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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Thu 27th Jun 2019 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Henry Dimbleby to lead review of England’s food system: Leon founder Henry Dimbleby is to lead an independent review that aims to ensure England’s food system is fit for the 21st century. It is the first major review of the UK food system in 75 years and the recommendations will form the new National Food Strategy set to be published next year. Dimbleby has been appointed by environment secretary Michael Gove to investigate the entire food system, from field to fork. Dimbleby will consider what changes are needed to ensure safe, healthy, affordable food is delivered, regardless of where people live or how much they earn; is robust in the face of future shocks; restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation; is built on a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector; and is a thriving contributor to urban and rural economies, delivering well-paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers. Gove said: “Leaving the EU is a great opportunity for British farmers and food producers but, with an expanding population, the urgent threat of climate change and rising levels of diet-related disease, we face many challenges too. That is why the time is right for us to look afresh at our food system to ensure everyone has access to high-quality British food and our environment is protected for future generations. I am delighted Henry Dimbleby will lead this once-in-a-generation opportunity to cultivate a stronger food system for the future.” Dimbleby said: “No part of our economy matters more than food – it is vital to life and shapes our sense of identity – but there are urgent challenges. Populations are growing, diet-related conditions are harming the lives of millions, and climate change is altering what our land will yield. Over the next year I’ll speak with people from across the food chain to address these challenges and ensure everyone has a say in shaping the future.” Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright said: “Our food and drink industry is a strategic national asset to be protected. We applaud Michael Gove’s bold commitment to create a national Food Strategy for England and embed a holistic approach to policy-making across food and drink.”

Industry News:

Charlie McVeigh to look at opportunity for UK operators in France for Propel Premium subscribers: Draft House founder and My Million Pound Menu judge Charlie McVeigh will look at the opportunity for UK operators in France in the latest opinion piece, which will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (28 June) at 5pm. Subscribers will also receive a 30-minute video on Friday in which Sam Roberts, chief executive of all-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party, shares his learnings from the company’s ban on disposable cups and how he is prepared to stand by his principles for the good of the planet. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular video recordings of key speakers. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,400 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email

CPL unveils Yapster messaging partnership: CPL’s learning, development and team engagement platform and Yapster’s mobile messaging will be made available as an integrated solution following a formal partnership agreement. In the first phase of their integration plan, Yapster’s one-to-one and group messaging will be embedded into the CPL Online platform, allowing users to share information between the two. Future versions will build on this to enable access to more features and functionality across both platforms – for example, giving users access to key compliance documents or notifying teams of new training courses with push notifications through Yapster. Technical work on the integration is already under way, with live roll-out expected by the end of September. CPL Online chief commercial officer Jamie Campbell said: “This new partnership fuses CPL’s online learning and digital tools with Yapster’s communications capabilities and will add a valuable dimension to our users’ experiences. This enhanced functionality will make for better and faster engagement with teams and training.” Yapster co-founder and chief executive Rob Liddiard added: “Yapster is not just about connecting colleagues to each other. Where we can add the most value is by also connecting them to the other essential systems and tools they need to do what they do best – delighting customers. We’re proud to be a CPL partner and welcome the team to our extended Yapster family.”

Rise in sizeable pub deals likely for rest of 2019 as strong sector performance drives private equity investment: An increase in sizeable pub deals is on the cards for the rest of 2019 as the sector’s strong performance drives investment from private equity firms, according to agent Christie & Co’s half-year market review. The company forecasts most of the activity will happen at the bottom end of the market in the tenanted, leased and franchised sub-sectors. Christie & Co said the sector had been the stand-out performer in the first half of the year resulting in private equity clamouring to enter the market, with expectations that would continue for the rest of 2019. Christie & Co said the predominantly freehold nature of the sector had contributed to its resilience, with minimal distress contained to a handful of smaller, regional companies that were overleveraged. However, rents had returned to more sustainable levels, particularly for secondary locations, presenting “tremendous opportunities” for businesses that were funded and positioned for growth. Closures have tended to be among smaller and more inefficient operations, with a notable shift in the opposite direction on the high street and new-builds. Coffee is becoming an increasingly important part of a pub’s offering and, with the sector forecast to grow at an average 6.8% per annum over the next six years, Christie & Co said it expected more pub companies to look carefully at opportunities in the coffee market. Following five years of stabilisation, beer volumes are rising again, while total pub turnover is also increasing as a result of focusing on diverse revenue streams such as accommodation. Neil Morgan, managing director – pubs at Christie & Co, said: “The evolution of the pubs industry highlights the sector’s adaptability and resilience to challenges and change. We can confidently say 2019 will be a year of two halves and we expect increased activity throughout the remainder of the year.”

