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Fri 3rd Aug 2018 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

McDonald’s finds listeria in salads at 350 branches in France: McDonald’s has detected the presence of listeria in a batch of chicken caesar salad sold between 9 July and 14 July at 350 branches in France. The company has made a public recommendation that customers consult a doctor should certain symptoms appear. McDonald’s, which has more than 1,380 stores in France, announced it detected the bacteria during an internal audit. The batch of salad affected was supplied by French company FFS (Florette Food Services), which has partnered with McDonald’s for some time. More than 350 McDonald’s branches have been affected across 12 of France’s 13 regions. McDonald’s added: “As a precaution and only in the case of fever (whether or not accompanied by headaches), we recommend any customers who consumed a chicken caesar salad on the dates mentioned in any of the McDonald’s branches listed to consult a physician.” Meanwhile, the US Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has traced a cyclospora outbreak linked to McDonald’s salads and at least 286 illnesses in 15 US states to a Fresh Express processor in Illinois. The outbreak led McDonald’s to temporarily halt salad sales at 3,000 restaurants in 14 states. The FDA said on 26 July it had “completed final analysis of an unused package of Fresh Express salad mix containing romaine lettuce and carrots, which had been distributed to McDonald’s”. The agency added: “The analysis confirmed the presence of cyclospora in that sample, although the expiration date for that product, 19 July, had already passed.” Fresh Express reported the carrots in the sampled salad mix only went to McDonald’s, the agency said. McDonald’s told the FDA it stopped using the Fresh Express salad mix at affected restaurants on 13 July.

Industry News:

24-hour, 600-capacity nightclub Fold to launch in east London this month: A 24-hour, 600-capacity nightclub called Fold is to open in east London this month. The venue will launch on Saturday, 18 August above a print factory on an industrial estate off Star Lane in Canning Town. Fold is part of the Shapes Collective – a group fighting the closure of London clubs. Its other venues include The Glove That Fits in Hackney. The club’s owners promised the opening night would run for “at least” 24 hours, with the venue then opening for 24 hours on Saturdays and “until late” on Fridays. There will be a 3am shut-off for midweek parties. Shapes Collective was founded by Lasha Jorjoliani and Sam Glover. Jorjoliani told the Evening Standard: “The 24-hour programme gives us a unique opportunity to surprise, challenge and inspire. Expect extended set times, obscure b2bs and a generally more expansive pallet of sounds over the course of one event.” Glover added the club would “strive to do things differently in London, cultivating a more continental approach, creating a place where you can spend extended periods or come and go as you please”. The venue also offers five available-to-hire music studios. This weekend will see new legislation passed by Hackney Council come into effect, which will force new venues in the area to close at 11pm on weekdays and midnight on weekends unless they can prove they deserve otherwise and aren’t posing a threat to the local area. Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said the move would mean “fewer pubs and hospitality businesses open in the borough, making it a less vibrant and exciting place”. 

Company News:

Caledonian Heritable reports turnover and profit boost: Entrepreneur Kevin Doyle’s group of companies, Caledonian Heritable, has reported sales grew to £46.1m in the year to 31 October 2017, up from £38.9m in the prior year. Pre-tax profit increased to £10.2m from £7.3m in the prior year. The group of companies includes the Archerfield golf resort, a ten-strong Edinburgh pub group that includes The Dome, The City Cafe and The Peartree, as well as haulage, plant hire and property interests.

Focus Brands to buy Jamba Juice for $200m: Focus Brands is to buy Jamba Juice for $13.00 per share in cash in a transaction valued at about $200m. Jamba Juice has 800 sites worldwide. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. “Benefiting from an extremely loyal customer base and strong franchise operators, Jamba Juice is one of the category leaders in the fast-growing smoothie and juice category,” said Steve DeSutter, chief executive of Focus Brands. “We are excited to welcome Jamba Juice with such an iconic heritage into our family of well-known and highly loved ‘fan favourite’ brands.” Atlanta-based Focus Brands is the parent company of Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and Schlotzsky’s. Through these brands, Focus Brands is franchisor and operator of more than 5,000 restaurants, cafes, ice cream shop and bakeries in the US and more than 50 countries. “We are delighted to have reached this agreement with Focus Brands and are confident it will result in a positive outcome for our guests, franchisees and employees,” said Dave Pace, chief executive of Jamba. “Over the past few years we have worked hard to strengthen our foundation and reposition this iconic brand for the future. Partnering with Focus Brands will allow us to build on this work and further accelerate the company’s growth.”

