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Thu 3rd Sep 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Crowdcube investor questions BrewDog’s US expansion ahead of completion of £25m fund-raise: A Crowdcube investor has questioned BrewDog’s £3m expansion into the US, which was at the bottom of the company’s wish-list of future plans when it published them in May but is taking place ahead of the completion of its current £25m fund-raising round. The unnamed investor, writing on the website’s forum, stated on Crowdcube: “I’m sure you are not close to the full £3m (US investment) yet but the implication is that you are cracking on in the expectation of a fully funded cycle. Whilst this optimism may be perfectly placed, my underlying question still stands as to what controls, get out clauses, or alternative funding do you have if you do fall short of the £25m target?” A spokesman for BrewDog replied: “We are progressing down routes for almost all those projects, and the USA may appear more publicised due to the level of interest we have in this endeavour. It is also one of the most time-intensive, therefore we are looking to get moving as quickly as possible with this to ensure that we launch as soon as we can. We received some brilliant incentives in Columbus that have helped us in progressing with our plans for our US brewery site, and the funds raised through Equity for Punks will contribute towards this as well, making it operational by end of 2016. Hopefully this is helpful in understanding why the priority list may seem warped by the visibility of progress in US. It is a massive project for us, we have some brilliant team members working on it (including our first US hire!) and we’re making great headway in making it a reality.” Meanwhile, BrewDog will host a pair of public meetings in Ohio to share more about its aspirations and progress. The first meeting will be from 6pm to 8pm on Tuesday, 8 September at the Canal Winchester Community Center, 22 S. Trine St. The second will be at the same time on Thursday, 10 September at the Giant Eagle Market District Grandview Yard, 840 W. Third Ave. The meeting in Canal Winchester, where a $30.4m brewery is planned to supply the US market, is meant to address local community questions and concerns about the project, which will be at 96 Gender Road. Updates on construction and hiring are expected. The 100,000 sq ft facility will also house its US headquarters, a restaurant, taproom and visitor centre and is expected to employ 125 people. The second meeting is pitched as “Say Hi to BrewDog” and will focus on the company, its history and its future plans.

Industry News:

Peter Hansen to present at Propel Multi Club Conference: Peter Hansen, the founder of leading sector mergers and acquisitions advisory Sapient Corporate Finance, is to present at the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 5 November at the Lancaster Hotel, London. Hansen, whose business has advised on sector transactions worth more than £2bn in the past five years, including the sale of Meantime Brewery to SABMiller this year, will look at the key sector trends in 2015 for those buying and selling businesses. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book two free places per company. Anyone who would like to book a place should email Adam Dickinson on

Good Pub Guide 2016 – unruly children are ruining pubs:
Badly behaved, unruly children was the number one bugbear for customers, The Good Pub Guide 2016 has claimed. The overturning of the pre-1995 ban on children under 14 being allowed in pubs in England and Wales has helped increase food takings, with the introduction of family dining, but the survey results suggest there may be an appetite for a return to a time before the rules were relaxed. Guide editor Fiona Stapley said landlords welcomed families, but “sometimes with their fingers crossed behind their backs”. She said: “I think it’s something that’s been irking people for a long while. The majority of children are good in pubs, most are warmly welcomed. It’s this small persistent minority that spoils it for everybody. There may be someone sitting with a pint and a paper that doesn’t want to have a child running around unchecked, tripping up waitresses carrying food, bumping into tables and screaming.” The winner of the guide’s 2016 pub of the year is the Horse & Groom at Bourton-on-the-Hill, in the Cotswolds, which has won accolades for its food and the variety of ales. The owners, brothers Tom and Will Greenstock, have taken the decision not to have a specific children’s menu or high chairs, although its chefs will amend dishes to suit young tastes. Tom Greenstock said they do make some concessions to children by offering drawing paper and crayons. He added: “The worst thing for me is when there is a very small child screaming and bawling. However, most parents will take them outside.”

