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Tue 22nd Dec 2015 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Mitchells & Butlers to base financial metric of bonus scheme in 2016 on operating profit instead of profit before tax: Mitchells & Butlers is to base the financial metric of its bonus scheme in 2016 on operating profit rather than profit before tax, the company’s annual report has revealed. New chief executive Phil Urban, who was appointed in September on a salary of £510,000, will see his salary next reviewed in 2017. Finance director Tim Jones’ salary also remains unchanged at £426,500. The company’s remuneration committee has also agreed to delay the grant of Performance Restricted Share Plan (PRSP) awards covering the 2016-18 performance period. In the report, remuneration committee chair Imelda Welsh said: “The bonus for 2016 will continue to be based 75% on profit and 25% on guest service but for 2016, the financial metric will be operating profit, replacing profit before tax. The committee believes that operating profit is a better measure of trading performance and is a key headline figure used in the annual and half-year reports. The committee will continue to set demanding targets for both operating profit and guest service. Reflecting that approach and in line with typical practice, the committee will set a threshold at which point 6.25% will be payable, with 42.5% payable at target and full pay-out at stretch performance. The earnings opportunity at on target is slightly lower than in 2015 (50%). The maximum opportunity remains at 100% of base salary. The remuneration committee believes that setting long-term incentive plan targets should reflect the company’s strategy. The impact of the National Living Wage, continued evolution of the market and the priorities outlined by the new chief executive, will continue to shape strategy and further work is required to ensure that incentive plan targets remain appropriate. With this in mind the committee has agreed to delay the grant of PRSP awards covering the 2016-18 performance period to allow for this work to be completed. This delay will allow the committee further time to consider the structure of the PRSP performance condition, within the constraints of the agreed remuneration policy. Irrespective of the outcome of this review it is the intention that total shareholder return will remain as a measure, accounting for at least 50% of any award and retaining the current comparator group. If significant changes to the current performance measures or targets are proposed then leading shareholders and shareholder representative bodies will be consulted, prior to any awards being granted.” The report also showed former chief executive Alistair Darby earned £878,000 in the 2015 financial year, compared to £642,000 the year before. The 2015 earnings were made up of £540,000 base salary, £18,000 in taxable benefits, £95,000 in pension payments and £225,000 in Long Term Incentive Plan benefits. Jones earned £640,000, compared to £509,000 the previous year.

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Win 46-inch HD Smart television on final day of Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: A 46-inch HD Smart television is up for grabs (see terms and conditions here) on the final day of the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: How many Sky Bet Football League games (including play-offs) will Sky Sports show live this season? a) Seven b) 127 c) 1,127. Once you have chosen your answer, you can enter by clicking here. We will announce the winner in tomorrow’s newsletter. Congratulations to Miral Patel, of The Nelson Arms, Merton, south London, who was yesterday’s winner of two tickets to a Barclays Premier League football match.

Industry News: 

Camden Town Brewery shareholders offered 108p per share in £85m takeover deal by AB InBev: Camden Town Brewery shareholders have been offered an upfront payment of 108p per share in the proposed £85m takeover deal by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev. The deal represents a 68% uplift from its crowdfunding round of 65p when the company raised more than £2.75m and was valued at about £50m when the round closed. It is one of three options offered to shareholders with the other two consisting of an upfront payment plus an “earn out payment” when AB InBev sells 150,000 hectolitres of Camden beer in the UK and a performance payment depending on the group’s worldwide sales. The company’s latest accounts, for the year to the end of 2014, show a pre-tax profit of £319,000 on revenues of more than £9.5m. In a letter to shareholders, founder and chief executive Jasper Cuppaidge said: “The craft brewing movement has seen incredible growth. Driven by innovation, quality and daring. Camden Town Brewery has been at the forefront of this revolution. The success and reputation we have built has been nothing short of incredible. That has been thanks to all of you, our staff, our followers and the great beers we’ve brewed. But as our success grows, so do the challenges. To stay at the forefront of this movement and secure our future, we have to build a bigger brewery. As you all know we’re hoping to invest in a site in Enfield. To deliver this state-of-the-art brewery we need to raise £14m. This creates a huge risk for Camden and everything we’ve achieved. Raising money like this could force us to compromise on our beers. I will never let that happen. Naturally, we can’t stand still, we have to keep growing and investing in our future, otherwise we’re in danger of dying. I believe we can’t do this on our own. I am pleased to inform you that AB InBev (acting through its UK subsidiary company, Stag Brewing Company) has made an offer to purchase the entire issued share capital of the company. The board of directors, including all shareholder directors of the company, consider that acceptance of the offer is in the best interests of the company, its shareholders, employees and loyal customers. The board considers that the offer represents a very successful exit for all of the company’s shareholders particularly relative to the size of the shareholders’ investment and the period of time for which each shareholder has held shares in the company.” 
 
