Stonegate to convert Missoula site in Colchester into first Walkabout site since acquisition: Stonegate Pub Company is set to convert its Missoula site in Colchester town centre into what will be the first Walkabout site to open since the company acquired operator Intertain in December. The company is advertising for staff to work at the new venue, giving the address as the former site of live music and cocktail bar Missoula in Headgate, the Maldon Standard reports. Stonegate Pub Company acquired Intertain from private equity firm Better Capital for about £39.5m late last year. Better Capital’s 2012 Fund invested in the business in November 2014 and restructured and invested in the business, returning it to a profitable and cash generative group. Intertain underwent a CVA in early 2015 and surrendered unprofitable leases. Stonegate has said it plans to invest in many of the 30 Intertain sites during the next three years. At the time of the deal, Stonegate chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “Intertain’s strong association with sport in high-street locations is synonymous with Stonegate’s prowess in this market segment and further consolidates our position as the leading provider of sports-led entertainment in the high-street pub and bar market.”
Heavitree Brewery reports turnover increase: Heavitree Brewery has reported group turnover increased by £73,000 to £7,155,000 in the year to 31 October 2016. Group operating profit increased by £8,000 to £1,420,000. Adjusted operating profit before taxation of £1,420,000 was up 0.56% on last year. The Hole in the Wall and the Exeter Inn, both in Dawlish, were sold in the year under review realising a book profit of £28,000 and £171,000 respectively. The company also sold the Carpenters Arms in Islington, north London, realising a profit of £278,000, and one of the three new-build houses on the old Country House Inn site in Exeter, which realised a profit of £93,000. The Pen and Quill in Taunton and the Bell Inn in Cullompton are currently being marketed for sale. The company added: “A redevelopment of The Dolphin in St Marychurch and significant refurbishments of Marshals in Barnstaple and the Atmospheric Railway in Starcross were undertaken during the year, although the latter was not completed until soon after the year under review closed. These were the major capital works carried out during the year and all three houses are trading well after reopening. Many further smaller investments were carried out across different houses in upgrades to kitchens, lavatories or cellars, new patio areas and the normal annual programme of external decorations and changes to signage. The redevelopment of the Dartmoor Halfway in Bickington is well under way and it is hoped this exciting new pub will open in April.”
Casual Dining Group to close Cafe Rouge site at Liverpool ONE: Casual Dining Group is to close its Cafe Rouge site at the Liverpool ONE complex. The company said the restaurant, which overlooks Chavasse Park, would shut on Sunday (19 February), reports Your Move. It confirmed the news in an email sent out to its mailing list subscribers. The message read: “We wanted to let you know Cafe Rouge Liverpool ONE will be closing on Sunday, 19 February. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal guests and we look forward to welcoming you into one of our other bistros shortly.” The Cafe Rouge site underwent a Beatles-inspired revamp in 2015. Last year a number of restaurants at Liverpool ONE were forced to close temporarily following a problem with mice at the complex.
London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros passes 50% mark in £150,000 crowdfunding campaign for UK and overseas expansion: London-based frozen yogurt company Sloane Bros has passed the 50% mark in its £150,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube as it looks to open outlets in shopping centres across the UK as well as overseas franchises. The company, founded by Joe Chakra, is offering a 7.5% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 120 investors have pledged £76,060 with eight days remaining. Sloane Bros opened its first shop in Brick Lane, east London, in June 2015, followed by its second in Nottingham in August 2016 at the Intu Victoria shopping centre. Now it is raising funds for further expansion in the UK and overseas as well as launching its business-to-business packaged products venture. The pitch states: “The funds from this round will be used to secure new UK locations and to launch the business-to-business packaged products business, as well as set up the franchising infrastructure. We believe the company would represent an excellent acquisition opportunity by adding a product line extension to several strategic acquirers, which would be more likely to provide better returns to the company’s shareholders than a listing or private equity sale. However the company would, of course, entertain all approaches.” Earlier this year, Chakra told Propel the company was looking to build a 16-strong UK estate in the next five years.
