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Fri 7th Aug 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Burger King had wanted to relocate Tim Hortons headquarters to UK for tax reasons: Burger King had originally wanted to relocate Tim Hortons headquarters from Canada to the UK for tax reasons, it has been revealed. Burger King’s first offer to buy the coffee doughnut company included a plan to put the new merged company’s headquarters in Britain because of the country’s “low corporate tax rate” of 21% and its 0% withholding tax on dividends from most other countries, according to a March 2014 presentation made by top Burger King executives to the company’s board. But this first offer was rebuffed by Tim Hortons, which refused to negotiate until Burger King not only upped its price but guaranteed to put the new head office in Canada. Burger King said the location of the headquarters was also key to winning government approval for the foreign takeover under the Investment Canada Act. The revelations came in testimony before a US Senate sub-committee in Washington by Joshua Kobza, the 28-year-old chief financial officer of Restaurant Brands International, the parent company of Burger King and Tim Hortons. He was the chief financial officer of Burger King when it was planning its purchase of Tim Hortons last year.

Industry News:

Aaron Mellor to present at Bar and Nightclub Conference: Aaron Mellor, chief executive of Tokyo Industries, the UK’s third largest nightclub operator, is to present at the Bar and Nightclub Conference, which is being held on Tuesday 27 October at Bafta Piccadilly. He will talk about trading in the regions, broadening his offer, expansion plans, launching his own festival and the regulatory challenges in the late-night sector. The conference, the first stand-alone event for this part of the market, examines the key issues affecting the markets with contributions from key figures within the sector. Tickets are free for operators and cost £145 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailer (ALMR) supplier members and £195 for ALMR non-suppliers. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com

Gatwick Airport works with restaurants to highlight serotonin-boosting meals: Gatwick Airport has been working with a renowned nutritionist to become the first airport in the world to introduce a happiness guide on its restaurant menus. Restaurants in the airport are highlighting the most mood-boosting meals throughout August, to help passengers arrive at their destination full of holiday spirit. Eight of the airport’s restaurants – including Frankie & Benny’s, Giraffe and YO! Sushi – will feature yellow happy face icons beside dishes containing ingredients widely recognised as natural serotonin boosters. Nutritionist Jo Travers said: “Happiness is a complex thing, but there are certain foods you can eat that will help the ‘happy’ chemicals in your brain to keep flowing. People often don’t realise how much of an impact what they eat can have on their mood – which can be particularly important if you’re about to take a long flight.” Gatwick’s business development manager Charlotte Christiansen said: “We are really excited for the launch of our happiness guide across our food and drink menus. Passenger experience and happiness is a top priority at Gatwick and we want to help travellers start their holidays early from the moment they step foot in Gatwick.”

Food art studio launches ‘breathable alcohol’ installation:
Food art studio Bombas & Parr has launched an installation, Alcoholic Architecture, in London’s Borough Market that allows pub-goers to absorb their alcohol via a “walk-in cloud of breathable cocktail”. Alcoholic Architecture uses powerful humidifiers that saturate the air with one part fine spirits and three parts mixer. Whereas vaporised alcohol enters the brain directly via the lungs, Bompas & Parr’s method allows the alcohol to enter the bloodstream through the lungs and eyeballs. Respiratory scientists found that 50 minutes of exposure was the equivalent of one liquid drink. Guests are asked to wear protective ponchos to ensure against overexposure. The installation runs until early 2016. Tickets are £12.50.

US restaurant brand that closes on Sundays achieves highest average sales per site in the US: US chicken chain Chick-fil-A generates more revenue per restaurant than any other fast food chain in the US, according to a new report by QSR magazine. Chick-fil-A’s average sales per restaurant in 2014 were $3.1m, according to the report – rival KFC sold $960,000 per restaurant. The submarine sandwich company Jason’s Deli ranked a distant second with $2.7m in per-restaurant sales followed by Panera and McDonald’s, each with $2.5m in per-restaurant sales. Despite its relatively small size, Chick-fil-A also ranked highly in terms of its total system-wide sales. The company generated nearly $5.8bn in revenue in 2014, making it the eighth largest fast food company in the US, according to QSR. Chick-fil-A has only 1,887 restaurants primarily located in the south east of the country, and none of its restaurants are open on Sundays. For comparison, McDonald’s has more than 14,000 locations in the US, Taco Bell has 5,921, and KFC has 4,370 — most of which are open seven days a week. Domino’s site in the US average $809,000 per site while Starbucks averages $1,048m at each store.

