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Fri 23rd Oct 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Debenhams – we’ve signed deals with six foodservice brands after identifying one million square feet of under-used space: Debenhams has reported it has signed deals with six different foodservice brands after identifying one million square feet of under-used space and asking customers what they want the department store to provide. The company stated: “The UK store estate comprises 161 stores trading from 11.2 million square feet at the year end, with new stores opened at Borehamwood and Scunthorpe ahead of Christmas 2014, and the closure of an outlet store at Newbury. As part of our strategic priority to achieve a better return from stores, we identified one million square feet of space where there was an opportunity to achieve higher profit densities. We asked customers what they wanted to buy from Debenhams that we did not already offer, and what they would like more of. As a result, we have to date reallocated 35% of the identified space, in line with our previous guidance, with a combination of own brand extensions, new concessions offering complementary product and additional service propositions. Following successful initial trials we opened eight Sports Direct concessions before the year-end and established new partnerships with Monsoon Kids, Danish group Bestseller for their younger fashion brands, Only and Jack & Jones, and BHS lighting, among others. We have also added some exciting new branded food offers, to reflect the trend towards casual dining, establishing partnerships with Costa Coffee, Insomnia, Joe & The Juice, Patisserie Valerie, Ed’s Easy Diner and Chi Kitchen to extend the range of choice in our stores.”

Industry News:

Petition against Burger King in Brighton attracts 10,000 signatures in a day: More than 10,000 people have signed a petition in just a day against plans to open a Burger King in the Lanes in Brighton. Daryl Satchbury, former franchisee of Burger King’s Aquarium Terraces branch, has applied to open the venue in East Street on the ground floor of the Clarenden Mansions, which was formerly the Mariner pub. But the proposal has attracted vast opposition with a petition stared by resident Liam Hardy reaching 10,033 signatures. However, the reasons it gives for opposing the plans – the homogenisation of The Lanes – are unlikely to be considered valid planning objections to the changes sought. Hardy told the Brighton & Hove Independent: “We believe the move to open more chain shops on East Street signals the beginning of the end on a irreparable slope of genericism, that sees our local elected council try ever so hard to turn our city centre into a carbon copy of every other British city, with more H&Ms, more Topshops, more Burger Kings and, ultimately, less of the Brighton we came here for and love.”

Record 37.2 million visitors add £500m to Birmingham economy: A record 37.2 million people visited Birmingham in 2014, making it the UK’s fastest growing regional tourist destination. The figure, a 9.4% increase on 2013, saw the city’s visitor economy grow by £500m to £5.98bn, resulting in the creation of nearly 5,000 jobs. Birmingham’s visitor numbers, their economic impact and the number of jobs created by the tourism sector grew at a higher rate than a range of its UK competitors including Edinburgh, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Swansea and Aberdeen. The figures were released by Marketing Birmingham’s research arm the Regional Observatory and tourism research body Global Tourism Solutions. Marketing Birmingham chairman Paul Kehoe said: “It is clear that Birmingham’s place as the UK’s most connected regional city with a leading retail offering is secure. Add this to our growing culture, arts, food and hospitality offering and it becomes obvious why Birmingham is regularly on the must visit lists of global and national visitors.” The wider Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership area attracted more than 88m visitors in 2014, resulting in an overall visitor economy worth £8.9bn.

Date moved for UK’s first National Pub Quiz Day: The date for the UK’s first National Pub Quiz Day, being organised by mobile ordering app Orderella and quiz event specialists MyBigIQ, has been moved to Tuesday, 1 December. The event, originally scheduled for Tuesday, 17 November, will raise money for the Team Margot Foundation, the stem cell donor registration charity. The same general knowledge quiz will be played simultaneously and in real time in each of the 100 venues taking part. It features nine rounds with scores added and leader boards shared nationwide. The faster a team answers, the more points it gets and at the end of the night the National Pub Quiz winning team and venue will be crowned. Each team pays a £5 registration fee, which goes to the Team Margot Foundation.

