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Thu 8th Sep 2016 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Seedrs reports food and beverage largest sector for deals, and providing best returns: Crowdfunding platform Seedrs, which is the largest platform in the UK by certain measures, has reported that food and beverage deals have accounted for more than one in ten of its successful fundings since it launched four years ago – and has provided investors with the best returns. It stated: “Roughly 40% of our deals have been for digital businesses, and 20% for non-digital. The remaining 40% have been hybrid digital/non-digital models. Nearly 60% of our deals have been for business-to-consumer businesses, with 30% for business-to-business ones and the remaining 10% for businesses with both business-to-consumer and business-to-business models. Of our 15 sectors, the three most popular in terms of number of funded deals have been food and beverage (11% of deals); finance and payments (11%); and travel, leisure and sport (10%). The platform-wide internal rate of return (IRR), which means the annualised performance of all 253 deals in terms of share price appreciation (net of fees), as of 31 July 2016 was 14.44% on a non-tax-adjusted basis. When the impacts of tax reliefs and liabilities are taken into account, this goes up to 41.87%. Investors who have built portfolios of 20 or more investments have, on average, outperformed the overall market. They have achieved an average 15.01% non- tax-adjusted IRR (tax-adjusted: 43.39%). The three best performing sectors to date have been food and beverage, with a 22.77% non-tax-adjusted IRR (tax-adjusted: 49.73%); home and personal, with a 17.79% non-tax-adjusted IRR (tax-adjusted: 57.76%); and finance and payments, with a 16.91% non-tax-adjusted IRR (tax-adjusted: 43.20%).”
 

Industry News:

Ian Leigh to present at Propel Multi Club Conference in November, free places for operators: The last Propel Multi Club Conference of 2016 is now open for bookings. It takes place on Thursday, 3 November at Congress Hall, London. Ian Leigh, managing director of Thai Leisure Group, operator of Chaophraya and Thaikhun, will share how the company is successfully retaining its unique company culture whilst moving forward its brands and rolling out eight sites per year. Pub, restaurant and foodservice operators can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele on anne.steele@propelinfo.com 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 Polpo, Snug Bars, Mowgli Street Food, Benito’s Hat, Darwin & Wallace, Draft House, Eclectic Bars, Pie & Pint Inns, Hubbox, McMullens, Bone Daddies, Young’s, Castle Rock, Grand Union, Soho Farmhouse, Jamie Oliver’s, PizzaExpress, Beds and Bars, Intertain, Rarebreed Dining, Wright Brothers, Five Guys, Drake & Morgan, Bar Lorca, Anglian Country Inns, Bar Soba, Randall & Aubin, FrogPubs, Bru Brewery, and Belgo. 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 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 anne.steele@propelinfo.com
 
Propel Premium subscribers to receive 700-strong multi-site operator database on Friday: Subscribers to Propel’s Premium service will receive an extended database of 700 multi-site operators on Friday (9 September). The database has added 200 multi-site companies in the past six months. Managing director Paul Charity said: “The expansion of the database is an indication of the dynamic growth and importance of smaller multi-site companies in the UK hospitality sector.” Premium subscribers receive a number of benefits including receiving the Propel newsletter the evening before it is sent out to the general distribution. To find out more about the Propel Premium service go to www.proplinfonews.com or email Ann Steele on anne.steele@propelinfo.com
 
SLTA launches £150,000 #Publove campaign to revitalise licensed trade: A major drive to revitalise the Scottish licensed trade has been launched in what is understood to be the first generic advertising campaign for the pub industry. The £150,000 campaign, which has gone live on digital billboards around Glasgow and Edinburgh, aims to highlight the important role played by pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants in Scottish life, and encourage consumers to visit outlets more often. Themed #Publove, the campaign is a collaboration between the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) and Forrest Media. It is inspired by the famous “Love is…” black and white cartoon series from the 1970s, which highlighted the definition of love between two characters using a range of phrases. The #Publove ads are appearing on digital billboards throughout this month and October, before returning for a second burst in January and February. It is estimated the screens can deliver 1.45 million “impacts” per fortnight. SLTA chief executive Paul Waterson said the campaign marks the first time the sector has embarked on an industry-wide promotion of this scale. He conceded the industry has faced a challenging time but emphasised the continuing importance of pubs to the economy and to the country’s social wellbeing. Waterson told Herald Scotland: “Pubs are still the heart and soul of communities and a great asset for tourism. 73% of tourists to Scotland visit a pub while they are here. Pubs bring employment and contribute greatly to the Scottish economy. We have to accentuate the positive.”
 
