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Wed 9th Dec 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

US-based upmarket sandwich business Which Wich looks to expand to UK: US-based upmarket sandwich business Which Wich, a business that currently has 376 restaurants in 40 US states and nine countries, is looking to open in the UK next year and is seeking a UK master franchisee. Vice-president international operations and development Alex Oswiecinski told Propel: “We are currently accepting inquiries from interested master franchisee prospects for the UK market. Our most successful international franchisees typically bring some restaurant or retail experience along with infrastructure and capital to support a multi-year development plan. The other ingredient is having the same passion for the brand that starts with our original founder/chief executive and is shared by every team member and franchisee in our system. We encourage interested parties in the UK to complete an application on our website, or email franchise@whichwich.com to get the process started.” Which Wich has remained one of the fastest growing brands in the quick-service restaurant and sandwich categories. The brand launched in four more countries in 2015, completing launches with franchisee partners in the Middle East was the major initiative for 2015, and next year that plan shifts to Europe, starting with the UK. Each “Wich” menu item is served on a toasted baguette and loaded with generous portions of meat, cheese and veggies. Oswiecinski added: “(Our) real disruptive factor is the unique ordering system, which allows customers to create a sandwich they can’t get anywhere else. The design of the sandwich is literally in the hands of the customer, in the form of a Sharpie pen and brown paper bag. Due to the wide variety of sandwiches on the menu and massive number of fresh, premium ingredients available, Which Wich has streamlined the customisation process by putting all the options on a brown bag that customers can choose to craft their perfect Wich.” The Wich can also be made into a salad on a bed of lettuce instead of bread and is completed with house chips, hand-dipped real ice cream shakes, or fresh cookies.

The Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition:

Win two rugby league match tickets in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Two tickets to a rugby league match (see terms and conditions here) are up for grabs in today’s Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: How many players in a rugby league team? a) five b) seven c) 13. Once you have chosen your answer, you can enter by clicking here. We will announce the winner in tomorrow’s newsletter along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Congratulations to David Willans, from the Southbank Bar in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire, who was yesterday’s winner of two tickets to a Barclays Premier League football match. Sky has partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes still up for grabs include a free 12 months’ Sky subscription for a licensed venue, tickets to a NFL match at Wembley and the 2016 British Grand Prix as well as more Barclays Premier League football tickets. There are also M&S Christmas hampers worth £100 as well as 46-inch HD Smart televisions to be won. Good luck!

Industry News:

Allegra – European coffee shop market shows accelerated growth in 2015: The European branded coffee shop market is showing accelerated growth in 2015 compared with 2014, according to Project Café16 Europe, the latest report from Allegra World Coffee Portal. The total number of branded outlets is estimated at 19,472 stores, with 1,615 stores added in 2015, representing growth of 9% per annum. Strong multinational brands are continuing to flourish across European markets with 19 of the 24 countries within the report seeing expansion in the number of outlets. Leading chains Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee (2,315), McCafé (1,993) and Starbucks (1,965) are continuing to invest in the European market. These three international brands have a combined market share of 32% and are influencing the growth of strong, focused national chains including Espresso House and Columbus Coffee, said the report. The UK remains the most developed branded coffee shop market, representing 33% of the total European market and adding 713 stores in 2015 to reach a total of 6,409 outlets as of October 2015.

Jamie’s Italian has lowest reviews rating compared to main competitors with 3.08: Jamie Oliver’s Italian chain has the lowest review ratings compared to its main competitors with one in four customers grading one of his restaurants at one-star since September. The average rating from more than 2,000 reviews on Google is 3.08 stars out of five, which is below the industry average of 3.78, with customers complaining about the food and service. Jamie’s Italian has also come under fire in reviews from staff with complaints of aggressive managers and staff not being given enough hours to earn a decent wage. Other claims from staff were that they were sent home early if business was quiet, had shifts cancelled at the last minute and docked wages if customers left without paying. It is understood Oliver, widely praised for his healthy eating campaigns, is not involved in the day-to-day running of the business and he appointed brother-in-law Paul Hunt as its director last year. A spokesman for Jamie’s Italian told The Times they had received no complaints from staff over “being unable to earn a decent living”. The spokesman added: “We’ve had no recent bullying grievances or official complaints. If there was a ‘bullying’ culture we would not get the staff satisfaction results that we do. We do not tolerate any sort of bullying in our business.”

