Pret A Manger to make Nordic debut with Copenhagen airport site: Pret A Manger is to make its Nordic debut by opening a site at Copenhagen airport, which is extending dining options in its Terminal 2 pre-security area with five new outlets earmarked for autumn openings. Other newcomers are gastro-pub Bar Jacobsens, vegetarian restaurant 42Raw, Thai cuisine concept Wok, and Riccos, which is known for its coffee and home-based products. Copenhagen airport director Lise Ryevad told The Moodie Davitt Report: “It is a huge accomplishment for us to be able to mark our new expansion with the first Pret A Manger in the Nordics. Denmark is renowned across the world for its expertise within gastronomy and cooking, which is also why it is important for us to offer travellers a broad selection of high quality food and beverage.” In late-May, Pret A Manger announced its debt swelled to £608m last year after a refinancing as the company geared up for a stock market listing in New York. Pret’s net debt rose from £577.4m in 2015, according to its latest annual report filed at Companies House. Pret, which has 440 stores, said £395m of the sum was external bank debt.
London-based dessert parlour Chin Chin Club starts expansion with second site, in Soho: London-based dessert parlour Chin Chin Club has started expansion by opening its second site in the capital, this time in Soho. The company, which launched in Camden Lock, has opened a venue in Greek Street, with customers able to watch ice cream created from scratch with flavours changing monthly. Chin Chin Club Soho offers cult classics such as The Brownwich and Chin Chin hot chocolate, alongside new dishes including The Choux-wich, a choux ice cream sandwich with Persian pistachio and olive oil ice cream. There is also the Avo Taco, a purple corn waffle taco filled with avocado ice cream and topped with house cream and crunchy fried corn. Designed by Santoma & Ramos, the restaurant features gold and marble decor. Chin Chin Club also operates a dessert bar on Fridays and Saturdays at Street Feast’s Hawker House space in Canada Water. The Soho venue is open daily from midday to 9pm.
Former Pret A Manger executive targets 25 sites in two years as Escape Hunt prepares to enter UK market: Escape Hunt, which is headed by former Pret A Manger executive Richard Harpham, is seeking sites to launch the concept in the UK. Escape Hunt is the largest global player in the escape room leisure market and has an “aggressive” acquisition programme, targeting up to 25 openings in two years, with eight secured by the end of 2017. Last month, the company became the first escape rooms concept to list on the London Stock Exchange when it floated on the AIM market following a reverse takeover by investment vehicle Dorcaster. Speaking to Property Week, Harpham said the company was targeting major cities and sites of 2,500 to 6,000 square feet in shopping centres and high streets. He added that windowless basement accommodation would also be feasible. The company was founded in Bangkok in 2013 by entrepreneur Paul Bartosik, with Harpham appointed chief executive earlier this year. Escape Hunt currently has about 40 sites, largely in Asia and the US, with plans to roll out the concept to mainland Europe as well as the UK. “The growth of the sector has been extraordinary,” said Harpham. “Until 2010, there were no escape rooms and now they are one of the most popular leisure pursuits.”
Former Savoy head bartender to launch French neighbourhood bar Coupette this month in east London: Chris Moore, former head bartender at the Savoy’s Beaufort Bar, is to launch his own concept – French neighbourhood bar Coupette – in Bethnal Green, east London, this month. Moore has joined forces with two of the capital’s other top bartenders – Franck Dedieu, formerly of high-end rum and cocktail bar Redwood, and Dan Schofield, previously at award-winning 69 Colebrooke Row – to open the bar, which will have a distinctly French accent focusing on regional liqueurs. Coupette is taking over the former Albion pub in Bethnal Green Road and will offer artisanal regional French gems such as Calvados with cold-pressed apple juice, French cider, truffled white negroni made with seasonal truffles, and champagne pina colada. The cocktail menu will draw inspiration from French culture, reports the Handbook. There will also be a fully French wine list, while food will include imported charcuterie, terrines and regional cheese alongside coffee, fresh pastries and weekend brunch.
