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Fri 3rd Jul 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Beds and Bars targets £100m annual turnover after adding £9m of sales in two years: Beds and Bars chief executive Keith Knowles has reported that he aims to more than double company annual turnover from the current £39.06m a year to £100m after the company staged a remarkable performance turnaround in the past two years. The current goal comes after the company, which operates bars and hostels in the UK and Europe, added £9m to sales in the past two years, growing from turnover of £30.2m in 2012. This sales growth followed “the perfect storm” of 2012 when the company was severely hit by reduced visitor numbers to the UK during the 2012 Olympics. The company’s problems in 2012 were compounded by a lack of banking support and the challenges of turning around the fortunes of its Paris site near the iconic La Rotonde. Speaking at yesterday’s Propel Multi Club Conference, Knowles paid tribute to his managing director Murray Roberts, who oversaw the operational changes that have improved the company’s performance, and his chairman Tim Sykes, who led successful negotiations to find fresh banking facilities. Bank debt was reduced by £15m through a sale and leaseback back of its Winston Hotel in Amsterdam and other pieces of property rationalisation. Now, Beds and Bars has achieved 135 weeks of consecutive growth. Knowles attributed much of the company’s success to investing in its people, adding: “Sales in the UK have been simply staggering since the Olympics.” Knowles said growth to £100m would come through a investment, join venture developments - franchising is also currently being explored. Last month, Knowles told Propel that the company would invest £7m to add 250 beds to its London estate. Knowles said: “For me the results we have seen over the past 24 months are simply outstanding – the focus and commitment of unit teams to raising their overall operational standards can be clearly seen in our results.”

Industry News:

ALMR urges local authorities to apply “agent of change” principle: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has urged local authorities to apply the “agent of change” principle when making planning and licensing decisions for music venues and nightclubs. The ALMR has been lobbying for the introduction of the principle in the UK to “guarantee equality” for venues and “promote high street growth”. It would ensure that when a venue is already in place, any new residential buildings nearby would be responsible for paying for their soundproofing. Likewise, if a new venue was introduced into a residential area, then it would be responsible instead. The issue was raised in a question to the Department for Communities and Local Government and answered this week by housing and planning minister Brandon Lewis. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR has consistently pushed for planning decisions taken at local levels to have regard for economic growth. We are urging local authorities to bear this in mind in their planning and licensing decisions to promote high street growth and guarantee equality for our music venues. We discussed this issue with Brandon Lewis at our Spring Conference in 2014 and have been championing the principle rigorously.” Under current guidelines, planning policies should “support the viability and vitality” of town centres and plan positively for the use of community spaces including licensed premises. In January, the Government issued revised guidance protecting pubs and music venues from incurring soundproofing costs in response to ALMR campaigning.

CAMRA launches new edition of London’s Best Beer Pubs & Bars book: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) launched a new edition of London’s Best Beer Pubs & Bars book yesterday (Thursday, 2 July) to reflect the growth of the capital’s beer scene. The book, written by Des De Moor, lists 250 venues including traditional pubs, real ale bars, specialist beer bars, bottle shops and microbreweries – the number of which has increased five-fold in the last four years. De Moor said: “I feel privileged to find myself a chronicler of the London beer scene at one of the most exciting times in its history. Brewery numbers have more than quintupled since the last edition was published and the variety and quality of beer in pubs, bars and shops is now overwhelming. And brewers are now accessible in ways they never were before: the Saturday taproom was almost unknown four years ago but it’s now an institution. Overall it’s the best time ever to enjoy beer in one of the world’s great cities, and I’m delighted to be able to help people share in that.” The interest in craft beer and real ale in the capital is growing along with the number of breweries, with real ale outperforming the on-trade beer market by 4.5% according to the Cask Report 2014-15. UK drinkers now buy 634 million pints of cask ale every year.

