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Fri 13th Jun 2014 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

East London street food traders move south of the Thames: East London’s top street food traders are moving south of the Thames to reopen a market that has been derelict for a decade, The London Evening Standard has reported. The Street Feast team behind Dalston Yard and events at Hawker House in Hackney are reviving the Model Market on Lewisham High Street. Jonathan Downey, a partner in Street Feast, told The Standard: “If you say Lewisham, people don’t think of it as an area for eating and drinking, but they said that about Dalston two or three years ago. Hopefully this can have the same impact.” Street Feast’s biggest names are opening on the site, with four bars, 11 eateries and a roof terrace. It launches on 20 June. “We’re bringing some of the A-Team down,” Downey said. “They’re the Premier League of street food, people like Yum Bun and Breddos Tacos. They are the best at what they do, not just in London but worldwide.” The market, which has cost “tens of thousands” of pounds to develop, will be open every Friday and Saturday evening for 15 weeks. It has room for around 600 people. There are an estimated 10,000 traders making their living by selling food on the streets of Britain. The annual revenue from street food in the UK is over £600 million, and growing at 20% per year. British Street Food is currently working with Land Securities and SSP, two blue chip clients, putting street food traders into new high-profile retail environments such as Euston station in London and Trinity Kitchen in Leeds. The company is led by founder Richard Johnson, the award-winning journalist, who is presenting at the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday 4 July at the Oxford Belfry.
   

Industry News:

Goldman Sachs – prospects good for ‘high-end’ beer: Goldman Sachs has published a note on the beer sector after attending a conference in Chicago: The note said: “We attended the Beer Insights Spring Conference in Chicago, which focused on the high-end beer segment. Participants included SABMiller’s chairman, Jim Koch, the president of Constellation Brands’ beer division, Bill Hackett, as well as executives from Miller Coors, Heineken and several craft brewers. Most industry participants continue to be bullish on the growth of high-end beer, with craft, imports, super-premium domestics and flavoured malt beverages all showing solid growth. Outlook for mainstream beer, however, remains sober, with most expecting mega brands (Bud, Miller and Coors) to decline in the coming years. We still expect an improving economy (particularly job growth among core beer drinkers) to drive a mainstream beer recovery, but this appears to be an out-of-consensus view.”
   
New report says morning snacking a big opportunity: UK foodservice firms must seize the opportunity offered by the underdeveloped morning snacking market, according to a new report by Conlumino. The consultant forecasts that spending in the category will increase by 15.5% between 2014 and 2018, helping to boost the overall snacking market by 11.5%. The report, titled “Meal Occasion: Snacking”, said: “Morning snacking is the least developed of snacking occasions in terms of provision and consumer spend and so has the most potential for long-term growth. The scope is coming from a pipeline of product innovation supplied by a burgeoning choice of retailers, leading consumers to try new products or trade up to even more exciting or convenient items, which are often dearer.”
   
Sky Sports to increase prices by 5%: Sky Sports is to increase its subscription prices by 5% for the coming year, after freezing its prices for three years. The broadcaster reported that the past year has seen its largest package of content with 55,000 hours of sport. For the 2014-2015 season, Sky has secured more than 30 rights agreements, including: UEFA Euro 2016 qualifiers and European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup rugby. Sky said it also invested in helping to ensure as many pubs and clubs as possible are able to take advantage of the benefits of showing Sky Sports, through a partnership discount with Molson Coors (up to 33% off), as well as location (up to 30% off) and food-led discounts (up to 30% off). On 12 August, Sky is launching its seventh dedicated sports channel, Sky Sports 5. The ALMR’s strategic affairs director, Kate Nicholls, said: “It is always disappointing to see any supplier push through above-inflation price increases when margins remain under pressure across the sector. The reality is that any increase in operating costs causes operators to make tough commercial decisions.”
   
San Francisco proposes $15-an-hour minimum wage: San Francisco may soon join Seattle in becoming the next major city in the United States to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. A proposal to raise the minimum wage from the current $10.74 an hour to $15 an hour by July 2018 will be put before San Francisco voters in November under a deal announced by the mayor and the city’s board of supervisors on Tuesday. The move comes a week after Seattle’s city council voted unanimously for a similar minimum wage rise with a phase-in plan over the next seven years.
   