St Austell Brewery launches largest marketing campaign to support flagship beer: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has launched its largest ever marketing campaign to support its flagship beer, Tribute. The campaign aims to bring Tribute’s “strong provenance and taste credentials” to life under the banner: “Quality speaks for itself.” The campaign will be supported by outdoor and print advertising alongside digital, in-store and PR activity. A Tribute brand video is also being launched as well as a new website. St Austell worked with creative agency A Little Bird and media agency Smithfield to develop the campaign. The 4.2% ABV premium cask ale was first brewed by the company in 1999 as a short-term ale to celebrate the total eclipse of the sun, becoming a permanent beer in 2001. St Austell Brewery marketing and communications director Jeremy Mitchell said: “This is our biggest ever marketing investment in one of our beers and, after an extensive brand review and customer research, we’ve developed the campaign to celebrate the qualities Tribute fans love most about the beer and what is important to them.” Meanwhile, St Austell Brewery has launched an American collaboration cask ale in Mitchell & Butlers’ Castle-branded pubs. Skipper, brewed in collaboration with Boston-based Harpoon Brewery, is being launched as part of Castle’s Craft Beer Festival, which is running until Saturday, 15 July with the beer available exclusively in more than 100 Castle pubs.
Bosi-trained chef Adam Rawson launches mini-burger restaurant concept in north London: Adam Rawson, who trained under Claude Bosi and Gordon Ramsay and who is reigning Young British Foodies chef of the year, has launched a mini-burger restaurant concept in Holborn, north London. Bite Me Burger Co has opened inside Hong Kong cafe concept Cha Chaan Teng in Kingsway but will move to a permanent home in west London in the autumn. Bite Me Burger Co offers bite-sized burgers such as the Lambtastic with stilton and smoked yogurt, and the BC with cream cheese aioli and bacon. The menu also features duck and chicken burgers, with vegetarians able to swap out the meat for any vegetable and an aubergine patty. The venue also offers a box of twelve mini-burgers to take away.
Marston’s to open new-build pub at Bilston residential development in October: Marston’s is to open a new-build pub restaurant at a residential development in Bilston, West Midlands, in October. The company is launching White Rabbit at the £176m Bilston Urban Village, creating 45 jobs. The name of the Bankfield Road venue is a nod to the mining heritage of Bilston and the surrounding area and comes from local accounts in the 18th century of miners being haunted by an evil spirit. A ceremony was held to ask for protection and guidance from the White Rabbit, a symbolic white witch figure who protected the miners and banished the evil spirit. Marston’s Inns and Taverns area operations manager Mark Griffiths said: “This area is the heartland for Marston’s so we are really excited to be part of this development. The pub is an extension of people’s lives so we are happy we can embrace this and provide the community with a place they can enjoy.”
Independent Lincolnshire brewery enters administration after CVA collapses: Independent Lincolnshire brewery Tom Woods Beers has entered administration after a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) it was operating under collapsed. The company, which brews about 170,000 pints a week from its base in Melton Ross, near Barnetby, has called in Grimsby-based CRG Insolvency & Financial Recovery to look after the day-to-day running of the company. According to Companies House, Tom Wood Beers’ accounts are overdue and the company has been operating under a CVA since December 2014, whereby it was scheduled to make four consecutive monthly payments to creditors of more than £2,000, followed by 35 payments of £4,000 or more. In February this year, it emerged the company was £7,000 in arrears with these payments but had paid back some £76,000 owed to creditors. The CVA would fail if the firm did not pay three monthly contributions, reports The Business Desk. Tom Wood brewed three core beers – Best Bitter, Lincoln Gold and Bomber County. The company has three directors – Tom Wood, John Wood and Mark Smith.
David Lloyd Leisure buys Harrogate racquets club and spa in off-market deal: David Lloyd Leisure has bought The Academy Health Club and Spa in Harrogate in an off-market deal. The company has acquired the site for an undisclosed sum from Academy Leisure through agent Christie & Co. Converted from a former National Power Training Centre and sub-station in 1994, The Academy extends to about 6,067 square metres (65,309 square feet) on a site area of roughly 2.49 hectares (6.15 acres). The Academy has been in the same hands since opening and operates as a family-friendly racquets and leisure club in the premium segment of the health club sector. David Lloyd Leisure property director Paul Guyer said: “We are delighted to welcome The Academy to the David Lloyd portfolio and have long been fans of the club. We look forward to working with The Academy team and to investing in the club and enhancing the membership experience.” The Academy managing director Philippa Shackleton added: “This is the beginning of an exciting new chapter for The Academy as we look to build on the club’s reputation for class-leading facilities and service.”
