Story of the Day:
New Inventive reveals results of £10m evolution programme: New Inventive Bar Company, led by Mark McQuater, has completed its £10m evolution programme at 35 of its key Revolution vodka bar sites, producing a double-digit improvement in performance, the company’s director of drinks trading, Myles Doran, told the Technomic and Propel Menu Trends conference. Food sales have also increased, from 8% of turnover to 15%. Doran reported that the company had changed its drinks offer to a more premium position after finding that only two brands were in growth outside of the vodka and cocktail categories. He said: “We found 100 products were not in growth.” Doran said there was a clear consumer movement towards more credible beers and ciders, with standard, ubiquitous brands experiencing the largest declines. Import brands with character or authenticity were proving to be game changers, he said. The review of Revolution’s product range has involved changing 90 products to market-leading products in positive growth. The change had been accompanied by improved team product knowledge and engagement. “A progressive retailer should lead in product innovation and serve while aligning the portfolio of products to the key demographic,” Doran said. The Revolution brand has an average customer who is aged 23, is 60% female, visits once every two weeks and has an average income of £21,000.
49 Orchid sites placed in administration: The 49 Orchid Group sites not acquired by Mitchells & Butlers have been placed in administration with Ernst & Young. The venues carry a variety of brands including Home of Great British Carvery, All Inns, Pizza Kitchen Bar, Do Drop Inns and Your Local Pubco. The group of sites also includes the company’s Oriental Restaurant Group venues, including The Pacific Oriental, Threadneedle Street, Imperial City Royal Exchange Cornhill and The Sri Nam in Cabot Square, Canary Wharf. The 40 sites, which employ 936 people, will remain open while Ernst & Young looks for a buyer. Ernst & Young joint administrator Alan Hudson said: “The pub and restaurant industry has face increased challenges over recent years as consumer’ disposable income has been squeezed resulting in a significant fall in consumer spending. These challenging conditions have led to a decline in sales across the Orchid Pubs and Restaurants portfolio and resulted in these 49 pubs being unable to operate outside of administration.” Mitchells & Butlers bought 173 Orchid sites for £266m at the start of the week.
US study finds food trucks safer than restaurants: A report called Street Eats, Safe Eats from the Institute for Justice concluded that food trucks and carts in the United States tend to receive fewer health and safety violation citations than restaurants do. The study compared food trucks to restaurants by analysing health department reviews of more than 260,000 eateries in seven major US cities, Boston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Miami, Seattle and Washington. The group made the direct comparison between brick and motor places and trucks because the study specifically picked cities where mobile vendors are covered by the same health codes and inspection regimes. The authors of the report also controlled other factors such as the day of the week and the season to help account for variations in weather and pests.
People 1st marks tenth birthday with new website and video: People 1st, the training and workforce development charity, has celebrated its tenth birthday and announced that it has delivered significant results and improvements across the hospitality industry. The results include helping more than 3,700 people into work in the past 18 months, saving the government approximately £18.5m and helping the UK reach a world ranking of 9th for the warmth of its visitor welcome. Brian Wisdom, the outgoing chief executive officer of People 1st, said that it was important to show the breadth of the organisation’s achievements and the impact it has had on the industry and the wider economy. He said: “To make sure we could really show what we have achieved, we created a video, which we’ve called ‘The Visit’, to highlight the work that we’ve done. We’re understandably really proud of everything we’ve done, but of course, there’s always more work to do and we’re really looking forward to continuing our work in a number of these areas. We’re now turning our attention to the future and, as part of our refocus, we’re launching a new website that outlines our new offering to businesses operating in our sector.”
Cask Marque to sponsor Great British Beer Festival: Cask Marque is to sponsor the trade day of the Great British Beer Festival on Tuesday 12 August at Olympia in West London. Director Paul Nunny said: “Every year we work closely with Camra to support cask ale. Previously we have sponsored the Camra Good Beer Guide and this year it seemed a good opportunity to talk up the Cask Marque accreditation programme and the CaskFinder app to both trade and consumers at the festival. The centre-piece of our stand will be a glass-ended cask, so you will be able to see live the second fermentation that goes on in the cask in the cellar.”
