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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 9th Aug 2012 - Yummy, Enterprise and YO! Sushi

Story of the day:

Yummy Pub Company turns site into “pantry pub”: Yummy Pub Company, the three-strong multiple led by Tim Foster and Anthony Pender, is turning one of its pubs, the Grove Ferry next to Stodmarsh Nature Reserve in Kent, into its pantry pub. The pub will become the company food epicentre and start to produce a range of items for its other two pubs, The Wiremill and Somers Town Coffee House, near Euston train station. The Grove Ferry now has 12 chickens providing its egg requirements as well as a new vegetable patch and herb garden. Foster said: “Our pigs arrive in three or four weeks and are going at the front of the site which is disused land at the moment and we'll bring in a boar and have piglets in spring of next year. The Grove kitchen hours are being extended after the summer holidays so the chefs will produce jams, chutneys, oils, homemade cakes and bread at the Grove kitchen to then take out to the other sites. We plan to produce a range of pies and dishes to be frozen down and sold as frozen in all pubs from November as we install 'Pub Pantry' sections into The Wiremill and Somers Town. We have already created the pantry at the Grove where they sell the jams and other items so it’s an extension of this concept that is working really well. We see a real opportunity to replicate the 'Cook' retail stores freezer concept, especially at Somers Town with the transitional custom and take some spend away from M&S and sourced in the nearby train station.”

Industry news:

Technomic – top 100 brands increase turnover by 5.6 per cent: The 100 leading UK pub, restaurant and foodservice chains registered a 5.6 per cent annual turnover increase in 2011, a sharp improvement over 2.6 per cent the prior year, according to data released by Technomic. Units grew 4.9 percent to 17,593 in 2011, compared to unit growth of 3.9 per cent the previous year. "It is certainly encouraging to see overall industry growth rates more than double in one year," said Darren Tristano, managing director of Technomic. "On a chain-by-chain basis, however, performance varied substantially, reflecting the fact that many organisations are still redefining their value propositions for today's economy and tackling various industry challenges." Among limited-service restaurants, the largest menu categories in turnover came from burger (£2.3 billion), coffee shops (£1.5 billion) and chicken (£1.1 billion). The ranking was led, as usual, by McDonald’s, which generated just below £1.9 billion in turnover in 2011, followed by Wetherspoon (£1 billion) and Greggs (£707.6 million). As a whole, limited-service restaurants saw a turnover bump of 4.4 per cent. The bakery sub-segment experienced the fastest rate of turnover and unit growth, with an increase in turnover of 14.2 per cent from 2010 and a unit growth rate of 11.6 per cent. Though only two bakery chains are listed in the leading 100 UK chains, both Paul and Le Pain Quotidien experienced significant turnover increases of 17 and 11.3 per cent respectively. Full-service restaurants experienced a strong growth year in 2011 with an increase of 7.1 per cent in turnover. Pub chains and casual-dining restaurants showed an increase in this segment with a 7.3 and 6.8 per cent rise in sales respectively. The fastest growing chains in the full-service segment include Busaba Eathai (80.7 per cent), Jamie’s Italian (77.3 per cent) and Côte Restaurants (37.8 per cent). Busaba Eathai, interestingly, was new to the 2012 Leading 100 UK chains ranking.
Deadline for ALMR operations’ managers awards looms: The deadline for entry papers to the 2012 ALMR Operations Managers has been set for 31 August.  The awards, now in their fifteenth year are acknowledged as one of the toughest awards to win. Nick Bish, chief executive of the ALMR, said: "We know that the hurdles for winning these awards are high, but we also know that, almost without exception, finalists and winners of the ALMR Operations Managers Awards surpass their peer-group as they are promoted within their companies, or even branch out with their own successful businesses." Nominations can be made online at or telephone 020 8579 2080.

Sky wins sports channel challenge: Sky has won a legal dispute over how much it charges rival channels to host its prime sports channels. The company won a reversal of a decision by regulator Ofcom that forced Sky to make its flagship channels, Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2, available to rivals Virgin Media and BT at reduced wholesale prices.