Spirit Pub Company and Subway franchisee among employers named and shamed for failing to pay National Minimum Wage: Spirit Pub Company and a Subway franchisee are among 115 employers that have been named and shamed for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage. The government published the list today (Friday, 23 October) of the companies issued with a Notice of Underpayment that have arrears of over £100. On the list is Spirit, now owned by Greene King, which neglected to pay £4,312.19 to one worker and Subway Universal, which has stores in the London area in Morden, Barbican, Richmond and Twickenham, which neglected to pay £2,466.77 to ten workers. Between them, the 115 companies, all investigated by HM Revenue & Customs, owed workers over £389,000 in arrears. Business minister Nick Boles said: “Employers that fail to pay the minimum wage hurt the living standards of the lowest paid and their families. As a one-nation government on the side of working people we are determined that everyone who is entitled to the National Minimum Wage receives it. Next April we will introduce a new National Living Wage, which will mean a £900-a-year pay rise for someone working full-time on the minimum wage and we will enforce this equally robustly.” On 1 October, the National Minimum Wage rose to £6.70 for people aged 21 and above. Since being introduced in October 2013, 400 employers have been named and shamed, with total arrears of more than £1,181,000 and total penalties of over £513,000.

Domino’s US launches delivery vehicle with oven inside for especially large orders: Domino’s US has launched a custom-built delivery vehicle, Domino’s DXP, with an oven inside, Nation’s Restaurant News has reported. It has a gutted interior for especially large orders. The company worked with Kenneth R Baker, former research and development executive at General Motors, along with Michigan-based Roush Enterprises. Domino’s received ideas from an online crowdsourcing competition hosted by Local Motors, a technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles. “The Domino’s DXP is the first purpose-built vehicle aimed at revolutionising pizza delivery,” Russell Weiner, president of Domino’s USA, said. “This innovation allows drivers to do their jobs with greater ease and efficiency, and demonstrates that Domino’s is absolutely fanatical about making perfect deliveries.”

More than 40 nominations received from MPs for pub chef award: More than 40 nominations have been made so far by MPs for the Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year award. The accolade has been launched by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group in partnership with Nestlé Professional to recognise a pub chef or chefs renowned for their great food. MPs have until Friday, 13 November to make their nominations. Entries will be judged by an expert panel, which includes television chef, food writer and owner of three London gastro-pubs Paul Merrett. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “This is a great initiative to showcase to the government the skills and attributes of the people who are behind the scenes, contributing to the success of the local pub.”

Company News:

Deltic Group to launch £1m new bar concept next month: Bar and nightclub operator Deltic Group, led by Peter Marks, will launch its £1m new bar concept, Bar & Beyond, in Chelmsford next month, replacing a Chicago Rock site. The site on Moulsham Street will now reopen as the new brand on Friday, 20 November. It will serve food at the bar area from the early evening and then transform into a “high quality club experience” with state-of-the-art sound system after dark. Simon Kennington, Bar & Beyond general manager, said: “The Bar & Beyond ethos offers two distinct experiences, with food served at the bar from early evening, with ‘Going Beyond’, a high quality club experience with a state-of-the-art sound system and some of the best DJs and live acts around, at the rear of the venue. Bar & Beyond has been designed so you can have a great time from the moment you walk through our doors, whether that’s relaxing with a bite to eat or partying the night away and we’re looking forward to enjoying every minute with our customers.” The refurbishment of the grade II-listed former Regent Theatre will also incorporate many of the historic building’s original features. The investment will create 40 full-time and part-time positions.

Le Pain Quotidien to open first site in Ireland next week: Belgian restaurant and boulangerie Le Pain Quotidien will open its first site in Ireland next week. The company, founded by Alain Coumont 25 years ago, will open at the Kildare Village shopping outlet in Kildare, near Dublin, on Thursday, 29 October. It will join Starbucks, Italian restaurant L’Officina and crepe and ice cream concept Creperie Angelie at the complex in Nurney Road. The company tweeted: “We can’t wait to meet our new neighbours at Kildare Village.” Le Pain Quotidien has 25 stores in London and more than 250 sites across 19 countries in cities including New York, Mexico City and Paris.

Liberation Group picks up Alderney hotel: Liberation Group has acquired a landmark property in Alderney as part of its growth strategy. The company has purchased the Chez Andre hotel and pub, which is the island’s largest hotel and is situated in the heart of the capital St Anne. The hotel has 28 bedrooms, a bar, and restaurant that can cater for up to 60 covers. There is also an Orangery and two al-fresco areas. The Chez Andre is the second hotel to join the company’s Channel Islands portfolio. In 2014 Liberation Group acquired the iconic Old Court House bar and restaurant in Jersey. Mark Crowther, chief executive of Liberation Group, said, “This property is of significant strategic value for the group. We continue to invest in our portfolio, either through refurbishment or acquisition both in the Channel Islands and in the UK. I am delighted to welcome the Chez Andre to our range of pubs, bars, eateries and hotels. We have a number of options for the site in the future.” Alderney is the most northerly, and third largest of the Channel Islands. Liberation Group’s portfolio in the Channel Islands consists of 73 venues in Jersey, Guernsey and Alderney.

