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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 30th Jan 2014 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Spirit Pub Company and Pesto call time on two-pub partnership: Spirit Pub Company is to transfer both pubs let to Pesto in the Pub, the Italian-in-a-pub offer led by La Tasca creator Neil Gatt and Sara Edwards, to its managed division after disappointing trading. Pesto opened in two Spirit pubs last year after a combined joint investment of £675,000 – The Wagon and Horses in Millhouses, Sheffield opened eight months ago and The Red Lion in South Stainley, near Harrogate, opened last August. Both pubs are closed pending re-opening as Spirit managed brands – The Red Lion will re-open as a Fayre & Square site on Tuesday 4 February. Gatt told Propel: “The two-site project was something that both Pesto and Spirit were very keen and excited to try out, Pesto with our growth strategy and Spirit with its “innovation” initiative. After more than six months into each of the two Pesto in a Pub sites, neither Pesto nor Spirit were happy with the collective returns – expectations were simply not being met. An opportunity arose for both of the two pubs to move over to Spirit managed side and we decided between us that this was probably the best solution to what was a disappointing but informative project for both companies. For Pesto, we continue with our aggressive roll-out plan with two new openings in March, keeping us on-track for our target of ten new openings this calendar year.” Pesto was founded in 2006 by Neil Gatt and Sara Edwards when they opened their first restaurant in Manchester city centre. Further openings in the Trafford Centre, Liverpool and Glasgow followed before the pair set about their new strategy in November 2011 – opening Pesto in pubs.

Industry News:

Brain’s Philip Lay to present at the first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2014: Philip Lay, retail director at the South Wales brewer and pub retailer SA Brain, talks about the retail learning, training focus and future prospects for the company’s award-winning coffee shop concept Coffee #1 at the first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2014. The event will be held on Thursday 13 March at the Lancaster London Hotel, Lancaster Gate, central London. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice companies can claim up to two free places each. E-mail to reserve places.

7Bone Burger Company earns plaudits: Better burger brand 7Bone Burger Company, which BBC Two viewers saw being mentored by restaurateur Russell Norman last night in The Restaurant Man, has won rave reviews since it opened in Southampton last year. The brand, opened by first-time operators, is ranked an average TripAdvisor mark of more than four out of five from 92 reviewers. It has 49 “excellent” and 26 “very good” rankings with just five “terrible” or “poor” ratings. The venue is placed 35th out of 570 restaurants in the Southampton area.

Freeze in beer duty would create 2,400 jobs: A freeze in beer duty would build on the success of last year’s historic Budget duty cut, promoting jobs, growth, and investment in Britain’s vital brewing and pub sector. This was the message to the Treasury from Britain’s brewers and pubs yesterday as they put their Budget case to the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Nicky Morgan. Industry chief executives told Morgan that a duty freeze in 2014 would lead to 2,400 additional jobs in the first year alone, at virtually no cost (£4m) to the government, according to new research from independent experts at Oxford Economics. This would provide a further boost to the industry and would be warmly welcomed by British beer drinkers and pub-goers, they said. British beer remains hugely overtaxed in comparison to other countries, with British beer drinkers paying 42% of the entire EU beer duty bill. 

Enterprise Inns – ‘our estate in Plymouth has escaped pub cull’: Enterprise Inns has reported that its estate of pubs in Plymouth has been unaffected by a large cull of the city’s pub portfolio. Campaigners have expressed concern for the future of Plymouth’s pubs after it was revealed that 22 closed down last year. The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) said that 22 city pubs shut their doors in 2013, 11 of which have been “lost forever”, while three have already closed in the early weeks of 2014. The chairman of Camra’s Plymouth branch, Ian Dickinson, said the rise in the number of permanent closures – up from nine in 2011 and ten in 2012 – is linked to a combination of economic factors. Enterprise Inns has told Propel that its own estate in the city stands at 19 currently, down from 22 in September 2011. Chief executive Ted Tuppen told Propel: “We were surprised and saddened to see the pub closure data. On investigating our own estate in the city, we’ve sold just one pub a year since 2011. Plymouth is an economically challenged city, but I believe the support a tenanted pub company like Enterprise provides has kept our pubs open.”

