Pret A Manger to ‘push ahead with float plans’ despite Jollibee interest: Pret A Manger intends to push ahead with its plans for a possible float on the New York Stock Exchange despite the prospect of a multibillion-dollar takeover by Filipino fast food business Jollibee. On Monday (18 September) it was reported Jollibee, known as the “McDonald’s of the Philippines”, had been in talks with advisors about a possible Pret deal. However, City AM reports that Jollibee and Pret have not been in contact with each other. Any offer would value Pret at more than $1bn based on 2016 core earnings of more than £93m. However, it is thought the company’s value would be higher if it floated successfully on the New York Stock Exchange. Jollibee, with a market value of $5.2bn, operates the largest foodservice network in the Philippines with 2,700 restaurant outlets, including its eponymous chain of fast-food stores. In May, Pret A Manger owner Bridgepoint hired JP Morgan and Jefferies to explore a possible flotation in the US. Bridgepoint told City AM it does not comment on market speculation, while Jollibee could not be reached for comment. Earlier this week, Propel learned Pret A Manger will open its third Veggie Pret site, at an undisclosed London location in October.

TRG Concessions partners with mobile ordering app Grab to launch Heathrow pre-order service: TRG Concessions, part of The Restaurant Group, has partnered with US-based mobile ordering app Grab to launch a restaurant pre-order service at Heathrow. TRG Concessions has launched the service across seven of its brands at the airport – Giraffe, Giraffe STOP, Wondertree, Comptoir Libanais, the Prince of Wales, The Market Gardener and The Curator – allowing users to pre-order, check turnaround time and collect from their chosen restaurant. By downloading the Heathrow Airport Guide app, passengers can select and pay for their dish before collecting ahead of their flight. Each restaurant features a dedicated point for orders via a tablet, which allows staff to communicate directly with the customer. Grab serves 20 airports in the US, with Heathrow the first UK airport to trial the app. TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst said: “Partnering with Grab and Heathrow allows us to incorporate industry-leading technology and innovation into our foodservice operations.” Heathrow head of food and beverage Ben Crowley added: “This enhances the takeaway offer our restaurants provide and allows passengers to enjoy a range of dining options at 30,000 feet.” Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently reopened his Heathrow restaurant Plane Food and launched Plane Food Grab & Go, a pre-prepared offering passengers can take away to enjoy on their flight.

All Our Bars reopens Greene King pub in Bracknell following £500,000 refurbishment: All Our Bars, led by Paul Wigham, has reopened Greene King pub The Boot in Bracknell, Berkshire, following a £500,000 refurbishment. The pub in Park Road had been closed since the end of April. Wigham said: “The designers have come up with some amazing ideas that really show what a beautiful building this is. It’s looking superb. Once again it has been a brilliant experience working with our partners Greene King, who have been hugely supportive throughout a long renovation process. This is a true retail/pubco partnership that transcends many of the industry issues that are making headlines for the wrong reasons. We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.” Customers can use new beach huts for alfresco dining during warm weather, while a more formal area is available to hire for functions and private meetings.

Urban Pubs and Bars to open 13th site next week, first central London venue: Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, will open its 13th site – and first in central London – next week. The company will launch The Punch Tavern in Fleet Street on Thursday, 28 September. The grade II-listed building was previously a 19th century “gin palace” and the site is full of period features and nods to its Victorian heritage. The venue will focus on classic cocktails and a selection of gin, whiskey and wine, while retaining its “traditional London boozer feel” and offering a gastro-pub menu. The Punch Tavern is the latest acquisition in as many months for Urban Pubs & Bars following bar restaurant Neighbour and basement cocktail bar Jukes in Kentish Town and Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green. Meanwhile, two of its current estate – The Whippet Inn in Kensal Rise and Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec – have undergone extensive refurbishments. Pring and Heap sold Realpubs to Greene King in 2011 for £53.1m.

The Good Life Eatery opens fourth site, in St John’s Wood: West London-based health food cafe concept The Good Life Eatery has opened its fourth site, in St John’s Wood. The company, founded in 2013 by Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kuoros, has opened the site in High Street, creating 20 jobs, with support of a £250,000 finance package from HSBC. The Good Life Eatery pioneers “clean, healthy eating” using a diverse range of locally sourced food that accommodates every dietary need. Larizadeh said: “HSBC has been instrumental in helping us expand our business across west London. Our new site in St John’s Wood will help us bring healthy and locally sourced goods to even more customers.” Kevin Dewick, HSBC area director at the West End business banking team, added: “HSBC has a long-standing relationship with The Good Life Eatery and we are delighted to be able to support the opening of this fourth site. Seeing such a young business go from strength to strength gives us even more reason to continue championing and supporting its ambitious growth plans.” The Good Life Eatery’s other sites are in Chelsea, Marylebone and Belgravia.

