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Thu 17th Sep 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Michelin tweets new star awards early after bookshop leak: The Michelin guide announced its new set of stars on Twitter yesterday ahead of its scheduled announcement at 7.30am this morning (17 September). It tweeted: “Let down once again by a bookshop – here are the new #MichelinStars2016” at 2.07pm and then proceeded to announce its new stars. A source at The Michelin Guide’s PR said: “Unfortunately a couple of books got out early from a bookshop ahead of release and Michelin wanted to ensure that results would not be leaked, so announced them straight away via its Twitter feed.” Rebecca Burr, editor of the Michelin Guide Great Britain and Ireland 2016, said: “Twitter is an everyday tool for us now and a natural way for us to communicate. It’s where we give our readers and followers information and a flavour of what we do and how we do it. We owe it to our followers and the chefs to make sure they hear important news from us first.” There are 15 new one Michelin star and two new Michelin stars restaurants in the 2016 Michelin Guide. The new two stars are both Japanese restaurants: Araki and Umu. The new one stars in London include Lyle’s, Bonhams, Portland and the Dining Room at the Goring, and in Leeds there’s a star for The Man Behind the Curtain. There was a star for John’s House near Loughborough, where chef John Duffin cooks at the family farm where he grew up. In Scotland, The Cellar in Anstruther receives a star, as do Eipic and Ox in Belfast, the Greenhouse in Dublin and Loam in Galway, the House of Tides in Newcastle, Graveyte Manor, East Grinstead, the Woodspeen, Newbury. Carters of Moseley in Birmingham won a star, bringing the city’s tally to five, meaning it has the most number of stars after London. Three stars are retained by Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea, Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester, and the Waterside Inn in Bray. This year there are 25 new bib gourmands. Among them are the White Swan in Fence, Oli’s Thai in Oxford, Tom Kerridge’s pub The Coach in Marlow and Nuno Mendes’ Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields. Heston Blumenthal’s restaurant ‘The Fat Duck’ is absent for this edition of the guide, as following a temporary move to Australia, it did not reopen in time for Michelin to assess it. 

Industry News:

Sector companies are invited to benchmark themselves: More than 70 companies took part in the first sector Benchmarking Survey last year, conducted by Propel in partnership with accountants haysmacintyre. All contributions are confidential and go to haysmacinytyre without being seen by Propel. Companies are invited to take part in this year’s survey by clicking through on the link below (it should take about 15 minutes to complete) – all contributors receive a copy as soon as it’s published: Deadline for inclusion is this Friday (18 September).

Details of MMU’s Orlando Operational Excellence event released: Next year’s ‘Operational Excellence; event, aimed at improving the skills of multi-site managers, will be held in Orlando, Florida between Monday 23 and Friday 27th May. The programme is being hosted at Walt Disney World, Florida. In addition to spending time in one of Disney’s theme parks, participants will be taken to experience a number of different hospitality and retail brands in the Orlando area. Lee Sheldon, founder of Mastering Multi-Units (MMU), said: “The programme content will be based around mastering multi-Unit management’s ‘Critical Impact Activities’, which we know multi-unit managers must master in order to become world-class operators. To help bring the content to life, we will be taking participants through a case study of a multi-unit manager who applied the learning from the programme to significantly drive profitable sales across his area. To further develop the capabilities of the participants, we are delighted to welcome a number of guest speakers at the event who will all bring their own unique perspective to bear on the subject of operational excellence. We can now confirm speakers such as Jim Sullivan and Professor Chris Muller (appearing at the same public programme for the first time in years) and chief executives and senior operators from Firehouse Subs (Don Fox), Starbucks, SA Brain & Co and a former chief operating officers and managing directors of Walmart, SSP and Sainsbury’s (Bob Hetherington). Further guest speakers are to be announced over the coming weeks.” E-mail Lee Sheldon on for more information or download the programme brochure here:

Bar and Nightclub Conference fully booked: The Bar and Nightclub Conference, which is being held on Tuesday 27 October at Bafta Piccadilly, is now fully booked, six weeks before it takes place. The conference, the first stand-alone event for this part of the market, organised jointly by Propel and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, examines the key issues affecting the market with contributions from key figures within the sector. A waiting list is now in operation. Email Jo Charity on to obtain a place on the waiting list.

