Bounce Ping Pong rebrands as Social Entertainment Ventures with plans for 20 new sites by 2020: Bounce Ping Pong, the parent company of Bounce, has rebranded as Social Entertainment Ventures as part of its global expansion plans. The company, which made its name combining table tennis with a bar and restaurant concept, plans to open 20 venues by 2020, with a key focus on new territories including North America, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East. The company said the rebrand was the cornerstone of an ambitious growth plan with three new concepts and seven new venues to be launched by the end of 2018. Bounce was founded in 2011 and currently has two locations in London and one in Chicago. Founder Adam Breeden, who also co-founded All Star Lanes and Flight Club, believes the time is “perfect to grow into new territories and new concepts”. He said: “Being at the forefront of the social entertainment industry for many years means we can now encompass a greater range of concepts in different territories. Now is the time to leverage our extensive experience to bring to market more concepts within this fast-growing category as well as embark on a more ambitious roll-out plan.”
Bristol-based craft brewer Moor Beer reports turnover up 74%, more than doubles production: Bristol-based craft brewer Moor Beer has reported a 74% rise in turnover in its latest financial results, while production has increased 54% from the same period a year ago. Moor Beer, celebrating its tenth anniversary, exports its beers to 20 countries as well as distributing them across the UK. To support further growth, the brewer is looking for additional premises in both Bristol and London, where it hopes to “expand the team in all areas of the business”. The company said it had already invested heavily in new equipment to enhance production of its “modern real ale” brews. Moor Beer owner Justin Hawke, recently elected vice-chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers, said: “Over the past decade we set many of the trends by having the vision and quality to kick-start what was a flagging British beer market. We continue to remain desirable to a growing audience by staying true to our values and being fiercely independent. In these days of ‘crafty’ buyouts by the big brewers and the crowdfunding of questionable propositions, both of which compromise the integrity and choices a brewer can make, we are one of the few that is truly independent. All shares are owned by my wife and I, who both work full-time for the brewery and believe passionately in its future. The progress we’ve made in the past ten years is testament to an ever-vibrant beer scene, and we are looking forward to what the next six months, year and even ten years brings for us.”
Deltic Group launches pilot project to ensure artists are paid fair royalties: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 58 venues across the UK, is taking part in a pilot project that ensures artists receive their fair share of royalties for the music they create. Led by music industry licensing bodies PPL and PRS for Music, the pilot has been designed to evaluate the use of Music Recognition Technology (MRT) in identifying music publicly performed by DJs in clubs, bars, pubs and hotels licensed by PPL and PRS. It is hoped the pilot will result in the accurate identification of music performance information, which when collected from a wide variety of licensed premises can be incorporated into a “best practice” policy for distributing royalties to PPL and PRS members. Six Deltic venues – PRYZM Watford and PRYZM Leeds, Institute in Aberdeen, Stevenage’s Bar & Beyond, Stoke’s Fiction and Exeter’s Unit 1 – will be fitted with a small, discreet MRT device in the DJ booth. The device will monitor music played and send information to a secure database to be matched, analysed and reported back to PPL and PRS. The pilot, which launched in late 2016 in London nightclubs Ministry of Sound and Fabric, has been rolled out in venues across the UK and will run throughout 2017 with potential to be extended further. Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “Music is the very heartbeat of our business and it’s in our interest to see that talented artists are rewarded for their creations. With online streaming and other digital technology, it’s increasingly difficult for songwriters and musicians to make a living from their creations, so anything we can do to help and attract and support the latest local talent has to be a good thing.” Karen Buse, PRS for Music executive director, membership and international, added: “We look forward to working with the clubs to gain insight into how technology could help ensure the right people are paid for the music that keeps clubbers coming in.”
Brewhouse & Kitchen to make Welsh debut as chief executive returns to Cardiff roots: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has acquired its first Welsh site. The company is opening a venue in central Cardiff after acquiring the freehold of Y Mochyn Du pub in Sofia Gardens. The deal not only marks Brewhouse & Kitchen’s Wales debut but it is also a return home for Cardiff-born chief executive Gumbrell. Brewhouse and Kitchen’s new site is next door to Glamorgan’s cricket stadium and the Sport Wales National Centre. Gumbrell said: “I am over the moon to have been able to buy this amazing business, especially as a born and bred Cardiff boy. We have been looking in Cardiff for a number of years and high-quality freeholds are difficult to find in this great city. As a Welshman, I am looking forward to bringing what we do to this vibrant and unique market. As well as brewing more unique beers, we will be looking to work with some of the great craft brewers in the South Wales area. Apart from its location, one of the other very special features of this business is it is a bilingual pub. Brewhouse & Kitchen is committed to maintaining this important cultural link – our signage, printed media and website will all be bilingual.” Brewhouse & Kitchen currently operates 18 sites in the UK.