Casual Dining show wins AEO award for second year running: The Casual Dining show – the trade event by Diversified Communications UK’s for the UK’s multiple restaurant and pub group sector – has won “Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000 sqm” at the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) awards for the second year running. It beat off competition from the likes of The Surface Design Show, ScotHot and PayExpo 2014 to defend its title at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Mayfair. AEO’s judges said they were impressed by the show’s “excellent content programme and exhibition design and layout” and that Diversified UK “identified a clear gap in the market for the fast emerging casual dining sector, a sector focused on innovation and brand”. Casual Dining had over 150 exhibiting companies and more than 3,600 visitors in 2015. New companies looking to exhibit in 2016 include Moy Park and Innovate Foods with space for the show, which is again being held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London, on 24-25 February, already 85% sold out. The AEO’s awards ceremony is widely regarded as the “Oscars” for the live events and exhibition industry.

Company News:

City Pub EIS Fund buys second pub two days after its first: City Pub EIS Fund, the investment vehicle launched by pub entrepreneurs Clive Watson, John Roberts and David Bruce, has acquired its second pub – two days after its first. The fund has exchanged contracts on The Lord Cardigan in Bow with completion anticipated in October. The east London pub is expected to open in January 2016 following extensive refurbishment. It comes two days after City Pub EIS Fund acquired its first pub – The Garrison in Bermondsey, London. Watson said: “The fund’s strong momentum is extremely encouraging and we continue to see interesting opportunities in the market. It is an exciting time to be involved in the London pubs sector and City Pub EIS has now committed over £5m to the London market. We look forward to the future with real confidence and building our portfolio of individual pubs that are full of character and well suited to the local demand.” Agent AG&G acted on the transaction.

Grand Union sees like-for-like growth of 14%: Premium London bar operator Grand Union has seen an “encouraging performance” for the quarter to the end of June with like-for-like growth of 14%. Food sales improved by 23% driven by a re-launched food menu. Chief executive Adam Marshall said: “This growth continues the positive performance we have seen in the first quarter. We have continued to invest in team training and development, focused on customer service improvement, and enhanced our drinks offering. We are seeking to evolve and improve all aspects of the Grand Union offering, with particular focus on building a brilliant team. We are positive about the trading outlook for the coming months.”

London Beer Factory expanding production with new fermentation vessels, opens bottle shop: The London Beer Factory craft brewery is expanding production with three new 50HL fermentation vessels to enable it to keep up with demand. The company, founded by brothers Sim and Ed Cotton, has taken delivery of the vessels in order to satisfy a growing order schedule. A spokesman said: “It will allow us to continuing meeting the demand for our great beer and will help us to keep on growing as a company.” The company has also added a bottle shop to the site in Hamilton Road, West Norwood, which is open to the public every Saturday afternoon. The brewery also opens its doors every last Friday evening of the month where it serves a selection of its own beers plus all the beers from the bottle shop. At these events it has started using a converted black cab that acts as a mobile bar, which serves its own chilled beer. The cab is being taken all over the country this summer attending festivals and similar events.

Anglian Country Inns reports like-for-likes up 4% in June: Award-winning pub and restaurant operator Anglian Count Inns has reported like-for-like sales rose 4% in June. Managing director James Nye said: “Anglian Country Inns finished up 4% like-for-like in June. The directors are pleased with the figures, which are in line with expectation and have contributed to an overall lift of 10% for the first quarter. The sites with outside spaces performed best. The beginning of June saw (our) newest site, The Cricketers, open after the first stage of renovation including a new wood fired pizza oven and sales have been 25% ahead of forecast for the month, selling over 600 pizzas in the first week.”

