Story of the Day:
Redcomb Pubs founders secure first site for new venture, in Oxfordshire: Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, who founded 15-strong Redcomb Pubs, which was acquired by London pub retailer Young’s for £34m at the start of the year, have secured a debut site for their new venture, Prospect Pubs & Bars. Shotton and Draper have acquired the freehold of The Evenlode in Oxfordshire for £1.75m. Draper told Propel they were looking to build a model similar to Redcomb with multiple income streams but away from central London – at least initially. He added the focus would be on "getting the first one right" but hoped to add a second site over the next 12 months. After that Draper said they would look to add three pubs a year in counties surrounding the capital. "Quite simply, we get better value than we do in central London," said Draper. "We'd love to be back in central London but we recognise there's more of an opportunity for us outside. We've been looking at a number of sites but we've only just done the deal on this one so that's the focus. We've an initial target of five sites and then after that we can maybe think about growing to ten. One thing is for sure though, it's good to be back in business!" The Evenlode is in the village of Eynsham on the outskirts of Oxford and dates to the 1930s. The site, which encompasses about 5,000 square feet, currently operates a 150-cover restaurant and bar, with space for a further 160 customers on two terraces outside. Prospect Pubs & Bars will invest a further £1.2m in the venue to extend the pub’s dining and events space and add 24 en-suite bedrooms. Shotton said: “Our vision is to create a group of profitable pubs and pubs with rooms that provide a well-positioned, premium offering accessible to all.” Draper added: “Our acquisition focus will be on large free-of-tie leases and freehold properties that offer the scope and opportunity for us to develop, extend and capitalise on the site’s potential. The Evenlode ticked all the boxes on this front. Currently operating as a good solid business, with our vision and investment the site has huge potential to develop fresh and enhanced revenue streams through an improved dining, events and accommodation offering.”
Full speaker schedule confirmed for Propel summer conference and party, two free places for operators:
The full speaker schedule for the Propel Multi Club summer conference and party has been confirmed. The event takes place on Thursday, 27 June at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40. The speaker line-up is The NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport; Antony Hunt, managing consultant in innovation at CACI; Ted Kennedy, owner of Pebble Hotels and veteran operator of pub assets; Three Joes co-founder Tim Hall; Las Iguanas chief executive Mos Shamel; Remarkable Pubs managing director Elton Mouna; Think Hospitality founder James Hacon; Mario C Bauer, AmRest brand ambassador, Curtice Brothers co-founder and WhiteSpace partner; The Glee Club founder Mark Tughan; Graffiti Spirits Group founder Matt Farrell
and Crepeaffaire founder Daniel Spinath.
The conference will be followed by the summer party, with an evening barbecue, the Big Fat Quiz and the legendary sounds of DJ Big Lee. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms (bed and breakfast) are also available at £125 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing Anne.
Starbucks to launch airport reusable cup trial: Starbucks is to trial an airport reusable cup. The company and environmental charity Hubbub will run the pilot in partnership with Gatwick airport. Customers at the Starbucks store, which is operated in partnership with SSP, will have the option to borrow a free reusable cup for their drink, which they can then drop off at one of five “Cup Check-In” points in the South Terminal. Cups will be collected, washed and sterilised in line with the airport’s safety standards and returned to Starbucks ready for reuse. Customers can still opt for a paper cup, which incurs the 5p charge seen in all Starbucks stores. The aim is to put 2,000 reusable Starbucks cups in circulation, which could drastically reduce the number of paper cups used each day. Jaz Rabadia, UK senior manager of energy and sustainability at Starbucks, said: “The purpose of working with Hubbub and Gatwick is to create a new culture of reuse on the go by giving customers the option of a free reusable cup instead of paper. We’re optimistic the Cup Check-In points around the airport will provide enough places for customers to return their cups on the way to their gate but we also recognise this might not work for everyone. Our goal is to save 7,000 disposable cups during the month to find out the best ways to drive reuse where it’s typically harder to do so – such as airports.” Rachel Thompson, sustainability lead at Gatwick, added: “There is strong public support for measures to reduce waste and we’re delighted to support one of our retailers with an innovation that can help travellers do that.” The trial is part of Starbucks’ and Hubbub’s partnership and commitment to reducing paper cup waste.