15% of restaurant and bar reviews in London are negative: Londoners are the hardest customers to please, with 15% of all restaurant and bar reviews in the negative score bracket of between one and two out of five, according to research by guest feedback service Feed It Back. Conversely, the northern cities of Leeds and Edinburgh topped the list of most satisfied customers, with 82.3% of reviews from both cities falling in the positive bracket of between four and five out of five, followed by Liverpool (81.9%), and Glasgow (78.3%). Looking at what drives negative reviews in the capital, the words “rude” and “group” featured prominently, particularly in comparison with the other major cities analysed. Londoners predominantly used Google (69.8%) and TripAdvisor (24.9%). Meanwhile, the primary drivers behind positive reviews in the top-performing cities in the north were the words “birthday” and “special”. Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia said: “People in cities across the UK are turning to social media to let their feelings known, be they good or bad, presenting a great opportunity for operators with large estates to gain granular regional knowledge on what customers demand from specific sites. Data is only one piece of the puzzle. When combined with the knowledge of a great general manager the two are incredibly powerful in positively influencing the guest experience and creating exceptional dining experiences that drive loyalty and return custom.”

Chase launches licensing and trade consultancy after leaving CPL Training: Paul Chase has stepped down as head of education and licensing at CPL Training Group after 28 years to launch his own company, Chase Consultancy. With 30 years’ experience in licensing and training, the venture will see Chase specialise in creating and developing training, education and qualifications and other consultancy services for the licensed retail and hospitality sectors. The move follows the acquisition of CPL Training Group by CGA earlier this month. The deal reunites CPL Training Group with CPL Online after the latter was bought by CGA in 2018. Chase said: “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved at CPL over the past 28 years but Daniel Davies and I started the business together and it’s right we should leave it together. I believe this is the right sale to the right buyer at the right time.” Louise Sui, managing director of CPL Training Group, added: “Paul has played an important role in establishing and developing CPL Training into the successful company it is today.”

Ross Carter appointed chief executive of The Benevolent: Ross Carter, who was head of London Wine Fair (LWF) from 2013 to 2017, has been appointed chief executive of The Benevolent, a charity that supports employees in the drinks trade. Carter replaces Chris Porter, who became the first chief executive in the charity’s 133-year history to come from a logistics service background when he was appointed in January 2018. Since 2017, Carter has headed up the foodservice and hospitality division of exhibition organiser Fresh Montgomery. During his time at LWF, Carter moved the event back to Olympia, increasing participation threefold. In 2016 he received the Julian Brind Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the wine industry. The Benevolent chairman Michael Saunders said: “Ross has our full support as we look to evolve the good work The Benevolent has continued since 1886.” Carter added: “Being offered the role of chief executive is a privilege and honour. I am eager to bring great energy and enthusiasm to deliver on a mandate to develop the charity.” Carter will take up his position on Monday, 15 July.

Company News:

Holmes – We’ll take learnings from Pod acquisition: Steve Holmes, chief executive of ASK Italian and Zizzi operator Azzurri Group, has told Propel the company will take learnings from the recently acquired Pod business while he refused to rule out keeping the healthy eating concept as the group’s fifth brand. Last week Azzurri, which also operates the Coco di Mama and Radio Alice brands, acquired 13 sites of the 22-strong Pod business out of administration for an undisclosed sum. Azzurri will continue to operate the sites as Pod with the intention of converting most to Coco di Mama during the next 12 months. However, Holmes said although the plan was to build the pipeline of 22-strong Coco di Mama, the company would take its time to evaluate the performance of some Pod sites located close to its Coco di Mama venues before deciding on Pod’s future, which would continue to be overseen by managing director Alex Young. Azzurri is also keen to learn from Pod’s two delivery hubs. Holmes said: “We weren’t looking to make an acquisition but were keen to accelerate the expansion of Coco di Mama. The Pod opportunity presented itself and allows us to strengthen the pipeline for Coco di Mama, which continues to trade well. We will assess the Pod sites we don’t convert to see whether there’s an opportunity to move that forward. For example, Pod in Lombard Street trades well and is close to a Coco di Mama so we won’t convert that one but see what we can learn from it. Delivering and catering to businesses is a third revenue stream Pod had tapped into but one we have, as yet, not fully unlocked, so we are looking forward to the learning we can get there.” Holmes also told Propel the performance of Coco di Mama, which continues to post healthy like-for-like sales, had given Azzurri the confidence to explore further food-to-go opportunities if the right ones come up. He said: “We have gained a lot of experience in the food-to-go sector over the past few years and it’s a part of the sector we feel comfortable we can do more in. We aren’t wedded to Italian-focused concepts and more opportunities similar to Pod may present themselves in the next year.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen reports 21% sales growth to £14m as it appears on inspirational list: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the UK’s largest brewpub group, has reported sales up 21% to £14,142,802 for the year ended September 2018, as it appeared on Stock Exchange Annual’s 1,000 Companies That Inspire Britain list for the first time. Gross margin hit a new high of 73%, although the company made an operating loss of £532,219. The company said it had expanded its headquarters team to ensure it was ready for opportunities that would “arise from a more competitive and challenging food market and a dynamic acquisition market”. It also said it would ensure it could “recruit and develop the best people available in a tough recruitment market”. In 2017, Brewhouse & Kitchen brought its finance system in-house by recruiting financial controller and management accountant roles. Other roles created during the year included an operations director, a food operational support team, brand trainer and head of recruitment. There were a number of other “large exceptional costs due to the implementation of new systems”. Later this year, the company will open its first hotel within a brewpub, with plans to open three more in the next 18 months. Chief executive Kris Gumbrell said: “In 2013 we opened our first brewpub, opening a further 19 between 2015 and 2018. This extraordinary growth meant our small HQ team was focused on an exhausting strategy of buy, build and open. Last year the board felt it was time to step back, invest in our systems, consolidate and reinforce the core team. We now have the largest and most-established brewpub business in the UK market. Craft beer is built into the core UK pub offering to various degrees so it’s essential we maintain our competitive edge of leading the market for innovation, craft beer retail and best-in-class experience. In 2018 we introduced two products – a beer and food-matching experience and a gin masterclass. Both have been well received and, as a result, in the year to June 2019 more than 15,000 guests participated in experiences, a year-on-year growth of 19.4%. We have focused and invested in growing this part of our business and continue to explore new ideas to develop this essential part of our offering.” Gumbrell added: “We were 19th on the 2018 Sunday Times Fast Track 100, now we’ve been listed on the Stock Exchange Annual 1,000 Companies That Inspire Britain. Despite many challenges, the brand has evolved and adapted to maintain its place at the head of a market that sees the continued rise of craft beer.” Brewhouse & Kitchen operates 13 brewpubs plus nine franchise sites.

Patisserie Valerie appoints Purvis as finance director: Flour Power Group, the Causeway Capital-backed vehicle operating Patisserie Valerie, has appointed Richard Purvis as finance director, Propel has learned. Purvis joins the cafe chain from Tulip Food Company, where he spent more than two years as finance director. He was also previously finance director at DiSotto Foods and head of commercial finance at BrightHouse. Earlier this week, Propel revealed Causeway Capital had shut two Patisserie Valerie sites after taking the “difficult decision” to shut outlets in Lincoln and Hove in a move it described as “right for the business as a whole”. It leaves Patisserie Valerie with 94 sites but Propel understands no further closures are planned at this time. Patisserie Valerie went into administration after it was unable to secure new bank finance following the discovery in October of “potentially fraudulent” accounting irregularities that left a black hole in its finances that has turned out to be at least £94m. At the weekend, the Serious Fraud Office, which has opened a criminal investigation, said a further five people had been arrested. This follows the arrest last year of Patisserie Valerie’s former finance director, Chris Marsh, who was subsequently bailed.

