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Mon 3rd Jul 2017 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Bottle Shop smashes £350,000 crowdfunding target, signs first online partner: Craft beer bar and wholesaler The Bottle Shop has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after smashing its £350,000 target to double its retail estate. The company, founded by Andrew Morgan in 2010, was offering a 10.14% equity stake in return for the investment. In total, 388 investors pledged £405,690 with the largest investment being £50,000. The Bottle Shop has three sites – in Bermondsey, south east London, and Canterbury and Margate in Kent. It plans to use some of the funds raised to open two further London sites as well as a distribution hub and bar in Manchester. The company has also just signed Ales By Mail to be its first online partner. The pitch stated: “As well as fuelling our own bars (and making higher retail margins) we have the scalability of nationwide distribution as a wholesaler. The funds will be used to refrigerate our London warehouse to create our ColdChain platform, open two new London shops in the next 12 months, and a distribution hub/bar in Manchester. With the ColdChain platform in place, we forecast £4.9m turnover for FY17/18 – up from £3.1m in FY16/17. We have raised more than £350,000 in previous rounds from angel investors in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. We intend to reinvest all profits and find a buyer for the business within five to ten years.” Regarding the Ales By Mail deal, the company added: “We always planned our ColdChain beer to be available at online stores and sent in ColdChain boxes so customers can get completely refrigerated beer from brewery to their doorstep. This has taken a big step forward with Ales By Mail signing up to be our first online partner.”

Industry News: 

Tim Martin to speak at Propel Multi-Club summer conference, two free places for operators: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin is to speak at the Propel Multi-Club summer conference on Thursday (6 July). Martin will talk to Propel managing director Paul Charity about strategic priorities, VAT and regulatory issues. The Propel Multi-Club summer conference and evening party is now open for bookings. The event takes place at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40, and operators can claim two free places by emailing Jo Charity on The speaker line-up for the morning session is NPD Group UK foodservice director Cyril Lavenant, Morar Consulting chief executive Roger Perowne, David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of The West Berkshire Brewery, and Ali Khan and Samrien Hussain, who operate escape rooms business Tick Tock Unlocked. Speaking after lunch are Marston’s Revere Pub Company managing director Colin Sadler and The Breakfast Club co-founder Jonathan Arana-Morton. The final session features Tahola commercial director Simon Blackbourne, Mowgli owner Nish Katona, and Rupert Clevely, managing director of Ei Group’s managed expert joint venture Hippo Inns.

Job of the week: Hospitality Jobs UK is seeking a head of catering on behalf of the University of Bristol. For more information, click here and then select the head of catering role.  

Tristano leaves Technomic: Darren Tristano has stood down as president of global foodservice insights and research business Technomic. He told Propel he had left the company as he “wasn’t comfortable with recent changes and my new role” but added that it was a “very amicable departure”. He said: “I plan to take the next six months to evaluate opportunities but have some ideas for my focus in 2018. I will continue to stay active with the media as I plan my journey. Looking forward to what the future will hold.” Tristano was appointed president of Technomic in November 2015 by its new owner Winsight, which had acquired the business three months before. Tristano joined Technomic in 1994 and for 20 years oversaw its information services division. When the appointment was made, Winsight chief executive Mike Wood said: “Based on his demonstrated success in growing the information services division, his credibility across the industry and his lasting allegiance to the business, Darren stood out as a natural candidate for this role.” 

Ban on junk food ads aimed at children comes into force: New limitations on where food and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) can be advertised have come into force. The new rules, announced in December, mean adverts that directly or indirectly promote HFSS products cannot appear in media aimed at under-16s or where they make up at least 25% of the audience. The Advertising Standards Authority said the ban includes social media influencers with an audience of more than 25% of under-16s if bloggers, for instance, are paid to promote HFSS products. At the same time, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) is relaxing rules aimed at non-HFSS food and drinks brands to allow them to use promotions, licensed characters and celebrities popular with under-12s. This was previously banned for all food and drinks products except fresh fruit and vegetables. Which products are deemed HFSS will be determined by the Department of Health. CAP chairman James Best told Campaign: “The new rules will alter the nature and balance of food advertising seen by children and play a meaningful part in helping change their relationship with less healthy foods.”

