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Mon 19th Sep 2016 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Shortlist of UK best late-night operators unveiled: The short-listed finalists for the 2016 Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) Late Night Awards have been revealed. The nominees include businesses from right across the late-night sector and represent the best of an innovative night-time economy. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This year’s nominees are the strongest group yet and we have been overwhelmed by the number of responses. We are seeing nominations from across a broad spectrum of businesses, highlighting what a fantastically varied sector and exciting time this is. The ALMR’s Late Night Awards are judged by a panel of industry leaders and peers making them the most comprehensive awards of their kind. We are all very much looking forward to honouring the businesses that are at the cutting edge of the late-night economy.” The finalists are Late Night Food: Bodeans, Living Ventures, MeatLiquor, and Revolution; Late Night Drink: Be At One, Dirty Martini (Covent Garden Restaurants), Inception Group, and New World Trading Company; Entertainment: Colombo Group, Deltic Group, Intertain, and Tokyo Industries; Training and Innovation: Be At One, Beds and Bars, and Stonegate; Marketing and Promotion: Intertain, Maxwell’s, and Novus; Best New Late Night Venue: Albert’s Schloss (Mission Mars), Pryzm Birmingham (Deltic Group), Red Door, and Trade Union (Grand Union). The winners will be announced at this year’s Dusk ’til Dawn ceremony, in association with Propel Info, on Tuesday, 11 October at Cafe de Paris, London. Tickets can be purchased for the event by calling Jo Charity on 01444 810304 or emailing – more information can also be found on the ALMR website.

Industry News:

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. Former Rosinter chief executive Kevin Todd will also give his insights on talent management. 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

Quick-service restaurant queue-saving app launches £250,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: QuickQueue, an app that enables users to order ahead for food and drinks in quick-service restaurants, has launched a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform AngelsDen to expand the business. The company, co-founded by Maxwell Harding, Robert Kehres and Daniel Hodge, is offering a 20% equity stake in return for the investment. It has launched the campaign having secured ex-McColls chief operations officer Martyn Aguss as lead investor and £50,000 of funding at one of AngelDen’s pitching events. The app is already live with brands such as Chatime, EAT and West Cornwall Pasty Co. Users save time queuing by ordering ahead for their food and drink and paying through the app. When they arrive at the store their order is ready to collect and their loyalty points are added automatically. The pitch states: “We’re solving the problem of how people buy things in crowded places, starting with disrupting grab-and-go food and drinks. Currently, you queue, pay physically at the till, have your loyalty card stamped, and wait again while your order is prepared. It’s slow, inconvenient, and frustrating; and it’s a problem experienced every day by busy urbanites all over the world. Now consumers click and collect, with their food and drinks paid for, ready on arrival and loyalty points automatically saved on their phone. For retailers, QuickQueue increases store profits driven by intensified customer loyalty, increased average transaction values, boosts to operational efficiency, and customer acquisition. For customers, the necessity to eat and drink multiple times per day enables us to tap into habitual reordering; on average our customers order 6.5 times a month, highlighting the repeatability of our revenue. The funding will provide one year of runway to make key hires (developer and operations manager); expand tenfold to 200 pipeline stores, including national chains; generate £5m in year one gross transaction value; and refine the playbook by scaling throughout London ahead of international expansion (Series A), beginning in New York and Hong Kong.”

Jamie Rollo – US hotel market appears to be heading for cyclical downturn: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has said the US hotel market appears to be heading for a cyclical downturn. He said: “Our data shows the number of hotel submarkets in the US (638 in total) that have experienced 12 months of negative revpar since 1989. The data suggests that when 35% or more of these are in decline, it is a strong signal the market is going into a bigger cyclical downturn. The proportion of declining markets has risen from 3% in early 2015 to 19% currently, with a steady rate of deterioration, suggesting the market is perhaps over halfway to a cyclical downturn if this continues. STR estimates that half of the declining markets are struggling from their high oil exposure. While the data looks quite negative, to cloud our bearings of where we are in the cycle, consider that July 2016 looks very similar to July 1996 and May 2008, with about 120 submarkets in decline in these months. However, the cycle in the 1990s had almost five years remaining, while 2008 had only a couple of months left. We think the best-case scenario is low single-digit revpar growth for the next few years (STR recently lowered its 2016 estimate from 4.4% to 3.2%, with 2017 at 2.8%, slightly higher than our US team’s forecasts of 3.1% in 2016 and 2.4% in 2017), in which case hotel stocks can sustain their current multiples (which are in the middle of their historical range). However, the bear case is the market tips into decline, and in that scenario hotel stocks tend to see a sharp de-rating. That said, it is hard to be cautious on European-listed stocks given a number of company-specific factors driving performance (for example, cash returns, spin-offs, efficiency programmes, mergers and acquisitions).”

