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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 30th Nov 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Azzurri Group reports profits up 26.5% to £31.8m: Azzurri Group, the owner of ASK Italian, Zizzi and Coco di Mama, has reported adjusted profits rose 16.5% to £31.8m in the year to 28 June 2015, with turnover up 6.6% to £217.7m. Steve Holmes, Azzurri’s chief executive, said the company had spent a record £18.6m to open seven restaurants – four under the Ask brand, and three as Zizzi – and carried out 35 refurbishments. “Ask was historically under-represented in city centres and shopping centres. We now have a real opportunity to grow,” Holmes told the FT. Before opening a Zizzi in Westfield White City, the company had not opened a restaurant in London for more than a year, he said, as rents soared and competition for sites became more intense. “It is certainly more competitive. We have a healthy pipeline for all three brands. We might be ruled out of London for a while but that is not a huge cause for concern. We have got broad appeal,” said Mr Holmes, pointing to the fact that there is currently no branch of Ask in Leeds or Bristol. Zizzi is also about to expand into Ireland, having secured sites for Belfast and Dublin. In contrast to PizzaExpress, half of Ask’s sales come from pasta and only 30-40% from pizza. “It is much broader,” Holmes said. The celebrity chef Theo Randall has also been helping Ask to develop its menu. “Zizzi is slightly younger, more weekend and rustic. We sell twice as much alcohol in Zizzi as in Ask,” Holmes added. He said Zizzi is now focusing on personalised pizzas and on prosecco cocktails. “It used to be pizza and beer, but now it is pizza and cocktails,” he said. Azzurri is part of Bridgepoint’s Europe V fund, but Holmes said the company was not under any time pressure for an eventual sale. “We have the luxury of time if we want it,” he said. Bridgepoint bought the business from Cinven for £250m last year.

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Prizes galore up for grabs in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Sky has partnered with Propel to launch a Christmas Advent Calendar competition in December to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes up for grabs in the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar include two free 12-months’ Sky subscriptions for a licensed venue, tickets to Barclays Premier League football, rugby league, the 2016 British Grand Prix and an NFL match at Wembley, plus M&S Christmas hampers worth £100 and 46-inch HD Smart televisions. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “We are delighted to partner Sky and to be able to offer these wonderful prizes to our readers and give them an early Christmas present.” Each weekday from tomorrow (1 December) until 22 December, one of these fabulous prizes will be up for grabs starting with a 12-month free Sky subscription for a licensed venue on offer tomorrow. All you need to do to enter is answer a multiple-choice question. Each day, we will announce the previous day’s winner along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Good luck!

Industry News:

Health Select Committee MPs join call to impose sugary drinks tax: A cross-party group of MPs have claimed a 20% tax on sugary drinks could raise £1bn to spend on tackling childhood obesity. The Prime Minister ruled out a tax on sugar last month, despite a report from the government’s own advisory body backing the move. Dr Sarah Wollaston, a GP, who chairs the health select committee, said: “We believe that if the government fails to act, the problem will become far worse. A full package of bold measures is required and should be implemented as soon as possible. We believe that a sugary drinks tax should be included in these measures with all proceeds clearly directed to improving our children’s health.” The committee’s report stressed that physical exercise alone cannot solve the obesity crisis and called for a package of measures to change how sugar is consumed in the British diet. It also demanded an end to television advertising of high-salt, high-sugar and fatty foods until after the 9pm watershed, and supported using graphic warnings on the side of bottles showing how many spoonfuls of sugar the drink inside contains – an idea championed by Jamie Oliver. The MPs highlighted the role of the food industry in actively promoting sugary products. The industry spent £256m last year promoting “unhealthy” foods, while one sugary soft drinks firm was sponsoring park activities for children to replace the gap left by local authorities facing a spending squeeze. The committee also called for controls on “two-for-one” promotional sales and said the use of cartoon characters and celebrities in children’s advertising should face tighter restrictions. Rules that claim a breakfast cereal which is 22.5% sugar is not a high-sugar food must be changed, the report said.

