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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 14th Jul 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Punch Taverns set to launch new coffee-led concept Brewed and Baked: Punch Taverns is set to launch a new bakery cafe concept called Brewed and Baked. The company, which operates more than 4,000 pubs across the United Kingdom, is to open its first venue in East Lothian in Scotland. It described the planned refurbishment of The Burgh pub in Musselburgh, as a “complete transformation”, which would be the first in a new business concept for the company. Divisional director David Wigham told Propel: “We think this is a site that’s passed its best as a pub and lends itself to taking advantage of emerging market dynamics around coffee – it will be a licensed coffee shop. Starbucks and others are starting to sell alcohol – this will be Costa meets Greggs meets a pub. This pub has a high street location and we’ve taken our cues from what we’ve seen emerging in the market.” Punch already has a “reasonable amount” of coffee experience in the company with one area manager who previously worked for Caffe Nero, Wigham said. He added that there is likely to be one draft beer tap and the site is set to open at the end of the summer. Punch has successfully applied to East Lothian Council for a licence to run the new premises as a food and coffee-led business, but still with alcohol available there. Steve McGowan, representing Punch Taverns, told the licensing board: “The proposed premises will be the first if its kind for Punch across the whole of the UK. It will be a franchise and because it is a first will be closely monitored not just by the area manager but directors of the company.” McGowan said Punch planned a £125,000 investment into creating the new franchise, which features the cafe-bistro decked out in an orange and black design. He added: “This is not just a lick of paint, it is a complete transformation aiming for a new clientele. It is aimed at the coffee crowd, if you like.” The site will be run by an individual licensee in line with Punch’s traditional business model.

Industry News:

Sky News – Cote set to sell to BC Partners for £250m: French bistro chain Cote is set to be sold to BC Partners in a £250m deal this week, Sky News has reported. BC Partners is in advanced and exclusive talks to buy the business less than two years after it was acquired by fellow private equity company CBPE Capital. Cote trades from 65 sites in the UK. The company is expected to generate turnover of circa £110m and pre-tax profits of more than £20m in the year to the end of July. Sky reports that BC Partners believes that there is scope to triple the number of Cote outlets in the UK. 

Leicester restaurateur warns about impending skills shortage: A Leicester restaurateur has warned the quality of the UK’s curry houses will decline once new immigration laws come into force next year. Dharmesh Lakhani, owner of Bobby’s restaurant in Leicester, has traded his vegetarian restaurant in Leicester since 1976. But from next April, the government plans to bring in a policy that requires immigrants from outside the European Union, who have spent more than five-years working in the country, to earn £35,000-per-year or else face deportation. The salary level is unrealistic, said Lakhani. He added: “For me, as a restaurateur, the changes will affect the quality of Indian food across the UK. There might be some larger London-based businesses that can afford to pay £35,000 for a head chef, but not your traditional high street restaurant. Across the country, standards will go down if that becomes the case.”

SIBA throws weight behind campaign for EU action on collective boycott schemes: The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA), which represents over 820 British brewers, has thrown its weight behind the campaign calling for the European Commission to force the UK Competition and Markets Authority to act against collective boycott schemes run by local licensing authorities in the UK, which prevent the sale of higher-strength beers and ciders. It is estimated that about 95 authorities covering up to 18,000 licensed premises are running schemes of one kind or another. SIBA has written to the European Commission and encouraged its members to submit examples in support of its submission. SIBA is concerned that retailers who agree to participate in the schemes run a serious risk of infringing competition law by engaging in a coordinated boycott. While the schemes are typically aimed at low-price high-strength beers and ciders and not “craft” or “artisan” beers, SIBA is seriously concerned that this is not the case in reality and that consumers risk losing access to thousands of high quality crafted beers.

McDonald’s restaurant in Edinburgh hires bouncer: A McDonald’s restaurant in Edinburgh has been forced to hire a bouncer to ID youngsters on the door. The company made the move after staff and customers were regularly “harassed” and sworn at by groups of up to 40 youths. McDonald’s insisted it was a “very unusual” measure brought in as a “last resort” following a number of incidents at the restaurant in Corstorphine. Police have had to be called out to deal with the troublemakers and a bouncer has now been installed at the restaurant’s doors from 7pm every evening. Youngsters are asked for ID on the door and under 16s barred from entering unless supervised by an adult. A McDonald’s spokesman said the move was made after talks with police and “lengthy engagement” with the local community.

