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Mon 19th Oct 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Charles Wells to grow managed estate to 25 sites in next five years: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has told Propel it plans to grow its managed estate to 25 sites in the next five years. The company, which only began operating a managed division in 2014 after an eight-year absence, is now looking to expand its two formats. Having opened its first river-side site at Cox’s Yard in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, under its Apostrophe Pubs vehicle last month, Craig Mayes, director of Charles Wells’ managed pub division, said it had now agreed heads of terms to acquire a site in Bedford that is due to open in the company's next financial year, which starts in September 2016. Two more Apostrophe sites are also set to follow – one that is expected to be trading in early 2016 and another in March. He added: “Cox’s Yard is a different entity for us – with its 1,000 square metres of total trading area, it is a game changer for us.” Mayes also said the company plans to start expanding its Pizza, Pints and Pots concept that launched in Cambridge, with one site under negotiation and another due to open next April. He believes the concept could work in the casual dining market as well as pubs. “It’s making money and it’s a good brand, so we could probably go faster with it,” Mayes added. “It’s not just something we’re thinking about for pubs, we’ve been looking at retail units.” Mayes said the three current Apostrophe Pubs – Cox’s Yard, d’Pary’s in Bedford and Merlin’s Cave at Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, are budgeted to turn over at least £20,000 a week. “Our first one, d’Parys, hasn’t really dropped below £30,000, so £1.5m to £1.6m a year,” said Mayes. “Merlin’s Cave is (turning over) about £24,000 net a week and Cox’s Yard will start by turning over more than £20,000. We have high expectations, because we invest quite heavily.” Despite expanding its managed division, Mayes said there would still be plenty of opportunities for its tenants and lessees. He added: “We’re trying to get the balance right. At its heart Charles Wells is a family business that is all about the relationship with everyone we work with. Yummy Pub Company has just taken another site with us in Stoke Newington. That could have been a Pizza, Pots and Pints site, but our relationship with them is important.”

Industry News:

Survey – McDonald’s all-day breakfast in the US is a flop: A survey of 29 McDonald’s US franchise owners, accounting for 226 stores, has found the introduction of all-day breakfast in the US on 6 October has been a disappointment. Site managers have reported that their kitchens are in disarray due to having to juggle more menu items, which is, in turn, driving down quality and losing customers, The New York Post reported. Even where sales of breakfast items is strong, franchisees claim that’s because existing customers are “trading down” from more expensive regular menu items. “Customers are abandoning us in droves because we are either too slow, or sub-par quality,” said one franchisee. Other managers said they are having to bring in new staff to cope with the increased workload in the kitchen, which is eating into profits.

Starbucks plans entry to Italian market next year: Starbucks is planning to enter the Italian market next year with its first cafe in Milan, according to Italian newspaper Corriera della Sera. Although Starbucks has declined to comment, a source confirmed to Reuters that talks were underway. Italian shopping mall entrepreneur Antonio Percassi, who has overseen the expansion of Zara and Victoria’s Secret in Italy, is reportedly advising Starbucks founder Howard Schultz on the creation of a unique formula to attract Italian customers. Starbucks is hoping to capture a market foothold by offering free Wi-Fi, still something of a rarity in Italy. Earlier this month, Domino’s opened its first site in Italy, located in Milan, taking advantage of the city’s lack of delivery service.

Eataly to expand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland in joint venture: Eataly, which is expected to open in London in a joint venture with Selfridges within the next two years, has signed a deal to open in Germany, Austria and German-speaking Switzerland. It has signed a joint venture deal with Signa Retail. The first outlet in Germany, to be opened by the end of the year, will be a store in the historic Schrannenhalle building near the Viktualienmarkt in the centre of Munich. At least five more stores will be opened by 2021 in other locations. To date, Eataly has set up 26 stores in the US, Brazil, Dubai, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Italy.

Krispy Kreme trials coffee shop format: Krispy Kreme has begun a trial of a new store format in the US that aims to boost coffee sales. Tony Thompson, chief executive of Krispy Kreme, oversaw the new format opening in Clemmons, North Carolina last week – the site has many more traditional coffee shop design cues and is located close to many of the major coffee shop competitors. Coffee represents about 4% of Krispy Kreme’s sales, with beverages altogether accounting for 12%. The goal is for coffee to grow to at least 12% of revenue. “This setting in Clemmons allows us to analyse and measure our performance all the time against strong coffee competitors,” Thompson said. “We feel there is nothing but upside for us with coffee and with this concept.”

