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Mon 20th Feb 2017 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Barworks reports Ebitda passes £1m mark as company returns to profit, pays £4.9m for first freehold site: Barworks, the central London bar and pub operator, has reported Ebitda has passed the £1m mark as the company returned to profit. Accounts filed at Companies House revealed Barworks paid £4,895,418 to acquire its first freehold property – The Commercial Tavern in Shoreditch – with the deal financed through a £6m equity injection from shareholders. The company saw turnover increase 13.3% to £11,809,788 for the year ending 30 June 2016, compared with £10,445,202 the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda jumped 46.7% to £1,122,082, compared with £755,755 the year before. It reported a pre-tax profit of £356,617, compared with a loss of £248,456 the previous year. The company stated: “The directors are pleased to report another record performance from the Barworks Group in terms of turnover and adjusted Ebitda. Turnover increased by 13.3% from £10.4m to £11.8m and adjusted Ebitda increased by 46.7% from £0.75m to £1.1m. This has been achieved by maintaining focus on the creation and retention of a loyal customer base by a dedicated team of employees providing a high level of customer service and by sound management. The confidence in the group of the founding shareholders was evidenced by a £6m equity injection at the start of 2016, which allowed the acquisition of the Group’s first freehold site. Interim dividends declared during the year amounted to £377,400 (2015: £792,200). Future plans for the business are to continue to focus on the provision of good food and beverages at reasonable prices at attractive locations. The directors remain ambitious to add new bars, operating much in the same way as hitherto, with a view to steady expansion of the group, year-on-year. Consistent with these plans, two new sites have opened after the year-end date, taking the total number of sites to 12 at the start of 2017. Meanwhile, each active venue within the Barworks Group is delivering profits, once the initial period of bedding in has passed, so that the overall business is going from strength to strength. The business is now well placed to make further core and strategic investments in the future – partly funded by cash generated within the business and partly by bank finance. Taking all this into account, the directors remain very optimistic as to the future for the business and the results per monthly management accounts for the current financial year and the accuracy of directors’ forecasts to date support this view.”

Industry News:

Handful of places left at Propel Multi Club Conference: There are now only a few places left at the Propel Multi Club Conference on Thursday, 9 March at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel, 4-18 Harrington Gardens, London SW7 4LH. Paul Hemming, managing director of AlixPartners, will provide an overview of current mergers, acquisitions and refinancing trends in the UK market – and reflect on market growth. Michael Ingemann, chairman of the ground-breaking Copenhagen-based Claus Meyer Holdings (founders of Noma), will talk about learnings from launching a food hall and a fine dining restaurant in New York’s Grand Central station last year while also launching a culinary school in Brooklyn. Andrea Ferraz, analyst at Morgan Stanley, will look at the impact of third-party delivery on the UK foodservice sector, compare progress in the UK with other major markets and give her views on how third-party delivery will develop in the UK. Nick Pring, co-founder of Urban Pubs and Bars, will talk about creating a unique market position in London suburbs, building a business the second time around, finding property and repositioning JD Wetherspoon pubs, creating a pizza concept, and opening a 12,000 square foot pop-up at Stratford Westfield. John West, head of franchising sales for Coffee Republic, will set out how the company has revived its fortune in the UK and overseas, its USPs, its position within the coffee market, its franchising strategy, and future plans in the UK and abroad. Jason Myers, chief executive of Busaba Eathai, the concept created by Alan Yau, will talk about evolving the brand, staff recruitment and retention, prospects for the Thai market, brand longevity, and developing its delivery and takeaway business. Kevin Charity, founder of Coaching Inn Group, will set out the benefits of taking Business Growth Fund investment two years ago, including his reflections on the process and how it has quadrupled the value of the business through the execution of a business plan that has included buying new sites, strengthening the management team, leveraging head office costs, and growing site Ebitdas through investment and operational improvements. Dan Einzig, food and beverage entrepreneur and chief executive of sector design agency Mystery, will look at current trends in Los Angeles and London and the learnings from innovative brand concepts his agency has helped to develop, including Bubbleology, Za Za Bazaar, Yorica, Rawligion and Dub Jam, its own Caribbean barbecue and reggae rum bar concept. Jayne Baker, managing director of Wright & Bell, will talk about the ground-breaking £3.2m Imbiba-backed Kitty Hawk, the department store of dining concept – combining shopping, drinking and dining – its progress at its first site in South Place, and future prospects. Atholl Milton, co-founder of StreetDots, will speak about the company’s development of a unique street food business model, the size and quality of the market, connecting and developing high-quality street food traders, and the way he sees street food developing in the future. Steve Locke, co-founder of Be At One, will set out how the company has developed its own distinct position in the cocktail market with a focus on staff training and development, progress in the regions, and future prospects. Multi-site companies can book two free places each by emailing or calling 01444 817691.