ALMR – 'local authorities must work with late-night sector': Responding to the news that Islington Council has revoked London nightclub Fabric’s licence, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has warned that local authorities need to work more closely with the sector, or risk further venue closures, damage to the UK economy and an erosion of the country’s world-renowned music scene. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are very disappointed with Islington Council’s decision and we are sorry to lose a leading ALMR member and one of the UK’s most innovative, popular and lauded nightclubs. Management at the club were acutely aware of its responsibilities and had practices in place to ensure the safety of their customers, as highlighted by Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry, who was happy with the club’s best practice. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for a ‘common sense’ solution, which is exactly the kind of working relationship the licensed hospitality sector is trying to foster, and exactly what we did not get from Islington Council. The ALMR has been a vocal champion of the UK’s late-night economy and we believe that nightclubs such as Fabric are not just crucial economic drivers, but an integral part of the country’s social zeitgeist. Both local and national authorities need to work closely with the sector, not fight against it, or we risk losing more venues and doing irreparable damage to the UK’s music culture.”
 
New crowdfunding platform promises ‘more rigour’ and end to ‘outrageous valuations’: A new crowdfunding model has launched, which puts the needs of the investor before those of the companies seeking funds. Traditionally, companies seeking funds have had it all their own way, with some crowdfunding companies, in their haste to get more opportunities on their platforms, allowing very high valuations and forgoing investor interests. Shadow Foundr, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), said it prided itself on putting investors first – including scrutinising company valuations; which it believes will result in a much higher success rate than the current industry standard. Jason Kluver, co-founder of Shadow Foundr, said: “We’ve all heard the figure of less than 10% of startups actually succeeding, but in reality, if you look at the number of exits and success stories over the past five or so years, that number would appear to be even lower for companies funded through crowdfunding. This is unacceptable and ultimately, not sustainable for this important sector, moving forward. We believe the reason for the poor success rate is because crowdfunding platforms are not doing enough due diligence and not questioning entrepreneurs on what are quite often, outrageous valuations. We’re seeing day in day out, companies that have nothing more than an idea, valuing themselves in the millions; and more worryingly, platforms happily promoting them at those valuations and investors putting their hard earned cash into them. If the due diligence is not done and the valuations are unrealistic, how can companies expect to exit through an institution; which will ultimately do the due diligence and find the initial valuation over the top? In a scenario like that, how can they seriously expect to provide crowd investors with a return?” The team behind Shadow Foundr has been involved in the equity crowdfunding space, with various companies, for more than six years.
 
Propel columnist Paul Chase welcomes new independent group to ensure ‘debate in UK society around alcohol and alcohol misuse remains balanced’: Propel columnist and CPL Training director Paul Chase has welcomed the launch of an independent group with the aim of ensuring the “debate in UK society around alcohol and alcohol misuse remains balanced”. The Alcohol Information Partnership (AIP) aims to promote the current partnership approach taken to tackle alcohol misuse through co-ordinated action between government, industry, local authorities and non-governmental organisations that focuses on education, enforcement and targeted initiatives. It is led by Dave Roberts, former chief executive of the National Clinical Homecare Association and previously head of communications at Wiltshire Health Authority. The independent non-profit group is funded by eight alcoholic beverage producers – Diageo Great Britain, Pernod Ricard UK, Campari, Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Remy-Cointreau, Moet Hennessy, and Beam Suntory. Chase said: “Time and again we see biased public statements, frequently based on junk science, which reflect an anti-alcohol agenda. The positive aspects of responsible consumption – increased sociability, the expression of community through the pub, together with the decline in binge drinking, the reduction in underage drinking and the decrease in long-term harmful drinking – do not get heard in the public square. On behalf of CPL Training, I applaud the launch of the Alcohol Information Partnership, as it’s paramount that we balance the debate around alcohol and society.” The AIP said it believed it was important to remember the vast majority of people in the UK drink responsibly with binge drinking in decline, particularly among young people, underage drinking reducing, and long-term harmful drinking also falling. The AIP argued the steady fall in alcohol misuse suggested the partnership approach was producing results and more of what works should be encouraged. 
 

