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Tue 13th Sep 2016 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hop founder says A1 sites making concept a ‘lot more scalable’, deliveries topping £6,000 a week: Paul Hopper, founder of Vietnamese street food concept Hop, has told Propel restricting Hop stores to A1 sites will make the business a “lot more scalable”, while deliveries at its debut site in Broadgate had hit £6,000 a week. He said: “For A3 restaurants you pay a massive premium for the lease and it’s so competitive. If you want to scale it’s a lot easier to do with A1, albeit it’s a lot harder to do the model because you have to find other people who will cook the food for you or you have to have your own central kitchen. At the moment, while we’re still small, we have agreements with a couple of suppliers who cook things for us to our recipes. We have a very intense model with a lot of prep (a total of 300 hours a week) but then the volumes are big – 600 customers in less than two hours. You can justify that many prep hours when you’re doing that sort of volume. We’re always looking to simplify the processes. The menu may look the same as when we launched but the way we make dishes and the supply chain have changed massively, such as cutting prep stages and multi-using some ingredients. I could fill a book with the number of tweaks we’ve made to ensure our processes are easier and more scalable so anyone can come in and learn them in a few days.” Hop has a second site opening near Bank in November and a third planned for March next year. Hopper said: “The plan is to open 30 to 40 sites in London and then start looking nationally and expand as much as we can. I want to open ten in the first three or four years and then it can go crazy from there. In reality we’re looking at two next year, maybe two or three the year after and if we can get 40 out of it in, say, ten years, then fine. If you look at Itsu, Wasabi and those guys, they’re 60-plus sites and between ten and 15 years old.” Hopper added that the company had signed up with a large number of delivery services, helping deliveries rise from £500 a week to £6,000. He said: “We weren’t really doing deliveries until about February this year, when we decided to say yes to everybody. At one point we were on Deliveroo, UberEats, Take Eat Easy, Just Eat, Seamless, City Pantry, you name it. We’re still with a number of those and now we’re on Amazon. Deliveries went from £500 a week to £6,000 – that’s in six months! We took the operational risk of being everywhere for brand exposure and to serve as many people as possible outside our usual customer base. But, at some point, we’ll want a break when it starts to affect our walk-in traffic.”

Industry News:

David Henkes 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. David Henkes, senior principal of foodservice insights and research firm Technomic, will provide insights on the hottest new concepts in the US, what makes them successful, and their common threads. He will also report on which categories are performing best in the US market. 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

TUC welcomes JD Wetherspoon decision to offer staff chance to escape zero hours contracts: The TUC has welcomed the decision of JD Wetherspoon to become the latest major UK employer to offer staff the chance to escape from zero hours contracts. Wetherspoon has joined Sports Direct and McDonald’s in offering staff on casual contracts the opportunity to become permanent employees. The pub company employs 24,000 people on zero hours contracts. TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “This would be great news for workers at Wetherspoon. Guaranteeing staff minimum hours is much better than leaving them unsure about how much work they will have from one day to the next. We hope other employers follow suit. The success of the Wetherspoon trial proves that businesses can be successful without zero hours contracts.” Founder and chairman of JD Wetherspoon Tim Martin said a trial earlier this year to offer guaranteed hours had proved so successful, it was being rolled out UK-wide. He added: “We’ve already offered guaranteed hour contracts to a percentage of our workforce and they’ll all be offered one in the next three months.”

Subscription cocktail and premium craft spirit company launches crowdfunding drive to accelerate growth, aspires to eventually sell to global drinks brand: Subscription cocktail and premium craft spirit company Tipple Box has launched an £80,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to accelerate its growth. The company, founded by Sonny Charles in 2014, is offering a 9.64% equity stake in return for the investment. It has shipped more than £2,000 in boxes to date and eventually aspires to sell the company to a global drinks brand. The pitch states: “Tipple Box is a cocktail and premium craft spirit experience. We provide cocktail kit and batch-spirit sampling boxes. These contain curated recipes, premium spirits and ingredients to help our customers make delicious cocktails at home or sip exciting tipples. Customers have the option to subscribe monthly or purchase an individual box through our online market place. We have secured a retail listing with John Lewis and we’re working towards stocking with Fenwick’s and Lakeland, among others.  We have proven the demand for our product and established the sales channels. We’ve established our products effectively. We aim to aggressively scale through marketing and customer acquisition. We aspire to sell Tipple Box to a global drinks brand, such as Diageo or Pernod Ricard or a large company within the market. The subscription commerce market has recently witnessed Naked Wines sell to Majestic Wines for £70m, and Graze sold a majority shareholding to the Carlyle Group.”

