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Fri 23rd Nov 2018 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

M&B to expand delivery offer and focus on joint ventures: Mitchells & Butlers chief executive Phil Urban has said up to 400 of the company’s sites could “lend themselves to delivery”. The company is currently offering a delivery service at 131 sites through Deliveroo and Just Eat. The service will be available at the company’s Toby Carvery, All Bar One, Browns, Miller & Carter and Harvester brands. Urban said: “Delivery is not going to be a game changer for us by any means but we know it’s here to stay. We think we have up to 400 sites that can lend themselves to delivery, depending on our partners being operational in those areas. We see it as a nice thing to do. It’s not putting any extra strain on the business.” The company is also looking at more joint ventures following its partnership with Ego Restaurants. Mitchells & Butlers bought sector investor Luke Johnson’s share in August, which will allow it to “trial research and development ideas and explore new innovations”. The company is also keen to protect pricing at the value end and, while people seem to be eating out less, they are “trading up when doing so”. Urban said: “We have seen a number of company voluntary arrangements and I believe these will continue as capacity needs to come out of the market. I think leasehold businesses are the most exposed part of the sector given the rental increases. Fortunately, we are not as exposed to that.” The company saw the average spend per head on food rise 5.9% during the year, with about half of that figure down to price. Urban added: “We carry out numerous pricing surveys for each of our sites. People are prepared to pay more for quality. We are being more sophisticated with how we are passing pricing on.” Online bookings are growing 20% year-on-year and the company is currently seeing 130,000 a week. Bookings in December were also up. Urban said if a customer was unable to book one of Mitchells & Butlers’ venues at a preferred time, they were offered an alternative. Meanwhile, the company is gearing up for the all-important festive season. Urban said: “While our sales have been good in the first part of the new financial year, we know the success or failure of the Christmas period will dictate our first-quarter performance. In the meantime, we will continue to drive efficiency in the business through our Ignite 2 project to help mitigate costs. We feel we are really building momentum in terms of driving our top line and efficiency.”

Industry News:

Full line-up announced for day two of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator: Details have been revealed of the day two line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its second year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 40 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Day two will begin with Wagamama UK marketing director Andre Johnstone, YO! Sushi marketing director Luisa Fernandez and Tim Foster, head of being awesome at Yummy Pubs, who will reveal how to effectively lead a market-driven proposition and product development process. Just Eat UK marketing director Ben Carter will share the company’s latest marketing efforts and changes to the takeaway and delivery market in the past year. Martin Morales, chief executive and founder of Ceviche Family, will reveal how skills he learned as a DJ helped him succeed when running restaurants. Celia Pronto, chief customer officer at Casual Dining Group, will explain how the company has embedded Workplace to engage its frontline team in the brand and business, making them part of its growth and success. Zonal chief operating officer Peter Edwards will talk to Novus head of marketing Michelle Farrell, Wadworth retail and digital marketing manager Mark Daniels, and Gusto marketing director James Newman about digital developments and how hospitality businesses can better leverage digital marketing. Wireless Social chief executive Julian Ross and Stephanie Lloyd, head of marketing at The New World Trading Company, will reveal the results of tests that used technology to track customers’ real-life actions in an exclusive report for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator. WE ARE Spectacular chief executive Mark McCulloch will give his much-awaited views on what needs to change within marketing strategies for the year ahead. Elliotts Agency chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Abokado operations director Kara Alderin; Dorte Juhl Østergaard, director of Claus Meyer Restaurants (Copenhagen); and Arc Inspirations chief executive Martin Wolstencroft about what they look for from a marketing team and how to create a great link between the functions. Sophie Herbert, marketing director of Beds and Bars, will reveal how the company has transformed its concept by focusing on enhancing the customer journey and has driven pre-bookings around match days to increase average spend. The Stable operations director David Gough will talk about how the brand is enhancing guest journeys, driving repeat visitation, and optimising operations through better guest feedback collection and analysis. TGI Friday’s UK chief marketing officer Steve Flanagan will reveal how the company instils a sense of brand and pride in its team of thousands and uses this as its biggest marketing resource. Australian entrepreneur Sarah Holloway, who co-founded Matcha Mylkbar, will reveal how her Melbourne cafe attracted international attention and queues around the block following one Instagram post. Lynne Parker, chief executive and founder of Funny Women, will reveal how to add a touch of humour to your marketing to drive engagement. Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London, cost £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at or calling her on 01444 817691.