Hospitality companies appear in Sunday Times Top Track 100 list: Nando’s is the highest-placed hospitality company in the Sunday Times Top Track 100 list. The company was placed 75th on the Fast Track-produced list of Britain’s largest privately owned companies ranked by their latest sales. Nando’s, 100%-owned by Dick Enthoven and his family, saw sales of £793m, putting it one place ahead of motorway services operator Moto (£779m). Pret A Manger, which is 69% owned by Bridgepoint with the remainder owned by the founders and management, ranked one place lower, with £776m in sales, while another motorway services operator, Welcome Break, was ranked 96th with £664m.

Company News:

Tiny Rebel opens £2.6m brewery and taproom: South Wales-based brewer Tiny Rebel has opened its £2.6m brewery in Newport. The 30,000 square foot site also features a bar, a kitchen offering a range of menus, and an events space catering for private functions, beer festivals, pop-ups, live music and brewery tours. The new brewhouse has capacity for five million litres of beer a year – almost nine million pints – and will allow Tiny Rebel to launch a canned range. Tiny Rebel co-founder Brad Cummings said: “In only five years we have gone from home-brewing in a garage to a purpose-built, world-class facility. What was most important for us was to create a space for people to enjoy what Tiny Rebel represents but we’ll also be able to increase the breadth of what we can produce.” Fellow co-founder Gazz Williams added: “We currently export to 30 countries and this new brewery will enable us to expand to more markets and accept larger overseas customers. When it comes to the location of the site, Newport is our home and where Tiny Rebel began so it is only right we invest in the city as we grow our business.” Tiny Rebel also operates two bars – in Cardiff and Newport.

Affinity Bars shuts all its venues, media reports: Affinity Bars & Restaurants has shut all four of its venues, according to media reports. The company operates all-day dining room Dickie Fitz in Newman Street, Fitzrovia, which opened in February, as well as London pubs The Henry Root, Princess Victoria and The Lady Ottoline. The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush closed suddenly on Friday (30 June), with staff “locked out” of the venue. The Princess Victoria in Uxbridge Road will also not open for the “foreseeable future”, while the website to all four venues is no longer accessible without a password, Get West London reports. A statement published on the Princess Victoria’s Facebook page on Friday said: “As of today we are unfortunately closed, out of the blue. No-one was expecting it but all of our sites across Affinity Bars & Restaurants have been shut down as of 7am and 80 staff have lost their jobs.” Propel was unable to contact Affinity Bars & Restaurants for a comment.

Loungers to launch Bristol shopping centre site: Cafe brand Loungers is to open a site at the Yate Shopping Centre in Bristol. Loungers will accompany Papa John’s and The Entertainer toy shop in a new 4,500 square foot space at the end of West Walk after The Entertainer’s original unit was split into three. Loungers has started internal works ahead of a scheduled opening on Wednesday, 9 August. Yate Shopping Centre manager Andrew Lowrey told the Gazette: “The Entertainer unit in West Walk had been vacant since January 2014 and it was difficult to attract shops requiring that amount of space. We opted to split the unit and received many subsequent offers.” Last month, Loungers restructured its management line-up as it prepares for its next stage of growth. Justin Carter is heading up the Lounge business, which comprises 84 sites. Loungers, founded in 2002 in Bristol by David Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, recently opened a Lounge in Rustington, West Sussex, and is due to open another soon in Bridgend as well as a Cosy Club in Worcester at the end of July.

My Pub Group appoints industry veteran Paul Clarke as non-executive chairman: West Midlands-based recruitment company My Pub Group has appointed industry veteran Paul Clarke as non-executive chairman. Clarke will have joint responsibility for delivering the company’s growth plans during the next three years through subsidiary brands Find My Pub, Recruit For My Pub, Running My Pub, and Find My Pub Jobs. Clarke brings a wealth of experience from a career in the leased and tenanted sector having recently retired from Heineken-owned leased pub operator Star Pubs & Bars. My Pub Group managing director and founder Helen Lees said: “Paul’s appointment emphasises our strong commitment to delivering growth and improved operational performances across the company as we continue to build a stronger business for the future. We are delighted to welcome Paul to our board of directors and, having worked with him 20 years ago at various pub groups, I am well aware of his industry credentials for improving business performance.” Clarke added: “Helen and I were always a strong duo when it came to the training and recruitment of staff for the pubs we represented. Despite us going in different directions, our professional relationship has always remained intact because of our shared passion for improving the image and standards within our sector.” My Pub Group has also promoted Rachael Nixon to divisional head of Recruit For My Pub and Kim Tomlinson as head of operations for Find My Pub.

