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Tue 16th Aug 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Pret A Manger US sales go through £100m mark, losses narrow: Pret A Manger sales in the US, where it has 65 sites and first opened 15 years ago, rose by 30.8% to £115,288,000 in the year ended 31 December 2015 – sales were £88,145,000 the year before. Like-for-like sales rose by 6.1%. The performance in 2015 followed a year in which total sales rose by a more modest 12.5% and like-for-likes were up 7.8%. The company opened four new sites in New York in the year and one in Boston. Gross profit margin rose 61.1% from 60.4% the year before. Ebitda hit £4,573,000, compared with a modest £411 the year before. There was an operating loss of £2,954,000, compared with £7,007,000 the year before. Losses before tax were £3,560,000, down from £7,442,000 the year before. Shareholders deficit for the US operation stands at £31m and the company owes £52.1m to its parent company, Pret A Manger (Europe). Talking about lessons learned in the US market, Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said earlier this year: “Americans like it their way and we had to build self-serve coffee stations so our customers could get exactly the kind of hot drink they wanted. It’s the same with salad dressings. Americans want to choose their own from a large range (including olive oil), whereas Brits are happy to let Pret decide the dressing and include it in the salad box. The key for Pret is to offer proven recipes with customisation at the edges. This means we keep our speed but allow customers valuable tweaks. Whenever we try to restrict choice in the US we run into trouble. For example, three years ago we took the number of our soup sizes down from two to one. Disaster! We are now back to two sizes and in Chicago we offer six varieties of soup every day – twice as many as we do in Britain. The average number of products sold per transaction is 30% higher in the US than in the UK. This is because US customers love to mix-and-match side items such as soups, protein pots and single sandwiches. Our little protein pots were actually developed for a Pret close to a gym in New York and imported to our UK shops in early 2014.”

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 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 Las Vegas study tour bookings more than half-full: Propel and the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) are heading to Las Vegas for their next study tour, and bookings are already more than half-full. 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.

Swedish-based mobile cafe franchise co-founded by unsuccessful Starbucks job applicant closes crowdfunding campaign after raising more than four times €180,000 target: A Swedish-based “mobile cafe” franchise concept, which was set up after one of its co-founders was unsuccessful in getting a job with Starbucks, has closed its crowdfunding campaign having raised more than four times its €180,000 target. Wheelys Cafe was launched by Maria De La Croix – along with Per Cromwell and Tomas Mazetti – after she was inspired to sell her own coffee after she failed to get a job as a barista with Starbucks in Sweden. Wheelys Cafe was offering 2% of the company’s shares via the FundedByMe crowdfunding platform in return for the investment at a price of €759.49 per share. It has now closed the campaign, with 167 investors having pledged €739,746. The company said the purpose of the fund-raise was to give owners of Wheelys cafes a chance to buy a piece of Wheelys and be closer invested in its overall business and vision. The company currently supplies the solar-powered bike cafes to 250 franchisees in nearly 50 countries. Franchisees, known as “Wheelers”, have to sell the company’s own coffee sourced from Indonesia and South America but are free to offer secondary varieties of their own choosing along with pastries, snacks, fruit and magazines – it’s up to each individual seller and local regulations. The pitch stated: “To open a traditional cafe often costs more than $600,000 plus rent, electricity and other utilities. A Wheelys cafe does not cost $600,000, but $6,000. This opens the market to millions of passionate young entrepreneurs. A Wheelys is also carbon neutral, and while a traditional cafe is really hard to move around, a Wheelys can be at the train station in the morning and the football stadium in the evening.”

