brother Marcus opened in Balham, with a second site launching in Islington in June 2018.

Café Rouge launches Snowman-themed afternoon tea: Casual Dining Group brand Café Rouge has launched a festive afternoon tea inspired by Raymond Briggs’ iconic book The Snowman. The offer, which is in partnership with publishing house Penguin Ventures and is available until 5 January, includes croque monsieur with pigs in blankets, scones dusted with snow (icing sugar), strawberry jam, clotted cream, marshmallow chocolate cheesecake, carrot cake, and white chocolate mousse topped with a “snowball”. Café Rouge head of marketing Jaci Fletcher said: “We have managed to capture precious Christmas memories and give them back to guests in the form of something edible!”

Meliá to open Mediterranean and British fusion restaurant in South Kensington this week: Spanish group Meliá Hotels is to open a restaurant with a fusion of Mediterranean and British cuisine at its Hotel London Kensington site in South Kensington this week. The 74-cover SW7 will launch on Saturday (30 November) with decor heavily inspired by the nearby V&A museum’s designer, William Morris. The bar will serve cocktails inspired by Morris’ designs and love of nature, while the kitchen will be headed by Javier Rodrigo Alviz, who has worked at the Waldorf Hilton, Claridge’s and Adam Handling’s The Frog in Covent Garden. Alviz most recently headed up Melia’s White House restaurant in Regent’s Park. His menu at SW7 will include an Italian blues burger with gorgonzola and figs.

Angus Steakhouse becomes first UK restaurant chain to serve Aberdeen Angus Pure: London brand Angus Steakhouse has become the first UK restaurant chain to serve Aberdeen Angus Pure steak. The company has worked with farmers, logistics experts and butchers to source and supply pedigree Aberdeen Angus steak to its restaurants. To qualify as Aberdeen Angus Pure, both sire and dam must be registered pure-breed and have a traceable ancestry through DNA testing and cattle passports. Angus Steakhouse managing director Alexa Reid said: “We have worked incredibly hard to be able to bring Aberdeen Angus Pure to our guests in what we believe to be an industry break-through. Our team has experienced the entire farm-to-fork process thanks to support from pedigree farmers and suppliers.”

Elior unites all services under Foodsmiths umbrella: Contract caterer Elior UK is bringing together all its services for owners and operators of attractions, venues, events and stadia under its Foodsmiths brand. Elior UK said the brand wouldn’t always be visible on-site since most catering services were delivered under a client’s bespoke own brand and identity but added it would roll out a Foodsmiths-branded cafe and restaurant format for clients who wanted a separate food service identity on-site. Kenny Finlayson, Elior UK managing director and head of the Foodsmiths brand, said: “Foodsmiths gives us the platform for doing what we’ve done successfully in other sectors of our business – joining up the best value-added thinking and methods from right across Elior, in the UK and internationally, to create a great and constantly improving customer experience”. 

St Christopher’s Inns scoops accommodation accolade: St Christopher’s Inns, which is owned by pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars, has scooped the best accommodation accolade at the British Youth Travel Awards 2019. The operator won the award for its flagship site in London Bridge – St Christopher’s At The Village. The site underwent a £6m refurbishment in 2017, which saw a new focus on sustainability, introduction of the UK’s first capsule beds and renovation of its hostel bar, Belushi’s. In its 2019 financial year, St Christopher’s At The Village has seen total sales of £5.33m – 5.3% ahead of budget and 31.8% up on last year. Accommodation generated sales of £2.26m – 42% of total revenue. St Christopher’s Inns also took home the silver award for the best use of social media category after implementing a user-generated content strategy and working closely with influencers to make its online presence “more relatable and engaging”.

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