Advertising Standards Agency raps Welsh nightclub over excess drinking message: A Welsh nightclub has been rapped by advertising watchdogs for tweeting to its customers in the Welsh language to “get hammered”. A complaint was lodged against the club by a concerned member of the public who feared it encouraged excessive drinking. The tweet from Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff said: “Dewch i fynd yn hammered yn y Gymraeg. Ma’ bob aelod o staff bar ni’n siarad Cymraeg!” It translates as: “Come and get hammered in Welsh. Every member of our staff speaks Welsh!” The Advertising Standards Agency said it had banned the club from posting any more similar tweets. A spokesperson said: “The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Clwb Ifor Bach that their future advertising must not encourage excessive drinking.”

Company News:

JW Lees pre-tax profit nears £6m: Companies House accounts filed by north west brewer and retailer JW Lees show the company’s pre-tax profit climbed to £5,880,000 in the year to 31 March 2015, up from £5,133,000 the year before. Turnover was up slightly to £63,991,000 compared to £62,871,000 the year before. The company sold ten pubs in the year and spent £4.9m on buying three freehold pubs, The Kingfisher, Kirkham, the Hinchcliffe Arms, Craff Vale and the Parrswood, Didsbury, and repairs and improvements to existing pubs. The company has cash reserves of £17.53m and net debt of just £1,543,201.

JDW chief executive nets £116,725 in share sale: JD Wetherspoon chief executive John Hutson sold 16,167 shares of the company’s stock last week, selling at an average price of 722p for a total value of £116,725. The company also recently disclosed a dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, 26 November, of 8p. This represents a dividend yield of 1.12%. The ex-dividend date is Thursday, 22 October.

Marston’s reports new £9.5m headquarters build on track: Marston’s has reported its £9.5m plan to re-build its headquarters in Wolverhampton city centre in on track, with the aim of moving back into the offices by February 2016. The rebuild of the four-storey building is set to take 11 months from start to finish. Chief executive Ralph Findlay said: “Everything is on plan, the contractors have done a good job keeping to the timetable. The outer shell is almost completed, so we will be looking to start the fit-out inside by November, which will take until December with work completing at some point in January and everyone moving back in February.”

New hotel with Marco Pierre White restaurant near Leeds Arena gets go-ahead: Plans for a new 134 room hotel on the site of a former hotel in Leeds’ burgeoning Arena Quarter have been given the go-ahead. The proposals for the former Merrion Hotel building – which was part of the wider Merrion Centre – also includes a new restaurant run by chef Marco Pierre White. The restaurant will form part of the ground floor of the new hotel. As part of the revamp, nearby shop frontages will also be spruced up. Councillors on the council’s City Plans Panel approved the proposals on Friday.

Whitbread boss – ‘trust in pensions at lowest level in my lifetime’: Constant government meddling has reduced confidence in pensions to an historic low according to Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison. Speaking at the NAPF Annual Conference, Harrison said the sector had to put the consumer at the centre of everything it did to improve public opinion. He added that the industry tended to talk to itself and use unhelpful jargon. He said: “Pensions have always been hard for people to understand but the trust in pensions is probably the lowest it’s been in my lifetime”. Harrison criticised firms for their use of jargon and hefty administration fees, which had ‘disillusioned’ savers. Harrison added that the industry had confused customers with ‘snake-oil salesmen’ and ‘middle-men fees’.

Pizza Hut UK to stop serving grapes after tragic toddler death: Pizza Hut UK will stop serving grapes in all its branches across the UK following the death of toddler Jacob Jenkins. The two-year-old died after choking on a piece of fruit at a Pizza Hut restaurant in Hartlepool. A statement issued by the company said: “As a mark of respect, and in light of the tragic death of Jacob Jenkins, we have removed grapes from our menu with immediate effect. The well-being of our guests is always our number one priority, and our hearts go out to his family. We are devastated to learn of Jacob’s tragic death. Our deepest sympathy is with Jacob’s parents, Abigail and David, and his family and friends.” The Hartlepool Pizza Hut closed for a day as a sign of respect.

