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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 4th Aug 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Seedrs and Crowdcube both claim crowdfunding top spot: Seedrs and Crowdcube have both claimed top spot in the UK crowdfunding market. Crowdcube facilitated the most transactions but Seedrs completed more investments, when including the execution of crowd investors’ preemption rights and investments through Seedrs-backed funds. Crowdfunding was the second most active investor type after private equity/venture capital with total deals numbering 158 versus 201. Crowdcube claimed it completed 64 deals that the crowd invested in the first half of 2016, with Seedrs at 41 and Syndicate Room at 13. But Seedrs funded 78 deals in the first six months of 2016 – Seedrs states in the same period last year it funded 55 companies indicating solid platform growth. Reportedly, Seedrs now has 50% of the equity crowdfunding market in the UK based on number of deals. Seedrs has now funded more than 380 deals since launch in July 2012. Jeff Lynn, chief executive and co-founder at Seedrs, said: “We are delighted to continue our lead as the most active equity investment platform in the UK and to have funded 78 deals in the first six months of 2016. The gap between Seedrs and the closest competitor is also increasing as Seedrs continues to take 50% market share of all UK equity crowdfunding activity. It is a great start to what looks set to be a record-breaking year. We haven’t seen a notable slowdown since the referendum in spite of fear mongering around the country. The UK is still attractive and safe for inward investment and will continue to be one of the number one destinations for entrepreneurs to set up a business with its favourable tax reliefs, streamlined business incorporation and simple transport abroad.”

Industry News:

Propel and ALMR launch Las Vegas study tour: Propel and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) are heading to Las Vegas for their next study tour, which has opened for bookings. The visit takes place between Saturday, 25 March and Tuesday, 28 March 2017. After five hugely successful trips to Chicago, Propel and the ALMR have decided to check out Las Vegas. The trip provides two food study tours where delegates can explore Vegas’ hottest concepts as well as two early evening bar tours, led by James Hacon. The trip also includes three nights’ stay at the MGM Grand Hotel, two hosted dinners and the chance for delegates to explore Vegas at their own leisure. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable insight into the trends and concepts that are shaping Vegas and leading the way in the US market, which will no doubt provide fresh ideas and inspiration for delegates.” For more information or to book, email Jo Charity at or call 01444 810304. 
Propel Premium subscribers to receive enlarged database at end of August, next Propel Premium recording to feature Rufus Hall: Propel Premium subscribers will receive a copy of the Propel database of 700 multi-site companies at the end of this month, an addition of 200 companies to the first database they received when the service was launched in March. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “The growth of our database of multi-site companies is testament to the growth of professionalised foodservice companies in the sector.” This Friday (5 August) subscribers will also receive an audio recording of sector executive Rufus Hall explaining how he and his team built a unique people culture at Orchid Pub Company, which was recognised by the Sunday Times as one of the UK’s best employers. Propel Premium subscribers, whose subscription lasts a year from the date of signing up, also receive the Propel Blue Book guide to sector turnover and profitability. The Blue Book lists and ranks 200 sector companies by turnover, profitability and profit conversion. It also provides a five-year overview of profitability and directors’ salaries. 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. 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 Anne Steele on 
Haysmacintyre and Propel benchmarking survey becomes biggest in sector after more than 110 companies take part: The haysmacintyre and Propel benchmarking survey, which closed on Tuesday, has become the biggest benchmarking survey in the sector after more than 110 companies took part. Those participating included a host of large pub and casual dining brands as well as smaller multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice companies. The survey report, which is due in September, will deliver quality financial data and benchmarking intelligence to help hospitality businesses understand their sector better and improve operations. Companies taking part receive a copy of the final report. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “As the sector matures, benchmarking information will become increasingly important to companies as a way to understanding their relative performance. Each year more and more companies are taking part, which makes the final report an ever more useful overview of key sector metrics.” Andrew Ball, partner at haysmacintyre, added: “I am delighted to see a record number of responses to the survey this year, which will allow for increased analysis and comparability. I look forward to reviewing the information and presenting the results to participants at our report launch on 6 September.”