Millennials most loyal customer group for restaurants and coffee shops: Millennials are the most loyal customer group for restaurants and coffee shops, new research has shown. The findings by marketing and loyalty analytics company Aimia revealed six in ten (62%) 18-24 year olds said they are loyal to restaurants and food and drink establishments, while under four in ten (39%) of 45-54 year olds said the same. It also found nearly a third (31%) of 18-24 year olds in the UK are members of a restaurant or coffee shop loyalty scheme, which is double the number of 45-54 year olds (15%). The most popular loyalty schemes among millennials are Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee (59%), Nando’s (49%) and Subway (48%). Meanwhile, 48% of millennials said they would share personal information so that companies can send them relevant offers and discounts. Jan-Pieter Lips, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa at Aimia, said: “Given their behaviours around brand loyalty and positive attitude towards sharing information in exchange for personalised rewards, millennials are a strategically important group for restaurant brands. Those brands that can capture and strengthen relationships with millennials across the peak festive trading period will position themselves favourably for expected increased consumer spending in 2016.”
 
Confidence of consumers with allergens when eating out at all-time high, new research reveals: The confidence of consumers with allergens when eating out is at an all-time high, new research has revealed. The findings by Swedish gluten-free bakery Almondy show 12 months after the introduction of EU legislation on allergens, over half (56%) said they felt confident when dining out. The figure is the highest it’s been and is an improvement on the 42% of consumers who felt confident when asked the same question in April. Almondy said while the findings demonstrated how hard foodservice operators have worked to respond to the demands placed upon them since the regulations, which require the presence of 14 key allergens including nuts and gluten to be displayed, were first introduced a year ago, more still needs to be done. Managing director Andrew Ely said: “On the first anniversary of the regulations, it’s reassuring to see that diners with allergies are not only being catered for when eating out in terms of what’s on the menu, but that they are satisfied with the level of understanding foodservice outlets have about the issues they face and have implemented changes in their businesses which make them feel confident dining out. An estimated 21 million people in the UK have at least one allergy and as this looks set to increase, catering for the free-from market is vital. It’s not enough for caterers simply to serve free-from options, they must also understand how that food needs to be prepared and served. Therefore, it’s important that caterers continually refresh employee training to ensure catering for customers with allergies stays top of the mind. Packaging should also be checked regularly to ensure any changes to ingredients are noted.” Almondy responded to the legislation by redesigning the packaging for its frozen, almond biscuit-based cakes, including highlighting any potential allergens in bold text on its ingredients list.
 
Hammerson sells Newcastle shopping centre home to The Botanist and Jamie’s Italian for £75m: Hammerson has sold the Monument Mall shopping centre in Newcastle, which is home to brands including New World Trading Company’s The Botanist and Jamie’s Italian, for £75m. The company has sold the complex in the heart of the city centre to the Standard Life Investments UK Property Fund. It acquired Monument Hall in 2011 for £28m and two years later completed a reconfiguration of the centre to transform it into a high-quality shopping and dining destination. As a result the centre secured a number of retail and leisure brands including The Botanist and Jamie’s Italian. The centre is now fully let with 15 units covering 138,000 square foot. The disposal value is above the 30 June 2015 book value representing a net initial yield of 4.3% and crystallises a £24m (46%) profit on cost for Hammerson. Chief executive David Atkins said: “Monument Mall is a great example of how Hammerson uses its development and asset management skills to transform retail venues and deliver strong returns to shareholders. The proceeds from the sale will be used to part fund our recent acquisition of the Jewel portfolio of loans in Dublin. We are on track with further transactions to complete the first tranche of £200m of disposals in quarter one 2016.”

