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Tue 21st Jul 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Technomic research reveals six key trends in US in first half of 2015: Research by insights firm Technomic has revealed six key trends in the US in the first half of 2015. The fast casual segment is continuing to outpace the rest of the sector growing at 11%, compared to 4% among quick-service restaurants (QSRs) and 5.6% in casual dining. Within the fast casual segment, concepts built around customisation are growing twice as fast as those that are not. QSR’s that have developed clearly defined niches like Chick-fil-A and Culver’s are building “cult-like status”. Consumers are also demanding to know the story behind ingredient sourcing and processing with operators responding by being more transparent with menus. Online ordering, mobile apps and table tablets are appealing to millennials’ high-tech and high-speed preferences and supplementing service while food blogs and media means everyone is becoming a culinary expert. “Midscale dining is doing better but must keep reinventing and innovating to continue this path,” said Technomic senior vice-president Joe Pawlak. “Fine dining has bounced back. Meanwhile, limited-service restaurants, especially fast-casual concepts, continue to bite into the casual-dining market, although there is market improvement in this sector.” The research was compiled through interviews with operators, chefs and consumers combined with data from Technomic’s Digital Resource Library, MenuMonitor database and Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report.

Industry News:

Restaurants lead the way in Meadowhall shopping centre sales surge: Meadowhall Shopping Centre in Sheffield has recorded a 5.7% year-on-year sales increase so far in 2015, with a 10% uplift in June marking the 15th consecutive month of sales growth for the centre. This signals the centre’s strongest performance over the past five years and outstrips the national sales statistics released by the British Retail Consortium last week that showed a much smaller uplift of 1.8% for June. Restaurants throughout the centre registered a 14% sales increase in June, helped by the opening of the new supersize Nando’s and recently refurbished Wagamama among other popular brands hosted in the centre.

UK set to follow US and Japan by dispensing fresh food from vending machines: The UK is set to follow the US and Japan by dispensing fresh food from vending machines, according to a food expert. Morgaine Gaye, whose job as a food futurologist entails looking at how eating trends develop, said with more people eating on the go, it will increase demand for vending machines and change what we want to be able to buy from them. In countries such as Japan and the US, buying freshly made hot and cold food from vending machines is already part of everyday life – and Dr Gaye, who lectures at Nottingham University, insisted the UK would soon follow suit. She told the Daily Mail: “We are going to start seeing hot-snack vending being much more available. There are some brilliant ideas around the world. Vending is really going to come into the UK in a big way.” The company Healthy Vending, which has 2,000 devices around the US, offers nutritious snacks such as fruit and granola bars and hot meals including curry and lasagne. Meanwhile in the UK, farmer Pete Grewar has already set up a vegetable vending machine at a shopping centre in Dundee, selling bags of potatoes for £3 and trays of groceries for £5. Dr Gaye said although vending machines “rarely offer something wonderful at the moment, a whole world of new possibilities is about to open up”.

London family-run cafe tops TripAdvisor: A family-run café has beaten London’s top Michelin-starred restaurants including Gordon Ramsay and Le Gavroche to be rated the capital’s top food destination on TripAdvisor. The New London Café – whose most expensive dish costs just £8.50 – ranked higher than restaurants at the most expensive hotels including The Ritz, The Dorchester, The Savoy and Claridge’s. The Highbury diner was converted from a dry cleaners into a vintage coffee shop by owner Ilker Bafra, 37, and his fiancé Ines Gutierrez, 33, four years ago. As business started to grow they built a kitchen in 2013 and created a menu serving a “bit of everything”, from organic porridge to homemade burgers. Their menu sticks to traditional English food but is inspired by Mediterranean flavours. It has been in the top ten of London restaurants on the review website for the past three months, twice hitting the coveted number one spot.

BII hires Elliotts as fully integrated and design agency: The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has hired Elliotts as its fully integrated communications and design agency. BII is the UK’s leading professional body representing individuals who work across the licensed hospitality industry. The BII is a registered charity and offers advice on legal, licensing, financial and general business issues, as well as providing countless other benefits to its members. The announcement of Elliotts’ appointment follows the successful execution of the I’m INN campaign, designed to drive new membership uptake at the annual BII Summer Lunch held in June of this year. James Hacon, director strategy and development at Elliotts, will head up the account. Tim Hulme, BII chief executive, said: “Our primary aim over the next two years is to retain existing and attract new members to the BII by making licensees aware of the benefits of being a member. We are confident, following the success of the I’m INN campaign, that Ann, James and the team at Elliotts will help us grow membership and alter perceptions of what the BII can do for each individual licensee through their wealth of experience.” Ann Elliott, Elliotts chief executive, said: “We are incredibly proud to have been appointed to work for the BII. We firmly believe in what the BII stands for and has to offer its members, and are passionate about increasing membership through awareness of their benefits.”