Major food festival to launch in Edinburgh: A new food and drink festival featuring Fringe performers is to be launched to fill a gap in Edinburgh’s summer calendar of events. George Square Garden will be playing host to the inaugural Edinburgh Food Festival, which is being staged as part of a year-long celebration of Scotland’s natural larder. One of the city’s leading Fringe promoters has unveiled plans for a five-day event promoting “gourmet street food” and the best of Scotland’s natural produce. The food event will be staged during a nine-day break between jazz festival concerts and Fringe shows in George Square. The Edinburgh Food Festival will feature stalls from at least 15 different producers around the garden, over and above the plethora of food stalls that are already brought in for the festival season. The new festival, which will run from 29 July-2 August, will also feature talks and debates on everything from the benefits of organic food and the enriching powers of seaweed to the importance of sustainability to the industry. A line-up of chefs, breadmakers, apple-growers and slow food experts will be joined by new cabaret show Le Haggis.

Beds and Bars boss seeks teams for industry sailing event: Keith Knowles, chief executive of the pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars, is seeking teams to take part in next year’s 26th Interbrewery Regatta. Knowles has to organise the 2016 event, which takes place from 20-22 May on the Solent, having won this year’s regatta. He is aiming to have about 20 crews split between brewers, pub groups, suppliers, and the causal dinning sector and is asking each crew to raise an optional £1,000 for charity. The crews can be novices, as skippers can be provided by Sun Sail which facilitates the event. For more information contact Sunsail account manager Terry Hunt on 02392 222221.

Company News:

Filmore & Union reaches £500,000 crowdfunding target: Healthy eating brand Filmore & Union, which launched a crowdfunding drive on Crowdcube to raise £500,000 last month, has reached its target. The company has seen 125 investors pledge £525,820 in return for 13.33% of its equity and it is now “overfunding” with three days left. Filmore & Union, which was founded in 2011 by Adele Carnell a former wellness clinic owner and Will Pugh, a Michelin-trained executive chef, is now operating at seven locations serving pure, natural and wholesome food both to eat in and take out – and wants to add more sites. The pitch states: “Within our five year forecast we anticipate to have 30 sites with a group turnover of £20m and would target an exit multiple in excess of 2x brand revenue. The Filmore & Union concept is built upon the ever-growing health conscious consumer. Currently located across the north of England, Filmore & Union provides pure, natural and wholesome food. Here at Filmore & Union we believe in using whole foods that are packed with nutritional value, as opposed to sugar-laden, processed products. During a visit to San Francisco in 2010, Carnell visited a number of inspiring restaurants, cafes and delis particularly on Union Street and Fillmore Street, which is where the vision for Filmore & Union began. After many months of research and product development the first Filmore & Union restaurant opened in March 2012 in York city centre. All food products are made in house using locally sourced, natural ingredients. This, along with buying in centrally enables Filmore to have complete control over product purchasing and costs.” In 2014 Carnell invested £807,000 into the company for a new central production unit, warehouse and head office to bring total shareholders’ investment to £907,000 – the company also has a bank loan of £130,000.

Ladhar Leisure invests £500,000 into expansion of gin and craft beer bar, plans 30,000 sq ft food and drink destination: North east-based Ladhar Leisure is investing £500,000 into creating a new bar and an underground cocktail club at its Pleased To Meet You gin and draft bar, which opened in Newcastle’s High Bridge two years ago. The company is extending the venue into two adjoining shop units, doubling the dining space currently on offer while also creating 15 new jobs. The extension will create additional seating to the existing venue, creating a dedicated dining area with an additional bar, a luxury events space, private dining facilities and the creation of an experimental cocktail club discreetly hidden in the basement. Meanwhile, renowned local chef David Kennedy has also recently joined Ladhar. The multi-award winning chef behind The River Cafe in North Shields and who has also masterminded menus at the Biscuit Factory and The Vallum in Northumberland is working on food concepts for the leisure group, much of which will feature on the ground floor of the White Hart Yard scheme. Ladhar is embarking on a project that has been 15 years in the making, to turn 30,000 sq ft of the grade I-listed White Hart property between Grey Street and the Cloth Market into a food and drink destination inspired by pop-up developments in London.

