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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 30th Mar 2016 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Yorkshire Meatball Co extends £100,000 crowdfunding campaign: Yorkshire Meatball Co has extended its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it aims to roll-out franchised restaurants nationwide and launch branded retail products in UK supermarkets. The company, founded by father and son team David and Gareth Atkinson, is offering an equity stake of 9.05% in return for the investment. So far 79 investors have pledged £55,090 with the largest investment to date £10,000. The company said: “Owing to ongoing conversations with potential investors, the pitch has been extended by 14 days to expire (on) 14 April.” The pitch states: “Our strategy is to lay the foundations of a quality, national food brand through the establishment of three principle revenue streams: owned-restaurants, franchised-restaurants, and branded retail products. Our original Meatball and Craft Beer Bar launched in Harrogate on 1 March 2014. In early 2015 we attracted the attention of our first franchise partnership, with leading hotel group Splendid Hospitality Group, which launched our first franchise in York in October 2015, where we continue to refine and develop our franchise model for further roll-out. In late 2015, we successfully trialled a pub-kitchen format in Harrogate. With potential format variations from take-out to pub-kitchen and street food, we see a wealth of scope for diversifying the concept further. We’re engaged with one of the UK’s leading supermarkets with the aim to spread the fight against average, tasteless meatballs nationwide with the launch of our initial range of premium branded meatballs.” The company expects to make a pre-tax profit of £77,934 at the end of this year, rising to £245,949 in 2017 and £601,555 in 2018.

Industry News:

Jonathan Downey sets out progress in developing a UK and international food market business: The next audio recording to be sent to Propel Premium subscribers will feature London Union co-founder Jonathan Downey. In the recording, which will be sent out next week, Downey sets out progress in developing a network of 12 London neighbourhood markets, development of the business internationally, how the model is working for traders, and projected figures for the current year. Operators, drinks companies, law firms, accountants, distributors and marketing firms are among the first companies that have signed up to receive the Propel Premium subscription service. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same, but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. Subscribers will also receive a copy of the Propel database of 500 multi-site companies, which will be updated every six months, and receive a digital version of Propel Quarterly magazine a week before publication. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email
Itsu extends delivery service in London: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has extended its Itsu [to you] delivery service in London. The service, which was initially available in south London for weekday lunch orders in postcodes SW1, SW8, SE11, SE17 and parts of SE1, is now also taking evening orders in those areas. Customers can order between 6.30pm and 10pm via the company’s Itsu [to you] app as well as by phone or online. Meanwhile, its lunchtime dining delivery menu is now available by phone or online in postcodes SW3, SW5, SW6, SW7, SW10, SW11, W2, W6, W8, W11 and W14. The same menu is also available on weekdays in the West End/Central areas (postcodes W1, WC1, WC2, NW1, NW8, SW1Y and SW1A), the City (EC1, EC2, EC3, EC4) and Canary Wharf (E14 Canary Wharf estate only). Itsu [to you], a start-up subsidiary under the Itsu brand, is led by Itsu’s former head of marketing Celeste Tobias-Metcalfe.
US menu calorie labelling rules delayed until 2017: The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has delayed enforcement of menu labeling rules – again – until 2017, reports The Associated Press. Passed in 2010, the rules would require restaurants and other outlets that sell prepared food and have 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of food “clearly and conspicuously” on menus, menu boards and displays. The final rules were released in 2014 after the FDA said it had struggled to balance the concerns of retailers with the intent of the law. Restaurants and other retailers originally had until the end of 2015 to comply. Last summer, the FDA pushed that deadline back to the end of 2016. The latest delay came after Congress included language in a year-end spending bill that allowed FDA to put off the December 2016 date until a year after it publishes the final guidance for those retailers that have to put the rules in place. The agency said it was still working on those guidelines. However, some companies have already put labelling in place in the US, with calories next to items on menu boards at McDonald’s and Starbucks.
River Cottage apprentice, 19, to open first restaurant in Somerset: A teenage chef who completed his apprenticeship at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage school will open his first restaurant next month. Jonny Burnett will launch The Post Box Eatery in High Street, Claverham, near Bristol, on Wednesday, 13 April. The venue will seat up to 30 inside, with an outdoor area catering for a further 20. The menu will feature dishes using locally sourced ingredients such as deep-fried pig cheek and vodka truffles, while sandwiches will be on offer at lunchtimes, made with bread freshly baked by Burnett each morning. He told the North Somerset Times: “Claverham and the surrounding villages have so much to offer and I’m thrilled to put them on the map. We’ve had a busy few months training the new staff and refurbishing the place but I’m looking forward to getting things started.” The Post Box Eatery will be open seven days a week.

