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Thu 29th Oct 2015 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Deltic Group boss – we’re achieving two-year payback on investments: Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks has reported the company is achieving payback on its investments in two years. The company, which operates 58 nightclubs, will look to increase the number of site investments to 15 to 17 a year, up from the current figure of 11 to 12, thanks to the current returns, Marks told the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Propel Bar and Nightclub Conference. Marks said Deltic, which bought the former Luminar bar and nightclub estate out of administration, has undertaken all refurbishments out of cashflow, bought ten new sites and managed to pass money back to shareholders since the company was founded. The company has increased its spend-per-head from £12.40 to £14.62 and improved its drink gross profit from 69.7% to 75.2%. Ebitda post central costs is forecast to increase to more that £12m next year, compared to just over £6m when it was founded in December 2011. The company is focused on a five-year refurbishment cycle – the company inherited an estate whose sites had an average of seven years since refurbishment and one site had gone 14 years since investment. Marks said: “We’re seeing payback on invested sites in two years – and profits in year three, four and five. The investment plan is really working.” Marks said Deltic is “pushing the boundaries” with investment in high quality entertainment, with well-known DJs making the company’s brands a “lot more credible” matched by improved service levels, premium offers and a powerful e-marketing strategy. Marks said the company had noted a polarisation in the fortunes of regional towns, with some becoming “mini-Detroits”. Mentioning Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, in particular, he said: “I can’t see some towns getting back to where they were.” Marks told the conference he had huge sympathy for Luminar founder Stephen Thomas who had faced a very difficult final few years leading the company. “I wouldn’t have wanted to be in Steve’s shoes in the last year or two – it was a perfect storm,” he said. Deltic has completed 28 major investments – and has 30 more to do. Advanced sales at the company hit £600,000 in September, which compares to £140,000 in September 2014. The company saw total sales decline by circa £10m on an annualised basis in the first seven or eight months of ownership as it waited on lease assignments and investment approvals. Sales flat-lined at circa £75m for 30 months as sales gains at invested sites were neutralised by sales losses at uninvested sites. But total sales have now risen for almost a full year and stand at circa £86m, virtually back in line with the company’s original top-line when it acquired the estate.

Industry News:

Tokyo Industries reveals unique business model, success in revitalising Bradford city centre: Tokyo Industries founder Aaron Mellor has spoken about the bar and nightclub company’s unique business model which means it owns 90% of his sites on a freehold basis – and has low borrowings of £3.5m across his portfolio. Mellor is a former architecture student who began his career as a promoter of club nights. The company has expanded to become the UK’s third largest nightclub operator with sites in 11 major cities and 1,200 staff. He told the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and Propel Bar and Nightclub conference that his starting point is as an architect – he buys the freeholds of buildings often in a state of dereliction and uses his professional skills to convert them to bar and nightclub sites, with the company enjoying very large uplifts in their values. The company, which has 32 bars, nightclubs and music festivals, operates a variety of locally focused brands to retain their relevance within geographic areas. Mellor reported the company has broadened its offer to attract customers because the typical entry time to a nightclub site is now between 1am and 2am. Mellor told the conference the company had moved to counter the reduction in Bradford’s city centre vibrancy by developing a four concept offer within a single building in the city. The West End nightlife complex was created in a £1.2m redevelopment of the old Windsor baths building, on Randell Well Street, supported by Bradford Council’s City Centre Growth Zone scheme. It now houses the BrewHaus, a traditional drinking hall with craft beers and cocktails, Stein Bierkeller, an authentic Bavarian wonderland, Circle nightclub – a state-of-the-art Ibiza-style nightclub, and Tiki-O a frivolous Polynesian-inspired party venue. Mellor, who does international development work in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Ibiza, said: “It has increased (evening) footfall in the town centre by 250%. In re-imagining this area of Bradford’s West End we’ve created four very different venues aimed at different demographics, covering different times of the night. Basically, that’s something for everyone. Circle will appeal to the late-night audience who want an Ibiza-quality venue, with state-of-the-art sound and visuals. 100 new jobs have been created and people have begun to revisit Bradford in the evening, the first time in ten years. For too long, the UK has clung on to the theory that a club’s Unique Selling Point is getting a drink after 11pm – that can’t work any more. Content is essential.” He also noted customers in secondary cities are migrating into hub cities for a big night out.

