Galvin brothers to open second pub, in Chelmsford next month: Galvin Pub Co, which is run by Michelin-starred brothers Chris and Jeff Galvin, is set to open its second pub – this time in Chelmsford, Essex. Next month, the Galvins will reopen the Green Man, which has been shut for more than a year, as a “community-oriented great British pub”. The brothers were raised in Chelmsford and neighbouring Brentwood and will rename the 700-year-old pub the Galvin Green Man. The brothers describe the venue, which overlooks 1.5 acres of riverside meadow with the Chelmer flowing close by, as a “pub with the option to dine”. Chris Galvin told The Enquirer: “We want to bring back the great British pub – and obviously pubs now need food! Working with local produce and small local brewers is exciting, as the ales will always change and the menu has already been rewritten twice as the seasons change – we thought we’d be in by August. We are really looking forward to welcoming everyone and thrilled to be celebrating all things local. Let’s hope it lasts another 700 years!” The company launched its first pub – Galvin HOP – in January on the site of Galvin Café A Vin in Spitalfields Market, London. The brothers also operate Galvin Restaurants, which launched in 2005 and has seven sites in London and Edinburgh.




Steve Easterbrook – we expected 2016 performance at McDonald’s to be uneven: McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook has told analyst the company is focusing on food quality – and expected its 2026 performance to be uneven. Speaking after the company reported global third quarter like-for-like sales growth of 3.5% , he stated: “We expected performance through 2016 to be uneven and it has been. Markets such as the UK, Australia and Canada continue to grow sales and guest counts, whilst markets including the US, France and Germany work to overcome challenges of varying degrees. We are mindful of the near-term headwinds we face, most notably in the US. However, we are not managing the business quarter-by-quarter. In fact, our commitment to investing in the business is stronger now than ever. We’ve taken action in the areas that matter most to customers. In particular, we’re placing significant emphasis on food quality, the customer experience and value to give people more reasons to visit McDonald’s. We believe the long-term investments we are making in these areas provide the foundation on which we’ll build as we work to be recognised as a modern progressive burger company by customers.”




Wear Inns reports Ebitda up to £2.3m: North west managed operator Wear Inns, which has an estate of 26 pubs, has reported Ebitda rose to £2.308m in the year to 31 March 2016 (2015: £2.182m). Turnover rose 3.2% to £13,631,438 (2015: £13,206,087) due to “excellent performance in both wet and food sales with the level of like-for-like sales improvements increasing as the year progressed”. It added: “Cost of sales rose by only 2.59% due to continuing tight control of purchase costs and effective use of staff despite increases in hourly pay rates. Reported gross profit therefore increased by 4.27% and gross margin as a percentage of sales increased from 37.6% to 38%. Within the distribution costs line in the accounts, which includes pub depreciation (which accounts for 31.5% of the total), costs increased by 9.06% due mainly to depreciation on the high level of refurbishments carried out both in 2015 and 2016, while other distribution costs (mainly pub operating costs) increased by 3.29%, most of which relate to the introduction of BT Sport in addition to Sky TV services.” There was an exceptional impairment of £137,952 on a pub held for sale that it is not expected to reach its book sale. Pub level Ebitda rose to £3.2m (2015: £3.05m). Loss before tax was £418,241, an increase from £336,515.





Fulham Shore opens 28th Franco Manca, at Westfield Stratford, pipeline to take total to more than 40 by 2018: Fulham Shore, led by David Page, has opened its 28th Franco Manca pizza restaurant, this time in Westfield Stratford shopping centre in London, and announced it has a pipeline of openings lined up with the aim of having more than 40 sites in total by spring 2018. Page told Propel the next Franco Manca to open will be on Monday, 5 December at WestQuay Watermark – Hammerson’s £85m dining and leisure development in Southampton – at a 130 square metre venue on the scheme’s lower promenade. It will be the brand’s debut in Southampton and only its third restaurant outside London. The company will then return to the capital to open a site in Victoria Nova in January, and Page said the company had also exchanged on sites at a former police station in Richmond and another close to Putney bridge, with their openings planned for March or April 2017. They will be followed by a launch in Reading at the end of the year. Page said the company was also negotiating for three sites in Edinburgh and building a pipeline to reach “40 to 42” sites by spring 2018. Fulham Shore also operates ten restaurants under The Real Greek brand and Page told Propel its next site will open at BoxPark Croydon on Sunday, 30 October, while it will open its 12th site at Southampton Watermark as a double launch with Franco Manca.