Award-winning Liverpool multi-siters to open fourth restaurant: The team who won an award for England’s best pizza last week are to open a fourth site, Crust, in Liverpool’s Bold Street next month. Crust will focus on serving up three classics – pizza, pasta, beer. It will occupy two floors, 200-square metres of space and offer more than 130 covers. It will offer more than 50 varieties of pizza and calzone choices, and a range of pasta dishes. The pasta will all be fresh and handmade. There will be a choice of more than 30 beers, including artisan and organic ones. Co-owner Paolo Cillo said: “We wanted to keep things simple with Crust – it’s all about focusing on Italy’s two star dishes, pizza and pasta. The setting, although influenced by rustic Italy, will be vibrant, casual and little bit quirky, so that’s where the decision to make beer the beverage of choice fits in. Despite this, we have really endeavoured to make sure the menu includes a pizza and pasta dish to suit food-lovers of just about every taste – meat, veggie, seafood – the works.” Crust comes from the team behind Il Forno, a Liverpool One grillhouse Manzo, and Paolo & Donato’s Italian Deli in Williamson Square. Just last week, Il Forno was named England’s best pizza restaurant at the English Italian Awards 2015. Manzo was a finalist in the best pasta category. Crust is scheduled to open in November on Bold Street in the unit formerly occupied by House. It will also offer a take-away service.

Wolstencroft – we should have 20 sites by 2018: Martin Wolstencroft has outlined expansion plans that should see Arc Inspirations expand to a portfolio of 20 sites in the north of England by 2018. The Leeds-based company opened its first venue outside of Yorkshire when it launched the Banyan bar in Manchester last month – its 13th site. And managing director Wolstencroft told Propel it wants to open seven more sites in the next three years. This includes further outlets in Manchester and a “flagship Banyan bar in Leeds”. Wolstencroft said: “Beyond that, we’re looking for sites across the north. Operationally, it would make sense to look at another couple of sites in and around Manchester.” Besides new sites, the company is also planning a £300,000 refurbishment of its Banyan bar in Harrogate. Wolstencroft said: “As well as opening new places, you need to keep your core sites up to the same standards.” He believes one of the main changes he has seen is the impact of social media and, like other operators, one of its biggest challenges is targeting the younger market. “When students finished their college day, they used to come out and have a drink,” said Wolstencroft. “If you had to meet someone, you met them in the bar or pub. Now, they know where everyone is, because they’re all on social media. We want people to get out, go to bars and restaurants, and enjoy themselves. The industry needs to work together to get younger people away from their social media and Xboxes, to come out and enjoy what we’ve got to offer.” The company, which was founded in 2000, operates Banyan bar, barbecue brand The Pit and other standalone concepts including Kith & Kin.

Al Tayer Group opens three Caffe Nero site in the UAE: Al Tayer Group has opened three new franchised Caffe Nero sites in the UAE this month. The new stores opened in prominent locations across the UAE including Golden Mile, Palm Jumeirah, City Tower, Sheikh Zayed Road and Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi. All three locations have opened with a rustic look and feel. The bespoke design reflects an open and inviting living room, where customers can choose from a mixture of comfortable leather or fabric tub chairs, or rustic farmhouse tables to sit and soak up the atmosphere. Hand written chalkboards are also displayed, along with other new features including timber flooring, a high open ceiling, and a bookshelf filled with books and antique objects to give the store a homely feel. The location at City Tower also features communal tables and a large external seating area with a view of the Emirates Towers. Al Tayer Group vice-president-hospitality David Singleton said: “We’re operating in a fast growing, competitive market and our new rustic coffee house design along with award-winning coffee is being well-received as it is seen as a premium and quality offering. Coffee has always played a special ‘social role’ in Middle Eastern culture and we are delighted by the response we’ve seen so far with the six stores we’ve opened or refurbished this year and are looking to grow further with a similar number in the pipeline for the following seven to eight months.”