Tim Martin – George Osborne’s Living Wage is a bolt from the blue: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has claimed George Osborne’s decision to set a new national living wage could drive more pubs from the British high street. “It was a bolt from the blue,” Tim Martin told “There was quite a lot of vanity in that Budget. I think old George may be turning into a bit of a gunslinger. He is walking into town all guns blazing and all the residents are hiding behind the shop fronts. It was quite egotistical for him to personally intervene and override the Low Pay Commission.” JD Wetherspoon spends 23% of its revenues on wages. “My initial impression is it will mean a movement of pubs to the retail parks and shopping centres and increase the pressure on the high street in many places,” he said. The new wage proposals will widen the gap between eating and drinking out and at home and “transfer more pressure on to pubs”, he added.

Kymel reports profit in first year after buying Vimac Group’s key assets out of administration: Kymel Trading, which operates a luxury boutique hotel, a premium restaurant and a famous fish and chip shop, has posted a profit in its first results since emerging from the administration of the Vimac Group. The company, owned by former Vimac boss Paul Mackings, operates the grade II-listed Crab Manor Hotel and Crab & Lobster restaurant in Asenby and Trenchers, a restaurant and takeaway in Whitby. In the period from 4 October 2013 to 27 December 2014, Kymel made a pre-tax profit of £699,443 on sales of £4.7m. The results are the first since Mackings paid £4.5m to buy the assets back from the administrators of his Vimac Group as part of a rescue deal after the business had become been weighed down by a £15m debt built up when it was a larger concern. In the accounts, Mackings said he was confident the group’s quality offering allied to the financial strength of the business would lend the business an edge over rivals in the competitive restaurant and short break accommodation sectors. Since the year-end, the group has been granted planning permission to extend the Crab Manor Hotel with the erection of a two-storey annex, incorporating three additional rooms. Open since 1991, the Crab & Lobster offers a variety of dishes, from fresh local seafood to traditional English fare while Trenchers is a well-known fish and chip restaurant situated in the centre of Whitby.

Coffee Republic aims to double UK estate by the end of the year: Coffee Republic is set to double the size of its UK estate by the end of this year. Head of franchising Richard Shakespeare told Propel that the company is experiencing the most successful period of growth since new owners took over in 2009. Coffee Republic currently operates four managed sites and 25 franchised sites, with new openings coming at London’s Golders Green Road, Friars Square Shopping Centre in Aylesbury, Romford and Manchester. On the international front, new master franchise partners have signed recently for the Kingdom of Bahrain, with two new Coffee Republics opening this year. A new deal was also signed last week with the same Spanish partners whom operate the franchise airside at Lanzarote and Barcelona T1, this time for Fuerteventura Airport, opening in a few weeks, to compliment the company’s existing presence in Pakistan, Lithuania, Romania, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait.

Homeslice secures third site, this time in Shoreditch: Street food pop-up turned permanent pizzeria Homeslice is set to expand with a third site on Old Street, Shoreditch, due to open late 2015. Located beside Shoreditch Town Hall, Homeslice will be taking over the site formerly occupied by the Food Hall. “With the opening of our second site at 52 Wells Street imminent, securing our first east London site on Old Street marks the next step in our expansion plans,” said co-owners Mark Wogan and Ry Jessup. “Whilst we are currently focusing on launching our Wells Street site, we look forward to bringing Shoreditch a slice of the Homeslice experience later in 2015.”

National Trust beer club brewer Delavals appoints liquidator: A north east brewer that had been backed by a six-figure investment from the Finance for Business North East Growth Fund has ceased trading and a liquidator has been appointed. Northumberland-based Delavals Brewers operated the National Trust Beer Club, a membership organisation through which beers from smaller regional brewers across the UK are sold. More than 200 beers produced by more than 60 brewers from around the UK were available through the club. The key issue behind the collapse was that its beer club did not attract enough members. “The transaction rate was simply too low,” said the company in a statement. “Reasons for this include insufficient marketing support and marketing campaigns and a lack of dedicated sales staff (under resourced). Sales of standalone bottles of beer were also insufficient; pricing was extremely competitive and the market was becoming saturated with providers of beer.” Delavals also admitted that, on reflection, it should have raised a “higher amount” of capital at the outset. The brewer said there was an “offer on the table” in early May that the directors supported in the interests of keeping the company going. “Although heads of terms were signed in early May, the acquirer ultimately reneged on the deal,” it added. “No further buyers could be found in time.” Delavals also said it had “possibly tried to do too many things”. The brewer also launched a crowdfunding campaign via Investing Zone in a bid to raise £400,000 which would have been primarily used to support a wide-ranging marketing campaign aimed at increasing beer club membership and maximising sales.

