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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Tue 4th Jun 2013 - Handmade Pubs, Lazy Cow Group and Starbucks

Story of the day:

The Lazy Cow Group hits sales of £75,000 per week in Stratford after launch of better burger and gelato concepts: The Lazy Cow Group (TLC), the operator of the Lazy Cow brand headed by Ross Sanders and formerly known as Urban and Country Leisure, has hit sales of £75,000 gross per week at its Stratford site after launching a better burger and gelato offer in under-used external areas a month ago. The company has launched a hand-pressed burger offer incorporating craft beer in a new concept called The Shed in a former tea-room outside the pub – takings have hit £11,000 a week there. In addition, the site has launched a gelato concept called The Milking Parlour offering 15 flavours of home-made gelato daily – the company has imported special gelato-making equipment from Italy costing £45,000. Sanders told Propel Info: “The Stratford Lazy Cow has 400 external seats and 200 covers inside. I didn’t want to end up selling sandwiches or offering no food at all – the kitchen inside the Lazy Cow couldn’t cope with this number of external covers. I developed The Shed in an external building that had been serving tea and coffee. It offers hand-pressed beer-fed Dexter beef burger in a brioche bun - messy but full of flavour and served in tin foil. We deliver burgers, which are priced between £6.50 and £8.00, to tables in a brown deli bag.” Sanders reports “many expressions of interest in franchising the idea” already. The first franchisee is former colleague Andy Osborne who has signed to open The Shed in Magaluf, Majorca. The Milking Parlour, which also serves pastries and cakes, sits at the other end of the former coffee and tea-room outside the Stratford Lazy Cow site. The runaway success of the two incremental offers at the Lazy Cow means that TLC will now look at retro-fitting aspects of the offer at its Warwick site. Sanders have given thanks to Paul Wells of Charles Wells, the site’s leaseholder at the moment, for the extensive help he’s given the company in launching the two brand extensions.

Propel Opinion by Paul Charity: Richard and Loren Pope of The Bull’s Head at Repton, Derbyshire, are laying claim to the title of most influential licensed retailers of their generation. Hardly a week seems to pass at the moment without another retailer showing the direct influence of the Popes. Last week, Propel revealed that Marston’s had borrowed the Popes pizza format and applied it its latest Revere premium opening – The Curious Pig in Copthorne West Sussex. Marston’s is even using the same equipment as the Popes – a Valoriani pizza oven. (Revere managing director Colin Sadler has visited the Popes site and directly referenced the couple’s pub during his presentation at the Propel Multi Club conference in March.) Marston’s will make the pizza offer a firm part of the Revere offer going forward. This week, Ross Sanders reveals that he has borrowed the Popes gelato idea for his Milking Parlour offer at The Lazy Cow in Stratford. Likes the Popes, he sent a chef to the University of Gelato in Bologna and has imported the very expensive equipment needed to make gelato on his own premises. The Lazy Cow boss Ross Sanders has also been a visitor to The Bull’s Head. Richard Pope will present at the Propel Multi Club Conference at the Oxford Belfry on Thursday 20 June. 

Industry news:

Starbucks bans smoking within 25 feet of premises in the US: Starbucks has implemented a ban on smoking within 25 feet of its premises in the US from 1 June. Spokeswoman Jaime Riley said the expanded ban stems from “a sense of responsibility to provide customers with a safe and healthy environment”. The new decree applies to all 7,000 company-owned stores within the US and Canada regardless of whether the cafes feature outdoor seating. Some 4,000 other Starbucks locations – including licensed shops located within retailers such as Target and Barnes & Noble – are exempt. And the 25-feet smoke-free radius is flexible based on each store’s lease size, Riley said. If Starbucks-controlled property only extends 15 feet from a particular store’s exterior, then smokers outside the area are free to puff away if local law allows. 

Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Japan closes: The Gordon Ramsay restaurant in Tokyo at The Conrad hotel has closed after eight years of operation. The Conrad Tokyo offered “The Best of Gordon Ramsay” special menu from 14 to 31 May, showcasing signature dishes from the chef, prior to its closure on Saturday (1 June). The Conrad Tokyo will unveil a new restaurant, Collage, in mid-July.

