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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 20th May 2014 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Mitchells & Butlers chooses Leeds site for Toby Carvery training academy: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has chosen an indoor children’s play area which has stood empty for 15 years as a national training academy for its Toby Carvery brand. The company has previously stated its intention to focus on the development of “personality carvers” to create more warmth at the heart of the offer. The company has revealed plans to transform the disused play den at the Hopgrove Toby Carvery into a training kitchen for staff across the country. Plans have been submitted to City of York Council requesting a change of use for redundant buildings on the site, off Malton Road. The proposals are to create a training academy for Toby Carvery, which operates 156 sites and employs 5,000 staff nationwide. The academy will feature a mock-up of a working kitchen, carvery deck and seating area, where staff will be able to learn to cook, carve and serve customers. Sarah Pyne, from The JTS Partnership, acting agent for M&B, said: “In terms of the distribution of Toby Carvery’s across the United Kingdom, the York site is centrally located, half way between the furthest north in Scotland and the furthest south in Bournemouth. This is an ideal location for Toby Carvery to offer such a training opportunity. The fact this proposal seeks to re-use a redundant building is both an effective use of land and encourages immediate and wider benefits, by way of supporting an established and successful business, and providing an opportunity for training and skills development.” The plans state at any one time there will be no more than 12 Toby Carvery employees being taught in the new facility, by three or four trainers. It is proposed the onsite Holiday Inn Express, which is held on a long lease from the company, will provide overnight accommodation for staff participating in training. The 156-strong brand has total turnover of £230m with each restaurant serving 3,000 main meals a week.

Industry News:

Big brewers plan second round of generic beer advertising: The UK’s five big brewers are planning a second generic marketing push this summer, after their first effort last year to boost dwindling beer sales was attacked for focusing too heavily on mainstream products. The new campaign centres on telling consumers “There’s More to Beer”, with provenance, the craft of brewing, the diversity of beer styles, food pairings and taste all being given roles. The initiative, funded by AB InBev, SABMiller, Heineken, Molson Coors and Carlsberg, launched last June. The first television ad was criticised by industry observers for not demonstrating the diversity of the category, and banned six months later for allegedly implying beer improved popularity. It looks to have had a limited effect on alcohol sales in the UK. Jonny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, said: “Last year’s campaign reinforced the problems that pushed the beer category into decline in the first place. It promoted mainstream lagers and reinforced the category’s laddish connotations.”
Swiss voters reject world’s highest minimum wage: Swiss voters have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to introduce what would have been the highest minimum wage in the world in a referendum. Under the plan, employers would have had to pay workers a minimum 22 Swiss francs (about £15) an hour. Supporters said the move was necessary for people to live a decent life. But critics argued that it would raise production costs and increase unemployment. The minimum wage proposal was rejected by 76% of voters.
Labour leader unveils plan to boost UK minimum wage: Labour leader Ed Miliband has unveiled plans to increase the national minimum wage by as much as 60p an hour. The minimum wage is £6.31 for adults, but less for younger people and apprentices, and is due to rise to £6.50 this year. One suggestion is that Labour would raise it to 60% of median earnings, which would be about £7.14. A five-year target would be set in 2015 by the new government, with the independent Low Pay Commission left to decide how best to implement it. Miliband said: “Every country around the world is seeking to address this question, whether it’s President Obama in the United States, or other countries.” However, the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, said the minimum wage had increased faster than median earnings under the coalition. He said “Had we rigidly fixed it to earnings the way Mr Miliband suggests, the minimum wage would have fallen during the recession, making thousands of people worse off.”
