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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Mon 8th Aug 2016 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Joule’s set for ‘brief hiatus’ in expansion for remainder of 2016, expects to start acquiring sites again next year: Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s, which is headed by Steve Nuttall, has said it expects a “brief hiatus” in expansion for the remainder of 2016 before looking to acquire sites again next year. Retail director Neale Chandler told Propel the company, which has 40 pubs, would concentrate on refurbishing some of its existing sites before “returning to the buying path” in 2017. He said: “Steve Nuttall is on record saying we could roll this out to 100 sites. The plan right now is that we’ll stop for a bit, and our in-house build team will go out to our existing estate, sparkle everything, and we’ll retrofit a couple of pubs. As the years have gone on, our design has evolved, so to stay relevant we need to continually invest in the older part of the estate. We are always looking for the right pubs, and I anticipate that next year we’ll be on the buying path again. In terms of new pubs, we’re always looking. The geographic footprint can expand. Our brand is becoming more and more well known, and so consequently the risk gets less. We are looking to infill, there are opportunities in Bridgnorth, we could probably get up to Uttoxeter, and we’ve now expanded down to Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. We have target towns.” Chandler said the pipeline for new sites is still there, although “it’s not as good as it used to be”. He added: “When we started buying in 2008/09 the market was on its knees. The old adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure is true. I think when people go to other pubs is when they realise just how good our pubs are. I do think we lead our market in our heartland.” Last month, the investment focus shifted to the brewing side of the business with Joule’s doubling its footprint in Market Drayton with the acquisition of a 1.5-acre site adjacent to the existing brewery and its Red Lion pub. Nuttall said of the deal: “This new site doubles our footprint and will allow Joules many options for the long term. As we are in the heart of an ancient town, our options for extending are very limited, so this purchase future-proofs our continued presence in the town and our importance as a Shropshire brewer with access to the essential Market Drayton aquifer, our mineral water source.”

Industry News:

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass opens for bookings: Propel is hosting the US’ leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management, Professor Chris Muller, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 30 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is now open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. His interactive seminar will include contributions from Sticks ‘n’ Sushi UK managing director Andreas Karlsson and Eric Partaker, co-founder and brand evangelist at Chilango. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include developing multi-unit leaders, leading a team through a strategic growth plan, and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. To book tickets email Anne Steele at

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. 

JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate sign deals with Suffolk brewery to trial alcohol-free beer range: JD Wetherspoon and Stonegate have signed deals with Suffolk brewery St Peter’s in a bid to tap into a rise in teetotalism among younger drinkers. St Peter’s, which already makes cask ales and bottled beers for pubs and supermarkets, has spent three years and nearly £1m developing its “Without” alcohol-free beer in a bid to counteract falling alcohol sales. It has now signed supply deals with Stonegate and Wetherspoon, which will begin trialling the draft and bottled beers from next month. St Peter’s chief executive Steve Magnall said younger drinkers “have a completely different attitude to alcohol”, which the leisure industry needs to respond to. About 21% of Britons are now teetotal, according to the Office for National Statistics, which has crept up from 19% five years ago, partly due to growing ethnic diversity but also a broader change in drinking habits. Magnall said the drinks market is rapidly moving towards lower-calorie and soft drinks, “but blokes in particular want to stand there holding a pint in their hand, not an orange juice or a coke”. At 0.009% alcohol, according to the brewery’s latest test, Magnall said there is more alcohol in a glass of orange juice than a bottle of Without. St Peter’s’ Without range, which turns out about 200,000 bottles a month, is made using a tightly-guarded brewing process that Magnall said is different from versions already on the market, such as Becks Blue, where the alcohol is stripped from the beer during the alkalisation process. “This process makes the beer very thin,” he told The Telegraph. “But our drink feels like you’re drinking a beer, looks like a beer, and tastes like a beer.” Without currently makes up 10% of the £4m-turnover brewery’s output, with all 16 of its brewers required to sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep the brewing process a secret.

