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Wed 13th Jun 2018 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Vegan barbecue food and healthy ice cream to be top trends this summer: Vegan barbecue, healthy ice cream, alternative soft drinks and beer snacks will be the major food and drink trends this summer, according to Mintel’s latest report. The 2018 Summer Food & Drink Trends report states that although barbecue selection has become more diverse with the addition of fish and cheese in recent years, vegan barbecue might not have been a consideration for a meat-eater – until now. There has been an increase in speciality vegan products such as black bean chipotle, which are catering to changing consumer tastes, Mintel stated. More than one-quarter (28%) of UK adults chose similar products during the six months to March 2017. Similarly, in the US one-third (33%) of consumers plan to buy more plant-based food products in the next year. Meanwhile, “better-for-you” ice cream brand Halo Top, which has just launched in the UK, was the best-selling ice cream in the US during a four-week period in July 2017. In the UK, almost one-third (32%) of ice cream fans said “low sugar” would encourage them to consume more. Snacks designed to accompany beer are also poised to do well this summer – almost half (46%) of UK beer drinkers would like to see more information about matching food with beer, while 36% of US consumers would buy more crisps if there were new flavours. The report said following the introduction of the UK sugar tax, consumers were becoming weary of traditional drinks such as soda, cola and lemonade. Bold-flavoured sparkling water seems to be a natural alternative for a large number of consumers, the report stated, with more than half (53%) of UK consumers agreeing. Mintel global food analyst Melanie Zanoza Bartelme said: “Flavour-bursting new varieties of vegan alternatives made from innovative ingredients such as Indian jackfruit will be the star of the barbecue this summer.” Associate director Jenny Zegler added: “Expect to see less lemonade and more truly original mineral waters with natural flavours far beyond lemon or cucumber.”

Industry News:

Last chance to book this week for Inspirational Leadership In Tough Times Masterclass: This week is the last chance to book for the Inspirational Leadership In Tough Times Masterclass, being held by Propel and Professor Chris Edger. The event takes place next Thursday (21 June) at Chartered Accountants Hall in Moorgate Place, London. The masterclass will provide insights and tips into how you can perfect being an inspirational leader. Drawing on material from his nine books on leadership, Prof Edger will outline how inspirational leaders mobilise their teams and businesses to outperform the market in challenging circumstances. A host of companies and brands have signed up for the event including Diageo, Revolution Bars Group, Greene King, Frankie and Benny’s, Fuller’s, Mitchells & Butlers, Stonegate Pub Company, TRG Concessions, Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, Brunning & Price, Brasserie Bar Co, Beds and Bars, ETM Group, Chilango, Pizza Pilgrims, Busaba, Buzzworks, MeatTailer, Ole & Steen, Five Points Brewing Company, Bone Daddies, Gas Street Social, Gracious Development Group, My Lahore, Ideal Collection, George & Dragon, True North Brew, Manorview Hotel Group, Mason & Company, The Old Rectory House Hotel, Sam’s Riverside, Freeths and HIT Training. For the full schedule, click here. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com or call 01444 817691.

Company News:

Airport group MAG to launch food-led bar concept Proof as it brings more operations in-house: MAG, the UK’s largest airport group, is to launch Proof – a food-led bar concept that will be entirely owned and operated by the company’s in-house team. Proof is a “modern and flexible bar concept designed to focus on fresh, high-quality food alongside a spirits-led drinks menu”. The concept will launch at East Midlands airport this summer before roll-out to MAG’s other UK airports – Manchester and London Stansted. Proof 65 will offer small plates with Mediterranean flavours and regional ingredients such as egg and red Leicester cheese frittata and hot smoked salmon fishcake with gin aioli. The drinks menu will feature 15 gins, beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks. Each Proof bar will be numbered to denote the year in which the host airport began commercial flights. The bar at East Midlands will be called Proof 65 and reflect the history of the airport and surrounding area. The move is part of MAG’s strategy to offer more of its own products to passengers, from car park to departure gate. Proof will be operated by its lounges team, which is also behind the group’s Escape and 1903 Lounge concepts, with seven lounges in the UK and four in the US. Executive vice-president lounges Beth Brewster said: “MAG is innovative in the UK in establishing its own in-house food and beverage product. Ultimately, we are trying to give our passengers the best possible choice of environment.”