Nominations sought for ALMR Late Night Awards: Nominations have opened for the 2015 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ (ALMR) Late Night Awards with the winners announced at this year’s Dusk ‘til Dawn awards event on Tuesday, 27 October. The Late Night Awards will follow the ALMR’s inaugural Bar and Nightclub Conference for the late night sector and night time industries, which is being held in partnership with Propel. Nominations can be made via the ALMR website at in the following categories: late night food, late night drink, late night entertainment, service and team development, marketing and promotions and late night venue. Initial nominations need to be submitted by Friday, 14 August and up to three nominations can be made in each category. Nominations should be for the company, rather than individual outlet, with the exception of the best late night venue category. A panel of judges will then decide a shortlist for each category, which are then published for open voting. Participants can vote in all categories across multiple nominees, but may not repeat vote. The top three in each category are then announced in advance of the ceremony where the winners will be crowned. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Now in its third year, the ALMR’s Dusk ‘til Dawn ceremony is the only event committed to recognising the businesses that drive the country’s vibrant night time economy and spearhead our live and electronic music scenes. The awards process is open and highly inclusive as it is nominated, voted and judged by industry peers. This is a chance to indentify and celebrate the UK’s most innovative nightclubs and bars, businesses at the cutting edge of late night entertainment. The UK’s late night entertainment sector is one of the best in the world, setting global trends and inspiring and nurturing world-class artistic talent. The ALMR is very excited to once again recognise the highest standards amongst clubs, bars, and festival and event organisers and to continue to promote this vital part of our economy.” Tickets are also on sale for the event through Jo Charity by emailing and more information can be found on the ALMR website.

Company News:

House Collection boutique hotels placed in administration: Two boutique hotels in Cambridgeshire – Poets House in Ely and Paddocks House in Six Mile Bottom near Newmarket – owned by House Collection have been placed into administration. In a statement, House Collection said: “On 9 July, Eastern Counties Finance (ECF), the lenders of House Collection, Poets House and Paddocks House, placed House Collection into administration. House Collection had been working with ECF to arrange a re-finance of the properties following on from recent litigation losses made upon the business from contractor issues with the build of the properties. House Collection has worked continually to reduce debt and bring the business model back in line. After being assured of a re-finance deal with ECF, House Collection volunteered its business plans and model showing budgeted profits from May 2015. In June 2015, ECF offered monies for re-finance and in return asked for full control of the business leaving the current owners/majority shareholders with a minority share and employees of ECF. This was refused and since this time the House Collection has sought and secured funds to re-finance the asset and business debt. This offer was made to ECF but was quickly rejected without comment. Immediately BDO were appointed as administrators and have since taken over the day to day running of the hotels. Both directors are working with legal teams to recover their business and carry on the goodwill and profitable business model that they have spent the last three years creating. Within this new finance model all suppliers were to be paid and the businesses trading in profit as demonstrated to ECF. Despite offering this David (Toulson-Burke) and Jonathan (Baker), the directors of House Collection, are shocked that this was not acceptable to ECF thus leaving creditors who were to be paid along with staff employed within the group all at significant risk.”

Casual Dining Group lines up new Belgo opening: The Casual Dining Group, which bought Las Iguanas last week and is reported to be in exclusive talks to buy La Tasca, is to open a new Belgo in London. The company, led by Steve Richards, has closed Amalfi on Old Compton Street and will relaunch it as the first new Belgo in many years. As well as its signature dish, Belgo Soho will serve 52 craft beers and rotisserie chicken. Belgo Soho opens this month. Meanwhile, Casual Dining Group has opened a new 3,600 sq ft Bella Italia on Crewe’s Grand Junction Retail Park, just outside the town centre, and which is close to other retails parks, superstores and a cinema. Owned by USC, the site has seen Bella invest £750,000 in the new restaurant, which fits with its current strategy of opening on out-of-town retail and leisure park schemes. Bella has signed a 15-year lease on the unit.