£300m project planned to complement Borough food and restaurant scene: A new £300m development plan for Borough in London is set to complement its food and restaurant scene. The revamp will see dozens of Covent Garden-style fashion boutiques, an art house cinema, a private members club, loft offices and apartments move into the area. The three-acre development site includes a car park but also a network of vaulted Victorian railway arches now occupied by Vinopolis, which will move to new Central London premises. The plan is to turn the railway arches, warehouses and courtyards into shopping streets, with a public square and new passageways. “For all its pulling power, Southwark lacks fashion and needs a wider mix of shops,” said developer Tim Sherwood. “We’re creating as many as 50 new spaces and predict a ripple effect that will continue through the back streets of SE1.”

Company News:

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand earns £2.1m: Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand earned a total of £2,135,000 in the most recent financial year, according to the newly-published 2015 annual report. The total included a base salary of £554,000, an annual bonus of £322,000, 60% of the amount possible, and the vesting of long-term incentives of £1,088,000 – his total remuneration was down from £2,517,000 the year before. Finance director Kirk Davis, who left JD Wetherspoon to join the company part-way through the financial year on 3 November 2014, earned £316,000, including a part-year base salary of £160,000 and an annual bonus of £118,000 – his full-year base salary is £320,000. His predecessor Matthew Fearn earned £740,000, including a part-year base salary of £134,00 and long-term incentives of £550,000. Executive directors will receive a base salary increase of 2.5% this year. In addition, annual bonus targets in the current year will include a specific synergy target in respect of the integration of Spirit Pub Company. A review will also be undertaken of executive directors’ remuneration this year given “the significant changes to the size and complexity of the group as result of the Spirit acquisition”. 

Maxwells reports profit dip: London bar and restaurant operator Maxwells, owned by Brian Stein, has reported a profit dip in the year ending 27 October 2014. The company saw turnover increase to £28,497,024 from £28,121,017 the year before. Pre-tax profit dropped to £1,164,761 from £2,669,689 the year before, with an impairment charge of £948,366. Total operating profit was £2,274,192 compared to £2,876,345 in the year previous. The company stated: “The London restaurant market remains highly competitive and this is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. However, we remain confident that with our people and products we are in good position to maintain and improve our market share.”

Fuller’s offers free pint for those braving the tube strike: Fuller’s offered customers on its database a free pint at its Old Bank of England site yesterday (Thursday, 6 August) for those who braved the tube strike. It stated: “Here at Fuller’s we are always proud of Londoners – and particularly if those Londoners have battled against adversity to make it to work on tube strike day. You are the ones that keep the wheels of this great city moving – and we think that you deserve a free pint of London Pride in fair reward.”

D&D Restaurants to close Sartoria for refurbishment: D&D Restaurants will reopen its Sartoria restaurant in November after a refurbishment, with Francesco Mazzei as chef patron. The restaurant will be closing on 31 August for a major makeover and will reopen in November. It will offer all-day dining serving dishes from Mazzei native Calabria as well as dishes from other regions in Italy.

Online ordering system Orderswift adds £135,000 in online sales at Rosa’s Thai Cafe: Orderswift, the provider of desktop and mobile ordering for branded independent and group restaurant operators, has helped generate £135,000 in online sales for London-based restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe in the first six months of 2015. Orderswift’s core offering comprises of a white-label customer interface and restaurant dashboard, an online back-office that features controls for managing menus and controlling the flow of orders in real-time, for a flat monthly fee. “To have had that kind of positive impact on Rosa’s bottom line in our first full six months at all five sites is fantastic,” said Orderswift co-founder Matt Gilbert, who predicts Rosa’s will hit £300,000 in sales through Orderswift for 2015. “Analytics show visits to our desktop and mobile sites are converting to sales for our partners terrifically well. Because we make it so easy for their customers to order, we’re seeing them reorder more often and in higher volumes – it’s a win-win for operators.” Alex Moore, founder of Rosa’s Thai Cafe, added: “Our customers clearly love ordering from our Orderswift site and we’re absolutely thrilled with the revenue growth that it has helped us achieve. We launched with Orderswift at our Soho and Spitalfields locations to start with, but very quickly saw the great potential and rolled out across all our sites.”

