Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head CPL Learning Link Paul's Twitter Link Greene King Banner
Morning Briefing Strap Line
Wed 15th May 2013 - Brewdog, Enterprise and Prezzo

Story of the day:

April sales flat after March declines: Britain’s pub and restaurant groups returned to sales growth in April after a disastrous weather-hit March. Latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show collective like-for-like sales edged up 0.1% against April last year, compared to the 3% fall seen in March. “Last April’s figures included all of the Easter weekend. This year’s only took in Easter Monday, so the performance is actually better than the headline numbers suggest, as the Easter holiday is always a busy time for eating and drinking-out,” said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the Tracker, the sector’s biggest and most comprehensive performance barometer, in partnership with Coffer Group, Baker Tilly and UBS. “The good weather at the end of the month helped to compensate for the loss of that Easter trading,” Martin added. Total sales, including the impact of new openings, were ahead 2.8% of last April. Regionally, London performed more strongly than the rest of the country, and pubs generally did better than restaurants – with London pubs being the star performers.“ However, the squeeze on growth we have seen on casual dining restaurant brands in London may have turned a corner. For the last six months, the trend has been one of like-for-like sales decline, but last month the annual rate turned positive, up by 0.3% on a year-on-year basis,” said Martin. Also looking at long-term trends, he added: “Perhaps more importantly the underlying growth trend for the sector as a whole has improved.” On a year-on-year basis, collective like-for-like sales for the 27 companies in the sample were ahead 0.9% at the end of April against the previous 12 months, compared to 0.6% at the end of March. David Coffer, chairman of the Coffer Group, said: “The overlap of the Easter trading period has confused data but, nevertheless, the stronger trend in London compared to the rest of the country is still very evident, with the impact of weather conditions also having a great impact on an increasingly fickle and sophisticated public.”

Industry news:

‘It’s Better Down the Pub’ campaign launched: A national consumer campaign, ‘It’s Better Down The Pub’, created to celebrate Britain’s passion for pubs, was unveiled yesterday at the British Institute of Innkeeping’s (BII) annual lunch in London. The ‘It’s Better Down The Pub’ campaign will encourage pub goers to share their experiences and highlight why they love pubs via a dedicated website, Facebook and Twitter. The national initiative is the brainchild of six leading organisations who came together to make a film featuring real customers and real pubs, showcasing the integral part pubs play in every day British life. The groups – Admiral Taverns, the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), Everards, Fuller’s, Pub is the Hub (PITH) and the SIBA (Society of Independent Brewers) – want to promote all the positive things about pubs, against the backdrop of negative headlines and a pub closure rate that peaked at more than 50 per week, with the aim of reigniting people’s passion for pubs.

Luke Johnson – I’ve sold businesses too early: Sector investor Luke Johnson has admitted that he has sold businesses too early. In his Financial Times column, he wrote: “Veteran investors and gamblers often adhere to a well-known rule: run your winners and cut your losers (sometimes phrased as “hold on tightly and let go lightly”). I’m guilty of selling some of the best companies I’ve owned too early – but better that than holding on too long and ending up with even less. For the most part, disappointing projects require constant injections of cash to keep going: usually this represents good money after bad, and is best avoided.”

Yorkshire freehold owners win BII Licensee of the Year: Ashley and Kelly McCarthy, who have owned and operated the freehold Ye Old Sun Inn, in Colton, Yorkshire for nine years, have won BII Licensee of the Year Award. Tom Manville, who runs the student union bar at the University of Winchester, became the first licensee to receive the Jeremy Allen Award for excellence in training. The awards were announced at the annual BII Luncheon held at Grosvenor House in London yesterday.

Gordon Ramsay to star in new US food show: Gordon Ramsay, who makes a number of television shows for Fox in the US, is to appear as a judge in Junior Masterchef in the US, launching for the first time this autumn. Ramsay will be joined by restaurateur and winemaker Joe Bastianich (Del Posto, Eataly) and chef Graham Elliot on the Junior Masterchef judging panel.