Derby Brewing Company set to open fourth site in Derbyshire: Chaddesden-based Derby Brewing Company is set to open its fourth site in Derbyshire on 11 August. The company has spent £1.3m converting the historic Grade-II listed Kedleston Country House between Allestree and Kedleston village into a gastro-pub called The Kedleston. It has created what it calls an “upmarket drinking area”, including a hidden study, snug and parlour featuring burnt oak floorboards and painted wooden panelling. A boutique-style hotel will open later in the month, with five individually designed luxury bedrooms. Director Paul Harris told the Ashbourne News Telegraph: “It has been fantastic to see our vision for the building come into reality. There have been some hurdles along the way but we really believe we have created something special which we can’t wait to share with everyone.” The building was originally commissioned in 1761 by Sir Nathan Curzon for the Kedleston estate and was overseen by famous Georgian architect Robert Adam. It was listed in February 1967 and opened as a hotel in 1970 but it has deteriorated in the past five or so years and had been boarded up. The site is the fourth to be opened by Derby Brewing Company in less than eight years.

Greene King’s Fayre & Square unveils new brand proposition: Greene King’s value brand Fayre & Square, formerly part of Spirit Pub Company, has unveiled a new brand proposition and identity. The new brand, which has been created by Altrincham-based If Agency, is now being rolled out across over 160 pubs and covers the website, menus, social media as well as in-pub and external communications. The new over-arching proposition is “Happiness Guaranteed”, with a new strapline “Go Home Happy”. Carol Rhead, senior brand manager at Fayre & Square, said: “We set a standard in our sector for quality and back our service and value against anyone. By introducing the Happiness Guaranteed, we are giving our customers the confidence that when they visit Fayre & Square, everyone will go home happy.” If Agency creative director Jo Whiteley added: “Our aim was to create an aspirational identity that connects both rationally and emotionally. Fayre & Square is confident about its offering so isn’t scared to make big claims that are a true reflection of its product, experience and proposition in the market.”

Former chef to the Queen opens first pub at Hawthorn Leisure site: Former private chef to the Queen Des Sweeney and his wife Trish, a pastry chef, have opened their first pub – the Cross Keys in Epperstone, Nottingham, in partnership with site owner Hawthorn Leisure. Trish Sweeney said: “The Cross Keys is a dream come true. We have an amazing team, all from the local area and most of whom have worked with myself and Des for almost a decade. We’re a tight-knit community here in Epperstone, so it’s a pleasure to be able to create new jobs in the village but also to provide a calm oasis where people can come to enjoy fresh food, quality drinks and relax with their friends and family, which is essentially what we want the Cross Keys to be all about.” The pub in Main Street has been transformed into a chic, traditional country pub with chesterfield sofas, open fires and log burners, two bars, a traditional dartboard, an open kitchen, banquet seating and a decking area outside with full restaurant service. “I’ll be changing the menu daily, if not hourly – it all depends on what products I receive that morning,” said Des Sweeney. “We are committed to using fresh ingredients, sourced from local suppliers or from our vegetable and herb garden. We also have a chicken coup and have planted fruit trees – apple, plum and cherry.” The pub, which is open from 11am-11pm Monday to Friday and from 9am-11pm on Saturday and Sunday, features three real ales sourced from local, national and micro-breweries including Nottingham Brewery as well as an extensive wine list.

Prezzo opens in Suffolk town of Stowmarket: Prezzo is opening on the site of the former Dukes Head pub in Stowmarket’s Ipswich Street today (Tuesday, 21 July). A total of 20 new jobs are being created at the restaurant, which will be managed by Jose Manuel. The site has cost £600,000 to develop. It has seating for 174 diners; 110 in the main part of the restaurant and a further 64 in a rear terrace garden. The restaurant will also feature a conservatory.

Oddfellows Hotels wins consent for second boutique hotel: A 19th century mansion in Cheadle, Bruntwood Hall in Bruntwood Park, is set to be turned into a boutique hotel after Stockport Council granted planning permission to operator Oddfellows Hotels. The proposal involves restoring and converting the mansion to create 22 bedrooms, a restaurant, a cocktail bar, private dining rooms and a spa. The value of the project is estimated at £3.5m and the hotel is scheduled to open in the spring of 2016. Oddfellows Hotels already owns a boutique hotel in Chester and it has been on the lookout for opportunities to create a sister hotel for more than a year. Jonathan Slater, of Oddfellows Hotels, said: “We are truly excited about the process of sympathetically converting beautiful Bruntwood Hall.”