Company News:

Epic Pubs opens fourth site following £600,000 joint investment by Charles Wells and Fitzrovia Pub Company: Epic Pubs has opened its fourth site following a joint £600,000 investment by Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells and Fitzrovia Pub Company. The Anchor in Aspley Guise, near Milton Keynes, has undergone significant refurbishment, offering space for up to 90 diners in the main area and a further 16 in a private dining room. Andrew Coath, managing director of Epic Pubs, said: “Customers will find a pub for everyone at The Anchor, with a focus on informal dining and drinking in an exquisite environment that reflects the best in British design and offers a warm, friendly welcome. The exciting menu and daily specials will be created from fresh, British seasonal produce overseen by Mark Austin, whose experience includes The Swan at Salford and the Luton Hoo Hotel. The drinks offer will include seasonal cocktails, an extensive gin collection and real ales including Bombardier, Eagle and Young’s Gold. An exciting range of fine wines and a creative list of non-alcoholic drinks will also be available.” Epic Pubs’ other sites are The Golden Ball in Maidenhead, Berkshire, 185 Watling Street in Towcester, Northamptonshire, and Mill Street in Oakham, Rutland.

Brands Reunited opens first pub: Brands Reunited, founded by Shaun Goode and Nick Whitehurst last year to relaunch heritage beer brands to the craft sector, has opened its first pub. The company bought Anchorage in Sheffield city centre in May and has reopened it as the Hope & Anchor, offering craft beer, wine and cocktails alongside a new food offering. The pub is in West One Plaza, in the middle of the Upper West Street bars. Hope & Anchor operations manager Nick Tripp said: “We have all been working very hard to make this bar into somewhere people will feel relaxed and comfortable, and we are really looking forward to everyone’s feedback. Hope & Anchor has something for everyone and the relaxed feel of the building is going to be perfect for the brand we have created.” In May, Goode told Propel that Brands Reunited would look to open more bars in the future if “the right opportunity arose”. In the same month the company brought Watneys, once the UK’s biggest-selling beer brand, back to the market, brewing it under licence at Sambrooks in Battersea, initially as a cask pale ale. The company has also revived East Midlands brewery Home Ales and its beers Robin Hood Pale Ale and Little John Proper Ale.

New Neapolitan-inspired pizza restaurant Panzo to open in Exmouth Market this autumn: A new Neapolitan-inspired pizza restaurant concept is set to open in Exmouth Market, London, this autumn. Anna Skigin has partnered with Eccellenze Campane, the agricultural centre in Naples, to create Panzo. The 50-cover restaurant’s decor will have Scandinavian and Italian influences, featuring copper, wood, Italian tiles, marble and leather. Tables and chairs will be an eclectic mix of wood and copper-topped tables, with concrete banquettes scattered with oversized leather cushions. There will also be outside seating areas at the front and rear of the restaurant. The pizza will be individually sized, made with double-cooked lighter dough and topped with seasonal ingredients, a concept inspired by the Neapolitan panuozzo sandwich, which will also feature on the menu. Desserts will include a selection of pastries alongside Italian classics such as tiramisu. A selection of produce brought by Eccellenze Campane will also be available to buy, including Campane olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. All drinks will be served on tap, including a range of proseccos, beer and wine, using eco-friendly kegs. Skigin said: “The inspiration behind the dough came from the panuozzo, a Neapolitan pizza sandwich by Luca Manzi, of the Manzi brothers, considered to be among the best artisan makers of panuozzo in Naples. This is the stage at which the idea for Panzo was born. I noticed that so many pizzas in London focus more on the dough over the ingredients and flavours on top. I wanted to create a pizza that wasn’t so heavy without compromising on flavour, concentrating on the ingredients and produce used. Exmouth Market was the perfect location. I love the local vibe, and it’s a true food-lover’s paradise.”