Company News:

Laine Pub Company reports sales and Ebitda boost: The Laine Pub Company, led by Gavin George and backed by Luke Johnson’s Risk Capital Partners, has reported strong sales growth in the financial year ended 30 June, 2015. The company, which operates pubs in Brighton and London, achieved total sales of £27.5m, an increase of nearly 9% on the previous year of £25.3m, and an underlying operating Ebitda of £3.2m, which was an 8% rise on the £3.08m the year before. Chairman Gary Pettet said: “We are pleased with the progress of the business in 2015 – a year which saw the Life nightclub reopen as The Tempest Inn and consequently the completion of the estate’s transition to be entirely pub focussed. There was particularly pleasing growth in the sales and Ebitda of our London estate, as sites acquired during FY15 and the previous year harnessed our operational and promotional model to excellent effect.” The conversion of the Life nightclub on Brighton seafront to The Tempest was delayed for nine months by highway repairs to the A259, which runs above the site. George said: “The delays to the opening of The Tempest were frustrating but following its Easter launch, the pub has traded considerably above expectations and this has had a favourable impact on the group’s results since. Dead Wax Social and Hope & Ruin launched in 2015 have also made encouraging contributions to the Brighton performance. But equally significant is the trading of the London estate which has continued to build on the 30% Ebitda growth it achieved in FY15.” With the November 2015 acquisition of The Rose in Honour Oak Park, which is being re-launched as Watson’s General Telegraph in late January, Laine’s London estate now stands at eight sites. George added: “We’ve overcome many of the challenges and risks associated with the swift building of a geographically dispersed business and have continued to create pubs with individuality, enchantment and variety – our objectives since we opened our first pub in Brighton in 1996. I’m thrilled for our London operations team who are making significant advances, typified by like-for-like sales up over 25% for the five months to November and by five nominations for Time Out Love London awards, winning in Acton with the Aeronaut, Battersea with the Four Thieves and Dulwich with the Great Exhibition.” The company said two of the four major investments planned in FY16 for existing Brighton sites have already taken place. The Western in Churchill Square was relaunched in November while The World’s End in London Road followed this month. There is also a pipeline of potential acquisitions in London. Plans are being drawn up to enhance the company’s brewing facilities and craft beer brands, to maximise the potential of Laine’s expanding free-of-tie pub estate. Pettet said: “Trading in the first five months of the new financial year has been materially up on the same period last year and with exciting acquisitions and developments in the pipeline, we are looking forward to 2016 with confidence.”

Leon opens 11th site of 2015, plans to expand to Netherlands next year: Healthy food brand Leon has opened its new site in Leadenhall Market in London – fulfilling its ambition to open 11 new sites in 2015. The company, which has launched the 52-seater restaurant in a grade II listed building and one of the oldest markets in the city, has also confirmed it plans to head overseas to the Netherlands next year. The Leadenhall market site is Leon’s 33rd restaurant in total and has seen the brand journey further in the past 12 months, venturing west into Kensington and Hammersmith and opening its first company-owned site outside of the capital in Birmingham Grand Central Station. Brand and marketing director Kirsty Saddler said: “We set out to change fast food – to make it good food that helps people eat well. Now we’re a fast food brand bringing more fresh ingredients back into Leadenhall Market.” Leon have recently announced its £11.5m refinancing package with HSBC, which will help support the brand’s plans to venture further into the UK and overseas in 2016.