Customer relationship management platform Nudge launches £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Nudge CRM, a sales, marketing and operational nerve centre for restaurant and bar groups, has launched a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company, led by Chris Johns, is offering a 15% equity stake in return for the investment as it looks to accelerate its international growth and enhance its platform. Among its clients is Drake & Morgan, Casual Dining Group brand La Tasca and City Pub Company. The pitch states: “Having launched Nudge and delivered impressive results over the last 16 months, we are seeking investment to accelerate our international growth and to continue the development of Nudge into the world’s best solution for ambitious restaurant and bar groups. Nudge has attracted an impressive client list of leading hospitality groups from the UK, Republic of Ireland and New Zealand. We aim to appoint country agents for 13 English-speaking regions around the world. Nudge will charge a monthly retainer and a percentage of sales revenue for each licensee. We aim to join partner schemes and integrate with multiple EPOS suppliers to generate referrals to local potential licensees; establish a registered consultant and partner scheme; establish a front-line support portal, with escalation based on the severity of the issue; produce instructional videos; launch internationally at the National Restaurant Association show in Chicago in May; produce white papers, news and blog posts, supported by video testimonials and client-led content. We also plan to make improvements to the email marketing module, reporting, dashboard, an app and mobile optimisation.”

Company News:

Darwin & Wallace unveils name of fourth site: Following last week’s announcement of the acquisition of a fifth location to open as part of phase one of Battersea Power Station’s regeneration development, Darwin & Wallace, the Imbiba-backed operator, has unveiled the name of its latest opening – No 197 Chiswick Fire Station. Set in the heart of Chiswick, No 197 Chiswick Fire Station will be opening its door on Tuesday, 26 April with 50% off all food until Sunday, 1 May for those who have booked in advance. Led by Mel Marriott, Darwin & Wallace is a collection of independent neighbourhood bars and restaurants located in iconic London villages. Created by artisans of interiors, food and drink, each of the locations are individually designed with a contemporary interior. Originally a fire station, the space will have a stripped back utilitarian feel that is true to its heritage. Marriott said: “We are all incredibly excited to have acquired the old fire station, a local landmark in the heart of Chiswick. With our hand-picked suppliers and team of artisans, our ambitions at Darwin & Wallace are to bring something fresh and contemporary to the space whilst drawing inspiration from the locality. This will be our fourth opening in three years and we’re looking forward to presenting our modern vision of the local pub to Chiswick with a unique design paired with great food and drink.” 
Boston Tea party opens site in Stratford-upon-Avon, first venue in Warwickshire: Independent cafe brand Boston Tea Party has opened a site in Stratford-upon-Avon – its first venue in Warwickshire. The company has launched the outlet in the St Gregory’s Hall schoolhouse in Henley Street, directly opposite Shakespeare’s birthplace. The cafe, which has created 35 jobs, provides seating for 120 with an outdoor area for a further 50 customers. It features dramatic murals, and the interior has been kitted out with a mixture of bespoke and reclaimed furniture. Boston Tea Party managing director Sam Roberts told the Coventry Telegraph: “We are delighted to be opening a venue in Stratford and bringing a Boston Tea Party to this historic market town, which we have been keen to move to for some time. It’s particularly special for me as I attended a local school, The Croft in Alveston, and have very fond memories of the town, so it’s great to be back. We found the perfect location for a cafe-bar at St Gregory’s Hall, which is an incredible building with original features, as well as being in a great location right across the road from the birthplace of Shakespeare.” Boston Tea Party now has 18 sites in the UK, including Bath, Bristol and Plymouth.
