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Wed 15th Jun 2016 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Fitch – outlook for UK pub sector remains negative: Ratings agency Fitch has said the outlook for the UK pub sector remains negative and there are new drivers of ongoing structural decline. The company also added there has been a slight increase in the number of ratings on negative outlook since the 2015 pub sector review. Fitch expected the financially pressed 18 to 35 age group may curtail UK pubs’ revenues over the medium term. Rising student loans, together with higher costs of living, result in drinking and eating out being less affordable. Cultural changes, partly driven by millennials, may also be shifting consumption towards lower volumes of higher quality craft beers with production increasing over the past few years, whereas total on-trade beer volumes have reduced. Fitch also expected the rise in the living wage announced in the 2015 budget to dampen managed pubs’ profitability. The rise in the wage bill, which makes up a significant portion of total operational expenditure, is expected to put significant cost pressure on managed pubcos such as Mitchells & Butlers and the managed divisions of Greene King, Marston’s and Spirit, reports Fitch expected a lesser impact on wet-led tenanted pubcos because they generally employ fewer staff. Additionally, Fitch saw a potential slowdown in organic revenue growth as estates move towards being fully invested. The route for future profit growth seems to be mostly attainable through acquisitions. Fitch, therefore, sees further consolidation as increasingly likely. Other ongoing issues include falling on-trade sales and total alcohol consumption over the longer term, the Market Rent Only option announced in March last year, and the EU referendum. In reaction to increased labour costs, Fitch expected the low-skilled labour market in the UK would become increasingly automated during the next decade. It said this could provide a short-term benefit to pubcos that may be able to preserve their margins. However, Fitch perceived some related longer-term risks as a widespread reduction in income levels and greater unemployment could suppress consumer spending.

Industry News:

New report highlights importance of good food and beverage and leisure offer in maintaining footfall in town centres: The importance of a good food and beverage and leisure offer in maintaining footfall to local town centres, with online shopping continuing to increase in popularity, has been highlighted in a new report. The findings by the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership, a joint venture between Legal & General Capital and Schroder UK Real Estate Fund, together with Bracknell Forest Council, showed 52% of respondents believed better or more food and beverage and leisure facilities would help draw shoppers to their local town centre, rather than shopping online. The research revealed the mix of food and beverage and leisure in the town centre is one of its key assets, with more than a quarter of all age groups under 55 saying they enjoyed using food and beverage and leisure facilities when they visited the town centre, and more than a quarter (29%) saying better or more restaurants would improve the town centre. More than three quarters (83%) said they used the internet to shop more than they did five years ago, while only 6% said they never shopped online. According to the research, the frequency of online shopping decreases with age, with 69% of under-34s saying they preferred to shop online more, or as much, as shopping in-store, while more than half (51%) of over-35s preferred to shop in-store. Richard Poyser, retail leasing manager at Legal & General Capital, said: “With continued speculation around the ‘death of the high street’, it’s very reassuring to see that people would still prefer to shop in store than online. However, as young people increasingly desire social experiences when shopping, it is important for town centres to ensure a good mix of food and beverage and leisure to provide a range of experiences to support the retail offer.” The Bracknell Regeneration Partnership is investing £768m in the regeneration of the Bracknell Forest area, including £240m on 580,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and leisure space known as The Lexicon Bracknell. It includes a restaurant-lined Eagle Lane, which will be home to brands such as Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas, Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga and Nando’s.