Deliveroo chief apologises for pay structure misunderstandings: Deliveroo chief executive William Shu has apologised for allowing a pay dispute with his riders to escalate. Deliveroo has been at odds with its London couriers over the trial of a contract that pays them for each delivery instead of an hourly rate, prompting hundreds of riders to stage a protest at the weekend. Riders said they used to get £7 per hour with a £1 commission for delivery but the new scheme only paid £3.75 per delivery. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy made a statement on Saturday, which stated that workers must be paid the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour unless a court or HMRC ruled they were self-employed. Deliveroo said the new plan was a trial and only applied to 280 of its 3,000 riders in London. Shu told the BBC’s Today programme: “I’m very sorry things have got to this point. Our riders are the lifeblood of our business and without them we are nothing. If the riders choose to be on a new scheme, that’s great. If riders feel like it’s not for them, they can choose to work on the old scheme as well.”   

Greater London has most hotel rooms under construction in Europe: Greater London had the most hotel rooms under construction in Europe during July, a new report has revealed. The region had 5,400 rooms in 32 hotels under construction, according to STR’s July 2016 pipeline study. Three other markets reported more than 2,000 rooms in construction – Istanbul (4,192 rooms in 24 hotels); Moscow (3,632 rooms in 15 hotels); and Greater Berlin (2,467 rooms in seven hotels). The report showed there were 148,483 rooms in 966 hotels in Europe under contract in Europe – a 13.0% increase on the previous year. Meanwhile, there were 63,353 rooms in 424 hotels in construction – up 18.4% on the year before. Under contract data includes projects in the “in construction”, “final planning” and “planning” stages but does not include projects in the “unconfirmed” stage.

Company News:

Social enterprise sandwich shop chain Social Bite partners with Edinburgh restaurant operator for new venture: Sandwich shop chain Social Bite, which employs people who have been homeless, is to open a new restaurant venture in Edinburgh in partnership with a city operator. Social Bite has teamed up with Dean Gassabi, who owns restaurant brand Maison Bleue, to launch Home in the West End. The restaurant is due to open in mid-September and will serve French-Scottish cuisine. Michelin-starred chef Martin Wishart will create monthly specials and take to the kitchen himself once a quarter. Home will also provide training and employment programmes for members of the Social Bite Academy – the charity’s four-year course for homeless people – and the restaurant will open for a special service for the homeless every Monday afternoon. Social Bite founder Josh Littlejohn told the Press Association: “We see this restaurant as the next evolution of the Social Bite concept. It’s a place where diners can come for an amazing dining experience but also support some of the most vulnerable people in our society at the same time.” Gassabi, who operates two Maison Bleue sites in the city, added: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Josh and the team at Social Bite on this exciting new venture. The idea of making a big difference in the community is something of big appeal to me and all my team here, and we look forward to welcoming diners next month.”

Euphorium Bakery founder set to launch Carve cashless concept in central London this week: Euphorium Bakery founder Daniel Bear and hospitality finance director Atif Amin (Chilango, Hakkasan, Ping Pong) are set to launch a fast casual and cashless modern carvery concept in Tooley Street, London, this week. Carve will serve high-protein “carvepots”, with fish, meat and vegetarian options hand-carved on customer-facing podiums and served with spices, rice, relishes and roots. Diners can tap, grab and go in seconds courtesy of a one-step, one-price ordering and cashless payment system. Patrons complete their transactions in advance then help themselves to a drink, a “carvepot” from the self-service system, a roll and a sauce to eat-in or take away. Bear said: “Carve is food for the way we like to eat – high protein, fresh, fast, guilt-free food. We’re focused on food not service, we put our money into ingredients and hand-carve everything in full view. Cash-free payment and one price ensures an efficient customer journey and we are confident this will be embraced by increasingly health-conscious, time-poor Londoners.” Bear said the aim was to have 30 Carve sites in London in the next three to five years. 

