Patrick Dardis – Brexit deal ‘far from perfect’ but ‘ticks the right boxes’, performance is proof we don’t need to change our strategy: Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel the Brexit deal is “far from perfect” but “ticks the right boxes”. He said: “What we need is to have an orderly exit but I fear that is not going to happen. We need politicians on all sides of the spectrum to support this – but I don’t think they will. If MPs vote this down, I don’t think the people of this country will forgive them. It’s far from perfect but it was nigh on impossible to get exactly what we wanted and this deal does tick the boxes businesses need. The alternative is no deal and I’m not sure that’s right for us. I hope common sense prevails.” Dardis said Young’s consistent performance was proof there was no need to change its strategy. He said like-for-like sales had, on average, been up 5.6% over the past seven years, while sales were growing in all areas of the business. Drink sales in the first half of the current financial year were up 10.2%, with sales of Pimms and rosé up 27% and gin 35%. Meanwhile, accommodation revenue increased 18.3% and Burger Shack sales were up 21%. Dardis said: “What these figures confirm is our strategy is right and there’s no need to change what we’re doing – opening premium, individual and differentiated pubs, developing our people and investing in our existing estate. I think the pub is far from dead.” Dardis said the company continued to see pressure on the bottom line as headwind costs increased but top-line growth was helping protect margins. He added: “It is challenging for management but these costs are always going to be there. We try to minimise passing these on to customers through price rises while discounting in the sector has been going on since 2008. We didn’t participate then and we won’t now.” Dardis said the company had the firepower to continue adding to its estate but stressed it was about finding the right sites and “not about the numbers”. He said the preference was to acquire pub freeholds in which the company continued to see “plenty of opportunities”. Meanwhile, Young’s has a number of major refurbishment projects planned for January and February, which Dardis said would bring further benefit to the estate.
JD Wetherspoon shareholders re-elect Tim Martin as chairman and approve finance director’s 11% pay rise despite investor calls: JD Wetherspoon shareholders have re-elected Tim Martin as chairman and approved finance director Ben Whitley’s 11% pay rise despite calls from City advisory firms to reject the motions. Investor adviser Pirc previously said Martin should not be re-elected as chairman because, as founder and 32% shareholder, he was not “independent” enough for the job. Meanwhile, Glass Lewis was against Wetherspoon’s pay scheme, under which Whitley was given an 11% pay rise to £192,000. Despite the calls, 96.08% of shareholders agreed to re-elect Martin at Wetherspoon’s annual general meeting on Thursday (15 November). The remuneration report was met with more opposition but was duly passed, with 85.23% agreeing with the motion. Glass Lewis and Pirc had both told investors to vote against non-executive director Sir Richard Beckett’s re-election because, after nine years, they considered he had served enough time on the board. However, he was re-elected after 92% of shareholders voted in favour. The meeting saw 17.63% of shareholders vote against the re-appointment of Debra van Gene as a non-executive director. She has been on the board since 2006 and is chairman of the remuneration committee. Meanwhile, 17.43% voted against the re-election of senior independent director Elizabeth McMeikan, who was appointed to the board in 2005. Wetherspoon stated: “The company notes the number of independent votes received against resolutions eight and nine (re-election of Debra van Gene and Elizabeth McMeikan) of the annual general meeting. The company continues to take its responsibility to engage with shareholders seriously and will assess the feedback these votes provide.”
East Coast Concepts reports turnover and Ebitda boost: East Coast Concepts, which is backed by private equity firm Northedge Capital and operates the Victors and Neighbourhood brands, has reported turnover increased 46% to £11,085,170 for the year ending 30 June 2018, compared with £7,621,875 the year before. Ebitda, excluding opening costs, moved from a negative position of minus £200,000 to a positive position of £200,000. Pre-tax losses rose to £1,707,408 compared with £1,582,760 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Post year-end, East Coast Concepts secured an additional £1.5m from Northedge Capital that is being used to open its third Victor’s site, in Alderley Edge this month. East Coast Concepts acquired the former Alchemist site in the Cheshire village in the summer. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The year to 30 June 2018 was one of growth for the group, with the business growing from three to five sites across both the Neighbourhood and Victors brands. During the year a Neighbourhood was opened in Leeds and a Victors was opened in Oxford. The group now operates locations across Manchester, Hale, Liverpool, Leeds and Oxford. There are a number of locations identified across both brands for openings in the next financial year. The board continues to have great confidence in the strength of both brands and are satisfied with the trading performance in the new financial year.” The company’s headcount at the end of the period increased to 253 from 227 the previous year. NorthEdge Capital began backing East Coast Concepts in June 2016.