Jason Atherton to launch first venture in Australia next month: Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton will open his first restaurant in Australia next month. Atherton is launching Kensington Street Social at The Old Clare Hotel in Sydney on Wednesday, 13 January in partnership with Loh Lik Peng, director of global boutique hotel and restaurant group Unlisted Collection. Kensington Street Social is split across two levels and will seat 120 diners. The menu, which is focused on British-Mediterranean share plates, is broken up into snacks, vegetables, raw and cured, sourdough flatbreads, fish and shellfish, meat, cheese and desserts. The wine list will showcase the best of local wine regions and some international favourites. The restaurant’s design will draw on the industrial heritage of its location within the former Carlton United Brewery building. Atherton said, “I’m so excited to be opening my first restaurant in Sydney. I’m all about sourcing the best produce, and here the ingredients are just incredible – Australian black truffles, the seafood – so I’m looking forward to using them to reinterpret a few of the signature dishes from my London restaurants. I’ve had many Australian chefs in my brigade over the years, including my executive chef Rob Daniels and pastry chef Adrian Crabb, so it seemed like a natural step to come to Sydney and get the team back together.”

Revolutions Bars Group strengthens food team: Revolution Bars Group has announced the creation of three new group management positions in the catering team. The company has appointed Mark Rush as head of food innovation and his role will focus on ensuring the food offerings at both Revolution and sister-brand Revolución de Cuba are “exciting and innovative”. Rush was previously executive chef at Revolution Bars Group, a role he has been in for over two years, and prior to that held catering management positions at PizzaExpress and Barracuda Group. The other two positions that have been created are for kitchen area managers with the roles currently being advertised. The successful candidates will be tasked with ensuring the company’s 60 sites can draw on even more expert catering advice to develop food sales across both the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands. Chief executive Mark McQuater said: “As we prepare for the new year, I am delighted to announce this substantial uplift in resources to further develop our food sales in the casual dining area of Revolution Bars Group throughout 2016. This creates a substantial new career ladder for those wishing to pursue a professional career in catering that can take them all the way to the senior management team.”

Marston’s submits plans for new-build pub/restaurant in Boston: Marston’s has submitted plans for a new-build pub/restaurant in Boston, Lincolnshire. The company has applied to Boston Borough Council to build the food-led site on land at Swineshead Road, creating up to 60 jobs. The pub/restaurant, which is expected to open next summer if permission is granted, would have 150 covers as well as a bar, residential accommodation, 60 parking spaces and an outside playing area. In an associated planning statement, agent Cerda Planning said: “Marston’s are looking to expand their presence in and around Boston and are looking to open a new food-led public house restaurant which will be underpinned by offering value for money meals. The site is located within an urban context adjacent to employment, retail and residential areas of Boston. The proposed use for the site of public house/restaurant will generate significant employment opportunities for this part of Boston, which would be year-round, non-seasonal employment. The benefits of the proposed development that have been identified, when combined, will contribute positively to the employment opportunities and food, drink and accommodation offer in this part of Boston.”

Soho House to open long-awaited €50m private members’ club and hotel in Barcelona in March: Soho House will open its long-awaited €50m private members’ club and hotel in Barcelona in March. The company was due to launch the venue in the Duque de Medinaceli Square in late 2014 but work has been delayed. Now Soho House Barcelona will open during the first quarter of 2016, reports 02b.com. Work is now taking place on the central glass atrium, which is the most unique element of the building. The property will add to the growing list of luxury hotels and venues in the square. During the time the project has been delayed, Soho House has opened sites in Istanbul, Toronto and Chicago.

New World Trading Company acquires Knutsford wine bar for The Botanist: New World Trading Company is to open a new site of its The Botanist brand in Knutsford, Cheshire. The company has acquired Knutsford Wine Bar in King Street. It is set to take charge of the property in mid-January and will refurbish the site ahead of the launch in March. New World Trading Company operations director Matt Bamber told the Knutsford Guardian: “We want to keep the features of the wine bar as it is and put our brand’s style onto it, adding the Botanist theme and very quaint décor.” Knutsford Wine Bar owner Vanessa Hatton, who bought the site in 2005, added: “I approached the New World Trading Company directly about whether they would be interested in acquiring the wine bar. I wasn’t interested in any other brand. I know what it needs to be and I know it will be a success. I have to take the Knutsford Wine Bar with me. I’m a control freak and I can’t risk someone else taking it on and making a mess of things. New World Trading Company will do a stunning job on both the refit and the running of this amazing site.”

