Horizons – UK foodservice market on target for growth in 2016: The UK foodservice market is on target for growth in 2016, according to insights firm Horizons. Sales of food and drink through the UK’s foodservice sector were worth £10.8m in the first quarter of 2016, up 2.3% on the same quarter last year. Trading in the second quarter of the year is expected to see a 2.1% rise on the previous year, with sales worth £12.4bn. Horizons managing director Peter Backman said 2016 was likely to finish showing slightly lower growth than 2015 – at about 1.8%. He added: “Our consumer research shows that frequency of eating out is now at 2.04 times in a two-week period, although average spend is down to £14.07. Brexit and the National Minimum Wage are both causing uncertainty but UK operators have already proved how versatile and adaptable they can be by embracing new food trends and keeping consumers dining out. The fact there was growth in quarter one demonstrates this resilience.
ALMR council member to close Scunthorpe’s sole remaining nightclub, licensing laws turning centre into ‘ghost town’: John Hayes, who sits on the national council of The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), has likened Scunthorpe town centre at night to a “ghost town” after announcing he was to close Bamboogy, its last remaining nightclub. Hayes is Scunthorpe’s longest-serving publican and opened Bamboogy in High Street in 1981 as Garbo’s. The venue will close on Tuesday, 31 May. Hayes, who is also chairman of Goodfellas Bars, which operates the club, told the Scunthorpe Telegraph: “At times High Street at night looks like a ghost town so the company has reviewed its options and decided not to renew the lease and to pull out of the town and concentrate on its bars in north west England.” He added: “Unfortunately our local magistrates started the rot during the early part of the millennium and granted too many new licences too quickly over a three-year period, without any thought of the size of the town and how it would maintain its sustainability, and what effect that might have on the future of the town’s late-night economy. The new Licensing Act has very little in it that allows for refusals of new applications so, even if they wanted to, councils could only add to the mistakes the magistrates had made, and without a constructive plan in place it became impossible to maintain the great atmosphere the town centre once had. There are, of course, other reasons for the downturn in footfall, including the smoking ban and the use of social media.”
HospitalityGEM survey – table service would significantly boost al fresco dining figures: More than three-quarters (79%) of people eating or drinking outside would stay longer at a venue if table service was available, according to a study by guest experience management company HospitalityGEM. However, the survey found this service must be efficient as almost half (48%) of respondents said slow or poor service was the main thing that put them off eating outside. Lunch is the most popular meal for al fresco dining, with the majority of customers stating they would choose to eat two courses. In terms of facilities, more than one-third (39%) would expect a pub to offer a children’s play area, while 32% would like music played through speakers. Many respondents also expressed a desire for separate eating areas for smokers and non-smokers. More than one-third (37%) said they would be more inclined to dine al fresco if they could communicate with serving staff via a smartphone app – that figure increased to 45% among men and 53% for 18 to 25-year-olds. HospitalityGEM managing director Steven Pike said: “The summer season is hugely important for any pub operator and there are real opportunities to maximise sales by getting the al fresco dining experience right.”
Permanent Tim Bacon memorial planned: Allied London and Living Ventures have revealed they are examining ways in which a memorial to Tim Bacon might be established in the Spinningfields area of Manchester. Bar and restaurant entrepreneur Bacon died earlier this month, following a 16-year battle with cancer. His Living Ventures restaurants dominate Manchester – from The Alchemist, Artisan and Australasia to Manchester House, The Grill on The Alley and Gusto. More than 2,000 people attended a memorial and celebration held at The Albert Hall in his honour on Monday. In a joint statement Michael Ingall, chief executive of Allied London, and Jeremy Roberts, chief executive of Living Ventures, said: “The Oast House and the Courtyard were the subject of a particular conversation very shortly before Tim’s untimely death so we want to find a way to commemorate Tim’s passionate contribution to Manchester. We think he would appreciate something dedicated to his memory in Spinningfields, which is the home of several new ventures created by Tim and the Living Ventures team and was a source of inspiration and passion to him. One possibility is to look at incorporating something special into the urban landscape in and around the Oast House Courtyard. We are working on a design brief which will seek innovative and appropriate ways to achieve this aim, which will be presented to Tim’s family in due course.”