Nation’s Restaurant News – QSR brands are adopting aspects of fast-casual: The authoritative Nation’s Restaurants News, the leading restaurant sector publication in the US, has claimed some of the country’s largest quick-service brands are responding to growing competition from fast-casual upstarts by evolving elements of their service, to defend their market share. The magazine said: “Whether it’s more customisation at McDonald’s, upgraded prototypes at Pizza Hut and Domino’s Pizza, or a newly imagined ‘innovation restaurant’ at KFC, quick-service brands are showing a greater openness to adopting the fast-casual segment’s service attributes, rather than copy menu items or migrate their price points.” John Gordon, principal of Pacific Management Consulting Group, told the magazine: “Those four brands, or any quick-service brand really, would all love to have the demographics of the fast-casual customer. They tend to be higher-income, dine out more, and be more social and food-oriented.”

Crowdcube launches venture fund: The crowd-funding website Crowdcube has launches its own venture fund. Founder Luke Lang said: “We’re pleased to announce the first managed fund for people who want to benefit from the experience of a professional fund manager to build a tax-efficient portfolio of equity investments from those businesses listed on Crowdcube. Available exclusively for Crowdcube members, the minimum subscription is just £2,500, making it far more accessible than a typical EIS fund.”

Independent Italian restaurant tops TripAdvisor rankings for Greater Manchester: The independent Italian restaurant Le Delicatezze di Bruno has topped the rankings of all restaurants in Greater Manchester, according to reviews on TripAdvisor. More than 120 people have shared their thoughts on the venue, helping it beat 1,579 other restaurants across the region to the top spot. Owner and chef Bruno Polluthi said: “I’m just glad people call us a restaurant. I didn’t know we were famous on TripAdvisor until recently. It’s just simple Italian cooking with all fresh ingredients.”

Daily Mirror – Gordon Ramsay to switch to ITV: Chef Gordon Ramsay is quitting Channel 4 after a decade, to join ITV, the Daily Mirror has claimed. He is in “advanced talks” with channel bosses after he decided not to renew his annual C4 contract. The discussions have included the possibility of bringing back a big format show similar to Hell’s Kitchen, which he fronted for the channel in 2004 and which is a massive hit in the US. Ramsay is only contracted to film a few more hours for C4, including a new run of Kitchen Nightmares. His C4 contract officially ends in the summer.

Company News:

Ex-Greene King landlords take on second pub after runaway Snowdrop success: Former Greene King tenants Dominic McCartan and Tony Leonard have secured their second free-of-tie pub. The pair will re-open The Roebuck Inn in Laughton. The pub, the only one in the East Sussex village, has been closed since March 2013. It was bought by local resident Rachel Daniels, who didn’t want to see it knocked down and turned into housing. A free-of-tie private lease has been agreed and the pub is currently undergoing a major refurbishment and is set to open in the Spring. The move follows runaway success at The Snowdrop in Lewes, a backstreet freehold acquired from Punch Taverns four years ago for £305,000. The couple, who publicly fell out with Greene King over unsustainable rents at their award-winning Brighton pubs, report takings at The Snowdrop have now surpassed their previous record turnover at their former pub, The Hop Poles in Brighton, in its best ever year. Gross turnover at The Snowdrop was £1,052,740 in 2013, an increase of 12.75% on 2012, which was itself an increase of 17.2% on the year before. The couple surrendered the leases of their former Brighton pubs, The Hop Poles and The Eagle, after running them for 12 years, in March 2012, after Greene King refused all attempts to negotiate rents that had become unsupportable. Under their management, turnover at The Hop Poles rose from £2,000 a week when McCartan took it on in 1999, to an annual gross turnover of £1,051,374 year ending August 2008, making it the highest trading pub per square foot in the Greene King estate. At the time of leaving, rent at The Hop Poles had risen to over £79,000 (114% of divisible balance) plus 10% of turnover for free-of-tie on all but one Greene King product. This fixed rent plus the turnover rent amounted to 199.99% of divisible balance, the couple claimed.

Punch Taverns expands Champs sports bar template to Stockton: Punch Taverns has expanded its Champs sports bar format to a site in Stockton after the success of the first site in Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road which is thought to be taking £25,000 per week. Chevys will be re-branded as Champs and have a £525,000 investment by the leaseholder Lindsay Armstrong and owners Punch Taverns. As a result of the investment, 15 new jobs will be created. Armstrong said: “There will be major work conducted throughout to transform it into one of the leading sports bars. We will be adding 33 plasma screens, showing all different sports, and introducing seating booths with individual TVs. We will be introducing a brand new menu and serving breakfast.” Punch Taverns did an innovative deal to buy the name of the popular Champs sports bar in Sheffield’s Ecclesall Road from Thornbridge Brewery.

