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Fri 7th Feb 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

St Austell introduces new leadership structure with two distinct operating businesses, keen to add further pubs: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has introduced a new leadership structure after forming two operating businesses, Propel has learned. Steve Worrall will become managing director of the pubs, inns and hotels business – which he has led for three years – while Andrew Turner will join from Heineken to lead the beer and brands business. Chief executive Kevin Georgel, who last month replaced James Staughton after he stepped down following 20 years in the role, told Propel: “The purpose of the new structure is to provide four things – clarity, simplicity, accountability and alignment. We want to ensure Steve and Andy are able to lead these businesses forward and this structure will help make us more efficient and effective.” Both managing directors will report into Georgel, along with finance director Colin Stratton, people director Tamsyn Hawkins, marketing and communications director Jeremy Mitchell, and external affairs director Piers Thompson. Georgel said the company was “very acquisitive” and committed to growing its 180-strong pub estate. The company will add to its 35-strong managed portfolio in the next few weeks by opening Rockpoint in Lyme Regis, which it acquired in 2018 as its first site in Dorset, and the Harbour Light in Paignton, Devon, which it bought last year. Georgel said: “We are looking to grow both our tenanted and managed estates. We currently have 35 managed pubs but have the infrastructure and desire to operate a lot more than that. Having expanded into Somerset and Dorset, we feel we’ve set our geographical area and there’s plenty of opportunity for us to infill. Of course it’s primarily about securing the right quality of asset.” He added: “I am excited to be here and look forward to the company’s next chapter. There’s huge potential to build on James’ legacy. Pubs are really resonating with consumers again but the big issue we have is costs, which are continually increasing. It’s a real challenge and we have to get that message across as an industry.” 

Industry News:

Mark Wingett to look at what 2020 holds for food to go market, competitive socialising and food halls in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will take a look at what 2020 holds for the food to go market, competitive socialising and food halls in his latest Propel Premium column, which will be sent to subscribers at 5pm on Friday (7 February). Meanwhile, Premium Diary will look at the latest industry rumours. 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 Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has grown to 1,500 businesses. Propel launched its new-look Premium Club this week, where readers can save money by receiving a pair of free tickets to one of four conferences in 2020. Subscribers will be able to choose to use a pair of free tickets to one of the following conferences – The Delivery Conference (Tuesday, 21 April), The Finance and Investment Conference (Thursday, 14 May), The Casual Dining Summit (Monday, 12 October) or The New Concept Conference (Monday, 19 October). The normal cost of two tickets to these events is £490 plus VAT for operators and £690 plus VAT for suppliers. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Number of reviews referencing Dry January rises 61%: The number of reviews referencing Dry January increased 61% year-on-year, according to the latest data by guest feedback service Feed It Back. There was a significant spike in positive reviews (scores of four or more out of five), with a 31% increase from January 2019 to 75%. With a record number of people taking part in Dry January this year, according to figures from Alcohol Change, results indicate operators have enhanced their offers to cater for this growing audience. Taste was the biggest driver of positive reviews, with more than one-quarter (27%) referencing the word “delicious”, followed by “choice” (23%). TripAdvisor was the most prominent channel for referencing Dry January, accounting for more than half (52%) of reviews, although the platform accounted for little more than one-fifth (21.6%) of the overall share of reviews during the month, highlighting the channel was disproportionately used to reference the term “Dry January”. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “The consumer trend for low and no alcohol has seen significant growth in recent years, driven in part by the popularity of Dry January and Sober October. This movement has been driven by younger generations and industry insights point towards it continuing to grow further. What our data shows is the industry has reacted to this shift in demand and enhanced low and no offers, which have been well received by consumers. The speed at which consumer trends are evolving is escalating at an incredible rate and it is imperative operators not only keep up with the crowd but stay ahead of the curve.”

