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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 23rd Nov 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

BBPA – pubs are carrying one of the heaviest tax burdens in UK economy: Britain’s pubs are carrying one of the heaviest tax burdens in the UK economy, according to a new report published today (Monday, 23 November). The report from Oxford Economics for the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) shows the industry’s total tax bill amounts to £7.3bn, or £140,000 for every pub, representing 34 pence in every pound of turnover. In terms of the total tax bill, “costs were £800m larger than the ‘gambling and betting’ sector,” the report said. It concluded: “The pub industry was found to have a tax burden which was larger than a large proportion of the sectors studied in this report”. VAT, excise duty and business rates are the main burdens, the report found. Along with beer duty, the bill for business rates has been causing pubs particular problems. Rates are intended to reflect the rental value of properties, and for pubs this is based on their expected turnover. However, the current valuations are based on 2008 trading performance. As pubs have struggled, this has led to them being massively overburdened, paying six times (£600m) more than they should be paying (£100m) per year, if their bills were in line with sales. Indeed, the Oxford Economics report found in terms of per pound of turnover, pubs pay the second highest business rates bill among the 67 sectors studied. The BBPA last week wrote jointly, along with other trade associations, to the Chancellor calling for a range of immediate reliefs on business rates in this week’s Autumn Statement. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “This new report sets out the stark reality of the disproportionate tax burden bearing down on pubs. Without action to reduce this burden, more of our much loved community pubs will be under threat. The Chancellor has taken action on beer duty, and to relieve the burden of business rates on pubs in his previous two Autumn Statements, but there is no doubt that more relief and reform is needed.”

Industry News:

Pointless host and comedian Alexander Armstrong invests £20,000 in London Union’s crowdfunding campaign: Television presenter and comedian Alexander Armstrong has invested in street market business London Union’s crowdfunding campaign, Propel has learnt. Armstrong, who hosts BBC1 game show Pointless and is one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller with Ben Miller, has pledged £20,000 as London Union aims to raise £3.5m in return for 10.01% equity on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. So far the company has seen £465,000 pledged by 34 investors with eight days remaining. The largest investment to date is £100,000. London Union, co-founded by Henry Dimbleby and Jonathan Downey, is looking to raise the money to create the “world’s greatest” food market in central London. It is looking for a 40,000 square foot site for the venture. Last week, Propel reported how Dimbleby had defended the company’s £31.5m valuation, an increase of £27m since London Union was founded at the start of the year.

Urban Pubs and Bars opens pizza concept: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Realpubs founders Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, has opened its first pizza site, Well Street Pizza. The site, which has opened after a £300,000 investment, has 75 covers, 40 upstairs and 30 downstairs. Pring told Propel that the site has an open kitchen, the ground floor has a high-temp, dive bar vibe, while upstairs is set out with two-person tables. Average spend per head is anticipated to be around £13 to £14. “This site is about the unknown – it’s what gets entrepreneurs excited,” said Pring. Malcolm Heap has previously stated: “Well Street is one of the last remaining market streets in London and could well be the next Broadway Market. There are cool pubs and bars and a coffee roastery opening. We’ve been to Naples and found what we think is the best quality wood-fired pizza oven on the market. We think our pub retail skills are transferable and if we can grow the concept, we will. The rent is very sensible at this site and we won’t get everything absolutely right when we open. But we can afford to spend time here getting the offer right before we look at more expensive sites.”

Chipotle shares plunge as E. coli outbreak widens: More than 40 people have fallen ill with E. coli food poisoning after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in six different US states, federal health officials said on Friday, sending shares of the burrito chain to an 18-month low. The outbreak expanded with new Chipotle-linked E. coli cases reported in California, Ohio, New York and Minnesota, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. The CDC said 45 people got sick from the E. coli O26 outbreak strain, and of those, 43 reported eating at Chipotle. Sixteen people have been hospitalised and no deaths have been reported. Chipotle’s tagline is “Food with Integrity”, and it has a reputation for serving healthy, fresh food. This outbreak, the company’s third food safety lapse this year – its shares plunged 12.3% to $536.19 on Friday. The source of the food contamination has not yet been found, but some investigators and experts suspect produce or another perishable item. High heat kills E. coli, and it is unlikely that all of the affected restaurants undercooked meat. The Chipotle outbreak was first identified in Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, and the company closed all 43 of its restaurants in those markets on 31 October. Last week, Chipotle reopened those units after deep-cleaning the properties and replacing food.