New programme and music partnership unveiled to boost London’s high streets at night: A programme to boost London’s high streets at night and a partnership to support the live music scene have been unveiled. Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced the creation of a Night Time Enterprise Zone to help councils, businesses and residents test new ideas to boost their high streets after 6pm. Councils across the capital can now bid to become the first pilot zone and receive £75,000 to develop ideas that will support town centres at night. The pilot zone will be an opportunity for a borough to trial a range of approaches for the high street – such as running night-time markets, testing longer opening hours or helping shops and hotels host cultural events. The results of the pilot will be used to shape plans across the capital. Meanwhile, Khan has also announced a new Safer Sounds Partnership to support and promote the capital’s music industry. Led by the music industry and part of the Safer Business Network, it will unite venue operators and event organisers with police and council licensing teams and night tsar Amy Lamé. The partnership is designed to make it easier for organisers to put on live music events and safer for music fans by promoting high standards and offering support and training. Safer Sounds Partnership will support venues and help to bring consistent licensing practice across the capital, addressing concerns about unfair treatment of artists. Both initiatives have been announced as part of the mayor’s response to a report by his Night Time Commission to help realise his vision for London as a 24-hour city. Khan said: “Our new Night Time Enterprise Zone will help to boost high streets by delivering innovative ideas that will draw Londoners to their town centres after 6pm, while the Safer Sounds Partnership will provide support for and drive up standards across the music industry.” Night Time Commission chairman Kate Nicholls added: “This will have a transformational impact, unlocking the barriers many Londoners face in carrying out everyday activities at night and ensuring all neighbourhoods and communities can fulfil their potential to be a vibrant, dynamic and exciting place to live, work and visit from 6pm to 6am.”
Luke Johnson – the Patisserie Valerie collapse took a personal toll: Sector investor Luke Johnson has revealed his ego took such a battering after Patisserie Valerie’s collapse that he considered leaving the country and feared becoming “a pariah in the business world”. Johnson said he developed “chronic insomnia”, was “despairing” and “rarely ventured out” after the company uncovered what it called “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities” in October last year. The anguish also affected Johnson’s wife, Liza, and their three children, who suffered under the scrutiny. “I felt ashamed that I had brought such difficulties upon my family,” he wrote in the Sunday Times business section. "If I was arrogant at times before, my ego has taken quite a battering since. A very public disaster like this shatters your self-belief. I suffered a series of debilitating infections and was on antibiotics for weeks." He will, however, now resume writing his Sunday Times business column. "My life will always be influenced by Patisserie Holdings but does that mean I should give up my 35-year career in business?" he wrote. "I don't think so. I still have a contribution to make. I do not think it is productive to bury yourself in blame for the rest of your life."
US restaurants see like-for-likes return to growth in May as roller-coaster ride continues: US restaurants saw like-for-likes return to growth in May as the roller coaster the industry has been riding this year showed no sign of slowing. Like-for-likes were up 1.1% for the month following a 0.4% fall in April indicating a “longer-term sales recovery for the sector”. The research, by data company TDn2K’s The Restaurant Industry Snapshot, which is based on weekly sales from more than 31,000 restaurants and 170 brands that represent almost $72bn in annual revenue, showed operators are continuing to rely on their guests spending more as restaurant visit numbers fell again, albeit at a slower rate of 2.1%. Staffing also continues to be one of the primary challenges for restaurant operators. The current period of sustained job growth and low unemployment resulted in record high turnover rates across the industry. TDn2K vice-president of insights and knowledge Victor Fernandez said: “As we expected, May ratified that the relative strength continues for restaurants when it comes to sales momentum. What is even more encouraging for the industry was in a month relatively free of external factors such as winter storms and holiday shifts that have muddied the results in recent months, restaurants were able to post some encouraging sales growth.”