Good Life Group to open ninth Diner site tomorrow, close to securing first venue outside London: The Good Life Group – operator of eight Diner sites in London – is due to open its ninth tomorrow (Thursday, 31 March) and is also close to securing its first venue outside the capital. The company, founded in 2005 by Marc Francis-Baum, Andreas Akerlund and Patric Franzen, is launching in The Strand, close to The Savoy, after a £500,000 fit-out of the unit. At about 2,900 square feet and operating from basement and ground floor, the site dynamics are similar to others in the group. Finance director Scott Chillery told Propel: “We look forward to opening our ninth Diner on this iconic street and are confident this site will add to and complement the existing Diner portfolio. We have slightly moved away from our usual look in order to maximise the available space and layout of the site. We are very happy with the results and are excited about the potential of this site. Furthermore, following the restructuring of our loans with NatWest earlier this year, we are well placed to deliver on our growth plans for the next 18 months. A number of discussions with agents/landlords are under way and we currently have three sites in legals, including our first site outside of London.”
Edinburgh-based restaurant Maison Bleue to open second site in city: Edinburgh-based restaurant Maison Bleue is to open a second site in the city. Father and daughter owners Dean and Layla Gassabi are launching Maison Bleue Le Bistrot in Morningside Road in the second week of April. It is the first extension of the Maison Bleue brand, which is one of the best-known venues in the city after 18 years in the old town. The restaurant will have 45 covers, augmented with outside seating, and the design will follow in its big sister’s footsteps with exposed brick walls and candlelit tables. While the menu is still being finalised, it will veer towards traditional French with elements of Maison Bleue’s colonial specialities from North African, Creole and Vietnamese cuisine – often with a Scottish twist. Dean Gassabi told The National: “We have been looking around for a considerable time to find the right venue and were keeping a particularly close eye on Morningside. When this opportunity came on the market we knew it was perfect for us.”
Ping Pong launches UK’s first digital A-board at Westfield site: Dim sum restaurant group Ping Pong has launched the UK’s first digital A-board in the hospitality sector. The first board is outside its venue in Westfield shopping centre, Shepherd’s Bush, but will be rolled out to Ping Pong’s seven other London sites. The A-board is a joint venture between Ping Pong and Sign2000. Ping Pong IT manager Jonny Fox said: “We have created a 21st century four-dimensional solution to something that has remained three dimensional for many years. By having remote access to the two back-to-back, 46 inch monitors, we’ll be in a position to change imagery instantly.” The first Ping Pong venue opened in Great Marlborough Street, Soho, in 2005, with the concept based on “dim sum, cocktails and tea” and all dishes created to be shared. Ping Pong’s other London venues are at Bond Street, St Katharine Docks, St Paul’s, South Bank, Wembley, and Westfield Stratford. Ping Pong has also launched several international sites, signing franchisee agreements in Dubai, Washington DC, India and the Middle East. The company plans to continue expansion both in the UK and internationally.
Old Northampton Group acquires fifth site: Old Northampton Group has acquired its fifth site in Northampton. The company has taken over the former Fat Cats bar in Bridge Street, which was gutted by fire in 2012. It aims to remove scaffolding around the building this summer and begin refurbishing the property later this year. The company’s plans for the grade II-listed property are “top secret”, but a spokesman said up to three proposals had been put forward. He told the Northampton Herald & Post: “We are working very hard with the council on some ideas and sharing thoughts with them, but I can’t say what we are going to do at the moment – it’s too early. There are two or three ideas, but it’s highly unlikely it is going to be any form of a bar (like it used to be). As a group, we have got enough sites (restaurants) in Northampton and we are happy with them. We want to work on an idea that is beneficial to everybody and to get the best of the building.” The blaze at the former Fat Cats bar is believed to have been accidentally caused by workmen using hot tools while repairing the roof. Old Northampton Group owns the Department of Meat and Social Affairs, Sazerac, The Old House Pub and Kitchen and is also launching pub restaurant The Lighthouse.
Healthy eating restaurant concept Skinny Kitchen makes UK debut: Skinny Kitchen, a healthy eating restaurant concept launched in Ibiza in 2014, has opened its first UK site – in Post Office Road, Bournemouth. The concept was launched in Ibiza by former Bournemouth University student David Mason and three friends after looking for somewhere to eat that meant “all their hard work in the gym before their summer holiday didn’t go to waste”. When they couldn’t find anywhere, they decided to set up their own business on the island. Skinny Kitchen is backed by investors in the Lineker’s and Ocean Beach Club brands. The Skinny Kitchen menu takes conventional meals and uses a “waistline-friendly approach”. Dishes include lean steak mince and sweet potato chips, flaxseed waffles, protein bowls, low carb pizzas and fresh pressed juices.
