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Tue 25th Aug 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pubs first choice for eating out because of ‘value for money’, according to new survey: Pubs are the first choice for consumers when it comes to eating out with 29% of respondents in a new survey choosing them because of their “value for money”. The research, commissioned by potato specialist Aviko, found branded restaurants also act as a draw for families with 22% making them first choice while only 14% would opt for a local independent restaurant. Families remain very price sensitive with 67% of respondents citing this as a key motivator in choosing where to eat while the variety of food on offer was also a major influence for 65%. The majority of families (34%) spend between £26-£40 when dining out, said the survey of 300 people. Aviko general manager UK and Ireland Mohammed Essa said: “Despite the recession easing, old habits die hard and families that have been on the lookout for value for money are still choosing price over other factors such as menu choices and location. This doesn’t mean, however, that families want cheap food; they are still demanding a quality offering and, therefore, it is important that outlets looking to compete for the family pound meet these two demands.”

Industry News:

Sapient Corporate Finance – Punch disposals are the highest price paid for tenanted pubs since 2007: Sapient Corporate Finance, which advised Punch Taverns on the sale of 158 non-core pubs to NewRiver Retail, the specialist retail and leisure property real estate investment trust, for £53.5m has reported the transaction saw the highest multiple paid for tenanted pubs since 2007. The 158 pubs sold for an average price of £340,000 or 7.3x pub Ebit of £7.3m. The sale is the 27th transaction in which Sapient has advised Punch since 2002, with total consideration of £2.7bn. Sapient partner Peter Hansen said: “The sale price of 7.3x pub Ebit is the highest price since 2007 for non-core tenanted pubs. Prices for tenanted pubs are rising, driven in part by new entrants attracted to the higher yields that pubs generate compared to other property assets. We expect further activity in light of the Market Rent Option legislation.” Sapient has advised on mergers and acquisitions in the pubs, bars and brewing sectors worth in excess of £2bn in the past five years, including the sale of Meantime Brewing Company to SABMiller in June.

Guardian – restaurants’ tipping policy ‘forcing waiters to pay for work’: Waiters at major restaurant companies claim they are being forced to “pay to work” on some shifts because of a tipping policy that means they have to hand over cash at the end of the night. Las Iguanas, the Latin American brand now owned by Casual Dining Group, and Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay operate a policy that requires staff to pay back to their employer 3% of the table sales they generate on each shift, reports The Guardian. That figure rises to 5.5% in Las Iguanas’ London restaurants. The money is meant to be paid by waiters from their pot of tips but, because it bears no relation to how much a waiter actually takes in tips, it can wipe out their entire income from gratuities. The companies justify the policy by saying it allows them to share tips with non-waiting staff through staff development and reward schemes. In a statement Turtle Bay said: “The 3% is a calculation on a server’s total sales, and in the vast majority of cases customers will leave in excess of ten-15% of their bill as tips. In addition, a 10% service charge is added to all tables of five or more, which the server also keeps. We are not aware of any occasion where a floor server has not earned any tips.” A Las Iguanas spokesman said although it did charge 3% of sales, it only took this where the tip pot would cover it and that staff never had to pay back money from their wages. It has also emerged Gaucho takes 16% of staff tips and puts part of this towards “staff incentives and competitions”. It also takes a further 2.3% each month from sales generated by each waiter, which is shared among non-waiting staff. Gaucho said: “The earnings of waiters in Gaucho are well above the industry standard, and waiters in Gaucho share their tips and service with hourly-paid kitchen, reception and bar staff on the basis of their seniority and length of service.” Perry Phillips, London regional officer at the GMB union, which is pursuing a complaint about Turtle Bay on behalf of some of its members, said: “The fact that these restaurants are taking money off the waiting staff regardless of the tips they earn is unjust, unfair and downright disgraceful.”