Gino D’Acampo to launch Italian fast casual brand: Chef Gino D’Acampo is to launch an Italian fast casual dining offer – My Coffee & Deli Bar – on the lower ground floor of his My Pizza & Prosecco Bar in Manchester, which is located in fashion retailer Next. Similar to the coffee shops found in D’Acampo’s home city of Naples, My Coffee & Deli Bar will offer Neapolitan coffee and Italian food to eat in or take away. My Coffee & Deli Bar will launch in September serving Italian flatbread, croissants, cakes and muffins made in-house by pastry chefs and bakers at D’Acampo’s own bakery. Healthy options will include superfood yogurt, homemade porridge topped with berries, honey or nuts, and fresh fruit. The lunch menu will include hand-stretched Neapolitan pizza, homemade pasta and classic sandwiches. Traditional desserts such as tiramisu will also be on the menu, alongside vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. D’Acampo said: “I can’t wait to launch My Coffee & Deli Bar, a place serving Italian food as it should be. Guests can pop in for a quick coffee, bite at breakfast or lunch. It’s a new offering for us but a common concept in Italy and London – we think Manchester will love it.” The move follows the success of the chef’s restaurants in Leeds, Harrogate, Manchester, Liverpool, Hull and London, with further venues launching in partnership with Individual Restaurants in 2018 and a strong pipeline in place for 2019.

Casual Dining Group to open third Ale & Coffee House: Casual Dining Group (CDG), operator of almost 300 mid-market restaurant brands including Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia and Las Iguanas, has signed a concessions agreement to open an Ale & Coffee House concept at Jersey Port. The deal, which is CDG’s second contract with Ports of Jersey following an agreement to run all food and beverage concessions at Jersey airport in 2017, will see a 180-cover Ale & Coffee House called The Shipyard open at the Elizabeth Terminal early next year. A short walk from Saint Helier, the pub will cater for passengers and local residents. The concept is CDG’s third Ale & Coffee House site following two openings at Heathrow last year. Mark Nelson, CDG managing director of concessions and franchising, said: “This partnership demonstrates the versatility of our portfolio and flexibility to meet the needs of any location. We are delighted to work again with Ports of Jersey to create an offer for the community and passengers.” The new restaurant and bar will focus on an all-day offer with pub classics, cask ale, beer, coffee, wine and spirits. The pub will also host entertainment nights at weekends. Nelson added: “As we’re catering for the local community as well as visitors, we’ve done something a little different with this site and included a stage for local bands and comedians. It’s going to be a great attraction and we can’t wait to open early next year. We look forward to building on this momentum and growing this concept at other national transport hubs including airports, ports and major train stations. It has already been well received at Heathrow airport and we have no doubt it will be the same in Jersey.”

Wagamama to launch long-delayed Chelmsford site on Monday with new look and menu: Wagamama is to launch its long-delayed Chelmsford site on Monday (6 August). The restaurant will open next to Everyman Cinema in Bond Street and trial the brand’s new look, which features a “dialled-up Japanese feel”. The long tables and benches remain but are in a darker wood. There are also booths for small groups and tables for two. Neon words such as “Wok’s Up Chelmsford?” adorn the walls, while there is a private dining area that can be partitioned off. Wagamama spokeswoman Maisie Denning said: “We wanted to keep the principles of Wagamama but improve the design and dial up the Japanese feel. It still feels like Wagamama but has moved on the brand.” Wagamama design director Mark Standing added: “We have an ethos of ‘kaizen’, which translates into simple but continuous improvement, and Chelmsford is an interpretation of that.” The Chelmsford restaurant will also offer the brand’s new summer menu, which includes dishes recently trialled in Wagamama’s test kitchen in Soho. Denning said: “We’ve focused on the healthy aspects of the Japanese diet – one of the healthiest in the world. There are also lots of new vegan dishes. We worked with a nutritionist in Harley Street to make sure we reflected the benefits of the Japanese diet.” Wagamama pulled out of plans to open a restaurant at the Argos redevelopment in Chelmsford in October. The company launched its first restaurant in London more than 25 years ago and currently has 140 restaurants around the globe.

