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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 7th May 2014 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

The Sun – PizzaExpress is only serving halal chicken: The Sun newspaper has devoted its front page this morning to the news that PizzaExpress is only serving halal chicken across its 434 sites but has declined to mention this on menus. Halal chicken has been introduced after feedback from Muslim customers and follows a move by 185 Subway sites in the UK last week to serve only halal meat. A PizzaExpress spokesman told The Sun: “We serve halal chicken in all our restaurants – PizzaExpress is committed to animal welfare standards. As such the birds are stunned before being slaughtered. We are very happy to provide this information to our guests. We spend a lot of time listening to our guests and do our best to cater to their needs. Whether this means creating vegan-friendly pizzas or serving halal chicken, we take their feedback seriously.” Colin Hart, of the Christian Institute, argued that PizzaExpress should be upfront about the meat it is serving. He said: “It’s great that PizzaExpress have shown sensitivity to Muslims. How about them showing sensitivity to people who don’t want to eat halal food. I’ve eaten in PizzaExpress many times but didn’t realise halal meat was on the menu. Why are they hiding this? And why won’t they give people a choice?” Qualified meat inspector Richard North claimed PizzaExpress had gone the halal-only route on chicken to save money. He said: “Keeping halal and non-halal meat is expensive and creates the risk of non-halal being fed to Muslims.” Other brands have come under pressure to service halal meat. Nando’s has received a petition of protest in respect of the non-provision of halal chicken at its Crawley branch – the nearest halal Nando’s is Croydon. Halal chickens must be alive when slaughtered by having their throats slit with all blood draining out – and the slaughter must be carried out by a Muslim who recites the Koran.

Industry News:

Tim Martin, Jacques Borel, Brian Whiting and Mark Jones to discuss VAT reduction at Propel conference: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin, Whiting and Hammond founder Brian Whiting and VAT campaigner Jacques Borel will discuss progress in the campaign to reduce VAT in the sector to 5% at the Propel Multi Club conference on 3 July. They will be joined by Mark Jones, managing director of Mecca Bingo and chairman of the Bingo Association, who will explain how the bingo industry achieved its recent duty reduction. The Propel Multi Club Conference will be followed by the Propel summer party in the evening and is now open for bookings – operators can claim two free places each. A full-day conference will be followed by the summer party, to include go-karting, a BBQ, the top live covers band the All Stars (which includes Simply Red’s guitarist and Rod Stewart’s bass player) and karaoke. To secure places or get more information, email Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com.
   
Luke Johnson – Patisserie Valerie float brings back memories: Sector investor Luke Johnson has reported five days of meetings with would-be investors in the Patisserie Valerie business he is looking to float on AIM. In his Financial Times column, he wrote: “Together with my business partners I have been immersed in meetings with investors all day for the past five working days. In total we will do a whirlwind of about 40 presentations back to back, meeting dozens of prospective institutional shareholders. Our journey started almost eight years ago when we bought a six-strong chain of London patisseries. Since then we have expanded our group to almost 140 branches across the country. Now feels the right time to go public: the economy is thriving and the stock market has rediscovered its purpose – providing capital for flourishing enterprises. It is all very exciting. I have a sense of déjà vu about the whole experience. Twenty-one years ago I undertook the same exercise with a couple of colleagues, promoting a restaurant concept to the stock market called PizzaExpress. We floated it for about £25m, not fully realising what a fabulous opportunity the transaction represented: it was a formative moment in my career, and made everything else possible. Ironically, last week it was reported that PizzaExpress is for sale once more – valued this time at a reputed £1bn.”
   
Tourism minster given briefing on sector’s job potential: Tourism minister Helen Grant has been given a briefing on the sector’s employment potential. The event took place at the House of Saint Barnabus, a members’ club in Soho, London that works with Baxter Storey to support London’s homeless people back into work through its employment academy. The event was aimed at highlighting hospitality’s contribution to supporting economic recovery as well as its role in generating jobs and apprenticeships for young people. The minister experienced first-hand “a whistlestop day-in-the-life tour” of hospitality apprentices, before talking to industry bosses including Patrick Dempsey, managing director of Whitbread Hotels & Restaurants, Thomas Dubaere, managing director of Accor UK & Ireland, Ben Warner, founder of Benugo’s, and Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association. Grant said: “Working in the tourism and hospitality sector can offer a rewarding, challenging and fulfilling career and the British Hospitality Association’s Big Conversation initiative is playing a part in highlighting the opportunities available to young people. The apprentices I have met at the House of Saint Barnabus have shown tremendous enthusiasm and it has been encouraging to hear the importance industry leaders are placing on this scheme, making it a win-win situation for both young people and those businesses involved.”
      