Company News:

Michelin-starred pub chef Andrew Pern to open fourth site, in Whitby: Andrew Pern, who won a Michelin star at The Star Inn in Harome, North Yorkshire, in 2001, is to open his fourth site, in his home town of Whitby. Pern is launching a brasserie-style fish and seafood restaurant in the town’s former tourist information building. He won a pitch to Scarborough Council to take over the property in Langborne Road, close to the harbour and overlooking Whitby Abbey. He said the new restaurant, to be called The Star Inn The Harbour and due to open next spring, would cater for tourists and locals alike, and showcase the region’s finest fresh fish and seafood. Pern told the Yorkshire Post: “Opening a place in my home town has always been something that I’ve thought would happen one day. The North Sea is a massive part of my kitchen larder; the quality of the fish and shellfish is the envy of the world. At Whitby it will literally be on my doorstep.” Derek Bastiman, leader of Scarborough Council, added: “The Yorkshire coast is thriving and without a doubt, The Star Inn The Harbour matches our ambition for improving further the area’s attractiveness and vitality. It is a hugely exciting development, which should be seen as fabulous news for Whitby, after all, there are not many chefs of Andrew’s calibre that hand-pick a coastal town to set up business in.” Pern also operates Star Inn The City and Mr P’s Curious Tavern in York.
 
East Coast Concepts set to open second Neighbourhood site in November, in Liverpool: Manchester-based East Coast Concepts is set to open its second Neighbourhood site in November, this time in Liverpool. The company, which was founded by James Hitchen and his brother Guy, is launching the venue at a vacant site in Castle Street. The grade II-listed building was built in 1868 for the Alliance Bank and was later occupied by the North and South Wales Bank and the Midland Bank. Hitchen told the Liverpool Echo: “We’re incredibly excited about opening in Liverpool. We’ve spent a lot of time here, looking at what’s already on offer and finding some gaps in the market. This will be our new flagship site, and we’ll be doing things here that we don’t in other venues – this will be the only site where we serve breakfasts, as that seems to be really popular in this area, and particularly on Castle Street. We’ll also have a real focus on live music, and we’re looking to develop fresh talent on both the music side and in the bar and restaurant itself.” Earlier this year, East Coast Concepts secured private equity backing from Manchester-based NorthEdge Capital to roll-out Neighbourhood, which has a site in the city’s Spinningfields district, and its sister brand Victor’s across the UK.
 
3Sixty Restaurants opens fourth Ego pub site, in Blackburn: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has opened the fourth pub site for its Ego brand, this time in Blackburn. The company has transformed the Knowles Arms in Pleckgate Road into the Mediterranean restaurant and bar, creating 50 jobs. It has spent more than £500,000 renovating the property, which accommodates 160 diners. General manager Warren Smith told the Lancashire Telegraph: “We’re creating fresh food in front of customers and we are investing in the community. It is a win-win situation.” Ego has 12 venues across the UK, including its three other pub outlets – in Ackworth, Cannock and Stoke. The company has plans to open two more sites by the end of the year.
 
Activist investor group takes stake in Chipotle: Activist investor group Pershing Square Capital Management has taken a 9.9% stake in Chipotle Mexican Grill. William Ackman, Pershing Square’s chief executive, described Chipotle as a strong brand with a differentiated offering, enormous growth opportunity and visionary leadership. He also said the stock was undervalued and an attractive investment, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Ackman indicated the company would engage with Chipotle’s management and board of directors about the composition of the board, the business, operations, cost structure, management and other issues. Pershing Square is known in the restaurant industry as an activist investor that often pushes for significant change. In 2005, Ackman held a stake in McDonald’s and suggested it considered a sale of real estate, though the investor has said in the past he’s not a fan of real-estate spin-offs. Pershing Square was also a key player in Burger King’s return to the stock market in 2012 and in 2008, Pershing Square successfully pushed for Wendy’s to spin-off the Tim Horton’s sub brand.
 