Barrafina head chef and general manager to step down: Nieves Barragán Mohacho, who has been head chef of renowned tapas brand Barrafina since its debut site launched a decade ago, and the group’s general manager Josè Etura are leaving at the end of the month to pursue their own project. Mohacho and Etura’s positions will be filled by the three head chefs from the respective Barrafinas – Carlos Manuel Miranda Gomes, Gisela Fernandez Moles and Javier Duarte Campos, along with Aurelija Sovaite, the current general manager of Barrafina in Adelaide Street, Covent Garden. Sam Hart, who owns Barrafina group with brother Eddie as well as Quo Vadis in Soho and El Pastor in Borough Market, said in a statement: “Nieves and José have been an integral part of what has made Barrafina the success it is today, and it has been a true pleasure watching them both develop over several years to a point where they are ready to pursue new projects. We will miss them here enormously but I’m looking forward to following their next steps with excitement and pride.” Nieves told the Evening Standard: “It has been an incredible honour to be at the head of this special restaurant for all these years. We’ve achieved a crazy amount together and I’ll miss the teams and all the customers.” The other Barrafina sites are in Dean Street, Soho, and Drury Lane, Covent Garden. Barrafina has a Michelin star and the Adelaide Street site was named best restaurant in Britain at the National Restaurant Awards 2016. This year the venue was placed second in the list.
Papa John’s hires new marketing executives as it bids to build brand awareness across the UK: Papa John’s has appointed two new marketing executives as it bids to “build the brand from a customer point of view”. Carrie Williams will be responsible for digital and social media, while Fahmida Hussain will focus on increasing local marketing support for franchisees. Both will be based at Papa John’s European headquarters in Milton Keynes. Senior director for marketing David Scott, who joined Papa John’s last year, has been tasked with increasing the company’s marketing output. The former Carlsberg brand director and Greene King marketer said: “Our goal is to drive sales and build the Papa John’s brand from a consumer point of view. There is a high general level of awareness of Papa John’s across the nation. However, our task is to ensure customers also understand our ‘better ingredients, better pizza’ proposition. Highly targeted digital and social media promotion is just one avenue, and we are delighted to now have incremental resources dedicated to helping solve the marketing challenges of individual stores and come up with appropriate promotional strategies relevant to particular geographical locations. This is highly valuable for our franchisees and, so far, the tactics are yielding particularly positive results in terms of increasing sales. We have more campaigns scheduled for this year, from TV advertising to digital marketing in addition to some innovative and fun partnership promotions.” Papa John’s has more than 350 sites across the UK and over 5,000 stores in more than 40 international markets and territories.
Durham-based multi-site operator acquires £5.6m Wetherspoon pub in Newcastle: North east-based businessman Andrew Ward, who runs a number of ventures including five pubs in Durham, has acquired The Union Rooms in Newcastle from JD Wetherspoon. Ward did not disclose the purchase fee but last month Wetherspoon told Propel the price was more than £5.6m. The grade II-listed pub, a favourite haunt of students and city centre workers, will close at the end of this week for Ward and his team to carry out a refurbishment. Ward, who bought the pub through his newly launched company Union Rooms Newcastle Management, told Chronicle Live: “We want to build on the success it already has. It’s been bought in a cash purchase, bricks and mortar and as a going concern, lock stock and barrel. It’s a long-term investment and it’s a really successful investment. I feel very privileged to be able to buy it. We know what we’re doing. It’s definitely in good hands and we’ll keep it open. I’ve got five other successful pubs, all known for great ales and beers. We buy freeholds and I wanted to buy this because it’s an outstanding business in a fantastic location but it’s also got a thriving business and obviously a loyal customer base. We’ve got no plans for student accommodation – it’s only ever going to be a leisure operation.” Ward’s Durham pubs are The John Duck, The Angel, The Elm Tree, The New Inn and The John Hedley.
