Work starts on Birmingham’s first permanent street food centre: Work has started on Birmingham’s first permanent street food centre, which will be created out of shipping containers. Brum Yum Yum founder Duncan Stanley is behind the £150,000 scheme and hopes the first phase, which will open at weekends, will be ready at ground level before the end of May. He said the finished site, with a mezzanine level, would be ready to open in the autumn with space for up to ten traders. It would have capacity for 400 to 500 people and open every day from 10am until midnight. Modelling his vendors’ collective on “hawker centres” in Singapore, the move will see 16 containers joined together to create an indoor/outdoor street food centre on the Pershore Street side of the Arcadian. Overlooked by the Bullring shopping centre’s Edgbaston Street car park, the site is a former garage that had been derelict for years. Stanley told the Birmingham Mail: “I launched Brum Yum Yum in 2013 shortly after the Digbeth Dining Club had been founded in 2012. Since then, street food has really taken off in Birmingham. Now it’s time for the next phase – and I’m hoping to shake things up a bit! This project is going to be the real game changer. It will make everyone change their attitude to food and eating out.” Brum Yum Yum organises a monthly food festival in the square next to All Saint’s Church in the heart of Kings Heath.
Krispy Kreme subject to $1.35bn buyout: AB Holding Company, which has aggressively acquired coffee concepts in recent years, is to acquire Krispy Kreme Doughnuts for $1.35bn. JAB Beech, a JAB Holding subsidiary that owns Einstein Noah Restaurant Group, Caribou Coffee, Peet’s Coffee & Tea and Stumptown Roasters, has agreed to pay $21 per share in cash for the Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based Krispy Kreme, a 25% premium over the company’s closing price on 6 May. Krispy Kreme’s stock was last above $21 a share in February last year. The deal is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals and is expected to be closed in the third quarter. BDT Capital Partners, a private equity group based in Chicago that specialises in buyouts, is a minority investor in the Krispy Kreme deal. “We are thrilled to have such an iconic brand as Krispy Kreme joining the JAB portfolio,” Peter Harf, senior partner at JAB, said in a statement. “This is yet another example of our commitment to investing in extraordinary brands with significant growth prospects. We feel strongly that Krispy Kreme will benefit greatly from our long-term focus on support for management’s vision in building on the legacy of this exciting brand as an independent standalone entity.”
Luke Johnson – Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to free ourselves: Sector investor Luke Johnson has described the forthcoming Brexit vote as a once in a lifetime opportunity to “free ourselves” from the EU. In a City AM opinion piece, he wrote: “I love Europe. I love its food, culture and heritage. It is a continent I love to visit and do business with. But Europe is being torn apart by the European Union. Its two big political projects are in crisis. The euro has left national governments with huge debts and youth unemployment close to 50%, while the passport-free Schengen area has allowed criminals to travel across Europe unchallenged and unchecked. Not only has the EU shown itself to be unable to cope with the challenges of the 21st century, but David Cameron’s renegotiation has shown the EU to be incapable of reform. We shouldn’t be giving away power and money to a dysfunctional bureaucracy that is in decline. This referendum presents us with a once in a generation opportunity to free ourselves from the EU. It is our chance to take back control of our own affairs and for the people we elect to make decisions that benefit our families, communities and businesses, large and small. As a businessman, I know the importance of keeping on top of costs. I’ve seen countless examples of promising start-ups and entrepreneurs who have fallen by the wayside simply because the margin between profit and loss becomes unsustainable.”
Boston Tea Party reports Ebitda up 17% to £1.1m: Cafe group Boston Tea Party has reported overall sales growth across the estate was up 30% in the year to 21 October 2015 with the like-for-like performance (same stores open across this year and prior year) up 15%. Group Ebitda (including all pre-opening and central costs) was £1.1m increasing 17% versus the prior year. Sam Roberts, managing director of Boston Tea Party, said: “Our innovative breakfast offering continues to thrive with customers appreciating the high quality ingredients – free range bacon, artisan coffee and organic milk. We have also continued to strengthen our position on sustainability which has been recognised through awards over recent years. It’s important to us as we grow that we do it in the right way, keeping our soul and remaining true to our ethics.” Since the year end two further cafes have opened, located in Alfred Street, Bath and in the historic centre of Stratford-upon-Avon which takes the current estate total to 18 with a third opening underway. The company reports its openings pipeline for next year is also filling up.
