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Mon 10th Jul 2017 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Takeaway sector unites to call on government to back £9.4bn industry: The British Takeaway Campaign (BTC), a new industry umbrella body led by Just Eat that launched today (Monday, 10 July), has urged the government to recognise its economic, social and cultural contribution to the UK and to back its growth by boosting training and access to skills. New research, commissioned by Just Eat for the BTC, revealed takeaway restaurants directly contributed £4.5bn in gross value added contributions to GDP in 2016 – an increase of 38% since 2009. That rises to £9.4bn when factoring in the multiplier effect of supply-chain and employee spending – equivalent to 0.5% of GDP. The report also revealed spending on takeaways in the UK supports 231,350 jobs, with 41,000 jobs created since 2009. The public spent £9.9bn on takeaways last year, predicted to grow to £11.2bn by 2021 and create 30,000 jobs. Despite this, the BTC said many smaller businesses faced a challenging operating environment as skills shortages, business rates and inflation start to bite. The BTC has called on the government to introduce measures such as ensuring vocational training is relevant to the industry, addressing skills shortages, and ensuring the immigration system enables the sector to access the skills it needs from within and outside the EU. More than one-third (37%) of those surveyed believed the UK’s decision to leave the EU would make it harder to recruit staff, while 29% said they needed to recruit skilled labour from outside the EU. The BTC has also called for an overhaul of the business rates regime to make it fairer and more transparent, including more frequent revaluations. The report showed spend and tastes vary across the UK, with London and the south east the biggest takeaway markets, spending £2.7bn, followed by the north west (£1.1bn). Almost 35,000 outlets use apps, with more than a third (39%) stating it has led to a rise in deliveries outside normal meal times. Takeaways are increasingly catering for consumer demand for healthier options, with 73% offering smaller portions, 65% offering lower fat, and 59% offering low-salt options. BTC chairman Ibrahim Dogus said: “Takeaways up and down the country contribute billions to growth and are behind thousands of jobs. But many are being hamstrung by skills shortages, rising food and wage costs, as well as business rates. While the government’s move to clarify the status of EU nationals is a welcome step, more needs to be done to ensure takeaways can access the skills they need – an immigration system that addresses areas of genuine skills shortages rather than focuses on skill levels alone.”

Industry News:

Micro-breweries have become competition in declining market, says Timothy Taylor chief: Tim Dewey, chief executive of Keighley-based brewer Timothy Taylor, has said micro-breweries have become competitors to the larger companies as the ale market shrinks. Dewey told Insider Media: “It would be arrogant to suggest these new breweries are not competition. They’re competition for new legal drinking-age consumers but also because a bar can only support a number of pump handles and if that bar is putting new micro-breweries on because they’re local or have an offer on, that’s a pump handle not available to ourselves. A lot of these micro-breweries benefit from Small Brewers Relief (SBR) – they’re paying a lower rate of duty than we are. It was originally brought in to encourage these smaller breweries, which it certainly has done, and to make up for the lack of economies of scale in the startup phase. What you’d like is a craft segment building value into the category, and there are producers who are doing that like BrewDog and Magic Rock, but there are lot who have set up in an opportunistic way to benefit from SBR and are just leveraging that to fight on a price platform creating distortions in the market.” Dewey said the ale market was “in decline”, down 4.2% during the company’s most recent financial year, following three previous years when the market “remained flat”. Earlier this month, Timothy Taylor reported turnover increased 1.4% to £21,637,292 for the year ending 30 September 2016.
 