Molson Coors acquires Rekorderlig cider rights in UK: Brewer Molson Coors will supply Rekorderlig cider to its customers after acquiring the exclusive rights in the UK from Manchester-based Chilli Marketing Brands. The deal allows Molson Coors to distribute, sell and market the full Rekorderlig portfolio in the on and off-trade across the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. Rekorderlig UK will operate as part of the Molson Coors UK group of businesses and its employees will continue to lead sales and marketing operations for the Rekorderlig portfolio. Managing director for Molson Coors UK & Ireland Frederic Landtmeters said: “Rekorderlig has demonstrated incredible success in the cider category and we will look to invest in Rekorderlig UK and the brand to fuel incremental growth and category development.” Chilli Marketing joint owner and managing director Gareth Whittle added: “The brand has already demonstrated incredible growth, but there is still so much potential that lies ahead. We believe Molson Coors offers the opportunity for the brand to achieve its full potential in this market.” Rekorderlig will continue to be brewed at the cider’s family owned fourth generation brewery in Vimmerby, Sweden, as it has done since being created in 1999. Premium fruit packaged cider accounts for 4% of the beer and cider market. Now worth £2.7bn, the cider market is expected to grow to £3.7bn by 2018 according to trade consultants CGA.

Little Gems Country Pubs sees 5.5% increase in like-for-like sales: Upmarket pub operator Little Gems Country Pubs has reported a 5.5% rise in like-for-like sale for the 11 weeks to end of June. “I am very pleased,” said managing director Steve Wilkins. “We operate in the premium casual end which is still very lively.” Little Gems operates five country pubs in affluent areas catering for the 45+ market and will expand should the right opportunities present themselves. “We aim for the right number of right quality sites and we build our estate to run and not to sell,” said Wilkins.

Operator takes on second Enterprise Inns venue: Operator Martin Roper has taken his second Enterprise Inns venue, this time located in Burton, Staffordshire, following a £205,000 transformation. Roper, who co-founded punk band Anti-Pasti and is a former food journalist, is operating the former tapas bar in the high street renaming it The Crossing. The pub, which was previously called Caliente, has been completely refurbished with a spacious terrace area, extended car park and a new contemporary pub-dining menu. Roper, who has another Enterprise pub in Derby, said: “I saw a lot of potential in this pub on my first visit, and with my 30 years’ culinary experience, I set out to bring something new to cask ale aficionados, and the foodies of Burton. Our menu embraces worldwide culinary trends, and seasonal ingredients. Dishes include our popular British tapas board, and Hommity pie, which takes inspiration from the Second World War. In addition, we’ll be serving artisan gins, international wines, and nine local and regional cask ales.” 

TLC Inns reports like-for-like sales growth of 4%: Award-winning pub and restaurant operator TLC Inns, led by Steve and Jo Haslam, says it has “held up well against last year” despite poor weather in June. Like-for-likes for the quarter to the end of June grew by 4%. It saw its highest ever gross profit for April/May, just shy of £1m. The company runs eight pubs, four of which are large, high-turnover Grand Central venues and plans are afoot to open a fifth in the near future. TLC’s Steve Haslam said: “June was flat due to the weather. We have a lot of outside space and the weather did not work in our favour.” He reported a 40% increase in overall year-on-year sales thanks to new openings.

Bulldog Hotel Group reports 8.9% rise in second quarter: Coaching inn operator Bulldog Hotel Group has reported “strong” quarterly results with a 8.9% rise in like-for-like sales for the three months to the end of June. “We are very happy with trading and we know there is more to come,” said finance director Edward Walsh. “Our core business is definitely continuing to trade better with occupancy and yield up on rooms. Had we had the weather of May and June last year, we are confident the result would have been stronger as our customers continue to flock to our outside areas when weather permits.” Bulldog, led by Kevin Charity and chaired by Ed’s Easy Diner chief executive Andrew Guy, runs eight coaching inns with bedrooms.

Byron Burger opens in Canterbury – two weeks before Gourmet Burger Kitchen arrives: Burger brand Byron opened its new restaurant in Canterbury, Kent, yesterday (Thursday, 2 July) – two weeks before rival Gourmet Burger Kitchen arrives in the city. The company, founded eight years ago by Tom Byng, has opened a site in Burgate, which will have a takeaway service available from Monday (6 July). Byng told the Canterbury Times: “Canterbury is a beautiful, historic city that draws visitors from all around the world. We’re always on the lookout for interesting locations where people will like what we do and we think we’ve found just that in Canterbury.” Gourmet Burger Kitchen is set to open on 13 July in St Peters Street next to Subway.

