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Fri 2nd Dec 2016 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Industry bodies win battle to have NLW set independently from political interference saving sector billions: Industry bodies have won their battle to have National Living Wage (NLW) increases set independently from political interference – saving the sector billions of pounds. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) lobbied intensively for the increases to be set by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) rather than the government. One of their key calls was for the NLW to be set independent of political interference and to be set in the same way as the National Minimum Wage (NMW) – pegged to an economic metric (median earnings) – and for recommended rates to take into account economic circumstances and the impact on jobs. The ALMR and BHA jointly commissioned detailed research to model the impact of the NLW on baseline wages, differentials and investment across the sector. It showed there was a first-year cost of £1.5bn that could escalate to £3bn by 2020. Having presented the findings to the LPC and the government, ministers agreed the LPC would set the increase. It means rates would be set with an objective of getting to 60% median earnings by 2020 and not the politically set figure of £9 per hour. Therefore, the increase this year is 4%, not 6%, and the NLW is projected forward at about £8.40 to £8.60 by 2020 – effectively giving two more years to get to the government headline figure. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The ALMR and BHA have worked closely together to set out to ministers the broader effect of wage policy on investment in the sector and to set out how we would like to work with them to prioritise investment in our people in a wage that does not jeopardise our strong, positive record of job creation. It is very good news indeed that the setting of the rate for both NMW and NLW will be in the hands of the independent LPC and will be set taking into account economic circumstances and the impact on job. This means we can have the assurance that increases will be sustainable, will be economically informed, and that we will be consulted as part of the rate setting and informed of increases in a timely fashion. It means we can plan for the next two years knowing wage rates will reflect the bumpy ride being predicted for the UK economy and this positive outcome is a direct result of the joint campaign and having a strong, united retail voice.”

Industry News:

Next Propel Premium audio presentation to feature Living Ventures’ David Mansbridge: The next audio presentation sent to Propel Premium subscribers today (2 December) will feature David Mansbridge, director of training and compliance at bar and restaurant operator Living Ventures, who presented at this month’s People & Training Conference. Mansbridge talks about the company’s approach to recruitment, people development, retention, fostering first-class service standards, and creating a unique company culture centred on its staff. Propel Premium subscribers also receive the Propel Blue Book guide to sector turnover and profitability. The Blue Book lists and ranks 200 sector companies by turnover, profitability and profit conversion. It also provides a five-year overview of profitability and directors’ salaries. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same, but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers will be able to receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. Subscribers will also receive a copy of the Propel database of 700 multi-site companies, which will be updated every six months, and receive a digital version of Propel Quarterly magazine a week before publication. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Line-up for Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass revealed: The line-up for the Advanced Marketing and Insights Masterclass, in which Propel is partnering with leading sector public relations and marketing expert James Hacon, has been revealed. Hacon will share industry-leading marketing campaigns and activity from some of the biggest and best brands across the globe and share tips on how to capture ideas and apply this innovation to a brand. He will also share his strategy and direction for marketing at Thai Leisure Group, where he will reveal how it has refined and defined the Chaophraya and Thaikhun brands, developed the proposition, and delivered a research-based, award-winning marketing campaign. Charles Banks, of The Food People, will dive into the hot new concepts, foods and products in the international market to see what eating trends are shaping the industry, how the traditional business model is evolving, and how millennials are changing the models and concepts of the future. There will be a guided group session sharing best practice, seeking advice and sharing stories. Oliver Taylor, senior insight manager at Elliotts, will share the latest insight on how consumers are making decisions on where to go drink or dine out, what inspires them, how they plan and how they prefer to book. Cote marketing director Andrew Gallagher will reveal what’s on the top of his marketing agenda and what he thinks will impact this during 2017. Helen Baptist, senior vice-president of Fishbowl USA, will show how data can be leveraged to understand and better target customers to drive revenue, and shares top tips on data-driven wins. She will also share real-life case studies from leading-edge, fast-growing US concepts, including Blaze Pizza, Average Joe’s and Jamba Juice. There will be also be a panel discussion led by Hacon with Maxwell’s marketing manager Anthony Wright, G1 Group marketing director Lyn MacDonald, and Drake & Morgan marketing and sales director Pooja Sharma Jones about where they see success, their plans for the future, and other topics discussed throughout the day. The event takes place on Thursday, 12 January at One Moorgate Place in London. Tickets are priced at £295 plus VAT for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 plus VAT for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Anne Steele on anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Nearly a quarter of licences reviewed have been revoked since Licensing Act 2003 came into force, new research shows: Nearly a quarter of licences that have been reviewed have been revoked since the Licensing Act 2003 came into force, new research has revealed. A Freedom of Information Act request by specialist licensing solicitors Poppleston Allen that was replied to by 77 licensing authorities showed 1,541 reviews have been made with 375 licences being revoked. Of those reviews, 963 (62.4%) were brought by police, 125 (8.1%) by environmental health, 329 (21.3%) by trading standards, 72 (4.6%) by licensing authorities and 119 (7.7%) by “other persons” such as residents. These figures closely reflect those from the recent Home Office report for the year ending 31 March 2016, which revealed 59% were instigated by police, 21% by trading standards, 7% by environmental health, and 7% by local residents. Two of the reviews were by planning in one area, 49 by health and safety in one area and only four by the fire service. At the review hearing, 375 (24.3%) licences were revoked, 288 (18.6%) were suspended, 910 (59%) had conditions imposed, and 139 (9%) resulted in the designated premises supervisor being removed. There were 171 summary reviews of which 110 were suspended until the hearing of the full review. Poppleston Allen managing partner Jonathan Smith said: “Whilst these findings were from a sample of the licensing authorities, the data, if extrapolated, does present some interesting findings. I was slightly surprised at the number of licences that were revoked, being a total of a quarter of all reviews, and also that more designated premises supervisors were not removed. It is no surprise that more than 60% of reviews were brought by the police. However, it is surprising to me that environmental health has not brought more. Indeed, trading standards has bought two-and-a-half times as many reviews as environmental health. What it does show is the very small number of reviews that have been brought by ‘other persons’. The 49 reviews in one area bought by health and safety were done I understand on the basis that the premises were closed. I find this surprising since by law the licensing authorities would have to rely on one of the four licensing objectives and if a premises isn’t trading how can it be trading to the detriment of the licensing objectives? What this does highlight is that councils are effectively powerless to revoke premises licences where premises have closed or even been demolished. Whilst non-payment of the annual fee can lead to the suspension of a premises licence, it cannot lead to its revocation.”

Hotcha and New World Trading Company scoop Amazon Growing Business Awards: New World Trading Company, the Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group, and Chinese takeaway franchise Hotcha have scooped Amazon Growing Business Awards. In the past couple of weeks, New World Trading Company opened the 11th site for its The Botanist brand, this time in York city centre, while Hotcha continued its expansion by launching a 12th site, in Exeter. New World Trading Company won the growing business of the year: mid-sized company (turnover £25m to £50m) category, while Hotcha won the corresponding award for smaller companies (turnover up to £10m). A record 500 businesses from across the UK were nominated for the awards, which were launched in 1999 to honour Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprise leaders (SMEs). Tom Thackray, CBI director of innovation, said: “The CBI is delighted to support the Amazon Growing Business Awards, championing the vibrant network of SMEs as they undergo their scale-up journey. We wish all those who have taken part the greatest of success for the years ahead.”