Zizzi set to open new restaurant in Bradford: Italian restaurant Zizzi is set to open a new site in Bradford. The company has submitted plans to open a venue at The Broadway shopping centre, creating 30 jobs. The restaurant would have space for 136 covers, including seating for 36 people outside the front of the venue, in Charles Street, reports the Bradford Telegragh & Argus. Describing the al-fresco layout, the company’s application said: “Many of the cafes/restaurants in the development will be incorporating this principle.” It adds the outdoor seating will “create a community feel and engage the public realm” and the design of the restaurant will be inspired by Bradford’s mill heritage.

Beds and Bars unveils host of new roles and promotions: Pan-European hostel provider Beds and Bars, led by Keith Knowles, has unveiled a host of promotions and new roles ahead of the departure of marketing and sales director Duncan Robertson. Managing director Murray Roberts reported that Franz Burghoff has been promoted to the new role of group sales and revenue director. Tuguldur Baatar becomes head of digital and tech. Sophie Herbert will head up marketing for the UK and Paris and Ben Lancaster will head up marketing for Benelux, Berlin and Barcelona. Three members of the senior team have had no change in responsibility but changes of title – Richard Winterbine (Benelux), Luke Knowles (BCN, Paris & Berlin) and Richard Bradford (UK) are now regional operations directors to reflect the importance and impact they have on the operations and the business as a whole. Roberts stressed the importance of recognising the skill base within the business when making promotions.

Novus site honoured for safety standards: The Forge Bar, operated by Novus Leisure, the premium London bar and restaurant operator, has won the coveted “Premises of the Year” award at the Safety Thirst Awards, sharing the top honour with The Brewery in Chiswell Street. Novus had seven sites receive a highly commended award, four a commended and two an accreditation. The City of London Corporation, through the Safer City Partnership has been running the Safety Thirst scheme since 2005, to promote high standards in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour, whilst also helping to ensure a safe and pleasant environment for people to socialise and enjoy the City. The scheme brings together licensed pubs, bars, restaurants and clubs, the City of London Police, London Fire Brigade and the City of London Corporation. The Novus Leisure sites were assessed on a range of measures, including crime reduction policies, drink and drug awareness, fire safety procedures and environmental health measures. Toby Smith, chief executive of Novus Leisure, said: “London is our home – we have almost 40 locations in travel zone one alone, and as such, it is our responsibility to ensure we have a safe foundation and great practices in place to ensure our customers are safe from any harm. Huge congratulations to our winners – it is great to see so many honoured in this way, which speaks volumes in terms of our commitment to operating safe and responsible businesses. The City of London continues to enjoy low levels of crime compared to other areas and we are committed to playing our part in ensuring it remains so.”

London-based Zebrano Group to expand into City with new fine dining concept next month: London-based Zebrano Group is expanding into the City by opening its third site with a new fine dining concept. The company is launching restaurant, bar and nightclub Zebrano in the City at Dukes House in Houndsditch on Wednesday, 4 November. The two-floor venue in the shadow of the Gherkin will span over 6,000 square feet and offer drinking, dining and dancing all under one roof. The top floor will house a fine dining experience and private dining room for ten people. Executive chef Chris MacCormick has created a menu that merges both European and Asian flavours. The ground floor will have more of a late-night lounge ambience, serving smaller sharing dishes and cocktails. Renowned DJ’s and live acts will perform downstairs throughout the night. Zebrano will also be the only restaurant to collaborate with Taittinger Champagne on a Chef’s Table concept for up to eight people. The company, formed by the founder of Seymour-Valentine Coffee Cevat Riza and former head of hospitality for JP Morgan Don Cameron, opened Zebrano Carnaby in 2004 followed by Zebrano Soho in Greek Street in 2008.