BII launches new digital platform: The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), the body for the UK’s licensees, has launched a new digital platform. This includes an innovative market place for members, alongside a new website, knowledge bank and customer relationship management system. The BII’s new website forms the gateway to the comprehensive knowledge bank and innovative BII Marketplace. The website has been rejuvenated to ensure it is easy to navigate and concise while also functional and optimised for use on mobile phones and tablets. Its tonality is engaging and conversational, while ably demonstrating the many benefits available to BII members through clearly labelled sections. Mike Clist, chief executive of the BII, said: “We have completed a comprehensive overhaul of our digital offering and are thrilled with the results. Working alongside our offline resources and advice lines, the new website provides our members with a vast range of content to help them grow and develop their business. They can manage their membership, access useful industry content, and even save money too. This, combined with the help we are giving our members on Market Rent Only option means membership is invaluable – there’s never been a better time to join the BII.”
Welsh coffee retailer offers discounts for life to recycling customers: An independent coffee retailer in Wales is offering discounted drinks to customers for life if they do their bit for the environment. Coffee Am Byth, which runs a stall at the Cardiff markets in Riverside and Roath every weekend, will knock money off the price of drinks if customers buy their reusable cup and return to the retailer with it. Called KeepCups, the cups, made from materials such as glass and ceramics, are intended to reduce the waste produced by disposable takeaway containers given out by most coffee shops. The company will sell the cups from Saturday, 13 August on Riverside Community Market Association days, and will then give either 10% or 20p off drinks when customers come back with the cup. They will cost between £9 and £15 each, and the ecological move by Coffee Am Byth is following the example of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
Premium ready meal company using recipes from restaurants and chefs increases equity offer as it extends £100,000 crowdfunding campaign: Crowd Cook, which produces premium ready meals using recipes from restaurants and chefs, has increased its equity offer as it extended its £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Richard Counsell and with Michelin-starred Josh Eggleton as head chef, is seeking the funds to complete its commercial kitchen and establish online channel sales. It was offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment but has now increased this to 25% as it extended the campaign by seven days. So far, 41 investors have pledged £27,040. The largest investment to date is £7,500. The company said: “Crowd Cook has been granted a seven day extension, now expiring at midnight on Wednesday, 10 August.” The pitch states: “We’re based on a family farm in Somerset and produce premium ‘ready meals’ using recipes licensed from well-known local restaurants and popular food bloggers. Our recipe for success is simple. For chefs, we create a new revenue stream and extend their brand to a much wider audience. For consumers, Crowd Cook means easy to cook, delicious meals designed by chefs at local restaurants they already know and love. Finally, UK retailers can sell an innovative new local brand to local consumers. The seed investment will enable us to complete the commercial kitchen, begin sales to retailers and direct to consumers online, and continue to sign up more of the UK’s best restaurants to Crowd Cook.”
Subway reaches labour deal with US regulators: Subway has reached a labour deal with regulators in the US to ensure its franchisees pay their staff fairly. The voluntary agreement, described as the “first of its kind” between the US Department of Labour and a franchisor, will see it work with Subway to educate franchisees on wage and hour laws. Under the agreement, Subway will help the department develop compliance assistance materials and will distribute them to operators. The two will also work to use technology to help operators comply with wage and hour laws and have committed to regular meetings and communications to improve compliance. Subway said in a statement: “As a franchisor, we want to do all that we can to build a socially responsible brand. The education and resources provided by the department’s wage and hour division can only benefit the franchise community. When franchisors better understand and follow the law, it helps them maintain loyalty with their staff and decreases the risk of lawsuits. We realise that this relationship is a first of its kind and unorthodox in its nature, but we are committed to making available a platform for the Department of Labour to provide training and resources to independent franchise owners to ensure they have the tools necessary to comply with wage and hour laws.” Federal regulators said the restaurant industry has significant problems complying with wage and hour laws. The Department of Labour found the industry owed more than $38m in back wages to nearly 47,000 restaurant workers. It has been working to ensure compliance by reaching agreements with major restaurant companies, in this case Subway, which has 26,000 US sites.