Utopian to partner with Hop Stuff ahead of brewery launch: Utopian Brewing, chaired by Faucet Inn founder Steve Cox, is to contract brew with Hop Stuff while its own brewery is being built. Utopian is running a crowdfunding campaign to fund expansion and has already passed its £350,000 target on Crowdcube. Last month, the company increased its equity offering to 23.49% for the investment from 19.1%. So far, the company has raised £419,900 from 172 investors and the campaign is currently “overfunding”. Utopian co-founder and managing director Richard Archer said: “Hop Stuff’s shiny new brewery is a bigger version of ours so we’ll benefit from the experience of brewing with its team on essentially the same kit. I am confident our early brews will be in good hands. It will also be fabulous to share and learn from Hop Stuff’s experience of growing into a highly successful craft brewer and I am proud to follow in its footsteps as another Crowdcube-funded craft brewery. We plan to start production in September to have Utopian lager available in October. We then plan follow-on runs into the new year to ensure we have product available for the festive season as our own facility comes into action.” Hop Stuff raised more than £780,000 itself on Crowdcube earlier this year and has targeted eight taprooms by the end of 2019. 

Turtle Bay to open in Coventry: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay is to open in phase two of Coventry’s Cathedral Lanes development, joining private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre, New World Trading Company brand The Botanist, and Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi. The first phase of the shopping centre development was completed in 2015, comprising Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas, Wagamama and Loungers’ Cosy Club. Turtle Bay will open its site in early 2019. Carlene Hughes, of agent Savills, who is advising landlord SPG, said: “We are very pleased with the pre-lets we have secured for phase two. Footfall at Broadgate Square has increased 17% since the first phase of restaurants opened and the development continues to go from strength to strength.”

Supper London launches ordering app: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has launched an ordering app. A Supper spokesman said the app would bring Supper’s “unique delivery process much more in line with customer expectations and get customers on and off the platform quicker”. He added: “A lot of investment is being made into the development of our delivery service and technology, with further announcements to be made shortly. Supper, unlike most delivery companies in this arena, employs all its drivers directly and owns all the vehicles, which means it’s able to offer a much better service for restaurant and customer. It seems to keep going from strength to strength in a very competitive market.” In June, Supper sold a substantial stake to PK Wang, the driving force behind Yi Fang, which has more than 600 stores worldwide and other Taiwanese brands coming to the UK. The initial investment will help spur growth for Supper and the PK Wang brands in London and beyond and will be used to ramp up operations, purchase bikes, invest further in technology and staff, and create a dedicated headquarters. Peter Georgiou, who founded Supper in 2015, said: “We will onboard more than 100 premium restaurants over the next 12 months. Everyone wants to be involved in delivery in one way or another right now and we have positioned ourselves at the higher end of the market.” Supper also received £300,000 investment earlier this year from London bar and pub operator Barworks. 

Eat 17 launches Hammersmith food hall for fifth site: Eat 17, which operates sites that are part artisan food store, part convenience store and part restaurant, has launched a food hall in Hammersmith, west London. The company, which has stores in Walthamstow, Hackney, Whitstable and Bishop’s Stortford, has opened the food hall in Smiths Square Market in Fulham Palace Road, with three street food traders operating at the venue. The space offers an eating-in section, a supermarket element and a 2,000 square foot events area. Eat 17 co-founder James Brundle told Hot Dinners: “The indoor street food market dining concept has proved a hit in our Bishop’s Stortford store and we expect the reception to be just as positive in Hammersmith.” Brundle founded Eat 17 with stepbrother Chris O’Connor in 2006. All stores feature a grocery section stocked with own-brand products and goods sourced from local suppliers. However, the flagship Walthamstow store has an a la carte restaurant, the Hackney store a stone-baked pizza oven, the Whitstable store has a deli and the Hammersmith and Bishop’s Stortford stores have indoor street food markets. Eat 17 is due to launch another London food hall this year, in Leytonstone High Road. 

21 Hospitality Group to convert Caffe Vivo into new wine bar and cafe concept: Newcastle-based 21 Hospitality Group, led by Terry Laybourne, is to convert Italian restaurant Caffe Vivo into a new wine bar and cafe concept. Caffe Vivo, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, will close on Saturday, 25 August for a refurbishment before reopening as St Vincent in September. St Vincent will be a relaxed wine bar offering varieties from small independent producers. It will also offer breakfast, brunch and evening menus, cocktails, craft beer, vermouth and amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur. Laybourne told Chronicle Live: “Nobody can stand still in food and hospitality. We’re always looking to freshen things up and this change reflects a growing shift in dining and drinking. We’ve enjoyed an explosion in craft beer this past five years and now there’s a big shift within the wine sector, with new craft wines coming from emerging small vineyards.” 21 Hospitality Group’s other venues are 21, Café 21 At Fenwick, The Broad Chare and Saltwater Fish Company, all in central Newcastle.