Veeno gets go-ahead to open ninth site, in Warrington: Italian wine cafe Veeno has been given the go-ahead to open its ninth site, in Warrington, Cheshire. The company, led by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino, has been granted permission by Warrington Borough Council to transform the former home of the Officers Club in the Golden Square Shopping Centre. A planning application had been submitted to alter the change of use of the vacant site from retail to flexible use for retail and a drinking establishment, reports the Warrington Guardian. Application agent JLL said the wine cafe would provide a “relaxed and civilised” environment for visitors. Veeno opened its first venue in Manchester in 2013 and now has sites in Bristol, Edinburgh, Harrogate, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and York. Last year, the company revealed it was planning to expand to 80 sites by 2020.

Ibérica boss – ‘we’ve seen no fall in business since Brexit’, first Scottish site to open this month: Spanish restaurant group Ibérica said it has yet to see any fall in business since the Brexit vote as it prepares to open its first Scottish site this month. The company is investing £1.5m in the new 113-seat venue in St Vincent Street, Glasgow, which is due to open on Friday, 30 September. While managing director Marcos Fernandez Pardo predicted people would eat out less as the impact of the vote dented confidence and the fall in the value of the pound stoked inflation, he expected the company to prosper in the casual dining market because it had an offer that could appeal to people on a range of budgets. Pardo told Herald Scotland that Ibérica had yet to see any fall in business since the Brexit vote in the seven outlets it operates –five in London and one each in Leeds and Manchester. He noted the company opened its first outlet in London’s Marylebone district on the day Lehman Brothers bank crashed in 2008, heralding the start of a deep downturn. Pardo added that Ibérica would increase the use of products sourced from the UK to help offset the impact of the recent fall in the value of the pound, which would push up the price of imports. The company is due to open its second Scottish restaurant in Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square in June next year.

Coyote Ugly set to open first UK site next month, in Cardiff: Coyote Ugly, the Western-themed bar that inspired a Hollywood movie, is set to open its first UK site next month, in Cardiff. The bar, which will have capacity for about 900 people, will be based in former nightclub The Square in St Mary Street. It will be operated by Steve Lewis, who runs two bars – Jack Murphy’s and The Adelphi – in Swansea having signed a franchise agreement in January. The venue, which is due to open on Wednesday, 12 October, will feature a craft beer bar with 24 different types of draught beer and also offer American barbecue food. It will have a VIP section and booths, while a television screen will take up the entire back wall that will screen live sport. There will also be a stage for live music and a bucking bronco, reports the Spirits Business. Coyote Ugly founder Liliana “Lil” Lovell previously said: “We couldn’t be more excited about exporting our version of honky-tonk to the United Kingdom and could not have found a better team with whom to partner as we enter the market. We expect a strong and positive reception in the UK.” Coyote Ugly currently has 21 sites in four countries – the US, Russia, Ukraine and Germany.

Hart brothers reopen Quo Vadis with new bar and restaurant: Sam and Eddie Hart have reopened their Soho restaurant and members’ club Quo Vadis ahead of the venue’s 90th anniversary in November. They have transformed the interior to include a new members’ restaurant on the first floor and merged rooms on the second floor to create a library bar. Later in the year, the brothers’ Michelin-starred tapas bar Barrafina will move into the ground floor of the building when it relocates from its nearby site in Frith Street because of a redevelopment plan. Sam Hart, who took over Quo Vadis with his brother in 2008, said: “We are extremely excited to be ushering Quo Vadis into its nineties with a huge number of thrilling developments. Bringing Barrafina into the building as well as giving the whole building a well-deserved makeover has been nearly two years in the planning.” The Harts operate a third Barrafina site in Drury Lane, Covent Garden, as a sister to the Soho original and its second site in Adelaide Street. Barrafina Soho opened in 2007 and was awarded a Michelin star in 2014.

Wahaca opens Chichester restaurant: Mexican restaurant brand Wahaca has opened a site in Chichester, West Sussex. The company, which was co-founded by 2005 MasterChef winner Thomasina Miers and Mark Selby, has opened the restaurant in South Street on the site of a former Cargo store. Wahaca showcases street and graffiti artists’ work in its restaurants, inviting artists from across the world to leave their mark on each site. In Chichester, the 152-cover venue features artwork by Barcelona-based street artist Gola Hundun. A Wahaca spokesperson told the Chichester Observer: “We’ve been watching as the food scene in Chichester continues to go from strength to strength.” The Chichester site is Wahaca’s 24th in the UK – the majority are in London, with other regional sites in Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester. This month the company lodged plans for a restaurant in Nottingham, which would be its first venue in the Midlands. In March, Wahaca announced turnover had passed the £30m mark.

