Andreas Karlsson – restaurants should avoid ‘sumo effect’ when it comes to growing a business: Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, has said restaurants should avoid the “sumo effect” when it comes to growing a business. Speaking at the Propel summer conference, he told delegates: “You don’t want to be a sumo wrestler eating 20,000 calories a day, having a short career and then dying 20 years earlier than the average age in Japan. I think we in the industry should think about a healthy way of maintaining our business so we can hand over what we do to the next generation. Performance-wise you need to look at your business over a longer period of time regarding a strategic decision to open restaurants. You must plant a lot of seeds many years before they are going to give you anything.” Propel managing director Paul Charity asked Karlsson about some of the bold moves Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has made, such as taking on a Walkabout site in Covent Garden with its corresponding high rent. Karlsson said: “How stupid can you be to take a restaurant in Covent Garden that’s six metres wide by 45 metres long, on two levels and with two entrances – no-one does that. But it worked out. It took us some time to get going but if you execute well and look after every guest who walks up, looks at your door and says ‘that looks really good’, they will come back.” The Covent Garden site took time to take off, yet Karlsson kept his nerve. He told delegates: “(Founder) Kim (Rahbek) called me up and asked me if I had an IT issue because he was looking at the sales. I told him the figures were correct. He said it was a ‘catastrophe’ and asked what we should do? I said we should just keep on doing what we were doing, looking after every guest. Bit by bit it went well.” However, Karlsson stressed the need to be bold when the company opened its first bar restaurant in Copenhagen, located at the top of the Tivoli Hotel. He told delegates: “We said we knew everything about bars. We knew what to do on the bar seat, not so much on the other side – but we soon worked that one out. We winged it but got the space and have been there for eight years. It’s one of our best-performing restaurants in Copenhagen – we opened another late last year.” Sticks ‘n’ Sushi was founded by half-Danish, half-Japanese brothers Jens and Kim Rahbek and Thor Andersen in 1994. The company’s first London site opened in Wimbledon in 2012 and it now has seven restaurants in the UK, 12 in Denmark and one in Berlin. Karlsson told delegates current turnover was above £20m – reported turnover rose to £15.6m in the year to 30 June 2017.
 
Barburrito reports turnover boost, increased operating losses: Barburrito has reported turnover rose 19% to £15,180,00 in the year to 25 March 2018, while operating losses increased to £1,599,000 from £1,540,000 the year before. The loss before tax was £2,771,000, compared with £2,708,000 the year before. The company said turnover growth had been driven by “like-for-like growth at existing restaurants and the full-year impact of restaurants opened part-way through the prior year”. Barburrito opened its 21st site at Meadowhall shopping centre in Sheffield in May 2017 and it has “traded strongly since”, as has the site at Paddington station that opened in March 2017, the last week of the previous trading year. The first site opened under franchise – with TRG Concessions at Edinburgh airport in January 2018 – has “traded ahead of expectations”. The company has cash reserves of £600,000 and its primary investor, the Business Growth Fund, has “provided additional funding both in the year and after the year-end to support ongoing expansion plans”. A 22nd site is planned, at the Arndale Centre in Manchester towards the end of 2018, while further TRG openings are being explored. The company added: “Previous investments in the central team, infrastructure and systems leave the business well placed to support the planned growth without significant further costs and, as such, Ebitda is expected to grow steadily in future years as the recent openings and new sites reach maturity.” Ebitda before non-recurring items was £4,000 in the year, compared with £8,000 the year before.
