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Fri 16th Oct 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Takeaway sales forecast to hit nearly £8bn a year with smartphone boost: Britain will spend almost £8bn a year on takeaways by the end of the decade with the surge in smartphone usage. Expenditure on takeaway food such as pizza, curry and Chinese food is expected to grow by 28% during this decade to £7.6bn a year, according to figures from Euromonitor International. Domino’s Pizza exemplified the trend by reporting a 21% surge in its latest quarterly sales, to £200m, with 75% of orders placed online and 61% of those made with mobile devices. The figures from Domino’s were released after Just Eat, the UK’s largest online takeaway group, said sales rose 54% in the first half of the year, and a survey by building society Nationwide found that households buy three takeaways a month on average. Nicola Knight, an analyst at insights firm Horizons, said teenagers and young adults had been central to the recent growth in takeaway sales. However, she said as large companies such as Domino’s develop mobile devices to reach more customers, independent Indian and Chinese restaurants could feel the squeeze. “The younger generation are our most frequent consumers of food prepared outside the home, so as they age we are becoming a nation used to buying takeaway foods,” she added. “Operators have tapped into their familiarity with technology by offering easier ways to order and pay for home delivery and takeaway food online. The growth of third-party delivery companies also means that more outlets can tap into this sector without the cost of running their own home delivery service. The takeaway market, particularly home delivered, will continue to grow, as group-owned operators such as PizzaExpress move into the sector. Independent operators such as Indian and Chinese outlets are likely to continue to decline.”

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

Mentoring programme to develop pub industry’s female talent names first mentees: Athena Mentoring, the programme launched to recognise and develop female talent in the pub industry, has named the six mentees who will take part in the first phase of the scheme. They are Beds and Bars sales and marketing manager Sophie Herbert, Beds and Bars finance manager Gemma Placey, findmypub.com managing director Helen Lees, One Under Lime (Elior) general manager Elizabeth Hawthornwaite, Yummy Pubs general manger Sarah Marshall and Bath Ales executive chef Alice Bowyer. The pilot phase of the programme, which is part of a joint initiative between BT Sport, the British Institute of Innkeeping, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Inapub, will run for a year, with the selected mentees paired with a personal mentor. Over a series of one-to-one sessions, taking place on a bi-monthly basis, they will work with their mentor on pre-defined development areas, unique to each mentee. The combination of advice, support and guidance will enable mentees to develop their talents and professional growth. Athena Mentoring founder Emma Causer said: “We had so many talented, passionate and driven women apply and our final group is representative of that. We are so excited about what the next year has in store.” Mentors supporting the programme include Stonegate commercial director Suzanne Baker, Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott, Wadworth chief executive Chris Welham and Everards Brewery managing director Stephen Gould.

Luke Johnson – Jewish entrepreneurs seem to have success in their DNA: Sector investor Luke Johnson has hailed the work of Jewish entrepreneurs and said they seem to have success in their DNA. Writing in the Jewish Chronicle, he said: “I have spent much of my business career in partnership with very able Jewish entrepreneurs, so I can testify as to their capabilities and ambition. Of course, the question that really fascinates me is this: what is the magic they possess that means so many do well in business? I wonder if DNA is on their side. The earliest agricultural societies settled in the Levant, in about 10,000 BC, during the New Stone Age. By cultivating cereals and domesticating livestock, these Neolithic farmers were probably the world’s first entrepreneurs. They established the principle of deferred gratification for greater gain, as opposed to the nomadic lifestyle that was prevalent until then. Ultimately I think it is culture and communities that matter most for any cohort of would-be entrepreneurs. Role models, local networks, hard work and a respect for accomplishment are vital. The external environment is crucial too – Jews have done well in Britain as we have the rule of law and strong property rights.”

All-day breakfast helps McDonald’s brand perception, reveals survey: McDonald’s’ introduction of all-day breakfast in the US has helped the company’s brand perception soar to its highest level since 2013, according to the latest consumer survey from YouGov BrandIndex. The company’s perception among adults surged in September and is now the highest among all quick-service restaurants concepts, according to the survey of 22,000 adults, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. “We are seeing several of their metrics moving up significantly, both in the general population and among those who eat out for breakfast at least once a month,” said Ted Marzilli, chief executive of YouGov, a brand perception research service. “That’s good news. All-day breakfast seems to be off to a good start. It’s resonating with consumers.” Breakfast is a primary driver of McDonald’s recent perception improvement. Among those consumers, who eat breakfast from once a month to two times a day, McDonald’s perception surged 17 points since the beginning of August. YouGov’s scores are measured on a scale from -100 to 100, based on whether more consumers have a positive or negative perception of a concept. McDonald’s current “buzz” score among breakfast eaters is 16, meaning 16% more breakfast eaters had a positive perception of McDonald’s than negative. That score is also ten points higher than the average quick-service chain according to YouGov. The company’s general impression scores also surged, from a score of 12 in early August to 23 now, which is eight points higher than the quick-service restaurant average.

