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Thu 1st Sep 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Third of Brits with smartphones using mobile payments, reservations over security, more likely to use if offered rewards: A third (34%) of Brits with a smartphone have made a mobile payment in the past 12 months with 17% using them to pay in a shop or restaurant, new research from Mintel has revealed. However, the majority of Brits still hold concerns over the security of their data when making a mobile payment. More than three quarters (77%) of Brits said they would be concerned about the security of their data if their phone was lost or stolen. Similarly, 76% said they were concerned about the risk that hackers might be able to make fraudulent transactions. Aside from security, the majority of consumers were also concerned over the reliability and usability of mobile payments. More than half (56%) of Brits said they would be concerned about being unable to access a clear digital record or receipt for the payments they’ve made, while 54% were concerned about being unable to pay for anything if their phone runs out of battery. Meanwhile, 51% of those who own a smartphone, tablet or wearable device thought it was more convenient to pay for things using other payment methods rather than a smartphone. More than two in five (46%) said they would be more likely to pay for things using their smartphone if they were offered rewards. Cheques (31%) are now the least likely method Brits choose to part with their money, behind contactless debit cards (39%) and contactless credit cards (34%). The research indicated more than half (54%) of Brits were not comfortable about the potential for a completely cashless society, rising to three in five (61%) of those over the age of 45 and 68% of those over the age of 65. 97% of Brits have used cash in the three months to April, making this the most common payment method. Rich Shepherd, financial services analyst at Mintel, said: “The recent growth of contactless card usage and the widespread availability of contactless terminals mean that mobile payments should face less resistance from consumers than contactless cards did. However, the fact that contactless payments took nearly a decade to become a mainstream payment method suggests that mobile services will go through a similarly extended journey to widespread use. Our research suggests that promoting the convenience of mobile payments isn’t enough and that consumers are more likely to respond to incentives in the form of rewards. Additionally, transforming mobile payment services into more than just point-of-sale transaction methods is another opportunity to increase their appeal and usage.”

Industry News:

Propel Multi Club Conference in November open for bookings, free places for operators, Professor Chris Edger to present: The last Propel Multi Club Conference of 2016 is now open for bookings. It takes place on Thursday, 3 November at Congress Hall, London. Professor Chris Edger, the UK’s leading author on multi-site brand management and leadership, will present on material from his forthcoming book written in partnership with Tony Hughes, eMotion – “How leaders mobilise positive feelings in super-performing teams” – to outline the “ten Moment of Emotional Truth” of leadership that separates the best from the rest. Pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele on or calling her on 01444 817691.
Host of companies sign up for Professor Chris Muller’s Multi-Site Management Masterclass: A host of companies and brands have signed up for this month’s Multi-Site Management Masterclass led by Professor Chris Muller. They include Benito’s Hat, McMullens, Bone Daddies, Young’s, Le Bistrot Pierre, Castle Rock, Grand Union, Soho Farmhouse, Jamie Oliver’s, PizzaExpress, Rarebreed Dining, Wright Brothers, Five Guys, Drake & Morgan, Bar Lorca, Anglian Country Inns, Bar Soba, Randall & Aubin, FrogPubs, Bru Brewery, Belgo and Cafe Rouge. The event takes place on Friday, 30 September at One Moorgate Place in London. 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
Fazenda founder warns rent hikes could push out smaller operators in north of England: The founder of restaurant brand Fazenda has warned while the industry across the north of England has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, smaller operators could begin to get pushed out of the market as rents spiral. Tomas Maunier, a director of City District, which owns the brand, said a number of new players have opened in places such as Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle as the dining market flourishes. But he believed new entrants to the market, particularly established London operators that are looking north, are driving rents higher. “These guys are coming and they’re paying crazy amounts of rent,” Maunier told Insider Media. “This means that landlords can put the rent to whatever price they want because they know there’s someone coming who will pay it. That is affecting the independent and smaller businesses from the north. There are sites that were previously about £120,000 a year and are now suddenly £220,000.” Fazenda’s owner City District is gearing up to open Bossa in Leeds, a Brazilian-style restaurant. The company already operates the Fazenda brand in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester. Maunier added: “I think a lot of people are opening restaurants without doing their homework and really trying to understand markets. But we see that dining out and leisure in Leeds has improved drastically in the past few years and we think it is the right market for us to launch this new product.” 