Pret A Manger opens first UAE store: Pret A Manger has opened its first UAE store. The chain has launched its first store in the Emirates at Dubai International Airport through a franchise deal with Emirates Leisure Retail. The new store, located in the new Concourse D, includes the concept’s trademark large kitchen and is open 24 hours a day. Emirates Leisure Retail, a unit of Emirates Group, which also operates the UAE shops of Costa Coffee, Giraffe and The Noodle House, is understood to be looking at opening further Pret A Manger stores across the UAE. “We’ve had a lot of fun developing our new menu,” said Caroline Cromar, Pret’s group director of food. “We will be bringing plenty of existing Pret favourites over, with some special new products and fantastic locally sourced ingredients, such as falafel and hummus.”
New World Trading Company secures Sheffield site: The New World Trading Company has secured a site in Sheffield, for an opening of The Botanist. Residing in units 5A and 5b in Leopold Square, the restaurant will hold a prominent position in the heart of the city centre. Covering a total of 9500 square feet, the bar and restaurant will be arranged over the ground, first and second floor of a grade II-listed building. The restaurant will also benefit from a sizeable outside seating area. New World Trading Company managing director Chris Hill said: “We are incredibly excited to bring The Botanist concept to Sheffield. The character and atmosphere of Leopold Square is the perfect location for our brand and we look forward to making Sheffield our next home.”
BrewDog’s partnership with Deliveroo goes live: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its Deliveroo partnership across London following a successful trial. The service means consumers can order four-packs of craft beer from their nearest BrewDog bar in the capital and have it delivered to their door by courier – the “ultimate craft beer experience”. The brewer said it hoped to roll-out the service to other areas in the UK in the future. On its blog, BrewDog stated: “Ever since they first aired, decades ago, beer adverts on television have often portrayed getting a drink to be an arduous journey. Parched people, long distances travelled, deserts or jungles standing in the way of the hero and their pint. But it doesn’t have to be like that at all. If you live anywhere in London (that largest of urban jungles), all that now stands between you and your BrewDog fix is the simple click of a mouse.” The service applies to eight of its craft ales, with more options and guest beers available from its BottleDog King’s Cross site.
Leicestershire-based cafe Dolce & Verde to open second site: Leicestershire-based cafe Dolce & Verde is to start expanding by opening a second site in the county. Owner Harry Murphy, who launched his first outlet in Rothley in 2014, is now opening in the centre of Leicester. The Leicester branch, due to open on Wednesday, 1 June in Belvoir Street, will be four times the size of its sister site but will offer much of the same in the way of food and drink such as California-style breakfasts – sourdough toast with avocado and poached eggs – wraps, paninis, patisserie and bagels. Murphy told the Leicester Mercury: “Naturally there is always a healthy amount of competition when you take the jump in to the city but in the coffee business – on the speciality side – there is a network, a kind of kinship in caffeine, whereby we all strive to raise the standards of coffee for the whole city. That’s our mission with the Leicester store, to show people what coffee and food can be when the person serving you loves what they do, and cares about your experience.”
Suffolk country pub freehold on market for £580,000: The freehold of the Three Blackbirds country pub in Woodditton, west Suffolk, has been put on the market for £580,000, inclusive of trade fixtures and fittings. The 17th century, detached, grade II-listed dining pub with thatched roof is being marketed by agent Fleurets. The 100-cover venue features exposed ceiling beams with inglenook hearths, and is about four miles from Newmarket and 14 miles from Cambridge. The property also has enclosed beer gardens and a car park to the rear. In 2014, outline planning permission was granted for an annexe at the back to provide nine en-suite letting bedrooms. The property’s owners are selling up to concentrate on other core business interests. Simon Jackaman, divisional director for Fleurets’ East Anglia office, said: “This is an exceptional dining pub which has come to the market in one of the most appealing areas of west Suffolk. The property is an ideal acquisition for an existing pub company or chef proprietor.”
Captive Media biggest mover by percentage raised on Seedrs: Captive Media, which provides advertising space in urinals with clients including Novus Leisure, Tokyo Industries, Burning Night Group, and All Our Bars, was the biggest mover by percentage raised in the past week on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company is seeking £250,002 in return for a 6.82% equity stake. It has so far raised £79,669 from 34 investors, meaning it is 32% funded with 55 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £24,997.98. The funds will be used to cover operating costs as it “builds up sales traction towards break-even”. Captive Media provides interactive game screens placed just above the men’s urinals, which are used by advertisers. Users can target their flow and, therefore, influence the on-screen games, which range from football penalty shoot-outs to the appropriately named “Artsplash”. It has 150 screens in the UK and installations in 12 countries worldwide.