Iranian police close 547 restaurants and cafes: Iranian police have shut 547 restaurants and cafes in Tehran for not observing “Islamic principles”, the capital’s police chief said on Saturday (8 June). “The owners of restaurants and cafes in which Islamic principles were not observed were confronted, and during this operation 547 businesses were closed and 11 offenders arrested,” Hossein Rahimi said in statement on the police force website. Fars news agency said the operation was carried out over the past ten days. The infractions included “unconventional advertising in cyberspace, playing illegal music and debauchery”, Fars reported. “Observing Islamic principles is one of the police’s main missions and responsibilities,” the police chief said.
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Craig Mayes joins Rileys as chief executive: Craig Mayes, former director of managed houses at Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells, has joined sports bar operator Rileys as chief executive, Propel has learned. Mayes has taken over leadership of 23-strong Rileys from Steve Thick, who joined the business as operations director in 2015 before being promoted to managing director in 2016. Rileys chairman Mike Cutt said: “Craig will lead Rileys through its next phase as we roll out refurbishments across the estate over the next two to three years and even dare to think of opening new clubs. Craig will spend his first few weeks with Steve in a handover. Steve has done a great job of stabilising Rileys over the past four years and preparing the business for a new phase of refurbishments, starting with South Benfleet two years ago and Liverpool and Harlow in early 2019, all of which have been great successes. Under Steve’s leadership the business has also developed far better operating processes. We wish Steve well for the future and thank him for his contribution to Rileys.” Mayes told Propel: “I am delighted to join Rileys as it embarks on the next stage of its ambitious growth plan.” Mayes left Charles Wells at the end of 2017 having led the managed division, overseeing the growth of its Apostrophe, Pizza Pots & Pints, and French operations. More recently, Mayes advised businesses on property transactions and worked on an interim basis for London-based bar and restaurant group Drake & Morgan. Rileys, which was founded by Edward John Riley in 1878, is owned by private equity firm Weight Partners Capital.
Mosaic Pub and Dining updates on performance: Mosaic Pub and Dining, formerly known as City Pub EIS Fund, has updated on the performance on its two tranches, which between them operate 24 pubs across the country. Tranche one, which incorporates the companies – The Galaxy (City) Pub Company, The Pioneer (City) Pub Company and The Sovereign (City) Pub Company, enjoyed “double-digit growth” over the 53-weeks to 31 March 2019, while turnover was up 22% to £8.93m. Tranche One opened two sites in the year, The Bethnal Green Tavern in east London and The Frederick Street Townhouse in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter. The company said: “Both are now busy growing their customer bases and in total we now have ten sites in the portfolio, of which seven are freehold or virtual freehold. Trading from the start of the new financial year in April has continued to show momentum and our sites are very well placed to take advantage as we enter the summer period.” Net sales for the 53-week financial year to 31 March, for tranche two, were more than 100% on the previous year at £5.9m, and were also marginally above budget. The period also saw double-digit like-for-like sales growth for the business, which comprises Liberty, Phoenix and Summit (City) Pub Companies. On tranche two, the company said: “The companies have continued to make significant progress since last November’s update. The portfolio has grown, with four new additions, and now stands at 14 sites, with all but two of these trading. Additionally, a further five sites have been agreed for purchase by the directors and are currently ‘in legals’. Once under our ownership we believe these sites will take tranche two to a completely new level, both in terms of heightened profile and very significantly increased profitability. These transactions, if successfully completed, will mean the companies are virtually fully invested and a moderate amount of bank debt will also be introduced, while the disposal of two or three of the less profitable, leasehold sites in the estate is being considered.” Mosaic Pub and Dining, which is led by James Watson and Peter McDonald, will open the Crofton Park Tavern in Brockley, this month.