Crowdcube hits £100m raised total: Crowdcube has become the first equity-based platform to hit £100m in capital raised. In the five years since the inception of the company, 290 businesses have secured investment on the platform. The pace of investment is accelerating rapidly – 109 businesses have raised £50m collectively in 2015 alone. According to data released by Crowdsurfer in August, Crowdcube now has a 52% share of the UK equity crowdfunding market. So far in 2015, Crowdcube’s investors have earned financial returns of about £600,000, the company claims, just 0.6% of the amount invested. “Enabling people to invest in some of Britain’s brightest companies, alongside world-renowned venture capital firms and acclaimed angel investors, on Crowdcube is now commonplace,” said Darren Westlake, chief executive and co-founder of Crowdcube. “Crowdfunding is now sitting alongside venture capital, angel investing and traditional debt financing as a mainstream channel for funding rather than an ‘alternative’.”

HowYa launches API platform for partners: HowYa, the “at table” rating system has created a new “Application Programme Interface” (API) for selected partners who wish to integrate the HowYa system into existing platforms. The new development, which goes live next week, will mean partners benefitting from having a best in class ratings solution that bolts onto their existing platform. The API platform, which is suited to EPOS providers, payments systems and hospitality app developers, will provide HowYa’s partners with the ability to autonomously create Freemium HowYa accounts for their new and existing customer base. Rob Bennett, head of product design and founding partner of HowYa, said: “We’re very excited about this concept. It enables a channel through which all hospitality vendors can understand and communicate their customers’ real experience, irrespective of budget and size, free of charge. The capability for a hospitality business to understand their marketplace is lacking within the industry. We look forward to being able to provide a voice to those in the industry that view customer satisfaction as their primary route to a successful and long lived customer relationship.”

McDonald’s forecasts 2.5% sales boost from all-day breakfast in the US: McDonald’s has forecast that selling breakfast throughout the day in the US could deliver a sales boost of about 2.5% a year, Bloomberg reported. The all-day breakfast menu will be slightly slimmer than the traditional breakfast offering, containing its muffin or biscuit-based sandwiches, plus hot cakes, sausage burritos, fruit and yoghurt parfaits, oatmeal and hash browns. Franchises can also choose whether to drop other items from the menu to make way for breakfast items.

ONS reports jump in number of workers on zero-hours contracts: The number of people who say they have a zero-hours contract has jumped by a fifth in a year, new figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said 744,000 have a deal that does not guarantee any hours, with 40% saying they would like more work. But it said the rise could be in part a result of more people realising they have what is known as a “zero-hours contract” after the issue dominated much of the General Election campaign. The ONS said people on zero-hours contracts are more likely to be women, in full-time education, or older and younger workers. Someone on one of the contracts usually works 25 hours a week. The report said two out of five people on a zero-hours contract wanted more work, usually in their current job.

Mobile app allowing users to buy drinks for friends in UK goes global: One From Me, the mobile app that allows users to buy drinks for friends in the UK, has gone international. The company now has people in New Zealand, Hong Kong, Belgium, Israel and Australia buying drinks. Since going global at the weekend, 40 new users have started sending drinks via One From Me, with the furthest beer travelling 16,883km in an instant to reach Stoke Newington from Kaikoura in New Zealand. One From Me plans to capture the imagination of sports fans during the Rugby World Cup and showcase examples of drinks bought abroad and redeemed in the UK during matches in participating pubs and bars. Each drink costs £5 and can be sent with a personalised video or message with the recipient then redeeming it at a suitable venue.

San Francisco restaurant offers fully automated ordering and pick-up process: Restaurant operator Keenwawa has created a fully automated restaurant concept in San Francisco with no front-of-house staff. The company has launched Eatsa where customers order and pay via iPads, with the food then prepared by staff back-of-house before appearing in a glass container, or “cubbies”.  The restaurant’s vegetarian dishes, which prominitely feature quinoa and vary from burritos to salads, are all priced at $6.95, which is well below the market average in the city. Eatsa’s co-owner Tim Young has a background in technology, selling his previous company, Autonomy, for more than $10bn. Partner Scott Drummond works in marketing and is the founder of international branding agency, Forty-Forty, which has worked with numerous restaurants in the past.  Drummond told the San Francisco Chronicle: “We’re looking at ways that technology can increase efficiency – that way we can keep the price down.”