Police chief claims VIP booth at Deltic nightclub fuel drunkenness: A police chief has claimed that the introduction of a VIP booths at Deltic Group’s new Atik nightclub in Windsor has fuelled drunkenness. Atik, formerly known as Liquid nightclub, opened last month following a £650,000 refurbishment. As part of its re-branding, the club now offers VIP booths where customers can enjoy ‘exclusive table service’ in a private area of the venue. But Windsor and Maidenhead’s top police officer, Local Policing Area (LPA) commander Bhupinder Rai, said the introduction of booths had fuelled drunkenness and generated more anti-social behaviour in Windsor’s night-time economy. Superintendent Rai told the borough’s crime and disorder overview and scrutiny panel last week: “The last three weeks have been challenging for police due to the changes at Liquid. A lot of people sit in the booths and they have waitress service and they sit and they drink and they order more drinks and only get up for a bathroom break. They don’t quite realise the effect the alcohol is having on them.” But a spokesman from the nightclub told the Express: “Atik is a well-run, professional venue and the safety and enjoyment of our customers is our main priority. We are committed to responsible retailing and do not condone or encourage excessive alcohol consumption. We work closely with the police and local authorities to ensure that we deliver the highest standards possible and since our launch we have seen a marked improvement in customer behaviour.”

Government to axe Growth Accelerator programme today: The government is axing its Growth Accelerator programme after today (Monday, 30 November) as part of spending cuts. The initiative, which is part of the Business Growth Service, a national programme offering support to businesses with the potential to improve and expand, is being withdrawn along with the Manufacturing Advisory Service, reports The Business Desk. Documents sent to third party contractors, which deliver the services regionally on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), said: “As part of the spending review settlement the government has decided to wind down the national delivery of the Business Growth Service. The BIS issued a formal instruction to providers of the Business Growth Service not to enter into any further contractual commitments with customers after 23:59 Monday 30 November.” Contractors are also told to “withdraw from any events where the Business Growth Service has a formal presence, minimising costs wherever possible”.

Holland to appeal Starbucks tax ruling: The Dutch Finance Ministry said on Friday it will appeal against a European Commission ruling ordering it to recover up to €30 million (£21 million) in taxes from Starbucks. Antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager ordered the Netherlands in October to recover back taxes from Starbucks, accusing the company of benefiting from an illegal tax deal. Starbucks has already said it would appeal the EU’s decision. The Netherlands has come under pressure in recent years to reform its tax system, which disadvantages developing countries by lowering tax rates for some multinationals to single digits. The Commission said the tax deal with Starbucks is effectively state aid.

AB InBev plans to sell Peroni and Grolsch to meet European competition concerns: Anheuser-Busch InBev is aiming to head off European regulatory concerns over its proposed £71bn acquisition of SABMiller by putting the Peroni and Grolsch brands that it would gain up for sale. AB InBev, which owns Stella Artois and Corona, is planning to put the two SABMiller brands up for sale, in attempt to head off concerns that the combined entity will have too much dominance over Europe’s premium beer market. No price for the Peroni and Grolsch brands has been indicated but, according to the Sunday Times, which first reported the potential sale, they are expect to fetch billions. Potential buyers include Dutch group Heineken, US-based Molson Coors and Ireland’s C&C Group, makers of Bulmers and Magners ciders.

Company News:

Whitbread boss – online accommodation marketplace is moving faster than the regulators: Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison has argued that the online accommodation marketplace is now moving faster than the regulators. Talking to the CBI Annual Conference in an interview with the BBC’s Evan Davis, he said: “I think the online change is fantastic because we’re all consumers, we can all see that there will be new information, choices and efficiency. There are no signs that (Airbnb) has damaged our business, but we’re watching those changes carefully and investing heavily because we have to compete online with those new players, as well as delivering a great night’s sleep. But what we do think is that in the same way that companies like ours need to move fast to keep up with change, I think technology is moving faster than the regulators. If you look at Airbnb, 40% of their listings are multiple listings, which means a person offering more than one site. I was on their site at the weekend and there was a chap on there with 13 sites. These are probably professional landlords. How does the government – how does Airbnb – know that these professional landlords are complying with all the same laws that we are? Health and safety, fire regulations, consumer protection, paying their taxes? I think the government needs to think about how to use the available information in the market (and it is available), and how to make sure new companies feel the same degree of accountability as we do. We write to the government, we wrote letters to the House of Lords, we talk to the CBI. We’re not looking for special favours, we just want to make sure that regulation keeps up with technology and there is a level playing field. Yes, we point those things out – it is a fact that national and local government are not keeping up with technology, they’re not requesting the information that is already available, and I don’t think they’re putting a sufficiently strong requirement on new players to follow the same regulation that we do.”