Bone Daddies to launch fusion concept at flagship Oxford circus site: Bone Daddies Group, led by Ross Shonhan, is to launch a fusion concept as a “restaurant within a restaurant” at its flagship Flesh & Buns site in London’s Oxford Circus – with potential to open standalone venues. Poke-Don will marry Hawaiian/Japanese raw fish concept poke with donburi, the inspiration behind poke featuring cooked rice topped with ingredients from other parts of the menu. Poke-Don will open on Tuesday, 16 July offering dishes such as chilli-rubbed smoked brisket, ceviche, and chicken and vegetable katsu. The concept will be open at weekday lunchtimes, initially to eat in but with takeaway, click-and-collect and delivery options launching later this year. The company will also launch an outdoor seating area outside the venue at 32 Berners Street. Shonhan said: “Poke-Don is our exciting mix between traditional donburi and poke using Nikkei elements and the smoker in our Oxford Circus izakaya. We aim for this to be a quick and easy, yet premium lunch offering for Londoners. This is an exciting time to prove a new concept. We will then look to take it beyond Flesh & Buns.” Shonhan operates six Bone Daddies sites, two Flesh & Buns venues and fusion restaurant Shackfuyu, all in London. In April he launched his first international restaurant, in Dubai. A separate entity to Bone Daddies Group, Netsu is a warayaki-style Japanese steakhouse.

Boparan Holdings reports 19% rise in like-for-likes as turnaround strategy progresses: Boparan Holdings has reported a 19% rise in like-for-like sales in its third quarter to £21.9m as its turnaround strategy continues to progress. The Birmingham-headquartered business was affected by a hygiene scandal at its poultry plants and a downturn in the casual dining sector but its financial results have shown positive signs following a restructure in March that saw 27 Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner sites close. Like-for-like sales were up 1.2% to £663m, compared with £655.4m in the period a year ago. The figures are the group’s first year-on-year growth in like-for-like sales in ten quarters. The results include the full-quarter impact of the closure of 5 Star Fish and Cambuslang facilities, the return to sustainable profit of Gunstones Bakery and the restructure of Fox’s Uttoxeter facility, with cost reductions expected in 2019/20. Chief executive Ronald Kers told The Business Desk: “These results represent the first like-for-like Ebitda growth in two and a half years, providing confidence the turnaround actions are taking hold. The business still faces substantial challenges but these results represent an important first step in demonstrating we are stabilising the group and making sure we follow through with the right set of actions to deliver growth.” Kers said further divisional restructuring would continue. Earlier this week, Boparan Restaurant Group opened its fourth UK Slim Chickens restaurant, at a former Ed’s site in Birmingham. Boparan holds the master franchise rights for Slim Chickens in the UK and also operates two sites in London and one in Cardiff.

The Alchemist to replace Smollensky’s in Canary Wharf: The Alchemist, the 16-strong Simon Potts-led bar and restaurant concept, has secured a flagship site in Canary Wharf for an opening before the end of the year. Propel has learned the business, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has secured the remaining Smollensky’s site in Reuters Plaza. The Alchemist launched its latest site in Old Street, Shoreditch, last month and has further openings lined up in Brindleyplace in Birmingham, Gunwharf Quays in Portsmouth, and Embassy Gardens, London. The Canary Wharf and Embassy Gardens openings will take its estate in the capital to five sites. The company has been backed by Palatine since May 2015 and has seen turnover increase four-fold from £11.3m at the time of the investment to the £50m forecast in the year to March 2020. In March, Potts told Propel the company had enjoyed a “brilliant start” to 2019, with overall like-for-likes up 3.6%. Smollensky’s was owned by We Are Bar Group. Its sister site in the Strand closed earlier this year.

