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Wed 14th Oct 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Le Pain Quotidien founder – London rents are among most uncompetitive in the world: The founder of Le Pain Quotidien Alain Coumont has said London rents are among the most uncompetitive in the world. Belgian food entrepreneur Coumont founded the upmarket cafe and bakery 25 years ago, which now has more than 250 sites across 19 countries including New York, Mexico City and Paris. But he has lamented the high cost of doing business in London, where Le Pain Quotidien now has 25 stores. He told the Telegraph: “The rent is really crazy. I don’t know how it can continue to rise. The way the real estate market is structured in the UK – there are very few landlords. Sometimes the same one owns a whole street. The rent structure here is unlike anywhere else in the world. When we first came to London, less than 10% of our sales went on rent. Now it’s typically around 17%. The problem is, you sign a lease for five years, then there is a rent review and landlords will point to other commercial tenants in the street paying more than you, and put the rents up.” In its St Pancras store, the rent bill is always a fifth of annual sales – although Coumont said with annual sales of about £5m, it is the most profitable post in London. The government’s new living wage, due to come in next April, as well as other tax bills such as VAT, are also burdening the restaurant industry added Coumont. The company has just opened its first store in Dublin, and is about to sign another lease in the Irish capital. It employs 1,000 staff in the UK but currently has no plans to expand to cities beyond London. It said it favours large cities, where the costs of setting up a central kitchen to deliver fresh bread daily to stores are more justifiable.

Industry News:

All 360 places for Propel Multi Club Conference on 5 November now booked: All 360 places for the final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2015, taking place on Thursday, 5 November, are now booked. Anyone wanting to go on the waiting list for the event should email Adam Dickinson on adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com. See bottom of email for full details of speaker schedule

Smashburger sells 40% stake for $100m: Better burger brand Smashburger, which is planning to open in the UK having sold the franchise rights, has sold a 40% stake to Jollibee Foods of the Philippines for $100m. The deal values Smashburger, which has 335 restaurants in 35 states and seven countries, at $335m. Jollibee is the largest restaurant company in the Philippines, operating more than 3,000 restaurants, including Burger King Philippines. Jollibee said it has been seeking an investment in a US growth brand. Smashburger chief executive Scott Crane said the agreement would help accelerate Smashburger’s international expansion, but that the initial focus is on continuing its domestic growth. Next year Smashburger plans to open 80 restaurants, about ten of them outside the US. The deal values Smashburger at far less than the $1.5bn market capitalisation of rival Shake Shack, which went public in January to much fanfare.

Laterooms.com bought for £8.5m: Online hotel booking specialist LateRooms.com has been bought by an Indian travel giant from TUI Group for £8.5m. The buyer, which already owns Holidaybreak, said the acquisition “bolsters the group’s delivery capabilities across all geographies for the leisure business”. The Cox & Kings Group has acquired 100% of the shares in Late Rooms (UK). LateRooms.com offers 54,800 properties globally and has a 3.5 million opted-in and active consumer database with 93 million online visits in the 2014/15 financial year, generating total transaction value of £300m and net revenues of £50m. The business also owns various brands and domain names including AsiaRooms.com. The Cox & Kings Group said it expects to drive synergies and value from LateRoom.com’s association with Cox & Kings subsidiary SuperBreak Mini-Holidays, which is owned by Holidaybreak.

UK consumers drink 70 million cups of coffee a day: UK consumers drink about 70 million cups of coffee every day, costing the nation £730m a year, according to a new study. The study by Buddy Loans also found the number of coffee shops is set to increase by 3,000 in the next five years, to 21,000 by 2020. Non-specialist coffee outlets, such as Greggs and Subway, currently have the biggest market share with 37%. Independent outlets follow with 32%. Big branded coffee giants, such as Starbucks and Costa, trail behind with 31% of the share. The study also highlighted the price discrepancies between the popular chains, finding Starbucks was the most expensive and JD Wetherspoon the cheapest. Regularly buying a takeaway coffee from Starbucks will cost on average £663 a year; Costa and M&S £624.75; Caffe Nero £599.35; Pret £548.25; McDonald’s £481.95; Greggs £446.25; and Subway £405.45. However, the study also revealed how buying the same number of coffees from JD Wetherspoon and Starbucks has a price discrepancy of over £400, as regularly buying from the pub chain will only cost £252.45 a year.