Phil Urban – M&B does not have too many brands, London trading was patchy in the summer: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) chief executive Phil Urban has dismissed suggestions that the company has too many brands. He told City analysts: “I have heard quite a few people saying M&B has too many brands, implying a lack of focus or whatever. I don’t necessarily share the same view. If all brands had huge brand infrastructures I might agree. But, actually, behind the scenes, we have all the synergy, it is just in the customer-facing piece where you get the difference. I suppose an example of which would be in some of our old O’Neill’s businesses, they effectively have the Sizzling menu just with O’Neill’s delivery. So one set of menu development, one set of thinking, just executed at the sharp end of the business in a way that suits that customer base. So I don’t look at our portfolio and think we have got too many brands.” Urban also revealed that trading within its London estate had been patchy over the summer. He said: “In pockets of London the trading continues to be strong. I think, as always, we have businesses right across London and I think there are pockets of London that do well. So the City (of London) has done particularly well for us this year. Some of our businesses in the summer I think struggled with less tourism than in prior years. And yes it is clear to say some of those businesses and some of those brands compete more directly with some other London competitors that are generating some good numbers.”

Enterprise Inns attract new talent after £2.7m investment across Wales: An on-going investment programme across its Welsh estate has resulted in Enterprise Inns recruiting 20 new publicans in the last 12 months. During 2015, Enterprise sites across the principality have benefitted from £2.7 million worth of investment which has seen the upgrading and refurbishing of a broad mix of city centre and country pubs, food-led operations and community locals. As well as refurbishment projects to upgrade the interior and exterior of pubs, the company’s £2.3 million capex programme has covered major schemes such as the historic Station Hotel in Colwyn Bay. The 145 years old pub and restaurant was completely renovated with a further £460,000 of joint investment coming from the new publicans Rita and Keith Stuart and Colwyn Bay’s Townscape Heritage Initiative fund. James Armitage, Enterprise’s sales and marketing director, said: “On the back of our investment across Wales we’ve been able to attract a number of enthusiastic new publicans who are eager to provide a superb pub experience for customers enjoying the upgraded facilities.”

Turnover down, operating losses up at Cha Cha Moon: Turnover fell by 5% to £1,990,000 on the year to 31 December 2014 at Chinese restaurant Cha Cha Moon, which is located just off Carnaby Street in London and is owned by Kout Food Group and was created by Alan Yau. Operating losses increased by £90,000 to £587,000, mainly due to “market conditions”.

Nando’s plans next generation green restaurant in Cambridge: Nando’s is planning a next generation green restaurant in Cambridge, its third opening in the city. It has unveiled plans to move into a new unit at the Cambridge retail park on Newmarket Road – it already has sites in the city on St Andrew’s Street and at Cambridge Leisure Park beside the railway station. The company has submitted plans to the city council for a brand new unit next to the existing Frankie & Benny’s restaurant, near Coldhams Lane. The application, submitted by Nando’s architects Urban Edge and planning consultants Montagu Evans, is promising “a fresh take on the Nando’s concept”, including a ‘green wall’ on one side. The design and access statement said: “Our new restaurant in Cambridge is an opportunity for us to build a restaurant using more sustainable and cleaner materials, employ better design processes to reduce the carbon impact and include technologies that will mean the restaurant can be run more efficiently. We aim to measure the carbon impact of the materials used and use alternatives where possible to reduce this, measure it for the build and also the fit-out of the interior design. We are also aiming to use the benefits gained in our negotiations with other developers to influence future builds that are offered to us as we grow as a business.”

