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Thu 24th Aug 2017 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Food firms raise fears over EU workers’ rights following Brexit: Almost three-quarters (73%) of EU workers in the “farm to fork” supply chain are concerned over their right to remain in the UK following Brexit, according to a new survey. The survey was co-ordinated by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and conducted among members of trade bodies including the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Hospitality Association. EU nationals number two million across the UK economy, with 20% of those workers employed in the food and drink supply chain. Almost half (47%) of businesses surveyed said EU nationals were considering leaving the UK due to uncertainty surrounding their future, while more than one-third (36%) said their business would become unviable without access to EU workers. Nearly one-third (31%) of businesses surveyed had seen EU nationals leave since the EU referendum, with 17% stating they would look to relocate overseas if they had no access to EU nationals. The survey includes key recommendations to government, including short-term measures such as legislation to secure the rights of EEA nationals currently in the UK and recognition of the strategic importance of the food and drink supply chain. Medium-term recommendations include ensuring there is no cliff-edge when the UK leaves the EU, while long-term measures include investment in skills and changes to the benefits system to make flexible working easier. FDF director general Ian Wright said: “It is only a matter of time before the uncertainty reported by businesses results in an irreversible exit of EU workers from these shores. This is a scenario that will hurt the UK culturally and economically. Without our dedicated and valued workforce we would be unable to feed the nation. That is why it is imperative we receive assurances from government about their future, and that of our wider workforce.”

Industry News:

Propel Multi Club Conference open for bookings, Imbiba to present: The final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2017 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Wednesday, 1 November at the Millennium Gloucester hotel in London. Darrel Connell, of investment fund Imbiba, will talk about investing in early-stage multi-site companies through Imbiba’s new £50m Growth Fund, whose advisory board includes Karen Jones, Graham Turner and Karen Forrester. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele on

Chris Muller Multi-site Management Masterclass open for bookings: Propel will host Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, at its next Multi-site Management Masterclass. It takes place on Friday, 29 September at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include building the case for strategic growth, developing multi-unit managers from players to coaches and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Mastering Multi-Units founder Lee Sheldon will also talk about how to successfully drive profitable growth for your business. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book tickets, email Anne Steele at

European hotel market reports strong performance in July: The European hotel market reported strong performance in July, with increases in revpar, average daily rate and occupancy. STR data for the month revealed revpar rose 7% to €92.84 compared with the previous year, while occupancy was up 2.6% to 78.5% and average daily rate increased 4.3% to €118.30. Among the best-performing countries were Turkey, which saw revpar leap 79.5% to 222.04 Turkish lira, while occupancy rose 64.9% to 69.2%, and average daily rate increased 8.9% to 330.83 Turkish lira. STR analysts said Turkey’s hotel performance showed dramatic year-on-year increases because it was compared with the month in 2016 that saw an attempted coup d’état. Meanwhile, Spain saw average daily rate up 7.7% to €129.34, which was significantly lifted by Madrid (+13.3%) and Barcelona (15.5%). Revpar increased 7.1% to €104.33, while occupancy fell 0.6% to 80.7%. STR analysts said it was still too early to identify a potential impact on hotel performance from last week’s terror attack in Barcelona.

Hospitality Action appoints new chief executive: Hospitality Action, the industry’s benevolent charity, has appointed Mark Lewis as its new chief executive. Lewis, who is stepping down from his role as publisher with The Caterer magazine, will replace Penny Moore who will leave the charity in December. Lewis previously held the role of trustee at Hospitality Action for more than ten years. He said: “I’ve been fortunate enough to witness first-hand the invaluable work Hospitality Action does to help current and retired industry professionals and their families in times of need. It’s a charity I have been proud to support for the past 12 years. Penny has been an outstanding chief executive for well over a decade, more than doubling turnover and growing exponentially the number of beneficiaries the charity supports. I relish the chance to build on her success and ensure Hospitality Action assists even more people.” William Baxter, chairman of the board of trustees, added: “I am delighted to welcome Mark to Hospitality Action. His background from within the industry and understanding of the charity will enable him to develop and grow Hospitality Action in the future.”

New parliamentary group to tackle illicit trade: A new cross-party parliamentary group is being formed in a bid to get issues around illicit trade further up the political agenda. The All Party Parliamentary Group, which will be made up of peers and MPs from across the political spectrum, will look at some of the key issues and drivers behind illicit trade across a range of sectors. The group will explore the supply and demand side and look to bring fresh impetus and ideas to tackling the issues. It will look to undertake a number of inquiries each year to deliver workable recommendations designed to assist government, law enforcement, the private sector and ultimately consumers in tackling illicit trade. MP for Hendon Matthew Offord, who is setting up the group, said: “Some of the losses to the public finances due to illicit trade are staggering – costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds each year.” The group’s first meeting will be on Tuesday, 5 September when officers will be nominated and chosen. A meeting will be scheduled for later in the year to agree the work programme. The meeting will be open to all parties.