Papa John’s franchisees open fifth site in a year:
Papa John’s franchisees Bhrijesh and Rajan Patel, who joined the company last year, have opened their fifth site, this time located in Herne Bay, Kent – they already run the Banstead, Portsmouth, Reigate and Guildford stores. “We recently had the opportunity to purchase a freehold in Herne Bay near the main high-street,” said Bhrijesh Patel. “With a mixed demographic and lots of families in the area, the location is perfect for pizza! We live in Kent so are keen to expand in the surrounding region and over the past year we have worked closely with Papa John’s to realise this goal. All the stores we have opened up until now have been re-sales, taken over from existing franchisees. This strategy has enabled us to expand quickly. However, Herne Bay will be a brand new venture, which is exciting! We come from a retail background. Our family owns a chain of stores but my brother and I were keen to diversify. We met with Papa John’s at a franchise show then talked to the Banstead franchisee. We did a deal and the rest, as they say, is history! Papa John’s has the knowledge of how the model works and we stick to our training, we don’t overcomplicate matters. Our goal for the future is to expand and run more stores with Papa John’s over the next few years. As Papa John’s grows we plan to too!”

EL Patron founders to expand to Isle of Wight with Europe’s first tequila hotel: The founders of tequila bar El Patron, Aiste Burt and Andrew Taylor, are to open their second site – and Europe’s first tequila hotel. El Patron Isle of Wight will open in the historic Charter House – a red brick, grade II-listed building in St Thomas’ Square in Newport, offering a large outdoor area. The exterior will feature classical architectural structures, contrasted by the eclectic interior inside, which will be transformed into a Mexican playground with exposed brick walls, Latino inspired artwork, colourful Mediterranean style shutters, a corrugated iron bar, and reclaimed material from former warships. The upstairs boutique hotel will consist of six bespoke Mexican styled rooms, each themed around a different drink from El Patron’s extensive tequila menu, where every room will have its own individual cocktail-set for guests to get the full tequila experience. A third site is planned for later this year.

Glendola Leisure set to submit plans for new hotel and second Bar & Beef restaurant on Edinburgh site where it was refused permission to open Waxy O’Connor:
Glendola Leisure is set to submit plans to convert a city centre chapel in Edinburgh into a four-star boutique hotel with steak and gin bar – nearly two years after being refused permission to open a Waxy O’Connor on the site. Glendola, in conjunction with its sister company Carlton Hotel Collection, wants to transform the grade B-listed Charlotte Baptist Chapel in Rose Street into a 22-bedroom hotel. The 16,486 sq ft site would also house the city’s first Bar & Beef restaurant. Gordon Street in Glasgow is home to the group’s first Alston Bar & Beef restaurant. The proposal comes after Glendola was refused permission to convert the chapel into a 900-capacity Waxy O’Connor in December 2013. Planning consultants JLL, acting on behalf of Glendola, are due to submit the new application in mid-August, reports Property Magazine International. Glendola managing director Alex Salussolia said: “We are fully aware of the historic status of the Charlotte Baptist Chapel and we intend to be responsible stewards of that heritage. Through our successful Carlton and Bar & Beer brands, we are bringing a premium hotel and restaurant offering to Rose Street, which we believe will be very attractive to both residents and the city’s expanding tourism population.” JLL planning consultant Deirdre McCarthy added: “The redevelopment is a great opportunity to introduce new vibrancy and activity at the west end of this iconic street in a building which is otherwise due to become vacant when the church community moves out to its new premises in March next year.” On Monday, Propel reported Glendola has acquired two sites in Edinburgh owned by Saltire Taverns.