Legal update: licensing solicitors John Gaunt & Partners produce a useful monthly summary of topical issues and the latest can be accessed here.

Company News:

Bridport brewer and retailer reports turnover up, profit down: Bridport-based brewery and retailer JC Palmer has reported turnover rose to £9,225,108 in the year to 31 March 2015, up from £8,723,857 the year before. Pre-tax profit declined to £1,049,027 compared to £1,300,263 the year before. The company stated: “It’s been a very positive year for the company with sales and margins growing in every division of the business. The Anchor Inn in Seatown has had a fantastic first year since the major rebuilding project and two major refurbishments at the Thimble Inn, Piddlehinton, and The Three Horseshoes, Burton Bradstock, showing excellent returns. Our seasonal ale programme goes from strength to strength with Colmer returning during the summer. We have developed our own cider brand ‘Dorset Orchards’, which is based on using local Dorset cider apples. The first cider is Apple Bee, which has been a great success to date and is growing sales on a scale we are delighted with. Customer feedback is extremely encouraging.”

JD Wetherspoon to open first bar in Ireland outside of Dublin next week: JD Wetherspoon is to open its first pub in Ireland outside of Dublin next week. The Linen Weaver, which has been built on the site of the former Newport Cafe, Bar and Restaurant on Paul Street Plaza, Cork (population: 518,128), officially opens next Tuesday following a €3.65m refurbishment. The pub, which is on three floors, includes two bars. JD Wetherspoon currently runs four pubs in the Republic of Ireland; The Three Tun Tavern in Blackrock, The Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire, The Great Wood in Blanchardstown, and The Old Borough in Swords. The company has acquired a number of other properties in the Republic including a former homeless hostel on Camden Street in Dublin where the company is to invest more than €4m developing a new pub and hotel. JD Wetherspoon plans to open 30 bars across Ireland over the next five years. Meanwhile, the company has submitted plans to reopen a derelict pub in the Scottish seaside town of Leven (population: 8,850). A detailed planning application has been received from the company for the former Threeways Inn site on North Street, which has lain empty since 1998. The proposal involves refurbishing and renovating the existing building, which the company said would be a positive contribution to the community.

Gordon Ramsay to open second Hong Kong restaurant this week: Gordon Ramsay Group is to open its second restaurant in Hong Kong this week. London House, which will feature all-day dining, a bar and grill and well as live entertainment, will be situated in the East Tsim Sha Tsui dining precinct on the waterfront overlooking Victoria Harbour. The menu will have a heavy emphasis on “British quintessential dishes”, including fish and chips, bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and “classics from the grill”. The bar will feature an extensive cocktail and wine list as well as an assortment of beer offered on tap and by bottle. Ramsay launched his first Hong Kong venture with his Bread Street Kitchen brand, which opened last year in nightlight hotspot, Lan Kwai Fong. Ramsay, who also has Bread Street Kitchen restaurants in Singapore and Dubai modelled on the original brasserie in London, is reported to view the Asia region as a “real area for growth”.

Amber Taverns to open first Hogarths in Wales in November: Amber Taverns, the operator of community pubs led by James Baer and Bryan Wardman, is to open its first Hogarths bar in Wales in November. The company is opening the venue at the former Retro nightclub in St Mary Street, Swansea, which it bought earlier this year. Work is due to start on converting the two-storey building on Monday. Operations director Gary Roberts told the South Wales Evening Post: “The premises will be converted into a public house featuring gins and cocktails. We will also have an extensive range of wines, spirits and cask ales – sourced both locally and nationally. The style of the building will be based on a Victorian gin palace with rich decorative timber, cut glass mirrors and traditional stained glass windows. Hogarths will be strictly out of bounds to children.” The venue will also have private hire rooms for small functions and opportunities to take part in its seasonal gin master classes.