Company News:

Crussh strengthens retail partnerships with Holland & Barrett concession: Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has continued to strengthen its retail partnerships by opening a concession with health food company Holland & Barrett. Crussh has launched the Fit Food & Juice Bar concession within one of Holland & Barrett’s largest stores, in London’s Oxford Street. The vegetarian bar, which is in the front area of the store, provides a range of “fit food”, freshly made raw juices and smoothies, as well as a full smart coffee menu including turmeric lattes and Bulletproof coffee. The store was opened earlier this year and carried the “Holland & Barrett More” branding, indicating its extended offering. Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “We are delighted to open a Crussh Fit Food & Juice Bar in Holland & Barrett in the heart of London. With health and well-being at the core of both businesses, there is a natural synergy between the two brands.” Holland & Barrett head of food Ian Mackie added: “Healthy food to go is a growth area for us across the entire business. When you combine this demand with a high footfall area such as Oxford Street and great products like Crussh’s, we’re very confident we have a winning formula customers will love.” Crussh, which has 30 outlets across the capital, recently opened concessions with Debenhams in Oxford Street and Sainsbury’s in Pimlico. Earlier this year, Crussh launched its largest vegan range to date.

Five Guys secures Cheltenham site: Better burger brand Five Guys has secured a site in Cheltenham. The company is opening a restaurant at the £80m Brewery Quarter retail and leisure development in the town centre. Five Guys has taken a lease on a 2,454 square foot unit within the new venue, which is expected to open in October creating 35 jobs. It will join other restaurant brands including artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co and Cosy Club, which is owned by Loungers. Five Guys head of property Neville Maling said: “We’re delighted to confirm we will be bringing our brand of handcrafted burgers to The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham and look forward to opening later in the year.” Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in the US in 1986 by the Murrell family, has 72 sites in the UK. It opened its first in Covent Garden in 2013, while locations listed as “coming soon” on its website include Oxford, South Kensington and Wandsworth.

Stonegate Pub Company brings Slug and Lettuce brand to Coventry: Stonegate Pub Company has brought its Slug and Lettuce brand to Coventry, creating 20 jobs. The company has opened the bar in The Old County Hall following a £500,000 investment. The interior has been modernised throughout and decorated in the signature Slug and Lettuce style with new furniture and bathrooms and the addition of an outside bar. The grade II-listed building dates to the late 18th century, when it served as a courthouse. Some original features have been retained including the entrance to the court cells and the judge’s chair. Claire Turner, general manager of the Slug and Lettuce Coventry, said: “We are really excited to bring Slug and Lettuce to Coventry, especially within a building that has such great history. The new bar not only looks fantastic but we have a brilliant team and, with our envious food and drink menu, we certainly won’t disappoint.” 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). Earlier this month, the company made a bid to buy Revolution Bars Group.

Patisserie Valerie becomes first brand to sign for Worthing restaurant quarter: Patisserie Valerie, the company that has sector investor Luke Johnson as executive chairman, has become the first brand to sign for NewRiver REIT’s restaurant quarter in Worthing, West Sussex. Patisserie Valerie will take an 1,850 square foot bespoke “pod” unit on a 15-year lease, with work due to start in summer 2018. The Montague Quarter will be at NewRiver’s shopping centre in the seaside town, with extensive refurbishment works to be completed this week. NewRiver director Stuart Mitchell said: “We are thrilled to have Patisserie Valerie sign up for The Montague Quarter. Our investment will transform the centre and create a much-needed retail and leisure offer. Our strategy for the centre is similar to Leamington Spa, where we transformed a former thoroughfare into an attractive and thriving retail and leisure destination for the town. We are under offer to national and regional restaurant operators and delighted to welcome the rapidly expanding Patisserie Valerie as the first pre-let.”

Krispy Kreme opens 100th UK store: Krispy Kreme has opened its 100th UK store, in Nottingham. It is the company’s first site in the city and has opened in the Intu Victoria shopping centre’s Clocktower dining area. The venue, which has taken space at former menswear shop Xplicit and an adjacent empty unit, seats 24 people and offers coffee, milkshakes and 16 varieties of doughnut. As it is the company’s 100th store, the company gave away lucky dip prizes for the first 100 customers through the doors on launch day. Krispy Kreme UK operations director Neil Williamson told the Nottingham Post: “2017 is very special for us at Krispy Kreme as it’s our 80th birthday year. It has been made even more special as we reach our 100th UK store milestone with the opening of our new Nottingham outlet.” Intu general manager Nigel Wheatley added: “Our Clocktower dining area is the perfect city centre destination for Krispy Kreme to attract customers in Nottingham for the first time.”