Vegetarian self-service concept Tibits opens Bankside branch for second London site: Vegetarian self-service concept Tibits has opened its second site in London, in Bankside, and its tenth in total. The 120-cover restaurant has opened in Southwark Street close to the Tate Modern gallery. The venue offers dishes such as spring leek and carrot stew, Creole jambalaya, marinated silken tofu, and curry and coconut udon. It also offers a takeaway service and features an open kitchen, bar, garden room and private dining space. Tibits, which was founded in Switzerland in 1999 by brothers Christian, Daniel and Reto Frei, made its London debut with an opening in Heddon Street, Mayfair, in 2008. Tibits’ Swiss restaurants are in Basel (two), Bern, Oerlikon, Lucerne, Winterthur and Zurich (two), with another to open in St Gallen later this year. The company said it is looking to open one or two restaurants a year in Europe.

Giggling Squid to open Bath site this summer: Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid, which is backed by the Business Growth Fund, is to continue its rapid expansion by opening a restaurant in Bath this summer. The 150-cover venue will open in Saw Close and feature an additional 40 seats outside. The site formerly housed a school that was founded in 1711 and rebuilt in 1860 in the northern renaissance style. Giggling Squid operates 21 restaurants and recently secured a site in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, which is due to open in early autumn. The company was founded by Thai-born Pranee Laurillard and husband Andy in the basement of a tiny fisherman’s cottage, now the Brighton restaurant. The couple opened their first site in Hove in 2009.

Faucet Inn to launch third Kupp, in Southampton on Thursday: Faucet Inn is to open a site in Southampton on Thursday (6 July) for its Scandinavian-inspired restaurant and cafe concept Kupp. It will be the company’s third venue for the brand. The restaurant will open in Hammerson’s £85m West Quay Watermark dining and leisure complex, creating 50 jobs. Faucet Inn has taken a 484 square metre unit on the terrace level, next to Bill’s restaurant. Faucet Inn managing director Steve Cox told the Daily Echo: “Having grown up on the south coast, I am really excited to be opening our Kupp venue in Southampton. I feel a real affinity for the area and believe this to be the perfect addition to our existing venues in Paddington and Exeter. We’re really looking forward to being part of the community and sharing all we love about the Nordic region.” Sarah Fox, head of restaurants and leisure at Hammerson, added: “It is a great addition to the already culturally rich tenant mix at the scheme and will further strengthen its appeal.” In April, Faucet Inn applied to open a Kupp venue in Reading, while it has also secured a site in Manchester.

Helensburgh-based businessmen acquire Glasgow cafe and deli brand Peckham’s: Helensburgh-based businessmen Andrew Duncan and Lee Fish have acquired Glasgow cafe and deli brand Peckham’s. Fish formerly held the UK franchise for cafe brand O’Briens and still operates two sites in Edinburgh and Newcastle. He also owns Kitchen, a small chain of independent cafes in west Scotland. Duncan is founder and managing director of mobile and web tech business SwarmOnline. They paid an undisclosed sum for Peckham’s, which operates two cafe delis in Glasgow, and are looking to bring the brand to Edinburgh and Helensburgh, where Peckham’s secured planning permission in December to open a restaurant, bar and deli. Fish told the Helensburgh Advertiser: “Peckham’s has suffered from a lack of investment in recent years and we will address that immediately. We intend to revitalise stock lines and develop new relationships with producers, particularly in Scotland. We will also focus heavily on wine and hope to attract those who currently buy at supermarkets. Our service will be well informed, well priced and personal and we hope to bring in new customers as well as those who have abandoned Peckham’s. We will cater for everyday items through to gourmet.”

Taco Bell opens Poole town centre site with double launch lined up for Bournemouth: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell has continued its expansion across the south of England by opening a site in Poole, Dorset, its 17th UK venue. The 44-cover restaurant has opened in High Street at a site formerly occupied by London Menswear and offers a cheesy double-melt burrito exclusive to the venue. The restaurant features exposed brickwork, California-inspired decals and wooden counters with the opening creating 20 jobs. Taco Bell team leader Coral Ahmed told the Daily Echo that closures this year of Burger King and McDonald’s restaurants in Poole had helped trade. She added that the company planned to open two further sites in Bournemouth. Taco Bell is looking to expand across the south coast. Last year, the company opened a restaurant in Southampton, where staff now working in Poole were trained. Last week, the company announced it would open a restaurant in Dartford, its first site in Kent, while it also recently launched a site in Chichester, West Sussex. Founded in 1962 by a former US Marine, the Taco Bell chain serves more than 36.8 million people a week in 6,500 outlets worldwide.