Company News:

AMT Coffee reports return to pre-tax profit: AMT Coffee, which operates coffee concessions at transport hubs and is owned by the McCallum-Toppin family, has reported a return to pre-tax profit in the year ending 28 December 2014. The company saw a pre-tax profit of £432,333, compared to a loss of £179,092 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. This was despite turnover falling to £19,077,656, compared to £20,265,888 the previous year. The company is also now debt free after reducing debt from £200,000 in 2013. Like-for-like sales were up 4% while underlying Ebitda was down to £1.8m, compared to £2m the year before. The company stated: “The key strategic developments of the group relating to the period covered by these financial statements were continuation of the programme to refresh the unit image and design to enable the brand to continue to generate market-leading yields from a sit-in and compact format; completion of the closure of operations in Belgium following the management decision to terminate these operations in the previous period; continued implementation of procedures to enhance KPIs including: focus on staff training and financial skills; improved stock control; and information feed to area and site managers; enhancement of product offering, in particular for sit-in formats to further enhance capture, ATV and sales yields. The scale of the group’s operations continued to decline during the period, as a result of the site closures identified in the last annual report. However despite these top-line reductions the earnings of the business have increased at site level; being a reflection of both 50% of the net reduction in sales relating to the unprofitable Belgium business and the business making like-for-like gains in site level earnings. The directors believe that the developments outlined will enhance the medium to long-term profitability of the group and provide a stronger platform for future growth.”

City Pub Company lodges plans for new site in Cheltenham:
The City Pub Company has lodged plans to open a new site in Cheltenham. The company, led by Clive Watson, has applied to Cheltenham Council to convert the Old Fire Station in St James’ Square into a bar and restaurant. It wants to transform the engine house and fire station into what it says would be a “high-class venue serving both drinks and food to a clientele mainly over 25”, reports the Gloucestershire Echo. City Pub Company, which was formed in 2012, currently has 21 sites across its two companies – City Pub Company (East) and City Pub Company (West). Yesterday (Tuesday, 13 October), it told Propel it had identified key towns and cities it was looking to target as part of plans to grow to a 30-strong estate by the end of 2017. These included Cheltenham as well as Canterbury, Exeter, Southampton and St Albans.
 
Three former Botanic Inns pubs in Belfast set to go on market: Three Belfast pubs once owned by collapsed Northern Ireland-based company Botanic Inns are set to go on the market. The Botanic Inn in Malone Road, the King’s Head in Lisburn Road and Madison’s bar in Botanic Avenue are going to be put up for sale later this month as part of the latest disposals of the estate, reports the Belfast Telegraph. The sites are being sold by the Irish government’s National Asset Management Agency, which has control of the pubs. They are currently being run by Horatio Group – a firm set up by Stephen Magorrian, the former managing director of Botanic Inns, which went into administration in 2013 with debts of about £14m. The Belfast Telegraph said Horatio Group had been trying to buy the three sites over the last two years and is expected to be in the running to snap up the venues. Meanwhile, last week Botanic Inns’ former head office, Maxol House in Ormeau Road, was placed on the market for offers of about £850,000.

BrewDog founders meet locals in Columbus, Ohio, and break ground on new brewery: BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have met locals in Columbus, Ohio, in the wake of breaking ground on their new brewery. They met locals at Winking Lizard on Bethel Road on Friday evening where there were cheers, an O-H followed by an I-O and a spontaneous, “Go Bucks!” Watt said: “We were tentatively thinking about maybe doing something in America, and we visited some places and looked at some options. And I was in Columbus for one day and I was like ‘We’re doing it and we’re doing it right here.’ We love the community, the people, the atmosphere and we’re really excited to be a small part of that community.” BrewDog, the Scotland-based craft beer maker, broke ground last week on a $30m brewery and US headquarters in Canal Winchester. It’s expected to open next summer. The founders also flew in a pallet of kegs to celebrate. “Our beer here is old and oxidized,” Watts said. “So we flew them in.”

