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Tue 8th Sep 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Scottish pubs closures double to 360 in a year after tougher drink drive laws: A record 360 Scottish pubs have closed in the last year as a result of tougher new drink-drive limit. Trade leader Paul Waterson said traditional locals have been shutting at the rate of seven a week since the government reduced the safe legal alcohol limit in December. Waterson, chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), reported the rate of pub closures has gone from three a week to seven since the new drink-drive limit. He told The Daily Record: “A large percentage of the pub trade was workers having a drink before they drive home. That has almost evaporated, with most people having that drink when they get home. Takings at places like golf and rugby clubs are down by up to 70%.” Waterson says Scotland’s drink-drive laws are now the toughest in Europe. He added: “Our penalties are out of line with the rest of Europe. I am not aware of any countries which ban drivers with a blood alcohol level of 50mg. It should be points-based. People are also worried about drinking the night before and being over the limit the next day.” Waterson said Scotland’s remaining 5,000 pubs are still worth £1.5 billion to the economy and generate more than £900 million in tax revenues each year. But he added: “People are simply choosing not to drink in pubs and instead are drinking in the house.” The SLTA also want a change in the way business rates are calculated for pubs and for the number of pubs qualifying for full rates relief to be doubled.

Industry News:

Scott Shaw to present at Propel Multi Club Conference: Scott Shaw, founder and chairman of marketing and information analysis business Fishbowl, is to present at the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 5 November at the Lancaster Hotel, London. Shaw, whose business works with circa 250 restaurant businesses in the US, will explain how US restaurant businesses are using guest information to drive marketing and sales. Multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book two free places per company. Anyone who would like to book places should email Adam Dickinson on

Marston’s ‘pub of the future’ team to present ideas to company’s board next month: The ten-strong team helping to design the “pub of the future” for Marston’s will pitch its ideas to the company’s board next month. Each member of the team, who are aged between 18 and 32 and come from across the country, have been working on their suggestions since winning a nationwide competition organised by Marston’s last year. The brief stated the design must be one that will specifically appeal to the future generation of pub goers. The company will then turn some of the recommendations of the team of designers into reality when a real “pub of the future” is created. One of the team Kayleigh McFarlane, from Stratford, said her ideas include a modern yet inviting design with a clean, simple and uniformed look that will be attractive to a younger generation and include free Wi-Fi. Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay previously said: “The British pub is one of the greatest institutions we have in this country. But it has a problem: it needs to become more relevant for people under the age of 35, who are no longer going to the pub the way we did in years gone by.”

‘Best brewpub in the US’ wins finance to add 30 sites: The HopCat craft beer chain, which has six sites and whose Grand Rapids, Michigan, site has been named number one brewpub in the US several times by, has secured $25m of investment. Owner BarFly Ventures has signed the deal with a Texas lender to finance 30 new locations. The deal, which gives the lender a small equity stake in BarFly, gives the Grand Rapids company enough cash to double its growth rate and open six new HopCats a year for the next five years, said owner Mark Sellers. “We’ve put together travel teams, pre-opening teams and have negotiated a lot of leases in various cities that will be announced one at a time,” he said. The next location is Lexington, Kentucky, where a $3m HopCat will open this autumn with 140 taps and seating for 300. The location will include a small-batch brewing system similar to the one found in the original HopCat, which opened in downtown Grand Rapids in 2008.

McDonald’s branded ‘partitionist’ over burger only available in Eire: McDonald’s has been branded “partitionist” because its new “Irish” burger will not be sold in Northern Ireland. The company launched the McMór as a “tribute to the best produce and finest flavours from across Ireland” – but the burger will not be available in its northern restaurants. Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff accused McDonald’s of being “partitionist”. “It is not ‘mór go leor’ because it does not incorporate the six counties,” he said. “If it’s available in Letterkenny then it should be available in Omagh. McDonald’s is a global firm and some people have concerns about its ethics, but we can now add the sin of partitionism to the list.” The McMór features a “potato-flaked” bun, shredded cabbage, Irish bacon, Ballymaloe relish and Charleville cheddar. The limited edition burger will be available in all 88 McDonald’s restaurants in the south for a six-week period. It was created by the McDonald’s Ireland Chefs Council, which held its first meeting in May last year to develop a local burger with Irish flavours. A McDonald’s spokesman said: “The McMór was developed by the McDonald’s business in the Republic of Ireland for customers in this market specifically. McDonald’s Northern Ireland is part of the McDonald’s UK business.”