Minister to launch evolved PASS card: Norman Baker, Minister of State for Crime Prevention, will launch the new PASS 18-plus card design on 10 June at Tiger Tiger in the West End of London. Other speakers will include Chief Constable Adrian Lee, licensing lead for the Association of Chief Police Officers and Bill Butler, chief executive of the Security Industry Authority. PASS chairman Robert Humphreys said: “This will be the most fundamental change to the PASS Proof of Age scheme since its launch in 2003. During this time over five million cards have been issued and the PASS hologram is widely recognised and accepted in both the on and off-trade. Over the past 18 months we have conducted extensive research with retailers across the UK, which has shown that a standardised card design would greatly improve recognition and ease acceptance. We believe that these changes will make PASS the preferred proof of age for all age-restricted products.”
   
Adam Hyman – mixed feedback on the effect of Tube strike: Restaurant consultant Adam Hyman has reported mixed feedback on the effects of last week’s Tube strike in London. In his weekly sector update, Hyman said: “I heard mixed views from restaurateurs about the damage the Tube strike caused to their businesses last week. Some said takings were down by up to 40%, while others told me they had enjoyed their busiest week for a while, due to people choosing to have an early dinner before trying to get home.”
   
Portland in Oregon becomes first US city where craft beer takes majority of market: Portland in Oregon has become the first city in the United States where craft beer accounts for the majority of the market. Data collected by the Chicago-based Information Resources reports a 16% increase in craft beer dollar sales for Portland in the first quarter of 2014, pushing the sector’s total market share to 45.8%. The combined products of mainstream brewers saw their dollar sales rise slightly thanks to price increases but they still lost significant market share to craft beer and cider, falling to 40.6%. Bend’s 10 Barrel Brewing saw its sales rise by 131%, according to the report, while Portland’s Laurelwood saw its sales jump by 133%.
   
Later dining launched by restaurants at Brent Cross shopping centre: Later dining has been introduced by restaurants at the Brent Cross shopping centre in North London. Shops shut at 8pm but restaurants including Wagamama, Nando’s, PizzaExpress and Leon will now stay open until 9pm.
   

Company News:

Busaba Eathai to open first site outside of the UK in September: The Thai restaurant group Busaba Eathai, founded by Alan Yau, will open in Dubai this September, its first site outside the UK, after a development deal with the Qatar-based leisure company Ikram Group WLL. Busaba’s development director, Joel Falconer, said: “We are very excited to be opening the first Busaba outside of the UK, and our first of several sites in the GCC. We have considered many joint venture and franchise options over Busaba’s 15 years, but Ikram Group has quickly shown that they not only understand and respect the concept, but also have the means to execute the project with deft skill and speed.” Busaba Eathai’s first site has been secured in a new retail development, The Beach, part of Jumeirah Beach Residences. Busaba Eathai at The Beach will cover 5,000 sq ft, across two floors with terrace and beach view. Jumeirah Beach Residence, in heart of Dubai Marina, and a short distance from Palm Jumeriah, is the world’s largest single-phase residential development, with 15,000 residents.
   
Brunning and Price opens Ribble Valley pub today: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub arm of the Restaurant Group, is opening a new site, The Aspinall Arms in Mitton, Clitheroe today (7 May) on the banks of the Ribble. The company said: “One of the reasons it is so exciting is that we believe the building had massive untapped potential which, hopefully, we are exploring. The Aspinall Arms sits on the gently sloping banks of the Ribble, next to a historic stone-arched bridge, with magnificent views of the 13th century All Hallows Church and 16th century Great Mitton Hall on the opposite bank of the river. Nevertheless, when we acquired the lease of the pub, there were no public rooms or even windows that overlooked the river and the wonderful scenery, so we have spent the last five months building a substantial garden room to take maximum advantage of its beautiful outlook. The grounds leading down to the river are being extensively terraced and landscaped and will be ideal for a spot of al fresco dining with friends and family.” The pub, which will offer 150 covers, is owned by the trustees of the Standen estate and has been closed for 18 months. The next Brunning & Price opening will be the Red Lion in London Green, near Lichfield, Staffordshire, due for the summer.
   