Industry bodies demand Pubs Code made retrospective after government reveals July introduction date: Industry bodies have demanded the Pubs Code is made retrospective after business minister Anna Soubry revealed it would come into force by the end of July. Soubry said the code would not be retrospective despite the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment (SBEE) Act 2015 stating it must be implemented from 26 May 2016. However, the British Pub Confederation said there were clear legal precedents for the code to be retrospective, and if the government did not ensure so it must either compensate tied tenants who have missed out on the Market Rent Only option or risk threat of legal action from them. The delay comes after the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills (BIS) delayed the implementation of the code due to supposed drafting errors, breaching the SBEE Act 2015. The confederation has welcomed the announcement of the new date and said it is reassured the BIS has finally given tenants clarity on when the code would be in place. But it maintained the code must be retrospective. Chairman Greg Mulholland said: “We are pleased the BIS says the code should be implemented in July and have finally laid the legislation before Parliament. We now call on BIS to stick to that commitment, not missing any more deadlines for the Pubs Code. However, the code must be applied from 26 May 2016 as laid down in the SBEE Act, and as tenants and pubcos expected. This means the BIS has completely failed to deliver the will of Parliament, leaving over 400 tenants without their legal right to the Market Rent Only option. There are clear precedents for such legislation to be retrospective, but if the government will not do this they must compensate tenants who have missed out on the Market Rent Only option or risk the threat of legal action from those tenants.” Inez Ward, of Justice For Licensees, said: “Whilst we are thankful the Pubs Code has, finally, been laid before Parliament, we remain disappointed, but not in the least surprised, that the BIS continues to fail to deliver the will of Parliament. This is totally unacceptable. In March, government confirmed there would be retroactive powers for the Pubs Code Adjudicator. The position adopted by BIS therefore is clearly untenable. We would urge them to do the right thing.” Dave Mountford, of the Pubs Advisory Service, added: “The fact there have been over 900 minor drafting changes to the code since it has been incorrectly pulled, demonstrates clearly the lack of detail the government applied to the process. The fact the code will not be retrospective demonstrates the clear disregard the minister has for our industry and those who have lost out due to her department’s incompetence.” Kate Nicholls, chief executive of The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), said: “The publication of the revised code will provide licensees with some peace of mind and a sense of clarification on an issue that has dragged on for some time now. We note with some concern, however, that the revised code appears to give no mention of a solid implementation date, only that the legislation will take effect the day after its approval. Any further delays risk adding to the sense of uncertainty, undermining confidence and investment and will pose further problems for any lessees with ongoing issues. The ALMR will be pressing the BIS and the committee clerk to provide us with a degree of certainty regarding the timetable for implementation. The ALMR will also continue to work closely with its members, providing support and information at our workshops, during this period of transition.”

UK has most hotel rooms under construction in Europe: The UK had the most hotel rooms under construction in Europe during May, according to STR’s latest pipeline report. The report showed the UK had 15,481 rooms in 154 hotels under construction as the number continues to increase across Europe. The region reported 63,759 rooms in 439 hotels under construction for the month – a rise of 13.3% on the previous year. There were also 145,299 rooms in 960 hotels under contract in Europe – a 9.0% increase on the year before. Besides the UK, three additional countries reported more than 5,000 rooms in the construction phase – Germany (10,535 rooms in 54 hotels); Turkey (8,245 rooms in 54 hotels); and Russia (7,379 rooms in 36 hotels). Under contract data includes projects in the “in construction”, “final planning” and “planning “stages but does not include projects in the “unconfirmed” stage.

Scottish software start-up Spoonfed secures fresh funding for growth: Scottish software specialist Spoonfed has targeted growth in mainland Europe and Asia after securing almost £600,000 in fresh funding. The company, which allows sandwich shop chains and restaurant groups to manage their corporate catering work, said it had received second-stage funding from angel investment syndicate Equity Gap, Scottish Investment Bank and private investors. Spoonfed’s software is already used by restaurants in the UK, Australia, the US and Canada, capitalising on the growing business-to-business catering market. Willie Biggart, who founded Spoonfed with Murray McNicol in 2013, told Herald Scotland: “With a subscription-based software business, a recurring revenue model, it’s all about funding the gap while you drive towards profitability.” Spoonfed initially focused on independent caterers but Biggart quickly realised the software appealed to bigger players too, including restaurant groups. Spoonfed’s customers include Belgian restaurant and boulangerie brand Le Pain Quotidien and cafe, deli and restaurant operator Benugo. Biggart said the system eliminated mistakes, ensured orders were accurate and saved time. He said: “If you take America, for example, the restaurant chains have a huge incremental revenue stream coming from drop-off catering to offices. I think that is going to happen here.”

Company News:

Chop’d reports like-for-like sales up 12% as it prepares to open first sites outside London: Chop’d, the fresh food takeaway specialist, has reported like-for-like sales for the year are currently up 12% as it prepares to open its first sites outside London. The company has secured sites in Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool for openings this summer. It is also set to strengthen its 11-strong London estate after securing a site in Covent Garden, with two more venues in the West End in advanced negotiations. Managing director Eddie Holmes said: “Trading has been great for us over the past 18 months as customers concentrate on healthy eating and choosing food with provenance. Our like-for-like sales for the year to date (excluding store openings of less than 12 months) are currently 12% up.” Of its planned opening in Manchester, Holmes added: “We wanted a really happening city – somewhere forward-thinking and vibrant with a great buzz. Manchester fits the bill perfectly.” To support the expansion plans, Chop’d has appointed Miles Templeman as its new chairman. Templeman, who is chairman of Shepherd Neame, former director general of the Institute of Directors, and non-executive chairman of YO! Sushi, will replace Chris Sanders, who has been with the group for the past four years. Templeman said: “I have joined Chop’d at a very exciting time in its development and my aim is to help it grow based on its well-earned reputation for stand-out quality in the healthy eating sector.” Holmes added: “The appointment of Miles will help us achieve the next stage of our development and, coupled with the new store openings in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds, will see us become a national brand. I would also like to thank Chris Sanders for all his help and drive getting us to this exciting stage.” Chop’d opened its first store in December 2004 and its pipeline of openings will take it to 18 sites by the end of the year.