Company News:

La Tasca makes Leadenhall Market acquisition, plans first entirely Rioja wine list: The tapas chain La Tasca has bought the Ortega site in Leadenhall market, in the City of London, which will re-open as La Tasca on Monday 7 July and will feature the UK’s first Rioja bar and wine list. The company’s chief executive, Simon Wilkinson, said: “Trade continues to be very buoyant after 12 months of consecutive growth. After opening the UK’s first cava bar in 2012, since copied, we are delighted to be opening the UK’s first Rioja bar within our Leadenhall outlet. The wine list will be 100% from the Rioja region but it will also offer the guest a great variety of grapes, tastes and price points. The food menu will consist of some La Tasca favourites but also have a large specials section featuring dishes specific to the guests of Leadenhall Market. It is a site we have targeted for many months and we can’t wait to fulfil its fantastic potential.” Like-for-like sales growth was 7.5% in the company’s first quarter.
   
Punch Taverns sells freehold of Grantchester pub: Punch Taverns has sold the freehold of renowned Blue Ball pub in Grantchester, just outside Cambridge, to a local investor for circa £500,000 through agent Everard Cole. The property is subject to the existing tenancy, which runs until September 2015. The will now trade on a ‘free of tie’ basis. Everard Cole also recently disposed of Enterprise Inns’ freehold interest at the nearby Rupert Brooke in Grantchester – Chestnut Inns is currently in the midst of an extensive refurbishment for its second site.
   
Brains appoints Alistair Arkley as non-executive director: SA Brain, Wales’ largest drinks and hospitality company, has announced that the former brewery and pubco executive Alistair Arkley will be joining its board this month, as an independent non-executive director. Arkley has worked in the drinks industry for almost 30 years, joining Scottish & Newcastle from Procter & Gamble and then moving to the north east of England to become managing director of Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool. In 1991 he created one of the first tenanted pub companies, Century Inns. His licensed trade experience also includes non-executive director roles at Belhaven Brewery and Westons Cider. Arkley is currently non-executive chairman of Steelite International. He is also chairman and a shareholder of Chameleon Bar & Dining, a small pub restaurant business in the north of England, and Hospitality Data Insights. Arkley said: “I am absolutely delighted to be joining this iconic Welsh business with such a proud tradition and to be working with the board to capitalise on the opportunities that exist as the country recovers from the recession.”
   
St Austell to open £1.5m brewpub in the autumn: St Austell Brewery will re-open a vacant warehouse building on Exeter Quay as a new pub-restaurant and micro-brewery in the autumn. St Austell Brewery is investing £1.5m in converting the derelict 19th-century warehouse after buying it on a leasehold basis from Exeter Council. The building in Commercial Road was formerly home to the Mambo nightclub and Tiffany’s lap-dancing club but has been empty for several years. Adam Luck, estate director for St Austell Brewery, said last year: “We are delighted to have acquired a new site in this vibrant area of Exeter where there is such a lot of development right now with new venues on the Quay and the recently opened Haven Banks activity centre just across the bridge on the other side of the river.” St Austell invested £7.6m last year of which the Exeter site was the most significant spend.
   
KFC offers £20,000 introductory fee as it targets 50 new sites a year: KFC is offering a £20,000 introductory fee as it targets 50 new site openings a year. The company wants leasehold, freehold or long leasehold sites on main arterial routes and leisure and retail parks, cleared sites or building conversions. Sites need to offer a minimum of 0.5 acres. For further information go to www.kfcdevelopments.co.uk
   
BrewDog to open fourth Scottish site this weekend: Brewer and retailer BrewDog will open its fourth Scottish bar this Saturday, with the launch of BrewDog Dundee. The new bar, in the city’s historic Chambers Building on Panmure Street, brings the global BrewDog bar count to 18. BrewDog Dundee is the fifth bar to be opened by the brewery this year, after launches in Gothenburg, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and Sheffield, with further international expansion planned for the coming months. The bar, once used as the city’s Stock Exchange, has a total capacity of 80, 18 beers on tap, with the brewery’s own range alongside guest beers from international craft breweries including Weihenstephan, Magic Rock Brewing, Clown Shoes, Mikkeller, Anchor and Williams Brothers. The bar will serve gourmet sandwiches, meat and cheese platters and BrewDog beer-infused cakes, baked by the local award-winning bakery Jessie’s Kitchen.
   