Artisan coffee company Grey Seal Roastery opens cafe in Blakeney, plans total of four in a year: Family-run business Grey Seal Roastery has opened a cafe in Blakeney, Norfolk, and is planning to expand the concept to sites located in Wells, Burnham Market and Norwich over the coming year. The company, known for its award-winning speciality coffee roasted in Glandford, using beans from Thailand, Malawi and Nicaragua, has seen a 15% increase in turnover from last year. The business is currently roasting three quarters of a tonne of coffee monthly, with its espresso blend receiving two stars from Great Taste. The brand has featured at numerous coffee events across Europe, including the London Coffee Festival. David Lane, joint-owner and roaster, told the Eastern Daily Press: “People are getting more and more into coffee. This time next year we want to have three or four of our own coffee shops.”

16 Hospitality acquires two sites in Wales: 16 Hospitality, the pub, bar, hotel and restaurant business run by Edward Barlow, has bought two prime coastal sites in Anglesey. The White Eagle in Rhoscolyn and The Oyster Catcher in Rhosneigr will be joining 16 Hospitality’s Cheshire sites, The Swan in Tarporley and The Crown at Goostrey, to create the first stage of this up-and-coming company’s growth strategy. The company’s aim is to become one of the leading independent hospitality operations in north Wales and the north west of England. Both sites were previously owned by the eponymous Timpson family. The Oyster Catcher is the base for the innovative Timpson’s Chef Academy, responsible for launching the careers of many young hospitality students in Anglesey. As part of the transaction, the Timpson family has taken part ownership of 16 Hospitality. Barlow said: “We are looking forward to an exciting expansion of our hospitality offer across the north west of England and Wales. Former executive chef, Matthew Parker, has been appointed operations manager and Catherine Ling will be joining the company and assisting in staff training and development. Catherine has a background in human resources and also within the hospitality sector, working in the UK, Chicago and Melbourne, Australia. Thanks to a record summer of sales, and well-supported beer festivals, our third quarter figures are really encouraging.”

Slim’s Healthy Kitchen to open third Belfast site, eyes expansion into Scotland: Belfast-based Slim’s Healthy Kitchen is to open its third site in the city next week and is eyeing expansion into Scotland. The company, founded by Gary McIldowney in 2013, is launching its new venue in Belmont Road on the site of a former Mace store, creating 20 jobs. The 60-seat restaurant is set to offer customers the same menu as the inaugural Slim’s in Lisburn Road but with an emphasis on coffee and healthy treats such as gluten-free carrot bakes, peanut cups and date and cashew balls. McIldowney told Belfast Live he is now looking to expand the brand outside Belfast and is keen to open an outlet in Glasgow as well as south of the border. He said: “I would like to do Glasgow as I was DJing there at new year and as a city I fell in love with it so we are looking heavily at Glasgow.” McIldowney also said he is considering opening smaller coffee shops in popular locations across Northern Ireland following frequent requests from customers. Slim’s opened its first site in Lisburn Road in July 2013 and followed that with a venue at Victoria Square Shopping Centre last year.

World’s self-styled first pan-Caribbean restaurant set to launch in Sutton Coldfield, owners plan chain across Midlands
: The world’s self-styled first pan-Caribbean restaurant is set to launch in Sutton Coldfield in what its owners say will be the first of a chain of sites across the Midlands. White Sands, which is the brainchild of Lloyd Waldron and Jermaine Jarratt, will open its first venue in Birmingham Road on 25 September, creating 18 jobs. It is also opening a flagship base in Birmingham city centre next year as well as planning sites at Touchwood in Solihull and Leamington Spa. The restaurant will give diners a choice of food from all the 28 island nations in the Caribbean and claims to be the first restaurant in the world to offer truly pan-Caribbean food. The menu has a choice of 62 dishes including oysters and breadcrumbs with a Cayman Islands sauce, and lamb with chocho (a Caribbean vegetable), peppers and a tomato and garlic sauce from Montserrat. Waldron, who is investing £500,000 along with Jarratt into the Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham sites, told the Birmingham Mail: “There is nothing else like this in the UK or even the world and we’re sure it’s going to be a major success. A typical Caribbean restaurant will just serve Jamaican food, and then often not very authentically. Every island has its own way of doing things and it’s all down to the seasoning. What we’re doing is fine dining, which not many Caribbean restaurants do.”