Taco Bell opens new site in Nottingham: Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum! Brands, has opened a new site in Nottingham. The company has opened the restaurant in Angel Row – in between McDonald’s and Nandos. It is the eighth UK venue for Taco Bell, which also has sites in locations including London, Sheffield, Bradford and Manchester. Nottingham branch franchisee Arjun Patel told the Nottingham Post: “The opening has exceeded my expectations and that’s because we’re serving Nottingham’s finest. People have come from all over the country, and we have someone who went to our first UK opening celebrating with us today. We’re very happy to bring the chain to Nottingham and share our food with the community.” The premises licence was secured by solicitors John Gaunt with a 1am terminal hour for the sale of alcohol and 3am opening on Fridays and Saturdays even though the restaurant is within the Cumulative Impact Zone. Partner Tim Shield told Propel: “This was a very exciting project to work on and it was pleasing to be able to secure the new licence in the area by working with the police to address their concerns.”

Coast to Coast becomes final restaurant to open at new Intu Potteries £20m leisure complex: Coast to Coast, the brand owned by The Restaurant Group, has become the final eatery to open at the new £20m leisure complex at the Intu Potteries shopping centre in Stoke. It has joined fellow The Restaurant Group brands Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito as well as PizzaExpress, Gourmet Burger Kitchen, Bon Pan Asian and Nando’s at the development, creating 65 jobs, reports the Stoke Sentinel. The restaurant is Coast To Coast’s 19th branch across the country following an accelerated programme of openings in the second half of the year.

Dublin pub and restaurant groups in merger talks: The Mercantile pub and restaurant group and Danu Investment Partners, owner of landmark Dublin pubs Cafe en Seine and the George, are in talks to merge and create one of the biggest hospitality groups in the city. The merger would be led by Mercantile, which is headed by Frank Gleeson and owns the music venue Whelan’s, as well as the Mercantile, Opium and East Side Tavern, reports The Times. It is also active in restaurants, operating Pichet, Marcel’s and the Green Hen. All seven venues would be included in the merger. It is understood talks are at an advanced stage and a deal could be completed as early as this week. Sources said key staff within the Danu pubs were told of the talks late last week and estimate that the combined group would have a turnover of close to £40m.

Meantime breaks record sales week by over 20%: Greenwich-based craft brewer Meantime, which recently celebrated its 2,000 draught listing in the UK with the launch of its IPA 2000, has smashed its previous record sales week by over 20%, selling over 3% of its annual volume in just one week. Sales of Meantime’s craft beer have continued to outperform the UK beer industry throughout 2015, with sales up over 40% versus 2014. Meantime’s strategy in 2016 is to further grow the business with the continued expansion of its distribution outside of London with the recruitment of an additional ten sales positions in key cities across the UK. Chief executive Nick Miller said: “2015 has been another successful year for Meantime Brewing Company, the team continues to change the way people think about beer. We have hit record sales and continued to break boundaries in all areas of our business. We have developed over 30 different styles and genres of beer in 2015, expanded our distribution outside London, grown our rate of sale per tap and continued to recruit as part of our expansion plans. This is all despite the change of shareholder base, and the inevitable distraction and speculation that this can cause. In the meantime, we will continue to focus on brewing, packaging, marketing and selling great craft beers in 2016. I am particularly looking forward to trying the new beers we will be creating on our new innovation brewery.”

London-based Italian restaurant Vico reopens with new service and menu format: Vico, the Italian restaurant in Cambridge Circus, London, created by Bocca di Lupo founders Jacob Kenedy and Victor Hugo, has reopened with a new service and menu format. The changes, which comes following an extensive refurbishment, has seen the counter-style concept replaced by traditional waiter service while the menu has evolved from purely street food to chart The Appiah Way, the Roman road that has linked Rome to Brindisi for thousands of years. The site, which first opened in August, has been brightened and now features conventional tables and chairs along with a water fountain that forms the centerpiece of the restaurant. A curated offering of wines focuses on the Lazio, Campania, Basilicata and Puglia regions while alongside Vico’s street foods are Roman pizzas, Neapolitan pastas and Apulian vegetables. Neapolitan pastries and sundaes of Gelupo gelato will be a focus of the dessert menu. Kenedy said: “Vico was always intended to be a concept that would evolve. Listening to our customer’s feedback, we have changed our seating from high stools to comfy chairs, providing full waiter service, and taking the cuisine to be regionally focused. This will bring us closer to my background in full-service restaurants, give our food and wine a refreshing focus and give our customers greater opportunity to enjoy themselves more fully, for longer, in greater comfort.”

