Carluccio’s overhauls image after research finds consumers confused by what it stands for: Carluccio’s has overhauled its image and introduced new branding after research revealed its “honestly Italian” positioning wasn’t resonating with consumers, who were unsure what the brand stood for, The Drum has reported. It said: “Carluccio’s had previously focused its branding on its authentic Italian dishes, however two research studies commissioned by the restaurant chain showed that the brand was perceived as old-fashioned and bland. Working with creative consultancy Frontroom London, the brand, which was founded by Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, wanted to introduce a brighter and more energetic style that would be future-facing both creatively and in the kitchen. Analysis conducted by the agency found millennial audiences in particular ‘reject shallow, dining distractions’. Instead, they choose brands with a philosophy that connects with their own lives. In response, Frontroom London has flipped the thinking to focus not on what Carluccio’s does but on why. Enter, ‘Savour the little things’, Carluccio’s new positioning that links the little things in lifelike sitting down to a meal, with the brand’s Italian roots, where the dining table is a big focus. The brand’s new logo uses a brighter version of its signature blue, alongside a name change to ‘Carluccio’s Deli & Dining’ to highlight it’s deli offering. The new tone of voice plays on the connections and meaningful conversations between friends and family that happen whilst sharing food. Graphic patterns inspired by traditional Italian tiles have been introduced and appear across the new menus, while new illustrations take inspiration from classic Italian posters and use flat clean colours. Playful copy adds personality using insights on life and food.”


Sharp’s Brewery reports turnover passes £40m: Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported turnover has passed the £40m mark, boosted by continued investment into its Cornwall facility. Production is expected to hit 471,000 hectolitres in 2016, representing more than 82 million pints and an increase of 14% on 2015. This has been enabled by a £15m investment by Molson Coors to date, which has secured the future of the north Cornwall site. According to accounts for Sharp’s Brewery, turnover grew to £40.9m in the year ending 31 December 2015, up from £37.9m in 2014. Pre-tax profit remained at £1.5m. Growth was boosted by continued strong customer demand and increased distribution with the brewery’s beers now available in more than 7,000 pubs UK-wide. During the year, the company invested a further £2.5m in its brewery in Rock. This increased production with a new cask packaging line that will enable it to keep up with demand for Doom Bar. It was also boosted by the success of its “There’s an Adventure Brewing” consumer campaign in which drinkers could win one of three adventures covering food, with Michelin-starred chef Nathan Outlaw; surfing, with big wave star Andrew Cotton; and rugby, with former England captain Phil Vickery. Sharp’s Brewery senior brand manager James Nicholls told Insider Media: “It’s a really exciting time for Sharp’s. We have recently commenced a programme that will look to further increase capacity at the brewery in Rock, introduce new jobs and to develop the skills of our existing team to ensure we are able to continue to meet the highest industry standards and demand for our fantastic beers.” During 2016, Sharp’s workforce has grown to 144, up from 135 in 2015, with the majority of these production staff based at the Rock brewery. It has also partnered with Cornwall College to create a new engineering apprenticeship programme.


Trust Inns sees profit rise: Trust Inns, the north west-based tenanted pub company, has reported a rise in profit. The company saw pre-tax profits of £1.8m for the year ending 31 March 2016, an increase from £1.3m the year before. Turnover fell by 2% to £46.5m over the same period. Trust Inns’ average headcount also increased to 113 staff in 2015/16, compared with 100 in the prior year. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors said: “Underlying trading performance during the year was satisfactory whilst market conditions have continued to be challenging. The company has a sound financial base and sufficient financial resources to meet the requirements of the business.” Founded in 1995, Trust Inns now owns 400 pubs across the UK. Trust Inns’ ultimate controlling party is leisure and property tycoon Trevor Hemmings, who acquired Championship football club Preston North End in 2010.


