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Morning Briefing Strap Line
Thu 11th Aug 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

CGA Peach – maintaining quality and presentation of restaurant food being delivered is vital, opportunities to add drinks to offer: The importance of restaurants maintaining the quality and presentation of food being delivered has been highlighted in new report. Nearly 27 million people have had restaurant or takeaway food delivered in the UK over the past six months—and a third of them are increasing the frequency with which they do so, according to research by consultants CGA Peach. Its “Delivering Opportunities” report showed 26.8 million UK consumers have had hot restaurant food delivered to their home or workplace in the past six months. With the popularity of delivery specialists like Domino’s and internet-based aggregators like Deliveroo and JustEat soaring, numbers eating restaurant food at home are set to continue rising. Among CGA Peach’s sample, 35% of consumers indicated they have increased their usage of delivery in the past six months. But the growing business faces challenges, the research revealed, especially around food quality and delivery standards, while adding drinks to the service appeared to be a major opportunity for operators. The survey showed the delivery trend is being driven by young, city-based adults in particular with nearly two thirds (63%) of those aged under 35 now using a delivery service at least once a week. It also showed how delivery has become a major part of UK eating – virtually identical numbers now order delivery weekly (49%) and dine out weekly (50%). CGA Peach director Jamie Campbell said: “The delivery phenomenon has huge implications. Those who can deliver high quality food speedily, with efficient service and at a good price point can drive incremental business.” More than a third (38%) of consumers believed the standard of delivered food was worse than that served in restaurants. Four in five (83%) consumers said a bad delivery experience puts them off returning to a restaurant to eat in. More than two in five (43%) said they would order an alcoholic drink with their food delivery if the option were available to them. Campbell added: “Delivery is becoming a threat to some restaurant operators – but a better way to look at it is as a massive opportunity. Maintaining the quality and presentation of restaurant food is essential, and there is room to enhance the delivery offer further through things like alcoholic drinks. The industry’s big challenge now is to maintain consumer demand for eating out in restaurants while also meeting their needs when they choose to eat at home instead. It is a fine and difficult balance, and the operators who can work out how to strike it will be best placed in the years ahead.”

Industry News:

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass open for bookings: Propel will host Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 30 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is 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 that 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 the hottest concepts in Vegas, 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.

Supermarkets, tax and pubcos to blame for pub closures: Pubs are being forced out of business by cheap supermarket prices, high beer taxes and the high rents and wholesale beer prices charged by pub owning property companies, according to a new polling report on consumer perceptions from the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). YouGov asked more than 2,000 Brits what they thought was leading to pubs closing – currently at a rate of 21 a week – on behalf of CAMRA. More than four-fifths (82%) said the cost of alcohol in supermarkets compared with pubs was a factor that had a fair, or great, impact on pub closures. The taxes levied on pubs, including beer duty, VAT and business rates also had a great, or fair, impact on forcing pubs out of business according to 69% of those surveyed. Almost 78% of people also blamed the high rents and wholesale beer prices charged to tenants by the pub owning property companies. CAMRA figures released at the start of the summer showed the rate of pub closures has slowed from 27 to 21 per week, but CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said the rate of closures was still “alarming and unacceptably high”. Valentine added: “The survey findings highlight the issues that have driven CAMRA’s campaigning for many years now. We’ve long campaigned for a fairer deal for publicans from the property companies that own their pubs and have seen recent success in the introduction of the Pubs Code and the appointment of a Pubs Code adjudicator. People clearly agree with us that the level of tax charged on beer and on pubs is too high and needs to be addressed. Again, CAMRA and the beer and pub industry has seen some success in persuading the government to abolish the beer duty escalator and cut tax over the last few years, but ministers need to go further in supporting the industry. Despite these campaign wins, a pint in a local is becoming an unaffordable luxury, driving people away from the safe and social environment of the pub and encouraging them instead to drink cheap alcohol in their homes. We’d urge the government to continue to work to address what people see as the key issues threatening pubs. We’d also urge people to continue to support their local pubs as much as possible.”