New World Trading Company looks to bring The Botanist to Coventry: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company (NWTC) is looking to bring its The Botanist brand to Coventry. The company is lining up a site at the Cathedral Lanes shopping centre in the complex’s dining quarter in Broadgate. NWTC has applied to the city council for a premises licence to join restaurants brands Wagamama, Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas and Loungers brand Cosy Club. Council cabinet member for jobs Cllr Jim O’Boyle told the Coventry Telegraph: “The Botanist is one of the country’s leading restaurant chains and it’s great it has decided to open a branch right in the heart of our city centre.” The Botanist has 14 sites, including venues in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle. NWTC also operates The Smugglers Cove, The Club House, The Trading House and its latest concept The Canal House, which launched in Birmingham last month. Earlier this month, NWTC launched mobile cocktail bar The Wanderer aimed at weddings and festivals.

Amber Taverns to open Hogarths site in Tamworth next month: Community pub operator Amber Taverns is to open a Hogarths Gin Palace site in Tamworth, west Midlands, next month. The company is investing £1.4m in the venue in Lower Gungate on the site of the former Oliver’s bar, creating 30 jobs. It will feature more than 150 gins as well as an extensive choice of cocktails, wine and beer. There will also be a full range of premium lagers and cask ales. Amber Taverns operations director Gary Roberts told the Tamworth Herald: “We are investing about £1.4m at Tamworth and looking forward to complementing some great pubs in the circuit.” The company owns and operates more than 130 pubs and bars across the Midlands, north west, north east and South Wales, including 11 Hogarth sites.

Cereal cafe Black Milk to expand outside Manchester with Bolton opening, first franchise site: Cereal cafe Black Milk, which has two sites in Manchester, is to expand outside the city by opening a venue in Bolton next month. The brand’s debut Northern Quarter cafe gained a cult following for its freakshakes and sugar-loaded cereal bowls when it launched in 2015, leading to the opening of a second, larger site in Oldham Street. Now Black Milk will open its third site at The Vaults dining destination in Bolton’s Market Place shopping centre. The site will be the brand’s first franchise but co-founders Oliver Taylor and Andy Young said they had been involved every step of the way, from picking the palm-print wallpaper to choosing chairs and cutlery. An area where customers can watch the shakes made will also feature as part of the fit-out. The franchise will be run by Fayaz Patel, a regular customer at Black Milk’s Manchester sites. Taylor told Manchester Evening News: “He was the perfect fit. The most important thing was he understood the brand and gets what we’re about.” Oliver said Black Milk was also in talks to open sites in London and Dublin, with ambitions to take the brand global. He added: “The aim is to try to get into holiday destinations. We’d love to open in places like LA, Barbados and New York.”

Deltic Group to convert Wrexham nightclub into Atik brand: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, is to convert its Liquid & Envy nightclub in Wrexham into its Atik brand. The venue in Brook Street will close on Saturday, 23 September to undergo a £600,000 refurbishment and will reopen on Friday, 6 October offering three rooms – main dance room Atik focusing on the “best in light and sound technology”, Vinyl offering an illuminated dance floor and pop classics, and Curve playing the latest R&B hits. Table service at the venue will be increased, with 11 VIP booths added to take the total to 19. General manager Mat Evans told “We are the biggest and most popular venue in North Wales but after 15 years as Liquid it’s time for a change. We want to create an exciting new experience for clubbers, who we attract from a wide area.” The club has started recruiting for 35 staff to join its 23-strong team. In June, The Deltic Group announced it would invest £8.1m in its estate this year.

ETM Group to reopen Chelsea bar and restaurant with new look: ETM Group, the 14-strong gastro-pub operator led by brothers Ed and Tom Martin, is giving its Chelsea bar and restaurant The Botanist a new look. The company has closed the Sloane Square site for ten weeks for an extensive refurbishment. Following significant investment, the venue will reopen in early October featuring a new look and offering an all-day brasserie-style menu from newly appointed executive chef Ameya Bhalekar. There will also be a strong focus on champagne, wine and botanical cocktails. The new design will feature a focal 45-seater bar complete with expansive brass overhead display. A colour palette of navy, green and rose will be introduced, while the site’s heritage will be acknowledged through Sir Hans Sloane-inspired prints and bespoke botanical tiles. Tom Martin said: “The Botanist was one of our first ETM venues and is a much-loved piece of the Sloane Square landscape. As we enter our tenth year of trading, we feel it is a great time to revitalise one of our most successful venues, ensuring it continues to thrive by providing our loyal customers with a current and engaging offer.”