PizzaExpress and Loungers sign up for new £3m leisure quarter in Aberystwyth: Plans to turn a former school in Aberystwyth, west Wales, into a £3m leisure quarter have been given the go-ahead, with PizzaExpress and cafe bar brand Loungers having already signed up for the project. The 14,000 square foot scheme for the grade II-listed Yr Hen Ysgol Gymraeg (old Welsh school) will offer space for up to six different restaurant, leisure and retail operators in units ranging from 1,000 to 3,000 square feet. The scheme, from Arbenigol Property Development Consultants, will form part of a courtyard-style development with a tree-lined walkthrough leading from the train station to Park Avenue, which fronts a new Tesco and Marks & Spencer development. Commercial property agent Cooke & Arkwright has been appointed to let the scheme. Cooke & Arkwright director Huw Thomas told Wales Online: “We’re delighted to have secured terms with PizzaExpress and Loungers and we are now looking to seek interest from other suitable occupiers, with the aim of opening in mid-2017. The new leisure quarter will be about a two-minute walk from the town’s main retailing street, Great Darkgate Street, which puts it in a prominent position for the town’s 19,000 residents, 14,000 resident students, and the many people from the surrounding areas who travel to Aberystwyth as their nearest shopping destination. Our aim is that the development of Yr Hen Ysgol Gymraeg will attract more people into the town centre and to shop locally.”

Starbucks takes Teavana to China: Starbucks has launched its Teavana range as a core offering in more than 6,200 stores across its 16 markets in China and the Asia-Pacific region as part of the company’s plans to increase its global tea business to $3bn during the next five years. China is Starbucks’ fastest-growing market and the chain is opening 500 stores a year, with an aim of 3,400 stores by 2019. The company is looking to China for growth momentum, honing in on China’s $9.5bn tea fixation, almost ten times larger than the country’s coffee market. The Teavana range may also align with Chinese consumers’ growing demand for healthier products. Starbucks acquired Teavana, a line of teas and tea houses, in 2012. American consumers seeking healthier food and drink options have propelled the company’s tea business to grow 12% last year, with best-seller iced tea growing 29%. China’s tea-drinking market is growing at about 6%, roughly the same pace as coffee. For Asia, Starbucks has invented a tea range with bolder and more sophisticated combinations, including black tea with ruby grapefruit and honey and green tea with aloe and prickly pear. John Culver, group president, Starbucks Global Retail, said: “The launch of Starbucks Teavana in China and Asia-Pacific brings an entirely new and modern tea experience specifically developed for our customers, who increasingly want new and different tastes and experiences.”

Belfast-based, US-inspired frozen yogurt concept Spoon Street set to open third site in city: Belfast-based, US-inspired frozen yogurt concept Spoon Street is set to open its third site in the city. The company, owned by Katie Waddell and Harry Wang, is opening the outlet in Lisburn Road in the former Marks & Spencer store. Plans for the new site have been submitted but are understood to be in the early stages of development, reports the Belfast Telegraph. Customers pour their own “froyo” before adding a selection of different flavours and toppings. Waddell previously said: “It’s been great, and a lot better than we had initially thought. There was nothing else like it in Northern Ireland. We are hitting this one with a bang and are going above and beyond. With Spoon Street we wanted to create a fun factor and atmosphere around the product and business.” The company opened its first site in the Ballyhackamore area of Belfast in October 2014, followed by its second in Ann Street in the city centre last year.

Kornicis Group to launch new We Are Bar concept at end of month: Kornicis Group will launch its new We Are Bar concept at the end of this month. The company is converting its Jamies wine bar site in Bishopsgate, London, into the new neighbourhood bar format. Kornicis currently operates 16 sites in London under its Jamies and Smollensky’s brands, along with the Number 25 bar and Brodie’s Bar & Kitchen. In June, the company reported Editda almost doubled in the year ending 27 September 2015 to £934,601, compared with £479,630 the year before.