UK inbound tourism hits record high in 2016: A record number of tourists travelled to the UK in 2016, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). There were 37.3 million inbound visits to the UK in 2016, up 3% on 2015, with visitors spending £22.2bn – matching the record spend in 2015. The figures show strong growth in visits from Canada and the US – the latter Britain’s most valuable tourism source market with 4.3 million visits, up 7% on 2015. There were also a record 25.3 million visits from the EU in 2016, up 4% on 2015. Comparing growth during the past six years shows there were 7.5 million more visits in 2016 than 2010, an increase of 25%. There were a record 3.2 million visits from October to December, up 11% on the same period in 2015. Inbound visits to friends and relatives saw strong growth throughout 2016 with a record-breaking 11.5 million visits, up 10% on 2015. The latest ONS flight booking data shows 2017 is also off to a strong start, with flight bookings to the UK up 16% for February to April compared with the same period last year. VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe told Hotel Owner: “The strong growth in inbound visits demonstrates British tourism’s continued ability to compete for international visitors and deliver economic growth across our nations and regions. We must seize the opportunity to build on this, boosting visitor spending by driving home the message of welcome and value, particularly in our high-spending markets such as China and the US and the valuable European market.”

JD Wetherspoon to become first to display calorie counts for drinks: JD Wetherspoon is to become the first pub operator to display calorie counts for its drinks, The Sun has reported. The information will be introduced on new menus to be rolled out next month. Among the most calorific drinks is a pint of Sharp’s Doom Bar real ale, which carries a hefty 253 calories. A pint of Stella Artois lager has 227 calories, a pint of Guinness has 204. There are also 204 calories in a pint of Foster’s lager, while a pint of Strongbow cider has 187. The drink with the fewest calories is Pepsi Max, which has just two in a 398ml glass. The move comes after a poll found 90% of people do not know the calorie count of a pint of beer, with 80% unaware how many calories are in wine. Tim Martin, chairman of the 930-strong group, called it a “logical step”.

Company News:

Stonegate completes operational integration of Intertain into estate leading to ‘small’ number of redundancies: Stonegate Pub Company has completed the operational integration of Intertain into its estate following its acquisition last year, Propel has learnt. Stonegate bought Intertain, which operates Walkabout, for about £39.5m in December from private equity firm Better Capital. Stonegate has now integrated the operational side of the 30 Intertain sites into the business, leading to a “small number of redundancies”. Propel understands this includes Intertain head of operations John Creighton, who had been with the company for seven years. Creighton had been promoted to the position in September last year and was responsible for operational delivery, standards and results in Intertain’s core estate. A Stonegate spokeswoman told Propel: “Following the acquisition of Intertain in December 2016, Stonegate has now completed the operational integration of the 30 sites acquired. Regrettably, a small number of roles within the Intertain structure have been made redundant, predominantly in head office functions. Where possible we have sought to retain colleagues within the Stonegate structure.” Stonegate previously said it planned to invest in many of the 30 Intertain sites during the next three years. It is also converting its Missoula site in Colchester, Essex, into a Walkabout, which will be the brand’s first site to open following the acquisition.