Family mealtimes ‘in decline’: Less than one-third (28%) of British families still gather round the table for their evening meal, according to a study by Travelodge. The survey also found the average UK family eats at about 7pm, with 25% claiming it is “old-fashioned and uncool” to eat before 5pm. Almost three-quarters (73%) of respondents believe children and parents eating separately can also make life “easier all round”. According to the data, more than two-fifths (43%) of families opt for television dinners “most evenings”. Meanwhile, 7% eat their evening meal in the office before leaving work and 5% eat it in the car while commuting home. Despite the decline in family dinner times, more than two-fifths (43%) of adults said eating together was the best way to bond and feel close to their family. However, 7% of respondents said their family didn’t talk at all while eating dinner together as everyone was “glued to their phone”. A “national meal menu” emerged from the study, with spaghetti bolognaise most likely to be eaten on a Monday (27%), pizza on Tuesday (18%), lasagne on Wednesday (18%), cottage pie on Thursday (17%), fish and chips on Friday (23%), takeaway on Saturday (20%) and roast on Sunday (49%). A Travelodge spokeswoman said: “Screens are invading our valuable family mealtimes and not just at home. Staff at our 200 UK hotel restaurants are also seeing a rise in customers eating breakfast or dinner while catching up with work, playing games or watching a movie on a device.”

MPs call on chancellor to cut beer duty: More than 50 MPs from across the political divide have called on the chancellor to cut beer duty in the March Budget. The MPs showed support for the Long Live The Local campaign during a Westminster Hall debate secured by Mike Wood, chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. They spoke in support of fairer tax treatment for the sector to boost British brewing and pubs. In response, treasury minister Simon Clarke said he recognised the challenges the sector faced and would ensure the views were heard. David Cunningham, programme director of Long Live The Local, said: “More than 128,000 people have written to their MP, 250,000 people have signed a petition and 25,000 publicans are backing the campaign in their pubs – evidence of how much they care about their pubs and breweries. We hope the chancellor listens to them and responds with a cut in beer duty.” The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) highlighted the unfairness of the current excise duty regime, with beer drinkers putting £250m more into the treasury coffers following two beer duty freezes. The BBPA is calling for a cut in beer duty and wholesale reform of business rates in the Budget.

Ten million shoppers face being ‘priced out of affordable wine’: Ten million shoppers face being “priced out of affordable wine”, according to new data from insights company Kantar. The study on behalf of Wine Drinkers UK and the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) reported the average price of a bottle of wine in the UK’s off-trade looks set to break the £6 barrier for the first time. About 9.7 million shoppers refuse to buy a bottle of wine that costs more than £6, the WSTA said, equivalent to more than half (54%) of shoppers of who buy 75cl bottles of still wine. Wine Drinkers UK and the WSTA have called for a cut in wine duty in the March Budget. They said the two groups that would particularly feel the price rise would be households with an income of less than £30,000 and families with children. Tax on wine has risen 40% in the past decade, outstripping beer (16%), and cider and spirits (27%), alongside rising import costs caused by a weaker pound. Kantar client manager Laura Christen said: “Rising duty and reduced promotional activity has contributed to the increasing price of entry into wine. This is a trend that risks alienating value-conscious shoppers as it has hit those who spend on lower-priced wine the hardest, meaning households with a lower disposable income could be priced out of the category altogether.”

First grade I listing for purpose-built Victorian pub as 11 English sites receive protection status: The Philharmonic Dining Rooms in Liverpool, which is operated by Mitchells & Butlers under its Nicholson’s brand, has been upgraded by the government to grade I listed following advice from Historic England. It is the first purpose-built Victorian pub in England to be given the highest level of designation for a historic building. The venue is one of 11 English pubs given protected status as part of a project to preserve rare historic interiors. A further two grade II* and eight grade II pubs have had their listings updated to include more information about their interiors. This includes four of only eight pubs in the UK known to have no bar counter. The pubs that have also had their listings updated include The Coach & Horses in Soho, London, which is operated by Fuller’s, and the Red Lion in Rugeley, Staffordshire, which is operated by Marston’s. The other pubs are The Vines and Peter Kavanagh’s, both in Liverpool; The Blue Ship in Billingshurst, West Sussex; The Hand & Shears in Farringdon, London; Haunch of Venison in Salisbury, Wiltshire; Square & Compass in Swanage, Dorset; Rose & Crown in Huish Episcopi, Somerset; and Tucker’s Grave Inn in Radstock, Somerset. The list of pubs was proposed by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) pub heritage group, a collaboration with Historic England. Paul Ainsworth, chairman of the pub heritage group, said: “Few of England’s 40,500 pubs retain interiors that haven’t suffered major alterations. CAMRA has identified 280 pubs with interiors it considers of national historic importance. We feel it’s vital for these precious survivors to be preserved for future generations to enjoy.” Heritage minister Helen Whately added: “These 11 pubs are important in their own way and their updated listings will help to protect their cultural and historical heritage for years to come.”