Daily Mail research uncovers the rise of ‘Super Parents’: An unprecedented set of economic and social factors has led to a dramatic shift in family dynamics in the UK, according to The Daily Mail. The newspaper claims this has led to the emergence of a key group of consumers – Super Parents – who are shouldering the burdens that the downturn has brought about, helping to keep families together and enabling them to stay afloat. There are four million Super Parents in the British population, aged between 50 and 71, it says. With 3.3 million 20 to 34-year-olds still living at home because of rising house prices and rental costs, a lack of employment for young adults and stagnant wages, Super Parents are providing shelter for their children long after they would have expected them to leave home it says. Research by the newspaper found that 42% of Mail readers have helped, or are planning to help their children get on the property ladder. Super Parents have an average family income of more than £34,000 and savings and investments of more than £42,000 on average.
Sky urges operators to promote sports, take advantage of free Wi-Fi: Sky is urging operators to make sure they promote their sports offer properly, and take advantage of the broadcaster’s free Wi-Fi offer to attract more custom. The company says almost four million adults watch football in a pub or bar every month, and they spend one third more than the average pubgoer, at £16.60 a time, when they go. In addition, Sky says, “to meet friends” and “to watch sport” are the two most popular reasons for young men aged 18 to 34 to go to the pub. At the same time, Wi-Fi, which comes free with Sky Sports packages, also drives dwell time, with 85% of 18 to 34-year-olds and 55% of 55 to 64-year-olds having smartphones, and 38% of people saying they will stay longer in a pub with Wi-Fi. Frank Atkinson, sales director for Sky Business, speaking yesterday in a presentation about the business opportunities for pubs and bars presented by sports broadcasts, said pubs should look beyond football. He pointed to Orchid Group, which, he said, had found that promoting different sports, such as Formula 1, rugby league and NFL American football, had brought a different crowd to its pubs. He urged licensees to take advantage of Sky Sports’ resources, which included a free fixtures poster for pubs to display, an online service that enables licensees to print off point-of-sale material, such as posters, fixtures, talking cards, banners, T-shirts.
YO! Sushi opens 70th UK restaurant today: YO! Sushi opens its 70th UK restaurant today at Baker Street in Central London. This is YO! Sushi’s fifth restaurant opening in 2014, with plans to open a total of ten new sites across the UK by the end of the year. YO! Sushi said it expects this rate of expansion to continue. Last month it announced plans to open 50 restaurants in the United States over the next six years. YO! Sushi’s footprint also includes ten international franchises, in the Middle East, Ireland and Scandinavia. Vanessa Hall, chief executive of YO! Sushi, said: “Hitting our 70th UK restaurant milestone is a fantastic achievement in itself, but opening in one of London’s most iconic areas is the icing on the cake. Life is very exciting at YO! Sushi at the moment, with five more restaurants planned in the UK this year, not to mention our ambitious international plans. So on this important day, we raise a glass of sake, not just to celebrate what we’ve achieved to date but to look ahead to the next 70 restaurants.” YO! Sushi established its first site on Poland Street in Soho in 1997, serving food presented on Japanese “kaiten” conveyor belts and grew in London before expanding across the UK, from Aberdeen to Plymouth, in shopping districts, malls and transport hubs.
River Cottage Canteen raised £1m in just 36 hours: River Cottage Canteen raised £1m for its 7% interest-yielding mini-bond through crowd-funding website Crowdcube in just 36 hours. The company’s joint managing director, Rob Love, said: “We’re thrilled that the River Cottage Bond was so well received by investors. I am a huge advocate of crowdfunding and this new innovation from Crowdcube helps reduce the cost and complexity of raising finance and provides an effective way for more established brands, like River Cottage, to raise growth funding without the banks.” Luke Lang, co-founder of Crowdcube, said: “It’s been an exciting time for disrupting the mini-bond market – Chilango’s Burrito Bond was the first to launch and now the River Cottage Bond. We’re determined to make investing more accessible, affordable and rewarding, whilst giving established brands an effective way to source expansion capital and engage with their customers in a more meaningful manner.”