London’s 24-hour tube service to be trialled this weekend: London’s 24-hour tube, which is expected to provide a boost to the city’s late-night leisure sector, is being trialled this weekend ahead of its official launch on Friday, 19 August. Transport for London (TFL) has confirmed passenger-free trains will be running overnight on the Victoria and Central lines on Friday (12 August) and Saturday (13 August) – one week before the service goes live. A TFL spokesman said: “The trains will involve operational staff – station and train staff – and no customers so it will be behind closed doors.” The trial, testing the operational readiness of the new service, will commence after the last tube train on Friday and Saturday night so won’t impact customer travel. The night tube was announced in September 2014 but has been repeatedly delayed by a series of disputes between tube workers and TFL over pay and work conditions. The service will decrease journey times by an average of 20 minutes and support about 2,000 permanent jobs, boosting London’s economy by £360m.
Yorkshire coastline hospitality market sees ‘flurry of activity’ as number of businesses for sale increases 133%: Agent Christie & Co has reported a 133% increase in hospitality businesses on the Yorkshire coast on the market from the same time last year, showing the area is on the up. The north eastern coastline has seen an incredible amount of investment in the past 12 to 24 months. Bridlington has received a £25m leisure centre and plans have recently been lodged for an £8m Premier Inn, the first new hotel in the region for almost 80 years. Scarborough is also due to receive a £1.7bn Potash mine that will create 1,000 jobs, a £14m water park, a multiplex cinema and a £45m sports village and football stadium complex. This level of investment will aid in continuing to fuel the tourist economy, with Scarborough seeing the highest number of holiday trips and holiday spend in the UK outside of London, according to Visit England. The commercial property market has mirrored this increase in activity following double digit percentage growth in the average sale price of pubs, restaurants and hotels in Yorkshire and across the rest of the UK last year. Several Yorkshire coastal businesses have come on to the market in recent months, including in Robin Hoods Bay, Whitby, Bridlington, and Runswick Bay. Oliver Brown, business agent at Christie & Co’s Leeds office, said: “The continued investment in Yorkshire’s coastal towns, and increasing strength of the region’s tourist industry, makes the region a highly desirable place to own a business. Industrial, leisure and infrastructure development is experiencing a flurry of activity, suggesting many long-term benefits of a commercial presence in this area. We have been approached by an increasing number of people over the past year that have never owned a business before but are looking for a lifestyle change. The Yorkshire coast appears to tick all the boxes as a location and its vast range of hospitality businesses on offer make it a huge attraction for individuals, couples and families wishing to relocate and run their own operation.”

Consumer groups put pressure on KFC to end routine use of antibiotics by suppliers: Consumer groups have delivered a petition signed by more than 350,000 people to the KFC restaurant chain in the US, calling on the Yum Brands-owned company to stop the routine use of antibiotics by the businesses that supply its chicken. KFC has said by 2017, antibiotics important to human medicine will only be used to maintain chicken health and only under the supervision and prescription of a licensed veterinarian. But critics said policy effectively allowed for routine use of antibiotics by its chicken suppliers. McDonald’s last week said it switched to chicken raised without antibiotics important to human health, months ahead of schedule. Chick-fil-A, which has surpassed KFC to become the number one US fast food chicken chain by revenue, has vowed to fully transition to chicken raised without any antibiotics by the end of 2019. “KFC is lagging woefully behind,” said Lena Brook, food policy advocate with the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC), one of the groups delivering petitions to KFC’s headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky. “Diners around the country want KFC to step up.” KFC spokeswoman Kasey Mathes said the company was reviewing its position on antibiotics to determine the viability for its suppliers to go beyond the Food and Drug Administration guidelines for antibiotics usage. Yum’s Taco Bell and Pizza Hut restaurants have set 2017 deadlines for switching to chicken raised without antibiotics important to human health. KFC, which purchases more chicken than those two companies, has not matched that commitment.

Company News:

Freehold of Spearmint Rhino site in Sheffield offered for £1.7m: The freehold interest in a site occupied by Spearmint Rhino in Brown Street in Sheffield is being marketed for a guide price of £1.7m by agent Savills. The property is let to Sonfield Development at a rent of £165,000 per year. The lease is guaranteed by Spearmint Rhino UK, with circa ten years remaining. Located in Sheffield city centre, the building is close to numerous other leisure operators including The Leadmill, The Howard and the Sheffield Hallam University student’s union. Pete Scholes, surveyor in the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “This established city centre business offers a good rental income and we therefore expect it to generate significant interest among potential investors.”