Owners of Bath shopping centre submit plans for new food quarter: The owners of the SouthGate shopping centre in Bath have submitted plans for a new food quarter at the complex. British Land and Aviva Investors want to redevelop the Little SouthGate section of the centre to make way for three to four new upmarket restaurants and bars, designed to complement the existing food area at The Vaults, located in Brunel’s original railway arches. New glazed facades on Newark Street and St Lawrence Street would be created along with new steel and glass canopies to provide covered outdoor seating areas for diners. Existing tenants in the nine small retail units that currently make up Little SouthGate have been consulted over the plans and Aviva Investors is working to relocate them to other parts of the centre where possible. Simon Green, of Aviva Investors, told Business Insider: “We are in discussions with a number of premium restaurant operators who have expressed interest in opening at SouthGate as their first venture in the south west. Our designs for the new restaurant area have been created to preserve the architectural appeal of the centre and reflect the heritage of Bath city centre.”

Redzepi to open second restaurant in Copenhagen: Rene Redzepi, the chef behind celebrated Copenhagen restaurant Noma, has announced plans for a second venue in the Danish capital. Redzepi will open the new restaurant, called 108, in the late spring and is a joint project with chef Kristian Bauman. The name of the new eatery is understood to refer to its address on Strandgade in Christianshavn. Throughout January, the Noma team will be operating a sell-out pop-up in Australia. During this period, the 108 team will take over Noma, giving “diners an early taste of what we have planned”. Bauman said: “We’ve spent the last six months preparing for this project: we’ve created dishes, started collaborations with various farmers, and salted, pickled, and preserved all the delicious berries, plants, and flowers that nature has to offer. I want to keep exploring; creating the essence of an urban restaurant; one with a proximity to nature, to farms, and to the vibes of the city.” Noma, which opened in 2003, has been named the world’s best restaurant four times in the last five years. Earlier this year, Redzepi announced he will shut Noma at the end of 2016, and will relocate to a currently derelict site just outside the city’s Christiania district, which he hopes to open in 2017. The new site will include an urban farm, which will provide much of the restaurant’s produce.

Former MasterChef finalist to open second Sweet Things bakery and cafe, London’s first eatery not to accept cash:
Former MasterChef finalist Natalie Allen is set to open the second site for her bakery and cafe concept Sweet Things, which will be London’s first eatery not to accept cash. Allen is launching the new venue in Blenheim Crescent, Notting Hill, on Monday, 4 January following the success of the Primrose Hill site. It will stock a similar range of cakes, scones, brownies, homemade ice cream and sorbets alongside teas, coffees and hot chocolate. The shop will accept credit, debit and contactless cards and Apple Pay but, in a first for London, will not take cash. Allen told the Evening Standard: “It’s just the way the world is going. At my other shop at least 70% of people pay by card, even if it’s just £2.50. Even older people. We’re a brand new shop with a very modern, industrial look so it feels right to do things in a modern way. We also have a sharing table with power points where people can charge their devices.” Allen set up Sweet Things in 2005, not long after being knocked out of MasterChef in the later stages by Wahaca co-founder Thomasina Miers.

Company News:

Administrator PWC updates on nine pubs not included in Tattershall Castle Group sale to Stonegate: Administrator PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has updated on the nine pubs that were not included when Stonegate Pub Company acquired 53 sites from the Tattershall Castle Group in a pre-pack administration in September. PwC reported six pubs continue to trade in administration; Corn Exchange, Preston, Henry’s Cafe, India Quay, Royal Victoria and Bull Hotel, Dartford, Richmond Arms, Richmond, Old Sugar Loaf, Dunstable and the Three Tons, Windsor. Two pubs were closed immediately on appointment – Carpe Dim, Leeds and Via, Canary Wharf. The Philharmonic in Cardiff was closed prior to the administrator’s appointment.