Pix Bar secures another West End site: Pix Bar, which serves miniature tapas inspired by the bars of Barcelona and San Sebastian, has secured a site on Ganton Street within the Carnaby Estate in the West End of London, the only site on the street not owned by West End landlord Shaftesbury. The brand already has sites in Soho, Covent Garden, Islington and Notting Hill. The site was previously used for retail, and the landlord won planning consent. Cedar Dean Gilmarc acted for the landlord.
   
Young’s to re-open Windmill, Clapham with 42 boutique bedrooms: The London pub retailer Young & Co is to re-open the Windmill in Clapham, South London with 42 boutique bedrooms on Wednesday, 18 June. The site will have three feature rooms overlooking Clapham Common and had 29 bedrooms before this latest expansion. The company has boosted its bedroom stock to 443, and by September this year 20 pubs will offer overnight accommodation. Last month, chief executive Stephen Goodyear told Propel that Young’s has identified another 15 pubs that could offer bedrooms, with the potential for as many as 150 bedrooms, subject to planning approvals.
   
McGregor family buy sixth pub: The McGregor family has bought its sixth pub, a Kent village pub described as the “quintessential rural English pub”, and sold by its owners, Alan and Sue Paine, after 22 years. The Bowl Inn, near Charing ,has been acquired by Justin and Samantha McGregor, whose family owns five pubs in and around Canterbury. They acquired the freehold pub through the property agent Christie + Co for more than the £650,000 asking price. Andrew Moore, of Christie + Co’s Maidstone office, said: “The achievement of the excellent sale price is symptomatic of investors’ and operators’ willingness to pay good premiums for high-quality freeholds with excellent trading records in delightful areas such as this. We wish Alan and Sue Paine well for a long and happy retirement and continued good fortune to Justin and Samantha McGregor with this superb acquisition.”
   
Freehold in Ipswich with Spirit as tenant for sale for £1.35m: The freehold of the Golf Hotel in Ipswich, tenanted by Spirit, is on the market for £1.35m through the property agent Fleurets. Spirit has a 25-year lease with just under ten years unexpired, paying rent of £105,000 a year. The pub sits within a large plot of land of around 1.47acres and includes a car park, patio terrace and beer garden. Fleurets is seeking offers in excess of £1.35m, reflecting a net initial yield of 7.35%.
   
Antic London opens first pub in Surrey: Antic London, led by Anthony Thomas and backed by the investment company Downing, has opened its first pub in Surrey, the Wallington Arms on Woodcote Road, Wallington. The company said: “It is Antic’s first venture into Surrey and to celebrate this milestone, we have returned to our very first pub, the East Dulwich Tavern, when taking inspiration for its design and feel. Heavily driven by locally and regionally sourced and brewed beverages, the Wallington Arms boasts six real ale pumps (with) a variety of mainline classics, as well as hand-picked favourites from the likes of Sambrooks. The venue’s kitchen will launch soon after the initial pub opening, serving snacking plates and main dishes with a contemporary twist on British pub food.”
   
Marston’s top-performing franchisee named in finals of national award: Marston’s franchisee Aaron Stewart, from Sheffield, has been named as a finalist in the British Franchise Association HSBC Franchisee of the Year Awards. At the age of 28, Aaron has been shortlisted for the ‘Young Franchisee of the Year’ category. He currently runs The Fairway in Sheffield and is this week due to open his second franchise site, the Rufford in Mansfield. Stewart heads up a team of over 75 people and The Fairway is Marston’s highest turnover franchise site – since taking it over last June Aaron has increased the sales by over 40%. Dave Price, Marston’s franchise operations manager, said: “We are delighted that Aaron’s commitment and hard work during the past 12 months has been recognised by the UK’s leading body in franchising. The BFA have played an important role in supporting the growth and development of our franchise network, and Aaron’s achievements are an excellent example of just how successful the model can be.”
   
