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 counties, incorporating a number of pubs with rooms.
Loungers relocates site for first time in 16-year history: Cafe bar group Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, has relocated a site for the first time in its 16-year history. The company has moved Ocho Lounge in Penarth, South Wales, to larger premises. It has moved from Windsor Road, where it opened in June 2008, to a former Prezzo nearby. Loungers said its original venue had been “bursting at the seams for the past couple of years”. The company has invested £650,000 in the new venue, which has 150 covers trading across two floors, more than double the capacity of the original Lounge. Jeremy Burton-Dickie, operations manager for Wales, said: “These are exciting times for Ocho. We’ve enjoyed being part of the Penarth community since we opened ten years ago and it has been fantastic to see the high street develop and evolve. We’ve been looking to give Ocho a bit of a spruce up for some time so getting the opportunity to move over the road to slightly bigger premises was ideal.” Loungers was founded by Dave Reid, Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop in 2002.
Starbucks proposes to evolve EMEA structure: Starbucks is proposing to introduce a new support centre structure at its London head office as it looks to deliver long-term and profitable growth in the EMEA region through strategic licensed partnerships. The new structure in London, which has served as the company’s regional headquarters since 2014, would see Starbucks close its support centre in Amsterdam. The company would continue to operate its manufacturing site in the Dutch capital, which roasts and packages its Arabica coffee for the region. As part of the changes, Starbucks intends to fully licence operations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg to its long-standing strategic partner Alsea, the largest independent chain restaurant operator in Latin America. Under the proposal, Alsea would have the rights to operate and develop Starbucks stores in those markets. Starbucks EMEA president Martin Brok said: “This new structure will be the culmination of a long and thoughtful process to simplify our organisation so it can best service our increasingly licensed store market strategy while continuing to embed our mission and values in how we operate every day.” Starbucks opened its first store in Europe 20 years ago and has grown in partnership with strategic licensees to more than 3,200 stores in 43 markets across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Recently the company opened a Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan. Meanwhile, Starbucks will open its third standalone Princi bakery in the US, in New York next Thursday (25 October). The new Princi will open on the corner of 51st and Broadway in Paramount Plaza, a 40-storey skyscraper in the Theater District. The launch follows openings in Seattle and Chicago.
Creditors of Randall & Aubin’s Manchester franchise left with estimated deficiency of more than £1.5m: Creditors of the Manchester franchise of Soho-based seafood restaurant and oyster bar Randall & Aubin will be left with an estimated total deficiency of more than £1.5m, newly filed documents have revealed. A statement of proposals filed at Companies House by administrators Richard Saville and Andrew Cordon, of CFS Restructuring, show the estimated total deficiency to members was £1,564,274. The administrators said they anticipated there would be insufficient funds to allow a distribution to creditors. The report showed secured creditor Barclays Bank is owed £208,803 and trade creditors £228,000, while the company had outstanding liabilities to HM Revenue & Customs totalling £115,000. James Storey and Abdul Aliyev launched the restaurant in Bridge Street, Manchester, in June last year. However, the report showed the restaurant became insolvent as a result of high set-up costs and insufficient turnover to cover operating costs. Accounts for the 11 months ended 31 January 2018 showed the company sustained a net loss of £552,000 on turnover of £1.44m. Accounts for the four months ended 31 May 2018 showed the company sustained further trading losses of £116,000 on turnover of £509,000. The company’s balance sheet as at 31 May 2018 indicated shareholder funds of £373,000. This resulted primarily from funds injected by the directors totalling £1.04m. As previously reported, Randall & Aubin, which is owned by television chef Ed Baines and restaurateur Jamie Poulton, acquired the franchise operation in a pre-pack arrangement in August. The report revealed the total consideration paid was £35,000, with £25,000 paid on completion of the deal and the remainder over a six-month period. All 28 employees at the restaurant were transferred at the time of the sale. Randall & Aubin started as a butcher’s shop in Soho in 1911 and has been operating as a restaurant in the capital for the past 20 years.