Shake Shack ale now brewed in UK by Thornbridge: Derbyshire’s Thornbridge Brewery has taken over the brewing of Shackmeister Ale for the UK operation of the American burger chain Shake Shack. The chain’s house ale, a 4.7% abv “craft keg” pale ale brewed with English malts, is made for it in the US by Brooklyn Brewery of New York. Until now, it has been imported for sale in the chain’s London outlet, which opened last July. Thornbridge, which began brewing in 2005, was recommended to Shake Shack by Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at the Brooklyn Brewery, and a regular visitor to the Derbyshire company, who said it was “a quality brewery with experienced and passionate brewers at the helm. I knew they could and would make a great beer for Shake Shack.”

Greene King achieves nil rent uplift at flagship City of London site through agent AG&G: Greene King’s The Golden Fleece in Queen Street in the City of London, trading under the Capital Pub Company banner, has seen nil uplift on review thanks to agent AG&G. “Both Greene King and the owners knew that the venue was experiencing strong demand and buoyant trading, but that wasn’t enough on its own to justify an increase in the rent,” said AG&G director Anthony Alder. “We were able to prove that buildings with an A3 designation were not seeing any increase in value in that location, so there was no reason for an increase. This was accepted and the result was a nil uplift. Current market knowledge once again proved crucial.”

Spirit expands iconic Mayfair pub to three floors: Spirit Pub Company has expanded The Audley in Mayfair, central London to three floors and added two new areas to cater for demand. The Audley hosted the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and her two daughters during a visit by President Barack Obama of the US to the UK. The Audley is now serving premium dishes in the new Grill at the Audley, on the first floor above the main bar, which holds 60 guests and now serves such dishes as venison medallions and monkfish tail. Downstairs, the new Cellar at the Audley holds up to 100 guests, and hosts regular events, including comedy nights and “inspired speaker” nights. A traditional cellar entrance outside the Cellar Bar pays homage to the Audley’s heritage. Both new areas are available for private hire.

Establishment HM grows City portfolio further: Establishment HM Ltd has expanded its estate with the acquisition of the City of London bar The Spectator through agent Davis Coffer Lyons, off an asking price of £150,000. Establishment HM, trading as EHM Bars-Clubs-Restaurants, has purchased a 25-year free of-tie lease with 16 years unexpired. The deal comes after its purchase of the Plum Tree in Farringdon, central London, which DCL sold as a closed site in December. The new site, a 2,700 sq ft ground floor and basement wine bar in the City, is a stone’s throw from St Paul’s Cathedral and the Museum of London. It has undergone a recent refurbishment. Jonathan Moradoff of DCL said: “This deal once again highlights how vibrant the capital’s market is at the moment. The feel-good factor that is emerging in the City is really starting to filter out, and we expect to see the market continue to hot up as we move into 2014. The Spectator is the latest addition to Establishment HM’s growing portfolio and we have no doubt – given the company’s record – it will be a success.” The vendor was represented by Dean Gambles and Co.

Deadline set for bids on Marston’s Pitcher & Piano freehold: Agent CBRE has set a deadline of midday on Thursday 6 February for prospective purchasers of a Marston’s Pitcher & Piano freehold in Newcastle upon Tyne to submit their best and final written offers. The freehold of the Pitcher & Piano in Newcastle is on the market for offers in excess of £6.625m through CBRE. The property is subject to a new 35-year lease with Marston’s as tenant paying a rent of £350,000 a year on an FRI lease, with five-yearly rent reviews where the rent will be annually compounded in line with the Retail Price Index, subject to a collar and cap of 1% and 4%. The guide price means any buyer receives a new initial yield of 5%.

Antic adds leasehold Harlesden pub to estate; 24 Downing freeholds in sight: Antic London, the fast-expanding operator of London pubs founded by Anthony Thomas, has acquired The Misty Moon in Harlesden, North London. Propel understands that the site is leasehold and not part of the Downing-backed estate. Antic said on Twitter: “(We) completed on the old Misty Moon in Harlesden. Work won’t start for a while but great things planned – food, music, great ales and more.” In addition to a growing leasehold portfolio, Antic London is also building one of the most valuable independent London freehold estates in the sector. The opening of Eltham GPO next month in South London will be the 21st Downing-backed freehold overseen by the Antic London management team and there are three more in development that are due to open over the next few months.

