TD4 receives £4m from BGF to roll out The Shake Lab: Leisure company TD4 Brands is embarking on a rapid and strategic nationwide store roll-out programme, which is creating about 100 jobs. TD4 will open another six stores during the next four months as it expands its milkshake concept The Shake Lab – it also operates Boost Juice. The company is led by experienced food and beverage operators Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan and backed by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), a long-term investor in growing businesses. To support the roll-out, BGF has invested more than £4m in the Cheshire-headquartered business since its initial investment in 2013. Banking partner Barclays has provided £650,000 of funding to support the expansion. Co-founder and chief executive Richard O’Sullivan said: “Over the past ten years our team has worked tirelessly to deliver a fantastic product and brilliant service to our customers, who we never take for granted and who have made our brands Boost and The Shake Lab what they are today. It’s tremendously exciting to be rolling out The Shake Lab into so many new locations. We operate in a really competitive market sector and are proud The Shake Lab has been so well received by consumers since we launched it at the Trafford Centre in Manchester in late 2015. Like Boost Juice, The Shake Lab is a vibrant, fun and delicious concept, which we believe has significant growth potential. We are always rigorous in our approach to new locations and we firmly believe in developing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with landlords and shopping centre operators.” TD4 has just opened five stores – at the Intu Victoria Centre in Nottingham, Westfield London, and the new Westgate Oxford Centre, where more than 5,000 customers visited Boost and The Shake Lab in the first week of opening. The next wave of launches will see The Shake Lab open at Meadowhall Sheffield in late November, at Westfield Stratford City in London in early December and in Bristol, Birmingham, Glasgow and Leicester in February and March 2018. Meanwhile, Boost Juice has recently renewed ten-year leases at the Lakeside Thurrock, Meadowhall Sheffield and Manchester Trafford shopping centres and agreed another five-year renewal at Westfield London. Dawn O’Sullivan said: “2017 is our tenth anniversary and one of the many highlights for us was being voted 2017 food and drink retailer of the year by customers at the Intu Trafford Centre, where we have three Boost stores. This is a fantastic achievement and one that could never have been accomplished without the hard work and dedication of our team.”
Barworks appoints new operations director: Barworks, the central London bar and pub operator, has promoted Mike Harrington to operations director. Harrington joined the company in May 2012 as general manager of its Shoreditch site, The Electricity Showrooms, after two-and-a-half years at Mitchells & Butlers. He was promoted to the operations team in October 2013 and has been instrumental in helping the group grow to 12 sites. A spokesman told Propel: “Mike has overseen the opening of the last six additions to the group – including the past three as head of operations – and is very dedicated to his job and his team. His organisational skills and product knowledge are a great asset to Barworks and he has a great future at the company.”
Greene King reveals Black Friday promotions involving more than 1,500 pubs: Brewer and retailer Greene King has revealed new promotions for this year’s Black Friday event involving more than 1,500 pubs. After its first cross-brand promotion last year in which email subscribers could use an exclusive voucher in more than 800 pubs, the company is introducing three new deals for Black Friday, which will include its Locals estate of 700 pubs for the first time. The main promotion, buy one get one free on main meals, has been distributed to email subscribers and social fans across eight brands. The offer is available to claim until Monday (27 November) in more than 800 pubs including Hungry Horse, Chef & Brewer, Flaming Grill and Loch Fyne Seafood Restaurants. There will also be an extended happy hour running all weekend offering buy one get one free on a variety of drinks at selected Greene King Local pubs from Friday (24 November) until Sunday (26 November), as well as 10% off all day on Friday in all 700 pubs that accept Greene King’s Season Ticket loyalty card. Chief commercial officer Phil Thomas said: “Black Friday continues to grow in popularity with customers and has emerged as a key trading event, not just for the retail sector but increasingly for the hospitality sector too. Following the success of our Black Friday email promotion last year, we’re expanding the promotions to incorporate our Locals estate as well as increase the reach of the offers through the addition of social and affiliate communication channels.”