Old-style Irish taverns under threat in New York: The old-style Irish pub in New York is fast dying out and the need for change to a new image for the Irish is urgent. An article in Crain’s New York Business quoted Tim Tully who has stood behind the bar of the Blarney Rock Pub on West 33rd street for 11 years. Tully said three years ago the Blarney Rock received a boost when a neighbouring pub and rival, Hickey’s Bar, closed after 44 years. “The rent got jacked, and the owner walked away,” Tully told the newspaper. However, next door to the Blarney Rock is Stout NYC, the largest Irish pub in the city, offering dozens of microbrews, some with “organic” and “gluten-free” in their name, and serving fare such as scallion [spring onion] black-bean turkey burgers. Upmarket taverns such as these, along with rising rents and changing tastes, are gradually pushing out New York’s old-line Irish pubs, many of which are becoming less Irish in order to stay in business, the newspaper said.

Company News:

Six new Giraffe café sites to open in Tesco stores: Six new Giraffe café’s will open within Tesco Extra stores this summer. The café concept is designed for smaller sites with greater daytime footfall with an informal, reduced menu of classics and favourite dishes, as well as blackboard specials and breakfast dishes served all day. New sites opening include Sutton Cheam, Cirencester, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Poole in Dorset, West Durrington in West Sussex and a second Scottish opening in Glasgow. Russel Joffe, co-founder of Giraffe Concepts said: “We’ve listened to our customers and agreed on an all day café model that is best suited for smaller locations. We’ve created a shorter menu to showcase the more popular dishes and made breakfast available throughout the day. It’s a casual experience when visiting Tesco, so we created a café menu to reflect that.” Giraffe will create approximately 40 new jobs per opening, around 200 in total.
TGI Friday’s opens at £1m premium site in Liverpool: TGI Friday’s has opened a waterfront site at Liverpool One, secured after the payment of a seven-figure premium to previous occupier Pesto. The seven-figure premium was believed to be the highest paid in the north west of England and possibly for any restaurant unit outside London. The 5,785 sq ft restaurant is expected to be one of eight new TGI units this year. It is located on the Terrace of the development alongside 13 other brands, including Wagamama, Zizzi and PizzaExpress. The launch follows a record 2013 for Liverpool One’s catering aspect with restaurant and café sales up 23% on the prior year. Miles Dunnett, head of asset management at Liverpool One owner Grosvenor Liverpool Fund, said: “TGI Friday’s is a great new addition to the line-up of brands on The Terrace. Their desire to open a restaurant in Liverpool One is typical of a large number of leading restaurant chains, who recognise the dominant role Liverpool One plays in the north west.”
Thwaites completes £400,000 co-investment with licensee at Lancashire pub: Northern brewer and retailer Thwaites has completed a £400,000 co-investment in The Higher Buck Inn at Waddington pub with licensee Michael Heathcote. The renovation of the property, which took just over eight weeks to complete, included the creation of seven new luxury bedrooms. Heathcote said: “We’ve managed to achieve what we set out to do eight weeks ago which was to create a pub where people want to go to enjoy traditional, easy going dining and a relaxed atmosphere. We are now also able to offer accommodation, which will be fantastic for the summer. We’re thrilled with how the renovation has gone and hope our customers will welcome the improvements as much as we do.” 
Leeds bar company plans chain of boutique bowing alleys: A Leeds-based bar group plans to roll out a chain of boutique bowling alleys for adults over the next five years after launching the first one in Leeds. Jones Bar Group has opened Roxy Lanes, its latest leisure venture, at Pinnacle Leeds, creating 27 new jobs. Roxy Lanes will also include a 50-cover restaurant providing American diner-style food, including pizzas and burgers, cocktails and craft beers, 90 seats and a total capacity of 180. It is the eighth bar venue opened by Jones Bar Group in the past ten years. The boutique bowling alley idea is the second new leisure concept launched by Jones Bar Group in Leeds: it opened Roxy Ballroom, a bar and restaurant combined with table tennis and pool tables, on Boar Lane last December. Matthew Jones, managing director of Jones Bar Group, said: “We spotted a gap in the market with Roxy Lanes by giving a quality lift to the old-style concept of bowling alleys and linking it to good food and a cocktail bar in a comfortable, up-market setting. Pinnacle Leeds offers a first-rate location within Leeds’s commercial and retail districts, making it ideal for corporate events, and has fantastic footfall potential, especially as we will open at 12 noon seven days week.” Jones Bar Group was founded by Matthew Jones and his brother Ben, the company’s finance director, in 2004. It now has a turnover of £5.5m and 35 full-time staff, and also owns Bar 166 & Bistro in Horsforth and The Shed Bar, Brooklyn Bar, Hirst’s Yard, 51% Bourbon and NY Burger Kitchen in Leeds city centre. In addition to Roxy Lanes, it is also launching LAB bar at the Merrion Centre, near Leeds Arena, on Monday. Matthew Jones said: “We signed the lease for LAB 18 months ago but it has taken a while to sort out.”
