The Restaurant Group boss receives remuneration of more than £1.1m in first full year: The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy McCue received total remuneration of more than £1.1m during his first full year, including a bonus of almost £400,000, the company’s annual report has revealed. McCue, who was appointed in September 2016, was paid a total of £1,116,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017. This consisted of £505,000 salary, £113,000 in taxable benefits, £101,000 pension and £397,000 annual bonus. The annual bonus was based on adjusted profit before tax performance, guest satisfaction improvement targets and a like-for-like covers improvement target. The total bonus amounted to 78.5% of salary, which is 52% of the potential bonus. Half the payment will be deferred for three years and paid as shares. McCue’s salary was increased 2.08% on 1 January 2018 to £515,500, while the average increase for managerial employees across the group was 2.2%. Meanwhile, Kirk Davis joined the company as chief financial officer on 5 February this year on a salary of £355,000. The Restaurant Group has also outlined proposals to rectify administrative errors regarding the level of distributable reserves and payment of interim and final dividends to shareholders during the period from 2006 to 2017. The resolution will be put to shareholders at a general meeting on Wednesday, 23 May. The company stated: “The background to this matter was set out in the final results announcement on 7 March 2018. The issue is of a historical nature and there is no change to the financial outlook of the company and no past accounts will need to be restated. No fines or other penalties have been incurred by the company. There is no impact on the final dividend proposed for approval by shareholders at the annual general meeting.”
 
Half-year results expected to be down on 2017, Adnams reports: Adnams, the Suffolk brewer, distiller and retailer, has reported it expects its half-year results to be down on 2017 on the back of trading conditions and investment costs. The company stated at its annual general meeting: “Adnams’ focus in the first quarter of 2018 has been on bedding in the major investments we made in 2017 and completing the investment we have been making in a dealcoholisation plant. The new computer systems project will continue throughout most of 2018. Our most notable 2017 investment was in transforming the Swan Hotel, where reviews have been very positive, and we look forward to building a strong and successful business. We also completed the £7m three-year project in our brewery, which has extended capacity and is providing us with beer-conditioning, filtration, enhanced cooling and an automated kegging line. This equips us well for the changing beer market and the growth in demand for kegs, bottles and cans. In the first quarter of 2018 we have continued to grow our beer volumes and these were towards 5% higher than in the first quarter of 2017. Spirits volumes were up by approaching 30%. Although we are pleased with these growth rates, they are a little slower than we have seen in many recent periods and this reflects what has been quite a challenging quarter for some parts of the business. The poor weather we saw in March was a particular challenge for our pub and managed inns business. We have focused on our cost base in this quarter and initiated some important savings, although these will mainly affect periods beyond the first half-year. We are expecting a first-half result behind 2017 on the back of the less good trading conditions and the costs of completing our investments in the brewery and in implementing new central systems. As we have grown the retail side of our business, notably hotels, shops and managed inns, our profit has shifted towards the second half of the year and we anticipate a stronger second half to 2018.”
Brasserie Bar Co makes two senior appointments: Brasserie Bar Co, the business behind Brasserie Blanc and The White Brasserie pubs, has made two senior appointments. Helen Melvin, who has been with the brand for more than six years, moves from finance director to the newly created role of director of people. Melvin brings a wealth of brand experience and knowledge to her new role and will be responsible for the teams covering HR, recruitment, and learning and development. Melvin has successfully guided the business through a strong period of expansion, seeing the Brasserie Blanc brand grow to 19 sites as well as the founding and growth of The White Brasserie to an estate of 17 pubs. She recently led the team to secure £20m refinancing from OakNorth Bank to enable the continued development of both brands. Melvin’s successor, Chris Guy, formerly with Loungers and prior to that Casual Dining Group, will join the business at the end of the month as finance director. Guy has a strong track record in creating significant value in private equity-backed businesses and will bring valuable multi-site hospitality and in-depth operational experience to the role, Brasserie Bar Co stated. Chief executive Mark Derry said: “The people and teams within our business are of paramount importance to us as we continue to grow. Helen has always had one eye on the people side of our business. This experience, together with the strategic approach she has always demonstrated in her current role, makes her the ideal choice to head up our people function. Chris’ wealth of experience in managing the finances within growing, multi-unit businesses will be invaluable as the brands continue to expand. We are delighted to have him on board.”