Diageo could sell beer business for £7.4bn: Guinness owner Diageo could sell its beer business for £7.4bn, analysts have estimated, amid mounting speculation about the next major deal to shake-up the brewery industry. Anheuser-Busch InBev, began the latest round of brewery consolidation with its £68bn takeover of Peroni and Foster’s owner SABMiller. The acquisition is expected to trigger a series of deals to satisfy regulators, with SAB’s stake in its MillerCoors US joint venture, worth about $10bn, and its interest in Snow, the Chinese lager that is the world’s biggest-selling beer, both likely to be sold. Diageo, the FTSE 100 drinks giant that makes most of its profits from spirits, could also join the re-alignment by offloading its beer assets, which include Guinness, Smithwick’s ale, Kilkenny and a range of brands that are popular across Africa, Bernstein analyst Trevor Stirling said. “Every asset has its price if there is a purchaser willing to pay a premium to fair value for the assets (including the tax benefits), which we estimate could be worth up to £7.4bn,” he said. Given the differences in production and distribution, “beer and spirits do not mix in mature markets”, according to Stirling.

Company News:

Tortilla to support Jamie Oliver campaign with 10p sugar tax: Burrito brand Tortilla is to introduce a 10p sugar tax on all its drinks containing added sugar from Monday (19 October). The company is the latest restaurant to introduce the levy in support of Jamie Oliver’s campaign. The proceeds will be donated to The Children’s Health Fund, launched and run by the charity Sustain and supported by Oliver. Managing director Richard Morris said: “We’re delighted to show our support and be part of this campaign. It really is a valuable cause and it is essential to raise awareness of the dangers of consuming too much sugar. We hope that our involvement in the campaign will continue to raise awareness of this issue as well as divert funds to such a worthwhile cause.” Other restaurants to impose the levy are Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana, healthy eating brands Leon and Abokado along with Oliver’s own restaurants.

Wellington Pub Company reports slight turnover increase: Wellington Pub Company, the UK’s largest free-of-tie pub estate, reported a slight increase in turnover in the year ending 31 March 2015. The company saw turnover rise to £26,860,000, compared to £26,834,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Pre-tax profit fell slightly to £9,032,000, compared to £9,419,000 the year before. The company stated: “The company continues to maintain its market position and has achieved a small increase in turnover from last year despite the conditions of the industry following the global economic crisis. The relevant accounting standards require the company to include all investment properties at their open market value. The directors have undertaken an assessment of the relevant assets and believe that the investment property values included in the financial statements reflect their open market values. The company maintains its policy of when an appropriate offer is received on its existing properties it may look to make disposals if the outlet is not meeting internal benchmarks. During the year, in accordance with the company’s strategy, underperforming pubs were disposed of generating a net loss of approximately £337,000 (2014: £224,000).”

Zizzi to open new restaurant at Westfield London next Saturday: Italian restaurant brand Zizzi will open a new restaurant at Westfield London in White City next Saturday (24 October). The company is opening the 4,000 square foot site opposite Debenhams. The restaurant will feature 130 covers inside with seating for a further 60 on a covered outside terrace. It will take the Zizzi estate to a total of 139, with a strong pipeline of ten new openings planned for the UK in the coming months. All restaurants feature Zizzi’s signature open kitchen, wood stone ovens and the use of rustic log walls, trees and bespoke artwork to give each one individual character. Zizzi marketing director Jo Fawcett said: “We’re delighted to be opening a restaurant within London’s iconic Westfield centre allowing us to showcase the full Zizzi offering including our newly launched autumn menu. It’s a fantastic step for Zizzi and we’re excited to open the doors to a host of new visitors. We’re also proud to be supporting the local area, providing 50 new jobs to fill a number of roles within the restaurant.”