Noble Inns to open Little Smoke next month: Noble Inns, the company behind Smokehouse, The Pig and Butcher, and The Princess of Shoreditch, is to launch Little Smoke on Monday, 10 October. The restaurant will specialise in working with whole native and rare breed animals, sourced from small independent farmers and butchered on-site at sister restaurant Smokehouse before being roasted, smoked, and grilled at Little Smoke. Little Smoke will offer a daily-changing menu of beef, lamb, and pork dishes dependent on what the team has butchered for that day. Husband and wife owners Scott Hunter and Maria Larsen said: “When we opened Smokehouse Islington in 2013, we started using whole animals and soon began supplementing the a la carte menu with a blackboard of interesting specials. Little Smoke is like a big version of that specials board and given a whole restaurant to itself! We’re very proud to be working with some incredible farmers and producers and can’t wait to show off some of the more unusual cuts such as the huge tomapork.” 
 
JW Lees invests £1m refurbishing Cheshire village pub: Brewer and retailer JW Lees is investing £1m refurbishing a Cheshire village pub. The company has closed The Golden Pheasant in Plumley for the revamp, with the venue due to reopen in mid-November. It is completely remodelling the restaurant and dining area, creating a large “contemporary” outdoor dining area, and adding more bedrooms. The internal refurbishment will include modernising and improving the bar and lounges, brightening up the areas with “lighter colours and natural material”. The pub will be refurnished with a mixture of new chairs and tables and a collection of reclaimed “retro” pieces. There will also be works carried out to modernise the kitchens and back-of-house areas. General manager Phil Dodd told the Knutsford Guardian: “We are all delighted with what the scheme will offer, we’ve always needed more bedrooms and a more suitable, stylish outdoor dining area. The development will increase the covers in our restaurant and number of customers staying.” JW Lees has about 150 sites across the north west of England.
 
M&B to open All Bar One at Edinburgh Airport next week: Mitchells & Butlers will bring its All Bar One brand to Edinburgh Airport next Wednesday (14 September). The company is opening the site airside at the airport and it will be All Bar One’s third venue in the Scottish capital. Visitors will be able to enjoy a range of cocktails as well as food from the new seasonal menu, which features dishes from around the globe, incorporating everything from mix-and-match small plates to handcrafted burgers, and a brunch menu. All Bar One Edinburgh Airport general manager Lewis Masterson said: “We’re looking forward to opening our doors and welcoming travellers and holidaymakers to our new Edinburgh Airport bar. Guests can experience the contemporary design, together with the fresh tastes on our new menu and indulge in some refreshing pre-flight drinks." The brand currently has 50 sites, including its two other Edinburgh venues in Exchange Plaza and George Street.
 
Meantime launches latest Pilot Series beers: Greenwich-based craft brewer Meantime has launched its latest range of beers in its Pilot Series. The beers are brewed in a high-tech Bavarian-style brewhouse at its Pilot Brewery. The latest beers within the series are African Queen (6.0% ABV), a single-hopped IPA with citrus and berry aromas; Time to Time (4.0% ABV), a modern-take on a traditional Saison de Nuit, with fruit flavours and slight hoppy aroma; Lost Summer (5.0% ABV), a fruity, hoppy beer with tropical notes; and Feisty Cali Belg (6.0% ABV), a Belgian-style beer with fruity American hop flavours and a touch of Welsh chillies. Meantime marketing director Richard Myers said: “Meantime has always strived to introduce the British public to a wide range of great beers and open their minds to trying something different. The Pilot Series gives us the perfect opportunity to continue to push the boundaries of modern craft and have a bit of fun experimenting with some unusual beer styles.” The range is available exclusively on draught in a handful of selected partner outlets across London as well as Meantime’s own tasting rooms, the Beer Box bar, and Greenwich Union pub. It can also be bought in 330ml bottles from the Meantime Brewery Shop and its website.
 
New bar and nightclub concept Pom Pom set to open in Nottingham next month: A new bar and nightclub concept is set to open in Nottingham next month. Pom Pom is launching on Saturday, 1 October on the site of The Forum nightclub, which closed last month. Pom Pom, which will create 50 jobs, will make use of the recently vacated 12,000 square foot site in Burton Street, part of The Cornerhouse leisure complex. Suzanne Green, centre manager at The Cornerhouse, told The Business Desk: “We’re delighted to welcome Pom Pom to The Cornerhouse. The new bar and nightclub will add something totally different to the great mixture of restaurants and leisure activities already in the venue. Pom Pom will provide an injection of new flavour to the Nottingham nightlife scene, which in recent times has been dominated by the city’s abundance of new bars. It will provide the perfect venue to dance the night away, which can be accompanied by a meal at one of our restaurants or even a visit to the casino.”
 