Fabric boss – ‘shutting us down would be the beginning of the end for clubbing in London’, proposes new ‘gold standard’ initiative: The boss of threatened superclub Fabric has pleaded for a reprieve, claiming a move to shut it after two recent drug-related deaths “would be the beginning of the end for clubbing in London”. Co-founder Cameron Leslie made his appeal ahead of next week’s review of Fabric’s licence sparked by the deaths of two 18-year-old clubbers. The 2,500-capacity venue has had four other deaths from drugs since 2011. Police reports submitted for the review by Islington Council said the Farringdon club is now a “safe haven” for illegal drug use amid “management failings” – and predicted more tragedies if there was not major changes. However, Leslie said he was prepared to “lead the industry” by creating a new “gold standard” for safe clubbing in partnership with the police and licensing authorities. This would include a tougher search policy at the entrance, better training for staff to combat drug taking and dealing in clubs and setting up a working group with police and drugs awareness charity The Loop to establish new best practice guidelines. He told the Evening Standard: “Our customers’ safety has always been our number one priority. Any suggestion we are not 100% committed to tackling drugs here is completely false. We were pioneering in the way we worked closely with the council and police on opening 17 years ago. We established honest and transparent procedures never before seen, something we are incredibly proud of. Closing Fabric would be the beginning of the end for clubbing in London, which is already under threat.” More than 98,000 people have signed a petition asking London mayor Sadiq Khan and the council not to close the club.
CAMRA plans to list 200 pubs in Norfolk as Assets of Community Value: An ambitious plan for 200 pubs in Norfolk to become Assets of Community Value (ACV) has taken a step closer after nominations to list every pub in Costessey were lodged. The Norwich and Norfolk Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) branch and South Norfolk Council have rolled out a new initiative to list pubs in the area on the scheme before it becomes a reactive measure. Nominations for all four pubs in Costessey – The Copper Beech, The Crown, The Bush and Harte of Costessey – have now been approved by the town council to be ACVs despite no imminent risk of closure. Kerrie Gallagher, community capacity manager at South Norfolk Council, said: “Nominating pubs in a more structured way is actually a lot more sensitive for the pubs, and they can feel like they are something valued within their community. I am in the process of rewriting our guidance and support around ACVs, and this saves officer time and taxpayers’ money. Hopefully CAMRA will register all pubs in south Norfolk – just under 100 – as ACVs.” Other nominations pending include the Cock Inn at Lakenham, White Lodge in Attleborough, Queens Head in Hethersett and the White Hart in Hingham. Rob Whitmore, secretary of Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA branch, said the ultimate aim was to register all of the 584 pubs in the region. “We have set a target of 200 pubs in 2016 and will be getting in further nominations by the back end of the year,” he said. “South Norfolk Council is embracing the idea of community pubs and this is certainly a different approach within our branch – if a pub is there it deserves saving. Ultimately the aim is to get all pubs within our patch listed.” Already 42 pubs in the Norwich and Norfolk CAMRA area are listed and 21 nominations are pending. 28 more are being considered in south Norfolk and 20 in the West Anglia region.

Company News:

Zizzi to close Chester restaurant: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi is to close its restaurant in Chester. The company has confirmed the site in Newgate Street will shut on Saturday (3 September). It posted on the restaurant’s Twitter account: “With sadness I have to say that Zizzi Chester is closing its doors this Saturday afternoon. Thank you to all our loyal customers.” Chester MP Chris Matheson recently expressed his concerns about the number of chain restaurants coming to the city. He told the Chester Chronicle: “We can’t chuck all our eggs in one basket or the basket will break. National planning policy needs to be changed so that councils can take account of an overbalance of one type to try and bring balance back to the local economy but the problem is that’s considered to be anti-competitive.” Zizzi has about 140 restaurants across the UK.
Wagamama appeals refusal decision in Reigate: Wagamama is appealing against a council decision to refuse it permission to open a branch in Reigate, Surrey. The Asian food chain wanted to convert the former Edward Dean bathroom and kitchen store in Bell Street into a restaurant. But at a planning committee meeting in April, Reigate and Banstead borough councillors refused to grant permission, citing the loss of retail space in Reigate town centre. Now the company is appealing the decision. A planning statement sent to the authority by agent JLL on behalf of Wagamama said: “We are of the view that there are numerous benefits associated with the proposal, including it will bring a vacant unit back into use providing a boost to the local economy; it will support and enhance the town centre’s retail offer; it will create a new, high quality, healthy food restaurant facility on a prominent corner site, encouraging footfall throughout the day and evening into a quiet part of the town centre. The proposal will positively add to the vitality and vibrancy of Reigate’s town centre.” It added about 40 jobs would be created if the proposal was approved.