Mash Inns reports first operating profit following turnover boost: Mash Inns, the joint venture between Laine Pub Company and Enterprise Inns’ Managed Investments segment, has reported turnover increased to £1,430,000 for the year ending 30 September 2018, compared with £997,000 the year before. The company, which was incorporated in February 2016, made an operating profit of £48,000, compared with a loss of £52,000 the previous year. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £40,000 compared with £110,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Just after the year end, Mash Inns opened its fifth site – the Pull & Pump in Brighton. The company also operates the Ladywell Tavern in Lewisham, south London; the Old Albion in Hove; and The New Unity and Saint George’s Inn, both in Brighton. The directors didn’t recommend the payment of a dividend. Ei Group currently has 11 managed joint-venture partnerships, including Hippo Inns with Rupert Clevely and Frontier Pubs with Karen Jones.

Chipotle introduces cash bonus in bid to cut 145% staff turnover rate: Chipotle is introducing cash bonuses in a bid to retain employees and reduce its 145% staff turnover rate. The programme could result in an extra month’s pay each year for eligible hourly employees at restaurants that meet revenue goals. The first round of bonuses, a week’s worth of salary given each quarter, will be distributed in July at the end of the company’s second quarter. The brand operates about 2,500 restaurants employing more than 70,000 staff. Hourly workers at sites where the annual turnover rate reached almost 145% in 2018 must have been employed in the restaurant for the full quarter to be eligible for the bonus. More than one restaurant can qualify. Chipotle said the programme positioned the brand at the “forefront of the industry for attracting and retaining top talent to ensure the crew is as passionate about their work experience as guests are about the food”, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Chipotle’s bonus programme comes at a time when the industry, especially the quick-service segment, is challenged by employee turnover in a tight labour market. Chipotle’s annual turnover rate in 2018 for all hourly employees – including crew, kitchen and service managers – was 144.9%, according to the company’s Sustainability Report released in April, down from 158% the year before. Chipotle’s hourly employees and managers who work an average of more than 32 hours per week are also eligible for a bonus each December as long as they have been employed for at least one year. Meanwhile, Chipotle has launched a range of lifestyle bowls in its seven London restaurants. The new line includes a keto salad bowl, protein pump bowl and vegetarian and vegan options.

White Brasserie Company in talks to take over M&B pub on outskirts of Cheltenham: White Brasserie Company, the sister business to Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc chain, is in talks with Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) to take over a pub on the outskirts of Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The Kings Arms, which operated under M&B’s Crown Carveries brand, has been shut since December. Now White Brasserie Company is in discussions to take over the site. An M&B spokesman told Propel: “We continue to work on future opportunities for the site and are currently in discussions with The White Brasserie Company.” The White Brasserie Company, which currently operates 19 pubs, will open its next site – The Oaks in Highcliffe in Dorset – on Monday, 1 July having previously agreed a 20-year commercial free-of-tie lease with Ei Group’s commercial properties division. As previously reported by Propel, M&B is converting its Harvester restaurant in Cheltenham's Brewery Quarter to its second Son of Steak site.

Heavitree reports turnover boost although operating profit slips: Heavitree Brewery, the Exeter-based tenanted pub operator, has reported revenue increased 0.9% to £3,427,000 for the six months to 30 April 2019, compared with £3,398,000 the year before. Operating profit was down to £624,000, compared with £631,000 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down to £797,000, compared with £1,329,000 the year before when the company sold four sites. Chairman Nicholas Tucker said: “The reduction in operating profit has been a result of increased costs associated with external management services at three pubs that were traded over a period before new tenants were signed up. In turn, there has been an impact on our rental revenue (a reduction of 2.6% on the previous year) during this period between tenants. A house on the old St Loye’s Hotel site in Exeter has been sold having completed on 19 February 2019. Following the sale of a small block of flats on the site last year, the sale of this last house completes the sale of the properties developed on the garden of the pub in 2012. The second phase of our refurbishment of the Church House Inn in Stokenham comprising a new bar, a small extension and a new fire escape for bed and breakfast rooms has been completed. We look forward to a healthy contribution from this house over the summer months. I am pleased with this steady performance for the half year with the company trading in line with last year and I feel, despite the continuing political uncertainty, we are well positioned going into the second half of the year.”