Punch sells Hammersmith pub for more than £2m after ten bids: Punch Taverns has sold the Old Parr’s Head in Hammersmith, West London for more than £2m after ten offers for the site. David Gooderham of the property agent AG&G, who handled the deal, said: “It’s a big, impressive Victorian property brilliantly positioned on the junction of Blythe Road and Masbro Road, so we were not surprised by strong interest. It’s in a very desirable residential location, a short distance from the west end of Kensington High Street and within a mile of no fewer than six Tube stations. More than 40 interested parties inspected the property and there were more than ten offers.” The buyer has not, as yet, indicated future plans for the site.
   
Status Quo beer launches at JD Wetherspoon: Status Quo members Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt have joined JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin and chief executive John Hutson for the launch of the band’s beer, Piledriver, at The Crosse Keys, in the City of London. The beer, a 4.3% ABV malty amber ale, brewed by Wychwood Brewery, is being served exclusively in Wetherspoon’s pubs for a period. Martin said: “Status Quo is an iconic band and we are thrilled that they chose to launch their beer in our pubs.” Francis Rossi said: “We’re thrilled that Wetherspoon has come on board to support Piledriver. It’s a really big deal. Making this beer is much like recording an album – if you can’t reach the people, there’s really no point.”
   
Pointing Dog to invest £1.5m in third site: The Pointing Dog Group is to invest £1.5m in its third site, turning a landmark building in Sheffield into a new bar and restaurant. The site, known as the Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Club, and located off Ecclesall Road, is being restored and refurbished by the group for its third Pointing Dog, due to open this month. Pointing Dog Clubhouse will have a 200-capacity bar and a restaurant with 150 covers inside and a further 50 outside plus private dining rooms on the first floor. Pointing Dog Group was set up by restaurateurs Neil Lawrence and Ged Lynch and now has sites in Cheadle Hulme in south Manchester and Bakewell in Derbyshire. Of the new opening, Lawrence said: “The decision to regenerate this marvellous old building was an easy one. We see the improvements to the area as critical, bringing much needed footfall back to this area which has seen numerous closures in both leisure and retail over the last few years.”
   
First Noodle House opens in London: The first UK branch for Noodle House, the South East Asian casual dining brand, has opened in Shaftesbury Avenue in Central London. The brand, owned by Jumeirah Restaurants, opened its first outlet in Dubai at Jumeirah Emirates Towers in 2002. There are currently 22 restaurants worldwide in cities including Abu Dhabi, Doha and Moscow. The Noodle House menu features a choice of 12 noodle varieties including udon, vermicelli, lamian and ban mein. The London restaurant is the first in the UK under a master franchise agreement with affiliates of EQ Group.
   
Carlisle businessman invests £500,000 in fourth site: The Carlisle leisure entrepreneur Ron Wood has invested £500,000 in his fourth site, an upmarket bar called McQueen’s in the former Santander bank building on Devonshire Street, Carlisle. McQueen’s, billed as a “modern contemporary bar”, will be the 11th nightspot within a few streets of each other, with four other bars already on Devonshire Street alone. Wood also runs Le Gall, on the opposite side of the road, and the city’s Border Rambler and Arroyo pubs. His previous ventures include the former Freedom nightclub in Lancaster Street.
   
Greene King has ten Farmhouse inn sites in the planning stage: Greene King has ten Farmhouse Inn new-build developments in the planning stage, it has been revealed. The company is currently applying to open it second new-build Farmhouse Inn on vacant land in Hillhouse Road, Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, at its junction with East Avenue, near Priestfield and Blanytre Industrial Estates and Hamilton International Technology Park. Greene King has 14 Farmhouse Inn sites operating across the UK, alongside four sites under construction and another ten in the planning stage. In Scotland, the first Farmhouse Inn “amenity restaurant” at Linwood in Renfrewshire, was granted planning permission in 2012 and opened in October 2013. Last week, Greene King told analysts that a new-build freehold Farmhouse Inn produces average weekly turnover of £40,000 to £45,000 after an investment of £2.7m to £2.9m, and Ebitda of £505,000 to £515,000, an ebitda ROI of 18%.New Moon Pub Company goes into legals on sixth site: Cheshire-based New Moon Pub Company, led by Living Ventures co-founder Paul Newman and chef Dave Mooney, has gone into legals on a sixth site, Mooney has confirmed to Propel. The new site comes just a month after it opened its fifth site, Beef and Pudding, in Manchester.
   