KFC partners with Flyt to enhance delivery: KFC has partnered with technology company Flyt, originally known as Flypay, to enhance delivery in the UK and Ireland. Flyt will be the first integration platform for KFC in enabling home food delivery by third-party providers. Delivery orders will be entered directly into the KFC EPOS and kitchen via the Flyt platform. KFC UK & Ireland chief information officer Brad Scheiner said: “We are constantly in search of real innovation that allows us to increase efficiencies and further improve the service we provide to our customers. We chose Flyt as an integration partner for delivery to help us achieve exactly that. Now, orders placed through Just Eat will be processed through the Flyt platform, allowing seamless menu sync and order placement into our EPOS system and kitchen. For our customers, they continue to place their orders through their preferred delivery provider. However, they will reap the benefits of improved accuracy and speed in the delivery experience. We have more than 900 restaurants in the UK and Ireland and plan to expand our delivery service over the coming year.” Flyt chief executive Tom Weaver added: “KFC is at the top of its game when it comes to technology, which comes as no surprise given its intense desire to go above and beyond the expectations of its customers and deliver a faster, better service. The integration of our Flyt platform was a natural progression for KFC, and we look forward to pushing the boundaries together through digital innovation.”
Revolution Bars Group appoints acquisitions and estates manager:Revolution Bars Group, operator of 73 premium bars trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has appointed Nick Clarke as acquisition and estates manager. Clarke joins the company from private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre, where he held the position of property director for a year. Prior to that, Clarke was head of property at Casual Dining Group-owned Las Iguanas for five years. Clarke will be involved in all aspects of the company’s property strategy, including acquisitions, construction, estate management, maintenance and facilities. Revolution Bars Group remains on course to open six sites this year for its brands. A Revolución de Cuba has just opened in Birmingham with another set for Newcastle in June. Group property director Godfrey Russell said: “I am delighted to welcome Nick to the team. He not only brings with him bags of experience in the sector but has a proven track record of developing successful pipelines.” Clarke added: “The company has a reputation for forward thinking and I welcome the opportunity to work with it to help support the next level of growth for the business and be part of its continued success.”
The Brewery team to launch second City of London events space: The team behind events space The Brewery is to open a second City of London site, at the former home of Whitbread. The Grubstreet Author will open in Milton Street, Moorgate, consisting of three spaces. The Cutting Room will be a 48-capacity cinema, while The Sample Room will be a reception area for up to 70 people and feature a metallic bar, herringbone floor and luxurious furnishings. The Pasteur Room will be a 70-cover private dining space that can be combined with The Sample Room for larger events. The venue will occupy a derelict part of the original Whitbread brewery and host meetings, private dinners and product launches. Milton Street was previously known as Grub Street, a bohemian area known for its publishing houses, poets and “hack writers” in the 18th century. The Brewery creative director Simon Lockwood said: “We’ve seen strong demand for more intimate events with a higher personalisation and exclusivity and have endeavoured to give clients the opportunity to combine luxurious dining and furnishings with the functionality for corporate presentations.” The Brewery in Chiswell Street offers eight events spaces.
Papa John’s franchisees open fourth site with Elm Park launch, plan further expansion: Papa John’s franchisees Parry Singh and Tony Kalsi have opened their fourth site, in Elm Park, east London, and plan further expansion. They have opened the site in Tadworth Parade. Singh said: “The area has a mixed demographic with many families and students. We have been busy since opening and have further promotions planned to grow our valued customer base. Including Elm Park, we now employ about 70 people and have plans to expand further. I am responsible for operations, which includes running the stores on a day-to-day basis, and Tony manages the marketing and business promotion.” Papa John’s was founded in the US in 1984 and operates more than 350 stores across the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
New speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo reveals further details ahead of Richmond debut: New speciality coffee shop Kiss the Hippo has revealed further details as it prepares to open its debut site, in Richmond, south west London. The company will open the outlet in George Street offering the “highest quality, most sustainably produced coffee”. The team will use the Loring S15 Falcon, which is the “most advanced and environmentally friendly coffee-roasting machine available”, to roast organically sourced beans from around the world. The food will be made fresh on-site daily using natural, organic and responsibly sourced ingredients, supplied mainly by local farmers. Environmental responsibility will be at the heart of Kiss the Hippo, with 100% compostable cups, straws, lids and cutlery. Kiss the Hippo will also offer coffee workshops.
Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse signs with Feed It Back: Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse has signed with EPOS-linked guest feedback service Feed It Back to gain menu insights, communicate with guests and manage social reviews. Feed It Back’s platform presents guests with personalised questions based on their menu choices and dining experience. It also enables operators to monitor and analyse social reviews and communicate with guests. Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse head of operations Rebecca Light said: “We will shortly launch an exciting new menu offering traditional Caribbean dishes but with Levi’s own twist. After evaluating several solutions, we feel Feed It Back is best equipped to help us ensure our guests love our new dishes as much as we do!” Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia added: “A number of fast-growing restaurant brands have selected us to help them on their journey and we are proud to welcome Levi Roots Caribbean Smokehouse.” Roots opened his venue at Westfield Stratford City, east London, in late 2015 after an appearance on television series Dragons’ Den in 2007 propelled his Reggae Reggae Sauce business to an annual turnover of £30m within eight years.
New sharing restaurant concept to open in east London next month: Restaurateurs Mark Bloom and Barry Myers will launch a new sharing concept next month in Victoria Park Village, east London. Bloom and Myers will open Fayre Share in Victoria Park Road on Monday, 14 May, with the aim to “turn the typical dining experience on its head”. Fayre Share will be designed to have the feel of a home, with features including a covered garden, fireplace and kitchen island. Diners will be able to share classic British dishes such as roasted beer chicken, while the menu will also pay homage to the British pie, with a shepherd’s pie, a leek and mushroom pie, and an interchanging pie of the day. All dishes will available for one, two or four people, while drinks will include wine, cocktails, gin and tonic served in teapots for sharing, local beer and soft drinks. Fayre Share will also offer coffee, tea and cakes in a “lounge” at the front of the restaurant. Bloom said: “Our team grew up sharing meals with friends and family. We didn’t just share the time – meals were about sharing our food and drink with each other too. We believe this experience is such an important part of life but we also understand the pace of the modern world can get in the way of these moments. We wanted to provide friends and families with an opportunity to share not only meals but all the flavours of our classic British cooking.”
Liverpool-based Anar Turkish BBQ to start expansion with second site in city: Liverpool-based Anar Turkish BBQ is to start expansion by opening a second site in the city. Owner Kemal Aslan, whose debut restaurant is in Prescot Road, will open the new venue in Aigburth. The family owned and operated restaurant serves ethnic Turkish and Mediterranean food. Aslan told the Liverpool Echo: “The Aigburth branch is a bit different. On deciding the location, I believed Aigburth needed one of our restaurants as there is no competition in the area. I used to live there about ten to 15 years ago and I recognise people care about the quality of food and less so the price. At our restaurants we are offering that quality food experience.”
Drake & Morgan introduces £1 coffee at The Parlour to support sustainability: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, is offering takeaway coffees for £1 at its Canary Wharf site The Parlour to customers who bring their own cup. The Parlour’s London Calling blend usually starts at £2.35 per cup for takeaway flat whites, espressos and lattes. The move comes as part of Drake & Morgan’s ongoing commitment to reduce waste and promote sustainability, and follows the removal of plastic straws from all the group’s 22 sites in London, Manchester and Edinburgh.
Catapult launches in Birmingham: On-demand staffing platform Catapult, which services hospitality, catering and events companies in London and Manchester, has expanded into Birmingham. Co-founder Oli Johnson said the shifting priorities of workers in part-time roles had led to an increase in demand for flexible rotas in the sector. He added: “People need flexibility from their part-time jobs. They also want variety, which we can offer them. It’s great to now be able to give businesses in Birmingham a chance to do that too.” Johnson founded Catapult with Steffen Wulff Petersen and Ben Dixon in 2015. The business secured seed investment from Global Founders Capital and a group of high-net-worth investors including Goldman Sachs partner Anthony Gutman. An additional raise in December 2017 took total investment in Catapult to £6m. Johnson said the business had enjoyed strong and continuous performance since its launch, with more than 20% month-on-month growth across shifts, revenue and margins. Last year, Catapult billed in excess of 500,000 hours. The company provides businesses looking for flexible shift workers with a choice of candidates via an app and online booking system. Candidates can choose which shifts they work.