Redemption and St John Bakery join Neal’s Yard line-up: Healthy restaurant and dry bar concept Redemption, which raised £363,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this year for expansion, has secured its third site. The company, founded by Catherine Salway and Andrea Waters, has signed for a site at Neal’s Yard in London’s Seven Dials having agreed a deal with landlord Shaftesbury. The venue will be Redemption’s flagship site and, at 1,650 square foot, the brand’s largest to date when it opens in December. The Seven Dials site will offer exclusive features such as takeaway options and a retail space where visitors can buy merchandise including cookbooks and candles. Salway said: “It is a tremendous step for our brand to have this beautiful space, which gives us the opportunity to exercise our ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself’ concept fully.” Redemption’s other sites are in Notting Hill and Shoreditch. Meanwhile, St John Bakery has selected Seven Dials to house its first permanent standalone site. The 550 square foot bakery offers produce made on-site including pastries, sourdough and doughnuts. Julia Wilkinson, portfolio and group restaurant strategy executive at Shaftesbury, said: “Redemption’s creative, healthy and alcohol-free concept is a perfect addition to the eclectic lifestyle mix of shops, restaurants and cafes within Neal’s Yard, while St John’s quirky take on a traditional bakery creates a new element for Seven Dials visitors.” Hanover Green Retail represented Shaftesbury in both deals. Redemption and St John Bakery dealt directly.
Angela Hartnett-mentored chef to launch debut restaurant, in Marylebone: Chef Carlo Scotto is to launch his debut restaurant, in Marylebone. Xier will open in Thayer Street, off Oxford Street, in December. The restaurant will be split into two distinct spaces – 62-cover, ground-floor casual dining concept XR, which will offer lunch and dinner menus, and Xier, a 38-cover, first-floor dining room offering an evening tasting menu. XR’s menu will feature dishes such as yellowfin tuna tartar with aubergine caviar and taro chips, while the tasting menu at Xier will include rose-cured salmon with foie gras and burnt figs. The decor will be inspired by Scotto’s experience in kitchens across Europe and Asia. Aged only 13, Scotto took a job as an apprentice chef at Michelin-starred restaurant Don Salvatore in Naples. He moved to London where he worked with Corbin & King before joining Gordon Ramsay’s Michelin-starred Murano under Angela Hartnett, who he credits as his mentor. He then moved to Michelin-starred Galvin La Chapelle before taking his first head chef role, at Italian restaurant Babbo in Mayfair. He said: “London is a place that has brought me incredible opportunities so it felt right to open here and showcase fantastic British produce. I’m excited to open a venue that will take people on their own culinary journey.”
Ciku Holdings sub-lets St Paul’s bar from Marston’s for fourth site: London-based bar and restaurant operator Ciku Holdings has secured the Vinyl Bar in St Paul’s for its fourth site. Agents James A Baker acted on behalf of Marston’s and was able to sub-let the site to Ciku Holdings. William Baker, of James A Baker, said: “We are very pleased at the outcome of this site, which represents a good deal for both our client and the ingoing tenant. I wish the new tenant every success in their project.”
BrewDog opens Canary Wharf bar for 70th site worldwide: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened a bar in Canary Wharf, its tenth venue in London and 70th worldwide. To coincide with the opening the company has launched Hop Exchange, a draught beer sold at a price that reacts to the FTSE 100 Index. An electronic sign above the bar relays the day’s trading results and how it affects the brew’s price. The 300-capacity bar, which has opened in a former Jamie’s Italian in Churchill Place, offers 20 draught lines alongside bottled beer and a burgers and wings menu. The Canary Wharf site is also the company’s first to accept cryptocurrency and joins its venue in Clerkenwell as its second cashless bar. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Our Canary Wharf bar further strengthens London’s claim to be the new craft beer capital of the world. The demand for better beer keeps growing every month and it reaches every community in the city. As more Londoners join the craft beer revolution we’re more than happy to keep opening more bars and quenching their thirst. We’ve always prided ourselves on our desire to keep innovating. We’ve done it with beer, we’ve done it with our business model and now we are championing a new way of paying for a pint.” Earlier this week, the company closed its Equity for Punks V crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube after raising £26.2m.