Adam Bowers joins Busaba Eathai as marketing director: Adam Bowers has joined Thai brand Busaba Eathai as marketing director after a two-year stint at Greene King where he was marketing controller for its Value Pubs and Restaurants division, which includes Hungry Horse and Farmhouse Inns brands. Prior to joining Greene King, Bowers worked as head of marketing and then director of marketing and digital at Orchid Group.

Wahaca set to expand into north west of England after lining up Liverpool site: Mexican restaurant chain Wahaca is set to expand into the north west of England after lining up a site in Liverpool city centre. The brand, founded by former Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers, is looking to open on the former site of Stockton’s furniture store in Hanover Street, reports The Liverpool Echo. Wahaca’s parent company Oaxaca has submitted a premises licence application to open a restaurant at unit one of Stockton’s to Liverpool City Council. The building was previously occupied by furniture store The Home Quarter where Stockton’s had a concession. However, in 2012 The Home Quarter went into administration and the site was later taken over by Stockton’s. Wahaca, which has 17 sites, is set to open its second restaurant outside London and the south east in Bristol at the end of the month.

Starbucks, Taco Bell and Potbelly among dozen US companies to form coalition to create 100,000 job opportunities in US: Starbucks, Potbelly and Taco Bell are among more than a dozen leading US-based companies that have come together to create the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, which has the goal of being the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for America’s young people. The coalition has the collective goal of engaging at least 100,000 Opportunity Youth – 16-24 year olds who face systemic barriers to jobs and education – by 2018 through apprenticeships, internships, training programmes, and both part-time and full-time jobs. Additionally, the coalition will leverage existing collaborative efforts on the ground in a handful of cities to partner in building these pathways.

Bill’s secures site at Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester: Bill’s has secured a site within the New Orleans dining quarter at Intu Trafford Centre in Manchester. A spokesperson from Bill’s Restaurant said: “As well as its retail, Intu Trafford Centre is well known for its dining and leisure attractions. It has one of the highest footfalls of any shopping centre outside London, making it the obvious choice for a new Bill’s Restaurant.” Bill’s Restaurant, which is taking 2,600 sq ft of space on a 20-year lease, will be close to the new Coast to Coast and Wagamama restaurants with all three opening in the autumn. In recent months, nearby Café Rouge, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Zizzi have also had major refits. Julian Wilkinson, regional director of Intu, said: “Customers today want great dining and leisure attractions as well as top retail brands like Selfridges, Hamleys and Hollister. That’s why Bill’s Restaurant will be such a great addition to the centre. We have an impressive 31 million footfall with each customer looking for compelling experiences that means they will visit more often and stay for longer.” Cushman & Wakefield acted for Intu.

Itihaas expands into Manchester in extension of partnership with Selfridges: Indian restaurant group Itihaas has opened a new outlet in Manchester, extending its existing partnership with Selfridges to a new city. Shoppers at Manchester’s Intu Trafford Centre can now take the restaurant’s signature high-end Indian cuisine home, with a menu of chef-prepared meals for visitors to “grab and go”. Itihaas has been serving diners for a decade in Birmingham, first from its Fleet Street restaurant, later joined by a brasserie in Selfridges at the Bullring. Owner and founder Raj Rana said: “This is a very exciting move for the business. The time was right to grow and take our offering to another city. Our menu is not simply the usual list of standard curries – we give customers a real chance to explore. Birmingham has nurtured us and shown there is a market for real Indian flavours and authentic food from right across the Indian subcontinent.”