UK curry industry ‘worth £4bn’ with quarter attributed to north of England: The curry industry in the UK is worth £4bn, according to World Curry Festival founder Zulfi Karim. He added that £1bn could be attributed to the north of England with its hub – Bradford – worth £500m to the city’s economy. Karim told the Telegraph & Argus: “The ethnic food sector in the north of England has been growing for the past decade, with some of the largest Asian restaurants in the UK based in Bradford. A great deal of their achievement is due to the nation’s growing appetite for world foods, especially among the younger generations.” The two-week World Curry Festival has just launched in Bradford and is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors from as far afield as Malaysia, Pakistan and India, as well as chefs, exhibitors and business leaders.

Asian Catering Federation urges London’s ethnic restaurants to embrace 24-hour economy: The Asian Catering Federation (ACF), which represents 20,000 ethnic restaurants in the UK, has urged its London members to embrace the opportunity presented by the night tube by rethinking their business model to open later or offer breakfast. With reports of more than 50,000 Londoners a night using the 24-hour operation on the Victoria and Central lines on Fridays and Saturdays, ACF chairman Yawar Khan urged members located near tube stations to rethink their business model ahead of the extension of the service to the Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly lines. Khan said: "Many restaurants open every lunchtime but rarely see a customer because of a lack of demand or the failure to offer lighter, less spicy dishes preferred at midday. They would do better by opening later at night or offering breakfast.”

Chester leisure scheme to include restaurants gets approval: Plans to redevelop the Northgate area of Chester city centre, creating about 500,000 square feet of new retail, restaurant and leisure facilities and generating more than 1,000 jobs, has been approved. A host of applications for the Chester Northgate Scheme have been approved by Cheshire West and Chester Council. The scheme is expected to be delivered in two phases. The first, forecast to start in autumn 2017, would involve the development of restaurants within the shell of the library building, a new market hall replacing the current Chester Market, a six-screen cinema operated by Picturehouse, and a 167-bedroom, four-star hotel and conference centre as a replacement for the Crowne Plaza Hotel which, together with the Forum and several other buildings, would be demolished in 2019. Work would then begin on the second phase of construction, which would create the main retail offer, department store and residential areas.

Company News:

Tim Martin – ‘naïve’ airport owners only looking for ‘latest fad on the high street’: JD Wetherspoon founder and chairman Tim Martin has said companies responsible for allocating retail, restaurant and pub space in airports often only look for the “latest fad on the high street”. Martin was replying to a letter in the latest edition of Wetherspoon News. Gloria and Mike Bartram, from Selby in North Yorkshire, praised Wetherspoon’s pub at Doncaster Airport for a “lovely meal at a reasonable price”, adding: “It would be good if other airports were to offer the same facility.” Martin replied: “Glad to hear we’re cutting the mustard at The Running Horse in Doncaster Airport. Airport owners are not keen, in every case, to have Wetherspoon pubs, although many are. Those responsible for allocating retail, restaurant and pub space in airports are often looking for the latest fad on the high street. A pub company dating from the tail end of the punk era is, to them, old fashioned. How naïve can they get?” In July, JD Wetherspoon pub The Windmill, which opened at Stansted Airport in March 2015, won “airport bar of the year” at the FAB (Food & Beverage) awards held in Switzerland.