Former BrewDog employee closes crowdfunding campaign to start cold brew coffee company after raising £150,000 within 30 hours of launch: Former BrewDog employee Emily Fitchett has closed her campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to start her cold brew coffee company after raising £150,000 within 30 hours of its launch. Fitchett, who worked as a UK distribution key account manager for BrewDog, was offering a 13.33% equity stake in her company Fitch Brew Co in return for the £100,000 investment. She hit her target just 24 hours after the fund-raise began and has now closed the campaign after 155 investors pledged £150,000. The largest investment was £20,000. The money will enable Fitchett to buy the equipment, cans and beans needed to get her started on a scalable level. The coffee brewery will be based in Leeds, next door to North Brewing Co. Fitchett told Propel: “I’m overwhelmed by the positive response to Fitch Brew Co and the pitch. I’m so excited to be able to move on to the next stage of the company and see where we can take it. Thank you to everyone who has invested and is joining us on our mission to disrupt the way people see and drink coffee.” The pitch stated: “We believe there is huge potential for the product within the alcohol sector, especially the on-trade due to the product’s versatility. The flavour of Fitch Cold Brew has been specifically developed to work with alcohol brands and the packaging designed to work alongside craft beer and energy drinks on a back bar. We have spent the past eight months submersed in developing the product, branding and business strategy and the prototype alone has led to over 20 independent venues being interested in listings. We are also in talks with Matthew Clark, which supplies more than 16,000 venues across the UK, to distribute.”

Slim’s Health Kitchen closes six out of eight sites in Northern Ireland: A chain of healthy eating restaurants in Northern Ireland has closed six of its eight outlets in a drastic reorganisation of its business, the Belfast Telegraph has reported. Slim’s Healthy Kitchen, which was set up by Gary McIldowney in 2013 after the former electrician underwent his own dramatic weight loss, has pulled down the shutters at its Victoria Square premises in Belfast city centre and five other locations. In January last year, he described how he had a recent turnover of £4m and an average of 5,000 customers per week – as well as plans to bring Slim’s Kitchen to Baggot Street in Dublin, Londonderry and the UK. The Victoria Square Express Slim’s followed a year after the first Slim’s opened in Lisburn Road, and a third followed in Belmont Road, east Belfast, last year, along with openings at DW Fitness Clubs in four Northern Ireland locations. A spokesman for the company said affected staff had been redeployed elsewhere in the business. It is understood about 30 people were employed across the outlets that have closed. Slim’s was one of the first in Belfast to cater for the growing interest in “clean eating”, offering superfoods such as avocado, kale and sweet potatoes as part of its menu of fast-food dishes and smoothies.

TGI Friday’s suspends staff member who asked interviewee inappropriate questions: TGI Friday’s has suspended a member of staff who asked an interviewee a series of inappropriate questions during an on-site interview at its Intu Derby branch. The interviewee walked out of the interview mid-way through. A spokesman for TGI Friday’s said: “Friday’s offers an industry-leading recruitment process, and this incident fell severely below our high standards. The questions posed during the interview with the candidate are absolutely not part of TGI Friday’s interview process and we were very disappointed to learn of this incident. Immediate action was taken, with the person involved suspended.

Gaucho to open first Midlands site in May, in Birmingham city centre: Gaucho is set to open a restaurant in Birmingham city centre in May, its first venue in the Midlands. Work is already under way on the high-end steak restaurant, which will open at 55 Colmore Row. It will be the second Gaucho Group restaurant to open in the city this year following the launch of sister brand CAU in Brindleyplace. Gaucho founder Zeev Godik told the Birmingham Mail: “We’ve been looking at Birmingham for some time but finding the right location was crucial. It had to look and feel right for the brand. All our restaurants are individual and we needed a space that enabled us to tell the story of Gaucho to the full and create a memorable experience for customers in the city.” John Hammond, investment director of IM Properties, which is responsible for the development at 55 Colmore Row, added: “Our ambition was to attract a top-tier restaurant and, when Gaucho approached us, we knew they ticked all our boxes for style, quality and vibrancy. We believe Gaucho significantly adds to the offering and will provide a real talking point in the city, becoming a place to go and be seen.” Gaucho operates 12 restaurants in London and others in Leeds and Manchester. It also operates sites in Dubai and Hong Kong.

Chopstix lines up second Aberdeen site: Noodle brand Chopstix is lining up its second site in Aberdeen. The company has revealed plans to open the restaurant and takeaway in Union Square on the site previously occupied by Baguette Express. It follows the opening of its venue in Union Street last year, where it unveiled its new brand identity. Chopstix chief operating officer Max Hilton Jenvey told The Press & Journal the company was “excited to create more employment opportunities for the local community in addition to satisfying a wider group of customers”. Chopstix Group operates about 60 sites across the UK and Ireland.