Greene King secures licensing approval for new Farmhouse Inns at Adanac Park in Southampton: Following the recent opening of a new-build Farmhouse Inns at Havant, Greene King has secured licensing consent for a new-build Farmhouse Inns at Adanac Park on the outskirts of Southampton. The consent was obtained in the face of opposition from both councillors and local residents – the licence was granted for the hours applied for.

Deli firm’s new owners plan expansion: New owners of delicatessen, Jack Rabbits, located in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter, are planning expansion across the county after being bought out of administration by a local consortium. Jack Rabbits was formed by Amelia Horne in 2009 and operated a bistro café, along with an adjacent deli and grocer. A statement from insolvency firm Smith Cooper, which was called in on 13 July 2015, said the business ran into difficulty following a shareholder dispute regarding ongoing trade. Now, a “consortium of like-minded individuals had bought the company and will continue the Jack Rabbits ethos of being a place for the people, renowned for excellent customer service and a high quality produce, sourced from local suppliers”. One of the new owners, Nick Taylor, said that the business also has plans to expand into Ashbourne and Bakewell. He added: “Furthermore we intend to invest in external catering, developing a full range of services, from weddings and events, to an evening cookery school.”

Soho House to open Soho Farmhouse next month: Soho House is to open its latest venue, Soho Farmhouse, in Oxfordshire next month. The 100-acre venue offers 40 cabins of different sizes, one four-bedroom cottage and a seven-bedroom farmhouse. All of the cabins will be waterfront and located on the properties two lakes. It also offers horse riding, golf, cycling, tennis, boating and even ice-skating in winter and has a cinema room and football pitch – and a Cowshed spa.

JD Wetherspoon meets objections for new Edinburgh super-pub plan: Fresh plans to open a £2m JD Wetherspoon super-pub in Victoria Street in Edinburgh (population 492,680) have been criticised by community campaigners and heritage groups. Last year, attempts by the chain to turn the former Khushi’s Indian restaurant into a large pub were knocked back by planning chiefs amid claims the scheme would have a negative impact on the B-listed structure. But now the company has launched a fresh bid to set up home in the building, which has lain empty since it was devastated by a blaze in December 2008. Community groups slammed the latest attempt as “outrageous” following the “massive number of rejections” that met JD Wetherspoon’s previous planning application. The latest proposals come after city chiefs gave the go-ahead for JD Wetherspoon to transform the former Picture House in Lothian Road into a huge pub in April. The plans for Victoria Street include creating a new floor within the roof space, complete with three outdoor terraces to the side and rear. Alterations to the front of the building proposed in the last application have been removed. The plan stated “the proposed scheme will sensitively showcase the building’s historic character, rejuvenating this key building within this part of the Old Town”. A spokesman for JD Wetherspoon said the development would create 70 jobs, adding: “Wetherspoon has exchanged but not completed on the property. We are keen to open a pub, but will await the outcome of the planning committee.”

Dublin pub sells for more than €4.5m less that previous price: A bar off Dublin’s Grafton Street redeveloped at considerable expense during the property boom to attract a youthful clientele has been sold by a receiver at a fraction of its original value. The well-known Clarendon Inn licensed premises on Clarendon Street is believed to have been bought by a group of investors rather than a publican for a figure in excess of €2.3m – well ahead of the guide price of more than €1.6m. However it is known that the sale attracted an exceptional level of interest at a time when many secondary pubs, particularly some in the north inner city, are virtually impossible to shift. The bar was bought in 1992 for €1.2m by Christian and Simon Stokes who borrowed heavily to demolish and replace it with a four-storey over basement pub. The brothers then sold the investment to developer Bernard McNamara for €7m and leased back the premises at a rent of €400,000 per annum.

Taylor Walker pub launches pizza and ale menu: Greene King’s Taylor Walker brand, part of its Spirit acquisition, has launched a new menu concept within one of its historic London pubs this week to expand its culinary offering. The Shakespeare pub on Buckingham Palace Road, which dates back to the 1800s, has launched its “Stretch and Pull” menu, combining two of the nation’s favourites – traditional rustic Italian wood-fired pizzas with an extended range of local beers and craft ales. Guests will now be able to enjoy a selection of classic hand-pulled pizzas, including the Americana, Meat Feast and Hawaiian and an extended range of craft beers and ales. The new food and drink offering will be available in the pub’s cellar area, which has been given a complete makeover to create a chic, sophisticated look, with a lighter colour scheme, signature pieces of furniture and contemporary fixtures. General manager at the Shakespeare, Dritan Qosja, said: “The Shakespeare is a classic British pub with a rich history dating back to the early 1800s. With the new ‘Stretch and Pull’ menu we hope to bring a modern twist to some tried and tested favourites, providing winning food and drink combinations certain to appeal to both our loyal guests and new customers alike. We hope the new-look pizza parlour pub will provide visitors with a great location to relax, enjoy freshly-cooked food and have a drink.”