Survey reveals children’s confusion on food: Almost a third of UK primary pupils think cheese is made from plants and a quarter think fish fingers come from chicken or pigs, a survey has found. Nearly one in ten secondary pupils thinks tomatoes grow under ground, according to the survey for the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF). Some 27,500 five-to-16-year-olds were questioned last month. The charity said the figures prove the need for better teaching about cooking and healthy eating. The survey also revealed confusion about the source of staples such as pasta and bread among younger pupils, with about a third of five-to-eight-year-olds believing that they are made from meat. Some 19% of this age group did not realise that potatoes grew underground, with 10% thinking they grew on bushes or trees.

Survey lists most visited restaurants in the US: Placed Insights’ “Dining Out in America: The Quick Service Restaurant Landscape” report has found that McDonald’s and Subway lead all quick-service restaurant companies in consumer visits in the US. Nearly 51% of consumers surveyed said they had visited McDonald’s in the past month and 39.7% of them said they had visited Subway. Starbucks Coffee was the next most-visited quick-service chain, with 25% of respondents stopping in recently. The coffee company finished just ahead of Burger King and Wendy’s, which had 24.7% and 23.8% of consumer visits, respectively. Taco Bell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pizza Hut, Sonic and Arby’s rounded out numbers six through ten.

Families to be £1,500 worse off a year by 2015: The Institute of Fiscal Studies have reported that the average family with two kids will be £34 a week worse off – £1,500 a year – by 2015. The average couple with no children will see their weekly net income drop from £474 in 2007-2008 to £450 in 2015-2016. While most salaries are higher than in previous years, the “spending power” of the money is slowly eroding because the cost of living has risen more quickly.

Company news:

Oakman Inns acquires second hotel in Berkhamsted: Oakman Inns and Restaurants, led by Peter Borg-Neal, has acquired a second hotel in Berkhamsted, the 20-bedroom Penny Farthing, to provide capacity overflow to its existing King’s Arms site in the town which is full mid-week. The company will close rooms at The Penny Farthing on a phased basis to refurbish them in line with standards at The King’s Arms. Meanwhile, the company is planning to reduce bedrooms at The King’s Arms from 15 to 14 to carve out a holding kitchen for its popular function room at the site. Meanwhile, Oakman has doubled turnover at The Cook and Fillet, Kingswood, Buckinghamshire after adding it to its estate 14 week ago – turnover has increased from £7,500-a-week to £15,000-a-week. The deal involved Borg-Neal reuniting with the former chairman and managing director of Grand Metropolitan Estates Bob Williams, the site owner who was also his boss at Mill House Inns in the 1990s. The Cook and Fillet was formerly named The Crooked Billet and has been developed at a cost of £650,000. Borg-Neal told Propel: “The TripAdvisor scores for The Cook and Fillet have been turned around. We’re now looking at moving a sub-optimal farm shop into a barn to allow us to increase dining space.”

Jamie’s Italian eyes overseas growth: The Times has reported that Jamie’s Italian plans to open 25 to 30 outlets overseas within the next three years. The company will also report a 19.3% jump in underlying profit to £13.2m last year with sales up 30.3% to £93.9m on the back of six new openings and resilient trading. The company operates 33 restaurants in the UK and four overseas franchises in Dublin, Dubai and two in Australia. This year, it will add franchised sites in St Petersburg, Moscow, Istanbul, Canberra, Singapore and a second in Dubai. Next year, openings are hoped for Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Beijing, Indonesia and Thailand. The company hopes a smaller format, Jamie’s Italian Trattoria – will provide scope for further growth in the UK, with the first opening in Richmond, West London, next month.

Grillshack lines up Soho opening: Grillshack, the latest venture from Richard Caring, is to take a prime site on Beak Street in Soho for its first opening. The casual dining restaurant has taken a new 20-year lease from the landlord on The Alphabet bar, Beak Street where an undisclosed premium was paid for them to surrender their lease. Shelley Sandzer, the leisure property agent, acted for Grillshack Restaurants Ltd. Grillshack will occupy the 3,000 sq ft unit over ground floor and the basement and will open during the summer. Nick Weir, partner at Shelley Sandzer said: “Grillshack is a great new venture and we have secured a fantastic site right in the heart of Soho. Whilst many people might be sad to see The Alphabet bar go, this new restaurant will be appropriate for the area and sure to attract a good fan base from the start.” The Alphabet bar opened in 1997 and has been a defining venue that helped establish the London bar scene. The landlord Capitalstart Ltd was unrepresented. Details of rent were withheld.