Timothy Taylor profits hit by managed pubs rationalisation: The Yorkshire brewer and pub operator Timothy Taylor has seen profits drop after nearly £1m of costs linked to rationalising its managed house division and property disposals. Turnover in the year to 30 September 2013 was £21.88m, down 1.2% from £22.15m the year before. Operating profit before exceptionals was up 3.4% to £2.15m from £2.08m the year before. Pre-tax profit stood at £1.22m, down from £2.12m the year before. Dividends totalling £775,000 were distributed.
Bruce Bars owner re-opens Spirit leased site: Bruce Bars owner Michael Nicholas has re-opened the Adam & Eve in Homerton, East London, a Spirit leased pub. The pub’s kitchen features a pop-up concept, the Cornwall Project, which is being run by chef Matt Chatfield and will concentrate on serving classic British pub dishes with Cornish meat and vegetables. CharcuterEast will be curing meat and pickles in-house. Chris Welham, managing director for Spirit Leased Pubs, said: “We’re delighted to have supported Michael in the re-launch of this classic London venue. The Adam & Eve is a truly exciting venue and we look forward to watching its success.”
Vapiano to open third UK site on Tuesday: Vapiano, the Italian casual dining restaurant group that has more than 140 outlets around the world, is due to open its third outlet in the UK in Wardour Street, Soho, Central London on Tuesday (24 June). The company has spent £2.1m on the new restaurant, which is on the site of a former nightclub and restaurant called Profile and will have a customer area of 7,000 sq ft and capacity for up to 250 diners. Vapiano’s managing director, Phil Sermon, said: “This is just the start of our expansion and highlights our intent to open many more Vapiano restaurants in prime positions across London and the UK.” Sermon said he had a target of 50 Vapianos around the UK and 20 restaurants in London.
Punch Taverns hits 80 Punch Foundation Tenancy agreements: Punch Taverns has reported its has 80 Punch Foundation Tenancy (PFT) agreements in place, two years after the scheme’s launch. The company claims the scheme is unique in the industry because it involves working with selected licensees to set up ready-made businesses, tailored to their neighbourhoods. Punch Taverns invests in pub refurbishments and equips its PFT premises with the latest IT, including epos tills and the iDraught beer management system. Each business is linked to specialist accountants and given its own website and social media platforms, together with a 12-month marketing plan and an agreed minimum spend on marketing. The scheme won the title of Business Enabler of the Year at the National Business Awards in November 2013, with praise from the judges for its innovative approach. Punch Taverns’ first PFT Partners, Jamie and Anya Slater, formerly a chef and a teacher, took on a previously unloved estate pub in June 2012. After a £200,000 refurbishment and the introduction of food, average weekly sales at the Griffin in Rugby are now four times higher than before the PFT was introduced.
Four brands set for Chester: Four top restaurant brands are opening in Chester, creating a “dining district with a European feel”. Las Iguanas, Chimichanga, Coast to Coast and Restaurant Bar and Grill are set to open new venues in the former Habitat and Multiyork stores on Pepper Street by next summer. Work has just begun on the development, which will see alfresco dining areas and rooftop terraces with glass fronts. The old Methodist chapel, which will host Restaurant Bar and Grill, will not be changed significantly, because of its Grade II listed status. The new restaurants will join established premises such as Piccolino’s, Black House Grill, The Church and Zizzi to create a quarter dubbed the “Pepper Street dining district” by the buildings’ owners.
Operator plans 438-bedroom Waterloo hotel after securing £80m funding: PPHE Hotel Group has bought a prime site, Hercules House, near Waterloo in South London, and obtained planning permission for its redevelopment into a hotel. It has also secured funding of up to £80m from Banque Hapoalim of Luxembourg to fund the redevelopment. The planning permission and funding is for a hotel of 438 rooms which may, subject to further planning approval, be extended to 490 rooms. Additional facilities at the hotel will include a swimming pool, spa, restaurant and bar.
Carluccio’s names opening date for Sheffield site: Carluccio’s will open its Sheffield site on Friday 27 June. The new restaurant, at 509 Ecclesall Road, is on the site of a former La Tasca outlet. Simon Kossoff, Carluccio’s chef executive, said: “We have been keen to open on Ecclesall Road for a number of years and are delighted to have finally found the right site.”