Starbucks vice-president echoes explosive growth of UK high street coffee shops: Ian Cranna, Starbucks vice-president marketing and category EMEA, said research revealing the explosive growth of UK high street coffee shops in the past two decades echoed trends seen in his company’s stores. Responding to the recent study by property agent CBRE that revealed coffee shop chain branches had expanded twentyfold to more than 4,200 in the past 17 years, Cranna said people were increasingly using Starbucks stores as a “third place between home and office” and the company was “exploring store formats to accommodate this changing consumer behaviour”. He also outlined increasing UK consumer interest in experimenting with flavours. Cranna said: “The CBRE report shows how people in the UK want to discover and learn more about coffee, which absolutely echoes the trends we’ve seen in Starbucks stores. We’ve found customers are more interested than ever in where we source our coffee. As the research shows, the role of the local coffee shop has changed dramatically with convenience at the forefront of consumer need. Technology means work and play are increasingly one and the same. There has always been evidence customers are using our stores as a ‘third place’ between home and office – it’s a lot more than a cup of coffee and a soft chair. At Starbucks, we are exploring store formats to accommodate this changing consumer behaviour.” The CBRE report stated that coffee shops and fast-food outlets had done more to prop-up the traditional high street than any other kind of retailer as traditional high street incumbents such as banks, pubs, and shoe shops close in their droves.
High Court saves historic Brixton nightclub: Planning permission to redevelop Brixton’s Club 414 for retail and flats has been quashed by consent in the High Court. The planning permission, granted by Lambeth Council planning officers under delegated powers, would have led to the loss of the club together with the ancillary flat which is the home of the club’s owner, Louise Barron. The decision was made to grant permission despite huge public interest and hundreds of objections. Club 414 opened shortly after the Brixton riots in 1985. Initially a reggae club, it switched music in the mid-1990s and is one of the few specialist house and trance nightclubs left in London. In court, the council accepted it had failed to consider the (then emerging) Lambeth Local Plan, which was adopted one week after the grant of permission to redevelop the club. Crucially, the Lambeth Local Plan recognises the importance of protecting the night-time economy in Brixton and supports leisure uses where they contribute to the vitality and viability of Brixton town centre. Mr Justice Gilbart quashed the planning permission and the application returns to Lambeth Council to make a decision again. Jonathan Clay and Matt Lewin, of Cornerstone Barristers, which represented Barron, said: “At the heart of this case was the council’s refusal to consider the role played by nightclubs in contributing to the culture and economy of Brixton town centre.”
VisitEngland launches domestic tourism campaign to boost staycations: VisitEngland has launched a marketing campaign in an effort to encourage Britons to holiday in the UK. The campaign – Home of Amazing Moments – is the association’s largest domestic tourism campaign of the year and will promote “amazing moments” that can only be experienced on a trip across Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The four-week drive, which uses #OMGB to inspire people to share their experiences on social media, will be seen across television, digital and print publications and uses film and images of “authentic experiences and activities” shot at UK locations. The £2.5m campaign is expected to generate more than 1.3 million additional overnight stays in 2016, with an estimated £100m boost to the UK economy. Chief executive Sally Balcombe said: “From taking a dip in Wastwater Lake in the Lake District to riding the waves at Surf Snowdonia, from watching sunlight breaking over the Scottish Highlands to walking in the footsteps of giants along The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, the UK is packed full of incredible experiences that you can’t get anywhere else. By showing the sheer diversity of activities right here on our doorstep we want to inspire people to book a trip right now to discover their own amazing moments, driving growth in tourism across our nations and regions and spreading its economic benefits across the UK.”
