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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Fri 9th Oct 2015 - Update: Jamie’s Italian, Greene King, Zizzi, Shake Shack, Fuller’s
Crowd-funded Delivery Cube launches offering restaurants access to a pool of drivers: Delivery Cube, a new venture that gives restaurants access to a fleet of fully trained drivers whenever they need them, has launched. A number of restaurant companies, including Firezza and Basilico, are already using the service. The management team behind Delivery Cube launched MyDeliveryCab in 2012, which was sold in 2014 after building up an extensive portfolio of restaurants in south-west London. Krupa Patel, chief executive of Delivery Cube, said: “The restaurant industry is in a state of flux right now – many restaurants are already a step ahead with their delivery services, but periods of high demand or staff shortages can throw the entire operation off. Our service offers exceptional logistical support to restaurants that want to outsource delivery, providing them with the experienced, equipped drivers to get orders where they need to be, fast. They can monitor the progress of our drivers, as they’re all GPS-tracked, and they can submit requests for more drivers at any point, subject to demand. Home and office delivery is clearly the way forward for many restaurants – and we look forward to supporting restaurants on this journey.” Restaurants can submit requests for drivers as and when they need them. The driver than heads to the restaurant to pick up the order that needs to be delivered – the entire fleet is equipped with quality insulated food storage bags to ensure that meals arrive in perfect condition. While the drivers are out on their deliveries, the restaurant can keep track of them, viewing their location and the progress, which also allows them to keep the customer updated on their order’s arrival time. In March, Delivery Club, raised almost £146,000 on the crowd-funding site Seedrs, putting it 45.75% overfunded – investors have acquired circa 20% of its equity. Patel told Propel: “Since March, we have build the technology platform, road-tested the concept of sharing restaurant delivery drivers and found that we had to adjust the model to have our own fleet of drivers instead. The market response to this change has been very positive. We have now completed a successful beta in south west London and are growing the service, working with a range of restaurants and takeaways.”

International demand for Jamie Italian is “overwhelming”, discussions underway for more cruise ship sites: Companies House accounts filed for Jamie’s Italian has described international demand for the brand as “overwhelming”. The company has 13 restaurants abroad but has signed development schedules for further restaurants in Canada, Brazil, India, South Africa and New Zealand. The company stated: “Demand for the brand internationally continues to be overwhelming.” The company also reported that the brand made its debut on the Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas. The company added: “The restaurant continues to generate more advance bookings than any other speciality restaurants on board, exceeding expectations and ensuring other restaurants on Royal Caribbean ships will launch in 2015. Discussions are underway for a material pipeline going forward.” The company reported that Jamie’s Italian in Gatwick’s North Terminal “continues to exceed expectations”. The Jamie’s Italian Gold Card, launched in 2013 when “deep discounting was prevalent in the eating out sector”, has translated into both increased frequency of visits and increased spend. The company saw turnover of £106.8m in the year to 4 January 2015, up 7%. Ebitda was £12.3m, an increase of 0.3%. Pre-tax profit was £3,909,893, down from £5,603,711 the year before. The company reported £104.1m of its turnover derived from its 38 UK restaurants (2014: £99.4m), £605,046 came from other EC countries (2014: £497,683) and £2,101,593 came from the rest of the world (£1,855,590).

Camden is to consult again on the introduction of a Late Night Levy: Law firm Poppleston Allen has reported that Camden is to begin consulting again on a Late Night Levy. The Licensing Committee voted that all revenue received is used as a single fund between the council and police. Clare Eames of Poppleston Allen, said: “We understand that the statutory public consultation on the Late Night Levy is due to begin this Monday 12 October 2015 and will last for four weeks. Full details, including details on how to respond, will be available on the Council website from this date. A report on the results of the statutory consultation will be presented for consideration to the Licensing Committee on 18 November 2015 so that they can make a recommendation to the full Council on whether to introduce the Late Night Levy, the proposed date for the full Council decision is 25 January 2016.”