Creams Cafe opens site in Harlow: Dessert cafe operator Creams Cafe has opened a site in Harlow, Essex. The company has launched the venue at The Harvey Centre on the former site of Robert Dyas, reports the Harlow Star. The American-style cafe serves ice-creams, waffles, sundaes, crepes and milkshakes. Creams Cafe has 29 sites in the UK and is set to continue expanding with venues lined up to open in Canterbury, Cardiff, Dorchester, Gravesend, Hemel Hempstead, Luton, Middlesbrough, Orpington, Peterborough, Upminster and Worcester.
Late-night cocktail bar concept Arcane to launch in Manchester: Late-night cocktail bar concept Arcane will open in Manchester in April. The basement bar will be below La Vina tapas restaurant in South King Street. Co-owner Gary Kilroy said the 110-seat bar would be an “open and relaxed, informal, low-key cocktail bar, somewhere you sit down for one drink but end up spending the whole night”. The venue will offer a changing menu of drinks designed to take advantage of an “increasingly exciting spirits and liqueurs market”. Every eight to 12 weeks, the menu will feature 16 new cocktails alongside a selection of classics. Kilroy is a veteran of the Manchester bar, pub, and club scene, and met business partner Mark Taylor at restaurant Pesto. Arcane is set to open quietly in early April, with an official launch later in the month. Kilroy told the Manchester Evening News: “It’s a grade II-listed building so we’ve had to strip everything out, take everything back to the bare brick, keep and restore the original features – but it has been worth it.”
New retro nightclub concept opens in South Shields: A new retro nightclub concept has opened in South Shields. David Sharpe has launched Club Retro, which features a cocktail bar, in Coston Drive above The Ranch bar. It aims to bring the sounds of the 1990s and “noughties” to revellers. Sharpe told the South Shields Gazette: “South Shields appears to be going through something of a revival, particularly for people over the age of 25 who are enjoying the great venues we have. Our aim is to add to this by providing a safe, clean environment for people to relive the glory days of South Shields. We are aiming to create an authentic retro clubbing experience for all to enjoy – a place where people can come and listen to the music they used to listen to 20 years ago. In true retro fashion we are bringing back some of the cocktails of old. The Pink Kangaroo was one of the most iconic cocktails of the 1990s and we are proud to say we are bringing it back.”
Estates Gazette – Knightsbridge hotel The Berkeley set to be marketed for £750m: The new Qatari owners of the Maybourne Hotel Group are considering the sale of The Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge, London, for £750m, Estates Gazette has reported. Constellation Hotels Holding, an arm of Qatar Holdings, is offering the hotel directly to select parties on an off-market basis. The hotel is the least prestigious of the trio within Maybourne, acquired through Constellation in April last year, and forms part of Qatar Holdings’ strategy of divesting some assets to diversify its concentration of European property holdings.
New restaurant and tea bar concept set to open in Liverpool: A new independent restaurant and tea bar concept is set to open in Liverpool city centre this summer. The concept called Jam is launching in Sir Thomas Street with the team behind the venture hoping to bring “casual fine dining in a very modern relaxed environment” to the city, reports Your Move Magazine. It will specialise in brunch and dinner dishes, and will also serve homemade cakes and desserts, with plenty of gluten-free options. A range of fruit and vegetable power smoothies and juices will add to the healthy offering, alongside more than 25 different flavoured loose-leaf teas. Jam will welcome diners from 7am on weekdays and 8am at weekends, opening until late throughout the week. The team hopes to have the restaurant up and running by the end of June.
New line-up of suppliers for Remarkable Pubs: Wholesaler Nectar Imports, coffee supplier John Street Beverage and London brewer Fuller’s have been appointed key supply partners to Remarkable Pubs. Elton Mouna, managing director of Remarkable Pubs, the 14-strong independent London pub company, said: “After a root and branch review of our supply chain, we have appointed the companies we believe will most efficiently deliver the brands our customers want.” Hilary Morgan, head of sales at Nectar Imports, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with the team at Remarkable Pubs, whose aim is to deliver a wide range of premium brands to their customers, and have recognised this is the heart of the Nectar portfolio, along with exceptional delivery standards.”

