Potting Shed secures fourth site, in Guiseley: Potting Shed Trading, a company founded by the Burning Night management team and funded by the Downing EIS Pub fund, has secured its fourth site. The company has acquired the former HSBC bank in Guiseley, which will now undergo refurbishment. It will add to Potting Shed’s portfolio of contemporary gastro-pubs, with a signature garden theme and menu of wood-fired pizzas, homemade classics, cocktails and craft ales. Bingley in West Yorkshire was chosen as the location for the first Potting Shed in April 2015, and the company opened a further pub in Beverley, East Yorkshire, in August last year with a third due to open soon in Northallerton, North Yorkshire. Each site has seen substantial investment, breathing new life into formerly disused buildings and converting them to create a distinctive trademark look, including brightly coloured wooden sheds in large garden areas for private bench seating. Steven Kenee, partner at Downing LLP, said: “We have been really impressed with the progress of the first two sites and we look forward to bringing the concept to the people of Guiseley.” Allan Harper, founder of Burning Night Group and director of Potting Shed Trading, added: “Potting Shed bar and grill has been so successful since we launched the first one less than two years ago that it’s given us real confidence to open more. Location is always crucial in everything we do and this particular site in Guiseley offered us a great opportunity to create something that’s different and fun, which we’re sure customers will enjoy.”
Sloane Bros fails in £150,000 crowdfunding bid: London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros has failed in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by Joe Chakra, was offering a 7.5% equity stake in return for the investment as it looked to open outlets in shopping centres across the UK as well as overseas franchises. However, it failed to secure the investment it was looking for. A message from Crowdcube said: “Unfortunately, Sloane Bros did not reach its funding target before the closing date.” The pitch stated: “The funds from this round will be used to secure new UK locations and to launch the business-to-business packaged products business, as well as set up the franchising infrastructure. We believe the company would represent an excellent acquisition opportunity by adding a product line extension to several strategic acquirers, which would be more likely to provide better returns to the company’s shareholders than a listing or private equity sale. However the company would, of course, entertain all approaches.” Earlier this year, Chakra told Propel the company was looking to build a 16-strong UK estate in the next five years.
Douglas Jack holds Domino’s Pizza forecasts following slowdown in like-for-like sales growth: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has held his forecast on Domino’s Pizza following a slowdown in its like-for-like sales growth. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 400p, he said: “UK like-for-like sales were 4.9% in the fourth quarter of 2016 and 1.5% in early 2017, versus 3.9% in the third quarter of 2016 (against comparable of 14.9% in the third quarter of 2015, 11.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015 and 10.5% in the first quarter of 2016). The Winter Survival deal (which accounted for more than 30% of sales in January 2016) did not perform as well as last year (due partly to a diluted offer, removing the cookies), a softer market, and Pizza Hut becoming more aggressive. UK and Republic of Ireland operating profit rose by 16% to £86.5m in 2016, with margins rising by 65 basis points. Online sales were 72% of delivered sales (from 67%), with mobile sales accounting for 73% (from 64%) of online sales and app downloads rising to 14.9 million from ten million. Our forecasts cautiously assume UK margins fall in 2017E. UK and Republic Of Ireland franchisee profitability rose by 6.5% to £161,000 per mature store, by our estimates, with franchisee margins falling slightly due to higher labour investment by franchisees. The company has now locked in most of its food costs for 2017E, with food cost inflation rising to circa 5%. Although this is unlikely to help franchisee profits and store growth, franchisee demand for new stores is strong and 80 new stores should open in the UK and Republic of Ireland in 2017E. Like-for-like sales were up overseas – by 10.3% in the Republic of Ireland and by 9.3% in Switzerland. Swiss losses remained at £1.3m. The company has acquired Dolly Dimple’s in Norway and assumed a controlling shareholding in the Norway, Sweden and Iceland Domino’s businesses but is still not providing guidance for the Nordics. As we said last week, one cannot expect like-for-like sales to grow by double digits forever or for new stores’ average sales not to contract and, to partially compensate this in the investment case, excess cash generation should be recycled into overseas expansion and share buybacks. However, we did not expect like-for-like sales to fall below our 3% forecast assumption.”
