Young’s chief financial officer steps down: London pub retailer Young’s has announced chief financial officer Steve Robinson has resigned and left the business to pursue other interests. The company said it expects to appoint an interim chief financial officer in the new year while the board searches for a permanent successor. Robinson joined Young’s in June 2009 and became head of finance in September 2013. He joined the board in September 2016 when he succeeded Peter Whitehead as chief financial officer. Young’s chairman Stephen Goodyear said: "On behalf of the board I would like to thank Steve for his contribution to Young’s during the past nine-and-a-half years, especially in the role of chief financial officer since September 2016. We wish him well for the future.” Abokado moves outside central London heartland for 24th store, first site to trade at weekends: Healthy eating chain Abokado, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, has moved outside its central London heartland to open a store in Hammersmith. The site is the brand’s first to trade at weekends and to offer its new look, developed with London design agency Mystery, which focuses on providing a “comfortable, calm and elevated feel”. Abokado said the move Read More
D&D London appoints new chief financial officer: Restaurant operator D&D London has appointed Alan Clark as chief financial officer. Clark has held a number of board-level financial positions for luxury hotel groups with substantial food and beverage operations. He was finance director for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin and Rocco Forte Hotels in the UK. In his most recent roles, Clark was chief financial officer for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and latterly group chief financial officer for Sandals Resorts International. D&D London chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena said: “Alan joins us at a very exciting time. Our business continues to expand. We have opened a number of restaurants in the UK and in New York in the last year and we have a substantial pipeline of UK and overseas projects. Alan’s knowledge and international experience will be a big asset.” Clark added: “I am incredibly excited to join the group and look forward to contributing to expanding the business further.” Leon secures second US site as it doubles up in Washington DC: Natural fast food brand Leon has secured its second US site. The company is doubling up in Washington DC after signing a lease to open a Read More
Gaucho shows first signs of recovery since administration with 8% year-on-year covers rise in November, further strengthens leadership team:Steak brand Gaucho has shown its first signs of recovery since exiting administration with an 8% year-on-year rise in covers during November. It comes as the company said cover numbers had been minus 7% in the year to date on a like-for-like basis. Martin Williams, M Restaurants founder and a former managing director of Gaucho, was brought in to lead the brand as it exited administration in October after its acquisition by Lomo Bidco, an entity owned by Investec Bank and SC Lowy. He immediately brought in a new menu featuring “classic” and “nuevo” sections that offer a preview of how the management team plans to develop the business during 2019 as well as cut prices. It appears the moves are beginning to pay dividends. Williams said: “We are delighted to see nearly 80,000 diners returned to Gaucho last month to try the new, higher-quality, lower-priced menus. The feedback from guests has been amazing and we are welcoming back many regulars as well as seeing a new, younger demographic try Gaucho for the first time.” Williams has also strengthened Gaucho’s leadership team Read More
Chilango extends bond offer to support expansion plans into 2019: Mexican brand Chilango has extended its Burrito Bond 2 offer into 2019 to support its expansion plans. The company launched the offer in October and surpassed its initial £1m target within 24 hours. It increased that target to £2.5m, with the offer due to have closed on Sunday (2 December). However, it has decided to extend the offer into next year as it looks to raise more funds with “new site opportunities on the horizon”. So far, the bond has raised £2,380,500 – exceeding the £2.1m it raised in 2014 from more than 700 investors through its inaugural mini-bond offer on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Investors this time around include former Itsu managing director David Haimes, ex-Domino’s Pizza chief executive Chris Moore and former McDonald’s UK marketing vice-president Laurie Morgan. The Burrito Bond 2 is offering 8% interest annually over four years, with bondholders offered the opportunity to redeem their bond in full at maturity. The minimum investment is £500. The funds will be used to open restaurants at a circa cash outlay of £500,000 per site and refinance existing debt. Chilango had net sales of £10.7m for the year ending Read More
Prezzo chief financial officer steps down: Prezzo chief financial officer Wayne Arthur has stepped down, Propel has learned. Arthur joined Prezzo in September 2016 from Whitbread-owned Premier Inn and replaced Alan Miller. Prezzo executive chairman Karen Jones said: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Wayne for all he has done. During his time at Prezzo he has seen us through some major events, including reshaping the estate and stabilising the financial structure, leaving us in a much stronger position as we look ahead to 2019 and beyond. Wayne will always be a friend of Prezzo and its people and we wish him every success in the future.” Earlier this month Prezzo, which is owned by private equity firm TPG, reported an operating loss of £65m for 2017 after it closed more than 100 restaurants, restructured its debts and its main backer wrote off two-thirds of its investment. The company now has 186 rather than 300 restaurants.   Boston Tea Party sees ‘marked uplift in customers drinking in’ six months on from single-use coffee cup ban: All-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party (BTP) has seen a “marked uplift in customers drinking in” six months on from the Read More
Debbie Hewitt – Wagamama deal creates ‘raft of new opportunities’ for TRG: The Restaurant Group (TRG) chairman Debbie Hewitt has said its acquisition of Wagamama creates a “raft of new opportunities” for the company to capitalise on. The £559m deal was approved by shareholders on Wednesday (28 November) after 60% voted in favour. TRG will use a combination of cash, debt and a £315m fully underwritten rights issue to fund the acquisition. Hewitt said: “The acquisition of Wagamama creates a raft of new opportunities for us to capitalise on in the months and years ahead. We look forward to welcoming the Wagamama team into the business post-completion and thank them alongside all our TRG colleagues for keeping focused on delivering for our customers. We have engaged extensively with investors throughout this transaction and appreciate the time all have given. We are pleased the majority of our shareholders have approved the acquisition and the associated rights issue and would like to thank them for the support they have shown. We are confident the deal will create significant long-term value.” TRG said it had noted 40% of shareholders had voted against the deal and would continue to engage with investors to address Read More
Pizza Hut launches first UK loyalty programme that rewards delivery customers: Pizza Hut is to launch its first UK loyalty programme that rewards delivery customers as competition in the market continues to grow. The Hut Rewards programme will enable customers to earn a special reward currency – “slices” – with one slice earned for every £10 spent. The rewards will be split into three levels – consumers will receive a free side dish for five slices, a free medium pizza for seven slices, and a free large pizza for ten slices, at which point the programme restarts. Hut Rewards will only be achieved on delivery orders placed online or via the Pizza Hut app, which currently make up 80% of total orders. The roll-out across more than 400 sites nationwide makes the UK the first market in Europe to introduce the rewards programme following its launch in the US and Canada last year. Stephan Croix, chief sales and brand officer at Pizza Hut Europe and UK, told Marketing Week: “The ambition is to make Hut Rewards the easiest and richest loyalty programme in the food delivery segment. We have spent a lot of time simplifying and making it easier and Read More
Malmaison and Hotel du Vin commission virtual tours: Malmaison and Hotel du Vin have commissioned 3D virtual tours of 12 of their hotels. The tours, created by Venue View, will allow prospective customers to fully explore hotel facilities, restaurants, and private meeting and events spaces. Venue View specialises in creating tours for the hospitality industry using Matterport technology to provide a “realistic and interactive virtual experience”. Tours will be created for six Malmaison boutique hotels – in Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Brighton and Oxford – and six Hotel du Vins – in Birmingham, Glasgow, Brighton, Henley-on-Thames, Wimbledon and Bristol. Malmaison head of meetings and events Andrew Picketts said: “I can’t wait to start sharing the finished tours. They will form a key part of our long-term strategy of ramping up our efforts to establish ourselves as a market leader for meetings and events, with our added benefit of superb food and beverage, which elevates events to the next level.” Venue View managing director Keith McMahon said: “Along with a smooth and immersive 3D walkthrough, we will add key information throughout each tour to include menus, room offerings, and meetings and events facilities to instantly give guests and visitors access to Read More
ETM Group reports Ebitda jumps 202.6% as turnover hits £27m: ETM Group, the 14-strong bar and restaurant company, has reported turnover grew 34.7% to £27m for the year ending 29 February 2018, driven by positive like-for-like growth, an increase in events and pre-booked sales and continued site expansion. Group Ebitda jumped 202.6% to £2.7m, compared with £0.9m the year before – underpinned by sales growth, gross margin improvements and a focus on direct costs. The company opened two new City of London sites in 2018 – Long Arm Pub & Brewery and Broadleaf, which the company said were trading successfully. In April, the business secured a £10m funding package with HSBC to secure its growth plans. ETM Group also opened Maple at Westfield London in the summer and further sites have been secured for 2019, including Redwood, the company’s fourth sports-led venue, at London Bridge. ETM Group said there was a strong pipeline of additional sites in place and, as previously stated, is committed to expand significantly over the next five years. The group’s sports-led venues, Greenwood, Broadleaf and Long Arm, supported with strong marketing and digital campaigns, experiencing significant sales uplift over major sporting events such as the Six Read More
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 Read More
Ralph Findlay – ‘I can’t remember a time when I’ve seen more opportunities presented’: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay has told Propel a number of factors have led to a record number of businesses being put on the market. Factors that have prompted vendors to hoist “for sale” signs include uncertainty surrounding Brexit and an unprecedented rise in costs for operators. “I can’t recall a period where I’ve see more opportunities presented to us,” he said. Marston’s has previously announced it is taking a prudent approach to capital plans in 2019, with a £30m net capex reduction. It still has plans to open ten pubs, restaurants and bars and five lodges. Findlay said this year had been an “extraordinary one”, with the Beast From The East wiping £3m from its profits, the collapse of its major meat supplier and a severe Co2 shortage among the challenging events it faced. After Wednesday’s full-year results, Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack said: “We are holding our forecasts. These expect circa 1% like-for-like sales and slight margin reduction in D&P and Taverns’ combined managed pubs, with management expecting to mitigate most cost increases. We estimate the company’s plans to maintain dividends and reduce Read More
Hugh Osmond – restaurant industry shake-out ‘well overdue with plenty of closures still to come’: Various Eateries chairman Hugh Osmond has said a shake-out in the restaurant industry has been “well overdue” with plenty of closures “still to come”. However, he added tough times would leave the best venues “stronger” while, for the first time for several years, the company, which operates the Strada and Coppa Club brands as well as cafe concept Above and Below, is seeing good properties available at realistic rents as it prepares for further expansion. The restaurant industry is witnessing tough times with companies such as Carluccio’s, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Jamie’s Italian undergoing company voluntary arrangements. The continued pressure on the sector was highlighted in the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker, with casual dining operators seeing like-for-like sales decline 0.3% in October. Speaking on the back of Various Eateries’ results for the year ending 1 October 2017, which saw pre-tax losses increase to £23.6m following the closure of a number of Strada sites, Osmond said: “A shake-out in the restaurant industry was well overdue and, although we have taken some pain in a few expensive properties we should have sold more quickly, I welcome Read More
Azzurri Group – 'we have national roll-out plans for Coco di Mama': Azzurri Group, which operates Zizzi and ASK Italian, has reported it has national roll-out plans for it 21-strong coffee and quick-service Italian brand Coco di Mama. In it annual report the company stated: "The next chapter will see the brand lay the business foundations to scale-up, with national roll-out plans on the horizon. The year ahead will see sales growth delivered via further site expansion in London, as well as continued focus on the sales delivery channels." The company reported the six openings in the previous year "have experienced a strong maturity curve and delivered strong year-on-year growth”. In its early years, Coco Di Mama's sales were primarily driven by coffee and fast pasta in the City. Over the past year, the business has explored new sales channels and broadened the brand proposition ready to scale-up beyond its heartland. A strong focus on the delivery sales channel is seeing structural growth, through both third-party platforms and its own direct model. Azzurri Group said new store openings in the West End and west London were the foundations for growing the brand’s presence outside of the City and proving the Read More