Innspired Leisure to launch prosecco bar concept in Birmingham next month: Innspired Leisure is to launch prosecco bar Olivia’s Townhouse in Birmingham next month, with plans to roll out the concept. The venue will open in The Arcadian Centre in a building formerly occupied by Reflex nightclub, which closed in March 2016. The 7,000 square foot site will feature an “elegant bar serving prosecco and cocktails” and a club room. Innspired Leisure plans to spend £750,000 on refurbishing the venue, including installing a four-metre tree that will be lit up at night, a garden area and first-floor terrace. The company said it hoped Olivia’s Townhouse would be the first of a new brand, with further venues opening across the country. The bar’s Facebook page states: “There’s a new social butterfly landing in Birmingham, she’s got her own party pad and you’re invited.” A spokeswoman for LCP, which owns and manages The Arcadian, told the Birmingham Mail: “Olivia’s will be uncompromisingly glamorous with a lavish fit-out. It will be a premium-led operation aimed at a sophisticated crowd. A food offering will follow too, which is currently being developed.”

Sheffield-based Stancill Brewery reopens threatened pub for fourth city site: Sheffield-based Stancill Brewery has reopened a pub that was under threat of permanent closure for its fourth site in the city. The Closed Shop in Commonside closed suddenly in March after the company running it, Reet Ales, ceased trading. Regulars launched a campaign to secure its short-term future, raising more than £10,000 to keep it open temporarily. Now Stancill Brewery co-owners Thomas Gill and Adam Hague have taken on the pub they spent many of their student days in and signed a 20-year lease with owner Punch Taverns. Gill told The Star: “We decided to contact Punch Taverns and see whether we could secure the future of a pub we’d both spent many happy hours in during our student years. We’re hoping to replicate the winning formula achieved in our other pubs in Sheffield – a changing selection of drinks, friendly atmosphere and, perhaps most importantly of all, placing the pub at the heart of the local community.” The pub is managed by Hayley McPhie, who was responsible for overseeing the reopening of another Stancill pub – The Norfolk Arms. The brewer has increased the range of real ales to ten, while a new kitchen will open soon. Stancill Brewery’s other pubs are the Horse & Jockey in Wadsley Lane and The Albion in London Road.

Mowgli to open Birmingham site next month: Indian street food restaurant Mowgli will open its new site in Birmingham next month. Founder Nisha Katona is opening the 364 square metre restaurant in the casual dining area of the Grand Central Shopping Centre alongside Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho and celebrity chef Omar Allibhoy’s Tapas Revolution. Mowgli currently operates two sites in Liverpool and one in Manchester. Katona told Insider Media: “Mowgli is about the smash-and-grab zing of honest, home-style, fresh food and it strikes me Grand Central customers are all about this kind of edgy offer. We think the restaurant will be very well received.” Last month, Mowgli secured £3.45m in expansion funding from Foresight Group, the independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager.

Nando’s adds to Kent presence with Aylesford opening: Nando’s has added to its presence in Kent by opening a site in Aylesford. The company has opened a restaurant in South Aylesford Retail Park, reports Kent Live. It has several restaurants in the county, including a site in nearby Maidstone, while it opened a branch in Sevenoaks last year. Nando’s operates more than 1,000 restaurants across the globe, with almost 400 in the UK and Ireland.

Manchester-based The Laundrette to begin expansion outside city as it opens third site, in Newcastle: Manchester-based cocktails and carbohydrates concept The Laundrette is to begin expansion outside the city when it opens its third site, in Newcastle next month. Owners Patrick Hall and Jon Charles will open the venue beneath the Vita Student building in Westgate Road, creating 50 jobs. The venue will have a 90-cover restaurant and large outdoor terrace and, as in the other Laundrette sites, will offer breakfast, cocktails, pizza and grill specialities. Hall and Charles launched Laundrette in the Manchester suburb of Chorlton in 2013 before expanding into the city centre last year. Hall told Chronicle Live: “The people of Newcastle know how to party so there is nowhere better for us to open outside Manchester. It’s amazing to see it take shape and we can’t wait to hear what people think.”