Unity Bar Co to launch delayed Dunstable nightclub this weekend: Bedfordshire-based operator Unity Bar Co will finally launch its nightclub in Dunstable, near Luton, this weekend. Unity will open on Saturday (10 June) at a vacant town centre site in The Quadrant that used to house After Dark nightclub. Unity was originally due to open in November last year after the company signed a lease for the site in September. Steve Elliott, owner of Unity Bar Co, told Dunstable Today: “We have faced our fair share of problems but we’re very pleased to say we have overcome them all and are ready to open. The delays allowed us to spend more time making the improvements and getting the venue ready. Friday and Saturday nights will be commercial music with resident DJs, while Sundays will be live music with bands. We will launch our student night on Thursdays at a later date.” The venue will open from 10pm to 4am.
Yummy Collection launches new summer menu: Yummy Collection, the pub operator formerly known as Yummy Pub Company and led by Tim Foster, Jason Rowlands and Anthony Pender, has launched a new summer menu. New mains include a gluten-free grilled pork T-bone steak and seabass en papillotte. Additions to the tapas menu include crispy halloumi fries with garlic mayo, and beetroot salmon gravadlax, while summer desserts have been added such as a strawberry mess and a dark chocolate waffle. Rowlands, who is executive chef at Yummy, said: “Thanks to new communication processes put in place last year and dedicated teams both front and back of house, we’ve been able to collate valuable information about what our customers want and what they could do without. Our menu is a constant work in progress – we’re not precious about bringing back or letting go of dishes.”
Raymond Blanc launches gardening school: Raymond Blanc has launched a gardening school at Oxfordshire’s Belmont hotel, which houses the celebrity chef’s restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. The hotel’s two-acre vegetable and herb garden supplies Blanc’s two Michelin-starred restaurant with produce. The Raymond Blanc Gardening School will offer full and half-day courses led by the team that has managed the garden for decades. The courses will start in July, with the full-day option including morning tea and lunch. Winter lessons are also on the cards, hosted in a greenhouse, The Peak reports. In April, Blanc launched a chef scholarship programme at Ascot Racecourse, with a chef from the course working closely with Blanc and his Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons team throughout the year.
Numis Securities – Domino’s Pizza investors have potential to gain exposure through seven different equity vehicles: Numis Securities leisure analyst Richard Stuber has said Domino’s Pizza investors have the potential to gain exposure through seven different equity vehicles. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 510p, Stuber said: “Domino’s Pizza Eurasia has the Domino’s master franchise agreement for Turkey, Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, with a network totalling 571 stores of which 37% are corporate-owned. It has delivered 17% system sales compound annual growth rate and, from a low base, 73% Ebitda compound annual growth rate (circa £21m). Putting this in perspective, its store count is nearly half that of Domino’s Pizza Group with Ebitda less than a quarter. On balance, we think Domino’s Pizza Eurasia has most in common with Domino’s Pizza Poland. Among the seven Domino’s entities, we perceive wide variations in investment cases. Two entities (Jubilant Foods and Alsea) operate multiple brands, four operate in emerging markets (the two above plus Domino’s Pizza Eurasia and Domino’s Pizza Poland) and five have considerable corporate store exposure (the four above plus Domino’s Pizza Enterprises). Notably, Domino’s Pizza Group trades on nearly half the 2017E price-to-earnings ratio of its listed peers (20 times versus average of 46 times) yet with Ebitda growth expectations (24% compound annual growth rate) broadly similar. Combining valuation with our preference for a franchised, developed market option, we note Domino’s Pizza Group is trading at a 35% EV/Ebitda (49% price-to-earnings ratio) discount to Domino’s Pizza. Since its prelims on 7 March, Domino’s Pizza shares have fallen more than 20% and now trade on 19.0 times 2018E price-to-earnings ratio. The 1.5% like-for-like growth reported for the first nine weeks of the year raised questions around the impact of store splits, intensity of competition and cost inflation. Despite our preference to look at system sales growth, attention at its interims will inevitably focus on like-for-like growth. We note the first-half like-for-like comparables are challenging (first quarter 10.5%, second quarter 11.3%), but will become increasingly easier in the second half (third quarter 3.9%, fourth quarter 4.8%) post the anniversary of the Euro 2016 football championships (10 July). While we therefore do not expect the interim results in itself to be a catalyst, we think the combination of encouraging updates from the Nordics, comments on progress towards a more efficient balance sheet, and wider investor interest as a result of the imminent initial public offering of Domino’s Pizza Eurasia, should support the share price ahead of the third-quarter trading update in October.”