Douglas Jack issues ‘Buy’ note on The Restaurant Group: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued a ‘Buy’ note on The Restaurant Group shares with a target price of 860p. He said: “For the interim results, due on 28 August, we are forecasting PBT to be up 9% to £36.7m, driven by expansion and an estimated 2.5% increase in like-for-like sales. We expect to hold our forecasts, with the prospect of upgrades building as the year progresses. Over the next 19 pages, we detail why would buy the shares, ahead of the interim results. The Restaurant Group’s high street/London exposure is limited to 3% of its sites, and, as customers’ decisions tend to be influenced by location and cuisine, we believe it is unlikely that extra high street supply will undermine trading in airports and leisure parks. We forecast margins rising by 5bps in H1, and by 15bps over the full year, reflecting our expectations of like-for-like sales growing by 2.5% in H1 vs 3.5% in H2. H2 should benefit from strong cinema releases, including James Bond’s Spectre and Star Wars, the weak Euro and Channel Tunnel disruption encouraging air travel (passenger volumes rose 4.8% in H1), as well as increasing consumer confidence and cash flow. We expect 12-15 of this year’s c.45 new restaurants to open in H1, with expansion becoming less reliant on Frankie & Benny’s than in previous years. All the new sites we have visited in H1 have been trading materially ahead of the hurdle rate. We believe there is upgrade risk to our 2015E forecasts (PBT: £86.3m; consensus £87.6m), which anticipate 11% earnings growth amid no change in debt. Our positive recommendation partly reflects the company’s high returns and strong market positioning, away from London and high street sites where the vast majority of market expansion is occurring.”

Nottingham burger restaurant owner to launch new deli-cafe concept in city: The owner of Annie’s Burger Shack in Nottingham is launching a new deli-cafe in the city. Anmarie Spaziano is the co-founder of Pico, which is opening in the Hockley area of the city on the site of the former prosecco bar Pilot in Carlton Street. The 60-seat venue, which is due to open on 1 September, will serve pizzas, open sandwiches and grazing boards and offer a takeaway service. It will also sell freshly baked bread, cheese, deli meats, chutneys, sweet tarts and locally roasted coffee. Pico will sell bread from fledging West Bridgford business Tartisan Bakery, cheese, meat and pate from The Cheese Shop in Flying Horse Walk, locally roasted coffee from 200 Degrees, locally made wares from Notts Nosh as well as Spaziano’s own chutneys and sauces. Spaziano told the Nottingham Post: “It’s been a great challenge to do something completely different and unique to the street. I think of this as a picnic basket. You can come in grab some bread, cheese and chutney. It’s almost a co-operative – all local businesses.”

Preston-based Moka launches steak and seafood restaurant concept in city: Preston-based cafe, bar and restaurant Moka has launched a steak and seafood restaurant concept in the city. The company, owned by Chris Maugham, has opened Theatre Street Bar and Grill in Theatre Street on the former Moka Express site. It has been extended into an adjacent building to accommodate the new venue, which has created six jobs. Maugham, who is also head chef, told Bdaily Business News: “With confidence in the economy on the up, people are starting to spend more on eating out again. Preston’s hospitality sector has gone [from] strength-to-strength recently so it made good business sense to invest in the new restaurant. Hopefully, business will stay strong as more investment comes into the city and who knows, we could even open up additional eateries in the future.” Moka currently has sites in Fishergate, Guild Hall Street and inside the Fishergate Centre.

New Burning Night Group site in Cardiff first in Wales to sell tank beer: Burning Night Group’s Bierkeller complex, situated on the ground floor of Stadium Plaza in Cardiff, is thought to be the first site in Wales to sell tank beer. The venue will open tomorrow (Saturday, 8 August) ahead of Wales’ first Rugby World Cup warm up match against Ireland. In preparation for the opening, three 50HL beer tanks were delivered this week, each holding approximately 880 pints of Czech Republic beer Krusovice – 2,640 pints in total. Each tank will be filled up by a beer truck that will visit the Bierkeller every week. Trevor Ellard, general manager at the Cardiff Bierkeller, said: “These tanks are the first outside of London and what better city to trial it in.” The complex, situated on the ground floor of Stadium Plaza on Wood Street, has three bars, with a licensed capacity of 1,000. Other Bierkeller locations are in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