Islington-based cafe company Temptations launches £600,000 crowdfunding campaign for two new central London sites, aims to open 11 outlets in next five years: Islington-based cafe company Temptations have launched a £600,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to open two new sites in central London. The company, founded by former All Star Lanes chief financial officer Graham Harris and ex-Bradford Property Trust chief executive Tim Watts, is offering a 25% equity stake in return for the investment and is aiming to open 11 new outlets in the next five years. Its current cafes in Clerkenwell and Highbury Corner have served about 250,000 customers in the past year. Harris said: “We are very excited to be offering our loyal customer base the opportunity to invest alongside Seedrs investors, giving them a unique opportunity to play a part in our future growth. Our campaign is a natural progression for the brand, and we plan to use the funds to facilitate our expansion plans across London and become a household name.” The pitch states: “We offer a mix of breakfast and lunch snacks appealing to the contemporary tastes, lifestyles and nutritional expectations of our local markets. We also offer an online ordering system, which allows you to completely customise your lunch. You can choose exactly what goes in to your salad or sandwich. This also allows us to cater to any specific dietary requirements. In order to fund our growth strategy, we are seeking an investment of £600,000. The investment will mainly be used to fund new openings, as well as to focus on developing our brand, and ensuring that our existing shops fit with our future strategy. We plan to open about two new shops a year over the next five years. Each new shop costs circa £300,000 to open. This would fund the capital expenses, as well as working capital. We would use the proceeds to fund two new openings, whilst allowing us to reinvest cash generated from the existing sites back in to the business to fund some brand development. Future sites would then be funded from free cash and a modest amount of debt.” The company is issuing three new investor rewards cards based upon the level of investment on Seedrs. An orange card will be awarded for investments of £1,000, a platinum card for £5,000 and a black card for those investing more than £10,000. Each card will be pre-loaded with points.
ASK Italian signs deal to open restaurant at £85m Eastbourne shopping centre extension: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has signed an agreement to open a site in Eastbourne, East Sussex. The company has agreed a deal to open the venue in the new £85m extension at the Arndale shopping centre with the complex’s owner Legal & General. A spokesman told the Eastbourne Herald: “The restaurant will be situated on the first floor of the 170,000 square foot scheme, alongside the entrance to the new nine-screen cinema that will be operated by Cineworld. ASK will join Nando’s, Byron, Frankie & Benny’s and Chiquito on the same floor while Wagamama and Carluccio’s will be located on the ground floor.” Work is now complete on the first £2m phase of the extension to create a contemporary glass atrium at the centre’s west entrance and upgrade nearby shop fronts and facades to be in keeping with the style of the new extension. ASK Italian has more than 110 sites in the UK and earlier this week revealed it would open three new restaurants this autumn – in Chelmsford, Milton Keynes and Newcastle.
Deltic Group to bring Przym and Steinbeck & Shaw brands to Plymouth with Oceana and WooWoo site conversions: Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, is to bring its Przym and Steinbeck & Shaw brands to Plymouth. The company will invest £850,000 converting its Oceana and WooWoo venues at Barbican Leisure Park into the new sites, which are due to open on Friday, 28 October, creating 50 jobs. Oceana will continue to trade until Saturday, 15 October when it will close to be replaced by Przym. At the heart of the new venue will be the main arena, showcasing the latest light and sound technology and frequently hosting international guest DJs and celebrities. This will be complemented by Curve – a more intimate room with DJs playing the latest R&B chart tracks. For customers wanting retro tunes, a disco room called Vinyl will feature a flashing dance floor and glitter balls. Meanwhile, WooWoo will shut on Saturday (3 September) whilst it undergoes its transformation into Steinbeck & Shaw. The Shoreditch-inspired bar will feature walls of graffiti art, skull imagery and modern sculptures. The bar will offer a range of freshly prepared cocktails and a premium drinks range of spirits, wines and craft beers whilst playing an eclectic mix of music. Groups and parties will be catered for in both venues with pre-bookable private booths all offering special packages and table service. Deltic Group has Pryzm sites in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Kingston-upon-Thames, Nottingham and Leeds and Steinbeck & Shaw bars in Bristol, Canterbury and Cardiff.