Company news:

Enterprise reports improving trends despite weather: Enterprise Inns has reported trading in the 44 weeks to 4 August continued its improving trend toward growth, with total estate like-for-like income declining by only 1.2 per cent compared with a decline of 1.6 per cent in the first half and declines of 5.1 per cent for the same period last year. Like-for-likes in the substantive estate are up 1.6 per cent. The company stated: “The 18-week period since the half year has been interesting and challenging. The Jubilee celebrations in June provided a welcome boost to publicans in a similar fashion to the Royal Wedding in April last year.  The UEFA European championship in June also provided some assistance to trade but was significantly outweighed by the dampening effect on trade from the record breaking rainfall throughout the period. It is encouraging that despite such bad weather, the 18 weeks like-for-like income performance for the total estate has improved upon the first half.” Total proceeds from disposals for the 44 weeks to 4 August 2012 are £148 million and the company expects full year proceeds to be in the region of £200 million with an expectation of a further £150 million next year. The company added: “In the financial year to date we have sold 121 unsustainable pubs for proceeds of £26 million. In December we completed a sale and leaseback package of 17 pubs for proceeds of £24 million. In addition we have sold 82 exceptional properties for proceeds of £98 million, at an average multiple of 14 times income and at a significant premium to book value.”

Former Spirit managed pub is re-let after two year closure: A former Spirit managed pub, The Nag’s Head in Abingdon, that sits on its own island in the Thames, has been re-let by agent Christie + Co after being closed for two years. New tenant is Duchan Salwathura who also operates The Broad Face pub in Abingdon – the rent is understood to be close to £175,000 per annum. Spirit is thought to hold the head lease until 2035 and the property was available on a nil premium free-of-tie sub-lease. Marcus Street, of Christie + Co’s Bristol Office, who handled the sale, said: “The Nag’s Head represented a unique opportunity for a new tenant to bring back to life the iconic pub located on the Thames in an idyllic Oxfordshire setting. We had a high number of interested parties who have, unfortunately, missed out on this unique opportunity and are looking for other licensed premises in the Abingdon and Oxford areas.”

Antic to open The Bohemia next week: Antic, the London-based operator of 30 pubs, will open The Bohemia in North Finchley, next Thursday (16 August).  The company is currently operating a pop-up called Leyton Technical Pub.

Two new concepts for central London: Leisure property advisors Davis Coffer Lyons has completed two restaurant deals on behalf of Shaftesbury for its Carnaby and Covent Garden estates in central London. Artisan espresso brand Mozzino is to launch a new concept that will reinvent the classic cult era of 1950’s Italian scootering into a premium contemporary lifestyle offer. Mozzino has replaced The Refectory at 74 Broadwick Street in Carnaby, taking a new ten-year lease expiring June 2022. In Covent Garden, Il Tempo has also taken a ten year lease for the ground floor and basement unit at 48 Chandos Place. Italian Delicatessen and Aperitivo Bar Il Tempo, is a new Italian brand which will be the first Aperitivo concept in London. It includes an open-table Italian delicatessen, covering the cuisine particularities of the Italian regions as well as niche Italian wines.

Franchise operator plans Shake Shack opening in the UK: Leading international franchise operator Alshaya is looking to recruit a business manager in the UK ahead of the opening of US restaurant concept Shake Shack.  Shake Shack was founded in 2004 and serves hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, milkshakes and similar foods - it has around 14 sites. The concept was developed by Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group. Shake Shack was named "Best Burger 2005" by New York magazine.  Alshaya operates 55 retail brands including Starbucks and PF Chang’s franchises – it opened its first international Shake Shack in Dubai in July 2011.

McDonald’s sees flat sales overall in July: McDonald’s has reported that sales were flat in July – the first time the company has failed to take market share since 2003. Sales in the US were down 0.1 per cent and dropped 0.6 per cent in Europe. The UK bucked the global trend with a sales increase to mitigate the overall European decline.

Burton Bridge Brewery opens village store behind pub: Burton Bridge Brewery has opened a village store behind its Brickmakers’ Arms pub, in Main Street, Newton Solney. The village has been without a shop for four years – Burton Bridge has rented unused space to villager Ed Clamp who is running the shop.  Pub Is The Hub, the pub diversification organisation backed by Prince Charles, provided advice on the opening.

Wadworth re-opens Bowling Green after £500,000 investment: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has re-opened The Hadley Bowling Green Inn in Worcestershire after a £500,000 refurbishment. The company bought the site for a price believed to be around £400,000. The previously closed venue featured in a fraud trial involving Wilmslow accountant Malcolm Carle who helped launder money for cannabis importer Walter Callinan. Money from drug dealing was used to buy The Hadley Bowling Green Inn for £1.2m. In a fraud trial last December, a jury heard police found messages from Carle to Callinan about the hotel, which stated it had been purchased with ‘dirty money’ and was meant to be a ‘hidden and long-term investment’. Licensee is Chris Masters who previously ran Wadworth’s Colesbourne Inn in Gloucestershire.  The Inn now has nine stylish and comfortable en-suite rooms.