LabTech launches app with access to more than 100 Camden and central London operators: LabTech, the property investment and technology company that owns Camden Market, has launched its Camden Eats app. Camden Eats will allow users to order from more than 100 central London food operators from their mobile device and includes group ordering, rewards and a benefit scheme. People will have a choice of more than 50 of Camden’s participating market traders, including street food operator Burger & Beyond and Only Jerkin’, a Jamaican twist on chicken and chips. Larger chains such as sushi and bento business Wasabi, healthy eating group Tossed and sushi concept K10 are also available through the app. LabTech’s launch follows its acquisition of food ordering app Redi in a deal that included Dan Jones and his team, who have more than 20 years’ industry experience between them. The Camden Card loyalty programme is integrated with the app through a new digital version of the card. Users can skip queues, get discounts and earn 1% to 2% cash-back on every purchase, redeemed in-app through a loyalty points system, reports BDaily.

UKHospitality welcomes step towards withdrawal agreement: UKHospitality has welcomed the agreement in principle between the government and the EU on a Brexit declaration. The trade body has also stressed the importance of avoiding a “no deal” scenario. Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a positive step forward for businesses looking for stability and clarity to plan their investment. Hospitality operators need to know they will have the reassurances provided by a deal. It cannot be stressed enough that a no deal Brexit would present the sector with severe problems and would have a serious impact on confidence. This agreement demonstrates a clear alignment on a direction of travel. This crucial step in securing a Brexit withdrawal agreement will provide much-needed confidence that a no deal scenario will be avoided.”

Industry-led charity Only A Pavement Away partners with HMP Peterborough: Industry-led charity Only A Pavement Away (OAPA) has partnered with HMP Peterborough to help offenders find employment in the hospitality industry when they leave prison. Peterborough prison offers services such as an industrial laundry and a woodwork studio, where items including pub furniture are created from pallets. Operator Sodexo will offer those services to OAPA partners, helping job seekers who leave the prison to develop skills while building relationships in the hospitality industry. Prisoners will be able to apply for positions advertised on OAPA’s job site, which is operated by partner Harri. OAPA founder and chief executive Greg Mangham said: “We are excited by this partnership, which will benefit OAPA, our partner companies and ex-offenders seeking employment.” OAPA was officially launched at the House of Commons last month. Mangham founded the charity to help the homeless, former offenders and ex-service personnel find employment in the hospitality industry.

McCain unveils top US trends set to hit UK in 2019: Supplier McCain has unveiled the top trends set to hit the UK from the US in 2019. Its What’s Hot USA report advises operators on how to incorporate ideas from across the pond into their offering to drive footfall and increase spend per head, as well as providing recipe inspiration and specific category insight. From adaptations of already-popular crazes such as meat-free and plant-based diets to the emergence of Creole flavours, the report focuses on six areas currently big in the US – curated food, “The New South”, family-friendly, craft beer, modern vegan and po’ boy. Catherine White, senior product manager – communications at McCain, said: “We are continually looking to source the latest industry trends to help our operators meet the ever-changing needs of consumers. Our What’s Hot USA report helps them identify how best to incorporate the latest trends into their offering.”

PubAid calls for participants in world’s biggest pub quiz: PubAid, the organisation created to celebrate the great work UK pubs do to raise more than £100m for charity every year, is urging pubs, bars and clubs to sign up for next year’s World’s Biggest Pub Quiz. The event will take place from 3 to 7 March, with participating venues sent a quiz pack, posters and social media assets. The quiz was launched in 2016 and has grown in size and popularity to raise £405,000 to date. This year 1,500 pubs took part, raising £190,000. PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “We are grateful to all the pubs, brewers and pub groups who have supported the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz and we’re confident even more will take part in 2019. It would be great to see more than 2,000 pubs run the quiz and raise more than £250,000.” Organisers said events could take place outside the 3 to 7 March window, with each pub free to choose their own good cause or official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK. For more information, click here

Company News:

