Stonegate highlights career opportunities by sending 200 managers to parliament: Stonegate Pub Company will send 200 of its general managers to parliament on Wednesday (12 September) to demonstrate to government the huge opportunity the hospitality industry offers young people. The managers have all progressed through the company’s Albert’s Theory Of Progression training scheme, which identifies talented deputy managers and transforms them into future leaders as part of Stonegate’s “bar to boardroom” philosophy. The “accelerator” programme teaches managers how to lead winning teams and devise strong sales strategies and business plans. The programme also covers personal finance, setting personal goals and leading people. Throughout the six-month programme, each participant undertakes a project that has seen more than £300,000 raised for charity. More than 700 employees took part in the Albert’s programme last year, with the top 200 now running their own pub, 15 transitioning from general manager to area manager, and nine moving into operational support roles such as marketing and HR. Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “Many of these young, talented people are on the path that will lead them to a seat on the board as they continue to develop their business acumen and leadership skills. Enabling lords, ministers and MPs to share our celebration helps them understand the myriad career opportunities within hospitality.”
Subway cuts cost of Fast Forward redesign to accelerate store remodels to 9,000 a year: Subway has cut the cost of its Fast Forward redesign for franchisees to accelerate the brand’s store remodels to 9,000 a year. When Subway launched its redesign programme last year, it planned to have 3,000 to 5,000 stores sporting the Fresh Forward look by the end of 2018. However, only 454 of the 44,000 Subways around the world have embraced the design, the company said. A further 490 sites are in various stages of construction. Subway director of global operations Tracy Steinwand told Nation’s Restaurant News the store refresh had been a “massive undertaking” for a global chain whose stores were 100% franchisee-owned. She said: “It takes time to turn a ship that big.” To accelerate the remodels, Subway has reduced the cost of the Fresh Forward design to between $90,000 and $100,000 per store, about half the price it was a year ago. It has also launched lower-cost redesign Fresh Start. Steinwand said the tiered options should boost conversions to almost 9,000 remodels a year for five years to cover all its 44,000 stores. Subway said gross profit was 11% higher at stores featuring the new look, with footfall up 8% and customers dwelling longer because of new communal seating, phone-charging stations and free Wi-Fi. Subway has also launched the Fresh Now programme in almost 500 US sites, with all restaurants in the country to get the “mini facelift” by summer 2019.
JD Wetherspoon sells former Sutton pub for £1.7m: JD Wetherspoon has sold a former pub in Sutton High Street for £1.7m. The company has offloaded The Grapes, which closed last month. It has sold the freehold to West Wicklow Property Four, based in Chichester, West Sussex. Wetherspoon, which also operates The Moon On The Hill in the Surrey town, had been looking to convert The Grapes into flats but Sutton Council rejected the proposal earlier this year. Sutton Central councillor David Bartolucci told the Sutton Guardian: “We respect Wetherspoon’s decision and welcome its continued presence further up the high street. As Sutton Central councillors, our primary concern is to retain the heritage of this building. In our opinion, it’s one of the landmarks in Sutton High Street. We hope to see a new and exciting offer take advantage of this great location and wonderful building.”
Marston’s achieves zero waste to landfill goal: Marston’s has achieved its zero waste to landfill goal in only 18 months. The company committed to zero waste to landfill by 2020. Starting from about 70%, Marston’s has already achieved 99.5%, with the remaining 0.5% representing material that cannot be disposed of by other means, such as asbestos. More than 99% is classified as “zero waste”. Marston’s has been working with UK Waste Solutions to implement sustainability solutions. Measures include sending cooking oil to be turned into biodiesel and engaging with suppliers to reduce packaging. Andy Kershaw, head of group facilities at Marston’s, said the group was now working on replacing plastic rings with cardboard on packaging for six packs of beer. Marston’s has also been improving energy efficiency across its older estate with LED lighting, while its move to self-supply water had achieved savings through “significantly more accurate bills”. Kershaw told the Express & Star: “We have changed the wider model of how we look at waste services. It has allowed us to be more flexible in controlling where waste goes. We are working with suppliers to avoid putting waste to landfill sites. Recycling is the best option or going to energy recovery through anaerobic digestion plants. We are pretty much industry leading in terms of energy efficiency and are constantly reviewing the model.”