Ed’s Diner launches bottomless breakfast: Ed’s Diner, owned by Boparan Restaurants and formerly known as Ed’s Easy Diner, has launched a bottomless breakfast offer. Customers who buy any dish from the breakfast menu and clear their plate can have the same item free as many times as they like. Breakfast dishes include all-American pancakes with streaky bacon, and egg and bacon muffins. Ed’s Diner brand director Sam Wignell said: “Generosity has always been at the core of everything Ed’s does and there is nothing that exemplifies this more than rows of plates stacked high with our American-style grub.” The brand operates 26 diners and a shake stand across the UK. Boparan Restaurants paid £8.75m to buy 33 Ed’s Easy Diner sites in a pre-packed administration deal in October 2016.
Chelsea-based bar and grill Sophie’s Steakhouse to open Soho sister site next month at former Moulin Cinema: Chelsea-based bar and grill Sophie’s Steakhouse is to open a much larger sister site in Soho next month. Sophie Bathgate and Rupert Power launched the concept 15 years ago inspired by New York City steakhouses. Their venue will open in the iconic Moulin Cinema in Great Windmill Street on Friday, 1 December featuring a 125-cover restaurant, cocktail bar, covered terrace, 25-cover private dining room and 120-cover steakhouse and butchery. Next door, a six-seater kiosk with a wood-fired smoker will offer takeaway dishes, with all spaces linked. The Steakhouse will feature a cast iron, custom-built “infernillo” grill at its centre for steaks to be cooked over open fire in front of diners. Beef will be dry aged before being butchered in-house. Power said: “When we opened Sophie’s Chelsea it was a surprise hit. People seemed to associate with what we were doing – simple, great food, with an authentic sense of hospitality inspired by our trips to America but tailored for Londoners. For Sophie’s Soho, we’re updating things while keeping our core. It will be more sophisticated but with the same care for the finest ingredients.” Sophie’s Steakhouse closed its Covent Garden site in June.
Esquires Coffee steams to 34 sites with double opening: Esquires Coffee has opened stores in Liverpool and Yate, near Bristol, taking its number of UK sites to 34. The 33rd opening was in Yate Shopping Centre as part of the complex’s restaurant quarter. The site features outside seating and has been opened by franchisee Dean Widge with the creation of 12 jobs. He said: “I’m very excited to start a new business venture in a globally expanding market in the lively town of Yate.” Meanwhile, the 34th Esquires Coffee site has opened in Liverpool’s Exchange featuring plenty of plug points for people wanting to work while drinking their coffee or tea alongside snacks and sandwiches to eat in or take away. Esquires Coffee was founded in Delta, British Columbia, in 1993.
Struggling Lancashire pub and curry house merge to launch dual concept: A pub and a curry house in Chorley, Lancashire, are merging to launch a dual concept. Times are tough for pubs and Indian restaurants in the area, with dozens closing in recent years. Now The Hyatt, a once thriving Indian restaurant, and the Parkers Arms pub have joined forces and will reopen as The Sizzling Indian. A new kitchen is being installed and the pub will open from 11am to 11pm, with the restaurant, which will be in the main part of the pub, operating from 5pm and all day on Sundays. Parkers Arms owner David Benson told the Lancashire Post: “There has been very little footfall at the pub and sales have been abysmal. About 15 or 20 pubs are closing each week. This place was built in 1820 and the rooms are big and the overheads are astronomical.” Manu Patel, who owned The Hyatt in Dole Lane for more than 20 years, added: “The reason all the Indian restaurants are closing is because the cost of buying the products has become expensive.”