Jamie’s Italian in five days of interviews for Newcastle staff: Jamie’s Italian has planned five days of interviews at Newcastle College to help fill the 120 vacancies for the chain’s new restaurant in the city, with successful candidates invited back to the college for two induction days, hosted by the chief executive of the Jamie’s Italian group. As part of the recruitment campaign, the Jamie’s team worked with Newcastle College, Intraining and Job Centre Plus to help long-term unemployed people in the North East get back to work. Abi Bundy, operations manager at Intraining, said: “We are delighted to be working with Jamie’s Italian. The candidates don’t need to have vast experience; they just have to demonstrate that they have a passion for good food and are willing to be part of a dynamic team. The pre-employment training that we will provide will give them the basics they need, but it is their personality, ultimately, that will shine through.” Potential candidates will be selected based on their personality and passion for food and good customer service. The new outlet, due to open in March, is in Monument Mall, in the heart of the city centre.

Losses widen at Spaghetti House: Losses have widened at the 12-strong Spaghetti House chain of London-based Italian restaurants, run by the second generation of the Lavarani family. Turnover rose to £14.48m in the year to 31 March 2013 from £12.33m the year before. Losses before tax deepened to £772,000 from £166,500 the year before. The company said: “The directors are pleased with the group’s results despite the current depressed UK economy and strong competition within the catering sector.”

Douglas Jack – Enterprise Inns climbing a wall of worry: Numis Securities’ leisure analyst, Douglas Jack, has issued a ‘Hold’ recommendation on Enterprise Inns shares with a price target of 170p ahead of next Thursday’s trading update. He described the company as “trying to climb a wall of worry”. Jack said: “We forecast like-for-like net income being up 1.5% in Q1 and flat over the full year, largely reflecting comps (which are easy in H1 and tough in H2). Due to recent strength, valuation and the regulatory backdrop, we are moving our recommendation from ‘Add’ to ‘Hold’. Self-help is boosting growth. Last year, 32% of capex was growth-orientated. This ratio should rise to 60% over three years, aided by a falling business failure rate (10.2% of pubs in 2013 vs 12.9% in 2009). The latter should benefit from increased central purchasing (in areas like Wi-Fi, Sky TV and food) for licensees’ benefit. ‘Managed tenancies’ are performing well: last year, the 185-strong Beacon estate generated 8% like-for-like net income. The share price appears to be anticipating minimal change in regulation. A strong case for retaining self-regulation has been made by the numerous companies, the OFT and London Economics. However, the Business Secretary said last week that statutory regulation is ‘necessary’ and that MPs would ‘soon hear’ the government’s plans. A mandatory ‘free-of-tie option with open market rent review’, the most extreme scenario, should be avoided by this government. Resulting in reduced scale economies, higher rents, less product range and less business support, it would increase closure rates. This, combined with the 500-pubs Statutory Code threshold (encouraging selling), could further undermine asset values. Despite all this, the free-of-tie option appears to be favoured by the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties. Next week, we expect to hold our forecasts (PBT £121m; consensus £120m), which allow for tougher comps in H2. We would take profits into strength from this trading update, reflecting: tougher comps in H2; regulatory risk; potential fall-out from Punch Taverns’ bondholder vote (either way); and valuation (the highest major tenanted disposal multiple over the last six years is 7.6x EV/Ebitda).”

Costa to expand ‘youngsters into work’ scheme nationally: Costa Coffee is to expand a successful partnership with the Prince’s Trust in Bristol that helps youngsters into work to a full UK programme over the next year. Costa provided a practical ten-day in-store course with work experience for local unemployed young people. Each participant who completed the course was awarded a certificate. The scheme is part of Costa’s commitment to the Prince’s Trust’s Get Into programme, which offers short vocational courses to unemployed young people aged 16 to 25 in order for them to gain skills in a specific sector and improve their employability. Danielle Lentle, 18, from Withywood, was one of those offered a job at Costa after the course. While looking for work online, she came across the Prince’s Trust and applied for the Get Into Hospitality programme. She said: “The course did exactly what it said it would – it got me into hospitality. Within days of finishing the four-week scheme I was offered a permanent full-time role at my local Costa. It was the type of training I’d been looking for. As well as helping me to pass my food safety assessments, it also made me feel sure of myself when talking to new people.”