Wagamama secures second New York site: Wagamama has signed a lease for a second restaurant in Manhattan. The company has taken a 3,150 square foot unit, plus 2,000 square foot of storage, in the basement of 55 Third Avenue at the corner of East 11th Street. The lease is for 15 years and the asking rent was $250 per square foot. It was reported last November that Wagamama would open its first store, and flagship US location, in New York City at 210 Fifth Avenue between West 25th and West 26th Streets. The company took 7,000 square feet in a ten-year deal.

Top American chef to open first UK restaurant in Derby with Mexican concept: Top American chef Johnny Hernandez, who is known for his Mexican dishes, is to open his first UK restaurant in Derby. Hernandez, who cooked at the White House for president Barack Obama’s Cinca de Mayo celebration, is launching Mexico at the Intu Derby shopping centre. It is opening on Friday, 1 July in the unit originally earmarked for Prezzo’s Tex Mex brand Chimichanga. Along with an authentic Mexican food menu, the restaurant will serve varieties of the classic cocktail margarita, as well as a range of tequilas and mezcals and distilled alcoholic drinks made from any type of agave plant native to Mexico. The bar team will also make a selection of Agua Frescas using fresh fruit and juices. Freddie Lock, of Mexico restaurants, told the Derby Telegraph: “We are hugely excited about the new opening. Mexico is going to be a game changer for lovers of Mexican food. Working with the legendary Johnny Hernandez, who is probably the finest Mexican cuisine chef in America, to create Mexico has been amazing. His menu will give guests a real taste of the rich variety Mexican cuisine has to offer, a change from the usual standard dishes, and we have a created a bar menu and cocktail list to match his creations.”

New craft beer bar 1,000 Trades launches in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter: A new independent craft beer bar – 1,000 Trades – has opened in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The venue has launched in a grade II-listed building in Frederick Street that used to house Caribbean bar and restaurant Diamonds and Pearls. It has been transformed to look like its original incarnation as a jewellery workshop in the 1870s. The 200-capacity bar is on the ground and first floors, while work is taking place on the second floor to create a dining area. It serves craft beers, artisan spirits and natural wines and will open its kitchen to the city’s most popular street vendors. Simon Dunmore, who looks after the kitchen at Prince Of Wales in Moseley, will be the first chef in residency, serving up his chilli dogs when it opens for food on Saturday (18 June). Co-owner Jonathan Todd told the Birmingham Mail: “We wanted the name to reflect how we’re part of a neighbourhood with a rich manufacturing history and a real sense of vibrancy and creativity. All our beer and wines are craft beers. Our tonics are also of the same ilk and as locally sourced as possible.”

Fuller’s launches fresh food campaign: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s will launch a new marketing campaign, Fuller’s Kitchen, promoting the fresh food on offer at its pubs. Fuller’s Kitchen advertisements, developed by creative agency Ignis, will appear in print and on billboards across the country. The campaign showcases how Fuller’s chefs create premium dishes using only the finest, freshest ingredients. The campaign features Fuller’s current chefs of the year – Gavin Sinden, head chef at The Stonemasons Arms in Hammersmith, and Luke Emmess, head chef at The Still and West in Southsea. The strapline “we take taste personally” summarises how each Fuller’s chef takes responsibility for their menu and is proud of their craft in the kitchen. New menus, individually signed by the head chef at each pub, will be created with a daily changing selection of signature dishes created by the kitchen team. This campaign will also be captured on Instagram, with each pub uploading pictures of their signature dishes at @FullersKitchen. Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny said: “We are on a journey to make Fuller’s as famous for its food as it is for its beer. We know that heritage and craftsmanship are two words associated with our famous beers. However, our food offering has not always had the attention it deserves. So, with Fuller’s Kitchen, we are taking food personally. In recent years, food has been a big driver for our business and our customers are expecting the very best when they dine with us. We always plan for the long-term and this campaign raises the profile of food in Fuller’s, showcasing the very people that make it happen – our excellent chefs.”