Welcome Break set go on the market with £700m price tag: The Welcome Break service station business is set to go up for auction with a £700m price tag after its owner received unsolicited enquiries about buying the business, The Sunday Times reported. The newspaper reported a number of investment firms, inclusion Carlyle Group and 3i Infrastructure, have run the rule over Welcome Break in recent months. Current owner Appia Investments bought the business or £500m from Bahrain-based fund Investcorp in 2008. Welcome Break, which is led by Rod McKie, reported turnover rose to £314m in the year to 27 January 2015, compared to £306.6m the year before. Profit before tax climbed to £18,967,000 from £13,969,000 the year before. Ebitda was £30.7m, compared to £26.7m in the year prior. Turnover excluding fuel rose by 9.8% year-on-year. The company invested £6.3m in the year, down from £8.7m the year before.

Business Insider – Soho House to create co-worker space in Shoreditch: Shoreditch House, the London private members’ club, is constructing a co-working space called “Housework”, Business Insider Australia has reported. Sources told Business Insider that construction is currently underway on the fourth floor of Shoreditch’s Tea Building, which is next door to Shoreditch House. It is understood Shoreditch House is planning to rent out desk space to members, but also beyond – hence the brand name “Housework”, to encourage non-members to work in the building. A Soho House spokeswoman declined to comment. The site will be close to a number of competitor co-working spaces in the area, including Google’s Campus London, WeWork in Bishopsgate, Central Work Shoreditch, TechHub Shoreditch, Regus London in the Broadgate Tower, and Second Home.

Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines to make England debut with £1m Blackpool site: Buffet brand Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines, led by Raghbir Basrai, is to make its England debut with a £1m opening in Blackpool. Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines will occupy 7,800 square foot premises underneath the Talbot Road multi-storey car park in the town. Originally due to be open by summer, the restaurant will now open this month, and will see diners offered 150 dishes from around the world, including Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Thai and British food. Between 40 and 50 jobs have been created. The brand currently has sites in Ayr and Edinburgh.

Byron looks to hire first creative agency: Better burger brand Byron has issued a brief to find its first creative agency, Campaign magazine has reported. The company has sent a request-for-proposal to agencies and intends to make an appointment during the autumn. Byron is handling the pitch itself without an intermediary. It is looking for a brand and marketing agency to work with its in-house team on new campaigns. Amanda Royston, Byron’s marketing director, said: “Creativity, individuality and idiosyncrasy have been central to the Byron brand from the beginning. As the business continues to grow in scale and ambition, we are excited to be looking for a talented group of individuals whom we can partner with and who share those founding values.”

Enterprise Inns launches new beer to strengthen ties with Royal British Legion: Enterprise Inns has strengthened its ties to The Royal British Legion with the launch of a new beer, Poppy, which will help raise funds for the Armed Forces charity. Enterprise has worked with Charles Wells Brewery to create the 3.6% ABV ale, which will be available exclusively to all 5,200 Enterprise leased and tenanted pubs in England and Wales. For every pint sold Enterprise will donate 10p to the Legion. Customers will also be able to send donations via a dedicated ‘text-to-donate’ number. Enterprise and its publicans have established close links with the Legion during the past 12 months, supporting its VE Day celebrations and ‘Poppy Picnics’. Poppy beer will help Enterprise cement those connections, and regional volunteers from the legion will be working with publicans to help raise money for the charity. Enterprise commercial director Paul Harbottle said: “I’m thrilled that this new beer is going to help raise money for The Royal British Legion. Exclusive to Enterprise, Poppy beer will give our publicans even more opportunities to raise money for this very worthy charity. We’ve found over recent years that the Legion is a very popular charity among Enterprise publicans, and they support it regularly through all sorts of fundraising activities. It’s a charity that does superb work across the UK.” Enterprise publicans will be able to order Poppy from 22 October, and those who do will be supported with free point of sale materials, including pump clips, drip mats and posters.