Starbucks franchisee plans 27 openings in a year with priority on drive-thrus: Starbucks’ first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees, has prioritised drive-thru locations as it seeks to open 27 sites in a year. 23.5 Degrees opened its first store in February 2013 and now operates 53 across the UK. The company has the rights to open Starbucks sites in East Anglia as well as Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in the south of England, and Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland in the north. The company is midway through a five-year business plan with an “ultimate commitment to expand to 144 stores”. In the year to 31 August 2017, the company grew revenue by 25.1% to £20.4m, with Ebitda up 94.05% to £1.62m. It made an operating loss of £634,491 in the year, down from a loss of £932,021 the year before. Managing director Mark Hepburn has previously run foodservice franchise businesses that include Burger King and KFC sites. Following an initial £5.6m growth capital investment in 2015, Connection Capital invested a further £3.6m into 23.5 Degrees during the summer.
Sourced Market on verge of securing fifth London site: Sourced Market, the hybrid deli and dining brand that hit its £750,000 crowdfunding target this week, is on the verge of securing its fifth London site. The company stated: “We have been offered a number of great opportunities in recent months but the one with the greatest potential for us is at Southbank Place, a new development of offices and apartments located between Waterloo station and the London Eye. The site benefits from high footfall from four key customer types – office workers, tourists, travellers and residents of the apartments in the scheme. The site is therefore likely to be busy seven days a week across the day. Located above a gym, we would also be perfectly placed to offer gym members their pre or post-workout energy fix. At just under 200 square metres, the site will be a little smaller than our Victoria site. It has a long frontage with floor-to-ceiling glass giving the site great street presence supported by outdoor seating. The lease is under negotiation but the proposed terms are favourable due to a relationship we have with the gym and a desire from it for the site to be occupied by a brand that will fit their demographic. We would expect to be able to open the site in late spring 2019. It would be a great, profitable addition to our growing family of markets.” Sourced Market is offering 6.98% equity in return for the £750,000 investment being sought via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. So far, 338 investors have pledged £769,040 and the campaign is overfunding with 13 days remaining. Sourced Market, which is backed by Pembroke VCT, generated £6.4m of new revenue in its latest financial year and raised £1m of investment through a Crowdcube bond in 2016.
Bear Bar & Kitchen to double estate with Truro and Wadebridge openings: Cornwall-based Bear Bar & Kitchen is to double its estate by opening two further sites in the county. The company has lined up launches in Truro and Wadebridge to add to its venues in Newquay and St Agnes. It plans to have a six-strong estate within the next 12 months and its own distribution centre at Pool Industrial Estate, near Redruth. Bear Bar & Kitchen offers gourmet burgers, kebabs, craft beer, cocktails and artisan spirits. Its Truro site will open at former Punch pub Kazbah in Quay Street. Bear Bar & Kitchen owner Craig Burnett told Cornwall Live: “The Bear Bar in St Agnes has a traditional pub feel but the Truro one will have more of a cosmopolitan, city bar design and atmosphere. Our philosophy is every pub should be all-inclusive and that goes for our food too. Our ethos is you can ‘eat like a bear’, which means you get a lot of food, done with finesse and at a reasonable price.”
Michelin-starred chef Adam Stokes to open second restaurant: Michelin-starred chef Adam Stokes is to open a second restaurant in Birmingham. Stokes will launch The Oyster Club, an oyster bar and seafood restaurant, below The Ivy in Temple Street. The Oyster Club will open in February around the corner from Stokes’ other restaurant, Adam’s in Waterloo Street. His new venture will feature a meet-and-greet area with diners shown to a 24-seater bar leading to a 30-cover restaurant. Alongside oysters, dishes will include fish and chips, prawn mariniere and teriyaki salmon. Drinks will include wine, spirits, champagne and stout. Stokes told Birmingham Live: “The Oyster Club has been a long time in the making. Cooking seafood has always been a big passion and I knew I could create something special.” Stokes, who won a Michelin star at Glenapp Castle in Scotland, opened Adam’s in Bennett’s Hill in 2013. He was awarded a Michelin star within six months and relocated the restaurant to Waterloo Street in 2016.