Des McDonald launches first Scottish venture: Restaurateur Des McDonald launched his first venture in Scotland yesterday (Thursday, 22 October). McDonald, ex-Ivy head chef and former chief executive of Caprice Holdings, has opened The Printing Press Bar & Kitchen in Edinburgh. The 180-seat restaurant in George Street is a nod to the city’s rich literary heritage and serves “the finest ingredients Scotland’s larder has to offer”. It also features a late-night bar and “comfort food” menu that opens to 1am. McDonald told the Daily Record: “We set out with a clear vision to create a warm, distinctive restaurant and bar in the heart of Edinburgh’s New Town that nods to the heritage of the building and the city itself. We’ve worked with some of the most reputable suppliers in Scotland, as well as talented designers and contractors to bring this new restaurant experience to Edinburgh’s dining scene.” McDonald, who runs London restaurants Vintage Salt, Q Grill and Holborn Dining Room at the Rosewood Hotel, also opened his latest restaurant residency at Selfridges in the capital this week.

Birmingham-based cocktail bar concept Aluna to start expanding with second site in Bristol: Birmingham-based cocktail bar concept Aluna is to start expanding by opening a second site, this time in Bristol. The company is opening the venue in Broad Quay on the site of the former Urban Tiger lap-dancing club next week. A spokesman told the Bristol Post: “Following the success of Aluna Birmingham, we are excited to bring this new venture to the thriving city of Bristol. At Aluna, we pride ourselves on creating a unique and magical experience for every one of our customers, we guarantee the mysterious allure of Aluna will have you coming back for more.” Aluna opened its first site in the Mailbox in Birmingham in June.

Taillevent makes UK debut with London opening: Taillevent Paris, the Gardinier family-owned group behind the two Michelin-starred Le Taillevent, has made its UK debut in London. The company has opened 80-cover wine and food-matching brasserie, Les 110 de Taillevent London, in Cavendish Square in the former Coutts bank. The brasserie, headed up by general manager Giuseppe de Wilde, features 110 wines by the glass, paired with contemporary and seasonal French dishes. The menu, which also includes a breakfast offering that will be matched with cold and hot drinks, has been developed by Alain Solivérès, executive chef director of Taillevent Paris. The interiors of the restaurant, designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, take inspiration from the brasserie’s concept and pay homage to wine production with specially commissioned artworks adorning the walls. Thierry Gardinier said: “It made sense to open in London as it’s a very open city to gastronomy. Paris and London are the two major gastronomy hubs in Europe – there are fantastic chefs in both cities and a very high level of cooking in both.”

Sheffield-based True North Brew Co continuing to expand by launching two new pubs: Sheffield-based bar group True North Brew Co is continuing to expand by launching two new pubs. The company – formerly Forum Cafe Bars – this week took over the running of the Riverside at Kelham Island. True North is also to reopen the Blue Stoops in Dronfield with redesign work due to start in January in time for opening at Easter 2016. The company now owns ten venues across the area, as well as a brewery and gin distillery. The Riverside, on Mowbray Street, will serve as the brewery tap. True North founder Kane Yeardley told the Sheffield Telegraph: “We’re going to ask the customers what they want and I’m listening, but we won’t be changing anything unless the regulars agree.”

Enterprise pumps £2m into north east pubs: Enterprise Inns is stepping up its investment in the north east of England with two more pubs scheduled to open over the next few weeks following major refurbishment work. The re-opening of the Sir Thomas Brown in Eaglescliffe, Stockton-On-Tees and the Black Horse in Monkseaton will bring Enterprise’s investment in the region to £2 million over the last year. During that time the UK’s largest leased and tenanted pub company has improved 28 pubs across the north east, with many of them also benefiting from the additional investment support provided by individual publicans. The Sir Thomas Brown – formerly known as the Pavilion – is named after a fusilier who fought in the Boer War and is now buried in the local churchyard. The publicans – brother and sister John and Donna Price – are the local multiple operators behind Ginger Village Pubs and already operate another Enterprise site, The Mowden Hotel in Darlington. Enterprise has spent £166,000 with the couple contributing a further £15,000 to fully refurbish the interior and exterior of the Sir Thomas Brown and install a brand new commercial kitchen which will allow the pair to offer a good value classic pub food menu for the first time. The Black Horse near Whitley Bay is also scheduled to re-open towards the end of November following a £182,000 investment. Among other pubs in the region to have undergone major refurbishment work over the last year are The Fox & Hounds, Neasham, near Darlington, which saw investment of £157,200; The Wheatsheaf Inn, Chester le Street, County Durham (£130,700), the Elm Tree in Stockton on Tees (£60,000) and the Waterloo in Blyth (£53,000).