Savills – more than a dozen London brands have expanded into the regions in the last year: Research by agent Savills has found more than a dozen brands have expanded from London and opened in regional locations over the past year, a record number. David Bell, head of UK leisure at Savills, said: “We have witnessed a ‘domino effect’ in cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Cardiff and Birmingham, where a London centric operator has established itself and therefore provides confidence to other brands targeting similar demographics.” Savills said examples of expanding leisure operators include Wahaca (Cardiff, Bluewater and Bristol), Banana Tree (Milton Keynes and Oxford), Itsu (Cambridge, Oxford, Brighton), Hawksmoor (Manchester), The Breakfast Club (Birmingham and Brighton) and Franco Manca (Brighton). Carlene Hughes, associate director of leisure at Savills, added: “There is a long list of requirements from restaurants for space in the top UK cities and more names keep being added as confidence grows in the regional markets.” In London, Savills research found the appetite from international food and beverage brands is unabated with nine brands opening so far year and another four in the pipeline. Examples include Pot Belly and NY Fold.

McDonald’s franchisee debuts ground chicken burger in Florida: McDonald’s has debuted a ground chicken burger in Tampa Bay, Florida. The ground chicken burger contains a ground quarter-pound patty of breast and thigh meat served in a new ‘gourmet’ potato bun. It comes in two versions – the Classic with red onions, lettuce, tomatoes and ranch sauce and the Signature with grilled onions, lettuce, tomatoes and a sweet ‘signature’ sauce. The burger, which debuted in every one of Tampa Bay’s 200 McDonald’s on Monday, was created by franchise and restaurateur Blake Casper. Casper, who owns around 50 McDonald’s franchises in the area, has spent the last 18 months perfecting the recipe. “The McDonald’s system has a proud history rooted in local franchisees’ understanding of their local marketplace and its customers’ needs,” he said. “Following in the footsteps of the franchisees that brought us iconic sandwiches like the Big Mac, Filet-O-Fish and the Egg McMuffin, the Tampa Bay McDonald’s franchisees are pleased to offer our customers a new way to enjoy a burger.” Casper also owns the Oxford Exchange in Tampa where the restaurant’s own chicken burger has become a hit with customers. 

Industry credits Subway founder Fred DeLuca with pioneering many business strategies that have become industry standard: Senior industry figures have credited Fred DeLuca, who grew Subway from one site opened with a $1,000 loan to 44,000 sites, with pioneering many strategies that have been adopted across the sector. These include low-cost investment, franchising to grow, an assembly line that creates food in front of the customer, freshly baked bread and health-based marketing strategies. International Franchise Association chairwoman Melanie Bergeron said: “His vision, which began as an inspiring 17 year old, continues to contribute significantly to the advancement of franchising and the franchising community.”

BBPA publishes report highlighting projects and initiatives from operators promoting alcohol responsibility: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has published a new report highlighting the huge number of projects and initiatives from operators promoting alcohol responsibility. The group has published Rising To The Challenge ahead of the first Global Beer Responsibility Day tomorrow (Friday, 18 September). Specific BBPA-led initiatives in the report include the “Challenge 21” campaign, have seen over 300,000 posters distributed to pubs to help enforce age verification policies. Over 50% of consumers that have seen unit awareness information have seen it in pubs and bars. Brewers have also worked to ensure that 85% of beers on shelf now have unit content, lower risk drinking guidelines and a pregnancy warning on the label. The report also includes a wide range of company case studies from BBPA members such as the development of new lower strength beer products. Writing in the foreword, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Whilst all brewers and pub operators want people to enjoy themselves and have memorable experiences, it is in no one’s interest that alcohol is misused. All in the brewing and pub industry take their responsibility to help promote responsible drinking and address alcohol-related harm extremely seriously. This report highlights just a small selection of some of the initiatives from the BBPA and our member companies. We will continue to showcase best practice and raise the bar on what can be achieved.”

Anheuser-Busch InBev approaches rival SABMiller with merger plan: Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer by sales, has approached rival SABMiller to explore a tie-up that would create a company with a joint market capitalisation of about $250bn. In a statement, SABMiller, said in response to press speculation, it had been informed that AB InBev intended to make a bid proposal for the company. “The proposal has yet been received and the board of SABMiller has no further details about the terms of any such proposal,” it said. “The board of SABMiller will review and respond as appropriate to any proposal which might be made. There can be no certainty that an offer will be made or as to the terms on which any offer might be made. In the interim, shareholders are strongly advised to retain their shares and to take no action.”