Russian chef to launch international food bowl concept in Soho next month: A concept based on internationally inspired food bowls is to make its debut in London next month. Zarifa Ragimova, a chef and television presenter in Russia who trained at Le Cordon Bleu, London, will launch Bowls in a 1,830 square foot unit in St Anne’s Court, Soho, on Monday, 3 December. It will feature an all-day dining menu showcasing food bowls inspired by flavours from around the world but using British ingredients. Breakfast bowls, Buddha bowls, poké bowls and burrito bowls will be on offer harnessing the growing demand for healthy food. At lunchtime, diners will be able to build their own bowl. Cocktails will also feature prominently while prosecco will be available on tap. Ragimova said: “I want to bring something to London that will become more than just a trend – it will be the way we eat in the future.”
Deltic secures new late licence for Kingston site with Bar & Beyond addition: The Deltic Group has secured a new late licence as it invests £2m in its Przym site in Kingston, Surrey. Part of the venue will now become a 770-capacity Bar & Beyond, which will trade until 2am and close at 2.30am. The company, represented by Jonathan Smith, partner at Poppleston Allen, has also secured an extended licence for Pryzm to 3am, closing at 3.30am daily, with an increased capacity of 150 to 1,950. Deltic and Poppleston Allen worked with police and the council to ensure the application for the new bar and additional hours at the venue, which is within the borough’s Cumulative Impact Zone, was made in a “considered and collaborative way”. This included meetings with the authorities, visits to Bar & Beyond in Chelmsford, and Deltic sharing its proposal with local residents.
Signature Brew hits £400,000 crowdfunding target to open taprooms and treble capacity: Signature Brew, the “music-inspired” brewing operation known for its collaborative beers with musicians, has hit its £400,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open taprooms and treble capacity. The company, which was founded by Tom Bott and Sam McGregor in 2011 and named 2018 UK brewery of the year by the Society of Independent Brewers, is offering 4.26% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £9m. So far, 316 investors have pledged £421,690 and the campaign is “overfunding”. Earlier this month, Signature Brew used a £100,000 invoice finance facility from NatWest to support the opening of Signature Brew Taproom & Venue in Haggerston, east London. The pitch states: “We have grown revenues at an average rate of 78% year-on-year over the past three years – past 12 months’ revenue of £1.13m, Ebitda of £25,000 – with Ebitda for the past six months of £33,000. We expect to brew a million pints this year and our core range, including Roadie IPA and Studio Pilsner, are found at venues, festivals and supermarkets, as well as bars and pubs nationwide. Our current brewery is at capacity so to keep up with demand we’re seeking investment to move to a nearby east London site, which will house a brewhouse, trebling capacity from day one to future-proof the brewery. The site will underpin the next ten years of continued growth, expanding UK distribution and growing exports. We want to bring all production in-house – we’ve recently had to brew some of our pilsner kegs off-site due to capacity constraints. In addition to our new taproom, we plan to open two further taprooms to showcase our beers and host events.”
Soho’s Roundhouse to reopen as premier bar, club and lounge following £1m restoration: Soho’s iconic Roundhouse has undergone a £1m restoration and will reopen as premier bar, club and lounge Soho Residence. The Wardour Street venue, which will reopen on Wednesday, 28 November, will have a capacity of 350 spread across three floors. Built in 1892, the Roundhouse previously hosted blues and skiffle clubs featuring performers from around the world. The restored space, formerly known as The O Bar, offers a lounge and botanical cocktail bar that will open until 3am except on Sundays. The basement club will feature festoon lighting alongside craft beer and cocktails. The first floor-lounge will feature high ceilings, tall windows with sofas.