Charles Wells to close Leamington Spa pub this month: Charles Wells is to shutter its Green Man in Tachbrook Street, Leamington Spa on 23 August and will put it up for sale. A spokeswoman for the Charles Wells said: “We undertake a regular review of our estate as we have a responsibility to make sure that our pubs are realistically profitable. We feel that this one does not meet those criteria. If the community feels strongly, there is always the option of taking it over as a community venture.”

Whitbread signs South-East Asian franchisees: Whitbread is expected to report today that it has signed franchisees in Thailand, Singapore and Cambodia, according to The Times. The first site under the franchise agreement is expected to open in Singapore tomorrow.

YO! Sushi holds a summer sale; launches Kiip tie-up: YO! Sushi is holding a summer sale until the end of August at selected restaurants. All conveyor belt dishes are being sold for £2.40 Monday to Friday up to 31 August. Meanwhile, the company has partnered with Kiip to launch a YO! Sushi rewards game.  Kiip is a platform where developers can offer game-players real-world rewards from well-known brands - a free dish at YO! Sushi is on offer for those playing.

Guy Pelly to open Mexican-inspired cocktail bar in London: The entrepreneurs who opened London nightclubs Mahiki and Whisky Mist are to open a Mexican-inspired cocktail bar in Chelsea this autumn. Guy Pelly and Marc Burton will open Tonteria - "meaning something of little consequence" - on Sloane Square in October. The 200-cover venue, which is based in a basement site, will serve a selection of Mexican-inspired cocktails and small plates alongside as well as a broad range of tequila.

Price of Ramada Solihull reduced by £6.5m: The 145-bedroom Ramada Solihull, which is administration, has been reduced in price by £6.5m from £14m to £7.5m. The property has four phases of development, including a 16th Century constructed Grade II Listed building fronting the High Street in Solihull (known as The George Hotel). In addition to the guest bedrooms, the hotel has 15 meeting and conference rooms and is arranged on three sides of a historic bowling green. Agent is Christie + Co. First round offers by 12 noon on Friday 7 September.

Stonegate Pub Company runs month-long cider festival: Stonegate Pub Company is running a four-week cider festival at selected pubs from next Tuesday (August 14), to Sunday, 9 September. The festival will include some ciders specially created by Glastonbury-based cider-maker, the Orchard Pig, with flavours including Forest Fruits, Sour Cherry and Mint and Lime. Ruth Turner, from Stonegate, said: “We work with our suppliers to make sure our pubs have a wide and varied cider range, catering for a variety of tastes. Cider has become a really popular drink and we’re delighted to be able to offer our customers ciders from the Orchard Pig, which is a relatively small cider maker. We’re encouraging our pubs to get feedback from their customers about what drinks they would like to see on the bar, be it cider or real ale, and we’ll try and source them. We’re particularly interested in offering drinks from local suppliers wherever we can.”

Greggs hits 500,000 Facebook likes milestone: High street sandwich chain Greggs has hit a social media milestone by notching up 500,000 likes on its Facebook page. The company is marking the landmark by launching a competition to give away a free Greggs lunch every week of the year to five Facebook fans. It will also be creating a Fan Van, which will put the faces of its Facebook followers on to one of its vehicles.
Nando’s achieves nil rent uplift at three regional restaurants: Chicken restaurant chain Nando’s has achieved a nil rent uplift in rent reviews at three sites - in Bedford, Epsom and Nottingham. Anthony Alder, of agent AG&G, which acted for Nando’s, said: “Trading conditions can be tough today, even in prime positions. With professional support, it’s perfectly possible to demonstrate that, on a five-year cycle, there should be no increase in rent, as these results show.”

Brewery gets government cash to expand: Hardknott Brewery in Millom, Cumbria, has been given a grant of £42,000 from the Rural Development Programme for England. The money will go towards an  £84,000 expansion project, which will see the arrival of four more fermenting and conditioning tanks and an automated bottling machine. The expansion will also see the creation of two full-time positions.

Hotel chain to offer jobs to war veterans: InterContintental is to open a 256-bedroom hotel in Westminster in a former government building - and offer employment opportunities to British war veterans. The hotel will open in November close to the Houses of Parliament - InterContinental has created a partnership with the charity Soldier On! and will offer jobs to former members of the armed forces.

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