Rosa’s Thai Cafe hits 1,000 orders per month through in-house delivery service: Thai restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe, founded by husband and wife Saiphin and Alex Moore, has reached 1,000 orders a month through its in-house delivery service. The service is powered by a new delivery API (application programming interface) from online ordering platform Orderswift. When an order is placed on the Rosa’s website, Orderswift sends the information via its API to a chosen delivery partner, which fulfils delivery for a flat fee. Restaurants can choose to pass on all or part of the delivery fee to the customer or offer free delivery above a specific order value. Orderswift has integrated its API with two delivery platforms – Stuart and Quiqup – with more integrations planned. Alex Moore said: “Orderswift’s delivery API is a true game changer, giving our loyal customers the opportunity to place orders directly with us while allowing us to rapidly upscale our in-house delivery business without impinging operations. The combined fee of Orderswift’s platform and delivery makes up about 18% of each order – significantly less than the fees delivery market places typically charge. Plus, delivery orders coming through our own website are, on average, 30% greater than those we receive from any other third parties.” Orderswift co-founder Matt Gilbert added: “Alex’s view is if you have a popular brand and great food, loyal customers will want to order directly through you, so why not let them?” Meanwhile, Rosa’s Thai Cafe has confirmed it has secured a new site at Bluewater, Kent. The company has signed a deal with the complex’s co-owner Landsec for 2,500 square foot in the Bluewater plaza with the site, its first outside the M25, to open later this year. Rosa’s Thai Cafe managing director Gavin Adair said: “London was a great starting point for us to offer our authentic and sustainably sourced dishes but we wanted to reach out to an even wider market. We’re delighted to bring an entirely new type of cuisine to Bluewater, which we view as one of the UK’s leading retail and leisure destinations.” Landsec portfolio director Robert Hardie added: “Guests at Bluewater have told us for some time they would like to see Thai cuisine offered as part of our dining options. We have seen strong demand for space in the plaza and know Rosa’s Thai Cafe will be a popular addition.” Shelley Sandzer acted for Landsec and Rosa’s Thai dealt direct. Last week, Rosa’s Thai Cafe sold a majority stake to private equity firm TriSpan.

Mamuska Restaurants to open flagship Polish Kitchen in Waterloo after waiting eight years for right deal: Mamuska Restaurants, which owns and operates casual dining concept Mamuśka! Polish Kitchen and Bar, has signed to launch a flagship site in London’s Waterloo. The 240-cover, 400 square metre venue is set to open in LCR’s new Leake Street Arches development and will be much larger than the brand’s other site, in Walworth Road, Southwark. The restaurant will also have space for 40 covers outside and a mezzanine bar that will double as a private function area. Mamuska Restaurants founder and managing director Ian Coll said: “The difference between ourselves and some of the brands that expanded aggressively over the past ten years, paying up to £60 a square foot or more for rent, is we now have no external debt and no unsustainable locations to support. Like the brands we admire and try to emulate, we have a loyal client base and a proven self-service model. Now with four times the number seats, we know we can triple sales in this new location but only double our wage roll. Our numbers make a lot more sense. We know if we pay rents that are too high or spend too much money on a fit-out, we will have to raise prices to pay for it. We are just not willing to do that. The value proposition is as important to our customers as the atmosphere in the dining room. By waiting for the right deal before expanding we protected our business model, our bank balance and our brand, and we have made ourselves ready for expansion just when more realistic property opportunities are coming to the market.” The deal is being financed through a director’s loan and asset financing, given Coll’s determination to retain equity until the company achieves a higher market value. He added: “We are actively looking for our next site, preferably within five miles of Leake Street. We still need to spread our central overheads across several locations to prove the financial model and excite private equity firms and other investors.”

Camerons eyes former Harvester in Cardiff for first Head of Steam in Wales: Camerons Brewery has lodged plans to bring its Head of Steam brand to Wales. The company has applied to Cardiff City Council to convert a former Harvester restaurant in Church Street. Camerons has asked the council for permission to sell alcohol from 8am to 1am, Sunday to Thursday, extended until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Mitchells & Butlers closed the Harvester restaurant earlier this month, reports Wales Online. Camerons operates 15 Head of Steam sites having opened its latest last week, in Birmingham. Camerons’ estate consists of more than 70 venues. It acquired The Head of Steam brand in 2014.