Cumbria-based gastro-pub owner takes on Carlisle site: Cumbria-based gastro-pub owner Richard Berry has taken on a site in Carlisle. Berry is currently renovating The Horse & Farrier on the corner of Wigton Road and Orton Road. He plans to add 15 rooms to the five already at the pub, which has been empty for 11 years. An application to the city council stated: “The proposal is to construct an accommodation block in the grounds of the pub – positioned away from the pub with parking.” Berry wants to retain the original character of the 1928-built, grade II-listed building while offering a “modern twist” for families. Berry also operates gastro-pub Romneys in Kendal and The Burnside hotel in Bowness on Windermere.
Chester-based pub operator takes on city centre hotel for second site: Mark Farragher, who operates The Victoria pub in Chester, has acquired The Commercial Hotel in the city centre for his second site. Farragher has signed a new 15-year lease on a free-of-tie basis through agents Christie & Co for the hotel, which has been closed since early 2018. The property comprises a lounge, dining space and snug accommodating 120 covers on the ground floor, a first-floor function suite for 80 covers, and four recently refurbished en-suite guest bedrooms across the first and second floors. Rory Lea, chairman of Chester City Club Proprietors, which owns the hotel’s freehold, said: “We are confident Mark Farragher will revive this historic pub.” Farragher added: “Having use of the beautiful courtyard means we can utilise it to its full potential while keeping with tradition and making it a social centre in the heart of Chester.” Christie & Co director Keith Stringer said: “Businesses in a central location in a bustling city such as Chester are always prime opportunities when brought to market, while hotels and hospitality venues continue to enjoy strong levels of trade.”
Mexican street food trader to launch taco concept in Brixton for first bricks and mortar site: Joshua Whiting, one half of the duo behind Mexican street food concepts Killa Dilla and Tacos del Rey, which trade in markets across London, is to open his first bricks and mortar site. Whiting will launch taco venture La Barra in Market Row, Brixton, on Saturday (20 October). It will offer slow-roasted meat in tacos alongside homemade salsa, tortilla chips and pickles. The tacos will include eight-hour pork shoulder with burnt pineapple and pink onion as well as a vegan mushroom adobo with cashew crema and guacamole. With no bar, drinks will include pre-batch cocktails with an emphasis on tequila and mezcal. Whiting told Hot Dinners: “This is my first grown-up place. The opportunity to take the venue came at short notice but was something I couldn’t turn down.” Whiting operates Killa Dilla and Tacos del Rey with William Leigh.
New World Trading Company enlists Wireless Social to monitor brand impact: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group New World Trading Company (NWTC) has appointed Wi-Fi solutions provider Wireless Social to measure its brand impact through the installation of Presence Analytics across its estate of 25 sites. The five-year agreement will see NWTC use Presence Analytics to monitor customer footfall, visit frequency, and dwell time to analyse the success of brand campaigns. Presence Analytics uses the venue’s Wi-Fi to collect customer data including detailed information on who is entering a venue and the dates, times and frequency. NWTC chief executive Chris Hill said: “With ambitious plans it’s pivotal for us to invest in a platform that provides us with a comprehensive understanding of our guests. Wireless Social and Presence Analytics open up so many opportunities to inform our plans from both a marketing and operational perspective.” Wireless Social managing director Julian Ross added: “Now NWTC will not only be able to see whether campaigns have driven additional footfall into specific venues, it will also be able to use the insight to fully understand the needs of its customers and connect on a personal level.”