Theakstons reports turnover and pre-tax profit decline due to ‘account changes’: North Yorkshire brewer Theakstons has reported turnover fell to £4,484,000 in the year ending 31 December 2014, compared to £9,618,000 the previous year. Pre-tax profit also decreased to £560,000, compared to £2,044,000 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. Theakstons said the company’s profit and loss account had been “significantly amended” to reflect a new long-term commercial agreement with Heineken UK coming into effect in November 2013. The company stated: “Profits before tax, as adjusted for financing, were £592,000 (2013: 573,000) on a like-for-like basis and therefore before one-off director bonuses of £56,000. After these bonuses the figure was £536,000. The decrease in turnover in 2013 and 2014 is as a result of new contract terms commencing in November 2013. On a like-for-like basis, the turnover would have been £10,960,000 (2013: £10,805,000) assuming the original long-term agreements had continued throughout the whole of 2013 and 2014. With commercial and financial arrangements agreed until 2018 at least, the company can maintain the focus of its future investment on continuing to develop and brew beer in Masham and on continuing to grow the overall strength of the Theakston brand equity.”

Urban Leisure Group appoints new managing director as it prepares to open three new sites: London-based bar and restaurant operator Urban Leisure Group has appointed a new managing director as it prepares to open three new sites. The company has promoted Adrian Hartley who has been operations director for the past three years. Urban Leisure Group will open Coin Laundry in Exmouth Market, focused on 1970s-inspired food and cocktails, in mid-November. This will be followed by Heist Bank in Paddington in January, offering wood-fired pizzas and local beers. It will then launch its tenth site in early 2016 by converting the former La Brocca restaurant in West Hampstead into a venue specialising in cocktails and pizza. Founder and director Hezi Yechiel said: “Urban Leisure Group continues to grow from strength to strength and we are really excited about our forthcoming openings. They will all bring something different to London’s vibrant eating and drinking scene and we can’t wait to launch the projects, some of which have been months in the making.” The company opened its first site – Graphic in Soho – seven years ago.

JD Wetherspoon sees £1.4m five-level staggered roof terrace plan for Exeter pub delayed: JD Wetherspoon has had its planning application for a £1.4m five-level staggered roof terrace with cathedral views at The Chevalier Inn in Exeter delayed. The company submitted the proposal to Exeter City Council to redevelop the Fore Street pub in June. JD Wetherspoon confirmed the application has been delayed following an acoustic survey request made by council planning officers. It told the Exeter Express & Echo it hopes once the tests on sound levels have been completed, the application will finally be validated and able to progress. The redevelopment would require demolition of various areas of the building, including two existing plant rooms and an upstairs customer toilet, to make way for additional seating and access to the rooftop beer gardens.

Chicken shop reports turnover hit £1m: Chicken Shop, the casual dining restaurant brand that Soho House Group owns a 50% stake, hit £1m in turnover in the year ending 28 December 2014. The brand saw turnover leap to £1,080,144, compared to £58,609 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It also made an operating profit of £20,799 having made a loss of £92,538 the previous year. The company stated: “On 20 March 2015, the Soho House Group sold a 50% stake in the Pizza East, Chicken Shop and Dirty Burger casual dining restaurant brands to a private investor. The sale agreement relates to the three existing brands in all territories, excluding the Americas. The disposal values the restaurant brands at an enterprise value of £33m. In addition, Soho House Group and the investor have each agreed to provide £5m funding in the near term to accelerate the roll-out of the three restaurant brands. The new joint venture will also be offered the opportunity to invest in new casual dining restaurant concepts created by Soho House. The proceeds from the sale will be invested in the core Soho House Group business to accelerate growth into new locations.”

Des McDonald to open latest rooftop restaurant residency at Selfridges in London next Wednesday: Restaurateur Des McDonald will open his latest rooftop restaurant residency at Selfridges in London next Wednesday (21 October). McDonald is launching Forest Restaurant & Cabin Bar on the Roof, which will offer “sophisticated comfort food and seasonal cocktails beneath a starry sky”. Inspired by foraging trips to Britain’s forests, the menu will include hot pots, grilled meats and fish and seasonal vegetable dishes. The Cabin Bar, located on the terrace, will house outdoor lodges, complete with blankets to keep guests warm and a bespoke photo-booth lodge. The bar will have its own entrance, serving “choctails”, seasonal ales and mulled wine and cider. McDonald said: “I am delighted to be opening our fourth rooftop concept, Forest Restaurant & Cabin Bar on the Roof. We really enjoy working with Selfridges and are excited to transform the room into another successful residency.” The restaurant will join McDonald’s other new openings: The Printing Press and Burr & Co in Edinburgh and The Refectory and Chapter House in York. He also runs London restaurants Q Grill Chalk Farm, Frontier Room at Q Grill, Vintage Salt Upper Street, Vintage Salt Liverpool Street and Holborn Dining Room while more restaurant openings are planned for 2016.