CAMRA names its top four pubs: The top four best pubs in Britain as judged by the Campaign for Real Ale, CAMRA, have been unveiled ahead of crowning CAMRA’s National Pub of the Year early in 2016. The four finalists are: Drovers Rest, Monkhill, Carlisle, Kelham Island Tavern Kelham Island, Sheffield, The Yard of Ale, 61 Church Street, St Peter’s, Broadstairs and Sandford Park Ale House, Cheltenham. The pubs are judged on their atmosphere, decor, welcome, service, value for money, customer mix, but most importantly – quality of beer. The Good Beer Guide’s Editor, Roger Protz, praised the top four pubs, all featured in the Good Beer Guide 2016. “Being named as one of the super region pubs in Britain is no easy task, and these pubs have worked hard to maintain a high calibre. These four pubs will now be judged against each other to be crowned the best pub in Britain.” The National Pub of the Year for 2015 will be announced in February 2016.

Harris + Hoole total losses hit £43.4m: Coffee shop operator Harris + Hoole, part-owned by Tesco, has reported total losses have now reached £43,583,894. It did, however, report the majority of its shops have turned to profit now although its losses more than doubled to £25,573,368 for the 52 weeks to 1 March 2015 – it lost £12,799,795 the year before. The losses for the most recent year were also circa double turnover of £12,840,302, which was up from £6,648,270 the year before. Former Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Adam Fowle joined the board on 21 July this year. Of the year, the company stated: “The business opened 22 new shops and closed the six shops previously announced in September 2014, taking the total open at the end of the period to 45. In the second week of March, Harris + Hoole opened the first speciality coffee shop in a UK airport at Stansted, which has been exceeding expectations since it opened. The operating loss of £21.6m reflects significant impairment taken on a number of properties and other assets of £9.8m. As the business exited the year and into 2015-2016,the majority of shops have turned to profit after the early life-cycle of opening in the formative years of the business. Management focus on driving sales growth coupled with a tighter control on shop costs have driven this, as well as a marked decrease in the time from opening to profitability for the shops opened in the 53 weeks to 1 March 2015.” Tesco has pledged to provide a further £7.5m of funding to ensure the company meets its obligations – it will need £6m this year. Tesco has loaned Harris + Hoole £48m so far. The highest paid director earned £182,900 and it has 387 staff. Its total wage bill is £9,945,498.

Company News:

Fuller’s – we had the busiest Saturday ever during the Rugby World Cup: Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny has told Propel the company saw its busiest Saturday trading day ever during the Rugby World Cup – the Saturday that saw the England versus Australia, 3 October was “the busiest Saturday the company has ever had”. Fuller’s Cabbage Patch pub in Twickenham, the ‘world’s most iconic rugby pub’, saw a record week with turnover of just under £140,000 for the week. “The Rugby World Cup was the success we hoped it would be,” said Emeny. The company reported that its Stable artisan pizza and cider brand, will grow 15 sites by the end of the year with three more openings. The company stated: “Within our managed pubs and hotels business, we have also been busy with The Stable, opening new sites and, in a highly successful move, relocating the Bath restaurant to a new, prime location with plenty of outside seating – which has become a trademark of The Stable sites where this can be accommodated. Our new site in Plymouth has traded well, becoming an anchor site, attracting other businesses and therefore increasing footfall in the area. In Winchester, we have a site very close to the cathedral, in the heart of the city and the team have made innovative use of Facebook to promote the restaurant to the local community. We continue to work in tandem with The Stable founders, Richard and Nikki Cooper, and we are seeing benefits from improved processes, particularly in terms of margin and payroll. We have a full pipeline of sites coming on stream in the coming weeks. Southampton opened earlier this month and Cheltenham, Cardiff and Birmingham are imminent.” Emeny told Propel that Fuller’s had benefited from its Stable acquisition in terms of its approach to design and food sourcing. Meanwhile, Emeny reported Fuller’s now exports beer to 72 countries, up by two, and exports account for one in four of all pints produced. The coming year is forecast to see the Fuller’s estate pass the two million cups of coffee sold in a year milestone.