Michelin-trained chef to launch plant-based concept in Leicester: Bindu Patel, who has worked in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants Gymkhana and Trishna, is to launch a plant-based concept in Leicester in January. Patel will open Sanctua at a site in London Road formerly occupied by Indian restaurant Geetas Krupa. The 40-seat venue will offer a 100% plant-based, regularly changing menu using “wonky” fruit and vegetables, organic where possible, to reduce food waste. Dishes will include wild mushroom, lentil and spinach pie with Guinness and mushrooms, while there will be a platter of the week featuring a selection of eastern, Indian, Mexican or Italian dishes. Drinks will include vegan wine and beer alongside non-alcoholic offerings such as lemon and ginger turmeric sherbet shots. Bindu said: “We’re not here to preach about lifestyles and animal welfare – I want people to eat here because they really love the cooking.”
Former Harwood Arms chef to launch late-night bar at new London restaurant: Gemma Ellis, former chef at Michelin-starred London pub The Harwood Arms, is set to launch a late-night bar at her restaurant, Cliffords, which she opened in June. The bar, offering bespoke kitchen-focused cocktails and seasonal bar snacks, will open at the Fetter Lane venue on Wednesday, 28 November. Each cocktail has been designed to champion local produce by using everything that comes through the kitchen. The bar snacks menu will feature smoked cod’s roe and toast, and goose rilettes and cranberry sauce. Ellis said: “The idea for the bar menu started as a way to use every last bit of the fresh ingredients that came from friends, family and leftovers from the kitchen. I relish the challenge of creating food with ingredients that might otherwise be overlooked, and that is what I want to showcase as much as possible on this new menu.”
Aylesbury-based pub operator to open Japanese restaurant for second site: Aylesbury-based pub operator Kelvin Wong is to open a Japanese restaurant in the Buckinghamshire town for his second site. Wong, who runs The Watermead, will launch the venture in the town’s former police headquarters in Exchange Street. The restaurant will be named Miya, after his daughter. Individual rooms will make up the space, including a sunken seating area. There will be a bar on the ground floor, while the restaurant will sit upstairs with an open-plan kitchen. Features of the old building will be retained, including the check-in desk. Wong told Mix96: “I approached the council more than a year ago, told them what I wanted to do with the building and what my concept is – they really liked it. I think choosing a local, independent business to take on the site is a great idea.”
Taco Bell to open Doncaster site next week: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is to open a site in Doncaster next week. The company will launch the 48-seat venue at the Frenchgate Shopping Centre on Friday, 23 November as the 28th Taco Bell in the UK. Taco Bell brand manager Lucy Dee told the Doncaster Free Press: “We are excited about bringing something different to the Doncaster food scene – it’s an area we’ve had our eye on for a while.” Frenchgate general manager Paddy Mellon added: “We are thrilled Taco Bell has chosen to open its first restaurant in Doncaster at Frenchgate. The restaurants have seen incredible success throughout the UK and will be a welcome addition to our food offering.”
Dalata to operate £40m Birmingham hotel if plans approved: Plans have been revealed for a £40m, four-star hotel in Birmingham city centre, which would be run by Irish hotel operator Dalata. ES Suffolk Birmingham is behind the bid for the 330-bedroom property in Gough Street and Suffolk Street. If approval is granted, the development will include a restaurant and be operated by Dalata under its Maldron Hotel brand. The hotel would comprise three blocks ranging from four to 12 storeys and consist of about 155,000 square feet of hotel floor space. The 19,342 square foot site is partially occupied by a former print works, which was most recently used as a cultural centre. A separate application to demolish the building has been submitted to the city council as part of wider proposals. The rest of the site, formerly occupied by a social club and associated car park, has been cleared. Planning permission for 73 apartments on the site was approved in November 2015 but work never got under way, reports Insider Media.