LXi REIT acquires portfolio of 14 pubs let to Greene King as part of £135m investment: A portfolio of 14 pubs let to brewer and retailer Greene King has been acquired by investor LXi REIT. The food-led pubs are in Cheshire, County Durham, Lancashire, Manchester, Newcastle, Staffordshire and Yorkshire. Each property has been let to Greene King, with 15-year unexpired and unbroken lease terms, with annual rent reviews to a fixed uplift of 2.5% per annum compounded. LXi REIT has also acquired a 78-bedroom hotel in Cumbria by way of a pre-let forward-funding deal. The Travelodge and Costa Coffee shop in Workington has been pre-let on a new 25-year unbroken lease. The move is part of a string of new investments for LXi REIT totalling £135m, which also includes the acquisition of a supermarket and a distribution facility. LXi REIT partner John White said: “We are pleased to have swiftly and carefully deployed £135m of the net proceeds of our recent £200m capital raise in secure, long-let and index-linked assets. We look forward to investing the balance in short order from our advanced pipeline of additional assets, which are expected to deliver further value for our shareholders.”

Thali Cafe debut site bought by head chef following company’s liquidation: The debut site of Bristol-based Thali Cafe is set to live on after it was bought by its head chef. Ramesh Prasad has reopened the Montpelier venue under the Thali name having bought it through new company AR Junoon. Thali Cafe went into liquidation this month as its Southville and Clifton restaurants were shut. The move came two months after Thali’s Totterville site was closed to give the business “security” by its new owners, Jugaard, which bought the company out of administration last year. Jugaard was founded by former Thali staff including kitchen manager Jose Blanco Rodriguez, operations manager Dominka Paulina Sawicka-Harris and Michael Dillon, an investor who owned 75% of the company. Prasad told Bristol Live: “On 9 June we were all told we had lost our jobs. It was difficult to take as I had been head chef since 2008. I wanted to reopen the Montpelier site because it’s familiar to me and I don’t want to let our loyal customers down.” He said the menu would remain unchanged with things taken “back to basics”, as it was when Thali first started out. The Easton site is also still running with Rodriguez at the helm, while the Southville venue has been put up for sale.

Suffolk-based Two Magpies Bakery ‘triples sales to £2.5m’: Suffolk-based Two Magpies Bakery, which has expanded from one cafe to three in the past six months, has reported an estimated sales increase to £2.5m this year from £720,000 in 2018. The company, which produces bread, cakes and pastries at its site in Southwold, acquired a bakery in Aldeburgh in September 2018 followed by a third site in Darsham, which opened in April housing the brand’s cookery school. Rebecca Bishop launched the company six years ago and now runs the bakeries with husband Steve Magnall, who stepped down as chief executive of St Peter’s Brewery in September. Magnall said: “In just six months we’ve gone from 18 covers in Southwold to more than 100 across the three sites. We run our cookery school courses at Darsham, which allows us to concentrate on serving customers and selling more baked goods through our three cafes. Aldeburgh has a thriving high street, which makes it a perfect location for us and we’ve quickly built a loyal customer base. Our Southwold site is still incredibly popular and Darsham is receiving a good passing trade as well as a regular customer base.”

Smokestak and Kitty Fisher’s chefs to launch Italian restaurant in Mayfair: David Carter, chef and founder of Smokestak, and Chris Leach, who has worked as a chef at Petersham Nurseries and Kitty Fisher’s, are teaming up to launch a restaurant in Mayfair, Propel understands. It is thought the pair will launch the concept next month at 10 Heddon Street, which was formerly occupied by contemporary restaurant Magpie. It is understood the concept takes inspiration from the “regional cooking Leach encountered on his travels through Rome, Bologna and Napoli” and is thought to have a working title of Manteca. The company said “simplicity, conviviality, commitment to local producers and a fun and informal vibe” would be at the heart of the restaurant.