Axman Partnership opens fourth site: The high-end bar operator Axman Partnership has opened its fourth site, Coconut Bar & Kitchen, in St Mary’s Butts, Reading. The venue, in the former Glo unit, offers more than 50 cocktails along with a range of other drinks and a wide selection of dishes from South East Asia. Yakitori skewers from Japan are Coconut’s speciality, but customers will also find dishes such as pho from Vietnam, nasi goreng from Indonesia and kimchi tofu from Korea. Axman Partnership operates Love Jericho, Rappongi and Angels in Oxford city centre. Barry Walker, the company’s marketing manager, said: “All three offer the locals great nightlife and a place to relax and unwind, and now patrons in Reading can similarly enjoy the experience. Using the formula of a warm welcome and comfortable environment, the Oxford venues have gone from strength to strength, which the management is sure that Coconut Bar & Kitchen in Reading will have the same appeal.”
Renaissance Pubs sets opening date for seventh pub: Renaissance Pubs, led by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, will opens its seventh pub, The Latchmere, in Battersea, South West London on Wednesday 4 June. The interior will feature designated areas for drinking, eating and after-dinner lounging. Outside will be transformed with a garden of four distinct parts. The first will be covered and include overhead and under-seat heating, the second will be an exterior party room for up to 12 people, the third, a proper play area with playhouse and toys for the children, and the fourth, an area for smokers. A 25-litre giant Sipsmith gin balloon will sit on the bar. Renaissance Pubs will continue to work with the Oliver award-winning Theatre503, which has its home on the first floor of the Latchmere. Theatre503 specialise in ground-breaking plays and stage more than 300 shows a year. Customers can walk freely between both parts of the building.
Meantime to open hop farm on the banks of the Thames: Meantime Brewing Company, the London craft brewer, is to open Meantime Hop Farm on 5 June, the first hop farm to grace the banks of the Thames for many years. The farm sits on the Meridian line on Greenwich Peninsula, behind the O2 and on the banks of the Thames. Hops grown on the farm will be harvested and used to make a limited edition brew, the name of which will be chosen by a member of the public. Last year, Meantime planted hundreds of hops around London and, in September, harvested the crop and used them to brew a beer, Hop City Porter.
Enterprise Inns tied lease sells with £200,000 premium: The remainder of the tied Enterprise lease on Hennessy’s in Jewry Street, Aldgate, London has been sold by the property agent AG&G off an asking premium of £200,000. AG&G’s Panayiotis Themistocli said: “It’s little wonder the lease sold well, given the pub’s customer base of nearby City workers and steady tourist trade throughout the year, especially during the summer. The new lessee is a highly skilled independent pub operator who should make it even more appealing.” Hennessy’s is on the Aldgate gyratory system, five minutes from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and two minutes from America Square. The lease for the three-floor premises is tied for draft and bottled beers and ciders and runs to December 2031. The passing rent is £43,500 a year. The new lessee continues a licensed leisure history going back hundreds of years – there has been a pub on the site since the 17th century.