Spudulike reports pre-tax losses more than double: Baked potato brand Spudulike has reported pre-tax losses more than doubled in the year to 1 January 2015. The company, which was founded in 1974 and was owned for a short while by the British School of Motoring, saw pre-tax losses of £1,467,963, up from £733,492 the year before. Turnover also fell by nearly £2m to £13,004,325, compared to £14,944,253 the year previously, according to accounts filed with Companies House. The company stated: “In the year the company faced a number of challenges as a result of the prevailing economic conditions. The company has weathered these challenges and enters 2015 with renewed confidence. The focus of the company remains on providing excellence in terms of product quality, customer service and value for money. To achieve these aims both head office and operational field teams have been refreshed with new individuals and responsibilities. In the course of 2014 a number of key outlets were closed for refurbishment, which is reflected in the decrease in turnover and the capital expenditure. These outlets have now opened in 2015 and are performing extremely well and, as a consequence, we anticipate an increase in turnover in 2015 when compared to 2014. Additionally, we are experiencing strong like-for-like growth across the existing outlets. Gross margin increased from 70.5% of sales in the period ending 2 January 2014 to 71.0% of sales in the period ended 1 January 2015. Staff costs increased from 29.5% of sales in the period ended 2 January 2014 to 33.6% of sales in the period ended 1 January 2015. Operating loss increased from 5.1% of sales in the period ended 1 January 2014 to 11.4% of sales in the period ended 1 January 2015. We are pleased to report that the actions taken in the course of 2014 and at the start of 2015 have started to generate returns and the company is now experiencing like-for-like sales growth across the estate.”

PizzaExpress adds crowd-sourced pizza to menu following online competition: PizzaExpress has added a crowd-sourced pizza to its autumn menu following an online competition. Diners can order the Romana Autunno, which has been created by Exeter resident Patricia Moroney. It is only the second time in the company’s 50-year history a customer has had their idea for a new pizza featured on the menu. The pizza was inspired by the colours of autumn and features smoky chorizo, garlic-roasted butternut squash, goat’s cheese, dark green spinach and chilli flakes. It comes on a thin and crispy Romana base and is finished with a drizzle of chilli oil. Moroney beat off competition from 60,000 people to win the “Create Your New Favourite” contest. A panel of judges whittled the entries down to five, which then went to a public vote. As well as seeing her creation on the menu, Moroney also won £10,000 and a holiday to the Amalfi coast in Italy.

Living Ventures opens second The Alchemist in Leeds, plans first site in Birmingham: Living Ventures has opened its second The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant in Leeds and is planning its first site in Birmingham. The company has invested £1m into the Leeds site in Greek Street, which has created 50 jobs. It is the second The Alchemist in the city following the opening of its Leeds Trinity venue in 2013. Meanwhile, Living Ventures is planning to open its first site in Birmingham at the landmark Colmore Row development where it is set to be joined by its Italian restaurant Gusto brand, which has 12 locations in the north and Scotland. The venues will account for three of the ten retail units created at The Grand, one of the city’s most cherished listed buildings, constructed in 1875. However, owner Hortons’ Estate said there is no prospect of either opening before Christmas, with work on the units set to over run into next year. Chief executive Tony Green said while both The Alchemist, which also has venues in Manchester and London, and Gusto have applied for licences, neither deal has been finalised. “We always intended to change those units back to food and beverage, and there has been a lot of interest,” he said.