McDonald’s US franchisees expect 3.2% like-for-like growth in second quarter: McDonald’s US franchisees are feeling optimistic ahead of the company’s second-quarter results on Tuesday (25 July). A group of 26 domestic Golden Arches franchisees, who own about 219 stores collectively, stated in a survey by Nomura-Instinet that they expect like-for-like sales at their respective locations to be up an average of 3.2% in the quarter. Based on these results, Nomura-Instinet analyst Mark Kalinowski raised his like-for-like sales estimate for the company by 100 basis points, saying he expects the metric to be up 3.2% for the quarter. Wall Street’s consensus estimate is for comparable sales to rise 3.1%, reports CNBC. He said in a research note: “We believe that drivers of the US business during the second quarter included beverage promotions (such as $1 any-size soft drinks) and the national launch of Signature Crafted Recipes (semi-customised burgers and chicken sandwiches).” Nomura-Instinent polled the same domestic franchisees about the third quarter and, in aggregate, they expect like-for-like sales to be up 3.3%. Kalinowski bumped his like-for-like sales estimate up 100 basis points for the third quarter and now expects 3.3% growth.
The Alchemist launches community volunteer scheme for staff: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, is encouraging its teams to donate more than 300 hours a month to support local communities by taking time off from work to volunteer – while still getting paid. The “Currency of Kindness” initiative will involve The Alchemist’s partner charities across the UK, supporting causes ranging from youth projects to helping the homeless. The company said the initiative would be all about “sharing skills, experience and, most importantly, giving something more precious than gold – time”. Managing director Simon Potts added: “We’re investing in our neighbourhoods. We are giving our teams the freedom to donate their time to support the local community by paying them to take time off work to volunteer for partner charities in all our locations. We already have seven local charity partnerships we’re committed to, and this will inevitably grow as the company does.” Founded in 2009, The Alchemist currently has ten sites in UK city centres including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. Palatine Private Equity supported the buyout of The Alchemist from Living Ventures in 2015.
Blind Tiger Inns opens 13th site, 12th with Star Pubs & Bars: North west-based multiple operator Blind Tiger Inns has reopened The Cross Keys in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, following a £245,000 investment, its 12th site with Star Pubs & Bars and 13th in total. An 80-cover, all-weather garden has been added, alongside new seating and a real fire. One of the lounges has been converted into a games room, with a pool table, dartboards and large screens showing live sports. Blind Tiger Inns is looking to further expand its estate in the north west to 20 sites. It said its acquisition requirements were for leased pubs in high street and estate locations “suitable for trading as quality community locals offering value, entertainment and sports”. Blind Tiger Inns managing director Chris Tulloch said: “Leasing pubs, either on full repairing and insuring or shorter-term agreements, works for us and, with a good pub company partner, provides valuable support with training, marketing and business development. The community market is sometimes overlooked by leased operators but in our experience this sector has real potential to deliver strong returns and profits. The key is to give people what they want from their local – an attractive and stylish comfortable environment, quality across the board, and a great place to socialise and have fun.” Star Pubs & Bars operations director David Pritchard added: “Blind Tiger Inns has a real understanding of its target customers and what they want. It is proof the Great British local continues to thrive when it adapts in line with changing demands.”
The Stable signs multi-year agreement with Feed It Back: The Stable, the 17-strong pizza, pie and cider brand that is 76% owned by Fuller’s, has signed a multi-year agreement with Feed It Back, the EPOS-linked guest feedback service, to provide dish-specific insight as well as support operational improvement. Feed It Back is the only guest feedback system that integrates in real time with Zonal’s Aztec EPOS system, among others, enabling feedback questions to be personalised to the guest’s visit. The result is a brief, engaging feedback experience for guests. The Stable operations director David Gough said: “Our previous approach to the collection of guest feedback has worked well but we were keen to find a solution that allowed us to access detailed insight for each dish and drink on our menu. Feed It Back has an integrated case management system for managing positive and negative feedback, which will enable us to see common causes of complaints, communicate with staff and guests, and take recovery actions. We also feel Feed It Back fits our culture and ethos, as we are both challenging convention and bringing something fresh and exciting to our customers. Feed It Back has been proven to increase staff motivation and provide high volumes of detailed insight. It also provides the best user experience for guests and staff alike, making it easy to use and adopt.” Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia added: “The Stable is challenging industry preconceptions by sourcing ingredients locally for each venue, serving British-inspired pizzas and leading the British craft cider movement. We are looking forward to helping The Stable win the hearts of customers in many other communities as it expands.”