Byron looks for PR agency to support roll-out of 15 new UK sites: Burger brand Byron is looking for a PR agency to help support the roll-out of 15 new sites across the UK. The company is asking between eight and ten agencies to send proposals, with a view to shortlisting and appointing an agency by August, report PR Week. The one-year retained contract involves national and local PR support to oversee a regional roll-out of new sites, including Newcastle. The process is being overseen by brand and marketing executive Claire Strickett. Byron marketing director Amanda Royston said: “As Byron continues to grow into a truly national brand, we’re excited to be on the hunt for an agency that shares the creativity, idiosyncrasy and ambition that have been central to our brand and business from the start.” Byron was founded by Tom Byng in 2007 and opened its 52nd restaurant in Canterbury in Kent this month. The chain was sold by the Gondola Group in 2013 for £100m to Hutton Collins Partners.

Chef-entrepreneur Robin Gill to open third London site today: Chef-entrepreneur Robin Gill is opening his third site in London today (Tuesday, 21 July). Gill, who runs the Clapham based venues The Manor and The Dairy, is launching Paradise Garage in Bethnal Green. The new restaurant, which is located under a railway arch in Paradise Row, features an open kitchen where up to eight guests can sit up on the pass. The main restaurant area also has a mezzanine section surrounded by house-cured salumi, ferments and wines. The menu will consist of classic, simple British dishes, including barbecued sardines with sea greens and horseradish along with lamb rump with sweetbreads, summer cabbage, peas and marjoram as well as a selection of desserts. Gill said: “I have always loved the east end of London. We have already touched base with the other businesses on Paradise Row and as a community we have big plans including a music festival.”

Lancaster couple take on Marston’s hotel as second site: Lancaster couple Martin and Hannah Horner have taken on their second site in the city – the Marston’s-owned hotel, restaurant and pub The Slyne Lodge. The couple bought their first site in 2006, transforming the former Blob Shop in Dalton Square into The Borough pub and restaurant. Now they have bought the lease at The Slyne Lodge and plan to invest £400,000 into the building, which will re-open as The Lodge in August, and as well as keeping the current employees they intend to take on an extra 20 full-time staff. Martin Horner told Lancaster Today: “We’ve got 100 covers at The Borough, but the Slyne Lodge has 150 covers just in the dining room. There’s plans for a kids play area, and we want to be family friendly. It currently has ten rooms but there’s room for another eight on the top floor.” He added that he was in talks with Marston’s, which owns Lake District brewery Jennings, to bring in Borough Brewery beers as guest ales. The couple are also expanding The Borough by adding five new bedrooms as well as a new garden with more covered seating areas.

Plans for new five-star hotel and restaurant in the north east are approved: Plans to redevelop the derelict Woolsington Hall, north west of Newcastle city centre, into a £23m five-star hotel with spa complex, golf course and restaurant have been approved by councillors. The proposal will now go before communities secretary Greg Clark because it is on greenbelt land. The property is a grade II-listed country house in a 92-acre estate, which was bought by Sir John Hall’s development company Cameron Hall in 1994. The planning statement submitted by Darlington-based consultancy England & Lyle on behalf of the applicant Cameron Hall Developments states that Woolsington Hall will be restored and extended, along with its associated buildings, to provide a 32-bedroom boutique five-star hotel with a restaurant. Some existing farmstead buildings on the site will be demolished to allow for the erection of a new-build spa complex, while the remaining farm structures will be used to provide staff accommodation.

Ibérica Victoria to open next month: Spanish restaurant group Ibérica will open its sixth restaurant on 17 August on the ground floor of the Zig Zag Building – the 187,000 sq ft high-end commercial and retail space – on Victoria Street in London. Following a £1.2m investment, the 346 square metre restaurant and bar will cater for 142 covers across two floors with a 42-cover terrace. Two private dining rooms will seat between four and six guests. Michelin-starred executive chef Nacho Manzano and group head chef Cesar García will offer a menu of contemporary tapas “combining taste, texture and temperature”.