John Burton Race becomes ‘guest chef’ at Otterburn Castle Hotel: Chef John Burton Race has been appointed “guest chef” at the Otterburn Castle Hotel in Northumberland. The two-Michelin starred chef will take over as head chef at the grade II-listed hotel’s Oak Room Restaurant this month introducing a new seasonal a la carte menu as well as daily specials. Burton Race, who has worked with some of the world’s top chefs in a career spanning over 30 years, said: “I have visited Otterburn many times as a guest and fallen in love with the castle, the people and the spectacular region. I’ve always believed the best food you can eat is fresh and from on your own doorstep so where better to bring that to the plate than Otterburn Castle.” A spokesman for Otterburn Castle said: “We’re delighted to have a chef as experienced, talented and unique as John Burton Race bringing Michelin star-quality dining to Otterburn.”

Cosmo and CAU latest restaurant brands to sign for Southampton scheme:
Restaurant company Cosmo and CAU, which is owned by Gaucho, are the latest restaurant brands to sign up to the WestQuay Watermark development in Southampton. Both brands will be making their debut in the city after securing units at the £80m complex being developed by property company Hammerson. Cosmo, which was launched in Eastbourne, Sussex, in 2003 by Tom Chan, has taken an 11,700 sq ft site on the level above the upper promenade. The restaurant will offer 150 dishes from around the world with “live” cooking stations. Meanwhile, Argentinian-inspired restaurant CAU has secured a 3,152 sq ft unit on the lower promenade. They will be joined by other brands including Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana, which signed up to the development in July, Bill’s Restaurant and Jamie’s Italian. The WestQuay Watermark leisure and dining complex is due to open in late 2016.

Former Gordon Ramsay chef launches second Manchester site: Chef Adam Regan, who has worked for Sir Terence Conran and Gordon Ramsay as well at Michelin-starred Cannes restaurant Le Cave, has launched his second site in the Ancoats area of Manchester. Regan and Sophie Jarvis, who own the Indie restaurant Goose Fat & Wild Garlic, have opened bar and restaurant Cutting Room in Blossom Square on the site of the former Koffee Lock cafe. The duo has adding a mezzanine floor for the kitchen and built a micro bar using vintage luggage. One wall features a vintage camera art installation in a nod to the infamous peepholes in the area. The restaurant serves dishes from around the world, from Thai red curry to Tuscan bean stew and the menu also features an entire section dedicated to “things on toast”, where diners can mix and match from a range of artisan breads and toppings. Jarvis told the Manchester Evening News: “Adam and I fell in love with the old Koffee Lock cafe and could see the potential of the space. With an industrial but modern concept to keep in line with the heritage of the area, Cutting Room was born.” Regan and Jarvis launched Goose Fat & Wild Garlic in Cotton Street in July.

Costa Coffee to create online community platform:
Costa Coffee is to create an online community platform as it attempts to broaden its market research efforts. The company has appointed Leeds-based insights and digital solutions firm ResearchBods to recruit, build and manage the service. Costa’s brand and innovation director Carol Welch said: “We understand the importance of giving our customers a voice. The Costa community will do just that, allowing us to gain a greater understanding of what our customers want from the Costa brand and providing us with priceless insight into how we can learn and adapt to suit their tastes and needs.” Hosted on ResearchBods’ ex-plor platform, the Costa community would be accessible any time, anywhere, via the ex-plor app. ResearchBods director Jonathan Clough said: “We aim to enrich Costa’s market research efforts by enabling more readily available interactions with their customer base via the ex-plor platform. This will, in turn, benefit both the brand and their customers.”