Glendola Leisure reports 7.6% sales rise in June: Glendola Leisure, operator of the Rainforest Cafe and Waxy O’Connor, has reported a 7.6% like-for-like sales increase in June. Managing director Alex Salussolia said: “Discounting last year’s new concept launches (Gordon Street Coffee, Alston Bar & Beef and Silk & Grain) and soft like-for-likes, we can report a 3.3% increase in the last year to date. Our current growth is being fuelled by a strengthening UK economy and our expert staff, great design and a continued management focus on creating concepts with a true difference.” The company has recently acquired a church in Edinburgh that, subject to planning, will provide four-star accommodation alongside its Bar & Beef restaurant concept. Currently in development is a new brewpub concept that it hopes to launch in 2016.

Grind passes £80% mark in crowdfunding push: Coffee brand Grind, which launched a £1.5 mini-bond on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube last month, has passed the 80%-funded mark. The company has seen 207 investors pledge £622,010 towards its initial £750,000 target with 28 days remaining. Grind, founded four years ago by Australian DJ and musician Kaz James and entrepreneur David Abrahamovitch, is raising the funds to open a sixth site as well as a new roastery and kitchen in east London to service its shops. The company has four sites, which also double up as cocktail bars, in Shoreditch, Holborn, Soho and London Bridge, with a fifth site set to open in Covent Garden later this summer. The pitch states: “Having successfully scaled to four sites, and on track to serve 750,000 coffees in the next 12 months, the next step for the group is to in-source the roasting of our custom blend – offering greater control, improved coffee margins, and allowing us the opportunity to take up the wholesale and retail opportunities that we’ve already been presented with. We have identified some space in east London, about ten minutes from Shoreditch, in which we plan to create a state of the art roastery, a central kitchen and a sixth Grind, all in one.” Grind, which counts Links of London founder John Ayton among its backers, said the four-year bond will pay an annual interest rate of 8% every quarter.

La Tasca blames weather for ‘disappointing’ sales: After a disappointing spring, sales figures for La Tasca, which owns 37 venues across the UK, have seen a sharp rise during recent good weather. Chief executive Simon Wilkinson said: “Spring was, disappointingly, only up a couple of percentage points, driven predominantly by colder weather than last year. June’s sales have improved with the weather as we benefit massively as a brand when it’s hot and sunny so Saturday (27 June) we were plus 12.5% like-for-like and plus 13.3% on Tuesday (30 June). A few weeks of this and we will smash target and recover quarter one’s deficit.”

Gusto opens third ‘grand cafe’ site in Leeds: Gusto opened its first Leeds city centre restaurant yesterday (Thursday, 2 July). The company has invested more than £1m in the 6,700 sq ft restaurant and bar, which is the third to feature Gusto’s new “grand cafe” design and menu following recent openings in Manchester and Glasgow. The 160-cover venue, which is located in Pennine House, Greek Street, occupies the former Henry’s Bar. It is the second Gusto restaurant in Leeds following the opening of its Cookridge venue in 2008. Gusto managing director Sue Crimes said: “Leeds city centre’s restaurant scene is in a period of enormous growth and we felt the time was right to introduce Gusto to the city. The casual dining sector is well catered for in Leeds, so we feel there is definitely room for a high-quality, sophisticated venue – particularly on Greek Street where we expect to see a lot of interest from the business community.” In 2014 Living Ventures sold a majority stake in Gusto to Palatine Private Equity. It plans to add 15 new sites to its portfolio over the next four years, including a move into the London area for the first time.

Deltic Group reports trading figures ‘above budget’: Nightclub operator Deltic Group is feeling positive, reporting trading figures at 5-10% “above budget” for the last three months. Chief executive Peter Marks puts this down to a focus on pre-sales as well as continued investment in its 57 nightclubs. The company has an on-going refurbishment project so that all venues have been refurbished within the past three years. Marks said: “It’s fair to say we are quietly confident for the future. We are more optimistic than any time over the past three years.”