Plans lodged to transform historic carriage houses in Derby into bars and restaurants: Plans have been lodged to transform historic carriage houses in Derby, which are thought to have been built in the 1860s to serve the former St James Hotel, into bars and restaurants. The scheme, which has been lodged with the city council, would pave the way for further development at the site, including the construction of entertainment and retail space. St James Yard lies between St James Street and The Strand and currently comprises an all-day car park. The buildings earmarked for redevelopment are known as the tram sheds, although they were never used as such. The application, submitted by CPMH Architects on behalf of Clowes Developments, proposes refurbishment and change of use of the tram sheds to provide two new dining and drinking venues, reports Insider Media. A shop front in The Strand, occupied by Smart News, will also be removed to provide a pedestrian link to the development. If approved, the plans could lead to a second phase of work at the site. This would comprise the removal of the car park and the construction of new-build units to provide space for entertainment and retail use. The aim of the project is to transform the yard into a “lively central piazza”. Plans to convert the site into 17 shop units were initially approved in 2007 and the permission was extended in 2010, although work has never taken place.
 
Intertain set to open Walkabout at former JD Wetherspoon site in Chelmsford this month: Intertain is set to open a Walkabout site in Chelmsford, Essex, this month. The company is investing £500,000 converting The Thomas Mildmay pub in French’s Walk, which it acquired from JD Wetherspoon last month. The new bar is due to open on Friday, 23 September, complete with VIP areas, pre-booked booths and a “reef bar”, where linked screens will show coral reef and surf footage. Walkabout’s new food and drink menu will also be on offer, including kangaroo burgers and steaks, along with craft beers, wines and cocktails. Dave Austin, general manager for Walkabout Chelmsford, told Essex Live: “We are unbelievably excited to be opening in Chelmsford. It’s a great city and we feel our unique combination of great food, unbeatable match-day atmosphere and epic party nights means we have something to offer everyone.” 
 
BrewDog launches ‘DoubleDog’ initiative for shareholders investing in $50m US crowdfunding campaign: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched a “DoubleDog” initiative for its existing Equity for Punks shareholders that invest in its $50m US crowdfunding campaign. The company is offering double the investment and double the discount in its online shop. It stated: “America is the land where the ‘double’ is king – cheeseburgers, espresso, India Pale Ale – all are lifted to new heights by being multiplied. As our legion of Equity Punks are front and centre in our bringing BrewDog to America, we have taken it upon ourselves to add our shareholders to this list – specifically those who have invested in BrewDog and now invest in BrewDog USA. To say thanks for supporting our desire to change the world of beer on both sides of the Atlantic (and beyond) we will dispatch to you a special code that can be applied to our UK online shop and will double your existing Equity Punk discount, for one order only. So you could score up to 40% off the usual price of our freshly brewed craft beer and epic merchandise. You can buy a part of BrewDog USA from $95, or the equivalent in your local currency, via the startup platform BankRoll. If you are an existing Equity Punk investor in BrewDog, by investing in BrewDog USA you increase your shareholding in our US company and will also access the American-specific benefits. The DoubleDog perks will be applied after your application clears and your shares are allotted.”
 
Neil Riding to step down as Caffe Nero UK managing director in November, former Wagamama chief operating officer to take over: Caffe Nero UK managing director Neil Riding has decided to retire after five years at the helm and will leave in November. He will be replaced by Glyn House, who has joined the company after stepping down from Wagamama earlier this year. House had been with Wagamama for 11 years and was the company’s chief operating officer overseeing the brand’s growth. Riding said: “It was always the plan to help guide Caffe Nero for five to six years during this impressive period of growth then retire. That time went very quickly, but it is now up. (Founder and chief executive) Gerry (Ford) and I have planned for this and I am happy to hand over the reins to Glyn.” House added: “Caffe Nero is a fantastic company, one of the most admired in the food and beverage industry – it has tremendous growth prospects. I am very excited to join Gerry and the team in the new phase of Caffe Nero’s incredible journey.” Ford said: “Neil has been a great asset to this company, we are sorry to see him go, and he will be missed. Nonetheless, I welcome Glyn to my team. He brings a wealth of experience and a great track record.”
 