Manchester-based Black Milk Cereal Dive set to start expanding by opening Scotland’s first cereal cafe: Manchester-based cereal cafe Black Milk Cereal Dive is set to start expanding with plans to open sites in Scotland. The concept, which was founded by Oliver Taylor, is lining up a venue in Argyle Street in Glasgow and also has plans for an Edinburgh cafe in the pipeline. The cafe, which would be the first of its kind in Scotland, is inspired by the Momofuku milk bar in New York and the Cereal Killer cafe in east London. It sells breakfast cereals imported from all over the world served with flavoured milk infused with everything from salted caramel to squid ink, the latter being the blend that gives the business its name. Taylor told STV: “We are thinking of coming to Glasgow. We think it has quite a similar vibe to Manchester and we’re looking into Argyle Street. Edinburgh is also another base we’re looking at. We’ve been talking about moving to Glasgow before Christmas this year, but realistically it’s going to be after. I first had the idea to launch a milk bar with all the products based around milk, like shakes, smoothies and cakes – then we decided to evolve it.” Taylor launched Black Milk Cereal Dive in March in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Nando’s opens third Brighton & Hove site: Nando’s has opened its third Brighton & Hove site. The new venue is a purpose-built restaurant on the Goldstone Retail Park in Hove. The company currently has restaurants in Brighton Marina and Duke Street as well as four other Sussex-based stores, located in Horsham, Crawley, Chichester and Gatwick. Located next to Burger King, the 280 square metre site has created 30 jobs. Planning permission for the restaurant was granted in September 2013.

Sir John Fitzgerald reports profit boost:
North east real ale pub and restaurant operator Sir John Fitzgerald has reported a profit boost for the year to 31 January 2015. The company saw turnover rise to £18,379,266 compared to £17,564,379 the year before. Pre-tax profit jumped to £603,698, up from £156,050 the year before. Gross profit increased by 1% to 63.6% (2014: 62.4%).

Prezzo set to open restaurant at £60m development in Hinckley: Italian restaurant brand Prezzo is set to open a restaurant at the £60m Crescent development in Hinckley, Leicestershire. The company has signed up to a 2,637 sq ft unit, which will cost £600,000 and create up to 20 jobs. It will join companies including Sainsbury’s, Cineworld and traditional ale and cider house Elbow Room at the complex being developed by Tin Hat Partnership. Prezzo spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Hinckley Times: “We are looking forward to opening in Hinckley and are confident that our restaurant will be a great addition to the town’s dining scene. Prezzo has an excellent reputation for the quality and choice of its food and believe the restaurant will prove popular with a wide range of people in the town.” Sainsbury’s and Cineworld are set to open at the half-moon shaped complex in the autumn along with a new 540-space underground car park, with the rest of the scheme set to be launched in 2016.

Intertain’s Walkabout brand signs Coral as official betting partner:
Intertain’s Walkabout brand has signed a deal with Coral to be its official betting partner. Michelle Farrell, brand communications manager, said: “We are really excited at the prospect of working with not just a betting partner but a leader on the high street. The opportunity will unlock a number of ‘wow’ events that will make Walkabout the go to destination to enjoy televised sport.” Simon Kaye, chief operating officer, added: “Sport is in the DNA of Walkabout and in Coral we have a partner who shares our passion for sport and the spectacle it can be.” The deal will ensure Coral appears through all the Walkabout marketing channels and will ensure the brand’s sports customers can take their viewing excitement to a new level with a flutter.

McDonald’s to prioritise social media in biggest ever football campaign: McDonald’s is to prioritise social media after 18 months getting up to speed, launching a Twitter-led campaign that also spans Instagram and Periscope, to promote its biggest ever football campaign. McDonald’s head of marketing in the UK Steve Hill told The Drum: “It’s taken us 18 months to really get our head around social media and to get to where we are today. We were probably apprehensive about social media initially and the role it can play for us. Historically, we’ve prioritised broadcast media approaches but with campaign activity like what we’re doing this summer we’re building around social first and foremost. It’s become at the forefront of what we do. We’ve invested heavily in both the infrastructure around people and the campaigns that we do when it comes to [the discipline] because it’s an opportunity for us to be contextually relevant in a way we’ve never been before.” The brand’s #CelebrateBetter nationwide campaign attempts to move its football efforts from appealing to the professional side of the game to grassroots instead. It sees McDonald’s working with the UK’s four home nations’ football associations to back initiatives that involve over 13,500 young people at a community level. It’s why there’s less of a focus on the likes of England stars Wayne Rooney and Raheem Sterling in the promotions to ensure there’s clarity around the message of enjoying the game. “Our challenge is to ensure that we connect those different [social media] channels and don’t have just have specific campaigns on specific channels,” said Hill. “We need to utilise each to their strengths but then making sure they’re connected in the right way.”