Science expert – drinking alcohol in moderation actually prevents dementia:
Drinking alcohol in moderation actually prevents dementia, according to a leading science writer. Tony Edwards said evidence shows alcohol does not harm the brain – it protects it. Writing in the Daily Mail, he pointed to studies in both the US and Germany that showed non-drinkers had a higher risk of dementia. He added: “It was a German one in 2011 that knocked my socks off. In a three-year study, mental health experts in Mannheim observed 3,200 people over the age of 75, roughly half of whom were regular drinkers. Once again, the teetotallers had a much higher risk of dementia than drinkers. Even fairly heavy drinkers (downing more than 40g of alcohol a day – half a bottle of wine) halved their risk of dementia compared to non-drinkers. However, the most astounding benefit occurred with those who drank a little less than that – between 20g to 29g of alcohol a day. These people reduced their chances of getting ‘overall dementia’ (i.e. all types) by two-thirds, and Alzheimer’s specifically to almost zero. Truly amazing.” Research also shows drinkers live longer than teetotallers. A study of nearly 2,000 people in Texas in 2010 found, compared with people who consumed one to three drinks per day, teetotallers were 51% more likely to die prematurely from all causes. Dozens of studies have shown moderate drinking reduces cardiovascular disease.

Graffiti decor at McDonald’s fails to impress Redhill: A refurbished McDonald’s in Redhill, Surrey, has drawn complaints from customers because of its new decor featuring graffiti. The restaurant was closed for two weeks for the industrial-style makeover. But locals voiced their disdain for the new look when they spotted the graffiti-covered walls and factory-like theme. Local Simon Pinto said: “It doesn’t really give the right impression.” Tyler Welmans added: “The new McDonald’s in Redhill seems to have come pre-vandalised.” Twitter user Lunatic Ninja wrote: “Blimey, a near-perfect fit with Redhill’s regeneration push. Welcome to the ghetto, may I take your order please?” The walls of the restaurant are covered in prints of metal rivets while it has been spray-painted in graffiti with slogans such as “peace”. A McDonald’s spokesperson said: “We were surprised to hear this feedback as the restaurant team have received many compliments about the recent refurbishment.”

Restaurant owner takes on television pub: Restaurant owner James Downey has taken on The Woolpack in Esholt, West Yorkshire, which is famous for having been the fictional pub in ITV show Emmerdale. Downey, who owns the Waterside Restaurant and Bar in Shipley, has signed the lease for the pub, which still attracts visitors from around the world. He told the Bradford Telegraph & Argus: “I feel very privileged to have been handed the responsibility to look after what has to be the most famous working pub in the country.” The Woolpack, which was used as the exterior of Emmerdale’s pub for more than 20 years, underwent a £50,000 refurbishment in 2013. The work restored its traditional country inn look, with original beams, open fires and a flagstone floor while a restaurant was created in a former stable.

Company News:

Ponti’s reduces operating losses, turnover drops 32% due to site closures: Ponti’s Retail, operator of the Ponti’s Italian Kitchen and Caffe Italia chains, and controlled and led by Stefano Ispani, has reduced its operating losses. The company saw operating losses of £379,507 in the year ending 1 February 2015, compared to £1,474,109 the year before, according to accounts filed with Companies House. This is down to reducing administration costs by more than £2m and site closures, including Heathrow Terminal 3, as part of a cost-cutting programme to address profitability. It had exceptional items of £873,556 made up of write back of intercompany balances of £860,758. Turnover fell by 32% to £8,646,769, compared to £12,700,073 the previous year, which the company said was due to site closures. The company made a pre-tax profit of £448,025, compared to a loss of £2,307,947 the year before. The company stated: “During the year the company incurred an operating loss before exceptional items of £380,000, an improvement of £1,094,000 on the previous year, and at the year-end had net liabilities of £856,000. Turnover fell by 32% due to site closures and the impact of trading conditions. The gross profit margin improved to 39.7% (2004: 36.1%) but gross profit still reduced by £1,162,000. More importantly, administrative costs were better controlled during the period and decreased by £2,257,000. The company has provided for the closure costs, £120,000, for its site at Heathrow Terminal 3 although the site continued to trade post year-end. Post year-end, the company has continued its cost cutting programme to address the profitability. Coupled with site closures this has helped to reduce the losses being incurred and the cash flowing out of the company. This is an on-going programme with a view to creating a core company of outlets that will enable the company to be profitable. Additionally, the company continues to improve its internal financial reporting and changed the priorities of the Key Performance Indicators. Whilst Ebitda and cash forecasting continue to be important, the focus on the labour costs being incurred has increased significantly. These are by far the most significant controllable cost of the company and have the biggest impact on each outlet’s profitability.”
 