Intertain to launch American-style pool hall concept above Bournemouth Walkabout: Walkabout operator Intertain is to launch an American-style pool hall concept above its site in Bournemouth. The company is investing £250,000 to open Felson’s Stick Hall and Sports Lounge on the first floor of the Old Christchurch Road premises, creating six jobs. Chief executive John Leslie told Propel the company was looking to diversify its offer and the concept was a “good way to make use of an unused area”. He said if it proved to be a success, the concept could be rolled out to other sites with similar space. The pool hall will feature six tables, a bar, and seating area and be linked to the outside terrace. It will have a separate entrance to Walkabout. Leslie said: “It’s something we have done specifically for that site because we have the space. We’ll do this one and see how it goes but it’s something that could be rolled out elsewhere.” Felson’s Stick Hall and Sports Lounge is due to open at the end of May at the same time as Intertain completes a £450,000 revamp of the Walkabout premises. It will be “totally transformed both outside and inside” with new VIP areas, bookable booths and private areas for parties, meals, club nights and live music. The venue will have a new sound and lighting system and the refurbishment will create an additional ten jobs.
UBS downgrades The Restaurant Group shares – ‘no clear explanation for current trading weakness’: Leisure analysts UBS have downgraded The Restaurant Group to ‘Neutral’ from ‘Buy’ and slashed the price target to 305p from 780p saying near-term uncertainty outweighs the long-term potential. The broker said The Restaurant Group’s profit warning at the end of April highlighted a deteriorating like-for-like sales trend, with a 2.7% drop for the 17 weeks to 24 April indicating a like-for-like decline of 4.4% for the past seven weeks. UBS stated: “Management (do not) appear yet to have a clear explanation for the weakness, let alone a solution. As a result, we are cautious on the near term potential for a like-for-like turnaround. Whilst there is some valuation support at these levels, we downgrade from ‘Buy’ to ‘Neutral’ to reflect the lack of visibility, pending details of the strategic review.” UBS said the drop in like-for-like growth looks to be the result of a tougher consumer backdrop, increased competition driven by strong supply growth and brand positioning, adding: “The group has launched a strategic review of the business, however, we don’t expect any detail until August, and see limited scope for solutions that will meaningfully change the underlying trends in 2016.” The Swiss bank now expects 2016 pre-tax profit of £74.9m versus guidance of £74m to £80m.
Amber Taverns set to open ninth Hogarths site in Hereford: Wet-led managed pub operator Amber Taverns is set to open its ninth Hogarths gin palace in Hereford in July. The company is converting the former BBQs & Brews site, which closed in October, in Commercial Road into the new venue that will sell more than 100 gins. Operations director Gary Roberts told the Hereford Times: “We are investing £750,000 to refurbish the former BBQs & Brews to create a beautiful adaptation of a Victorian gin palace – stained glass windows, cut glass mirrors and stunning chandeliers. We will also have a wide variety of local ciders to acknowledge the craft brewers and heritage of cider production in Herefordshire. We will also have a full Sky and BT sports package to show a multitude of live sports on the dozen or so televisions dotted around the pub – but that doesn’t make us a sports bar.” There will also be a wide range of draught beers, cask ales and cocktails. Amber Taverns opened its first Hogarths in Bolton in October 2014 and now has sites in Ilkeston, Leicester, Newport, Preston, South Shields, Swansea and Wakefield.
Newspaper publisher to open cartoon-themed restaurant in Dundee city centre: Newspaper publisher DC Thomson is set to launch a cartoon-themed restaurant in Dundee city centre. Maw Broon’s Kitchen will be based on The Broons cartoon in DC Thomson’s Sunday Post newspaper and follows the launch of a best-selling cookbook in 2007 and a range of branded food and drink products in 2013. DC Thomson said the venue, which will open next year, aims to capture the essence of The Broons family, which has appeared in the Sunday Post since 1936, by merging “old-fashioned notions of hospitality and comfort with good honest food”. The kitchen will offer Scottish staples using locally sourced produce, from mince ‘n’ tatties to “efternoon tea”, alongside lighter bites and Daphne’s deli for takeaway meals. Martin Lindsay, licensing manager for consumer products at DC Thomson, told tele.co.uk: “This is a vision of bringing to life a treasured brand that is built on tradition and old-fashioned values. We see Dundee as being the first step on a Maw Broon’s Kitchen roll-out across Scotland within five years.” In addition to the food offering, DC Thomson plans to host regular events and activities at the Dundee venue, such as children’s baking workshops, storytelling and live entertainment.