Tasty agrees revised banking facility: Wildwood operator Tasty has entered into an agreement to revise its £7.0m term loan facility with existing lender Barclays. Tasty stated: “The deal amends the company’s existing facility by extending the final repayment date from July 2021 to March 2022 and significantly reduces the quarterly repayments with effect from July 2019. Under the terms of the revised agreement the company is to pay interest on the amount drawn down, which is currently about £6.4m of between 2.5% and 4% over Libor with the interest rate payable dependent on the ratio of the amount drawn down to adjusted Ebitda. In addition to the quarterly repayments referred to above, the company has undertaken to reduce the amount drawn down under the revised loan facility by an aggregate of £1.1m on or before 30 June 2019. Of this £1.1m, the directors have undertaken to provide, in aggregate, £0.5m of new capital into the business by 30 June 2019. This new capital is to be in the form of a new subordinated loan, equity capital or a combination of the two. As at 31 October 2018, the company had cash balances of about £2.1m.”

Secured creditor of Burger King franchisees set to receive just £100,000 of £9.7m owed: The secured creditor of two Ipswich-headquartered companies that together operated more than 30 Burger King outlets across the UK is set to receive just £100,000 of the £9.7m it is owed. Millcliffe and CPL Foods were placed in administration in April last year under the control of joint administrators Mark Cropper, Melissa Fielding and Catherine Williamson, of AlixPartners. The businesses employed about 870 staff and operated a total of 53 fast food restaurants, 36 of which traded under the Burger King brand while 17 traded under other independent brands, including El Taco Loco, Real Cafe, Pizza Neo and Roosters. In their progress report filed at Companies House, the administrators said CPL Foods and Millcliffe owed £9,659,000 with the likely level of return being £75,000 and £25,000 from the two companies respectively. The report showed the final trading position was expected to reflect losses of £987,784 and £1,151,083 in CPL Foods and Millcliffe respectively. These losses have been fully funded by Allied Irish Banks. Preferential creditor claims totalling £1,547 and £10,764 were received from former employees of CPL Foods and Millcliffe respectively and these were passed to the Redundancy Payments Office for payment up to the statutory limits. It has now been revealed there are insufficient funds to enable a distribution. As previously reported, unsecured creditors will be left almost £20m out of pocket with no dividend being paid. At the time of their appointment the administrators said they were called in after the companies experienced cash flow pressure, primarily because of delays in developing and opening stores.  

SA Brain appoints Kate Ablett as head of people: Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain has appointed Kate Ablett to its new head of people role, Propel has learned. Ablett, who is also company secretary of the South East Wales CIPD, joined SA Brain earlier this year after a career in HR in the retail sector, most notably with Sainsbury’s. She will take responsibility for all aspects of people strategy within SA Brain as well as direct day-to-day management of the people function. SA Brain, which employs 3,000 people in its head office and 104 managed pubs across Wales, recently relocated to Cardiff Bay, where it is building a brewery. Ablett said: “Traditionally this is an industry where people, people development and training can make a real impact on the success or failure of an organisation and I’m determined we will set an example in the years ahead.” SA Brain operations director Jon Bridge added: “Kate is an outstanding individual with a track record of success in a demanding retail environment. I am sure she will make a great contribution to our future prosperity.”

Yorkshire-based La Casita to open fifth site in county: Yorkshire-based Spanish bar and restaurant concept La Casita is to open its fifth site in the county, in Skipton next week. The brand was launched by Simon Miller and Oliver Renton in Ilkley in 2014 under the banner Little House Of Tapas and has opened further sites in Horsforth, Leeds and Boston Spa. The Skipton restaurant will open at Mill Bridge on Friday, 30 November following a £70,000 investment. La Casita offers Andalusian tapas food alongside wine and cocktails. The company said it had further growth plans for 2019, while it has launched a loyalty app that will cover the brand’s five restaurants. Miller told BDaily: “We pride ourselves on the experience our restaurants create, carefully curated dishes with great flavour and creativity, all set in a beautifully intimate restaurant. Our vision is to bring the taste of Spain to the wonderful little hamlets of Yorkshire. 2019 will be an exciting year for us with plans for new sites, exploring a potential street food offering and continuing to build the La Casita brand. We want to continue supporting local business communities, with the addition of developing those wanting to work in hospitality. We offer apprenticeships to young or old talent, giving them first-hand experience of working in a fast-paced restaurant environment.”