Ed Turner opens first site under new pub company vehicle, in Salisbury: Former Geronimo Inns managing director Ed Turner has opened his first site under his new Buff & Bear Saloons pub company vehicle. Turner and his wife Buffy have launched the Old Ale and Coffee House in Salisbury, Wiltshire. The pub in Crane Street is owned by Star Pubs & Bars and it has reopened following a joint £282,000 refurbishment. The walls feature local art and photography and a new kitchen has also been installed. The garden boasts three beach huts, which can be booked by small groups or used by customers when available. The bar has about 20 bottled beers and more than 30 different wines, with an option to buy bottles of house wine to take home at a reduced price. Ed Turner told the Salisbury Journal: “I think places like Salisbury are being overrun by chains and restaurants so I just wanted to do something that’s a little bit unique and a one-off, because the pub is personal to my wife and I.”

England cricket star Stuart Broad and former Moleface Pub Company employee open first pub: England pace bowler Stuart Broad has opened his first pub in partnership with fellow cricketer Harry Gurney and former Moleface Pub Company employee Dan Cramp, who ran the Larwood & Voce pub at Trent Bridge cricket ground. The trio have set up the Cat & Wickets Pub Company and rented the Three Crowns in the Leicestershire village of Wymeswold from Punch. They have invested £142,000 in refurbishing the site, which has a new beer garden as well as interior and the opening has created ten jobs. Gurney will look after many of the financial aspects and the website, with Broad’s contributions including raising its profile and helping with contacts, such as in the wine industry. Former England one-day international Gurney told the Nottingham Post: “I’ve really enjoyed getting it to this stage and it’s exceeded our expectations in terms of how it looks and feels – now it’s just a case of hoping the villagers buy into it and also people from further away come here. In many ways it’s been eye-opening. Certainly when you watch some of the labourers working and see how hard they work, it does make you appreciate being a professional sportsman, that’s for sure. The whole process has been brilliant and it’s very rewarding to see it come together as a finished product, which we’re more than happy with. The pizza oven is a massive feature for us – there’s not a takeaway around for miles so it will be good for the surrounding villages too. We don’t want to alienate the locals because it’s a drinker’s pub, but there’s no harm in taking the food up a couple of notches from what was here before. I spent seven great years working for Moleface Pubs, which owns the Larwood, and if we can get anywhere near to where those guys have gone we would be more than happy because they set the standard for us.”

Orange Tree Group to open seventh site next month, in Derby: Orange Tree Group, the East Midlands-based independent pub company, is to open its seventh site next month, in Derby. The company is opening the bar in the Cathedral Quarter in George Street on the former site of Bar Five on Friday, 23 September. It will sell a selection of cocktails, gin, craft beers, real ales and wines among other drinks. Managing director Gareth Smith told the Derby Telegraph: “We noticed a lot of things had changed in the Cathedral Quarter and that it was coming alive. We also noticed a lot of people in the hospitality trade were investing in the city at the same time. There is something about the character and personality of the building and the people. With that, we have been all over the country buying little special pieces and details – nice doors, handles, and we will be putting back a lot of original Victorian to 1920-type features. I’m trying to get a balance between industrial and elegant.” The Orange Tree Group currently has three sites in Leicester, two in Loughborough and one in in Nottingham.