Good Pub Guide 2016 shows widening differential in average price of a pint:
The Good Pub Guide 2016’s annual national survey of beer prices shows a 82p-a-pint difference between Herefordshire, the cheapest county at £3.10, and London, the most expensive at £3.92 (up from 76p last year). The average price of a pint of beer in Britain is now £3.46 (up from £3.31 last year). Another finding of this year’s survey is that Britain’s ever-growing range of pubs brewing their own beer typically costs £2.98 a pint which is 48p less than the national average of a pint of beer.

Total of 20 cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants set to take part in festival showcasing Tooting’s food and drink offering:
A total of 20 cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants will be taking part in a festival from 25-27 September showcasing Tooting’s food, drink and live entertainment offering. New to this year’s Tootopia, which is now in its fourth year, is the Foodie Trail, giving visitors the chance to taste 12 of Tooting’s top dining venues. The Tram will kick off proceedings with two up-and-coming indie bands Pleasure House and Native People, followed by a party set from DJ 7oel on 25 September. Other events include ten of the finest vendors currently trading on London’s street food circuit appearing at Graveney & Meadow’s on 26 September while there is also a pop-up cinema at Tooting Market and The Big Tooting Bake Off at Coffee Co in support of Macmillian Cancer Support. For more information visit

Company News:

Batemans buys £1m turnover managed pub in Doncaster: Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has purchased The Olive Bar & Grill in Barnby Dun, Doncaster, at an investment of more than £900,000. This is the company’s first major acquisition since the employment of its new retail director Linda Green and is a key step in its ongoing development plan to build the managed division of its business. The Olive Bar & Grill generates a turnover in excess of £1m per year and will become Batemans’ second managed house. It boasts a strong food menu and is very popular with female customers, whilst also offering seven letting bedrooms. Batemans intends to trade the venue in its current format for the foreseeable future and will be retaining all the existing employees, while also investing £40,000 into on-site staff accommodation. With The Olive Bar & Grill, Batemans plans to build on the success of its first managed house, The Game Bird in Beverley, which the brewer saved from demolition in March of this year. As has previously been announced, Batemans intends to increase the number of managed houses in its estate to 15 over the next five years. Green said: “The purchase of The Olive Bar & Grill is something of a realisation of a dream for Batemans, as we extend our portfolio to include a site that is very different from what we currently offer. When it comes to acquisitions, most would expect us to choose a traditional ale house, but The Olive Bar & Grill is a complete departure from that, and one we know we can make a real success as a managed house. We look forward to continuing with our acquisition drive throughout the rest of 2015 and beyond!”

BrewDog fundraising advert prompts 8,000-protest petition: Nearly 8,000 people have called on BrewDog to remove a fundraising advert many are considering transphobic. Thousands of people say they will boycott BrewDog until it removes the video. The video, called Don’t Make Us Do This, calls on fans of the company to become “investors”. When asking for money, co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie ask people to not put them through damaging or humiliating experiences. This involves stopping them begging for money as a homeless person or becoming a “trans” sex worker. They then show Watt and Dickie doing just this. They dress fully bearded in prostitute’s clothing and pose provocatively in a red-tinted window. Watt and Dickie say they then “need a shower”. The petition said: “BrewDog beer company claims to be ‘beer for punks’. They claim to be ethical. Yet in their new crowdsourcing video they mock homeless people, trans women and sex workers. They say, ‘don’t make us do this’ whilst performing as offensive caricatures of people, many of whom already suffer discrimination every day. They are mocking the lives and experiences of people who real punks would be defending and helping. Worse, this is a fundraising video – they’re using these images in an exploitative manner to make money.”