Brunning & Price completes deal for Worcestershire village pub from Wadworth: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub division of The Restaurant Group, has completed its purchase of The Plough & Harrow in the Worcestershire village of Guarlford from Wiltshire-based brewer and retailer Wadworth. The pub in Rhydd Road will undergo a full refurbishment before opening. James A Baker acted on behalf of Wadworth for the disposal of the freehold interest. Agent Amy Potter said: “The site was marketed for a good period of time, a number of offers were received and a good offer was accepted by our client. We wish the new owner every success in its new project.” James A Baker also sold the adjoining residential dwelling, the Tan House, which was included in the sale of the pub. Last month, Brunning & Price, which operates 62 pubs, acquired 11-strong London gastro-pub operator Food & Fuel for £14.91m.
Berry Bros & Rudd reports turnover boost and return to pre-tax profit: Wine and spirits merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has reported a turnover boost while pre-tax profits soared, helped by the sale of its The Glenrothes whisky brand. The company saw turnover increase 14.7% to £169,794,000 for the year ending 31 March 2018 compared with £148,077,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Turnover would have been £186,561,000 with the inclusion of invoiced sales from En Primeur, a service that allows customers to buy wine before it is bottled and released to market. However, these sales are deferred until the product is made available to the customer. It reported a pre-tax profit of £46,510,000, compared with a loss of £5,625,000 the year before when it had exceptional costs of almost £5m. The boost was helped by the sale of BB&R Spirits, including The Glenrothes brand, to Highland Distillers with an exceptional gain on disposal of £15.44m and £7,849,000 saved by curtailing its post-retirement healthcare scheme to a maximum of three years. Berry Bros & Rudd said it had seen “strong underlying sales growth” during the year, which it said was reinforced by En Primeur campaigns in Burgundy and Bordeaux, while the fine wine business had a good year with sales up £12m year-on-year. The company also strengthened its spirits portfolio as it invested further into Anchor Brewing & Distillers, increasing its shareholding to 61.5%. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “In June we opened our new shop at 62-63 Pall Mall, replacing our shop at 3 St James’s Street where we have re-established a private client advisory space. The new shop has seen strong growth of 20% in the period. This has strengthened our offering, enhanced the retail experience and allowed us to provide our customers with the finest customer service.” Berry Bros & Rudd can trace its roots to 1698 and first supplied the royal family with its products in 1760, during the reign of George III. It established its operation in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in 1967.
Five Guys to open in Chelmsford this month, more than a year later than planned: Better burger brand Five Guys is set to finally open its site in Chelmsford, Essex, 17 months later than planned. In April 2017, the company announced it would open the venue in High Street in August that year. However, a series of delays has meant the 76-cover restaurant won’t open until Monday, 24 September – creating 40 jobs. Five Guys will share the ground floor of the former NatWest bank branch with a Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee shop, while a Slaters suit store will be on the floor above, Essex Live reports. The Murrell family founded the company in Virginia in the US in 1986. It opened its first UK site in Covent Garden in 2013 and now has more than 80 restaurants in the region. The three other Five Guys restaurants in Essex are at Lakeside, Colchester and Harlow.
Greene King launches brewery website with virtual tour: Brewer and retailer Greene King has launched a brewery website with the central feature a 3D virtual tour of its historic Westgate brewery in Bury St Edmunds. The company, whose heritage dates to 1799, offers visitors to its website a fully interactive tour allowing them to walk through the brewery. The tour takes viewers into the entrance of the 1930s art-deco brewery with arrows on the screen allowing visitors to navigate the brewery, stopping at information hot spots along the way. The 3D experience enables viewers to explore all six floors of the brewery including rooftop views, water tanks, the hop store, running mills, malt screens and hoppers. The website also features information on Greene King beer, the history of the brewer, latest news and links to the brewery shop. Managing director Matt Starbuck said: “The 3D virtual tour is a fantastic tool as it captures the essence of the brewery. We brew half a million pints of beer a day at the brewery, which is highly reliant on the skill of our team. We love to show visitors around the brewery but, of course, not everyone can visit Bury St Edmunds. This way viewers can get a taste of our brewery tour without stepping out of their home.”