Imagine Inns opens fourth site with Star Pubs & Bars: North west-based Imagine Inns has opened its fourth site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. It has relaunched The Railway at Bromley Cross, near Bolton, following a £500,000 refurbishment. The pub is next to Bromley Cross train station and will open at 6am on weekday mornings serving coffee and snacks to commuters and travellers and providing free Wi-Fi and USB points. Live train arrival and departure times will be on display along with railway timetables in two rooms, which have been designed in the style of a Victorian waiting room complete with real fire. The Railway has a bar, open plan kitchen, two dining areas and a garden, with covers increased from 100 to 250. Imagine Inns director Mike Hales said: “There is no cafe at the station and it’s a real issue – especially for the hundreds of early-morning commuters into Manchester when the trains are delayed or the weather is poor. It was a service local people were crying out for.” Star Pubs & Bars operations director for the north west David Pritchard added: “The Railway is a prime example of why we’re so committed to investing in pubs. A refurbishment in partnership with an entrepreneurial operator was essential to its future viability and it’s now a hub for the community as well as a destination for the wider area.” All Imagine Inns’ sites are on five-year rolling leases with Star Pubs & Bars.

MeatLiquor offers £20,000 finder’s fee for new W1 home as date revealed for debut site’s closure: MeatLiquor will shut its debut site, W1 in Marylebone, in February but is offering £20,000 to the person who finds it a new home nearby. The company revealed in June that W1 would remain open on a month-by-month basis. Now MeatLiquor has announced it will shut in February as the building in Welbeck Street is to be demolished to make way for a luxury hotel. W1 opened in 2011 with only a two-year lease. MeatLiquor tweeted: “The time has come – we’ll close at the end of February. It’s been quite a seven-year ride in a site we were only supposed to be in for two years. If you know a site nearby that would work for us, we could make £20,000 happen for you.” MeatLiquor operates 12 venues across the UK – the latest opened in Battersea last month.

Concept Taverns relaunches oldest venue in portfolio as micro-brewery: Leeds-based operator Concept Taverns, previously known as Jones Bar Group, has invested £200,000 to transform the oldest venue in its portfolio into a micro-brewery. The company has converted Bar 166 & Bistro in Town Street, Horsforth, and renamed it as The Malt Brewhouse. The revamped venue includes an extension to accommodate the brewery and an open plan layout. The restaurant has been replaced by an open kitchen, booth seating, shuffleboard and views into the micro-brewery. Managing director Ben Jones told The Business Desk: “After 14 successful years owning Bar 166 & Bistro, we wanted to give Horsforth something new and exciting to enjoy. Our taste and ambitions have changed over the years, along with our customers, and I think everyone felt ready for a change. Micro-breweries will become more common in the coming years so we want to be ahead of the game. We’re really pleased to be bringing the first one to our home town.” Operations director Ben Warren added: “The new four-barrel micro-brewery is capable of brewing 2,400 pints per week. We’ve added ten new lines of beers and six cask hand-pulls to offer 16 beers in total.” Concept Taverns was launched last month after Jones Bar Group became a separate entity from its sister company, Roxy Leisure. Concept Taverns will focus on building a “fast-growing estate of freehold Yorkshire pubs”.

BrewDog opens its first airport bar, in Edinburgh: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has launched its first airport bar. The venue has opened at Edinburgh airport’s new terminal expansion and is operated by The Restaurant Group (TRG Concessions) in an exclusive franchise partnership. Alongside craft beer from BrewDog’s Aberdeenshire brewery and other craft brewers from around the world, the venue offers specially developed breakfast and lunch menus including loaded hot sandwiches, salads and all-day breakfast. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “We think of Edinburgh as a second home having experienced the city’s craft beer scene growing into a lively, impassioned hub of innovation and flavour. BrewDog Edinburgh Airport is our third in the city and will serve as a gateway for craft beer to the millions of travellers that pass through each year.” TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst added: “We are delighted to open the world’s first BrewDog airport bar in Edinburgh. It seems only right it should be in the capital city of the company’s home nation and will provide passengers with food, drink and a unique experience they will be sure to want elsewhere.” Edinburgh airport chief executive Gordon Dewar said: “We have been working extremely hard to improve facilities across the airport and this is the latest stage in that project as we deliver a global brand for passengers.” BrewDog is opening bars in Aberdeen and Budapest this week, while last month it launched a “craft beer airline experience” that involves a round-trip to Columbus, Ohio, in a chartered Boeing 767.