The Ivy Collection opens first Scottish site: The Ivy Collection has opened its first site in Scotland. Ivy Brasserie has launched in St Andrew Square after the company signed a 25-year lease for the site in the summer. The 130-cover restaurant also features a bar and 20-cover Parisian-style terrace, while the kitchen is overseen by executive chef Sean Burbidge, former head chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus. The group, backed by Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings, has also lodged a planning application with Glasgow City Council to open a venue in the city’s Buchanan Street as part of its expansion outside London. In recent weeks, The Ivy Collection has been given the go-ahead to open a brasserie in York and an Ivy Cafe in Blackheath, London. The Ivy Collection currently operates ten brasserie sites, with others “opening soon” in Bath, Cheltenham, Guildford, Harrogate and Tunbridge Wells. There are currently four Ivy Cafe sites, all in London. The company has forecast a total of 30 venues by the end of 2018.

Amber Taverns opens 12th Hogarths Gin Palace, in Lancaster: Community pub operator Amber Taverns has opened its 12th Hogarths Gin Palace, this time in Tamworth in the West Midlands. The company has invested £1.4m in the venue in Lower Gungate on the site of the former Oliver’s bar, creating 30 jobs. Hogarths features more than 150 gins as well as an extensive range of cocktails, wine and beer. The venue also offers a full range of premium lagers and cask ales. Amber Taverns operations director Gary Roberts told the Tamworth Herald: “We look forward to complementing some great pubs on the circuit.” The company owns and operates more than 130 pubs and bars across the Midlands, north west, north east and South Wales. It is due to open its next Hogarths Gin Palace in Lancaster in December after acquiring the freehold of a site in George Street that will undergo a £720,000 refurbishment. Last month, the company reported turnover rose 23.5% to £64,951,802 in the year to 5 February 2017 (2016: £52,602,681). Pre-tax profit rose to £8,735,964 from £8,164,643 the year before. Company Ebitda increased to £14,024,000 from £11,002,000 the year before.

Hickory’s Smokehouse to open Southport site for seventh venue: Hickory’s Smokehouse, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, is to open its seventh site, this time in Southport, Merseyside. The all-American restaurant and bar will open at the former Pageant pub in Folkestone Road “before Christmas”, offering Texas-style beef brisket smoked for 16 hours, barbecue-glazed ribs, mega-stacked burgers and cheesy fries. The restaurant will also offer a children’s play area and cinema room, a covered veranda with an open fire-pit and a large bar. Hickory’s Smokehouse owner Neil McDonnell told the Southport Visiter: “Our sister sites across the north west have been embraced wholeheartedly by the local community so we are really excited about opening another site in beautiful Southport.” In June, Hickory’s Smokehouse said it was hunting for sites of 5,000 to 10,000 square feet with a large alfresco space and a minimum of 60 parking spaces. They needed to be within two-and-a-half hours of Chester. McDonnell founded Hickory’s in 2010 and now has sites in Burton Green, Castle Bromwich, Chester, Rhos-on-Sea and West Kirby, with its Wall Heath venue currently being rebuilt following a major fire last year. Piper Private Equity invested £6m in Hickory’s in October 2014.

Ales From Wales launches £500,000 crowdfunding campaign to open Nottingham pub with six bars selling Welsh beer: A £500,000 crowdfunding campaign has been launched to open a pub in Nottingham selling Welsh craft and real ale from six brewers with six separate bars under one roof. David Hawes is looking to raise the funds to secure a site in the city centre for the venture through the Angel Investment Network platform. Hawes intends to roll out the concept, dubbed “Ales From Wales” to other cities in the UK. He said: “We will serve the very best of Welsh beers, lagers and ciders in bottles, cans and cask/keg. With six separate areas each run by/on behalf of a brewery, we will offer unprecedented choice and keep prices down by stocking everything made by the breweries. By having six bars under one roof, if there’s a queue at one bar customers can try alternatives without leaving the premises, keeping profits in-house. I have applied for the trademark “Ales From Wales”. We have had very favourable feedback from potential customers and bar staff. We have a property lined up but urgently require investment to secure it. Our first objective is to open the “go to” venue in Nottingham and promote widely. Once operating successfully we intend to roll out across other cities in the UK as we would be the only Welsh-themed pub chain. We would either run these ourselves or could operate a franchise scheme. We will be looking to hire bar managers responsible for their brewer’s bar area and bar staff to work solely for a single brewer to maintain focus and build a competitive atmosphere among staff as we intend to offer bonuses for achieving sales targets as a group.”