Leon opens 30th site: Healthy food brand Leon has opened its 30th restaurant, located at the entrance to the underground station in High Street Kensington. It is Leon’s eighth new site this year and sees it journeying further into west London than it has been before. “Apart from our Heathrow locations, this is the closest restaurant we have to Penzance,” said John Vincent, Leon co-founder and chief executive. Leon plans another three restaurants before the end of 2015 including a flagship in Hammersmith Broadway opening at the beginning of December. Vincent added: “More restaurants means we can reach more people and employ more people. The people who join Leon are very special. They are often young, highly spirited and highly talented. We know we have a great responsibility to help them thrive and grow. Each new restaurant makes it possible to give greater responsibility and greater chances to my fantastic colleagues.”
 
New hip hop-themed fish and chip restaurant concept to open in Brixton: A new hip hop-themed fish and chip restaurant concept is set to open in Brixton, south London. Michael Lythgoe and Cidalia Rodrigues, who also run Brixton Village Grill, are opening Chip Shop on the corner of Coldharbour Lane and Atlantic Road serving “fresh fish, seafood and Old Skool hip hop”. Chip Shop’s shutters and walls are covered with graffiti depicting famous rappers — including 2Pac and Big L – along with its tag-like logo. It will serve fish and chips, along with homemade pies as well as seafood including grilled tuna steaks, red snapper and mussel and crab dishes. It will operate as a restaurant but there will be a hatch serving takeaways and also dish up a steady stream of hip hop. Lythgoe told the Evening Standard: “I love hip hop especially Old Skool late 1980s and 1990s stuff and everyone loves fish and chips but the area was missing this from its array of restaurants. The blend of the two things just felt like a perfect fit for Brixton.”

Former Harvey Nichols executive chef to open new brasserie and cocktail lounge in Edinburgh: Former executive chef of the Forth Floor Restaurant at Harvey Nichols in Edinburgh Stuart Muir is to open a new brasserie and cocktail lounge. Muir and business partner Paul Brennan have acquired the space for the 100-cover Dine Scotland venture on the first floor of the Saltire Court building in the city. Brennan told Herald Scotland: “Stuart and I knew this property had huge potential to be the home of our first venue. We’re really lucky to find a property right in the heart of Edinburgh’s financial district and vibrant restaurant and bar scene. We’re looking forward to welcoming people to Dine next month.” Dine Scotland acquired the space from clients of Aberdeen Asset Management, which was advised by BNP Paribas Real Estate.