Company News:

JD Wetherspoon founder reports “virtually a record year” in Northern Ireland: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has reported his nine Northern Ireland pubs had “virtually a record year”, while warning that the ongoing political instability there could put off new businesses. The company is in the process of opening two new bars in Belfast. The company currently operates nine across Northern Ireland. The two new bars will be at a former JJB Sports store on Royal Avenue, and a former Methodist church close to Queen’s University. He told the Belfast Telegraph: “Northern Ireland had virtually a record year for the nine pubs, and we did well last year.” He said he hoped “peace and democracy” would win out at Stormont, to ensure Northern Ireland’s business community thrives. “I think, like all countries in the world, Northern Ireland has had a fantastic benefit from democracy. That implies peace, so, I hope like everyone else that peace and democracy will win out, and I think that will be better for everyone.” But despite widespread concerns among business lobby groups, economists and the banking industry that Northern Ireland’s economy was being stifled amid the current political instability, he said it “won’t put us off” investing in Northern Ireland. “It won’t put us off, but the danger is it will put other people off. So we hope there is a fair political resolution that everyone can deal with.”

Gourmet Burger Kitchen development director Stephen Evans steps down: Gourmet Burger Kitchen property and development director Stephen Evans has stepped down after four years with the company to pursue other interests. Prior to joining Gourmet Burger Kitchen, he worked as an acquisitions manager for both Tragus Group and Nando’s.

Gaucho reports geographic turnover and profit: Gaucho, the Argentinian steakhouse chain, has reported its turnover and profit across the four countries within which it operates. The UK, its biggest market with 22 restaurants, saw turnover of £54,254,000 in 2014 (2013: £49,084,000) with a loss of £8,976,000 (2013: £14,305,000) after the payment of loan note interest. Its one site in Holland had turnover of £3,154,000 (2013: £3,302,000) and made profit of £648,000. Its single Middle Eastern site had a turnover of £2,934,000 in 2014 (2013: £3,121,000) and lost £192,000 (2013: losses of £151,000). Its Argentina joint venture restaurant had turnover of £1,079,000 and made a profit of £98,000. For the whole business, turnover in 2014 was £61,421,391 (£2013: £55,506,990) Ebitda pre-opening costs was £10,974,00 (£9,866,000) and Ebitda after pre-opening costs was £10,145, 000 (2013: £9,571,000). 

Tasty takes Port Solent site for Wildwood to make scheme fully let for first time in a decade: South Coast waterside dining and leisure destination Port Solent, which offers over 20 restaurants and bars overlooking historic Portsmouth Harbour in Hampshire, is fully let for the first time in a decade. Tasty has taken on a new lease for its Wildwood Kitchen & Deli format. It was Port Solent’s last remaining unit: it is 6,000 square foot and was formerly occupied by Tex-Mex restaurant chain Chiquito, owned by The Restaurant Group. Tasty has signed a 25-year lease and is starting a fit-out this month, with a view to being open in time for Christmas. Wildwood Kitchen & Deli will be offering its Wildwood Kitchen style menu – which includes pasta, risotto, stone-baked pizza, grills, seafood and salad – along with a deli concept of fresh foods that change on a daily basis. London-based Restaurant Property advised on the deal. Since they were instructed in 2010, Restaurant Property along with joint agents Hughes Ellard, have carried out lettings to PizzaExpress, Richoux (Dean’s Diner and Zippers), Hot Rock, Prezzo, Brasserie Fish & Grill, Casa Brasil, and Relentless HQ.

Tortilla signs for Nottingham double opening: Tortilla, which has 18 branches across the UK, has lined up two Nottingham openings. The company has signed a 15-year lease on 18-20 Clumber Street, which was previously occupied by collapsed mobile phone retailer Phones 4U. Rob Lucy, head of property acquisitions at Tortilla, said: “We are really excited to be opening Tortilla Nottingham later this year. Nottingham is one of the top retail destinations in the UK and this location is a key part of our growth strategy.” Commercial property agent Innes England marketed the 2,357 square foot unit alongside JLL on behalf of owner Schroder Real Estate Investment Trust Limited. Tortilla has also committed to a second outlet in the catering quarter of Nottingham’s Victoria Centre, which will also open by the end of the year.