Young’s launching Burger Shack pop-up concept and aims for 20 permanent sites by end of year, introducing new brunch menu: London pub retailer Young’s aims to have 20 permanent Burger Shack sites by the end of the year and is launching a pop-up version of the concept this weekend. The company will unveil Burger Shack in a Box at the Queen Adelaide pub in Wandsworth. It is also adding permanent Burger Shack sites to The Weyside in Guildford, the Victoria in Surbiton and Trinity Arms in Brixton as it aims to expand the eight-strong concept. Retail director Patrick Dardis, who will replace Stephen Goodyear as chief executive at the end of the company’s annual general meeting in July, told Propel there was scope “for at least 20” of the pop-up operation. He said: “Our first one is going live this weekend. It’s an alternative way for us to bring Burger Shack to places in the estate without building permanent ones. It’s ideal for our pubs that have big gardens and for riverside locations and gives us an opportunity to drive sales at these sites, particularly during the summer months. We’ve been working on it for about six months and think it has real potential. Burger Shack is bringing in a lot of incremental trade. It’s a bit like a mini horse trailer with a galvanised base. It’s capable of cooking the entire Burger Shack menu so we can offer all four burgers as well as the curly fries. It can take up to three staff.” The company is also introducing a brunch menu that will be available across 80% of the estate as it looks to increase its food offer across all parts of the day. Goodyear said: “Brunch is a growing trend. The menu is in the process of being rolled out and should be done by the end of the first quarter of the financial year.” Meanwhile, Young’s has exchanged contracts on its second pub in the Cotswolds – the Blue Boar in Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire. Goodyear told Propel the company would continue to acquire pubs, either as single sites or as groups, across the south of England to add to its current 251 sites “when the opportunity arose”. He said: “We are looking in other towns and cities across the south of England but London is very much our heartland. We also don’t want to dilute what we have got. We will also continue to invest in our tenanted estate and have acquired The Woolpack in Bermondsey since the year-end.” He added: “Our recent trade has been very good. We are continuing to see like-for-like growth across our managed estate and we will benefit from the Queen’s birthday celebrations and the Euros. We are well positioned at the premium end of the market, have the financial resources to invest in further growth, and are therefore well set for another successful year.”
JD Wetherspoon puts another 33 pubs on market: JD Wetherspoon has put another 33 pubs up for sale. The company has instructed agents CBRE and Savills to handle the disposal of 45 of its pubs. The properties, which are being considered for sale either individually, in small packages or as a portfolio, are located in strong town and city centre locations in England, Scotland and Wales. Of the 45 pubs, 33 are being brought to the market for the first time. The outlets have strong exposure to London and the south with 23 located in these regions. 16 are freehold or held on a long lease at a low rent, with the remaining 29 outlets held on standard commercial leases with an average unexpired term of more than 18 years. A brochure advertising the properties, which trade under JD Wetherspoon and Lloyds No 1, said they tended to be some of the largest pubs in their towns with an average ground-floor gross internal area of more than 5,000 square feet. All of the properties have the benefit of a late licence and a number also have external seating areas. The 33 new pubs for sale are Banbury – Fleur-de-Lis (leasehold); Bathgate – James Young (freehold); Berwick-upon-Tweed – Leaping Salmon (freehold); Birmingham – Soloman Cutler (leasehold); Bootle – Merton Inn (freehold); Boscombe – Sir Percy Florence Shelley (freehold); Bradford – Sir Titus Salt (long leasehold); Cheadle Hulme – King’s Hall (freehold); Dagenham – Lord Denman (leasehold); Dartford – Paper Moon (leasehold); Ellesmere Port – Thomas Telford (freehold); Forest Hill – Capitol (leasehold); Hull – William Wilberforce (freehold); Lincoln – Forum (leasehold); Maidenhead – Greyhound (leasehold); Mansfield – Stag and Pheasant (leasehold); Milton Keynes – David Garrick (leasehold); Mitcham – White Lion of Mortimer (leasehold); Newbury – Diamond Tap (leasehold); Newcastle – Union Rooms (freehold); Newport – Tom Toya Lewis (freehold); Newquay – Cribbar (leasehold); North Finchley – Tally Ho (leasehold); Nuneaton – Felix Holt (freehold); Putney – Railway (leasehold); Reading – Monk’s Retreat (leasehold); Rugby – Lawrence Sheriff (freehold); Sittingbourne – Summoner (leasehold); Sunderland – Lambton Worm (leasehold); Tamworth – Silk Kite (leasehold); Torquay – London Inn (leasehold); Walsall – Imperial (leasehold); and Walton-on-Thames – Regent (leasehold). A spokesperson on behalf of the joint agents said: “The portfolio represents an excellent opportunity to acquire high volume businesses with strong food sales in established locations which are fitted to an extremely high standard. We therefore anticipate a broad range of interest from pub, bar and restaurant groups.” The launch of the portfolio by JD Wetherspoon follows the successful sale of packages of pubs in recent months to operators including Amber Taverns, Brewhouse & Kitchen, Hawthorn Leisure, Stonegate and Urban Pubs & Bars.