White Brasserie Company to open tenth pub: The White Brasserie Company, part of Brasserie Bar Co, is set to open its tenth pub, The Victoria in Oxshott on Tuesday, 10 May, as part of The White Brasserie Company’s plan to roll-out 20 pubs during the next three years. Designed by PNW Studio, restoration of the 1,160 square foot space has enhanced its original features, including the existing fireplaces. The removal of awnings has transformed the exterior and refreshed window panes in the original bay windows fill the space with natural light. The open bar seats 32, alongside the 64-cover brasserie, and an expansive landscaped terraced garden at the rear of the building for outdoor dining. Brasserie Bar Co chief executive Mark Derry said: “We are delighted to have added the asset of The Victoria to our portfolio of pubs, extending our list of properties in Surrey to five. The Victoria is an established institution at the heart of the Oxshott community, and we look forward to welcoming guests to enjoy quality food and drink in a relaxing and welcoming environment.”
Hawksmoor co-founder-backed Craved hits £120,000 crowdfunding target: Craved, an e-commercial business delivering British craft food and drink from producers across the country and backed by Hawksmoor co-founder Huw Gott, has hit its £120,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. The company, founded by David Voxlin, is offering a 13.04% equity stake in return for the investment as it seeks to expand. So far, 188 investors have pledged £126,280 and it is now “overfunding” with one day remaining. The largest investment to date is £10,000. The majority of the funds will be used as working capital and to extend the product range. The pitch states: “We are aiming to build a Fortnum & Mason for the 21st century where independent, local, and craft are core values to our company, and we believe our food, drink and gifts not only taste amazing but support the local, independent producers as well. Craved London aims to be the only retailer in the UK focusing solely on British craft food and drinks, and we’re creating a new type of food brand that is more in tune with consumer expectations and macro trends in food retail.” The company forecasts sales of £315,665 at the end of this year, growing to £1,010,907 in 2017 and £2,298,588 in 2018. It expects to make a pre-tax loss of £71,623 this year, which will turn into a profit of £110,760 in 2017 and nearly quadruple to £409,122 the following year.
All-day market food concept Farmer J launches in Leadenhall: All-day market food concept Farmer J has opened in Leadenhall Street, London, close to The Gherkin. Farmer J offers City workers “wholesome, balanced, but above all tasty fast food”, with seasonal ingredients sourced from high-welfare farms based in the UK wherever possible. The 40-cover venue offers “fieldtrays”, which consist of a main course, grains or leaves, two sides (warm or cold), and one of three sauces. Mains include Papa J’s turkey meatballs cooked in tomato, with coconut milk, curry and lemongrass sauce, and charred tofu steak coated in white miso with aubergine and ginger dressing. Grains or leaves are baby spinach, brown rice and freekeh (green wheat), while sides include “roasted roots” (beets, red onion, squash and thyme) and roasted cauliflower and chickpeas in olive oil, lemon juice and parsley. The restaurant also serves paleo granola pots, “protein kick” salads, soups and sandwiches, which are also available in take-out boxes. The breakfast menu includes porridge, bagels, and baked shakshuka (an Israeli twist on poached eggs), alongside sweet snacks, cold-pressed juices and smoothies. Farmer J founder Jonathan Recanati said: “At Farmer J, we’ll serve up food that’s good for you, is ready when you are, doesn’t leave you hungry (and) doesn’t require a mortgage.” Farmer J is open from 7.30am, Monday to Friday.