Former JD Wetherspoon pub in Norwich to become boutique bowling alley and restaurant: Plans to convert a former JD Wetherspoon pub in Norwich into a boutique bowling alley and restaurant have been given the go-ahead. Fledgling company Bowling House has been granted permission by the city council to transform the venue in Dereham Road. The alley would feature five lanes as a more “intimate experience”, alongside a bar serving wine, beer, spirits and cocktails. It would also feature a courtyard beer garden open from 9am to midnight daily and until 2am on Saturdays. Bowling House director Jack Thompson told the Eastern Daily Press: “The set-up would be more adult-orientated and less family-driven as per the multi-lane operations currently in and around Norwich. The food offer would be set up for sharing using fresh, local ingredients taking inspiration from classic modern dishes. Other cities have had boutique lanes for many years and there is clearly a market for it in Norwich.” The venue was last occupied by all-you-can-eat Asian buffet Merge, which closed in November. Originally the Regal cinema, the building housed a bingo hall and casino before becoming derelict. JD Wetherspoon took over the venue and opened it as the City Gates in 1999.

Liverpool-based Asian restaurant Tiger Rock Hawker opens second site in city: Liverpool-based Asian restaurant Tiger Rock Hawker has opened its second site in the city. Owners Vikki and Kean Teh, who launched the concept in Smithdown Road last year, have opened the new venue in North John Street. It serves a range of Asian dishes, including Thai and Vietnamese, and also includes a bar featuring its signature bellini menu. The venue features high tables, seating booths and a colour scheme that corresponds with the restaurant’s signature green with muted, earthy tones in addition to bright neon signage. Vikki Teh told The Guide Liverpool: “Our new venue mirrors our original site in its aesthetics, with the addition of a larger bar area to allow drinkers and diners alike to enjoy our east Asian delights and speciality cocktails. Our culinary menu remains the same as our original site.

Business Enterprise Fund boosts four artisan brewers: Four artisan brewers have shared £132,000 from the Business Enterprise Fund (BEF). Rudgate Brewery in the Vale of York has worked closely with BEF for more than three years, receiving funding and advice to support its continued expansion. Huddersfield-based Lords Brewing and Gateshead-based Great North Eastern Brewing have also received funding for recruitment, equipment, transport and ingredients, while Eyes Brewing in Leeds approached BEF for funding after two years of home-brewing to develop its products. The BEF is a social enterprise that offers funding and mentoring for businesses across Yorkshire and the north east. Group chief executive Stephen Waud told Insider Media: “The craft brewing industry is booming and never more than in Yorkshire and the north east. BEF has the funding and expertise to play an instrumental role in supporting the expansion of several breweries that have true entrepreneurial spirit at their heart and a real head for business. We’re simply facilitating their growth and look forward to watching their continued success in this incredibly competitive market place.”

Gluten-free brewer Bellfield raises £430,000 for expansion: Bellfield Brewery, the UK’s only dedicated gluten-free micro-brewer, has raised £430,000 of cash via equity to support its rapid expansion. The investment was led by angel syndicate Equity Gap and supported by Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, along with existing shareholders, many of whom supported Bellfield’s original Crowdcube fund-raise in 2015. Edinburgh-based Bellfield, which launched in March last year, will invest in taking new products and formats to market as well as strengthening its sales team. Director Marie Brown said: “We already know from our first year in business there is considerable demand for our products in the UK and beyond. We’ve already delivered on our ambition to produce beer that stands up to anything in the market and we’ve secured listings with many of the leading food and drink distributors and wholesalers in the UK. We will now invest to grow our sales and operational team to build on the opportunity and grow our range of beers.” Scottish Investment Bank head Kerry Sharp added: “Food and drink is a key sector for Scottish Enterprise and we look forward to continuing to work with the company, from an investment perspective and through our account management support, to deliver its long-term growth ambition.”

Zonal launches Dimensions+: Hospitality management solutions company Zonal has launched an insight-based solution that unlocks operator data to “paint a detailed picture in one single view”. Dimensions+ is an extension of the Dimensions reporting module, which comes as standard as part of Zonal’s Aztec EPOS. This latest innovation quickly aggregates data from EPOS with external sources such as payroll systems to create real-time data analysis and comprehensive reporting in an easy to understand graphic format. With same-day activation and ongoing support from Zonal’s Edinburgh-based help centre, the company said Dimensions+ could pull through data history and deliver meaningful insights, trends and reporting from the outset. Zonal chief executive Stuart McLean said: “Dimensions+ removes unnecessary steps for our customers by converting the information into one view that allows them to compare various sources of data and gather a huge amount of insight. Dimensions+ makes the data manipulation process simple so our customers are guaranteed to get the most accurate business intelligence.”

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