Cambridgeshire police - reports of drinks spiking mostly “made up”: Dozens of reports of drinks being ‘spiked’ in Cambridge nightclubs have been made – but police say the majority are made up. New data has revealed that 44 reports of such incidents were made in the last year in Cambridgeshire where the alleged victim has told police their drink was tampered with. The data was released using the Freedom of Information Act. A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: “The incidents have been reviewed and it is clear that individuals have claimed to have had drinks ‘spiked’ but there is very little or no substantive evidence to prove or disprove these allegations.”

Sky Sports wins Euro Championship and World Cup qualifier rights: Sky Sports has won the rights to Home Nations and Republic of Ireland qualification matches for UEFA Euro 2016 and 2018 FIFA World Cup. The new agreement with UEFA provides Sky Sports with coverage of England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland matches, together with and all other UEFA member associations, between 2014 – 2017. Sky Sports managing director Barney Francis said: “Both the UEFA European Championship and FIFA World Cup are football’s most important international tournaments and this deal offers Sky Sports viewers the complete qualification story.”

Iconic leisure space to be created at Somerset House: Davis Coffer Lyons has been appointed as consultants and leisure agents for the new wing at the listed Grade 1 Somerset House. Operators are being sought for two new units at the Strand and River facing New Wing at London’s historic Somerset House. The Wing has been vacated by HMRC who spent some 250 years in occupation at Somerset House. Current operators already at the site include Tom Aiken’s Tom’s Kitchen, Tom’s Deli and Fernandez and Wells.

Company news:

Enterprise Inns reports 68% of tenants on RPI-linked leases: Enterprise Inns has reported that 68% of its tenants on substantive leases now have their rents linked to RPI, up from 66% this time last year. Chief operating officer Simon Townsend said that 90% of rents within the estate had been re-based since 2009, with an average drop of 12%. The average length of occupation for an Enterprise tenant has risen to six years, although 1,463 tenants within the 5,720-strong estate have been in occupation for less than a year. Townsend said the rate of failure had reduced by 17% in the first half of the financial year. “We’re putting a huge emphasis on spotting signs of decline earlier,” he said. Townsend reported that only three rent disputes with licensees in the past 12 months had needed third party intervention. “99% of rent reviews were settled by negotiation,” he said. Townsend said the company now had the confidence to “target more growth-oriented projects” rather than invest defensively. The investment by Enterprise of £4m in such projects had been matched by £2m of licensee investment. The White Lion in Portishead, for example, which has been closed for two years, is seeing a £600,000 investment with a £150,000 investment from tenant Mezze Restaurants. The same partner is investing £60,000 alongside an investment of £170,000 from Enterprise at The Anchor at Ham Green. Chief executive Ted Tuppen told City analysts that the company had been “slowing down and raising the standards” of its letting programme. Of the anti-pubco campaign, Tuppen told Propel that his biggest sorrow is that it has given some licensees “the belief that the future lies in getting a rent reduction rather than building a successful business”. Enterprise also reported that its debt will have reduced by around £1bn in three-and-a-half years by this September.

Atmosphere Bar and Clubs placed in administration: Atmosphere Bars and Clubs, the 24-strong operator of late-night clubs and bars, has been placed in administration with Deloitte. In a statement, Daniel Butters, joint administrator and partner at Deloitte, said: “Unfortunately, as a consequence of cash flow problems, the decision was taken by the directors of Atmosphere Bars and Clubs to place the company into administration. We are continuing to trade the business and all venues remain open whilst seeking a sale as a going concern.” The announcement comes a few months after the appointment of Christian Rose as the group’s chief executive, replacing Paul Harbottle. The company, which is backed by Sun European Partners, operates 19 Chicago’s bars, three sites under the Modello brand and two others. The administration comes few weeks after the company recruited Butlin’s head of communications Jae Hopkins as head of marketing.