SSP Group consolidates position in Thailand market: SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, has consolidated its position in the Thai market with a number of new contract wins. At Phuket International Airport, SSP has been awarded a four-year contract to operate eight concepts in the new international Terminal 2. Valued at about £33m, the new deal will make SSP the leading concessionaire at the airport. Landside, SSP will run all food and beverage operations on the mezzanine floor. Its offer will include Burger King, Bill Bentley Pub, Ajisen Ramen, Thai Express, Airport Kopitiam, Dairy Queen and The Coffee Club. Airside, passengers will be able to choose from Burger King and Bill Bentley Pub. Chris Rayner, chief executive at SSP Asia Pacific, said: “We have been running food and beverage concessions in Thai airports, where we are the clear market leader, since 1995 in co-operation with our Thai partner Minor Food Group. SSP Thailand’s strong track record in delivering great brands, great customer service and great sales all contributed to us being awarded the contracts in Phuket, and we are delighted to be building on our success in this strategically important region.” Separately, at Suvarnabhumi Airport, SSP has extended all its existing contracts by four years. It has also extended its contracts at Chiang Mai International Airport by two years until July 2018.


Pepe’s Piri Piri Grill opens restaurant in £14m Bolton redevelopment, 53rd UK site: Flame-grilled chicken chain Pepe’s Piri Piri Grill has opened its latest restaurant, this time in the £14m Market Place Shopping Centre redevelopment in Bolton. The 50-cover venue, the company’s 53rd UK site, offers chicken dishes, homemade burgers and pasta and has opened in the refurbished Victorian vaults. Nikki Wilson-Cook, Market Place centre manager, told The Bolton News: “The restaurant will provide customers with a casual alternative for dining with friends and family to complement our existing line-up. Our aim is to provide the people of Bolton with the most varied dining offer we can, and this recent addition certainly allows us to achieve this objective.” The £14m vaults scheme is part of a wider £19m redevelopment that will also see a nine-screen cinema created. Pepe’s joins Nando’s and Prezzo at the scheme, with Gourmet Burger Kitchen opening its site this week. Pepe’s Piri Piri Grill launched in London in 2004.


Casual Dining Group to close La Vina in Hale: Casual Dining Group is closing its La Vina site in Hale, Cheshire, at the end of this month. It’s understood of the ten staff that currently work there, seven will be relocating to other restaurants within the Casual Dining Group portfolio, while three have opted to leave the company. A spokesperson said: “From time to time, we review our portfolio of restaurants and after careful consideration, have identified this site as one that no longer fits in with our future plans for the brand. We are sorry for any upset caused by this decision and are mindful of the impact on our people. Thankfully, the majority of staff have been successfully relocated to our other restaurants in the area.” La Vina’s closure follows closely on the heels of Hale Grill, which abruptly shut last month with Côte set to open on the Ashley Road site early next year. The brand’s last day of trading will be Sunday (30 October). It’s not yet been confirmed what will replace it, but local reports suggest the site has already been acquired by an Indian restaurant chain.


Fuller’s opens The Tea Merchant in Canary Wharf: Fuller’s has opened The Tea Merchant in Canary Wharf, London. Managed by Aidan Kinsella, The Tea Merchant, formally known as The Cat and Canary, brings al fresco dining to Canary Wharf. Kara Alderin, Fuller’s head of premium dining, said: “The opening of The Tea Merchant has marked a new chapter in the site’s history. Together with a complete transformation, and of course a new name, this business has an exciting new lease of life. It brings to the area the best in pub dining, with high quality wines, craft beers and some exceptional freshly prepared gin infusions to tempt even the hardiest tea drinker.”


Amber Taverns eyes Newcastle post office conversion: Community pub operator Amber Taverns is hoping to convert a former post office in a Newcastle suburb into a pub. The building, in Shields Road, Byker, went under the hammer for £180,000 at auction earlier this summer and planning applications have now been submitted that will see it transformed into a new pub. Amber Taverns is seeking permission to convert the property from a shop into a drinking establishment and, if granted, the ground floor will be completely reconfigured with a bar and seating areas and the first floor will be refurbished to hold living accommodation for the manager. It plans to completely alter the front of the former post office, which is based at 204-208 Shields Road, giving it a completely new look.