Chipotle settles nearly 100 lawsuits after food-borne illness outbreaks at US restaurants: Chipotle Mexican Grill has settled nearly 100 lawsuits filed by victims of a series of food-borne illness outbreaks at its US restaurants last year. Bill Marler, of Seattle-based law firm Marler Clark, said Chipotle has settled 96 of 97 complaints he brought on behalf of clients who had fallen ill. The settlements, which have occurred on a case-by-case basis since March, included victims of three E. coli outbreaks – one limited to the Seattle area and two others that sickened 60 people in 14 states – as well as bouts of salmonella in Minnesota and norovirus in Massachusetts and California. The one complaint still pending, involving a young girl sickened by E. coli, had complexities that may take some time to resolve, Marler said. Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold told Nation’s Restaurant News the company chose to settle those claims “simply because we thought it was the right thing to do for those customers”. Chipotle is also facing a federal criminal investigation relating to the outbreaks, as well as civil charges filed by shareholders who allege the company misled investors about the safety of the chain’s food. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the outbreaks officially over in February, and Chipotle has worked hard since then to beef-up food-safety protocols and bring back lost customers with free gifts and discounts that are expected to continue until the end of the year.

Greggs set to open first Northern Ireland standalone store outside Belfast: Greggs is set to open its first Northern Ireland standalone bakery outside Belfast amid its latest expansion drive. The company has submitted plans to open the outlet in Main Street, Bangor, as part of a roll-out of 50 stores across the country, reports the Belfast Telegraph. It has already opened at Applegreen service stations in Northern Ireland as well as Royal Avenue and Boucher Road in Belfast. The company is planning further outlets in the capital – at Duncrue Industrial Estate, the Kennedy Centre in west Belfast, and Castle Lane. It is also proposing to have its Northern Ireland headquarters in Donegall Square in the heart of the city centre. Last year the company revealed it was eyeing 50 locations across Northern Ireland, with about ten in Belfast. Greggs has 1,670 stores across Great Britain.

Gourmet Burger Kitchen opens Exeter city centre restaurant, first Devon site: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has opened its Exeter city centre site, the company’s first restaurant in Devon. The venue is at the new £12m Queen Street dining quarter at the redeveloped Guildhall Shopping Centre. Gourmet Burger Kitchen is the second eatery to open at Queen Street, following Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay, which launched its own debut Devon site last month. Other restaurant brands set to open in the dining quarter include The Stable, the artisan pizza and cider brand in which Fuller’s has a 76% stake, barbecue restaurant Grillstock, and Faucet Inn’s Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. Gourmet Burger Kitchen was founded in 2001 in Battersea, south London. The Exeter site is the company’s 76th UK restaurant.

CH&Co Group’s specialist City arm Lusso secures £48m of business, retains 100% of clients: Lusso, the specialist City caterer and part of the CH&Co Group, has secured £48.7m of new and retained business during the past 14 months, more than half of it with new clients. The company also enjoyed a 100% client retention rate during the same period. The new deals are worth £23.4m in turnover over the duration of the contracts and include prestigious new contracts such as Grey Advertising London; investment management company Charles Stanley; and law firms Charles Russell Speechlys and Bond Dickinson. A total of £25.3m relates to the retention of existing contracts. Lusso specialises in providing corporate fine dining and hospitality for media, law, accountancy, insurance and banking firms, primarily in London and other major UK cities. Lusso managing director Paul Hurren said: “Although we’re now part of a bigger group, we’re still very much a small company within that business. We thrive on the attention to detail and exacting standards expected of us and we’re really looking forward to working with these new clients, and building on our existing relationships into the future.”

Freehold of award-winning East Sussex restaurant goes on the market for £695,000: The freehold of a restaurant that was a winner of Sussex’s Best Dining Experience in 2012 and 2015, as well as a finalist this year, has gone on the market for £695,000. The Curlew, which is in Bodiam, East Sussex, is being marketed by agent Christie & Co. Once a former coaching inn for those travelling between London and Hastings, the restaurant caters for 64 covers with an open-pass view of the kitchen. The garden seats a further 32 diners and there is parking for about 20 vehicles. James Hughes, of Christie & Co’s Maidstone office, who is handling the sale, said: “The current owners have been running the business for eight years and have built a strong reputation among the local and wider community. The restaurant is fitted and maintained to a very high standard throughout and is in no need of further investment. It really is a beautiful property in a beautiful location. The market in East Sussex is steady and demand is increasing, which can only be a good sign. Because of the attractive price, we expect a lot of interest consistent with the levels of demand within the area. Whoever purchases The Curlew will be taking over a successful and well-run business which has even more potential to grow.”

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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