Just Eat launches robot takeaway delivery service in Greenwich ahead of London roll-out: Just Eat, the market place for online food delivery, has partnered with robotics company Starship Technologies to launch a robot takeaway delivery service in Greenwich, south London. Starship Technologies has been testing its “six-wheel, self-drive pavement droid” in Greenwich for the past five months, with the first live delivery signalling the next step in the programme with plans to expand the programme across London in 2017. Greenwich resident Simone didn’t know she would receive the first delivery by robot when she ordered a meal from Turkish restaurant Taksim Meze using the Just Eat app. Staff placed Simone’s order in the cargo hold and texted her to let her know the order was on route. Ten minutes later, she received another message containing a link to open the cargo hold of the robot waiting at her door. Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield said: “We have been working closely with Starship Technologies for many months to ensure we can seamlessly integrate this exciting technology with our restaurant partners, customers and online booking service. Now we are live in Greenwich, we’re working towards a larger roll-out of the pilot programme across London in the new year.” Simone added: “I couldn’t believe my eyes when I opened the door to find a robot waiting to greet me – it was like something out of a movie. The only thing I wasn’t sure of was whether or not to tip!”

Brewing industry stalwarts launch consultancy service: A group of brewing industry stalwarts has launched a consultancy service. Brewindex is the brainchild of leading professionals, including former Society of Independent Brewers veterans Keith Bott and Julian Grocock, who have a breadth of knowledge and a wealth of experience as senior executives in the beer and pub sector. The consortium, which also includes former Daniel Thwaites production and distribution director Ian Bearpark, ex-Marston’s director Phil Barnett, and Titanic Brewery non-executive director Andy Slee, is setting out to offer strategic guidance, targeted advice, and co-ordinated support to brewing companies in an increasingly complex, crowded and competitive market. They have united as an in-house specialist index to give clients access to essential areas of expertise – finance, legal and personnel; operational structure and business development strategy; premises, plant design and installation; brewing, packaging and logistics; and marketing, sales and retail. Grocock said: “We all share a lifelong passion for British beer and brewing. Brewindex compacts brewing industry expertise into a single word with a unified vision – to put the win at its heart into the hands of those entrepreneurs who seek to enhance their businesses and enrich the industry we love!”

Diners in England demand restaurants display food hygiene ratings: Diners in England are demanding restaurants display food hygiene ratings, with 98% wanting the law changed to make all restaurants in the country publicly display their Food Standards Agency (FSA) food hygiene ratings, according to new research by food safety technology company Checkit.net. Ratings must be displayed in Wales and Northern Ireland but it is not compulsory in England. A total of 92% of diners said displaying “scores on the doors” would make eating out safer. Since it has been mandatory for restaurants in Wales to display food hygiene scores, the percentage of food businesses with a top rating of 5 has increased from 45% to 63%. The research also found consumers take the food hygiene rating into account when choosing where to eat, with 91% saying they often chose to eat somewhere with a rating of 4 or 5. Checkit.net managing director David Davies said: “Getting a 3 is not enough any more but many businesses are held back by time-consuming, paper-based checklists that make food safety difficult to manage, record and monitor. It is time to switch to digital systems that make the process seamless and quick.” Nina Purcell, FSA director of regulatory delivery, added: “The FSA is currently developing the case for making display of ratings mandatory in England and this research shows consumers would welcome such a move.” The online study questioned 1,000 consumers living in England.

Company News:

Chestnut Group aiming to triple turnover and develop some concepts into brands: Philip Turner, founder and chief executive of Suffolk-based hospitality company Chestnut Group, has told Propel he aims to triple the £5m annual turnover of the business and is keen to develop some of its concepts into brands. The company opened its fourth site last week – The Northgate in Bury St Edmunds – with work about to start on its fifth, the Three Blackbirds in Woodditton, Cambridgeshire. Turner, who is a former banker and corporate financier, said he was keen to continue expanding the business, which he established in 2012, in its East Anglian heartland as it looked to grow turnover to £15m. He added: “We have the platform in place, both operationally and financially, to accelerate expansion if we want to. At the moment I’ve got my eye on one or two sites but there’s nothing concrete. I think we have the capability to have up to two sites in development at once. I’ve not really got a target number of sites in mind. I’m more focused on growing the revenue. We have a range of properties and concepts within the business and, as we grow, I’d like to develop one or two of them into a recognised brand. In terms of expansion, there’s nothing we won’t look at. As I said we have the platform so we could deal with a bigger acquisition if we wanted but it would have to fit in with what we are trying to develop.” Turner said the company would concentrate on expanding in the East Anglia region with a mix of country and town centre sites but they had to be the “right properties”. He added: “We are gradually building out from west to east. We haven’t got anything in Norfolk yet and there is also the area around the Suffolk coast. Then we can start coming down – Essex is a huge opportunity for us. We can also look to go the other way into Northamptonshire. There is a big enough opportunity in this region for us so we are focused on that rather than going outside. We have a strategy and are sticking to it.” The company raised £2.5m under the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) funding in August but Turner said the company was unlikely to go down that route again. He said: “The changes to the way EIS works means we are going to look at other ways. It’s going to be a mix of less equity and a bit more debt as we go into our second stage of growth. I was reluctant to use bank debt to grow until we were a recognised operation.” 

Hickory’s to open second Star Pubs & Bars site: Hickory’s, the American-style smokehouse and barbecue restaurant group backed by Piper Private Equity, has taken on The Coach And Horses in Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands. It is the group’s second site with Star Pubs & Bars – its first being the former Peeping Tom in Burton Green, near Coventry. The Chester-based group is making a significant investment to transform the pub into a 7,000 square foot, Southern-style smokehouse and barbecue restaurant. It will be the group’s largest site and the first to feature Hickory’s “new look” following a brand refresh with hospitality brand consultants Keane. The new incarnation will include open fire-pits and pit masters, a live-action chefs’ bar, outdoor barbecue area, heated veranda, cinema room and neighbourhood bar. Building work has started, with the new Hickory’s set to open in February, creating more than 60 jobs. Since opening as a Hickory’s in June, trade at the Burton Green site has more than tripled. Hickory’s director John Welsh said: “We have been delighted with the performance of Burton Green. Our Castle Bromwich site will be our third foray into the Midlands and, despite our Wallheath site burning down in late August, it has been a great move to increase our footprint in the area! With eight years of research and over 14 trips to the Southern states under our belts, we are constantly evolving and authenticity will always be at the core of what we do. We are really looking forward to a busy 2017 of rebuilds and new openings across the region.” Lawson Mountstevens, managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, added: “The Coventry Hickory’s has been a great success so we’re delighted to be working with the team to create a second Hickory’s site, helping the group realise its vision of opening 12 restaurants by 2019.” The first Hickory’s opened in Chester in 2009. 

Duo behind Michelin-starred Pidgin launch Enfant Terrible, in Hackney: James Ramsden and Sam Herlihy, the duo behind Michelin-starred Pidgin, have opened Enfant Terrible in Hackney, east London. A barber’s shop by day and bar by night, the Greenwood Road venue offers a daily changing wine list, cocktails and bar snacks. In a nod to the new generation of Parisian wine bars, Ramsden said Enfant Terrible was a “gonzo take on the tiny wine bars of Paris – irreverent, exuberant and unpretentious”. The bar comprises 12 metal counter stools tucked beneath a wood-topped bar and shelves stocked with the day’s bottles. A hangover from the barber’s shop, a large mirror provides a backdrop for standing drinkers while copper pendant lights illuminate the floor-to-ceiling window. Bar snacks include tins of smoked oysters with chilli crisp and lime, and cognac and kampot pepper caramel brownie. The wine list changes daily and focuses on lesser-known regions and grapes. The cocktail list features Smoke Off The Mountain (Chartreuse, Ron Zacapa, Lagavulin 16-year-old whisky and vermouth), alongside Pidgin signatures such as Pidgin G&T and barrel-aged Negroni.   