Agent sells George Hotel in Piercebridge, Durham: Agent Christie & Co has sold the George Hotel at Piercebridge, Durham, most recently operated by Bespoke Hotels, off an asking price of £1.2m. The 32-bedroom village venue, which is located on the banks of the River Tees between Darlington and Richmond, was bought by Shepherd Cox following a high level of interest and multiple offers. The hotel, believed to have once hosted Dick Turpin, has been transformed over the years from its beginnings as a coaching inn. It retains many of its original period features, with the new owners set to undertake a series of upgrades to extend its offering. The main building comprises a lounge/bar, a large ballroom, a restaurant and eight double en-suite rooms. The additional two buildings consist of 18 en-suite bedrooms, a mixture of doubles and twins, and a further five double en-suite rooms and a double en-suite family suite. The hotel also has on-site staff accommodation. Mark Worley, director at Christie & Co’s Newcastle office, who handled the sale, said: “The vendor is a regional multi-site licensed pub and hotel operator who wanted to sell The George as it no longer fits into their business model. In turn, the buyer is an expanding hotel group which has purchased several hotels across the North East and Yorkshire through Christie & Co in the past 18 months, including Allerton Court in Northallerton, The White Rose at Leeming Bar, and The Grand Hotel in Hartlepool.” Nick Carlile, of Shepherd Cox, added that the company has “exciting plans” for its new venue.

New champagne and cocktail bar concept Pot Kettle Black to launch in Sheffield city centre: New champagne and cocktail bar concept Pot Kettle Black will launch in Sheffield city centre next month. The venue, on the site of Menzels bar, which closed in September last year, will be the only bar in Ecclesall Road to have a 2am licence. The venue, currently undergoing a complete refit, will include a champagne bar, whisky lounge and VIP area. Cocktails and local beers will be on offer, alongside a range of bar snacks, including sharing platters and light bites. Pot Kettle Black is a joint business venture between Pete Harpham, Mark Holland and David Nicholson. Harpham told BDaily: “Sheffield is the fourth-biggest city in the country but we feel it is two steps behind in terms of quality and exclusive bars. This is a cocktail bar to rival establishments seen in Leeds and Manchester. We want to offer our customers an experience on all levels. It’s not just about coming for a drink – it’s about soaking up the atmosphere, taking in the quality surroundings and being looked after by our team of bartenders and hostesses. Everyone who comes in should feel like a VIP.”

Cabana launches ‘Bottomless Brazilian Brunch’ at Brixton and Islington sites: Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana has launched an all-day brunch at its Islington and Brixton sites, including bottomless tropical versions of bellinis and bloody marys. The Bottomless Brazilian Brunch is available on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11am to 4pm, featuring “brunch classics with a Latino accent”, such as rabanada (French toast with condensed milk, cinnamon sugar and chocolate), and the Açai Smoothie Bowl (frozen açai berry smoothie topped with sliced strawberries, bananas and granola). For those seeking something more substantial, there is Sweet Potato Hash, topped with a poached egg and crumbled feta, and Picanha Beefburger. Quicker bites include cheesy dough balls, spicy malagueta chicken wings, and avocado toast (served on sourdough with fresh chilli, lime and a poached egg). For an additional £14.95, any brunch can be enjoyed with “bottomless” drinks, with a selection of bellinis or bloody marias (Brazilian bloody mary with cachaça) or a range of soft drinks and smoothies. Cabana head of marketing Lizzy Barber said: “Brazil’s all-day dining culture (and penchant for a drink or two) lends itself to lazy, hazy weekend feasting and our two sites are the ideal locations to introduce this.”

Manchester multi-siter reopens Salford pub after joint £280,000 refurbishment with Enterprise: Manchester-based multi-site operator Anthony Sheridan has reopened The Black Lion Hotel in Salford city centre following a joint £280,000 refurbishment with Enterprise Inns. The 130-year-old pub in Chapel Street has been extended and fully redecorated, while retaining some original Victorian features. It offers six cask and craft ales, complemented by gourmet pies from award-winning Pieminister. Twelve large TV screens have been installed, along with a new pool table, while the venue’s 17 bed and breakfast rooms have also been upgraded. Enterprise regional manager Paul Hirst said: “The Black Lion is an imposing building but as new apartments and hotels have sprung up around it, the pub’s interior became outdated and left it trading out of its market. It’s a complete transformation, from what you’d call a town centre boozer with the feel of a station waiting room into a stylish, friendly venue attractive to locals with a taste for city centre living. We’re delighted with the outcome, which is the result of a close working relationship with Anthony and justifies Enterprise’s latest investment in the town centre, in which we have a number of pubs.” Sheridan also runs Enterprise site The Mitre Hotel and Barca Bar, Manchester.