Butcombe Brewery rebrands beer range ready for new phase of growth: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewery, owned by Liberation Group, has revealed new branding for its entire range under the ethos “Truth In Every Taste”, as the company enters a new phase of growth. The company, which is behind brands such as Butcombe Original and Butcombe Gold, has developed a “striking new brand with flair and storytelling at its heart”. The new branding will be launched at Craft Beer Rising Festival in London on Thursday, 23 February. Butcombe said the rebrand reflected the company’s “strong heritage, commitment, and the bravery it took to start an independent brewery at a time when it was a real risk, way before craft brewing was a lifestyle statement”. Butcombe said the rebrand would help the company get back to the “core values at the heart of the brand and beer and the people who started it”. The brand is also designed to appeal to the growing number of female drinkers interested in craft ale. The new brand mark includes a contemporary Butcombe logo with a T-Rex, representing originality with a nod to the past. The company has also rebranded its point-of-sale material, while new-look bottles have been designed to maximise stand-out shelf presence to support Butcombe’s growing off-trade business. Butcombe is seeking to further establish its credentials beyond the south west. It is expanding its brewing operations and growing its pub estate to 100 outlets during the next three to five years. Butcombe marketing manager Emmy Webster said: “This marks a huge step forward for the Butcombe brand, it is as much a reflection of who we are as it is a statement of the development of the company, our intent for the future and our ambitious growth plans. This new direction aligns with our vision of becoming one of the nation’s most popular brewers.”
Shuffle Bar & Jukebox starts expansion with second site: Shuffle Bar & Jukebox is to start expansion after acquiring The Tap Room in Southampton on a new free-of-tie lease through agent Savills. The grade II-listed property, which was fully refurbished in 2014, features 1,260 square feet of ground-floor trading space with private accommodation above, as well as a courtyard. The pub has a 1am sale of alcohol licence on Fridays and Saturdays. Shuffle Bar & Jukebox, owned by husband-and-wife team Paul and Sonya Mason, was established in 2014 and runs the Shuffle Bar & Kitchen in Brighton’s York Road. The operator has plans to acquire a further site this year, followed by two more next year in university towns such as Guildford, Reading, Portsmouth, Winchester and Exeter as well as south London suburbs. Paul Mason said: “We had been searching for our second site for 18 months. We had previously identified Southampton and, in particular, the Bedford Place area as a great pitch on a well-known circuit so we were delighted when Savills told us about the site. We are bringing with us a unique type of drinking experience where our guests have full control of the music by accessing our bespoke digital jukebox via their mobile devices. They are able to choose from more than 2,000 tracks, spanning 50 years of music, not to mention a cocktail menu of over 120 drinks. Our Brighton guests absolutely love it and we can’t wait to get Southampton shuffling!”
Edinburgh-based social enterprise pub company unveils chef training programme: Edinburgh-based social enterprise pub company Beer for Good has unveiled a chef training programme that aims to give disadvantaged young people the necessary qualifications for a career in catering. The company said the programme was the next step in the creation of an academy for catering and hospitality staff, and it was already looking to expand the programme to other venues throughout the country. Applicants will come from referral partner organisations such as the Prince’s Trust, with the first trainees due to start at the end of this month. The course will take trainees three years to complete, after which they will possess an SVQ Level 5 in professional cookery. Head chef Matthias Sandler told Scotland Food and Drink: “We’re going to recruit young people who maybe haven’t done well at school or who have struggled to find work and give them the support and training for them to become fully trained chefs, and help turn their lives around.” Sandler revealed he had developed an “adventurous” new tapas menu that would enable his trainees to learn a broad range of cooking styles and ingredients, while still delivering high-quality restaurant food to customers. He said the menu had just gone live in the group’s flagship Harry’s Bar, which reopened last year as a social enterprise bar and restaurant. Sandler and Beer for Good owner Chris Thewlis said they would use their contacts in the hospitality sector to give trainees work experience in other cities and kitchens, such as venues in Aberdeen and St Andrews.
French brasserie concept Bon Vivant opens in Bloomsbury: French brasserie concept Bon Vivant has brought a slice of Parisian romance to Bloomsbury by launching on Valentine’s Day. The new restaurant has opened in Marchmont Street, around the corner from King’s Cross, offering croissants and coffee in the morning, light lunches, classic French dinners and, at the weekend, bottomless brunches. There are also tartines, charcuterie plates and magret de canard, alongside more modern dishes and a wine list focusing on French varieties. In true Parisian style, the venue also offers outside seating as well as comfortable velvet chairs indoors under the banner “taste the good times”.