Greene King gets green light for Hungry Horse in St Helens: Greene King has secured planning approval to build a Hungry Horse-on the site of the ex-Joe Walsh garage, off Sherdley Road and St Helens Linkway in St Helens. The development, which would include a children’s play area, will involve a 100-space car park and landscaping works. Supporting planning documents state that 50 new jobs will be created on completion of the pub.

Arran Brewery eyes expansion south of the border: Arran Brewery is eyeing expansion south of the Border after agreeing a distribution deal with Ooberstock, the online drinks wholesaler. The craft beer producer, which recently opened export markets in Spain, France and Japan, hopes the arrangement will lead to a ten-fold sales increase in England and Wales. Ooberstock, founded by former drinks trade executive Arran Heal last year, said the brewer had the potential to achieve UK-wide distribution on the back of the deal. The business already distributes around 1,000 products for big drinks industry names, including Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Coca-Cola Enterprises and Heineken.

Handmade Pubs acquires Filthy MacNasty’s Whiskey Café: Handmade Pubs, the company led by Bob Taylor, has bought Filthy McNasty’s Whisky Café in Islington. The buyer plans a refurbishment at Filthy’s but will host the Meatlover southern American barbecue pop up for the rest of the summer at least. The Meatlover menu will feature slow cooked brisket, smoked ribs and buttermilk southern fried chicken. Handmade Pubs, which operates Lansdowne in Primrose Hill, The Fox in Shoreditch and The Railway at Teddington Station, plans to expand to ten sites in the next two years. Chris Bickle, associate director at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Operators like Handmade are experienced in the art of creating superb food-led neighbourhood pubs with character, which is something Filthy’s has in abundance.” Davis Coffer Lyons disposed of the remainder of the 25-year lease from Punch Taverns off an asking price of £135,000 and a passing rent of £43,500 per annum.

Brewdog founders to appear in six-part US craft beer show: The co-founders of Scottish craft brewery, Brewdog, will present a new TV show on the craft beer revolution that will be shown on US television this summer. James Watt and Martin Dickie are the subject of the eponymous Brewdogs, an hour-long show that will see the duo tour the world with their anti-establishment craft beer message. The six-part series has been commissioned by NBC/Universal’s new Esquire. The first season of Brewdogs will see pair travel across the United States reporting on craft beer trends. They will team up with their US contemporaries to brew some bizarre beers with unconventional methods and ingredients.

Soul Food Project boss launches Secret Dining Society: Soul Food Project boss Carl Finn, who operates Everards second Project Artisan pub, The Church Inn in Birmingham’s Jewelry Quarter, has launched the Secret Dining Society, a travelling pop-up restaurant. Matt Wright, of Great Food Magazine, said: “Customers are given a location and time – they then turn up and eat a meal delivered to a certain theme. It could be Italian food served in a hired deli or French cuisine delivered to a Second World War French Resistance theme in a suitably-decked-out pub.”

De Beauvoir Deli Co to open second site: De Beauvoir Deli Co, the store and cafe on the border of Islington and Hackney that sources locally from small independent suppliers to offer the “finest in-season and artisan produce”, is to open a second site in Islington later this summer.

Novus Leisure withdraws application to open Manchester Tiger Tiger until 5.30am: Novus Leisure has withdrawn an application to open its Tiger Tiger venue in Manchester’s Printworks two hours later until 5.30am at the weekends. The move sparked concerns from a local councillor over increased alcohol-related violence and anti-social behaviour. The company had pointed out that Tiger Tiger was named Best Bar None venue four years running but still withdrew the application.

Douglas Jack – Fuller’s deserves its premium rating: Numis Securities analyst Douglas Jack has issued an “add” recommendation on Fuller’s shares, with a price target of 950p, ahead of full year results this Friday (7 June). He said: “We forecast profit before tax to be up 4% to £31.6m. We expect to hold our 2014E forecasts, which are based on assumptions of 1% managed like-for-like sales growth, flat managed margins and just two pub acquisitions next year. We believe these assumptions are conservative and have the potential to be upgraded. In the licensed retail sector, Fuller’s has the lowest leverage (based on cash fixed charge cover), the highest average asset quality (85% freehold; orientated to London and south east England) and one of the best operational track records. These factors justify its premium rating.”