Cocktail festival featuring 25 bars being held in London this weekend: A cocktail festival featuring drinks from 25 bars in London is being held this weekend. Cocktails in the City will take place in Bedford Square from 17-18 July and among the bars appearing in pop-up form at the event are Living Ventures concept The Alchemist and its partner brand Gentleman Jack and Rum Kitchen with Wray & Nephew. Guests will have the opportunity to sample an array of cocktails, many with unusual and rare ingredients, as well as take part in interactive masterclasses where bartenders showcase new summer serves. Street-food pop-ups will also feature at the festival, which described as an “immerse and interactive experience”, has been curated by events company B&H Group.

Isle of Wight nightclub under threat: Fears have been raised about the future of Isle of Wight nightclub The Balcony in Ryde. Last week, the venue announced through Facebook how falling attendances meant the club was no longer sustainable. The club moved to one night-a-week some time ago but has still struggled to attract people. Stewart M, the club’s resident DJ, wrote the club had been “the place to be” in the 1990s but had suffered from poor management by previous owners. “It is my opinion if the venue was making decent revenue we could refurbish it to match and, even better, certain clubs partygoers love going to on the mainland,” he said. “By allowing once-loved venues to decline, we are showing it is not profitable for nightclubs on the Isle of Wight.” The club on Ryde Esplanade is part of the Ryde Superbowl complex.

JD Wetherspoon to open four pubs on same day in July: JD Wetherspoon is opening four pubs on the same day in July. The company will open The Old Borough in Swords (Republic of Ireland), The Jolie Brise in Teignmouth, The Golden Hope in Sittingbourne and The Queen’s Head in Tavistock on Tuesday 21 July. One of the pubs, The Queen’s Head in Tavistock will also feature a 12-bedroom hotel. In total Wetherspoon’s is opening six pubs in July with a combined investment of £12m and the creation of 350 jobs. Wetherspoon’s has opened The North Western at Liverpool Station (7 July). It will be opening The Steel Foundry in Sheffield today (Tuesday, 14 July).

Enterprise unveils increased support for publicans during Cask Ale Week: Enterprise Inns has unveiled increased support for more than 1,000 pubs during Cask Ale Week 2015, from Thursday 24 September to Sunday 4 October. The UK’s largest leased and tenanted pub company is helping publicans drive cask ale sales and footfall, and encourage trial, by providing all they need to host a beer festival during the 11-day celebration of Britain’s favourite tipple. Enterprise is also urging publicans to host a range of special events, including meet the brewer evenings and beer-themed quiz nights. With the help of point-of sale materials, including banners, bunting and digital assets, publicans are being helped to attract new customers, while encouraging existing customers to trial new beer varieties, by offering guest ales and try-before-you-buy promotions. Enterprise sales and marketing director James Armitage said: “Increasingly, we’re seeing our publicans offer a variety of real ales in their pubs, and Cask Ale Week provides the perfect opportunity to make this known to customers. Given that pubs which participated last year performed 1.8% better in cask ale sales than those that did not, this is most certainly an opportunity to grab with both hands.” By working with the Society of Independent Brewers, Enterprise gives publicans continual access to hundreds of products from regional and micro-breweries, which help to drive customer interest and add relevance and provenance to a pub’s ale offering. 

Wharf House Group to open second site: Wharf House Group, which donates profits to the Herefordshire and Gloucestershire Canal Trust for reinvestment into the canal, is to open a second site. Malswick House will open in the Forest of Dean this summer, situated on the B4215 in Malswick, near Newent, and replace the former Travellers Rest. The new site is a sister venue to the Wharf House restaurant and accommodation in Gloucester.

Consultation starts on £400m Royal Pier scheme in Southampton: Consultation has started on plans for a £400m redevelopment of Southampton’s Royal Pier that includes a casino, five-star hotel, bars, restaurants and shops. Royal Pier Waterfront (RPW) wants to transform the site with about 730 apartments, 47,000 square metres of office space and between 40 and 50 shops, restaurants, cafes and bars running along the waterfront. A gourmet “Epicurean market” offering top range produce would take its place next to a 250-bedroom hotel and spa and a large casino. Mayflower Park would also be improved and expanded by 50,500 sq metres through the reclamation of land from the sea and would become the new home for the PSP Southampton Boat Show. RPW has already reached agreements with the site’s three landowners – the city council, Associated British Ports and the Crown Estate. City council leader Simon Letts told The Daily Echo: “The Royal Pier site is the crown jewel of Southampton’s development future, it’s a major scheme for the whole of the south coast. It will bring in approaching half a billion pounds in private investment when it is completed and it will completely change the city’s relationship with the waterfront.”