Hawkshead reports sales and profit rise, Ebitda hits £300,000: Lake District brewer Hawkshead has reported sales grew by 9% to £2.4m in the year ending 31 March 2016 and pre-tax profit by 50% to £194,000. Meanwhile, Ebitda has increased to £300,000 from £264,000 the year before with the brewery reaching full capacity. Alex Brodie, who founded Hawkshead in 2002, said: “This is a good result for a small brewer. We managed to wring out a bit more volume from a plant that was fundamentally at capacity.” Since the year-end, Hawkshead has further invested in its brewery at Staveley in Cumbria, to increase fermentation capacity to grow production by 40% – from 10,000 to 14,000 hectolitres per year – and to double profits, by 2018. “This two-year plan, which is already ahead of budget after two months, is designed to hold us in continuing growth while we work out how the business should develop in the long term,” said Brodie. He said Hawkshead was now looking to add commercial skills and explore investment possibilities, to grow. Brodie, who described himself as being of the generation who lived through the “dark years of scarcity, bland beer and disappointment”, added: “British beer is booming. It is the best it has been in my lifetime. Hawkshead has always been about highly flavourful beer, and making what we want to drink. The cat is now out of the bag. The taste buds of the beer-drinking public have been awoken and we have done well out of that.” Hawkshead sells by direct delivery throughout the north of England and selectively via specialist wholesalers elsewhere. Its iconic summer beer festival has drawn beer lovers to The Lakes for the past ten years.

Wimpy Restaurants reports profit boost: Wimpy Restaurants, which is owned by South Africa-based Famous Brands and has a network of circa 100 restaurants operated by franchisees, has reported a profit boost. Turnover in the year to 29 February 2016 fell slightly to £5,600,671, compared with £5,680,571 the year before. However, pre-tax profit rose to £1,444,930 from £1,184,578 the year before.

Former Giggling Squid executive plans nationwide Thai takeaway chain: Former Giggling Squid marketing manager Adam Webb is set to open a new takeaway concept, ThaiWorks, in Bournemouth. It will occupy the Seamoor Road site vacated by Tasty Moment Chinese takeaway in the Westbourne area of the seaside town, close to the affluent Sandbanks Peninsula. The new opening is the debut of what is intended to become the first nationwide Thai takeaway chain. Webb has invested £100,000 in refurbishing the premises. A new state-of-the art kitchen has been designed to the specifications of a team of skilled chefs who previously worked at Chaophraya, Busaba and Koh Thai restaurants. A second opening is planned within the year, with a further two acquisitions in the following 12 months. Once a solid platform is established a rapid, nationwide roll-out is expected. The company has already attracted significant investment from a number of existing industry players and will initiate a crowdfunding offering next year. The healthy, modern Thai dishes will all be prepared and cooked freshly on-site using only the highest quality ingredients. Webb left Giggling Squid earlier this year, shortly after the appointment of Camilla Katté as the company’s marketing director, following the sale of a minority stake to Business Growth Fund for £6.4m. While at Giggling Squid he helped launch its restaurants in Salisbury, Clifton, Guildford, Billericay and Esher, as the estate grew to 15 sites. He also helped pioneer its first home delivery operation in Horsham. Webb believes too many takeaway operators skimp on quality produce to maintain margins. “There’s a strong demand for quality Thai takeaway food, which peaks at the end of the working day and for party celebrations at weekends,” said Webb, adding: “The plan is to bring true quality food and service into the home delivery market place.” The menu features classic Thai dishes of red, green and Massaman curries, plus innovative modern items such as cheeseburger spring rolls. Webb, a graduate in business management from Bournemouth University, previously worked in banking operations at Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank before completing a master’s degree in PR and Media at Brunel University. He then worked for a number of restaurants and takeaways.

Sam’s Chicken to open Northampton town centre site: Sam’s Chicken, which operates 34 sites, mainly in and around London, is set to open a restaurant in Northampton town centre. The company, which sells fried chicken burgers, wings, buckets and wraps to take away or eat in, will take over the former Oxfam shop in the Drapery ahead of an opening in early November. The restaurant is currently looking for full-time and part-time “food and service assistants”. Sam’s Chicken opened its first restaurant in Wealdstone, Middlesex, in 1990. According to its website, the company uses it own “secret mix of spices” that goes into the flour preparation and cooking process that gives the “crispy golden brown chicken product lines, which holds the key to business success”. A total of 24 of the company’s restaurants are franchises, and its website states: “To ensure the quality and service associated with Sam’s is maintained by new franchisees, expansion is being carefully planned and managed.” Outside the Greater London area, Sam’s Chicken operates two franchised sites in Birmingham and others in Luton and on the Isle of Wight.