Restaurant and pub chains ‘putting fish stocks at risk’: Restaurant and pub chains are failing to offer sustainable seafood and must do more to prevent overfishing, according to campaigners. More than one-third of high-street restaurant and pub brands rated by Fish2fork and the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) failed to meet the organisations’ expectations regarding sustainability. Of the 11 brands rated on the origins of seafood they offer and information they give to customers, Jamie’s Italian ranked highest, followed by Brasserie Blanc, Greene King’s seafood restaurant Loch Fyne, Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, Strada and TGI Friday’s. However, Boparan Restaurant Holdings-owned Giraffe, Little Chef, London-based sushi and bento business Wasabi, and Stonegate Pub Company’s Yates’s and Slug and Lettuce brands failed to meet Fish2fork and MCS’s minimum expectations. The campaign bodies cited a lack of information afforded diners who wish to eat seafood sustainably as one major obstacle. Almost one-third of commercial fish stocks are overharvested, according to the United Nations, while 15% of the world’s annual catch is caught illegally, meaning the use of sustainable supplies is vital, the organisations said. Fish2fork managing director Tim Glover told Footprint: “It’s fantastic to see the work restaurants like Jamie’s Italian and several others are putting into seeking out sustainable seafood. It’s not easy to ensure seafood is responsibly sourced but it’s vital for the health of our seas and worth every penny invested by restaurants.”
 
More than half of London’s LGBT+ venues have closed in past decade, new research reveals: More than half of London’s LGBT+ pubs, clubs and music venues have closed in the past decade, new research has revealed. The number of venues for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer Londoners has fallen to 53 from 125, a loss of almost 60% since 2006, according to an audit by the Urban Laboratory at University College London (UCL). London mayor Sadiq Khan said urgent action was needed in light of the “shocking” statistics. He told Reuters: “I want London’s LGBT+ community to feel truly valued, happy and safe in our great city and know how important these spaces are to its well-being.” The report said many LGBT pubs and nightclubs are thriving businesses but rent hikes from landlords and construction for London housing and public transport projects had forced many to close. UCL senior lecturer in architecture Ben Campkin said LGBT spaces remain vital, despite social media making it easier for people in that community to communicate. He recommended London’s boroughs recognise the importance of LGBT venues in their local plans and conduct assessments when developments threaten gay bars, nightclubs or music venues. Petitions and protests at the closure of historic central London venues have drawn support from hundreds of patrons, but they had limited power to resist large property owners and offshore investors which lead redevelopment projects, the report stated. Khan added that night tsar Amy Lamé would mediate between owners of venues and developers.
 
Intu backs campaign to improve service and opportunities for disabled consumers: Shopping centre owner Intu is backing new campaign “Help Me Spend My Money”, which seeks to encourage hospitality businesses to ensure disabled customers receive the same level of service as other consumers. Shopping, eating and drinking out rank in the top three most difficult experiences for disabled people based on accessibility, according to research conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions. A separate study by the Extra Costs Commission also found 75% of disabled people and their families have left a venue because of poor customer service, with UK businesses risking missing out on as much as £420m a week through lost sales as a result. The campaign, launched by social enterprise Purple, also calls on businesses to join the government’s Disability Confident scheme, which promotes the employment of disabled workers, and to sign up to a “charter for change”. In total, 11 million people in the UK have rights under disability legislation. Intu said it had introduced a range of measures at its venues in the past two years, including the introduction of specialist training for staff to help them support those with autism and blindness. Purple chief executive Mike Adams said: “Poor service can take many forms but one of the most common is a failure to engage or acknowledge disabled customers. In the majority of instances this doesn’t happen on purpose, it’s because staff are concerned about causing unintentional offence. Something as simple as saying ‘hello, can I help?’ can make a big difference.”
 
Train station hospitality brands cut 5,000 tonnes of CO2 through coffee cup recycling scheme: A coffee cup recycling scheme involving hospitality operators based at Network Rail train stations has prevented an estimated 5,000 tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere since its launch in April 2015. The partnership with biomass specialist Bio-Bean sees Network Rail collaborate with operators such as Pret A Manger, Caffe Nero and Starbucks to turn discarded coffee grounds into advanced biofuels. Since the scheme’s launch, grounds from 38 million cups of coffee from six London stations have been converted into Coffee Logs, a fuel that can be burnt in homes. Network Rail is expanding the scheme beyond the capital to include Reading and Bristol Temple Meads stations, with a further roll-out of the scheme to all its 17 managed stations by the end of the year. David Biggs, managing director of Network Rail Property, said: “Network Rail is one of the largest retail landlords in the country. Britain’s much-loved morning coffee could quite literally be fuelling the nation.”
 