Ceru Restaurants launches £1.4m crowdfunding campaign to expand and secure first permanent site: Eastern Mediterranean casual dining concept Ceru Restaurants has launched a £1.4m fund-raise on crowdfunding platform AngelsDen to expand the business and secure its first permanent site in London. The company, founded by restaurateurs Stephen Gee and Barry Hilton along with food expert Tom Hilton, is offering a 46.58% equity stake in return for the investment. The company revealed it has had huge success with its pop-up shops and believes its ready to have a permanent location for its restaurant in the city. The menu has a combination of Lebanese, Syrian, Israeli and Turkish food with Cypriot influences. The pitch states: “The company has successfully run various pop-up venues in central London and, as a result of its success, is now raising £1.4m in new equity funding to expand the business and secure the first permanent site. The company believes its concept has the potential to be rolled out on a national basis, during the first phase it intends to focus on the London market, which it believes to be the most successful and dynamic in the UK. The company plans to raise up to £2m, of which £600,000 has already been raised to expand the business with an initial focus on the London area. The directors believe the funds raised together with further financing should be sufficient to open 14 units within five years at an estimated average cost of £405,000 per unit. Upon the target exit in five years, the restaurants are forecast to generate a combined cash return (Ebitda) before central costs of £2.3m per annum, representing a possible cash return (site Ebitda in year five) on £5.7m of capital expenditure of about 40%.”
Shoreditch restaurant Eyre Brothers celebrates 15th anniversary with weekend lunch launch: Shoreditch restaurant Eyre Brothers, which offers Portuguese and Spanish cuisine, is celebrating its 15th anniversary by offering weekend lunches. The venue in Leonard Street will open for lunch on Saturdays and Sundays for the first time on 4 June. Guests have the option of dining from the main or the tapas menu, which is served in the bar and lounge area. Dishes include acorn-fed Ibérico shoulder ham, Portuguese salt cod and potato cakes, and Galician-style octopus with smoked paprika and olive oil. Eyre Brothers also offers an extensive wine list from the Iberian peninsula and a selection of sherries, as well as cocktails such as Eyre Brothers Rum Punch (dark rum, lime, ginger ale, nutmeg and ginger). Executive chef David Eyre has been a key figure on the London dining scene since launching The Eagle in 1991, credited as the original gastro-pub. In 1997, he sold his share of the business and opened delicatessen-cafe Eyre Bros in 1998. In 2001, the venue was sold and Eyre, along with James Goff and Ben Chesterfield, launched Eyre Brothers restaurant.
Dunkin’ Donuts set to ramp up expansion as it aims for 100 UK sites: US doughnut company Dunkin’ Donuts is set to ramp up its expansion plans as it aims for 100 UK sites, creating more than 1,000 jobs in the process. The restaurant chain, which relaunched in the UK in 2014 after pulling out of the country in the 1990s, plans to open 78 new stores over the next four to five years and recruit 1,170 new staff. Chief executive Nigel Travis told the Press Association: “We currently have 22 stores and our short-term goal is 100 restaurants. We were here in the mid-1990s in central London, but the rent was very high and our focus was just on doughnuts. Now we have our beverage offering, with great coffee and also sandwiches, we’re much more confident.” Massachusetts-headquartered Dunkin’ Donuts operates a global network of more than 11,400 sites.