Bookatable launches campaign to encourage Londoners to choose eating-out over takeaways, says delivery not having direct impact on restaurant bookings: Restaurant booking service Bookatable has launched its first above the line campaign to encourage Londoners to eschew takeaways and enjoy eating out in the city. The multimillion-pound campaign aims to position the platform as the gateway to getting out more and the “antidote to the modern day takeaway”. The creative, which will run across out-of-home roadside panels in the capital, London buses and London Underground, as well as digital, online and social media, contrasts the experience of eating out with that of staying in. The campaign, created by advertising agency M&C Saatchi’s Accelerator brand, is initially rolling out in London with plans to expand across Europe in the future. It has the subline: “With over 4,000 restaurants to explore, living in London isn’t living indoors.” James Lanigan, chief marketing officer at Bookatable, told The Drum: “Bookatable was acquired by Michelin at the start of this year, heralding an exciting growth chapter for the business. The ‘Get Out More’ campaign is our first large scale marketing initiative since the acquisition and we’re excited about the future of the business with the backing of Michelin.” Bookatable works with more than 15,000 restaurants across 39 countries and also claims on average its restaurants have experienced a 47% increase in bookings, a figure it anticipates will continue to grow. Competition in the food industry has stepped up a notch with the likes of Deliveroo and UberEats offering consumers convenient delivery options but Lanigan said the burgeoning delivery market was not a threat to Bookatable. He added: “We haven’t noticed restaurant delivery services having a direct impact on restaurant bookings. Many of our restaurant partners work with food delivery services; it provides another sales channel for them, which is a good revenue driver for many in the restaurant industry. Ultimately, dining out offers a very different experience to eating a takeaway meal in your own home. A takeaway meal at home is mostly about convenience, while dining out is a much fuller experience.”

App letting customers order food from restaurants destined for the bin to launch in London: An app that lets customers order food from restaurants that is destined for the rubbish bin at a fraction of the menu price is launching in London. Chris Wilson and Jamie Crummie have created the app Too Good To Go in a drive to slash the amount of perfectly edible food that is thrown away in the capital. They operate under the mantra “we’re all about feeling good whilst we eat” and aim to provide sustainable food packaged in environmentally friendly boxes. The pair, who have already launched the app in Brighton, Leeds, Birmingham and Manchester, have signed up 95 London restaurants already. The premise of the service is that food, which legally has to be disposed of after a certain amount of time, is sent to Too Good To Go customers. It costs from £2 to £3.80 per meal and a portion of that goes back to the restaurant. Wilson told the Evening Standard: “Most of the places tend to be independent or just small chains because it is really hard to crack the big companies. It is the bigger chains that have the large amounts of food waste but it is hard to even speak to the right people there. It costs restaurants on average 97p for every meal they throw away so we are saving them that expense and giving them extra. And we provide them with all packaging so they have recyclable and eco-friendly boxes.” The company is primarily funded through university grants and Wilson is keen to emphasise they are not focused on making a lot of money from it. “The ultimate goal is to use it for restaurants to solve their waste management problem, rather than it being about making profit,” he said. “The idea is that restaurants stop producing the extra food so they don’t need to throw it away in the first place, so really we want to put ourselves out of business by stopping food waste.”

Hospitality smart checklist app Trail raises £900,000 for further growth: Venture capital firm Global Founders Capital, Seedcamp and private investors, including Ex-Gondola chief financial officer Nick Carter, have revealed a £900,000 “Late Seed” funding in, a smart checklist tool, which helps hospitality operators streamline their daily processes. Trailapp, which includes Enterprise Inns and the Asian fast-service concept Itsu among its customers, will use the investment to further develop its user-focused platform, increase its team and expand market share by targeting multi-site operators from coffee chains to restaurants and hotels. The management team of Joe Cripps, Wil Grace and Ian Fuller combine business-to-business and business-to-consumer specialisms, hospitality consulting and consumer app experience, to deliver a solution for operators that cuts through paperwork, whilst helping them manage day-to-day administrative tasks. Trail’s app offers hospitality operators a simple checklist for teams, incorporating daily operational tasks, health and safety checks, audit and compliance management and integrated key data from third party systems to improve brand consistency and ultimately profits. The app also incorporates workflow and exception management to help head offices and operations managers effectively manage multiple locations. Managing director Cripps said: “Currently, operators are doing the best they can with the tools they have available in the market place, but to be honest, what is available was designed over 20 years ago. The hospitality sector is the UK’s fourth biggest industry in employment terms. However, operators are facing major challenges in today’s market place with high employment turnover often averaging 120%. New employees and growth bring challenges to operations managers, who rely on paper and email to manage tasks. We want to help hospitality operators streamline their businesses to ensure their teams work much smarter, whilst also being compliant. With Trail, we can give teams back time in their day, whilst making their shifts that much easier to navigate, which means they ultimately provide a better service for customers!”