Greene King partners HospitalityGEM for mystery guest programme in tenanted estate: Greene King has unveiled a new mystery guest service supplier for its Pub Partners estate with HospitalityGEM, expanding the service for licensees. A new, easier to read report will ensure licensees learn more from mystery guests visits and, rather than the same approach for all, the focus will be on the pubs that will benefit most from the feedback. Greene King Pub Partners has worked with HospitalityGEM to produce a guide for licensees on how to interpret the new reports and use them to improve their business in true partnership. Pubs are marked on product range, environment, service, communication and price using a red/amber/green dashboard system and results are aggregated into an overall visit score. Clive Chesser, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: “For our licensees to maximise the value of a mystery guest programme honesty is the best policy. Through HospitalityGEM, we are providing licensees with much deeper feedback than before about their pubs because the devil is in the detail. We are certain our licensees will embrace the high quality of the feedback and work on improving their overall scores for any future visits. We are delighted to be teaming up with HospitalityGEM because we know how thorough they are and the diligence with which they go about their work.” Steven Pike, managing director of HospitalityGEM, added: “We have enjoyed working with Greene King Pub Partners to take its clear strategic objectives and frame the guest experience that it would like to help licensees to achieve. We have felt like a partner, rather than a supplier, and this adds to our determination to continually evolve the programme as a useful resource to pubs and area managers.”

Town and Country Inns starts expanding Fleet Street Kitchen concept with Sutton Coldfield opening: Town and Country Inns has started expansion of its steakhouse restaurant concept Fleet Street Kitchen after opening a second site, in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. The company has converted its Apres site at the Mere Green development into the new venue as part of expansion plans for the concept, having secured new investment earlier this year. Fleet Street Kitchen, which was launched in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter in 2012, offers a menu that features a range of meat and steak dishes cooked over Argentinian charcoal. Town and Country Inns managing director Mark Jones told the Birmingham Post: “It was probably our third birthday that inspired us to start rolling out the brand. The venture in Mere Green represents the launch of a programme of works and venues that will take us initially to Leamington Spa and Lichfield and thereafter to the rest of the UK. The brand and the offer really work, at every level – for our staff as well as our customers. Fleet Street Kitchen Mere Green simply demonstrates for me the virtue of what we believed three years ago.”

Tonkotsu to open first site outside London next month, in Birmingham, extends Selfridges partnership: London-based ramen restaurant Tonkotsu is to open its first site outside the capital next month, in Birmingham. The company will open the concession in Selfridges food hall at The Bullring shopping centre on Monday, 5 September, reports the Birmingham Mail. It will mark an extension of its partnership with Selfridges following on from its concession at the department store’s Oxford Street site in London. Tonkotsu is named after a creamy ramen typical in Kyushu, Japan’s most southern island, but found all over the country. As well as its signature Tonkotsu, other dishes include Tokyo ramen with soy marinated pork belly and chicken, and Gyozo – Chinese dumplings with various fillings and wrapped in a thin dough. As well as the Selfridges concession, Tonkotsu has standalone sites in the capital in Mare Street, Soho, Dunston Street, Bankside, and Notting Hill.

Pie and mash shop Manzes lodges plans for fourth site, in Braintree: Pie and mash shop Manzes has lodged plans to open its fourth site, in Braintree, Essex. Tim Nicholls, who took over the brand’s first outlet in Islington 30 years ago, has applied to Braintree Council to open the new venue at an empty site in High Street. He is hoping to restore the grade II-listed building that dates to the 17th century and have the new venue open by the end of the year. Nicholls told the Braintree & Witham Times: “We feel there’s a lot of London overspill in Braintree and we don’t like to tread on our own feet. We don’t have a shop in Essex but one of my manageresses lives in Dunmow so we went up and had a look around. I thought it could do quite well, it seems like a nice place.” Manzes other sites are in Walthamstow, east London, and Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire.

Fledgling Leicestershire-based pub company to open first site this month, in Hinckley: Fledgling Leicestershire-based pub company Broood is to open its first site this month, in Hinckley. The company, which was founded in April by Steve and Jenny Thatcher, has taken over the lease of The Prince of Wales in Coventry Road. Broood specialises in spicy Portuguese chicken, real ales from “all corners of the UK” and coffee. The pub, which is owned by Animal Pub Company, is currently being refurbished and will be renamed Broood at the Prince of Wales ahead of reopening on Monday, 22 August. Steve Thatcher told the Hinckley Times: “We’re very excited to be in Hinckley, we have been wanting to open a pub for about four years now. We hope to offer something different, with our unique selling point being that we will stock beers from small breweries from across the country – some of which may never have left the town in which they were brewed. Our menu will focus on peri peri chicken served in the style you may expect to see on holiday to Albufeira. Our chefs have been to Portugal to learn the secrets of cooking and marinating chicken. We will also serve a range of coffee, lattes and teas, as well as homemade cake.”