Cask Marque to upgrade its CaskFinder app in September: Cask Marque is to upgrade its CaskFinder app offering pump clip recognition in late September to coincide with Cask Ale Week. Consumers and bar staff will be able to use their smartphones to gain information on the beers on sale in the pub by scanning the pump clip or font. It will tell them the description of the beer, the colour, the ABV, brewer’s details, ingredients, allergens, best food match and loads more. Currently on the new database there are 3,800 beers uploaded and the target is 10,000 beers by the date of the launch. Breweries who want to supply the information on their beers should email Cask Marque director Paul Nunny said: “Currently the app is already used 60,000 times a month to find Cask Marque pubs. With the upgrade, including pump clip recognition, we plan to have 250,000 users a month in 2017. This development will empower the consumer when making his choice of which beer to drink now that the choice is so wide in today’s modern pub.”

Company News:

London-based boutique patisserie L’Orchidee fails in £200,000 crowdfunding bid: London-based boutique patisserie L’Orchidee has failed in its bid to raise £200,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open more sites. The company, founded in 2010 by Elias Dayub and Daniel Garcia, was offering a 10% equity stake in return for the investment. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately L’Orchidee did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” L’Orchidee has sites in Westfield Stratford, Westfield London and Canary Wharf and secured its fourth outlet last month at the Bicester Village shopping outlet. The pitch stated: “We aim to become the go-to place for French macarons, luxury cakes and desserts – a national brand that is recognised by unique style and designs, with shops around London first, nationally in the future, as well as internationally as we grow. We currently have a number of other retailers and trade partners who we supply products to. We are also looking to grow this part of the business to fully utilise the production facility, which opened last year in Barking.”

Draft House founder –’we’re generally keeping our powder dry for opportunistic acquisitions’: Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh, who has announced his first opening outside of London in Milton Keynes, has told Propel he is generally “keeping his powder dry looking for opportunistic acquisitions”. He said: “It has reached the point where (landlords) are coming to us (with sites). But we’re generally keeping our powder dry for opportunistic stuff.” McVeigh reported like-for-like sales are up in the mid single digits at the moment but trading is “bumpy” from week-to-week. The two most recent openings have, however, been “strong” with the company’s Chancery site producing “amazing” trading. The move into Milton Keynes required a “huge amount of thinking about”, he said, but the pub sits in the middle of a busy corporate headquarter area and JD Wetherspoon sales particulars for the site show it has been taking £30,000-a-week. “We will reopen the site for a lot less than it would cost to fit-out a shell unit,” McVeigh said.

Gatecrasher business owes unsecured creditors £1.5m: A business that bought assets of nightclub brand Gatecrasher out of administration less than three years ago has entered liquidation owing more than £1.5m to unsecured creditors. Insolvency practitioner Stephen Franklin from Panos Eliades Franklin & Co has been appointed voluntary liquidator of Gatecrasher (Birmingham). The company was incorporated in August 2012 and a year later bought assets of Gatecrasher from administrators at Duff & Phelps in a pre-pack deal. Speaking at the time, chief executive Simon Raine said the deal would allow the brand to “progress on a secure financial footing”. He added: “We now have a secure and positive platform to continue with our plans for domestic and international events.” However, the business’ “superclub” in Birmingham lost its licence late last year after a string of violent incidents. Birmingham City Council said police officers had “absolutely no confidence” in the ability of former premises licence holder Raine to operate the club. Earlier this year, Deltic Group took over the premises in Broad Street to launch a Pryzm nightclub. A statement of affairs document for Gatecrasher (Birmingham), signed off by Raine on 30 June 2016, showed unsecured creditors are facing a shortfall of £1.52m. Of that total, £800,000 is owed to group company Gatecrasher while £110,000 is due in rates to Birmingham City Council. Other trade creditors total more than £250,000.