US research analyst – McDonald’s turnaround could be in trouble: US research analyst and investor Nik Cochran has argued the McDonald’s turnaround could be in trouble. He said: “Last quarter saw the McDonalds comeback stall somewhat. Revenue for the year is down 2% so far and 4% in the past quarter alone. The company has been growing locations in markets such as Asia, eastern Europe, and the Middle East. On top of the growth into new markets, the company has increased sales in its established markets. The problem is comparable sales growth has slowed this past quarter, going from 5.7% in the past quarter of 2015 to only 1.8% this past quarter. Some of the recent struggles can be attributed McDonald’s unfocused business model. In the end, McDonalds has several things going for it. The sheer size of the business gives it an advantage as labour costs begin to rise. The brand is one of the most recognisable in the world. Finally, its franchise business model takes much of the risk out of the equation. That said, the company has to take some steps in order to get back to the glory days. Getting back to what got them here and focusing on doing cheap food fast must be a priority, even if that means shrinking its menu. It will certainly face a headwind of an increasingly health conscious population but will have an opportunity to succeed if management is able to execute on these initiatives. As for an investment, don’t expect great returns over the next year, as growth is forecast to slow. With more than a 3% dividend, income investors may find the company attractive but for those looking for more growth I would sit this one out.”
Intertain launches new Walkabout menu: Intertain has launched a new menu at its Walkabout sites. The menu is designed to have a higher focus on lighter options, appealing to people who want to make considered food choices whilst dining out. The selection also works harder to capture the essence of modern-day Australian eating, with dishes such as sweet potato hummus and zucchini and calamari snackboards featuring alongside “Aussie heroes” such as chicken parmigiano and Walkabout’s famous “Roo Burger”. Surfboard platters will also be on offer, allowing parties and groups to share snacks from a body-board-shaped serving platter. In keeping with the theme, the menu’s design also features Aboriginal-inspired motifs and encourages food and drink matching as well as combination deals. The classic “Aussie Lunch” main and drink deal, which is designed to be with the customer in 15 minutes, will also be maintained. The new offering is being introduced initially at Walkabout’s newest and most recently refurbished bars, and will be rolled out across the rest of the estate as part of Intertain’s investment programme. The new menu will be launched alongside an Instagram campaign encouraging people to share pictures of their dining experience with the hashtag #walkiefoodie. Intertain customer experience manager Andrew Dean said: “This new menu represents a fantastic opportunity for us to increase food sales and become better known as a place to dine for lunch or as part of a night out.”
Bistrot Pierre secures Sutton Coldfield site: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre has added to its portfolio after securing a site in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands. The company, which received £9.8m from Livingbridge last year, will open the site in the £20m Mulberry Walk retail and leisure development in Mere Green next February. It will join Prezzo and Caffé Nero, which have already signed to be part of the 53,857 square foot scheme. Bistrot Pierre co-owner Rob Beacham said: “The opportunity to open in Mulberry Walk was an opportunity too good to miss. The bistrot will be a welcome addition to our growing portfolio across the UK as Mere Green benefits from major regeneration and is in a sought-after location; I’m confident it will be a popular choice for locals when it opens in early 2017.” Bistrot Pierre, which was founded by Beacham and John Whitehead in 1994, will open its 16th site in Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, next Friday (9 September). As well as Sutton Coldfield, it is also launching restaurants in Altrincham in November and Swansea next spring.

BrewDog to mark Ohio beer strength relaxation vote with special strong beer for investors: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to mark a vote in the Ohio legislature to scrap a law stopping beer being brewed that is stronger than 12% ABV by brewing a strong beer for its US investors. It stated: “31 August 2016 officially sees the lifting of the draconian legislation that previously made it illegal for breweries in Ohio to brew beer over 12% ABV. From this day forward, craft beer in the state has no limits. And we are going to mark that in the only way we know. Our first brew in BrewDog Columbus will be The End of History, for our US Equity Punks. We couldn’t think of a better way to thank our legion of new stateside supporters whilst at the same time celebrating the freedom the tireless campaigners in Ohio’s craft beer scene have helped secure. The End of History is our iconic 55% ABV Belgian-style ale brewed with nettles and juniper, so we are unleashing the full potential of our American brewkit right from the start, flipping two fingers at the defeated neo-prohibitionists at the same time. The End of History will be released as an exclusive beer for our Equity for Punks USA shareholders who invest more than $20,000.” 