JD Wetherspoon seeks to expand Norwich pub: JD Wetherspoon has asked Norwich City Council for permission to extend The Bell Hotel, in Orford Hill, in the city centre. The company is seeking approval to extend the floor space for drinkers into empty offices above the Santander bank. Eddie Gershon, spokesman for JD Wetherspoon, said: “The Bell Hotel is one of our most long established pubs in the UK and one of the most popular in Norwich and Norfolk. We are always keen to add value for our customers and as a result, we have put in for planning permission to extend. That is a decision to be made by the city council, but we are very keen to extend and create an even better pub for our customers.”
Molson Coors launches Carling ‘Bank Holiday In The Bag’ promotion: Brewer Molson Coors has launched a “Bank Holiday In The Bag” promotion, with consumers having the chance to win a free holiday with three friends during the May Day bank holiday weekend to a number of destinations worldwide. Molson Coors said the promotion had been launched to increase consumer engagement during the crucial spring period. Winners will be drawn throughout April and receive goodie bags revealing the destination of their trip alongside items to enjoy on their break. The promotion runs until Friday, 22 April, with entrants registering online and winners drawn at random. The campaign follows Carling’s “Brighton or Barbados” promotion last year, which sold out in minutes. Carling brand director at Molson Coors Jim Shearer said: “Our new campaign aims to bring excitement back to the ‘familiar favourite’ category by focusing on adding value through promotions at the moments that matter most to consumers.”
New Middle Eastern restaurant concept opens in Cardiff: A new Middle Eastern restaurant concept has opened in Cardiff. Ronahi Hasan and husband Ali Alamin, a Kurdish Syrian couple who arrived in the UK as refugees in 2009, have launched Al-Rayan in City Road. It serves a range of Middle Eastern cuisine, including Kurdish, Iranian, Turkish, and Afghan among others. Hasan told Wales Online: “This is what we’re aiming to do – a new business with different cuisines here in Cardiff and we hope people will like it. We’re trying to do things differently to other restaurants in Cardiff. We’re making a different way to cook rice, called steam rice, which is very nice. We’re going to offer high quality at a reasonable price, which is difficult to find in City Road. We chose the name Al-Rayan because it is a traditional Kurdish and Arabic name.”
Kojawan izakaya opens on 23rd floor of Hilton Metropole in London: Kojawan, the new izakaya from SLO Group, has opened on the 23rd floor of the Hilton Metropole in London. Kojawan – the name is an amalgam of Korea, Japan and Taiwan – is the brainchild of SLO Group’s Bjorn Van Der Horst (Greenhouse, La Noisette, Eastside Inn) and Omar Romero (Rhodes Twenty Four, Rosewood), reports Hot Dinners. Dishes include rice sandwiches, glazed lobster dog with sesame seaweed, ponzu popcorn prawns with liquorice-fish sauce, and crab-turnip “egg cake”. Desserts include lychee-green tea meringue with sake cream. The drinks menu features Kirin beer K-slurpys and clay barrel-aged cocktails served from bespoke airline trollies. Kojawan is open seven days a week, from 11.30am to 1am. In February, Van Der Horst announced bills at the venue would not include a service charge.
Lancashire brewery Moorhouse’s announces resignation of managing director: Lancashire brewery Moorhouse’s has announced the resignation of its managing director David Grant. He has left the Burnley-based company – producers of awarding-winning ales, including Black Cat, Blonde Witch and Pendle Witch’s Brew – after 14 years at the helm. Grant oversaw the investment of £4.2m into the brewery in 2010, which took its capacity to 1,000 barrels a week. Last year, sales reached £6m, but chairman and owner Bill Parkinson said the brewery was struggling to make a profit because of the rise of micro-breweries. In a statement, Grant said: “After 14 very challenging but enjoyable years I have decided to move on to new pastures. We made great progress in those years despite an ever difficult market place. When I joined the brewery, despite our Black Cat beer having won the Champion Beer of Britain in 2000, the business was at a very low ebb indeed. But, with the support of an excellent team, that situation was turned around and we then built a new brewery to go forward brewing excellent beers for many years to come. I very much believe that Moorhouse’s beers are among the best in the country and deserve to be enjoyed in pubs throughout the land. I now wish the brewery well in beating those tough challenges in the years that lie ahead.” Moorhouse’s director Ian Parkinson said: “David Grant has given outstanding service to the brewery over 14 years, working hard to transform Moorhouse’s from micro to regional status. His tireless energy has provided a strong platform for continued future growth, as we move into the next exciting chapter of the Moorhouse’s story. We sincerely thank him for his dedication and wish him well for the future in whichever challenges he chooses to tackle.” When Grant joined Moorhouse’s in 2001, the brewery was producing just 35 brewers’ barrels a week from Victorian-built premises in Moorhouse Street, Burnley.