Derby-based Secret Dining Company extends Enterprise partnership with third site: Derby-based The Secret Dining Company has extended its partnership with Enterprise Inns by taking on a third site, its fourth in total. Secret Dining Company will redevelop Chesterfield pub the Crooked Spire and reopen it in March as The Rectory following a “six-figure investment”. As part of expansion plans, the company has appointed Gez McCormick as operations manager. McCormick spent more than ten years at Marston’s as a business development manager for the Midlands region. The Secret Dining Company managing director Martin Roper said: “We’re pleased and excited to be working with Enterprise Inns for a third time. The Rectory will bring our cutting-edge gastro-pub, cask ale and craft keg offer to this iconic Derbyshire town as we look to develop and expand our vibrant brand.” Roper still fronts punk rock band Anti-Pasti, who recently headlined shows in Belgium and France to promote their new album Rise Up. The Secret Dining Company also operates The Crossing in Burton-on-Trent, and the Silk Mill Ale & Cider House and Exeter Arms, both in Derby.

New York clam shack Extra Fancy to start Shoreditch ‘surf and turf war’ with Blues Kitchen: The team behind New York clam shack Extra Fancy will join forces with Columbo Group-owned barbecue brand The Blues Kitchen for Surf & Turf Wars, a series of exclusive dinners in Shoreditch. For three nights starting on Monday, 30 January each restaurant will create six dishes, with Extra Fancy serving the “surf” side of the duel at The Blues Kitchen site in Curtain Road and the “home team” delivering the “turf” side with six authentic Texan barbecue dishes. Those dishes are likely to include Extra Fancy’s signature New England lobster bake (lobster tail, clams, shrimp, mussels, sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes) and The Blue Kitchen’s burnt ends (slow-cooked beef brisket glazed with beer and hickory barbecue sauce). Mixologists from both sides of the Pond will also produce three unique cocktails for the events. Restaurateur Mark Rancourt opened Extra Fancy in 2012. The Columbo Group, led by Steve Ball and Riz Shaik, also operates Blues Kitchen venues in Camden and Brixton.

Strada invests in Vidleos app to nurture team talent: Strada has become the first company to embrace mobile training via the Vidleos app, which enables staff to learn and develop skills through video. The cloud-based platform is available round the clock on any Android or Apple device, giving team members instant access to subjects such as food safety, EPOS training and new menus. The app leads to less reliance on structured training days and more freedom for team members to learn when it suits them. Strada head of people Esher Williams said: “One of the main opportunities when I joined the business in February was the potential for a more dedicated focus on learning and development. We held focus groups to understand what those within the business wanted and identified passionate people desperate for something new. We worked on identifying the most urgent needs and engaged with Vidleos to deliver an ambitious filming schedule. The Strada and Vidleos teams worked together to create content we feel is fresh, engaging and fun. We now feel we are firmly focused towards a new mobile learning culture.” Vidleos chief executive and co-founder John Mason added: “We’re really excited about the start we have made with Strada, we have made some amazing videos together and we look forward to being closely involved in the rest of its learning journey.”

Kained Holdings reopens Glasgow pub made famous by Trainspotting movie: Glasgow-based operator Kained Holdings has reopened the city’s Crosslands pub – made famous by a scene in the film Trainspotting. Renamed The Kelbourne Saint, the pub in Queen Margaret Drive now features a rotisserie for chicken and pork, with a rotating menu of Mediterranean small plates. There is also a craft tank beer system, with beer transported directly from West Brewery to two 500-litre tanks in the pub that feed brewery-fresh beer directly into the taps. To retain the Trainspotting heritage, Kained Holdings has reinstated the glass rack seen in the movie, where Begbie, played by Robert Carlyle, launches a pint glass from the balcony, causing a brawl. Kained Holdings is set to open two further venues in Glasgow – a pub serving Mexican street food and its first deli – both in Argyle Street – that will be a not-for-profit business training people from disadvantaged backgrounds. Kained Holdings managing director Graham Suttle told the Evening Times: “Months of consultation went into everything from the food and drink, right down to the decor and service.” The company employs more than 150 staff across its seven outlets, which include Lebowskis, The Craft Pig, and Porter & Rye.