Pub landlord opens own brewery: Pub landlord Dean Baker, who runs The Jolly Brewer in Stamford, Lincolnshire, with his partner Jill, has opened his own brewery. He had hoped to build an extension to the pub in Foundry Road and brew on site, but decided to look elsewhere after discussions with the pub’s owner broke down. The couple found a site at Ketton Industrial Estate in November last year, and have now launched Baker’s Dozen Brewing Co. The firm launched its first real ale, Electric Landlady, last month. Dean Baker said: “It’s been fantastic. The beer has been flying out of the pub. There are styles of beer that we like, and that’s what we are brewing at the moment. Luckily the customers we have gained share the same taste in beer. Having a go at brewing seemed like a natural progression for us after a lifetime in the pub industry for me and our joint passion for great beer.”

Meantime partners SALSA to pioneer craft quality assurance scheme: Meantime Brewing Company has been handpicked by SALSA, the UK’s leading food safety certification scheme, as the first craft brewer in the UK to pilot the newly launched SALSA Beer Module. The new module, which launched on 30 June, known as SALSA plus Beer, has been devised in conjunction with Cask Marque experts and has been incorporated into the existing SALSA standard. This further facilitates the delivery of a robust safety and quality audit for craft brewers and bottlers throughout the UK. The decision to work with Meantime as the pilot craft brewer for the scheme was based on their position as the UK category leader – offering SALSA a unique perspective on the current and future standards within the industry with regard to craft. Ciaran Giblin, innovation and quality systems manager at Meantime, said: “As the category leader in the UK, we feel a very real responsibility to emphasise the importance of quality and consistency and urge other brewers to do so too. The time is right for the launch of SALSA plus Beer and we’re delighted to play a key role in helping further develop industry standards.”

Gin distillery Crossbill wins Shed of the Year title: A converted chicken shed in Aviemore in Scotland that houses gin distillery Crossbill has been crowned this year’s Channel 4’s shed of the year. The building in the Inshriach forests in the Cairngorms, which is home to the company founded by Jonathan Engels, beat off competition from 2,520 other sheds to land the title. The £500 renovation boasts a bar made from an upcycled part of an old chapel, a drinking parlour furnished with vintage armchairs, a shop and the gin distillery. Engels left his job as an architect to follow his dream of finding enough Scottish juniper berries to produce Crossbill gin. It was through a chance meeting that he discovered the forests, one of the few places in the UK with an abundance of native wild juniper. He went on to work with estate manager Walter Micklethwait to convert the chicken shed and begin production of Crossbill, which takes its name from the Scottish Crossbill, a bird native to the Highlands. Crossbill is the first Scottish gin to be produced from 100% locally sourced juniper and rosehip.

truRating set for major expansion, aims to overtake rivals by start of next year: truRating, the company that collects real-time customer insight at the point of sale to help businesses know where to improve, is set for major expansion and aims to overtake its rivals by the start of 2016. The company launched in February and piloted the scheme with its first payment partners Ingenico and Global Payments – which help deliver the feedback questions to the terminal. The system is now live in over 130 outlets and has generated over 350,000 ratings with 88% of customers asked a question providing a rating. It works by asking the customer a single question that appears on the payment terminal asking them to rate their experience from 0-9. Businesses can then the view the ratings through an online dashboard to them help them understand the key areas they need to improve. Co-founder Christian Nelson said the company is going live in the coming months with a further group of major UK payment partners. He added: “With a number of high street names ready and waiting to go live, we will soon be collecting millions of ratings every week – and will provide a real step change in the insight these businesses have into their customer’s experience and behaviours. Working alongside the world’s biggest payment businesses means that we know we are the first in the world to deliver this kind of mass point of payment feedback solution.” The company is also expanding internationally and goes live in Australia this month and has plans in place to launch in Canada and the USA later this year. Nelson added: “All this means that by early next year we believe we will capture more than 270 million ratings – about the same as TripAdvisor and Yelp! have in their lifetimes by the start of 2015. Working with businesses ranging from cafes and pubs to the world’s biggest hospitality brands means we think we can collect 1 billion ‘truRatings’ around the world by the summer of 2016.”

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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