Liverpool-based multi-site operators launch Italian deli in city centre: Liverpool-based brothers Paolo and Donato Cillo, who operate restaurant Il Forno and Paolo & Donato’s deli in the city, have opened a third site. A Tavola Italian deli has opened in the East Village in the city centre offering “authentic, healthy and organic Italian produce and wine”, the Liverpool Echo reports. The venue also offers a dine-in area and hosts masterclasses in how to create and enjoy Italian food and drink.
Starbucks trials ice cream in US stores: Starbucks is trialling an affogato menu at 100 Starbucks sites in California. Affogatos, an Italian treat, are created by pouring a shot of espresso on top of a scoop of ice cream. The company is also offering an upmarket Roastery Affogato menu at ten Reserve bar locations in Los Angeles, Boston and Washington DC, Yahoo Finance reports. The move follows Starbucks’ addition of an affogato to the menu at its Seattle Roastery in June. The offering became a top-five menu item. Variations on the classic affogato include a cold-brew ice cream float and the Shakerato Affogato, which is made with icy shaken espresso and finished with vanilla syrup and a mint sprig.
Liverpool venue District House to relaunch as high-end live music and events space following liquidation of previous operator: Liverpool venue District House is to relaunch as a high-end live music and events space following the liquidation of its previous operator. GHU-owned District House has a new team and a renewed focus after the liquidation last month of the hospitality management company that previously ran the venue. Karen Jones has been brought in as general manager, with Bold Management commissioned to deliver a programme of events. The venue, in Water Street, is due to relaunch on Saturday, 25 February. Jones told Insider Media: “For 2017 we have been busy putting in place a robust programme and a new team to ensure this stunning venue is operated to the highest standards and we are so excited about the line-up of events Bold Management is bringing to the venue. All our events will create the opportunity for our guests to dress up and experience fine dining while being entertained. We are bringing dinner cabaret right up to date for those of us who like to have a little more from our nights out. This is a high-end offer you will see in hotels in Ibiza, Dubai and Miami – and we think Liverpool will love it.”
M&B steakhouse brand Miller & Carter and Gourmet Burger Kitchen agree deals for sites at new Bedford leisure complex: Mitchells & Butlers’ steakhouse brand Miller & Carter and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have both agreed deals for sites at a new multimillion-pound leisure scheme in Bedford. The two brands will open at the Riverside North complex, which is being developed on the banks of the Great Ouse. They will join Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi as well as Wagamama, which have both secured sites. The complex will also have a seven-screen Vue cinema and 100-bedroom hotel. A Bedford Borough Council spokeswoman told Bedford On Sunday the development was on track for this month’s deadline, with the cinema due to be handed over imminently. She added outlets would be filling up over the next few months as planned.
Burger & Beyond and Other Side Fried collaborate for Soho street food residency: Street food vendors Burger & Beyond and Other Side Fried are to collaborate for a three-month residency in Soho. The partnership at Dirty Harry’s cocktail bar in Wardour Street will kick off on Friday, 24 February featuring gourmet burgers with unusual toppings. Burger & Beyond offers hand-pressed gourmet burgers, taking inspiration from “London to Miami, Vegas to Los Angeles and Berlin to New York City”, and has operated from a Citroen van at festivals and markets across the country. Its burgers include the Hot Mess (spicy pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and chipotle mayo) and The Cliff, which features a 90 day-aged patty. Other Side Fried operates sites at Pop Brixton and Camden Market, specialising in a fried chicken burger that is double-breaded in a secret recipe. Burgers are served in a potato bread bun with crispy sweet cure bacon and baby cucumber pickles. The ultimate combination at the residency will be Beyond The Other Side – a beef patty with fried chicken skin and smoked honey butter, pancetta bacon and tarragon mayo, Hot Dinners reports. Shared sides will include fried chicken strips with cocoa and chilli salt, smoked mash with chicken gravy and crispy onions, and Cajun waffle fries.
Turtle Bay lines up Colchester site: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay is lining up a site in Colchester, Essex. The company, which has 35 sites in the UK, is advertising for staff for a venue in the town. Turtle Bay has earmarked a site within Greytown House in High Street for the restaurant, reports Gazette News. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and opened its first site in Milton Keynes in 2010