Sugar Hut offers franchise opportunities: Sugar Hut, the brand launched by The Only Way Is Essex star Mick Norcross, is offering franchise opportunities as it looks to continue expansion. The company operates sites in Brentwood and Liverpool and is aiming to open venues in Newcastle and Cardiff. Chief executive Terry Pullen said: “We are now offering brand partners the opportunity to share in our national expansion through a franchise relationship. Sugar Hut is currently discussing this opportunity with various existing operators and new businesses alike, who are keen to capture and work with the unique proposition of high-profile exposure and instant awareness packaged exclusively with distinctive entertainment and operations.” Pullen added that Sugar Hut’s decision to franchise would ensure “we capture the original and exclusive overall lifestyle experience our guests enjoy by working with committed owner/operators in city locations nationwide”.
Costa Coffee becomes first UK brand to use Snap Spectacles: Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee has become the first UK brand to use Snap Spectacles. Costa has launched a social marketing campaign using Snap’s wearable camera glasses, Spectacles, to give fans a teaser of the product before it launches in the UK. The campaign from AnalogFolk will take Snapchatters behind the scenes of its cafes to show how baristas make coffee from a first-person perspective. Snap Spectacles film in circular video, giving viewers the ability to rotate their phone to see more of the video. The new creative content series will air on the company’s Snapchat channel, Costacoffeeuk. It will not extend the content to channels beyond Snapchat as it is difficult to take Spectacles-filmed content outside of the Snapchat platform, the company said. A spokesman told The Drum: “Snapchat is one of the fastest growing social platforms outside of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It makes sense for us to take this step with Snapchat and broaden our content offering to this first-person Snap Spectacles perspective.” Snap Spectacles launched in the US in September.
Mu Mu to open third site, in Wellingborough this month: Northamptonshire-based gourmet burger company Mu Mu is to open its third site, in Wellingborough later this month. The company will open the venue in High Street on Friday, 31 March. It has applied to Wellingborough Council for a premises licence to sell alcohol and play recorded music indoors, reports the Northamptonshire Telegraph. Mu Mu opened its first site in Kettering in 2014 followed by an outlet in Northampton in December 2015. It sells elaborate burgers, pizzas, cocktails and “freakshakes”, which are milkshakes topped with cakes, doughnuts and other sweet things. The restaurants feature an industrial, urban theme and loud music. Last year owners Gareth and Emily Disante said they were looking to build a chain of six sites in the East Midlands.
Greene King builds website support package for pubs: Greene King Pub Partners has teamed up with business management consultants Retail Impact Solutions to launch a service that will allow its licensees to build and maintain their own websites. The package includes website construction, maintenance and management of the site for the first year, help with updating social media for the duration of the licensee’s tenure, a site visit and photography. Greene King is part-funding the service, with licensees able to select from packages ranging from entry level (bronze) to premium (gold). Retail Impact Solutions can also provide training and has support packages to manage a pub’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram sites. Greene King Pub Partners has produced a toolkit outlining the digital support services on offer, including how to set up a wi-fi network for guests and further digital training, including a “marketing through social media” course. Greene King Pub Partners managing director Clive Chesser said: “The aim is to ease licensees’ workloads by taking the managing of online communications away from them. Having it looked after professionally means they can be assured their website is being regularly updated and showcases what the pub offers. We know people increasingly look online for which pubs to spend their money in. This is part of a wider strategy of providing the right digital solutions for licensees, including the further development of our online ordering, which can now be accessed from one platform.” Meanwhile, Greene King has made a donation of £15,000 to Pub is The Hub’s Community Services Fund to help to support rural pubs that want to diversify their services for the benefit of their communities. This is the fourth year Greene King has given to the fund, bringing the total donated to £60,000.