New Cleethorpes Pier owner to open ‘world’s biggest fish and chip shop’ in April: New Cleethorpes Pier owner Papa’s Fish and Chips, which operates 17 sites across the UK, will open the “world’s biggest fish and chip shop” in April. The family-owned company, which acquired the Lincolnshire landmark in December, will open the 500-capacity venue “no later than 9 April, in time for the Easter holidays and the start of the tourism season”. The opening will create 100 jobs, while the kitchen will be headed by George Papadamou, named the UK’s best fish fryer at last month’s National Fish and Chip Awards. The company purchased the pier after buying out the Huxford family, which announced its intentions to sell the pier in September despite investing £4.7m in a two-year refurbishment, the Grimsby Telegraph reports. The Papas family, which opened its first restaurant in Margate, Kent, in 1966, has vowed to bring the pier “back to its heyday” and has continued to operate the tea room, bar and function room. Last month, Papa’s opened what it claims is currently the “world’s biggest fish and chip restaurant”, in Scarborough. The 450-cover venue is on the site of a former Greene King-owned Hungry Horse pub.

Balans Soho Society to open Clapham restaurant this month, first site south of the Thames: London-based casual dining group Balans Soho Society will open a restaurant in Clapham on Monday, 27 February. The venue in Clapham Common South Side is on the site of former American-style bar Honky Tonk. It will be the company’s seventh London site but its first south of the Thames. The company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary year, offers an all-day menu in luxurious surroundings. Breakfast dishes include high society eggs benedict, while the Society Classics section of the menu presents British lunchtime classics. The small plates section includes jerk chicken samosas, chickpeas and falafel, and smoked almond brie. Last month, Balans Soho Society reported an 18.3% year-on-year increase in like-for-like sales for the year ending 31 December 2016. Owner David Taylor said: “During a period when trading conditions for restaurants everywhere can be said to be somewhat challenging, I’m delighted the reinvigorated Balans Soho Society is bucking the trend and proving to be increasingly popular. We’re anticipating maintaining momentum in 2017 as we continue to open new sites.” Balans Soho Society opened its first venue in Old Compton Street, Soho, in 1987.

Atlas Pub Co offloads Leeds city centre pub: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co has suddenly closed The Pour House, which occupies a historic former granary warehouse in Leeds city centre, after selling the site. The bar, which models itself on the prints of artist and satirist William Hogarth, who campaigned in the 18th century to make beer more affordable, announced the closure on social media. To honour Hogarth’s work, The Pour House refused to sell gin in its downstairs bar – the drink being seen as the ruin of Georgian poor. However, it operated a separate gin bar named after the artist’s famous Gin Lane painting. The bar offered half-price food and drink on its closing day. The Pour House owners told the Yorkshire Evening Post they had agreed the sale of the site to the company behind Headrow House and Belgrave Music Hall, which is led by Leeds promoters Simon Stevens and Ash Kollakowski, who will renovate the site and reopen it as a new venue by the summer. The Pour House stated on social media: “Our decision to hand over the reins of The Pour House was to enable us to expand the business in other areas. Our sister venue, Buca de Pizza, will be making appearances in Chapel Allerton (Leeds), Manchester, and more in the coming months.” Atlas Pub Co, founded by brothers Geoff and Nicolas Thornton, opened its first restaurant, The Terrace, in Leicester in 2002. It opened its first bar in Leeds – Épernay – in 2005, followed by The Pour House in 2011 and Atlas in 2013. The company also operates Buca di Pizza in Wellington Street, Leeds.

BBPA reports turnover boost: The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has reported turnover increased to £2,255,750 for the year ending 30 September 2016, compared with £2,158,648 the year before. Directors were paid total remuneration of £219,338, compared with £210,175 the previous year. It had reserves of £8,007,424. The organisation stated: “The profit and loss account discloses total turnover of the association for the year was £2,255,750 (2015: £2,158,648). The surplus before taxation was £406,604 (2015: surplus of £929,512) and a surplus after taxation of £365,068 (2015: £822,447). The retained surplus after tax has been transferred to reserves.”