Decision reserved on Gambling Commission appeal against Greene King bingo licence: A decision on an appeal by the Gambling Commission against the grant of a bingo licence to Greene King has been reserved. Law firm John Gaunt stated: “In relation to the application for a Bingo Operating Licence by Greene King we understand the appeal by the Gambling Commission was heard yesterday and that judgement has been reserved with no date specified for the decision at this time.”

BrewDog opens new BottleDog concept in Edinburgh: BrewDog has opened its new bottle shop concept in Edinburgh’s Dundas Street. The company stated: “Shelves (are) groaning courtesy of over 250 craft beers to take away in bottle and can, as well as a dedicated growler-filling station! Featuring as much cutting-edge beer as we can fit into a single shop, BottleDog Edinburgh also stocks a range of homebrew equipment, ingredients and know-how books for anyone seeking to take up the worthwhile pastime. Downstairs, there is a dedicated tasting room where our Cicerone-trained staff will be hosting beer schools for those keen to learn a bit more about what they are drinking, plus a series of planned Meet the Brewer events. Also on the horizon, a selection of cakes to take away, and a series of artwork from local artists will soon be featured on the walls of the shop. BottleDog is our new take on the bottle shop concept. It exists for people who want to nip in on the way home and purchase amazing beer from breweries as varied as Mikkeller, Hoppin’ Frog, Tempest and Westmalle – but also for those who wish to learn a bit more about beer and how it is produced. Our crew are on-hand to answer any questions customers may have about brewing, home-brewing and what types of beer match with certain foods.”

Zizzi opens flagship Manchester restaurant: Zizzi has opened a new flagship restaurant in Manchester’s Lloyds Bank building – one of King Street’s iconic Edwardian baroque buildings. Designed in the early 20th century by Manchester Architects Charles Heathcote & Sons, the building boasts stained glass windows, an ornate carved-stone ceiling and original bank teller’s counter which forms part of the bar. Zizzi marketing director Jo Fawcett said: “We are delighted to be opening our doors of our brand new restaurant in the heart of Manchester.” To mark the launch of the new venue, the team at Zizzi worked with a special food artist to create one-off pizza artwork featuring the faces of the Gallagher brothers, Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and the Coronation Street sign made from ingredients including peppers, olives and ham.

Brend Hotels named AA Hotel group of the Year: Devon and Cornwall hotel group Brend Hotels, which owns The Imperial in Barnstaple, has been crowned Hotel Group of the Year at the national AA Hospitality Awards 2015.The company, founded by butcher Percy Brend in 1955, has 11 upmarket hotels. The company scooped the award at a ceremony held at London’s Grosvenor House. “My mum and dad would have been so proud to see Brend Hotels receive this award from such a prestigious organisation as the AA,” said managing director John Brend. “It is great to know that the traditional values of quality and personal service that they believed in so passionately are still proving successful today.” Percy Brend purchased his first hotel with wife Florence in Exeter in 1955. He died in 1983 but not before he had fulfilled a lifetime ambition of buying the Saunton Sands Hotel in Braunton – a venue he and Florence had spent time in while they were courting.

Fuller’s unveils enhanced staff package: Fuller’s plans to increase pay rates for a large number of team members, regardless of age. The move is designed to reward team members who are on one of Fuller’s Inns six development programmes that provide a structured career path from bar staff or kitchen porter to general manager or head chef. From 27 November 2015, any team member who is on, or has already completed, any one of Fuller’s Inns’ development programmes will earn at least the future national living wage rate of £7.20. In addition, the minimum £7.20 pay rate will, at the same time, be applied to all 131 service coaches – those team members with a focus on leading and training Fuller’s excellent standards of customer service. To further incentivise the development of its people Fuller’s will, on completion of a development programme stage, award a 4% pay increase. The Company will be co-ordinating promotion opportunities to ensure a solid career ladder is in place, but in those circumstances where there is still not a promotion available within six months a further 4% pay increase will be given. Fuller’s Inns is also introducing improved terms and conditions for 115 of its key head chefs, with a new bonus scheme and improved benefits including participation in share ownership schemes, bringing the head chef package in line with the remuneration package given to Fuller’s general managers. The move both recognises the increasing importance of food within the Fuller’s Inns business and the highly competitive chef labour market. Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said: “For some time now, we have been improving the way we reward and recognise the great people that work in our pubs and hotels. Internal research has shown us that fantastic development programmes and clear career opportunities are a better way of motivating and retaining great people than increased pay. However, we do want to reward those who commit to undertaking a development programme and these new pay rates do just that. One of my promises to the business since I took over as CEO was to increase the number of vacancies we filled with internal promotions – and it is paying off. Four out of the five operational reports to Fuller’s Inns MD, Jonathon Swaine, have been promoted internally and more of our general managers than ever have come through the Fuller’s Inns development programme. In addition, our Chef Scholarship programme – which has three levels from kitchen porter to head chef – is helping to attract the best people at all levels and inspiring some amazing culinary skills. This is a people business. Hopefully today’s announcement will ensure that we continue to attract the best new recruits in the years to come and will reinforce our position as the employer of choice.”

