Hard Rock Cafe UK reports turnover and profit, plans new Piccadilly Circus site: Hard Rock Cafe UK has reported a dip in turnover and profit but plans to open a new London cafe, in Piccadilly Circus, next year. The company, which operates three sites – in London, Manchester and Glasgow – saw turnover fall to £21,776,000 for the year ending 25 December 2016 compared with £22,325,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit dropped to £3,461,000, compared with £4,779,000 the year before. Food and beverage sales were down to £13,764,000, compared with £14,059,000 the previous year, while merchandise revenue fell to £8,012,000 compared with £8,266,000 the year before. Restaurant average spend increased to £25.56 from £24.51, while retail average spend rose to £31.10 from £29.05. Restaurant transactions fell to 548,286 from 594,211 and retail transactions were down to 266,226 from 293,848, which the company said was mainly driven by a drop in the number of visitors following the Paris (November 2015) and Brussels (March 2016) terrorist attacks. The company declared and paid a dividend during the year to its immediate parent, Hard Rock International, of £14,000,000 on 29 April 2016 (£5.60 per share). The company stated: “The locations experienced improved trading following the Brexit vote and the weakening of the pound in the second half of the year. Average spend increased year-on-year, in particular increases were experienced in food and beverage (4%) and alcohol (2.5%). Management expects improved performance in both the retail and cafe segments in 2017 as a result of the weaker pound in relation to the euro/US dollar. The priority for Hard Rock Cafe in the UK is to continue investing in its core operations with few expansion opportunities being considered. Hard Rock Cafe UK has signed a letter of intent to open an additional location in London, at Piccadilly Circus, anticipated to open in May 2018. In addition, the company has signed a contract to license the Hard Rock name on a hotel property in central London. This project is not expected to open until June 2018.”
Eco-friendly Swedish coffee chain confirms UK debut: Eco-friendly Swedish coffee chain Wayne’s Coffee has confirmed its UK debut, with the brand’s master UK franchisor Adnan Karim opening a site in central London next month. Karim aims to introduce Brits to the Swedish “fika” style of coffee break as well as the brand’s organic, sustainable food and drink range. He said: “We are promoting smart choices. Like numerous cities, London truly embraces responsibly sourced, organic produce that not only delivers great taste but also benefits the environment. These are our values, which is why we are so excited about introducing Wayne’s Coffee to the English capital.” The company’s coffee is sourced from sustainable farms in Central America. As well as freshly made baked goods, the venue will offer cold-pressed juices and superfood drinks. Wayne’s Coffee has branches in Sweden, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Cyprus and Saudi Arabia.
Tim Hortons to open first UK shopping centre site next week, third in total: Tim Hortons, the Canadian cafe and bake shop owned by Restaurant Brands, will open its first UK shopping centre site next week, in Glasgow. SK Group, which is leading the UK roll-out of Tim Hortons, will launch the outlet at Silverburn Shopping Centre on Thursday, 16 November – its second venue in the city and third in the region so far. It follows the brand’s debut UK site, which opened in Glasgow’s Argyle Street in June, while its second outlet will launch in Cardiff on Tuesday (14 November). Further sites are planned in the coming months as Tim Hortons looks to build a minimum of 100 outlets in Britain. Kevin Hydes, chief finance and commercial officer of the Tim Hortons franchise in Great Britain, said: “We’re thrilled to announce we’re opening in Silverburn Shopping Centre. It’s a fantastic area and shares similar values with Tim Hortons – a strong sense of community and friendly culture.” Tim Hortons offers its signature coffee, espresso-based drinks, hot chocolate, French vanilla and classic frozen Iced Capp, as well as baked goods and breakfast and lunch offerings. It was founded in 1964 by its namesake, a professional ice hockey player who wanted to create a space where “everyone would feel at home”.