Punch partners Heineken for its biggest free pint giveaway ever: Punch is partnering Heineken for its biggest free pint promotion ever – with up to 900 pubs taking part and 80,000 pints available to give away. The offer runs from Monday (15 August) to Sunday, 28 August. It is open to all Punch licensees who sell Heineken brands Strongbow Original, John Smith’s Extra Smooth, and Kronenbourg 1664, with the aim of helping to build their businesses and encourage footfall. Customers can redeem their free pint via a simple, step-by-step process at, signing up and receiving an email with following instructions. Once a customer has received their free drink voucher they can redeem it at a participating Punch pub (one pint of Strongbow Original, John Smith’s Extra Smooth or Kronenbourg 1664 per customer). Punch category manager Stephen Martin said: “We are pleased to announce our second free-pint promotion for 2016, following on from our hugely successful offer in May, where more than 13,000 pints were redeemed across 850 pubs. This promotion is clearly a useful tool for publicans to reach out to their communities and encourage new customers into the pubs, with 99% of publicans surveyed who took part in the previous free promotion saying they would be willing to take part in a similar activity. Also, of those surveyed, 61% said they found new customers came to their pub thanks to the promotion.”

Jimmy Del Giudice becomes chief operations officer at Revolution: Revolution Bars Group has appointed Jimmy Del Giudice as its new chief operations officer. He will start his new role at Revolution following 25 years of commitment to the company. Having joined in 1991 as a general manager, he was part of the team that launched the original Manchester Revolution in 1996. As a key member of the executive team, he was integral in developing and managing the recruitment, training and opening processes for all new bars. As Revolution continued to grow, he became an area manager while continuing to handle the launch of new bars. As the Revolution brand underwent its extensive brand evolution, Del Guidice and other senior members of the Revolution team travelled the world to find inspiration. He said: “I’m really proud to be recognised for my hard work and dedication to Revolution over the past 25 years. Revolution as a brand may be more than 20 years old but it is still current, exciting and constantly evolving, and so it is a brand I love working for. As chief operations officer, I want to ensure we continue to keep on top of the trends and constantly evolve our brands. Everyone I work with is so passionate about Revolution. I want to say thanks to all the team at Revolution for all of their support over the last 25 years and to Mark McQuater for allowing us to continue to develop innovative ideas to ensure the business is always moving forward.” Mark McQuater, chief executive of Revolution Bars Group, said: “Jimmy has been a valued member of the Revolution team for 25 years and has achieved incredible results for both of our brands. In particular, Jimmy was instrumental to the development of the Revolución de Cuba brand. We thought it was only right to recognise his hard work and loyalty with this new role.”

Marston’s premium division Revere to start roll-out of Lost & Found concept this week: Marston’s premium division Revere Pub Company will begin roll-out of its Lost & Found concept by opening a second site, this time in Leeds. The new “botanical hideaway” will open in Greek Street at a former La Tasca site on Friday (19 August). It will be set across two floors, with a main dining room on the ground floor and an antique library wall and dedicated cocktail bar downstairs. The decor will feature quirky ornaments, antiques and collectables, with the aim of “bringing back some of the glamour of bygone eras”. Signature “Lost” cocktails offer a twist on forgotten drinks of the past such as The Kraken’s Kaipirissima – a mix between a Caipirinha and a Dark and Stormy – while the “Found” cocktails have been created by the bar team. The restaurant, which will offer sourdough pizzas, steak cooked on a Josper charcoal oven and Sunday roasts, features leather banquettes and floral upholstery, contrasting with the cocktail bar’s secluded feel. Revere launched The Lost & Found concept in Birmingham in 2012 and will open a third venue next month in Knutsford. Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler told the Yorkshire Post: “We are in discussions about further locations and believe 2016 and 2017 will be transformational for Revere.”

Scottish brewer Six Degrees North to open fourth bar, first in Edinburgh: Scottish brewer Six Degrees North is set to open a bar in Edinburgh next month, which will be its fourth site in Scotland. The news comes as the business, founded in 2013 in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, said it expected sales to double during the course of the year – with up to £1m in turnover and selling 250,000 litres of beer. Founder Robert Lindsay said: “Between our Aberdeen bar and the few people we distribute to we quickly ran out of capacity at our brewery. About a year ago we moved to our new site and expanded tenfold. In that intervening year we have been able to triple our output and that’s allowed us to open two new venues – one in Glasgow, which opened in April, and the one coming to Edinburgh.” Lindsay added: “We’re relatively minimalist, there’s a bit of steel working and Scandinavian elements but we like each property to speak for itself.” The new venue is set to open in Howe Street in early September, shortly after the Edinburgh Festival. Six Degrees North also operates a restaurant and bar at its Stonehaven brewery.