BrewLDN to help next generation of beer businesses, reveals full festival line-up: BrewLDN, the festival being launched by Craft Beer Rising founders Daniel Rowntree and Chris Bayliss, is to “help launch the next generation of beer businesses”. Brewers or other businesses less than two years old are eligible for the BrewAccelerator startup support scheme. The finalists will exhibit at the festival, which runs from 27 to 29 February at The Old Truman Brewery. BrewLDN has also revealed its final line-up for the festival, which will feature more than 100 brewers, a pop-up pub, street food and music. International brewers will include New Zealand-based Cassels and New York’s Brooklyn Brewery. UK brewers will include Bedlam, Castle Rock, Five Points and Laine Brew Co. The event will feature a fully immersive food and drink space – BrewDining – featuring a chef’s table where drinks will be paired with dishes from operators such as JKS Restaurants’ Indian barbecue concept Brigadiers and American barbecue brand Prairie Fire. Rowntree said: “We have been around this industry for some time and feel it’s our duty to give something back. Where the market could go is as important as where it is now and new business will drive this. We want to champion innovation and hope the inaugural BrewAccelerator will help many budding startups along the way.”

Company News:

The Ivy Collection lines up Liverpool: The Ivy Collection has started to build its 2020 pipeline by lining up an opening in Liverpool, Propel has learned. It is understood the Richard Caring-backed and Baton Berisha-led group, which will open its next site in Windsor, will take the ground-floor restaurant and bar space at the redevelopment of Bank of Liverpool’s former head office in Water Street. The grade II-listed building in Liverpool’s business district was known in recent years as Il Palazzo, providing serviced offices for a wide range of businesses. The redeveloped site will also house luxury duplex and triplex apartments on its upper floors. Propel understands 36-strong Ivy Collection is also in talks to take a site in Newcastle. In the final quarter of last year, the company opened Ivy Asia in London’s St Paul’s plus restaurants in Oxford, Cardiff and Victoria.

Yum! Brands reports KFC UK sales up 11% in fourth quarter and 13% for 2019 following last year’s delivery saga: Yum! Brands has reported KFC’s system sales in the UK rose 11% for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2019, compared with the previous year. For the full year, system sales in the UK were up 13% on the previous year when a delivery saga resulted in 750 of its sites being closed following a mass chicken shortage. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales increased 3% in the fourth quarter and 4% in the full year. US like-for-like sales were up 1% in both the fourth quarter and full year. Globally, system sales rose 10% in the quarter and 6% for the full year. Operating margin increased 1.8% in the quarter and 5.9% for the year driven by refranchising, like-for-like sales growth and net new unit growth, offset by higher general and administration expenses. KFC opened 814 restaurants in the quarter and 1,928 restaurants in 99 countries in the year. Operating profit was up 11% in the quarter to $285m. Meanwhile, Pizza Hut system sales in Europe, including the UK, were up 3% in the fourth quarter and 4% in the year – the continent accounts for 9% of Pizza Hut’s system sales globally. Individual figures for the UK weren’t included in the announcement. Pizza Hut sales were up 7% globally in the fourth quarter and 6% for the full year. US system sales, which account for 46% of global sales, were up 1% in both the fourth quarter and full year. Pizza Hut opened 431 restaurants during the quarter and 1,029 sites in 73 countries in 2019. For the fourth quarter, operating margin fell 2.9% driven by higher general and administration expenses and higher provisions for past due receivables, partially offset by lower advertising spend. For the year, operating margin increased 0.6% driven by refranchising and lower advertising spend, partially offset by higher provisions for past due receivables. Operating profit was down 1% in the quarter to $90m. Taco Bell like-for-like sales increased 4% in the fourth quarter and 5% for the full year. System sales were up 13% in the quarter and 9% in the year. Operating profit rose 18% in the fourth quarter to $225m. Taco Bell opened 191 restaurants in the quarter and 375 sites in 22 countries during 2019. Yum! Brands’ total revenue in the quarter increased 9% to $1,694m and was down 2% for the full year, at $5,597m.