3Sixty Restaurants to open 16th Ego venue this month, second Ei Group site: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, is to open a 16th site for its Mediterranean-inspired Ego brand this month and its second with Ei Commercial Properties. 3Sixty has signed a 20-year commercial free-of-tie lease for The Fox in the village of Haslington, Cheshire, which will reopen at the end of August following a £600,000 refurbishment. The revamped pub will feature a 120-cover restaurant and bar, creating 40 jobs. The company’s other site with Ei Commercial Properties is The Knowles Arms in Blackburn. Horler said: “We have a good relationship with Ei Group and its team. The new site is in a strong trading area for us with a good local customer base. We are confident it will be a success.” Greg Parkes, commercial property director at Ei Commercial Properties, added: “Our aim is to maximise the value of Ei Group assets using our expertise and partner with exciting, high-quality operators. Ego meets that criteria and the new site is a prime example of the approach we take to deliver the right proposition, with the right commercial tenant prepared to invest significantly in the asset. We are proactively working with the team at Ego and hopeful of identifying other sites across our estate for future projects.” Ego operates sites across the north west, Yorkshire and the Midlands.

Goodbody – weather and World Cup drive mixed impact at M&B: Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy has noted the mixed impact warm weather and the Fifa World Cup has had on Mitchells & Butlers. In a note, he said: “Mitchells & Butlers gave an update for the last 11 weeks of trading to 28 July and for the 43 weeks to the same day. Trading in the last 11 weeks has been mixed, with total like-for-like growth of 0.9%, with food-led sales down 1.8% and wet-led up 3.9%. The weakness in food was expected given the prolonged period of good weather and the World Cup. For the year to date, total like-for-like sales growth is up 1.3%, with food up 0.3% and drink up 2.5%. We expect total like-for-like sales growth of 1.7% (food +1.4%, drink +2.1%) for FY18 so it is running slightly behind our expectations. However, the company has noted sales have recovered since the World Cup ended. Total sales growth in the year to date is up 0.4%, tracking slightly ahead of our full-year forecast of minus 0.6%. The group has now opened five sites and completed 228 conversions year-to-date, or eight further since the first-half period ended. The statement notes cost headwinds remain largely unchanged so margins will be lower than last year (we forecast Ebit margins circa minus 40 basis points). This was always going to be a somewhat difficult period for the group given the World Cup is a net negative and the drag on food sales would have been compounded by the warm weather during the period. Despite this, trading remains relatively resilient and we are unlikely to make material changes to forecasts. We retain our ‘Hold’ recommendation and 275p price target.”

CAMRA national pub of the year operator to launch second Gloucestershire site: Peter Tiley, who runs the Salutation Inn in Berkeley, which was named national pub of the year by the Campaign for Real Ale in 2014, has taken on his second site in Gloucestershire. The Butcher’s Hook has opened in Thornbury High Street with a focus on local produce, including eight real ales, eight real ciders and six cheeses. The pub is set in a 17th century building that housed a butcher’s shop for 250 years and most recently an Indian restaurant, which closed in 2015. Tiley told the Gazette: “Pubs have a very important role to play as a hub for the local community, particularly wet-led pubs, which provide a great platform for social interaction and enabling people to form bonds and strengthen networks. Well-run community pubs can do huge amounts for combating mental health and loneliness. We’re excited to be opening a traditional wet-led pub, especially at a time when so many pubs are closing. It has a focus on quality local drinks and socialising rather than dining.” The Salutation Inn includes a micro-brewery, which produces Tiley’s pale ale, bitter and porter. 

Sarah Baldwin named chief executive of Purity Soft Drinks: The former managing director of Gü Puds has been appointed the new chief executive of Purity Soft Drinks. Sarah Baldwin has taken up the position after David Bell stepped down at the Wednesbury-headquartered company recently. Baldwin had been in her previous role from June 2016 to December 2017 and has also worked at Arla Foods, Asda and KP Foods. Purity, which owns the JuiceBurst and Firefly tonics brands, was formed in 1892 and has been backed by private equity firm Langholm Capital since 2012. Bell had been chief executive since 2014 when he succeeded Garry Nield, having previously held roles at Mars and Young’s Seafood.