Punch appoints new regional operations director: Punch has appointed Lucy Barker as regional operations director, Propel has learned. Barker replaces Crawford Scott, who has left after three years in the role. Barker was previously head of food and beverage business development at Bourne Leisure. Before that she was an operations director at Casual Dining Group and has also worked at Whitbread and Spirit Group. Meanwhile, Jamie Hanson has left Punch after almost seven years with the company. Hanson had been central operations and publican development director since March 2018, having previously been new business development manager. Propel understands Hanson will not be replaced in the role. Punch chief executive Clive Chesser said: “I can confirm Crawford Scott and Jamie Hanson have left the business and I wish them well with their future endeavours. I am pleased to welcome Lucy Barker, who joined the business last week as regional operations director.” Meanwhile, Punch has sold The New Inn in Kendal, Cumbria, off an asking price of £225,000. The pub in Highgate has been bought by Andrew Gardner, who owns and operates The Station Hotel in the Cumbrian coastal town of Millom, in a deal brokered by agent Christie & Co. Gardner plans to reopen the property as a live music venue.
Fazenda owner undergoes internal restructuring: City District, the owner of the Fazenda Rodizio Bar and Grill concept, has undergone an internal restructuring of its ownership with backer LLB Investments. City District and Leeds-based law firm Blacks Solicitors worked closely with HSBC and KPMG, which provided funding support and corporate finance advice respectively for the management buyout process. Founders Robert Melman and Tomas Maunier opened the fifth Fazenda last year in Birmingham. City District Group’s other Fazenda restaurants are in Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, while it operates sister brand Picanha in Chester. In July last year, the company launched Tast Cuina Catalana in Manchester in partnership with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Michelin-starred chef Paco Perez. Terence Langley, commercial director at City District, said: “This deal will enable us to secure future growth and strengthen the already excellent Fazenda brand. I hope this will be a platform for Fazenda to continue to outperform the market, demonstrating a strong brand and concept can still thrive and buck the trend of struggling restaurant chains.” Dave Paterson, the corporate law partner at Blacks who led the team in the deal, said: “It has been fantastic to work with Terence and the team at City District to achieve a management buyout that paves the way for City District to grow and strengthen the Fazenda brand, enabling further growth in new cities.”
Gigi’s Hospitality to open fourth site, in Hoxton this month: Gigi’s Hospitality is to open an all-day restaurant, bar and late-night music venue in Hoxton, east London, this month for its fourth site. The company, founded by husband and wife Taiyab and Giovanna Hussain, will launch Gigi’s Hoxton on Thursday, 20 June. The former Zigfrid von Underbelly premises in Hoxton Square will have capacity for up to 250 guests to enjoy live music and DJ sets alongside food and drink. The restaurant menu will include pan-fried scallops with asparagus cream and purple cauliflower, and Tuscan panzanella with rocket and garlic crostini alongside wine, beer and cocktails. Downstairs, Hoxton Underbelly will host live bands, comedy, DJs and club nights. Gigi’s Hospitality also operates live music and drinks venue The Corner Shop and Italian restaurant The Grapevine, both in Shoreditch High Street, and live events space The Rocksteady in Dalston.
SSP brings Jamie’s Deli to Malaga airport as part of six-brand deal: UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has launched six units at Malaga Costa del Sol International airport in Spain, including a site for Jamie Oliver’s Deli brand. Alongside Jamie’s Deli, SSP has opened two Starbucks units, one landside and one airside. The brands join sites for Soho Coffee Co, Burger King and fresh Italian food concept La Boutique, which SSP launched at the airport in April. Blanca Ripoll, managing director of SSP Spain, said: “As a popular destination for many holidaymakers, Malaga Costa del Sol is the perfect location for us to open sites for our range of highly recognisable international brands. We are honoured to be working with operator Aena to help improve the overall food and beverage offer at the airport.” Last month, all of Jamie Oliver’s 25 UK restaurants closed except for three sites at Gatwick airport following the appointment of administrators, resulting in the loss of 1,000 jobs. However, the international restaurants trading as Jamie’s Italian, Jamie’s Pizzeria and Jamie’s Deli continue to trade as normal and are unaffected by the administration.