Inception Group to unveil vintage cocktail menu at Mayfair bar Mr Fogg’s next month: Inception Group, founded by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, will unveil a dedicated vintage cocktail menu at its Mayfair bar Mr Fogg’s next month. The groundbreaking menu will be the first of its kind and will combine more than 200 years of spirits in a single cocktail. Bar manager and menu creator Francesco Medici, along with his bar team, have resurrected vintage spirits to create a unique menu that pays homage to the Victorian era onwards. The range includes Vintage Brandy Crusta, invented in New Orleans in 1852 featuring Hine Cognac, Bols Dry Curacao, fresh lemon juice, caster sugar and Angostura bitters. There is also the Vintage Martinez cocktail, which is inspired by the California Gold Rush in 1849 and made with Beefeater gin, Francesco Cinzano Antica Formula vermouth, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and orange bitters. The venue, based on the home of Jules Verne’s most famous adventurer, is modelled on Phileas Fogg’s Victorian drawing room laden with artifacts and trinkets collected from his travels. It is the first West End project from Inception Group, whose venues also include Chelsea speakeasy Barts, 80’s themed nightclub Maggie’s, and late-night 1940s-inspired bar Cahoots in Soho.

Stonegate bosses visit all 663 sites in a day to provide Christmas cheer: Stonegate Pub Company’s 43-strong board, leadership and management teams visited all 663 sites in a day across the country to provide some Christmas cheer. The teams buddied up with the company’s 43 area managers across the country to thank the 7,000 employees who were working on one of the busiest days of the year on Friday. Each pair recorded their visit to their selected pub on the Stonegate scoreboard designed to ensure no business was missed, counting down throughout the day. The final site to be visited was Reflex in Birmingham at 2am on Saturday morning. Chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “I am incredibly proud of the day’s achievements. Our teams in the pubs were magnificent and gave us continued growth on a key day in our calendar. We witnessed hundreds of great examples of the skill, passion and talent of our fantastic people at every stop we made. The determination of our support teams to make sure they participated in thanking our people by visiting every single pub was an outstanding achievement given the geography and the size of our estate.”

Multi-site operator given go-ahead to double size of Cleethorpes bar and restaurant: Multi-site operator Liz Parry, the 2014 North Lincolnshire Businesswoman of the Year, has been given the go-ahead to double the size of her Cleethorpes bar and restaurant The Riverside. The neighbouring Holmhirst Hotel, which traded until recently, will make way for the major expansion, creating jobs and freeing the dining area up from a “forced configuration” in the traditional terrace building. Parry, who bought the decade-old Holmhirst Hotel 13 months ago from founder David Allen, has now been granted permission from North East Lincolnshire Council for the extension. The work will double the size of the bar on the ground floor, which will be moved to one side to maximise the floor space. Upstairs the restaurant will also double in size while on the Holmhirst side, a function room will be added on a second floor, expanding the venue’s options. Parry told the Grimsby Telegraph: “What we have at present is a long thin, narrow bar, which when busy can be difficult to navigate. In the restaurant too, while it seats about 40, because of the configuration, we can often be left with empty tables.” Parry also operates The Curious Cat and Abbys Bistro, both in Bethlehem Street, Grimsby.