Loungers opens Swansea seafront site: Loungers has opened its 76th venue, this time on Swansea seafront at the new Oyster Wharf development. Croeso Lounge is the second for Loungers in the Welsh city, with Zinco Lounge opening in Princess Way little more than a year ago. Loungers has spent £610,000 to transform the site into a “family-friendly, retro-inspired cosy retreat”. The decor features kitsch paintings and artwork, while the venue also has dramatic views of Swansea Bay. The multimillion-pound Oyster Wharf development will also house Prezzo, private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre, and Mediterranean-inspired bar restaurant La Parrilla. Loungers operations manager Jeremy Burton-Dickie told the South Wales Evening Post: “Oyster Wharf is a beautiful development. We’re in an enviable position on the waterfront so I’m sure Croeso Lounge is going to be a huge hit.” Last month, Loungers said it was set to sell a large stake in the business in a £150m deal. Founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop said they had drawn the interest of buyout firms Equistone and Inflexion Private Equity. Pub chains Fuller’s and Greene King have also been mooted as potential buyers. The next Loungers sites due to open are in Birmingham, Cheadle and Exeter.

Molson Coors wins five-year Center Parcs contract: Molson Coors has signed a five-year contract to supply beer, cider and craft products to holiday park operator Center Parcs’ five UK villages. The companies will also look to build a bespoke marketing plan to tie in with seasonal initiatives and national sporting events. Martyn Cozens, director of independent on-premise at Molson Coors, said: “We’re looking forward to a successful five years, offering a wide portfolio of beers and ciders to Center Parcs’ guests.” Center Parcs head of procurement Martyn Smith added: “Molson Coors demonstrated an insight-led approach to our business, with a focus on offering the right brands, based mostly on consumer behaviour. We were impressed by its knowledge of the latest and future market and macro trends, which will help us ensure our guests are getting what they want while on a short break with us.”

Vision Developments to launch garage-themed pop-up bar in Manchester Masonic hall: Manchester-based Vision Developments is set to launch a garage-themed pop-up in the city’s Masonic hall in Bridge Street ahead of completion of its £7m redevelopment of the grade II-listed building. The company will reveal its full rebranding plans for Manchester Hall early next year, which is thought to include bars, restaurants, event spaces and a rooftop terrace. The 120-capacity pop-up bar – Garage – will launch on Saturday (3 December) and run until April in the hall’s former garage space opposite the Manchester House entrance. Staff will dress in mechanic’s overalls and serve cocktails such as the Spark Plug, Anti-Freeze and Throttle ‘n’ Piston. The space will also cater for private events for up to 80 people. Vision Developments owner Stephen Cliff told Manchester Confidential: “We’re occupying what was a former garage space so we thought we’d have a bit of fun with the theme. We’re aiming to be a bit of light relief and give people a chance to come down, have a few drinks and have a real laugh in a bar that’s not taking itself too seriously.”

Wadworth crowns its ‘best of the best’: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has recognised the stand-out pubs and people from its managed and tenanted estates at the company’s Best of the Best Awards. The annual event took place this week at The Bear Hotel in Devizes, Wiltshire, with winners including the Beehive in Yeovil (community pub of the year); Richard Jennings, of the Pheasant in Chippenham (best manager); and Matthew Rae, of the George Inn, Bath (apprentice of the year). Wadworth chief executive Chris Welham said: “Winners have been chosen throughout our estate for their continued commitment to making their customers’ days and ensuring their pub is the very best in their area. It’s a fantastic atmosphere, with managers, business partners and team members from across the company all joining to celebrate together. I’d like to thank everyone at Wadworth for their continued passion, commitment and dedication.” Wadworth owns and operates more than 200 pubs in the south west. The family-owned company has produced beer at its Victorian brewery in Devizes since 1875 and still makes local deliveries using shire horses.