UK’s biggest nightclub group toasts Hudson Sandler as new corporate agency: Nightclub operator Deltic Group has hired Hudson Sandler for a new corporate brief following a competitive pitch, PR Week has reported. It has been hired to raise Deltic’s profile across national, corporate and broadcast media, including promoting its new Bar & Beyond concept. Hudson Sandler will design and implement a corporate communications programme targeted at business media and trade titles, and promote the company to potential employees. Hudson Sandler will also work alongside Deltic’s existing agency Limegreen Communications to publicise new openings. Russell Margerrison, chief financial officer of Deltic Group, said: “We believe this partnership will enable us to take our brand visibility to the next level, both in traditional media and digital channels.” Nick Lyon, of Hudson Sandler, added: “The late-night economy is reinventing itself and we are looking forward to helping Deltic Group communicate its growth and innovation story to a broader audience.”
Steakout Meat House cancels crowdfunding campaign after failing to hit target: London-based Steakout Meat House has cancelled its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube after falling well short of its £400,000 target. This comes despite the eight-strong company, launched in 2008 by Kaysor Ali, raising its equity stake to 11.76% in return for the investment instead of the original 9.09%. At the time, the company stated: “In light of ongoing discussions with key investors, Steakout has decided to increase the equity offering by 29%. The pre-money valuation is now £3m.” On the last day of the crowdfund on Sunday, 8 May, just £130,440 had been raised, an increase of only £7,400 in two weeks. The largest investment was £45,000. The pitch stated: “The proceeds from this fund-raising will help greatly to speed up our expansion. Aside from the upgrade to our meat-cutting facility, we plan to invest into a new flagship store in Stratford that we’ve managed to secure. In addition, we want to invest to build up our management team in the areas of franchising and operations to enable rapid growth.”
Robinsons launches Buying Club to save licensees ‘thousands’ on utility bills: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has partnered with utilities management company UB Services to help its licensees “save thousands of pounds off the rising costs of annual utility bills”. Robinsons has committed to buying gas and electric in bulk for a fixed three-year period and said it would pass savings on to its tenants at no profit. The company said more than a fifth of its estate signed up to the “Buying Club” on its launch, with most members already seeing a 30% annual reduction in their gas bill. Robinsons Brewery director of retail operations David Harrison said: “The cost of utilities is often overlooked by the average pub-goer. A licensee can spend up to £10,000 per year depending on the size of their pub. We wanted to take some of the pressure off them and offer a solution that can save them thousands of pounds per year. By partnering with UB Services, we have been able to pass all discounts over to our licensees at no profit for Robinsons. We hope to help the rest of our estate save money as we continue to roll-out the scheme.”
Anglian Country Inns achieves three-star sustainability rating: All six sites owned by Anglian Country Inns group (ACI) have been awarded a three-star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) in recognition of its commitment to serve customers food that’s “good in every way, delicious, ethical and sustainable”. SRA conducted a wide-ranging assessment of all six ACI establishments before awarding the rating. The Food Made Good rating covers all aspects of a business and everything that goes into making the food good, focusing on three main areas, sourcing, environment and society. This recognition means the ACI group of six restaurants joins the likes of Raymond Blanc’s Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage in a rapidly growing group of restaurants sporting Food Made Good stars in response to consumers’ increasing appetite for a dining experience that fits the sustainability bill and doesn’t cost the earth. The ACI group especially impressed the Food Made Good assessors by using small-scale, super-local British suppliers, British free-range chicken, beef, lamb and eggs, organic fruit and vegetables, and sustainable, seasonal seafood. ACI scored 100% in the “treating people fairly” section of the Food Made Good rating – providing apprenticeships, extensive training, as well as gym memberships and cycle to work schemes. ACI group operations director Harry Kodagoda said: “To get this rating is fantastic news for ACI and an amazing achievement by our hard-working teams at all six establishments. We simply believe and are passionate about sustainability and really like to do things properly. ACI has always sourced locally, which is where this rating started. We are over the moon and very proud of our achievement.”