Brighton-based Cin Cin Italian Bar & Kitchen to expand into Hove for second site: Brighton-based Cin Cin Italian Bar & Kitchen is set to expand into neighbouring Hove after securing a second site. The concept is the brainchild of David Toscano, who began operating from a vintage Fiat van at events and festivals in 2013 before opening a bricks-and-mortar site in Brighton’s North Laine area. Toscano has now secured a site spread over two floors in Western Road, Hove. Will Thomas, of agents Flude, which brokered the deal, said: “The letting of this space is an example of Brighton’s exciting independent restaurant scene and I wish David all the best with the planned opening early next year. The premises generated a good deal of interest and A3 units across the city continue to be highly sought.” Cin Cin offers antipasti, handmade pasta, seasonal specials, aperitifs and Italian wine in an open bar and kitchen setting.
Former St John Bread and Wine chef to launch Irish bar restaurant concept in east London next month: Niall Davidson, former chef of London restaurants Chiltern Firehouse and St John Bread and Wine, is to launch an Irish bar restaurant concept next month for his debut solo venture. Davidson will open Nuala in City Road, close to Old Street, on Thursday, 7 December with menus influenced by his Scottish and Northern Irish heritage. The kitchen will be led by former Fat Duck chef Colin McSherry, with dishes in the 75-cover restaurant cooked over a wood fire, including potted smokie, scampi-fried quail eggs, and coffee ham with Irish condiments. The decor will feature pictures from the original Guinness archives and a large mahogany bar, while the basement bar will feature live music.
Concept Leisure to launch restaurant and cocktail bar in Stockton: Concept Leisure, the north east-based operator behind cocktail bar The Nuthatch, is to open a restaurant and bar in Stockton’s cultural quarter. The venue will open in Finkle Street at a site formerly occupied by Mexican restaurant Mohujo’s, which will close on Saturday, 2 December. The high-end restaurant will open in April offering waterside views. Concept Leisure director Simon Hatfield told the Gazette: “After opening The Nuthatch in 2016 it became clear Stockton town centre was at the start of an exciting resurgence and we were keen to expand our business with a restaurant in the cultural quarter.” Mohujo’s owner Wendy Sayers said she would “explore options” for smaller units in Stockton and focus on her other businesses, including her burrito bar in Middlesbrough. Concept Leisure operates two Nuthatch sites, in Middlesbrough and Stockton.
FullClear on track for record quarter after securing 60-venue pilot with one of UK’s largest pub companies: Beer line-cleaning business FullClear, which is undertaking a £250,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube, has reported it is on track for a record quarter having secured a 60-venue pilot with one of the largest UK pub companies. FullClear stated: “We are experiencing a record quarter with the securing of six pilots across a range of breweries and pub companies, including a 60-venue pilot with one of the largest pub companies in the UK. The others are with three mid-sized pub companies and two breweries, with a view to roll-out after three months.” The company, whose customers include Admiral Taverns, Hawthorn Leisure and Tokyo Industries, is offering a 12.82% equity stake in return for the £250,000 investment. So far, 113 investors have pledged £109,470 with 16 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £15,000. FullClear is a scientifically formulated beer line-cleaning solution that is non-corrosive, non-toxic and non-hazardous, proven to allow for safe, monthly beer line cleaning, the company said. It will use the investment to further its expansion in the UK and globally alongside building its sales and marketing capabilities. It also has an exclusive partnership with beer quality and waste management systems company Vianet, allowing operators “total oversight over their line-cleaning processes”. FullClear added: “Proving the significance of our Vianet partnership, we have a further six introductions to take place in the coming weeks as we head into what is set to be our most exciting year yet.”