Former Jamie Oliver Group executives launch food and drink-focused production agency: Three former Jamie Oliver Group executives have launched a food and drink-focused content production agency. Katie Nelson, Jonathan Almond and Steve Cardwell, who were part of Jamie Oliver’s digital media empire, have joined forces to form Delightful Media. It is aiming to meet the enormous demand for food and drink-focused digital campaigns from brands and publishers, becoming a one-stop shop for content, talent and ideas. It has a boutique roster of food and drink talent, ranging from large-scale social influencers to more traditional professionals, all of which are experts in their field. The founding team has diverse international experience in brand partnerships, content, traditional advertising and creative production. Nelson and Cardwell led the successful commercialisation of Jamie Oliver’s digital platforms whilst Almond, who has held senior posts at production giants FremantleMedia and Endemol, was the executive producer on the Bacardi-sponsored Drinks Tube channel. Creative director Almond said: “We want to be the go-to guys for producing the best, most innovative and impactful food and drink content out there. With a smaller, leaner, smarter team we’re able to go from brief to shoot in no time at all, at a fraction of the cost.” Delightful Media has already produced content across a number of platforms for Lactalis brands Rachel’s and Galbani; Unilever, Tourism Ireland and Quaker and has a number of additional projects in production.

Halal restaurant app closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £190,000: Halal Dining Club, an app that allows users to discover, book and review halal restaurants, has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having raised £190,000. The company, founded by Siddika Jaffer, was looking to raise £150,000 in return for a 13.04% equity stake to drive marketing and product development. It has now closed the campaign having raised £190,000 from 57 investors. The largest investment was £40,000. The pitch stated: “We’ve come a long way in a short time on a shoestring budget. We’ve completed qualitative research with diners and restaurants to ensure we design a solution that really meets their needs. We’ve built a fan base of more than 8,000 diners through our Facebook page and have curated a restaurant database of more than 1,300 halal restaurants. We are excited about what we’ve created and confident it will meet the needs of this growing, affluent and under-served group of diners and restaurants. But to grow we now need investment to build up the database to offer the widest range of restaurant options; make improvements to our app and platform to deliver all the features and benefits our diners and restaurants are looking for; fully launch the app with a marketing campaign that will drive downloads and usage; and drive sales of our customer engagement platform to restaurants. By 2020 we aim to deliver a curated database of 10,000 halal restaurants across five countries (UK, Singapore, Canada, US, Australia) where there are a large number of halal diners searching for dining options; have 1.7 million registered app users; 2,000 restaurants signed up to our customer engagement platform; and the average user booking a table for three, four times a year.”
AB InBev’s £79bn takeover of SABMiller likely to lead to loss of up to 574 UK jobs: The £79bn takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) of rival brewer SABMiller is likely to lead to the loss of up to 574 jobs in the UK. The deal, set to complete on 10 October, will result in a giant that brews roughly one in three beers sold worldwide. The combined company will continue to be based in AB InBev’s home town of Leuven, Belgium, while its operations will be managed from New York. AB said SABMiller’s office in Woking, Surrey, would be kept open for a transitional period only. SABMiller employs 523 people in Woking and a further 51 in London. An AB InBev spokesman told The Telegraph: “We can confirm SABMiller’s existing UK locations will be significantly impacted after the combination completes. Any changes affecting employees in the UK would be implemented with due respect for applicable legal considerations and consultation requirements.” The enlarged group will be organised into nine global regions, and senior managers at AB InBev will take 18 out of 19 key positions following the merger. Mauricio Leyva, currently manager director at SABMiller, is the sole survivor, after being named president of the Middle Americas region.