Young’s partners CPL Online to develop Young’s Academy: Pub operator Young’s has partnered CPL Online, to create the Young’s Academy, which includes improved e-learning programmes for employees. It has features such as a new internal messaging platform and a ‘bookshelf’ that ensures relevant information is available to all employees around the clock. The Young’s Academy console helps senior managers and general managers track all team members learning and development, which will enhance succession planning and career development of individuals in an objective way. Young’s also plans to support the development of staff even further by adding an online appraisal service this summer through CPL Online. The new bespoke console is currently available to all Young’s tenanted pubs complete with access to 24 e-learning courses.

Burger King franchisee reports turnover of £46.5m in ‘difficult year’: Burger King franchisee Caspian UK Group has reported a pre-tax profit of £139,000 (2011: £82,000) on turnover of £46.5m in the year to 6 January 2012 (2011: £43.6m). Operating cash generated was £2,580,000 (2011: £2,795,000). The company stated: “The market for Burger King restaurants remains strong. However, 2012 was a difficult year for the business, with circumstances such as the poor weather adversely affecting the group. A number of new initiatives, such as Bean to Cup coffee and the introduction of new cooking processes, along with a focus on an every day value offering are seen as positive actions that will benefit the business going forward.”

Loungers looks to recruit two operations managers as it plans south east and north west clusters: Loungers, the café bar concept founded by Jake Bishop and Alex Reilley, is looking to recruit two new operations managers as it plans clusters of sites in Brighton and the south east and Liverpool and the north west. The company has a site in Hove and would like to add up to four more sites in and around Brighton. In the north west, it has opened a sites in New Brighton, Wirral and Mann Island, Liverpool docks and would like to add another four in the region. Bishop told Propel: “We are looking for the best people with multi-site experience who ‘get’ the Loungers ethos. We think it’s a great opportunity with an anti-brand – brand growing company.” The company already employs six operations managers and a chef area manager and believes the new appointments will allow it to manage growth plans into 2014. Anyone interested should contact Jake Bishop at (There’s no UK on the end of Jake’s e-mail address.) 

Antic buys Forest Gate pub: Antic, the fast-expanding London pub operator, has confirmed that is has beaten developers to buy The Railway Tavern, Forest Gate. A spokeswoman said: “We will be renaming it the Forest Tavern and it will very much reflect the ethos of its close neighbours - The Red Lion in Leytonstone and the soon to open Leyton Technical.” The building, which was originally built to serve Victorian commuters, has been sold by agent AG&G after six offers were received, including a number in excess of the £725,000 guide price. They included developers, investors and retailers.

Admiral Taverns faces 3,000-signature petition to save Liverpool pub: Admiral Taverns is facing a 3,000-signature petition to save a Liverpool pub. Signatories are calling on council leaders to grant special protected status to the historic building, which is set to close on 25 May. Campaigners hope the closure would at least be held up if the Caledonia was designated an Asset of Community Value (ACV). ACV status would mean owners Admiral Taverns, who have agreed a deal for the sale of the pub, would need to appeal to have the status overturned.

Marston’s appoints new head of leased division: Midlands-based Marston’s has named Rohan Miller as its new head of leased operations. He has been promoted after five years as general manager at the company, where he was responsible for profit delivery across leased pubs. He previously worked as a business development manager at Greene King and Punch Taverns. It currently operates 391 leased pubs. 

Prezzo set for former Burton’s site in Ripon: Prezzo has submitted a planning application to convert a Burton’s shop in the Market Place, Ripon, from a retail unit to a restaurant. In a letter from Arcadia Group, which owns Burton, to Harrogate Borough Council, the retail brand said a decline in sales at the Ripon store has led them to market the property. David Wood, of Arcadia Group’s property team, said: “The application has come about as a result of a consistent decline in trade over the past five years. In early 2012 a decision was taken to find a tenant as it was no longer financially viable to remain trading.” Wood added the only other interest Arcadia has received other than Prezzo was from “pawn broker type operators”.