Prezzo first restaurant brand lined up for £80m Northwich leisure development: Prezzo is the first restaurant brand lined up for a new £80m leisure and retail complex in Northwich, Cheshire. The company has applied for a premises licence for unit four at the Barons Quay complex, which is due to open this winter in the town centre. The notice, which has been lodged with Cheshire West and Chester Council, asks for permission to sell alcohol from Monday to Saturday, between 10am and midnight, and 10am to 11.30pm on Sundays, reports the Northwich Guardian. Barons Quay, which will be anchored by a five-screen Odeon cinema, will be home to a total of six restaurants covering 28,000 square feet as well as a 20,000 square foot M&S store and 68,000 square foot Asda supermarket.

Wear Inns reports like-for-like growth after investment in estate: North East and Yorkshire pub operator Wear Inns has reported strong like-for-like growth in both food and drink sales after completing an overhaul of its estate. The company has seen like-for-like net sales in the financial year to March 2016 of £13.6m, up 3.4% on the previous year, with food showing a rise of 8% and drink sales increasing by 2.7%. The strong performance has continued into this year, with sales up to June showing a 5.8% increase (drinks 6% and food 3.7%). It comes after Wear Inns completed a review of all 26 pubs in the estate, investing in small refresh works, kitchen equipment and developing external areas, which is continuing into this year. The company is also on the acquisition trail having just completed the purchase of The Whistlestop, within walking distance of Leeds United’s Elland Road ground, with plans to spend more than £170,000 to install a new kitchen to allow it to serve a wider range of food, as well as refurbishing the pub’s interior and making a feature of the outside patio area. Wear Inns managing director John Weir said: “We are delighted by the performance of all our pubs. The growth has been driven by increased footfall as a result of promotions, new products, a better environment, our improved food offering, and great staff. We have seen a real confidence in our local market places. We have more people popping in for food and a couple of drinks after work, while Sunday lunch continues to draw in customers. Over the past year we have introduced a number of new products, including Staropramen, Birra Moretti and the Strongbrow dark fruits range alongside a wider range of cask ales and spirits, especially new gins and vodkas. The fruit ciders in particular have proved popular. We have also seen more women coming with friends to our pubs, which has contributed to a significant increase in sales of prosecco and cocktails. We also now have the facility to change our menus every six or seven weeks if required, keeping the offer fresh, with the introduction of new menu dishes and our wider range of burgers all making significant contributions to our strong food sales, but also retaining our traditional dishes which are at the heart of our menus. Weir said the company had agreed to sell The New Inn, Durham, having undertaken a property review and long-term view of return on investment, but was still looking to expand its portfolio. He said any new site had to be at the right price and a good fit with the rest of Weir’s estate – something which hadn’t been easy to find – although several sites were currently under consideration in the north east and Yorkshire. Wear Inns, which has its headquarters in the old offices of the Castle Eden Brewery in County Durham, is the biggest independent freehold managed operator in the region in terms of volume of beer sold.

New sports bar concept opens in Hull: A new sports bar concept has opened in Hull. The Common Room has launched in the former Old Dorchester Hotel in Beverley Road, creating 12 jobs. The interior has been completely refurbished and now boasts six large-screen televisions, a large projector screen, two pool tables and a number of fruit machines. The team is also looking at getting a football table. It serves “typical pub food” such as burgers and steaks. General manager Arran Wedgner told the Hull Daily Mail: “We’re a sports bar and it’s something I feel Beverley Road is missing at the moment. It’s a place for people to come to watch the football, have a couple of pints, grab some food at half-time and chill.”

Coach House Inns buys village pub in Wales: A village pub in the Vale of Glamorgan has been acquired by Coach House Inns, an operator with sites in South Wales and along the English border. A 925-year leasehold interest in the Llancarfan-based Fox & Hounds pub was brought to the market by the Cardiff office of agent Christie & Co. The sale to Coach House Inns was agreed for an undisclosed sum off the guide price of £475,000 with an unusual ground rent forming part of the agreement, namely the serving of a free pint annually to the chairman of the local Community Council. The Fox & Hounds provides 80 covers, eight en-suite guest bedrooms, a three-bedroom owners’ cottage, and a large car park with space for 15 cars. John Coggins, business agent in Christie & Co’s Cardiff office, said: “The outgoing operators John and Sue Millard have created a fantastic business in the Fox and Hounds, with an excellent reputation for food, and have established the inn as a true village pub at the core of the community. I’m confident Coach House Inns will continue to develop the offering, and firmly keep the pub at the heart of the village.”