Fine Leisure set to open fifth Dexters Alehouse and Kitchen at end of August: Fine Leisure is to open its fifth Dexters Alehouse and Kitchen at the end of this month. The company has added the Golden Fleece in Louth to its estate and will reopen the venue at the end of August. Director David Butler said: “We are very selective over where we open our traditional-style pubs – they have to be in the right places for our brand. Louth is a thriving and bustling market town and we just love it. We know with its location in Louth, the pub will do well. Our newest Dexters in Brigg and Lincoln opened just months ago and are thriving. All our Alehouses are quite different but they all have the same philosophy – offering quality and fresh produce. We promote Lincolnshire produce with our beef solely sourced from our butcher in Lincoln. Our traditional ales include some Lincolnshire companies, including a Horncastle-based brewery.”

Lancashire pub operators take on Moorhouse’s site for second venue: Lancashire-based pub operators Andrew and Andrea Duxbury have taken on their second site in the county. The couple, who run the Cross Gaites Inn in Blacko, have taken over the Rising Sun pub in the village, which is owned by brewery Moorhouse’s. The pub in Gisburn Road has been revamped and relaunched following a short closure. The couple said they plan to rebuild the Rising Sun as a “venue for locals and visitors”, offering traditional English food. Andrew Duxbury told Pendle Today: “We know the village well and feel it deserves two good pubs. We look forward to working with Moorhouse’s, a well-respected local brewery, which has been very supportive to us in our work to relaunch.” Moorhouse’s financial controller Nigel Ramsey added: “We warmly welcome Andrew and Andrea as new tenants at the Rising Sun, which is a real gem in our small pub estate. With their experience, we are confident they will do a great job in re-establishing the pub as part of the fabric of village life, while also giving a very warm welcome to people visiting the beautiful Pendle countryside.”

Insomnia Coffee opens first north east site at new £3m Grimsby service station: Irish coffee company Insomnia has opened its first site in the north east – at a new £3m service station in Grimsby. The company, which opened its first store in a Galway bookshop in 1997, now operates more than 90 company-owned stores in Ireland as well as franchised outlets and partnerships with brands including Spar, Eason books, Meadows and Byrne, and Heatons. Its venue at Laceby Lodge Services is its sixth site in the UK. The services also feature Subway and Greggs venues and is on the site of a former Little Chef restaurant that closed 20 years ago. Construction work began last November and 40 to 50 full and part-time jobs have been created by the opening. Mark Paddison, area manager for provider AF Blakemore, told the Grimsby Telegraph he was confident the services would prove popular with residents and visitors to north east Lincolnshire. Insomnia’s other UK sites are in Bradford, Formby, Hope Valley in Derbyshire, Market Harborough, and Rugby.

Marston’s and Whitbread win provisional licences in Kirkcaldy: Fife Licensing Board has granted provisional licences for proposed adjoining developments by Marston’s and Whitbread. The sites are within the Fife Council-backed John Smith Business Park on the edge of Kirkcaldy. The first licence was for a new-build, 150-cover Marston’s pub restaurant, due to open in late 2017. The second on adjacent land was for a separate 60-bedroom Premier Inn with Thyme Restaurant. John Gaunt appeared on both applications.