Cider subscription service launches £100,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand trade division: Cider subscription service Crafty Nectar, which supplies ciders from independent producers to bars and restaurants, has launched a £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its trade division. The company, founded by Ed Calvert, is offering a 14.29% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Crafty Nectar Trade offers UK-wide distribution and products will be delivered directly from the cider-makers. We will aim to provide the UK’s largest list of craft ciders to our trade customers at a cheaper price than buying from national distributors, with no minimum orders. Crafty Nectar’s revenue is generated from the sale of monthly subscriptions, encouraging new customers to sign up with a welcome offer. On renewal, we aim to make roughly 30% margin on each box sold. Crafty Nectar Trade charges a commission on all sales. By delivering straight from producers we don’t need a warehouse and the stock doesn’t go out of date, which allows for a large product inventory. Therefore, we aim to provide cheaper prices than other wholesalers. We forecast £85,777 total revenue for year-ending November 2017, and £376,984 for year-ending November 2018. With investment, we aim to develop our trade portal, increase marketing spend, and hire additional staff to accelerate growth on the trade side. With the growth of craft cider in the UK and throughout the world, we envisage another international distributor seeking to purchase us to leverage our position in the market.”
BrewDog cuts rota costs, secures Oxford site: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has said its commercial performance has been boosted by the introduction of Rotaready rota management software across its estate. The software, used at the company’s brewery as well as all its UK bars, gives BrewDog access to instant online reporting tools for making commercial, people and service quality decisions. Rotaready presents forecasted-against-actual sales and wage figures, allows staff to clock in and out, produces timesheets for payroll, automates holiday accrual and time-off requests, and keeps staff informed of upcoming shifts. BrewDog retail operations director James Brown said: “We are already reaping benefits on staff engagement and service quality improvements, all of which drives our commercial performance.” Meanwhile, BrewDog has secured a site in Oxford. The company will open a bar in Cowley Road that will have a “multitude of beer taps and a full food menu”. BrewDog is advertising for staff, including a general manager, for the site on its LinkedIn page. Oxford was on the company’s hit list of regional cities it targeted in March, when it also increased its bar finder’s fee to a minimum of £5,000, with the fee rising to £10,000 if the site is large enough to house a brewpub.
Building in Birmingham let to Prezzo sells for £1.2m: A building in Birmingham let to Prezzo has been sold to a private investor for £1.2m. The property in Alcester Road in the suburb of Moseley was acquired from Birmingham Properties Group for £1,225,000, providing a net initial yield of 5%. The building was formerly occupied by Halfords Autocentre before being redeveloped by Birmingham Properties Group and let to Prezzo last year. Birmingham Properties Group was represented by Bruce Gillingham Pollard, while LSH advised the buyer. Ankur Chadha, associate director of LSH’s capital markets team in Birmingham, told The Business Desk: “Prezzo opened this restaurant last summer and has taken a 15-year lease, which provides a healthy income stream for my client. We are pleased to have advised our client in the off-market acquisition of such a good investment. With current interest rates still at their lowest, investors are buying real estate to find more attractive returns.” Birmingham Properties Group director John Southall added: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this deal, which reflects the strength of the investment market and also the desirability of Moseley.”
Marston’s acquires lease of historic Sidcup building from Whitbread: Marston’s has acquired the lease of a historic 18th century building in Sidcup, south east London, from Whitbread. Marston’s plans to convert Sidcup Place to a rotisserie pub and restaurant. Whitbread had traded the site for almost 20 years under its Brewers Fayre brand. The refurbishment is likely to take place in the autumn or early next year. Sidcup Place was used as a family home and school before being bought by Chislehurst and Sidcup District Council in 1934. The building is now owned by London Borough of Bexley. The site is one of seven Marston’s is believed to have acquired from Whitbread. Marston’s referred to the deal in its first-half results in May but declined to name the seller of the sites at the seller’s behest.
Danish pizza restaurant Mother to make UK debut, in Battersea on Sunday: Copenhagen-based pizza restaurant Mother is to make its UK debut at the new Battersea Power Station development in south London. The venue will open in Arches Lane at Circus West Village on Sunday (23 July) and be the company’s first restaurant outside Denmark. The 470 square metre venue will include an outdoor area and offer Neapolitan sourdough pizza made using sea water and baked in a wood-fired oven. Other Italian dishes will include carbonara and lasagne. A weekend buffet-style brunch menu, served from 11am to 3pm, will feature counters filled with a selection of pasta dishes, cold meat, cheese, homemade pastries, muffins, granola and bread. Chefs will also circle the restaurant serving fresh eggs straight from the pan. Owners Nick Pound and David Biffani launched Mother in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen in 2010, with a mission to “democratise good-quality food and wine and deliver it with Scandinavian simplicity”.