Castle Rock reopens Gedling pub after three month closure caused by fire: Nottingham brewer and pub operator Castle Rock re-opened its Willowbrook pub in Gedling yesterday (Thursday, 2 July) after a three-month closure caused by a fire. The company has completely refurbished the venue following the blaze on 2 April that gutted the inside of the building. Castle Rock thanked firefighters for their efforts by invited representatives of The Fire Fighters Charity and the Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service to attend the reopening. A donation was also made to the charity to help in its work enhancing the quality of life for serving and retired fire service personnel and their families. Castle Rock’s managing director, Colin Wilde, said: “Thanks to the efforts of the firefighters there was very little structural damage. Though the building itself remained intact, that could not be said for the fixtures, fixings and stock. Internally, the pub is completely new from the mirrors to the bar itself.” The Willowbrook became Castle Rock’s 20th pub when it opened on St George’s Day in 2014.

New sandwich bar chain Javazzi launching in Crawley: Javazzi, a new sandwich bar chain, is opening its first branch in Crawley, West Sussex. The company, which sells everything from sandwiches, baguettes, paninis and wraps to soups, pasta salads and pastries, is opening a cafe in the Broadway in a unit that was used by UKIP as a campaign shop for the General Election. The venue is due to open shortly, with a unit in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, following shortly after, reports The Crawley News.

TCG sees record food sales at London site since reopening: Managed pub and bar group TCG has reported a strong second 2015 quarter with the Easter weekend up by 7.5% over 2014. In May, the company reopened the Tattershall Castle on the Embankment in London after a £1.8m refit. Chief operating officer Nigel Wright said: “We’ve seen record food sales on the Tattershall since reopening and last week we hit an overall sales record of £108,000, up by 35% on last year.” Wright said he was expecting his sports-led venues to suffer in comparison with last year’s World Cup but the company’s Summer of Sport campaign had resulted in “some pleasing comparatives”.

Lucky Voice eyes new overseas markets after celebrating 10th birthday: Karaoke operator Lucky Voice is eyeing new overseas markets as it celebrates its first ten years in business. The company, co-founded by Nick Thistleton and Martha Lane Fox, started life as a one private room karaoke venue in Soho in 2005. It has now developed bars across the UK as well as launching its Lucky Voice Solutions brand allowing venue operators to license the technology for its own business use. The company has seen solid growth in this area, revealing a 20% year-on-year increase in the number of karaoke rooms powered by its technology since 2009, and is eyeing further expansion in line with the bar business over the next decade. Head of B2B solutions at Lucky Voice Nick Jones said: “There is undoubtedly great potential for growth with this sort of offering overseas, with areas such as the Middle East and Australasia that are investing heavily in the leisure industries.” He also cites the events sector as a key priority and added: “I can reveal people will be singing with Lucky Voice at the New Look Wireless Festival this year in our Pop-up Karaoke pod. Expect to see us at all types of events, from corporate parties to weddings. We’re also investigating a smaller solution for lower-key private parties, in effect a ‘Pop-up Karaoke Lite’.”

New Intertain venues performing ‘ahead of expectations’: John Leslie, managing director of Intertain, said while the company does not release sales figures he can report that new openings are “performing ahead of expectations”. The company, which owns 26 pubs, 22 of which are Walkabouts, has recently opened venues at Bristol, Newquay and Brighton. Referring to the previous round of openings at Derby, Lincoln and Carlisle, Leslie said: “This is our second year of growth which is not typical in the late night sector. Our brand was in need of investment and those investments are performing well.”

Prezzo first restaurant to sign up to new units at Farnborough shopping centre: Italian brand Prezzo has become the first restaurant to sign up to new units at the £80m redevelopment of the Meads shopping centre in Farnborough, Hampshire. The company has signed a 25-year lease to take a 3,000 sq ft unit adjacent to the Vue Cinema, which opened at the Kingsmead site in May. It hopes to have the restaurant open by the end of November. Centre owner St Modwen said the arrival of Prezzo was already generating interest in other available restaurant units. Development surveyor James Stockdale told Get Hampshire: “The signing of Prezzo is a significant step in the development of The Meads. We are confident that other food operators will now follow Prezzo’s lead and Farnborough will have a strong line-up of restaurants for diners to choose from.”