Mitchells & Butlers plans conversion from budget carvery brand to new concept: Mitchells & Butlers is converting its Gap Inn, in Church Lane, Muston, between Nottingham and Grantham, from its budget Crown Carvery brand to its new hybrid concept Sizzling Pizza and Carvery pubs. It will create 12 full-time and part-time jobs when it reopens on 27 November. General manager, Richard Jenkins, said: “The pub has been given a fantastic new look, great products and a brand new menu, incorporating pub favourites from the UK and around the world. At Mitchells & Butlers we’re constantly reviewing our portfolio to make sure we have the right brand in the right location and we think this Sizzling will make a great addition to the local area.”

MEATLiquor to open eighth site in Bristol on Tuesday: MEATliquor will open its eighth site in Bristol on Tuesday (24 November). The company, co-founded by Scott Collins and Yianni Papoutsis, is opening the venue in Stokes Croft on the site of the former Dynamic Heating Services store, creating more than 20 jobs. It has one of the biggest vegetarian and vegan menus of the entire estate and has eight dishes specifically for Bristol. Collins told the Bristol Post: “We are delighted to finally open, I love Bristol, it’s got a fantastic reputation for food, and hopefully we’ll fit in well here.”

Itsu set to open new restaurant in Manchester: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, is set to open a new restaurant in Manchester. The company will open the site early next year in Whitworth Street in the former Samsi Japanese restaurant, reports Manchester Confidential. It will Itsu’s second site in the north of England with the company also due to open in Leeds. Last month Itsu, which has 66 sites mostly in London, secured £40m of funding from HSBC to drive ambitious expansion plans.

Skyscraper with ‘highest bar in Europe’ proposed in Croydon: A skyscraper with the ‘highest bar in Europe’ is being proposed in Croydon. Chinese construction firm China Building Technique Group Company has signed a £500m deal to build One Lansdowne Road, offering panoramic views of the south of England. The bar, open to the public, is proposed for the roof of the 220-metre high building. The plans comprise of two towers blocks, rising to 35 and 57 storeys, linked at the 14th floor by a 25m glass-bottomed swimming pool. It also includes 184 studio apartments, 419 one-bedroom flats, 334 two-bedroom, 12 three-bedroom and 12 penthouse suites. David Hudson, chief executive of developer Guildhouse told the Croydon Guardian: “We’ve nicked an idea from [Battersea development] Nine Elms and are going to have a swimming pool flying between the two buildings. That would be a public facility along with a gym. On top of the building we are going to have a bar and restaurant, which will be the highest bar in Europe that will be open to the public.” Croydon Council’s planning committee will examine preliminary proposals for the development next week with construction starting next year and being completed in 2018.

Hostel sector set to grow across Europe: The global growth of the budget and hostel sectors, including the fast-emerging commercialised private rental market such as Airbnb, is set to continue as consumers increasingly value experience over formality and are highly influenced by social media in the choices they make. According to a new report on the limited service and hybrid hotel sector by HVS, the biggest users of budget accommodation are accustomed to booking through their smart phones, either direct or through online travel agents. This sector is starting to shape part of a ‘sharing economy’ whereby consumers value ‘access to’ rather than ‘ownership of’ goods and services. As a result of this movement online sales of hotel accommodation through intermediaries such as OTAs as well as direct sales are forecast to continue growing, bridging the gap between guests and smaller independent hotels. Offline sales, as a percentage of total sales, are forecast to continue decreasing, confirming the importance of an effective online presence. “There are now signs that rather than consolidating the larger hotel groups’ positions, the proliferation of OTAs is fragmenting the market, which may benefit smaller operators who can crowd together,” said report author Harry Douglass. “The industry is embracing technology to make sales from the ‘now generation’, a consumer group that makes instant hotel decisions, often based purely on online peer-to-peer platforms such as Facebook and Twitter – which have become the new ‘word of mouth’.” The report, The Budget Hotel Sector’s Position in the Sharing Economy, has been released the week of the second Hostel & Budget Traveller conference, which was attended by owners and operators as the hybrid hotel concept gains traction.