Douglas Jack – M&B trading well but cutting interim 2018 dividend will not instil investor confidence: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Mitchells & Butlers is trading well but cutting the interim 2018 dividend will not instil investor confidence. Issuing an ‘Add’ note on the shares with a target price of 300p, Jack said: “M&B’s like-for-like sales are outperforming the market. 2017’s 1.8% increase was ahead of the Coffer Peach Business Tracker (+0.3%) and both its main constituents – pubs +0.7% and restaurants +0.3%. This has continued over the past seven weeks, when like-for-like sales rose by 2.3% versus the Coffer Peach Business Tracker’s 0.3% (pubs +1.4%; restaurants -1.5%) in October. 2017’s 1.8% like-for-like sales were split – +1.4% for food, +2.1% for drink. This was all driven by spend per head, which was up 5.6% for food and 3.9% for drink, reflecting the impact of pricing and the increasing premiumisation of the estate. The uninvested estate’s like-for-like sales trajectory improved by 0.6 percentage points. In 2017, margins fell by 80 basis points due to £60m of cost increases (versus £26m of cost mitigation). Similarly, in 2018E M&B expects its costs to grow by circa £60m, of which another £26m should be offset by cost savings. With this level of mitigation, we estimate 2.5% to 3.5% like-for-like sales (subject to price/volume mix) would hold profits flat. Our forecasts assume like-for-like sales rise by 1.5% and margins fall by 45 basis points. We expect like-for-like sales growth to remain price per spend-driven aided by trading up as M&B repositions its estate, with premium brands growing from being 41% of the estate in 2016 to 47% in 2019E. Conversions and acquisitions have generated an average cash return on investment of 18% since 2014; 2017 projects achieved 22%. Recent conversions have generated sales uplifts in excess of 10%. The shares, offering a 13% free cash flow yield by our estimates, are undervalued in our view. The potential catalysts to spur a re-rating are stronger like-for-like sales and rising bonds reducing the pension deficit. We believe investors’ patience should eventually be rewarded but the decision to pay no interim dividend in 2018 (and review the 2018 final dividend) will not instil investor confidence.”
Cheltenham-based multi-site operator to turn Gloucester pub into bar restaurant: Cheltenham-based multi-site operator Matthew Bull is converting a pub in Gloucester into a bar restaurant that will open next month. The pub in Westgate Street, known previously as The Westgate and The Lamprey, has been taken over by Bull, who also operates bar restaurant Six Degrees Of Separation and Thirteen Degrees nightclub, both in Cheltenham. He will reopen the venue as Liquor And Chow, taking the name of another of his bars in the city that is being renamed the Eastgate Street Drinkery. The “tired pub” will be transformed into a place to eat, drink and meet, featuring Gloucester’s first bespoke gin bar, a DJ booth, live music and a function room. Bull told Gloucestershire Live: “We are in the shadow of the cathedral, near the student flats that are being built, and on the route to the docks. It is a huge gamble – the cathedral is a building site and the student flats aren’t built yet – but we are here for the long term. The footfall will improve.”
Burning Night Group reports 25% surge in Christmas bookings at Bierkeller sites: Bar company Burning Night Group has reported a 25% surge in Christmas bookings at its Bierkeller Bavarian bars. The company’s six city centre bars – in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham – launched Christmas packages on 17 November running until 23 December. Instead of traditional festive fare, the Bierkeller bars will swap turkey for hog roast with entertainment from oompah bands and DJs. Burning Night Group head of marketing and promotions Isaac Mayne said: “A lot of our prime weekend dates are already fully booked and to have overall bookings up 25% at this stage is great. There is such a lot of competition for parties but we think we’ve got the balance right in terms of entertainment and pricing.” Burning Night Group operates six sites under The Bierkeller Entertainment Complex banner, which houses three concepts under one roof – Bierkeller Bavarian, Shooters, and Around the World. It also locates, develops and manages Potting Shed and Fire Pit branded bars on behalf of the Potting Shed Group and will launch its latest concept, American-style barbecue restaurant Smokin’ Bar & Kitchen, in Leeds this month. Last week, Burning Night Group passed the 50% mark in its £750,000 Crowdcube fund-raise to launch sports-themed concept Sportskeller. So far, 380 investors have pledged £411,030 with nine days remaining.