James Blunt opens debut pub: Musician James Blunt has opened his first pub. Blunt has relaunched The Fox & Pheasant in Chelsea, west London, following a significant refurbishment having acquired the property last year through agent Fleurets. The Fox & Pheasant is situated in a terrace of Victorian cottages in a private street just off Fulham Road. Fleurets director James Davies said: “Successful pubs have a soul and energy to them, built over generations. The Fox & Pheasant is a great example of a traditional London pub that has been given a fantastic new lease of life and will be there to serve the community for many more generations to come. X Real Estate acted on behalf of the buyer.
Clove Club team to launch American concept in Shoreditch next month for third London restaurant: The team behind The Clove Club and Luca is to launch a third London restaurant, in Shoreditch next month. American concept Two Lights will open in Kingsland Road on 3 October at a site formerly occupied by Italian restaurant Amici Mei. Chase Lovecky, who was head chef at The Clove Club for three years, will head the venture. Isaac McHale, Daniel Willis and Johnny Smith opened The Clove Club in Shoreditch town hall in 2013. The team went on to launch “Britalian” concept Luca in November 2016. McHale posted on Instagram Two Lights would be a “neighbourhood spot serving modern American food”. Talking about Lovecky, he told Hot Dinners: “Chase is a rare talent – a grafter, a lifer, an all-day all-nighter dedicated to the cause of making people have amazing meals – and he is going to make a lot of people very happy.”
Schnatter’s second lawsuit accuses Papa John’s management of ‘pushing him out’: Papa John’s founder John Schnatter has accused the company’s upper management of “pushing him out” and “bullying employees” who support him. Schnatter has launched a second lawsuit against Papa John’s in Delaware, where the company is incorporated. Schnatter first sued the board in July, with a court date for that suit set for 1 October. Schnatter resigned as chairman on 11 July after it was made public he had used racist language in a May conference call. Schnatter has said his resignation was a mistake and he has been lobbying to be reinstated. Following the resignation, Papa John’s management formed a special committee comprising everyone on the board of directors except Schnatter to investigate issues related to diversity and inclusion. It also moved to evict Schnatter from his offices and terminate a founder’s agreement that allows Schnatter, who remains the company’s largest shareholder with about 30% of shares, to attend major corporate events, visit franchises, participate in meetings with management and investors, and act “as advertising and brand spokesperson”. Papa John’s did not respond to a request by Nation’s Restaurant News for comment. Papa’s John’s has more than 5,200 units worldwide.
Great British Menu chef to launch second restaurant in Wales next month: Former Great British Menu chef Tommy Heaney will open his second restaurant in Wales next month. The chef, who operates Restaurant Tommy Heaney in Laleston, near Bridgend, will launch his venture in Cardiff at a site formerly occupied by Arbennig Restaurant. The venue in Romilly Crescent will open on Wednesday, 10 October offering bar snacks, a small plates menu, a suggested shared tasting menu and Sunday roasts. Menus will change regularly according to the season and availability of local produce. Heaney told Wales247: “I wanted it to be the kind of place where I would go to eat – not fine dining or stuffy but somewhere where anyone could come and grab a drink and eat tasty food.” Arbennig’s owners, John and Ceri Cook, sold the restaurant in May after almost four-and-a-half years at the venue.
Douglas Jack – M&B shares are undervalued and should be bought on long-term view: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said he believes shares in Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) are undervalued and should be bought on a long-term view. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 325p, Jack said: “A total of 73% of M&B’s estate is food-led, according to CGA. If we rebalance the Coffer Peach Business Tracker to reflect M&B’s market positioning, it is clear the company is outperforming the managed sector. The scale of this outperformance slowed over the World Cup and hot weather, but we expect this to have been a blip. Our site visit with the company highlighted the drivers behind the company’s like-for-like sales outperformance. These include Ignite 2, which consists of 43 different work-streams, which are improving product, service and digital marketing as well as reducing costs. They also involve investing in the estate (on a six to seven-year cycle) and improving its market positioning. Our visit to Miller & Carter highlighted the brand’s track record for average cash returns in excess of 40% on conversions. A total of 80% of sales derive from pre- bookings, without discounting. Miller & Carter’s wide price range is supported by standards that are reflected in all management staff attending steak school. More than 80% of M&B’s estate is freehold or long-leasehold and 52% of its sales are generated in southern England, yet its EV/Ebitda rating is 6.8 times without a pension deficit that might not exist if base rates rise to 1.5%. Stronger like-for-like sales are the catalyst to re-rate the shares, for which the right things are being done. When this occurs, the upside should be decent.”
