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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 24th Mar 2016 - Update: Wahaca, PizzaExpress, Tim Martin, Greene King, TGI Friday's et al
Howard Schultz calls for civility and values-based leadership in US: Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard Schultz has called for civility and values-based leadership in the US. At the end of the 2016 annual meeting of shareholders, Schultz asked: “What is the role and responsibility of all of us, as citizens?” Schultz said he had “struggled for weeks to find the right words to express the pain I feel in my heart about where America is headed and the cloud hanging over the American people”. He added there were times when he’s had a hard time recognising “who we are and who we are becoming”. Two years ago, Schultz challenged shareholders to think about the role and responsibility of a for-profit company and in the two years since, “dysfunction and polarisation have worsened”, he said. Viewing the American Dream as a “reservoir” that is replenished with the values, work ethic and integrity of the American people, Schultz said: “Sadly, our reservoir is running dry, depleted by cynicism, despair, division, exclusion, fear and indifference.” He suggested citizens fill the reservoir of the American Dream back up, “not with cynicism, but with optimism. Not with despair, but with possibility. Not with division, but with unity. Not with exclusion, but with inclusion. Not with fear, but with compassion. Not with indifference, but with love”. Schultz said: “It’s not about the choice we make every four years. This is about the choices we make every day.”

Wahaca turnover passes £30m mark: Wahaca has reported turnover of £36.2m in the year to 28 June 2015, up from £28.2m the year before. Pre-tax profit was £1.5m, compared with £28.2m the year before. The company stated: “The increase in turnover was due to organic growth from the existing estate and five new sites opened in the period. Despite a healthy increase in profits from our sites, the group profit before tax decreased primarily due to the pre-opening costs of new sites (including four further sites that opened after the end of the financial year) and additional depreciation for new sites.”

PizzaExpress covenant produces high price for Kew freehold site: A freehold in Kew that has PizzaExpress as a tenant has sold at an Allsop auction for £1.55m, which means the buyer earns a 3.13% yield on their investment. This property was previously sold by Allsop in October 2005, with a 20-year unexpired term to PizzaExpress, and achieved £1.14m (4.15%). PizzaExpress pays an annual rent of £51,500 per annum on a 25-year lease that began in 2000 and has a five-yearly, upward-only rent review. The auction raised more than £98m with a success rate of 87%. In total, 129 lots sold with 24 of those being at or in excess of £1m.

Greene King launches industry-first training for multi-site operation: A new training package aimed at licensees wanting to move into multi-site operation has been launched. Run by tenanted and leased pub company Greene King Pub Partners, the i training programme is thought to be the first in the industry specifically aimed at supporting operators wanting to expand their business with a second site. Clive Chesser, managing director for Greene King Pub Partners, said: “We aspire to be the preferred partner for the best operators, and we firmly believe offering industry-leading training is one of the best ways to do this. We constantly evolve and add to our training programme to help meet the needs of licensees that want to maximise their business potential. Making the move to multiple operator is a significant leap and we are aiming to help fill any skills gaps with this new course, giving licensees every chance of success. It covers all the challenges that come with running a multi-site business, including support with training managers to a standard they feel confident in leaving them to run their pubs.” The programme has been developed in conjunction with Wingman, a consultancy dedicated to improving training and development in teams, run by former England rugby union winger Rory Underwood. Chesser added: “We utilised Wingman’s expertise to shape every part of the training as they are passionate advocates for teamwork, which is core to the success of a multi-site operation.” Corri Burke attended the inaugural course. She runs the New Inn in Biggleswade, which recently won the local Campaign for Real Ale Pub of the Year, under a Local Hero agreement with Greene King, and also runs the Chequers in Stevenage. She said: “Since taking on the New Inn with Greene King, the business is going really well. I had thought about expanding further to take on a third site, so this new programme came at exactly the right time for me.”

Harry’s Ramsden’s extends menu offering: Fish and chip shop operator Harry Ramsden’s has launched its new summer menu. The brand is incorporating breakfast and afternoon tea into its suite of menu options and these will be rolled out within coastal outlets over the course of the summer. Breakfast options include the traditional full English as well as fresh porridge oats served with honey and fresh berries, toasted muffin with smoked Scottish salmon and scrambled free range eggs, and a children’s breakfast of bacon, eggs, sausage, hash brown and beans. Harry’s Great British Afternoon Tea for Two offers finger sandwiches, fish finger pretzel rolls, served with tea, petit fours and clotted cream scones – served from 3pm until 5pm. Harry’s summer menu incorporates a range of new items, including starters of Cornish brie in fine breadcrumbs with pear and fennel salad, red pepper jam topped with salted caramel walnuts and smokehouse rub rib tips and chicken wings with hickory barbecue and chargrilled lime. New main courses include roasted beets and feta cheeseburger, served with tzatziki and mango salsa and Harry’s Seadog, fillets of prime cod rolled in breadcrumbs with minted mushy peas, tartare sauce and rocket, both served in a pretzel roll. Cold smoked hickory salmon with mixed salad leaves and a creamy dressing is also a new addition. Joe Teixeira, chief executive of Harry Ramsden’s, said: “As a brand, we are successfully broadening the demographic profile of our customer base. The decision to extend our menu offerings both in terms of time of day and increased choice of dishes reflects our widening base of fans and their differing requirements at, and expectations of, the modern day Harry Ramsden’s.”