Prezzo closes Caffe Uno site in Brentwood, just Braintree venue remains: Prezzo has closed its Caffe Uno site in Brentwood, Essex, leaving just its venue in nearby Braintree remaining. The company confirmed to the Essex Chronicle it has shut the venue in the High Street. Caffe Uno offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu, which includes paella, tiger prawn risotto, and pasta and pizza dishes. The remaining Caffe Uno is at the Freeport Village complex in Braintree, having opened in December 2011. 
Cameron Ventures Group buys Suffolk hotel off £2.5m asking price: Cameron Ventures Group has bought a Suffolk hotel described as one of the best known in the county off an asking price of £2.5m. The 76-room Cameo Hotel, located in Old London Road in Copdock, has been owned by Steve and Jane Denton since 2011. The couple are now planning to retire and have sold the hotel to Cameron Ventures Group, which already owns the 43-room Brome Grange Hotel near Diss and the 40-room Priory Hotel in Bury St Edmunds. The Cameo Hotel has one of the largest function facilities in the county, with its Suffolk Suite being capable of seating 400 guests. Tim Gooding, director in Christie & Co’s Ipswich office, brokered the sale. He said: “We are delighted to have sold the second hotel to the buying company in as many years. We have experienced an increasing level of optimism in the market in recent months, and a sale such as this reinforces the confidence that we are seeing across the hotels sector. We wish the new owners all the best for their refurbishment and development plans. These are very exciting, and we are looking forward to seeing them come into fruition.”
Herb Garden to open second site, this time in Royal Quays Marina: The Herb Garden pizza concept is to open a second site, this one located at The Royal Quays Marina in North Shields. The pizza restaurant was one of several parties interested in the 1,863 square foot premises located on the Albert Edward Dock. Quays Marina managing director Simon Haigh said: “Our vision was to attract a high-quality restaurant or cafe venture to the marina and in The Herb Garden we feel we are getting the best of both worlds. With its penchant for quirky design and its delicious menu, it’s a fantastic fit for us and we are sure that it will prove to be popular with diners thanks to its waterfront location and our established visitor base.” Richard Marks, one of the co-founders of The Herb Garden, added: “We’re thrilled to be expanding The Herb Garden out to a nautical setting while continuing to run our existing restaurant in Newcastle. We hope we can put our mark on what is already a beautiful and unique environment.” Newcastle-based chartered surveyor and property consultancy Sanderson Weatherall was appointed by Quays Marina to bring a restaurant or cafe to the site.
Carluccio’s signs for Derby site: Carluccio’s is to open its first site in Derby – it will open its first “new generation” model at Intu Derby. Neil Wickers, chief executive of Carluccio’s, said: “The Derby restaurant will celebrate and amplify all the small things that have made Carluccio’s one of the country’s most loved restaurant groups.” John Forkin, managing director of Marketing Derby, added: “We’ve been working for some time to bring this prestigious brand into Derby and are delighted they have chosen the city for their new concept.” The restaurant will create 32 jobs.
Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero to anchor prestigious new Cambridge scheme: Pret A Manger and Caffe Nero are to anchor an upmarket retail offering for the new Station Square development near Cambridge railway station as part of the CB1 master plan. Pret A Manger will be opening a 2,426 square foot shop whilst Caffe Nero will be opening a 2,215 square foot outlet, providing Italian coffee and artisan food. Sven Töpel, chief executive of developer Brookgate, said: “The new retail signings are fantastic news for CB1 and represent the development’s evolution into a thriving city gateway to Cambridge. The calibre of the new occupiers shows our commitment to ensuring that CB1 is characterised by stylish and good quality dining and retail options, to complement the vibrant community that we are creating around Cambridge station.” CB1 is set to provide a significant boost to Cambridge’s economy by attracting world-class and high-growth businesses, residents and visitors to the area. Designed by Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, the project will deliver a state-of-the-art transport interchange featuring the UK’s largest cycle park with 3,000 spaces, prestigious “grade A” offices, premium residential, retail and hotel space and purpose-built student residence accommodation.