Chinese investment company lining up £7bn move for Holiday Inn owner: Chinese investment company Anbang is lining up a £7bn move for Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), which owns the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza chains. Anbang, which owns an empire of hotels and leisure assets, has held talks with City bankers about a potential takeover bid, reports The Sunday Times. The discussions follow Anbang’s decision to walk away from a $14bn (£10.7bn) bid for Starwood, which was eventually sold to US rival Marriott for $13.6bn. Anbang is said to be in the early stages of considering an offer for IHG and has not yet made any formal approach to the FTSE 100 company. IHG’s shares closed at £31.74 at the end of last week, giving it a market valuation of £6.25bn. Any deal would value IHG at more than £7bn, bankers said. IHG, which is believed to have made a bid for Starwood last year, has been the subject of takeover talk in the past few years. In 2014, IHG was reported to have rejected an offer from Ramada owner Wyndham Worldwide.
Pub investment portfolio sells for £17.8m: Property investment company Aprirose has sold a portfolio of six UK pubs for £17.8m to LaSalle Investment Management. The off-market deal reflects a net initial yield of 4.75%. The pubs are let on long leases with a weighted average unexpired lease term of more than 25 years to subsidiaries of three major pub operators – Stonegate, Punch, and Spirit, which has been acquired by Greene King. The portfolio is made up of three London pubs – Fox and Hounds in Putney, Albion in Islington, and the Green Dragon in Croydon – along with the Malt House in Brindleyplace, Birmingham; Royal Oak in Farnham Common, Buckinghamshire; and The Old Bell in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. Shaun Reed, national director at LaSalle Investment Management, said the acquisition was made on behalf of a private client and was in keeping with its strategy of acquiring good quality assets in the south east of England. He added: “Alternatives continue to be a strong area of interest and the leisure sector in particular is yielding some interesting opportunities for clients looking for long-term income generating assets. The portfolio will continue to operate as pubs, although they all have strong underlying values for alternative uses.” Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure, which acted on behalf of LaSalle, said: “In the current economic climate, pubs are amongst the most robust and defensible of all commercial property assets. Good assets have a very long trading history through various property cycles. Quality pubs are often held on long leases, providing investors with the security of long-term income and the flexibility of underlying property value. This particular portfolio was secured off-market to satisfy a specific requirement. This is the sixth portfolio we have advised on in the past 18 months. We expect the market to see further transactional activity.”

Company News:

British Country Inns II looks to dispose of remaining four pubs, and the company: British Country Inns II, a subsidiary of British Country Inns, which currently has four pubs in Somerset, has said it is looking to dispose of the remaining sites, and is even aiming to find a buyer for the company. The company saw turnover fall to £1,796,544 for the year ending 31 January 2016, compared with £1,884,423 the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It reported a pre-tax loss of £156,384, compared with a loss of £382,476 the year before. The company managed to dispose of the loss-making Ponda Rosa on the Isle of Wight but for below book value. The company stated: “Trade during 2015 was disappointing, with both sales and house trading profit down on the previous year. Turnover across the pubs in the company fell by nearly 5% (but less on a like-for-like basis) and house trading profit declined from £252,000 to £172,000. We were finally able to dispose of the loss-making Ponda Rosa on the Isle of Wight during the year, albeit at below book value. This leaves four pubs remaining in the company ¬– The Lime Kiln; the Beambridge Inn; the Huntspill Arms; and the George, Donyatt. Our strategy continues to be to focus on maximising sales while controlling costs. There have been variations in performance across the houses, with the Lime Kiln being affected by poor summer weather and increasing local competition, the Beambridge failing to achieve its ambitious targets, and the Huntspill failing to perform adequately. Management changes have been made since the year end to address the problems and we believe 2016 should be a much better year for the company as a result. We are working very hard to try to dispose of all the remaining pubs at reasonable prices, or better still, to dispose of the company itself, as this would reduce the time and costs involved. An exit for shareholders is dependent on the pubs being sold, and the prices that might be obtained for them are dependent on the level of their trading and the overall market for country pubs. There is currently little or no demand for our type of pub, which makes the job very difficult. We are anxious to try and provide an exit as soon as possible, so shareholders can receive some value back, apply for loss relief and move on.”