Patrick Dardis – Brexit deal ‘far from perfect’ but ‘ticks the right boxes’, performance is proof we don’t need to change our strategy: Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel the Brexit deal is “far from perfect” but “ticks the right boxes”. He said: “What we need is to have an orderly exit but I fear that is not going to happen. We need politicians on all sides of the spectrum to support this – but I don't think they will. If MPs vote this down, I don’t think the people of this country will forgive them. It’s far from perfect but it was nigh on impossible to get exactly what we wanted and this deal does tick the boxes businesses need. The alternative is no deal and I’m not sure that’s right for us. I hope common sense prevails.” Dardis said Young’s consistent performance was proof there was no need to change its strategy. He said like-for-like sales had, on average, been up 5.6% over the past seven years, while sales were growing in all areas of the business. Drink sales in the first half of the current financial year were up 10.2%, with Read More
Kate Nicholls outlines Brexit deal:   UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has outlined the major points of the Brexit deal agreed by the cabinet yesterday. She told members: “I have just come off a call with No 10 on the detail and the team and I have met with ministers from BEIS and DEFRA. The following is a summary.   We will go through this with a fine tooth comb to provide a more detailed briefing in due course. Chancellor described today’s cabinet agreement as a ‘decisive step forward’ in agreeing in principle the terms of our orderly withdrawal from EU and the broad terms of our future trading arrangement. We understand that there was not full cabinet unanimity but there is collective agreement. Full legal text (585 pages) has been agreed with the European Commission and guarantees EU citizens rights for those working in the UK – as per previous briefing any EU citizen entering before the end of the transition period would have a right to remain to gain settled status. There are new right for tourists and visitors between the EU and UK to move without visa or additional checks. Time limited implementation period agreed and Read More
All-natural deli and meal delivery service Detox Kitchen launches £550,000 crowdfunding campaign: All-natural meal delivery service Detox Kitchen has launched a £550,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to meet growing demand. The company is offering 7.28% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £7m. Private equity-backed Detox Kitchen has delivered more than one million meals to thousands of customers in the capital and also operates two central London delis, which serve more than 2,500 customers a week between them. Funds raised would be used to increase kitchen capacity, invest in a technology platform for delivery services, and grow its marketing team. The pitch states: “Detox Kitchen aims to be one of the most disruptive brands in the diet and healthy food markets in the UK. From humble beginnings, founder Lily Simpson and her team have built a globally recognised, profitable and forward-thinking brand. We passionately believe healthy food should be as delicious as it is nutritious so we create real food from real ingredients. We conveniently deliver meals directly to our customers’ doors as well as serving an array of fresh salads at our two central London delis and in selected retail outlets. Since our launch Read More
Extra MSA unveils first tenants for £60m ‘new concept’ service station on M1: Extra MSA Group has unveiled the first tenants to operate at its £60m “new concept” motorway service station at Junction 45 of the M1. Natural fast food brand Leon, PizzaExpress, fish and chip chain Harry Ramsden’s, which is owned by Boparan Restaurant Group, and noodle brand Chopstix are among the restaurants that will open in the food court. Starbucks, Burger King, KFC, Upper Crust, Mi Casa, The Pasty Shop and Urban Express will also join the line-up at the site near Leeds. SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has been “contracted” for a number of the leases. SSP UK & Ireland chief executive Simon Smith told The Business Desk: “We are delighted to be working with Extra MSA Group to bring a fantastic portfolio of brands to the new food court. There will truly be something for everyone, and we look forward to the summer 2019 opening date.” The services will also house a 100-bedroom Ramada Hotel, while leisure and gaming facilities will be operated by Playnation. Extra MSA Group chief executive Andrew Long said: “Extra MSAs across the UK already feature leading brands and Read More
Tim Martin – average sales in Ireland higher than in the UK: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has told Propel average sales per pub at his five venues in the Republic of Ireland are now higher than in the UK. The company plans to open four further pubs in Ireland before summer 2019 – two in Dublin, one in Carlow and one in Waterford. Martin sees parallels with the Brexit situation. Diageo declined to supply Guinness in the Republic at the same price as in the UK so Wetherspoon opted to stock Beamish instead – with no obvious effect on sales. Martin said: “My dad worked for Diageo for many years – they effectively paid for my education – but I said at the time Diageo declined to supply I would never speak to them about it again, ever. But it’s important to stay friends. We took the same approach when the supplier of Peroni declined to supply us with Peroni on draught – it’s important to stay friends. Our approach to Brexit should be to say ‘sorry, quite busy at the moment and we’re not going to pay you anything – that’s the end of negotiations’. When you prioritise Read More
Dirty Martini on the market: Dirty Martini, the 12-strong cocktail brand that is 80% owned by David Coffer and family, has been put on the market after unsolicited approaches, The Sunday Times has reported. It is operated by CG Restaurants and Bars, which has total revenues of £22m and also operates Tuttons in Covent Garden and pizza restaurant Fire & Stone. Stonegate Pub Company, which acquired another cocktail bar brand, Be At One, in July for an undisclosed sum, is among a number of companies thought to be interested. Sourced Market hits £750,000 target on Crowdcube: Sourced Market, the hybrid deli and dining brand with four London locations, including a flagship site at St Pancras station, has hit its £750,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube – and is now “overfunding”. Investors are offered 6.98% of the equity for their investment, which gives the company a £10m pre-money valuation. Sourced Market is backed by Pembroke VCT and had £6.4m net revenue last year. On average, more than 11,000 customers per week are served at its St Pancras store. The company previously raised £1m of investment through a Crowdcube bond in 2016. Chopstix unveils ‘next-generation’ design format with Westfield Stratford launch: Noodle Read More
Immersive bingo experience to launch in east London next month: An immersive bingo experience is to launch in east London next month. Dabbers Social Bingo will aim to reinvigorate the experience, replacing cups of tea with cocktails, bingo callers with comedians and “dreary prizes” with “incredible experiences”. Entrepreneur Ed Wethered will team up with the brains behind Musical Bingo, Gospeloke, and Comedy House Party, with backing from the founder of Picturehouse Cinemas, to launch the venture in Houndsditch. Dabbers will “repurpose and modernise” bingo via interactive game show elements and a new food and drink offering. The menu will feature a contemporary take on all things round, including melon balls wrapped in ham, and round waffles with crumble and cinnamon sugar. Drinks will include craft beer, cocktails and wine. Guests will be able to tuck into treats as they play bingo, with drinks and dishes served at table. The experience will include classic bingo on Tuesday nights hosted by veteran callers “coaxed out of retirement”. Bingo Voyage on Fridays will offer an exclusive weekend away as the main prize. Disco Bingo on Saturday nights will feature UV lights, while comedians will host Family Brunch bingo on Sundays. A spokeswoman said: Read More
Bill's marketing director steps down, third senior departure in recent weeks: Camilla Katte has stepped down as marketing director of Bill's Restaurants, owned by Richard Caring – its third senior departure in recent weeks, Propel has learned. Katte has been replaced by Lesley McIlroy, who was previously group marketing manager at Comptoir Group. Prior to that she worked for companies including Peach Pub Company, brewer and retailer Greene King and Dorset brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse. Katte joined Bill's from Thai restaurant group Giggling Squid in May this year. A Bill's spokeswoman told Propel: "Camilla Katte has decided to move on from Bill’s marketing team to focus on new opportunities. The team welcomes Lesley McIlroy as its new head of marketing." In recent weeks, Bill's has seen former chief executive Duncan Garrood leave to join Ten Entertainment Group while Graham Ford left as chief operating officer to join Carluccio's as commercial director. BrewDog strengthens team with three senior appointments: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has strengthened its team with three senior appointments. Propel has learned the company has appointed Jon Evans as chief marketing officer for its global business. Evans has joined after two years as marketing director for Read More
Inn Collection Group appoints new chairman: The Inn Collection Group, which is owned by Alchemy Partners, has appointed Ian Goulding as its new chairman as the nine-strong operator enters its next stage of growth and development. Goulding is co-founder and former chief financial officer of 26-site QHotels. The Inn Collection Group chief executive Sean Donkin said: “Ian has a wealth of commercial experience and specific experience in hospitality that will be of great value to us at a crucial time as we begin the next phase of our buy-and-build growth plans. Expansion brings with it a number of challenges – not only finding properties that meet our pubs with rooms blueprint of providing quality accommodation, food and beverages in contemporary inn environments, but ensuring the business can accommodate the increased portfolio. Having achieved this with great success on several occasions with QHotels, we will draw on Ian’s wisdom and experience as we progress the continual evolution of The Inn Collection Group.” Goulding, who also co-founded and was chief financial officer of Paramount hotels for ten years, added: “What The Inn Collection Group has brought to the industry is unique and its approach excited me. For more than a decade we Read More
Casual Dining Group appoints advisers to help cut rents: Casual Dining Group has called in advisers as it looks to negotiate cutting rents at a handful of sites with landlords. The company said it faced a “tough operating environment” and needed to reduce costs further. Casual Dining Group, which has nearly 300 restaurants under brands such as Las Iguanas and Bella Italia, is working with Alvarez & Marsal. Propel understands Casual Dining Group has performed particularly strongly over the past quarter, and there is no prospect of the business entering into a company voluntary arrangement, as it did in 2014. However, it is looking at cutting high rents being paid at a handful of sites to protect the core business and brands, and to ensure it is well positioned for the future. A spokesman said: “Like many other businesses we are facing a tough operating environment, and are focused on reducing costs where possible. A small number of our sites are loss-making due to high rents and rates, and we are taking action to ensure the core business is in good shape for future growth. Talking to landlords is commonplace and good business practice.” Luke Johnson relinquishes Patisserie Holdings salary, Read More
Black and White Hospitality appoints former Tesco head of restaurants as managing director: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to seven restaurant brands belonging to chef Marco Pierre White, has appointed Brandie Deignan as managing director to head its franchising division. Deignan will oversee growth of the company’s franchising business while ensuring venues deliver a “consistent and high-end service”. Deignan joins Black and White Hospitality from British Airways, where she led the business transformation team focusing on the airline’s food, lounge and in-flight elements. Before that she was head of operations for Tesco’s hospitality brands, covering the UK and Ireland with responsibility for the Giraffe and Harris + Hoole brand conversions as well as Tesco’s cafe offering. Her CV also includes extensive experience at Whitbread, Travelodge and the Hilton Group. The number of Black and White Hospitality franchises will pass 50 by the end of 2018. Deignan said: “Black and White Hospitality is a young, dynamic business that is expanding rapidly. It has a very strong portfolio of brands and the business model of aligning the restaurant brands with hotels has proved very successful. With 50 sites, I’ll be looking to ensure consistency is maintained across all venues, Read More
Former Druckers boss David Scott refutes Patisserie Valerie takeover claims: Former Druckers boss David Scott has refuted suggestions he intends to make a takeover bid for Patisserie Valerie, the company whose shares have been suspended since a £40m black hole was found in its accounts. The Sunday Times reported Scott, who used to run Druckers Vienna Patisserie, a Birmingham-based group of cafes sold to Patisserie Valerie in 2007, had backing from a family-run private equity firm and was “gently” speaking to some of the shareholders. But Scott has said he has no intention of making an offer or otherwise acquire shares in Patisserie Valerie. He said: "Despite the media reports, I have not appointed nor do I intend to appoint a company to liaise with shareholders on my behalf and I have no interest in making an offer for or acquiring shares in Patisserie Valerie or any related companies." Patisserie Valerie's shares have been suspended since it discovered “significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities” on 10 October. Finance director Chris Marsh, who was suspended and then arrested before being released on bail, resigned on Friday (26 October). Chairman Luke Johnson stepped in with a rescue deal after the discovery of Read More
The Restaurant Group shares crash after Wagamama deal unveiled: Shares in The Restaurant Group (TRG) fell 14% at one stage on Tuesday (30 October) after the group announced it is to acquire Wagamama for £559m. The Restaurant Group will buy the pan-Asian restaurant chain from its private equity owners Duke Street and Hutton Collins using a combination of cash, debt and a rights issue. TRG chief executive Andy McCue said the deal would "create substantial value" for shareholders – who however were not impressed by the news, with shares falling 14% to 256p in morning trading. Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the acquisition was a "brave move", given the high street was saturated with casual dining restaurants and the "iffy consumer outlook". He said: "Growth is about more than getting bigger and while the deal would add a little under 200 new restaurants to its 509-strong portfolio, there have to be serious question marks over the scope to expand Wagamama – even if it is a successful operator. The fact Wagamama is being bought out of private equity ownership is not necessarily a positive either. While it is not always the case, private equity assets can often Read More