Chesterford Group chief – fish and chips will ‘never go out of fashion’: James Lipscombe, managing director of The Chesterford Group (TCG), which operates 42 fish and chip shops in the UK, has told Propel evolving palates mean the nation’s favourite dish will never go out of fashion. The fact burgers and chicken are among millennials’ favourite fast food items is of no concern to Lipscombe – because he has evidence people acquire a taste for the country’s most iconic dish as they get older. He said: “From their mid-30s, we definitely see a change in what people eat. We can see it in the data. Younger people are the burger and chicken buyers but they move on to fish and chips as they get older – their palates change.” Although TCG is predominantly a fish and chip operation, the company made a “radical” move in 1971 by creating the Fishnchickn brand to capitalise on the growing appetite for chicken while retaining fish at the heart of the business. Having built the brand into 22 outlets, the strategy now is to gradually rebrand them as Churchill’s – a brand created in 2012 as an “immediately identifiable British concept”. Lipscombe said: “We want a customer experience that can sit alongside any contemporary food brand. We’ve provenance – with the story being told in the outlets – and this combines with technology for click and collect, through the Preoday app and Deliveroo.” What this doesn’t mean, however, is a relegation of the chicken side of the menu as the business sells a lot of poultry including southern-fried chicken, nuggets and spit-roasted birds, which are complemented by a premium burger offer. He says: “We will keep these products on as it opens the business up to younger demographics. They start on the burgers and chicken and move on to our fish and chips.”
Tullymore House reports turnover and pre-tax profit boost: Belfast-based hospitality group Tullymore House, which is behind the Italian restaurant brand Fratelli, has reported turnover increased to £22,287,719 for the year ending 31 October 2017, compared with £19,947,224 the year before. Pre-tax profit soared to £7,041,140 compared with £3,721,409 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Gross profit margin fell to 40.08%, compared with 41.89% the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts the directors stated: “Net assets of the group at the year end were £12,110,406 (2016: £9,972,234). Looking ahead for the next five years, the board remains committed to reinvesting in staff development and well-being alongside continued reinvestment in the group’s principal activities.” Tullymore House also operates the Galgorm Resort and Spa and a property development company. The number of employees during the period rose to 498 from 452.
St Andrews Brewing Company hits £400,000 crowdfunding target to expand pub estate and brewery: Craft brewer St Andrews Brewing Company has hit its £400,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its pub estate and brewery. The company, owned by Philip Mackey and Tim Butler, is offering 5.06% equity in return for the investment. So far it has raised £411,780 from 304 investors and the campaign is now “overfunding” with 24 days remaining. St Andrews Brewing Company plans to use the funds towards the cost of its new venue in Dundee – Caird Hall – as it adds to its pubs in St Andrews and Edinburgh. It will also use the investment to expand production at its brewery. The pitch states: “Our vision is to establish our brand worldwide as a creator of brilliant beers and the perfect places to enjoy them. Running great venues in tandem with our brewery provides a showcase for 25% of our beer. Our St Andrews and Edinburgh pubs will soon be joined by our Caird Hall venue near Dundee’s new V&A museum and £1bn waterfront redevelopment. With this raise we aim to make this a flagship destination for the best of Scottish beer, food and hospitality. Since returning brewing to St Andrews after a 100-year absence, we’ve scooped a World Beer award, plus Society of Independent Brewers and Great Taste awards. To meet growing demand we need to expand our brewery. Investment will fund kit capable of quintupling our production to one million pints in 2019.” Meanwhile, a bar in St Andrews that was subject to takeover speculation by Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has been sold to St Andrews Brewing Company. BrewDog announced plans to open bars in the Fife town and Perth at its AGM April. The presentation by BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie to “equity for punks” investors identified Rascals Bar in North Street, St Andrews, as the location of a BrewDog pub that would open this year. However, Rascals’ owner Colin Donaldson denied a deal had been done and called the Ellon-based brewer “arrogant” for the premature announcement. He has now made a deal to sell the pub to St Andrews Brewing Company and joined the Fife brewer in a senior role to help develop its exports.
Pub People Company adds Derbyshire village pub to portfolio: East Midlands-based Pub People Company has acquired the Half Moon in the Derbyshire village of Whitwell Common. The company has added the pub to its portfolio in a deal brokered by agents Everard Cole. The pub has an open-plan trading area with about 120 covers in total. The venue features a wooden bar, fireplaces, a beamed ceiling, part-timber floors and a raised dining area. There is also three-bedroom owners’ accommodation on the first floor, a drinking area at the front of the pub with picnic bench seating for 48, an enclosed paved terrace to the side with seating for 64, and a large beer garden with children’s play equipment and further seating. Founded in 1993, Pub People Company owns and operates about 50 pubs in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. Everard Cole director Jon Heald said: “The Half Moon is an attractive pub with enormous potential and we received terrific interest from a number of operators. Pub People is a very successful local company and we’re confident it will make the pub a great success.”