Douglas Jack – Domino’s Pizza is growing cash flow and increasing UK market dominance: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Domino’s Pizza is growing cash flow and increasing market dominance in the UK. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 350p following its third-quarter results, Jack said: “Total UK and Republic of Ireland sales grew 6.0% in the third quarter, with the UK up 6.1% (Republic of Ireland 5.2%). UK like-for-like sales rose 2.2% in the UK, comprising 1.7% volume (minus 1.4% orders; 3.1% items per order) and average prices up 0.5%. The impact of store splits was 2.5%. Total sales were held back by increased site immaturity following last year’s surge in openings. The two-year like-for-like sales figure is now 10.3%, a big increase on the second-quarter’s 6.3%. Innovation is technology-focused. GPS Tracker is now in 603 stores, of which almost all allow customers to track their pizza, benefiting labour efficiency and the customer experience. UK online sales growth (delivery and collection) was up 11.4% in the third quarter and are now at 78.3% of UK system sales. After a record year with 95 openings in 2017 there was naturally a pause in the first half, when 22 stores opened. Some commentators misinterpreted this as franchisees being unhappy. If that were true they would now be joyous having opened 20 stores in the third quarter, with circa 20 more expected in the fourth quarter and 28 different franchisees participating year to date targeting higher-footfall locations. Overseas is expected to return to profit growth in the second half driven by expansion and better cost control, even though like-for-like sales were flat to slightly negative in most countries due to hot weather. UK margins fell ten basis points in the first half and are cautiously forecast to fall 175 basis points in the second half due to the additional operational costs of running the Warrington and Penrith supply chain centres, both in the north of England. However, not only have cheese prices fallen recently, which is good for margins, Warrington is already supplying 281 stores and Penrith is due to be decommissioned in March 2019. We believe this leaves upside to our assumptions of minimal margin growth in 2019E and 2020E. Domino’s confidence is reflected in its decision to increase this year’s share buy-back programme from £50m to £75m, taking net debt/Ebitda to circa 1.75 times. We still forecast the company returning £100m per annum via share buybacks and dividends over the next two years. Given this, growing cash flow, increasing operational efficiency, increasing market dominance in the UK and profitability overseas, we recommend buying the shares at the current ten-year record low price-to-earnings ratio valuation.”
Creams is coming to Milton Keynes: Dessert parlour operator Creams Cafe is heading to Milton Keynes. The company will open the venue at Xscape Milton Keynes, reports MKFM. Creams serves waffles, milkshakes, freakshakes and 36 varieties of Italian gelato-style ice cream. It also offers a wide range of sundaes, including the hot chocolate fudge volcano, and crepes such as the Belgian banana burrito. Creams Cafe was founded in 2008 and operates more than 75 sites in the UK, with another 30 branches set to open by April next year.
Stonegate to launch new Town, Pub & Kitchen menu: Stonegate Pub Company is to roll out a new menu across its Town, Pub & Kitchen venues from Tuesday (23 October). It will focus on stone-baked sourdough pizza and small plates, with a wider range of vegetarian and vegan options. The new range of pizza will include the Louisiana (pulled pork, hickory-smoked barbecued burnt ends and barbecue pork crumb) and Hello-Me (sliced halloumi and wilted baby spinach). The number of small plates and desserts on the menu will increase, with new offerings including crab and prawn mac ‘n’ cheese bites and duck croquettes. Lunch specials will include new “mix-ups” such as half pizza/half salad and wraps as alternatives for sandwiches. New vegan and vegetarian options based on traditional comfort food will include smoked cheddar and lemon blueberry bites in prosecco syrup. Stonegate marketing manager Liam Wall said: “The new menu is simpler, with a broad customer appeal.” Stonegate Pub Company operates 724 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Be At One and Venues); and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, Classic Inns and Common Room).
West Sussex-based brewer to open craft beer shop and taproom in Croydon: West Sussex-based Coalition Brewing Company is set to open a craft beer shop and taproom in Croydon. The company was set up in 2016 and currently brews pale ales and lager at Hepworth and Co in Pulborough. One of the directors, William Parkes, said in time he wants to open a micro-brewery in London, potentially in Croydon. Parkes thinks there is an appetite for another craft beer company in the town and the company has submitted a licensing application to Croydon Council for the craft beer shop and taproom in St George’s Walk. Alongside its own beer, it would stock ales from other local brewers and whiskeys from Scottish distilleries. Parkes, who runs the company with Ross Cadenhead, Matt Clark and Christian Stevenson, told the Croydon Advertiser: “We wanted to be involved in one of the most exciting industries at the moment. I’ve been a home-brewer all my life. It’s another venue that is offering something a little bit different.”