Gourmet Burger Kitchen set to open restaurant at former Burger King site in Somerset: Gourmet Burger Kitchen is set to open a restaurant in Clarks Village shopping centre in Street, Somerset, at a former Burger King site. Gourmet Burger Kitchen has begun advertising for staff at the site, which is within the shopping centre’s food court, joining The Restaurant Group-owned Frankie & Benny’s, Italian restaurant brand Prezzo and Pret A Manger. Although unable to confirm the news, Clarks Village retail manager Chris Davis told the Western Daily Press: “We are in discussion with Gourmet Burger Kitchen.” The Burger King unit closed in spring last year, only weeks after it was ranked the worst restaurant in Somerset on TripAdvisor. In February, Gourmet Burger Kitchen chief operating officer Keith Bird said the company loved burger market competition because it got more people talking about the sector. Gourmet Burger Kitchen currently has more than 70 restaurants in the UK, with the closest sites to Street in Bristol.
Student bids to launch Afro-Caribbean restaurant concept with a little help from Richard Branson: London student Rui Daniel is aiming to launch an Afro-Caribbean franchise with a little help from Richard Branson. Daniel’s business has already attracted the attention of Eric Ho, founder of YoYo Noodle, the first Chinese cuisine franchise in the UK, who has agreed to support the concept once it is established. Daniel has entered his concept – Jerks’ – into Virgin Media Business’ Voom 2016 competition and is seeking online votes to get the business up and running. Daniel said Jerks’ would be a “lunch and dinner destination for authentic Afro-Caribbean cuisine throughout the UK”. The menu would feature grilled and fried food, including spicy, crispy jerk chicken and cold drinks such as ginger and sweet hibiscus. The restaurant would also have a number of vegetarian options. Daniel said: “The Caribbean food market has seen 15% year-on-year growth in retail, as well as an upswing in the restaurant and street food sector. We plan to have a strong reputation for excellent customer service and develop a customised mobile app for people to pre-order. Jerks’ is interested in growing quickly and sustainably and becoming a tasty, affordable choice.” Voom 2016 is open to UK and Ireland start-ups, with business owners pitching to Virgin Airlines owner Richard Branson. Contestants can win up to £1m in prizes as well as a mentoring session at 10 Downing Street. Public voting on the Voom 2016 website ends on Monday (23 May).
UK’s first zero-waste restaurant has off-licence bid refused: Brighton-based Silo, the UK’s first zero-waste restaurant, has had its bid to sell craft ale to people to drink at home refused. The restaurant in Upper Gardner Street wanted an off-licence so it could sell beers, ciders and wine, some from its in-house brewery. But because the restaurant sits within the city’s designated cumulative impact zone, Brighton and Hove City Council’s policy is to refuse all new licences unless the applicant can demonstrate it would not add to alcohol-related nuisance, crime and disorder. After police, council officials and residents objected, a licensing panel decided Silo had failed to show it wouldn’t add to disorder in the city centre, reports Brighton & Hove News. In its application, Silo said: “We have recently started selling takeaway non-alcoholic drinks from our in-house brewery and would like to propose a change in our licence to enable us to sell alcoholic products off-site. The previous owners (Thorne Foods) were approved an off-sales licence previously, we wanted to wait until we had been open over a year and we would now like to add this to our licence for customers to enjoy our drinks, which are made in-house.”
Novus Leisure wins award for customer experience dashboard: Novus Leisure has won the Relationship Building/CRM category at the Marketing on Mobile Awards (MOMA) for its customer experience dashboard, created by its digital agency, Red Ant. The company saw off competition from fellow finalists Carling, O2, Renault and AstraZeneca to lift the accolade. As part of the judging criteria, the operator was required to demonstrate evidence of clear strategic thinking, innovation, effectiveness, tangible results, together with clarity and transparency. Following initial trials in December 2015, Novus Leisure officially launched its customer experience dashboard across its estate last month. The technology analyses customer feedback and data across numerous channels, including social media, review sites, surveys and point of sales systems. Customer experience director Simon Gaske said: “We are beyond thrilled to have won this award against such incredible competition. Praise must go to our digital agency, Red Ant, which worked hand-in-hand with us to bring our vision to life and launch this ground breaking technology across our estate. As a business, we are driven by innovation, with our customers at the heart of every decision we make.” Now in its fourth year, the MOMA awards celebrate the campaigns, brands and agencies at the forefront of the mobile industry.