Deliveroo expands restaurant meal delivery concept to Bristol: London-based start-up Deliveroo, which delivers high-quality local restaurant meals to customers’ doors, has expanded the concept to Bristol. The company, which already provides the service in cities including Birmingham, Nottingham, London and Leicester, already has more than 30 restaurants in Bristol on board including CAU – the Argentinian restaurant brand owned by Gaucho – Clifton Lido, Bagel Boy, Yume Kitchen, and the Burger Joint. So far many of the restaurants signed up are based in the central Bristol, Clifton, Park Street, Brandon Hill, Gloucester Road and St Andrews areas and the company aims to expand in to Bedminster and south Bristol. Customers go to the website www.deliveroo.co.uk or use the app and enter their postcode to find local outlets – orders come with a £2.50 delivery charge. The service only offers to deliver within two miles of an address to keep food hot. The two-year-old company raised more than £16m earlier this year to support its expansion.

Indian restaurant owners to lobby government for short-term work visas to plug chef shortage: Indian restaurant owners are to lobby the government to introduce short-term work visas for experienced overseas staff to help plug a curry chef shortage that is forcing sites to close. Enam Ali, who founded the British Curry Awards ten years ago, is preparing a submission to prime minister David Cameron and other cabinet members, reports The Independent. It warns 90% of curry restaurants are “under the threat of a chef skills shortage”, less than two years after Cameron acknowledged at the 2013 awards “there have been questions on immigration and getting chefs with the necessary experience” and vowed to “continue to help get the skilled Asian chefs needed”. The submission states: “We know historically that immigration is a political exercise for any party who wants to use it to gain a political advantage, but sadly it is the curry industry that is paying the price for it. We therefore urge the government to help our industry and we strongly recommend the immigration laws covering bringing in chefs from abroad be made, even on a temporary basis, more adequately flexible.” Indian restaurants employ 100,000 people and earn £4.2bn a year, but Ali warned it can take up to three years to train a chef from scratch, and that “hundreds” of the restaurants could soon go the way of local pubs and close.

Yum Brands sells fledgling chicken brand: Yum Brands has sold a new fast casual chicken restaurant concept it had been working on, according to a report in Nation’s Restaurant News. Yum, the parent of KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, has sold Super Chix Chicken & Custard, a chicken chain with two locations in the North Dallas area. The report said it was sold to its founder and former Yum employee Nick Ouimet, who worked in finance operations at KFC and Yum, including new concept development for a variety of brands.

Final British Street Food Awards heat arrives in Cornwall: The last of the British Street Food Awards heats will be held in Cornwall this weekend. Falmouth’s Events Square will offer a choice of 13 cuisines, including kebabs from Devon’s The Posh Kebab Company and barbecued meat courtesy of the Cornish Inkie’s Smokehouse. “I certainly think there is a British way of doing these things,” said Richard Johnson, founder of the awards. “There’s a third way between the showiness of the Americans and the purity of what they do in the Far East. British food, by its very nature, is cosmopolitan; it draws from lots of different food cultures and that works very well when it comes to street food. I think the best thing about this particular heat is probably a refusal to faff around with nature’s bounty. If you’ve got a great piece of fish, a great piece of meat, you don’t drown it in sauce. Because you’re never far from the sea here, and you’re never far from great pastures, thank God there is a refusal to mess around with food.” After the 13 traders have served up their goods over the weekend, the public will vote to put one of them through to the final. Head chef Andy Appleton from Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen Cornwall will select a second trader to go through.

Company News:

LT Management Services wins ‘Punch disposals’ contract: The sector’s largest out-sourced management company LT Management Services has won the contract to provide day-to-day management for the 158 pubs NewRiver Retail has acquired from Punch for £53.5m, Propel understands. The contract is the latest major win for LT, which is led by Billy Buchanan, as asset owners seek to minimise their own central overhead costs. Yesterday (Monday, 24 August), NewRiver Retail reported that hiring a third party company to run the estate on a day-to-day basis would allow it to focus on its “asset management and development programme”. The addition of the 158 Punch pubs to LT’s portfolio means the Norfolk-based operator is running in excess of 1,000 pubs, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs on behalf of a range of assets owners, pub companies, investors and banks. One observer stated: “There is an increasing trend whereby owners want to realise savings and reduce or avoid central overhead costs by contracting with specialist management companies. In this, LT has created a leadership position within the sector and is very likely to find itself running an increasing number of assets on behalf of owners.”