Saltire Taverns reports small pre-tax loss before Glendola Leisure takeover: Saltire Taverns has reported a small pre-tax loss in its final year of trading under Scottish pub entrepreneur Billy Lowe, who sold the business to Glendola Leisure in August. The company, which owns boutique hotels Le Monde and the Angels Share in Edinburgh, saw a pre-tax loss of £15,250 in the year ending January 31 2015, according to accounts filed with Companies House. This compares with a pre-tax profit of £6,307 the previous year. Turnover increased to £7,810,854, compared to £7,436,112 the year before due to the “growing popularity of Le Monde and Angels Share as qualitative bar and restaurant operations, and leading boutique hotels in Edinburgh”. Operating profit fell to £142,281, compared with £305,161 the previous year as a “consequence of costs incurred in management training and personal development”. Lowe built up Saltire after successfully exiting Thistle Inns, the pub business he formed with his cousin Kenny Waugh and sold to Scottish Brewers for about £20m in 1997. Lowe, who had been the majority shareholder in Saltire, previously sold its Frankenstein outlets in Glasgow and Edinburgh to Glendola in 2011.

£315,000 crowdfunding campaign to save Suffolk pub passes 50% mark: A £315,000 campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to save the Duke of Marlborough pub in Somersham, Suffolk, has passed the 50% mark. So far, 152 investors have pledged £167,320, with 30 days left. The campaign aims to sell more than £300,000 worth of shares in order to buy, reopen and run the pub as a “community and great food pub”. Campaign leader Sarah Caston said: “This is great news. But we still need all the support we can get to reopen the doors of this jewel in Suffolk’s crown! We’re convinced it will be a success, so now is the time for people to take action. All you have to do is go on the www.savetheduke.net website or www.crowdfunder.co.uk website and make your pledge. It takes just a few minutes – and will make all the difference.” The Duke of Marlborough closed ten months ago when its owners retired. According to the Plunkett Foundation, 35 of the 52,000 pubs in Britain are co-operative pubs.

Yorkshire Meatball Company opens new York restaurant and first pub residency: Yorkshire Meatball Company has opened a new restaurant in York and a pop-up residency in its hometown of Harrogate. The company’s new 75-cover restaurant, also forming its first franchise, is located in York city centre, in partnership with the recently opened Hotel Indigo York, in Walmgate. In addition, it has launched its first pop-up residency in 10 Devonshire Place in Harrogate. Yorkshire Meatball Company founder and managing director David Atkinson told Bdaily: “Launching the new restaurant and taking a short-term residency at 10 Devonshire Place, an independent Harrogate pub, which supports upcoming craft beers and ales, demonstrates our on-going and unwavering commitment to Yorkshire. We are especially looking forward to our first pop-up experience, as we are keen to use this opportunity to explore future expansion in the pub sector, and use this as a platform to spread the word about our speciality balls to a wider audience across Harrogate and the region.” Yorkshire Meatball Company was launched in 2012 when father-and-son business partners David and Gareth Atkinson spotted a gap in the Yorkshire market for meatballs. After acquiring its Harrogate premises in February 2014, the business has now increased its brand presence across the region.

Adnams opens new Cellar & Kitchen store in Bury St Edmunds: Suffolk-based brewer and retailer Adnams has opened a new Cellar & Kitchen store in Bury St Edmunds. The company has opened the venue in a historic building in Cornhill and it is the second outlet to include a cafe. The store sells Adnams’ beers, wines and spirits alongside kitchenware and gifts. Adnams retail head Neil Griffin told Off Licence News: “Bury St Edmunds was a natural choice for us when we set about opening a new store in the west of the county. We’re really excited to be here and it is an area we have earmarked for a long time. Located in the heart of the bustling market town, there is a great array of independent shops, as well as high street chains, nearby. The new store will offer everything you would expect from an Adnams shop, with the addition of a cafe, which serves local produce, simply prepared along with recommended drinks pairings.” Adnams now has 12 Cellar & Kitchen stores in Suffolk, Norfolk, Essex and Lincolnshire.