YO! Sushi reveals much-improved performance as Vanessa Hall takes helm: YO! Sushi delivered strong growth in revenue and Ebitda in 2013 after what it described as watershed year in the year prior when it sold a number of sites. In the year to 30 November 2013, revenue and Ebitda grew by 13% and 15% to £71.0m and £9.2m respectively. Like-for-like sales for the year were +4.6%. Of her new position as chief executive Vanessa Hall said: “I’m delighted and proud to be asked to lead YO! Sushi at a time when its potential seems as fresh as the days when Robin started. It has been brilliant for me to use my period as chief operating officer to properly understand what makes YO! Sushi tick. With Robin and the rest of the team I have a wealth of experience to help me take the business forward into an exciting future.” A company source told Propel that YO! Sushi had continued the 2013 trajectory into 2014. Across the world, YO! Sushi now serves six million customers per year and was rated the coolest restaurant brand in the UK by Morar Consulting. Former chief executive Robin Rowland has become executive chairman.
   
Starbucks launches cheaper coffee brand in the UK with three retailers: Starbucks has launched its cheaper coffee brand, Seattle’s Best Coffee, in the UK with a deal to supply three retailers. Starbucks bought Seattle’s Best Coffee in 2003 and has been expanding it in the United States where the chain has around 40 cafes, while its coffee is sold in around 50,000 locations. The company has now agreed a deal with Asda, KFC and Kiddicare to sell Seattle’s Best Coffee espresso drinks and filtered coffee in their cafes in the UK. Last month, Starbucks revealed its first UK sales fall since it opened in 1998. It reported sales fell from £413m to £399m in the year to 29 September. When Starbucks launched Seattle’s Best Coffee in the US, analysts said it was an answer to competition from fast-food outlets selling cheaper coffee. Simon Hillier, Starbucks’ European foodservice director, said: “We chose to launch Seattle’s Best Coffee in the UK because we know Brits love their coffee and we want to bring over 40 years of coffee heritage and expertise to great retailers, who we have not yet had an opportunity to partner with. Seattle’s Best Coffee offers a smooth, great tasting, everyday range of coffees and we look forward to bringing this brand and innovative self-serve solutions for coffee on–the-go to customers in the UK.” So far the company has no plans to open Seattle’s Best Coffee cafes in the UK and will focus on supplying other retailers’ sites. Starbucks launched a new franchising strategy in the UK last year and expects to open 100 sites this year.
   
Award-winning Homemade Cafe opens third site: Award-winning Homemade Cafe has opened its third Nottingham venue. The award-winning bistro’s latest venture is based in the newly restored Pavilion on the Forest Recreation Ground, which forms part of the park’s £5.2m renovation project. Homemade Cafe has three-times been named as regional winner and national runner-up in the ‘Best Cheap Eats’ category at the Observer Food Monthly Awards. Homemade Café is led by Jasmin Barlow-Wilkinson, who reports a recent meeting with celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has given her inspiration for the future direction of the venue: “I recently worked with Jamie when he filmed an episode of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast in Nottingham, focusing on Colwick Cheese. I’ve always admired the way he works and particularly the ways in which he encourages the next generation of food industry workers. Ultimately, I would love Homemade Pavilion to be staffed mostly by apprentices, much like Jamie did with his restaurant Fifteen. There are some hugely talented young people here in Nottingham and they fully deserve the opportunity to showcase their skills and expand them even further.” Homemade Cafe’s other sites are in Pelham Street in the city centre, and on Mansfield Road in Sherwood.
    
Darden Restaurants ends co-location experiment: Darden Restaurants is ending a trial that saw co-located Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants – the two restaurants shared a kitchen but had separate entrances. Two of the six co-located operations closed over the weekend and Darden will convert four others into stand-alone Olive Gardens. Darden said it would no longer operate the hybrids because of its plans to sell or spin off Red Lobster. Darden launched the experiment three years ago in smaller markets.
   