Square Pie extends £750,000 mini-bond offer: Square Pie, led by Martin Dewey, has extended its mini-bond offer on Crowdcube for another 45 days. The company is trying to raise £750,000 by offering 8% over four years to those who invest – the offer has so far raised £367,500, about 49% of the total. The company stated: “The Square Pie team has decided to extend our bond offer by 45 days, to maximise the opportunity for all investors to get a slice of the pie once we’re through the holiday season. This will also tie in well with a big campaign we have coming up to coincide with the Rugby World Cup, more details on this to follow in our regular updates. Some other good news – we’re delighted to have recently won a major listing with a key national retailer, launching in September (details to come).” Square Pie has been given a Probability of Default (POD) of 0.7% by Moody’s Analytics tool based on historic accounts. This compares to a 3.3% average for the bonds listed on Crowdcube so far.

Brompton Food Market duo to open first pub: The duo behind the Brompton Food Market concept, Luke Mackay and David Turcan, is to open its first pub next month. Mackay and Turcan, who met while at Reading University, are taking over The Hour Glass in South Kensington, London, an intimate, neighbourhood pub “serving great pints and fantastic food”, in conjunction with landlord South Kensington Estates. The pub’s original features have been uncovered while there is also a giant hour glass sculpture. Upstairs is a 28-cover dining room with an open pass kitchen. The Hour Glass will be run by Henry Gravells, who has managed some of the most famous pubs in London including The Pilot Inn in Greenwich. London brewers will make up at least 50% of the draft options alongside some proper cloudy scrumpy, IPA’s, at least three guest ales and a number of bottled beers. The kitchen is headed by Tim Parsons, who has experience working with Michelin-starred chefs and in restaurants such as The Ebury. The menu, created by Mackay and Turcan, will include sea bream with cauliflower, burnt leeks and brown shrimp and flat iron steak with dripping chips. Mackay has been in the food and wine business for 17 years, latterly as Borough Market’s demo chef and in-house writer, and was responsible for taking over and turning around the failing Royal Oak in Wiltshire. Turcan’s expertise lies in marketing, communications and business development. Mackay and Turcan launched Brompton Food Market, a butcher, greengrocer, fishmonger and deli all under one roof, last year in Thurloe Place.

Blumenthal to reopen Fat Duck restaurant next month with new ‘story-telling’ menu and £150,000 sweet trolley: Heston Blumenthal will reopen his three Michelin-starred Fat Duck restaurant next month with a new “story-telling” menu and a £150,000 sweet trolley. The restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, has been closed for six months for a major refurbishment during which time Blumenthal relocated the restaurant and its staff to Melbourne in Australia. It is now set to reopen with a new menu is to take diners on a “story-telling” journey aimed at capturing childhood feelings of adventure, discovery and curiosity, reports the Daily Mail. However, the new-look menu will not feature Blumenthal’s famed snail porridge and egg and bacon ice cream because they had both “evolved as far as they could”. He has also chosen to build a sweetshop, at a cost of more than £150,000, to go round on a trolley at the end of the meal. Blumenthal has even turned to magician Derren Brown for tips on how to personalise people’s dinner choices by using auto-suggestion techniques so diners get what they think they most crave. When the Fat Duck closed at the start of the year, the multi-course tasting menu cost £220 a head without drinks or service and Blumenthal said having more than 70 staff make handmade food for 40 seats at each service would likely force up the price of a meal. The restaurant is to introduce a new online ticketing system from next week after receiving up to 30,000 calls a day for seats. The site of the Fat Duck was built in 1640 and is part of a grade II-listed building.

Batemans opens first ‘manchise’ pub: Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has completed an extensive £150,000 refurbishment of Wainfleet pub The Woolpack. This pub is the first to reopen under Batemans’ new “manchise” agreement, a cross between a managed and tenanted pub that sees the operator take a percentage of turnover. The Woolpack has been given a complete new look, with £20,000 spent on a new kitchen and the remainder invested in dramatically improving the rest of the pub, including creating a new lounge and seating area, and freshening up the toilets and bar area. The finished result is an appealing and comfortable, quality community pub, with a focus on food and drink across all day parts. Batemans’ new “manchise” pubs are run under a hybrid agreement; half managed, half tenanted, and rewards operators for being entrepreneurial and growing the business. This agreement releases the operator from responsibility for the day-to-day expenses such as utilities, wet stock and insurance, leaving them free to focus on developing the food and accommodation aspect of the pub, where appropriate. There is a franchise fee based on turnover, which means the operator receives a percentage of wet turnover, and Batemans receives a percentage of accommodation and food turnover.