Antony Bennett departs La Tasca to join Loungers as head of food: Loungers, the all-day café bar chain, has strengthened its management team with the appointment of Antony Bennett as head of food. Bennett joins this month, having spent the last four years as head of food at La Tasca, where he has helped rejuvenate the La Tasca brand, making the offer more authentic and working directly with Spanish suppliers. This year he won the Craft Guild of Chefs Development Chef Award, recognising what La Tasca chief executive Simon Wilkinson called his “outstanding work in taking a written-off food concept back to the top of the casual dining market”. At Loungers, Bennett will have responsibility for the food development process and supply chain management, as well as working closely with the operations chef team to ensure consistent delivery on the front line. Loungers managing director Nick Collins said: “We are delighted to welcome Antony to Loungers having seen him do such a great job at La Tasca. The evolution of our food menu and the consistency of its delivery will be critical to the continued success of Lounge and Cosy Club in the coming years, which is why we decided to create a new head of food role. Antony’s passion is matched by excellent experience and he has all the attributes to make an outstanding contribution to our business.” Loungers opened its 68th site Bevano Lounge in Urmston, Greater Manchester, last week and will be opening two more sites this month – Metro Lounge in Amersham and Cosy Club Coventry.

Simon French issues ‘Sell’ recommendation on JD Wetherspoon ahead of results: Cenkos Securities leisure analyst Simon French has issued a ‘Sell’ note on JD Wetherspoon ahead of full year results on Friday. He said: “We forecast £78.9m profit before tax compared to consensus estimates of £78.2m. At the last update for the 11 weeks to 12 July, like-for-like sales increased 2.9% and the operating margin dipped to 7.0% to bring FY like-for-like sales to 3.4% and the operating margin to 7.4%. We expect current trading trends to show flat like-for-like sales growth against a tough comparative of 6.3%. The stock trades on a CY 2016E adjusted EV/Ebitdar of 7.9x (EV/Ebitda 8.8x), which is relatively demanding given the pedestrian forecast earnings growth and difficult trading environment.”

Byron set for 15 openings a year: Better burger brand Byron, led by Tom Byng, will open 15 outlets a year, up from ten previously, The Telegraph has reported. He said 13 new sites were already confirmed for next year. Byron currently has 52 restaurants around the UK with 37 of these in London. Byng claimed that it would be much harder for emerging rivals to grow in London because of competition over sites and rising property prices. “I’m relieved we built the flagship estate we have in London because it’s very hard to find good sites with affordable rents now,” he said. “It would be much harder to launch and scale our business in London now. We have the resources and the infrastructure now, which means we can go for those out-of-town opportunities.” Outlets are opening in Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as the more regional English towns of Bromley and Harrogate. “Hamburgers are an iconic comfort food so we could go almost anywhere,” said Byng. “The trick is choosing when and where but you have to be opportunistic because you can’t control what properties are available.” Byng added it was not a question of “if” but “when” Byron would expand overseas.

New restaurant concept Salt & Good launches in Stevenage, owners plan national chain: Salt & Good, a restaurant concept that features cuisine based on food markets and street food vendors across the globe, has launched in Stevenage with its owners planning to turn it into a national chain. The concept, which gets its name from the premise that adding salt to food preserves it – and makes it good, has opened at The Plaza next to Affinity nightclub and Fit4Less gym. The bar offers a selection of beers, wines and spirits from around the world that also compliment the food. Co-founder Danny Punia told the Stevenage Comet: “We chose Stevenage as our flagship restaurant as we wanted to bring a whole new dining experience to a town that hasn’t seen it before. Our aim is for Salt & Good to become a UK-wide chain of restaurants offering world-class flavours from countries and cultures from around the globe. Customers looking to experience a little slice of everything can now do that under one roof.”