Cambridge restaurateur takes Enterprise site: Pasquale Benedetto, who operates Don Pasquale in Cambridge, has acquired the leasehold assignment of the Plough pub in Coton, Cambridgeshire, through agent Everard Cole, The tied Enterprise Inns lease was sold for in excess of an asking price of £80,000. Chris Rogers, of Everard Cole, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for an experienced operator to reinvigorate an already well-established food-led business.”

Hi-Spirits agrees partnership to increase UK distribution of Lazzaroni Amaretto brand: UK spirits marketing and distribution specialist Hi-Spirits has agreed a distribution partnership with Paolo Lazzaroni & Figli’s Lazzaroni Amaretto brand. The company has agreed to market and distribute the Italian amaretto liqueur, which has a 24% ABV, in the UK on and off-trade. Lazzaroni Amaretto is the only amaretto made from an infusion of the famous Amaretti del Chiostro di Saronno biscuits, rather than from an essence, to achieve its distinctively rich flavour and aroma. Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Lazzaroni Amaretto is already appreciated by those ‘in the know’ as one of the earliest and most authentic amarettos. We’re delighted that bringing this iconic Italian brand into our portfolio means that it will be even more widely enjoyed. Amaretto is a classic aperitif served chilled over ice or in a wide range of cocktails and mixed drinks and is also an essential ingredient in many Italian desserts. Growing interest in authentic drinks, as well as the increasing number of consumers looking for lower ABV spirits, will both help drive demand.” The liqueur has been made since 1851 in the Italian town of Saronno, where Paolo and Davide Lazzaroni developed it from an old family recipe.

New bar and cafe concept launches in Homerton: A new bar and cafe concept was launched in Homerton, east London, yesterday (Thursday, 2 July). The Convenience, which has been opened by the team behind the cocktail bar Upstairs at the Ten Bells in Spitalfields, is located in Brooksby’s Walk. Part of the public toilets that were disused for more than 20 years have been converted into a cafe and bar with rooftop terrace. The toilets are now available when The Convenience is open. The menu features fermented pork belly with crème fraiche and pickled red peppers, a kid goat ravioli and a parmesan custard with broad beans, peas and watercress.

Red Hot World Buffet in Leicester introduces new seafood grill and menu options after celebrating first birthday: Red Hot World Buffet in Leicester is introducing a new evening seafood grill, live noodle station and further options to its menu after celebrating its first birthday. Group executive chef Paul Miller said: “We’re always keen to add more variety to our all you choose menu. The new dishes include shrimp noodles, salt and pepper mushrooms, Chinese dumplings and gyozas, kadhai panner, and murgh malai tikka. We like to offer guests live cooking experiences and the seafood grill and noodle station are both sure to be popular. We can’t wait for guests to start sampling the new dishes and hearing what people think.” The 400-seater venue, part of the Highcross Shopping Centre, has served over 250,000 people in its first year.

Sports Bar and Grill sees sales increase of 6%: Sports Bar and Grill’s fonder David Evans has reported a “very good” sales increase of 6% for the first half of the year to the end of June. “We put this down to a growing brand, a unique offering, being better than our competitors and having a niche in the market,” he said. The company, which owns five sports-focused Sports Bars & Grills as well as two individual sites, is expanding its estate at a “comfortable” pace.