Activist shareholders target McDonald’s chief executive’s salary: Shareholder activists on Monday called for the board of McDonald’s to cut the wage of chief executive Donald Thomson, pointing at poor performance and the massive gap between his wages and those of the average fast-food worker. The company holds its annual meeting on 22 May and will be targeted by protesters calling for a higher wages for workers as well as shareholders disappointed with the company’s financial performance and Thomson’s remuneration. Change to Win Investment Group (CTW) is organising a vote against Thomson, who took over as chief executive in 2012. In a letter to shareholders, CTW wrote: “As you are no doubt aware, McDonald’s financial and operational performance has been disappointing for several years: its share price has trailed the S&P500 over each of the past five, three, and one-year periods, by 45%, 20%, and 20% respectively. At the same time, doubts about the company’s business model have mounted: McDonald’s restaurants have been the site of growing strikes and protests by food service employees, its long-standing disavowal of responsibility for workplace standards at its franchised restaurants faces a serious legal challenge, and the company itself acknowledges that growing public concern over income inequality poses a risk to its business,” CTW wrote.
   
Closed London site sold for a premium: Honey & Venom, immediately adjacent to Tooting Bec station in South London, has been sold by the property agent Davis Coffer Lyons to a new independent operator, Red Trousers Entertainment, securing a premium for the closed bar. The unit will undergo an extensive refurbishment and will reopen as the Imperial Durbar in June. It will provide a new all-day offer with the focus on a family-oriented coffee shop during the day, before shifting towards a cocktail bar operation in the evenings. Charlotte Wild, a chartered surveyor at DCL, said: “This bar is in a fabulous location and the new offer is really going to appeal to the area’s demographic of both families and young professionals. We are seeing major changes in Tooting and other similar areas around the capital as young professionals are pushed out of more traditional locations. This is having a profound effect on the local leisure market, which is reflected by the premium we secured for a closed site.”
   
Douglas Jack – ‘Enterprise Inns is fighting hard to stand still’: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued a ‘Hold’ note on Enterprise Inns, with a target price of 1450p on its shares, describing the company as “fighting hard to stand still”. He said: “For 13 May first-half results, we forecast profit before to be flat at £55m. Like-for-like net income rose a disappointing 1% against easy comps of -4.4% during the first 18 weeks of the 26-week period. The company also benefited from easy comps in Q2 (of -4.0%), but now faces tougher comps in H2, ongoing declines in wet-led pub volumes (59% of ETI’s pubs are wet-led and wet-led market volumes fell 9% in 2013) and an uncertain regulatory backdrop. We believe there is minimal upside risk to full-year PBT forecasts (£121m; consensus £120m), which anticipate flat like-for-like net income, allowing for tougher H2 comps (H1: -4.2% / H2 -1.7%). We would take profits, reflecting ongoing drink volume pressure; regulatory risk; and valuation, highlighted by last week’s disposal by Greene King on 6.1x EV/Ebitda.”
   
Stonegate to convert another Living Room site to Slug & Lettuce, sells Canvey Island site: Stonegate Pub Company is to convert another Living Room site, this time in the Castle Quarter in Oxford, to its Slug & Lettuce brand. The premises will undergo a £226,000 renovation and re-open as a Slug & Lettuce on 23 May. Meanwhile, Stonegate has sold The King Canute pub, in Canvey Road, Canvey, Essex to developers. A spokesperson for Stonegate Pub Company, which owns the pub, told the local newspaper: “The King Canute is to close on Sunday, 18 May, following the sale of the property. All our staff have been offered alternative employment within other businesses which we operate, including the Lobster Smack.”
   
Camerons opens first Head of Steam conversion: Camerons Brewery, based in Hartlepool, has now opened its first pub trading under the Head of Steam format. The Aspire site on Front Street in Tynemouth re-opened as the Head Of Steam last Friday (2 May). Joe Smith, pub estates and operations director at Camerons, said: “The purchase of the Head Of Steam group in December was a huge move for Camerons as we look to develop our retail estate. We are looking to raise the quality of our existing pubs and this is one of the first steps in this process.”
   