Shake Shack’s shares fall on prospect of founder’s cash-out: Shake Shack’s shares fell as much as 11.3% yesterday after the company said it would convert about 21 million of its Class B shares into Class A shares, allowing pre-IPO investors to cash out. The investors, including top shareholder Leonard Green & Partners LP, Select Equity Group LP and founder Daniel Meyer, would be able to sell nearly all of their stakes. All holders of the company’s Class B shares will be able to sell their holdings after the conversion, according to a regulatory filing on Thursday. Shake Shack said insiders could sell about 26.2 million shares, worth about $1.27 billion. Shake Shack had 36.3 million shares outstanding as of Wednesday. Founder Meyer, who also owns the Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe restaurants in New York City, would hold just over 30,000 shares if he decides to cash out. Shake Shack’s shares eventually closed down 4.6% at $46.22 on the New York Stock Exchange. Up to Thursday’s close, the stock had more than doubled in value since its debut on 30 January.

Wetherspoon eyes opening in Bourne, Lincolnshire: JD Wetherspoon has revealed its intention to come to open in Bourne, Lincolnshire (population:13,961). An application to change the use of two shops in North Street, Wands and Jenny May, was submitted by the company on Friday last week. The plans were then withdrawn yesterday, when Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are keen to open a pub in Bourne and have identified a site, however, we are still in negotiations. We believe that a Wetherspoon pub will be good for the town and appeal to a wide range of people, many of whom already enjoy our pubs in the region.” In the last couple of years the chain has opened The Stamford Post in the old Rutland and Stamford Mercury offices, and the Captain Noel Newton in Oakham.

Square Pie mini-bond closes this Sunday: The Square Pie mini-bond offer, paying 8% interest over four-year term, closes this Sunday. It has raised over £590,000 on Crowdcube thanks to more than 290 investors, 131% of its revised target. A Crowdcube note stated: “The Pie Bond will be closing at midnight this Sunday 11 October and the funds raised will be used to open more restaurants, grow its grocery business and spread the word about this English classic.”

New social enterprise restaurant to open in Stockbridge, Edinburgh: A new social enterprise restaurant, The Kilted Lobster, it to open in Stockbridge, Edinburgh serving up local produce while donating all of its profits towards its Cooking Up A Storm initiative. The scheme will offer workplace and job training for those with barriers to work, cookery class for single parent families who wish to learn how to cook healthy and nutritious food on a budget and class for those diagnosed with food-related health conditions or allergies. The owner plan to set up a ‘meal bank’ that will give people facing financial hardship the chance to net a complimentary meal in the restaurant. Owner and head chef Colin Hinds decided to open his own Edinburgh restaurant with a social twist after working as a chef for more than 20 years across the UK. He told local media: I used to be a guest lecturer when I worked in England and we used to do courses helping single parent families and teach them how to cook nutritional healthy tasty food, but to a lot of people that’s quite confined to budgets so we’re trying to teach people how even on a small budget you eat really healthy fruit and vegetables. I’ve also worked with people with barriers to work over the years, I’ve given lots of people chances to learn how to begin working in hospitality at various restaurants.” The Kilted Lobster will open from Tuesday, October 13th with a taster menu running at lunch and dinner from Thursday 22 October. Hinds plans to open five social enterprise restaurants within the next seven years. 

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