Benugo owner appoints people and talent director: Westbury Street Holdings (WSH), the parent company of hospitality brands including Benugo, Searcys, BaxterStorey and Caterlink, has appointed Maria Stanford as people and talent director. Stanford will join the company in January, leading HR teams across the entire WSH portfolio. She joins WSH following a successful career in HR, including 11 years at luxury retailer Selfridges Group. During her tenure, Stanford held senior HR roles in the businesses and became the first group HR director, working across all four brands in Europe and Canada. In addition to her previous roles at Selfridges, Stanford has held senior positions at Marks & Spencer and Pret A Manger, as well as providing consultancy work for Wagamama, PizzaExpress, Chanel and Fenwick. WSH chairman and chief executive Alastair Storey said: “Maria brings with her a wealth of experience of successfully leading teams at a number of coveted businesses. We have seen a 35% increase in our teams, with employee numbers growing by more than 6,000 since 2014. These people are at the very heart of WSH and Maria’s passion for driving career development makes her ideally placed to lead our committed, growing workforce.” Stanford added: “WSH continues to Read More
Fleurets markets nine Revolution freeholds with £20.2m asking price: Agent Fleurets has been instructed by real estate investment firm Aprirose to market nine pub freehold investments, currently let to Revolution Bar Group. Ed Sandall, from Fleurets, said: “Each of the nine properties marketed have identical FRI leases, with 14 years unexpired. Marketed off a total guide price of £20,200,000, the portfolio’s total rental income amounts to £1,461,430 per annum, reflecting a 6.78% net initial yield.” Located across the north of England and the Midlands, the investment opportunities are all located in prime leisure pitches, and available as a package or individually. Sites are located in Huddersfield, Lancaster, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, two in Manchester, Newcastle-under-Lyme and Wolverhampton.   Gary Pettet steps down as executive chairman of Laine Pub Company:Long-serving Laine Pub Company executive chairman Gary Pettet has stepped down. The company said: “Gary Pettet has stepped down as executive chairman of the Laine Pub Company in order to focus on his other business interests. Originally appointed by Graphite Capital in 2002 to oversee its investment in late-night bar operator C-Side, he led a 2007 merger with Brighton pub operator Zelgrain to create the business that now trades as Laine Pub Company Read More
Le Bistrot Pierre reports turnover and profit boost: Le Bistrot Pierre has reported turnover rose to £32,531,323 in the year to 30 June 2018, up from £25,762,307 the year before. Profit before tax was £182,108, compared to a loss of £966,795 the year before. Trading Ebitda was £2.5m, compared to £1.81m the year before. In August 2017, the company secured additional investment of £3m from its shareholders in the form of loan notes and share capital. The company stated: “This investment demonstrates the confidence the group’s investors continue to have in the Bistrot Pierre brand, offering and management team.” Nick White took over as chief executive in May 2018, stepping up from chief operating officer. His promotion came as chief executive John Whitehead, who co-founded the business with Robert Beacham in 1994, stepped down. The company opened sites in Middlesbrough and Southport during the year and has opened venues in Preston and Coventry since the year-end. It has also opened a first site for sub-brand Rooms by Bistrot Pierre, with a 14-bedroom property at Royal William Yard in Plymouth. Eataly to open sixth US site, in Las Vegas, featuring more ‘immersive and interactive experience’: Eataly, the largest Italian food hall Read More
UKHospitality presses prime minister over Brexit concerns: UKHospitality has pressed prime minister Theresa May over sector concerns regarding post-Brexit migration and food supply. Attending the prime minister’s briefing to business leaders and trade bodies on the outcome of the EU Council meeting and Brexit negotiations, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “For the first time hospitality was included and I was able to press the PM on the sector’s concerns. I raised the issue of migration and access to labour and the PM reiterated previous proposals to allow freedom of movement during transition and to allow workers arriving before 31 December 2020 to apply for settled status remained on track and in the withdrawal agreement. On post-Brexit migration, she recognised there was a high degree of concern and said new migration rules would be developed in consultation and adopted after transition and emphasised they would allow the British economy to ‘access the talent it needs’ – an interesting alternative message to the one on skills suggesting there may be a willingness to talk sensibly about lower or semi-skilled workers. The PM accepted it was important to talk about fresh food supplies and the impact on hospitality and retail rather than Read More
Villandry had accumulated losses of £7.3m when it went into administration, creditors owed £8.2m: Villandry, the restaurant chain run by the former Le Pain Quotidien director Philippe Le Roux, had accumulated losses of £7.3m when it went into administration after “consistent and significant operating losses” in recent years, a new document has revealed. A statement of proposals by administrators Martha Thompson and Sarah Rayment, of BDO, filed at Companies House, showed creditors were owed £8.2m. The report revealed Villandry’s financial position “significantly worsened” after it was issued with a notice to terminate its lease at its Bicester Village site in April 2017, which provided almost half the company’s turnover. The administrators said increased rent, business rates and labour costs as well as increased competition also contributed to the operating losses. Accounts showed for the year ending March 2016 turnover was £10,295,505 with a loss after tax of £683,564. In March 2017, the company had turnover of £10,378,839 but the loss after tax had more than doubled, to £1,482,459. Accumulated losses at this point stood at £7,338,980. The report revealed secured creditor Santander is owed £1.1m. Any distribution will be dependent on a sale of the company’s assets and restaurant leases. Read More
Redcomb Pubs reports turnover and profit boost: Multi-site operator Redcomb Pubs, founded by Dan Shotton and Mark Draper, has reported turnover increased to £16,756,797 for the year ending 30 June 2018, compared with £15,155,421 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was up to £707,720 compared with £632,367 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “During the year, two acquisitions were made. The freehold of a site in Instow was purchased in December 2017 and reopened in June 2018 as The Boathouse. In spring 2018 a site in Islington was purchased and converted into Alphabet Bar serving Mediterranean food and cocktails. It reopened in August 2018. The company continues to make good progress with the expansion and profitability of its existing sites. The Station and The Bickley continue to trade well but, after review, it was decided to sell the Crown & Horns due to its size. A refurbishment was carried out at The Old Manor in Potters Bar in November and, on reopening, the pub increased its performance.” The number of employees during the period increased to 217 from 127. Redcomb currently operates 16 venues in London and surrounding Read More
Abokado reports like-for-likes up 6% in current financial year on back of record profits, 24th site to open next month: Healthy eating chain Abokado, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, has reported like-for-like sales up 6% in its current financial year. The announcement comes as the company revealed record profits for the year ending 31 March 2018. Profits increased 24% to £726,000, while site Ebitda increased to £1.7m. Founder and chief executive Mark Lilley said: “I am pleased with this set of results, which have been achieved in the toughest market conditions we’ve experienced since we started Abokado. Our formula is simple – everything we do revolves around bringing Londoners the freshest and healthiest options for breakfast and lunch – and it’s great to be getting a resounding thumbs up from our customers. Our current-year sales growth is particularly pleasing as this comes entirely from in-store sales. Delivery still represents a tiny proportion of Abokado’s sales but with the delivery market established and fast growing and with a menu that lends itself extremely well to delivery, we’re excited about the growth opportunity this presents over the coming years.” Abokado, which currently operates 23 sites across the capital, has also Read More
UKHospitality calls on prime minister to support sector with common sense immigration policy: UKHospitality has called on prime minister Theresa May to apply common sense to future migration for the “sake of the British economy” as she heads to Brussels for Brexit negotiations. In a letter to May, Brexit minister Dominic Raab and home secretary Sajid Javid, the trade body warned growth in the hospitality sector would be severely hampered without suitable access to non-UK workers, at least in the short term. The letter states that unless the UK’s future immigration policy allows workers of all skill levels to work in the UK easily and affordably, hospitality businesses would be unable to meet projected growth. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Hospitality businesses are putting considerable effort into providing opportunities for UK workers. Three-quarters of our workforce is home-grown and we invest significant amounts into apprenticeship schemes to build the workforce of the future from here in the UK. The reality is, though, that hospitality businesses do need to supplement their workforces with non-UK workers, particularly given the record employment rate, if they want to keep pace with projected growth. If following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU there is Read More
Famous Brands makes £46m impairment charge as GBK operating losses increase to £2.6m: Famous Brands has reported Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has seen operating losses increase to £2.6m for the six months ended 31 August 2018, compared with £872,000 the year before. As a result of GBK’s “continued adverse trading conditions and sustained underperformance”, the board has decided to recognise a (pre-tax) impairment of 874 million rand (£46m) at group level. Famous Brands bought GBK in 2016 but its contribution to group profitability has taken longer than the company initially anticipated, hampered by lower consumer spending in the context of Brexit as disposable incomes come under pressure. At the same time higher property rates in Britain and increased input costs and declining foot traffic in shopping centres, exacerbated by oversupply of restaurants as landlords continue to replace failing retailers with more food offerings, has contributed to GBK’s estimated larger operating loss. In a trading update to the Johannesburg stock exchange, Famous Brands said: “The group’s results for the six months ended 31 August 2018 were expected to be stronger than those reported in the prior comparable period, primarily due to an improved performance by the SA and AME operations, which Read More
Coaching Inn Group seeks funding to double size of business: Coaching Inn Group, which has 431 bedrooms across 15 venues in market towns in England and Wales, has told Propel it will seek funds for investment to grow the business in the coming months to “build on the strong platform that has been created”. The company said it had already identified a number of suitable coaching inns to “accelerate its development and double the size of the company”. Coaching Inn Group has appointed Sapient Corporate Finance to assist in finding suitable investors. Last month, Coaching Inn Group reported a 39.1% rise in group Ebitda to £2.1m from turnover up 17.2% to £20m in the year to 31 March 2018. Turnover is forecast to pass £24m this year. Drink sales rose 17% to £5.9m, food was up 19.2% to £8m and room sales rose 17.7% to £5.8m. Profit before interest was £506,000 (2017: loss £146,000). A post year-end debt facility of £16.5m was put in place to secure future growth. Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity said it cost between £3m and £5m to buy and refurbish venues. The company has added nine sites in the past three years, the most Read More
Brunning & Price paid £900,000 for Ribble Valley Inns, newly filed accounts reveal: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, paid a consideration of £900,000 to acquire Ribble Valley Inns from Northcote Leisure Group earlier this year, newly filed accounts have shown. The figure paid for the four pubs in May was undisclosed but accounts for Brunning & Price for the year ending 31 December 2017, filed at Companies House, revealed the amount. They also showed turnover increased to £72,540,000 compared with £64,323,000 the previous year, while pre-tax profit was up to £10,085,000 compared with £5,375,000 the previous year. During the period the company opened three pubs. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Our business is well positioned in the market with a compelling, differentiated food-led offer that consistently outperforms the pub restaurant sector. Strong operational execution, along with locally sourced produce, has attracted a loyal and increasing customer base that rates the offering highly. The business delivers consistently good and growing returns, with recent openings consistently delivering Ebitda returns in excess of 20% (on an assumed leasehold cost base). Our estate is largely freehold asset backed with a book value in excess Read More
The Deltic Group – ‘compelling financial case’ remains for Revolution merger: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, has said there remains a “compelling financial case” for a merger with Revolution Bars Group despite the latter ending acquisition talks. The companies were reported to be in early-stage discussions over a potential transaction but yesterday (10 October) Revolution said discussions regarding a transaction involving a possible acquisition of The Deltic Group had been “terminated” as it would “not be in the best interests of the company’s shareholders”. A spokesman for The Deltic Group said: “Deltic still believes there is a compelling financial case for a merger between the companies but respects the decision of Revolution’s board. Deltic remains a shareholder in Revolution Bars Group and will follow developments closely. The board would also like to reiterate Deltic is a well-run business with a strong financial performance over many years. The Revolution merger proposal was only one of several routes the Deltic directors were exploring to take the company forward. It continues to believe the late-night economy is a good investment and the doubling of profits over the past six years, with about the same number Read More