Coffee shop brand Strangers open site with on-site roaster, eyes national roll-out: Coffee shop brand Strangers has opened a second venue in Norwich with an on-site roaster, a development it believes has national roll-out potential. Speciality beans from Ethiopia, Guatemala and the Congo will be roasted in the new shop in Dove Street, sold under the Strangers brand, and also available for takeaway. Alex Sargeant, director of Strangers, said while it gave them more control over the coffee served in their cafe, he also hopes to grow Strangers into a national brand. “The hope is to potentially become national but remain specialist,” he said. “It is nice to bring another feature to the Norwich Lanes and educate people because 75% don’t know how coffee is roasted.” The new store, in the former China World shop, had been empty for two years before Sargeant and co-directors Samual Maddocks and his brother Will took it on. The coffee, which is traceable back to the farmers, is sourced using direct trade. “The farmers get a better price, and they know how much they are going to get at the beginning of the season,” said Sam Maddocks. Five or six coffees will be on sale, including Santa Lucia Guatemala, the house roast. A different filter coffee will be available each day for takeaway along with cappuccinos, hot chocolate and other coffee drinks. Eventually, Sargeant said, they planned to sell the coffee online, as well as to wholesalers.

La Piazzetta doubles up with Horsham opening: Italian restaurant brand La Piazzetta has doubled up with an opening in Horsham’s Bishopric, in the unit previously owned by the Merrythought restaurant. Owner Bekim Shillova opened his first site in Petersfield back in 2006.The name translates as ‘The Square’ and Shillova said he wanted the restaurant to feel like an eatery you would find in a traditional Italian Square. He said the building and location were both perfect and were big factors in his decision to open in the town. He said: “We are a local Italian restaurant that uses local produce and everything is made from scratch on the premises. We specialise in meat, fish, pasta and pizza. The meat and fish are fresh from local markets and we try to create traditional Italian food.”

Newcastle restaurateur to start expanding portfolio by opening second site in city today: Newcastle restaurateur Daniel Stamatelopoulos is to start expanding his portfolio by opening a second site in the city today (Monday, 19 October) – next door to his first. Stamatelopoulos is launching cocktail bar and restaurant The Gentleman Cocktails and Kitchen in the Bigg Market in what was previously the Little Saigon restaurant. The venue, whose decor features top hats on coat stands and dim orange glow lighting, also plans to have live music “three or four nights every week” as well as a “ladies’ night” on Wednesdays. The menu will feature stews and pies as well as a grill section with steaks and baby back ribs. Stamatelopoulos, who also runs the Kafe Neon Greek restaurant next door, told Chronicle Live: “When the lease came up I jumped at the chance. We’re trying not to step on our own toes so we’re doing something different – something with an old world, English gentleman vibe. The other big thing is the cocktail menu, which we’ve been working on with The Cocktail Project, who’ll also be coming to host cocktail masterclasses. The Bigg Market regeneration begins soon and we want to be a part of that transformation as well.”

North Wales-based Italian restaurant owners start expanding portfolio with second site: The owners of north Wales-based Italian restaurant Osteria Caernarfon have started expanding their portfolio by opening their second site. Paolo Basetti Sani and Ferdinando Salvestrini, who launched their inaugural venue in Caernarfon in March last year, have opened Enoteca Y Felinheli on the marina in Y Felinheli, creating eight jobs. Basetti Sani told the Daily Post: “Osteria is a small place – it has 28 covers and has a very informal environment. It’s been such a success that we wanted to expand the business to offer a different Italian experience. We have secured a beautiful location on the marina in Y Felinheli and we are offering fine Italian dining in a smart environment, with 60 covers.” The pair secured a start-up loan from Business Wales and a grant from Visit Wales for the restaurant and then secured funding from NatWest to fit out the site.

Bundobust eyes Manchester for second site: Bundobust is eyeing Manchester for its second opening. The brand, which has a Leeds site, is a collaboration between acclaimed vegetarian restaurant Prashad, which found fame as a runner-up on Gordon Ramsay’s Best Restaurant series in 2010, and The Sparrow Bier Cafe in Bradford. The Manchester Evening News has reported that a site for an opening has been identified in the Northern Quarter, not far from Piccadilly Gardens, for the spring 2016 opening. Diners can look forward to small dishes like vada pav, a fried spicy mashed potato ball coated in gram flour and served in a brioche bun (£5), and bundo chaat, a cold snack made with samosa pastry, turmeric noodles, chickpeas, potato, tamarind chutney and yoghurt (£4.50), washed down with beers from local breweries and those from further afield, from Huddersfield’s Magic Rock to Denmark’s Mikkeller. The Leeds branch also offers a selection of cocktails, both classic and with an Indian twist.