Loungers opens site in Corby: Cafe bar brand Loungers has opened a site in Corby, Northamptonshire. The company has invested £500,000 transforming a former nightclub in Corporation Street into the Paletto Lounge, creating 20 jobs. It described the venue as a “retro home from home” for its customers with dramatic artwork, oversized vintage sofas and statement light fittings. The menu features tapas, burgers, Tin Pan Louie’s beef chilli, packed flatbreads and mac and cheese as well as items from the specials board. Operations manager Craig Williams told the Northamptonshire Telegraph: “Corby is the perfect location for our Lounge concept. There’s already a thriving and vibrant community and we’re really looking forward to playing our part. Residents will be served by the very best – our new team is passionate about hospitality.” Loungers, which also operates the Cosy Club brand, currently has 84 sites. Earlier this year, the company revealed it had a fully formed pipeline of openings for 2016.

Five Guys to open restaurant in Aberdeen in October, sixth Scottish site: Five Guys will open a restaurant in Aberdeen in October. The company is opening the venue in St Nicholas Street on the site of the former Gap shop – its sixth Scottish restaurant. Chief executive John Eckbert told the Evening Express: “Five Guys is thrilled to be launching in Aberdeen and we’re pleased to confirm that the new restaurant will be opening in St Nicholas Street. Our new restaurant will be an exciting addition to the already bustling and vibrant city centre and we’re looking forward to introducing Aberdeen to our fresh burgers and fries menu.” Five Guys, founded by Jerry Murrell in the US in 1986, currently has five outlets in Scotland – three in Glasgow and one each in Edinburgh and Dundee.

Dinner and dance venue for maturing Made in Chelsea set is planned: A “post-Boujis” dinner and dancing venue for the maturing Made in Chelsea set is being launched by four businessmen involved in London’s nightclub scene, The Evening Standard has reported. The £500-a-year private members’ club in the basement of a former NatWest bank in Old Brompton Road is aimed at well-connected west Londoners who want a civilised evening out but who do not want to travel to Mayfair. Founding partner Carlo Carello, former manager at South Kensington’s Boujis, said the new venture, called Albert’s, would appeal to all age groups, not just the twenty-somethings “who want to get drunk”. He promised the new club would be “more party than Soho House and more relaxed than Annabel’s”. There will even be a Rolls-Royce that can be booked by members for their journey home. Carello said he hoped to create a relaxed atmosphere where members would be happy to take their parents. The three other founding partners are Piers Adam, the co-founder of royal hangouts such as Mahiki and Whisky Mist, Raffles boss Jake Parkinson-Smith and Fraser Carruthers, who was behind the South Kensington venue Dorsia.

Planning officers give thumbs down to second JD Wetherspoon attempt to open pub in Welwyn Garden City: Planning officers have given the thumbs down to JD Wetherspoon’s second attempt to convert a disused house in Welwyn Garden City (population: 43,252) into a pub. The company’s second application to convert 22 Parkway, a 1920s house that has been empty for several years, will come before a planning committee on Thursday, 18 August, but officers have recommended refusal. Their reasons include “a very significant overdevelopment of the plot”, and “a seriously adverse affect upon the amenity of nearby neighbours”. Campaigners such as the Welwyn Garden City Society are firmly opposed to the proposed pub, but others think it would be good for the town. The company’s first planning application for the Parkway site was unanimously rejected by the committee.

Patisserie Valerie opens site in Camberley: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has opened a site in Camberley, Surrey. The company has opened the cafe at The Mall shopping centre. It offers the brand’s patisserie and cake range, all hand-made on-site. Paul May, chief executive of parent company Patisserie Holdings, said: “We’ve been wanting to open a cafe in Camberley for a while and we feel that The Mall is the perfect location for us. We hope the town enjoys our range of indulgent cakes and barista made coffee.” The Mall centre manager Glen Fulton added: “We are thrilled to be welcoming Patisserie Valerie as another new food retailer. The patisserie and cafe will offer a great range of continental cuisine, and is sure to be a big hit with our visitors as they refresh whilst shopping.” Patisserie Valerie, launched in 1926 in Soho, London, by Belgian-born Madame Valerie, has more than 120 sites throughout the UK.