New Dutch pancake house concept to open in York in July: A new Dutch pancake house concept is set to open in York in July. Husband and wife Sheridan and David Walker are launching the Double Dutch Pancake House in an undisclosed location in the city centre. The 40-cover site will serve sweet and savoury dishes cooked to authentic Dutch recipes, and there will be vegetarian and gluten-free options. There will also be a couple of other specialities from the Netherlands including bitterballen – crispy meatballs served with a mustard mayonnaise – and Dutch open sandwiches called uitsmijters. Sheridan Walker told York Mix: “It’s an open kitchen, so you’ve got the theatre of the pancakes being tossed in front of you. Everything’s made fresh to order. It appeals to families, to students. The Dutch pancake itself is different to a crepe and to your normal pancake, it’s a little bit bigger.”
Great Northern Inns to rebrand Nottingham city centre pub as second Southbank Bar: Great Northern Inns has closed The Approach in Nottingham city centre and will relaunch the pub as its second Southbank Bar. The new Southbank Bar – Nottingham City will focus on live sports, with 22 screens and a 155-inch projector as well as private booths, dartboard, American pool and a PlayStation 4 – all available for hire. The pub is set to reopen in time for the Euro 16 football tournament. The bar will also feature live music and DJs five nights a week. A US-inspired menu will be on offer from 9am to 9pm. Great Northern Inns director David Willans said: “We had been looking for a while for the right venue to open our second Southbank Bar and this seemed like the perfect route for it, given the central location. We have secured a new lease through Fraser Brown solicitors. We have also brought on two of our longest-serving managers as partners in this venture to deliver an amazing new bar to Nottingham city centre.” As well as its other Southbank Bar in Trent Bridge, Great Northern Inns also operates The Cross Keys and Trent Navigation Inn pubs, three Copper Café, Bar & Lounge sites and The Old Flower Shop restaurant, all in and around Nottingham.
Tom Sellers opens Restaurant Ours in Kensington, second London venue: Tom Sellers, the former Noma head chef behind Restaurant Story in Bermondsey and the Lickfold Inn in West Sussex, has opened new venture Restaurant Ours in South Kensington. The 120-cover venue, with its own central bar and private dining room seating 24, is on the former site of The Collection in Brompton Road and features a “large and dramatic open interior space punctuated by three enormous trees”, with up to 10-metre high ceilings, Hot Dinners reports. Sellers is overseeing the menu, with cooking carried out by head chef Daniel Phippard, previously at Ernik in Moscow and London’s Kensington Place. The menu focuses on “seasonal European and British highlights, showcased in both traditional and contemporary dishes”. Those dishes include quinoa with celeriac and smoked egg emulsion, oysters with mignonette garnish, aged rib of Galician beef with marrow and morels, and cinnamon doughnuts with salted caramel and apple. Restaurant Ours is currently open for dinner only but will launch a lunch service on Monday, 6 June.
Wild Beer Co applies for licence to open Bristol site, second south west venue: Somerset-based brewer Wild Beer Co has applied for a licence to open its second site, this time in Bristol. The company, which launched its first bar and restaurant in Cheltenham last year, is eyeing a site at Wapping Wharf development, at the Harbourside, reports the Bristol Post. It is remaining tight-lipped about what exactly it hopes to create but events and marketing manager Andy Gibson said Bristol “makes sense as the next location” for Wild Beer Co. It has applied to Bristol City Council to serve alcohol between 9am and midnight every day, plus play music. More than 20 beers are served on tap at the Cheltenham venue, with many of those brewed by Wild Beer Co plus some from other brewers across the UK. Its food menu includes ingredients sourced from around Somerset, with dishes including burgers, steaks, seafood and salads. Wild Beer Co was founded in 2013 and currently distributes its beers and ales across the UK.