Landlord agrees to part-fund potential boutique hotel scheme in Newcastle: Part-funding has been secured for the refurbishment of a grade-II listed building on Newcastle’s Quayside. Eldon Chambers was constructed in 1833 and has been used as office space for the past century. Chartered surveyor and property agent Bradley Hall revealed the renovation of the four-storey Eldon Chambers would be part-funded by the landlord. The building was most recently occupied by law firm Blackett Hart and Pratt and planning permission has been secured to convert it into a boutique hotel with bar and restaurant. Bradley Hall is marketing the accommodation for lease, for either leisure or office use, with a guide price of £195,000 per annum. Neil Hart, managing director of Bradley Hall, said: “Eldon Chambers is a fabulous opportunity for a leisure operator. This is a beautiful building with great character that will make a perfect boutique hotel in a great city location.” He added: “Our client, the landlord, has confirmed they will part-fund the fit-out, making this an opportunity not to miss for investors. The level of funding support will be determined and agreed once any refurbishment costs and plans are fully itemised.” Plans were drawn up by Newcastle interior design company Collective Design.

Starbucks unveils plans for 300 sites in Italy: Starbucks has unveiled plans to open as many as 300 branches in Italy. Two cafes, Starbucks’ first in the country, will launch in Milan and Rome in summer 2018, followed by four more in the same week across both cities with a view to open hundreds by 2023 “if the market responds well”, according to Antonio Percassi, the franchisee behind the venture, who announced the plans at a press conference in Milan. Acknowledging the “unique challenge” of opening a coffee chain in Italy, home of the espresso, he claimed the debut Starbucks branch would be designed with “painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture”. Luigi Ordello, president of the Italy-based Institute of International Coffee Tasters, added: “It wouldn’t threaten Italian coffee if it does arrive as Starbucks today represents an international standard of coffee and not an Italian one.”

German Doner Kebab to launch Cardiff restaurant, second site in Wales: German Doner Kebab (GDK), which launched a restaurant in Swansea just before Christmas, is preparing to open a second site in Wales, this time in Cardiff. The franchise concept, which launched in Berlin in 1989, has opened London sites in Croydon, Ilford, Fulham, Ealing, Angel Islington and Southall, plus another in Birmingham since its UK launch in March 2016. The next site to open is set to be in Slough. All meat and bread is provided by the GDK factory in Germany, while sauces come from Dubai. The halal meat is chargrilled not fried, making the GDK lower in calories than traditional kebabs. Doners are served in a bun, wrap or a box without the bread. There is also a vegetarian option packed with salad. GDK Swansea general manager David Miles told Wales Online: “There are many things that set GDK apart from other kebabs and fast food. For a start, we are a kebab restaurant, not just a takeaway. Our ingredients are second to none in terms of natural goodness and taste and we’ve introduced a new dish, the Doner Burger, to go alongside our traditional chicken and beef kebabs. We’re confident the mouth-watering GDK experience will appeal to everyone who loves a kebab.” GDK has franchises in ten countries in Europe and the Middle East, with plans to open in the US, Canada, Africa, and India in the near future.

Team behind Bermondsey Arts Cocktail Club launches French-inspired concept in East Dulwich: The team behind Bermondsey Arts Cocktail Club has opened a French-inspired restaurant and bar concept in East Dulwich. It has launched La Bonne Bouffe, which translates as “the good food”, in North Cross Road. While the restaurant and bar operates across the ground floor, there are several B&B-style bedrooms upstairs. The menu focuses on traditional French delicacies, with main courses including steak, duck, pork and vegetarian options. The wine is imported exclusively from France, while there is a range of cocktails, reports Just Opened London.

Loungers to open Weston-super-Mare seafront site next month: Loungers, the Lion Capital-backed cafe bar operator, will open a site on Weston-super-Mare seafront next month. Brunello Lounge, named after engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, will open in Beach Road on Wednesday, 29 March at the site of former nightclub Seven. The restaurant will create 25 jobs and the group has transformed the interior with eclectic artwork, pop art-inspired table tops, vintage sofas and school benches. A huge mural depicting Brunel, who lived in Weston and built the Exeter to Bristol railway among many achievements, has been commissioned for the back bar. Loungers operations manager Hector Main told the Weston Mercury: “The team at Brunello Lounge is looking forward to becoming part of the community and will support local groups and initiatives wherever possible.” Loungers launched its Exeter site earlier this month, the 77th Lounge, and is set to open its 17th Cosy Club in Cheltenham. The group intends to open a minimum of 20 sites in 2017 and will reach the milestone of 100 sites by the end of April. Loungers was founded in 2002 in Bristol by friends David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop. In 2015, Reilley stressed the importance of the company’s West Country origins as it expanded around the UK. He said: “We’ve been able to maintain a real West Country-ness about what we do. We’ll get people in Lincolnshire moan about why our products aren’t from Lincolnshire, but the West Country is at the heart of what we do.”

