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Thu 4th Apr 2019 - Update: Pret, Crepeaffaire, Disco Bowl and Ditto Coffee
Pret A Manger launches biggest menu shake-up: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-owned group, is launching its biggest menu shake-up. A total of 20 new products are being added to the company’s offering next week, with many targeted at “flexitarians”, vegans and vegetarians. They will include food that can be eaten “any time of the day” to accommodate snacking, and Pret is also introducing its own gluten-free bread following strong demand from customers. Pret’s head of food development Hannah Dolan described it as the “biggest change in our history”. She said: “Two-thirds of Pret products are now purchased outside of the lunchtime period, and we think these filling snacks and smaller meals will fit really well with our customers’ busy schedules.” The 20 new products include salad pots, vegan and meaty open sandwiches, desserts, vegan breakfast birchers and a bircher smoothie. Its first gluten-free bread is made from oat, teff, buckwheat and quinoa flours, with millet, red quinoa, sourdough and a dash of treacle. The multi-grain bread base is a result of nine months of development and 30 different recipes. The new menu launches on Tuesday (9 April). Dolan added: "Our team of chefs have taken inspiration from all over the world for this new menu and have worked incredibly hard to perfect each and every ingredient. From flavoursome roasted mushrooms, to our own gluten-free bread, which we honestly believe is one of the best out there right now."

Crepeaffaire to step-up UK and international expansion following double-digit sales growth: Crepeaffaire, the UK and Europe’s leading crepe concept, is set to accelerate new UK and international openings on the back of double-digit like-for-like sales growth over the first quarter of 2019. Its recent Westfield London relaunch will be followed by an opening in St Albans in May, with two to three more units in the pipeline for the balance of 2019. Overseas, the brand is consolidating its position in Saudi Arabia, where it will launch its first cinema concession in Jeddah in June, to be followed by two further mall openings planned for July. It is also progressing its plans to launch in the US later in the year. Daniel Spinath, founder and chief executive of Crepeaffaire, said: “We’re very happy with our progress over the past months. Like-for-like sales growth has been strong, supported by our energetic team and exciting new product initiatives, notably in the vegan and ‘free from’ ranges, including savoury waffles and vegan shakes. Our Westfield relaunch is off to a strong start and we have a healthy property pipeline to ensure further growth, both in the UK and overseas.” Spinath added Crepeaffaire’s airside launch at London’s Luton airport in December, in partnership with The Restaurant Group Concessions, continued to exceed expectations and paves the way for further expansion in travel hubs over the next 12 months. 
 
Fever Bars co-founder take stake in Disco Bowl: Fever Bars co-founder Nigel Blair has invested in Disco Bowl, the sister company of the six-strong bar and nightclub operator Disco Bars. The Disco Bowl venture was formed earlier this year after the company acquired nine MFA Bowl UK sites out of administration. Managing director Pete Terry said: "We are delighted Nigel Blair has chosen to invest in our company and look forward to the impending refurbishment and growth of our estate. Nigel will be our commercial consultant. Nigel's experience in the leisure industry, especially in corporate, property, development and commercial matters will prove invaluable to us as we reinvent this business into a market leading modern progressive bowling operator." Fever Bars was acquired by Stonegate Pub Company earlier this year. 
 
Ditto Music to open second Ditto Coffee site: Ditto Music is open a second Ditto Coffee site, this time located at Oxford Place in Manchester city centre. Ditto Coffee is to bring local independent music to the high street at its new coffee bar. A spokesman said: "Ditto Coffee is a coffee shop with independent music and speciality coffee at its heart, and a new Manchester branch is set to open in May at Bruntwood’s Oxford Place, part of their ‘West Village’ community that wraps around from Portland Street through to Oxford Street. Ditto Coffee is an evolution of Ditto Music, the world’s largest digital distribution and label service provider. Ditto Music, which has worked with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Chance The Rapper, intends to offer the next step for music discovery with Ditto Coffee by embracing the local creative community. With its first shop already open in Liverpool, Ditto Coffee Manchester will be a creative hub for celebrating and promoting independent artists, giving them a new route to market."

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