Newcastle-based Tyne Bank Brewery raises more than £210,000 as it completes crowdfunding campaign: Newcastle-based Tyne Bank Brewery has completed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having raised more than £210,000 after outgrowing its current premises. The company – founded by Julia Austin and with Pat Green, part of the founding management team of Black Sheep Brewery, as a director – was aiming to raise £150,000 in return for a 9.09% equity stake. It has now completed the campaign, with 359 investors pledging £213,310. The largest investment was £25,000. The pitch stated: “Tyne Bank Brewery’s growth has been based on our strong brand and focus on quality craft beers. This has led us to outgrow our current premises in less than five years. Instead of just moving to another slightly bigger unit, we want to be ambitious and significantly scale-up production. We have identified a new building, which we feel is perfect for a visitor attraction brewery with the addition of a craft beer tap room and event space. It also has space to house a kegging, bottling and canning line. Our own experience in the market suggests a shortage of short-run canning capacity and as such we envisage this new arm of the brewery becoming very successful. We are forecasting turnover to increase from £342,000 to £1.3m in 2020, with a net profit of 18%. The packaging line would increase that turnover even further to £1.7m, with a net profit of 19%.”
Upmarket Japanese restaurant Nozomi opens Birmingham site, second UK venue: Upmarket Japanese restaurant Nozomi has opened its second UK site – in Birmingham. Nozomi, which is named after the fastest train in Japan, has opened in Fleet Street on the site of the former Henry Wongs restaurant after agreeing a 20-year lease. It features a 108-cover luxury restaurant, bar and courtyard. Serving modern Japanese cuisine, Nozomi prides itself on five-star service and has venues around the world, including London’s Knightsbridge and Doha in Qatar. The menu features decadent unagi and foie-gras, deep fried rock shrimp in spicy mayonaise, Nozomi’s signature black cod, and prawn tempura maki. Franchisee Zafaran Rashid, who also owns Beorma Club next door, told the Birmingham Mail: “I know some raised their eyebrows about how something like this would work here but Birmingham needs more restaurants like Nozomi and the company believed in my vision in creating a unique, high-end luxury dining experience in my home city.”
Zizzi opens third Cardiff restaurant: Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi has opened its third Cardiff restaurant. The company has added to its venues in the Welsh capital with a site at St David’s Shopping Centre. The restaurant has a contemporary design and features illustrated murals by London-based illustrator Ricardo Bessa, reports Wales Online. Zizzi’s other restaurants in the city are in High Street and Mermaid Quay in Cardiff Bay.
Britvic reports rise in revenue and pre-tax profit: Britvic has reported an increase in revenue and pre-tax profit despite a “challenging customer environment”. The company saw revenue increase 5.1% to £678m for the 28 weeks to 10 April 2016, while pre-tax profit was up 7.3% from £51m to £54.5m. In April this year, Britvic signed a £12m contract with Harris Construction Management to increase capacity at its Bramley site, near Leeds. An additional 86,000 square feet has been added to these production and warehousing facilities, which are now operational. It will enable capacity to be increased by 25% to 120,000 cans per hour. Chief executive Simon Litherland said: “We have reported a 7.1% increase in Ebita in the first half of the year despite the challenging customer environment and continued price deflation in our core markets. We have outperformed the soft drinks category in each of our core markets, gaining market share as a result. Our recent acquisition in Brazil is growing ahead of last year and Fruit Shoot multi-pack is being launched in the US. We continue to invest behind the longer-term drivers of growth – supply chain efficiency in Great Britain, innovation and our international businesses – and I remain excited about our ability to drive sustainable revenue growth in the years ahead. With the key summer trading period ahead of us, strong marketing plans for the rest of the year and continued cost control, we remain on track to deliver Ebita in the range of £180m to £190m for the full year.”