Tom Aikens set to open new flagship restaurant in London: Chef-entrepreneur Tom Aikens is set to open a new flagship restaurant in London next year serving “British tapas”. Aikens, who closed his previous Michelin-starred Restaurant Tom Aikens in Chelsea in January 2014, has not confirmed the location with  several sites on the cards in different corners of London”. He told The Evening Standard: “The restaurant will probably be called The Botanicals and open in spring 2016. It will have a central bar area that splits the space in two, with one side being very relaxed and the other more formal. We will serve ‘British tapas’ in the relaxed area while the more formal side will allow us to be really creative with the cooking. Cocktails will be a large part of the offering and will have a botanical theme, mixologists will make syrups and tonics from scratch.” Aikens became the youngest chef to gain two Michelin stars aged just 26 during his time as head chef at Fitzrovia’s Pied à Terre. However, in 2008 Restaurant Tom Aikens was put into administration and then acquired by a management buy-out. Aikens runs branches of his casual restaurant and deli concept Tom’s Kitchen in Canary Wharf, Chelsea, Somerset House and St Katharine Docks, and also has a site in Istanbul with openings planned in Hong Kong and Dubai.

Food units planned as part of hotel development in Middlesbrough: Two food units for restaurants, bars or cafes are to be built under a new 138-bedroom Holiday Inn Express in Middlesbrough. The units, which are 1,901 sq ft and 1,341 sq ft, are planned for the site in Albert Road with three more possible on the adjacent Permanent House site. The developer told Gazette Live it has already had enquiries and is looking for both local and national restaurant brands to move in and help build a cafe culture area, complete with outside seating. Richard Wilson, of Teesside independent commercial property consultants Dodds Brown, said: “We are looking to attract quality operators to complement the new hotel and the Town Hall redevelopment. There is the vision to create a quality restaurant quarter for Middlesbrough along this section of Albert Road which will also complement the nearby Baker Street and Bedford Street projects.”

Dartmouth Brewery appoints former Guinness industry sales and marketing specialist as managing director: Dartmoor Brewery has appointed international drinks industry expert Tim Hobbs as managing director to spearhead further growth. The company, based in Princetown in Devon, will be headed up by Hobbs, who has held senior board positions at global drinks firms with responsibility across Europe for brands including Guinness and Johnnie Walker. Hobbs, who joins from cider company Sandford Orchards where he spent three years in a consultancy role, will lend his sales and marketing expertise to build Dartmoor Brewery’s sales. He told the Western Morning News: “Working with the team we’ll deliver a strategy to grow Dartmoor Brewery’s penetration in the south west before we look to develop other markets such as London. At the core of this strategy is fostering a strong relationship with licensees and ensuring our beers are readily available to them.” Dartmoor Brewery chairman, Philip Davies said: “We consider it a real coup that Tim has joined us. His CV reads like a who’s who of the drinks industry, he has exceptional sales skills, in-depth business analysis expertise and extensive knowledge of the national and global drinks industry. He is perfectly placed to grow our business.” Dartmoor Brewery produces more than three million pints per year of real ale from its brewery in the heart of the Dartmoor National Park.

Ever So Sensible Group ‘disappointed’ with 3% sales rise: Ever So Sensible Group’s sales increase of 3% is “disappointing”, managing director Chris Bulaitis has stated. The 3% growth for the 12 weeks to the end of May is lower than expectations, claims Bulaitis. He said: “Individually, sites are in double-figure growth but we do have a couple falling behind. We have three or four sites in incredibly high growth numbers and I believe every one of our businesses can get there if they learn from those.” Ever So Sensible, which operates ten sites, has its first small hotel in the pipeline.

Propel hosts Professor Chris Muller for Multi-site Management Masterclass: Propel Info is hosting the US’ leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management, Professor Chris Muller, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass on Friday 2 October. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. His interactive seminar will include contributions from Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie and Sticks ‘n’ Sushi UK managing director Andreas Karlsson. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. Tickets are £345 plus VAT and £295 plus VAT for ALMR members. To download or view the leaflet as a PDF file please CLICK HERE. To book tickets please contact: Tony Hughes, non-executive director at The Restaurant Group, said: “Chris is THE world authority on the restaurant industry, the go-to man if you want expertise and knowledge and this is a rare opportunity to see a true master giving a Masterclass presentation.”

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