Star Pubs & Bars launches five-day intensive cookery skills course:
Star Pubs & Bars has launched a five-day intensive cookery skills course – believed to be the first of its kind in the pub industry. Aimed at licensees and members of their management teams, the course is designed to improve their cookery and kitchen management skills, upgrade their food offers and drive food sales. Following positive feedback from a pilot course attended by 14 delegates that was four-times oversubscribed, Star Pubs & Bars is planning to run more practical food skills courses in 2016. This will add to the 100-plus days chef skills training provided in pubs by independent chef trainers. The course, run by independent chefs each with over 20 years’ experience, focused on: kitchen hygiene and knife-craft skills; herbs, spices, stocks, soups, sauces, vegetables and fruit, potatoes, rice, pasta and pulses; masterclasses in meat and poultry, roasts, steak and burgers; fish and shellfish; and a chef’s challenge for delegates to create their own dishes based on what they learnt on the course. In the evenings, delegates learnt about wine, beer and food pairing and visited a top London gastro-pub looking at it from a customer perspective. Star Pub & Bars trading director Chris Jowsey said: “The reality is not all licensees have lots of cookery experience. It is important to support them because as an industry we are faced with a chef recruitment crisis, which is limiting the true food potential of pubs. It is our belief that to build sustainable pub food businesses, licensees need to improve the quality and quantity of food in their pubs. And with Star’s ambition that 50% of pub sales should come from food, we felt it was important to act now and help licensees and their teams acquire the kitchen skills they need.” The company has also created a Foundation Cookery Skills folder outlining cookery theory and recipes appropriate for commercial kitchens to help delegates cascade their knowledge within their pubs and further develop the kitchen skills they need.

Taco Bell makes second attempt to open site in Colchester: Taco Bell is making a second attempt to open a site in Colchester, Essex. The company has submitted plans to open a restaurant and takeaway in the former Fabric 8 shop in Head Street, creating 25 jobs. The venue would seat 54 people – 14 on the ground floor and 40 upstairs, reports the Clacton and Frinton Gazette. The application comes after it was due to open in the new Angel Court development in the High Street but pulled out after talks with the landlord collapsed. Instead, restaurant Bill’s moved in and opened in July creating 40 jobs. Taco Bell, which has 6,500 restaurants worldwide, came to the UK in the late 1980s, and now has seven sites including Basildon, Chelmsford and Thurrock.

Excel and Levy Restaurants UK partner to launch new restaurant brands: Excel London has launched a new family of restaurant brands that will see the venue offering a dining experience in line with current food trends in sustainability, nutrition and customer experience. Following a ten-year contract extension between Excel and Levy Restaurants UK in 2015, the partner organisations have begun a multi-million pound redevelopment of restaurants and outlets in the venue, with full completion expected by summer 2016. New restaurants and outlets already open include American-style restaurant, diner and bar, The Bridge, and E16, an artisan coffee shop and bakery. The E16 bakery will also, as part of a drive to produce the vast majority of food on-site, provide bread and pastries to be used throughout the venue. Excel is also working with a number of third parties to create enhanced visitor experiences at the venue. New outlets already open include Prime Burger and Rotisserie, with offerings from other high street brands being developed within the next six months. “At Excel we see food and drink as an enabler of events, increasing opportunities to meet and do business, and we are leading the industry with a multi-million pound investment to create outstanding dining experiences,” said James Mark, executive director at Excel London. “Our close partnership with Levy Restaurants UK has been key to developing the new offering and will help every event organiser at Excel to achieve a great event outcome.”

Gourmet Burger Kitchen to open new site in Chichester on Monday: Gourmet Burger Kitchen will open a new site in Chichester, West Sussex, on Monday (2 November). The company is opening the restaurant at the Chichester Gate Leisure Park, creating 40 jobs. The restaurant features an open plan kitchen while the decor gives a nod to Chichester’s cathedral with its green copper roof. Marketing director Katie McDermott told the Bognor Regis Observer: “We are excited to be moving to Chichester this November. We welcome all burger fans, and invite everyone to check out our menu and share in our love for all things burger.” The Chichester site is Gourmet Burger Kitchen’s 67th restaurant and the sixth to open this year.