US-based Indian restaurant group Saffron Valley opens debut UK site: US-based Indian restaurant group Saffron Valley has made its UK debut, in Swiss Cottage, north London. Saffron Circle has opened in New College Parade as the company’s first international site. Saffron Valley is the brainchild of restaurateur Lavanya Mahate and has five sites in Salt Lake City, Utah, focusing on popular Indian dishes. The kitchen at the 50-cover Swiss Cottage site is led by executive chef Santosh Shah, former head chef of Vivek Singh’s Cinnamon Kitchen in the City of London. His dishes include Kerala prawn curry with tiger prawns in coconut cream; and Calcutta fish curry with monkfish. Drinks include cocktails and wine.

Dubai-based Ill Borro to replace Nobu in Mayfair: Dubai-based luxury Italian restaurant concept Il Borro Tuscan Bistro is set to replace Nobu in Mayfair. Nobu is set to vacate its site in Berkeley Street after 15 years, with Knight Frank believed to be marketing the lease. Il Borro is part of Omar Saideh-led group Orange Hospitality and is based at Jumeirah Al Naseem. The other UK sites operated by Nobu Hospitality, the lifestyle brand founded by Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and Meir Teper, are the Shoreditch Nobu hotel, which opened in 2017, and another standalone Nobu restaurant at the Como Metropolitan hotel in Old Park Lane, which opened in 1997. A further Nobu hotel is scheduled to open in Portman Square this summer.

Whitbread lines up three more Bar + Blocks: Whitbread has lined up three further openings for its Bar + Block steakhouse brand, including its first in Scotland. The brand, which will open its 14th and latest site later this month in Portsmouth’s Queen Street, is set to open in Edinburgh amid plans to extend its Premier Inn in Princes Street into an adjacent store. The company has also lined up an opening in Avebury Boulevard in Milton Keynes in the summer. Finally, a Premier Inn and Bar + Block is expected to open this autumn at the New Marlborough Yard hotel development on The Cut, close to London’s South Bank. Meanwhile, Whitbread has lined up a 20th site for its Cookhouse & Pub concept, with an opening on Sandown seafront on the Isle of Wight in July. In December the company submitted plans to build a 120-bedroom Premier Inn and 211-cover Cookhouse & Pub overlooking Willen Lake in Milton Keynes.

Manchester-based vegan concept to open third site: Manchester-based vegan restaurant Vertigo is to open its third site in the city. Michael Jebelli launched the concept at the Royal Exchange building in Cross Street in early 2019. Last autumn he opened a second, larger restaurant by taking over the former Kettlebell Kitchen in First Street. The company has now secured a site at Media City, its first outside the city centre, with an opening planned for this spring. The new site will offer 45 covers plus some outside seating. Jebelli was also behind Chez cafe in Manchester’s Whitworth Street.

Catch adds two Leeds sites to portfolio, eyes further Yorkshire expansion: West Yorkshire-based seafood restaurant concept Catch has secured two sites in Leeds. Catch has acquired Bryans of Headingly in Westwood Lane and Fisherman’s Lodge Street Lane from the Koker family in a deal brokered by Christie & Co. The deal adds to Catch’s sites in Halifax, Holmfirth and Harrogate, while the company plans to expand further in Yorkshire. Led by managing director Sarah Stuttle, Catch puts a “modern but respectful twist on the classic fish and chip restaurant”. The restaurants will be run by Phil Rushfirth, Andrew Bartle and Patrick Allen, with full refurbishments planned for both sites. Rushfirth said: “They are an institution in Leeds but, as with all institutions, it should be as relevant in the future as it is today. We think by bringing a bit of the Catch magic to both restaurants will be just that.”

Italian restaurant brand Buon Appetito to sell Brighton and Hove sites: Italian restaurant brand Buon Appetito is to sell its sites in Brighton and Hove to concentrate on its debut venue in Burgess Hill, West Sussex. The Brighton restaurant is in St James’s Street, with the leasehold available off a guide price of £85,000. It is a ground-floor space with a rent of £25,000 a year. The 50-cover Hove restaurant is in Western Road and is being marketed at £75,000. It also has an external trade licence. There is a possibility to take both leases. A Buon Appetito spokesman said: “We have had many years of consistent trade at both sites but feel it’s time for another operator to showcase their offer to the city.” Kate Dowd, of Fleurets, who is marketing both sites, added: “Our clients have developed a great following, concentrating on traditional Italian fayre in a family friendly environment. Both sites are instantly adaptable to another style of food operation. With private landlords on both sites, the properties have competitive rents and leases and are both in good order.”