Aston Manor reports market outperformance: Capital expenditure of £5m in 2015, bringing the investment total to £30m over the past five years, is identified as the reason Aston Manor Cider outperforming the market. The numbers, revealed as the accounts for 2015 are filed, showed a 27% increase in export sales despite activity in some overseas markets being scaled back. Gordon Johncox, managing director at Aston Manor Cider, said: “We are committed to investment that increases our capability and capacity. The progress we have made in the past few years in the UK has been to shift a greater proportion of our sales to more premium products and exit low-value business – whilst still doing better than the total market in what are very challenging conditions.” UK cider sales have fallen in the past two years and whilst not immune to prevailing market conditions, Aston Manor is doing better than the category as a whole. Johncox added: “Aston Manor Cider is in good shape, is focused on cider and in our view better equipped than any other producer to grow and develop the cider category. We take the view that our marketing investment should add value and avoid the price promotions that depress value to chase volume. The slight dip in our UK sales is better than the experience for the total market, though is a reflection of how tough trading has been – not helped by a poor summer in 2015. We pride ourselves on being the only producer who offers a quality cider to cover every consumer and every occasion, and our new product development and partnerships enhance this. We have extended our relationship with the RFL and in Rugby League, giving us a great platform for consumer engagement. This also supports our successful work to grow our on-trade sales where the distribution deal for Kingstone Press cider with Marston’s has grown sales in that channel by 15%.”

Award-winning Aberystwyth restaurant comes to market: Gwesty Cymru, a Visit Wales five-star graded restaurant with rooms in Aberystywth, has been brought to the market by agent Christie & Co. The grade II-listed building is located on the Victorian promenade with direct views over Cardigan Bay and the town’s pier. The business has previously won a number of awards including  an Institute of Welsh Affairs – Inspire Wales Award, a True Taste Award for dining, commendations in the National Tourism of Wales Awards and is recommended in the both the Michelin Guide and Good Hotel Guide. John Coggins, of Christie & Co’s Cardiff office, who is handling the sale, said: “Gwesty Cymru is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a highly profitable restaurant with rooms in an enviable location. Aberystywth, a historic seaside town as well as a major retail, entertainment and educational hub, attracts a wide range of visitors from overseas and domestic tourists to students and their families. There are a number of known local attractions including the Mynach Falls, Vale of Rheidol Steam Railway, Ceredigion Coastal Path and numerous beaches, so there is plenty of opportunity for a new operator to develop the business further and take advantage of its prime location and reputation. The business has strong levels of year-round trade, well-presented trade space and excellent levels of profitability making it an ideal purchase for both a hands-on owner or an existing operator looking to expand.” Christie & Co is seeking offers of £795,000 plus VAT for the freehold of Gwesty Cymru.
 
Hoste Arms in Burnham Market opens private cinema: The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, Norfolk, has opened a private 20-seater cinema – alongside a new gym and private dining room – the cinema room was opened by television film critic Barry Norman. There are three film showings per day featuring 100 classic films every month and guests are offered a personal waiter service throughout the duration of each film. The cinema will be available to all guests staying at the hotel and for private party bookings.
 
Marketing and admin software company for independent hotel businesses passes 50% mark in crowdfunding campaign: The Booking Factory, which provides marketing and administration automation software for independent hotel businesses, has passed the 50% mark in its £50,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The Swansea-based company, which was launched in 2014, is offering an 8% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 54 investors have pledged £31,200 with 45 days remaining. The pitch states: “Hoteliers, as we know, are busy people and we have found they are neglecting their marketing channels while they are busy working in their business. In addition, we have also found hoteliers often lack the technical knowledge needed to build and maintain a website, post on social channels, configure code, and connect systems together. Our solution gives hotels the tools to automate much of their marketing and admin woes. We provide a web and mobile hotel website; an integrated booking engine to take bookings online; a channel manager to manage their multiple sales channels; a booking management system to manage all their bookings in one place; a payment gateway to take payments online; and automated marketing tools (lead generation, email marketing, promotions). We will focus on making our system and customer support a world leader for small and medium-sized accommodation businesses.”
 
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 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 jo.charity@propelinfo.com

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