Honest Burgers opens London Bridge site: Honest Burgers, the Active Partners-backed chain, has strengthened its presence in the capital by opening a site at London Bridge. The company has opened the restaurant in Bermondsey Street, in arches under the revamped London Bridge station. The outlet is Honest Burgers’ 33rd site and follows launches in Manchester and Brighton earlier this year. Continuing its policy of supporting local suppliers at each site, Honest Burgers is working with meat company Crown & Queue, drinks firm Bermondsey Mixer Co and brewery Partizan. Honest Burgers, which has seen turnover increase to circa £31m for the year ending January 2019, is set for further openings this year in Cardiff and Liverpool. Founders Philip Eeles and Tom Barton opened the company’s debut site in in Brixton, south London, in 2011.
Thwaites appoints Merlin chief development officer as non-executive director: North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has appointed Mark Fisher as a non-executive director. Fisher is currently chief development officer of Merlin Entertainments. He joined the Tussauds group in 1991 and Merlin in 1995. Fisher has been a senior member of the management team, playing a key role as part of the original management buyout team from Vardon and in its ongoing organic development. Originally group marketing director, he has also held the managing director role in all of Merlin’s operating divisions.
Ghetto Golf to open in Newcastle next month for third site: Liverpool-based cocktails and mini-golf concept Ghetto Golf is to open its third site, in Newcastle next month. Ghetto Golf, which was founded by Kip Piper and Danny Bolger in 2016, will launch at Hoults Yard, creating 45 jobs. The adult-only course will feature 18 themed holes and join the brand’s venues in Liverpool and Birmingham. Piper told Insider Media: “We want to offer something that will shock, surprise and entertain all at once. Our daring attitude and creative nature captures everything Ghetto Golf stands for so it’s important we get this across in our customer experience and hold nothing back for our Geordie following.” Piper and Bolger are also behind Liverpool venues Birdies Bar & BBQ and On Air, which are next to Ghetto Golf at the Cains Brewery Village development, and pop-up ventures such as a Home Alone Christmas bar and carnival concept Spectaculum. They have previously said they hope to have seven Ghetto Golf sites operating in the UK in the next two years.
More than 1,200 restaurant partners using Deliveroo perks platform: More than 1,200 restaurant partners have now signed up to Deliveroo's perks platform, which the company claimed can save an average business up to £15,000 a year. The savings, available through a dedicated perks programme, are possible because the company is able to leverage its size and the size of its restaurant network to secure better deals on a range of items, Deliveroo said. The perks programme, exclusive to Deliveroo’s restaurant partners, offers more than 30 saving opportunities. Deliveroo said it was committed to driving more revenue through delivery and in-house sales for its restaurant partners. UK and Ireland managing director Dan Warne said: “Deliveroo only succeeds when our partners succeed so we’re thrilled to play our part in helping restaurants grow. This savings package gives restaurants more time to do what they do best – cooking great-tasting food and expanding their menu to bring even more amazing meals to people.” Meanwhile, Deliveroo is on the hunt for a new global creative agency and is running the process directly. Deliveroo told Campaign the search was taking place but declined to provide further details.
Young chefs unite to launch Italian restaurant in Old Street: Michelin-trained chef Wilfred Mafham, 24, and 27-year-old Luca Cianti have teamed up to open an Italian restaurant in London’s Old Street. They have launched Pasta Nostra, which means “our pasta” in Italian, offering freshly made pasta and traditional Italian dishes. Mafham has worked alongside chef Adam Byatt at Michelin-starred Trinity in London, while Cianti worked with Mafham at neighbourhood restaurant Bistro Union in Clapham. Dishes on the Pasta Nostra menu include tortello carbonara with crispy cured pork cheek and pappardelle oxtail ragu, which is braised for 12 hours and garnished with 24-month aged Parmesan. The drinks list includes cocktails and the restaurant’s own lager and pale ale, while the venue features an espresso bar offering Italian-roasted coffee. The open plan restaurant features an industrial feel with bold, bright colours and outdoor seating.