Tossed soars to 164% funded after Andy Murray investment: Healthy eating brand Tossed has now raised £1,229,239 in its crowdfunding campaign after receiving a boost from the news that tennis star Andy Murray has invested. The company has doubled its crowdfunding total in ten days and has now raised 164% of the original target. The fund-raising values Tossed at £12,882,458 pre-money. At an investor event recently, finance director Neil Sabba reported record quarter one sales of £2.3m in the period between March and June, which generated Ebitda of nearly double its quarter one budget. Meanwhile the company has secured a 1,600 sq ft site in the City of London, which will be its 16th company-owned store and the 25th Tossed in total. The sixth Tossed at Welcome Break opened last Friday with digital menu boards and a full grab-and-go display. It has replaced a Papa John’s site and recorded the highest opening day’s sales of any of its service station sites so far. Among the investors in the crowdfunding campaign is Tossed chairman Rod McKie, who is also Welcome Break chief executive, who has invested £19,900. Store sales in the last financial year were £8.2m, representing annual growth of 30.3% and 8.8% like-for-like growth.

Laybourne to open new pan-Asian restaurant in Newcastle: North east restaurateur Terry Laybourne is expanding his Newcastle-based 21 Hospitality Group by opening a new pan-Asian restaurant in the city. Laybourne, who last week unveiled plans to open a fish bar and fishmonger at the revamped Fenwick Food Hall, will launch Ko Sai at the same venue in October. He has teamed up with Parichat Somsri-Kirby – head chef from his flagship restaurant Cafe 21 – for the venture, classed as a specialist noodle bar. The restaurant’s emphasis will be on fast-casual dining for about 40 counter-seated customers at a time. A delicatessen counter will also offer takeaways and the menu will feature dishes ranging from finger-food snacks to meals such as soup noodles, stir fry and curries, steamed buns and Thai and Vietnamese style salads. Ko Sai’s drinks list will include a new house beer developed with Wylam Brewery. Somsri-Kirby told Chronicle Live: “We’ll be serving food inspired by genuine Asian street food and recipes my mother made on the family rice farm in Thailand.” Laybourne is also closing Cafe 21 for a £100,000 refurbishment, which will see the quayside venue rebranded as 21 and reopen on Tuesday, 8 September. 21 Hospitality Group also operates Caffe Vivo and The Broad Chare gastro-pub on the quayside and Bistro 21 in Durham.

Former Peach executives open first pub: A new gastro-pub company Epic Pubs, led by former Peach Pub Company partner Andrew Coath, has opened its first pub The Golden Ball, in Maidenhead, Berkshire, following a £1.1m investment. Epic, which has secured EIS-funding of more than £5m, will follow that by opening sites in Haslemere, Surrey, Towcester, Northamptonshire; and in Essex – all freehold. Coath, who was a partner at Peach Pubs for more than ten years, told Propel that The Golden Ball, which is situated within a National Trust area, was the “ideal market” for the company’s first gastro-pub. He said: “We are very pleased to get this venture off the ground. The trade levels at The Golden Ball were great and this is an opportunity for us to move it forward because there is so much potential in the property. There are a lot of food and drink offers in the Maidenhead area but we are bringing something different to the market and we will be serving quality food in a stand-out environment.”

Conde Naste highlights foodservice innovations, pub and Asian offering at Soho Farmhouse: The prestigious travel magazine Conde Naste Traveler has highlighted the foodservice innovations at Soho Group’s new opening Soho Farmhouse, which has opened in 100 acres at Great Tew, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. The magazine stated: “Soho House’s British vibe has always shone through in its restaurants, but with Farmhouse, the brand is trying something new. An as yet unnamed Japanese restaurant—the group’s first Asian offering—will sit poolside, while a small deli will sell items like homemade granola, salads, and pork pies, which can be eaten around a communal table or back in your cabin. And the Mill Bar—centered around an antique wooden bar that (Soho House founder) Nick Jones bought in Chicago and shipped straight to Oxfordshire—is the first pub for the group. Room service at Soho Farmhouse takes the shape of two food trucks (devoted to drinks and dishes), which roll up to your cabin to whip up orders as soon as they’re requested. The ‘Drinking’ truck is a fully stocked bar serving the same cocktail menu as the main clubhouse, while ‘Eating’ serves classic British comfort food – think bacon butties, sausage sandwiches, and even full English fry-ups in the morning. And plans are afoot for a cocktail round every evening.”