Hall & Woodhouse reports turnover and profit boost: Dorset brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has reported turnover increased 2.2% to £110,110,000 for the year ending 27 January 2018, compared with £107,713,000 the previous year. Ebitda was down 2% to £14.5m, compared with the year before. Pre-tax profit was up 42.9% to £9,286,000, compared with £6,499,000 the previous year. Exceptional items were in surplus by £3,281,000 due to £3,262,000 gained from the sale of its old brewery site. This was against a loss of £639,000 the year before. In his statement accompanying the accounts, chairman Mark Woodhouse said: “The year has delivered a strong performance from our managed houses and business partnerships, despite challenging market conditions. We have continued to invest heavily behind our brands, our teams and our core offering to ensure the future success of our business. The impact all these factors have had on our underlying business performance is that while turnover has increased 2.2% on the previous year to £110.1m, Ebitda fell 2.0% to £14.5m. Once we look at the exceptional items, which include the sale of the old brewery, our profit has increased year-on-year by 42.9% to £9.3m. This has enabled us to reduce our Read More
Pachamama Group to launch third London site, in Shoreditch next month:Restaurant operator Pachamama Group is to launch its third London site, in Shoreditch next month. Pachamama East will open in Great Eastern Street on Thursday, 1 November offering a different experience to Peruvian-style sister sites Chicama and Pachamama. The new venue will focus on fresh seasonal produce and “applying the bold flavours, aromas, textures and spices that make Asian food so tasty”. The 85-cover site will be split over two floors, with the main restaurant featuring plants, pastels, reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and an open kitchen providing views of chefs cooking over a coal fire. A staircase will lead to a 16-cover private dining room on the lower ground floor, which will also host a series of chef collaborations. The group’s new executive creative chef Mikkel Gregersen, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and AOC in Copenhagen, has placed an emphasis on sharing at Pachamama East, with dishes such as grilled hispi cabbage and smoked aubergine, whole jiang-glazed chicken, and ceviche. The snacks menu will include Sichuan fried chicken and pork belly chicharron. Brunch will include Peruvian waffles with a choice of toppings. The main, sunken bar will offer Read More
Glee Club to open fifth site and first in Scotland: Comic Enterprises, which was founded in 1994 by Mark Tughan and operates three Glee Club comedy and music venues in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham alongside a weekly night in Oxford, will open its fifth venue, in Glasgow in February. The Renfrew Street site will be part of the Cineworld complex that also houses a newly refurbished Walkabout and is the location of the 13,000 square foot former Highlight Comedy Club, which closed in 2009. It has a seated capacity of 400 and a standing capacity of 800. Comic Enterprises famously sued 21st Century Fox over the Glee name and trademark, which was registered by Comic in the 1990s, winning in both the High Court and Appeal Court. Tughan said: “With this episode now behind us, we have also benefited from a substantial recovery in sales and profits, with all sites trading profitably and reporting positive like-for-likes. With site availability improving and less competition from other comedy operators, now seems the ideal time to expand. Like the tortoise and the hare, we seem after 24 years to have become the market leader! We are looking for sites in Leeds and Bristol Read More
Pret pledges to ‘drive change’ in industry following allergy death: Pret A Manger is to make changes to its labelling and has committed to work with bodies and industry peers to secure legislative changes to better protect people with allergies. The company has pledged to “drive change” in the industry in the wake of a coroner finding its labelling was “inadequate” in the case of a girl who died after eating one of its baguettes. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, went into cardiac arrest on a flight after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette bought at Heathrow airport in 2016. Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said: “We are deeply sorry for the loss of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame. I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes result from it. In the past two years we have been improving our allergen information. We now display declarable allergens for our freshly made products on shelf tickets in front of each item. We also have signs in our fridges, on product packaging and at till points advising customers with allergies to speak to a manager to see our allergen guide. We recognise there Read More
Hawksmoor reports pre-tax losses narrow as turnover rises 14.1%:Hawksmoor operator Underdog Restaurants has reported turnover rose 14.1% to £43,744,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £39,014,000 the previous year. Underlying Ebitda fell slightly to £4,839,000, compared with £4,850,000 the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £7,543,000 compared with £8,981,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Hawksmoor has accumulated losses since incorporation of £33,949,000, up from £26,179,000 the year before, and negative shareholders’ funds of £32,960,000 compared with £25,201,000 the previous year. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Hawksmoor increased turnover by 14.1% in the year, driven by like-for-like sales growth and the opening of a new restaurant in Borough Market, London. Hawksmoor Ebitda increased to £5,549,000 in the year (2016: £5,352,000). The Foxlow restaurants underwent significant brand and operational changes during 2017 and, although they have yet to contribute positively to the group, their like-for-like sales grew strongly in the second half of the year and into the beginning of 2018. The directors are confident about the future prospects of the group.” Hippo Inns to open alpine-themed pub in Blackfriars for 12th site: Hippo Inns, the joint venture between Ei Read More
Robinsons reports turnover boost, managed like-for-likes up 15.6%: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reported turnover increased 4.2% to £71.2m during the year ending 31 December 2017. Pre-tax profit fell 19% to £3.1m. The company, which recently celebrated its 180th anniversary, said increased investment in 2017 had an impact on the bottom line but underlying performance remained strong, with like-for-likes in its managed division up 15.6% and tenanted up 3.1%. The company saw “strong” sales during the period, with further managed house openings and full-year trading of recently invested sites. It said this, coupled with higher overall operating costs and record levels of investment in tenanted and managed pub estates, had resulted in operating profits falling to £1.2m (2016: £2.6m). During the year the company underwent “embryonic growth of the managed estate” and a “strategic disposal and investment programme to transform its pub profile”. Robinsons said it planned to continue its “long-term tradition of ploughing profits back into the business”. Robinsons continued to invest heavily in the refurbishment of its tenanted and managed estates, spending about £9.7m in 2017 to improve the “look, feel and longevity” of its pubs. In 2017, Robinsons completed the disposal of 27 pubs and Read More
Government to enact legislation to ensure all tips are passed on Theresa May has pledged to stop foodservice employers deducting money from tips given by customers to waiters and bar staff. The move, which will require legislation, will stop companies deducting up to 10% from employees’ tips, the government stated. Announcing the move, the prime minister said: “The unemployment rate under this government is now the lowest since the 1970s – but we want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace. That’s why we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions. It’s another way we are building an economy that works for everyone.” The promise comes in the government’s response to a consultation that ended two years ago. The government says the change will be fairer for both workers, who get to keep the tips left for them by customers, and customers, who leave tips specifically for the service they receive. The consultation showed that restaurant customers are overwhelmingly in favour of the tips they pay going to the people that serve them. The government also says it is another example Read More
Itsu expects like-for-likes to be up 3% in 2018, full-year turnover hits £105m: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has reported the company expects to see like-for-like sales increase between 2% and 3% in 2018 as trading remains “strong”. The progress was revealed as accounts filed at Companies House revealed turnover increased 10% to £105,559,067 for the year ending 28 December 2017, compared with £95,911,995 the previous year. Group Ebitda was up 28% to £2,566,140, compared with £2,001,362 the year before. Like-for-like sales increased 0.4%. Pre-tax losses were down to £8,170,357, compared with £8,497,532 the previous year. In his report accompanying the accounts, Metcalfe stated: “Trading in 2018 is strong, with positive year-to-date like-for-like performance driving UK Ebitda expectations back to more healthier levels. Itsu is starting to see all the benefits from the multiple investments made in 2017. This positive pattern bucks the common trend currently seen in the UK hospitality sector. 2018 margins are up, sales are up, second daypart is up and more is on the way. During 2017, Itsu saw sales grow through increased grocery sales of 5% and through its UK stores by 5%. Revenue growth in Read More
Food and drink sector faces £9.3bn tariffs on EU products under no-deal Brexit: The food and drink sector could face additional tariffs totalling £9.3bn per year for products imported from the EU if a Brexit settlement isn’t reached, according to a new report. The Barclays Corporate Banking report projected that in a no-deal Brexit, food retailers and their supply chain would be affected by an average tariff of 27% on food and drink entering from the EU, significantly more than the 3% to 4% levy that would hit non-food products. Additionally, every consignment of goods from the EU would require a customs declaration costing a minimum of £50. The report stated: “Food and drink tariff rates will be higher than those in any other supply chain. All stages within the food supply chain will experience increased costs, with retailers hit disproportionately as processed goods attract higher duties than raw materials and semi-processed goods. Wholesalers will also experience significant cost increases, but to a lesser degree. The products that will be hardest hit are likely to be meat products, sugar, milk powder and cooked or preserved mushrooms.” Last year, the UK imported £48bn of food and drink from the EU, about Read More
Chick ‘n’ Sours opens Islington restaurant for third London site: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours has opened its third site in the capital, in Islington. The 60-cover venue has launched in Upper Street featuring a bar, open kitchen and outside space. The restaurant offers a number of new dishes trialled at a Brixton pop-up and the concept’s debut site in Haggerston, which reopened last month following a major refurbishment. New dishes include Korean glazed burger the Seoul Destroyer, while the Weekend Treats menu features hot chicken and kimchi cornbread waffles. Chick ‘n’ Sours was founded by Carl Clarke and David Wolanksi. Clarke said: “Islington holds a special place in my heart. There used to be a wicked buzz round here and I spent many a long night at places such as Medicine Bar and The Embassy. I’d like to bring that amazing north London mix of good food and fantastic music back.” Chick ‘n’ Sours launched in Haggerston in 2015, with a sister site opening in Seven Dials the following year. Clarke and Wolanski also operate CHIK’N in Baker Street. Drive-thru Costa Coffee site in Bolton sells for £1.23m: A drive-thru Costa Coffee unit at the entrance Read More
G1 Group reports turnover soars to £125.7m, ‘core’ leisure business performance leads to Ebitda topping £20m: Scotland’s biggest managed operator G1 Group has reported turnover soared to £125.7m for the year ending 31 March 2018, compared with £70.5m the previous year following its acquisition of convenience store operator G101 Off Sales but said its “core” leisure business continued to perform. G1 Group said not only did the core business build turnover but it converted that into a significant uplift in results for the year, with Ebitda rising to £20.8m compared with £17.6m the year before. There has been extensive development activity at the Scotsman Hotel, which has continued into the new financial year. The Grand Cafe was created to complement the Scotsman Hotel and was launched in July. In November 2017, the group acquired a portfolio of 12 tenanted outlets from Heineken, taking the tenanted estate to more than 100 outlets. In the current financial year, the group has expanded its hotel and serviced apartment activities in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The group now has about 2,500 employees. Chairman Brian McGhee said: “We are now two years on from the EU referendum result and the media provides a daily diet of Read More
Castle Rock Brewery sees pre-tax profit more than double as turnover passes £10m, trading ‘very positive’ in current financial year: Tynemill, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub operator that trades as Castle Rock Brewery, has reported turnover increased 8.1% to £10,347,026 for the year ending 31 March 2018, compared with £9,570,631 the previous year. Pre-tax profit more than doubled to £568,482, compared with £280,924 the year before. Gross margin was 55.3% compared with 56.9% the previous year. The group continued to pay down its long-term debt, which stands 5.8% lower than last year, and is operating well within its banking covenants. Managing director Colin Wilde told Propel the company had traded “very positively” in the first part of new financial year. In his report accompanying the accounts, he said: “We were excited during the year to enter into a jointly controlled operation with CGC Events, set up after a successful tender to operate the newly refurbished Theatre Royal & Concert Hall. The directors are more than happy with the initial results. It was an ambitious project, which included the opening of Yarn Bar in the complex in September 2017 and provision of the entire food and beverage service on-site. The operation Read More