London-based vegan restaurant The Gate secures fourth site, in St John’s Wood: London-based vegan restaurant The Gate has secured its fourth site, in St John’s Wood. The company has acquired a 3,270 square foot unit in Allitsen Road that previously housed Delisserie restaurant. The Gate was established in 1989 and diners can expect to see the same signature dishes as at the Hammersmith, Islington and Marylebone branches. Variations on the menu and a weekend brunch are also being developed for the restaurant, which is set to open in October this year. A spokesman for The Gate said: “St John’s Wood is a top location and we are a stone’s throw from some other great restaurants in the area. The size of the unit is also brilliant, allowing us to do many different things with the space.” Emma Cousins, of CDG Leisure, who brokered the deal on behalf of both Delisserie and The Gate, added: “The Gate is guaranteed to be a welcome addition to the area with its burgeoning culinary scene. Not only does it carry the weight of a brand that has been focusing on plant-based dishes for almost 30 years, it also brings a dining offer in line with the changing tastes and lifestyles of consumers.”

Arc Inspirations plans format change for debut bar to reflect market shift: Arc Inspirations, the bar and restaurant operator led by Martin Wolstencroft, is to invest £500,000 to convert The Arc in Headingley, Leeds, into its Manahatta brand after “analysing the changing social demographic”. The Arc, which was the company’s first site to open 18 years ago, will shut on Wednesday, 18 July for refurbishment. The 8,000 square foot venue will echo the look of the two Manahatta sites in Leeds, which feature an all-day brunch menu, lunch and evening dinner menu, accompanied by premium cocktails. Wolstencroft said: “The Arc was our first bar when it opened almost 18 years ago so it holds a special place in our hearts. But all good things must come to an end and, after analysing the changing social demographic make-up of the immediate area and the wants and needs of the community, it was clearly the right time to bring Manahatta to the neighbourhood. While we’re committed to growing our estate in an organic and sustainable fashion, this move shows we remain pragmatic to investing in our existing estate when we see fit and are not precious about changing formats when necessary.” Last month, the company announced it would open two sites in Manchester this autumn – a Manahatta in Deansgate and a Banyan Bar & Kitchen in Spinningfields. Arc Inspirations operates 17 venues.

North east-based operators to open second site with Star Pubs & Bars: North east-based operators Carl and Sam Cramman are to open their second site with Star Pubs & Bars. The Quarry in Whitley Bay is undergoing a £237,000 refurbishment to reopen on Friday, 6 July. Full-length windows are being installed, while a kitchen is being fitted to offer traditional, home-cooked food for the first time. The layout of the pub will include a large bar, separate dining area and snug, while the Crammans will reinstate the pub quiz and introduce live acoustic music. Carl Cramman said: “The Quarry has lots of potential and is in a brilliant location, two minutes from the seafront.” Star Pubs & Bars regional operations and sales director Gary Corney added: “It’s great news for the community that Carl and Sam have taken on The Quarry. They’re good operators and understand what the community wants. The investment will improve the appearance, comfort and facilities and add to Whitley Bay’s regeneration.” The Crammans’ other site with Star Pubs & Bars is the Spring Gardens in North Shields.

Carl Froch to open Nottingham rooftop bar: Former professional boxer Carl Froch is to open a bar in Nottingham. Froch has revealed plans to launch Alto on the second floor of The Cornerhouse leisure complex this summer, replacing the former Saltwater bar and restaurant that was operated by James Horler. The new bar is part of a joint venture with John Glover and Marc Brough, who have a wealth of previous experience in the bar and restaurant scene. As part of the renovation, Alto will feature four new bars and a rooftop terrace offering views of the Nottingham skyline, alongside cocktails and a new menu. Brough told The Business Desk: “Myself, Carl and John are all excited to be launching this venture together. The Cornerhouse is a staple part of the city and for us it’s great to bring our new ideas and plans to it. Saltwater was always a great venue and a place that pioneered the Nottingham bar scene so it’s brilliant we can move into that same space with the iconic rooftop terrace and begin a new legacy with Alto.” Charlie Truman, centre executive of The Cornerhouse, added: “It’s great to have Nottingham star Carl Froch bringing a new element to the centre and adding to the rest of our brilliant venues.”