Manchester-based burrito bar Changos starts expansion with Liverpool launch: Manchester-based burrito bar Changos has started expansion by opening a second site, this time in Liverpool. Founder Roger Taylor has opened the new venue in the Queen Insurance Buildings in Dale Street, which is owned by commercial property company Bruntwood. Changos sells a range of burritos as well as other Mexican dishes such as nachos and chilli. Taylor told Insider Media: “The Changos ethos is all about high-quality food using only the freshest ingredients, all hand-prepared and cooked on the premises. This approach has helped us to enjoy great success in Manchester and we hope to develop a similar buzz with our new outlet in Liverpool.” Changos’ first site, which opened in Oxford Street, Manchester, in 2013, is also housed in a property owned by Bruntwood.

Tony Macaroni starts expansion of Mozza concept with second Scottish site: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni has started expansion of its artisan pizza and Italian craft beer concept Mozza by opening a second site, this time in St Andrews. Tony Macaroni has rebranded its restaurant in Bell Street to reopen under the Mozza brand, which it launched in Glasgow in February. The company is set to open a third site later this summer, this time in Dundee. Tony Macaroni managing director Sep Marini told Fife Today: “We’re really passionate about bringing true artisan pizza to Scotland and we’re delighted to open our second restaurant in the foodie heaven of St Andrews. Pizza-making in Naples is a treasured art and one I think diners in St Andrews will love. We’re committed to bringing only the highest-quality ingredients from Naples to make our wood-fired pizzas. We have 13 pizzas at the heart of our menu and all are made from a traditional hand-made Napoli sourdough. We source fior de latte mozzarella from Napoli’s Porta Nolana market and the extra virgin olive oil is from a family farm in Calabria.” Tony Macaroni operates ten eponymous restaurants in Scotland. In April, the company signed to open a further site in Clydebank. 

Mexican chef Martha Ortiz to open London restaurant in September: Chef Martha Ortiz is bringing her Mexican gastronomy to London in September with the opening of Ella Canta. The restaurant will be at the InterContinental London Park Lane hotel and promises to “deliver the beauty, vibrancy and spirit of modern Mexico to London”. It takes its name from the Spanish for “she sings”, a phrase Ortiz said symbolises the “expressiveness, passion, pride and femininity communicated through her cooking”. At Ella Canta, Ortiz will showcase long-established cooking traditions with contemporary techniques. Drawing inspiration from Dulce Patria, her renowned restaurant in Mexico City, the London menu will feature dishes such as seafood and lobster pozole, and cacahuacintle maiz with traditional garnishes. The menu will also showcase mole, the rich, cacao-tinged sauce with a deep history that is said to date to the 16th century when each Mexican woman had her own family recipe. Ortiz will offer a tasting menu of seven sauces, which contain an average of 20 to 30 ingredients and a hand-preparation process that can take at least a day to accomplish. The bar will focus on mezcal and tequila, with signature cocktails and a small plate-style menu.

Birmingham-based chicken and chip shop Jaqks looks to expand portfolio by building restaurants in shipping containers: Birmingham-based chicken and chip shop Jaqks is looking to expand its portfolio by building restaurants in shipping containers. Owner Faheem Badur has sites in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley and Worcester. Now he has expanded into the Acocks Green area of south Birmingham for a fraction of the cost after transforming a former shipping container into a mini-diner. The 40ft steel box in Warwick Road has become the company’s latest venue. A second container is being built in the UK and will be ready soon for an undisclosed site. Badur told the Birmingham Post: “We realised the cost of a container in comparison to bricks and mortar sites was considerably cheaper and easier to implement as we can standardise all our processes and procedures. We can replicate them easily and keep the quality of the food we serve to an exceptional level.” Badur is also looking at the possibility of using Jaqks chicken and chips containers as a franchise model. He plans to expand in other areas and then franchise across the UK and Europe.