Jamie Rollo – wet-led pubs sales now ‘relatively resilient’: Morgan Stanley leisure analyst Jamie Rollo has argued wet-led pub sales are now proving “relatively resilient” , a reversal of medium-term trends. He said: “The total number of pubs declined by more than 7,200 from March 2012 to March 2017, a fairly steady 1,400 per annum, according to the AlixPartners CGA Peach Market Growth Monitor. This is a 2.6% annual decline. Within this, the number of drink-led pubs has been declining at a 4.3% compound annual growth rate, and has dropped from 70% to 65% of total pubs. This has been slightly offset by 1% annual growth in food-led pubs, which are now 35% of outlets. However, trends have recently reversed, with food-led outlets declining slightly last year, and the decline in drink-led pubs moderating. This reflects the high supply growth and competition from restaurants, which has led to pressure on like-for-likes sales in the food-led space, as well as mounting labour and input costs to which food-led pubs are more exposed. Conversely, wet-led pub sales have been relatively resilient, as seen in recent results by Greene King, JD Wetherspoon, and Fuller’s. This is not to say that the traditional ‘boozer’ is a more attractive investment prospect than the ‘gastro-pub’, as the wet-led pub sector remains in structural decline. But the wholesale shift into food by most of the major operators over the last decade has not proved to be the antidote they hoped for.”
 

Company News:

Wadworth reports ‘transitional year’ as new five-year strategic plan gets underway: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has reported sales were up 8.1% to £62.7m in the year to 30 September 2016. Pre-tax profit was up 5% to £4,899,000. Chairman Charles Bartholomew said: “This is a transitional year for Wadworth. A new five-year strategic plan has been developed, which will evolve the business and its future potential. Managed pubs have performed particularly strongly and the tenanted estate has delivered another improved performance despite having nine fewer pubs due to disposals. Brewery production performance continues to improve as our own beer sales and, following the centralisaton of all operations to one site, we are seeing continued cost synergies and savings coming through.” Chief executive Chris Welham, who was appointed to the job in September 2015, said: “We see our business evolving to a much more retail-led model, focused on compelling pub and beer offers, great execution, talent and leadership. The managed pub estate will continue to be our engine of growth and is ripe for expansion and we significant upside potential in our tenanted estate and in a reinvigorated beer strategy.” Managed pub sales grew 18% year-on-year as the estate grew from 45 to 48 pubs – there’s a target to grow to 65 managed pubs. The company plans to reduce its tenanted estate to 140 “quality pubs” from 168 – the tenanted estate contribution grew by 1% despite nine fewer pubs. The company reported its first retail franchise agreement, at the Black Horse in Sowton, which opened after a £350,000 investment, had “exceeded expectations”. 

Long leasehold of Newcastle building home to Vaulkhard Group bar on market for more than £3m: The long leasehold of a building in Newcastle, of which part is let to Vaulkhard Group, has gone on the market for offers in excess of £3m. The 8,948 square foot property in Grainger Street, which is being marketed by agent Allsop, comprises five retail units and Vaulkhard Group’s Mushroom bar, which pays an annual rent of £87,500. The building has a weighted average unexpired lease term of 7.13 years to expiry and 5.49 years to break. It has a current passing rent of £269,000 per year and the property is held on a long leasehold basis for a term of 999 years from January 2005 at a peppercorn rent. The purchase price would reflect a net initial yield of 8.42% assuming usual purchaser’s costs of 6.45%.
 