Punch puts £400,000 into Mexborough sports bar: Punch Taverns has put £400,000 into revamping The Montagu Arms, in Mexborough High Street, South Yorkshire to turn it into a “sports bar with a community feel”. The new look includes 12 large television screens, more cask ales and wines as well as home-made pies. Landlord Ray Dowen, who has been running the pub for 14 years, said: “There will be major work conducted throughout the pub to create a brighter and fresher-looking pub, without losing the character and welcoming feel the Montagu is known for. We will be adding 12 big TVs so it can become the home of sport and entertainment. We will be offering local residents a sports bar with a community feel.” John Laite, a Punch partnership development manager, said: “We essentially want to re-establish the Montagu as one of the leading pubs that can provide great drinks and entertainment for residents in Mexborough and the surrounding areas.”
Domino’s seeks 1,300 extra delivery drivers to cope with World Cup rush: Domino’s Pizza UK is looking to recruit 1,300 extra delivery drivers in time for the World Cup, when it estimates it will be delivering nearly six million pizzas. The 64 World Cup games are all being broadcast live from Brazil during Britain’s dinner-time, 5pm to 11pm. Domino’s reckons this will mean its 828 stores in the UK will be making 2.7 million journeys during June and July, totalling approximately 13.5 million miles, and its 5,000 pizza makers will make 56 million slices, which would stretch from London to Rio de Janeiro and back again. The total raw materials used will be 823 tonnes of tomato sauce and 823 tonnes of mozzarella cheese, together with 42 million slices of pepperoni.
Real Greek lines up first site outside of London: The Eastern Mediterranean restaurant brand The Real Greek, has revealed it will open its first restaurant outside London, in Windsor on 29 May. It is the first phase of a wider expansion strategy that will see the restaurant grow both in and outside the capital. The 2,500 sq ft Windsor restaurant will have 130 covers and create more than 20 new jobs. The new restaurant, run by general manager Christos Venetis, will be the seventh in the group. Christos Karatzenis, a former Ponti’s operations manager who is The Real Greek’s owner, said: “The location benefits from high footfall from both residents and tourist alike, both seeking a fantastic dining experience as well as quality food, which The Real Greek can deliver. We have come to find that Greek and Eastern Mediterranean food is increasingly popular, as it caters for people’s desire to eat healthily. We intend to meet this growing demand by opening two sites each year.” The new branch will be on 2 River Street, Windsor, taking over the site of La Taverna.
Stonegate to launch ‘Slug & Lettuce of the future’ in Oxford: Stonegate Pub Company is to open a new Slug and Lettuce at Oxford Castle, Oxford, today, its second conversion from the Living Room business acquired last year and billed as “The Slug of the Future”. The first Slug & Lettuce conversion from a Living Room site was at Tower Bridge in London in November 2013. General manager Jamie Conrad said: “These are exciting times for both Oxford and Stonegate Pub Company. We are launching the Slug of the future. The decor of our restaurant will continue to appeal to the masses. We are going from dark woods and leathers to bright lush fabrics, sparkling chandeliers, vibrant colours and a touch of glamour at every turn. It will be a complete transformation.” Meanwhile, The Slug & Lettuce is set to introduce six-football team hot dogs, taking inspiration from home and away flavours, from the kick off of the first World Cup group match on 12 June until the final on 13 July. “Customers can feast their eyes on the game with a World Cup Hot Dog firmly in one hand a cold beer in the other; the on-trend handheld food is ideal for the World Cup season,” said Simon Blunt, food development manager at Slug & Lettuce. They include the Brazilian-inspired Salsa Dog, which layers tomato and chilli salsa, chopped coriander and is garnished with a wedge of lime and the English Bull Dog, which offers a traditional flavour of grated cheese and red onion.