YO! Sushi to open fifth site in the US tomorrow:
YO! Sushi, which currently operates 89 branches worldwide, will open its fifth US location at Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, tomorrow (Thursday, 10 December). “We couldn’t be more thrilled about opening our first New York restaurant in such a legendary shopping destination,” said Alison Vickers, business and international development director. “With its fast yet fresh approach to dining, YO! Sushi is perfect for shoppers who want to refuel this holiday season without sacrificing too much time away from their shopping.”

Hawaiian-inspired restaurant Kua ‘Aina opens third site and first outside London with Belfast launch: Hawaiian-inspired restaurant Kua ‘Aina has opened its third site and first outside London. The company, which has sites in Goodge Street and Carnaby Street, has launched at the Victoria Square shopping centre in Belfast. Inspired by the Hawaiian burger and sandwich grill bearing the same name on Hawaii’s North Shore, Kua ‘Aina has arrived on the second floor of the complex opposite the Odeon cimema. Co-founder Ed Bardos told Belfast Live: “After spending time in Hawaii and falling in love with the grilled sandwiches, burgers and warm ‘Aloha’ service at Kua ‘Aina, I knew there was nothing like it back home. Working with Terry Thompson, who has owned and run the original location for 40 years, our team set up two restaurants in London, and following their incredible popularity made the decision to bring Kua ‘Aina to Belfast.” The brand’s ethos is to keep food fresh and local. For example the burgers are made using premium cuts of Northern Irish beef from a butcher in Dromara while the buns are made using a secret recipe passed on to Belfast’s French Village Bakery.

Avant Garde buys Leeds steak restaurant out of administration: A well-known Leeds steak restaurant has been acquired by cocktail bar operator Avant Garde. Rare Restaurant is based on Lower Briggate, by Lambert’s Yard, and champions premium local produce and high-welfare meat. The business was established in 2013 and earlier this year was recognised by the Observer Food Monthly and received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. However, on 27 November 2015, James Sleight and John Twizell, of restructuring and turnaround firm PKF Geoffrey Martin, were appointed joint administrators of Rare Restaurants. A sale of the business and assets was subsequently completed to a third party, unconnected to Rare Restaurants, saving almost 20 jobs. Rare will now continue to trade under the ownership of Avant Garde Restaurants and all previous bookings will be honoured. Avant Garde, founded by Claire Bland, Andy Trudgill and David Pickard, is headquartered in Sheffield and runs the Bamboo Door cocktail bar in the South Yorkshire city alongside providing bar services for weddings, private parties, corporate events and festivals. It had been providing consultancy services to Rare before the administration and was approached about striking a rescue deal. “It’s a great business, the product is fantastic and the staff we have inherited are brilliant,” Trudgill told Business Insider.

Fuller’s artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable opening in Cardiff tomorrow: Artisan cider and pizza brand The Stable, which is 51% owned by Fuller’s, is opening a new site in Cardiff tomorrow (Thursday, 10 December). The company has launched the restaurant in the new Admiral Building on Bridge Street. It reflects its locations in its menu so among the pizzas on offer include the Monmouth Trotter featuring marinated lamb, mint, Y Cwt Caws, thyme roasted sweet potato, roasted onions and mozzarella, and the Wooly Welshman containing cured Welsh coppa and lomo (charcuterie style meat) topped with peppery rocket and dressed with Dijon house dressing. The Stable, which has 13 sites, was created by Richard and Nikki Cooper and Richard’s brother Andy Briggs.