Manchester-based American-inspired cafe Home Sweet Home set to start expanding with second site in city: Manchester-based independent companies Delicious Treats and Beautiful Drinks are to start expanding their American-inspired cafe concept Home Sweet Home with a second site in the city. Home Sweet Home, which has a cafe in the Northern Quarter, is set to open its new venue in the Great Northern Warehouse on the former Lucha Libre site in late September. Home Sweet Home Great Northern, which will cater for about 200 diners, will feature an open kitchen as well as booths for parties and special events. The menu will include toasties, milkshakes, burgers, fried chicken and platters as well as American-style breakfasts and brunches. It will also have new “Bloody Mary, espresso martini and cake shake menus”. General manager Ben Grainger told the Manchester Evening News: “We’re excited to bring what we do best to the other side of town, looking forward to more space and a bigger menu. We’ll be bringing the same super friendly staff and all of the enthusiasm and passion that’s made the Northern Quarter a destination.” Delicious Treats and Beautiful Drinks are also behind the Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, Almost Famous and the tiki-inpired bar Keko Moku concepts in the city.

Entrepreneur buys Lake District site off £900,000 asking price:
An 18th century manor house-turned hotel in the Lake District has been sold by administrators Begbies Traynor for £900,000. Ravenstone Manor, built in 1769 by the Second Earl of Penrith, has been acquired by entrepreneur Martin Oakley. The property is located on the eastern side of Bassenthwaite Lake near Keswick. Set in 7.4 acres of grounds, the manor comprises 20 en-suite bedrooms, a restaurant, a lounge, and a bar and games room. It also includes separate owner’s accommodation and holiday-let cottage. The sale was secured by Bilfinger GVA Manchester on behalf of Begbies. Edward Dry, director at Bilfinger GVA Manchester, said: “The property is a great opportunity and the new owner is looking to invest further and develop the hotel’s offering. It is also ideally located in a beautiful position in one of the more unspoilt areas of the national park overlooking Bassenthwaite.”

Douglas Jack issues ‘Buy’ recommendation on Enterprise shares:
Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued a ‘Buy’ note on Enterprise Inns shares, with a price target of 160p after yesterday’s (Thursday, 6 August) trading update. He said: “In quarter three, like-for-like net income rose 0.6%, despite tough World Cup-related comparables, and remains at +0.6% after 44 weeks. Like-for-like net income has now been positive for eight consecutive quarters. We are upgrading our forecasts by 1%, and now assume 0.5% like-for-like net income over FY 2015E. Like-for-like net income is being supported by increased growth capex; enhanced operational support; and a 23% reduction in the level of business failures. The latter reflects licensees benefiting from the enhanced support as well as discounts on Wi-Fi, sports TV packages, food offerings, training and product marketing (at a half one cost of £3m to Enterprise Inns). Enterprise is slightly ahead on implementing its new strategy. To date, 22 pubs have been converted to managed, with 30 expected by 30 September 2015, which is in line. The number of commercial leases is ahead, having risen to 206 from 185 as at 12 May (with average annualised rental income up to £55,000 from £53,000), ahead of the previous 30 September 2015 target of 205. Enterprise remains on track to sell circa 250 pubs for £75m over the full year. This alone should be sufficient to finance the company’s £70m capex plans for this year, of which 43% should be growth-orientated (achieving an average return on investment of 19% in half one). With management targeting like-for-like net income growth over the full year, we are upgrading our forecasts (2015E profit before tax from £121.4m to £122.1m; consensus £122.7m). Overall, we agree with the company’s new strategy and retain our ‘Buy’ recommendation. Even if the company falls behind in its managed pub conversions, the strategy should undermine the number of Market Rent Only conversions, which should be its primary objective.”