Clockjack opens in Woolwich: Clockjack, the rotisserie and grill restaurant, has opened its new 1,500 square foot restaurant in Powis Street in Woolwich town centre, part of the Woolwich Arsenal Estate. Speaking on the behalf of the Woolwich Arsenal Estate, Gavin Rowlands, director at Nash Bond, said: “The opening of Clockjack is another step forward in the exciting regeneration of Powis Street and strengthens Woolwich as a prime London location. Interest in the area from restaurants and retailers continues to grow, with brands like Clockjack only enhancing Woolwich Arsenal Estate’s retail and leisure line-up.” Fraser Duncan, co-founder and executive director of Clockjack, added: “The first week of trading at Woolwich has been really strong and we feel at home already here. It is a great location, which thanks to the management of the area and the arrival of Crossrail is only going to evolve the destination and we are thrilled to be at the heart of it.” Clockjack joins Spanish artisan brand Granier Bakery Café, which launched its second site in the UK at Woolwich Arsenal Estates earlier in the year.
Punch predicts record turnout for roadshows: Punch is predicting a record number of licensees will attend its roadshows this year, the 13th year of the event. The focus this year is on how Punch can help existing publicans build their business and will include guidance on the impact of regulatory changes. There will also be information for people considering becoming a publican. It has more than 160 exhibitors. Punch anticipates that 2016’s attendance will exceed even that of the 2015 tour when 2,000 Punch publicans attended. Attendees cite meeting suppliers, gaining advice and accessing the free support as key reasons for visiting the event and Punch is using this information to make this year’s roadshows bigger and better than ever. Duncan Garrood, chief executive at Punch, said: “We are extremely proud of our roadshows and the support they offer both current and potential Punch publicans. Running a pub is exciting but sometimes unpredictable so the more advice and support we can offer, the more successful our publicans can be. The key purpose of hosting these eight roadshows across the country is to help publicans build their business through premiumisation and innovation, as well as showcase the breadth of support we offer and the first rate service that we strive to deliver. As well as the 85 stands to visit, visitors can also challenge one of the chasers from ITV’s popular gameshow or test their darts ability against previous world champion, Martin Adams. We look forward to welcoming publicans to our roadshows – hoping our 13th is the best yet!” Roadshow dates and locations are as follows: Tuesday, 20 September; Chester Racecourse, CH1 2LY; Thursday, 22 September; Severnside, Bristol, BS35 3XL; Tuesday, 27 September; Royal Highland Centre, Edinburgh, EH28 8NB; ]Thursday, 29 September; Leeds United FC, LS11 0ES; Tuesday, 4 October; Bolton Macron Stadium, BL6 6SF; Thursday, 6 October; Excel, London, E16 1DR; Tuesday, 11 October; Ricoh Arena, Coventry, CV6 6GE and Thursday, 13 October; Life Centre, Newcastle, NE1 4EP
Titanic and White Horse breweries launch ‘Luna Brew’ initiative: Shropshire-based brewer and retailer Titanic has collaborated with sister brewery White Horse to launch a “Luna Brew” initiative to help demystify the brewing process and promote responsible drinking in local community pubs. Members of the public can use their knowledge and taste buds to take the bold step into the brewery and create their own “Luna Brew”. Those who take the challenge are named “mashtronauts” and will have the opportunity to spend the day learning about the craft of brewing before putting it into practice. “Mashtronauts” will have their name inscribed on a new honours board in the Royal Blenheim, White Horse Brewery’s pub in Oxford. The first “mashtronaunt” to try the initiative was MP Andrew Griffiths, former chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group. Titanic Brewery co-founder Keith Bott said Luna has one goal – to use the latent creative talent that can be found in Britain’s pubs to create the finest beers in the universe. Andrew Wilson, of White Horse Brewery, added: “In the future we hope to have a mixture of ‘mashtronauts’ join us – friends, customers, invited guests and we will have an honours board in the Royal Blenheim that lists the brave explorers who made the journey through beer with us.”