Huddersfield lap dancing club applies for licence to open at former pub: Huddersfield lap-dancing club Cleopatra’s Lounge is looking to move to bigger premises after applying to take over the former Kirkgate pub in the town centre. The premises have been under renovation for several weeks and owner Jason Armitage said he hopes to open in mid-January. The venue, next to the former Palace theatre, was part of the Wildcats lap-dancing chain from 2007 but it closed after just a few years and has been empty ever since. The Huddersfield Examiner reported a deal to open another branch of the Laxmi restaurant in the building has fallen through. Armitage said he planned to close Cleopatra’s Lounge within the casino on Northumberland Street if he is granted the licence to operate. He said: “It was going to be the Laxmi but that fell through so as we were looking for bigger premises we’re going to move there. It’s twice as big as what we have at Northumberland Street. We’ve been doing work for the past five weeks and I’ve got my fingers crossed that we get the licence. We’ve been trading at Northumberland Street for three years and we’ve never had an issue.” On October 1, Kirklees became the last authority in West Yorkshire to close a loophole allowing strip clubs to operate relatively unregulated. The new powers allow councillors to veto some applications and closely control where lap-dancing clubs can open as well as revoke licences of venues already in operation.

SA Brain reopens Penarth pub following £370,000 refurbishment: Welsh brewer and hospitality retailer SA Brain has reopened The Windsor in Penarth following a £370,000 refurbishment. The company has extensively revamped the pub in Windsor Road offering new seasonal menus and created an additional 20 jobs. The refurbishment has included a new state-of-the-art kitchen, improved access to an al-fresco dining area and new floor-to-ceiling windows. A new bar area offers ciders, lagers and ales brewed by SA Brain and the interior features fixtures, fittings and soft furnishings to give a traditional feel to the pub. Manager Richard Gandy told Wales Online: “I am excited about bringing the Windsor to life and being at the heart of the community. We will be introducing speciality food nights, including gourmet burgers and craft beers, butchers’ steak nights and fish nights, alongside community-focused events.”

Heineken welcomes Red Stripe to UK business following $780.5m deal: Heineken has welcomed beer brand Red Stripe to its UK business following a deal with Diageo worth $780.5m. The deal will see the Jamaican lager join Heineken’s premium range of beers in the UK, which includes Heineken, Desperados, Tiger, Sol and Birra Moretti, from 1 January 2016. Heineken UK managing director David Forde said: “We are hugely excited about Red Stripe joining our premium beer portfolio. The beer has a rich heritage – from its links with music through the decades, to its famous cans and stubby bottles. Red Stripe brings with it a wealth of opportunities for our customers which we will support through brand investment and innovation.” Customers can order Red Stripe and Dragon Stout from Heineken from Thursday, 30 December with first deliveries taking place from Saturday, 2 January. 

Orderella launches Apple Pay: Orderella, the mobile ordering app that allows customers to order and pay for drinks and food using their mobile phone, has launched Apple Pay across all of its venues in the UK and Ireland. Customers can order through the app, select Apple Pay at the checkout stage, use the Touch ID button to confirm the payment and wait for their order to arrive. Orderella chief executive Dennis Collet said: “We’re excited to offer venues and users even more ways to pay for their drinks and food through our app. Convenience is the name of the game and people now expect to have a choice of how they can pay no matter where they are, a pub or bar should be no different. With Apple Pay quickly becoming a mainstream method of payment, this gives venue owners a chance to tap into this trend without the fear of escalating costs that usually puts them off installing a new piece of technology.” Orderella now provides a range of ways to pay for food and drinks, including PayPal, or credit and debits cards. The additional of Apple Pay comes following a report earlier this year where a quarter of people (24%) admitted they would walk out of a venue if the operator did not offer their preferred method of payment.

Itinerary unveiled for second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: The itinerary has been unveiled for the second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour. The event, which this year focuses on south London, takes place on Thursday, 28 January and will visit seven of the capital’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour period. It starts at the Four Thieves brewpub in Battersea, owned by Laine Pub Company. The tour will then visit hybrid craft beer and bottle shop We Brought Beer in Clapham Junction, which was founded by former BrewDog employee James Hickson, followed by the Craft Beer Co site in Clapham Manor Street. The next stop will be the Crown & Anchor in Brixton run by London Village Inns before heading to independently operated Stormbird in Camberwell Church Street, which was runner-up in the Timeout Love London Awards this year. The tour then continues to Late Knights Brewery’s micro-pub Beer Rebellion in Gypsy Hill and ends at Utobeer’s The Rake in Borough Market. The tour will again be led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, who will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation, analysis and spot up-and-coming trends. 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. To book, email adam.dickinson@propelinfo.com
 
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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