Chilli Marketing reports profits drop: Chilli Marketing, which develops premium drinks brands, has posted a drop in profits in the year prior to its disposal of premium cider producer Rekorderlig UK. The company was hit by a “challenging transitional year while switching distributor in Australia with an inevitable short-term drop in sales”. It generated pre-tax profits of £698,573 in the year to 31 December 2014, down by 64% on a year earlier. Operating profits fell by 66% to £699,229 over the same period. Turnover rose by 2% to £65.6m. UK turnover climbed from £46m in 2013 to £55m in 2014, while overseas turnover dropped from £18.6m to £10.6m. In July 2015, the company’s distribution rights to premium cider producer Rekorderlig UK were sold to Molson Coors in a deal that gave the US brewery giant exclusive rights to sell, distribute and market the premium cider brand across the UK, Ireland and the Channel Islands. A directors’ report accompanying the results said: “The directors report growth in all territories except Australia in the year. Whilst the majority of scale and growth remains attributable to the UK, 2014 has also seen the introduction of Rekorderlig into South Africa, USA [and] now also into Spain. It was a challenging transitional year while switching distributor in Australia with an inevitable short-term drop in sales out to market. Against a backdrop of factors such as increased competition, pricing squeezes and the arrival of mainstream brand offerings, innovative NPD strategies have aided a return to growth going into 2015. The directors remain enthusiastic about the long-term opportunities of Rekorderlig in Australia.”

Burning Night Group spends £600,000 refurbishing Bierkeller site in Liverpool: Burning Night Group has spent £600,000 refurbishing its Bierkeller site in Liverpool. The company has revamped the site in Thomas Steers Way to improve the layout of each of the venues. The bar in the Bierkeller has been extended while there is now a VIP-seating area and a set of toilets have been added. The Shooters sports bar now features a craft beer wall with ten lines as well as a new four-metre by two-metre LED television screen. The front bar has been moved and a new “more premium” food menu introduced serving gourmet burgers and hotdogs and buffalo wings. The Around The World in 80 Beers bar now has reclaimed timber furniture and a new £30,000 pizza oven. There is a new entrance to the bar and a set of toilets has also been added. Burning Night Group operations director Peter Robinson told Propel: “It’s three years since we’ve opened and the venue was looking a bit tired and needed a bit of a facelift. It’s been trading so well and because it’s so busy it was easy to see where we needed to make improvements like where people were congregating around one end of the bar and needed more space. Hopefully what we have done will improve the experience for our customers.” Burning Night Group also has Bierkeller sites in Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester.

Starbucks launches annual Starbucks for Life competition: Starbucks has launched it annual Starbucks for Life competition, which will see five customers around the world, including one in the UK, win a free beverage or food item every day for the next 30 years. The estimated value of the ultimate prize in the US is $54,000, and it includes an engraved card made of ten-carat hammered gold. When a My Starbucks Rewards member pays for their purchase in participating stores using a registered card or the Starbucks mobile app, he or she receives one game play. The member then goes to starbucksforlife.com and logs in using their My Starbucks Rewards credentials to play the game for the chance to win instant prizes, like bonus stars, or a game piece to place on their game board for the chance to win Starbucks for a day, a week, a month or a lifetime. Until January 11, 2016, rewards members can collect game pieces for the chance to win. Prizes range from bonus stars to the grand prize of Starbucks for Life, which five lucky customers will receive. 25 will win Starbucks for a year; 125 will win Starbucks for a month; and 500 will be notified they’ve won Starbucks for a week. Last year more than 13 million customers entered the company’s first Starbucks for Life ultimate prize giveaway, over a 31-day period. “I’m even more excited about this year’s Starbucks for Life contest because it is an opportunity for us to reward our My Starbucks Rewards members,” said Sharon Rothstein, Starbucks global chief marketing officer. “With an engaging new way to play online, we’re giving away more than one million bonus stars as well as the ultimate gift of the season, Starbucks for Life.”