Former Hotel du Vin head sommelier to open new upmarket wine bar in York: Former head sommelier at the Hotel du Vin in York Kelly Latham is opening a new upmarket wine bar concept in the city next Thursday (22 October). She has teamed up with sister Kate to launch Pairings in Castlegate on the site of the former Fashionista clothing shop. Pairings will be an “upmarket, exclusive drinking establishment” with waiter service only. It will have 53 covers upstairs, with plans to add another 25 seats into the basement area next year. Drinks will include wines from around the world – chosen by Kelly Latham with her knowledge of the subject – craft beers, spirits and cocktails. The food menu will feature open sandwiches, cheese boards and charcuterie, fish platters, complete with octopus and tiger prawns, and oysters paired with champagne. Kate Latham told York Mix: “Castlegate has got some nice restaurants on it and nearby. It’s nice to have a wine bar this side of York as well.”

Castle Rock running pilot project to produce first cider: Nottingham pub operator and brewer Castle Rock is running a pilot project to produce its first cider. The brewery is looking to produce about 700 pints of cider – with fruit grown by allotment holders in return for a taste of the new tipple. The first batch will be produced from 450kg of fruit from St Ann’s Allotment, which will be pressed, filtered and left to ferment to create a cloudy drink of ABV 7%. For the first run of batches the brewery still needs another 100 sacks of apples and is appealing for people across Nottinghamshire to bring in their fruit in exchange for a bottled treat later on. If the experimental brew goes well then the brewery plans to produce further batches. Managing director Colin Wilde told the Nottingham Post: “Food and drink with local provenance is increasingly important and this is a natural extension for us. Many people grow apples that might just go to waste because they have far too many. Hopefully this try-out will help us make an interesting Nottinghamshire cider.” Castle Rock Brewery, which is famous for its Harvest Pale and Elsie Moe among other Nottingham beers, has been brewing since 1997 and is now based in Queensbridge Road, near Nottingham railway station.

Kent-based chef to start expanding The Corner House restaurant concept with second site in Canterbury: Kent-based chef-entrepreneur Matt Sworder is to start expanding his The Corner House restaurant concept with a second site in Canterbury. Matt Sworder and his father David have acquired the freehold of the 16th century The Flying Horse pub, off an asking price of £500,000 through agent Fleurets. Matt Sworder already runs The Corner House in the village of Minster and following an extensive refurbishment, the Canterbury site is expected to open next April. The new 50-seater restaurant’s menu will be similar to that of the existing restaurant with the emphasis on locally sourced, fresh and homemade produce, including in-house produced bread, pasta and ice cream. Matt Sworder said: “The menu will be short and dynamic with many ‘Of The Day’ dishes. Whilst there will be dishes that make it a Corner House restaurant, each kitchen has its own head chef and a creative licence has to come with each. As chefs we are a creative bunch and I enjoy working with the team on new dishes. It’s a beautiful period building with some stunning features so the refurbishment will be focused on celebrating each feature and maintaining the building’s natural character. I am working with some fantastic architects who have been tasked with breathing new life into the second oldest pub in Canterbury. We are hoping to have an open plan kitchen next to the dining room on the ground floor, and three beautiful en suite guest rooms upstairs.”

Enterprise Inns opens managed site in Chorley: Bermondsey Pub Company, the Enterprise Inns managed vehicle, is re-opening The Beaumont, Chorley, on Saturday (17 October), following a £140,000 transformation. Manager Suzanne Tench, who runs the 30-year-old pub with her son-in-law Daniel McGovern, is hosting a fun day to mark a new era for the Clayton-le-Woods pub. “My aim is to put The Beaumont back on the map at the heart of the community,” she said. The Beaumont has undergone a refurbishment internally, including new décor and furnishings, and externally, including new signage colours which reflect the Lancashire rose. Tench added: “It’s a chameleon pub, with something to offer all ages, from great food, beer and football, to live music and incentives for retirees.”

Hakkasan Group to open new nightclub in Las Vegas: UK-based nightclub and restaurant company Hakkasan Group is to open a new nightclub in Las Vegas. The company is launching Jewel in the former space of Haze nightclub at the Aria Resort & Casino next spring. The club will span more than 24,000 square feet with a capacity of up to 1,925 guests. The multi-level venue will encompass a main club with an overlooking mezzanine level complete with five unique and secluded suites situated above the dance floor, each with its own exclusive entry. The DJ booth, a space conducive to a variety of musical performances, will lead Jewel in pioneering a first-of-its-kind production wall featuring dual-sided LED video screens and special effects lighting, also allowing for 360-degree movement. Hakkasan Group chief executive Neil Moffitt said: “We are delighted to continue our relationship with longtime partners MGM Resorts International, as well as Dubai World, with this new nightclub at Aria Resort & Casino. Our companies share a hugely successful track record together in entertainment and we look forward to providing another world-class experience for our guests.”