Flying Kiwi Inns sells Norfolk coaching inn to Chaplin Group: Norfolk operator Flying Kiwi Inns, led by chef Chris Coubrough, has sold The Ship Hotel in Brancaster to Chaplin Group. The freehold, goodwill and trade contents of The Ship were sold for an undisclosed amount off an asking price of £1.6m through agent Fleurets. The property caters for about 100 people seated around a central bar and features nine bedrooms, which were added in 2010. Chaplin Group also owns the Gonville Hotel in Cambridge and the Maids Head Hotel, Norwich. Company director David Chaplin said: “The Ship is already a very successful operation and will fit well with our Cambridge and Norwich hotels.” Flying Kiwi Inns had operated The Ship since 2009. It also owns and operates The Crown hotel in Wells-next-the-Sea, which is unaffected by the sale. Coubrough said: “We have loved our ten years at the ship and it will always be a special place for my wife and I.”

McDonald’s to post $90m of charges for US restructuring: McDonald’s is planning to take $80m to $90m in charges during the second quarter from a restructuring of its US operations. The company has revealed it will eliminate its regional structure and focus on field offices. It will streamline its field organisation and use resources for technology and field consulting. McDonald’s did not disclose how many job losses the move could cause. The company said: “Collectively, these changes will create a more efficient US organisation and help owner-operators to succeed while continuing to provide McDonald’s customers with hot, delicious food at a compelling value; fast, friendly service; and a convenient, enjoyable experience.” The charges are primarily for severance costs and closing field offices, the company said, adding its transition into the new structure would be complete in the third quarter of 2018. The news comes a week after the Wall Street Journal revealed McDonald’s is planning a new round of job cuts to flatten its management structure further.

Wine producer Boutinot reports sales soar past £135m mark: Manchester-based wine producer, importer and distributor Boutinot has reported significant growth in the US has helped sales soar past the £135m mark with plans in place for further expansion. The company saw turnover increase to £136,922,034 for the year ending 31 August 2017, compared with £129,535,690 the year before. UK sales were up to £118,541,268, compared with £113,928,852 the previous year. In the rest of Europe turnover rose slightly to £10,959,977, compared with £10,896,937 the year before, and in the rest of the world it was up to £7,420,789, compared with £4,709,901 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell to £2,192,569 compared with £3,957,314 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. This was attributed to strong wine cost price increases and the “seismic shift” in the sterling/euro exchange rate, which significantly upped the company’s landed cost prices. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Significant growth came from the US market and the foundations were put in place for further expansion here and in other international markets. The UK independent wholesale trade remains competitive and recovery of last year’s reduced margin will only be partial during the coming year in this sector. The independent retail trade, however, continues its trajectory towards more specialism. A restructuring and reorganisation of the sales team in response to this has shown good results in the sales of higher value, slightly higher margin wines. While there remains further challenges of shortages and price increases, management expects the group will recover some of its lost margin throughout the year. The group continues to make significant progress with its post buyout finance and expects this will be cleared in early 2019, putting it in a strong position to further fund its expansion in the UK and internationally and continue investment in its winery projects.”

London-based hospitality firm MJMK to open neighbourhood pub in Belsize Park: London-based hospitality company MJMK is to open a neighbourhood pub in Belsize Park next month. The business, founded by Marco Mendes, Jake Kasumov and Reza Merchant, will launch The Belrose in Haverstock Hill. It will be a modern take on the British pub with a menu of Italian-inspired dishes and an on-site micro-brewery. Pizzas will be cooked in a clay oven to go alongside charcuterie, cheese and small plates. The drinks list will include an IPA brewed on-site, natural wine, international beer, cocktails, spirits and soft drinks. The garden will seat more than 40 and feature an outdoor bar. The 80-cover dining room will combine table seating, booths and sofas as well as counter dining around the bar and open kitchen. A separate snug will seat an additional 15 covers. MJMK also owns and operates S11 bar and health food cafe Homegrown, both in Brixton. It will launch Portuguese piri-piri chicken concept Casa do Frango in London Bridge this summer.