Remarkable becomes first UK pub company to stock Little Creatures beer in draught: London-based Remarkable Pubs has become the first pub company in the UK to stock the Australian beer Little Creatures in draught form throughout its 14-strong estate. Aspall Cyder has the exclusive UK rights to represent the Western Australia-based brewery. Christian Hamilton, Aspall’s head of sales and marketing, said: “We believe Little Creatures represents one of the most unique and exciting beers to have found its way to UK shores. The beer has been available in bottles over the last few years, in which time it’s developed a loyal fan base. This has given us the confidence to release the beer in keg, allowing the British public to enjoy Little Creatures Pale Ale in its most pure form. To be working with Remarkable Pubs is something we couldn’t be happier with. Elton and his team fly the flag for craft beer and boast a knowledge and passion for great beer.” Remarkable Pubs managing director Elton Mouna added: “This fantastic cult status beer will give yet another compelling reason for customers to visit our pubs.”

Twisted Bars launches bar and dining venture in Guiseley, plans ten-strong estate in Yorkshire: Twisted Bars, set up by Yorkshire entrepreneurs Adam Lewis and Paul Glendinning, has opened its first venue – Everybody’s All Day Social – in Guiseley, with plans to grow a ten-strong estate in the region. The bar in Otley Road offers a breakfast menu as well as a main menu featuring British classics and burgers. It also offers a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails and an extensive wine list. Lewis and Glendinning invested £250,000 to refurbish the former Cellar V cafe, bar and music venue, including 1,150 square feet of previously unused space being opened up for an outdoor terrace, and the creation of a function room for private hire. The pair said they were already looking for sites for their next bar and planned ten similar venues in and around Yorkshire during the next seven years. Lewis, who has spent the past 20 years working in the hospitality industry and owns The Yard bars in Ilkley and Malton, told Business Quarter: “Guiseley is an expanding town which has been in desperate need of a more upmarket venue and we’ve kicked off with a really positive start. Everybody’s All Day Social is a modern bar with something for everyone and we’re welcoming all generations from the local area.”

First crowdfunded nightclub Alter Ibiza raises more than £80,000 as it completes campaign: Alter Ibiza has become the first crowdfunded nightclub after completing its campaign on the Seedrs platform, having raised more than £80,000. The team behind the project, which hopes to open the club on the Balearic island next month, was aiming to raise £45,000 in return for a 14.75% equity stake. It has now completed the campaign, with £80,620 being raised. Alter Ibiza will be the only nightclub at the San Josep resort and will operate an over-25s policy tailored towards the “original one-nighter generation”. The pitch stated: “The venue is the transformation of a basement into a spectacular space filled with split columns and marble staircases, with angels and sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings. Alter Ibiza intends to serve up quality entertainment and beverages for the more mature, affluent clubber (25-plus) now representing the majority of Ibiza’s fast-moving tourism sector. (A place) where music-lovers can enjoy a relaxed, stylish, intimate setting with a soundtrack from teams of proven promoters and artists with huge, loyal followings and simply spectacular brand experience and histories.”

Peak District hotel owners to open £1m bar and restaurant concept on former Brasserie Blanc site in Manchester: The owners of a Peak District hotel will open a new bar and restaurant concept on a former Brasserie Blanc site in Manchester next month. Paul and Kathryn Roden, who own Losehill House in Derbyshire, are investing £1m in the launch of Grafene in King Street. An open pastry kitchen will take centre stage at the heart of the 190-seat restaurant, with two private dining areas dedicated to wine tastings and pairings. The venue will also be home to the Island bar, serving light bites, vintage champagne, local beers and scientifically inspired cocktails in a nod to graphene, the Manchester innovation from which the restaurant takes its name. It will also feature a huge outside dining area on the thoroughfare between King Street and Chapel Walks, with a sliding glass wall to bring the outside in and a mood-changing light box. Darren Goodwin, head chef of the hotel’s Orangery restaurant, has drawn up an all-day food offering, with diners able to choose from a daily-changing a la carte menu, seven-course tasting experience and a selection of small plates. Paul Roden told the Manchester Evening News: “Grafene is our food and drink interpretation of this exciting new chapter in Manchester’s rich history, and of the excitement and energy there is around its possibilities for science and technology.”