Living Ventures starts chefs’ academy candidate search: Living Ventures has launched a recruitment drive for budding young chefs in Liverpool to join its new chefs’ academy. The company has teamed up with The City of Liverpool College to create the academy, which will offer only 15 places. The academy will give apprentices an opportunity to gain hands-on, paid experience in Living Ventures’ restaurants. Prospective candidates attended a recruitment day to get a glimpse of what apprentices can expect during the programme, which will include a four-week Kitchen Survival Skills course to equip apprentices with the “knowledge, skills and attitude needed to work as part of a busy kitchen team”. Successful candidates will receive on-the-job experience in Living Ventures kitchens while attending The City of Liverpool College one day a week to fulfil the qualification element. The programme will last 12 to 18 months depending on a candidate’s progress. Apprentices will be paid a competitive hourly rate with the opportunity to earn a bonus on successfully gaining their qualification. John Branagan, chef director of Living Ventures, told Liverpool Confidential: “This is a great opportunity for anyone who would like a career in a fast-paced, exciting industry.”




Five Guys plans Manchester city centre site: Better burger brand Five Guys is planning to open a restaurant in Manchester city centre. The company, which also has branches at the Trafford Centre and Ashton Moss Leisure Park in the city, is looking to open a restaurant at the Arndale shopping centre. Plans have been submitted for a vacant unit next to Nando’s and Casual Dining Group-owned Bella Italia in the upper mall as part of the Arndale’s proposed food and drink revamp. The new restaurant would be spread over two floors, according to plans, at a unit that has been vacant since February 2015, when it was used as a Harvey Nichols pop-up Christmas shop. Five Guys has been a huge hit in the Trafford Centre, recently expanding its footprint in the shopping centre to cope with demand, the Manchester Evening News reports. Elsewhere in the centre, Manchester Arndale plans to invest £11m in a new food and drink hub around Halle Square.





Dom Joly to get his wish as Wagamama announces Cheltenham site: Wagamama is set to open a site in Cheltenham after years of speculation, including comedian Dom Joly, who issued a challenge to the company in January to “hurry up” and move to the Gloucestershire town before the end of the year. Wagamama has yet to confirm the location and launch date but its website lists Cheltenham under its “New Restaurant Openings” section. Joly, who lives near Cheltenham, said on Twitter: “Hey Cheltenham – why don’t we give @wagamama_uk one year from today to open in town – otherwise we eat our noodles elsewhere?” Wagamama replied: “We’d love to open in many cities and towns across the country. Maybe one day we’ll open here.” Joly responded: “Promises promises – better hurry up or we will all move on.” Wagamama operates more than 140 restaurants across the UK, with the closest ones to Cheltenham in Hereford, Swindon and Bristol.




Soho Coffee Co opens new-format site in Bath city centre: Artisan fresh food and coffee brand Soho Coffee Co has opened a new-format store in Bath. The store in Union Street offers the company’s “next wave of coffee development”. Signature Organic and Fairtrade coffee roasted in the Forest of Dean remain at the heart of the menu but consumers at the new-format site will be able to enjoy guest single-estate coffees, along with an extended range of specialist drinks, including almond matcha latte, Vietnamese coffee and the Guillermo – an iced black coffee served with fresh lime. The new deli counter will offer a range of hot, filled sourdoughs, tacos and salads, with breakfast options such as gluten-free porridge with coconut milk or bacon and egg sandwich on hand-cut bread. Soho Coffee Co managing director Penny Manuel said: “We are extremely excited to be opening a store in the centre of Bath. This beautiful city is one we have been looking to venture into for a long time. We are continuing to develop our brand and Bath is the first store that includes our new coffee menu, guest coffee station and deli salad counter, which we can’t wait for our customers to experience.”




Lussmanns eyes Tring: Lussmanns, which saw investment from Luke Johnson earlier this year, is planning to turn Tring’s former HSBC building into a new site. Lussmanns has branches in St Albans, Hertford, Hitchin and Harpenden ? the HSBC in Tring closed in July. The brand, voted the “people’s favourite” in the Independent Food Made Good Awards 2016, describes itself as “proudly independent”, and “relaxed”, providing “sustainable and ethical” dining. A planning application has been submitted and group director Andrei Lussmann hopes to sign the paperwork this week. He said: “I think it will be a huge addition to Tring. We can’t comment much more because we have not yet signed the contracts, but I can clarify that Lussmanns is in discussions with HSBC.” Plans for the restaurant include making the most of the building’s grand frontage using simple signs and menus on the outside. The only structural alteration will be the insertion of a small mezzanine floor in the main banking hall to provide additional seating. Lussmanns has been recommended by The Good Food Guide for eight successive years as “doing Herts proud”. HSBC closed its Tring High Street branch in the summer stating that the rise in internet banking had seen footfall across its UK branches drop by 40%.