New brewery incorporating cafe-bar and shop to open in York: A new brewery incorporating a cafe-bar and shop is to open in York. Lee Grabham and Wayne Smith, who come from a home-brewing background, are launching Brew York in Walmgate at the Enterprise Complex in a large, warehouse-style building that was used by York Archaeological Trust as storage and work space. It will be only the second commercial brewery within the city walls after York Brewery – but it aims to be much more than that with a brewery, family-friendly cafe-bar and shop all rolled into one. They have been inspired by Northern Monk and Tapped Leeds, which have bar areas within the brewery, and Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle near Perth, Australia. Grabham told the York Press: “Their brewery is mixed in with the customer areas. It feels really modern and people go along with families. They’ve a little garden as well and it felt a really fun place to be. We really hope we can do something like that for York. This is a long-held dream that is finally coming to reality. We are not opening an out-of-town industrial estate brewery, but something York does not already have.” The upstairs mezzanine area will be for staff only and the start of the brewing process. Downstairs, the rest of the brewery equipment will take centre stage, with a customer bar area around it, while a small garden area will overlook the River Foss. Later, a shop will be added, initially selling only the brewery’s own beers but eventually stocking others. The brewery equipment is expected to be delivered in February with the site open by Easter.

New coffee shop and wine bar concept opens in Essex: A new coffee shop and wine bar concept has opened in South Woodham Ferrers, Essex. Husband and wife team Paul Lake and Toni Perham-Lake have launched Bar Vino in Market Square. The venue, which is on the site of the former Indian restaurant Delhi Spice, operates as a coffee shop during the day before becoming a high-end over-25s wine bar in the evening. While primarily a wine bar, Bar Vino serves a range of alcoholic and soft drinks, including a comprehensive cocktail menu, with food due to be added in the new year. Lake, who is a former professional DJ, told the Essex Chronicle: “There is competition around here with all the pubs, but what we’re doing is slightly different. We’re operating as a coffee lounge during the day, and then a wine bar in the evening with DJs playing club classics, and the over-25s policy has had a really good response.”

Tiny Rebel opens second pub venue: Award-winning brewery Tiny Rebel has opened its second bar, this time located in Newport’s High Street – it follows the Urban Tap House which opened on Cardiff’s Westgate Street two years ago. Stretching over two floors, the new bar stocks eight cask ales and more than 60 different independent beers, making it the largest selection of any beers available in any pub or bar in Newport. The bar’s cellar is on display behind a large glass screen and there is an open kitchen so customers can see the bar’s pizzas and American style pasta being prepared. Meanwhile, Tiny Rebel has announced that it will bring in the national living wage for the 45 staff working at their brewery and two bars from 1 January.

Viva Brazil reopens flagship Liverpool site following three-month fire closure: Brazilian restaurant company Viva Brazil has reopened its flagship Liverpool site following a three-month closure caused by a fire. The company has re-launched the Castle Street venue that was extensively damaged in the blaze in August that started in the cooking range on the ground floor and spread through to the extraction system. The restaurant, which was the company’s first to open in 2010, has been completely overhauled with a new colour scheme, increased bar capacity, barbecue charcoal grill area and salad island. Founder and owner Andy Aldrich told the Liverpool Echo: “It has been a complete reinvention of the restaurant and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I think it represents real Brazil with its vibrant colours, there’s nothing like it in the city. Liverpool has and always will be our home so when we closed, I was absolutely gutted. Fast forward three months and I’m so excited to see the new site.” Viva Brazil is currently running a 110-cover pop-up restaurant in the city in the Metquarter at the former Café Rouge site until the new year. The company’s also has sites in Cardiff, Glasgow, Newcastle and Birmingham.