Canadian coffee shop brand Second Cup eyes Birmingham for third UK opening: Canadian coffee shop brand Second Cup is eyeing a former bank in Birmingham for its third UK opening. Plans have been lodged to turn the former Santander at 64 New Street into a Second Cup coffee shop. The Canadian franchise has opened outlets in Manchester and London in the past 12 months and had been looking at Cherry Street for its first venue in Birmingham. The company is known for selling Fairtrade Rainforest Alliance Certified coffees and Artisan leaf teas.

Som Saa launches £550,000 crowdfunding push on Crowdcube: A crowdfunding push to raise £550,000 to open Thai restaurant Som Saa has launched on Crowdcube – the total investment obtains 45% of the restaurant’s equity. The kitchen at Som Saa is headed up by co-head chefs Andy Oliver and Mark Dobbie. They met in London in 2009 at the Michelin-starred Nahm restaurant under the tutelage of David Thompson. Since then they have continued to deepen their understanding of Thai food and culture – Oliver went on to work at Bo Lan in Bangkok, with Thompson at Nahm London, and then at the Begging Bowl. Dobbie, meanwhile, rose to become head chef at Pok Pok Thai restaurant in New York and was instrumental in it winning a Michelin star in 2014. The business plan forecasts turnover of £1,607,869 in it third year, producing pre-tax profit of £218,156. The pitch states: “Having operated a critically and publically acclaimed pop-up in London Fields since October, Som Saa estimate they have served over 14,000 customers and are now planning to settle in a prime permanent location. Described as a ‘thrill-ride for the senses’ by the Guardian, Som Saa seeks to be the first and only destination Thai restaurant in London and is led by veterans of Thai cuisine. We believe London could sustain a handful of Som Saa restaurants and that Som Saa would also work in regional capitals such as Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham and Oxford.”

Hotel du Vin submits plans for Stratford-upon-Avon site: Hotel Du Vin, the brand acquired by Frasers Hospitality UK Holdings in June, has submitted plans to open a site in Stratford-upon-Avon. The company has applied to Stratford-on-Avon Council to convert two former office and residential buildings in Rother Street into a 48-bedroom boutique hotel, creating 60 jobs. It plans to develop the buildings into a characterful hotel, bistro and a separate banqueting room with the capacity to seat 80 diners by the end of 2016, reports the Stratford Herald. The plans also detail how later additions to the two buildings would be demolished and a new four-storey extension would be built at the rear of the properties. The two grade II-listed Georgian townhouses are owned by the Stratford Town Trust and will be leased to Hotel Du Vin if the application is successful. The buildings have primarily been used as office space in recent years, but have been slowly emptied of tenants over the past year.

JD Wetherspoon buys Dovercourt site: JD Wetherspoon has bought a site in Dovercourt, near Harwich, Essex (population: 9,600). The company has acquired the former Co-op site at Kingsway and plans to invest more than £1.3m converting it into a pub, creating 50 jobs. JD Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon told the Harwich and Manningtree Standard: “We are pleased to have purchased a site in Dovercourt. We believe that a Wetherspoon pub will be a great asset to the town and also act as a catalyst for investment from other businesses.” Work on converting the site is subject to planning and licensing applications, which will be determined by Tendring Council.

Grillstock granted licence for first Wales site: Barbecue restaurant Grillstock has been granted a licence for a site in Cardiff as it looks to open its first outlet in Wales. The company has applied to Cardiff City Council to open a venue in St Mary Street on the site of a former sports shop. The council’s licensing sub-committee has granted permission for the venue to sell food and alcohol from 11am to 11pm Sunday to Wednesday and 11am to midnight Thursday to Saturday. A separate planning application for the site will be determined at a later date. Co-owner Jon Finch told Wales Online: “There is still loads to do but we’re aiming to be open some time in the first half of 2016. We’ll also be recruiting in the new year.” Grillstock’s menu offers barbecue plates of chicken, ribs and wings, all pit-smoked over hickory wood on site every day, along with pulled park and burgers. The company, which also specialises in pop-up restaurants at festivals, has six branches, including two in Bristol.