Bar Soba scraps Liverpool launch but city ‘remains on agenda’: Scotland-based cocktail and pan-Asian street food concept Bar Soba, which is backed by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), has scrapped plans to open in the former Cabin Club in Liverpool, although the city “remains on its agenda for expansion”. Bar Soba was in the process of transforming the famous nightspot into a three-floor bar and street food restaurant. Planning permission was granted in August last year, with enabling works starting the following month. Significant improvements have been made to the Bold Street building but Bar Soba has decided not to move ahead with its opening, Your Move reports. Red & Blue Restaurants, the group behind Hanover Street Social and Salt House Bacaro, had previously proposed a £700,000 refurbishment of the nightclub, which closed in 2015. Bar Soba received a £3m investment from the BGF in 2016 for expansion. It operates three sites in Glasgow and one each in Edinburgh and Derby while it is in the process of relocating its venue in Leeds.

NewRiver strengthens pubs team with former Punch business development manager: NewRiver has strengthened its pub portfolio team by appointing former Punch business development manager Samantha Banks to support its publicans in the north east. Banks, who was a business development manager in the region, joins NewRiver as one of eight operations managers. Following its recent acquisition of Hawthorn Leisure, NewRiver has 627 pubs in England and Wales. Banks will help publicans regarding sales growth, recruitment, stocktaking, tie and contract compliance, and undertaking annual Pubs Code training. David Shipton, asset development director for NewRiver’s pub portfolio, said: “Sam has more than 20 years’ experience in property and business development and her strong interpersonal and organisational skills, combined with an in-depth knowledge of the pub sector, means she’s perfectly placed to help our publicans in the north east run successful, sustainable businesses.”

Starbucks adds preloaded debit card option for cashless payments: Starbucks has added a pre-loaded debit card option for cashless payments through a partnership with financial company Chase. Customers concerned about credit card debt can apply for a Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card, which allows users to make non-Starbucks purchases. Customers using the card can earn “stars” or reward points as with a standard loyalty card. Unlike the Starbucks Rewards Visa Card introduced in February, the Chase pre-paid card has no annual fee. Card users earn one star for every $10 in purchases. The card is part of a strategic plan by Starbucks to increase digital relationships with customers. Of the 75 million customers that come into locations each month, about 15 million are active Starbucks Rewards members. Chief marketing officer Matt Ryan said: “As we continue to expand and strengthen our digital relationships with customers, we want to make sure we’re providing choices that are rewarding and meet their preferences in how they engage with us.” Starbucks reportedly increased menu prices by between 10 and 20 cents last week on all sizes of brewed coffee in the majority of its more than 8,000 company-operated stores across the US.

Indian real estate developer makes UK debut with £90m acquisition for luxury London hotel: Abil Group, an Indian real estate developer with interests in hospitality, has acquired 5 Strand in London from BlackRock UK Property Fund for more than £90m. The acquisition, which was brokered by agent Savills, is the developer’s first investment in the UK. The 72,359 square foot office and retail building is let to Westminster City Council and Boots. The property was marketed with plans for a 200-bedroom hotel and planning consent for a 152,400 square foot development including 61,670 square feet of office space, 5,376 square feet of retail and 38,941 square feet of luxury accommodation. Gary Witham, director in the hotels team at Savills, said: “As the first purchase for our client, 5 Strand makes an excellent choice providing the opportunity to create a leading purpose-built hotel in a tourist location recognisable to a global audience.” Pune-headquartered Abil has developed luxury properties St Regis Mumbai, W Goa, Westin Pune and Le Meridian Nagpur in India under the Marriott brand. Cushman & Wakefield and Tudor Toone advised BlackRock on the sale.

Plant-based brand By Chloe opens second London site: Plant-based brand By Chloe has opened its second site in London, at the One Tower Bridge development. The company, which launched its first site outside the US in Covent Garden in February, has opened a restaurant with seating for 42 diners inside and 20 outside. As at its Covent Garden site, the venue offers a range of dishes created for London as well as seasonally changing market specials. In April, By Chloe secured an undisclosed amount of funding to support expansion. By Chloe, which operates ten sites in the US, has partnered with TGP International to bring the brand to the UK, Europe and the Middle East. The brand plans to expand to 20 locations domestically and internationally, increase its social impact objectives, and strengthen operations and marketing initiatives during the next two years. By Chloe is an operating partner of New York-based group ESquared Hospitality, which co-founded the concept with chef Chloe Coscarelli. The brand also operates dedicated bakery Sweets by Chloe.