Eden Project reports turnover rise, secures consent for 115-bedroom hotel: The Eden Project in Cornwall has reported a £500,000 rise in turnover after a 5% rise in visitor numbers. In the venue’s annual results for the year ending 29 March 2015, turnover rose to £18m, from £17.5m in 2013/14. It also reported operating profit, before interest, depreciation and deferred grant releases, of £1.4m, from £1.9m in 2014. However, pre-tax losses also grew to £1.1m from £756,449 the year before due to non-recurring income from the previous year and investments into new revenue streams. During the year, £1.5m was raised through the launch of the first Eden mini bond to create a new learning village on the edge of its site. A 58-room hostel opened in October 2014 in partnership with the Youth Hostel Association (YHA). The increase in visitor numbers was put down to the success of the Dinosaurs Unleashed programme in 2014, Eden’s major summer event, which encouraged new and returning visitors. Eden finance and commercial director David Harland said: “Our last financial year to March 2015 was one of steady development during which much has been achieved. We believe in profits for a purpose and our trading surplus will enable us to continue to invest in our education programmes and new partnerships, the visitor destination and our overseas activities.” Following the year-end, the Eden Project was granted planning permission for a £6m, 115-bedroom hotel on its site and has also signed an agreement to construct its first overseas project with a £100m centre in China.

Loughborough hotel sold for £2m: A 78-bedroom hotel in the heart of Loughborough has been sold for £2m. The Ramada Hotel on High Street was snapped up by an undisclosed hotel group based in the Midlands. As well as almost 80 en-suite rooms, the hotel also comprises five conference rooms, the Courtyard restaurant and parking spaces for 65 cars. Jonathan Wren, director at selling agent Colliers International, said: “The Ramada has been operated since 2000 by experienced hoteliers who, during their period of ownership, invested considerable time and money undertaking a rolling refurbishment of the facilities, and establishing an excellent reputation within the Ramada family of hotels. The sale of the Ramada Hotel in Loughborough is further evidence of the improving hotel market. With the major banks once again looking to invest into the sector we are anticipating a busy 2016.”

Speratus Group to open better burger concept Boozy Cow in Dundee, all profits go to charity: Speratus Group is planning to open a branch of its The Boozy Cow better burger brand in Dundee – all profits produced will go to Tayside Children’s Hospital. Owner of The Boozy Cow, Gareth Wood, who is also a patron of the ARCHIE Foundation, said: “I am delighted to announce that we will be opening a Boozy Cow in Dundee in the near future. I am also delighted to say that all the profits from the Dundee restaurant will go towards charity. This is a decision we took earlier this year. Already profits from our Aberdeen branch have gone to the ARCHIE Foundation there. The same will happen in Dundee.” Wood’s company, the Speratus Group, runs the Boozy Cow chain with the purpose of raising money for charity. He said he was confident, that when fully operational, the combined donations to charity on an annual basis would be more than £1m. He added: “We’ve spent a lot of time identifying locations which would work and we think Dundee will be great. I think we have a unique offering and, with our charity angle, I think it’s a concept that’s very attractive for people to try. At Speratus we are always coming up with new ideas for dynamic and different venues. Boozy Cow is a fresh twist on the typical burger joint with a focus on great quality burgers, craft beers and exciting cocktails in an edgy and urban environment.” Speratus is Latin for “hope”. Wood added: “If through business we can go some way to tackle social problems, improve communities, people’s life chances or their environment then it has all been worth it. Initially Boozy Cow was just another addition to the group, but we came up with the idea of channelling all our extensive charitable work through the one brand.”

Marston’s signs sole distribution deal with Warsteiner: Marston’s has signed a new contract with Warsteiner, becoming sole distributor of Warsteiner German Lager in the UK. The three-year agreement between Marston’s and one of the leading premium lager brands complements the growing trend of world lager categories within the UK market. Warsteiner is sold in 60 countries worldwide and is brewed in the Arnsberg Forest Nature Park in south east Germany. Following the deal, Warsteiner will continue its brewery production in-house but will focus all UK distribution through Marston’s. The contract covers both on-trade and off-trade, selling in 330ml and 600ml bottles in selected retailers across the UK. Simon Barnes, on-trade sales director at Marston’s Beer Company, said: “This agreement brings a great addition to our already strong portfolio. Warsteiner is a superb premium European lager with a global reputation; we are looking forward to offering it to our customers old and new.”