Starbucks-led youth job initiative in the US hits 100,000 target: A Starbucks-led employer initiative in the US to create 100,000 jobs, The 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, committed to creating pathways to meaningful employment for young people, has met its goal of hiring 100,000 16 to 24-year-olds who are out of work and not in school, two years ahead of schedule. The coalition, formed in July 2015, is now aligning with the cross-sector goal of creating one million opportunities by 2021. The group will continue to capture and share new recruiting and human resources practices tailored to hiring, retaining and advancing Opportunity Youth. Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz said: “A first job is the way many young people start their path in America. The creativity and commitment of the coalition to use our collective scale and convening power have taught us all many lessons as we reach an initial milestone to hire more than 100,000 Opportunity Youth. But, this is not a victory lap; our work is far from complete. This is just the beginning as we accelerate our efforts to build a network to reconnect one million Opportunity Youth in the next five years. By continuing to expand our coalition and leveraging the power of technology and hiring events, we will invest in solutions that further support the young people of America who are our future workers, customers and citizens.”
More detail emerges on next two YO! Sushi US openings: More detail has emerged on the locations of the next two YO! Sushi openings in the US. It will open in the Watermark building at 85 Seaport Square in Boston, Massachusetts in October and another site is planned in New York City near Madison Square Park. YO! Sushi’s location in Seaport Square is next door to the newly opened Shake Shack.
Street food outfit 2 Fingers to host residency at Fairly Square: Street food outfit 2 Fingers, run by Ricky Panesar, is to host a residency at London’s first Fairtrade bar and cafe – Fairly Square. Launching on Friday, 23 September, 2 Fingers will be serving its fish finger sandwiches as well as an exclusive extended new menu, to offer a complete retro-dining experience. Visitors will have the chance to taste more recent additions to the menu including Soft Shell Crab Burger with Napa-slaw and Blackened Cajun Prawns paired with Fairly Square’s craft beers range. The pop-up will also feature a series of bespoke live music events and performances in collaboration with SoundAdviceUK. Drinks will come courtesy of Fairly Square’s bar with a selection of bespoke cocktails, craft beers and organic wines, with 20% of profits reinvested in ethical causes. Panesar said: “This is a natural progression for the 2 Fingers project. Having been firmly on the street food and festival circuit over the past couple of years, we feel that it’s time to evolve the concept further. Fairly Square will provide an essential testing ground required to take this venture to the next level. We are excited to work with a venue that really sits well with our ethos – a real purpose driven business that actually plays out in practice, committed to delivering positive social and environmental impacts, rather than just bottom line numbers.”
Peterborough-based restaurateur acquires village pub: Peterborough-based restaurateur Dinesh Odedra has acquired a pub on the outskirts of the city. Odedra, who is behind fine dining venue Clarkes, its sister restaurant Cafe Clarkes and the Banyan Tree Indian restaurants, has taken over The Fox, in Folksworth. The pub, which closed three years ago, is currently being transformed. A new designated fine dining restaurant area is being created – seating about 80 covers – while there will also be a new bar area with its own dining space. Odedra told the Peterborough Telegraph: “The pub side of the business is very important as it is something that has been missing in the village for some years, and people we have spoken too are exited about our. It will be a relaxed, casual drinking area, with room for dining from a specific pub food menu.” The as-yet undecided name for the venue, which is set to be open by November, will reflect the established “Clarkes” brand, Odedra added.
New Roman-inspired restaurant concept set to open in London: A new Roman-inspired restaurant concept is set to open in London. Roma is launching in New London Street on Friday, 23 September on the former site of Harpers and on the very spot where a Roman fort once stood. The restaurant, which aims to bring the flavours and passions of Ancient Rome to the capital, will feature metallic gold hues and deep ebony timbers. Mosaic inspired artwork will be scattered around the venue while there will also be architectural sketch style wallpaper and banquette seating. The dishes will be prepared using the same cooking techniques that were used in Ancient Rome with the speciality of cooking with hay also being revived. Head chef Arturs Gorjunovs has travelled throughout Europe and the rest of the world in order to discover the best and boldest flavours for the menu. Meanwhile, the wine menu will include authentic wines from former Roman territories such as Italy, France, Macedonia and Spain.
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 Nichollswill 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 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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