Pret food director – Veggie Pret taught us to be more innovative with recipes as vegetarian offer had been ‘lazy’: Pret A Manger food and coffee director Clare Clough has said its Veggie Pret concept taught the company to be more innovative with its recipes as its vegetarian offer had been “lazy” until that point. Clough said the biggest trend the company had seen was the rise in plant-based food – but it had been a real challenge to respond to. The company opened its first Veggie Pret in Soho in June 2016 – initially as a pop-up before becoming permanent. Two further stores have opened in London, with its first site outside the capital – and fourth in total – set to launch in Manchester at the start of next month. Speaking at Lunch! at Excel in London, Clough said: “It was a challenge at the time to have a better offer for vegetarians. Up to that point we had been lazy – it was really a choice of cheese or egg. We had to be more innovative with our recipes and that has also led to an improvement in the range of vegetarian products in the main estate.” Read More
BrewDog substantially reduces losses in bar division: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has substantially narrowed its losses in its bar division as sales continued to rise. Turnover rose to £24,206,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £21,724,000 the previous year. Pre-tax loss dropped to £45,000 compared with £1,176,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Employee numbers in the bar division rose to 362 from 351 the year before. As previously reported, revenue of the division is up 92%, generating an incremental £10m so far in 2018. Meanwhile, BrewDog has expanded its bar division by opening a debut site in Iceland. The 120-capacity venue in Reykjavik is the company’s 58th bar worldwide. It offers 20 draught lines, BrewDog burgers and wings, and Icelandic dishes. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Reykjavik has long been in our sights. We couldn’t be happier to finally provide an Icelandic outpost for the craft beer community.” Deliveroo relaunches corporate offering to move into hotel and catering sectors: Deliveroo has relaunched its corporate offering. Deliveroo for Business, which has more than 7,000 customers in 12 markets, has been extended to take in hotel room service, events catering and office fruit Read More
Greggs launches breakfast click-and-collect trial: Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has launched a breakfast click-and-collect trial in Manchester city centre. The service has launched in three stores allowing customers to pre-order and collect breakfast through the new Greggs Collect Manchester app, which is powered by ordering technology provider Preoday. The service enables customers to order breakfast days or even minutes in advance of collection from the Greggs stores in King Street, Parker Street and Manchester Victoria Station. Greggs’ breakfast menu includes pastries, porridge, granola, sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, including a new pumpkin spice latte. Retail and people director Roisin Currie said: “The breakfast click-and-collect trial is the latest initiative we’re looking at to help make life easier for our customers by offering them quick and convenient access to our great-tasting products during the morning rush hour. Our strong customer base in Manchester makes it an ideal place to trial this service, which is designed to make life more convenient for customers in a busy inner city. If the trial is successful, we will look at rolling this service out to other locations.” Preoday chief executive Nick Hucker added: “It has been a pleasure working with Greggs on its Read More
Kerb to launch meat-free market in Devonshire Square with new WeWork partnership: Street food business Kerb is to launch its first meat-free market, in London’s Devonshire Square this month. Kerb’s tenth lunchtime market will be a partnership with collaborative workspace WeWork, which operates a site in the square that already operates a meat-free policy. The venture will launch on Wednesday, 26 September and feature a number of traders from Kerb’s inKERBator programme. Traders to operate in the first month will include Club Mexicana, which has pioneered vegan street food in London; Greedy Khao (home-cooked Thai vegan curries); Little Leaf (vegan sourdough pizza); Palm Greens (vegan salad bar); Biff’s Jack Shack (deep-fried vegan jackfruit burgers and buffalo wings); Vegals (vegan bagels); and Elote (vegetarian Mexican food). Kerb director of markets Ian Dodds said: “We are delighted to begin a relationship with WeWork – looking to push the Kerb market model forward with a focus on meatless dishes and sustainability. There’s been an explosion of great vegetarian and vegan dishes on the streets of London over the past year and we’ll be showcasing the very best here.” WeWork UK and Ireland general manager Leni Zneimer added: “Our vision for Devonshire Square is Read More
Greene King appoints new Pub Partners managing director: Brewer and retailer Greene King has appointed former Pizza Hut chief customer officer Wayne Shurvinton as managing director of its Pub Partners division. He will replace John Forrest, who is leaving the business to take up a new position in the healthcare sector. Shurvinton has extensive hospitality and franchise experience having spent the past nine years at Yum Brands! in a number of roles with KFC and Pizza Hut in the UK, Europe and Middle East. Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “I am delighted to welcome Wayne to lead our Pub Partners business. His experience in building partnerships and developing a growth strategy will translate well to the tenanted and leased sector and be invaluable as we continue to grow the Pub Partners division. I would also like to thank John Forrest for his contribution to our retail and Pub Partners businesses over the last three years. He goes with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.” Shurvinton joins Greene King this week and takes the reins as managing director of Pub Partners on Friday, 5 October.   Pret’s aborted IPO cost £6.65m, continues growth in Hong Kong: Pret A Read More
Bistrot Pierre to open 24th site, in Coventry next month: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is to open its 24th site, in Coventry next month. The restaurant will launch on the first floor of the new Cathedral Lanes leisure development on Thursday, 4 October. The city centre venue will feature a terrace overlooking Broadgate Square, a bar and space to seat 124 diners. The site, which has already started taking bookings, will offer the group’s new autumn and winter menu and host a series of special evening events. Bistrot Pierre co-owner Rob Beacham said: “This is our sixth bistro in the West Midlands and I’m confident we will be a popular addition to the thriving development thanks to our excellent value and authentic French-style cooking.” Chief executive Nick White added: “Coventry will be a strong addition to our growing estate and launches weeks after we opened in Preston and the launch of Bistrot Pierre Rooms in Plymouth. We plan to grow our sites further and have more openings planned for 2019.” The company’s other West Midlands sites are in Birmingham, Kidderminster, Leamington Spa, Mere Green and Stratford-upon-Avon. Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner enter first retail partnership: Boparan Restaurant Group Read More
Chick ‘n’ Sours to open Islington restaurant this month for third London site: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours is to open its third site in the capital, in Islington. The 60-cover venue will open in Upper Street on Thursday, 27 September featuring a bar, open kitchen and outside space. The restaurant will offer a number of new dishes trialled at the concept’s debut site in Haggerston, which reopened last month following a major refurbishment, and a pop-up in Brixton. New dishes will include Korean glazed burger the Seoul Destroyer, while the Weekend Treats menu will feature hot chicken and kimchi cornbread waffles. Chick ‘n’ Sours was founded by Carl Clarke and David Wolanksi. Clarke said: “Islington holds a special place in my heart. There used to be a wicked buzz round here and I spent many a long night at places such as Medicine Bar and The Embassy. I’d like to bring back that amazing north London mix of good food and fantastic music to our Chick ‘n’ Sours in Upper Street.” Wolanksi added: “There is a lot of negativity surrounding Islington at the moment but there’s a new wave of independent and quality openings happening and, Read More
Carluccio’s to transform 20 restaurants a year under £10m ‘Fresca’ programme, Chester first to reopen: Carluccio’s is planning to transform 20 restaurants a year under its £10m “Fresca” programme, which is aimed at revitalising the brand in the wake of its company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The first restaurant to reopen will be Chester, on Thursday, 27 September, followed by Newcastle. The company revealed the details in a LinkedIn post by chief executive Mark Jones, who said he was looking for more people to join the company. The post stated: “Carluccio’s has launched its ‘Fresca’ transformational plan. This will see the business invest £10,000,000, provided by shareholders, over the next three years in what we believe to be the largest investment of its kind in the UK aimed at upgrading restaurant environments. Carluccio’s Chester will reopen to the public formally on 27 September and Newcastle will follow shortly. Thereafter, 20 restaurants per year will be transformed. We are now looking for more great people to join our ‘famiglia’. We pride ourselves on our strong culture, focus on fresh food and great restaurant environments, which make our brand strong – aided, of course, by Antonio Carluccio’s enduring legacy. So while we are Read More
Stonegate highlights career opportunities by sending 200 managers to parliament: Stonegate Pub Company will send 200 of its general managers to parliament on Wednesday (12 September) to demonstrate to government the huge opportunity the hospitality industry offers young people. The managers have all progressed through the company’s Albert’s Theory Of Progression training scheme, which identifies talented deputy managers and transforms them into future leaders as part of Stonegate’s “bar to boardroom” philosophy. The “accelerator” programme teaches managers how to lead winning teams and devise strong sales strategies and business plans. The programme also covers personal finance, setting personal goals and leading people. Throughout the six-month programme, each participant undertakes a project that has seen more than £300,000 raised for charity. More than 700 employees took part in the Albert’s programme last year, with the top 200 now running their own pub, 15 transitioning from general manager to area manager, and nine moving into operational support roles such as marketing and HR. Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “Many of these young, talented people are on the path that will lead them to a seat on the board as they continue to develop their business acumen and leadership skills. Read More
Coaching Inn Group boss – we’ve no tail in the estate, current like-for-like sales ‘best in years’: Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity has told Propel there is “no tail” in the 15-strong estate, with current like-for-like sales the “best for years”. Charity put the performance down to the company’s strict acquisition criteria and the capital spent on sites, with the business reaping the rewards of repeat visits. He said the group was looking to add three or four sites to the portfolio during the next 12 months. Coaching Inn Group saw turnover increase 17.2% to £20m for the year ending 31 March 2018 – and the company is continuing to build on that performance. “The first five months of this financial year have been great – it’s been the perfect weather for us,” said Charity. “The combination of our premium food offer and accommodation continues to do well and our outside areas have really come into play. We invest a lot of money into these sites and that helps give them longevity – they just grow and grow. The accommodation takes time to get going but once you build the reputation people are happy to pay premium rates because Read More
Wimpy reveals plans to grow estate by 15% in next 18 months as refurbishment programme sparks franchisee interest: Wimpy has revealed plans to grow its estate by 15% in the next 18 months. The company, which is owned by South African-based Famous Brands, currently has 78 sites in Britain and plans to expand by converting existing single-site franchisees into multi-siters and by attracting new franchisees. In addition, Wimpy is rolling out a refurbishment plan christened "Shift" for existing units ranging in size from 1,200 square foot to 2,800 square foot. General manager Chris Woolfenden believed the recent increase in franchisee interest has been sparked by the "Shift" programme, which was introduced "to enhance the feeling of the brand moving, or shifting, forwards". The first "Shift" refurbishment took place in February 2017 in Felixstowe, Suffolk, and so far eight have been completed. He told Property Week: “[Now is] the right time to move the business forward. At this immediate point in time, our focus is on the restaurants themselves and continuing to strengthen the brand through great customer service, fabulous food and excellent value for money.” He accepted the casual dining market is going through a tough time, as Wimpy’s owners Read More
Thwaites steps in to save Blackpool bar operator following administration:North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has stepped in to save five venues in Blackpool including the renowned Funny Girls cabaret show bar after their operator went into administration. Owner Basil Newby, who has run venues in the seaside resort for almost 40 years, said he was taking time out for health reasons. Thwaites has taken over the drinks licence of the five venues, a move it said would protect about 100 jobs while it was “business as usual” at Funny Girls. Blackpool Council confirmed the firm that runs Funny Girls, which opened in 1994, had gone into administration. A Thwaites spokesman told BBC News: “Funny Girls has been an iconic part of Blackpool’s night-time economy for a long time and we will make sure it stays that way. Our licence will allow the Funny Girls outlets to operate without disruption for the next few months and, together with Basil, we will resolve issues. As far as we are concerned it’s business as usual and customers should see no difference.” Newby opened his first club, Flamingo, in Blackpool in 1979. He received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours Read More