Doncaster nightclub set to re-open – four years after closing: A Doncaster nightclub is to re-open its doors - four years after last welcoming clubbers. Karisma in Duke Street will re-open after a refurbishment with a new name, Club Faith. The club was last open for business in 2009 before being forced to shut by the economic downturn. Now new owners have pledged to turn the venue, housed within the Co-op and TJ Hughes building, into a welcome addition to Doncaster’s economy. A spokesman said: “The club has undergone an elegant transformation, becoming Doncaster’s most chic and sophisticated clubbing destination.”

JD Wetherspoon set for go-ahead for £2.8m investment in Stamford and Oakham: JD Wetherspoon looks set to get the go-ahead for a £2.8m investment in pubs in Stamford and Oakham. The company has submitted an application for a £1m pub in Sheep Market, Stamford and councillors have been recommended to approve the application at a South Kesteven District Council development control committee meeting today (Tuesday). The firm is planning to transform the ground floor of the building, which is currently the Rutland and Stamford Mercury offices, into a pub. The existing forecourt will be turned into an outdoor seating area. JD Wetherspoon has also applied to Rutland County Council to open a £1.8m venue at the former Royal British Legion club in High Street, Oakham. The venue is to be called The Captain Noel Newton, who was a former Rutland High Sheriff in the 1930s and lived in the building before he sold it to the legion for £1,600. The name of the Stamford pub has not been revealed.

Stonegate Pub Company re-opens Blackpool pub – with an energy bar: Stonegate Pub Company has re-opened The Castle pub in Blackpool after a £130,000 refurbishment – with an energy bar. Manager Dave Daly said: “There are lots of different areas for people to sit in and we will have 16 big screens for sport showing eight different channels so there should be something for everybody. We have also got a new Energy Bar. This is where we do cocktails but also non-alcoholic cocktails too. You would be amazed how many people come in and would rather have a Red Bull or something than a pint so we are catering for them too.”

Vapiano extends its drinks list: Fast-casual Italian restaurant chain Vapiano has extended its drinks list. Its two London restaurants are now serving a new selection of wines, as well as introducing long drinks and a range of premium spirits. Among the new wines on offer are; Little Eden, Moscato (Italy), Burlesque White Zinfandel Rose (California), Some Young Punks ‘ Passion has Red Lips’, Cabernet Shiraz (Australia) and Monte Schiavo Verdicchio Classico (Italy). Domenico De Bertiol Prosecco Di Valdobbiadene (Italy). The cool and refreshing long drinks include Milano Torino Martini Royale, Aperol Spritz Campari Orange and Strawberry Bellini. Among the premium spirits on offer are; Ketel One, Greenalls Bloom, Diplomatico Blanco. These complement the pouring spirits, which include Tanqueray, Havana Club, and Skyy. A new bottled lager (Meantime London Lager) and bottled cider (Aspall Suffolk Cyder) complete the new-look drinks list. To coincide with the new drinks menu, the restaurants are now serving wine in 250ml glasses, to complement the existing 125ml and 175ml measures. Vapiano UK managing director Phil Sermon said: “We have extended the menu in order to ensure that our drinks are even more appealing to our guests and are pleased to introduce the new long drinks, new wines, a London craft beer and premium spirits. We believe the extended drinks list is an excellent addition to our restaurants’ offer and highlights our commitment to choice and quality on both food and drink.”

Restaurant operator sought for £250m Southwater scheme: An operator is being sought to take up a prime location within the £250 million Southwater development in Telford. The opportunity will allow a business to open a bar or restaurant in a spot directly on the new main street adjacent to the already established ten pin bowling centre, Mecca Bingo, the newly refurbished ice rink, and near Telford International Centre. The business which takes on the unit will be surrounded by national brands including Zizzi, Wagamama, PizzaExpress, Chimichanga, Nando’s, Harvester and Bella Italia, which are all due to open next spring. Councillor Charles Smith, cabinet member for Housing, Development and Borough Towns, said: “It’s great that we are able to offer this opportunity and it would be even better if it was a local business. We already have a number of well-known national brands coming to Southwater, which will obviously attract many people.”