Five Guys to expand international footprint from eight to 30 countries in next five years: Better burger brand Five Guys has said it expects to expand its international footprint from eight countries to more than 30 during the next five years as results “outpace” its most “optimistic projections”. In the past three years, Virginia-based Five Guys has opened sites in Europe and the Middle East, and is now turning to Asia and Australia for new development to build on that success. Five Guys chief operating officer Sam Chamberlain told Nation’s Restaurant News: “We always knew international was going to be a strong opportunity but the results have outpaced even our most optimistic projections.” Five Guys led the emergence of the better burger segment with explosive growth in 2009, 2010 and 2011 in spite of a weak restaurant market struggling to recover from recession. The company’s growth has slowed recently as competitors flood the market, but it is still adding about 100 locations a year. Estimated unit volumes rose nearly 5% last year to more than $1.1m, according to Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 100 data. US system-wide sales rose 9% to $1.3bn last year.

Comptoir Libanais to open Soho restaurant on Tuesday: Comptoir Libanais, the Lebanese canteen specialising in fresh Middle Eastern dishes, is set to open its 12th site, this time in Soho on Tuesday (20th September). The 398 square metre, 94-cover site in Poland Street will offer 50% off food until Sunday, with a variety of dishes to eat in or take away. Breakfast offerings will include pastries, granola and yogurt, egg dishes, and the signature Comptoir Full Breakfast, while lunch dishes will feature sharing hot and cold mezze, grilled halloumi and meat, and a selection of tagines. Drinks will range from homemade lemonades and freshly squeezed juices to cocktails and Lebanese wine and beer. The venue will also feature the Comptoir Libanais Souk Shop, selling imported gifts, hand-crafted accessories, spices and sweets. The Soho opening is the first of three Comptoir Libanais restaurants set to launch in London during the next few months. In October, the group’s first in-store restaurant will open in John Lewis’s flagship Oxford Street store. In November, the Lebanese canteen will head west with a new restaurant in Gloucester Road, Kensington. Outside the capital, the brand’s first branches in the south west will open in Exeter this month and Bath in October, extending the company’s UK footprint. There will be a third regional opening in Leeds in November.

M&B reopens converted Harvester site on outskirts of Brighton as Miller & Carter steakhouse: Mitchells & Butlers has reopened its former Harvester pub the Black Lion in Patcham, on the outskirts of Brighton, as a Miller & Carter steakhouse. The site has been transformed as part of Mitchells & Butlers’ review of its estate. John Crayford, regional business manager at Miller & Carter, said: “Bringing a new Miller & Carter to Brighton is a fantastic opportunity for the brand and we look forward to providing the best steaks and service that Miller & Carter is renowned for across the UK.” Miller & Carter has more than 40 steakhouses in the UK and serves 12 cuts of Red Tractor Farm Assured meat, including rib-eye, fillet and chateaubriand.

Stew & Oyster gets go-ahead for Otley site: Leeds bar group Stew & Oyster has been given the go-ahead to open a site in Otley, West Yorkshire. The company has been given permission by Leeds City Council to convert the grade II-listed Old Grammar School building in Manor Square. Stew & Oyster will redevelop the ground and first floor of the building from professional offices and an art gallery into a restaurant and wine bar, reports Insider Media. Stew & Oyster operates from venues in central Leeds, Oakwood and Boston Spa, serving real ale alongside a selection of the food it is named after. The group opened its first venue, off The Calls, in 2009 with further sites opening in 2012 and 2014. The business is currently seeking permission for a floating beer garden to the rear of its Calls Landing operation.

Nando’s, Five Guys, Zizzi and Hollywood Bowl sign up for £70m Huddersfield leisure scheme: Nando’s, better burger brand Five Guys, Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi and Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest ten-pin bowling operator, have signed to open at a £70m complex in Huddersfield. Hotel chain Raddison has already been named as occupant of a £13m, four-star business class hotel also planned for HD One, which will occupy a 20-acre site alongside Huddersfield Football Club’s John Smith’s Stadium. Gareth Davies, managing director of Kirklees Stadium Development, the company behind HD One, said the development – which will also include a ski slope and shops – was already 75% pre-let with about 20 tenants close to committing to the site. He said the aim was to complete funding for the development by the end of this year and to start the two-year construction in 2017. HD One would create 500 permanent jobs with about 700 jobs in the construction phase, the Huddersfield Daily Examiner reports. When complete, the 240,000 square foot scheme would have the potential to generate visitor numbers of about four million, compared with 1.5 million currently for the stadium complex, which also includes the Odeon cinema, Kirklees Active Leisure’s health and fitness club, Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and the Rope Walk pub.