Penderyn eyes second whisky distillery as part of former South Wales copper works project: Penderyn, which operates a whisky distillery and visitors’ centre in Penderyn, South Wales, is part of plans submitted to open a similar site at the former Hafod Morfa copper works. The plans, submitted to Swansea Council, would feature a visitors’ centre with a shop, tasting bar and exhibition space. The distillery would include offices, a bar and a bonded barrel store. The new attraction could attract up to 100,000 visitors a year. The scheme, designed by GWP Architecture, will form part of a council application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a £3.75m grant for the work. The initial phase of works funded by HLF would complete shell and core works and pave the way for investment from Penderyn to complete the internal fit-out to complete the distillery and visitors’ attraction. Penderyn owner Nigel Short told Insider Media: “The new plans are incredibly exciting for us as a business and for Swansea as a forward-thinking community. Penderyn wants to be a part of the regeneration of the copper works and repeat the success we already have with our Welsh single malt whisky and other products.”
Camden Town Brewery launches largest marketing campaign: Camden Town Brewery has made the largest marketing investment in its eight-year history with its “Hello Hells” campaign designed to reignite the UK’s love for lager. The campaign, which celebrates that moment of joy following the first sip of lager after a long day, spans out-of-home, press, digital, social and cinema. The nationwide campaign is woven together by six Camden characters, created and animated by Stevie Gee, to “illustrate the joy of clapping eyes on a pint of Camden Hells”. Camden Town Brewery founder Jasper Cuppaidge said: “When developing the campaign, we spoke to consumers and noticed a real lack of passion for lager. People were drinking it in their millions but the excitement had gone so we decided to heavily invest in a campaign to remind people of everything they love about cold, refreshing, full-flavoured lager.” The out-of-home campaign will focus not only on London but Leeds and Manchester, where the brewery has established a dedicated northern beer team to meet a growing demand for Camden lager. “Hello Hells” will continue to roll out across the summer through trade, PR and experiential and across Camden’s two London breweries.
Wadworth sees succession plans start to bear fruit: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has seen four apprentices qualify from a single pub. The Pheasant in Chippenham, Wiltshire, has seen Amanda Blackman achieve her Level 3 diploma in licensed hospitality skills and Violetta Nagy her BTEC Level 2 in hospitality and catering principles (kitchen services). Meanwhile, Jake Moore and Callum Stanley have both gained Level 2 NVQ diplomas in professional cookery. Manager Richard Jennings said: “I now potentially have two head chefs and, eventually, my replacement. Our succession plans continue with our next Level 3 candidate poised to start her apprenticeship soon.” Wadworth retail development manager John Pettit added: “I’m really proud of the pub team having four apprentices at one pub. It is a credible example of investment in people and their development. By looking after your team, you will reap the rewards through their loyalty.” Wadworth currently has 19 apprentices in its managed pubs.
Hollywood Bowl Group relaunches Dunfermline site: Hollywood Bowl Group, the UK’s largest tenpin bowling operator, has continued its investment programme with the £400,000 rebrand and refurbishment of a former Bowlplex site in Fife Leisure Park, Dunfermline. It is the group’s second refurbishment of 2018. Chief executive Steve Burns said: “Our investment programme has had a great start to the year with our newly refurbished centre in Birmingham seeing an increase in trade and our new centre in Yeovil seeing strong trade since opening last month. Both centres have received positive customer feedback and we’re expecting Dunfermline to follow the trend. The rest of the year will see further refurbishments and new centres open around the UK.” Earlier this month, the company reported like-for-like sales up 4.0% for the six months ended 31 March 2018 with revenue up 9.3%. The company stated: “This continued strong like-for-like performance has been driven by the ongoing successful execution of our organic growth strategy of investment in enhancing our customer experience.” The company operates almost 60 sites across the UK.
Lincoln & York develops new cold brew coffee: Coffee sourcing, roasting and packaging specialist Lincoln & York has launched a cold brew coffee. The company has developed Black Eye Cold Brew, a crafted blend of Arabica beans from Guatemala, Brazil and Colombia, with a 14-hour brewing time that doesn’t come into contact with hot water. It is supplied in a ten-litre “bag-in-box” containing 30 to 40 servings and has a shelf life of up to nine months. The brand takes the effect of a cool, playful dog character to capture the hipster coffee consumer, with the strapline “the bark side of coffee”. Lincoln & York managing director James Sweeting said: “We know the market is shifting as consumers are looking for a healthier, more accessible and alternative option to the traditional coffee market we’ve seen grow for the past ten years. We feel we’ve created a product and brand that can cater for this shift in consumer habits and provide our customers with a new offering that will capture the consumer trend and remain relatable to the modern coffee drinker.”