St Austell Brewery named ‘One to Watch’: St Austell has been named a ‘One to Watch’ company in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘10 rising companies’ as part of their annual Top Track 250. The company is the south west’s largest wholesale distributor of beer, ciders, wines, spirits and soft drinks. The accolade is awarded to companies that have achieved strong sales and/or profit growth and merit recognition alongside the 250 league table. St Austell Brewery saw profits rise 15% to £12.3m last year as it reached the landmark figure of 100,000 brewers’ barrels of its own brand beers brewed and sold in a calendar year – the first time the milestone amount has been reached in the company’s 164 year history. James Staughton, managing director of St Austell Brewery, said: “We are delighted to have been given this accolade by The Sunday Times in a table full of well-known national names. A huge thanks must go to the thousands of customers who choose St Austell Brewery and are helping us to increase sales across our beers, our pubs and our wholesale services. This comes at a key time for us as we celebrate an exceptional year, achieving landmark production figures which we are on course to surpass again this year with the brewing team forecasting over 110,000 barrels this year.”

Rhubarb wins £60m Goodwood contract: Rhubarb, the premium food experience brand and event caterer, is to add Goodwood Estate in West Sussex to its client list. The contract, worth around £60 million, starts on 16 March 2016 and will see Rhubarb take over the catering operation at the estate’s key festival events. Goodwood attracts over 800,000 visitors a year. Lord March, Goodwood said: “We chose Rhubarb as I felt the passion for what they do, their attention to detail and their people really set them apart from the competition. I am excited by the fresh ideas they can bring to our key events and the support they will provide in moving the overall experience forward.” PB Jacobse, managing director at Rhubarb added: “We are incredibly proud to have been chosen by Goodwood and to be a part of the world’s leading sporting estate. This win is a real credit to Rhubarb and testament to the work we do every day across our portfolio.” Rhubarb’s operation includes outlets in some of London’s most high profile visitor attractions and high volume sites including the Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, Royal Albert Hall, Saatchi Gallery, Heathrow T3 and T5, London City Airport and Royal Ascot Racecourse.

Stonegate rewards two of its teams for creating most impressive “How to” example training videos through new app: Stonegate Pub Company has rewarded two of its teams for creating the most impressive “How to” example training videos across the business through its new app. The teams from Popworld in Guildford and Slug and Lettuce in Birmingham were chosen as the winners of the competition, which follows the launch this summer of Albert’s App. Pub teams were invited to post their own “How to” demo videos, encouraging the sharing of best practice knowledge and ideas. The two winning entries were announced as “How to” run the perfect cocktail masterclass from Popworld Guildford and “How to” multi pour cocktails from Slug and Lettuce in Birmingham. They were rewarded with a day at a theme park followed by a night out with heads of departments and several HR team members stepping into their shoes to run the bars in their absence. Since its launch Albert’s App, the mobile learning solution for employees, has been downloaded over 4,000 times, with the most popular section being product specification sheets. Also available on the app are employee Reward Card details, contact information for head office teams and suppliers, personal online development programmes and a competitor assessment tracking facility. HR director Tim Painter said: “The ‘How to’ section on Albert’s App has been a hugely popular element to the programme, capturing the interest and enthusiasm of employees across all sections of the business. It encourages pub teams and individuals to share the immense amount of best practice tips and advice at the same time creating a sense of being part of a team where every person‘s ideas count.” 

CGA Strategy reports turnover boost: Sector insights firm CGA Strategy, which owns Peach Report, has reported that turnover grew to £5,866, 511 in the year to 31 December 2014, up from £5,319,663 the year before. Pre-tax profit was £1,264,092, down from £1,508,473 the year before. Ebitda in the year was £1,572,631 (2013: £1,535,584). 

KFC selects strategic business intelligence partner: Information Management Group has been selected as preferred partner to lead the delivery of a strategic business intelligence capability for KFC, working with KFC’s technology partner MicroStrategy. The first phase of the programme will be to complete a comprehensive review of the current information landscape, capability and business insight needs across KFC. Chris Matthews, KFC’s BI and corporate technology manager, stated: “We selected Information Management Group as our business insight transformation partner because of their business focused approach to delivering successful information management programmes. Information Management Group’s breadth of BI / information management platform skills coupled with their information strategy assessment service makes them the ideal partner to work with us to build our business insight roadmap.”

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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