Starbucks recalls 2.8 million metal straws in US: Starbucks in the US has recalled more than 2.8 million metal straws because of the dangers they pose to children – three children were left with cuts in their mouths. They were sold in the US and Canada and on the company’s website from June 2012 to June 2016. A set of three of the straws costs about $6, while beverage cups with straws were sold for between $11 and $30. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning consumers that children should not be allowed to handle or use the stainless steel straws. On its website, it said: “This recall involves reusable stainless steel Cold-to-Go food grade drinking straws in two sizes. The straws were packaged and sold in sets of three and were also sold as a component of two sizes of stainless steel beverage cups: Grande 16-ounce cups and Venti 24-ounce cups. The straws feature a ridge at the bottom that keeps the straw attached to the lid. The Grande straws measure approximately 9.5 inches and the Venti straws measure approximately 10.4 inches.”

MeatLiquor brings brunch menu to London following Bristol launch: MeatLiquor is bringing its brunch menu to London following the launch at its Bristol site. The first site in the capital to offer the new menu will be MeatLiquor N1 in Islington, which will be doing so from 10am on Saturday (6 August). The menu includes some of the brand’s old-school classics that have been mixed with some new additions. These include the breakfast burger, which is also available as a vegetarian option, British and American brunch dishes, and pancakes with maple syrup, fresh fruit and whipped cream. The brunch menu will be available at MeatLiquor N1 on Saturdays and Sundays between 10am and 1pm.

Sim Trava launches search for ten apprentices as part of Sim Trava Academy: Sim Trava, the company that operates 25 Costa Coffee franchised stores across the north as well as two fast-food Pita Pit outlets, is launching a new apprenticeship programme through its new learning and development arm – the Sim Trava Academy. The £10.1m business, headed by husband and wife team Simon and Tracy Vardy, has invested heavily in the academy having appointed a full-time academy manager, as well as acquiring an additional 1,500 square foot of office space at its headquarters in Altrincham. A spokesman said: “It’s also great to be offering local young people an alternative to the traditional university route, which isn’t for everyone. Paving out a career path for those who learn better by doing, we’re looking forward to the coming weeks and getting to meet fresh new faces in the local area. We’re on the look-out for the next generation of Sim Trava baristas and store managers to start with our fast-growing business in September.” Sim Trava is offering each of the ten apprentices a competitive wage, four weeks’ paid holiday, as well as full-time contracts and individual learning and development plans.
Beannchor Group to open Northern Ireland’s first ski-themed bar as part of new £4m Belfast hotel: Northern Ireland hospitality company Beannchor Group has revealed it will open the country’s first ski-themed bar as part of its new £4m Belfast hotel. The company is set to open the 43-bedroom Bullitt Hotel on the corner of Ann Street and Victoria Street in October. It will also include The Baltic – a ski-themed bar that will feature four sets of 1980s skis and boots on the wall and be a centre for evening music and entertainment. Director Conall Wolsey told the Press Association: “Our vision for Bullitt is to create a new and exciting hospitality concept. The hotel will offer so much more than just a bed for the night, it will also be a place where people can work, relax and socialise.” Beannchor Group also owns the National Grande Cafe/sixty6, The Dirty Onion, Little Wing Pizzeria and more than 40 pubs across Northern Ireland.
JSM Bar & Leisure opens Beatles-themed venue in Liverpool: Liverpool-based independent operator JSM Bar & Leisure has opened a Beatles-themed bar and grill concept in the city. The company has launched Sgt Peppers in Mathew Street, on the same side of the famous road as The Cavern. The ground floor is predominantly a bar and grill with live music played everyday, with a strong Beatles theme. Meanwhile on the first, second and third floor will be a Beatles themed-museum, featuring new exhibits and rare memorabilia, which will open at a later date. JSM head of communications Gary Bond told the Liverpool Echo: “We have been working very closely with several experts including Rogue Best, Pete Best’s brother. This has led to us sourcing some amazing pieces such as gifts the band received from Elvis Presley as well as some very rare items such as a pair of John Lennon’s glasses. More information including the title of the museum will be released very soon.”