Chilango raises £392,500 in three days: Chilango, founded by Dan Houghton and Dan Partaker, is almost 40% of the way to raising £1m through crowd-funding website Crowdcube – three days after its launch. A total of 102 investors have invested £392,500 so far. A spokesman for Crowdcube said: “Our first Mini-Bond issue, by award-winning Mexican food chain Chilango, has already raised (39%) of its £1 million target as it seeks to expand its chain of restaurants across London. If you lend to Chilango you’ll earn 8% per annum in semi-annual fixed rate interest payments. That means for a £1,000 investment you’ll get £320 back over the four year term, plus your £1,000 initial investment repaid in a lump sum at the end.”
   
Kornicis sells Covent Garden site to Russian brand: Kornicis has sold its St Martin’s Lane site Kamique to a Kiev-based brand called Tarantino Grill & Wine Bar for its first UK site. Agent Cedar Dean Gilmarc acted for Kornicis in the transaction.
   
Korean concept Bo Drake Restaurant and Cocktail bar takes London Greek Street site: Bo Drake Restaurant and Cocktail Bar has secured a site in London’s Greek Street previously occupied by an independent French restaurant. A spokesman for agent Cedar Dean Gilmarc, which acted on behalf of the vendor, said: “Bo Drake has been in the planning for a couple of years and will be under the directorship of Jan Lun Lee who is a fully qualified chef and holds a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Arts. Lee has worked at some of London’s finest restaurants and companies – Roka, D&D and Nobu. Plans to open the restaurant took a step back in September when work to refit the old uncovered major structural defects with the building. Bo Drake is now on track to be open by July and bring the taste of Korean barbecue to London.”
   
Inapub launches new sport app for pubs: Inapub has launched a nationwide pub locator app, Corner for Android with iOS to follow imminently. Working with Sky, BT Sport and leading pub companies and breweries, Corner gives football lovers across the UK access to its database of more than 50,000 pubs so they are never far away from watching the action. Barrie Poulter, chief executive of Inapub, said: “With the World Cup up and running we are very excited to announce the release of our ‘Corner’ pub football app. Exclusively focused on football it is quick and easy to use and helps customers not only to find pubs showing the football but also filter based on the important criteria to find the exact pub they want. It’s free for licensees to use so if you are showing the football make sure you join the thousands of pubs up and down the country already on the app and update your details.” Launched in 2009, Inapub has become one of the largest databases of pubs and breweries in the UK by connecting more than 50,000 to their public through creating offers and vouchers, listing events, advertising their services, facilities, and offerings to build a loyal community.
   
Domino’s relaunches app for sports fans: Domino’s Pizza UK has re-launched Domigoals, an innovative app that allows sports fans the chance to win tasty prizes each time a goal is scored this summer. Available from yesterday (12 June), Domino’s is rolling out the app for a second time, after its success with football fans back in 2012. Downloading the Domigoals app (available on both iOS and Android) gives the chance to claim one of 1,000 discount vouchers with every goal scored.
   
Trading standards investigates alcohol report at former Tokyo Industries site: Lincolnshire Trading Standards have confirmed that it is investigating a complaint about the alcohol served by the operators of the Tokyo nightclub on Silver Street in Lincoln. The consumer rights service is looking into allegations that a representative of the owner was seen topping up premium branded spirit bottles with cheaper spirits. The allegation was reported by bar staff at the venue to Lincolnshire County Council’s trading standards team on 2 June. The lease of the business was taken over from Tokyo Industries Limited by local man Darren Smith in October 2013 and the nightclub is currently managed by Diva Leisure. A spokesman for Lincolnshire Trading Standards said: “We can confirm that we have received a complaint about the alcohol being served in a night club on Silver Street, and we are looking into the matter.” Tokyo Lincoln has not been open for trade since the complaint was reported.
   