Pub Invest Group opens LGBTQ+ bar for 12th site: Liverpool-based Pub Invest Group has opened a LGBTQ+ bar for its 12th site in the city. The company has launched Out! in Cumberland Street on the former site of music venue Lomax. Out!, which takes inspiration from US drag star RuPaul, is spread across three floors and includes a showroom, multiple dance floors and bars, and a games room. On Friday and Saturday nights there is a performance every 30 minutes from an in-house show team, reports the Liverpool Echo. Pub Invest Group’s other venues include Blind Tiger, McCooley’s, Peacock, Rubber Soul and Soho.
Cineworld announces two board appointments: Cineworld has announced two new board appointments. Chief commercial officer Renana Teperberg has become an executive director while US film executive Camela Galano has joined as a non-executive director. Teperberg joined Cinema City International as a cashier in 1997 and worked her way up the company. Following the company’s combination with Cineworld, she became senior vice-president of commercial and then chief commercial officer in 2016. Galano began her career at New Line Cinema before becoming president of international film acquisitions for Warner Bros. She then served as Relativity International president and is currently Good Films executive producer of worldwide sales and distribution, where she recently executive produced The Infiltrator starring Bryan Cranston, and the upcoming City of Lies starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker.
EastZEast doubles up in Liverpool for eighth site: EastZEast, which specialises in desi Kashmiri cooking, has opened its second restaurant in Liverpool and eighth in total. The company has opened the venue in the Wavertree area of the city just off Penny Lane. Dishes include tandoori mixed grill, king prawn puri and peshawari chicken, reports the Liverpool Echo. EastZEast’s first Liverpool branch opened in 2011 in Kings Dock. The company has two sites in Manchester and one each in Birmingham, Bradford, Bury and Preston.
Greene King Pub Partners launches Festival of Summer campaign to build on World Cup momentum: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched its Festival of Summer campaign for its Pub Partners division as it looks to build on the momentum of the Fifa World Cup. The initiative sees Pub Partners team up with brands such as Aspall, Pimms, Peroni and Asahi to create a marketing campaign suitable for the more than 1,000 tenanted and leased pubs in the Greene King estate. It offers a ready-made campaign to help pubs create customer experiences. Marketing manager Natasha Crotty said: “Each of our pubs is unique and an individual business and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to marketing. We hope that by having a co-ordinated campaign, we can offer a level of support that’s applicable for all our pubs. Our Festival of Summer campaign is all about creating excitement around summer. We need to provide our partners with support that helps them create a reason for customers to visit their pub.” Participating venues can access Festival of Summer opportunities via Greene King Pub Partners’ intranet.
Nando’s and Five Guys to open at County Armagh shopping centre in October: Nando’s and better burger brand Five Guys will open sites at the Rushmere Shopping Centre in County Amargh, Northern Ireland, in October. Units with a combined space of more than 7,000 square feet have been developed to accommodate the two restaurants. Nando’s, which currently has five outlets in Northern Ireland, is creating 40 jobs while Five Guys, which has one other outlet in the country, said it expects to employ 60 staff. Rushmere centre manager Martin Walsh told the Portadown Times: “Rushmere’s success is built on providing the best shopping experience and the right mix of retailers and catering provision in an outstanding location. I’m delighted our growing number of visitors will be able to enjoy new culinary experiences at these leading restaurant brands.” Savills acted on behalf of Rushmere owner Central Craigavon, while Lambert Smith Hampton represented Nando’s and Five Guys.