Patisserie Valerie extends Debenhams partnership with Chelmsford concession opening: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has extended its Debenhams partnership by opening a concession in Chelmsford, Essex. The company has opened a cafe at the department store in High Street, creating 15 jobs. It offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, which are hand-made on-site. Paul May, chief executive of parent company Patisserie Holdings, said: “We’re excited to open our first store in Chelmsford, and to continue to expand the brand around the south east of England as well as our partnership with Debenhams. We hope the town enjoys the new store and our tasty cake range.” Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho, London, by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has more than 115 sites throughout the UK.
Global Brands’ Franklin & Sons drinks range scoops six stars at Great Taste Awards: Drinks distributor Global Brands’ Franklin & Sons botanically crafted tonics and mixers range has scooped six stars at this year’s Great Taste Awards. The brewed ginger beer with malted barley and a squeeze of lemon was awarded two stars while the British dandelion and handpicked burdock with star anise, original ginger ale, Indian tonic water, and Sicilian lemon tonic each received one star. Justin Horsman, Franklin & Sons brand controller, said: “Winning these prestigious awards not only cements our credibility for creating only the most premium soft drinks, tonics and mixers, but also reflects the hard work and time invested into the Franklin & Sons range.” The Great Taste Awards, delivered by the Guild of Fine Foods, is the largest awards scheme for the speciality fine food and drinks industry. More than 10,000 products are entered each year, which are blind tasted and rated on taste, texture and aroma.
North Wales-based operators secure second site for Fat Boar bar and restaurant concept, in Wrexham: North Wales-based operators Don Bircham, Barry Horne and Rich Watkin have secured the second site for their Fat Boar bar and restaurant concept, in Wrexham. The trio, who launched the concept in Mold last year, are set to open the Fat Boar Wrecsam on the site of the old Black Horse pub in Yorke Street, creating up to 35 jobs. They plan to invest £750,000 in the 80-cover restaurant, which will have additional seating outside along with an open kitchen and specialist cocktail area. The upstairs will have a double floor glassed area and balcony space, which will look over to the Eagles Meadow suspension bridge. Watkin told “We are looking to bring something to town that might not exist already. To get what we will offer you might have to go to Chester, Liverpool or even Manchester. Fat Boar Wrecsam will be 25% to 30% bigger than Mold. No other location in Wrexham would have suited us more than this pub.”
Be At One to open site in Nottingham next month: Cocktail bar brand Be At One will open a site in Nottingham next month. The company is transforming the former Nirvana bar in Victoria Street, which closed earlier this year, creating 16 jobs. It will be the company’s 33rd site and is due to open on Friday, 16 September. Be At One, which was founded by Steve Locke, Leigh Miller and Rhys Oldfield in London in 1998, offers a range of more than 150 cocktails. It aims to ensure customers are met with eye contact by a bartender within five seconds, drinks are made in one minute, and change for payment is given in 30 seconds. Locke said: “I’m really looking forward to opening the bar – it’s going to be absolutely phenomenal. Nottingham is a great city and the Hockley area in particular is really buzzing, although there’s nothing like Be At One there at the moment. We take our drinks seriously and are consistently refining our menu and testing the drinks to keep improving them. We also pride ourselves on offering great customer service. Our new bartenders are all local talent and they undergo nine weeks of training, which costs £5,000 each. This training means that all our guests will be acknowledged within five seconds of reaching the bar. To my knowledge no-one else invests so much in training their bartenders.”
Revolution to open tenth Revolucion de Cuba in October, in Harrogate: Revolution Bars Group will open its tenth Revolucion de Cuba in October, in Harrogate. The company is investing £1m on the venue in Parliament Street, which is opening on the site of the former Rehab nightclub, creating 60 jobs. As well as live music events, cocktail masterclasses and Cuban dining, the venue will offer special events, networking events and private parties. General manager Will Kershaw told The Business Desk: “Harrogate is widely recognised as a vibrant and cosmopolitan town and this is reflected in its growing ability to attract considerable investment as it evolves. With so many new developments, including the imminent launch of a new cinema, we felt this was the perfect time to bring something a little bit different to the town. We are really excited to be launching our tenth Revolucion de Cuba venue in Harrogate and to be investing significantly in the local economy by creating jobs and developing a prominent site in the heart of the town.” The company also operates 52 sites under its Revolution brand.