Lake District-based operator acquires former pub to meet rising demand for rooms: Lake District-based operator Charles Lowther has acquired a former pub next to his Askham Hall hotel in a bid to meet rising demand for accommodation. Lowther, who opened the 18-bedroom hotel in 2013 with sister Marie-Louisa Raeburn and wife Juno, has taken over The Queen’s Head in Askham to help plug the gap for “much-needed” accommodation at the hotel. A refurbishment programme will start soon at the property alongside a planned bedroom expansion at Askham Hall to bring the total number of rooms between the two sites to 25. The former pub is next to Askham Hall’s new Health Barn, which focuses on spa and wellness treatments. Lowther told Boutique Hotelier: “Our acquisition of The Queen’s Head will enable us to expand our much-needed accommodation offering at Askham Hall. As we have expanded since our opening in 2013, we have found increasing demand so this will take the total number of rooms for us in Askham to between 20 and 30, an ideal number to accommodate our expanding guest requirements but not too many we can’t still provide a home-from-home feel.” Lowther also owns and operates the George & Dragon in Clifton, near Penrith.
Creams opens Cheltenham site: Dessert parlour operator Creams Cafe has launched a site in Cheltenham. The 100-cover venue has opened in the Brewery Quarter at a unit next to better burger brand Five Guys, creating more than 30 jobs. Creams serves waffles, milkshakes, freakshakes and 36 varieties of Italian gelato-style ice cream. It also offers a wide range of sundaes, including the hot chocolate fudge volcano, and crepes such as the Belgian banana burrito. Creams head of franchise and business development Anwar Uddin told Punchline Gloucester: “We chose Cheltenham because it’s such a vibrant town with a great mix of customers. We felt there was a gap at The Brewery Quarter for a dessert restaurant.” Creams was founded in 2008 and operates more than 75 sites in the UK, with another 30 branches set to open by April next year.
SA Brain sees Coffee#1 plans rejected for Christchurch: Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain has had its plans rejected for a Coffee#1 site in Christchurch, Dorset. The company applied to Christchurch Borough Council to convert a former Shoe Zone shop in High Street. However, councillors have turned down the plans following a number of objections, including a 100-signature petition, over fears a coffee shop would tip the balance of food outlets to retail “too far”, reports the Bournemouth Echo. Elliot Jones, agent for Coffee#1, said: “The proposal would lead to only a slight increase. We have a long-standing track record of restoring listed buildings.” Coffee#1, which has branches in nearby Winton and Southbourne, proposed opening hours of 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 6pm on Sundays. Coffee#1 opened its first store in Cardiff in 2001, with SA Brain acquiring the business in 2011. It currently has 92 sites.
Jurys Inn acquires historic Manchester hotel for eighth Leonardo site: Jurys Inn has acquired Midland Hotel in Manchester as an eighth site for its Leonardo Hotels brand. The company said it would draw on the history of the grade II-listed property, which opened in Peter Street in 1903. The four-star hotel offers 312 bedrooms, four AA rosette restaurant Adam Reid At The French and two AA rosette eatery Mr Cooper’s. There is also a tea room and the newly refurbished Midland Bar, which serves food all day. Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels managing director Jason Carruthers said: “We are honoured to have taken over such a prestigious property in the heart of Manchester. The Midland has an abundance of fascinating history I know our guests will be eager to learn more about.”
Chilango launches festive menu with Mexican twist: Mexican brand Chilango has launched its festive menu. The company has taken four Christmas favourites and given them a Mexican twist. It is offering a burrito or hotbox served with shredded turkey, stuffing, Mexican cranberry salsa and Wensleydale cheese. Also available is the Piggy Pot, consisting of pigs in blankets sprinkled with Wensleydale cheese and cranberry salsa, and loaded fries – sweet potato fries topped with pigs in blankets, Mexican cranberry salsa and Wensleydale.
Zonal scoops third Hope For Children fund-raising award: Hospitality management solutions company Zonal has won its third Corporate Partner Of The Year award from Hope For Children after raising £114,490 in the past four years for the charity, which supports children who have limited life opportunities. Zonal was recognised for staff initiatives such as cake stalls and sponsored skydives, while its management team has visited Hope For Children projects in India. Zonal sales and marketing director Clive Consterdine said: “It has been a humbling experience working with Hope For Children to see first-hand the difference its fantastic work makes to the lives of young people and their families.” Hope For Children head of fund-raising and communications Jennie Gillions added: “We have been partners with Zonal for almost five years and it has raised an amazing sum of money to support our work.”