JD Wetherspoon closes Exeter pub for £2m revamp: JD Wetherspoon has closed The Chevalier in Exeter for a £2m revamp that will include adding two roof terraces. The pub in Fore Street will be closed for five months while the work is carried out. As well as the new roof terraces, the refurbishment will include work on the basement kitchen, toilets, outside furniture, lighting, landscaping and staff accommodation on the third floor. However, the upstairs dance floor will remain where it is. Spokesman Eddie Gershon told Devon Live: “The Chevalier is an extremely popular pub in Exeter. The project will enhance the pub for its customers. The addition of two roof terraces and extending the pub is something we have been keen to do for a number of years and we are delighted this is now happening.” The new-look pub is due to reopen on Tuesday, 11 July.
Wales-based operators take on second Ei pub: Wales-based operators Steven and Sally Gill have taken on their second Ei Publican Partnerships pub. The Gills, who operate The New Inn in Rhuddlan on the north coast of Wales, have taken on The Cayley Arms in the seaside resort of Rhos-on-Sea. The pub will close in early April to undergo a refurbishment and is expected to reopen in time for Easter as The Cayley Flyer. Ei Publican Partnerships used its segmentation tool to analyse the pub’s performance, and the revamped venue will feature a new mid-market offering with home-cooked pub food and an improved drinks range, including cask ale and cocktails. The Cayley Flyer will also offer a Sunday carvery and live music. Steve Gill said: “The pub is in a fantastic location overlooking the Irish Sea and we can see huge potential. We’ve worked hard at The New Inn and turned it around, increasing turnover by 170%. We’ll be hoping to achieve the same kind of success at The Cayley Flyer.” Ei Publican Partnerships regional manager Matthew Croft added: “We are delighted Steve and Sally are taking on The Cayley Flyer. They are dedicated and passionate operators so, when the pub became available, I knew they’d be the perfect fit.” The pub’s new name pays homage to inventor Sir George Cayley, who built The Cayley Flier, a glider that made the first recorded flight by a fixed-wing aircraft in 1853, 50 years ahead of the Wright brothers.
New concept Florentine to launch in London with signature ostrich egg dish: New concept Florentine will open on London’s South Bank on Thursday, 23 March offering international sharing plates, including a seasonal ostrich egg for six to share. The all-day restaurant will launch in Hercules Road opposite the recently reopened Lambeth North tube station. Dishes will include flatbread with toppings, home-roasted almonds glazed with truffle honey and rosemary, braised ox cheek with creamy mash, and grilled sea bass with Amalfi lemon. The Ostrich Egg features an entire egg fried or scrambled, with Portobello mushrooms, heritage tomatoes, streaky bacon, Cumberland sausages and black pudding. Weekend specials will include bottomless brunch on Saturdays and slow-cooked roasts on Sundays, with a DJ and live music programme in the bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. The bar will offer cocktails, including superfood fruit and vegetable versions, sparkling English wine and craft beer from Portobello Brewing Co, Frontier Craft Lager and BrewDog. The wine list will feature 45 bins.
Head of Steam heads back to Liverpool: Camerons Brewery plans to bring its Head of Steam brand back to Liverpool. The Head of Steam in Lime Street, next to the station, was once one of the city’s most popular pubs but was acquired two years ago by JD Wetherspoon, which renamed it the North Western following a £2m refurbishment. Now Head of Steam is set to take over the Abbey pub in Hanover Street, the Liverpool Echo reports. Camerons Brewery has submitted a planning application to refurbish the pub, including replacing the bar with an “island” bar in the centre of the room, new booth seating and a new fireplace. In its application, Camerons stated: “The proposed development seeks to enhance the appearance and improve the local amenities for the community and visitors.” Head of Steam has 14 pubs in the north east and Yorkshire, including one at Huddersfield train station and others in Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle. In December, Camerons Brewery reported an Ebitda boost as sales increased past the £70m mark after the company enjoyed “significant growth”.