Loungers set to open Cost Club in Coventry later this month: Loungers will open a Cosy Club site in Coventry’s Cathedral Lanes Shopping Centre on 18 September. Cosy Club will be the third and final restaurant to open in Broadgate as part of the £5.5m project to regenerate the area of Coventry city centre. Las Iguanas opened its doors during the August bank holiday weekend, with Wagamama due to follow suit on Monday. The Cosy Club site will create about 40  jobs. Between 2014 and 2015, 59 new restaurants opened across the city, which is up a fifth from 2013 to 2014 when 49 opened.

Healthy food company The Naked Deli to start expanding with second and third sites: Heaton-based healthy food outlet The Naked Deli is set to start expanding with its second and third sites in the north east of England. The company, which opened its first venue last year in Chillingham Road, will be offering its range of nutritious drinks and food as part of Newcastle department store Fenwick’s revamped food hall in October. It is also proposing to open another shop in Gosforth before Christmas. The Naked Deli director Kirstie Kimmins told Insider Media: “When the opportunity came up to join the new development at Fenwick we jumped at the chance. For us, it is an honour that an established large department store has shown such interest in our independent deli. Our company ethos is similar to Fenwick in that the well-being of our customers and providing quality goods is at the heart of everything we do. Having a concession in the new food hall is a perfect way to introduce our offerings to customers providing convenient, healthy meals to grab on the go.” The new-look food hall will also be home to a number of outlets including pan-Asian restaurant Ko Sai and fish bar and fishmonger Saltwater Fish Co, which are both being launched by north east restaurateur Terry Laybourne’s 21 Hospitality Group.

Restaurateur set to launch healthy Indian restaurant concept in Hale: Narhisa Rashid, whose family owns the Zouk Tea Bar and Grill brand, is set to launch a healthy Indian restaurant concept in Hale. Rashid, who also owns the Italian restaurant Avalanche in Manchester with husband Rashid Jamil, is to open Raka at the end of November along with longtime family friend and DJ agent Ben Spier. The restaurant, which will be based in the former Spice Lounge curry house in Ashley Road, will seat about 120 diners over three floors, as well as having a cocktail bar. The menu will feature what the pair describe as “Indian fusion street food with a healthy twist”, as well as protein-packed grills and kebabs, gluten-free naan and chapatti options and a spiced-up take on Sunday roasts. Rashid told the Manchester Evening News: “It won’t be your typical Indian restaurant. People want to have a nice meal out but they don’t always want all the baggage that comes with it, the carbs and the excess oil.”

Molson Coors launches enhanced version of Carling iPint app:
Brewer Molson Coors has launched an enhanced version of its Carling iPint app. The app now includes a new “Office Escape” game, exclusive Carling content and a function that enables users to “cheers” two virtual pints to win a series of brand rewards and partner prizes. Designed to unlock value across both the on and off-trade, it is also the first time that a mobile app specifically from a brand will be able to offer cashback solutions payable directly to the customer, including Now TV day passes, offers from Mitchells & Butlers and cashback rewards on purchases. Other exclusive partnerships are due to be revealed and added to the prize pool throughout the year. Molson Coors customer marketing director Alpesh Mistryat said: “The revamped Carling iPint app is the perfect example of how Molson Coors is generating consumer excitement in the beer category. By working with exclusive partners in the on and off-trade, we are enabling customers across multiple channels to unlock consumer value.” The new app has been developed in partnership with mobile agency Hi Mum! Said Dad.