Paris-based Italian trattoria brand Big Mamma to double up in London this month: Paris-based Italian restaurant brand Big Mamma is to open a second London site, this month. The company, which launched Gloria in Shoreditch in February for its UK debut, will open Circolo Popolare, or Circolo for short, in Rathbone Square, Fitzrovia, on Wednesday, 26 June. Circolo will offer Italian cuisine inspired by summer days in Sicily and will be Big Mamma’s ninth restaurant. Co-founder Victor Lugger said Circolo would showcase a home-made and “slightly over the top” menu, including metre-long pizza, pasta dishes served in hollowed-out cheese, skewers from a Sicilian grill and a one-litre sundae with giant cookie chunks. More than 20,000 bottles of spirits will line the walls of the restaurant, which is 9,000 square feet and accommodates 280 diners. There will be large sharing tables and 60 seats on a terrace. Big Mamma also operates 50,000 square foot La Felicità food market in Paris.
Roadchef submits plans for £45m ‘new concept’ service station, in Yorkshire: Motorway services operator Roadchef has submitted plans for a £45m “new concept” site in North Yorkshire that would create 300 jobs. The company has applied to Selby District Council to build the services at Junction 42 of the A1(M) in Selby, just off the A63. Planning permission is sought to redevelop a 12.8-acre site to provide a facility with a farm shop selling local produce, food and beverage outlets including a drive-thru coffee shop, dedicated parking and facilities for heavy goods vehicles, and a petrol filling station. Roadchef said the plans had been submitted in response to demand from nearby employers and residents to provide overnight or long-stay parking and facilities for lorry drivers delivering to Sherburn-in-Elmet industrial park. Roadchef business development director Ian McKay told Insider Media: “The park has more than 1,180 two-way deliveries by lorries per day. Some drivers use local roads and laybys to park overnight prior to delivering the next day because there are insufficient overnight parking facilities in the area. The services would provide 74 parking spaces for lorries, with plans to increase to 101 spaces to alleviate what is a real concern locally.”
Crockers to double up with opening in Henley: British seasonal food brand Crockers is to expand into Henley – Crockers Henley will be based at the former Loch Fyne restaurant in Market Place, which closed in May last year after almost two decades in the town. Unique Dining, which owns the brand, plans to use the first floor as a hotel as it was previously Milsoms Hotel. The company already runs Crockers Tring, which was featured in MasterChef Professionals – The Rematch in December and has been awarded a Michelin Plate. The restaurant offers a fine dining experience with British seasonal food served to customers seated around the kitchen so they can see it being prepared. Craig Slack, senior planner at the Turley planning consultancy in Reading, said: “Unique Dining wants the new restaurant to be within a building that has historical character and will provide a more interesting dining experience for its customers. The seven hotel bedrooms will be retained and will form part of the business.” The company has submitted a planning application to South Oxfordshire District Council to refurbish the building and is also seeking listed building consent.
Soho Home launches in US: Membership club Soho House has launched its Soho Home range of furniture and homeware in the US. Launched for online sale in the US last week, Soho Home is an interiors label that offers the products featured at Soho House's locations around the world. Pieces range from furniture, textiles, artwork and tableware, and are designed in-house. Soho Home began in the UK in 2016 with the Soho Farmhouse collection, representing decor from the English countryside outpost including exclusive striped Whichford pottery. Its US launch follows on from sales in the UK and Europe. "We started Soho Home because members always ask us where they can buy the things they see in the Houses," said Soho House founder Nick Jones. "So we created a range to bring the House home, from the Chesterfield sofa you sit on at Soho House Chicago to the Barwell crystal you drink your Negroni at 76 Dean Street."
St Austell scoops triple success at Family Business of the Year Awards: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery is celebrating triple success at the 2019 Family Business of the Year Awards. As well as scooping the overall family business of the year, the company also took home the accolades for best food and drink family business and the regional title for the south west. St Austell Brewery chief executive James Staughton said: “We are a proud, independent, family-run business that’s been around for more than 165 years but, without the support of everyone involved in our constantly expanding and complex operations, we wouldn’t be the success we are today. To win this great accolade against such worthy competition makes us very proud and we’re glad to be contributors to the strong and vibrant family business community across the UK.” The awards, organised by Family Business United, attracted a record number of entries from across the UK this year. Last week, St Austell Brewery reported turnover for the year ending 29 December 2018 increased to a record £179.6m. The company operates 178 pubs, inns and hotels as well as its brewery business.