Cru Holdings to open speakeasy-style bar in Inverness: Scotland-based operator Cru Holdings will launch a venture in Inverness on Friday (28 June). Speakeasy-style bar Angels’ Share will open in Ness Walk above the company’s steak and seafood restaurant Prime in a space previously occupied by Riva Pizzeria. Angels’ Share will focus on whisky, gin and cocktails. Cru Holdings managing director Scott Murray said: “Following the success of Prime and customer response to the high-quality local produce we use, we were keen to add a bar that showcases local spirits in a sophisticated but welcoming atmosphere.” Cru Holdings also owns Scotch & Rye and Bar One in Inverness as well as High Spirits in Falkirk.

Flip Out launches Lakeside trampoline park for 23rd site: Trampoline park operator Flip Out has opened a 30,000 square foot attraction at Intu Lakeside’s £72m leisure development. Flip Out joins leisure brands such as Hollywood Bowl at the Essex leisure complex, with family entertainment centre Nickelodeon Adventure and Puttshack, the Social Entertainment Ventures-operated mini-golf concept, to open later this year. Flip Out’s new site includes a ninja tag game, obstacle course, battle beams, parkour stunt area, wipeout zones and the UK’s longest traverse climbing wall. Flip Out general manager Shaf Allyman said: “The leisure development at Intu Lakeside offers a compelling experience for customers that’s driving footfall and creating an environment for operators like us to thrive.” Intu regional managing director Rebecca Ryman added: “We are pleased to welcome Flip Out and can’t wait for visitors to enjoy its unique offering.” The leisure development will also feature Market Halls’ first out-of-town concept, The Hall, while restaurants set to launch include Chiktopia, the better chicken concept led by former Ole & Steen UK operations director Alastair Gordon and backed by senior industry figures. In April, Flip Out launched a Total Wipeout-inspired aqua park in Northampton, the first of 25 planned across Europe. The company currently operates 23 trampoline parks in the UK with its website labelling another nine as “coming soon”.

BrewBroker hits 500-trader milestone: BrewBroker, the online market place for the global brewing industry, has welcomed the 500th trader to its platform. Chief executive Daniel Rowntree and chief technical officer Ben Morgan-Smith launched BrewBroker in September 2018 with the aim of enabling businesses to search, sell and buy brewing services from each other. The platform directs users to fill out their tender, which are then matched to suppliers based on volume, style and requirements. Launching an analysis of its business, more than two-fifths (44%) of BrewBroker customers are startup brands or breweries, followed by individuals (22%) and established brewers (17%). More than two-thirds (68%) of its customers require contract brewing, with the rest looking for white label tenders. Regarding beer styles brewed, more than half (54%) were lager, followed by IPA (40%). The most popular dietary option is vegan (59%). In March, BrewBroker launched in the US. 

LT Management reports turnover and profit boost: LT Management, the sector’s largest outsourced management company, led by Billy Buchanan, has reported increased revenue in the year to 30 December 2018 to £38.90m as the business continues to provide outsourced services to the licensed and leisure industry as well as having diversified into additional new business segments. Pre-tax profit rose from £293,000 to £394,000 in the year. The company said it remained the port of call for many clients in relation to short-term solutions but continued reinvestment of its revenues in significant improvements in systems, the growth of its head office team and investment in its operational team had seen the business grow its longer-term management contracts. Buchanan has told Propel: “In a sector that has had its challenges over the years, we are finding existing and prospective clients want to work with partners that can deliver cost savings and drive revenue and returns, and LT Management has built a strong track record of doing this. We continually reinvest to ensure we are providing the best possible solution to all our clients.”

Starbucks appoints new agency for UK media planning account: Starbucks has appointed Havas Group Media to handle its £2.5m UK media planning and buying account. The result of the process comes a year after the company appointed Havas Helia as its first Europe-wide customer engagement agency. Havas Group Media replaces Manning Gottlieb OMD, which had worked with Starbucks since 2000. Reuben Arnold, vice-president of marketing and product at Starbucks EMEA, told Campaign that Manning Gottlieb OMD had played a “pivotal role” in Starbucks’ growth in a number of key markets. It was Starbucks’ third agency review in less than two years. The brand chose Iris to handle EMEA advertising in November 2017.

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