Hotel du Vin carrying out multi-million pound refurbishment of Yorkshire estate: Hotel du Vin is carrying out a “multi-million pound” refurbishment of its Yorkshire estate. The company has already revamped its Malmaison Leeds site with a newly launched Chez Mal bar and brasserie that replaces the existing restaurant. It is carrying out work at its two other Yorkshire venues – the Hotel du Vin sites in Harrogate and York. Earlier this month Fraser Hospitality, which bought the hotel group in June for £363m, announced the creation of 90 jobs with a new hotel in the region at an undisclosed location. Malmaison Hotel du Vin chief executive Paul Roberts told The Business Desk: “We are delighted to unveil the newly refurbished Malmaison Leeds. We are hugely proud of what we have to offer those coming to Malmaison Leeds and excited about our multi-million pound refurbishment programme that will extend throughout our properties in Yorkshire. We have always been, and remain, big fans of the county.”

Nespresso opens seventh boutique at Bluewater offering ‘new customer shopping experience’: Nespresso has opened a new boutique shop at Bluewater shopping centre in Kent. The 2,700 square foot site, located in the Upper Guildhall, replaces the pop-up store, which opened this summer. It is the seventh Nespresso boutique to be opened in the UK and the first globally to trial a newly designed “customer shopping experience”. Coffee specialists are equipped with a tablet, which allows them to spend more time with customers and take their order on-the-go, avoiding the need for the customer to queue – they then collect their order at a small window in the coffee wall. It also has a pick-up point for online orders. The shop is dedicated to Nespresso’s range of 23 “Grand Cru” coffee blends and 30 coffee machine models, and has a recycling zone where people can drop off their used capsules and learn more about the company’s recycling scheme.

Pizza Hut UK trials new menu: Pizza Hut UK is trialling a new ‘Taste Freedom’ menu. Dishes include hot crisps, jalapeño poppers, sweet potato fries, frickles (fried pickles) and mains including ribs and pulled pork pizza. On the drinks menu, Prosecco, mojitos and Brooklyn craft beer will feature for the first time too. The menu also includes the brand new Ultimate Thin Pizza.

Young’s reopens south east London pub following £1.8m refurbishment: London pub operator Young’s has reopened The Crown Tavern in the south east of the capital after a £1.8m refurbishment focusing on craft beer and traditional ales along with classic British food. The Lee pub has been given a fresh lease of life while still retaining its original character, complete with a redesigned outside space that seats 150 people along with an expansive dining room, serving seasonally changing British dishes. The new interior makes subtle references to travel, celebrating the pub’s historical links to the original railway line in Lee that ran behind the pub. Design features include booths styled like train carriages with antique lighting and luggage racks, travel-stamp print upholstery and vintage railway signage and maps. The bar boasts a selection of Young’s ales and craft beers on tap as well as premium international brews such as Estrella, Amstel and Peroni. There is also a global wine list and a range of spirits and classic cocktails. On the first floor is a 60-seat private dining room complete with sun terrace and its own fully-stocked bar.

Euston Tap operator opens smokehouse concept in York: Pivovar, which operates the Euston Tap as well as Taps in Leeds, Sheffield and Harrogate, has opened Pavement Vaults, a smokehouse restaurant on the corner of Piccadilly and Coppergate, in York. It is part of the redevelopment of the old White Swan Hotel site. Flats have been created in the upper floors, Sainsbury’s now occupies the part of the ground floor that once housed Bruks coffee shop, and Pavement Vaults occupies the prime corner spot, which was most recently trading as Jessops. The beer options at Pavement Vaults are complemented by smokehouse food range overseen by Andy Annat, a world barbecue finalist and three-time UK champion.