JD Wetherspoon lodges £1m roof terrace plan for Taunton pub: JD Wetherspoon has extended its strategy of creating high-quality roof terrace space by lodging a plan to undertake a million-pound renovation of the Perkin Warbeck in Taunton. The company wants to create an open-air roof terrace cum beer garden at the back of pub, in Magdalene Street, in the shadow of St Mary Magdalene Church. The development, which would extend over the existing pavement cafe, would involve demolishing part of the upper floor of the rear of the building. A company spokesman said: “If planning permission is granted, Wetherspoon will close the pub for a period of time while work is carried out. Development cost would be around £1m.” The roof terrace, which would not be accessible to people with “impaired mobility”, would be enclosed by a glass balustrade and feature enhanced external lighting and updated CCTV. A statement accompanying the planning application, which has been lodged with Taunton Deane Borough Council, said: “The proportions of the rear elevation facing Magdalene Street will be affected by the partial demolition at the rear of the building and creation of the first-floor terrace.”


Brothers Drinks buys Shepton Mallet cider plant: Brothers Drinks has saved the Shepton Mallet cider mill in Somerset from potential closure by buying it from drinks giant C&C Group. The company – founded by siblings Francis, Matthew, Jonathan and Daniel Showering – produces fruit-flavoured ciders, which are sold at music festivals including Glastonbury. The cider mill in Shepton Mallet was originally built for the Showering family in 1990 but was later sold. Last January, C&C – which makes cider brands Magners and Bulmers – announced it intended to switch production from its sites in Shepton Mallet and Borrisoleigh, Ireland, to its plant in Clonmel, Tipperary. It was feared the Shepton Mallet mill might have to close but it has now been bought by the Showering brothers and will continue to produce keg ciders such as Blackthorn and Gaymers. The Shepton Mallet site can press 7,000 tons of apples a day. Matthew Showering said: “It’s a huge site and it’s going to transform our business. It’s great to have been able to buy back our grandfather’s factory.”




Slug and Lettuce evolves menu offer: High-street brand Slug and Lettuce, owned by Stonegate, has made several additions to its fast and fresh offering as well as a new healthy kid’s menu and added to its cocktail list. Slug and Lettuce will offer a broader selection of lighter bites from around the globe, including new Noodle Boxes available in chicken or tofu varieties. The new healthy children’s menu includes burritos, southern-fried chicken wraps, feta cheese superfood salads and battered fish and chips. Head of marketing Samantha Maynard said: “We’re constantly looking at ways to improve and develop our menu, and this latest update is an amplified take on everything our customers loved from its original introduction earlier this year. We understand the need for a menu that offers something for all occasions and are confident this offering – which includes options for everything from working breakfasts, to after-work drinks and nights out – will mean Slug and Lettuce continues to be the go-to place on the high street.”




Revolution Bars Group hires Roche Communications: Agency Roche Communications, headed by Rochelle Cohen, has been chosen to manage the public relations and marketing for bar and casual dining group Revolution Bars Group. The 12-month campaign will see Roche Communications drive continued awareness of the distinct brands across food, drink and lifestyle media as well as oversee future openings. Myles Doran, trading director at Revolution Bars Group, said: “We are looking to amplify our success stories and maximise our premium customer proposition. We are committed to future growth and are looking forward to communicating our plans, through executing consumer-facing campaigns, as we take the business to the next level.” Rochelle Cohen, managing director of Roche Communications, added: “We are absolutely delighted to be appointed as Revolution Bars Group’s retained PR agency. The team and I are looking forward to raising the consumer profile of the estate and building on the success of these two brands.”




Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar & Grill to open in Oxford, chef’s second venue in city: Celebrity chef Marco Pierre White will open his second restaurant in Oxford, with the launch of his Steakhouse Bar & Grill concept. The new restaurant will open early next year at the Jurys Inn hotel in Godstow Road, the 17th Steakhouse Bar & Grill in the UK. The announcement follows a franchise agreement between the celebrity chef’s Black and White Hospitality company and the hotel’s owners. The company also operates Marco’s New York Italian at the Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel. Black and White Hospitality chief executive Nick Taplin said: “I’ve always been keen to expand our restaurant offering in Oxford and Jurys Inn is the perfect location to showcase the Steakhouse Bar & Grill brand. We have a great relationship with both the owner and hotel brand, which makes it a strong fit.” White added: “The Steakhouse Bar & Grill will offer diners a different kind of experience to the New York Italian, serving some of my all-time favourite British dishes, including roast rump of lamb a la Dijonnaise and pork belly Marco Polo.” Earlier this month, White opened his fourth franchised London restaurant and 14th New York Italian – at the Mercure London Bloomsbury hotel. Other restaurants in the Black and White Hospitality portfolio include Mr White’s English Chophouse, and Bardolino Pizzeria, Bellini & Espresso Bar.




New occupier sought for MediaCityUK restaurant space: Salford City College has appointed international agent Savills to let restaurant space in the Orange Building at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays, Manchester. The 6,740 square foot (626 square metre) fully-fitted unit includes a high-specification commercial kitchen and can seat up to 140 consumers across the main and private dining lounges. The unit is on the first floor, overlooking the Lowry Theatre and next to buildings occupied by the BBC, ITV and Holiday Inn, as well as the MediaCityUK tram stop, central piazza and gardens. The site was previously occupied by Damson Restaurant Group’s eponymous fine dining venue, which closed last month with co-owner Steve Pilling blaming the “malaise and lack of demand for finer dining or, as we like to call it, affordable luxury”. Nearby leisure operators include Wagamama, Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee, Damson Restaurant Group pub The Dockyard, and Argentinian-inspired restaurant brand CAU, which is owned by Gaucho. Pete Scholes, of the licensed leisure team at Savills, said: “This restaurant space occupies a prime location at the heart of MediaCityUK, close to numerous office buildings and leisure operators. It is also well-placed to benefit from the plans for wider development within MediaCityUK.”




Fleurets reports 23% increase in enquiries post-Brexit: Agent Fleurets has reported a 23% increase in the first quarter following Brexit. Between July and September 2015, Fleurets hosted 651 viewings, shared between their seven offices across the UK. In the same period in 2016, the number of viewings increased to 801, representing a 23% increase in individual property visits. With properties including pubs and bars as well as hotels, restaurants and other leisure properties, this is perhaps a general indication that the UK’s decision to leave the EU has not affected interest levels for perspective leisure property purchasers. Simon Hall, director and head of agency at Fleurets, said: “It has been anticipated that Brexit will greatly impact the property market. However, our year-on-year comparisons show that viewings have actually increased. We suspect this increase in activity may be linked to the continued low interest rates and a desire to invest in property, which is considered to be a safer investment. Transaction volume may not increase because we have seen vendors becoming more reluctant to sell. If this continues, the increase in demand over supply will lead to higher price rises in the near future.”




Virtual Jukebox rebrands itself as Startle: Interactive music service Virtual Jukebox has rebranded itself as Startle, as the company continues to widen its portfolio. The cloud-based music provider has expanded from its original position as a jukebox replacement in pubs to enjoy a hugely successful year, having acquired digital signage and interactive content business Coadunatio and secured partnerships with Greene King, Domino’s Pizza and BT Sport among others, with more in the pipeline. Startle will have a larger team and redesigned website and its portfolio will also include a number of new services and products, including DJ mixes, digital signage and music profiling. Startle chief executive Andy Hill said: “This rebrand is an important step for us in the ongoing development of the business. Our original aim was to provide and improve the in-venue experience of outlets across the retail and hospitality sectors – through great music and a simple-to-use tool. While the Virtual Jukebox music services very much remain at the heart of what we do, our growth over the past year has made way for exciting new products to join the portfolio. The rebrand enables all of our services to be housed under one overarching name – Startle. Through Startle’s expanded technology, our customers are able to engage with consumers through an innovative offering, ultimately increasing their overall revenue as a result.”