East Anglian-based Grain Brewery opens third pub: East Anglian-based Grain Brewery has launched its third pub – and its first site in Suffolk. The brewery, which is located near Alburgh on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, has reopened The Spread Eagle in Ipswich, which closed in March when former landlady Sheryl Meshirer decided to move to New York. The pub in Fore Street offers real ale and craft beer and is being run by Lou Weeden, who was previously at The Plough in Norwich – one of the two pubs in the city the brewery already owns. Geoff Wright, who established the brewery alongside Phil Halls in 2006, told the Ipswich Star: “We knew we wanted to get a new pub and Ipswich was an obvious choice – it’s really developing quickly in the town and close to the brewery. We are going to spend the next five years investing in the building for the future. We are really proud of British pubs and East Anglian pubs, and it concerned me when pubs started shutting down quickly, so we are trying to put a modern pub with the tradition and heritage, that’s the ethos.”

Davy’s wine bars to mark 145th anniversary with celebration meal on 10 November:
To mark 145 years since FE Davy established the Davy family business as wine shippers, merchants and proprietors of wine houses and shops, Davy’s 23 wine bars across London will be serving a celebratory menu, at a very special price, for one day only on Tuesday, 10 November. The menu has been personally selected by chairman James Davy featuring traditional favourites including a bespoke “Anniversary Banger” made using Davy’s Celebration Champagne specially created by executive chef Sean Davies. The set menu includes a glass of wine with each course with two courses costing £14.50 or three for £18.70. James Davy, whose company recently acquired El Vino’s, said: “It means a great deal that our family business is still thriving in its fifth generation and we wish to celebrate with our customers and thank them for their support. The business has seen many changes, and challenges, but we’ve stuck to our principles of excellent service, great quality food and wine, maintaining many traditions whilst keeping pace with the ever-changing marketplace and needs of our customers. There is still plenty of work to be done on both businesses, competition is fierce and history means nothing if you aren’t good today.”

Starbucks trials ‘Green Apron Delivery’ service in Empire State Building in New York: Starbucks is trialling a “Green Apron Delivery” service at The Empire State Building in New York, which houses 12,000 people. Starbucks Green Apron Delivery service will allow Empire State Building tenants to order a selected set of food and beverages via a dedicated website. Beverages will then be handcrafted by Starbucks baristas in a designated kitchen within the building. Orders will be prioritised and prepared within a 30 minute timeframe, giving Starbucks employees the ability to craft the beverages based on volume and distance to the drop off location while ensuring the quality of the product upon delivery. Starbucks baristas will bring orders to each company’s designated drop off location, which could include reception, a desk or other common areas, where the customer will meet them. Brian Murphy, store manager, said: “It is a historic moment for the company and after all the planning and practice, it’s now time to bring Starbucks Green Apron Delivery to life.”

Wagamama 11th and final restaurant brand to sign up to Newport shopping centre scheme: Wagamama is the 11th and final restaurant brand to sign up to the Friars Walk shopping centre in Newport, Wales. The company has secured a 3,100 square foot unit next to Prezzo and Gourmet Burger Kitchen, meaning the restaurant section is now fully let. Other restaurant brands that have signed up to the centre, being developed by Queensberry Real Estate, include Le Bistrot Pierre, Nando’s and TGI Friday’s. The 390,000 square foot complex is due to open on Thursday, 12 November. Stuart Harris, commercial director and co-founder at Queensberry Real Estate, said: “With just less than six weeks to go until we open, we’ve secured yet more really good quality shops and restaurants for Friars Walk.”

Koh Thai Tapas wins Best Employer in Hospitality for the Small Restaurant Group category 2015: Koh Thai Tapas has won the Best Employer award at the Best Employer in Hospitality Awards at the Lancaster London for the second time in three years and is now ranked sixth Best Employer in Hospitality in the UK. Koh Thai Tapas cultivates a strong community spirit within the company and has spent considerable time on its staff training academy from which internal promotion is high on the agenda. The group achieves a 94% staff engagement score. Director of operations Sophie Cox said: “This award means so much to us as a company, we are still sticking to one of the founding principals from 2009, investing in our staff development and looking after their well-being. They are our biggest asset and we’re unbelievably proud that they still feel the same about us six years on.”