Six new restaurants open as part of £18m Hampshire shopping centre scheme: Six new restaurants have opened as part of a new £18m leisure scheme at the Whiteley Shopping Centre in Fareham, Hampshire. The new additions – Five Guys, Nando’s, PizzaExpress, The Restaurant Group brand Coast to Coast, Dim T and Wildwood Kitchen, owned by Tasty – have been joined by a nine-screen Cineworld cinema. The project has taken three years to complete and created 180 jobs. Shopping centre manager Neil Carter told the Portsmouth News: “When you are sitting in the cinema, or restaurant, you can easily forget how much time and effort goes into developing a place like this. Cineworld, British Land and USS, our landlord, had the vision to invest in Whiteley and that’s no mean feat. We are talking about a multi-million pound investment into Whiteley and that deserves recognition.” There are now a total of 22 restaurants, cafes and fast food outlets at the Whiteley Way complex.

Leeds-based street food hummus and pitta cafe Humpit set to start expanding with second site in city: Leeds-based street food hummus and pitta cafe Humpit is set to start expanding by opening its second site in the city. The concept, voted best street food start-up at this year’s Virgin Foodpreneur awards, will open at the Merrion Centre in Wade Lane next year, reports the Yorkshire Post. Humpit, which Jonathan Phillips started as a street food vendor at Briggate Farmers Market, opened its first site at the Corn Exchange in September last year.

MP moves to dissuade Wetherspoon from selling Pontypool pub: MP for Torfaen Nick Thomas-Symonds has written to JD Wetherspoon after the company put its Pontypool pub, the John Capel Hanbury, up for sale, as part of a group of 34 sites. He said: “The pub is well-used, so it was something of a surprise to hear this unfortunate news. It is much-valued by the community and would be a real loss for the town centre. Of course, as the local MP, I am also always keen to do whatever I can to try to safeguard local jobs. So I wanted to write to JD Wetherspoon to ask about the cause of them putting their Pontypool site on the market and to see if anything could be done to dissuade them from leaving Pontypool. I hope they agree to meet with me as soon as possible. Of course, As a supporter of the Fair Pint campaign, I want to support all good pubs in Torfaen, including the excellent independent local pubs up and down our valley.”

Chinese restaurant Yu and You opens second site in Alderley Edge: Chinese restaurant Yu and You has opened its second site in Alderley Edge, Cheshire. The concept, which was once chosen by Gordon Ramsay as the “Best Chinese in the UK”, has opened on the first floor of the former Panacea bar and restaurant in London Road. Yu and You, which has a restaurant in the Ribble Valley, is run by brothers Victor and Vinny Yu – who founded the business with their father Charlie. It specialises in creating modern Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist. Victor Yu told “We’ve been looking to expand the business and open a second site for a while now, but we wanted to find the right location first. Both Vinny and I think Alderley Edge is a fantastic place that will complement the restaurant’s sophisticated style and food offering. Yu will be the only Chinese restaurant in the town and we’re looking forward to bringing a new concept to both residents and visitors from the surrounding area, making the former Panacea site a desirable destination once again.” Panacea closed in 2013 after fire gutted the building.

Carluccio’s opens in Beverely: Carluccio’s opened a new site in Beverley, near Hull, yesterday (Sunday) following a £750,000 conversion of a landmark town building. The former Burton menswear store, on the corner of the town’s marketplace, has been transformed into a restaurant, creating 35 jobs. Simon Kossoff, chairman of Carluccio’s, said: “We’re delighted to launch Carluccio’s in Beverley on Sunday and hope the town enjoys our inimitable blend of modern Italian all-day dining and shopping.” The 5,000 square foot premises have been empty since August last year.