New Jamaican-inspired bar, cafe and ‘creative space’ concept to open in Deptford: A new Jamaican-inspired bar, cafe and “creative space” concept is to open in south east London. Buster Mantis, named after Jamaica’s first president Sir Alexander Bustamante, is launching in a former warehouse in two railway arches beneath Deptford train station. In one arch is the bar and dining space serving Jamaican food and a drinks menu featuring house rum punch, a selection of local and international beers, wines, coffee and freshly-brewed coffee. The other arch will house the “creative space”, suitable for art exhibitions, film screenings, workshops and pop-ups. The team behind Buster Mantis hopes to have the concept up and running by Christmas.

Players Bars embarks on expansion: Newcastle-headquartered bar operator Players Bars has revealed plans to open three new sites in major UK cities and create up to 200 jobs. Since first launching in 2006, Players Bars has experienced rapid growth, with 2015 sales up by 20% on the previous year. The bar operator, which already has operations in Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham, has embarked on a two-year expansion plan in a deal backed by Reward Finance Group. Jonathan Codona, director at Players Bars Investments, said: “For businesses within the hospitality sector, it can be a real challenge to gain the funding you need in the time frame you require it. Reward has been a breath of fresh air throughout this process as you are able to speak to the funders directly, resulting in us being able to complete the vital transaction in just two weeks. Players Bars is growing at a fast rate and to maintain this momentum the support of Reward has been crucial.” Peter Cromarty, business development director at Reward Finance, praised Players as a “thriving north east business”.

New high-end bar/restaurant concept set for Nottingham:
Agent Bruton Knowles has announced it has let a site in Nottingham’s Lace Market for a new high-end bar/restaurant concept. Industry newcomer Poseidon Kumar has secured the lease for 3-5 High Pavement to open The Loom, which will be a supper club and cocktail bar.

Pizza Hut accused of selling children’s meals with excessive sugar: Pizza Hut has been accused of selling children’s meals loaded with 48 cubes of sugar. The company is one of 21 investigated by food and health campaigners at the Social Association. They found that Pizza Hut, Frankie & Benny’s and Cafe Rouge all offered children free or discounted refills of high-calorie drinks. Spokesman Rob Percival said the findings were “obscene”. “Parents want to take their children for a treat, but they have no idea how much sugar some high street restaurants are peddling at their children,” he added. “Two in three parents don’t think that kids’ food in restaurants is good enough. Adults expect to be offered real food and real choices in restaurants and we think children deserve the same.” Pizza Hut insists it provides a balanced and varied menu. In a statement it added: “All of our self-service drink machines provide low and no-sugar options, and the majority of carbonated drinks bought are low or no-sugar. Free, unlimited salad, which includes over 30 varieties of fruit and vegetables, is available in all of our Huts.”

Staffordshire couple to open second micro-pub: Staffordshire couple Graham Newbury and Tansy Harrison are to open their second micro-pub. The couple, who run the Bridge Street Ale House in Newcastle-under-Lyme, are opening the London Road Ale House in London Road, Stoke, on the site of a disused carpet shop. They hope to have the new site up and running by Christmas. The couple previously ran the Enterprise Inn-owned Red Lion in Hartshill for three years before launching their first micro-pub in May last year. Newbury told the Stoke Sentinel: “When we opened the first pub, it exceeded all of our expectations. Our plan all along was to expand and open other micro-pubs as well. We looked all over but I knew there would be demand there as there are three real ale pubs but nothing like a micro-pub.” Harrison added: “Our Bridge Street Ale House took off really well, but we’ve never run multiple operations before, so it’ll be a learning curve running the London Road Ale House as well.”

Daish Group buys eighth site, first in Wales: Daish Group has acquired its eighth hotel site, the Somerset Hotel in Llandudno off an asking price of £1.3m through agent Fleurets. The prominent sea front hotel, which is the company’s first site in Wales, has been in the same family ownership for many years. Daish Group operates sites in Newquay, Torquay, Weymouth (two hotels), Bournemouth, Isle of Wight (Shanklin) and Eastbourne.