Work delivery platform Feedr passes 50% mark in £450,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: Feedr, which aims to revolutionise healthy food at work using technology to bring fresh meals from a curated set of artisan vendors across London, has passed the 50% mark in its £450,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube for expansion. The company, which includes restaurants such as Gail’s Bakery, Deliciously Ella, Detox Kitchen, Mildred’s and Farmstand among its vendors, is offering 13.85% equity in return for the investment. So far 134 investors have pledged £234,970 with 16 days remaining. Former Crussh managing director Chris Fung has joined as an investor and adviser. Feedr has served 40,000 meals since its launch in 2016 with 300% revenue growth in the past 12 months. The pitch states: “Food demands are changing – people want better food and transparency in supply chains – but it can be difficult to access healthy, high-quality food at the office at an affordable price point. Our flexible online platform delivers healthy, fresh food to the workplace for group catering and individual meals from a selection of 80 curated vendors. Technology is key to our success. We use data to personalise menus and have built software to integrate seamlessly into companies – making ordering and collecting hundreds of meals at work simple.”

Ei Group joins forces with Star Pubs & Bars to grow National Pub Fortnight: Ei Publican Partnerships, the leased and tenanted business of Ei Group, has partnered with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars to grow this year’s National Pub Fortnight. Returning for a second year, the initiative will take place between 20 July and 5 August to stimulate interest in British pubs and provide publicans with an opportunity to drive footfall. An extensive free drink promotion will help generate awareness, while Ei Publican Partnerships will offer support from third-party suppliers and encourage publicans to run their own events. Pubs taking part in National Pub Fortnight will be further supported with point-of sale material and digital assets. Ei Publican Partnerships will also run a Facebook promotion during the fortnight to champion events. Ei Publican Partnerships managing director Nick Light said: “The inaugural National Pub Fortnight was a huge success, with pubs across the country using it as a platform to attract customers. This year we’re delighted to join forces with a like-minded pub company in Star Pubs & Bars on this incredibly worthwhile initiative that champions and celebrates the Great British pub.” Stephen Rooney, Star Pubs & Bars head of business support, added: “We were impressed by last year’s campaign so when the opportunity arose to partner with Ei Group and grow this year’s National Pub Fortnight, it made perfect sense.”

Aprirose appoints Tim Shearman as chief executive of hotels division: Real estate investment company Aprirose, which acquired a 73-asset portfolio from Mitchells & Butlers last year, has appointed Tim Shearman as chief executive – hotels as the company continues its expansion. The move follows the company’s acquisition of Leeds-based QHotels for £525m in September 2017, bringing the number of hotels in its portfolio to 37. Shearman will oversee the asset management and growth of the new hotel business within Aprirose’s £1.7bn real estate portfolio. Shearman joins from London & Regional, where he was chief operating officer of hotels. He started his career with Hilton and joins Aprirose with more than 32 years of industry experience. Aprirose chief executive Manish Gudka said: “Following the acquisition of QHotels we are continuing to manage and grow our asset base within the sector as we identify investment opportunities in the market. Tim brings a wealth of experience and strong industry relationships and is perfectly placed to execute our structured hotels business strategy. He will play a key role at Aprirose in how we move forward with our hotels business, which now contains 5,576 beds under management.”

Former Mahiki manager to launch tropical rum bar concept in London next month: Tropical rum bar concept Laki Kane is to launch in north London next month. The concept is the brainchild of former Mahiki bar manager and mixologist Georgi Radev alongside Sam Robson and Steve Kyprianou. Laki Kane will open in Upper Street, Islington, on Friday, 6 July with a focus on rum, exotic fruit and sugar cane syrup. Signature rum will be redistilled in the venue’s Spiced Dry Rum Club, which will also host masterclasses. Downstairs, Laki Kane will take inspiration from tropical locations in Asia, Polynesia, Indonesia and the Caribbean. Each table will feature push buttons for guests to call for service, while the food menu will feature tropical-inspired dishes such as fruits de mer, sharing plates and rum-based desserts. Radev said: “Laki Kane is an escape from the norm and we’re creating everything with that in mind, from the decor and service to the food and an exciting cocktail menu made with tropical ingredients.”