Hall & Woodhouse - £1 deals threaten the bottled ales market: Bottled ales have grown significantly in 2012 but £1 deals and on-going low priced bottled ales may be detrimental to the long-term success of the category because it is merely encouraging existing bottled ale customers to trade down, according to the Hall & Woodhouse Premium Ale Insight report. The report also identifies that the premium canned ale shoppers spend more per annum on alcohol than customers of any other beer, wine and spirit category - an average of £675 each per year, making them increasingly valuable to retailers. Melinda Bowles, premium ale category manager at Hall & Woodhouse, who is responsible for producing the report, said: “If ale’s share of beer in the off trade matched its current share in on trade the off trade ale category would grow by £386m to be worth almost £900m, and if premium ale household penetration levels were to rise more to those of premium lager, the category would grow by £250m.”

Hook Norton signs Australia export deal to increase volumes threefold: Oxfordshire-based Hook Norton has signed a deal with liquor retailer Woolworths that will treble its exports to its largest market, Australia, threefold. Old Hooky, 12 Days and Haymaker, from Hook Norton’s bottled beer range, already feature in all 175 of Australia’s liquor store Dan Murphy’s sites, owned by Woolworths. Impressed with the sales of these products, Woolworths has decided to extend Haymaker and 12 Days to sub brand BWS, a mainstream chain for everyday Aussie beers. This will ensure a listing nationally in 600 stores. Hook Norton managing director (commercial), Adrian Staley said: “We are thrilled that Woolworths has introduced Hook Norton Brewery to two of their sub-brands. This makes Australia our biggest export market and Old Hooky, 12 Days and Haymaker have all been so successful over there, we’ve actually had to put more brews on to fulfil their first orders!”

Bramwell Pub Company to launch new pub concept next week: Bramwell Pub Company is launching a new drinking and casual dining concept called Wild Lime Bar & Kitchen. The bar in Southampton will open to the public on Monday 10 June on Portswood Road, the former site of Varsity. The investment in the bar, which totals more than £300,000, has seen the creation of twenty new jobs. Southampton will be the first of three sites to be converted to Wild Lime Bar & Kitchen with Banbury and Reading to follow before the end of the summer. Sarah Weir, commercial director at Bramwell Pub Company, said: “Through extensive consumer research we have identified a gap in the market. It’s clear that the high street has some innovation but it’s traditionally in the areas of fashion, coffee shops and casual dining. We want to bridge that gap with an offer that innovates, injects excitement and drives the rise of ‘casualisation’, enabling customers to do what they want, when they want in an all-day trading format. Wild Lime Bar & Kitchen is bright, breezy and laid back; always ‘sunny inside’. The concept has been born from a passion to bring a modern, aspirational and innovative brand to the high street. It was inspired by the new world; their values, culture, food and drink, coupled with exceptional service.”

Wetherspoon gets consent for £2m motorway pub: JD Wetherspoon is to open its first licensed bar and restaurant on the motorway network after getting consent. This new pub will open at Extra’s Motorway Service Area on the M40 (junction 2) at Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire – as reported first by Propel Info. Wetherspoon has been granted permission to operate 24 hours a day (the company has yet to finalise its opening hours). The licence allows it to serve alcohol from 8am until 1am seven days a week. Prior to the lodging of the premises licence application, Wetherspoon representatives met with Thames Valley Police and South Bucks District Council to outline their plans. No representations on the application were received. Wetherspoon and Extra are jointly set to invest more than £2 million on the development, creating 50 jobs. Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin said: “We are looking forward to opening our first licensed bar and restaurant on the motorway network. The company has always been innovative and this is an exciting new development for us. Hopefully it will be the first of many Wetherspoon’s on the motorway.” Andrew Long, chief executive of Extra MSA Group, said: “Extra continues to invest in further improvements to its chain of MSAs and is committed to providing increased choice and competition for all customers on the Motorway Network. We are pleased to be working closely with JD Wetherspoon as an important new edition to Extra’s substantial complementary range of major and popular Tenant partner brands.” Wetherspoon’s will serve food, coffee and other hot drinks, together with a wide range of non-alcoholic drinks at all times. The licence was granted by South Bucks District Council Licensing Authority.

Angela Hartnett to open in Shoreditch: Chef Angela Hartnett will open a restaurant in Shoreditch with Canteen founders Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone. The trio have taken the former Cantaloupe site on Charlotte Road, Shoreditch. The as-yet-unnamed venture will open in July offering 80 seats plus a 50-cover bar.

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