Wagamama submits plans for new restaurant in Reigate, eyes Peterborough opening: Wagamama has submitted plans to open a new site in Reigate, Surrey. The company has lodged plans with Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to convert the former Edward Dean kitchen and bathroom store on the corner of Bell Street and Bancroft Road into a restaurant, reports the Surrey Mirror. The application stated: “The company is now seeking to open its first store in Reigate and, following an extensive search, the application site has been identified as ideal for their requirements.” Wagamama said the restaurant would create 20 full-time and 20 part-time jobs. Meanwhile Wagamama is eyeing an opening in Peterborough’s Cathedral Square. London based Deloitte Real Estate, on behalf of Universities Superannuation Scheme, is seeking planning permission to change the use of 37-39 Long Causeway, at the entrance to the Square, from retail to restaurant – something actively encouraged by the city council. It says Wagamama is the likely new tenant, subject to the application being granted. Deloitte, in its application, says: “Wagamama is one of the UK’s leading pan-Asian restaurant chains and regards Peterborough as a key town to expand its offer. The nearest Wagamama is located 30 miles away in Cambridge.”

Revolution Bars to open new £1.7m Revolución de Cuba site in Nottingham this December: Revolution Bars Group will open its new Revolución de Cuba site in Nottingham next month. The company has invested £1.7m in the Latin American rum bar and cantina in Market Street, which is the eighth site for the brand and has created 100 jobs. The Revolución de Cuba design is based on a rustic chic inspired theme with spinning ceiling fans, vintage furniture and live music stage to create an original setting for customers to drink, dance and dine. The cantina will provide an authentic range of freshly prepared and cooked Latin-inspired foods during the day and the evening. The food offering is complemented with a specially crafted drinks menu, specialising in rum. Revolución de Cuba brand manager Clinton Ghent said: “Nottingham has some fantastic bars and restaurants and we are bringing something a little bit different to the city. Our location on Market Street is a great spot with the theatre, cinema and shops all very close by, it is the perfect place to enjoy a cup of Cuban coffee, some fantastic food or get your dancing shoes on and join our fiesta.”

Experienced operators to open luxury hotel and fine-dining restaurant at Dorset country manor: Experienced operators Alex and Gretchen Boon will open new concept 10 Castle Street in Dorset next Monday (7 December). The Boons, who have a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector having run pubs in the area, have converted the grade II-listed Cranborne Lodge in the village of Cranborne to create a luxury hotel, restaurant, tasting room, bar, private members, club, spa and fitness centre. 10 Castle Street features a fine dining restaurant, a bar, a tasting room and an outside terrace on the ground floor. Situated on the first and second floors will be an exclusive private members’ club, including a members bar, dining room, drawing room, billiard room, children’s play room, private outside bar and terrace. The 18th century country manor, which was built by the Stillingfleet family, is owned by the Cranborne Estate.

Vapiano opens first restaurant outside London in Manchester: Vapiano, the Italian fresh casual dining brand, has opened its fourth restaurant and first outside London in Manchester. The new 10,000 square foot venue, which is its biggest to date, has launched in the historic Corn Exchange in the city centre. The company has invested £2m to develop the 400-seat restaurant that spans two floors in the new Exchange Square development. It features two bars and two lounge areas and employs 80 staff. The company’s existing restaurants in London are on Great Portland Street, Wardour Street and Bankside. Vapiano serves homemade fresh pasta, pizza, salad and dolci, all prepared and made in-house to order by chefs cooking in front of the guests. The restaurants offer 11 different types of pasta made daily in a bespoke pasta machine. It is one of the last restaurant and bar brands to open in the grade II-listed building, joining companies including Wahaca, Arc Inspirations’ Banyan Bar & Kitchen, PizzaExpress and Cosy Club, which is owned by Loungers.

Homeslice to return home as it opens third site in Shoreditch on Saturday: Better pizza brand Homeslice will be returning home when it opens its third site in Shoreditch on Saturday (5 December). The company, founded by Sir Terry Wogan’s son Mark and Ry Jessup, is launching the venue in Old Street, next to Shoreditch Town Hall, opposite Hoxton Square. The restaurant will seat over 100 customers across a two-floor dining area, outdoor courtyard, designated takeaway area and bar-style seating overlooking the open kitchen. The interiors will feature wood-panelled walls, copper-topped tables, chandeliers and vintage tiling. The opening marks a return for Homeslice to the neighbourhood when it all began having started life serving slices at street food markets in east London. The official launch on Saturday will be preceded by a two-day soft launch when the first 100 slices of takeaway pizza each day will be free, followed by 50% off further orders to go and 50% off all pizzas ordered in-house. Wogan and Jessup said: “We hope to have created a space that has the hallmarks of the signature Homeslice offering, whilst reflecting the local area and its distinctive atmosphere. As we expand our aim above all else is to maintain the culinary integrity of what we offer. We will continue to keep things simple with the Old Street menu, bringing Shoreditch a slice of our signature offering of 20-inch pizza, beer and wine, alongside seasonal cocktails.” Homeslice’s existing restaurants are in Wells Street, Fitzrovia, and Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden.