Norwich-based multi-site operators to launch smokehouse concept: Norwich-based multi-site operators James Sawrey-Cookson and Ecky Limon are to launch new concept E Street Smokehouse in the city on Thursday (6 July). Sawrey-Cookson and Limon, who operate Last Wine Bar and the Blue Joanna Bar & Kitchen in Norwich, will open their new venture in Exchange Street in the city centre at a site formerly occupied by Dray Yard Smokehouse. E Street Smokehouse will offer dishes cooked in a US-style hot smoker and over coals on a gaucho-style grill that has been designed specially for the restaurant. The menu has been created by Last Wine Bar head chef Iain McCarten, who learnt his trade in Australia. Limon told the Eastern Daily Press: “We are very excited to be opening our third outlet in the city, combining the relaxed atmosphere of The Last with the cool vibe of Blue Joanna. We aim to have wide appeal, from shoppers and city workers to people spending their evenings in Norwich’s up-and-coming Lanes Quarter.” The Dray Yard Smokehouse opened in November 2013 and closed earlier this year.

MasterChef semi-finalist and former Michelin-starred restaurant head chef to launch fine dining venture in Leeds: MasterChef semi-finalist Elizabeth Cottam and Mark Owens, the former head chef at Michelin-starred restaurant The Box Tree in Ilkley, are to open a new venture in Leeds in August. Cottam and Owens are launching Home in Kirkgate, with the 3,669 square foot venue having previously been a dance hall, billiard club, cinema and most recently Indian restaurant Darbar. The new restaurant, which will have space for 65 covers with an additional chef’s table, will offer “fine dining, reimagined”. Owens told Insider Media: “We’re coming at this with a ‘home by name, home by nature’ approach and our monthly-changing menus will be a true celebration of everything Great British produce has to offer.” Cottam added: “Home is being created through our creative and nurturing approach to all elements of our work – from the design of the restaurant to the bringing together of our team of the very best local talent, and from the sourcing of the best seasonal produce our country has to offer to the creation of some special treats and surprises for our diners.”

George’s Tradition eyes expansion to Liverpool: Family-owned premium fish and chip chain George’s Tradition, which operates ten takeaways, three restaurants and a pub, is eyeing expansion to Liverpool. The company has applied to the city council to open a site in Chancery House in Paradise Street, opposite the Liverpool ONE complex. It is not clear at this stage whether the site would be a takeaway or a more traditional restaurant offering, You Move report. The company, which sources its food from sustainable British suppliers, was established in 1967 and is headquartered in Derby.

Hall & Woodhouse puts three Horsham pubs on the market: Dorset brewery Hall & Woodhouse has put three pubs in Horsham, West Sussex, on the market. Agent Savills told Propel that Hall & Woodhouse had asked the company to put The Rising Sun in Pondtail Road (currently under offer at a guide price of £450,000), The King’s Arms in Bishopric (currently under offer at a guide price of £395,000), and The Queens Head in Queen Street (offers invited) on the market. The Rising Sun and The Queens Head closed last month. Hall & Woodhouse operates more than 200 pubs across the south of England.

Micro-pub entrepreneur gets go-ahead to open fourth site: Micro-pub entrepreneur Phil Ayling, whose company is called BeerHeadZ, has been given the go-ahead to open his fourth site, in Nottingham. Ayling has been granted permission by the city council to convert an old cabman’s shelter at Nottingham train station. The application was approved despite the site being in the city centre alcohol saturation zone, which requires applicants who want to serve alcohol to prove it would not “adversely affect the existing situation” in terms of crime and disorder. Ayling, a former draftsman, will allow 36 customers into the micro-pub at any one time. It will serve “two or three” cask ales, as well as a range of canned and bottled beers, but no spirits, reports the Nottingham Post. Ayling has branches of BeerHeadZ in Retford and Grantham and also runs Just Beer in Newark.

Escape Live to open fourth site, in Stratford-upon-Avon: Escape room operator Escape Live is to open its fourth site, in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, this summer. The company is opening the venue in Greenhill Street with the two rooms having games inspired by Shakespeare and Harry Potter. The premise behind the games is that teams of two-to-six people are given one hour to solve a series of clues to work out how to escape from the room. Escape Live has venues in Birmingham, Essex and Coventry and has also lodged plans for a site in Leamington Spa. Co-owner Jas Sodhi told Insider Media: “We originally started the business because we were big fans of escape games. We’d played them in London and overseas and felt there should be something in the Midlands and Warwickshire. Birmingham has been a massive success, beyond our wildest dreams. That meant we started to look around to expand and Coventry came up first, but Stratford has been very much on our radar and we think this is going to very popular with tourists and locals.”