JD Wetherspoon applies to convert Northumberland cinema to pub: JD Wetherspoon has applied for planning consent to turn Blyth’s former Wallaw Cinema into a pub (population: 35,818). The company acquired the Grade II listed Art Deco building, which has stood empty since 2004, last summer. Northumberland County Council has received an application for planning permission to change the use of the building, as well as listed buildings consent for alterations. Meanwhile, JD Wetherspoon is investing £1m on a refurbishment of its Globe Hotel in King’s Lynn. Deputy manager Laura Goodwin said: “Every room in the place is going to be completely refurbished. This means all 37 bedrooms in the hotel will get a makeover and so will every other area of the hotel.”

Brewdog supplies more detail on direct distribution service: Scottish brewer and retailer Brewdog has released more information on its new London Direct online delivery service. It stated: “Outlets can access the full BrewDog range, alongside other rare and artisanal craft beers, with much smaller minimum orders. Delivery is free to any location within the M25 and orders are made through a simple online interface that reduces the time lag between making the order and receiving beer. This greater flexibility and availability for smaller vendors is designed to offer a low-risk opportunity for publicans to join the craft beer revolution.” The full Brewdog range will be available in keg and bottle including all limited release beers. Brewdog will also supply a range of Mikkeller beers having agreed exclusive UK distribution rights with the Danish brewery. Orders can be made online 24 hours a day and delivery is free to all London postcodes within the M25.

Harveys launches beer finder app: Harveys Brewery in Lewes has launched its first phone app, ‘Harveys Beer Finder’. The app is designed to be a guide for consumers wishing to find their nearest pint of Harveys. The pubs featured supply the brewery’s products on a regular basis. Other interesting features include information about the brewery and tasting notes for its range of cask ales. The concept of the Harveys app was consumer-led. The brewery receives many enquiries asking where customers can find their favourite beer. Zoë Prescott, Harveys online development manager, said: “This is Harveys first foray into the app world and we are really pleased with the final product. It took us a while to figure out what we wanted from an app, and as always our customers gave us the answer. We hope that Harveys fans find it useful and we are looking forward to future phases which will bring in additional features.” The app is available and free to download from the iTunes store and the Android version is currently in development.

Three restaurant brands set for Bromley town centre: Prezzo, Nando’s and Las Iguanas are set to take space in a £65m development scheme in Bromley town centre. The scheme aims to create an entertainment, leisure and residential hub in the heart of Bromley town centre. The development includes a 130-bedroom Premier Inn hotel, a nine-screen multiplex cinema and 25,000 sq ft of café and restaurant space.

Wayne Brown – our expectations for Britvic results are mixed: Canaccord Genuity Wayne Brown has reported mixed expectations for the Britvic interims on 22 May. He said: “The bad weather across its markets, specifically in the UK, would have impacted its ability to maintain market share in key lines. We expect volumes in GB to be down by mid-single digits in both carbonates and stills. This is not purely a reflection of the adverse weather but also a reduction in promotional activity across its core carbonate range. The overall numbers will be impacted by the Fruit Shoot recall but the ongoing recovery in this product will be seen as a positive.”

Greene King to sponsor RFU Championship: Brewing giant Greene King will become the first title sponsor of the RFU Championship in a three-year deal believed to be worth £1.2m. The Greene King IPA Championship will launch in September with three ‘magic weekend’ double-headers played at neutral venues in the south-west, south-east, midlands and north.

French bakery to open UK site: Aux Pains de Papy, the French bakery run by Mathieu Esposito, is to open its first site in London – there are plans to open a further four sites in the capital by 2018. The company, which previously operated six sites across the South of France, has completed the acquisition of a site at 279 Grays Inn Road. It has taken the ground and basement space of the unit, which totals circa 1,000 sq ft on a ten-year full repairing and insuring lease. The group said the site will operate as a “high end rustic bakery, with an ancillary retail element”. Joshua Rose, of Shelley Sandzer, which advised on the deal, said: “This is the first site for Aux Pains de Papy in London and will prove popular with the Midtown office crowd looking for well made, well presented delicacies. As consumers are becoming more discerning, there has been a demand for high end, quality bakeries, which Aux Pains de Papys certainly fills.”