Innis & Gunn hands Manifest global comms brief to steer international expansion: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has appointed communications agency Manifest Comms to steer it through a brand evolution by providing a global comms strategy and “toolkits for international expansion”. Innis & Gunn appointed Manifest following a competitive pitch process, with the contract effective immediately. Manifest has developed a brand strategy and communications plan to be delivered across Innis & Gunn’s key markets – the UK, US, Sweden and Canada. Manifest will create a “suite of toolkits” to support the brewer’s international expansion. During the next 12 months, Manifest will develop a new brand manifesto for Innis & Gunn, building a global communications strategy and executing brand campaigns. The remit will cover all spheres of the Innis & Gunn business, including its growing bar division as it embarks on expansion plans in the UK and Canada. Manifest developed the communications strategy for BrewDog between 2010 and 2015. Innis & Gunn founder Dougal Gunn Sharp said: “We recognised the need to move the brand forward at home and abroad, and Manifest is the right partner to start telling our story – thus far kept largely within the walls of the business – in a compelling way.”

BrewDog to launch US crowdfunding in May: BrewDog has revealed it will begin crowdfunding in the US in May, looking to raise as much as $50m for a circa 14% stake in its US operation. The company has stated previously it plans to spend 50% of the money raised on opening bars in the US. The company stated: “Set to launch in May 2016, Equity for Punks USA will allow America’s craft beer crusaders to become part of our global community of more than 35,000 shareholders! From May 2016, anyone living in the United States of America will be able to invest in BrewDog USA, and help fuel the craft beer revolution as we combine Europe’s most explosive craft brewery with the world’s most exciting craft beer market! We couldn’t be more psyched to start rolling out super-fresh, American-brewed craft beer to the people of the nation that changed the beer landscape forever.”

Fat Duck owner pays £1m dividend: The hospitality group that owns Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck paid a dividend of £1m during the year when the three Michelin-starred restaurant closed its Berkshire premises and temporarily moved to Melbourne in Australia. The latest accounts of SL6 which is also behind The Hinds Head in Bray, have revealed turnover of £13.3m in the period from 2 June 2014 to 31 May 2015. This was an increase of 1% from a year earlier, as strong sales in Melbourne “more than offset the closure period across January”. However, pre-tax profits were hit by the full set-up costs of the temporary restaurant and declined to £177,886 from about £1.7m. The Fat Duck closed for a £2.5m refurbishment at Christmas 2014 and reopened in September 2015. “The Fat Duck premises at Bray have now been extended and completely refitted with cutting edge facilities both in the kitchen and front of house to ensure the overall dining experience is consistent with the innovative menu, which has been refreshed,” director Anthony Baker wrote in SL6’s annual report filed at Companies House. “As a result the group expects to revert to a more normal year of trading in 2015/16.” The Fat Duck was established by Blumenthal in 1995 within a 450-year-old pub in Bray. However, he sold his stake in the group to businessman Ronnie Lowenthal in 2008, while remaining as head chef.

Tim Martin -̶̶ people have lost trust in Cameron, drinks industry better off outside EU: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has said people had lost trust in prime minister David Cameron, adding it simply wasn’t true 90% of people in the drinks industry wanted to stay within the EU. Martin also said he had heard no cogent argument for remaining in the EU, adding the drinks industry would be better off outside. During an interview with CNN, Martin said: “I can’t understand David Cameron. People have lost trust in him. He’s acting like a salesman of poor medicines from a couple of hundred years ago and it simply isn’t true that 90% of people in the drinks industry want to stay within the EU. We’ll be a far stronger nation outside the EU. Democracy and prosperity go together. The EU makes rules which aren’t democratic. We’ll be better off without and that’s better for the drinks industry as well. The drinks industry is an international industry, if (Cameron) is talking about the Diageos of this world. I think it’s madness for a country like Britain not to have control of its own laws. I buy beer on behalf of Wetherspoon, not by any means the biggest pub company in Britain, but I can do a hell of a deal. If I was organising a deal with Europe and I was their biggest customer, I’d be able to do a heck of a deal. We must be one of the biggest buyers of BMWs in the world. We’re the biggest buyer of champagne. Perhaps the biggest buyer of Camembert. We can do a great deal with our European friends. South Korea has got a free trade deal, Canada has got a free trade deal. It’s not a problem. Obviously there is a certain element of unknowns. I don’t know the deal I can do for beer when my contract with Diageo runs out in a few months. I do know I can do a good one or they’re out down the road so fast. So it’s in both sides’ interests, Diageo and Wetherspoon, to strike a good deal. At the end of the day, it’s the people of Germany and the people of France and the people of Italy and the people of Europe who benefit from free trade. Free trade has been going on for 200 years and it doesn’t need a bureaucracy in Brussels to impose a trade deal. We can do really well.” When asked why business was not stepping up and making itself heard on the EU membership issue, Martin said: “Business is going to speak very loudly if it hasn’t already. I know a lot of businesses which are speaking out. We had exactly this same thing with the euro. The CBI was in favour. Niall FitzGerald, chief executive of Unilever, said it would be hell if we didn’t join the euro. There was not one single bank, not one single financial institution, which said: ‘If you don’t have a government, you can’t have a currency. A government and a currency are both sides of the same coin.’ No one said that. But that doesn’t mean they are right. The fact is, a lot of businessmen, a lot of accountants are very bad with money. That’s the problem!” When asked who was making the most cogent argument on the other side of the fence for remaining in the EU, Martin replied: “If I even dream of answering that question I’d have to wake up and apologise! No one has come up with a cogent argument for staying in the EU.”