Geof Collyer – I’m expecting the turnaround at M&B to be protracted: Deutsche Bank leisure analyst Geof Collyer has argued the turn-around at Mitchells & Butler is likely to be protracted. He said: “In his first outing, Phil Urban, M&B’s new chief executive, has been forthright about the issues facing the group in terms of increased competition, lack of commercial edge, failure to innovate fast enough and the balance of the portfolio. In the group’s defence, M&B still owns some of the best sites and brands as well as having a sound infrastructure that is a genuine asset in terms of the group’s overall scale. We believe that the M&B supertanker has finally turned the corner but estimate that progress to full steam ahead is 18-24 months away. With few nearer term catalysts, we retain our ‘Hold’ stance. In the last eight weeks (Oct and Nov), like-for-likes were -1.6%, which is disappointing given recent industry commentary regarding better managed pub trading in October due to half term and the Rugby World Cup. For the chartists amongst you, the M&B share price has fallen 25% since the UK Chancellor’s mid July NLW announcement, compared to a 7% fall for the FTSE over the same period. With consensus forecasts now adjusting for the increasing wage pressure, plus a new chief executive and the reinstatement of the DIV (which should get M&B onto a few more radar screens), we suspect that the new broom and the recent share price fall could provide something of a floor for the stock. However, we see the threat from competitive pressure apparently targeting some of the group’s key brands stalling overall progress in the near term (Harvester and Toby Carvery seem to have been singled out by the peer group). In addition, with the DIV reinstated, we see M&B possibly cash constrained as to how quickly it can move to reposition parts of the estate. There remains a lot for the new chief executive to accomplish. Valuation: price target moved from 500p to 430p We have now adjusted our forecasts for NLW, changes in site rollout and other associated costs as well as FY15 results. We see the cumulative net impact of these changes taking -70 bps off our Ebita margin by FY18E. We value M&B on an FY16E EV/Ebita multiple; we have reduced our target multiple from 13x to 12x, reflecting the protracted turnaround we now expect.”

Plymouth-based Thai chef to launch Asian-style street food restaurant in city: Plymouth-based Thai chef Suphawadee Kaden is to launch an Asian-style street food restaurant in the city. Kaden and partner Dan Thompson are opening Supha, pronounced “supers”, in a ground floor unit at East Quay House in Sutton Harbour, close to The China House pub. Supha’s will have an Asian-style menu, an open kitchen and fresh fish sourced daily from nearby Plymouth Fisheries and kept in a wet fish counter so customers can pick their fish to be cooked. Thompson, who co-owns the B-Bar at the Barbican Theatre and owns events company Kaos Production, told the Western Morning News: “What we are trying to create is totally unpretentious dining; nothing about Supha’s will be like a traditional restaurant. The menu will have a street food-style and strong Asian-influences with predominantly Thai cuisine, as well as dishes from Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, and an extensive vegetarian selection.” Sutton Harbour is home to a number of cafe and restaurant brands including Boston Tea Party and Fuller’s artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable.

Neville and Giggs receive Far East funding for new Manchester boutique hotel scheme: Hospitality entrepreneurs Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs have struck a third deal with Singaporean investor Rowsley, this time to develop the Stock Exchange building in Manchester into a boutique hotel. The former Manchester United footballers have owned the grade II-Iisted building since March 2013. Rowsley has paid £3.2m for a 50% shareholding in Finestday, Neville and Giggs’ company, which owns the Norfolk Street property. Rowsley, which is controlled by billionaire Peter Lim, has previously acquired 75% of Neville and Giggs’ businesses Hotel Football, Cafe Football, and GG Collections, and more recently it became the major stakeholder in the pair’s ambitious St Michael’s mixed-used development project around Bootle Street. The new joint venture between Rowsley and Finestday aims to open the boutique hotel with restaurant and roof terrace in 2017. Neville told The Business Desk: “The Stock Exchange is a gem of a building and a big part of Manchester’s history. We have some exciting plans and can’t wait to implement them.” Finestday was advised by Manchester commercial law firm Kuits, which also advised on the St Michael’s development and Hotel Football deals.