AB InBev appoints 3 Monkeys Zeno to manage UK PR: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has appointed London-based PR agency 3 Monkeys Zeno (3MZ) to manage its trade communications in the UK. Charing Cross Road-headquartered 3MZ will cover editorial, advertorial and commercial activity in the on and off-trade across AB InBev’s brand portfolio, which includes Budweiser, Corona, Becks, Stella Artois and Boddingtons. 3MZ was formed in early 2016 following the acquisition of 3 Monkeys Communications by global consultancy network Zeno Group. In May, AB InBev reported double-digit revenue growth in the UK as global sales increased 3.7% in the first quarter of this year.

Leeds-based North Star Coffee Roasters to open first retail site: Leeds-based North Star Coffee Roasters is to open its first retail site. The company is planning a roastery, coffee shop and general store in partnership with Noisette Bakehouse at Leeds Dock, which is being sold by Allied London. North Star has primarily been a wholesale business since its inception four years ago and now supplies 100 independent coffee shops and restaurants across the UK. Next door to the roastery will be a purpose-built coffee academy, which will be certificated to deliver accredited Specialty Coffee Association courses to industry professionals from across the globe. Owner Holly Bowman told The Business Desk: “We are really excited to open our first retail space at Leeds Dock. The coffee shop will be a real neighbourhood spot. There will be a rotating coffee menu, exclusive Noisette Bakehouse items baked on-site alongside a seasonal food menu and a short but select alcohol list.”

Whitbread bids to build Cornish clifftop Premier Inn: Whitbread has submitted plans to build an 83-bedroom Premier Inn on a clifftop in Newquay, Cornwall. The company has submitted plans to construct a four-storey property on the site of two former hotels on Narrowcliff. The site above Tolcarne Beach was cleared in 2008 following the demolition of the hotels and is currently used as a car park. The Premier Inn proposals include 41 guest parking spaces and a restaurant on the ground floor that would open to all members of the public, Cornwall Live reports. In a pre-application enquiry letter to Cornwall Council, Walsingham planning director Stephen Brooker said: “This is a run-down site that detracts from the character and appearance of the area. The site is ideally suited to provide a new 83-bedroom hotel, being located on the seafront on the edge of the town centre and a short walk from local amenities. Earlier this month, Whitbread reported Premier Inn like-for-likes rose 4.7% with total sales up 9.2% in the 13 weeks to 1 June. Whitbread was also given the go-ahead this month to open a 110-bedroom Premier Inn in Plymouth city centre that is due to open next year.

Shuffle Bar & Jukebox blames city’s drinking culture as it closes Southampton site after six weeks: Shuffle Bar & Jukebox, owned by husband-and-wife team Paul and Sonya Mason, has closed its Southampton site after only six weeks blaming the city’s “drinking culture”. The concept launched in Brighton in 2014 offering a “unique type of drinking experience” where customers have full control of the music by accessing a bespoke digital jukebox via their smartphones. The Masons started expansion of the concept in May by opening The Tap Room in Southampton’s Carlton Place. Paul Mason told the Daily Echo: “We struggled with the drinking culture Southampton seems to have. We usually had no customers in the premises before 10.30pm or 11pm. Our vision just didn’t fit in as we wanted to offer a more premium service rather than have customers who tend to pre-drink at home before coming out. People here want cheap drinks rather than more expensive ones.” In February, the Masons told Propel they had been searching for a second site for 18 months and hoped to open two further sites next year in university towns such as Guildford, Reading, Portsmouth, Winchester and Exeter or in south London suburbs.

Jamaica Blue joins Deliveroo: Foodco-owned international cafe restaurant brand Jamaica Blue has partnered with delivery service Deliveroo. Jamaica Blue UK marketing manager Gemma Sandells said: “More and more people are working longer hours, working late or simply want to unwind after work without having to worry about cooking. With Deliveroo we are giving customers a chance to enjoy fresh produce and coffee in the comfort of their own home.” Foodco opened the first Jamaica Blue cafe in the UK in Cambridge in December 2014 and has launched further sites in Leeds and Chelmsford. Jamaica Blue has 170 sites in Australia, New Zealand, China, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia and China.

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