Cardiff-based gourmet burger bar set to start expanding with second site, eyes third location: Cardiff-based gourmet burger bar The Grazing Shed is set to start expanding with its second site in the city and is already eyeing up a third location. The company, which launched in Barrack Lane in September 2013, is opening on the former Trailfinders Travel site in St Mary Street in mid-September. The new restaurant, which seats about 65, will create about 20 jobs. Director Duncan Black told Wales Online the plan was always to open up more than one restaurant and is looking around for a third site. He said: “We’ve been looking for units for quite a while. We were just trying to find the right spot in the right location. It will give us the opportunity to service the other side of town. The Barrack Lane side can service the offices that side of town, and with the big development at the BBC we can hopefully service this side.”

Douglas Jack – Punch Taverns disposal is a good one: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued a ‘Buy’ note on Punch Taverns, with a target price of 160p, after yesterday’s (Monday, 24 August) disposal of 158 pubs to NewRiver Retail. He said: “Punch Taverns has sold 158 pubs to NewRiver Retail for £53.5m, an average of £339,000 per pub. This is ahead of book value (£52.5m) and significantly ahead of the average proceeds achieved from previous non-core disposals (£256,000 per pub). This effectively de-risks the disposal programme: we estimate there are only 550 non-core pubs left, with an average book value of £230,000 per pub. The disposal equates to 7.3x Ebit, based on earnings over the last 12 months. Although this appears worse than the circa 20x Ebitda multiple achieved by the previous 1,556 non-core pub disposals, it is a better outcome based on average value (£339,000 versus £256,000), with previous disposals’ value depressed (and multiple exaggerated) by the pubs’ performance having already collapsed. Punch should have circa 2,900 core and circa 550 non-core pubs, following this disposal. This is consistent with there being circa 3,600 pubs at the August 2015 year-end, and circa 210 pubs being sold in 2015E, in line with our forecast. We now expect the company to sell 330 pubs in 2016E, including the 158 pubs to NewRiver Retail, as this transaction should complete on 11 September. We have marginally downgraded our 2016E and 2017E forecasts to reflect dilution from this disposal. However, the transaction brings forward the likely completion date of the non-core disposal programme to 2018E (from 2019E), and should enable increased focus on the core estate. Following this transaction, we estimate that Punch’s pubs’ book value exceeds its debt by £700m, implying over £3/share of equity value, even though the average book value of the remaining non-core estate is just £230,000/pub. We expect the company to announce a positive full year trading update on 1 September.”

Whitbread buys former SA Brain site in Aberystwyth: Whitbread has acquired the former SA Brain hotel on the seafront at Aberystwyth for its Premier Inn brand. It has bought the Bay Hotel from Opus North. It is hoped the new Premier Inn, comprising 62 bedrooms and a restaurant, will help regenerate the northern promenade area of Aberystwyth. Work has already started on site and the hotel is expected to be open ahead of Christmas. The Bay Hotel was previously owned by Ceredigion Council, which had leased it to Cardiff-based brewer SA Brain.

Bill’s to open in High Wycombe shopping centre: Bill’s is set to open in High Wycombe’s Eden shopping centre, converting the site formerly occupied by children’s clothing firm Pumpkin Patch. Vanessa Ollis from the Eden Shopping Centre said: “We’re delighted that Bills Restaurant will soon open at Eden and have no doubt that their commitment to good food and excellent service will be a hit with our shoppers. They join an already thriving food and leisure offer alongside operators including PizzaExpress, Nando’s, Zizzi’s, Frankie & Benny’s and YO! Sushi and we can’t wait to try their breakfasts, lunches and dinners.” The eatery submitted a planning application to Wycombe District Council in April and approval was granted two months later to switch the space from a retailer to restaurant.