Crussh boss – Debenhams partnership is opportunity to ‘take brand into new avenues and extend core offering outside food-to-go’: The chief executive of Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has said its new partnership with Debenhams is an opportunity to take the brand into new avenues and extend its core offering outside food-to-go. Crussh will open the fit food cafe in Debenhams’ flagship department store in Oxford Street, London, later this summer. Chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “Creating our 90-cover cafe in this store gives us the opportunity to take our brand into new avenues and extend our core offering outside food-to-go. The range will include all our signature Crussh products such as freshly pressed green juices, turmeric lattes and spelt sourdough toasties and will sit alongside a deli counter offering, including turmeric chicken, vegetable frittatas, fresh salads and a new gluten-free cake range.” Steve Lightfoot, Debenhams’ director of trading for home, furniture, gifts and food, added. “As part of the Debenhams ‘Redesigned’ strategy, we are looking to further enhance our food offering to customers. Through teaming with Crussh we are able to offer a contemporary third-party brand that is highly credible with an inviting menu of healthy foods to give the customer further reason for dwell-time in our flagship store.” Crussh has 29 outlets across London and last month launched its first site inside a Sainsbury’s store.
 
SSP opens Cabin site and Leon’s 50th venue, at Paddington station: SSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has opened a new site for its own bar concept Cabin as well as healthy eating brand Leon’s 50th outlet, at London Paddington station. The Cabin, which extends over 2,300 square feet, builds on the concept’s other sites at Waterloo station and Manchester, Stansted, Bristol and Newcastle airports. The Leon outlet measures 2,700 square feet and is the second Leon outlet to be opened by SSP. The new developments are on the balcony overlooking the concourse in the area known as “the lawn”. SSP UK chief executive Simon Smith said: “We are delighted to be opening these two new outlets at London Paddington – one of London’s busiest stations. The addition of these brands will enhance the offering available to passengers at the station, giving commuters and tourists more options of where to grab a bite to eat before boarding their train, and will serve as a great place for people who live and work in the area to have a lunchtime snack or an after-work drink.”
 
Byron considers closing four sites: Better burger brand Byron is considering the closure of four loss-making sites, The Sunday Times has reported. The news comes after Handmade Burger Co fell into administration on Thursday (6 July) with Leonard Curtis Recovery administrators closing nine of the company’s 29 restaurants.
 
McDonald’s franchisee reports 40% turnover increase since 2015, expects to reach £18m this financial year: Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee Blades Restaurants has reported turnover has increased 40% since 2015 and is expected to reach £18m this financial year. The growth has been driven by the acquisition of two outlets and a refurbishment of five others following a funding deal with Royal Bank of Scotland. In 2014, the company owned five McDonald’s restaurants and had an annual turnover of £12m but following the opening of its Clifton Lane restaurant in 2015 and another in Nuthall Road, Basford, in 2016, turnover has increased to £17m. Owner Jerry Nicholls said the rise was also down to refurbishments at its city centre and centrally based restaurants in Angel Row, Exchange Walk, Clumber Street, Victoria Retail Park and Trent Bridge. He added there had also been a 20% increase in sales this year in the city centre outlets alone. Nicholls told The Business Desk: “I have undertaken a number of considerable investments to not only acquire and create new outlets but also to update our existing stores to meet the modern image and standards set by McDonald’s.”
 
Gourmet Burger Kitchen makes Leicester debut: Gourmet Burger Kitchen has made its debut in Leicester after opening a site at the Highcross shopping centre. The company has invested £1.25m to convert a former Laura Ashley store into a 150-cover restaurant, creating 30 jobs. The venue, which is the company’s 86th, is set over two floors and includes an open kitchen with customers able to choose banquette or booth seating. It features metal pillars and exposed brickwork as well as scrabble tile signs. Gourmet Burger Kitchen opened its first site in Battersea, south London, in 2001.
 
Italian-American halal concept Marco & Carl to open third site, in Bradford: Italian-American halal concept Marco & Carl is to open its third site, in Bradford. The company will open the restaurant at the Leisure Exchange later this month in a unit that had been vacant since pan-Asian eatery East closed about two years ago, reports the Telegraph & Argus. Marco & Carl secured a business rate rebate grant of £60,000 from Bradford Council’s City Centre Growth Zone scheme, which is available to new or expanding businesses and worth up to £16,000 for every job created. The other Marco & Carl sites are in Leicester and Preston.
 