Stringfellow’s reports steady turnover, increased losses: West End bar and lap-dance club operator Stringfellow’s has reported turnover was £8,049,313 in 2014, almost exactly the same as the year before when turnover was £8,050,208. Losses before tax were £351,528, an increase on losses of £229,960 the year before. The company stated: “Group turnover and gross profit stood up well during difficult trading conditions.”

Camden Town to launch Camden’s Daughter: Camden Town Brewery is launching a new bar Camden’s Daughter in mid-November in Kentish Town Road, offering 12 taps of beer, cans and an all-day menu centred on kebabs. A spokesman stated: “For too long, beer and kebabs have been at different ends of your evening. Here, we bring them together in a one-stop-shop for the perfect night out. Camden’s Daughter will list all the beers from our mother brewery and ever-changing beer list of our favourites from the UK and beyond including Rogue, Fourpure, Brooklyn, Monk and Rooster.”

C2 Investment reports move to reduce brewing volumes to increase profits: Pre-tax profits have dropped at C2 Investment, owner of Lancaster Brewery, as the business adopts a strategy of brewing less beer at higher margins. C2 Investment generated pre-tax profits of £203,441 in the year ending 31 January 2015, down by 11% on a year earlier. Turnover decreased by 11% to £5.5m over the same period. C2 Investment owns 82.5% of Lancaster Brewery Company and wholly owns The Sun Hotel in Lancaster, The Duke of Edinburgh hotel, bar and restaurant in Barrow-in-Furness, The Palatine pub in Morecambe and The Mill pub in Ulverston. The company stated “2014/15 saw the brewery consolidate its position as a growing regional brewer whilst increasing its presence in the national pub and retail market”. It added: “Unfortunately, the demands of progressive beer duty have damaged margins as the brewery’s production has flourished. During 2014/15, the brewery completely altered its business model and brewed less beer but at better margins. Furthermore, the real result of the lowering of beer production will be felt in 2015/16 when the new duty rates come into play and reduce annual duty expenditure by circa £100,000. The company has secure and stable management, a quality and highly regarded product and a rapidly growing brewhouse and tap venue. Risk has been mitigated through the reduction of production and consequential reduction in future duty. Furthermore, staff costs have been reduced through careful restructuring and a lowering of headcount. Expectations are high for the years to come.”

Fine Thai dining group Patara to open fifth restaurant next month: The Patara Restaurant Group will open its fifth London site on Berners Street, London, next month. Patara, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary, currently operates four restaurants in London (and casual dining restaurant SUDA in Covent Garden) and a further five worldwide, in Singapore, Vienna, Geneva, Beijing and Bangkok. The menu at the new restaurant has been developed by two of Thailand’s leading chefs, Chumpol Jangprai and Noom Thaninthom. Chumpol, who has been working with Patara for ten years, is a leading celebrity chef in his native Thailand and was recently awarded “The Best New Generation Ironchef in Thai Cooking”. Noom (otherwise known as Nelson) has joined Patara as global executive chef and has 14 years experience working in leading Michelin-starred kitchens including Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal.

Aspall Cyder reports turnover and profit boost: Aspall Cyder, based in Stowmarket, Suffolk, and owned by the Chevallier Guild family, has reported both turnover and pre-tax profit rose in the year ended 28 March 2015. Sales rose to £24,166,393, compared to £22,853,944 the year before. Pre-tax profit jumped to £803,876 from £526,830. Profit margin was 33%, compared to 27% in the year prior. Since the year-end, the company has invested £2m in new press technology increasing capacity to support continued growth.