Cooking Collective to launch ‘sunshine food’ concept in Flat Iron Square: Catering company The Cooking Collective will launch new restaurant concept Lupins in Flat Iron Square, near London Bridge, next month. The menu will use “British ingredients infused with global flavours” to create a “sunshine food” concept, which will include small plates, snacks, and a wine list focusing on natural, organic and biodynamic wines from Suffolk-based Smashing Wines. Snacks from The Cooking Collective co-founders Natasha Cooke and Lucy Pedder will include sumac lamb scrumpets with pomegranate molasses, while the small plates collection will include polenta-crusted anchovies with wild garlic and onion salad. Desserts will include rhubarb with ginger, vanilla yogurt and shortbread. Designed by Studio Juice and overseen by architects Goldstein Ween, the restaurant will maintain the exposed brickwork of the railway arch wall, surrounded by light wood panelling. Cooke and Pedder stated: “We named Lupins after the English garden flower. We wanted it to sound friendly and informal, emulating a neighbourhood feel. Lupin seeds are also a snack in the Mediterranean and Latin America so the name perfectly showcases our fusion of British and global flavours. We can’t wait to share our passionate cooking and ‘sunshine food’ with London.”
BrewDog partners with publishers to release ‘beer bible’: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has partnered with Octopus Publishing to release its “beer bible” – Craft Beer For The People. The book, which is “coming soon”, will cover the company’s philosophy and history alongside that of the wider craft beer community. There will be a detailed section on how to homebrew, featuring ten BrewDog recipes and the same number from craft breweries “we truly admire”. The book will also include tasting sheets, food pairing suggestions and a chance to design your own personal beer mat. BrewDog stated: “We have put pen to paper on the ultimate beer bible – the BrewDog book is coming soon. Craft Beer For The People is about bringing down the walls and spreading the word at the same time. We have partnered with the amazing guys at Octopus Publishing and produced a beer book like no other. We want this book to be something you’ll read on the sofa, take with you in the kitchen and carry to bars to consult, annotate and spill beer on.”
Hong Kong-style egg waffle concept Bubblewrap opens permanent site in Soho: Bubblewrap, a Hong Kong egg waffle concept that has cut its teeth as a festival food truck, has opened a permanent site in Soho. An egg waffle is similar to a pancake and is cooked in a waffle iron, rolled up like an ice cream cone, topped with a scoop of gelato and covered in sauce and fruit, Hot Dinners reports. Egg waffles have been around since the 1950s, when they appeared in Hong Kong as a way of using up broken eggs, before becoming a popular street snack. Bubblewrap offers plenty of flavour combos such as cocoa waffle with berries, sea salt and dark chocolate, and a matcha waffle with mochi and red bean. There are 14 toppings to choose from and nine sauces, including Nutella and condensed milk. The venue in Wardour Street also offers Hong Kong-inspired soft drinks such as Lemon Chill and Silky Milk Tea.
Douglas Jack – Cineworld is a real winner: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Cineworld is a “real winner”. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 675p, he said: “Rest of world sales increased by 13.3% in 2016 in local currency but by 26.6% in sterling terms, driven by box office (+13.2% in local currency) and retail (+17.9% in local currency). Like the UK, we forecast just 1% growth in box office per screen in 2017E. During 2016, the company added 142 new screens gross, opening 78, acquiring 64 (Empire) and selling 29 smaller screens, bringing the total to 2,115. We forecast 150 new screens in 2017E, followed by 218 in 2018E, representing a 17% increase in the estate in two years. This, major refurbishments and ongoing investment in IMAX, 4DX and Superscreens are all financed by internal cash flow. UK cinema market attendance rose by 6.9% in January (versus -8.8% comparable), followed by an 8% increase in weekend box office in February. We now view our 2017E forecast assumption of 1% growth in box office per screen as cautious given the benefit of subscriptions growth, circa 3% forecast average pricing growth, and investment in IMAX, 4DX and Superscreens. In our view, the valuation has priced in strong growth in 2017E but we would buy on weakness ahead of strong expansion and a potentially very strong film slate in 2018E.”
Global Brands launches can format for Franklin & Sons range: Drinks distributor Global Brands has made its Franklin & Sons botanically crafted tonics and mixers range available in 150ml cans to complement its bottled offering. The range of cans consists of Natural Indian Tonic Water, Natural Light Tonic Water, and will also see the introduction of lemonade and soda variants in the coming months. Franklin & Sons brand controller Justin Horsman said: “This format addition offers the perfect accessory to a luxury venue. The range gives the hotel industry a point of difference. With an incredible story more than 100 years old, hoteliers can share the history and provenance of every serve with their customers.”