Champneys reports profit boost as turnover nears £50m: Champneys, the spa resort business owned by Dorothy and Stephen Purdew, has reported turnover rose 18.1% to £49.8m for the year ending 30 April 2019, compared with £42.2m the previous year. Profit before tax increased to £2.7m from £2.3m the year before. The total number of guests was up to almost 218,000 from 214,000 the previous year, with revenue per guest remaining at £150. Royalty income was £1.0m, down from £1.3m the year before. During the period the company acquired Mottram Hall in Cheshire for its sixth site. Champneys is embarking on a major investment programme to upgrade and refurbish the venue.

Northumberland-based Henson Leisure plans new projects after securing seven-figure refinancing deal: Northumberland-based Henson Leisure is planning its next projects after securing a seven-figure refinancing deal and completing a £3m refurbishment and expansion programme at Beadnell Towers in Beadnell. Managing director David Wilson said: “We have had a fantastic response to the hotel and restaurant. There’s so much happening in Northumberland and the north east at the moment and we want to build on that momentum by establishing more venues that match the quality and style on offer in Beadnell. Each project will be a one-off development with its own character and style. We’re looking at potential locations in the north east.” Ayden De Beer, of RMT Accountants & Business Advisors, worked with the Henson Leisure management team on the refinancing deal.

BrewDog unveils sustainability initiatives: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has unveiled sustainability initiatives and hinted at a new brand identity. The company has outlined six environmentally focused pledges, including a process to repurpose “imperfect” beer to create vodka and a drive to promote upcycling by accepting used beer cans from any brand. It is also inviting customers to trade in 50 empty beer cans to become an Equity Punk. The company’s Tomorrow Fund has pledged to invest an additional £1m a year to support research to help the brewing industry have a “positive impact on the world” and support charitable causes. The move comes as the business “pushed the button” on a rebrand of its bars and packaging, with details to follow. BrewDog said it also planned to launch a new beer range. Co-founder James Watt said: “We want to make sure we’re working to inspire a new kind of business, with sustainability at its core. Real change takes time. BrewDog Tomorrow is our commitment to continuously raising the bar and setting a new standard for beer and business.”

Boutique bowling, karaoke and dining concept Strike signs for Ram Quarter: New concept Strike, which combines tenpin bowling, karaoke, drinks and dining, has signed to open a unit at Ram Quarter, Greenland’s redevelopment of the former Young’s brewery in Wandsworth, south west London. Strike has agreed a 20-year lease on an 8,400 square foot, two-storey unit that will open on to High Street and Bubbling Well Square. The venue will offer seven bowling lanes, a restaurant, karaoke room and bar specialising in cocktails and craft beer. Ram Quarter already houses Backyard Cinema, fine dining restaurant London Stock and St John’s Hill-based cafe and wine bar Story Coffee. London brewer Sambrook’s is also set to establish a new base at Ram Quarter this spring, including a taproom and bottle shop. Chris Daly, deputy director – commercial at Greenland, said: “Our strategy is focused on creating a distinctive leisure offering at Ram Quarter. Strike fits perfectly with this vision. We look forward to announcing more brands in the coming months.” Greenland is delivering 713 homes at Ram Quarter alongside 100,000 square feet of retail, restaurant and leisure space. The first phase of the development is now complete. Bruce Gillingham Pollard and CBRE acted for Greenland.

Innis & Gunn closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £3.3m towards new brewery: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Seedrs towards its planned brewery in Edinburgh after raising £3.3m. The campaign, under the banner This Is Beer Money, was looking to raise £3m and offered 1.96% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of almost £150m. The campaign has closed with more than 3,300 investors pledging funds. The facility, which will be the first large-scale brewery in Edinburgh for more than 150 years, will be based at Heriot-Watt University’s Research Park. Dougal Gunn Sharp, founder and master brewer at Innis & Gunn, said: “We have dreamed of building a brewery in Edinburgh since we started this business. Our now 5,000-strong investor community is part of our success, our proudest advocates and we can’t wait to raise a glass together in the new brewery.” Innis & Gunn raised £2.37m on Crowdcube from more than 1,900 investors in late 2016. In the three years since, Innis & Gunn has increased turnover to more than £25m. The brand also relaunched its pubs under the Taprooms banner this year, with takings up 30%. 