Living Ventures to open first ‘suburban’ Alchemist site in November, in Alderley Edge: Living Ventures will open its first branch of The Alchemist cocktail bar and restaurant at a “suburban” site – in the village of Alderley Edge, Cheshire, in November. The company is transforming its Blackhouse-branded The Grill On The Edge in London Road into the new venue, creating 40 jobs. The two-storey site, which will have a central island bar on the ground floor, will have a capacity of 150, including a 70-seat restaurant within the venue’s conservatory. Simon Potts, managing director of the Alchemist, told The Business Desk: “We are thrilled to be bringing The Alchemist to Alderley Edge. Some residents will already be aware of the brand from our Manchester sites and we’ve had a huge amount of enquiry and enthusiasm during development. We believe it will be a welcome addition to the bustling social scene in the village and we can’t wait to immerse ourselves in the local community.” Living Ventures launched the Alchemist in Manchester’s Spinningfields more than five years ago. The standalone business under Living Ventures’ umbrella operates seven UK sites – two in Manchester, two in Leeds and one in London, Liverpool and Birmingham. A further site at MediaCityUK is scheduled for 2017 among several other openings around the country. The company has projected turnover of £21m for this financial year and employs more than 350 people.

Gourmet healthy tea subscription service launches crowdfunding campaign: Gourmet healthy tea subscription service Teatime, which supplies a number of Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels, has launched a fund-rise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs. The company, founded by Ruby Chan, is offering a 10% equity stake in return for the £40,000 investment. The pitch states: “Our carefully crafted blends are created and produced in the UK then delivered in handy artisan packs for instant health, whether at work or home, thereby curbing the need to reach for caffeine through the day. The idea is that those with busy lifestyles can reach into their bag/drawer/cupboard for an instant pick-me-up the natural way. Although the business began on a subscription model basis, we soon found we fit quite well into the premium health and wellbeing market given the high-quality nature of our product and the increasing trend and awareness towards ‘free-from’ living. As such, we found ourselves to be a good match, not only for obvious partners such as premium spas and health clubs but top tier hotels and Michelin-star restaurants also, who were looking for something premium, unique and truly all-natural. We are currently trading with some regular clients and subscribers so we intend to continue to dominate the London high-end market by selecting more key brands to partner with in order to increase awareness and our subscriber base. We are looking for funds to cover our overheads (employee and office costs), purchase stock and cover costs for our new brand relaunch (marketing, PR activities, new packaging and collateral).”

Peckham’s plans restaurant, bar and deli in Helensburgh: Scottish grocery chain Peckham’s has submitted plans for a restaurant, bar, licensed delicatessen and function suites at a listed building in Helensburgh. The application for the site in Sinclair Street is seeking to add external seating areas to the front and rear. The premises are currently under offer after being advertised for sale last year by Argyll and Bute Council, seeking offers of more than £220,000. Cllr Aileen Morton, whose policy brief includes economic development and strategic tourism, told the Helensburgh Advertiser: “The scale of development is a vote of confidence in Helensburgh’s growing reputation as a destination for dining and shopping. It would be great to see this kind of ambitious proposal added to the great range of restaurants and shops already available.” Peckham’s was founded in 1982 and operates two sites in Glasgow.

Greggs opens fourth Belfast site as part of Northern Ireland expansion drive: Greggs has opened its fourth site in Belfast as part of its expansion drive in Northern Ireland. The company has opened the store in Castle Lane, creating 18 jobs. Greggs first entered the Northern Ireland market in 2015, with a franchised shop at the M2 Applegreen station. This was followed by a further two franchised shop openings in partnership with Applegreen on the A26 outside Ballymena and on the M1 near Lisburn. It opened its first company-managed store in Belfast, at Boucher Retail Park, in March this year, followed by one in the city centre in Royal Avenue in May and then Dargan Road in the north of the city. Last year the company revealed it was eyeing 50 locations across Northern Ireland, with about ten in Belfast. Manager of the Castle Lane store Richard Stewart told ITV News: “The store is in an ideal location for shoppers and city centre workers and we’re really looking forward to bringing them a taste of Greggs – from our much-loved savouries to our ‘Balanced Choice’ range and our freshly ground coffee – there is something for everyone!”