New brand with menu designed by River Cottage team opens in Retford: A new “modern European” restaurant with a menu designed by the River Cottage team has opened in Retford following a £750,000 investment. Spencer’s on the Square, formerly The Broadstone, has opened in Market Square after major redevelopment to restore the old Henry Spencer’s auction house to its former glory. Matthew Ardron-Levack from Spencer’s on the Square said: “We have put a huge amount of effort into making the venue a quality destination. The decor has been designed by award-winning designer Mark Pearce and a bespoke menu has been designed by the River Cottage team. This is a real top-to-toe renovation of a great Retford landmark.” Head chef is Rob Jessop, formerly of River Cottage.

Thaikhun and Barburrito to join Gateshead Intu extension: Thaikhun and Barburrito are to open sites at the extended Quebec dining and leisure quarter at the Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. Set to open in spring 2016, the 45,000 sq ft extension has let nine of its 11 new restaurant units, with the final two expected to be completed soon. The brands currently in place are Coast to Coast, TGI Friday’s, Chiquito, Five Guys, ASK, Bella Italia and Subway. Thai street food restaurant Thaikhun and Mexican group Barburrito will be opening their first sites in the north east at the centre. There are 24 restaurant brands in the Qube area as a whole.

SN15 Leisure to reopen Chippenham nightclub today:
SN15 Leisure is to reopen a Chippenham nightclub today (Friday, 7 August). It will open as The Palace on the premises formerly occupied by Karma in Station Road. Karma had its alcohol licence revoked in 2011 before SN15 Leisure won the right to a premises licence in November 2014, despite warnings from Wiltshire Police. Last November, Philip Kolvin QC, representing SN15 Leisure, which is run by Paul Shayegan, promised a licence hearing the company would adopt a Challenge 25 policy and take responsibility for people entering and leaving the building. He said: “My client has a significant investment at stake, an enormous incentive to ensure the residents aren’t troubled. If they’re suffering the same things as before, that will bring the matter back for review.”

Molson Coors report net sales growth in Europe aside from terminated contracts: Molson Coors has reported that underlying pre-tax profit in Europe decreased 21.5% to $68.1m in its second quarter, primarily due to unfavorable foreign currency movements and the termination of contracts in the UK. On a constant-currency basis, underlying pre-tax income decreased 8.3%, due to the termination of its Modelo brands and Heineken brewing contracts in the UK earlier this year. Excluding the impact of the terminated contracts, Europe constant-currency pre-tax income would have increased in the quarter, driven by higher sales volume, positive pricing and lower costs. Foreign currency movements negatively impacted underlying results by $11.5m. Europe sales volume decreased 1.1%, due to the termination of the Modelo brands contract in the UK. Europe net sales per hectolitre decreased 2.6% in local currency, primarily due to the loss of the Modelo brands in the UK, lower contract brewing volume and negative mix. Despite the overall decline, if the impact of the terminated Modelo and Heineken contracts was excluded, Molson Coors increased net sales per hectolitre in all of its major Europe markets apart from Serbia.

Technomic and Propel partner for UK and US foodservice trends and direction conference:
Insights and research firm Technomic is partnering Propel for a full-day conference looking at UK and US foodservice trends and perspectives. The event is on Friday, 18 September at One Moorgate Place in London and attendees will also get a free copy of Technomic’s Top 500 US Chain Restaurant Report and the UK’s leading 100 foodservice brands worth a combined £800. Technomic’s vice-president Dave Henkes will give an industry update on UK foodservice and compare it with the US as well as providing forecasts and beverage trends in both markets. Fellow vice-president Darren Tristano will examine best practice in menu, concept and service among growth concepts as well as looking at consumer demands. Technomic’s Patrick Noone will provide insights on current UK trending menu flavours and preparations and consumer priorities and attitudes. Paul Damico, group president of Focus Brands – which operates several fast-food concepts in the US including Schlotzsky’s Bakery & Café and Moe’s Southwest Grill – will share best practices around creating a unique positioning, culture and growth strategy. Propel managing director Paul Charity will also lead a discussion of senior executives about current consumer trends, menu and beverage trends. Those taking part are: Jon Yantin, commercial director of the ONE Group, Chris Gerard, founder of Innventure, James Nye, managing director of Anglian Country Inns and Ben Levick, director of operations, TCG Group. Tickets are priced at the two-week early-bird rate of £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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