Authentic Alehouses to reopen Hull pub this week following £1m investment: Leeds-based Authentic Alehouses, led by Burning Night Group boss Allan Harper, is to reopen The Albert Hotel in Hull following a £1m refurbishment. The pub in Anlaby Road, which is popular with football and rugby fans, will reopen on Friday (10 November) featuring remodelled interiors and gardens. The Albert is one of the first venues to be taken on by pub redevelopment specialists Authentic Alehouses. The company has partnered with Phil and Mandy Shannon, who took over as licensees of The Albert 17 months ago. Harper said the venue was a perfect example of what the company planned to do to help revive the pub industry. He told the Hull Daily Mail: “The Albert has so many things going for it but it had been neglected before Phil and Mandy took over as managers – the regulars had been let down. We recognised that with investment and by adding value we could make it somewhere customers love again.” Last month, Authentic Alehouses extended its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdstacker having raised more than £3.5m. The company aims to raise £5m on the platform to refurbish sites in prime locations, offering investors a 6.5% per annum interest rate through a peer-to-peer loan. Backers are also given the potential to earn income tax-free by investing via Crowdstacker’s Innovative Finance ISA. Authentic Alehouses launched the campaign in July and has so far raised £3,883,820. The next closing date is Thursday, 23 November.
Parisian healthy fast food operation Cojean to open second UK site, in Mayfair: Cojean, the Parisian healthy fast food operation, is to open its second UK site this month, in Mayfair. The company will open the two-storey site in Berkeley Street on Monday, 27 November. It will have 34 covers on the ground floor and 24 on the lower ground. The decor will follow Cojean’s signature style of clean lines with cool blues and crisp whites, pops of colour and messaging on the walls of the ten Cojean values. The opening follows Cojean’s first UK site, in Ludgate Hill, London, which opened in 2015. Serving a range of salads, sandwiches, soup and breakfast items, Cojean will also offer a variety of fruit and vegetable mixed and press juices. Cojean, which has 26 sites in Paris, gives 10% of its profits to its charity, the Nourrir Aimer Foundation, which aims to fight poverty in some of the poorest communities in the world.
Former Caprice Holdings manager to launch British seafood concept in Parsons Green next month: Former Caprice Holdings manager Leon Costa is to launch a seafood concept in Parsons Green, south west London, next month. The John Dory will open in New Kings Road specialising in seafood, beer, wine and spirits sourced exclusively from around the UK. The 1,473 square foot building will be extensively refurbished to house a bar and restaurant and is the first in a series of venues planned by Costa’s company Gil To Fin Emporiums. Emma Cousins and Abi Thompson, of agents Cedar Dean Group, which acted for the previous tenant on the deal, said: “The location will be perfect for Leon’s exciting new concept as it is very residential, with a high footfall. We look forward to finding Gil To Fin Emporiums’ second site.”
Pergola team to launch Feast Bar & Kitchen food and drinks complex in White City this month: Incipio Group, the company behind street food pop-up Pergola, renowned for its rooftop venture at the former BBC Television Centre in White City, London, is returning to the space to launch a food and drinks complex. The company will open Feast Bar & Kitchen on Wednesday, 29 November after transforming the BBC’s former headquarters into a 5,000 square foot, 300-capacity restaurant hub with alfresco seating and a rotating line-up of street food vendors. The first batch of traders will include taco restaurant Del 74 and Hackney-based Morty & Bob’s, which offers salads and grilled cheese toasties, Hot Dinners reports. Incipio said future traders would offer a diverse range of food including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. Incipio Group is also behind street food festival Little Feast in Shepherd’s Bush and Feast Canteen food court, which will open at Hammersmith’s King’s Mall shopping centre next year. The company also operated alfresco dining spot Pergola Paddington Square earlier this year and will launch an 800-capacity venture at The Prince pub in West Brompton Crossing, west London, which will feature two bars, four restaurants and an “enclosed woodland Pergola garden” when it opens on Wednesday, 15 November.
Goodbody – JD Wetherspoon’s impressive first-quarter like-for-like and operating margin performance show strong momentum in business: Goodbody leisure analyst Gavin Kelleher has said JD Wetherspoon’s impressive like-for-like and operating margin performance in the first quarter reveals strong momentum in the business. Reiterating his ‘Buy’ recommendation on the shares, Kelleher said: “Like-for-like sales were +6.1% in the first quarter, 140 basis points above our +4.7% forecast. Total sales were +4.3%. The operating margin in the quarter came in at 8.6% (Goodbody: 7.4%), although this was aided by one-off items in the quarter. Management’s expectations for the full-year operating margin remain unchanged. The group has opened two pubs since the start of the financial year and has sold six. It expects to open ten to 15 pubs in the current financial year in line with previous guidance. On current trading, chairman Tim Martin said sales continue to be higher than expected since full-year results in September but costs, as indicated, are running significantly ahead of last year and the group expects trading for the full year to be in line with its expectations. Management is comfortable with net debt/Ebitda of 3.5 times in line with previous guidance. We continue to like the Wetherspoon investment case and this update reaffirms our positive view. Like-for-likes and operating margin clearly show strong momentum in the business. Although it is still early in the year at first glance, we expect to nudge up our FY18 Ebit forecast by circa 1% to 2%.”