Easyhotel secures planning permission for Birmingham site: Easyhotel, the owner, developer, operator and franchisor of “super budget” branded hotels, has secured planning permission for an 84-bedroom site in Birmingham city centre. The company now expects to exchange contracts for a 125-year lease on the building in the coming weeks and the hotel could open next year. It will invest £4.5m in the property at 81-91 John Bright Street, close to New Street railway station. Chief executive Guy Parsons said: “We see significant opportunity for Easyhotel to service business customers and leisure visitors to Birmingham’s lively events programmes and look forward to building our brand presence in the city.”
Cineworld reports revenue grows 9.8%, retail sales boosted by Starbucks concessions expansion: Cineworld has reported revenue grew 9.8% in the 19 weeks to 12 May 2016. Retail revenue in the UK and Ireland was up 11.1% year-on-year and by 12.1% across the group. The company stated: “Admissions grew in both the UK and Ireland and the rest of the world. The growth in retail revenues of 12.1% was driven by both the nature of the film mix and the extension of retail offerings, including Starbucks. The increased attendances for the year to date supported the other income line (which grew by 17.8%), with screen advertising revenues for the year to date particularly strong across the group. We have continued the group’s strategic expansion with two new sites opened in April – Yate with six screens (UK) and Timishoara Nepi with 13 screens (Romania). In May, another two sites are scheduled to open – Loughborough with eight screens (UK) and Beer Sheeva with 18 screens (Israel). We have proactively focused on our estate management, with the refurbishment programme progressing well. One six-screen site in the UK, Hammersmith, was closed during the period. We are currently contracted to open a further eight cinemas across the group during the year, three in the UK and five in the rest of the world. There is a promising release programme still to come during the first half of the year, including X-Men: Apocalypse, which opened in the UK this week, Independence Day 2 and family titles Alice Through The Looking Glass and The Secret Life of Pets. We remain confident of delivering a performance for the year as a whole in line with current market expectations.”
Historic Skye hotel, home of Drambuie, on market for £725,000: The Broadford Hotel on the Isle of Skye, said to be the original home of Drambuie liqueur, has gone on the market for £725,000. The hotel is said to be one of the oldest continuously operating inns in Scotland, reputedly dating to the mid-17th century. It has 11 rooms, a restaurant, dining room and two bars. Centrally located in the village of Broadford, the hotel is being marketed by agent Colliers International on behalf of its owners, Perle Hotels, which wants to focus on developing its two other properties on Skye. It is the second time the property has been on the market in three years as it was acquired by Perle Hotels in 2013 alongside Portree sister hotels the Marmalade and the Bosville Hotel. Alistair Letham, of Colliers International, told The Press and Journal: “With its much-improved and upgraded facilities, it has proved extremely popular and that is reflected in the excellent level of established turnover and profitability the Broadford Hotel enjoys.” It is believed in the 18th century a secret formula for an alcoholic elixir was passed to the owner of The Broadford, who developed what would later become known as Drambuie.
Booker Group reports sales up 5% to £5bn, non-tobacco like-for-likes fall: Wholesaler Booker Group has reported sales increased 5% to £5bn for the year ending 25 March 2016, with non-tobacco sales up 6.3%. The company saw like-for-likes fall 1.9%, with a 0.3% decline in non-tobacco sales. Operating profit before exceptional items increased 11% to £155.1m. The company stated: “The group’s trading in the first seven weeks of the current financial year is ahead of last year. However, we anticipate that the challenging consumer and market environment will persist through the coming year and the UK’s food market remains very competitive. Whilst there is increasing price competition in the UK grocery and discount sectors, we will continue to deliver our plans to offer our customers even better choice, prices and service supported by the continued delivery of our efficiency programmes. We are on track to deliver an outcome for the new financial year in line with our plans and to make progress in this challenging environment.” Chief executive Charles Wilson added: “Our plan to focus, drive and broaden the business remains on track. Booker Group had a good year; customer satisfaction was strong, sales and profits were the best we have ever achieved. We made good progress on the integration of Budgens and Londis. We are very grateful for the support of our customers, suppliers and people and look forward to making progress in the year ahead.”