Hotel and leisure operators sought to establish boutique venue in Newcastle city centre: Hotel and leisure operators are being sought to establish a boutique venue in Newcastle city centre. Property consultancy GVA has been instructed by Motcomb Estates to market a grade II-listed former fire and police station in East Pilgrim Street. It is expected the site will accommodate a development featuring 100,000 square feet of hotel and restaurants, providing a boutique destination next to Newcastle’s leisure quarter. GVA director of land and development Ray Minto told Insider Media: “This is an exciting opportunity for an operator partner to bring forward a high-quality hotel and food and beverage offer that isn’t currently provided by Newcastle city centre’s leisure offer. This scheme marks just one phase of the wider East Pilgrim Street development, with further exciting projects due to be announced in the autumn. Our clients are prepared to offer interested parties a shell and core building to lease, subject to agreement.”
 
Papa John’s awards £15m UK advertising account to Pablo: Papa John’s has awarded its £15m UK advertising account to Pablo following a competitive pitch. Pablo beat Bartle Bogle Hegarty London and incumbent FKC London to become Papa John’s lead strategic and creative above-the-line agency in the UK. While Pablo has been tasked with building on the brand’s global positioning mantra of “Better ingredients. Better pizza”, Papa John’s UK marketing director David Scott said there was “every possibility” Pablo’s creative platform could be rolled out to other markets. Papa John’s also wants Pablo to drive reappraisal of the brand in the UK. Scott told Campaign: “We’ve got big ambitions for the Papa John’s brand in the UK and, to tackle the challenge, we felt Pablo was the perfect strategic and creative partner. Pablo demonstrated the appetite and ability to create the kind of work people talk about and that we feel will really resonate with our UK audience.” Since launching in the UK in 2001, Papa John’s has more than doubled its UK store count in the past five years from 150 to more than 350.
 
Beverley-based operator takes on second site: Neil Pickford, who operates The Monks Walk in Beverley, has taken on his second pub in the Yorkshire market town. Pickford, a former verger at Beverley Minster, has taken over The Lord Nelson in Flemingate and plans to turn it into a beer and wine bar where you can “have a natter”. The pub will close for a two-week refurbishment. Pickford told the Hull Daily Mail: “My plan is to make the pub a beer and wine bar because the demographic of south Beverley is starting to change with (Burning Night Group’s) The Potting Shed in Flemingate. What I want to create is a ‘chatter’ pub where you can go in and not be worried about being disturbed by sport or music. It’s going to be an oasis really, where you can relax and talk. I think the pub has got a lot of potential and I want to help realise that because it’s in a really good location. I want to create something almost like what you see in Corrie or EastEnders, where people come and just natter. Those pubs are right in the heart of those communities and without them you wouldn’t have a soap.”
 
Craft coffee and cocktail bar Roc & Rye launches in Manchester: Manchester-based bartender Sean Finnegan, formerly of El Capo, Kosmonaut and Mash And Air, has launched his first stand-alone bar, Roc & Rye, with business partners Maritza Haydon and Matt Bonner. The 150-cover craft coffee and cocktail bar has opened in a grade II-listed building in King Street taking inspiration from the building’s original 1880s interior. Roc & Rye has a brand advocacy partnership with Pernod Ricard UK and features an on-site drinks laboratory and offers aged Jameson whiskey served from a barrel behind the bar. Regarding the food menu, Finnegan told The Business Desk: “We wanted to give Roc & Rye customers the experience of sampling undiscovered artisan food from the local area and we’re proud to be able to curate a diverse menu that gives regional producers a platform to showcase home-grown speciality cuisine.” The cocktail list, entitled Hard Shakes and Heart Breaks, includes Lost At Sea (Jameson, cherry and grapefruit shrub, cherry liqueur, mezcal and sweet Vermouth).
 