Merlin Entertainments seeks to harness potential of adventure-based activities through Bear Grylls concept: Merlin Entertainments chief executive Nick Varney has said its £20m attraction The Bear Grylls Adventure, which will open at Birmingham NEC next year, will allow the company to harness the potential of adventure-based activities. The 8,000 square metre experience has been developed in partnership with the TV adventurer and will open as a permanent attraction. Visitors will be able to choose from activities such as indoor skydiving and the highest free-roam ropes in Europe, while they will also gain entry to Basecamp to learn basic adventure skills. Varney told Insider Media: “The market for adventure-based activities has incredible potential. Our research shows nine out of ten young adults are actively seeking adventure and challenge experiences, and this trend is set to continue.” Under the terms of the deal with Bear Grylls Ventures and Mantis Media, which holds the master licence for the attraction, the partnership grants Merlin Entertainments global exclusivity of the concept until 2026, with an extension on further roll-out. For use of the brand, Merlin will pay Bear Grylls Ventures and Mantis Media a revenue-based royalty. Last month, Merlin Entertainments also signed a multi-territory agreement with Entertainment One to open Peppa Pig-themed attractions and accommodation. The deal excludes the UK but gives Merlin exclusivity in all territories other than China. Attractions are set to open in two countries by the end of 2019.
London’s first dedicated prosecco bar to open: London’s first bar dedicated to prosecco is to open at the One Tower Bridge development in February. Kristina Issa will launch Prosecco House with 20 proseccos on the menu, including Prosecco DOCG, the premium prosecco from Veneto, where the drink originates from. Issa will work with five family-owned vineyards – Marchiori, Rivalta, Cirotto, TASI Bio and Andreola – to stock prosecco that is unavailable elsewhere in the capital. Guests will be able to enjoy prosecco by the glass or bottle, alongside a small selection of prosecco cocktails. The interior will feature burnt-orange velvet bar stools, hand-selected Italian marble, and antique bronze tables with mirrored surfaces. The focal point of the room will be a large wine fridge that will span the whole of one side. A small selection of cicchetti will also be served. Issa said: “I love prosecco but could never find a glass of the same quality in London compared with Italy. I wanted to create a bar that felt luxurious but was also open to everyone. There is a gap in the market for a high-quality bar serving the finest prosecco that is not in a hotel or cocktail bar.” Prosecco House will sit within Berkeley Homes’ One Tower Bridge, a development of apartments, five-star residents’ facilities, restaurants and commercial space, including The Bridge Theatre.
Vegan restaurant backed by Nick Knowles goes into voluntary liquidation: A vegan restaurant backed by television presenter Nick Knowles has gone into voluntary liquidation. Knowles, who hosts BBC1 shows such as DIY SOS, invested in Optimum Joy, which traded as O’Joy, last year. However the business, opened by Becky Porter in Shrewsbury in 2013, has ceased trading. Knowles said he hoped a buyer would be found for the restaurant in Wyle Cop. He told the Shropshire Star: “Running a restaurant is tough and put a huge strain on the owner and, while I’m not a shareholder and didn’t want a return on my investment and so don’t consider myself a creditor, I did my best to help it succeed. I think the owner should be congratulated on what she achieved and I remain hopeful a buyer will come forward.” A spokeswoman for O’Joy said: “The business established a loyal following and had grown over the period of trading. However, it ultimately faced funding issues followed by the withdrawal of support from one of its creditors. These issues have meant, with great regret, the director of the company had no choice other than to cease to trade. JPO Restructuring has been engaged to assist with the process of placing the company into creditors voluntary liquidation. The appointed liquidator will be seeking expressions of interest in the company assets to maximise realisations for creditors.”