Levi Roots launches Caribbean smokehouse in partnership with Las Iguanas co-founder: Foodservice entrepreneur Levi Roots has launched his Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse in partnership with Las Iguanas co-founder Eren Ali at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London. Roots, famous for his Reggae Reggae Sauce, said: “My dream has always been to open a Caribbean eatery and now it’s a reality! We aim to serve the best jerk chicken in the world amongst other traditional Caribbean favourites, including smoked meats and vegetables all finished on our real jerk pit.” The smokehouse serves a range of meat including halal chicken, racks of lamb and beef as well as fish and vegan dishes. Roots has set up the restaurant as a legacy to his grandmother Miriam Small, who “helped to make me the success I am now”.

Tasty lodges plans to open Wildwood restaurant in York: Tasty has lodged plans to open a new Wildwood restaurant in York. The company has applied to City of York Council to convert the Timberland clothes shop in Low Petergate into its latest site. Planning agency Bidwells said in a written statement with the application that Wildwood was “an expanding group of restaurants that serve freshly prepared food, sourced locally”. It added: “Principal meals comprise grilled dishes, pizzas, pastas and burgers at affordable prices aimed at all ages. It will also provide an outlet for locally grown produce used in the creation of the meals. This local sourcing will be of benefit to local suppliers and traders and the company looks to work with the local community.” Bidwells said the building was ideally located for Wildwood and said it would offer increased choice for local residents and workers and would boost the local economy with about 40 jobs.

Salt Yard Group founders – more women taking restaurant jobs to defy critics: The founders of London restaurant company Salt Yard Group have said more women are taking jobs in the industry to defy claims they cannot handle the pressure. Ben Tish and Simon Mullins, whose venues include Salt Yard, Dehesa, Opera Tavern and Ember Yard, said almost half of their senior kitchen, front-of-house and management positions were held by women – with more now applying to top roles. Tish, who is chef director for the group, said the increase was a reaction to “draconian” views about women not being able to handle professional kitchens that made headlines last year. Chef Tom Kerridge compared professional kitchens to “warzones” and questioned whether cooking in them was for women. Tish told the Evening Standard: “It is completely untrue and a draconian view point. I think [the increase] is a reaction to that – an act of defiance. Women in our company are a force to be reckoned with.” Chief executive Mullins added: “Historically, head chef and front-of-house roles have been male-dominated. I think it still is in more traditional fine-dining establishments. But it’s all about who is best for the job and in many cases we have found it is a woman. Women typically have better organisational skills than men which is essential in this business – particularly in kitchens.”

Street food entrepreneurs win national award:
Leamington-based street food entrepreneurs The Jabberwocky have been named Caterer of The Year 2015 at a prestigious awards ceremony at the Roman Baths in Bath. The National Outdoor Events Association recognises those businesses making outstanding contributions to festivals and events nationwide, and their panel of judges selected the Jabberwocky for this honour. The judges said: “All produced amazing food, and the judges recognise that this part of the industry has changed dramatically, Jabberwocky bring something new to event catering and really deliver this.” The award comes after another win for the Jabberwocky at the Café Life awards in London earlier this year, where their signature Manwich toastie was crowned the winner in the Toasted Sandwich category. “2015 has been a big year for us,” said co-owner Barney Luxmoore. “We are so grateful to all our fans from Warwickshire, Coventry and Birmingham who have supported us this far.”

Gourmet Burger Kitchen opens at Intu Potteries shopping centre: Gourmet Burger Kitchen is the latest restaurant brand to open in the new £20m leisure development at the Intu Potteries shopping centre in Hanley, Stoke. The company has launched the site, which has 74 seats inside as well as outside seating for al-fresco dining, creating 32 jobs, reports the Stoke Sentinel. It is the latest restaurant to open in the new development following The Restaurant Group brand Chiquito and PizzaExpress last week. Nando’s is set to join them next week, along with a nine-screen Cineworld cinema complex.