Cote lines up Peterborough site: French brasserie Cote is lining up a new site in Peterborough. The company has lodged a licensing application with Peterborough City Council as it looks to open a restaurant in the Cathedral Square orientated eating out quarter. It has earmarked the former Santander bank premises in Church Street – directly opposite the entrance to St John’s Church – for the new venue. A spokesman told the Peterborough Telegraph: “We would love to come to Peterborough, however the restaurant is still very much in the planning stages.” The Cathedral Square area already boasts restaurants including Tasty brand Wildwood, Nando’s, Prezzo, and PizzaExpress and in the last 12 months they have been joined by Bristol-based cafe-bar brand Loungers and Bill’s.

Fuller’s artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable opens first Midlands site in Birmingham: Artisan cider and pizza brand The Stable, which is 51% owned by Fuller’s, has opened its first site in the Midlands in Birmingham. The brand has opened the £700,000 186-cover restaurant in John Bright Street on the site of a former hairdressers. The pizzas have unusual toppings with a Birmingham twist including The Boar Ring Boar with Real Boar Company’s chorizo and salami and The Bournville Bantam with free-range chicken, peppers and mushrooms. Co-founder Richard Cooper told the Birmingham Mail: “People can share food or just come in to drink – it’s very casual. You might end up sharing a table with someone. We take our cider very seriously and have more choice than anyone else in the country. All our staff are trained to know about cider and match it to food. I spent my childhood running round the Bullring, so it’s great to now have a pizza named after it!” The Stable, which has 13 sites, was created by Richard and Nikki Cooper and Richard’s brother Andy Briggs.

Premier Inn lines up £5m 79-bedroom hotel in Ulverston: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn is lining up a new £5m hotel in Ulverston, Cumbria. The company wants to build the 79-bedroom hotel complete with in-house restaurant and parking on the site of a former abattoir at North Lonsdale Terrace. It will have its proposal on display at a public exhibition on Thursday (3 December) at the Coronation Hall in the town and is expected to submit a planning application to South Lakeland District Council by the end of the year. Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants acquisition manager Nick Johnston, who is leading the project, told the North West Evening Mail: “We believe that we will bring a lot of positive benefits to Ulverston. The hotel will unlock a stalled site and contribute to the regeneration of the east of the town. Our hotel will help bring thousands of additional visitors to Ulverston throughout the year and we will create approximately 30 new jobs in the local area. We’re looking to invest in Ulverston for the long-term and I’m looking forward to displaying our latest plans to residents and members, and hearing their views.”

Propel and Thinking Drinkers launch second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: Propel is launching its second Craft Beer Retail Study Tour on Thursday 28 January in London, this time focusing on south London. The tour, led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, will visit seven of London’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour tour. McFarland and Sandham will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation analysis, and spot up-and-coming trends. Site visits will include Q&A sessions with London’s leading retailers, looking at award-winning sites, a hybrid bottle shop and bar, beer-centric retail, mobile canning, beer sourcing, direct sourcing, menus, brewing on-site and a host of other issues. The day includes lunch and breakfast and travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 for ALMR members and £395 for non-ALMR members. Email to book or to obtain further details.

Final panel line-up confirmed for Propel and Elliotts Advanced Marketing Masterclass: The final panel line-up for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass has been confirmed. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will leads a discussion with newly appointed Thai Leisure Group marketing director Iain White-Duncan and ETM Group marketing manager Zoe Knowles about where they see success, their plans for the future and other topics discussed throughout the day. Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the event, which takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The day will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing including contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. It will also include the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential and how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives. There will 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. 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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