Novus Leisure invests £200,000 in Balls Brothers site: Novus Leisure has continued its 2015 capital expenditure plan with a £200,000 investment into one of its most successful Balls Brothers sites – Minster Court. Located in the City of London, the venue has undergone an extensive refurbishment as part of a comprehensive evolution of the brand.  Minster Court now boasts a welcoming, timelessly-British design with classic fixtures and fittings, warmed and softened by modern fabrics, plants and “bric-a-brac” touches, to create a stylish yet comfortable environment. The function rooms have been refreshed with upgraded audio-visual equipment, while externally, a seating area makes the most of the outside space. Toby Smith, chief executive of Novus Leisure, said: “We’ve invested heavily into all aspects of Minster Court to ensure it creates a professional and friendly site that is the perfect environment for city workers keen to socialise, network and escape from the office throughout the day and night. We know that for the newly evolved Minster Court to be a success it’s not just about the interior or food and drink menus, but all aspects of the operation, particularly staff training and customer communication. By developing our team members to be engaging, attentive and experienced and ensuring they are incredibly knowledgeable about our offering and our products, Minster Court will offer exceptional service throughout the day.”

Contract cater Sodexho opens coffee shop/bar hybrid at sports stadium:
Contract caterer Sodexho has opened a licensed coffee shop called HD1 Cafe-Bar, within the Stadium Health and Fitness Club, at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, serving Costa coffee and Heineken products, as well as home-baked food for breakfast and lunch. The designer, Kyle Wisniewski, creative director of Breaking Free Design, was inspired by London coffee shops. In an interview with the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Sodexho sales and marketing manger Fenny Greenfield said: “We wanted to create a space like no other within the surrounding area, an upmarket venue with a more sophisticated feel for people to come and enjoy. Unlike most franchise cafes we don’t buy in our food pre-made.”

Tennent’s replaces Carling as official beer partner of Scottish football team: Scottish beer brand Tennent’s Lager has replaced Carling as the official beer partner of the nation’s football team. Tennents, which is owned by C&C Group, has agreed a three-year partnership for a seven-figure sum to back the side throughout its current European Championship qualifying campaign and its bid to make the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Tennent Caledonian Breweries managing director Alastair Campbell said: “We’re currently developing campaigns for our on and off-trade customers as part of our three-year partnership. These campaigns will put Scotland fans at the heart of our activity.” Scotland manager Gordon Strachan added: “It’s a great boost to get the backing of Tennent’s, a brand that has a great track record of supporting the game in Scotland.” Tennent’s can trace its association with the Scotland team back more than 40 years to when it partnered Willie Ormond’s undefeated side in the World Cup in West Germany in 1974.

Hermitage Hotel in Bournemouth acquired by multi-site operator: The Hermitage Hotel in Bournemouth has changed hands after its new owner secured a seven-figure funding package from The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). David Young has operated hotels in Bournemouth for more than 25 years. The new hotel joins his two existing hotels in the town: The Trouville Hotel and The Park Central. The four-star luxury hotel is located opposite Bournemouth Pier, the beachfront and the Bournemouth International Centre. It features 75 en-suite bedrooms and has been awarded an AA Rosette for food excellence. Young said: “I have always been keen about conducting business in the Bournemouth area and was thrilled to secure the purchase of The Hermitage with its stature plus having, arguably, the best location in Bournemouth. RBS has supported my expansion over the years and their latest investment will enable me to secure the future of a reputable hotel.”

Starwood to expand through franchise route: Starwood Hotels & Resorts is bringing its first new hotel chain in nine years to Europe as it looks for ways to accelerate its lacklustre growth, the Financial Times has reported. Starwood has signed the Great Northern Hotel in London’s King’s Cross as a Tribute hotel – a new franchise that sees independent hotel owners pay between 4% to 6% of their room revenues to Starwood in return for access to the group’s booking system, marketing and its Starwood Preferred Guest loyalty scheme. The Tribute model, which was launched in Miami in April, allows Starwood to rapidly expand at minimal marginal cost. It hopes to have 100 hotels signed up within the next five years. Starwood’s former chief executive Frits van Paasschen departed abruptly in February after criticism the hotel company was not expanding as fast as its rivals. Starwood added 7,000 new rooms in 2014, just 2% growth. In recent weeks, Paulson & Co and Och-Ziff, two American hedge funds, have become Starwood’s largest shareholders, raising pressure on the owner of the Sheraton and W Hotels chains to find a successful route back to growth or to sell itself.

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, leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC, 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

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 £295 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers and are available by emailing
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