Italian coffee group Lavazza targets UK as it brews plans for 15 cafes: Italian coffee group Lavazza is targeting the UK as it looks to open up to 15 cafes around the world. The family-owned company has opened its first coffee boutique in the centre of Milan. It offers the company’s trademark espresso as well as siphon-brewed and other types of coffee. Vice-president Marco Lavazza told Reuters: “If this first cafe is successful, we will open between ten and 15 stores in the world’s biggest cities in coming years.” He added that the group would focus on Austria, Britain, France, Germany and the US. The site in Milan, near the La Scala opera house, is close to where Starbucks will open its first Italian store next year.

Crussh introduces ‘fit bowls’ as part of hot food expansion: Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, has introduced “fit bowls” as part of its largest hot food launch to date, which also includes ten new vegan dishes. The fit bowls include at least four of the advised five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. There are also ten new soup flavours, which feature fewer than 250 calories, alongside hot pots, energy pots, a seasonal brambly fruit juice and an autumn spiced super smoothie. Fit bowl flavours include vegan jackfruit tinga and turkey chilli, while soup flavours include bone broth; lentil, kale and quinoa; and Thai pea and edamame. New hot pots include chicken, chickpea and peanut. Last month, Crussh opened its first concession in partnership with Debenhams and lanched a Food & Juice Bar in a Holland & Barrett store, both in London’s Oxford Street. Crussh has 30 outlets across the capital, including a concession at Sainsbury’s in Pimlico.

The Watch House opens its third coffee and cocktail bar in the capital: London-based coffee and cocktail bar concept The Watch House has opened its third site in the city. The venue has opened in Fetter Lane and is the brand’s first site north of the Thames. The concept offers speciality coffee and breakfast from 7am, with grab-and-go options and European tapas-style plates at lunchtime before turning into a cocktail bar at 5pm. The bar also offers bar snacks such as Padron peppers, meat and cheese boards and triple-cheese bon bons with chorizo ailoi. Lunchtime takeaway options include sandwiches, baguettes and salads, plus hot and board specials, Hot Dinners reports. The venue also offers fare from Crosstown Doughnuts and Fatties Bakery. The Watch House is owned by former architect Roland Horne and has sites in Tower Bridge and Bermondsey Street.

London-based membership wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan passes 50% mark in £450,000 crowdfunding campaign to open flagship site: London-based membership wine bar and restaurant Farley Macallan has passed the 50% mark in its £450,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a flagship site in the capital. The concept, launched by Luke Ramsden in Hackney last year, is offering a 28% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 72 investors have pledged £231,040 with 21 days remaining. The pitch states: “Having opened our first location with just £38,000 and in only nine days and generating revenues of £113,000 in our first year, we believe we have achieved real proof of concept with fantastic reviews from London’s media and customers alike. The funds will be spent on acquiring a new location with launch PR and marketing campaigns planned throughout pre-launch. We are well rehearsed at launching quickly and achieving sales quickly. Our community-led membership is designed to reward customers who use the space regularly and in turn create a core group that is the lifeblood of the community. Memberships offer discounted food and beverage, access to events such as wine tastings, seasonal parties and free room hire fees for private events. We aim to refine the concept over the next five years with a further fund-raising round scheduled in 2020. After that, we will target a sale to take the business nationally and internationally.”

Leon launches autumn menu: Natural fast food brand Leon has launched its new autumn menu, which focuses on “meat as a side”. Leon said a survey had revealed 40% of its customers were making an effort to eat less meat. The menu features three new dishes, including a truffle mushroom burger. Leon will also launch its eighth cookbook, Happy Soups, written by chief executive and co-founder John Vincent, and food journalist and chef Rebecca Seal, on Thursday, 5 October. Vincent, Henry Dimbleby and Allegra McEvedy founded Leon in 2004, which now operates 53 restaurants. Last month, the company sealed a tie-up to expand in Norway and Sweden, with plans to open 20 sites in five years. The push followed a meeting between Vincent and Jens Ulltveit-Moe, whose company Umoe runs more than 360 venues in the region. Ulltveit-Moe took an undisclosed stake in Leon as part of its agreement to open restaurants across Scandinavia. In March, Leon sold a £25m stake to private equity house Spice as part of its efforts to accelerate international expansion.

Ennismore to start expansion of Breddos Tacos brand next month with second London site: Gleneagles owner Ennismore is to start expansion of Mexican street food concept Breddos Tacos – its joint venture with founders Nud Dudhia and Chris Whitney – by opening a second London site, in Carnaby next month. The venue will open in Kingly Street on Saturday, 7 October with 84 covers – double the size of the debut Breddos Tacos site that opened in Clerkenwell in December. Unlike its sister, the Carnaby site will offer a breakfast menu, with dishes such as smoked brisket, potatoes, fried egg and hot-sauce tacos. The venue will also feature a late-night downstairs bar offering mezcal and margaritas, while new restaurant dishes include wood-grilled whole octopus with mole amarillo, and crispy pig’s head with burnt habanero, alongside ice-cream tacos. Dudhia and Whitney began Breddos Tacos as a “makeshift taco shack” in a Hackney car park in 2011. Its website states: “Our food is influenced by the hundreds of roadside taquerias and restaurants we have encountered on our travels throughout America and Mexico, while utilising the best of British produce.”