Starbucks campaign aims to support 200 charities: Starbucks’ #RedCupCheer initiative is offering 200 small and local charities across the UK the chance to compete for grants of up to £1,000. The pre-Christmas campaign, run in partnership with, invites charities to make the most social media ‘noise’ through their supporters via Twitter and social network using the #RedCupCheer hashtag. The campaign is designed to “celebrate the work of smaller charities and local causes in the UK”. With measuring the activity, the charities with the most social media support on 6 December will receive a Red Cup Grant of £1,000. Runners up will receive a £500 grant. This is the second time Starbucks and Neighbourly have partnered on a Christmas community initiative following the success of last year’s activity which supported over 70 charities.

Bill’s to open new restaurant in Bishop’s Stortford at end of month: Bill’s will open its new restaurant in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, on Monday, 30 November. The company is launching the venue in North Street on part of the former Pearsons department store, creating 40 jobs. The restaurant will have capacity for 176 diners – 120 seats inside and 56 outside. Founder Bill Collison told the Herts & Essex Observer: “We are absolutely delighted to be opening our first site in Bishop’s Stortford. We’ve wanted to open there for a while now so we can’t wait to welcome the people of Bishop’s Stortford to enjoy our food, drink and lovely retail products. We hope we will fit right in and that they are as pleased to have us as we are to be here.”

Jamie Rollo – trend of declining alcohol consumption has slowed, wet-led pubs now appear to be outperforming food-led venues: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has argued the trend of declining alcohol consumption has slowed with wet-led pubs now appearing to outperform food-led venues. He stated: “Consumption has fallen from a peak of 9.5 litres in 2004 (circa eight pints of beer per week) to 7.8m litres in 2014. Consumption was unchanged last year, a big change from the record 6% drop in 2009. This is encouraging for UK pubs, particularly wet-led outlets. Indeed, on-trade beer volumes only fell 1% in 2014, against a 9% drop in 2009, and fell by 1% in quarter three 2015. Wet-led pubs now appear to be outperforming food-led pubs.”

Eddie Rocket’s opens second Northern Ireland site: US-style diner and burger bar Eddie Rocket’s has opened its first outlet in Belfast – its second site in Northern Ireland. The company, which operates 35 outlets across Ireland, has opened its latest franchised restaurant in Lisburn Road, creating 40 jobs. The Irish-owned company first set up shop in Northern Ireland at The Quays shopping centre in Newry in January as part of a £1m investment, creating 25 jobs. Most of the stores are operated as franchise businesses, which cost anywhere between €500,000 (£365,000) and €1.2m (£880,000) to get off the ground. That includes building and design as well as staff training. Founder and chief executive Niall Fortune told the Belfast Telegraph: “The group has plans for further expansion and is always keen to hear from potential franchisees. The chain hopes that by 2018, there will be 100 Eddie Rocket’s and Rocket’s by Eddie Rockets throughout Ireland and Europe.” 

Zonal wins charity award: Zonal Retail Data Systems, the provider of hospitality solutions, has won the Corporate Partner of the Year Award from Hope for Children for its ‘Your Business, Their Lives’ campaign. The company celebrated its 35th year of trading by becoming the founding partner of Your Business, Their Lives in November 2014 and has since raised over £31,000 for the charity, which gives something back to local communities at home and abroad. It was recognised with the award for the way staff have engaged with the partnership at every level, while Zonal’s management team has also visited a number of Hope for Children projects in India to see how the charity is improving the lives of local children. Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Our Hope for Children campaign has been embraced by the whole business, including all teams in our offices throughout the UK. They have taken fundraising to the extreme, even climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money.” Hope for Children business development manager Ed Fletcher added:  – We launched Your Business, Their Lives to inspire companies to work with us in a more cohesive and planned way. Zonal has embraced it from the outset, with a clear passion for understanding the work we do and engaging employees to really get behind the campaign.”