Pizza Hut UK sees spend-per-head increase by £2 thanks to better data analytics: Pizza Hut UK, owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners, said it has seen spend-per-head increase by £2 thanks to better data analytics. The company, which has about 285 restaurants in the UK, has been applying the system to its £60m refurbishment programme allowing it to make decisions based on hard evidence and not gut instinct or guesswork. It used Applied Predictive Technologies (APT) to run controlled experiments to see if its ideas such as new pizza bases and toppings and adding cocktail bars to its sites were helping sales in the long-term. APT showed the company, for example, that while waffles gave the restaurants a wonderful aroma, they cost so much to produce that the business would not make any money on them. Pizza Hut UK strategy director Andy Platt said: “We saw 40% growth in some of our really big investments, which was truly transformational. Before we started (using data analytics), average customer spend was about £9, now it’s around £11. It’s easy to see results and take the wrong read of them.” APT European boss Rupert Naylor added: “We help people run tests on how to innovate and whether that innovation is working. We do a control test on restaurants that show similar behaviour as a baseline, then we strip out all the noise – the data that may have affected sales anyway – to get to the truth. It’s a scientific, evidence-based approach.”

Essex businessman starts expanding portfolio by opening second Indian restaurant: Essex businessman Salik Miah has started expanding his portfolio by opening a second Indian restaurant in the county. Miah, who runs the Rajmoni in Brentwood, has opened the Spicy Swan Inn in Bradwell-on-Sea, creating 15 jobs. He bought the former pub for £300,000 in April last year before investing a further £150,000 refurbishing the property in Coggeshall Road. Miah has retained part of the building as a pub but told the Essex Chronicle he is focused on making a success of the restaurant. The venture is a family affair with Miah joined on the management team by brothers Faruk, Manik and Sadiq. Miah opened his first restaurant, the Rajmoni in Warley Hill, Brentwood, in 2000.

David Wigham becomes development director at Punch Taverns:
Punch regional operations director David Wigham has been promoted to the role of development director as part of a change in roles at the company. Chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “As we plan ahead for our future in an ever-changing environment, we have re-focused our organisational structure with the emphasis on delivering results through a high quality pub estate, providing support so that we are delivering the best experiences for our pub customers and developing and driving our future plans. As a result, some new roles have been created. Further clarity on the organisation and our way forward will be shared at our results presentation in November.”

McDonald’s signs second franchise agreement in Russia: McDonald’s has signed its second franchise agreement in Russia, which will help it to expand in remote Siberian regions. The company has agreed a deal with Russian company GiD Llc to open up to 20 restaurants in the Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kemerovo, and Altai regions in the coming years, reports Reuters. “We are confident that the use of the franchising scheme will be a next step in the successful development of our business and will contribute to a further strengthening of the McDonald’s brand in Russia,” McDonald’s Russian chief executive Khamzat Khasbulatov said in a statement. McDonald’s, which has operated in Russia for 25 years, already has more than 500 restaurants in 120 cities. Unlike in the US, it has focused on developing its own restaurants in Russia and its first and until now only Russian franchising deal was signed in 2012 with Rosinter.

Speaker programme confirmed for The Bar and Nightclub Conference: The full speaker programme has been confirmed for The Bar and Nightclub Conference, which is being held on Tuesday, 27 October at Bafta Piccadilly. Speakers are: Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, Simon Chaplin, director and head of leisure and development at Christie + Co, Trevor Watson, executive director of Davis Coffer Lyons, Graeme Bunn, director of Fleurets, Glendola Leisure managing director Alex Salussolia, Riz Shaikh, co-founder of the Columbo Group, Dave Henkes, vice-president of Technomic, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, Exeat Leisure founder Stephen Thomas, Tokyo Industries founder Aaron Mellor, Reuben Harley, chief executive of Eclectic, Alex Hazzard, co-founder of the Burning Night Group, Luke Johnson, of Risk Capital Partners and Adam Marshall, founder of Grand Union Group. The conference, the first stand-alone event for this part of the market, examines the key issues affecting the market with contributions from key figures within the sector. Tickets are free for operators and cost £145 for ALMR supplier members and £195 for ALMR non-suppliers. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity on jo.charity@propelinfo.com

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 £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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