Moody’s upgrades Starbucks: Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Starbucks senior unsecured ratings to A2 from A3, short-term commercial paper rating to Prime-1 from Prime-2, and senior unsecured shelf to (P)A2 from (P)A3. “Starbucks measured growth strategy, product pipeline, digital initiatives and balanced financial policy will continue to drive operating earnings, credit metrics, liquidity and scale that is more reflective of an A2 rating,” said Moody’s senior credit officer Bill Fahy in a statement explaining the rationale for the upgrade. “Various product offerings and digital initiatives have driven strong operating metrics and earnings which along with a reduction in adjusted debt levels due to changes in Moody’s approach for capitalising operating leases has resulted in significantly stronger credit metrics.” According to Moody’s, the A2 senior unsecured rating reflects Starbucks global brand strength, dominant position in the US speciality coffee segment, global diversification, significant scale, and balanced financial policy. The ratings are also driven by Starbucks ‘strong and consistent operating trends driven in-part by new product offerings, greater day part diversity, well accepted loyalty program and ecommerce initiatives that have resulted in strong credit metrics and excellent liquidity’.

Coffee Republic opens 27th coffee bar in Aylesbury: Coffee Republic has opened its 27 site at The Friars Shopping Centre in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. The company, which has opened its latest site with franchise partner IE Coffee, is on course for a total of 20 new UK franchised openings for 2015, and therefore doubling the size of its existing estate. It is experiencing the most successful period of growth since new owners took over in 2009. The company has recently opened sites in Bedford, Golders Green Road, London and Lewisham & Southwark College, Waterloo, with further openings planned in Romford, Sutton, Manchester, Archway, north London, Streatham and Barnsley College, West Yorkshire.

Asha’s opening second UK restaurant in Manchester tomorrow: Indian restaurant Asha’s is opening its second UK venue – and tenth worldwide – in Manchester tomorrow (Friday, 18 September). The brand, inspired by Bollywood singing star Asha Bhosle, has spent £2m converting the former Baby Grand club in Peter Street. The 100-seat restaurant and bar area with capacity for 60 people covers 6,000 square foot over two floors in a Victorian building opposite the old Theatre Royale. The venue is owned by the ARIL Group, which has opened Asha’s venues across the globe, although the Manchester site is only the second in the UK after Birmingham. ARIL Group managing director Sue Potter said: “We’ve tried to develop a contemporary atmosphere but the building is around 170 years old, so we’ve tried to make sure we’ve restored it sympathetically. Manchester is a very stylish city and there is a huge number of really great restaurants. If you look at places like Australasia and Tattu in Spinningfields, they have really set the standard in terms of interiors, so we have to raise the bar and set our own too.” Asha’s opened its first restaurant at Wafi City in Dubai in 2002 and also has venues across the Middle East including Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Pod wins “Best Lunchtime Menu” award at Lunch: Pod has won the award for “Best Lunchtime Menu on the High Street” at the Lunch Business Grab & Go Awards 2015. The company beat off stiff competition for their lunchtime menu from Pure, Tortilla, Dindin Kitchen, and Peyton and Byrne. The award comes one week after the launch of Pod’s new Autumn menu which focuses on their extensive range of grab and go hot food, from heart-healthy boost soups to grain-packed energy pods, with seven different varieties to choose from, one of which changes every two weeks. Marketing director at Pod Meg Ellis, said: “We’re proud to have been recognised for our dedication to enabling Londoners to live healthier lives, serving up food that is not only nutritionally well-balanced, but that is full of flavour too. We are now hard at work on our next creations.”

Michelin-starred chef to open new restaurant and hotel: Michelin-starred chef Mark Birchall is to launch a new restaurant and hotel in Aughton. The chef, who was most recently executive chef with Simon Rogan, at Michelin two-starred L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, is to develop Moor Hall, a grade II listed 16th century house, set in a five-acre site in Aughton in West Lancashire. The building, with its Tudor origins, will be fully restored and redesigned in partnership with Andy and Tracey Bell. There will be a 50-seat restaurant, and a private dining room for 12. Seven large bedrooms will be created (five in the main house, and two in the gatehouse nearby). Birchall’s menus will showcase his own style of modern British cuisine, reflecting the broad culinary experience he has garnered over the last 15 years. His plans for Moor Hall also include the transformation of additional buildings within the grounds (lodge, barns, stables) for extensive further dining and kitchen operations, as well as developing the gardens, orchards and small lake.