Hotel and restaurants scheme in Belfast gets go-ahead: McAleer & Rushe has received planning consent for a 206-bedroom hotel on the site of the former Belfast Metropolitan College adjacent to Blackstaff Square. The Cookstown-based developer, acquired the site just over a year ago and intends to develop the site with a mixed-use hotel and student accommodation scheme. Belfast City Council approved plans designed by Belfast-based Consarc Design Group for the 14-storey development which will also comprise restaurants, bars and meeting and conference space. The site sits within an area known as ‘The Linen Quarter’, which Belfast City Council and other government agencies have targeted for major regeneration with plans including a major upgrade of the urban streetscape. McAleer & Rushe property director Stephen Surphlis said: “This is great news for Belfast, as this is a centrally located hotel scheme, which is designed to complement Belfast’s forward looking aspirations and assist in meeting the undersupply in hotel provision. The Belfast leisure market has recovered strongly following the downturn, with figures confirming strong occupancy levels and increasing room rates. This new hotel will help to satisfy increasing demand going forward as Belfast rapidly increases in popularity as a leisure and business destination. We have received strong interest from established hotel operators and have already commenced demolition of the existing college building. We look forward to beginning construction early in 2016.”

Cote set for Woking: Woking Shopping has added Cote to its selection of leading dining brands. Situated on Commercial Way, the 3,300 square foot Cote Brasserie joins Carluccio’s, Bill’s, Las Iguanas and the Tante Marie Culinary Academy. Work is already underway to create the 150-cover restaurant, which is set to open next year. Ray Morgan, chief executive of Woking Borough Council, said: “We are always looking to improve the visitor experience in Woking Town Centre, and over the past year we have introduced a variety of new and exciting brands to Woking’s Commercial Way. We are very pleased to welcome Cote, which adds even greater choice and variety to Woking’s thriving dining offer.” Cote’s chief executive Alex Scrimgeour, added: “We have been hoping to open a restaurant in Woking for a while, having had many requests from local residents. The concentration of restaurants along this pedestrianised part of town, with their al fresco dining, offers a vibrant and relaxed atmosphere.”

Wimbledon Brewery selling 10,000 pints a week after just four months of operation: Wimbledon Brewery is now selling in excess of 10,000 pints a week after only four months of operation. The 30-barrel brewery, based at College Fields in Prince George Road, Wimbledon, has reached the landmark with more than 160 pubs in south west London now selling its beer. Early in the new year, there are further plans afoot for production of a Wimbledon Brewery lagered beer and a canned American IPA. The brewery is also hosted a pop-up in Wimbledon town centre on Saturday (21 November) in the Piazza outside Morrison’s from noon-8pm. Its shop and bar will open on the two Saturdays in the run-up to Christmas – 12 and 19 December. The shop will sell Wimbledon Brewery merchandise, mini-kegs and gift vouchers as well as a range of beers from other London brewers. Wimbledon Brewery owner Mark Gordon said: “We are delighted with the support we have received from the local community. Our first aim is to become a source of pride for the people of the borough of Merton.”

Lancashire fisheries and restaurant on market for £1m: A fisheries and restaurant/cafe in Carnforth, Lancashire, has been put up for sale for £1m. The Borwick Fishery and Catch 23 site, which is just off the M6 about 15 miles south of Kendal and The Lake District, is being marketed by Manchester-based agent Roger Hannah & Co. The site sits on 55 acres with nine well-stocked fishing lakes along with the restaurant/coffee house The Catch 23, which was completed in 2012. The current owners have built up two successful businesses with The Catch 23 last year turning over about £330,000 and the Fisheries business £66,000. Roger Hannah & Co director Stuart Cooper told The Business Desk: “The fisheries and restaurant have been progressively managed to create a sustainable business with many opportunities to increase the businesses and further develop the 55 acre site. Opportunities like these are rare, especially when situated so close to The Lake District boasting excellent access adjacent to the M6.”

Propel and Elliotts partner for Advanced Marketing Masterclass: Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass. The event takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. It will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing across the sector including how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives and the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential. There will be also be the latest insight into consumers’ behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers as well as how to brief and work with an agency effectively. The event will feature contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will also lead a panel discussion with marketing directors from leading brands. Tickets are priced at £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Adam Dickinson on

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago opens for bookings: The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is now open for bookings. The trip, sponsored by CPL Training and Sky, takes place between Thursday 19 May and Monday 23 May 2016. The NRA draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions at the NRA show. It also involves two tours of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show combined with our tour of Chicago is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To get more information or to book, email

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