Douglas Jack issues reduce recommendation on Wetherspoon shares: Numus Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has issued a ‘Reduce’ recommendation on Wetherspoon shares this morning, with a price target of 700p. He said: “Following a 7% decline in average Ebit per pub in 2015, by our estimates, we forecast like-for-like profits falling again in 2016E, with Q1 likely to be the weakest quarter due to tough comps. We have downgraded our forecasts by 14% since 1 January 2015, and believe forecast risk remains on the downside. Like-for-like sales rose by just 1.4% in the six weeks to 6 September. In Q1, the company faces both a declining like-for-like trend and the toughest comp, at 6.3%, of the year (average: 3.3%). We forecast full year like-for-like sales of 2.0% vs guidance of 1-2% which, worryingly, is partially reliant on volume, implying expectations of minimal price increases. Ebit margins fell 80bps to 7.4% in 2015. Minimising price increases (up <1% on drink) hurt margins more than they benefited volumes. We estimate the operating Ebit margin was 3.9% after applying a 6% rental yield on the £876m of freeholds (in line with management’s practice). Excluding machine income, we estimate the operating Ebit margin (assuming no freeholds) on food and drink was under 2%. Following August’s 8% increase in starting hourly wage costs, margins are likely to be under pressure in 2016E, without much respite from like-for-like price increases. We suspect there is downside risk to our forecast of Ebit margins falling by 34bps (consensus: -26bps), amid minimal expected change in the size of the estate. The shares trade on 8.4x EV/Ebitda July 2016, above the historic average of 7.5x, despite a slowdown in growth and returns, amid falling outlet profits and rising development costs psf. However, the equity FCF yield is 9% and the freeholds (49% of the estate) are worth almost as much as the company’s market capitalisation.”

Tortilla opens first of two new sites in Nottingham: Tortilla, the largest fast-casual burrito restaurant company in the UK, has launched the first of two new sites in Nottingham. The company has opened in Clumber Street on the former site of collapsed mobile phone retailer Phones 4U. Marketing manager Hannah Bewhay told the Nottingham Post: “This is our 26th restaurant and part of our expansion plan. We have got another ten restaurants opening next year.” Tortilla will open its second Nottingham outlet at the Victoria Centre in December.

Starbucks barista sparks nationwide company campaign to provide Rwandan families with life-changing dairy cows: Starbucks barista Aaron Swift has sparked a campaign across nearly 700 of the company’s coffee shops to provide Rwandan families with life-changing dairy cows. Swift started The Big Cow Project last year at his Starbucks store in Bolton, where he worked as a shift supervisor – and the campaign has since raised thousands for the charity Send a Cow. He was inspired to set up the campaign following a Starbucks sponsored trip to visit coffee farmers in Rwanda where he met local communities and saw first-hand how cows could transform lives. Swift created The Big Cow Project with a vision to transform the lives of ten families with ten cows and set out fund-raising for the charity. He encouraged 50 Starbucks stores across Manchester and the north west to get behind his campaign, and they quickly smashed their target, successfully raising £7,500 for Send a Cow – the equivalent of 11 dairy cows. It has now spread across the UK with almost 700 Starbucks stores taking part this October. Swift told the Bolton News: “It goes to show that a grassroots, small scale charity idea can spark some great imaginations and change things for the better.”

Two new restaurants offering 15,000 square foot of space to be created in Birmingham’s Colmore Row: Two new restaurants are to be introduced on Birmingham’s Colmore Row as part of a £30m office redevelopment in the business district. IM Properties has invested in the transformation of grade II-listed 55 Colmore Row, which will result in the creation of 160,000 square foot of grade A office space. As part of the project, two restaurant units spanning a total of 15,000 square foot will be constructed at the building’s lower ground floor. Leisure agency BWD has been appointed to find operators to occupy the space. Nick De-Pons, of BWD, said: “We have a very clear brief from IM Properties in terms of the type and style of occupier that they are seeking which would be commensurate with the quality of the office redevelopment which is currently underway. There has been very strong interest in these units and we have already undertaken off-market discussions with a number of aspirational restaurant operators for both large and standard footprints. The combination of existing operators such as Utopia and Hotel du Vin, the recent lettings at the Grand Hotel to Gusto and the Alchemist, and future hotel and basement bar opportunity on Church Street, is contributing to the ongoing development of this area into a quality leisure hub within the city centre.” John Hammond, investment director at IM Properties, added: “Our ambition for 55 Colmore Row is to create a unique proposition within the office market, combining a high quality, first class office environment with the delivery of complimentary restaurants. The immediate area is already home to a number of Birmingham’s most popular bars and restaurants and we are keen to develop an offer that is entirely complimentary, enhancing the Colmore Business District and growing its reputation as both a high quality business and leisure location.” Work on 55 Colmore Row is expected to be completed by autumn 2016.