Four new venues, including a Greene King Hungry Horse, get go-ahead for Dudley site: Multi-million pound plans for four new restaurants and cafes at Dudley’s Castlegate Business Park have been given the green light. More than 80 jobs will be created by the scheme, which will see a Hungry Horse pub, a Costa Coffee cafe and a KFC restaurant built on vacant land by the existing Premier Inn hotel. A fourth unit will also be constructed on the site, off Castlegate Drive, with developers hoping to attract another restaurant to the complex. Planning permission has now been approved by Dudley Council paving the way for work to begin on the project. Officers said the scheme would see redevelopment of a long-standing vacant site and create a “substantial” number of jobs.

Landlord submits restaurant plan for Louis Vuitton store:
The Louis Vuitton store in the heart of Birmingham’s business district is set to become a new restaurant – continuing a foodie renaissance in that corner of the city. New plans have been brought forward by London-based Epic Property Asset Management to covert 67-71 Temple Row into a restaurant or drinking establishment. In addition, a host of bars, pubs and restaurants are all within very close proximity of 67-71 Temple Row including Fumo, The Botanist, Purecraft Bar and Kitchen, The Bureau and Nosh & Quaff among many others. The two units are currently occupied by fashion stores Austin Reed and Louis Vuitton and front onto St Philip’s Square and have views of Birmingham Cathedral. Details are limited in the submitted planning documents and no end user or occupier is identified.

Deltic Group reopens Exeter site as Unit 1: Nightclub operator Deltic Group has reopened its Exeter venue, Arena, as Unit 1. The club, on Summerland Street in the city centre, closed last month for a refurbishment. The club’s carpets have been replaced by hard flooring throughout the venue as part of the renovation. It also boasts three new bars, a state of the art DJ console, six VIP booths and table service. Deltic Group operates 57 venues nationwide and has 3,000 employees. The latest investment has created 50 jobs.

Castle Rock head of sales converts Ilkeston site to craft beer bar: Scott Ryder, who is head of sales at Nottingham pub operator and brewer Castle Rock, has converted The Three Horseshoes in Ilkeston, which he has been running for 18 months, into a craft beer bar. The pub now has five new craft beers, six traditional ciders and 30 whiskeys on sale. The work was completed on Saturday and the bar has been extended to include space for extra pipes. Ryder said: “I’ve watched the craft beer industry evolving – I wasn’t too sure about it at first. I thought it was a bit of a gimmick but it’s taken off. You go around the cities and there are fully craft bars that have turned out to be really successful. It’s becoming massive and I took a judgment call. I thought if I didn’t do it someone else in Ilkeston would. I don’t think it will overtake real ales, it’s something that will set alongside quite well with a slightly different audience.”

Liverpool bar and restaurant operator to open second site in same street: Liverpool bar and restaurant operator Martin Davies is to open his second city centre site – in the same street. Davies, who owns the Cello bar and restaurant in South Street, is opening fine-dining outlet Luxor on Friday, 2 October. He also has his eyes on further sites in the road as he looks to expand his empire further. Davies, who sold the award-winning Mojito bar in the Cavern Quarter last year, told the Liverpool Echo: “I have invested over £200,000 into South Road so far. My interest now is in providing the very best dining experience in Waterloo. Cello has a bit of informal, relaxed feel but Luxor will be more obviously high-end. I know there are destination restaurants in the city, like San Carlo, and I envisage Luxor being in that category. I want to wow my customers and win more awards for restaurants. I enjoyed working in the city centre, and met some colourful characters.” Davies opened Cello, which serves Italian and English food, with an emphasis on fresh, local produce, earlier this year.

Multi-million investment to more than quadruple Belfast’s bar capacity: A multi-million pound investment is set to more than quadruple the capacity of well-known Belfast bar The Hatfield House, from 150 to 700 when it reopens at the weekend. The Ormeau Road bar – which also encompasses The Graduate restaurant – is undergoing a major revamp, moving from essentially one floor to three. The complex will now have a fully functional nightclub on the second floor, and a rooftop bar. The complex has invested in 30 screens where it has the capability of showing up to six different live sports at one time. The bar is also keen to promote live music from local bands and musicians. The nightclub element of the complex could be open up to five times a week. Entertainments manager Micky Quinn told Belfast Live: “People know there is work going on but I don’t think people are expecting it to be as big as it’s going to be. It may as well have been built from scratch. It’s a real club, it’s the real deal – it’s as good anything that’s out there. People are going to be shocked but we’re really looking forward to having everything open and up-and-running.” The full complex opens from Sunday, with the following night being the first club night.