Former Ever So Sensible operations director takes second Star Pubs site: Scott Whittaker, founder of Ridge & Furrow Inns and former operations and marketing director for The Ever So Sensible Group, has taken on a second pub with Star Pubs & Bars. Together they are investing £385,000 in transforming a restaurant, The Lambley Inn in Nottinghamshire, into a pub, The Lambley Village Kitchen, which will open in July. The site, which has been closed for 18 months, is to become a ‘proper country pub’. Scott’s first pub with Star Pubs & Bars is The Wilford Green Pub & Kitchen in Nottingham, which has grown 320% since he took it on two years ago. In the last year, a year after it re-opened, the pub has achieved 20% like-for-like sales growth. Said Whittaker: “Our partnership with Star Pubs & Bars works very well. I wouldn’t be able to afford to do what I am doing with Ridge & Furrow Inns without the finance they provide and the rest of the support is good too.”
   
Bingley to get new nightclub: The Bradford suburb of Bingley is to get a new nightclub after a licensing panel heard it could “inject a bit more life” into the town. Rory Procter has been given permission to open a nightclub in an empty unit in Chapel Lane. Procter told the Bradford District Licensing Panel that he used to run the Queen’s Head pub in Main Street, though he now worked as an estate agent. He said: “I’m well aware of how hard it is to run a public house in this current climate. The reason why Bingley struggles so much at the moment is because there isn’t a complete circuit.”
   
Marston’s opens new-build in Southend: Marston’s has opened a new-build pub restaurant in Southend Essex. The Saxon King pub, in Priory Crescent, offers 180 covers. The pub will serve freshly-cooked rotisserie chicken every day and has a children’s play area. Southend Mayor Chris Walker said: “The pub is in a perfect location with a dedicated pedestrian crossing from Priory Park so people can wander over and sit in the sun having a drink. I like what they’ve done and they’ve done it very quickly. It’s very impressive.”
   
Starbucks names top UK barista: A barista from Camberley in Surrey has beat more than 700 competitors to be crowned Starbucks Barista Champion 2014. Dan Saxby, 22, works at Sainsbury’s Watchmoor Park site in Camberley. More than 700 hopefuls took part in Starbucks’ Barista Championships across five UK regions and last week, the finalists competed across four disciplines to demonstrate their talents. These included working on the bar, demonstrating latte art, coffee tasting, producing a signature beverage and a coffee quiz. The five regional finalists were invited on a trip to the Starbucks roasting plant in Amsterdam, where they roasted their own special blend of coffee for tasting at the national championships. Despite only having worked with Starbucks for six months, Saxby has already completed the franchise’s Coffee Master programme, the highest level of recognition.
   
Stonegate pub in Canvey to become a convenience store: An historic Stonegate Pub Company site in Canvey, Essex is to be turned into a convenience store. Staff at the King Canute, in Canvey Road, served its final customers last month after it was revealed it had been sold to developers. Castle Point Council has confirmed the pub is to be turned into a convenience store, with work due to begin in four weeks. No planning permission will be required as the conversion comes under legislation allowing minor changes to be made without permission. It is believed no change will be made to the exterior of the property, which was used as a base for the Armed Forces to save residents from the 1953 floods.
   
Diageo launches Captain Morgan washroom game in ten bars: Diageo’s Captain Morgan brand has launched a unique washroom video game for the World Cup. The “Captain’s Cannon”, which is running in ten central London locations, including Exhibit Diner, Balham, The Loop, Mayfair and Piccadilly Institute, is a digital take on the English team’s worst nightmare, the penalty shootout. The idea of the “hands free” game is simple – while at their urinal, players compete for the title of top goal scorer by using the control of their “flow” to fire the ball from the Captain’s cannon past a pirate goalkeeper and into the back of the digital goal. Samantha Newby, marketing manager for Captain Morgan Western Europe at Diageo, said: “Captain Morgan is always looking for ingenious and fun ways to connect and recruit our crew. It is increasingly difficult in bars to stand out. The Captive Media washroom media offers an innovative way to interact with our adult audience in a fun and engaging way.”
   
Bath Ales wins award for flagship site: The West Country brewer and pub operator Bath Ales has won a gong for its flagship restaurant, Graze Bar, Brewery and Chophouse. The brewer collected the prize for “Visitor Welcome Pub of the Year” at the Bath Events, Hospitality and Tourism Awards. Graze was opened in December 2012 and can seat more than 140 diners at a time, with a microbrewery on-site brewing a unique beer. The pub is next to Bath railway station, and the seating area extends out onto Platform two. Robin Couling, managing director of Bath Ales, said: “Graze in Bath is our most ambitious opening to date, and it has proved to be a huge success with locals and tourists alike.”
   