Greene King lines up fourth Hungry Horse in Sheffield: Greene King is set launch its fourth Hungry Horse venture in Sheffield after its proposals were recommended for planning approval. The new establishment is expected to bring 76 jobs. Plans to build a 9,000 sq ft venue on land off Broadfield Close and Little London Road were recommended for approval by Sheffield City Council at a planning committee meeting next week (24 June). The site has seen a major redevelopment over the past decade, with the land Greene King is proposing to use one of the last remaining plots available in the area. It will sit alongside office accommodation, a St John Ambulance building and dialysis centre and a Virgin Active complex.
Two Wetherspoon pubs and Spirit site to be auctioned: Two freehold pubs let to JD Wetherspoon and a pub let to Spirit will be auctioned by Allsop on 8 July. A freehold site in Liverpool let to JD Wetherspoon, trading as a Lloyds No 1 Bar, on a lease expiring in 2038 with rent of at £140,000 a year is offered with guide price of £2m-plus. A freehold in Paignton, Devon let to JD Wetherspoon on a lease expiring in 2034 at a rent of £72,141 a year is offered with a guide price of £950,000 to £1.05m. A freehold in King’s Lynn, Norfolk let to Spirit Pub Company at £66,000 a year on a lease expiring in 2028 is offered with a guide price of £775,000-plus.
McDonald’s UK under fire for offering ‘girl’s toy’ and ‘boy’s toy’: McDonald’s UK is under fire from activists because its restaurant workers are allegedly offering customers a choice of a ‘girl’s toy’ or a ‘boy’s toy’ with Happy Meals. McDonald’s UK has stated its policy is to offer “either a Hello Kitty or Hot Wheels option, not a girl/boy option,” but the campaign group Let Toys Be Toys said: “We carried out a quick survey which showed that over 70% of stores are asking if customers would like a boy’s toy or a girl’s toy. The fact that two very different toys have been introduced and one of them is pink, clearly suggests that these toys are meant to be aimed at boys and girls separately. We think it’s a really disappointing step from McDonald’s and hope they’ll return to the more usual UK toy policy of just one toy for all. In the meantime we’ve asked that they re-examine their own guidelines and ensure that toys are distributed consistent with their policy.” McDonald’s in the US no longer offers toys according to gender, after a campaign by an 11-year-old, Antonia Ayres-Brown.
Starbucks to introduce charging stations in Europe: Starbucks is to introduce wireless charging stations across Europe to try to increase the length of time people spend in its outlets, Marketing Week has reported. The coffee chain expects initial pilots in Europe and Asia to take place over the next year as it makes the service mainstream in the United States. It announced plans to introduce wireless charging to Starbucks and Teavana Tea stores, beginning in San Francisco before expanding the service in 2015.
PizzaExpress produces four World Cup pizzas: PizzaExpress has come up with four World Cup themed pizzas, created by food artists Pam Staite and Serena Reeve, to celebrate the international football in Brazil over the next month. Using traditional ingredients including pepperoni and garlic, the pizzas depict England lifting the World Cup in 1966, Paul “Gazza” Gascoigne crying at Italia ’90, Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico and Zinedine Zidane’s 2006 headbutt in the World Cup final in Germany have all been depicted.
Andy Harrison – Costa is benefiting from the move to online shopping: Whitbread’s chief executive, Andy Harrison, who reported sales at Costa’s 1,755 UK branches up by 4.5% in the 13 weeks to the end of May, has argued that the coffee shop market is getting a boost from the move to online shopping. Harrison said: “Costa and the coffee shop industry has benefited from the changing shape of the high street – people are spending less time shopping because they do it online. We are seeing the coffee shop market growing in many different countries and cultures.”
Falmouth police look to sub-let to Costa Coffee to offset costs in ‘Costa Coppa’ move: A Costa Coffee could replace the front office at the police station in Falmouth, Cornwall as part of a raft of changes to local policing before cuts in funding. Inspector Steve Lenney said he had been negotiating with Costa Coffee among other operators since the public enquiry office was earmarked for closure next month as part of cuts to save £760,000 each year in Devon and Cornwall. He told a meeting of Falmouth Town Council that the only way to keep the office open was to rent out part of the station to a coffee shop franchise to offset staffing costs. Cornwall and town councillor Candy Atherton said at the meeting: “This needs to be called Costa Coppa, doesn’t it?”
River Valley Inns opens first Cheshire site: The Lancashire-based premium food pub group Ribble Valley Inns has opened its first site in Cheshire, the Nag’s Head at Haughton near Tarporley after a £1m refurbishment. The Nag’s Head is the first new property for Ribble Valley Inns since the investment made by the company’s chairman, Richard Matthewman, and his wife Lynda. Nigel Haworth, Ribble Valley Inns’ founder and executive chef, said: “I’m over the moon that we’re now open in Cheshire. It’s been a fascinating journey for me, this one. I’ve discovered some amazing new producers whom I’ve never worked with before, which has led to an authentic menu that I’m really excited about. I love the pub itself, too. This is the oldest one that we have in the collection, and the bowling green, stocks and horse bays, I think, all add to a really unique atmosphere.”
Lola’s Cupcakes denies stealing recipe for Marmite cupcake: The London-based bakery chain Lola’s Cupcakes has denied stealing an original recipe for Marmite cupcakes. Kerstin Rodgers, who blogs as Ms Marmite Lover, was shocked to see newspaper stories about the “first official Marmite cupcake”, as she claims she published two Marmite cupcake recipes on her blog in 2010, and in her 2011 cookbook Supper Club: Recipes And Notes From The Underground Restaurant. Rodgers claims that not only could the new cake not be the “first official Marmite cupcake”, because she was paid by the company to bake her cupcakes, but that Lola’s recipe, published on a press release sent to food writers, used identical wording to her own. A joint statement for Lola’s Bakery and Marmite said the “only similarity” between the two recipes is “the use of a liquid centre that is found in over a third of Lola’s range”. The statement specified that the Lola’s recipe was the “first official Marmite cupcake available to buy”.
Julian Metcalfe to launch TV campaign for popcorn range: Metcalfe’s Food Company, set up by Julian Metcalfe, the co-founder of Pret A Manger, to sell low-calorie snacks, has picked Quiet Storm to create a TV campaign for its popcorn range. Quiet Storm beat two other agencies in a competitive pitch to win the business, and will be tasked with creating a national TV campaign, backed by cinema and video-on-demand spots, which will air later this summer. Metcalfe’s, which has not advertised on TV before, ran the pitch without an intermediary. The ads will be based on Metcalfe’s “lighten up” ethos. Metcalfe, who set up the Pret A Manger group with Sinclair Beecham, and later started the Asian fast-food chain Itsu, founded Metcalfe’s in 2009. In addition to its popcorn range, Metcalfe’s also makes low-calorie crisps and cookies.
Adnams broadens links with Norfolk producers with show sponsorship: The Suffolk brewer and retailer Adnams is broadening its links with Norfolk food and drink producers by sponsoring the food and drink hall at this year’s Royal Norfolk Show, to be held on 25 and 26 June. The “Adnams Food and Drink Experience” will play host to a number of show stands, each showcasing food and drink from across the county. A spokesman said: “Adnams has exhibited at the Norfolk Show for the past four years, but this is the first time that we have sponsored the show’s popular food and drink hall.”
Agent reports flurry of pub company sales in Scotland: A flurry of activity within the pub sector in Scotland has seen the property consultancy Ryden sell six pubs across the country in deals worth almost £1 million, reinforcing that the market is improving. In Edinburgh, the firm sold Cooper’s Rest at Easter Road to SIPP on behalf of Punch Taverns. The property, which will continue to trade as a public house, was on the market at offers over £145,000. Not far from Easter Road at Albion Road, The Albion Bar was also sold on behalf of Punch Taverns to a private individual. The asking price for the bar was £135,000-plus. CDLH was joint agent with Ryden on both of these deals. To the east of Edinburgh, The Old Ship Inn in Port Seton was acquired from Punch Taverns by a private client. The new owner has mixed-use plans for the site, including a takeaway/restaurant and drive-through, three houses and a stand-alone business unit at the Links Road premises, which have been vacant for the past five years. Offers over £250,000 were being sought for the property. Ryden sold The Tayport Arms, Nelson Street, Tayport, Fife to a private buyer on behalf of Star Pubs & Bars. It was on the market at offers over £125,000 and will continue to trade as a public house. The Northern Lights pub at Hatton of Fintray, Aberdeen, was also sold to a private buyer for continued use as a pub. Ryden was marketing the property at an asking price of £250,000 for Punch Taverns. In Inverness, Deeno’s Sports Bar on Academy Street was sold to Cairngorm Brewery, also for continued use as a pub. Ryden negotiated the deal on behalf of Star Pubs & Bars, which was selling the property at offers over £280,000.