Intertain completes fourth major investment of the year: Walkabout operator Intertain has completed it fourth major investment this year – a £750,0000 refurbishment of Walkabout Swansea. The refurbishment project has seen the creation of new bookable booths, VIP areas and new bars, all with the contemporary feel of “new” Walkabout. The new food menu has been introduced, which includes modern classics such as pulled pork burgers, as well as Australian-led dishes such as Walkabout’s Roo burger. The new drinks menu focuses on a wide selection of beers and wines, as well as innovative cocktails. John Leslie, chief executive of Intertain, said: “We are very pleased with the results of our investment programme thus far, particularly in daytime trading and food sales and it is great to be able to add another venue to the list of new style Walkabouts. Swansea is looking great and I am sure it will be a great success.”

Giggs and Neville hotel plan gets local authority backing: A property plan in Manchester city centre led by former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs, which could include a five-star hotel, grade A offices and extensive retail space, has moved a step closer after the council’s executive was recommended to give its blessing to the project. The proposed regeneration of the Jackson’s Row area recently secured multimillion-pound funding from investors in the Far East. Manchester City Council’s cabinet is set to consider a draft strategic regeneration framework for a site bounded by Jackson’s Row to the north, Bootle Street to the south and Southmill Street to the east tomorrow (Wednesday, 9 September). Ahead of the meeting, a report by chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein recommends the cabinet endorses the principles set out in the framework and approves a request to undertake public consultations with local businesses, residents and other stakeholders. The council has worked closely with the Jackson’s Row Development Company, which comprises Neville, Giggs and Burnley FC joint owner Brendan Flood, to progress the redevelopment plans for a number of months.

Cheltenham businessman to expand portfolio with second site: Cheltenham businessman Richard Davies, who owns the 21 Club, is expanding his portfolio by opening a second site in the town. Davies is launching cocktail bar Aquavitae, which will serve unique and unusual drinks alongside light bites and sharer boards, in Ormond Street in mid-October. The ground floor will feature a ten-metre long bar, with seating for 40 diners and space for about 150 people in total. Upstairs will boast a private bar for parties and events like cocktail master classes. Bar manager Adam Barbary told the Gloucestershire Echo: “It will be a nice sort of cocktail bar. We want the food side to be very social, nice and relaxed, like sharing boards. And everything will be fresh. It’s something Cheltenham hasn’t really got at the moment.”

Nando’s opens in Huntingdon:
Nando’s has opened a new site at the Towerfields Leisure Park in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. The company has converted a former Blockbuster store into its latest venue, creating 40 jobs, reports The Hunts Post. The restaurant also includes an outside seating area, comprising of five tables and 20 chairs. It has been designed in a Mozambican/Portuguese theme with reclaimed wood from fishing boats used on the wall. Towerfields is already home to a number of restaurants, as well as a cinema and a gym. Founded in 1987, Nando’s currently operates in 30 countries and has 333 branches in the UK.

SABMiller hires Philip Hodges for senior role: SABMiller has appointed Philip Hodges to the newly created role of group director, integrated supply and as a member of the group’s executive committee with effect from 1 December 2015, in succession to Tony van Kralingen, whose intended retirement was announced in April. Hodges was most recently senior vice-president integrated supply chain at Mondelez Europe, and has extensive supply chain, finance and general management experience across Europe, Latin America and Asia. SABMiller chief executive Alan Clark said: “Philip has a wealth of international supply chain and finance experience in consumer goods, and I look forward to welcoming him to SABMiller later this year. He is an excellent addition to our executive team, and will play a central role in his new position as we continue to build a globally integrated company to optimise resources, win in market, and reduce costs.”

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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