YO! Sushi opens Bournemouth site: YO! Sushi has opened its latest restaurant, this time in Bournemouth. The new venue is at the former La Senza store site in Old Christchurch Road and will open from 9am until 10.30pm, Mondays to Saturdays, and until 10pm on Sundays. A company spokesman told the Daily Echo: “We are so excited to bring the unique colour, freshness and taste of Tokyo to Bournemouth. YO! has been disrupting the apple cart for almost 20 years, and now we can bring our youthful spirit and delicious food to Bournemouth!” The move follows YO! Sushi’s recent disposal of two sites in central London – in Soho and Piccadilly Circus – to Lebanese concept Comptoir Libanais, owned by Levant Restaurants Group. YO! Sushi, founded by Simon Woodroffe in 1997 and led by Robin Rowland, was the first restaurant to bring the concept of a Japanese “kaiten” sushi bar that delivers food via a conveyor belt to the UK. It has grown to a 92-strong group of restaurants worldwide, including more than 70 in the UK.

New Italian cafe, bakery and deli concept set to open in Chiswick this month: A new Italian cafe, bakery and deli concept is set to open in Chiswick, west London. The Italians will launch in Chiswick High Road this month, offering cold meat, cheese and wine and featuring its own bakery and cafe. Manager Daniel Fabbro told the owners spent two years searching Italy for the best producers of everything from wine and cheese to olive oil and cured meat. Initially the cafe will serve cold food, such as cheese and meat platters, and customers will be able to select a wine to drink with their meal. All bread will be baked on-site. One of the investors is a businessman who has similar food and wine shops in Prague and Italy, Fabbro said. He added they had decided to base the business in Chiswick because it seemed “west London really needed an Italian shop selling top-quality produce” and they hoped to build a customer base that extended outside the immediate area.

Welsh pub restaurant company BrewStone to open second site, in Penarth: Welsh pub restaurant company BrewStone is set to start expansion by opening its second site, in Penarth. The company, which launched in the Uplands area of Swansea in 2014, is opening the new venue in Windsor Road on the site of a former Blockbuster store. Owners Bruno Nunes and Mike Griffiths are currently converting the site, which is expected to open by the second quarter of 2017. BrewStone specialises in wood-fired cuisine, artisan coffee, wine and craft beer. Nunes said the success of BrewStone was founded on “great people, quality products and the perfect place”. He told Wales Online they chose Penarth because it had a similar feel to Uplands.

Leeds-based Greek restaurant concept set to expand by opening second site, in Harrogate: Leeds-based Greek restaurant and bar concept Souvlaki is set to start expansion by opening its second site, in Harrogate. Souvlaki has applied to Harrogate Borough Council for a premises licence at the site of the Bib & Tucker cafe in Station Square. It wants to play live and recorded music and sell alcohol from Sunday to Thursday until midnight and 1am Friday and Saturday only, reports the Harrogate Advertiser. Souvlaki, which offers traditional Greek and Cypriot dishes with Mediterranean-style music, launched in Great George Street, Leeds, in 2014.

Muffin Break introduces new healthy menu options at hospital cafe sites in London: Bakery chain Muffin Break has introduced healthier menu options at its cafes in University Hospital Lewisham and Whittington Hospital, both in London. The company has added the new items following the government’s decision earlier this year to impose a 20% “sugar tax” in hospital cafes by 2020. The new options include four different salads, and a smoked salmon, hummus and olive wrap. Muffin Break will also change its point-of-sale strategy by removing cookies and crisps from the till points and replacing them with bowls of fruit and a new porridge option. Muffin Break general manager Lisa Brook said: “We have long been committed to expanding our product portfolio and providing our customers with more healthy alternatives and the NHS move has strengthened our resolve. Our strategy in Lewisham and Whittington has been reviewed and we are already making positive changes to encourage visitors to consider healthier options as impulse buys at the tills. Our changes are just the beginning and we plan to roll-out further positive strategies in the near future. All of our stores, including our hospital stores, serve freshly baked goods using high quality ingredients, which are made by our in-store bakers every morning. We pride ourselves on the food we serve and continue to improve our dining experience to respond to changing consumer needs.”