London-based crazy golf concept Plonk relaunches Shoreditch site: London-based crazy golf concept Plonk has relaunched its site in Shoreditch with a new nine-hole course, bottomless brunch and an expanded drinks menu. The venue also features pinball, classic arcade games, foosball, board games and 4D pong. Plonk founder Elliot Scott said: “Its great to finally combine everything Plonk has to offer in one fantastic venue. The nine-hole course is one of our hardest yet and we’ve mixed that with bottomless booze every Sunday. It’s going to be a lot of fun.” Scott is part of a troop of film industry set designers who launched Plonk. Its other venues are in Camden Market and London Zoo.

Startle becomes profitable after strong like-for-like growth in 2019: Interactive music provider Startle has reported a 61% increase in like-for-like revenue to £2.3m last year. Strong growth during the year meant the company became profitable for the first time after only three years in operation, passing the £500,000 mark. Last year Startle launched Relentless Support, its round-the-clock customer support department, with the company promising a response to queries in 30 minutes with a three-hour resolution period. This year Startle will launch Studio, cloud software for multi-site operators to manage music and technology including enhanced features such as third-party apps, plug-ins and integrations. Startle chief executive Adam Castleton said: “I am extremely proud of the growth we continue to achieve. Operators are realising with customer expectations and competition increasing, getting the music right has a real impact on their bottom line. As we combine music with technologies such as digital screens and lighting and drive these with live data, the results can be exponential. We have worked extremely hard to streamline our operations. Our average response time to customer queries in 2019 was two minutes 15 seconds – down 32 seconds from 2018 – with support satisfaction levels at 95.9% and customer retention at 94.72%.”

Danieli Holdings adds more traders to Stack in Sunderland: North east-based Danieli Holdings has added two more traders to its shipping container development – Stack – in Sunderland as well as one of its concepts. Mexican street food trader Chapos Tacos has signed for the development along with Thai street food concept Healthy Thaim. The latter is opening its second site by adding to an outlet in Thorney Close. Meanwhile, Danieli Holdings is doubling up its Cafe Yolo concept to add to the site at its Stack Newcastle development. Danieli Group chief executive Neill Winch told BDaily: “We are pleased to welcome another two businesses local to Seaburn but offering visitors authentic cuisine from across the world.” The £2.5m project on Seaburn seafront is due to open in the spring. Other traders to sign up are Downey’s Fish & Chips, which is opening its sixth site, and Acropolis Street Food. 

North Yorkshire-based Rooster’s invests £850,000 in new brewery and taproom: North Yorkshire-based brewer Rooster’s has completed an £850,000 investment in a new brewery and taproom. The company has relocated from Grimbald Park, near Knaresborough, to a purpose-built, 20,000 square foot brewery and taproom at Hornbeam Park in Harrogate. The new site is three times the size of its previous one. Owned and run by Ian Fozard and his sons Oliver and Tom since 2011, the move means Rooster’s returns to the town it launched in 27 years ago. Rooster’s has also invested in a 1,600-litre brewing plant, which will be used to produce limited edition beer. Ian Fozard told Insider Media: “The new brewery enhances our brewing capabilities and competitiveness.”

Black and White Hospitality opens first aparthotel, in Lytham: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to eight restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, has started operating the first aparthotel in its rapidly expanding hotel portfolio. Hy Hotel in Lytham St Annes, Lancashire, is a £4m, five-star aparthotel that comprises 35 one, two and three-bedroom apartments. The venue also offers a “pantry hub” and fitness centre, while a “celebrity chef-branded restaurant and bespoke spa” are set to open later this year. General manager Marian Stefanik said: “Hy Hotel is exactly the sort of offering the town needs, especially if it wants to attract more leisure and business travellers.” Last year Black and White Hospitality Management signed up London hotels The Lansbury Heritage, near Canary Wharf, and The Westbridge in Stratford. It also manages The Cube in Birmingham and Cadbury House in Congresbury, Somerset.

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