Gusto to expand into East Midlands with West Bridgford opening: Gusto, the Italian restaurant brand operated by Living Ventures, is set to expand into the East Midlands by opening a site in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire. The company is opening the 4,304 square foot venue in February 2017 on the site of the former Monkey Tree bar in Bridgford Road, creating 50 jobs. The job advert said: “With Victorian architecture and the River Trent running through this thriving restaurant town, West Bridgford will be a welcome addition to the Gusto estate. We are looking for all managers, at all levels with progression opportunities.” The Monkey Tree closed in February after its owners said the rates of £34,000 a year had become too expensive, reports The Business Desk. Gusto has 17 sites across the UK with its next restaurant due to open in Birmingham next month.
Joe & The Juice ups London expansion plans: Danish-based smoothie and juice chain Joe & The Juice has upped its expansion plan for London, revealing it hopes to open up to 15 new sites within the next year. The brand’s retained agent Harper Dennis Hobbs is seeking units of about 1,200 square foot in the capital, focusing on acquiring more sites in the City as well as affluent suburbs such as Richmond and Wimbledon. The company debuted in London in 2009 and announced plans last year to open between ten and 12 units in the city annually but, in a sign of post-referendum confidence in the market, has increased the figure. The chain expanded into Australia earlier this year but founder Kaspar Basse said London and the United States would be his main focus for the next 12 months. He told Property Week: “London is obviously a very dynamic metropolis. The intense urban environment is a good fit for us, where our juicers enjoy a fast lifestyle and people wish for new healthy trends.” Richard Willcox, partner at Harper Dennis Hobbs said the Brexit vote was not a concern, adding: “It’s an affordable luxury for London’s population and that’s not going to change because of everything going on. Their customer base seems to be getting bigger and bigger. Everyone wants a coffee in London, especially in the morning, but you don’t want to feel like you’re sitting in a canteen. Even though it’s expanding it’s still got the feeling of exclusivity and uniqueness.” He added the company would consider spaces of up to 1,500 square feet for flagship branches, saying the stores “need to be a big size to create atmosphere”.
Jimmy’s site at Brighton Marina shut over unpaid £200,000 business rates bill: The buffet company Jimmy’s has had its restaurant at Brighton Marina closed after racking up more than £200,000 in unpaid business rates. Enforcement officers from Brighton and Hove City Council attended the premises and removed goods in connection with business rate arrears dating back to when Jimmy’s started trading at the marina in 2014. The council’s lead member for finance Cllr Les Hamilton told Juice Brighton: “We have a legal duty to collect business rates. These help pay for essential local services. This is a very complex case. The proprietors of Jimmy’s restaurant have been actively and systematically avoiding payment of local taxation, and have ignored our efforts to reach a reasonable accommodation regarding payment. We have appointed insolvency specialists Smith Williamson to pursue this. Smith Williamson is also working with a range of other parties who have been affected by the trading activities at the Jimmy’s premises, and have the specialist expertise needed. It is regrettable that enforcement action has had to be taken, however, we have a legal duty to take robust action as a last resort when all other attempts to collect the unpaid taxes, including court proceedings, fail to get the necessary result.” Jimmy’s has ten other restaurants across the southern part of the UK, including Bath and its flagship site at the O2 in London.
Nando’s signs deal to open restaurant as part of Eltham town centre regeneration scheme: Nando’s has signed a deal to open a restaurant as part of a scheme to regenerate Eltham town centre in south east London. The company will open a 3,300 square foot venue at the new complex that will be anchored by a six-screen Vue cinema. The scheme, led by Greenwich Council, is due to open towards the end of 2018 and the authority said it was working to secure another major restaurant brand. Council leader Denise Hyland told the News Shopper: “We have been driving forward a long-held vision to breathe new life into Eltham town centre and building a new cinema complex is at the heart of those plans. This will deliver a major new attraction and new jobs for the local community and the work we are also doing to improve the general high street environment shows how we are driving real change in Eltham.”