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi to open biggest restaurant as company fulfils King’s Road ambition, eighth UK site: Japanese restaurant brand Sticks ‘n’ Sushi will open its eighth UK site, in Chelsea next month featuring its debut “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining space. The three-storey restaurant in King’s Road will be its largest to date when it launches on Monday, 1 October. It will accommodate 220 guests with the interior playing on the themes of light and dark, with each floor having its own distinctive identity. The focal point of the 90-cover ground floor will be an open kitchen island with counter seating. The kitchen will be visible from the high banquettes and lower table seating around the room. Upstairs on the first floor, counter seating, low banquettes and tables will offer a variety of spaces. There will also be larger booths and a long communal table, a familiar fixture of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi since it was founded in Copenhagen in 1994. The basement of the Chelsea restaurant houses a first for the group – The Kings Room, a 26-seat “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining room equipped with its own kitchen, cocktail bar and dedicated team. Guests booking the room Read More
Sharp’s Brewery reports turnover boost as ‘sales to large pub and restaurant chains increase’: Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported a turnover boost as “sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased”. The company saw turnover increase 0.4% to £41,781,317 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £41,608,283 the year before. Gross profit was up 7.0% to £11,188,389, compared with £10,454,098 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down 64.1% to £769,804 compared with £2,143,488 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The fall was a result of Sharp Brewery’s commercial investment, in part, being held by Molson Coors in 2016, being repatriated back into the Sharp Brewery's budget for 2017. During the period, Sharp’s Brewery invested £995,360 in its facilities to further increase capacity at the brewery. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Gross profit levels increased during the year as sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased. Investment continues to be made in increasing the volume capacity of the business to meet consumer demand for the main brand, Doom Bar, while continuing to develop a wider portfolio of brands. The company has a capital expansion Read More
London will see 63 notable restaurant launches this autumn: Sixty-three dining venues “of note” are lined up to launch in London between this month and Christmas, according to the Hot Dinners website. Catherine Hanly, the site’s editor and co-founder, said this year’s line-up was one of the most eclectic on record, with influences from all over the world. Although the “opening season” total is expected to be down on last year’s record of 114, the new ventures come at a time of intense financial pressure on operators. Hanly said: “Even when restaurants are closing down, they are not lying empty for ages.” Mosaic Pub and Dining acquires three Birmingham sites off £1.3m asking price: Mosaic Pub and Dining, formerly known as City Pub EIS Fund, has acquired three sites in Birmingham off an asking price of £1.3m. The company, led by Peter McDonald and James Watson, has bought Edmunds Bar & Brewhouse in Edmund Street, The Queens Arms in Newhall Street and The Rectory Bar in St Paul's Square from James Dunphy, in an off-market deal through agents Christie & Co. Under the previous ownership, the sites were run as traditional pubs, and included a micro-brewery at Edmunds. Already operating Read More
JGourmet Burger Kitchen eyes restructure as Cote seeks merger partner:Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has hired restructuring advisers, the Sunday Times has reported. The newspaper stated: “GBK, which is owned by South Africa’s Famous Brands, is understood to have appointed Deloitte to thrash out deals with landlords on rent cuts and site closures. The move could result in a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). GBK, which has more than 100 sites, is the latest chain to suffer because of the casual dining slump that has already wiped out hundreds of restaurants and thousands of jobs. Soaring costs have squeezed profit margins at a time when consumers are spoilt for choice.” Speculation GBK could be forced into a CVA surfaced in July when Famous Brands said it was considering “strategic options relating to a subsidiary”. Like-for-like sales at GBK dropped 10.6% in the 22 weeks to the end of July. Anthony Clark, an analyst at Vunani Securities, described GBK as the “septic wart” that should be “cut out” of Famous Brands. The first GBK was opened in south London in 2001 by three New Zealanders. Famous Brands, which also owns the Wimpy burger chain, bought GBK for £120m two years ago, saying it Read More
Pizza Pilgrims to open two new London sites this autumn: Pizza Pilgrims, founded by brothers Thom and James Elliot, are opening two new sites in London this autumn. The company is opening in the former Jason Atherton-led Temple & Sons premises in the City in October followed by London Bridge in November. The City site will have 135 covers and a large bar downstairs, reports Hot Dinners. The restaurant in Old Broadwick Street will have new pizzas on the menu including the double pepperoni, featuring two types of UK-produced pepperoni with spiced honey, and the pesto Datterini consisting of Datterini tomatoes and buffalo stracciatella. Meanwhile, Pizza Pilgrims will also open at a site in Tooley Street, close to London Bridge station, with a 16-seater terrace under the arches. Pizza Pilgrims’ other London sites are in Soho (two venues), Covent Garden, Shoreditch, West India Quay, Exmouth Market and a space at Swingers crazy golf club in the City. It also has a restaurant at the Westgate Centre in Oxford. Whitbread to kick-off major expansion in Ireland of Premier Inn as it secures Dublin city centre site: Whitbread has secured its first Premier Inn site in Dublin city centre as it kicks Read More
Spanish based hospitality company backed by famous names to open debut UK site: Spanish-based Mabel Hospitality, which is backed by a host of famous stars, is to open its debut UK site. The company is launching Zela at the ME London hotel in The Strand. Mabel Hospitality was founded by Spanish entrepreneurs Manuel Campos Guallar and Abel Matutes. They opened Zela Ibiza last year and they also own the Spanish restaurant Tatel, which has sites in Madrid, Ibiza, and Miami and is just getting ready to open in Beverly Hills. The company's backers include footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, singer Enrique Iglesias and tennis player Rafael Nadal. Zela London is opening next month in the space previously occupied by Cucina Asselina. The restaurant will serve "meppon" cuisine – Japanese techniques and flavours applied to Mediterranean products and traditions, reports Hot Dinners. Fish will be sourced from the Mediterranean and served in tatakis, tartars, sashimi, sushi, gyozas and tiraditos. Dishes will include tiradito of scallops with Ibizan sobrasada and butterfish nigiri with white truffle. The drinks list will have a similar direction, pairing Asian and Mediterranean flavours, such as Santa Maria (sherry wine, homemade spice mix, tomato, basil) and Harakiri (sake, lime, egg Read More
Stonegate to open seven more Popworld sites in 2018, first London venue launches next month: Stonegate Pub Company has revealed it will open seven more Popworld sites in 2018 taking the brand to 35 in total. Popworld features a soundtrack from the nineties and noughties alongside cocktails, bookable booths and cocktail masterclasses. Stonegate will be opening sites in Norwich, Leeds, Bolton, Hartlepool and Morecambe and its first sites in London and Manchester. The first site in the capital will launch in Watling Street on Friday, 7 September. Since its Southampton inception in 2014, Popworld has seen almost five years of consecutive growth in sales, margins and profits. The brand opened its 25th site – in Milton Keynes –at the beginning of the year and Stonegate said it has seen "industry-leading" return on investment on recent openings and has the top net promoter score for atmosphere within the sector. Having launched the Popworld app in 2016, the number of new and active users has continued to grow and there are now more than 15,000 users. Head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “We are incredibly proud to see the Popworld brand go from strength to strength since our launch in 2014. Not Read More
Chilango reports Ebitda boost as turnover passes £10m, pre-tax losses narrow: Mexican brand Chilango has reported turnover increased 6.2% to £10,282,141 for the year ending 25 March 2018, compared with £9,720,583 the previous year. Group underlying Ebitda came in at a profit of £0.4m, compared with a loss of £1.2m the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £1,412,310, compared with £3,195,322 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Post year-end, Chilango raised £28,994 through selling 483,334 ordinary shares. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company experienced considerable momentum in both sales and underlying Ebitda growth. Across the restaurant estate, sales grew strongly at 6.2% compared with the previous financial period. A particularly strong performance was seen via the delivery market channel. Food and labour costs were optimised significantly, while also increasing the quality of food and service. The improvements have strengthened the gross profit margin from 63.5% to 66.7%. The company is pleased with the current trading performance of its restaurants with like-for-like growth from both the walk in and delivery channels. The core improvements in the management of direct costs made in the 12-month period have allowed the continued improvement to the Read More
Arc Inspirations founder – minimum and living wage took £700,000 off our bottom line last year: The founder of award-winning Leeds-based bar and restaurant company Arc Inspirations has reported the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage took £700,000 off the company's bottom line last year. Writing in this week's Propel Friday Opinion about the changes the sector has witnessed during his two decades in business, Martin Wolstencroft stated: "The lack of government support for our sector is quite staggering. Escalating business costs have a very real impact on our profitability and the continued ability for us to invest. As a business, last year’s increases to the national minimum and living wages took about £700,000 off our bottom line. Of course, we want to pay our team members a fair wage and are committed to developing them as individuals during their time with us, but these recurrent increases – along with hikes to business rates and other input costs – hamper growth and investment. The government must listen more closely to business." Wolstencroft also said competition was more intense now than he can ever recall in his "many years" in the sector. He added: "The markets we operate in are Read More
McDonald's pledges to offer 43,000 apprenticeships in Europe – including UK – as part of youth unemployment initiative: McDonald's has pledged to offer 43,000 apprenticeships in Europe – including the UK – by 2025 as part of a new initiative to tackle youth employment. The company said the apprenticeships would be offered in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland, with the aim of expanding to other markets in Europe in the future. It is part of its Youth Opportunity initiative that aims to put a dent in the global youth unemployment rate. McDonald's is kicking off the scheme by pledging $2m to projects in his home town of Chicago. Another $1m will be granted to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to launch a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago. If the approach is successful, the company said it would roll out similar plans in other cities in the US. starting from 2019. McDonald’s said it long-term effort is to improve employment prospects for two million young people by 2025. David Fairhurst, McDonald’s executive vice-president and chief people officer, said: “Around the world, too many young people are finding, through no fault of their own, there are barriers Read More
UFC star takes 25% stake in Graffiti Spirits restaurant: Graffiti Spirits, the Liverpool-based independent bar and restaurant group owned by Matt Farrell and John Ennis, has revealed UFC star Darren Till has bought a 25% share in city restaurant Santa Maluco. Along with MMA fighter Mark Scanlon, they will make up 50% of the business. Till has been a regular visitor to rodizio-style Santa Maluco for the past year, while he and Scanlon used to visit a similar concept every week while they trained in Brazil. Till said: “I have known the guys from Graffiti Spirits Group for a while now and have been really impressed by their impact on the Liverpool food and drink scene. John and Matt have been a great support to me over the years, so it’s really great to be able to partner up with them with Santa Maluco. It has been a favourite for me and my friends since it opened so it feels good to finally be a part of it properly.” At Santa Maluco, all pizzas are cooked in a hand-made, wood-fired oven. All pizzas are 18 inches and made from scratch. Till recently headlined UFC Fight Night 130 in front of Read More
Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox to launch brasserie concept in Manchester: Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox is launching a restaurant concept in Manchester this month. Fox will open School For Scandal in First Street on Monday, 20 August at a site formerly occupied by cafe bar The Laundrette. School For Scandal will be a 100-cover neighbourhood brasserie with outdoor terrace. The concept is based on the “scandal of love", with walls featuring tattoo imagery and decor evoking a sense of Manhattan alongside hints of traditional British interiors and wood panelling reminiscent of an English boarding school. The menu will feature tacos, burgers and steaks off a charcoal grill, pizza from the oven, salads and small plates. The drinks offer will include cocktails, beer and spirits. Fox said: “Every neighbourhood needs a school to enrol in, and this is ours. This concept is fun and mischievous. We really wanted to create somewhere cool but fun where you can enjoy quality food and drink and be sociable. We’re excited to open in First Street and welcome everyone to enjoy or create their own bit of Scandal!” In 2016, Fox launched his eponymous gourmet restaurant in Hale Barns, near Altrincham. Fox is a Read More
Revolution Bars Group appoints social media partner as it targets millennials ahead of expansion: Revolution Bars Group, operator of 74 premium bars trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has appointed a social media partner ahead of its planned expansion. The company is working with Manchester-based Social Chain to market its plans to open six bars in the next 12 months. The aim is to target millennials as part of its drive to win new customers. As part of the campaign, Social Chain will be responsible for the output of all 74 cross-platform social channels including strategic planning, content strategy and reactivation, social media management, and influencer marketing. Kate Eastwood, Revolution Bars Group sales and marketing director, told The Business Desk: “With our young customer base constantly hunting for the best food, cocktails and party on the high street, it’s essential Revolution Bars Group constantly evolves and improves its social media. As a result, we’re delighted to have appointed Social Chain as our social media partner. We are excited for what we can achieve together over the coming year.” Social Chain business director Oliver Yonchev added: “Our ultimate goal is to ensure Revolution Bars Group is leading the Read More