Polpo opens first south west site, in Bristol: London-based restaurant company Polpo has opened its first site in the south west, in Bristol. The new 60-cover restaurant, in Whiteladies Road, Clifton, on the former site of Greek restaurant Entelia, also has space for 12 diners outside. Polpo co-owner Russell Norman told the Bristol Post: “I often wonder how differently my life would have turned out had I got into Bristol University in 1985. Instead, I flunked A-level French and ended up at Sunderland Polytechnic. Bristol still holds a magic and fascination for me. It is a wonderful city full of beauty, culture and charm, and we are extremely lucky to have found a site for Polpo in Whiteladies Road.” Polpo opened its first site outside London in December 2015 in Brighton, and managing director Luke Bishop told Propel the company was targeting six openings in 2016. It has since opened a site in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge, and Harvey Nichols, Leeds. The Bristol opening takes the estate size to 13. Bishop said the company was looking for sites in “classic, regional, high-quality towns and cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Guildford”.

Actor Dominic West to convert Irish castle into boutique hotel: TV and film actor Dominic West and his family are to convert a castle in Limerick, Ireland, into a boutique hotel. The 700-year-old Glin Castle, the ancestral home of West’s wife Catherine Fitzgerald, was on sale for £5.5m – but the family changed their minds. “Selling up was absolutely heart-breaking for all of us, especially my mother-in-law and my wife. Luckily we’re reopening it as a hotel, all going well, some time next year,” said West. “I’m going to manage it. I want to be in charge or as much as my schedule will allow. Obviously there will be someone in place far more experienced and qualified than I coping with the day-to-day. But we want to be there. We’re going to be heavily involved. That’s why we’re moving home to Ireland. We spend a large amount of time there already. It is, for all intents and purposes, home for us.” The castle has previously been rented out in its entirety to clients including Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Talitha Getty.

Krispy Kreme to make Norfolk debut on 2 September: Krispy Kreme will make its Norfolk debut when it opens its Norwich outlet in Chapelfield Shopping Centre on Friday, 2 September. The nearest Krispy Kreme site is in Cambridge. Krispy Kreme chief marketing officer Judith Denby said of the new Norwich store: “We are extremely excited to be bringing the joy of Krispy Kreme to Norwich.” Krispy Kreme reported that pre-tax profit surged to £7,274,000 in the UK in the year to 1 February 2015, up from £3,166,000 the year before. Turnover was stable at £52,192,000, compared with £52,393,000 the year before – store numbers were static at 50. Adjusted Ebitda before exceptional costs was £10,281,000 (19.7% of sales), compared with £9,419,000 (18% of sales) in the previous year. In March this year, it was reported that Alcuin Capital Partners, which has owned Krispy Kreme UK since 2011, has appointed Investec, the investment bank, to oversee the flotation. Sources suggested the float is likely to take place later this year. Alcuin acquired a stake in Krispy Kreme UK, the maker of glazed doughnuts, as part of a management buyout in 2011.

Derbyshire-based operators to open second site, featuring underground restaurant: Derbyshire-based operators Barry and Karen Johnson are to open their second site in November, which will feature an underground restaurant. The Johnsons, who own The White Hart Inn in Moorwood Moor, near Alfreton, are converting The Horse and Jockey in Wessington into a country inn hotel, creating 45 jobs. The restoration will include a new underground restaurant, a ground-floor restaurant, a pub room for sports and live music, and 14 bedrooms. The White Hart Inn general manager Luke Richards told the Derby Telegraph: “This new site was a small, old country pub, which was in poor condition. The new venue will be a lot bigger. At one time the restaurant will probably be able to host about 180 people and our menu will be a fresh, gastro-pub style. The underground restaurant will be a one of its kind. I don’t believe there’s anything like it elsewhere. It’s got booths built into the walls. It’s really impressive. The 14 bedrooms will be a selection of deluxe suites, doubles and twin rooms. It will be very similar to our other venue, The White Hart Inn, with rustic furniture.”