Stonegate to open first Walkabout site since Intertain acquisition, in Colchester this month: Stonegate Pub Company will open its first Walkabout site since acquiring Intertain, in Colchester this month. The company is investing £400,000 to convert its Missoula site in Head Street, which will reopen as Walkabout on Tuesday, 18 July. It will feature a ten-screen reef bar as well as bookable booths, reports the Harwich and Manningtree Standard. Stonegate acquired Intertain from private equity firm Better Capital for about £39.5m in December last year. Stonegate operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).
 
ASK Italian closes Nottingham site: Azzurri Group-owned ASK Italian has closed its site in Nottingham. The company confirmed it has shut the branch in Chapel Bar. A spokesman told the Nottingham Post: “The decision was made as part of our ongoing evaluation of sites we operate. ASK would like to apologise for any disappointment and reassure customers they will still be able to enjoy the ASK Italian experience at one of their many restaurants across the country.” The nearest ASK Italian restaurant to Nottingham is 15 miles away in Derby. ASK Italian has more than 110 sites across the UK.
 
Edinburgh-based restaurant owners open second site, in Leith: The team behind Edinburgh restaurant The Gardener’s Cottage has opened a second site, this time in Leith. Cafe, bar and restaurant Quay Commons has opened in Commercial Street and also features a wine store, bakery and butcher’s shop. The venue offers freshly-baked pastries, homemade flatbread, seasonal pasta dishes and house-butchered charcuterie during the day, alongside coffee from Leith-based roasters Williams & Johnson. In the evening, Quay Commons offers a seasonal market menu alongside craft beer from local brewer Pilot and wine supplied by De Burgh Wine Merchants. The venue is in a former warehouse and features an industrial vibe with large tables for socialising. Chef proprietor Dale Mailley told Inews: “We wanted somewhere we could bake our sourdough bread on an industrial scale, as well as being a space where we could butcher and cure meat and test new dishes.”
 
Marcus Wareing protégés take on Cumbrian pub: Marcus Wareing protégés Jake and Cassie White have taken on a Cumbrian pub. The husband-and-wife team, who were head chef and pastry chef respectively at two Michelin-starred restaurant Marcus at The Berkley in London, will reopen The Bridge Inn in the hamlet of Penton in September. It will comprise a main dining room with 45 covers, a separate pub area and conservatory, and nine bedrooms. The dining room will feature a statement fireplace, open kitchen, and a mixture of banquette and regular seating. As well as a selection of two tasting menus of five or seven courses in the dining room, the bar will offer an informal menu of classic pub dishes and local ale. Jake White told the Cumbrian Crack: “We’ve loved our time at the heart of London’s culinary scene but this opportunity to create something truly special is an opportunity we’ve leapt at. For me, this is a return to my native north of England and the chance to add something unique to an internationally renowned food destination.”
 
Light Cinemas to anchor new £20m leisure complex in Birmingham: Light Cinemas is to anchor a new £20m leisure complex to be built in Birmingham. As well as a nine-screen cinema the development in the Longbridge area of the city will feature restaurants and an offering from budget fitness group The Gym. The two-storey development will be part of the £1bn regeneration of central Longbridge. This is the third phase of the major regeneration of 468 acres of land following the collapse of MG Rover in 2005. Previous phases have included a Whitbread-owned Premier Inn, a Sainsbury’s store, a technology park, and the largest Marks & Spencer in the Midlands, Birmingham Mail reports. In May, Light Cinemas announced it plans to more than quadruple its number of sites by 2021. The company currently operates seven sites, has committed to a further 14 and would like to open about ten more. Light Cinemas co-founder and chief executive Keith Pullinger said: “We like working with shopping centres and town centre regenerations with local authorities.”
 