Dutton Cuisine acquires Windermere restaurant for £1.65m, third Lake District site: Dutton Cuisine has acquired Windermere restaurant The Lighthouse for £1.65m, the company’s third site in the Lake District. The three-floor restaurant is in the centre of Windermere village and opened in 2002. The purchase came with the support of a £1.4m funding package from NatWest. Dutton Cuisine founder Ian Dutton said: “The Lighthouse is an iconic feature of Windermere’s high street and acts as a focal point to the town. We’re pleased to be able to continue the legacy of such a historic building and to safeguard jobs. We will completely refurbish the building and install a state-of-the-art kitchen in addition to revamping the menu to offer fresh, homemade food featuring ingredients from the local area.” NatWest relationship manager Mark Ward added: “Ian Dutton is an excellent local entrepreneur, taking a true hands-on approach to running his business. We’re excited to see where (Dutton Cuisine) will go in the future.” Dutton Cuisine’s other restaurants are The Pig in Windermere and the Village Bar & Grill in Bowness.
Douglas Jack – Domino’s Pizza Poland offers investors ‘exposure to roll-out of tried and tested business model’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Domino’s Pizza Poland offers investors “exposure to the roll-out of a tried and tested business model in a thriving economy”. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on Domino’s Pizza Poland shares with a target price of 75p, Jack said: “Domino’s Pizza Poland’s system sales were up 50%. This was driven by a combination of increased store numbers (45 at first-half 2017 period end, circa 29 at the end of first-half 2016, up 55%) and 17% like-for-like sales growth. These figures are consistent with our forecasts, which we are not changing. Ten new stores opened so far this year. This compares with 12 stores opened in FY16 overall and gives us confidence the business is on track for our forecast of 20 new stores in FY17. Domino’s Pizza Poland is now represented in 18 towns and cities across the country, eight of which are new to DP Poland this year. This demonstrates demand for Domino’s Pizza from west to east. Domino’s Pizza Poland offers investors exposure to the roll-out of a tried and tested business model in a thriving economy. FY17E is developing as planned and the recent placing provided funds to underwrite growth in FY18E. We reiterate our ‘Buy’ rating and 75p target price.”
Las Iguanas strengthens Aardman relationship with limited toy collection: Las Iguanas, the South American-inspired restaurant brand owned by Casual Dining Group, has strengthened its relationship with animation company Aardman as it launches a limited edition collection of toys. There are six Iggy & Friends to collect and children will be able to choose one character each time they have a meal from the Iggy & Friends menu from Saturday (22 July). They are Iggy the Iguana, Tumble the Tapir, Banana the Llama, Mick the Jaguar, Mischief the Monkey and Santiago the Sloth. They were all named by guests in a recent competition and have now come to life as 3D collectibles, created by Aardman. Las Iguanas collaborated with Aardman, which is behind characters such as Wallace & Gromit and Shaun the Sheep, on the design of its new children’s menu in March. The menu features wacky tacos, crazy quesadillas, cod bites and crispy chicken, with desserts featuring juicy fresh fruit, wobbly raspberry jelly and Latin speciality churros, a doughnut made for dunking into chocolate dip.
Minnow opens at Clapham Common with kitchen headed by former Jason Atherton chef: Jake Boyce, former head chef at Jason Atherton’s Social Wine and Tapas, is heading the kitchen at Minnow, an all-day seasonal European restaurant that has opened at Clapham Common. The main menu by Boyce, who has also worked at Dean Street Town House and Pollen Street Social, features robata-grilled whole roast poussin, caramelised watermelon with blood orange and Campari sorbet, and baby octopus with curry-leaf paste. Brunch and cocktails are also on offer, while the venue features a walled garden. Street-side seating is accompanied by a “juice honesty box”, while wine is served in “pay as you drink” bottles. Cocktails have been inspired by local heroes and landmarks, alongside local beer on tap. Minnow is the brainchild of Chris Frichot, formerly of Caravan, Hawksmoor and Hoi Polloi, and fiancée Saba Tsegaye. Frichot said: “We decided to call ourselves Minnow because we know we’re going to be a small but fiercely independent fish in a big pond – it’s something we’re proud of.”
Greene King partners with premiership rugby club: Brewer and retailer Greene King has signed a deal to become the official ale partner of premiership rugby club Gloucester. The deal will run for seven seasons, from the beginning of the 2017/18 campaign, and will include pouring rights at the 11 bars in the club’s Kingsholm stadium, while The Shed, a stand famed in the rugby world for its atmosphere, will be renamed the “Greene King Shed”. Greene King on-trade sales director Joe Parks said: “Our investment in bars around Kingsholm will give fans more choice and an even better home-ground experience. We look forward to growing a great relationship with the club and its supporters.”