Luminar to open fourth Pryzm this Friday: The Luminar Group will open its fourth Pryzm this Friday, investing £1m on converting the existing Oceana in Brighton into the new concept, a move which will create up to 30 new jobs. Pryzm Brighton will feature three distinctly styled dance arenas and VIP areas under one roof. The investment comes after the opening of Pryzm Leeds at the end of March, which has been exceeding expectations. The first two conversions, Pryzm Bristol, which was the first to launch, last September, and Pryzm Kingston are also doing well, the company says.
   
Acton pub to host London’s latest microbrewery: The George & Dragon pub on Acton High Street is to become London’s latest microbrewery, launching officially next month. What was previously a dining room at the back of the pub has been transformed into the Dragonfly Brewery. It is currently producing four beers: a bitter, a stout, a Bavarian-style wheat beer and a pale ale. The pub’s food menu has also been revamped with the brews in mind, with dishes matched to each of the beers and often using them as ingredients in the cooking, such as in a stout rarebit or a beer fondue with garlic soldiers.
   
Costa Coffee opens fourth Camden Town site: Costa Coffee has opened its fourth branch in Camden Town, North London, with a new store alongside the Regent’s Canal. The chain already operates shops in Camden High Street, Chalk Farm Road and next to Mornington Crescent, but this week began serving lattes and Americanos at a new branch in Camden Road as well. Rival chains Caffe Nero, Starbucks and Pret A Manger also have two stores in Camden Town. The new Costa opens out onto the canal, which is described by the Canal and River Trust as “a peaceful haven” and an “unique” unspoilt getaway from the hustle and bustle of London life. It is in the basement of an “aspirational apartments” housing block with a special entrance onto the canal.
   
Wagamama launches summer menu: Wagamama has launched its new summer menu with a pan-Asian offering of seafood, salads and fresh juices. There are nine new dishes on the menu, including three new sides, two desserts and two fresh juices. New dishes include a coconut seafood broth, part ramen and part curry, a lobster salad with citrusy green mango, and grilled tuna with stir-fried vegetables. New sides include mushroom onigiri – Japanese rice balls that are crispy on the outside and sticky in the middle. Steve Mangleshot, Wagamama’s executive chef, said: “This season we wanted to bring the light and fresh taste of summer straight onto the Wagamama menu. We’ve taken influences from all over Asia for the menu and have experimented with different taste combinations.”
   
Dunkin’ Donuts eyes more European markets: Dunkin’ Donuts, which has 120 European outlets, mainly in Germany but also in Russia, Spain, Bulgaria and most recently, the UK, where three have opened, is eyeing more European markets. Dunkin’ Donuts’ head of international development, Jeremy Vitaro, said that the company was now looking to open stores in Denmark, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands. Despite the weak European economy, the company thinks customers have money to spend. “They’re sophisticated, and they’re culturally very open [to trying new foods],” Vitaro said.
   
Baker’s dozen of independent restaurants to open as part of Manchester boutique hotel scheme: Plans to open a boutique hotel in Manchester’s Corn Exchange have emerged. The 86-room hotel will form part of a £30m leisure redevelopment of the Grade-II listed building which will also see 13 new independent restaurants open alongside it in spring next year. The owner of the Corn Exchange, Aviva Investors, said the hotel will be in keeping with the building’s Edwardian architectural feature.
   
Just Eat – trading is ahead of forecasts in 2014: Just Eat, the online marketplace for takeaway delivery, has reported that trading is slightly ahead of management forecasts in 2014 in part as a result of the unusually wet winter weather in the UK and Northern Europe. Orders in the three months to 31 March 2014 increased by 51% compared to the same period in 2013. The successful launch of an iPad app in the UK helped push orders from mobile devices to over 50% of total UK orders in the first quarter of 2014. The ordinary shares of the company were admitted to the premium listing segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority. Chief executive David Buttress said: “I am pleased with our 2014 performance to date, with trading slightly ahead of management expectations in a period of strong growth and great execution by our local teams. Just Eat’s continued growth reflects the further expansion of our contracted restaurant network, giving our consumers an increased choice as they shift to online takeaway ordering. During a period of unusually wet winter weather in several of our key markets, our consumers ordered more takeaway online and via mobile than ever before.”

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