Kashmiri restaurant concept to open first UK site, in Putney: A Singapore-based Kashmiri restaurant concept is opening its first UK site – in Putney, south west London – at the end of the month. Rohit and Shweta Razdan are launching Kashmir – A Culinary Paradise in Lacy Road. The brand began as a catering business in India before being turned into a restaurant in New Delhi in 1999 and then moving to Singapore in 2007. The new restaurant will have 55 covers and also offer a takeaway service. The menu will feature a variety of spicy and mild dishes including Kabargah – ribs of lamb boiled in milk with Kashmiri spices and deep-fried in ghee (clarified butter). Rohit Razdan told Putney SW15: “We are here to make our customers come back for more, so we ensure a courteous service to win their hearts along with their palates. Our prices are quite moderate and portions are filling. Both the locals and the tourists will be charmed by the truly authentic spread of Kashmiri cuisine that is hard to find.”
Former convict launches Milk Sheikh concept in London to inspire young people: A former convict has launched new concept Milk Sheikh in Harlesden, north London, to inspire young people. Prince Wasim, who opened the venue in Tavistock Road that offers waffles, crepes, desserts and milkshakes, said time spent in prison for driving offences forced him to reassess his life and, after reading about entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and Lord Alan Sugar, he decided to launch his own business as an inspiration to others. Wasim told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “I was a young car fanatic, I did things like get my mummy’s car and take it without her knowing. I wanted to be cool; I wanted girls to see me in a car. I don’t want the younger generation to think any of that’s cool. What’s cool is opening up something for your community. Harlesden doesn’t have anything like this. People go to Creams in Wembley, there’s nowhere else round here. I’m not a chef, but this is easy. A lot of schoolchildren come in and I get into conversation with them. It’s a place for them to go. They see rappers and think all that sort of stuff is glamorous and cool. I tell them no, owning a business is cool.”
New speciality coffee cafe gets go-ahead to open in Nottingham: A new speciality coffee cafe has been given the go-ahead to open in Nottingham. The Speciality Coffee Shop has had its application to launch the outlet in Friar Lane approved by the city council, reports Insider Media. The venue will serve a range of coffees and teas, as well as breakfast and lunch. It will also offer coffee-cupping sessions and an afternoon book club. A business review filed with the application said: “We believe that Nottingham has a huge potential to grow in this sector as it is a booming university city and has a great historical background which attracts thousands of tourists a year.”
JW Lees hires first ‘director of people’: North west brewer and retailer JW Lees has hired Nik Waring as its first “director of people”. Waring joins JW Lees on Wednesday, 1 June and will sit on the company’s management board, heading up people development and human resources. William Lees-Jones, managing director of JW Lees, said: “People have always been at the heart of JW Lees and our ‘Be Yourself’ culture is all about helping every colleague working at JW Lees fulfil their true potential. We are looking forward to Nik joining us and bringing a new dimension to our board.” Waring joins JW Lees from webuyanycar.com after starting her career at Asda before moving on to Heinz.
Antic renames newly acquired JD Wetherspoon London pub as Shelverdine Goathouse: Antic, the Downing-backed London pub operator led by Antony Thomas, has renamed The William Stanley in South Norwood, which it acquired from JD Wetherspoon in March, the Shelverdine Goathouse. The pub in High Street closed on 20 March following the acquisition, with a reopening date yet to be announced. Antic, which operates more than 40 pubs around London, has yet to reveal the inspiration behind the name, but South Norwood historian John Hickman told the Croydon Advertiser someone “must have done their homework” as the name is an “important nod” to the area’s history. Hickman said in the 18th century a farmer ran a goat and deer house on nearby land, which was once called Shelverdine. The Goat House Pub sat near Goat House Bridge at the site but was demolished more than a decade ago. Two stone goat heads hold up a wooden bench where the pub used to be. William Stanley was a South Norwood inventor and philanthropist.
D&D London hires head chef for Alexander & Björck: D&D London has hired Chris Johns as head chef of boutique events creation company Alexander & Björck. He joins the company most recently from the position of sous chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze, which has three AA Rosettes. Prior to that, Johns was head chef of Soho wine bar Antidote, where he worked closely with Michelin-starred chef consultant Mikael Jonsson, of Hedone. Alexander & Björck managing director Lena Björck said: “I am very excited to welcome Chris into our ‘family’. With his broad experience, he is well-positioned to take Alexander & Björck to the next level and establish it as a leading events company in the UK.”