Lytham Wine Company outlines plans for ten Barrique sites following launch of second venue: Lytham Wine Company has opened a second site for its wine shop, deli and bar concept Barrique and is targeting up to ten sites for the concept across villages in north west England. The company, which launched the venture in Lytham two years ago, has opened a second site, in a former Santander branch in Birkdale, reports The Business Desk. As well as eating and drinking on-site, Barrique customers can purchase deli items to take away and use Wineemotion vending machines that offer wine by the glass. Barrique was founded by Charles Furnell, Michael Robinson and Jake Crimmin, a former sommelier at Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Fifteen. The company previously said it felt the concept could work in many locations across the UK.

Majestic to stockpile one million bottles of wine in case of ‘no deal’ Brexit: Majestic Wine is to stockpile more than one million bottles of wine from France, Spain and Italy as part of an emergency plan in case of a “no deal” Brexit. The company said it would increase stock levels in its UK warehouses at a cost of between £5m and £8m early next year to mitigate any potential supply chain disruption in March. Majestic called the move a “sensible precaution” in case lengthy transport delays ensue at UK borders following the country’s exit from the European Union. Majestic chief executive Rowan Gormley told the Guardian: “We are planning for tough times and we’re investing through tough times because we know that’s the route to a more profitable future.”

Ales from Wales launches debut site following crowdfunding campaign: Real ale operator Ales from Wales has opened its debut pub following a crowdfunding campaign to launch the concept. Dave Hawyes has opened The Hockley Rebel in Broad Street after acquiring the lease of a site formerly occupied by Mexican restaurant El Capo. The pub provides real ale and cider from local and Welsh breweries alongside food and traditional pub games such as darts and billiards. Club Tik – a late-night bar with live music and DJs – is located upstairs. Hawyes told The Business Desk: “We are a real pub offering a traditional but carefully considered experience for our customers.” Frankie Labbate, director of agent Box Property, which brokered the deal, added: “This is great news for Nottingham. Dave and his team are offering something new to the city centre and a concept that will be very welcome.” Hawyes raised funds to launch the concept through the Angel Investment Network platform last year with plans to roll it out to other UK cities.

Taiwanese dim sum brand Din Tai Fung to make UK debut next month with Covent Garden opening: Taiwanese dim sum restaurant chain Din Tai Fung is to make its UK debut next month with an opening in Covent Garden. The Taipei-based chain has signed a 25-year lease with Aberdeen Standard Investments to open a 250-cover restaurant at 5-6 Henrietta Street on Wednesday, 5 December. The company has agreed a rent of £1.2m a year for a 9,000 square foot unit arranged over ground floor and basement. The brand’s signature dish consists of steamed pork dumplings passed through six stations, each manned by a team of dim sum chefs. Other dishes will include steamed chicken soup, while a bar will offer Taiwanese-inspired cocktails and traditional Chinese tea. The venue will also sell a range of Taiwanese sauces and souvenirs. Din Tai Fung has more than 150 restaurants worldwide and will open a second London site next year, in Centre Point.

Cornwall-based Verdant Brewing Company launches £500,000 crowdfunding campaign for new brewery: Cornwall-based Verdant Brewing Company has launched a £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to build a brewery. The Falmouth-based company is looking to quadruple capacity and, having identified a site, is seeking funds for a 35-hectrolitre brewhouse, laboratory and taproom. It is offering 5% equity in return for the investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £9.5m. The pitch states: “We have reached the capacity of our beloved baby blue warehouse in Falmouth. Last year sales grew by 912.4% and we have doubled turnover this year to £1.1m, increasing capacity to 3,000 hectolitres of beer. However, demand implies we could sell at least four times that amount. For the past few years we have been looking for a site big enough to meet the demand for our beers without moving out of Falmouth. We’ve now found the perfect site. The 17,500 square foot warehouse will also allow us to have a state-of-the-art laboratory and an on-site taproom for the first time. We want to become one of the world’s leading breweries but we are determined to stay true to our independent artisan roots.”