‘Destination’ nightclub gets go-ahead in Sheffield: A new “destination” nightclub under the iconic Wicker Arches in Sheffield is aiming to draw crowds away from Sheffield city centre with some of the biggest names in dance music. Sheffield Council’s sub-licensing committee granted an application for Arch 9 at a meeting yesterday (Tuesday, 13 October), allowing the venue to operate from 9am to 5am seven days a week from this weekend. Spencer Fearn, one of two founders of the club, was born in Sheffield and told the meeting he “wanted to do something positive” for his hometown. After the meeting, he said he was “delighted” by the decision and was looking forward to bringing some big dance acts to the city. With two floors and an outdoor mezzanine, Arch 9 will operate as a cafe during the day and transform into a club in the evenings. Spencer said Arch 9 would put Sheffield “back on the map in terms of house music” and provide a space for cultural events, exhibitions and corporate functions in the future.

Star Pubs & Bars to invest £750,000 in four Nottingham area pubs acquired from Greene King: Star Pubs & Bars, the tenanted pub division of Heineken, is to invest £750,000 upgrading four pubs in Nottingham it acquired for about £3m from Greene King as part of a 16-strong disposal package put together by Greene King to meet competition concerns in the wake of the acquisition of Spirit. The four pubs are the Crusader and the Fairham Hotel in Clifton, the Gedling Inn in Gedling and the Old Colonial in West Bridgford. Money will be spent on improving the pubs’ facilities and their food and drink offering over the next 18 months. Chris Moore, Star Pubs & Bars property and strategy director, said: “The pub market is buoyant for quality pubs and those offering further development opportunities. Nottingham is and will remain an important investment area for Star Pubs & Bars. We have invested £1.08m this year alone and are looking for further opportunities to invest strategically in those areas of Nottingham where we are under-represented. We are in the process of finalising our plans for next year but haven’t quite worked out where and when future investment [in Nottingham] will be yet.” The latest acquisitions bring the total number of pubs owned by Star Pubs & Bars to 54 in the Nottingham area.

M Restaurants to launch ‘choose your seat’ option: M Restaurants, the venue based in Threadneedle Street, is to launch an airline style, “choose a seat” option, with a new “Book a Booth” booking feature. Customers who visit the M website, will be offered the opportunity to choose where they sit in the restaurant and book a booth in both the Grill and Raw restaurants. Simultaneously, M founder and chief executive Martin Williams has unveiled a “keep your table” policy and condemned the restaurant culture of turning tables by giving customers “get out times”. He said: “Dining should be a relaxing bespoke experience, which can last as short, or long as the guest wishes. As a diner, there is nothing more disrespectful than being repeatedly told throughout the booking and seating process that the restaurant wants your table back. At M, with our ‘keep your table’ policy; if you book a table it is yours for as long as you wish.”

Costa partners Twinings to serve festive tea: Costa Coffee is partnering tea brand Twinings this Christmas to serve a seasonal tea blend. Being exclusively served in Costa and sold in premium retailers, the special blend tea has a black tea base and is blended with warming festive spice flavours including safflowers and real orange peel for a taste of Christmas. Caroline Harris, UK and Ireland marketing director at Costa, said: “We are delighted to partner with Twinings to offer this distinctive Christmas tea which complements our extensive Christmas beverage range. It’s important for us to provide our customers with choice and this meets the needs of those customers seeking a premium tea experience when out of the home. We’re proud to be the only place to serve this little moment of happiness to our customers.”

The Columbo Group opens Blues Kitchen in Brixton: The Columbo Group, led by Steve Ball and Riz Shaikh, has opened The Blues Kitchen in Brixton serving organic and ethically produced meats, slow cooked in house using a blend of hickory, oak mesquite and fruit woods. It also stocks the largest selection of rare and vintage bourbon in London, as well as having world-class blues, roots and soul artists playing live across two stages seven nights a week. Menu highlights include 16-hour smoked short beef rib, juicy slow-smoked pulled pork, and Texan beef brisket rubbed with Blues Kitchen seasoning. Located on 40 Acre Lane, London, The Blues Kitchen Brixton is split across two expansive levels. The ground floor comprises a bar, diner, intimate stage and seating, while the first floor houses a second live stage and club.