Whitbread to open £6.9m Premier Inn in Brixton next month: Whitbread-owned Premier Inn will open a £6.9m hotel in Brixton, south London, next month. The company is converting the former Woolworths site in Coldharbour Lane into an 89-bedroom hotel, creating 38 jobs. The hotel, which is due to open on Saturday, 18 June, will also feature an “informal” Thyme restaurant with breakfast and dinner menus. Lucy Walpole, operations manager for the hotel, told the Brixton Buzz: “We are really excited to be welcoming guests to the buzz of Brixton and this new hotel will give them the best experience possible during their stay.” Last month, Whitbread announced its full-year results, showing Premier Inn sales increased 12% on the previous year.
Peel Hunt – Greggs is a ‘solid bake’: Peel Hunt leisure analyst Ali Naqvi has said Greggs is a “solid bake”. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 1,320p following the company’s first quarter trading update, Naqvi said: “Quarter one like-for-likes of +3.7% should be taken in the context of the tough comparatives (+6.0% in quarter one 2015) and weaker retail footfall in March/April, which saw a circa 2% to 3% decline in footfall year-on-year. Current trading at the FY2015 results update was +4.2%, suggesting circa 3% like-for-like sales growth throughout March/April. Improving like-for-likes were driven by breakfast and coffee, which continue to see double-digit growth, and the improved menu ranges helped drive a balanced mix from average transaction value and volume. Greggs opened 20 corporate stores, closed 21 sites and opened 23 franchised units in quarter one. The strong growth in franchisee sites is a positive surprise as we expected this to slow down in FY2016, but it underpins the demand of the brand by channel partners and should improve cash conversion in the long term. The group completed 55 refits in quarter one, of the 200 planned for FY2016. These drive incremental store sales and we believe these could add circa 1% in total to full-year group like-for-like sales. The investment in the supply chain is progressing well, with the smallest bakery site in Sleaford being closed and the closure of the Twickenham bakery expected in quarter four 2016 and Edinburgh in quarter two 2017. The input cost environment continues to be benign as the group carries out its investment plan and we believe that if like-for-like sales momentum continues more than 2% throughout the year, we could see margin improvement in the year. We note that a number of companies are looking closely at food-on-the-go and how they can play into the growing market. Greggs has transformed its estate over the last few years to become a leading food-on-the-go retailer and we believe new entrants will continue to grow the market and Greggs will gain share as it continues to refresh the proposition and adapt to changing consumer tastes. The shares trade on 18 times FY2016 price-earnings ratio, falling to 17 times FY2017; 8.9 times FY2016 EV/Ebitda falling to 8.2 times FY2017. The short-term rating does not reflect the long-term potential in Greggs. The transformation in the supply chain and store operations should deliver significant upside as the group utilises its systems and manages pricing and promotions centrally to drive like-for-like sales and average transaction value growth.”
Casual Dining Group launches second Las Iguanas site in Newcastle following La Tasca conversion: Casual Dining Group has opened its second Las Iguanas site in Newcastle after converting one of its La Tasca restaurants. The company has rebranded the Quayside site, with all 44 staff remaining at the venue. The other Las Iguanas restaurant in the city is in Grey Street. Casual Dining Group also recently converted its La Tasca site in York into a Las Iguanas. In March, Casual Dining Group reported it was on track to achieve run-rate Ebitda of £50m in its current financial year to May 2016. The company is also planning major expansion into Ireland, with chief executive Steve Richards telling Propel it is looking to open as many as 20 sites in the next two years. Casual Dining Group acquired the Las Iguanas and La Tasca businesses last year, adding a total of 82 restaurants to the group, for a total consideration of £108m.
Punch pub in Sheffield set for Chinese restaurant conversion following £195,000 sale: Agent Fleurets has sold vacant pub the Turf Tavern in Handsworth, Sheffield, on behalf of Punch off a guide price of £195,000. The buyer, a local property investor who has not been named, plans to convert the venue into a Chinese restaurant following an extensive refurbishment programme. The property consists of a bar and lounge, a beer terrace and garden, a function room, and a three-bedroom flat. No launch date has been announced for the Chinese restaurant. Nick Thomas, of Fleurets’ Leeds office, said: “The Turf Tavern attracted a strong level of interest, drawn largely from private property developers and speculators who were attracted by both the size and dimensions of the property.”