Douglas Jack – view on Domino’s Pizza Group unchanged despite CFO’s resignation: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said his view on Domino’s Pizza Group remains unchanged despite the resignation of chief financial officer Rachel Osborne. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 425p, Jack said: “In the first quarter, UK like-for-like sales rose 7.0% pre-splits versus our full-year forecast assumption of 3.0%, with plenty of marketing firepower left for the second half. In April and May hot weather, which is typically unfavourable for pizza delivery, has been little different to the comparative period in 2017. Over the next month, the company should benefit from the FIFA World Cup. In the second quarter of 2010, when England reached the last 16 in South Africa, like-for-like sales were 17.2% versus 11.9% over the full year. In the second quarter of 2014, when England won none of their matches in Brazil, like-for-like sales were 11.8%, slightly ahead of the full-year figure of 11.3%. 2018’s World Cup should be labelled the Staycation World Cup, not just because outbound tourism is falling (down 2% in the second half of 2017) but because fewer fans are expected to travel to the tournament due to fears of hooliganism, corruption and poor relations between the UK and Russia. In addition, the timing of the England matches is good (Monday evening, Thursday evening and Sunday lunchtime) as are the chances of qualification to the knockout stages. Domino’s Pizza Group franchisees benefit from higher profits and share of store profits than its US and Australian counterparts. In addition, we believe the potential efficiency gains to the franchisees and the company from store clustering/splits is being widely overlooked – against average franchisee Ebitda margins of 14%, there are cases of a 700 basis point margin boost from reducing labour costs where collection’s share of sales is circa 50% versus the 21% UK average. In addition, there are also marketing, delivery and distribution efficiency benefits to consider. We continue to believe the risk to full-year forecasts remains on the upside, based on like-for-like sales, with the additional upside stemming from margins (no growth is forecast here). Further leverage could drive significantly greater earnings growth over the long term as proven by Domino’s Pizza in the US, which grew earnings per share by 241% between 2011 and 2017 versus 146% for Domino’s Pizza Group, despite generating lower growth in system sales and Ebit than Domino’s Pizza over this period.”

The Clink launches new summer menus: Prison dining experience The Clink Restaurants has launched its new summer menus showcasing the best of British seasonal ingredients. The new lunch menu is available in all four of The Clink’s restaurants – HMP Brixton, HMP Styal, HMP High Down and HMP Cardiff. It includes corn-fed chicken breast with lemon and marjoram butter, yellow beans, dauphinoise potatoes and tarragon velouté; and pan-seared fillet of grey mullet with braised fennel, artichoke, purple potato crisps and red pepper coulis. To make diners aware of the training the prisoners undertake, each dish on the menu includes details of the training element of the City & Guilds qualifications they are working towards and the skills involved in preparing that dish. New gourmet dinner and Sunday lunch menus are also available at HMP Cardiff, HMP Styal and HMP Brixton.

Hush Heath Estate to unveil expanded winery in August: Kent-based pub group Hush Heath Estate will unveil its expanded winery in August. The development will include a new shop, 200-seater tasting room and terrace bar. The expansion will increase Hush Heath Estate’s wine production during the next five years from 150,000 bottles to 500,000. Visitor numbers are predicted to grow from 20,000 to 50,000 visitors per annum in the next few years, while the company will increase its planted vineyards to 130 acres in the next 12 months. Producer Richard Balfour-Lynn said: “Our new facilities will take wine tourism to the next level. They are comparable with the best of Napa Valley’s experiences. After a year in the making, the team is confident the new winery will have been worth the wait. As a premium brand we are opening our doors to welcome more people who want to enjoy wine entertainment. We plan to produce many more bottles while retaining the philosophy of a boutique producer.” Since the first vines were planted at Hush Heath in 2002, the estate has significantly grown its offering and now produces a selection of wine and cider made from fruit grown in its 400 acres of vineyards and orchards.

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