New burger and cider restaurant concept opens in Yeovil: A new burger and cider restaurant concept has opened in Yeovil. Gareth Witt has launched Cow & Apple in Church Street on the site of the former Art Gallery Cafe. The venue, which can seat 26 diners, has an industrial theme with the walls comprising exposed brick, timber and corrugated metal, and metal keg stools taking the place of chairs. The restaurant’s large windows look out on to the grassy area in front of St John’s Church. The menu specialises in burgers such as the Gurt Burger – a giant double patty burger with pulled pork, bacon and cheese – as well as the Fish Finger Roll. It also includes a variety of sides and starters, as well as a children’s menu. Ciders line the bar, both boxed and bottled, including a number of flavours from mango to strawberry, with local names such as Sheppy’s Cider and Orchard Pig. Witt, who runs the restaurant with his sister Stacey, told Somerset Live: “We’ve got the best spot in Yeovil. On a nice day it’s stunning.”

Sleeperz Hotels to expand Cityroomz Edinburgh site with new wing: UK budget hotel operator Sleeperz Hotels will expand its sister hotel, Cityroomz Edinburgh, with a new wing consisting of 43 rooms and suites. The company has been granted planning permission to develop Princes House, a listed building and three-storey office block, next door to its 72-bedroom Cityroomz hotel in Shandwick Place in Edinburgh’s West End. The development is being carried out in partnership with UK property and investment company Town Centre Securities. The new rooms should be open by June 2017 and will increase occupancy to 115 rooms, including ten suites with kitchenettes and living space. Sleeperz said it was confident the changes would attract business guests wanting longer stays in a suite environment and increase bookings from families and groups. Cityroomz Edinburgh opened in 2013 and occupancy levels have consistently been above 85%, according to STR data. Sleeperz operates hotels in Cardiff and Newcastle and will open a 120-bedroom site above Dundee Railway Station in 2017. It said it was also in discussions about further hotels in Liverpool, Manchester and Glasgow.

Pembrokeshire leisure operators open third site: Pembrokeshire-based leisure operators Neil Kedward and Zoe Agar have opened their third site – The Beach House – on the Gower Peninsula in south west Wales. The beach-front restaurant seats 60 in the main room and a further 50 diners on a large terrace area, with views across Oxwich and Three Cliffs Bay. Dishes on head chef Hywel Griffith’s menu include pork belly with black pudding, potato and comte pressing, apricots and chard; roast loin and crispy breast of lamb with wild garlic, ewe’s milk, cockles and laver sauce; and lobster with lamb sweetbreads, potato, charred gem lettuce and grapefruit butter. The restaurant also offers a tasting menu, which includes hazelnut and parmesan macaroon, mackerel tartar with passionfruit and oyster laver bread, and lobster scampi with lemon and pea. Kedward and Agar also own boutique hotel The Grove of Narberth in Narbeth and restaurant Coast in Saundersfoot.

Diageo to make fresh cider market foray: Diageo has unveiled plans to break into the thriving cider market with the UK launch of Smirnoff Cider. The launch, which Diageo said would “revolutionise” the cider category, marks its latest attempt to tap into the growing cider segment in the UK – in June 2015 it launched Pimm’s Cider Cup. Smirnoff Cider will initially be available in two flavours – Raspberry & Pomegranate and Passionfruit & Lime. The newcomer comprises a blend of lightly fizzed cider with crisp fruit flavours, combined with Smirnoff vodka. Claire O’Neill, innovation commercialisation manager at Diageo GB, said: “There have been a number of innovations into the fruit cider category over the last few years and, as the market continues to grow in both the on and off-trade channels, we still see there is potential to grow the category even further. By entering into the fruit cider category under the strength of the Smirnoff brand, and with two original flavour offerings, we’re confident Smirnoff will take cider to the next level.” From August, Smirnoff Cider will be supported by a marketing campaign, which will include digital and social media activity.

New bar and venue concept Seven Zero One launches in Liverpool: New bar and music venue concept Seven Zero One has launched in Liverpool. The 100-capacity Seven Zero One – Bar & Base is in the Campanile Hotel at Queen’s Dock and offers cocktails such as The Coronarita, a Corona lager and margarita mix, and “locally inspired burgers with an inventive twist”. Every Friday night, the venue will also provide a platform for artists in the city to perform under the banner “SZO Unplugged”, with free admission to every event. Maya Battle, of Campanile Hotels’ parent company Louvre Hotels Group UK, said: “We want the new venue to be a key player in the local community by showing off what the area has to offer. As Liverpool is the ‘City of Pop’, with so many number ones coming from this area, what better way than to celebrate local music talent?”