New vegetarian and vegan restaurant specialising in authentic Indian dishes opens in Liverpool: A new vegetarian and vegan restaurant specialising in authentic Indian dishes has opened in Liverpool. Jay Shokla has launched Sanskruti, on the corner of Ormond Street and Bixteth Street. It serves a mixture of Gujarati, Punjabi and South Indian styles of food in a variety of vegan and vegetarian dishes. These include street food favourites Sev Puri, and Bhel, featuring crispy Bombay mix served with tender potatoes, onions, puffed rice and sev mixed with an assortment of chutneys. Shokla told the Liverpool Echo: “In India there is so much great vegetarian and vegan food, and we found that wasn’t always being reflected over here. I used to work in banking and my wife worked in a hospital, but we really wanted to be able to offer the food and hospitality that authentic Indian restaurants do so well. Quality is key – we knew we wanted to make everything ourselves, from the paneer to grinding the spices. We had to import our own spices from India. By importing them ourselves and grinding them here we can ensure that authentic taste.”
New South American restaurant concept opens in Hessle: A new South American restaurant concept has opened in Hessle, East Yorkshire. Denny Cooper has launched Cascara South American Grill, in Prestongate, creating up to 20 jobs. It is mainly food-led, serving both a lunch and evening menu, including steak, chicken and fish dishes. There is also a bar area where customers can enjoy a range of wines, cocktails, and spirits as well as South American beers. Cooper told the Hull Daily Mail: “I was working with quite a few South America friends in Ibiza and they introduced me to the food and I wanted to bring it here.”
Full speaker schedule for Bar and Nightclub Conference revealed: The full speaker schedule for this year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, has been revealed. It takes place on Tuesday, 11 October at Bafta, Piccadilly, and follows the successful launch of the event last year. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls will provide an update on political and regulatory developments. Phil Tate, chief executive of CGA Strategy, which has retailer specialist CGA Peach as a division, reveals details of new research of usage, areas of growth, food and drink trends and evolution within the UK bar and nightclub market. Toby Smith, chief executive of bar, nightclub and restaurant operator Novus Leisure, will talk about how the company is meeting the needs of customers in London’s evolving bar and nightclub scene, including offer evolution and social media developments. Luke Johnson, sector investor and executive chairman of Brighton Pier Company and investor in Grand Union Group, will speak about his career in the late-night sector starting at Oxford University, set out his reasons for investing in the sector, evolving the offer at the company, and his perspective on the future for the bar and nightclub sector. Serial sector entrepreneur Roy Ellis will talk about the launch of the ground-breaking Albert’s Schloss concept in Manchester a year ago, its USPs, versatility, first-year performance and roll-out potential – and set out the scope of the involvement of his Mission Mars business in Manchester’s late-night scene. Jimmy Bernstein will talk about his 14-strong US bar and live music concept Howl at the Moon. Bernstein was the keynote speaker at this year’s Bar and Nightclub Convention in Las Vegas. Howl at the Moon has sites in key US cities, including Chicago, New York and Orlando, Florida – the company has also licensed the concept to Norwegian Cruise Line, which operates it on four ships. John Leslie, chief executive of Intertain, will talk about evolving the Walkabout brand and opening new sites, working with new comedy partner Comedy Loft, the regulatory regime, its new Birmingham concept 6 on Broad Street and the company’s relationship with backer Better Capital. Leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC will provide a personal perspective on the key legal issues and developments facing bar and nightclub operators in the current climate. There will also be a panel hosted by Nicholls with Alan Miller, chairman of the Night Time Industries Association, Mick McDonnell, national co-ordinator of Best Bar None, Paddy Whur, of Woods Whur, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, and Richard Stringer, chief executive of Kornicis, about the challenges, opportunities and threats to the bar and nightclub sector. Tickets are priced at £95 for operators who are ALMR members and £145 for non-ALMR members. Supplier tickets are £145 for ALMR supplier members and £195 for suppliers who are not ALMR members. Tickets can be booked by emailing Jo Charity at

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