3Sixty Restaurants plans four further Ego openings this year as it sees losses narrow: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, plans to open four more Ego sites in its current financial year as it prepares to open its 16th site for the brand. The company revealed its plans as it reported turnover increased to £19,458,251 for the year ending 25 March 2018, compared with £18,895,687 the previous year. Ebitda before exceptional one-off costs and pre-opening costs was up to £1,004,965, compared with £955,908 the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £67,576 compared with £1,857,004 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Following the period end, the company has acquired one pub – The Fox at Haslington – which is due to open this month with plans to open a further four sites during 2018-19. In May, the company disposed of Saltwater in Nottingham. An onerous lease provision of £300,000 was made in the period for this site. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The directors are very pleased with the significant progress made throughout the period, opening one site and taking the total number of sites under the Ego Read More
Daisy Green Collection on verge of securing 2019 site pipeline, nears £2m crowdfunding cap: Australia-inspired restaurant group Daisy Green Collection has reported it is on the verge of securing its site pipeline for next year. Co-founder Prue Freeman said: “We are delighted to be close to securing our 2019 pipeline with several prime, off-market sites. Southbank and City are likely to be the first – both provide the desired mix of office, residential and tourism customers and are the result of several years of work and development.” The company is currently fund-raising on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support its growth. It has set an overfunding cap of £2m having smashed its initial £500,000 target within hours of the campaign publically launching last month while offering 4.70% equity in return for the investment. So far 705 investors have pledged £1,995,230 with one day remaining. Freeman founded the company with husband Tom Onions in 2012. Since then it has grown to a collection of nine sites across central London. The company has a run-rate site Ebitda of £2m. The group is currently achieving run-rate revenues of circa £10m, with site Ebitda margins at about 20%. The company’s business plan forecasts growing to Read More
Benito’s Hat aims to double company estate following £1m investment, opportunity to add ‘significant numbers’ through franchising: Michael Pearson, managing director of Mexican restaurant brand Benito’s Hat, has told Propel he expects to double its eight-strong company-owned estate over the next three years. He added there were opportunities to add “significant numbers” through franchising after the business secured £1m to fuel growth. Pearson said the expansion would be through larger restaurants and its new smaller-format model, which had been tested outside the capital with openings at the Westgate Centre in Oxford and Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. The company has secured a site at the O2 in London, which will open in the first quarter of 2019, while it is in negotiations over another site at an undisclosed location in the Home Counties. Pearson said: “I hope we will open three or four of our own sites next year and would like to double the number of company sites by the end of the period. We are being flooded with offers from landlords. Some are offering reverse premiums for sites that have been empty for a while and are keen to get a decent brand in. I think much of Read More
Aprirose acquires Wear Inns: Real estate investment company Aprirose, which acquired a 73-asset portfolio from Mitchells & Butlers last year, has acquired north east-based managed operator Wear Inns, The Sunday Times reports. Aprirose, which also acquired Leeds-based QHotels for £525m in September 2017, paid £22.4m for Wear Inns, which operates 25 pubs. Hartlepool-headquartered Wear Inns was founded in 2006 but was hit hard by the sudden death of managing director and co-founder John Weir two years ago. The company posted sales of £13,643,322 in the year to 31 March 2018, down from £14,210,461 a year earlier. Losses grew from £45,396 to £82,256, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Ebitda was £2.6m, compared with £2.57m the prior year. Simon Duckworth was appointed managing director in May 2017 on a permanent basis. Duckworth, who was previously finance director, had been interim managing director since Weir’s death. Weir’s business partner and co-founder John Sands also passed away, last August. Aprirose chief executive Manish Gudka said the Wear Inns deal was part of a “clear vision” to build a “pub group of scale”. Veeno to open Norwich wine cafe for 21st site: Italian wine cafe Veeno is to open its 21st site, in Read More
Caledonian Heritable reports turnover and profit boost: Entrepreneur Kevin Doyle’s group of companies, Caledonian Heritable, has reported sales grew to £46.1m in the year to 31 October 2017, up from £38.9m in the prior year. Pre-tax profit increased to £10.2m from £7.3m in the prior year. The group of companies includes the Archerfield golf resort, a ten-strong Edinburgh pub group that includes The Dome, The City Cafe and The Peartree, as well as haulage, plant hire and property interests. Focus Brands to buy Jamba Juice for $200m: Focus Brands is to buy Jamba Juice for $13.00 per share in cash in a transaction valued at about $200m. Jamba Juice has 800 sites worldwide. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. “Benefiting from an extremely loyal customer base and strong franchise operators, Jamba Juice is one of the category leaders in the fast-growing smoothie and juice category,” said Steve DeSutter, chief executive of Focus Brands. “We are excited to welcome Jamba Juice with such an iconic heritage into our family of well-known and highly loved ‘fan favourite’ brands.” Atlanta-based Focus Brands is the parent company of Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and Read More
Pizza Punks to move into former Cafe Rouge site in Newcastle for third restaurant, plans 20 sites by 2022: Pizza Punks chief executive Brad Stevens has told Propel the company has completed on its third site, and first in England, while it is planning to operate 20 sites by 2022. On Tuesday (31 July), Propel reported Cafe Rouge had vacated its site in Grey Street, Newcastle, the brand’s only presence in the city. Stevens revealed Pizza Punks has already started fit-out work on the site ahead of a scheduled opening in early September. The company has seen 26% like-for-like sales growth in the past six months at its debut Glasgow site, which launched in September 2016, while the second Pizza Punks, which opened in Belfast in April, is “absolutely flying and trading 15% ahead of projections”. Stevens said: “Newcastle will work well for us, it’s full of like-minded people as in Glasgow and Belfast.” The Newcastle site will have about 105 covers internally, with a further 20 outside, “on a par with Belfast”. Stevens said Pizza Punks is looking to build a pipeline of four sites for 2019. Regarding what the company is looking for, he added: “We are looking Read More
Talks under way over possible sale of Hakkasan: Hakkasan Group’s Abu Dhabi owner is in talks to sell the restaurant and nightclub operator, according to Bloomberg. The business, which operates restaurant and nightclubs around the world, has drawn interest from Spanish dance-club operator Pacha Group and boutique investment firm Certares. Hakkasan is owned by Alliance International Investment, which is now part of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. No final decisions have been made and the talks may not lead to a sale. A March 2017 plan to bring Hakkasan into Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group – expected to close within 60 days of SBE disclosing it was in advanced talks – fell through this year. France’s Accor SA has since entered into exclusive talks to acquire a 50% stake in SBE, which owns hotel brands including Redbury and Mondrian and restaurant chains such as Umami Burger. Meanwhile, private equity fund Trilantic, MCH Private Equity and GPF Capital agreed in February 2017 to buy a stake for an undisclosed amount in closely held Pacha Group, which runs clubs on the Spanish island of Ibiza, as well as Germany, Australia and Brazil, among others. Certares, founded in 2012, is Read More
Star Pubs & Bars doubles outdoor investment to £6m: Star Pubs & Bars is investing £6m this year in revamping the exteriors of its pubs to enhance their kerb appeal and increase external covers. The investment is double that of 2017 and will benefit 260 pubs. More than 60% of the funds are being allocated to transforming pub exteriors through redecoration, new lighting, signage, cladding and other finishes for less attractive buildings. A key focus this year will be on creating strong statement entrances by adding structures such as pergolas, dropping adjacent windows and, where possible, relocating side entrances to the front. New outdoor areas will be created at 120 pubs, adding more covers for alfresco eating and drinking and better space for licensees to hold events. Features such as retractable awnings, pods, lighting and artificial grass will enable all-weather, year-round use. The trend for “bringing the inside out” will be maximised using outside rugs, interior-style furniture, artwork and mood lighting to make stunning outdoor areas. The number of outside bars and cooking facilities – such as pizza ovens – is expected to rise as licensees look to capitalise on the investment and reduce pressure on main bars and kitchens Read More
Tony Macaroni blames liquidation threat on ‘clerical error’: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni has blamed a “clerical error” for creditors moving to place the firm into liquidation. A liquidation petition for Tony Macaroni was presented to Glasgow Sheriff Court by unidentified creditors of the company, which has 14 eponymous restaurants and 300 full-time staff. The petition asked that the company be wound up by Glasgow Sheriff Court and for the appointment of a liquidator. However, the 11-year-old company, which sponsors Livingston Football Club, said the move was down to a “clerical error” and the situation had now been resolved. Lawyers acting for the creditors confirmed the dispute had now been resolved and the petition would be “withdrawn shortly”. Tony Macaroni area manager Chris Bryce told the Evening Times: “This issue arose due to a clerical error and, once highlighted, was resolved immediately. Unfortunately the notice could not be cancelled in time.” Despite Tony Macaroni’s sales increasing 10% to £14m in the year to January 2017, its pre-tax profits slumped to £70,936. Tony Macaroni also operates three sites – in Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews – for its Neapolitan pizza concept Mozza, with a fourth due to launch in Aberdeen this Read More
Starbucks rolls out 5p paper cup charge across its 950 UK stores: Starbucks is rolling out its 5p paper cup charge across all 950 stores in the UK following a trial in 35 London sites. All stores will add 5p to the cost of any drink purchased in a paper cup in a bid to reduce waste and encourage customers to bring in a reusable cup. Customers who bring in reusable cups will continue to receive a long-standing 25p discount off any Starbucks drink. The national roll-out comes after the London trial saw a 126% increase in reusable cup use. The three-month trial was evaluated by environmental charity and behavioural change expert Hubbub and resulted in an increase in customers bringing their own cup or tumbler to trial stores from 2.2% before the trial to 5.8%. The results indicated a nationwide 5p charge supported by in-store communications and staff training could have a positive impact on cutting paper cup use. Starbucks continues to roll out paper cup recycling in all stores nationwide and serve all in-store customers with ceramic cups. As part of its pledge to find alternatives to single-use paper cups, Starbucks committed $10m earlier this year to develop Read More
Cambscuisine launches £550,000 crowdfunding campaign, James Spragg joins board: Pub and restaurant operator Cambscuisine, led by Oliver Thain and Max Freeman, has launched a £550,000 crowdfunding campaign on online investing website SyndicateRoom to open two pub restaurants. Investors can receive 30% income tax relief on their investment in addition to a number of other tax reliefs that are part of the government-backed Enterprise Investment Scheme. Cambscuisine owns and operates nine pubs and restaurants across Cambridgeshire. Thain said: “We are a Cambridge-centric restaurant business working with local suppliers and businesses and, of course, our loyal customers and employees. We love the idea of local people joining our journey and helping us grow and develop the business, as they have since our purchase of The Cock in Hemingford in 2001. It therefore made sense to raise with SyndicateRoom, a crowdfunding platform just ten doors from the Cambridge Chop House. This opportunity to raise funds will enable us to realise many potential opportunities and accelerate growth. We have a strong platform from which to develop sites. The focus will be freehold and leasehold pubs and restaurants in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area.” Meanwhile, Casual Dining Group chief operating officer James Spragg has joined Read More
Albion and East Group secures fourth site and second in Brixton: Albion and East Group, which is supported by The Imbiba Partnership, has secured its fourth site and second in Brixton, south London. The company has taken over a site in Ferndale Road formerly occupied by Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana. Located next to sister site Canova Hall, Albion and East will launch new concept Cattivo in October, comprising a laid-back Italian-style cafe with a cocktail bar in the basement. The venue will focus on southern Italian small plates, including home-cooked ragu, meatballs and filled pasta, and offer gin-blending and cocktail masterclasses. Cattivo will also cater for private dining and events and host experiential activities such as a “dinner and show” package featuring cabaret, jazz, circus performers and magic, and a show-time weekend brunch. Albion and East managing director Sarah Weir said: “We are super excited to introduce Cattivo to the vibrant Brixton neighbourhood. It complements our sister bar Canova Hall but offers something different and continues to add to the energetic Brixton nightlife and restaurant scene.” Albion and East launched Martello Hall in Hackney in 2016, followed by Canova Hall in May 2017. Its third project, Serata Hall, will open Read More