Better weather boosts Heineken: Better weather in Europe and the Americas had more people soaking up the sun last quarter and many reached for a Heineken to cool off. The company reported 5.4% organic growth in beer volumes, more than doubling estimates for a 2.6% rise, courtesy of “strong volume in Europe supported by favourable summer weather” and growth in the Americas and Asia Pacific regions. Alongside the results, Heineken said it would end a buyback programme it started in February, following a series of acquisitions. Earlier this month Heineken agreed to pay $781m to Diageo as the two rivals ended a multi-year relationship spanning three continents, giving Heineken full control of Jamaican brewer Desnoes & Geddes and Malaysian drinks company GAPL. It also took a 53% stake in Slovenian brewer Pivovarna Lasko, 50% stake in Lagunitas and launched a joint venture on the Ivory Coast.

Whitbread’s Premier Inn signs up to open 101-bedroom hotel at £70m Addlestone complex:
Whitbread-owned Premier Inn has signed up to open a 101-bedroom hotel at a new £70m complex in Addlestone, Surrey. The company has secured the site at the Addlestone One development in Station Road, which will include a six-screen Light Cinema and Waitrose store. The scheme by property developers Bouygues Development includes 60,000 square foot of retail and restaurant units and the company said additional tenants would be announced in the coming months. It also includes more than 200 homes, a gym and multi-storey car park. Bouygues Development’s managing director Nicolas Guérin told Get Surrey: “This is an exciting project for the local community in Addlestone, rejuvenating the town centre and creating an exceptional place for shopping, entertainment and leisure, as well as much-needed new homes with a range of tenures.” Work started earlier this year on the site and it is hoped the project will be completed in just over two years’ time.

Oakham Ales expands team ahead of brewery expansion: Oakham Ales, the brewery based in Peterborough, has expanded its head office team to 44 people following several high profile awards for its beers. Planning permission has also recently been granted to expand the brewery, with a plan in place to double the current annual brewing capacity to 100,000 hectolitres. The head-office team has grown over three-fold during the past five years, reflecting year-on-year growth of about 25% throughout this period. Adrian Posnett, managing director, Oakham Ales, said: “With the continuing success of our core range and plans to expand our keg line-up for 2016, we wanted to ensure that all areas of the business had the additional support necessary to ensure that we are able to continue to deliver the high level of service that our customers have come to expect from us. Despite tough competition with new breweries launching every week, I’m delighted to report that Oakham Ales has maintained steady growth in all areas and I’m confident that the new appointees will help us to continue to build on that success.”

Papa John’s franchisees open fourth store: Scottish Papa John’s franchisees Zulfiqar and Iftikhar Haidar have opened a fourth site, this time in Paisley. Zulfiqar Haidar, who won a Scottish Business Award in 2013, said: “The new Paisley store is ideally placed near our Glasgow Papa John’s outlets so fits like part of a jigsaw puzzle. We have had such great feedback from our Glasgow customers over the years that we felt it was time to come to Paisley. I’m very confident that the people of Paisley will love our pizzas that are made with 100% fresh dough and hand-stretched bases. However, our next challenge is finding hard working and motivated staff in Paisley. We wish to bring lots of new jobs to the local community and offer the opportunity for anyone looking for full or part-time work.”

Stonegate Pub Company to rebrand Plymouth club as Popworld in £400,000 revamp: Stonegate Pub Company is to rebrand its Flares/Reflex club in Plymouth as Popworld as part of a £400,000 revamp. The club in Union Street will shut after its Halloween event on Saturday (31 October) for the refurbishment before reopening on Friday, 20 November. There will be a complete overhaul of the downstairs bar area, booths will be installed and an “exclusive VIP” area added, reports the Plymouth Herald. The new-look venue will be decked out in the Popworld colours of purple, green and yellow – and become the first building in the city centre to use modern LED lighting to alter the colours of the outside of the building. Stonegate has begun rebranding its Flares/Reflex retro-themed bars nationally and 15 have already changed title.

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. 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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