Wildwood to open restaurant in Bournemouth in October, first site in Dorset: Tasty brand Wildwood will open a restaurant in Bournemouth in October – its first in Dorset. The company is opening the 200-seat venue at Bristol and West House in Richmond Hill where it is converting two empty shops and a mezzanine level into the new venue, reports the Bournemouth Echo. Wildwood specialises in pizzas, pasta, burgers and steaks and also sells a selection of cocktails. It has delis at several of its existing restaurants, selling freshly baked pastries and breads, plus artisan products such as olive oil as well as salads and sandwiches to take away. Wildwood operates more than 30 sites in the UK and opened its latest venue in Crawley, West Sussex, earlier this month.

Starbucks set to open first drive-thru site in Northern Ireland: Starbucks is set to open its first drive-thru site in Northern Ireland later this year. The company has signed a deal to open the venue at the Connswater Shopping Centre in Belfast. The proposed store is part of a wider £200,000 investment in the area, with a landscaping project to improve access to the retail park and shopping centre as part of Belfast City Council’s Greenway Project. Laura McCarthy, asset manager for Connswater’s owner Killultagh, told Belfast Live: “The decision by Starbucks to choose Connswater as its first location in Northern Ireland for a drive-thru store demonstrates the confidence that retailers have in the scheme and its strategic location in east Belfast.”

Leicestershire-based pub operators to open second site: Leicestershire-based pub operators Stephen and Tracy Fitzpatrick are to open their second site. The couple, who own the The Joiners Arms, in Bruntingthorpe, are currently renovating The George at Great Oxendon, near Market Harborough, ahead of reopening in October. The 16th century building will also be home to a restaurant with eight boutique hotel bedrooms. Stephen Fitzpatrick told The Business Desk: “We are now in the final throes of The George’s renovation, which for the whole team is very exciting. Our state of the art kitchen is currently being fitted and we are putting together the menus ready for the doors to open in the autumn. We’ve worked closely with architects TMDP to completely transform The George into a stylish pub, restaurant and hotel. It’s ‘all systems go’ to create, what we hope will be a jewel in the crown of Leicestershire. Together with our dedicated staff we aim to replicate the success of The Joiners Arms and provide our guests with an experience they will want to repeat time and again.”

Bison Beer signs agreement to reopen derelict Brighton pub following crowdfunding campaign: Brighton-based beer shop Bison Beer has signed a deal to reopen a derelict pub in the city having previously raised more than £100,000 in crowdfunding for the venture. Bison Beer launched the fund-raise on Seedrs to transform the former Mariner pub into a craft beer pub The Bison Arms after Burger King earmarked the site for one of its restaurants. Having raised the money, the deal has been delayed by protracted negotiations, in part caused by the post-referendum economy. However, an agreement has now been reached, reports The Argus. A statement from Bison Beer co-owners Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy, and Bottom’s Rest pub owner Simon Duddington, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that a formal agreement has been reached after much discussion and negotiation. Heads of terms have been signed that reflect a deal we have worked very hard to formulate these past few weeks.” The team will now have to finalise the shares with crowdfunding partner Seedrs, instruct solicitors to finalise the lease, create a schedule of works and preparation with the council and residents, and shape the design development. Food partner 64 Degrees will lead the design of the restaurant section.

Wild Beer Co opens second site, in Bristol: Somerset-based brewer Wild Beer Co has opened its second site, this time in Bristol. The company, which launched its first bar and restaurant in Cheltenham last year, has opened the venue at the Wapping Wharf development, at the Harbourside. The site features a mixture of modern, colourful furnishings. Its food menu includes ingredients sourced from around Somerset, with dishes including burgers, steaks, seafood and salads. Wild Beer Co co-founder Andrew Cooper told the Bristol Post: “We have 22 different draft beers, half coming from Wild Beer, while the others have been specially selected by our team. We’ll also have about 15 different gins with a huge selection of tonics and garnishes.” The company was founded in 2013 and currently distributes its beers and ales across the UK.