Work to start on £100m hotel and leisure development: Building work on the long-awaited £100m Flaxby Country Resort is set to begin before the end of this month, property developer Skelwith Leisure has said. Planning and legal agreements for the 300-room hotel and leisure development have been signed with Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council. York-based Skelwith Leisure is developing the complex on the existing 27-hole Flaxby Park Golf course. The development will also feature a luxury spa and gym, restaurants, bars and boutiques, totaling more than 240,000 sq ft in size. Paul Ellis, managing director of Skelwith Leisure, said construction work would start on 28 May. He added: “It has been a long journey to be able to start work on this ambitious project but I am delighted now to be able to finally get cracking.”

Whitbread’s Premier Inn and McDonald’s set to open in Atlantic Village: Whitbread plans to open a 70-bedroom Premier Inn next to the Atlantic Village site in Bideford, Devon. There will also be a drive-through restaurant at the development that has been pre-sold to McDonald’s.

Frobishers strengthens sales team: Producer of premium natural fruit juices Frobishers Juices has strengthened its sales team with the appointment of two high level account managers. John Breading has joined as senior national account manager while Harriet Regan has taken the role of key account manager for the south. Frobishers has enjoyed double digit growth for the last three years and is continuing to develop its nationwide stockist network. High profile operators among the ranks, including Hall & Woodhouse, St Austell Brewery, Buccaneer Inns and Ribble Valley Inns.

Ted Tuppen hits out at statutory regulation plans; suggests legal challenge down the line possible: Enterprise Inns chief executive Ted Tuppen has claimed plans to transfer £102m of economic benefit to tenants under statutory regulation proposals are “entirely without logic”- and raised the prospect of a possible legal challenge down the line if legislation seeks to re-cast commercial relationships. On the proposed figure for transfer of value from pub companies to tenants, he said: “There is no formula. It is almost impossible to see how they came up with a number.” Tuppen told City analysts that he believed there are ‘wiser heads’ in government, particularly those concerned about the law of unintended consequences, “but that the process is being led by Vince Cable and parts of BIS, not the whole of BIS”. He said that the whole process was “going to take some time” with the government having four months to respond after the consultation ends in June. He added: “That legislation may be subject to legal challenge, depending on what it says - even if we then get some legislation that does require some intervention by a statutory code. If it is statutory enforcement of things we already do then we would welcome it. In many ways it would be easier to deal with a sensible adjudicator rather than the court of campaigning.” He added that the company had “plans to deal with whatever the outcome may be”. He also noted that with around 500 rent reviews a year at Enterprise any detrimental outcome of the consultation would take a “long time to find its way into the business”. Tuppen questioned claims that £4,000 transferred to tenants under proposals set out in the consultation would result in increased investment overall – he pointed out that Enterprise invests £60m in the estate per annum, which is worth around £10,000 per pub. He said: “There is an extraordinary suggestion in the consultation that under this new code that the struggling publican will earn a further £4,000 per year which they will invest in improving their pubs. Well, £4,000 after tax will be £3,000 and you don’t have to be a mathematician to divide our £60 million investment by 5,720 pubs to see that we, along with so many in the industry, invest an average of £10,000 or more every year in our pubs. So the idea that investment into the pub estate of this country is going to be improved is frankly farcical. There will be job losses as pubs close, tax revenues will be reduced and the thing that would upset me most of all is that a very good system that offers entry into a brilliant industry would be closed off. The training, the support, advice and assistance that we give would be choked off as we are forced to consider different ways of running our business.”

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Growth Partners - Find out More Banner
Santa Maria MEXI-GO Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Contract Furniture Group Banner
Bizimply Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner
Heineken Silver Banner
Peppadew Banner
Propel Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Access Banner
Christie & Co Banner
The Licensees Association Banner
Airship – Toggle Banner
Libeo Banner
COREcruitment Banner
Hospitality Rising Banner
Cynergy Bank Banner
John Gaunt Banner
Zonal Banner
HGEM Banner
Bums on Seats Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner