Propel Morning Briefing Mast Head CPL Learning Link Paul's Twitter Link Greene King Banner
Morning Briefing Strap Line
Fri 13th Feb 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Ted Kennedy – free-of-tie tenanted pubs work perfectly well: Industry veteran Ted Kennedy, whose career has involved running both Whitbread’s pub division and Mill House Inns, has broken ranks to argue that it is preferable to run tenanted pubs on a free-of-tie basis. His views carry weight after spending the last five years running around 500 tenanted pubs on behalf of Irish banks – and converting many to free-of-tie. He reports very low closure rates and very low levels of bad debt. The key issue, he said, is reducing pub company overheads by out-sourcing much of the administration – Kennedy has employed LT Management Services to carry out back office administration. Writing in today’s Propel Friday Opinion, he states: “Our experience of taking over 500 pubs in failed companies and turning those companies into free-of-tie operators suggests a new tack can revitalise relationships. We have converted more than 75% of those 500 pubs to free-of-tie outlets, sold more than 300 pubs to private landlords and developed a core of over 150 pubs that have a great future. So, the big question: if you end the tie as a pub landlord how do you replace the income? The simple answer is you don’t – rather, you square the circle by reducing your outgoings. Over the five years we have been working on this, which includes the recession that wiped out so many pub companies, we have seen the average closed pub ratio fall below 2% of the estate, rent concessions fall to less than 4% of the rent roll, and, of course, bad debt plummet because the tenant is free to buy from whom they want. In addition, there is a completely changed relationship dynamic. Remembering that these are consenting adult relationships, the role of chaperone, in the form of the ubiquitous and much maligned BDM, changes completely. ‘Gone’ are the “Fifty Shades of Grey” torture implements of Bruline reports and cellar inspections and ‘in’ are adult-adult relationships where the ability of the tenant is the most important thing. If the tenant pays rent the world is happy. If not, then it is not. Simple as. The pub moves from a bizarre threesome of politicians, pub owner and pub tenant to a standard commercial arrangement between two parties. So instead of tenants seeing more and more of their BDMs, they actually see them when commercial reality dictates. Industry standard ratios of one BDM to thirty pubs disappear in favour of outsourcing of back office and empowered operators. These savings offset the loss of the tied income and almost everyone is a winner. I am not saying that this is the only relationship that works. What I am saying is that it is an enlightened one that suits entrepreneurial tenants who don’t want their hand held. For brewers with strong beer brands like Fuller’s then the tie may be attractive for the tenant – the same applies for big volume pubs where the capex requirement is equally high and then there is a symbiotic relationship with a Punch or an Enterprise. But it is hard not to think that the future for smaller pubs, such as those recently sold by Greene King and Marston’s, is the perfectly viable (and mutually satisfying) world of free-of-tie and I for one will raise a Valentine’s Day glass to that.”

Industry News:

Propel Multi Club Conference in March fully booked, waiting list started: All 350 places for the first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2015, held on Thursday 12 March at the Lancaster Hotel, London are now booked – CLICK HERE to see the full programme and timings. To take a place on the waiting list, email

Customer breathalyser spreads to Shropshire: A Shrewsbury nightclub will be the first in Shropshire to introduce customer breathalysers. Security staff at The Buttermarket nightclub will be randomly testing clubbers and turning them away if they arrive drunk. The trial of the new ‘Alco-Blow’ breathalyser will allow staff to identify anyone who registers as twice the drink-drive limit. The Buttermarket, in Howard Street, is the largest nightclub in Shropshire and the first in the county to join a police-backed initiative introduced in over 40 bars and clubs in Birmingham last week.

Whole Food Market reports rising sales after dropping prices: Whole Foods Market, the US firm that is introducing on-site brewpubs and has nine sites in the UK, has reported earnings rose 5.7% in the latest quarter as it attracted more customers by lowering its prices and increasing its advertising. Whole Foods said sales at stores open at least 13 months rose 4.5% in its first quarter, which ended 18 January, as customer traffic increased 2.3%. Whole Foods now has about 400 stores in the US and ultimately plans to reach 1,200. It’s opened new ones with beer gardens on the roof, while also remodeling older ones adding unique elements like a brewery. For the first quarter, Whole Foods reported a profit of $167 million, or 46 cents a share, up from $158 million, or 42 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue increased 10% to $4.67 billion.

ALMR grows membership with host of new sign-ups: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has added a host of new operator members. Barrio Bars, BrewHouse and Kitchen, Foundation Inns, Mitchells of Lancaster, My Lahore and Soho Bars have all joined the organisation. Last year saw a host of casual dining operators join the trade body, including Carluccio’s, Brasserie Blanc and Tragus, whose chief executive Steve Richards is chairman of the ALMR. The trade body now represents 180 retailers accounting for more than 17,500 outlets and employing in excess 375,000 employees. It has grown membership by 30% for the last three years with larger companies such as Mitchells & Butlers and JD Wetherspoon choosing the organisation as their sole trade body representative.

First research on diet in Northern Ireland finds major problems: The first research by the Food Standards Agency on diet in Northern Ireland has found fruit and vegetable consumption is significantly lower than in the UK as a whole. 82% of adults, 77% of older adults and 96% of children aged 11 to 18 years in Northern Ireland did not meet the five-a-day recommendation. A third of adults aged 19 to 64 years in Northern Ireland had low blood levels of vitamin D, a higher proportion than in the UK as a whole. The lowest income group had lower fruit and vegetable consumption than those in the highest income group. They also had lower intakes of NSP and some vitamins and minerals.

Smaller brands and categories are outpacing well-established US alcohol brands: Smaller brands and categories in the US are outpacing and in some cases taking share from the more well-established in the alcohol industry, according to research firm Technomic’s analysis of 2014 year-end results. “Many of the categories and brands that dominate the industry are being challenged,” said Technomic senior director Donna Hood Crecca. “The trend creates increased competition for shelf space in bars and at retail and for consumer dollars in 2015. The monster categories such as light beer and vodka are feeling the heat from the likes of craft beer and bourbon, and the legacy brands are increasingly pitted against upstarts in the battle for operator attention and consumer occasions.” Technomic director of research Eric Schmidt said: “Beer shed volume again in 2014 and the dynamics within beer continue to evolve, while the growth in spirits and wine is ongoing. Changing flavor preferences and greater interest in production methods and new formulations are driving factors. We’re tracking a sharp decline in sweet flavor profiles and a rise in liquids with real ‘heat’ or herbal nuance in the spirits industry, and momentum among beer, spirits and even wine products with unique production processes.”

Company News:

JD Wetherspoon prepares to take over investment pub: JD Wetherspoon has lodged a planning application to expand a pub in Crystal Palace, the Grape and Grain, that it acquired last year for double the asking price – it paid £1.9m compared to an asking price of £895,000 – as a so-called ‘investment property’. The company was happy to buy the site and wait for the existing tenant’s lease, a multi-site operator, to expire in December 2016. The tenant paid Wetherspoon a rent of £55,000 on acquisition, rising to £60,000 in December 2014. Wetherspoon is also now looking to add a roof terrace. The pub, acquired through agent AG&G, overlooks the Grade II listed Crystal Palace, which is undergoing a long-term upgrade to return the 73-hectare park to its original Victorian design. A Chinese company, ZhongRong Group, is planning to reconstruct the Crystal Palace itself and pledges to “also fund the restoration of the wider park in line with the approved masterplan to create a modern 21st century park of national importance”. At the time of the sale, AG&G director Anthony Alder said: “The knock-on effects for The Grape & Grain from the extensive renewal on their doorstep have proved to be huge – the sale price achieved was far in excess of the estimate. The interest was phenomenal and our clients are delighted.” The current operator’s lease expires in December 2016 when Wetherspoon is expected to start operating the site. The current operator, who has asked to remain anonymous, told Propel: “It’s a good pub and sells 12 real ales at all times, but they paid a big price and so are entitled to expect to get their hands on it.” The London pub is one of three freehold pub investment sites that Wetherspoon has bought in the past year.

Harry Ramsden’s hires franchise director: Harry Ramsden’s has hired Frank Romano to the newly created position of franchise director with immediate effect. Romano’s background includes Little Chef, where as chief operating officer he oversaw the brand’s return to profit and subsequent sale. He was also managing direct for a while at Trevor Hemmings’ Herald Inns and Bars. Joe Teixeira, chief executive of Harry Ramsden’s, said: “With his wealth of experience and first class track record, we are delighted to announce Frank’s appointment to this important new role within Harry Ramsden’s. Frank will be charged with accelerating our ambitious franchising mode, l which is set to deliver over 100 new UK outlets, as a result of agreements in place for Yorkshire, Scotland, the south and West Sussex. And with a franchise agreement already in place for Qatar, Frank will also be exploring overseas opportunities which will further increase the brand’s international presence.” Romano added: “I welcome the opportunity to work with such an iconic brand, which has undeniably been transformed in the past few years. With its premium look and feel, excellent product offering and mass market appeal, I believe our proposition is an enticing one. We will initially seek to recruit the right franchisees for the brand and thereafter, ensure they reap the rewards of their investment in Harry Ramsden’s.”

Pizza Hut UK trials “subconscious menu” at re-opened Strand flagship: Pizza Hut UK has trialed its “subconscious menu” at its newly re-opened flagship site in London’s Strand. A computerised menu follows customers’ eyeballs with a webcam – and picks a pizza for them in 2.5 seconds. A webcam ‘watches’ eyeballs as the screen flashes 20 topping choices, then picks a pizza with the toppings customers’ eyes lingered on. Guests at the re-opening of the Strand branch were given a one-off opportunity to test the menu, which runs on a tablet computer. The subconscious menu offers 4896 possible pizza combinations – and Pizza Hut claims that 98% of customers are satisfied with the computer’s choice in the branches where the machine is being trialed. The technology behind it is made by Tobii, a Swedish company who are global leaders in ‘eye tracking’ tech – and took six months to develop.

Brighton coffee company to open shellfish and craft beer pub next month: Entrepreneurs Brad Jacobson and Nigel Lambe, who own Brighton-based Small Batch Coffee Company, are set to open their specialist craft beer and shellfish pub on Tuesday 3 March after a three-month refurbishment. The Urchin will replace The Bell Pub, on Belfast Street, Hove. The Urchin Craft Beer and Shellfish pub will boast an extensive craft beer menu of more than 100 varieties sourced locally and from around the world. Executive chairman Nigel Lambe is also behind the Velo Cafe at The Level, entrepreneur-in-residence at City College Brighton and Hove and is former chief executive of Horsham brewer WJ King.

Ex-Greene King landlords take on second pub after runaway Snowdrop success: Former Greene King multi-site tenants Dominic McCartan and Tony Leonard will take over their second free-of-tie pub on 15 March, with an April opening planned. The pair will re-open The Roebuck Inn in Laughton. The pub, the only one in the East Sussex village, has been closed since March 2013. It was bought by local resident Rachel Daniels, who didn’t want to see it knocked down and turned into housing. A free-of-tie private lease has been agreed and the pub is currently undergoing a major refurbishment. The move follows runaway success at The Snowdrop in Lewes, a backstreet freehold acquired from Punch Taverns four years ago for £305,000. The couple, who publicly fell out with Greene King over unsustainable rents at their award-winning Brighton pubs, report takings at The Snowdrop have now surpassed their previous record turnover at their former pub, The Hop Poles in Brighton, in its best ever year – gross turnover at The Snowdrop is in excess of £1m a year.

Laine Pub Company re-opens Brighton site as a “ruinpub”: Laine Pub Company, the Brighton-based operator led by Gavin George that saw investment from Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners last year, has re-opened The Hope in Queens Road, Brighton as Hope & Ruin, inspired by “the makeshift ruinpubs of Budapest”. George told Propel: “Brighton drinkers will find a pub that appears to have undergone the antithesis of contemporary pub refurbishment. A dereliction might be a good description. Our design team has had an interesting time deteriorating rather than rebuilding whilst at the same time aiming to retain the comfort of a British pub. It’s certainly a new approach for us and we thank our manager partner Sally Oakenfold for suggesting we attempt it.” Like the ruinpubs of Budapest, Hope & Ruin will be a centre for arts and culture and will continue to develop live music credentials that have previously attracted the likes of The Strokes, Adele and Bonnie Prince Billy. The first floor venue has been enlarged, the PA upgraded and a band room added to give Hope & Ruin a greater part to play in the diverse and cutting-edge live music culture of the city. The pub’s beer range includes brewery fresh Cezch Krusovice served straight from the tank, Caledonian Three Hop lager and Laine’s own keg Pale Ale. Draught pezsgő (sparkling wine) is available by the glass, along with a number of draught whites and reds served in carafes. A full size caravan has been dragged inside the pub and incorporated into the interior of the downstairs bar. From the caravan, the pub is serving a range of poutine dishes and loaded hotdogs. 

Freehold in Beckenham let to Nando’s sold for £1.69m: A freehold investment property on the High Street in Beckenham, Kent, let to Nando’s, has sold for £1.69m at an auction held by Allsop. Nando’s pays rent of £90,875 per annum on a lease that expires in 2033 with no breaks, meaning the buyer earns a 5.38% yield. The auction saw 88% of lots sold. Allsop partner Duncan Moir said: “The strong start to 2015 was very satisfactory for our clients, with the end of day result being 5% up on last year. The demand in the room was palpable, and it was standing room only for much of the auction, which bodes well for the coming months. There was strong bidding competition across a wide range of properties, which would appear to indicate a significant weight of both domestic and overseas money looking to get into the market. First time auction buyers were also very much in evidence – the highest we have recorded since July 2013.”

Foxlow to open in Stoke Newington: Foxlow, the neighbourhood restaurant from the founders of high-end steak brand Hawksmoor, has secured a second site after agent Davis Coffer Lyons completed the sale of HOMA on Stoke Newington’s popular Church Street for an undisclosed sum. The company, which was co-founded by Will Beckett and Huw Gott, now operates five Hawksmoor restaurants (with one opening in Manchester in March) and the first Foxlow, on St John Street in Farringdon. Charlotte Wild, pub and bar negotiator at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Stoke Newington Church Street is one of the capital’s most exciting pub, bar and restaurant destinations. This is a beautiful building and prominent location and, as such, we received a huge amount of interest from a variety of operators, but the outgoing tenant loved Will and Huw’s focus on being part of the local community and the ethics of the business.”

Hornblowers owners set for Aberdeen expansion: Alex and Ruth Grahane, who own the award-winning Hornblowers restaurant and takeaway in Gourdon, are to expand with a new fish restaurant, takeaway and ice cream parlour is to be built on the site of a fire-hit Aberdeen beachfront eatery. Proposals have been lodged to develop the site of the former Jimmy Chungs and TC Fish restaurant. Ruth Grahane said: “We’ve been searching for the perfect site in the city for years and when the lease came up on the site, we were really delighted. It’s got everything we were looking for – lots of people in the vicinity, a large floor area and of course the most amazing sea views over the beautiful sandy beach.”

McDonald’s starts spiced Filet-O-Fish trial: McDonald’s has begun to trial Filet-O-Fish in the US with a new spicy flavour. The burger chain is rolling out a version of its fish sandwich topped with an Old Bay spiced tartar sauce at select locations in the Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, Delaware and West Virginia area starting on 16 February. The spice mixture includes paprika, celery salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Rileys site in Scunthorpe to re-open: A Rileys Sports Bar in Scunthorpe is to re-under the new name of Mulligans. A rescue package that will see the eight former employees back at work has been put together by former manager Matt Crooke. He said: “Being both owner and manager is going to be onerous. But I am looking forward to the challenge. This club is a big part of my life. I felt terrible last September telling the eight staff their jobs were gone. But now I’m in a position to give them their jobs back. It’s a great feeling.” Last September, the Scunthorpe venue in Normanby Road was one of 15 branches to closed when the Rileys chain went into administration. The remainder of the estate is being operated by LT Management Services.

Five Guys names July opening for Ealing, applies for longer hours in Villers Street: An opening date of July has been named by the American better burger chain Five Guys for its outlet in Ealing, West London. The 3,500 sq ft restaurant, with 101 covers, which will create 40 jobs in the local area, will be opposite Ealing Broadway station in 2-3 Central Buildings, The Broadway. A Five Guys spokesman told The Ealing Gazette: “We have no freezers or timers in any restaurant – everything is fresh. There are 15 free toppings and most ingredients are sourced locally, the only exceptions are the pickles and peanuts. We consider our fries as boardwalk style as we use fresh potatoes that are cooked in 100% peanut oil. Burgers are hand-pattied each morning, and cooked fresh. Our beef is sourced from Ireland and is from grain-fed cattle. Our buns/rolls are the only proprietary ingredient and are bakery style, dense, fluffy rolls which are baked in the UK through a bakery partnership.” The chain has opened 20 restaurants in the UK since it made its UK debut in Covent Garden, London in 2013, with six more planned, including outlets in Wimbledon and Nottingham next month. Meanwhile, Five Guys has applied to Westminster Council for earlier opening hours at the premises in Villiers Street, near Charing Cross, Central London it acquired last month. The venue opened at 10am when it was a Cafe Rouge outlet, but Five Guys wants to open at 7am, though with no change to the hours at which alcohol will start to be sold. It has also asked to cut the permitted number of customers allowed on the premises to 90 on the ground floor and 70 in the basement, and told the council that the current bar will be removed, with all alcohol sold from chiller cabinets behind the counter. The 5,000 square foot site, which is just off The Strand, was acquired by Five Guys from Tragus with approximately 16 years left to run of the 20-year lease.

Krispy Kreme plans Plymouth opening after ‘transformational year’: Krispy Kreme has confirmed it will open in Plymouth in the spring, at an unnamed location. Judith Denby, chief marketing officer at Krispy Kreme UK, said: “We’ll be revealing details on location and opening date very soon.” There are now 550 places to buy Krispy Kreme doughnuts in the UK – many of them at supermarkets and motorway service stations. The opening is part of a sustained roll-out after transforming its performance in the UK in the most recent financial year. The company reported a 16% increase in turnover in the UK to hit £52,393,000 in the year to 2 February 2014 – turnover was £45,073,435 the year prior. Adjusted Ebitda before exceptional items of £9,419,000 (18% of sales) compared with £1,674,000 (4%) of sales in the previous year. Return on investment rose to 31.2% compared to 5.3% the year before. Pre-tax profit was £3,166,379 compared to a loss of £2,797,244 the year before.

Valentina plans sixth site, this time in Crystal Palace: Valentina Fine Foods, the Italian delicatessen and restaurant brand with five locations serving the neighbourhoods of East Sheen, Putney, Sevenoaks, Notting Hill Gate and Weybridge, is planning to open in Crystal Palace’s Westow Street. The delicatessen sells products ranging from cheeses, meats, olives, ice creams, fresh pasta, fresh bread, over 200 different types of wine together with freshly cooked pizza, lasagne, spaghetti, and risottos. The company states: “Valentina delicatessens are not just a food shop. The ambience – the smells, the visual, the taste, the music, the feel of the interior – are all geared towards creating an Italian experience for their customers.” 

Bulldog hires agency as it gears up for £20m expansion: Coaching inn operator Bulldog Hotel Group has hired Leeds-based MCG to deliver a trade PR campaign as it embarks on a national expansion programme. The £10m turnover group plans to double its portfolio over the next five years and is actively seeking acquisition opportunities across the UK. MCG director Christine Mortimer said: “We will be raising Bulldog’s profile in the commercial property, hotel and licensed victuallers trade and supporting the group’s communications programme across the industry. Given their ambitious growth programme, we have a great story to tell.”

Camden Town Brewery mounts strong Crowdcube first week with £100,000 plus a day pledged: Camden Town Brewery is set to have one of the strongest first weeks even seen on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Since launching on Monday to raise £1.5m in return for 2% of its equity, a total of 403 investors have pledged £435,830, 29% of its target with 55 days left.

Inapub and the BII sign digital deal to help BII licensee members: On-trade digital expert Inapub has signed a three-year deal to provide low-cost web solutions for BII members. Inapub will work with the trade body to ensure licensees have a cost-effective and quick solution to launching a new website or updating an existing one. For just £350 Inapub will create and host the site and provide members with the tools they need to update content. For a further £100 a professional photographer will be provided to take photos that pubs can use online and for their own marketing. Other packages where Inapub will update website information for BII members’ and support them with their social media needs are also available. Barrie Poulter, Inapub chief executive, said: “We are delighted to be working with BII and adding to the numerous valuable support services they already provide to licensees across the UK. The world of online is an increasingly important space for capturing the interest of pub customers, but it can also appear intimidating. Our solution provides an easy-to-use, low-cost model for licensees and ensures that their websites fully reflect the wonderful things that are already happening inside their pubs.” As part of the deal former licensee and Inapub digital expert Mark Daniels will speak at a programme of BII Roadshow events. Caroline Nodder, director of brand and business development at BII, said: “The BII is constantly looking at new ways it can support its members with easy and cost-effective solutions to their everyday challenges and the partnership with Inapub offers them a quick and easy way to update or launch their website at a price to suit their small business.”

Intu plans £150m redevelopment at Broadmarsh mall in Nottingham including new restaurants and cinema: Intu Properties has revealed proposals for a major redevelopment of its Broadmarsh shopping mall in Nottingham that will see the creation of a new street, while a cinema and restaurants will open inside the overhauled centre. Intu, which bought the centre from previous owner Westfield in 2011, said it would submit a planning application to overhaul the 45-year-old mall in the next two months. If approved, work could start in 2016 with a view to finishing in 2018. General manager Adam Tamsett said: “When we introduce a cinema, new restaurants and other leisure operators, our trading hours will also extend from morning into the evening. We think there is a massive opportunity for Nottingham to establish itself as a late-night city – we’re the only city not to have that.” 

On The Bab takes second site: A Korean street food restaurant has made its Soho debut by opening its second branch after a critically-acclaimed launch. On the Bab, which serves innovative dishes and cocktails, was a runaway success when it opened in Old Street and now it is expanding by securing a prime site in Wellington Street. It will take over the Notes Café, which has a branch close by in Covent Garden and wants to focus on a new outlet in Kings Cross, opening later this month. “It is a great move for On the Bab and will bring them to a new clientele after wowing the Shoreditch crowd since it opened,” said Sammy Weinbaum, of property specialists CDG Leisure, who organised the lease.

Best Western expects plenty of bleating as it launches Shaun the Sheep promotion: Hotel marketing consortium Best Western has launched a promotion to coincide with the launch of the Shaun the Sheep Movie. Best Western is offering five free overnight stays for anyone named Shaun staying at one of the 279 hotels between 27 February and 1 March 2015 on a first-booked basis. As part of an official partnership between Best Western and Shaun the Sheep Movie, Shauns can claim their free stay by calling the Best Western call centre on 0844 3876670 and making their best sheep bleat to book their preferred property (subject to availability). Their stay will be activated on arrival by showing their passport, with the correct spelling of Shaun, to the hotel. As well as free stays, there will be face-in-a-hole cut-outs at hotels for guests to take funny snaps and share with their friends and family on social media using the property’s free Wi-Fi.

Richard Caring plans “exciting expansion” for Ivy brand: Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings is to open a new restaurant, Ivy Chelsea Garden in March this year. The move comes following the opening late last year of the Ivy Market Grill in Covent Garden, the first offshoot of the West Street site. The new opening, on the site of what was Kornicis-operated Henry J Beans, at 195-197 King’s Road, is set to be part of an “exciting expansion plan” for the brand. The restaurant will cater to 155 covers inside, with space for another 120 outside.

Tea 42 to launch second premises in Manchester’s Gay Village: Tea 42, the Manchester-based gluten-free restaurant brand launched in November 2013 by William Hannah and his business partner Jason Abbott, is to open its second premises in the city’s Gay Village. The new venue, MCR 42, will open this spring in the former Genghis Khan’s Mongolian Grill site on the corner of Chorlton Street and Richmond Street. The nineteenth-century warehouse building will undergo a “lavish” £500,000 conversion, creating a flagship two-floor venue for the brand, with Hannah and Abbot still planning 20 sites for Tea 42 across the UK. MCR 42 will provide 250 covers over its two floors, with a main ground floor restaurant for day and evening diners, and a basement lounge and bar space reserved for lighter dining, after-dinner drinks and private hire. The venue will also boast a walk-in wine fridge, a “snug” area and a dressing room for “impromptu-entertainment”. It will create 50 new jobs in the Village. Hannah told the Manchester Confidential website: “Having successfully trialled the 42 concept over the past fifteen months and developed the pilot site on High Street, we are really excited to be opening our new flagship in the heart of the Village.” 

Busaba Eathai opening date confirmed in Shoreditch: Thai restaurant group Busaba Eathai is opening has confirmed it is opening the most ambitious site in its 15-year history in Shoreditch on Wednesday 18 February. The opening follows on swiftly from the group’s launch at The O2. Opening just in time for the brand’s 15th birthday, the new Busaba Eathai Shoreditch is spread across two floors accommodating 164 covers in the dining room, new Kinnaree bar and two terraces. The Shoreditch branch will introduce the modern Thai Kinnaree Bar (pron. Khin-NAH-rah) to the Busaba Eathai brand.

New Timothy Taylor chief executive vows to safeguard beer heritage: The new chief executive of brewer and retailer Timothy Taylor, which produces Madonna’s favourite ale Landlord, has vowed to safeguard the quality of the company’s beers. Tim Dewey, who has taken over the helm from Charles Dent, said: “I want to ensure we don’t compromise on the quality of what we produce because that is the cornerstone of the business. It is sacrosanct.” Dewey was born in Michigan and brought up near Boston. He moved to the UK after meeting his future wife when he came to England as a student. He has come to Timothy Taylor’s from a background in marketing. His previous roles have included stints as global marketing director for Smirnoff, international marketing director for William Grant & Sons Distillers, brand director for Pilsner Urquell and marketing and UK commercial director for Drambuie. He has been with Timothy Taylor since December last year. Dent is now the company’s non-executive chairman.

PizzaExpress reopens in Harrogate 11 months after fire: PizzaExpress has reopened its Harrogate branch, 11 month after it was badly damaged in a fire that started in a Prezzo restaurant next door. The PizzaExpress was in the middle of a refurbishment, which has now been completed, with a large panoramic illustration of the town on one of the restaurant walls, while the rest of the artwork reflects classic Victorian pattern work and typography. Restaurant manager Garry Jackson, 28, told the local newspaper he was delighted to be back in Harrogate: “The damage from the fire was a devastating blow so it’s great to be back.”

Skinner’s appoints Colombian-born food scientist as production manager: The Cornish brewery Skinners has appointed Paola Leather as its new production manager. She was born in Colombia and moved to the UK, where she studied food science and completed a post-graduate degree at London Business School. Her career has led her through chocolate companies, coffee companies and beer, both locally and internationally. Her CV includes a stint at Camden BRI, the UK’s leading brewing research centre, and working as technical and quality manager at St Austell Brewery. After settling in Cornwall, she worked as a consultant to Skinner’s, which is based in Truro, for the past year. Leather said: “This is a great opportunity and a chance to use my experience at a successful brewery. The team have a really exciting vision and they are great to work with.”

Douglas Jack forecasts “strong trading” at Domino’s UK: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has forecast strong trading when it reports final results on Thursday 26 February. He has issued an ‘Add’ recommendation with a price target of 780p. He said: “We forecast PBT being up 14% to £54.2m (consensus: £54.3m). UK like-for-like sales rose 11.8% in Q1-3, and we believe they should have remained strong in Q4, based on previous PBT guidance. We expect to at least hold our forecasts, which assume just 3% like-for-like sales growth for the UK in 2015E. Even though we are forecasting 15% PBT growth in 2015E, we believe forecast risk still remains on the upside. 21 stores opened in the UK during Q1-3; we forecast 24 UK openings in Q4. In Germany, three stores opened in H1, four stores closed in Q3 (leaving a total of 22) and no openings are expected in H2. In Switzerland, one store opened in Q3 and one store was expected to open in Q4. In H1, new UK stores generated average sales that were 28% higher than H1 2012’s new stores. We would buy the shares, given the backdrop of benign costs, increasing scale benefits, rising franchisee profits (up 17% in H1, since when food and fuel costs should have fallen), encouraging further local store marketing and expansion, and the better utilisation of fast-growing e-commerce to drive customer spend and frequency. We believe 2015E forecast risk remains on the upside.”

Investor buys 23% stake in Rosinter: Russian restaurant group Rosinter, led until last year by former Mitchells & Butlers executive Kevin Todd, has reported Nickors Limited, a Belize, Central America-based company, had acquired 23.11% of its shares. Rosinter has been struggling to turn a profit for years and its troubles deepened last year when Russia banned many food imports in response to Western sanctions over the Ukraine crisis and an economic downturn affected consumption.

Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Punch Taverns Link
Return to Archive Click Here to Return to the Archive Listing
Propel Premium
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Growth Partners - Find out More Banner
Santa Maria MEXI-GO Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Contract Furniture Group Banner
Bizimply Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner
Heineken Silver Banner
Peppadew Banner
Propel Banner
Quickpad by Pepper Banner
Access Banner
Christie & Co Banner
The Licensees Association Banner
Airship – Toggle Banner
Libeo Banner
COREcruitment Banner
Hospitality Rising Banner
Cynergy Bank Banner
John Gaunt Banner
Zonal Banner
HGEM Banner
Bums on Seats Banner
BrewDog Black Heart Banner