Experienced quartet launch restaurant and nightclub at former Sugar Hut site in Liverpool: A quartet of experienced operators have opened a restaurant and nightclub in a former Sugar Hut site in Liverpool city centre. The 15 Group has carried out a multimillion-pound makeover of a building in Victoria Street that also housed The Living Room. Dash Restaurant & Bar and XOXO club are the brainchild of Dean and Michael Jones, Gary Carr and Mark King. It is the first joint venture for the partners, who have more than ten years’ experience of operating venues. The restaurant accommodates 125 covers while there is also a private dining area for up to 36 guests. It offers “contemporary dining with pan-Asian influences” and a focus on large and small plates. The bar offers spirits, beer and a New York-themed cocktail list. In the basement, XOXO club plays music ranging from house to RnB. Dean Jones said the architect-led design had been inspired by a trip to Europe. He said: “I was in Paris and went into this particular bar and was blown away by it. We knew we wanted to do something with Dash that had never been done in Liverpool before and when I saw it I thought, ‘this is it’.”

Restaurant offering two Thai concepts in one venue to launch in Soho next month: A restaurant offering two Thai concepts on separate floors is to launch in Soho next month. Wild Rice and Mamasan will open in Brewer Street on Saturday, 1 December as a double-decker restaurant with two takes on Thai food. Restaurateurs Pan Serirak and Mike Asavarut will take over a space formerly occupied by another Thai restaurant, Jane-Tira. Wild Rice will seat 36 diners on the ground floor and offer a menu of small plates using seasonal British ingredients. Reinvented Thai dishes will include plaa salmon (salmon sashimi with chilli, lime leaf, lemongrass and lime) and pulled chicken leg soup. Interiors will feature a wall of windows inspired by the richly coloured timber buildings in the old town of Bangkok. Downstairs, 25-cover Mamasan will offer street food dishes such as Thai fried chicken and spicy larb fries with toasted rice, lime and chilli. The drinks list will include bubble tea and alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. Its decor will be themed on Thailand’s Chinatown with lanterns, neon signs and colourful lights.

Wiltshire-based Hop Kettle Brewing Company opens second site, in Swindon: Wiltshire-based Hop Kettle Brewing Company has opened its second site, in Swindon. The brewer has launched The Eternal Optimist in Devizes Road, Old Town. Hop Kettle Brewery provides the three cask ales, including an IPA brewed exclusively for the bar, while the 60-strong spirits list features the brewer’s own-brand gin, Silver Lining. Hop Kettle Brewing Company founder Tom Gee told This Is Wiltshire: “The Eternal Optimist is a kind of home away from home. It’s a speakeasy bar, slightly like a lounge bar. It’s a place for people who enjoy their drinks for what they are. We have drinks in all price brackets. Devizes Road is a really interesting drag in terms of pubs and bars. We think it’s the perfect place. We’re not all after the same market.” The company also operates The Red Lion in Cricklade, where Gee first started brewing Hop Kettle beers after he bought the site in 2008, and a brewery on Swindon’s Hawksworth Industrial estate.

Lebanese concept to launch in former Cote in Hale: A concept claiming to offer the most “authentic Lebanese dining experience the north west has ever seen” is to open at a former Cote site in Hale village this month. Karam, which means “generosity” in Arabic, will launch in Ashley Road offering a range of dishes that combine “spices from the Middle East with Cheshire’s freshest local produce”. Entrepreneur Ahmed Fathalla has founded Karam with team members from award-winning Manchester restaurant Don Giovanni, while the menu has been developed by renowned Middle Eastern chef Mohamed Aqeed. Fathalla said: “We are creating an exciting new luxury dining experience for Hale, where every detail will transport diners to the opulent surroundings of the Middle East. Diners will experience some of the most authentic Lebanese dishes in the UK.” Signature dishes at Karam will include chicken tagine, lamb sambousek and bamieh stew. The restaurant will also feature a spice bar, where diners can buy authentic spices used in Karam’s dishes.

Nando’s appoints Karmarama in above-the-line advertising return: Nando’s has appointed Karmarama as its advertising agency after a competitive pitch. The appointment doesn’t affect AnalogFolk, which continues to work on Nando’s digital ecosystem. The move signals Nando’s return to above-the-line advertising after its decision to move into content publishing in 2016, reports Campaign. Nando’s hired Adjust Your Set after parting ways with 18 Feet & Rising, which is now called And Rising. Earlier this year, Nando’s moved its UK media business to WPP’s Essence from Havas Media Group, which had worked with the brand for seven years.

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