Carluccio’s confirmed for La Tasca site in Sheffield: Carluccio’s has secured the La Tasca site in Ecclesall Road, Sheffield, it has been confirmed. David Kornbluth, of the property agent Cedar Dean Gilmarc (CDG), which acted for La Tasca said: “The premiums for leisure property in prime out-of-town sites have skyrocketed in recent months. There is no wonder why operators like La Tasca are keen to cash in as they expand.” The agent recently also sold a La Tasca site in Exeter. CDG’s managing director, David Abramson, said: “CDG is delighted to be part of the wave of activity which is taking place outside London, where operators are taking advantage of improved trading conditions in key locations.”
New Towcester brewery opens tap room in old mill: The Towcester Brewing Company is opening its tap room doors to the public for the first time this week with an initial choice of three beers brewed on site – Bell Ringer, Black Fire and Mill Race. The brewery has been set up by the directors of the nearby Whittlebury Brewery, which opened in 2010, and will now move to the Towcester site, where its beers will continue to be brewed. The directors, John Evans, Ray Hunt and David Williams, have set up at Towcester Mill, a 200-year-old grade II-listed building owned by South Northamptonshire Council. Williams said: “We have been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm expressed by prospective customers. The council has been really supportive in helping us turn our dreams into a reality and we look forward to developing the business further to make this a great place to visit.”
Pesto slows expansion after greater success in the south: Pesto Restaurants, led by Neil Gatt, has declared a shift in strategy, signalling a move away from the company’s northern heartland for a greater focus of the south of England. The latest Pesto in a Pub to open has been in Sutton Coldfield in the West Midlands, and it has broken all records for the company. Gatt said: “Many thought that taking on a very rundown ‘wet only’ site was a big risk for us. But with a fantastic joint investment between Pesto and Star Pubs, we have proved that the concept has significant strength and appeal to be able to go into new, untested markets and really hit the ground running.” Pesto reported that sales at the Sutton Coldfield pub, the second site for the company in the Midlands, have averaged £25,500 net since its opening in late March. The Sutton Coldfield success has come after the company’s other significantly successful site in Hinckley, Leicestershire, which opened last year after another big joint investment, this time between Pesto and Punch Taverns. Pesto had hoped to open as many as ten new pub sites in 2014, but so far it is looking likely that the company will fall short of that target. Gatt said: “The pubs have to tick all the boxes, not just for Pesto, but for the landlord as well, so we are not going to rush the roll-out. We have a number of potential targets under consideration at the moment, including two inside the M25. It’s no coincidence that our two most southerly locations are the two most successful. We trade very well in the north west of England and are making returns on our investments in excess of 150% in Cheshire, for example, but the two Midlands sites are tracking even higher. We have a much clearer picture of where we want to be going with the concept and what characteristics the ideal pub site has. This has slowed our advance down a little, but it is important to choose sites very carefully; quality over quantity.”
Spirit’s Wacky Warehouse in ‘world’s biggest party’ promotion: Spirit Pub Company’s Wacky Warehouse brand is holding a “world’s largest free party” promotion on Friday 27 June to celebrate the brand’s 20th anniversary. Wacky Warehouse, which started in 1994, now has 78 outlets nationwide, making it the UK’s largest soft play and activity centre for children aged up to 12 years old. It claims to have hosted more than 400,000 children’s parties in the past 20 years. Parents have until Friday 30 May to register for their child’s free ticket to the world’s biggest party on the Wacky Birthday Bash Facebook app. Five children will also win a limited edition Wacky Platinum Card, which entitles them to unlimited free entry to Wacky Warehouses across the UK until their 12th birthday. The Wacky Platinum Card is worth more than £1,000 and was created for Wacky Warehouse’s 20th birthday year. Carol Rhead, brand manager for Wacky Warehouse, said: “We’ve been a top choice for birthday parties over the years, so what better way to celebrate our own big birthday than by attempting to hosting the world’s biggest party.” The company is hoping for more than 5,000 children to turn up.