Cook and Indi’s World Buffet hits opposition over planned Motherwell branch: The rapidly expanding Scottish restaurant chain Cook and Indi’s World Buffet has run into opposition from council planners over its application to open a new branch in a hard-to-let building in Motherwell. The chain, founded by Sukdev “Cook” Gill and Indi Singh in Hamilton in 2011, now has six outlets and a turnover last year of around £4m. It plans four openings this year, and claims to be the only restaurant chain with a “multi-cuisine” format in Scotland, with each restaurant offering a fixed price menu, ranging from £6.99 for lunch through to £9.99 in the evenings and £13.99 on weekends, where diners are invited to “eat as much as they want”. However, an application to open another outlet in units at the corner of Airbles Road and Manse Road in Motherwell was met by an initial view from North Lanarkshire Council that the change of use was “inappropriate”. The consultancy Montagu Evans, which submitted a report to the council, said “The units have been marketed to every major and local retailer with no success. Terms were also agreed with the Co-op previously, but this deal never progressed.” However, council planning officers said that a restaurant was “not within the list of appropriate uses” for the Manse Road site. They said it would require change of use consent and asked why the chain has not chosen a site in the town centre. Montagu Evans said there were no suitable town centre sites.
   
YO! Sushi founder eyes San Francisco Yotel: Yotel, the company led by YO! Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe, is in discussions with a developer and the city of San Francisco to build its first hotel in the city. The UK-based company specialises in capsule-like hotel rooms. Yotel is working with Synapse Capital and is in the process of receiving city approvals, the company said. Synapse has offices in New York and San Francisco. Yotel is looking to redevelop the old Renoir Hotel site on Market Street in San Francisco into a 200-room Yotel. The company began in 2007 at Heathrow and Gatwick airports in the UK and opened its first non-airport property, a 669-room hotel, in New York in 2011. Yotel said last year that it would open a 600-room hotel in Singapore in 2018.
   
New Japanese restaurant adopts Boris Johnson as its mascot: A new Japanese restaurant has opened at County Hall, Izakaya Boris – a casual Japanese eatery for which Boris Johnson is the mascot. There is a plastic cartoon-like icon of Boris Johnson outside the restaurant and one inside and again on the menu. “The Boris-theme was part of the brief sent by the owner of the restaurant,” Andy Chan, the venue’s designer told The Capitalist. “We’re not sure exactly why but the owner always quite liked the idea of Boris and talks about him a lot, he likes his green policies so we added the Boris bike.”
   
Starbucks opens first La Boulange restaurant outside of San Francisco: Starbucks has opened the first La Boulange restaurant outside of its hometown San Francisco. Pascal Rigo, founder of La Boulange, said: “Since opening our first bakery, Boulangerie, in San Francisco in 1999, our vision has always been to share our passion for incredible food in a great atmosphere with as many people as possible. Having the opportunity to bring that passion to the vibrant Los Angeles food scene is incredible and a natural next step for the La Boulange brand.” The new menu builds on many of the dishes served in the brand’s San Francisco cafes, using local California-sourced ingredients wherever possible. Menu items range from omelettes or scrambles, to house-made granola and yogurt, to open-faced sandwiches and build-your-own burgers made with grass-fed beef. Beverages include single-origin pour-over coffee, draught wine and beer, house-made cocktails and super-thick milkshakes. The restaurant features a “modern farmhouse”-inspired design. For every club sandwich purchased, La Boulange will donate 35 cents to the LA Regional Food Bank.
   
Eclectic Bars launches World Cup bra campaign: Eclectic Bars has launched a World Cup-linked campaign asking women to donate their old lingerie to help kids living in one of Rio de Janeiro’s poorest favelas. Ladies can drop off their bras at 17 of Eclectic Bars’ clubs and bars venues across the country – from Polynesian paradise Lola Lo to Moroccan hang-out Po Na Na. Bra Bank will accept lingerie in any condition, meaning underwear that might otherwise have gone to landfill can now help to change young people’s lives. The collected bras will be recycled raising £1 per kilo and donations will be accepted for four weeks from 14th June. Cash raised goes to ‘Little Learners’ an education project run by charity, the Flamingo Foundation.
   