Boston Tea Party Group reports Q1 trading up over 7% in like-for-like terms: Cafe operator Boston Tea Party Group has reported total sales up 25% after an excellent first quarter’s trading. On a like-for-like basis (excluding new stores) net sales have increased 7.2% in the wake of a newly launched Americana-themed lunch menu. The company’s most recent opening in the Gloucester Road area of Bristol started trading in October 2013 and has exceeded initial expectations. Managing director Sam Roberts said: “We have given the local residents there exactly what they wanted – great food freshly cooked on site using locally sourced high-quality ingredients and a uniquely cool ambient space to hang out with family or friends.” Boston Tea Party currently has 13 cafes across the south west and its next restaurant opens in Cheltenham towards the end of March.

Gazette Brasserie to open third site: Gazette Brasserie Group is opening its third branch, after signing a lease for a property on Upper Richmond Road in Putney, South West London in a deal brokered by agent AG&G. The premises are secured until at least October 2024 on a passing rent of £49,000 a year. Gazette has also bought the fixtures and fittings but is likely to add its signature touches of slate with chalk, quotations of the day and Godin cooker tables. “It’s another confident move by Walter Lecocq and Pascal Even, who created the Gazette concept,” said AG&G’s Richard Negus. “They proved with the opening of the first branch in Battersea early in 2007 that there was room in the London market for high-quality provincial French brasserie food. Their second branch, in Balham, followed in just 12 months and was such a hit that they had to move to bigger premises. Now the company is expanding again into another prosperous part of the capital.” Walter Lecocq, the public face of Gazette, has become something of a London cheffing phenomenon, working with Raymond Blanc, Alain Ducasse, Richard Corrigan and Gordon Ramsay before opening his first bistro.

Le Pain Quotidien pays McDonald’s undisclosed premium for Hampstead site: Le Pain Quotidien has paid McDonald’s an undisclosed premium to take its Hampstead site on a passing rent of £89,000 a year. Leased through a deal arranged by agent AG&G, the former McDonald’s High Street outlet joins more than 200 others in 17 countries. “Le Pain Quotidien’s founder, Alain Coumont, grew up in a family of restaurateurs,” said AG&G director Richard Negus. “When the time came to start out on his own as a young chef in Brussels, he wanted the sort of bread he had tasted as a boy. But nobody could supply it – so he founded his own bakery to create Pain Quotidien, or daily bread.” That was in 1990 and the concept was so good that within months he had ten more branches.

Cau lines up fourth opening for next month: Cau, the restaurant group offering contemporary cuisine inspired by the cultural diversity of Buenos Aires, will launch in Tunbridge Wells, Kent in February. After the successful launch of Cau Blackheath last November, Cau Tunbridge Wells will be the group’s fourth UK opening. Patsy Godik, creative director of Cau, said: “We are delighted to be opening Cau in Tunbridge Wells across from the beautiful and historic Old Opera House. We chose this particular area of the UK as it has a vibrant history and a great sense of community, something that Cau has a strong affinity to. We want to become an integral part of the local area, supporting the arts and local charities as well as providing a restaurant that produces well-executed food in a relaxed setting.”

Freehold of Raglan Arms comes on the market: The Raglan Arms, the AA-Rosette awarded and Michelin Guide-featured restaurant in Llandenny, South Wales, is being marketed for sale by agent Christie + Co. After nine years, in which The Raglan Arms has also been featured in the Good Food Guide and Restaurant Guide, the current owner has decided to step aside, allowing a new operator to take the restaurant to a new level with the addition of letting accommodation. The Raglan Arms is in the village of Llandenny on the River Olway, close to Chepstow Races, around three miles from Raglan Castle and near to Howick point-to-point and a number of golf courses, including the Ryder Cup host course in 2010, Celtic Manor. Valerie Turner, of Christie + Co, said: “The business provides a stable and reputable platform for an existing operator or a first-time buyer who wishes to take full advantage of the granted planning permission and the countryside lifestyle that owning the business would offer.” The freehold to The Raglan Arms is on the market for £370,000.

Wetherspoon’s bid for Alnwick pub to be heard next month: A long-awaited decision on plans to transform a derelict town-centre building in Alnwick, Northumberland (population: 7,950) into a JD Wetherspoon pub could be made next month. The company’s bid to open in Alnwick’s vacant Corn Exchange is likely to be heard at February’s meeting of the north area planning committee. The £1.3m scheme for the grade II-listed property, which has been empty for two decades, would create around 40 jobs. Committee chairman John Taylor told the local newspaper: “We are hoping to bring it to the February planning meeting, although a recommendation has not yet been reached due to a delay from consultees.”