Leeds-based chef-entrepreneur to open new fine dining restaurant in city next month: Leeds-based chef-entrepreneur Luke Downing is to open a new fine dining restaurant in the city next month. Downing, who operates Dough Bistro, is launching the venture at cocktail bar Vice & Virtue in the Northern Quarter. Located opposite The Belgrave, the venue, formerly known as Henley’s, has undergone an art-deco refurbishment and has been in operation as a cocktail bar since the end of 2015. With the refurbished second floor restaurant close to completion, Vice & Virtue will serve locally sourced ingredients as part of a menu that will change on a daily basis. Diners will be able to choose from a five, eight or ten dish tasting menu, which will be paired with wines, cocktails and ales to complement whatever happens to be on their plate. Downing told Insider Media: “I’m so excited about returning to the kitchen and developing my ideas to a city centre audience. I absolutely love what I do, and think my passionate approach to food and drink, will offer foodies something very different, and affordable too.”

Manchester-based The Laundrette submits plans for site in Newcastle: Manchester-based cocktail bar and restaurant concept The Laundrette has submitted plans to open a site in Newcastle as is aims to expand outside the city. The company, which was launched in the suburb of Chorlton in 2013, has applied to Newcastle City Council to open the new site beneath the Vita Student building being developed in Westgate Road, creating 50 jobs. The venue will have space for up to 84 covers and serve breakfasts, cocktails, pizzas and grill specialities, just as it does as its existing site, reports Chronicle Live. The application comes as The Laundrette prepares to open its second site in Manchester next month – next to the new Vite Student building in First Street. The company previously said it was planning to expand the concept and is looking to open sites in Liverpool, Southampton, Exeter, Bristol, Sheffield and Glasgow as well as Newcastle.

Snact closes seed investment round: Snact, the UK’s only snack producer actively working to solve issues around food waste by using surplus produce, has successfully closed a seed investment round with the help of investment bank ClearlySo. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) estimated one third of all food produced globally is wasted, which has huge economic, social and environmental implications. The UK alone bins £12.5bn worth of food every year, including more than 500 million bananas and 1.6 billion apples. Snact is providing a solution to the global food waste issue by producing healthy snacks from perfectly good fruit and vegetables that otherwise get rejected in the UK for being too big, too small, too ugly, or simply too abundant. In 2016 alone, Snact forecasts it will save 50 tonnes of food, which is expected to increase to 4,320 tonnes by 2020, equivalent to more than 480 London double decker buses. Michael Minch-Dixon, co-founder of Snact, said: “This is obviously a great moment for us and shows how far we’ve come since we were making snacks ourselves in a rented kitchen in Hackney. Having this will allow us to reach a bigger scale meaning we’ll tackle more food waste and make more healthy snacks for snactivists out there!” Mike Cowell, investment manager at ClearlySo, added: “Snact has developed a unique product, brand and identity that not only demonstrates great commercial potential but effectively highlights the issues around food wastage in the UK and abroad. It is fantastic to see this clearly resonate with customers and investors, including angels from the food and marketing industries.”

Property company buys Llandudno hotel for £3m to expand North Wales portfolio: Property company Northern Powerhouse Developments has added to its hotel portfolio in North Wales after acquiring the Queens Hotel in Llandudno off a guide price of £3m. The company has bought the property through agent Fleurets from Devoy Hotels, which had operated the venue for 36 years. The Queens Hotel consists of 83 bedrooms, two ballrooms, two restaurants, a public bar, car park and patio area. Northern Powerhouse Developments chairman Gavin Woodhouse said: “We are delighted to have secured ownership of this iconic hotel and are looking forward to continuing the success the Devoy family have enjoyed for nearly 40 years. The Queens enjoys an enviable position in the heart of this famous seaside town and together with our hotel management group Giant Hospitality, we plan to invest even further in the hotel to ensure it attracts the next generation of holidaymakers.” Northern Powerhouse Developments oversaw the £6m refurbishment of the neighbouring boutique Llandudno Bay Hotel last year and has also secured ownership of two other hotels in North Wales – Caer Rhun Hall and the Belmont Hotel.