Faversham’s first boutique hotel to open next month: The first boutique hotel in Faversham, Kent, will next month in the former Swan and Harlequin pub in Conduit Street, acquired by entrepreneur David Selves earlier this year. Faversham Creek Hotel is set to open fully by the end of July, with the Red Sails restaurant hopefully opening the month after. The tables inside the Red Sails restaurant will have their own lighting system, which the diners control. Each will be named after Faversham barges, while the bedrooms will be named after important people in Faversham’s history.
Ed’s Easy Diner lines up Carlisle opening: Ed’s Easy Diner, which has 28 restaurants across the UK, is planning to open in Carlisle, moving into the former Cafe M site in The Lanes. Andrew Guy, chief executive of Ed’s Easy Diner, said the location was “ideal”. He said the company hoped to hire locally and was working with the Springboard charity, which helps get young and disadvantaged people from the local community into employment. Lanes manager David Jackson said it was approached by Ed’s after Cafe M, which will form the new diner together with part of the toilets in the Lanes development, went into administration this spring. “They wanted to bring the diner to The Lanes but they needed more space [than just Cafe M], hence the decision to relocate the toilets,” he said.
Casino development planned for Wolverhampton: Council officers have recommended the green light for a £4m casino development in Wolverhampton that would create more than 130 jobs and bring “thousands” of visitors to the city, according to the company behind the scheme. Wolverhampton City Council’s licensing committee will be asked to award a casino licence to Casino 36 Ltd for former Dorchester nightclub site in Temple Street when they meet next Wednesday (25 June). Casino 36 runs the existing Rubicon Casino in Temple Street, and the new casino would combine the Rubicon building with the nightclub building next door, which has been standing empty for years. Adrian Ballard, a director of Casino 36 Ltd, said contractors would start work on site within 28 days if the licence was awarded, with the casino open for business within two years, subject to planning consent.
Burger King to open in Carmarthen and Llanelli, seeks second outlet in Gloucester: Burger King is to open a branch in Carmarthen, South Wales at the end of the month. The new store will open on 28 June at Merlin’s Walk on the site of the former JJB Sports store, which has been unoccupied and unused for a number of years. Charles Barratt, manager of the Merlin’s Walk centre, said all negotiations had been completed and the restaurant was now being fitted out. Barratt said the centre had been looking to attract food outlets to Merlin’s Walk and welcomed Burger King’s arrival. He said: “We have always wanted to attract a restaurant or cafe to Merlin’s Walk and Burger King will be a valuable and popular addition, not only to the centre but the town as a whole.” Another new Burger King outlet is due to open this Saturday in Llanelli, South Wales. The outlet, in the St Elli shopping centre, seats 40, with an additional 50 seats outside. The chain is also seeking planning permission to open a second branch in Gloucester city centre. It wants to move into a unit that fronts onto Eastgate Street and is managed by the Eastgate shopping centre which has been on the market since Carphone Warehouse moved out in 2011. Tom Mees, an associate partner at Eastgate shopping centre’s letting agent, Kitchen La Frenais Morgan, said: “The proposal from Burger King is the first permanent offer we have had in over three years of marketing. The property has never attracted an offer for a long-term lease, or indeed anything longer than a one-month term. We have tried but been unable to identify a long term occupier for the property in the prevailing economic climate in a city where the supply of vacant units is relatively high.” Burger King already has an outlet in the Peel Centre in Gloucester. It now has 1,400 restaurants in the UK, with more than 11,500 outlets in more than 72 countries across the world.