Arc Inspirations reports turnover and Ebitda growth: Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of a number of fast-growing brands including Manahatta, Banyan Bar & Kitchen and The Box, has reported turnover increased £2.0m (8.6%) from £22.2m to £24.2m in the year to 1 April 2018. Like-for-like sales were up 1.0%, while Ebitda increased 33% from £2.4m to £3.2m. Group Ebitda as a percentage of sales has grown from 10.8% to 13.3%. Arc will open a Box in Leeds city centre in September, and a Manahatta in Deansgate, Manchester, and a Banyan in Spinningfields, Manchester, the following month. It also has a strong pipeline of sites for openings in 2020. Chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “We have enjoyed an exceptional year given prevailing market conditions, which puts us in a sound financial position to open more sites and continue to develop and grow the business in 2019 and beyond. Our three key brands continue to perform well. We have a simple philosophy and believe growth is derived by continually investing in our people, brands and guest experience. Many of our competitors have resorted to discounting, which we don’t believe in, and we remain confident in our ability to continually innovate across people, Read More
Andreas Karlsson – restaurants should avoid ‘sumo effect’ when it comes to growing a business: Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, has said restaurants should avoid the “sumo effect” when it comes to growing a business. Speaking at the Propel summer conference, he told delegates: “You don’t want to be a sumo wrestler eating 20,000 calories a day, having a short career and then dying 20 years earlier than the average age in Japan. I think we in the industry should think about a healthy way of maintaining our business so we can hand over what we do to the next generation. Performance-wise you need to look at your business over a longer period of time regarding a strategic decision to open restaurants. You must plant a lot of seeds many years before they are going to give you anything.” Propel managing director Paul Charity asked Karlsson about some of the bold moves Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has made, such as taking on a Walkabout site in Covent Garden with its corresponding high rent. Karlsson said: “How stupid can you be to take a restaurant in Covent Garden that’s six metres wide by 45 metres long, on two Read More
HUMANS do not celebrate the anniversary of getting their job, the world has told LinkedIn. Despite the site sending out millions of emails every day urging its users to congratulate each other on reaching another year of – usually miserable – employment, the planet has unanimously agreed that it has got to stop. A representative for the human race said: “Seriously LinkedIn, you can cut out that bullshit. I have never once been congratulated on a work anniversary, either in the real world or on your weirdly clingy website. “And just so you know, most of us have had bowel movements that we remember more fondly than starting our jobs.” The representative added that no humans are remotely fucked about who is looking at their LinkedIn profiles either, so they can lay off the daily missives about that too. LinkedIn responded immediately with 25 billion jargon-filled emails from which it is impossible to unsubscribe. Read More
Jerry Brunning opens first pub since return to trade: Brunning & Price founder Jerry Brunning has opened his first pub since his return to the trade, ten years after selling the then 16-strong company to The Restaurant Group. Brunning, who has formed Pubs Limited, has reopened The Swan in the village of Marbury, near Nantwich in Cheshire. The pub dates to the 1700s with some outbuildings listed with National Heritage. The reopened pub now includes a sun terrace, large garden room, traditional bar with seating, real fires and wooden floors. The team has used reclaimed materials, wood panelling, beams and solid wooden and tiled floors in the restoration. The pub also features antique furniture, colourful rugs and a library with 2,000 books. The new menu features locally sourced pub classics alongside more “adventurous” dishes and stocks local ale with five hand-pulled beers on tap. The pub is run by Darren Snell, who managed The Dysart Arms for Brunning and his business partner at the time Graham Price. Brunning told the Nantwich News: “We have spent a lot of time, money and effort to resurrect this gem of a pub and we’re delighted with the results. The pub is a country Read More
Charles Wells acquires second Oxford venue for Pizza, Pots & Pints as it plans 25-site portfolio: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has acquired a second site in Oxford as part of a rapid expansion programme for its Pizza, Pots & Pints managed pub concept. Following the launch of The Oxford Blue last month, The Holly Bush in west Oxford will be number seven in the portfolio, which the company plans to increase to 25 during the next three years. The latest Oxford purchase is part of a strategic move by Charles Wells to develop a strong branded offering as part of its managed pub portfolio to complement its 186 leased and tenanted pubs across the UK. Pizza, Pots & Pints offers smaller, community-based pubs with informal dining. “The Pizza, Pots & Pints format is a key part of the Charles Wells growth strategy over the next three years,” said chief executive Justin Phillimore. “We are actively looking for individual sites as well as smaller, regionally based multiples to expand this portfolio.” The Pizza, Pots & Pints concept was first introduced by Charles Wells in 2015 with the opening of The Salisbury Arms in Cambridge. Since then it has been Read More
Pret A Manger to introduce compostable cutlery: Pret A Manger is to introduce compostable cutlery to all its UK sites next year. In the meantime, the company is also testing keeping cutlery behind its tills to see if that will lead to a cut in the use of plastic items. Announcing the move on Twitter, it stated: “First we trialled wooden cutlery, and you told us it wasn’t up to scratch. The good news is we will introduce compostable cutlery to all our UK shops next year.” Pret A Manager is on a crusade to reduce its plastic usage. The company has extended its water bottle deposit scheme trial to Birmingham having launched a pilot in Brighton. Last month, chief executive Clive Schlee revealed reusable cup usage at its stores had increased by ten times since the company doubled the discount to 50p.   Signature Living explores new long-term funding streams as it reports turnover and pre-tax profit surge: Aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living has revealed it is exploring new long-term funding streams as it reported a surge in turnover and pre-tax profit. The company, founded by Lawrence Kenwright, saw turnover jump to £14,117,021 for the year ending 31 Read More
Comptoir Group announces board changes: Comptoir Group, the operator of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has announced changes to its board. The company stated: “The company announces the appointment to the board of Mark Carrick as chief financial officer with immediate effect. Mark joined the group in April as chief financial officer and was formerly director of operational finance with Ten Entertainment Group. Mark started his career in hospitality at JD Wetherspoon in 1999, where he qualified as an accountant and has since held several senior roles within a diverse range of multi-site leisure businesses over the past 19 years providing finance, commercial and operational expertise. In addition, Jonathan Kaye has notified the board of his resignation as a non-executive director to focus on his other business interests, with his resignation to take immediate effect. The company has commenced the search for a suitably qualified independent non-executive director and will make a further announcement in due course.” Non-executive chairman Richard Kleiner said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Jonathan for his valuable support and contributions to the company over the past couple of years and we wish him well for the future.” Liberation Group reports managed Read More
Red’s True Barbecue directors in advanced talks to restructure debt after breaching banking facility, losses increase to £2.5m:The directors of American smokehouse chain Red’s True Barbecue are in advanced discussions with Santander to restructure the company’s debt after breaching its banking facility. Despite the breaches, Santander issued a letter of support indicating it would continue to make funds available to the business. The details were revealed in a report accompanying the accounts for Red’s True Barbecue filed at Companies House for the year ending 26 March 2017, which showed losses increased to £2.5m. The report stated: “During the year the business suffered breaches of the facility. However, the bank remains supportive of the business and the group is in discussions with the bank to refinance its current facilities. In addition the bank has issued a letter of support indicating it intends to continue to make funding available to the business. The business will need to renegotiate current debt facilities to ensure the repayment profile for the current borrowings match the future cash generation of the business. The directors are in advanced discussions with their bank with a view to restructuring their current debt facility and amortisation of existing debt. These Read More
7Bone eyes Derby city centre for expansion into the Midlands: 7Bone Burger Co, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, plans to open a restaurant in Derby city centre for its first site in the Midlands. The company has applied to Derby City Council to convert a former Boots store in Victoria Street. The building has been vacant for a number of years after Boots relocated elsewhere in the city. The main dining area would be on the ground floor, with external seating to the front of the property, Derbyshire Live reports. Planning documents submitted by Paul Ashton Building Surveying and Project Management on behalf of 7Bone stated: “The applicant is proposing to bring its highly successful chain of premium burger restaurants to Derby. 7Bone currently operates from a number of sites across the south of England and has plans to expand its offering into the Midlands. Currently, the restaurants extend from Eastbourne, along the south coast and up to Weston-super-Mare in the west.” If approved, the restaurant would create 18 jobs and open from 10am to 11pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 7Bone currently has nine restaurants across the southern counties, including Berkshire, Read More
JD Wetherspoon expects to add dozen pubs a year as it has ‘colonised most of the country’: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has told Propel the company expects to add about a dozen pubs a year to its portfolio as the company had now “colonised most of the country so there was less to choose from”. The rate of openings has slowed in recent years – the company has launched six pubs this financial year. Martin said the Fifa World Cup had added about 1% to like-for-like sales growth, with the recent hot weather also helping to drive revenues. Drinks including pink gin and Pimms had seen notable sales increases while Martin said the CO2 shortage had no impact on trade with its pubs still having “plenty of beer stocks”. Meanwhile, Martin said the company would continue to increase the number of UK products in its pubs as it seeks non-EU alternatives – and he urged other foodservice businesses to follow suit. Wetherspoon has already exchanged French Champagne for sparkling wine from the UK and Australia, and German wheat beer for UK and US alternatives. Of the company’s third-quarter results, Martin said: “We continue to do well, helped by the Read More
Pret A Manger to open store run exclusively by Rising Stars: Pret A Manger is to open a store run exclusively by graduates of its Rising Stars programme. Writing in his blog, chief executive Clive Schlee said enough people had come through the programme at management level to make the idea possible. He said: “We have been running our Rising Stars programme for ten years and have given jobs to more than 400 ex-homeless people since we started. Every summer I take a group of Rising Stars to Austria to hike up a mountain. Two years ago, one of the Stars came up with the idea of a Pret shop run exclusively by Rising Stars. My fellow hikers were enthusiastic. Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed. I’m pleased to say the situation has changed. Enough Rising Stars have now developed through the ranks to become managers, team leaders, baristas and hot chefs. This means we can now build what we like to call a ‘family tree’ – the ideal team structure Read More
Timothy Taylor reports turnover boost: Keighley-based brewer Timothy Taylor has reported a turnover boost helped by a beer launch and the acquisition of a hotel and restaurant in Harrogate. Turnover increased 2% to £22,187,485 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £21,637,292 the year before. Pre-tax profit fell 1.5% to £2,742,083 compared with £2,782,510 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Demand for our beers remains strong, with draught sales showing a like-for-like increase over last year of 2.8% boosted by the successful introduction of the first new permanent beer since Landlord – Knowle Spring Blonde. Boltmaker remains in high demand, selling more than in the year following its success as Champion Beer of Britain in 2014, and sales of Landlord remain strong, with customers prepared to pay the price premium the beer warrants. During the year we acquired the Harrogate Brasserie, a family-owned restaurant and hotel business that has successfully traded from its Cheltenham Parade address for the past 27 years. We believe our beer and an enhanced drinks offer will be the perfect accompaniment to the high-quality food and entertainment for which the venue Read More
Novus put up for sale: Novus, the London bar and restaurant operator, has been put up for sale by its private equity owner. HayFin Capital Management has hired Sapient to find a buyer for Novus, which has 41 bars and nightclubs — including the flagship Tiger Tiger in London’s West End, reports The Sunday Times. The sale follows a turbulent few years for Novus, which counted David Cameron as a non-executive director when it was briefly listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name Urbium. The business was taken private in 2005 in a £113m management buyout. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland took control through a debt-for-equity swap in 2009, after the deal turned sour. In 2012, the private equity firms LGV Capital and Hutton Collins bought the group for £100m. Three years' later, the business was again seized by its lender – this time HayFin, which had provided the debt for LGV and Hutton Collins. Novus, which owns brands such as Balls Brothers and Tank and Paddle, which serves pizza and craft beer, has been shifting its focus towards restaurants. The company, which is led by Toby Smith, has just six Tiger Tiger clubs left. EAT founders Read More