Touchtunes buys UK-based Soundnet: TouchTunes Interactive Networks, the largest in-venue interactive entertainment network in North America, has bought UK-based Soundnet, which supplies 13,000 pubs with jukeboxes. The terms of the deal are undisclosed. Earlier this year, Soundnet extended its exclusive UK jukebox agreement with the Official Charts Company to supply its digital jukeboxes with the Official Singles Chart. Simon Davis, managing director of Soundnet, said: “I am delighted to have signed this deal with TouchTunes. It has always been my ambition to work with the global market leaders and I look forward to the new challenges and much success”.
   
Admiral Taverns partners Coral to give customers a free bet during the World Cup: Admiral Taverns has signed an exclusive partnership with the bookmaker Coral to give pub customers free bets during the Brazil World Cup, the first campaign of its kind for both companies. The World Cup Football Jackpot promotion will run in almost 200 selected Admiral Taverns pubs, all of which are within a half-mile radius of a Coral betting shop. The initiative, which is designed to drive footfall to pubs, and awareness and engagement with live televised football matches, will give licensees a quota of free bets, for both them and their customers. Admiral’s commercial manager, Simon Eyles, who negotiated the deal on behalf of the pub group, said: “This is about maximising a once-in-four-year event for our licensees and their pubs. The World Cup is a fantastic trading opportunity for pubs all over the country, especially given Brazil’s pub-friendly time-zone, and offers licensees a chance to engage with current customers and to attract new ones. Some in the industry might regard bookmakers as something of a competitive threat, but we believe there are some great opportunities to build partnerships, and believe this initiative will serve as a great platform for further collaboration between Admiral and Coral.” Participating pubs have 200 £1 free bet coupons to offer customers to predict the outcome – win, lose or draw – of 15 matches from the World Cup group stages. Furthermore, during each of England’s three group matches, customers can pick up one of 100 £5 free bet codes to use on their smartphone via the Coral website, when they watch the live England match in the pub. Licensees also have ten £5 free bets to use themselves, or for their staff, as a thank-you for taking part.
   
Loungers reports 52% rise in Ebitda, eyes 350 sites: Loungers, the Bristol-based cafe bar group, has reported a 52% rise in Ebitda before central overheads to £6.7m in the year to 27 April as it invested £6.9m opening 12 sites in the period. Turnover for the Piper Private Equity-backed group increased 52.3% to £33.7m with company Ebitda (before exceptional and pre-opening costs) increasing from £2.9m to £4.4m. Like-for-like sales for the period grew by 5.1%. Loungers’ chief operating officer, Nick Collins, said: “This was another great financial performance for the business, particularly given the acceleration of our roll-out, with 12 openings in the year. The like-for-like sales growth of 5.1% demonstrates the core business continues to perform strongly and while we are opening more sites, we are not taking our eye off the ball and are achieving healthy conversion and an increased average site Ebitda. Looking ahead to the coming year, we are in good shape both financially and operationally.” The news comes as the company begins to further accelerate its roll-out, having opened Rivo Lounge in Chippenham and Bacco Lounge in Rugby in May. The group opens its 47th site (and seventh Cosy Club) in Bristol tomorrow (Friday 13th June). Openings in Shirley Parkgate (Birmingham), Torquay, Witney, and Kettering are scheduled before the end of August and the group remains firmly on track to reach 56 sites by the end of 2014. It is also understood that deals are already in place for up to half of the 20 sites Loungers anticipates opening in 2015. Loungers’ managing director, Alex Reilley, said: “We’re really beginning to ramp up the roll-out now and, critically, are beginning to grow both brands. We continue to enjoy success at sourcing great sites and unlocking potential in areas that a lot of other operators overlook. The performance of recent openings, coupled with continued positive like-for-like sales, is extremely encouraging and the potential scale of the business is becoming ever more apparent. This is particularly true of the Lounge model, which we believe has potential to easily grow beyond 350 sites.”

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