Midlands multiple takes first long-term lease with Enterprise Inns: A Midlands multiple operator has agreed its first long-term pub with Enterprise Inns. Pub management company Sheldon Inns, which currently has three other sites on short term agreements with the pub company, has taken on The Duke of York in Wolverhampton, following a £100,000 refurbishment. Formerly The Tap and Spile, the city centre site has reverted to its original name, The Duke of York, and has been converted into a contemporary ale house. Sheldon Inns managing director Martin Cartwright said: “We’re excited to take on our first long-term pub with Enterprise. The Duke of York is right in the centre of Wolverhampton, and serves as a great watering hole for the local community. The pub has been extended at the rear, and we’re hoping to attract a wider market with the introduction of eight cask ales, and a larger selection of wines. Though it will remain drinks-led, we’re now offering local butcher-produced bar snacks, including pork pies and scotch eggs.” Enterprise regional manager Paul Boswell said: “We’re delighted that Sheldon Inns is now working with us permanently. Whilst we do work with people new to the pub industry, it’s always exciting to join forces with experienced entrepreneurs.”

Tiny Rebel Brewery to open permanent site in Newport city centre: Tiny Rebel Brewery, which won Champion Beer of Britain at the Great British Beer Festival this year for its Cwtch Welsh Red Ale, is opening a new bar in Newport city centre. A pop-up bar was opened for the month of May in what was an empty shop unit proved incredibly popular. Now it is to re-open on a permanent basis in the revamped unit near the entrance to Newport’s indoor market. The award-winning brewery based on the Maesglas Industrial Estate officially launched in 2012 and immediately went on to become an award winner. Not long after that it opened Urban Tap house in Cardiff and then its pop-up bar in Newport.

Independent coffee shop extends relationship with major retailer: Independent coffee shop The Interesting Eating Company has launched a further two Ultimate Cafe outlets in partnership with Ultimate Outdoors – it is providing in-house coffee shops in the new Dudley and Nottingham Ultimate Outdoors. Similar to the original Preston-based site, Ultimate Cafe is homed on the ground floor of both venues located within Merry Hill (Dudley) and Castle Marina Retail Park (Nottingham), and mirrors The Interesting Eating Company’s ‘great food and service’ ethos. Director of The Interesting Eating Company Nichola Lee said: “Having approached and successfully struck a partnership with the sports fashion and outdoor group, and now to have established three Ultimate Cafes spanning across the UK, it gives us a great sense of pride and achievement to see how the brand has developed. Since setting up The Interesting Eating Company back in 2012, we have been keen to extend our offerings and maximise our customer reach. As an independent, it’s fantastic to have filled a gap in the market between local SMEs and retail giants.”

Wylam Brewery set to be given go-ahead to move operations to Newcastle: Wylam Brewery is set to be given the go-ahead to move its operations from Heddon-on-the-Wall to Newcastle. The company has applied to Newcastle City Council to convert the former Military Vehicle Museum located within Exhibition Park, historically called the Palace of Arts, into a new brewery, bar and leisure facility. The proposal, which also includes an external decked beer garden as well as a brewery service yard and 35-space car park, is recommended for approval ahead of a council meeting tomorrow (Friday, 18 September). Wylam Brewery said it is at full capacity and the demand for its products is at an “all-time high”. The brewery would operate from 6am to 9pm while the bar and brewers tap would open until 11pm. Events would take place twice a month, as would live music, with capacity for 800 people. Weddings would also occur once a month with up to 250 guests in attendance, while the refurbished property would also cater for up to 15 conference events a year.

Enterprise Inns reports record number of entries in Community Heroes Awards: Enterprise Inns has reported its Community Heroes Awards has seen a record number of 426 pubs enter, up from 320 in 2014, and winners will be announced, and presented with their cash prizes, on Tuesday 6 October at the Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa, in Blackburn. Of the entries, 54 pubs have been chosen to go through to the final by a panel of six judges, comprising: Publican’s Morning Advertiser editor Ed Bedington, Pub is the Hub chief executive John Longden, SIBA non-executive director Francis Patton, Enterprise sales and marketing director James Armitage, Enterprise head of publican communication Emma Curwood, and 2014 Community Heroes winner publican Adrian Emmett. Armitage said: “We’re thrilled that in our fourth year of Community Heroes we’ve received more entries than ever before, and so far it’s been a really tough process, as the quality of entries is outstanding. Enterprise has so many passionate and supportive publicans who work hard to help the people in their communities, and it’s great to see many new as well as some previous regional winners in the running again, too. Reading the applications is one of the most enjoyable parts of the process, and what’s great is that initiatives don’t have to be of a particular size, they just have to be meaningful and positive. This year we’ve increased the number of opportunities for pubs to win cash to inject back into their communities.” First, second and third place winners from each of the 18 regions will be selected for prizes of £3,000, £1,500 and £500 respectively, the overall national winner will win £6,000, and the runner-up £5,000.