Bella Italia agrees deal with C&C Group to stock Italian beer Menabrea across UK estate: Bella Italia, which is owned by Casual Dining Group, has agreed a deal with C&C Group, the branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks producer, to stock Italian beer Menabrea across all 114 of its UK restaurants. The deal will see both packaged and draught Menabrea listed across the estate following a successful trial across a number of sites. Menabrea, which has been brewed by the same family on the same site in Biella for 170 years, is exclusively distributed in the UK by C&C Group. It is available as a “Bionda” 4.8% ABV pale lager and an “Ambrata”, 5.0% ABV amber lager. Bella Italia managing director Nick White said: “The brand fit simply couldn’t be better. We know our guests are looking for real Italian flavours when they choose Bella, and love hearing about the family history and provenance behind our products which is why we are happy to be working in partnership with Menabrea all across the UK.” C&C Brands managing director Andrea Pozzi added: “This deal demonstrates drinkers, and therefore pubs, bars and restaurants enthusiasm, and appetite for authentic Italian beer. Quality and tradition are central to the Menabrea brand, which has gone from strength to strength since we introduced it to the UK in 2014.”

Merseyside-based multi-siter to operate new £20m Liverpool aparthotel: Merseyside-based multi-site operator Paul Adams has agreed a deal to run a new £20m 116-bedroom aparthotel in Liverpool’s historic Ropewalks district, which includes the city’s first rooftop pool. The development in Seel Street forms an additional phase to Elliot Group’s £40m Wolstenholme Square project, which starts on site this week. Adams, who is behind Southport’s Vincent Hotel and its sister operation, the Vincent Cafe & Cocktail Bar at Liverpool’s Exchange Flags, said the move represented the next logical step for the brand. He told The Business Desk: “The Vincent brand is about delivering quality service and attention to detail, and these are principles that can be applied to a range of formats. Liverpool’s strong convention and leisure markets as well as the development’s Ropewalks location make an aparthotel format the natural choice, given the number of multi-guest parties that we expect to use the hotel. Offers like our rooftop pool, bar and beauty room will be a nice addition to the Liverpool leisure market and we’re looking forward to revealing further details in due course.” Work is expected to start on site in December with the hotel expected to open at the end of next year.
Twisted Bars gets go-ahead to open second site, in Ilkley: Twisted Bars, set up by Yorkshire entrepreneurs Adam Lewis and Paul Glendinning, has been given the go-ahead to open its second site, this time in Ilkley. The company has been granted permission from Bradford Council to convert the former Kipling’s restaurant in Station Plaza into the new bar, creating 35 jobs. A Twisted Bars spokesman told the Wharfedale & Aireborough Observer: “The venue will be a wine and cocktail bar – a unique concept to any other bar in the town currently. We are delighted we have been granted planning permission and are really looking forward to opening and providing a further 15 full-time and 20 part-time jobs in the town.” Lewis, who also owns Yard bars in Ilkley and Malton and has 20 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, joined forces at the end of last year with Glendinning, chief executive officer of Guiseley-based insurance broking group JM Glendinning, to launch Everybodys All Day Social in Guiseley under the Twisted Bars brand. The company previously said it plans to grow to a ten-strong estate in the region.

Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £200,000: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to increase capacity and fit-out its first bar after raising £200,000. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, was looking to raise £150,000 and offered a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment. It has now closed the campaign with 275 investors pledging £200,000. The largest investment was £25,000. The company also secured the site for its first bar last week and plans to open two more by the end of 2018. Seven Bro7thers distributes its beers to pubs and restaurants across the UK and is in advanced discussions to stock its brands in Tesco stores. The pitch stated: “Since we launched in 2014 we have grown steadily and need to update the brewery to keep up with the demand for our beer and also to fuel our ambition. We are seeking £150,000 to increase capacity with the procurement of five additional fermenting vessels to keep up with demand, procure canning and bottling lines, and fit-out our first craft beer bar in Manchester.”
New champagne and cocktail bar concept Pot Kettle Black opens in Sheffield city centre: A new champagne and cocktail bar concept has opened in Sheffield city centre. Pot Kettle Black has launched on the site of Menzels bar, which closed in September last year, and is the only bar in Ecclesall Road to have a 2am licence. The venue, which has created 20 jobs, includes a champagne bar; whisky lounge named after David Beckham’s own brand, Hague Club; and VIP area. Cocktails and local beers are 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 The Business Desk: “The whole venue’s VIP. Rather than paying for a VIP area and service, we’ve got six waitresses to serve anyone in any region of the venue, whether they have a table or not. It’s a VIP experience but it’s not a pretentious venue, it’s more a fashion venue than a shirt and tie venue. The city has been waiting for something like this and it’s already creating a big buzz. Pot Kettle Black has been a long time in the making.”
Casual Dining Group launches partnership with The Prince’s Trust: Casual Dining Group (CDG), which operates Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, has launched a partnership with The Prince’s Trust by pledging to raise £40,000 for the youth charity in a “Race to Rio” challenge. The aim of “Race to Rio” is to raise £40,000 for The Prince’s Trust, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, by accumulatively cycling the 5,839 miles to Rio on 22 static bikes located at its restaurants and central offices. The event will take place over the last weekend of the Olympics. The activity was devised by senior CDG members who took part in a Prince’s Trust “Zero to Hero” day exercise. The day challenges companies to get their creative juices flowing and devise a plan to raise as much money as possible for the charity during a set time period. CDG finance director Tim Doubleday said: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with The Prince’s Trust – it’s a great charity and we hope the ‘Race to Rio’ initiative acts as a launch pad for a long and sustained relationship. Although we’re involved with a number of charities on a brand level, we wanted to bring together employees for a collective effort across the business. The Prince’s Trust was the perfect match and we’re looking forward to working closely together to help tackle industry issues, such as youth unemployment and the chef shortage crisis, in a sustainable fashion.” Since HRH The Prince of Wales founded the charity in 1976, The Prince’s Trust has returned £1.4bn in value to society through its help for disadvantaged young people over the past ten years alone. In addition to fundraising activities, CDG plans to offer ongoing support to The Prince’s Trust by sending representatives to the charity’s “Get Hired” days in order to recruit apprentices into the business.
Butcombe Brewery acquires 23rd site, in Cheltenham: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewery, owned by Liberation Group, has acquired its 23rd site, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The freehold purchase of The Old Restoration – Cheltenham’s oldest pub – is the first deal for Liberation Group, since it was acquired by Caledonia Investments for £118m last month. The 15th century The Old Restoration, which is in High Street on the eastern side of the junction of Grosvenor Street, will sit within Butcombe’s managed pub estate. It is thought the landlord in circa 1660 changed the name of the pub in honour of the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne of England. The purchase follows the brewer’s acquisition of The Pelican Inn, Chew Magna and The Charlton Inn, Shepton Mallet, in June which kick-started a strategic growth plan that could see up to 20 pubs a year joining the Butcombe estate over the next five years. The Old Restoration marks Butcombe’s second outlet in Cheltenham after The Frog and Fiddle, which it acquired in 2011. Butcombe pub operations manager Charlotte Close said: “The Old Restoration is a fantastic addition to our portfolio in a great town. We will be fully refurbishing the site in the coming months and plan to introduce a premium casual dining concept driven by our great range of beers and craft ales. The building itself has a wonderful character which reflects the Butcombe brand perfectly, we can’t wait to see the outputs of another successful transformation following our investment.” Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther added: “It’s no secret we’re looking to grow the Butcombe business both organically and through acquisition. Following the positive news of our refinancing, it’s fantastic to welcome another great site into our business as part of our ambition to become the leading brewer and pub operator in the West Country.” Butcombe has seen year-on-year growth in sales of 32% and is in the top 20 performers in the nationwide draught cask ale market. 
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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