Legal & General buys Birmingham leisure scheme for £46.95m: Legal & General has bought the Broadway Plaza leisure scheme in Birmingham from Aviva Investors for £46.95m. The deal takes the value of Legal & General’s LGIM Real Assets leisure fund to more than £600m. Broadway Plaza is a 280,000 square foot leisure development near Five Ways featuring an Odeon Luxe Cinema, Travelodge and casino. An indoor adventure golf venue will open soon, adding to the total net income of about £3.5m per year that the development generates. Andrew Ferguson, Legal & General senior fund manager, told The Business Desk: “The leisure sector continues to grow, with more innovative concepts emerging. This scheme presents an opportunity for us as specialist leisure owners to continue to evolve the leisure offering to achieve the best results for our investors.” Odeon and Hollywood Bowl both recently committed to new 15 and 25-year leases respectively, giving a weighted average unexpired lease term on the asset of 14 years to expiry. Legal & General’s leisure fund was advised by KLM Retail, while Aviva Investors was advised by Knight Frank.
French chef and nutritional therapist to open matcha and coffee bar in Chelsea: French chef and nutritional therapist Olivia Nottin is to open a matcha and coffee bar in London. Nottin will launch Matcha And Beyond in King’s Road, Chelsea, in October. It will offer matcha beverages and treats, going “beyond” with speciality coffee, infusions and healthy bites. The decor will feature natural wood, soft furnishings and plants, while there will be seating areas, counter service and a private space. Matcha-based drinks will reflect a traditional coffee made by a dedicated “matcharista”. Coffee will come courtesy of Square Mile Coffee. The food menu will feature sweet treats, healthy snacks, breakfast pots, sandwiches and salad bowls. All packaging will be biodegradable or compostable, while customers will be able to purchase a reusable cup entitling them to a discount on their drink.
North Yorkshire-based brewery lodges plans for new home to support expansion: North Yorkshire-based Roosters has lodged plans for a new facility in Harrogate to support its expansion. The company has applied to Harrogate Borough Council to change the use of a unit in Fifth Avenue at Hornbeam Park. Permission is sought to convert the industrial unit into a brewery and taproom, enabling the company to relocate from its site in Knaresborough. The new facility would provide improved production and storage facilities as well as space to showcase products to customers. A planning statement submitted as part of the application said the new brewery would “facilitate the continued growth of the business, which has outgrown its current premises in Knaresborough”. It adds: “The proposed development will bring additional investment to the district and directly create additional jobs meeting wider corporate policy objectives of the borough council.” Roosters Brewery was founded 25 years ago and initially traded from a starter unit in Claro Road in Harrogate before moving to Grimbald Park, Knaresborough, in 2001.
Former 45 Jermyn Street head chef to lead kitchen at new Blackfriars restaurant: Lee Streeton, former head chef of the 45 Jermyn Street restaurant within Fortnum & Mason, will lead the kitchen at a new venture in Blackfriars. Art Yard Bar & Kitchen will open in mid-October, tucked into the Bankside Hotel in Blackfriars Road. The interior of the 80-cover, open plan venue will feature modern art, while the menu will combine British seasonal produce with European inspiration. Dishes will include baked bone marrow with curry sauce and monkfish with shellfish, saffron and potato. Snacks and small plates will include anchovies with sage and lemon, and spicy lamb with aubergine and egg pide, Hot Dinners reports. At weekends, Art Yard Bar & Kitchen will roast large, sharing cuts of meat cooked in a wood-fired oven, served family-style, alongside magnums of wine, jugs of beer and cocktails on tap. The private dining room will feature a mural by London ceramicist and illustrator Laura Carlin, which will be composed of illustrated tiles. Streeton has also worked at Brown’s Hotel, Daphne’s and Le Caprice