Pipers Crisps unveiled as main sponsor of CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2016: Pipers Crisps has been unveiled as the main sponsor of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for 2016. “It is natural that Pipers Crisps should want to align itself with CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide,” said Pipers’ founder Alex Albone. “The guide is primarily aimed at lovers of fine beer, those that enjoy not just the taste of beer but also care about the way it’s made and the pubs in which it’s enjoyed. It’s these drinkers who will be choosing their crisps as carefully as they select their ale.”

Domino’s Pizza Poland reports further progress: Domino’s Pizza Poland has reported that the first financial half-year has now seen 11 consecutive quarters of double digit like-for-like system sales growth with system sales up 23.3%. There has also been continued improvement in store Ebitda performance. DP Poland currently operates 12 corporate stores in Warsaw and Krakow and sub-franchises six stores in Warsaw. Like-for-like system sales were up 15.8%. Peter Shaw, chief executive of DP Poland, said: “Total system sales were up 23.3% in the first half of 2015 and we saw continued double digit like-for-like store growth in system sales, order count and gross profit. Store Ebitda continues to improve with our top three stores delivering an average of +£26k in the first half of 2015, compared to +£7.5k in the first half of 2014. We are well advanced in site negotiations and store construction for expansion into new cities in quarter four 2015.”

Douglas Jack – we’re expecting Fuller’s like-for-likes to remain strong on Thursday: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has forecast Fuller’s like-for-like will remain strong when it reports first half results on Thursday – he has an ‘Add’ recommendation and target price of 1,200p. He said: “We expect like-for-like sales to have remained strong, such that forecasts, which we have upgraded regularly over the last year, should be at least held. Managed pub/hotel like-for-like sales rose 5.5% during the first nine weeks (against a 8% comparable) in a London managed pub market that was up circa 2% over the same period (source: Coffer Peach Business Tracker). With the company continuing to invest in amenity, product, service and digital marketing ahead of its competitors, we believe our full year assumption of 2.5% is cautious. Eight managed pubs and six Stable Pizza restaurants were added in 2015E. Our forecasts assume just two new managed pubs and five new Stable Pizza restaurants pa over the next three years. Tenanted like-for-like profits were up 2% during the first nine weeks of 2016E (versus 4% comparable). Fuller’s has a strong track record for growing like-for-like profits, driven by: investment in multiple areas; a south east England orientation; as well as improved training and support. Repairs investment appears to be the main cause of short-term fluctuations in like-for-like profits. Our fiscal year forecast assumes 2% like-for-like profit growth. Beer and cider volumes fell by 2% over the first nine weeks and are forecast to grow by 1% over the full year. We expect to at least hold our forecasts. Due to trading and expansion momentum, we believe forecast risk remains on the upside. Also, with net debt/Ebitda at 2.8x, there is scope for our 2016E expansion assumptions to be exceeded.”

North east micro-brewery secures funding deal: A Bishop Auckland micro-brewery has secured a £25,000 cash injection that will allow it to “grow substantially in numerous directions”. Black Paw Brewery said it is tapping into an “increasingly trendy” and growing market with people turning to small, local brands for craft beers. Director Phil Whitfield set-up Black Paw in July 2011 by converting an empty industrial unit in Bishop Auckland into a brewery and the company can now produce 1,600 litres of beer in a single brew. As a result, the business produces six year-round beers as well as numerous seasonal products. The cash was secured from the Finance for Business North East Microloan Fund, a regional loan scheme that gives small companies with solid business plans the boost they need to grow. The investment will enable Whitfield to “grow the business substantially in numerous directions”. He is set to set up an e-commerce site for his business so that he can send products by post and would also like to begin to export Black Paw’s real ale. Overall, Whitfield envisages the loan will allow the company to triple turnover within three years and possibly purchase new premises.

Host of companies sign up for Professor Chris Muller’s Multi-site Management Masterclass: A host of sector companies have signed up to attend the next Multi-Site Management Masterclass led by Professor Chris Muller, on Friday, 2 October. Those attending include: Solent Pizza, Amber Taverns, Good Life Diner, Beagle & Co, Banwell House, Hickory’s Smokehouse, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Leeds Brewery, Benito’s Hat, PubLove, Paul UK, Maxwells, Gala Bingo, My Lahore, Taylor St Baristas, Roadchef, Corbin & King, K10, Forum Cafe Bars, McMullen, Small Batch Coffee, Fuller’s, Spirit Pub Company, Bulldog Hotel Company, and Baabar. 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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