Tom Aikens to open second Hong Kong restaurant: Chef-entrepreneur Tom Aikens is launching his second restaurant in Hong Kong next month. Aikens is opening nose-to-tail venue The Fat Pig on the 11th floor of the Times Square shopping centre in Causeway Bay. It follows on from Aikens’ Hong Kong debut The Pawn in Wanchai and will be his second collaboration with The Press Room Group. The new restaurant will showcase different cooking methods that make the most of every part of the pig. Dishes combine the best of British and Asian influences and feature locally sourced pork from Hong Kong’s Wah Kee Farm in the New Territories. Designed for sharing, the menu will be arranged according to different cooking methods, from barbecue, baked and braised to steamed and slow roasted. The interiors will have a rustic feel, complete with large tables and an outdoor terrace. Aikens said: “I’m aiming to create a new, almost educational dining experience by showing people how pork can be such inspirational meat, for all types of cuisines. It’s not just about ribs and pork chops – I want to encourage less-adventurous diners to try cuts they’ve never had before.”

Greene King employees evacuated from Bury St Edmunds headquarters following gas leak: Greene King employees had to be evacuated from its headquarters in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, following a gas leak yesterday (Thursday, 15 October). A Suffolk County Council spokeswoman told the Ipswich Star 21 people had to be rescued after being trapped inside on the first floor. Emergency services were alerted at about 8.45am to the incident in Cullum Road and firefighters isolated a leaking tank valve, which was causing food grade carbon dioxide to leak. A gas cloud had begun drifting towards another populated area of the building, although this was stopped. Residents from nearby Tannery Drive and Rockingham Road were also evacuated but were allowed to return to their homes shortly afterwards.

Extra MSA commits to maintaining and funding Sheffield woodland as part of £46m motorway services plan: Motorway services group Extra MSA has committed to maintaining and funding the North East Sheffield Woodlands as part of plans for a £46m site in Sheffield. The company is proposing to build the service area on Junction 35 of the M1, which it said could create 400 construction jobs and 300 permanent on-site jobs. Plans were initially submitted to Sheffield City Council in March last year, but concerns were raised about the surrounding woodlands, which led to further public consultations and reports to come to a compromise on the situation. Now Extra MSA has committed to maintaining the woodland directly and also in partnership with local community woodlands groups, reports The Business Desk. It has promised in the first five years there will be an initial investment of £1.2m and it will also contribute further funding of £200,000 per annum for a minimum period of 50 years. A final decision on the plan is expected in January 2016.

Glasgow-based burger concept Bread Meats Bread set to start expanding with second site in Edinburgh: Glasgow-based burger concept Bread Meats Bread is set to start expanding by opening a second site, this time in Edinburgh. The concept, which was launched in 2013, will open next month in Lothian Road, next to the Filmhouse cinema. Bread Meats Bread’s existing restaurant is in St Vincent Street in Glasgow.

Booker Group reports 10% increase in pre-tax profit: The wholesaler Booker Group has reported pre-tax profit rose 10% to £74.1m on the same period last year in the 24 weeks to 11 September 2015. Like-for-like non-tobacco sales were up 0.6% while operating profit increased £10% to £75.0m. The company stated: “We completed the acquisition of Budgens and Londis on 14 September 2015. Overall, the group’s trading in the first four weeks of the current half-year is ahead of the same period last year. We anticipate that the challenging consumer and market environment will persist through the coming year and the UK’s food market remains very competitive. Whilst there is increasing price competition in the UK grocery and discount sectors, we will continue to deliver our plans to offer our customers even better choice, prices and service. We are on track to deliver an outcome for the financial year in line with our plans and to make progress in this challenging environment.” Chief executive Charles Wilson added: “This was a solid performance and our plan to focus, drive and broaden the business remains on track. Despite the challenges in the UK grocery market we continue to improve choice, prices and service for our retail and catering customers. We are delighted that Londis and Budgens have joined Booker and we look forward to growing with our customers.”

Speaker programme for Propel Multi Club Conference: 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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