JD Wetherspoon applies for consent to develop Hoddesdon pub: JD Wetherspoon has submitted a planning application to develop a pub in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire (population: 20,259) six months after the company bought the site. It has applied to add a single-storey extension and internal alterations to the Grade II-listed building. The chairman of Hoddesdon town centre’s business forum, Stephen Harris, has welcomed the application,.
First micropub opens in Skipton: The first micropub in Skipton, Yorkshire, the Beer Engine, has opened at 1 Albert Road. The pub is selling five different ales on, plus real cider, “a few” wines and foreign bottled beers but no spirits or lagers. It will be closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and open until 9pm Wednesday and Thursday, and 10pm Friday and Saturday, with Sunday opening hours still to be fixed. Meanwhile Brighton and Hove City Council’s planning committee has granted permission for the conversion of an off-licence in Richardson Road in Hove into the city’s – and East Sussex’s – first micropub. The pub, to be called The Lion Mews Tavern, is due to open in the summer and will serve locally sourced beers and ciders to up to 34 customers.
Ossett Brewery opens Punch site as second pub in Leeds: Ossett Brewery has re-opened the Fox in Holgate, Leeds, after a £300,000 co-investment with owner Punch Taverns. Nine months ago there was talk of a community buy-out amid fears for the pub’s future. Now the local newspaper is claiming the redevelopment is the most “spectacular suburban pub investment in York in years”. Jamie Lawson, managing director of Ossett is clearly enthusiastic about the site, and is confident of replicating the success of the Hop, which became the firm’s first pub in York when it opened in Fossgate last October.
Starbucks opens fourth Teavana in the US: Starbucks has opened its Teavana premium tea experience to the Los Angeles area for the first time with the opening of its fourth Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar location in the US. The newest Teavana Fine Teas + Tea Bar, located in Beverly Hills on the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Boulevards, will offer an immersive experience to guide both tea enthusiasts and casual tea drinkers in a rich journey through tea. The location will feature Teavana’s renowned “Wall of Tea” with more than 100 loose-leaf teas and tea blends, as well as tea merchandise and food items. Tim Collins, who works on the Teavana team which developed the new menu items, said: “Customers are looking for ways to add more fruits, vegetables and protein to their diets. The new line-up of tea smoothies offer fresh combinations of fruit, veggies, and tea offer customers the chance to discover new tastes that give a boost of energy and refreshment to their day.”
Rugby League star to sell Newport restaurant: Former Wales Rugby League international Richard Wallace is selling Junction 28, the highly successful Newport restaurant he co-owns with chef Jon West through the property agent Christie + Co. Last year, Wallace sold the Llanwenarth Hotel in Abergavenny, which has a 200-cover restaurant. Nicholas Calfe, of the property agent Christie + Co, said: “Under Richard Wallace and Jon West’s stewardship, Junction 28 has become an established, popular and highly profitable restaurant business. It is sad that after more than 20 years of ownership that Richard Wallace has had to sound the final klaxon on his second career. However, it does leave an ideal business opportunity for an experienced operator to run either hands-on or under management.” The freehold of Junction 28 is on the market with Christie + Co for £875,000.
Pizza Hut sends HR staff onto the floor: Pizza Hut, which is re-modelling its whole UK estate, has moved to give its HR staff experience of work shifts at its sites. HR director Kathryn Austin said members of the team now work a peak shift at one of the company’s restaurants to better understand the needs of frontline staff. “It gives our back-office staff even more respect for what they do,” she said. “The physical and mental demands of a busy shift are quite something. You certainly don’t need a gym membership if you work in one of the restaurants.” Austin said that Pizza Hut’s central HR team was relatively small for such a big company, shunning the shared services model that many organisations are adopting. It can do this, she said, because it entrusts restaurant staff with HR activities. “We have devolved quite a lot of the HR activity, such as recruitment, to our restaurant managers,” she explained.