Nando’s signs for Yate scheme: Nando’s is to join the line-up of new restaurants at Yate Riverside, south Gloucestershire, ahead of opening later this year. Nando’s has signed for a 25-year lease at £25 per square foot and will trade alongside a six-screen Cineworld, Frankie & Benny’s, Prezzo and Dean’s Diner. The development has secured a 20,000 square foot Next store to anchor the retail element of the scheme, which also includes Pets at Home. Overall Yate Riverside is 70% pre-let prior to opening. Located adjacent to the town centre on Yate’s link road, the 98,000 square foot Yate Riverside will transform the town’s retail and leisure offer and tap un-met demand from customers across the town’s large catchment in south Gloucestershire and Bristol.

Halewood to distribute Pogues Irish whiskey: Alcoholic drinks producer Halewood International has secured a long-term deal with West Cork Distillers to distribute a new special Irish whiskey blend by the iconic band The Pogues. The whiskey, called The Pogues, will be sold in a 75cl black bottle with a recommended retail price of £30. It is expected to appeal primarily to 25 to 45-year-old males. Halewood International will also distribute West Cork Original Irish Whiskey and West Cork Single Malt Irish Whiskey as part of the deal, which will see all three whiskeys launched in the UK, China, South Africa, Romania, as well as through duty free and travel retail. Catherine Meardon, international marketing manager at Halewood International, said: “We’re delighted to be distributing The Pogues whiskey. A quality product with such an iconic brand gives us a versatile audience, from whiskey connoisseurs to music fans and those early adopters looking for the next hot spirit.”

Speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference unveiled: The full speaker programme for the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 5 November at the Lancaster, London, the best-attended conference series in the sector, has been unveiled. Ian King, presenter of the Sky News show, Ian King Live, and former Business and City editor of The Times, looks at the key economic trends over the past 12 months and the 12 months ahead and gives his views on their impact on the hospitality sector. Peter Hansen, founder of leading mergers and acquisitions advisory Sapient Corporate Finance, which has advised on sector transactions worth more than £2bn in the past five years, looks at the key sector trends in 2015 for those buying and selling businesses. Andrew Ball, of accountancy firm haysmacintyre, offers his top tips on tax minimisation for multi-site operators. Paul Harbottle, commercial director of Enterprise Inns, talks about building an 800-strong managed pub estate and investment and progress in the leased and tenanted part of the business. Toby Smith, chief executive of Novus Leisure, explains how the company is evolving its food, drink and entertainment offer, along with digital capability, to stay at the forefront of the late-night market in London and the regions. Martin Wolstencroft, founder of Arc Inspirations, arguably Yorkshire’s most successful independent bar and restaurant operator, talks about running multiple concepts, overcoming challenges, best-in-class profit conversion, innovation and expanding over the Pennines in the company’s 15th year. Scott Shaw, founder and chairman of marketing and information analysis business Fishbowl, explains how US restaurant businesses are using guest information to drive marketing and sales. He is joined by data expert Mike Lukianoff, founder of Czar Metrics, now owned by Fishbowl, who will talk about the ground-breaking work his company is doing in the US with a host of well-known restaurant brands, using data to shape menu and price engineering, media efficiency and trade area analytics. Nick Collins, managing director of Loungers, talks about evolving the brand, maintaining company culture, fulfilling growth ambitions, new trading locations and stepping into the shoes of founder Alex Reilley. Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, co-founders of Brewhouse & Kitchen, talk about how they have developed the UK’s largest brewpub chain, food quality, recruiting brewers, brewing experiences, EIS funding and the market potential for the company. Ann Elliott, chief executive of leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts, presents the findings of a survey of senior industry executives on the subject of “outstanding leadership”. Elliotts strategy director James Hacon talks to former Spirit chief executive Mike Tye, Thorley Taverns operations director Phil Thorley, Ego Restaurants chief executive James Horler and Ann Elliott about the principles of high quality leadership.

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