West London-based aparthotel operator lodges plans for third site, in Chiswick: West London-based aparthotel operator Lamington UK has lodged plans to open its third site, in Chiswick. The company has applied to Hounslow Council to build the 78-bedroom hotel in Windmill Road. It proposes to demolish a building so it can construct the four-storey aparthotel. Lamington UK managing director Robert Godwin said the Chiswick development was a natural expansion of the business that had, until now, been mainly based in nearby Hammersmith. He told “Once built, it will help fulfil the need for more quality overnight accommodation in the area and generate new jobs and apprenticeships. It will also bring inward investment through guests using local shops, restaurants and services.” Lamington UK’s other sites are in Hammersmith and Brook Green.

Greenclose Hotel increases turnover, profit down: Greenclose Hotels, based in Lymington, Hampshire, which owns The Montagu Arms Hotel and Careys Manor & SenSpa, both in the New Forest, has reported turnover of £14.2m on the year ended 31 October 2015, up from £13.3m a year earlier. Pre-tax profits fell to £1m from £1.34m the year before due to an increase in administrative expenses. The Montagu Arms is a historic 17th century country house hotel with 22 rooms, conference facilities for up to 60 delegates, and capacity for wedding receptions of about 100 guests. The hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant. Greenclose also owns and operates The Imperial Hotel in Llandudno, North Wales. In the strategic report accompanying the accounts, the business said: “We continue to invest in the facilities of the hotels in order to maintain and enhance the product with the aim of exceeding our customer expectations. The directors consider such investment to be integral to the continued success of the hotels. We remain well positioned within our market sectors and are confident in the continuing profitability of the hotels.”

William Hill rejects fresh takeover bid from Rank Group and 888 Holdings: William Hill has rejected a fresh takeover bid by Rank Group and 888 Holdings. Under the offer, William Hill’s shareholders would get a 48.8% share of a combined gambling group, up from 44.6% under last week’s proposal. Rank and 888 Holdings have proposed a three-way deal to create a £4.5bn gambling giant called BidCo, which William Hill’s board has unanimously rejected for a second time, saying it was too complicated and “substantially undervalues” the company. The improved cash-and-shares offer from Rank, which owns Grosvenor casinos and Mecca bingo halls, and online gambling company 888, values the bookies at £3.52 per share, up from £3.39 last week. Rank and 888 have proposed paying William Hill investors 199p in cash and 0.860 BidCo shares for every share they held in the company. William Hill chairman Gareth Davis said: “[The offer] does not enhance the strategic positioning of William Hill. This revised proposal continues to substantially undervalue the company and the cash element of the proposal has not changed.”

Huddersfield-based multi-siter submits plans for new wine bar in town, fourth venue in total: Huddersfield-based multi-site operator Mark Robertson has submitted plans to open a new wine bar in the town – his fourth venue. Robertson has applied to Kirklees Council to convert the former Armitage Sykes solicitors in Macaulay Street, which is next door to his real ale pub the Plumbers Arms. He wants to transform the grade II-listed building to house a wine bar on the ground floor with bedrooms on the first and second floors, reports the Huddersfield Examiner. The application stated: “We feel our proposals are the best way forward for the building to preserve its long-term future as a viable business. The alterations we are proposing are justifiable within this scheme and do not have a negative impact on the heritage asset of the building and adjacent street scene.” Robertson also owns The Waterloo pub in Huddersfield and the Waggon and Horses in nearby Outlane.

Former DJ to open new bar concept in Nuneaton on Friday: A new bar concept is set to open in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, on Friday (19 August). Adam Presdee is launching Saints No More in Newdegate Street on the site of the former Saints bar, which closed in March. Presdee, a former DJ, said the bar would have “good music, great drinks and a real alternative for people who are bored with the current scene”. He told Nuneaton News: “Nuneaton’s nightlife needs revitalising as it’s a growing town but its nightlife does not reflect that. We already have a great nightclub in the town but no real alternative and the pub and bar occupancy has been shrinking.” Presdee said he chose the name as a play on both Saints bar’s demise and its change of ethos. “It’s not about pizza and daytimes anymore,” he added. “It’s about dancing, drinking and socialising.”

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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