Former Cote marketing manager and ex-Ritz chef acquire West Yorkshire guest house: A former marketing manager at French brasserie Cote and an ex-Ritz chef have acquired a four-star guest house in West Yorkshire. Josie Price, who worked for the restaurant group, and Brendan Sutherland have bought the five-bedroom Wilsons of Haworth, near Keighley, having secured a loan from Royal Bank of Scotland. Sutherland told The Business Desk: “We had dreamed of owning a hotel or guest house in West Yorkshire as my family reside there. I’m looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and producing quality food that is locally sourced. Over the next 12 to 18 months, we intend to really put our business on the map by building a reputation for fantastic food and beverage.” Royal Bank of Scotland senior relationship manager Andrew Matley added: “Bookings are looking very healthy and we wish them well as they settle into the local community and enjoy the busy summer season ahead.”
 
Bespoke Hotels to buy Scottish hotel and golf course: Bespoke Hotels is to acquire the Roxburghe Hotel and Golf Course at Heiton, near Kelso, after the company agreed terms with Roxburghe Estates ahead of a sale expected at the end of July. The 22-bedroom hotel and championship golf course will join Bespoke’s portfolio of upmarket hotels including the Chester Grosvenor, Storrs Hall in Cumbria, and the Carnoustie Golf Hotel. Bespoke said expansion of facilities at Roxburghe was “being considered”. In 2010, planning consent was granted for 60 holiday lodges, a new clubhouse and conversion of the existing clubhouse to a ten-bedroom dormy house. All 47 staff at the hotel and golf course will keep their jobs. Bespoke Hotels chief executive Haydn Fentum told The Southern Reporter: “We are hugely excited by the potential of the Roxburghe and look forward to taking the business into a new era.” Guy Innes-Ker, the tenth Duke of Roxburghe, added: “We look forward to seeing the Roxburghe grow in the years ahead under new ownership. It has given me enormous pride and satisfaction to see it develop successfully over the years but it became clear a new investor needed to come on board for the Roxburghe to move to the next level and become a world-class destination.”
  
Anjuna Hotel Group launches dormitory and ‘pod’ concept in Bournemouth: Anjuna Hotel Group has launched a dormitory and “pod” concept in Bournemouth. The company has opened Klikaway, which offers family and hostel-style shared rooms, after transforming the Piccadilly Hotel in Bath Road. In some rooms the accommodation consists of six, self-contained pods. Anjuna Hotel Group managing director Yousif Al-wagga told the Daily Echo: “The Piccadilly became unsustainable. It was a traditional coaching inn focused on the ballroom downstairs. There’s a gap in the market for good value-for-money accommodation that focuses on family rooms and groups. It’s a full-service hotel in terms of bedrooms but we also have some shared accommodation. It’s a really good innovation for Bournemouth. There’s a lot of accommodation in Bournemouth that could do with investment. It needs to offer good quality without sacrificing quality for price.” The Anjuna Group, led by chief executive Gerry Wilton, operates six Bournemouth hotels. The company specialises in acquiring independently owned hotels and making them more profitable by centralising facilities.
 
BaxterStorey extends contract at Surrey research facility: Contract catering company BaxterStorey has extended its contract with The Pirbright Institute near Woking, Surrey. The new three-year deal will see the hospitality provider offer a variety of freshly prepared meals for up to 300 staff at the research facility. BaxterStorey will continue to provide all-day cafe services, breakfast and lunch, while the chefs’ team will create working lunches for corporate meetings as well as buffets and tailor-made feasts for special events. A range of initiatives and street food-style pop-ups from the company’s food development team will feature in new seasonal menus. BaxterStorey regional director Graham Olds said: “We believe our innovative approach to foodservice, local sourcing and seasonal ingredients will continue to make a real difference to The Pirbright Institute’s staff.” Dr Mike Johnson, director of capability at The Pirbright Institute, added: “We have always been really impressed with the tailored approach that has continued to be updated and enhanced, particularly the focus on employee well-being and BaxterStorey’s commitment to providing nutritional meals using local produce.”

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