European hotel reports positive February with Edinburgh among best performing cities: The European hotel industry recorded positive results in February with increases in occupancy, average daily room rate and revpar, according to research from STR Global. Compared with February 2015, Europe reported a 1.5% increase in occupancy to 63.1%, a 3.7% rise in average daily room rate to €102.98 and a 5.2% lift in revpar to €65.01. Among the top performing countries was Bulgaria, which reported double-digit growth in occupancy (+12.8% to 56.8%) and revpar (+21.2% to 84.21 levs) while average daily room rate in the country was up 7.4% to 148.28 levs. Italy also posted increases across all three areas with occupancy up 6.8% to 57.1%, average daily room rate increasing 3.6% to €109.89 and revpar up 10.6% to €62.75. Barcelona, Berlin, Bucharest and Edinburgh were the best performing cities with the Scottish capital’s revpar of £51.07 reaching its highest level since 2007. STR analysts also note the first two Saturdays of the month produced occupancy above 90.0%.

All Bar One and TGI Friday’s sign for Southampton scheme: Mitchells & Butlers brand All Bar One and TGI Friday’s have both signed for Hammerson’s £85m Watermark scheme in Southampton. The companies will take units at the new development, which will become part of the city’s existing WestQuay shopping centre at its launch later this year. All Bar One’s first Southampton branch will be in a 4,540 square foot unit overlooking the scheme’s plaza, while TGI Friday’s has taken a 7,940 square foot unit. They will be joined by Hollywood Bowl, which has agreed a 16,630 square foot unit that will feature an American diner and a full-size vintage Ford Mustang. Hammerson’s head of restaurants and leisure Sarah Fox said: “Hollywood Bowl, All Bar One and TGI Friday’s are all fantastic brands to welcome to the scheme. Along with a number of operators already secured, I am particularly pleased that the scheme will be debuting Hollywood Bowl and All Bar One. This is testament to the development as well as to the city as a vibrant leisure, dining and retail hub.” The development, which is now 83% let, has already secured restaurant brands Byron, Bill’s, Cabana, Five Guys, Red Dog Saloon, and Wahaca.

Lancashire-based Bowland Brewery gets go-ahead for £350,000 expansion plan: Lancashire-based Bowland Brewery, owned by Emporia Leisure, has been given the go-ahead to expand its premises at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe. The extended brewery is part of a major scheme by Emporium Leisure’s hotel brand James’ Places to transform a redundant textile mill into a major leisure and tourism complex, which has been approved by Ribble Valley Borough Council. The major investment in the brewery, estimated at about £350,000, is needed in order to expand production to keep up with demand. The new brewery at 30BBL is substantially bigger than the existing 7BBL plant. The brewery will also feature a “Beer Hall” visitor centre to showcase the brewery’s products as well as a multi-function room. The building work to the brewery and “Beer Hall” is expected to take three months to complete. A bakery, smokehouse and deli are expected to follow shortly. James’ Places managing director James Warburton said: “Bowland Brewery is at the very heart of the scheme. In fact if it hadn’t been for the brewery I don’t think I would have ever purchased the mill in the first place.” The second and third phases of the development will see the creation of a 31-bedroom hotel above a bar and restaurant, a gym, pool, and urban spa in the former weaving shed. Work on phases two and three will begin shortly and will take a year to complete.

Barburrito opens in Gateshead: Mexican brand Barburrito has opened in the Qube II catering development of The Metrocentre in Gateshead. The restaurant provides approximately 55 covers and employs 20 new employees. This is part of Barburrito’s latest roll-out, incorporating a fresh new store design and revised brand artwork. The opening takes Barburrito to a total of 19 sites across nine cities throughout the UK. Backed by growth capital provider BGF, the business has recently announced further site acquisitions in Scotland and in Derby, and remains on track to grow to over 25 stores in the next 18 months. Morgan Davies, founder and chief executive of Barburrito, said: “We are thrilled to be opening our latest restaurant here in the north east – the Metrocentre is a fantastic destination and a thriving shopping centre. We have proven to be popular in major shopping centres across the UK and provide customers a fast and fresh alternative to traditional restaurants. Since we started Barburrito ten years ago, we have strived to provide high quality food at an affordable price and we look forward to welcoming the Metrocentre shoppers to our new look Barburrito!”

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