C.Gars launches Turmeaus cigar sampling and fine whisky lounge in Liverpool: London-based cigar retailer C.Gars, which operates the Turmeaus brand and seven specialist shops in the UK, has opened a cigar sampling and whisky lounge in Liverpool city centre. Customers are allowed to sample cigars and pipes at the venue in Old Hall Street because their specialist nature means they are not covered by the smoking ban. The new venue features a whisky bar, two cigar-sampling lounges, and an accessories room. It opens daily and also offers food and live music. C.Gars managing director Mitchell Orchant said: “Turmeaus Cigars and Whisky is the only place in northern Britain where customers can legally enjoy sampling a fine cigar indoors and wash it down at a fully licensed bar offering premium whisky by the dram.” Orchant said the second phase of the development would start by the end of September to provide an additional cigar shop and sampling lounge that would open until 11pm, as well as a whisky and cocktail lounge, tapas restaurant, and the largest whisky bar in north England. C.Gars also operates Turmeaus stores in London, Chester, Knutsford and Norfolk. The Knutsford and Chester sites are both fully licensed.

Former TGI Friday’s and The Botanist employee takes on first pub: Former TGI Friday’s and The Botanist employee Julian Rose-Gibbs has taken on his first pub. Rose-Gibbs, who has also worked for a number of other brands, including Bitters ‘n’ Twisted, has bought the lease of The Anchor pub in the Digbeth area of Birmingham from Gerry Keane. He plans to introduce a food concept and make only minor changes to the grade II-listed building, including renovating the cellar. He told the Birmingham Mail: “A traditional pub is a challenge I haven’t done yet. This place has won awards for the beer. It’s my next challenge but still within the remit of what I know. I thought we’d take a traditional boozer, keep some of it as traditional as possible, get the real ales back up to scratch, and add a bit of craft beer and gin along with whisky. We’ll also slowly but surely put a food concept in. We want to keep the traditional side of it but also bring it up to the modern drinking culture –but still with a serious nod to its heritage.”

BaxterStorey welcomes record number of graduates: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has welcomed a record number of graduates on to its Momentum Graduate Programme. Now in its sixth year, 23 recruits took part in an introductory ceremony at the Blue Fin Building in London. The programme received more than 350 applications this year and has had a 100% graduate retention rate during the past two years. Graduates gain work experience in the kitchen, front of house and in hospitality and support services. They then move on to mobilisations, location projects and operations. BaxterStorey head of skills and development Graham Eveleigh said: “The increasing popularity of our Momentum Graduate Programme is testament to the vast range of opportunities our young recruits are offered. It is training initiatives such as this that continue to help us attract and retain a motivated and committed workforce.”

Tudor-style restaurant in Kent on market for £595,000: Agent Christie & Co has brought The Barn – an oak-beamed, Tudor-style restaurant in Kent – to market for £595,000. The 36-cover venue in Lower Rainham has a bar on a mezzanine floor with seating for another 24 people, used for private dining. The restaurant also has views of the River Medway from its owners’ accommodation. James Hughes, of Christie & Co’s Maidstone office, described the Kent market as “buoyant”. He added: “The Barn Restaurant is an attractive property and could not be better located for someone looking to run a business in a tranquil setting beside the river. The building possesses a lot of character and history and would be ideal for a range of different purchasers, including first-time buyers as well as experienced operators. The restaurant currently attracts repeat custom from a wide area alongside a loyal local following. However, there is plenty of room for a new owner to further develop the business to take it to the next level.”

Italian food truck operator opens West Sussex restaurant: Piero Caramella, who operates a food truck in East Grinstead selling Italian food, has opened a restaurant in the West Sussex town. Spizzichi & Bocconi, which is Italian for bites and nibbles, has opened in Railway Approach. Caramella has owned Italian restaurants in Cardiff, London and the US, while his sons Stefano and Giampiero operate restaurants in Cardiff. He told the East Grinstead Courier: “We do Italian street food like pizza, calzone, arancini (stuffed rice balls coated with breadcrumbs and deep fried). It’s all fresh – pasta, salad, mozzarella, tomatoes, everything. We want to concentrate on making sure it’s healthy Mediterranean food. In a restaurant you normally pay more but here you get a top-quality Italian meal, cooked right there and then for half the price.”

Full speaker schedule for Bar and Nightclub Conference: 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

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