Whitbread submits plans for 83-bedroom Premier Inn in Sevenoaks after taking inspiration from town’s stately home: Whitbread has submitted plans for an 83-bedroom Premier Inn in Sevenoaks, having sought inspiration from the Kent town’s stately home Knole. The company has applied to Sevenoaks District Council to build the hotel and restaurant on the Sennocke car park site in Hitchen Hatch Lane. Designer Reef Estates said it had taken reference from the “modern stack-bonded brick and glass modules of One60 London Road as well as from the more traditional forms of Knole House”, the Sevenoaks Chronicle reports. The design statement added: “These were interpreted into a minimalist aesthetic with elegant detailing and a robust materials palette.” Whitbread said it believed the development would bring up to £10m extra investment into the area – based on the impact similar projects had elsewhere.

Peterborough licensee opens city’s first micro-pub: Entrepreneur Tom Beran, who runs the Coalheavers Arms in Park Street, Peterborough, has opened the city’s first micro-pub. Beran has launched the Bumble Inn in Westgate on the site of a former pharmacy. The 35-capacity micro-pub serves a range of real ales, British wines, real cider and craft keg, as well as premium bottles and cans. Beran told Peterborough Today: “I think we will fit in quite nicely with what Peterborough has to offer. We are not competition for the big mainstream pubs, we have no music, no television – this is a talking pub with an eclectic mix of beers to satisfy the beer-drinking community, but everyone is welcome.”

Spanish restaurant Ultracomida to open Cardiff city centre site, third venue in Wales: Spanish deli and restaurant Ultracomida will take over a former Burger King premises in Cardiff city centre to open its third site in Wales. The Ceredigion-based company, which also has restaurant-delis in Aberystwyth and Narbeth as well as operating an online mail order service for Spanish food and drink, is revamping the fast food joint in Westgate Street, which had been vacant for several months. The restaurant will offer tapas and Spanish wines, while the deli will stock everything from cured meat and fish, olive oil and vinegar, vegetables, cheese, coffee, wine and spirits. The new venue is expected to open later this summer, Wales Online reports.

Speaker schedule for Propel summer conference confirmed: The speaker schedule for the Propel multi-club conference on Thursday, 7 July has been confirmed. The event also involves the Propel summer party in the evening and multi-site operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on Cyril Lavenant, of NPD Group, will provide insights on the current state of the UK foodservice market, how the UK compares with the US and Europe, and predict future progress. Paul Chantler, founder of leading French brewpub company FrogPubs, will talk about selling cask ale in France, entering the better burger market, the French labour market, the importance of food in the French market, and breaking into the French off-trade. Jonathan Simon, of the Business Growth Fund, which has investments in Boost Juice Bars, Camino, Giggling Squid, Peyton & Byrne, Barburrito, Coaching Inn Group and Wear Inns, will explain the fund’s rationale for investment and appetite for further investment in the sector. Thom and James Elliot, co-founders of Pizza Pilgrims, will tell the story of their decision to embark on launching into the pizza category without a foodservice background, moving from pop-ups to permanent sites, lessons learnt, their mobile van, and plans for the future. Simon Brigg, co-founder of five-strong Porky’s BBQ, will talk about how the company was founded, its Memphis-focused differentiation in the barbecue market, its BBQ lab, London expansion, and plans to go portable and develop sauce and clothing ranges, and tips on crowdfunding in the wake of its £650,000 Crowdcube campaign. Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, which invested £30m in its pub estate last year and let more than 50% of pubs to multiple operators, will set out how the company is co-investing with record numbers of multi-site operators across its 1,200-pub estate, improving support for tenants and looking to develop them. Luke Bishop, managing director of award-winning Polpo, will talk about the brand’s USPs, people culture, menu development, expansion in the regions and at Harvey Nichols, plus working with the founder – Restaurant Man Russell Norman. Clive Watson, founder of City Pub Company, will talk about building a pub company from scratch, raising money, finding great sites, market differentiation, incentivising managers, creating USPs at each site, and possible flotation. David Fitzgerald, director of business development at Venners, and Malcolm Muir, director of consultancy, will set out common types of fraud and theft the company comes across and the simple steps operators can take to prevent losses and avoid compliance mistakes. Hamish Stoddart, co-founder of Peach Pub Company, will set out progress at the 17-strong pub company, its USPs, unique “partnership” business model, team and site development, and plans for the future.

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