English/French crossover concept Verdant to launch in Liverpool: Verdant, a concept that offers English dishes with a French twist and luxury touches, including vodka that has been filtered through gold, is set to launch in Liverpool. Verdant is the brainchild of entrepreneur Phil Melia, who is promising diners an “explosion of colour and taste”. The all-day restaurant and bar will open in Allerton Road on Tuesday, 1 November, seating 60 to 80 people. It will be the only venue in the city to offer AU Vodka, a premium brand found in Selfridges and exclusive bars and clubs in London and Manchester. Melia told the Liverpool Echo: “The vodka is filtered five times through gold. The gold removes carbon-based impurities to create a purer, smoother taste. There’s a real sense of resurgence at the moment and new life being breathed back into the road with the addition of some great bars and restaurants. I want to be part of that and believe Verdant offers something special. Our a la carte menu will cater for diners looking for great-quality meals and our lunch and early evening menu is ideal for families. It is fine dining for all.”




Numis – Whitbread to see relatively muted 3% EPS growth in first half: Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett has forecast “relatively muted” EPS growth of 3% for Whitbread in the first half, derived from 7% total sales growth, and margins slipping by 50bp. He said this was the combination of opex investment and the national living wage, partially offset by Whitbread’s efficiency programme. Issuing a Neutral note on the shares with a target price of 440p, Barrett said: “We expect flat revpar in the first half (-0.5% in first quarter) and forecast 2.1% growth in UK like-for-likes at Costa (2.6% in first quarter). There has been significant monthly revpar volatility in the last six months but, on average, data for Whitbread’s second quarter (June to August, 1.7%) was 100bp better than the first quarter (March to May, 0.7%), with the following highlights: In July (+4.3%) London benefited from the biennial Farnborough air show; August saw an easy comparator as in 2015 euro versus sterling was at a high of 1.42, before the subsequent Brexit-related collapse in sterling; in August, total growth was +1.3% versus 0.9% for midscale/economy; data for London remains weaker than the regions, largely owing to the high level of supply growth for the former (>3%).” He noted that Whitbread was “underweight in London”, with the regions accounting for circa 75% of Premier Inn’s revenues. Regarding Whitbread’s outlook, Barrett said: “There has been a marked deterioration in the last four weeks (-4%), largely reflecting London, which is trading against the comparator from the Rugby World Cup (18 September to 31 October 2015). Whitbread does not quantify post-first half trading at this stage, but we expect measured comments in the context of this trend. Longer-term, we expect currency to become a tailwind, with sterling weakness driving both inbound traffic and likely to revive the staycation effect in 2017. Surprisingly, there was no evidence of this in August data (inbound tourism +2%, outbound +6%). Our FY17 and FY18 forecasts assume 1% and 3% revpar growth respectively. While risk is on the downside, note that EPS sensitivity is relatively low (2% to 1ppt), protected by freehold backing and the contribution from Costa. Whitbread trades on a CY17 price-earnings ratio of 14.6x and stable free cash flow yield of 4.9%. We retain a Neutral recommendation, are positive on the structural growth opportunities (2020 targets which imply 7% per annum roll-out of new Premier Inn rooms and 11% system sales growth for Costa) but are more cautious on the immediate outlook.”




Starbucks Canada launches Nitro Cold Brew: Starbucks Canada has named Brookfield Place in Toronto as the first location to launch Nitro Cold Brew, with more locations to come across Canada during the next several months. Following the roll-out, Starbucks will be the first retailer in Canada to offer Nitro Cold Brew at scale. Nitro Cold Brew is Starbucks’ newest take on its signature Cold Brew, infused with nitrogen for a smooth, creamy texture. After hand-crafting the Cold Brew recipe, baristas perfect the pour by pulling the tap and allowing the Cold Brew coffee to mix with the nitrogen to deliver an entirely new cold coffee experience. Nitro Cold Brew is cold right out of the tap so it is served without ice and, as with Cold Brew, is served unsweetened to highlight the flavour the cold brewing process brings out in the coffee. While premium hand-crafted espresso continues to be a best-seller, the company is experiencing an increased shift in consumer preference to cold versions of these beverages. Iced beverage sales saw about 30% growth during the past two years and represents one of the fastest-growing areas of the business. About one-in-two beverages sold out of home in Canada are cold and Starbucks expects to more than double the size of its cold beverage business in Canada within five years. “Our success is rooted in delivering exceptional customer experiences through significant investments in technology, new store formats and coffee-forward product innovation. We know our customers are seeking flavour experiences that are unique, and Nitro Cold Brew delivers on a cold coffee experience that we know they will enjoy,” said Rossann Williams, president of Starbucks Canada. “When we combine innovation with an engaging barista who is skilled in making hand-crafted customised beverages, it produces something really special.”