Eden Hotel Collection puts Devon site on market for £2.75m: The Eden Hotel Collection has put the Buckland Tout-Saints in Devon up for sale at a guide price of £2.75m. The three AA star-rated country hotel in Kingsbridge is being marketed by agent Savills. The hotel has 16 en-suite bedrooms and is set in 4.5 acres of tended gardens and woodland, including a croquet lawn and helipad. In the hotel is a large lounge, a self-contained function suite that accommodates 120 covers and the Queen Anne Restaurant, which holds two AA rosettes. Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, said: “The iconic Buckland Tout-Saints is a fantastic example of a successful country house hotel. It is well known and respected in the area and we expect high levels of interest in the property. The self-contained Kestrel Suite and Queen Anne Restaurant ensure there are additional income streams to complement the room bookings.” 

Greggs completes work on Enfield distribution centre: Bakery business Greggs has completed work on a new distribution centre in Enfield, Hertfordshire. The new centre will improve efficiency and increase capacity for delivery of bakery products as well as shop consumables such as coffee cups and paper bags to Greggs stores in the south. Clegg Food Projects worked with Greggs to select a suitable site for the new centre as well as design and extend the distribution warehouse. John Moxon, Clegg Food Projects business development director, told The Business Desk: “The distribution centre at Enfield has been developed from an existing distribution facility that has been extended, altered and refurbished to meet Greggs’ needs and marks our 19th project with the food-on-the-go retailer. It’s been a significant project for Greggs and a significant project for us, long may our relationship continue.”

TGI Friday’s expands soft drinks offer: TGI Friday’s has expanded its soft drinks offer by introducing two new ranges. The company has added Purity Drinks’ Juiceburst and Firefly drinks to its menu. A TGI Friday’s spokesman said: “Adding Juiceburst to our portfolio of soft drinks means we can offer our guests an interesting soft option with some exciting flavours to choose from that are one of their five a day and with no added sugar. At TGI Friday’s you can choose from orange and passion fruit, cloudy apple or blood orange. Firefly’s revitalising drinks with botanical extracts and unique flavour combinations really stood out to us and is a great addition to our soft drinks range. It is a perfect match for TGI Friday’s and proving very popular with our guests, who can choose from kiwi, lime and mint, peach and green tea, or lemon, lime and ginger.”

Bibendum launches wine pricing insights tool: UK drinks distributor Bibendum has launched a wine pricing insights tool. The Pricing Database will help the company advise customers to list the right products at the right price without having to rely on trial and error. It monitors every wine and price for more than 100 of the UK’s biggest eating out and drinking out brands. Using the tool, the team can analyse listings by country, grape, region, tasting note, serve and price, enabling them to present customers with a more complete picture of the market. It can identify opportunities for customers to make more from their own wine lists, such as an opening to introduce something new or highlight sectors where consumers may be happy to pay a more premium price. Bibendum has trialled the new tool with select customers during the past few months, leading to one premium London venue overhauling its list pricing in the run-up to Christmas. Bibendum head of market insight Alex Linsley said: “We want to help our customers understand the wider market and price their products accordingly to make sure they reap the rewards. As with all of our tools, the Pricing Database can be applied in different ways with the same goal – to work with our customers to provide the best drinks offer for their customers, enticing them to come back for more.”

Agent AG&G promotes from within: Agent AG&G has appointed Michael Penfold to its board as a director. Penfold’s career with AG&G began in 2009 and focuses primarily on transactions in the licensed leisure sector. The company has also promoted Panayiotis Themistocli to the role of associate director. Themistocli has been at AG&G for nine years, working on freehold and leasehold disposals and acquisitions, together with rent reviews. Meanwhile, Sarah Hart has been made up to a senior surveyor. She joined the company in 2013 and passed her assessment of professional competence last year, becoming a member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. A company spokesman said: “We look forward to all three continuing to work at AG&G and helping the company to remain in the centre of the pub, bar and restaurant market place.”

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