Liverpool-based Japanese restaurant Izakaya closes city centre restaurant to focus on street food roots: Liverpool-based Japanese restaurant Izakaya has closed its city centre restaurant to “focus on its street food roots”. Founders Harry Marquart and Kurt Wilson opened the site in Castle Street 19 months ago having first showcased at the Liverpool food and drink summer festival. However, they have now decided to close the restaurant. An Izakaya spokesman told the Liverpool Echo: “We reluctantly decided to close the Castle Street site after nearly 19 months of operating there. We felt we wanted to focus on street food, which is how the Izakaya brand began. We have new sites in Marine Street Social and The Dockside Dining Club but unfortunately the Castle Street site wasn’t quite working for us as a brand.”
Marston’s lines up new-build pub in Workington: Marston’s is lining up a new-build pub restaurant in Workington, Cumbria. The company plans to open the venue as part of a new development that would include a 78-bedroom Travelodge. Hinton Group is behind the application to Allerdale Council for land between William Street and Church Street. The scheme also includes a Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee drive-thru. The Marston’s pub would have a small play area and a separate, 60-space car park. Meanwhile, the hotel would be in a four-story building with a bar and cafe. Hinton Group managing director James Hinton told the News & Star: “Hinton Group has a strong track record of creating high-quality schemes with household names such as Travelodge, Marston’s and Costa. We hope to continue our successful partnership in Workington by delivering fantastic new facilities, investment and job opportunities for the town.” Marston’s also plans to build a 150-seater restaurant in the town having received planning permission last year.
North Yorkshire-based craft brewer eyes York for first micro-pub: North Yorkshire-based craft brewer Crooked Brewing has submitted plans to open its debut micro-pub, in York. The company plans to convert an empty shop in The Green in the suburb of Acomb into a 60-capacity “contemporary suburban bar” offering craft beer, gin, wine and spirits. The empty shop formerly housed Tate Appliances and has a small terrace at the front. Crooked Brewing was launched a year ago in Church Fenton by Steve Dawson and Andrew Evans, who also run sister business Learn To Brew. The brewery supplies beer to pubs in York and Leeds. Dawson told York Press: “We are looking to complement what is already in Acomb. Our business is high-quality beer, wine and spirits, a comfortable place to meet with friends and a real alternative to going into town.”
Devon-based cafe owners open Greek restaurant in Exeter for second site: Devon-based cafe owners Arti Hazhaj and Alex Bersha have opened a Greek restaurant in Exeter for their second site. They have launched 50-cover Opa Taverna in South Street on the site of Spanish restaurant El Bocado, which closed earlier this year. The pair run Broad Street Cafe in Ottery St Mary and have previously operated a Greek restaurant in Newton Abbot. Hazhaj told Devon Live: “We hope to bring a taste of Greece to Exeter and make people feel like they are on holiday. There are so many cuisines from all over the world in the city centre but no Greek venues so it’s great we can add to the amazing variety we have in Exeter.”
Harrogate-based operators acquire second site: Harrogate-based operators David and Johanna Straker have acquired their second site, in Knaresborough. The couple have taken over the running of Carriages in High Street. The Strakers currently operate the William & Victoria Restaurant and Wine Bar in Harrogate. They plan to use the same ethos as at Carriages – “good British cooking with portions to satisfy Yorkshire appetites” alongside a selection of fine wine and ale, reports the Harrogate Advertiser.
Devon-based distillery to expand: Devon-based distillery Exeter Gin is to expand production after securing an overdraft facility with HSBC. The family-run company, which sells artisan gin across the country, has used the funding to meet increased demand from restaurants and wholesalers. The finance has enabled the business to set up two gin brands, supplying more than 4,000 full-sized and 4,500 miniature bottles to customers. Michael and Karen Skerratt and their daughter Lyndsey Terrell started trading in August last year after distilling gin at their home in Teignmouth. The gin was initially sold at food markets with the company now supplying five types of gin to national retailers, wholesalers, restaurants and bars across the south west. Karen Skerratt told Insider Media: “It has been an incredible year for our business, with demand for our products going through the roof.” Sarah Lucas, HSBC’s regional director for small businesses in Wales and the West Country, added: “HSBC is committed to supporting small businesses in Devon and we hope the popularity of Exeter Gin continues to grow.