Punch Taverns sells four London pubs for £4.2m more than book value: Punch Taverns has sold four Central London pubs to an investment company called Morgana Limited for £6.7m, or £4.2m more than their book value. The pubs to be sold are freehold outlets. They will apparently continue to be run as pubs, with all the tenancies remaining in place. The agreement is unconditional and is expected to complete on 30 June. Net disposal proceeds will be used to reduce debt and reinvest in the estate. Punch has not released the names of the four pubs, but it said that for the financial year ended 17 August 2013, they generated earnings before interest and tax of £300,000. As at 1 March 2014, the pubs had a book value of £2.5m.
Boston Tea Party reports 10% like-for-like like growth in first half: The cafe chain Boston Tea Party has reported that like-for-like sales grew 10% in its first half-year to 23 April, with total sales up 28% including new stores. A spokesman said: “The first two months trading of our newest opening in Cheltenham has been very well received and surpassed expectations. It has also seen a trial of a more significant alcohol offer with a high degree of success. This will now be rolled out selectively across the estate, coupled with extended opening hours.” The next opening will be in Harborne in July 2014, which will be the second site in Birmingham and will bring the total estate tally to 15. The company has also just appointed Hannah Frude as head of people to support expansion.
Shepherd Neame set for Southern Water arbitration: Shepherd Neame has found itself on the brink of entering a legal dispute with its water company, which could cost up to £750,000 in fees. The Faversham-based brewer says it could enter arbitration with Southern Water in a disagreement over the end of its long-term agreement with the utility firm. Shepherd Neame now wants to rely on a new water treatment plant, unveiled last year, which will minimise its consumption by recycling more. The water recovery plant is in North Lane, Faversham.
Government plans to allow charities and community groups to sell ‘small amounts of alcohol’: The government is proposing a change in the law to authorise the sale of alcohol where it is “ancillary to a community event”. Norman Baker, the minister for crime prevention, said the government had in mind community groups with local memberships, such as charities and not-for-profit organisations, which carry out small local events throughout the year and want to sell modest amounts of alcohol at them. “Groups such as the Women’s Institutes, thriving church organisations and other local charities are not just about ‘jam and Jerusalem’; sometimes they might also be about a glass of warm beer or chilled chardonnay,” Baker told MPs during a debate on the Deregulation Bill. “He said the existing options for an alcohol licence were unsuitable for these events, because a licence for single premises cost between £100 and £1,900 a year, with the additional personal licence that is required costing about £75. Baker said the government would create a new “community and ancillary sellers notice” that would be a cheaper and simpler alternative to a premises licence or multiple temporary event notices. Under this regime, a charity would complete a simple form and send it to the local authority, outlining its intention to sell alcohol at an event, along with an accompanying fee, which Baker said should be kept “as low as possible”. The regime would also apply to small businesses such as bed and breakfast hotels that wanted to provide a small amount of alcohol with a meal,” he said.
Spirit streamlines management structure: Spirit Pub Company is to combine its managed operations and commercial functions, previously headed by Alan Morgan (chief operating officer) and Clive Briscoe (commercial director) respectively. Morgan will now take responsibility for the new combined functions, with the role of commercial director being made redundant - Clive Briscoe is leaving the business at the end of this month. Chief executive Mike Tye said: “Over the last few years, the transformation of the managed business has been focussed heavily on both the creation and development of our successful brand portfolio and much improved operational excellence. We now see considerable upside in combining managed operations and the commercial function under one leader. This change gives clear and sole accountability for sales, volume and margin and means we have the insights from, and the interests of, our guests and our teams in one place. I would like to take this opportunity to personally thank Clive for his significant contribution during his four years with the business and wish him every success in his future career.” Nick Young is appointed operations director for the managed division and will continue to report directly to Morgan. Young’s role will provide additional focus on delivery of the operations strategy. One of Spirit’s core strategies is to grow the estate through acquisition. To strengthen this, leased division boss Chris Welham will become accountable for all aspects of property, which will facilitate this strategy and ensure the best use of each of our assets.

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