Kurt Zdesar opens ‘poke’ bar and grill in Mayfair: Kurt Zdesar, the man who brought Nobu to London as director of operations for Nobu Europe, has opened The Black Roe Poke Bar and Grill in Mayfair. Zdesar, who also operates “Nikkei” sushi bar Chotto Matte in Soho, has taken over the site in Mill Street once occupied by another of his venues, “waste” fish restaurant Bouillabaisse. A raw fish bar by the entrance of the restaurant serves poke – a Hawaiian marinated raw fish dish “with fresh, exotic flavours”, reports Hot Dinners. The venue also offers fresh seafood and oysters. Lunch dishes include Pacific Rim (lobster pot stickers, ahi tataki, steamed rice, steamed vegetables, barbecue chicken satay, and Cajun-style blackened bass). The grill offering is based around meats cooked on a Kiawe wood grill, including bison rib-eye steak with fennel-tomato confit and yuzu soy hollandaise, and smokey lamb rack with a coconut and piquillo reduction. The venue also serves wine and cocktails, with house offerings including Shuck Shack (yuzu sake, aperol, mezcal, peach, grapefruit, and sea salt). A 20-cover chef’s table is downstairs from the bar and grill areas.
Entrepreneur bids to turn Scunthorpe club into restaurant and entertainment venue: Cleethorpes-based restaurateur Bashir Miah plans to convert a historic building in Scunthorpe into a restaurant and entertainment centre. Miah has submitted plans to North Lincolnshire Council for permission to convert the Coronation Club in Rowland Road into a 64-cover restaurant and two function suites on the ground and first floors, catering for up to 240 guests, the Scunthorpe Telegraph reports. The Coronation Club ceased trading in June 2014 after 78 years because of rising debts. The Coronation was built in 1878 as a cottage hospital and morgue by Victorian steel baron Rowland Winn.
Byron to stage ‘speed date your future employer’ event: Better burger brand Byron, led by Tom Byng, is to stage a “speed date your employer” event. It takes place on Wednesday, 6 April from 3pm to 5pm and potential recruits are invited to email for further details. The company said in its advert: “We would like to meet general, deputy and assistant managers. Let’s get together, share a burger and beer, no strings attached, and see if the sparks fly between us. Remember, this is not an interview, well actually it is – it’s your chance to interview us! Oh yes, this is also a rare opportunity to meet our head of food Fred Smith, who will be showcasing our new burger special the Bunzilla!” 
Host of companies sign up for Advanced Social Media Masterclass: A host of sector companies have signed up for the Advanced Social Media Masterclass being held next month. They include Thai Leisure Group, Enterprise Inns, Be At One, FrogPubs, The Deltic Group, The Big Chill, Camino, MyLahore, ETM Group, Coaching Inn Group, Maxwell’s, Ignite Group, JW Lees, Pebble Hotels, Everards, Novus, Snug Bars, Anglian Country Inns, McMullen, Gaucho, Wright Brothers, Star Pubs & Bars, Burning Night Group and Signature Pub Group. Propel is partnering with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the Advanced Social Media Masterclass, building on last year’s Social Media Masterclass with all-new content. The event takes place on Wednesday, 20 April at One Moorgate Place in London and will provide a comprehensive overview of how to make the best use of social media. Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell will share research into the importance of social media in customers’ lives as well as insight into the psychology of food and drink marketing in order to produce persuasive social media activity. The day will also include advice on using storytelling techniques to achieve stronger results in marketing and social media campaigns as well as how to use analytics to develop a social media strategy. There will also be a first-look at Digital Blonde’s “Love, Lust and Trust” research, which will unveil the best loved pub and bar brands and what can be learned from their social strategies. Tickets are £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers members and £345 for non-members. To book email

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