Bottle shop and bar concept to double up at Belvoir Castle development: Bottle shop and bar concept 45 West is to open its second site, at Belvoir Castle’s Engine Yard retail village in Leicestershire. The debut 45 West opened in Hotel Street, Leicester, in November 2015. The new venue will join chocolatier Cocoa Amore, artisan coffee producer Cherizena, and garden centre The Idle Mole at the development later this year. The Engine Yard is a collection of historic buildings by the castle entrance that have been developed into a “contemporary social space”. It will host local businesses, luxury retail brands and food producers, as well as a cafe and spa. The Duchess of Rutland, chief executive of Belvoir Castle, said the Engine Yard would provide a “luxury destination for food and drink enthusiasts with a true community”. The 45 West website states: “From signature gin and tonics and an extensive cocktail menu to an eclectic offering of fine wine, craft beer and premium spirits, we have it all to discover.”

London’s first chiringuito launches: London’s first chiringuito has launched bringing “laid back, beach-style hospitality” to Bethnal Green. A chiringuito is an all-day Spanish beach bar serving tapas, snacks and drinks. Alex Dehayen has opened Chiringuito in a converted public toilet block in Museum Gardens, near Bethnal Green tube station. The contemporary all-day bar features a rooftop terrace, floor-to-ceiling windows, a hand-painted mural, peseta-topped bar and mosaic tiles. The menu is inspired by Hispanic and Latin American flavours that embrace the sharing ethos of tapas and pinchos. Dehayen said: “I watched the site left to rack and ruin but being a Bethnal Green resident for 14 years I knew I could create something locals would love. My inspiration is the beach bars of Spanish and Latin countries. I love that vibe where everyone is welcome and having a good time. You can sit in a chiringuito all day, you won’t be rushed through service or hurried to leave. In fact, you’re encouraged to stay.” 

Hull-based cocktail bar operator to launch over-21s club for second site: Hull-based cocktail bar operator Mike Wrightson is to launch an over-21s club for his second site in the city. Warehouse 21 is set to open at the former Sharkeys Bar in George Street on August bank holiday weekend. Wrightson, who also operates Service Station Wine And Cocktail Bar, said the club would include a drag night on Fridays and an R&B-themed night on Saturdays. It will feature a main dance room and a VIP area with its own bar. He told Hull Live: “Looking around the city it is a very young crowd in the clubs so this will be a bit more niche and aimed at over-21s. I have had lots of people in Service Station asking where they can go out in Hull once it has closed and they don’t fancy some of the clubs out there at the moment. Hopefully this will fill that gap. It is a difficult industry to work in at the moment but it is going through a big change. We need to capitalise on the back of the City of Culture year. There is a lot happening in Hull at the moment so we need to keep pushing forward.”

Bristol pub operators to launch vegan restaurant in the city: The team behind Bristol pub, bar, restaurant and live music venue the Gallimaufry is to open a vegan restaurant for a second site in the city. The bar in Gloucester Road is also well known for its small plates and roast dinners and the team will launch vegan restaurant and takeaway Suncraft on the opposite side of the road at a site formerly occupied by Thai restaurant Streetfood & Floating Market. Every item on the menu will be 100% vegan influenced by “forward-thinking, health-conscious food culture from around the world”, Gallimaufry co-founder James Koch told Bristol Live. Suncraft will offer bowls, wraps, salads and probiotic drinks.

Northern Ireland-based multi-site operator to run Republic restaurant: The property arm of a Northern Ireland-based drinks company has acquired a bar restaurant in the Republic for more than £1.8m. A company linked to Drinks Inc has bought Fitzpatrick’s in Jenkinstown, near Carlingford, after its sudden closure two months ago. Jim Conlon, director of JDM Management, which operates Wolf and Whistle bar, The Rock Bar, GymCo, Pizza Co and The Chip Co, as well as a nightclub in Glasgow, will run the business when it reopens. JDM has advertised for a team of nine to ten chefs in Carlingford for a “stunning bar and restaurant specialising in steak and fresh shellfish”, the Belfast Telegraph reports. Drinks Inc and JDM Group did not reply to requests for comment.

Former world champion boxer Carl Froch opens Nottingham rooftop bar: Former world champion boxer Carl Froch has opened his debut bar in Nottingham. Froch has launched Alto on the second floor of The Cornerhouse leisure complex, replacing Saltwater bar and restaurant. Alto, which is a joint venture with experienced bar and restaurant operators John Glover, Marc Brough and Rebecca Brough, features four bars and a rooftop terrace offering views of the Nottingham skyline, alongside cocktails and tapas-inspired dishes. Froch told The Business Desk: “Alto is the only bar in Nottingham to have a rooftop terrace. We want to be known as the place you go to for a guaranteed great time – the new interiors, drinks and entertainment on offer won’t disappoint.”

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