Jamie Rollo – we think Greene King will reduce its brands to seven or eight: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has forecast Greene King will reduce the total number of brands within its enlarged post-Spirit acquisition portfolio from 15 to seven or eight. He said: “We think the company’s main thrust for achieving revenue synergies will come from simplification and improvement of its brands. Previous transactions, such as Mitchells & Butler’s acquisitions of Allied Domecq, Whitbread, and Orchid pubs have targeted very high sales uplifts, 40-50% in these examples (though not always achieved). We don’t think Spirit offers such potential given not all its pubs can be converted to a Greene King brand. Still, given the overlap between Greene King and Spirit formats, we think the company will reduce its 15 brands to seven or eight. We assume that stand-alone brands like Loch Fyne and Farmhouse Inns will continue, leaving clusters of similar brands to be rationalised. In the premium segment, this would be between Metropolitan Pub Company and Taylor Walker; in the mainstream food-led pubs, between Chef & Brewer, Old English Inns and Eating Inn; and in the value segment between Hungry Horse, Fayre & Square, Flaming Grill, Meet & Eat and Flame Grill. Taking the example of the value segment, Hungry Horse is the best-known brand, yet when adjusted for outlet numbers is similar to Fayre & Square or Flaming Grill. Consolidating brands could help boost overall awareness as well as marketing and central cost efficiencies. If we were to assume a 10-20% sales uplift on say 20-30% of Spirit’s pubs, this would suggest a 4% sales increase across Spirit, which we take as our base case (using a 40% conversion margin). Brewing and brands should benefit from increased sales to Spirit’s 1,200 pubs. The company has indicated that the division, which has experienced flat profits for five years, could see a 5-10% uplift in profits at full run-rate (worth £2-4m), although this will take some time to ramp up. Greene King should benefit from utilising Spirit’s superior technology and systems. Management believes that Spirit’s digital capability and customer relationship management are more advanced than Greene King’s, and replicating this should improve its customer interaction and loyalty. Spirit’s systems and management information platforms are also seen as far superior to Greene King’s infrastructure. Management was given minimal access to Spirit until the acquisition was completed, but even at the FY15 results, the attractiveness of Spirit’s ‘Pub in a box’ IT system was deemed worthy of comment. The system led to a 60bp gross profit margin improvement at Spirit in the year following its roll-out in February 2012, through reducing local discounting, theft, admin for the pub manager, as well as improved staff rostering and better cost control. Spirit invested £205m in its managed estate in the four years prior to Greene King’s acquisition, excluding new pubs. This is about 8% of sales over this period, which is high for a managed pubco as the company was going through some catch-up spend after years of underinvestment under Punch Taverns’ ownership. Spirit stated that 89% of its managed pubs were invested and branded in its FY14 annual report. Spirit’s capex programme raised its average weekly turnover per pub by 20% and brought Ebitdar margins up to peers between 2010 and 2014. Despite this, Greene King sees a potential element of underinvestment still, and that modest spend could produce some good returns. Spirit’s stated returns on its Flaming Grill and Golden Oak conversions suggest that areas of the estate (particularly locals we think) do remain underinvested.”

Sunderland nightclub operator set to start expanding portfolio by opening new bar in city:
Sunderland nightclub operator Ben Wall is set to start expanding his portfolio by opening a new bar in the city. Wall has applied to Sunderland City Council to transform Alenia’s Music Art in High Street West and the neighbouring former opticians in Church Lane into the new venue. The unnamed bar would have eating and drinking areas, a bar, kitchen and cellar storage. Wall, who runs Independent nightclub in Holmeside, told the Sunderland Echo: “I’ll still running Independent, but this will be something different to anything else. I got the idea when I went to the Northern Quarter in Manchester and I’m going for that type of feel. It will have a special menu and it’s going to be very much a food place. It’s in a nice area and it’s becoming an alternative area for people to come to.”

Bedlam signs distribution deal with Indigo and Metropolitan: Sussex-based craft brewer Bedlam, based in Albourne, has signed distribution deals with Indigo Leisure and Greene King’s Metropolitan Pub Company division. Brighton-based Indigo Leisure will be introducing two beers from Bedlam’s range across all 16 of its sites with immediate effect, as it seeks to bolster its local craft offering. The brewery will also work with London-based Metropolitan Pub Company, to provide its new pilsner and cask range offering across a selection of Metropolitan’s 75 sites in the capital. Bedlam managing director Dominic Worrall said: “With both Indigo and Metropolitan groups taking beer from us, it’s a sign that there’s a decent appetite from within the on-trade to champion smaller breweries like ourselves, breweries who create craft beer in every sense of the phrase.” Following major investment earlier this year, the next 18 months will see production levels increase vastly, with the construction of a new state-of-the-art brewery, complete with a tasting facility and shop, which will be open to the public.

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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