Five Guys and The Real Greek sign for Bournemouth BH2 development: Better burger brand Five Guys and Mediterranean restaurant The Real Greek, which is owned by Fulham Shore, have signed to open units at the new BH2 development in Bournemouth town centre. The Real Greek told Propel late last year it was eyeing the south coast as an ideal region for expansion after opening a restaurant at Hammerson’s £85m West Quay Watermark dining and leisure complex in Southampton. Already open at BH2 are TGI Friday’s, Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian, Nando’s, and The Restaurant Group brands Chiquito and Frankie and Benny’s, alongside a ten-screen Odeon cinema. They will be joined by Mitchells & Butlers steakhouse brand Miller & Carter, Prezzo, Handmade Burger Company, two other Restaurant Group brands Joe’s Kitchen and Coast to Coast, and Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, the Bournemouth Echo reports. Last month, The Real Greek reported turnover increased to £11,699,000 for the year ending 27 March 2016, compared with £7,464,000 for the previous nine-month period. It saw pre-tax profit climb to £1,100,000, compared with £531,000 the previous year. Headline Ebitda increased to £1,894,000, compared with £1,121,000 the year before. The Real Greek also operates nine restaurants in London and one in Windsor. Five Guys operates more than 50 restaurants in the UK, with sites to open soon in Kensington High Street and Manchester. Five Guys was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family and opened its first UK restaurant in Covent Garden in 2013.

Fentimans reinvents mixer tasting notes as it looks to triple turnover: Fentimans Botanical Beverages has reinvented its mixer tasting notes as it looks to kick-start plans to triple turnover. The notes, which have been crafted by Fentimans flavourist Geraldine Coombes, are designed to help operators give customers advice on flavours and what spirits to mix with. Coombes said: “We are at an exciting time in our history and we’re embarking on a five-year plan to ramp up turnover and radically increase sales of our premium mixers. Our mixers are like no others and we are introducing these new tasting notes to help consumers and operators fully understand and appreciate them. Knowledge is key to operators being able to recommend with confidence and our new tasting notes will equip them to confidently give advice on flavours and what spirits to mix with.” Coombes, who is in charge of producing the “50 tonnes of hand-made flavour that pack Fentimans drinks”, highlighted the botanical ingredients in each of the seven mixers in the new tasting notes that will enable drinkers to get a “better appreciation of the complex flavour layers”. The tasting notes are designed to help drinkers understand more about the “unique flavour dynamics” of Fentimans drinks but the company said the flavour recipes would always be a closely guarded secret.

Indoor adventure golf company Paradise Island to open sixth site, in Derby: Indoor adventure golf company Paradise Island is to open its sixth site, in Derby. The company will launch the 14,000 square foot venue, which will have capacity for up to 300 players at a time, at the Intu Derby shopping centre in April. Paradise Island marketing manager Craig Nichol told The Business Desk: “Adventure golf is fast becoming one of the most popular attractions on the UK leisure scene and there is nothing like this available in the area – to be able to bring a new leisure experience is really exciting. This is crazy golf as you’ve never seen it before and offers an exciting and affordable day or night out for families, friends, couples and groups.” Paradise Island’s other sites are in Ellesmere Port, Glasgow, Livingston, Manchester and Sheffield.

East Dunbartonshire-based entrepreneurs open second site: East Dunbartonshire-based entrepreneurs Mark and Sue Billington have opened their second site. The husband-and-wife team, who own Billington’s Delicatessen in Lenzie, have joined forces with long-term friend Carey Gray to launch Billington’s Coffee House in the village of Milton of Campsie. The venue in Birdston Road offers freshly ground coffee and a selection of bread with flavoured fillings made fresh to order, as well as ice cream. The Cakes by Carey section of the deli offers celebration cakes made to order, reports the Kirkintilloch Herald. The Billingtons opened Billington’s Delicatessen in 2012 and it has since won a number of awards.
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