Dalata identifies 20 cities for hotels as part of UK expansion plans: Irish hotel operator Dalata has identified 20 cities where it wants to open as it unveiled its UK expansion plans. At its capital markets day presentation, the company said it had a target to open circa 8,000 rooms over five to seven years. Dalata said it had a presence in seven of the cities identified – including Glasgow where it has signed a deal for its first Scottish hotel – and plans to have a circa 10% to 15% share of the three to four-star segment. In the future, the group believes there are good opportunities to open hotels in the Greater London area and adjacent to airports. It added: “There are currently circa 120,000 rooms in these cities, 57% of which are three or four-star. The current market is highly fragmented and has a large majority of branded operators operating on a franchised and managed model. The three and four-star hotel stock is also older and in many cases underinvested.” Goodbody leisure analyst Gavin Kelleher said: “This represents a good opportunity for Dalata to take market share with a good-quality, consistent offering, not unlike the one Premier Inn has carried out in the budget branded segment in the UK. Long-term, this UK growth opportunity looks attractive and, given management’s past experience establishing a UK estate, we believe there is a good chance this can be repeated.”
Molson Coors launches Beer Print sustainability strategy: Molson Coors has launched its new global sustainability strategy. The brewer’s “Beer Print” strategy sets goals to be achieved by 2025, including improving water efficiency by 22% across its breweries; achieving a 2.8hl water-to-beer ratio; halving absolute carbon emissions within its direct business and 20% across the value chain; and improving water-efficiency in its agricultural supply chain and malting operations by 10%. Molson Coors will also implement more programmes to reduce harmful alcohol use, offer nutritional labelling on all its products, ensure access to low and no-alcohol beers in each of its markets, promote diversity across its supply chain, and actively engage with female or minority-owned businesses as suppliers. A Molson Coors spokesperson said: “Championing the environment and promoting the responsible consumption of our beers has always been at the heart of our business’ DNA. These 2025 sustainability goals give us an even greater focus.”
Somerset beach-side holiday park with pub and cafe brought to market for £1.1m: Lazy Days Holiday Park in the village of Brean on the Somerset coast has been brought to market by agents Christie & Co off an asking price of £1,100,000. The one-acre site includes the Ocean Bar pub, which operates year round, trades on wet sales only and features a 150-capacity beer garden and a path leading to the beach. The Lazy Days Caravan Park offers 15 six-berth static caravans for let, which are operational for most of the year. The site also includes the Ocean Waves Cafe, independently operated under a one-year rolling lease. The current owner, who acquired Lazy Days in 1998, is looking to retire. Nicholas Calfe, director at Christie & Co’s Bristol office, said: “The Lazy Days Holiday Park presents a great opportunity for an investor or operator looking to expand their portfolio and purchase a profitable leisure business that not only has caravans and camping grounds but its own public house and beach cafe. There is potential to extend trading months of the holiday park as the pub is open all year round.”
Whitbread agrees deal with LoveWineOnTap.com to introduce offer to Cookhouse and Pub: Whitbread has agreed a deal with LoveWineOnTap.com, the first online portal dedicated to delivering quality wine in one-way kegs direct from winery to tap, to introduce the offer to its new concept Cookhouse and Pub. Three wines – Monvin Bianco and Cabernet Merlot from the Montelvini winery, and Vino Frizzante from San Martino – will be served in new Cookhouse and Pub sites in Oldbury in the West Midlands, Holystone in Tyneside, Ripley in Derbyshire and Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, in the coming months. Sarah Tinsley, head of strategy and innovation at Whitbread, said: “We are always looking for new industry innovations that will support our sites and deliver a good service for our guests. We hope they’ll enjoy the great taste of each wine on offer.”
Crussh partners with mental health charity: Crussh, the London-based healthy food and juice brand, will support mental health charity Mind by applying a 10p donation from sales of selected products. In addition, customers can round up their spend to the nearest 50p or £1 with the difference going to Mind. Featured products will display a Mind sticker with its support helpline available in Crussh stores. Crussh head of people Ben Tyrer said: “We share the belief no-one should face a mental health issue alone. That’s why we have made personal coaching sessions available to any Crussh employee and in December last year we invested in employee wellbeing platform LifeWorks, so everyone who works for us and their families have access to dedicated and qualified counselling.” Crussh has 30 outlets across the capital, including a concession at Sainsbury’s in Pimlico