Stonegate reopens former Yates’s as unbranded pub with strong craft beer offer: Stonegate Pub Company has reopened the former Yates’s pub in Market Square in Harlow, Essex, as an unbranded pub called The Clockhouse after a £300,000 refurbishment. It will offer seven craft and cask ales – Hothouse 13, Brewdog IPA and Blue Moon are the first craft ales to be served. The company has 665 pubs, split into the following formats – Slug & Lettuce, Yates’s, Common Room, Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns, and Venues.

Provenance Tapas to open new all-day tapas bar in Nottingham this month: Provenance Tapas, which is based in Nottingham and owns the Iberico World Tapas concept, is to open a new all-day tapas bar in the city this month. The company is launching Bar Iberico in Carlton Street, Hockley, on the former site of restaurant Pico on Monday, 22 August. It will offer a “relaxed, tapas bar-style atmosphere” serving breakfasts, lunches and dinners, as well as Spanish draught beers and sherries. Provenance owns Iberico World Tapas sites in Nottingham and Derby and is also behind the World Service Restaurant, which is based in Nottingham’s Castle Gate. Provenance Tapas director Dan Lindsay told The Business Desk: “It is very exciting to be launching a new tapas bar in Nottingham, bringing a different experience for those who love tapas and Iberico. While Bar Iberico will still incorporate the great quality food and dining experience that Iberico has become renowned for, the bar will have a much more laid-back atmosphere to it.” 

Signature Living gets go-ahead for £35m 200-bedroom hotel in Cardiff Bay: Aparthotels developer and operator Signature Living has been given the go-ahead for a £35m 200-bedroom hotel and spa in Cardiff Bay. The company has been granted permission by Cardiff City Council to convert the Coal Exchange building, creating 100 jobs. Work has now started on the project, which also includes a separate heritage area and museum, with the hotel expected to open before the Champions League final comes to Cardiff in May 2017. Signature Living co-founder Lawrence Kenwright told The Business Desk: “It is our first major development outside of Liverpool. We intend to save the Coal Exchange by transforming it into something the whole of Wales can be proud of once again. We’re not just creating a luxury hotel and first class events space, this development will have the community at its heart as demonstrated by our commitment to creating a heritage area and museum. Our vision is for this to be a place that local people can call home too.”

Living Ventures opens Alchemist site in Liverpool: Living Ventures has opened a site of its Alchemist cocktail bar brand in Liverpool. The company has opened the venue in the old Noble House in Brunswick Street. It has an open kitchen as well as a long feature bar where guests can watch the mixologists at work making the cocktails. Managing director of The Alchemist Simon Potts told the Liverpool Echo: “We are bringing our special brand of craftsmanship, exploration and innovation to the site in Brunswick Street and have designed the space so it respects the history of the building and surrounding area. This is a fantastic part of the city and the perfect place to launch our exciting expansion plans for the year ahead.” The standalone business under Living Ventures’ umbrella operates five other UK sites, with two in Leeds and Manchester, and one in London. It is also opening in Birmingham and Newcastle while work has also started on its first “suburban” site in the village of Alderley Edge, Cheshire.
New Australian-themed restaurant concept opens in Cardiff: A new Australian-themed restaurant concept has opened in Cardiff. Ciprian Craciunescu has launched The Outback in Cowbridge Road East. It serves exotic meat such as crocodile and kangaroo, as well as homemade cocktails. The menu also includes ostrich meat, venison and wild boar burgers, alongside barramundi fish and scallops, native damper bread, and Australian-style barbecue and kakadu plum sauces. Craciunescu has used his travels in Australia and New Zealand and nine years’ experience as a chef to craft his menu. He told Wales Online: “The whole concept of The Outback is a mix between Australian contemporary cuisine and native bush food, with hints of British and Italian cuisine, blended in a 100% fine dining adventure. We even imported Australian mountain peppercorns and salt flakes so we can make the place 100% authentic. And all our wines are Australian!”
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, will reveal 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 bar and nightclub operators face 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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