Douglas Jack – ‘Shepherd Neame has high-value, strongly positioned asset base that can prove resilient to changes in consumer confidence’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Shepherd Neame has a high-value, strongly positioned asset base that has position to grow its profitability and prove resilient to changes in consumer confidence. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 1,325p, Jack said: “In the year to June, managed like-for-like sales rose 8.1% (8.0% drink, 7.7% food and 10.1% accommodation); tenanted average profits rose 5.6%; and brewing own-brand volumes, excluding contracts, grew 3.9%. During the past four years, managed like-for-like sales have averaged 5.9% (versus 1.4% for the industry) and tenanted like-for-like Ebitdar has averaged 2.7%. Shepherd Neame’s 66 managed outlets and 253 tenanted outlets are well positioned, in our view. A total of 69% are located in Kent, with central London being the second-largest area. Supported by strong investment and improving product range, the estates are oriented to the outperforming premium end of the market and have substantial scope to grow average profits, in our view. In 2017, the company added 13 managed outlets, yet our forecasts cautiously assume just one new managed outlet per annum. Our forecasts also assume managed like-for-like sales slow to 2.0% to 3.5% per annum (with no growth in margins), tenanted like-for-like Ebitdar slows to 1.0%, with brewing sales and profits declining in 2018E and 2019E. Shepherd Neame should benefit from a material improvement in transport links within Kent, which should help drive population growth and property prices in the county. Over the past five years, Kent’s population has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 1.0% (versus 0.6% for the UK) and is forecast to grow at 1.1% per annum over the next five years. For an 87% freehold estate, the net debt/Ebitda ratio, at 3.3 times, is not onerous, in our view. The biggest downside risk to our forecasts is the cost environment does not abate and consumer confidence deteriorates. However, if the sector’s prospects worsen, we would expect most other operators to be more badly affected than Shepherd Neame, which has low gearing (38%) and greater capacity to increase expansion. We are initiating coverage with an ‘Add’ recommendation, expecting the relatively close connection between the share price and net asset value to continue. We forecast Shepherd Neame’s net asset value per share to increase to 1,468p in 2020E.”

Stonegate to launch new Yates’s menu this week: Stonegate Pub Company is to launch a new menu across its Yates’s estate on Friday (22 September). The menu will include a revamped selection of feel-good food including Cornish pasty, and cheese and potato pie, which have been added to the Legends section, and an Even Bigger Breakfast meal that has been added to the revamped Big Plates section. New burgers include a Bombay burger (mango chutney-topped southern-fried chicken fillet between two mini naan breads and topped with a chicken tikka bite alongside poppadoms, chips and curry sauce). Another addition is the NY Deli Burger (6oz beef burger with pulled pastrami beef, cheese, gherkins and American mustard), while lighter bites include vegetable coconut curry and Mexican pasta bake, which are both vegetarian. New desserts include chocolate orange marble cake and treacle tart. Yates’s marketing manager Alex Botting said: “We’ve created twists on customer favourites to give them something new and exciting to tuck into.” Stonegate Pub Company operates more than 690 pubs split into two divisions – Branded (Slug and Lettuce, Yates’s, Walkabout, Common Room and Venues) and Traditional (Proper Pubs, Town Pub & Kitchen, and Classic Inns).

BrewDog to take Collabfest overseas: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to take its annual #Collabfest event overseas for the first time. The event, in its fifth year, will take place from Friday, 20 October to Sunday, 22 October and involve BrewDog’s UK bar crews teaming up with a local craft brewer to create and brew a one-off beer. The event culminates in all the new beers being available during the weekend at a select number of BrewDog bars. This year’s event will include teams from Swedish sites in Gothenburg, Malmo, Kungsholmen and Södermalm, as well as Germany’s BrewDog Berlin for the first time.

Bristol-based pop-up Scandinavian restaurant concept to open permanent site in city: Bristol-based pop-up Scandinavian restaurant concept Dela is to open a permanent site in the city this week. Owners Mike Orme and Lara Lindsay will launch the restaurant at the Mivart Studios in Easton on Friday (22 September). They have renovated the studio, using original features of the Victorian former factory to create a space with high ceilings and Scandinavian design influences. The duo have spent two years working towards Dela’s inception, running a number of pop-up events at Harts Bakery. Dela, which means “share” in Swedish, will be an all-day restaurant combining locally grown produce and Scandinavian influences with a seasonal changing menu. Dishes will include Danish sourdough pancakes with a choice of butternut squash, sweet pickled mushrooms, sea bass ceviche and pig’s cheek ragu, reports the Bristol Post.