Artisan Burger Company founders reveal their background: Alan Berry and Rav Singh, the founders of the new better burger concept Artisan Burger Company, have provided more detail on their corporate backgrounds. The pair are seeking £240,000 of funding through the crowd-funding website Crowdcube in return for 15% of the company equity, and plan to open four sites before starting franchising. Berry, a qualified chef, owned the Harrow Inn gastro-pub, West Ilsley, Berkshire, which featured in the Good Food Guide, Les Routiers and Time Out. Singh worked for eight years for the Forte Restaurants group and in operational/finance roles across a number of multi-site branded restaurants including Harvester, Little Chef, Welcome Break, All Bar One and KFC. The company, which has raised £34,000 already, was challenged by a would-be investor on its current valuation – £1.6m without a restaurant open. On Crowdcube, Singh wrote: “We have taken a number of considerations into account before setting the equity level in exchange for investment. Clearly, we are an early business, so we expected a debate around valuations. Alan and I are more than comfortable with our business assumptions and given the scope in the market place, we believe the projections are conservative.”

Arc Inspirations hires finance director: Arc Inspirations, which operates ten bars and restaurants across Yorkshire and is one the UK’s most profitable smaller operators, has hired a former KPMG manager as its new finance director. Andy Whelan was previously a senior manager within the audit department at KPMG. He said: “Arc Inspirations is at a very exciting stage of its development and growth, with £2.25m invested in the second half of 2013 alone in their locations in West and North Yorkshire. In 2013 they expanded to a brand new city by opening their successful Banyan Bar & Kitchen in York; they opened the new concept bar The Pit on Merrion Street in Leeds; and refurbished and rebranded an existing location into The Pit in Chapel Allerton. Arc Inspirations is looking to the future with further exciting investment to be announced in 2014.” Arc Inspirations is led by Martin Wolstencroft.

Nando’s and PizzaExpress sites change hands: A leisure park that includes two yet-to-be-built restaurant units pre-let to PizzaExpress and Nando’s has been sold in a £9.6m deal. Doncaster Leisure Park was acquired by LaSalle Investment Management from Helix Property Advisors. The transaction involves the purchase of the existing seven-screen Vue cinema and funding for an extension to create four additional screens and the two restaurant units, for which PizzaExpress and Nando’s have signed leases for 25 and 20 years respectively. The development package has been prepared and managed by Alaska Development Consultants. The leisure park is 1.5 miles to the east of Doncaster town centre and south of Doncaster Race Course and Doncaster Rovers’ football ground.

Thwaites reports record numbers of awards entries: The Lancashire-based brewer Thwaites has received the highest number of entries for its annual Awards for Excellence in the event’s four-year history. With the deadline for entries now closed, more than 85 entries have been received from across the Thwaites pub estate. In addition to the existing categories, two new categories have been added for 2014, including Best Trainer and Best Community Involvement, taking the number of award categories to nine. The ultimate accolade, the prestigious Pub of the Year Award, was won in 2013 by The Albion at Arnside. The awards, held at the Cottons Hotel in Cheshire in April, are open to all Thwaites tenants across its estate of 320 pubs. Andrew Buchanan, director of pub operations at Thwaites, said: “The standard of entries this year really is the best we’ve ever seen and it proves that there is a great appetite for success and excellence amongst our tenants and landlords.”

Flying Shuttle finally due to land for Marston’s: The doors of the Flying Shuttle, a new-build pub-restaurant for Marston’s Inns on the Haverhill Business Park in Suffolk, are finally due to open to the public in May, a year after work on building the pub started. The pub, on Faraday Avenue, a new road that is part of the Haverhill Research Park development, was originally planned to open before Christmas. Marston’s is now recruiting 50 workers for the Flying Shuttle, which will have 180 covers, with the restaurant operating under the Milestone Rotisserie format.

Wetherspoon corrects ex-staffer’s job title: JD Wetherspoon has asked Propel to correct the job title of former staff member Kevin Norman, who has set up an outsourced property solutions company called Substantia. Norman was described as a former director of acquisitions at Wetherspoon. His correct title was senior acquisitions surveyor.

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