Castle Rock Brewery meets the SALSA quality threshold:
Castle Rock Brewery has become one of the first real ale producers to be accredited to the nationally recognised SALSA (Safe And Local Supplier Approval) standard. With it, the Nottingham based brewer joins other food producers and processors, monitored by experienced food safety authorities, to meet their legally enforceable sourcing requirements and the enhanced expectations of “best practice” to customers. Colin Wilde, Castle Rock Brewery’s managing director, acknowledged the efforts of his brewers to meet the required standards. “The partnership of our head brewer Adrian Redgrove and his deputy Jon Edger has come up trumps,” he said. “They’ve understood the need for supply chain confidence and traceability but also taken steps to have that assurance monitored independently. It’s well done to them and something I shall use to advantage when approached by our growing list of free trade customers. Pub goers too can be further assured of the quality of the ales they’re drinking.” SALSA is operated throughout England by the Institute of Food and Science Technology and its independently chaired governance committee. Supporters include major supermarket chains, the Food and Drink Federation and the National Farmers Union.

D&D London’s Fish Market to partner street food operator for pop-up: D&D London’s Fish Market restaurant will be partnering up with street food start-up Claw, renowned for its crab burgers, from Saturday, 23 January to create the ultimate seafood weekend  brunch. Located in The Old Bengal Warehouse, the partnership will see dishes from Fish Market’s head chef Barry Macmillan including smoked haddock fishcake, wilted baby spinach poached egg to sit alongside Claw creations. Claw’s menu will feature the crab burger with handpicked Devonshire crab, samphire, claw sauce and Lobster BLT made with Padstow lobster, smoked pancetta, Isle of Wight tomatoes, citrus aioli, among others. The collaboration between Fish Market and Claw was born from a shared passion for sustainably sourced, local ingredients. Located in the oldest surviving warehouse in the City, Fish Market serves fish and shellfish direct from the British Isles. Fabian Clarke set up Claw in January 2015 on a mission to put British crab back on plates and he works directly with local fishermen from Start Bay, on the south coast of Devon, to ensure the quality of Claw’s crabs. Following success at KERB, Spitalfields Market and a series of bar and restaurant residencies, Claw won the 2015 Virgin “Foodpreneur” of the year award in the street food category.

Douglas Jack – Enterprise withdrawal of bondholder consent move to have no material effect: Numis Securities leisure analyst Douglas Jack has argued that yesterday’s (Tuesday, 8 December) decision by Enterprise Inns to withdraw plans to seek to amend bond documents will not have a material effect. He said: “Enterprise has withdrawn its invitation to bondholders to consent to certain trust deeds amendments. These amendments would have provided flexibility for the company to build its managed pub estates, based on pubs that are secured by the bonds. The company claims that this will not affect its strategy, as the managed pubs will be held outside the bond structures until its next refinancing, which is likely in 2017E. Enterprise has withdrawn its invitation to holders of its secured bonds to consent to certain trust deeds amendments. It received support for the proposals from a substantial majority of the bondholders involved in the process, but the consent fee required to deliver the agreement of all the bondholders ‘would not have represented good economic value’. We believe the two main amendments were: 1) to extend the income definition to include other income that might be received from operating managed pubs (eg food), incremental to rent and beer income; and 2) to include non-pub properties in the asset definition. We expect the company to now hold managed and non-pub assets in a bank pool rather than the bond pool, until the company refinances, most likely in 2017E. At that point, the company should refinance with a financial structure that matches its strategic objectives. Will this make the refinancing process tougher and more expensive in 2017E? We do not expect the 2017E refinancing to be an exchange offer whereby existing holders are asked to roll their holdings over into a new bond (that could be expensive). Part of the refinancing is likely to involve the company issuing a new debt instrument and buying out the 2018 bonds.
The last corporate bond refinancing reduced the cost of those bonds by 50bps (to 6.0%). However, it is possible that introducing a more flexible income and asset definition into the new bonds (most likely in 2017E) could reduce the company’s ability to cut the interest cost on the new bonds. Overall, we do not expect the announced withdrawal or the next refinancing to have a material effect.”

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 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 for non-ALMR members. Email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com 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, ETM Group group marketing manager Zoe Knowles and Greene King partnership director Russell Danks 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 adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com

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 National Restaurant Association (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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com
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