Ivy Collection to open York site next month: The Ivy Collection will open a brasserie in York next month. The company will launch the 120-capacity venue on Thursday, 14 December in St Helen’s Square in a former Blacks outdoor clothing shop. It will feature a marble top bar, pendant lighting and leather banquettes as well as artwork true to its York location. General manager Jon Pinner told Minster FM: “We’re excited to bring The Ivy Collection to York. Chosen for its heritage, fantastic local community and vibrant tourist industry, it is the perfect location for us.” The Ivy Collection is set for further expansion in the regions, with openings lined up in Cheltenham, Guildford, Manchester, Leeds, Tunbridge Wells and Winchester.
Vegan cafe Stem + Glory starts expansion with second Cambridge site: Vegan cafe Stem + Glory has started expansion by opening its second site in Cambridge. The concept is the brainchild of Louise Palmer-Masterton, who launched her first cafe in Mitcham’s Corner, winning the Cambridge News food and drink award for best newcomer. Stem + Glory 2 has opened in King Street in the city centre at a site formerly occupied by coffee shop Afternoon Tease. The new restaurant will focus primarily on breakfast and lunch but the venue has music and alcohol licences in place with plans to open in the evenings for events. Palmer-Masterton said: “It will be fast with lots of takeaway dishes, although there will be plates and you will be able to eat in if you want to. We hope it will become a go-to place in the city centre for healthy lunches. Evening dining has really taken off at the Mitcham’s Corner restaurant so we wanted the new venue to be in a high-footfall area to serve more people at lunchtime and get more people into vegan food.”
Access Hospitality expands software suite with DesignMyNight and ProNett purchases: Software provider Access Group has acquired online ticketing company DesignMyNight and property maintenance brand ProNett to expand the offering of its hospitality division, which launched earlier this month. The purchases expand Access Hospitality’s business management suite after its recent acquisitions of EPOS and stock management specialists Intelligent Business Systems and SelimaHR’s workforce management software. DesignMyNight offers two products – Collins, a reservation and enquiry management tool for casual dining, bars and restaurants, and event ticketing and marketing platform Tonic. ProNett is cloud-based property maintenance software designed to simplify and automate resources, processes and procedures. Access Group chief executive Chris Bayne said: “This is an exciting time for everyone involved with Access and we will continue to develop the depth and breadth of our solution suite as we engage with customers and gain a greater understanding of their business needs to refine our future plans to support them even more effectively.” DesignMyNight founders Nick Telson and Andrew Webster will remain with the business, while ProNett managing director and founder Paul Gunn will also oversee its migration. Access Group said new hospitality customers include Fuller’s, Be At One, Dirty Martini, Mitchells and Butlers, Stonegate Pub Company and Wahaca.
Spirit production returns to banks of the Clyde in Glasgow after more than a century: Spirit production has returned to the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow after more than a century with the opening of a new distillery. Morrison Glasgow Distillers has launched the Clydeside Distillery, based between the Riverside Museum and SSE Hydro. Located in the former Queen’s Dock, The Pump House includes a visitor centre, interactive whisky experience, shop and cafe. The distillery produces a lowland single-malt scotch. Chairman Tim Morrison told the Sunday Post: “After more than a century copper stills are producing spirits on the banks of the Clyde and we’re incredibly proud to be able to open our doors to the public. We’re looking forward to the future and seeing whisky produced in the heart of Glasgow once again.”
North west-based operator Deep Beat opens second park cafe: Deep Beat, which is led by Louis Dixon and Ben Fraser, has opened its second park cafe in the north west. The company, which operates a venue at a park in Macclesfield, has now opened a second site for its park cafe concept, this time in Bolton. Deep Beat has invested £20,000 to convert the pavilion in Queens Park Cafe as part of a £5.3m restoration project. It features a children’s play area inside with plans to introduce outdoor activities in the summer and a function room. Dixon told the Bolton News: “This is a beautiful park, near to town. We knew the pavilion had potential to provide a high-quality experience for visitors and the local community. We want to put on different events in the park. We have everything from stir-fry to burger paninis and a breakfast menu. We will listen to what customers want and continue to develop the menu.”