Brakspear to introduce new feedback and reward scheme at managed pubs: Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear is introducing a new customer feedback and reward scheme across its five managed pubs. The company is working in partnership with guest feedback specialist Feed It Back on the scheme, which will provide higher volumes of more detailed and timely customer feedback, linked to the pub’s EPOS data. The feedback is gathered from a brief, online survey. They are able to identify their server from on-screen images and can choose to upload a photo of their meal or the pub, which can be shared on social media. All guests who register and complete a survey can claim a free bottle of wine with their next meal at the pub. Staff members whose photo is tapped the most will go into a draw with manager-nominated employees from each site to win a monthly ‘Customer Service Award’ and bottle of champagne. Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “The quantity and quality of customer opinion we’re able to harness through Feed It Back is impressive and, as it’s delivered in real time, our pub teams will be able to use it to adapt their offer on a daily or even more frequent basis.” The five managed pubs that will use the scheme are Bull on Bell Street, Henley; Porch House, Stow-on-the-Wold; Chequers, Marlow; Running Horses near Dorking; and George Hotel, Shipston-on-Stour.

Stonegate Pub Company lists premium range of adult soft drinks: Stonegate Pub Company has listed a new range of premium adult soft drinks, produced by The Cracker Drinks Co, at 140 pubs. The new soft drinks have been created to fill the gap that exists within the premium adult juice drink category, and are now available in 140 Stonegate pubs, including Slug and Lettuce, and Classic Inns as well as independent pubs across the UK. The new drinks are available in two blended flavour options, Apple, Lime and Mint and Lemon, Cucumber and Elderflower. Presented in a 275ml glass bottle, the drinks can be served as a standalone soft drink or used to create a ready-made classic cocktail. Gavin Cox, managing director of The Cracker Drinks Co, said: “Consumer feedback has helped us to identify and respond to a gap in the market for premium soft drinks for adults – particularly a still soft drink. We know consumers are becoming much more discerning within the soft drinks category, as they demand an experience that still looks and tastes special and feels like a treat – without the alcohol, added sugar or artificial flavours. We’re excited to be able to bring this to the on-trade for the first time.”

Gordon and Tana Ramsay to partner Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity: Gordon and Tana Ramsay have announced a new partnership between The Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation and Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity – they toured the hospital yesterday. The Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation will raise funds to help the hospital provide world-class care for young patients and their families. This includes pioneering new treatments, providing cutting edge equipment and supporting the redevelopment of the hospital to provide state-of-the-art facilities to match the hospital’s world-class care. Their support will also help to provide new accommodation for parents and families of children being treated so they can be close to their child when they need it most. Gordon Ramsay said: “It was very special to meet the amazing staff, children and families at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Tana and I are delighted to announce our support for this extraordinary place through The Gordon and Tana Ramsay Foundation.”

Thai Leisure Group unveils plans for second Thaikhun in Scotland: Thai Leisure Group has announced plans to launch its second Scottish Thaikhun street food concept in Glasgow. The site, which is set to launch in November 2015, will be located in the new £20 million leisure extension of Glasgow’s Silverburn shopping centre. Thaikhun currently has sites in Manchester, Liverpool and Cambridge and opened its first Scottish site located in Union Square, Aberdeen in July 2014. Glasgow will be the brand’s fifth UK venue. Ian Leigh, group operations director at Thaikhun, said: “We are incredibly excited to bring Thaikhun to Glasgow. Our Aberdeen site exceeded all expectation when it opened in Union Square, Aberdeen last July. Not only do we hope to share our passion and vision to bring a real taste of Thailand’s ‘street food scene’ to the people of Glasgow, we also aim to ignite our customer’s dream of exploring Thailand through providing traditional Thai food and values.”

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

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