Greene King’s tenanted division launches new money-saving deals for licensees: Greene King Pub Partners has launched a new toolkit for its licensees to help save them money on a range of everyday essentials and services. The “King Deals” package passes on the buying power from Greene King’s retail estate directly to licensees in the company’s tenanted and leased estate. This means highly competitive deals can be offered to licensees by suppliers of various key services, from sorting out uniforms for their staff members behind the bar to saving on energy costs. Greene King’s buying team will work to refresh this set of discounts every six months to ensure offers remain the best deals available. A toolkit has been produced to guide licensees through the process of securing the deals they require all of which are optional. Deals include energy cost savings through Nationwide, waste and recycling services through SWR, pest protection from Pestokill, payment processing from Worldpay, insurance from Pro Publican, and utilities from PHS. As part of the commitment to providing the “best of both” following the amalgamation with Spirit Pub Company last year, licensees originally with Greene King will now be able to buy team uniforms from the Pub Clothing Company, a bespoke service that includes embroidering garments with the pub’s branding. Clive Chesser, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: “Because of our scale we can pass on our buying power to licensees to secure discounts, special rates and offers through King Deals. We appreciate the time pressures faced by licensees in running their own businesses, so as well as having the advantage of being competitive on price, these deals being ready-made takes the strain away from having to devote resources to negotiating the best offer for any of these essential services.”




Geronimo Inns reopens three London pubs following £300,000 investment: Geronimo Inns, the gastro-pub division of London pub retailer Young’s, has reopened three London pubs following refurbishments with a combined investment of more than £300,000. The company has relaunched The Builders Arms, Chelsea; The Chelsea Ram, Chelsea; and The Phoenix, Victoria. Designed by Sampson Associates, each pub brings a new look and new all-day menus. The Builders Arms, in King’s Road, is a 186 square foot pub holding 63 covers across three areas – The Nook, The Dining Room and The Bar. The decor features electric blue and emerald green hues with a mix of unusual artwork and flashes of boldly patterned soft furnishings contrasting against hints of period interior design. The menu takes a new direction with a focus on steaks, with a wide selection of traditional choices and daily-changing “Builder’s Cuts”, as well as a chocolate scotch egg dessert. The Chelsea Ram, in Burnaby Street, is set over 179 square feet and offers space for 85 covers. The pub is split into a main bar area and a large dining room to the rear, with The Ram Room available for private hire. The Chelsea Ram has been refreshed with quirky details and eccentric artwork mixed in with classic pub fittings. Seasonal British food and pub classics feature on the new menu with the pub’s signature dish of Dorset lamb shank shepherd’s pie, slow cooked for 12 hours. The Phoenix is set over 237 square feet with 85 covers downstairs and a private upstairs dining room, hosting 35 people seated or 70 standing. The bar has been refurbished with traditional wood panelling and a patterned tile surround. Illuminated glass open shelving displays fine wines and bespoke spirits, while reclaimed timber top tables are complemented by brightly upholstered chairs and buttoned back leather banquettes. The British menu features seasonal specials and refined pub classics.


Handmade Burger Co opens 27th site, in Newcastle: Handmade Burger Co has opened a site at Intu Eldon Square in Newcastle, the company’s 27th in total. The restaurant is based in Grey’s Quarter, the shopping centre’s new £25m dining area that will feature 20 brands. Co-owner Chris Sargeant said: “We are so happy to have added another restaurant in Newcastle, in Intu Eldon Square shopping centre, to the Handmade Burger Co family. Our success is driven by a passion for fresh, natural, hand-made burgers as well as genuinely looking after each and every guest. We are looking forward to bringing more than 40 different hand-made burgers, made from scratch in the restaurant every day.” The family-run company opened its first site in 2006 in Birmingham while further restaurants are in the pipeline, in Bournemouth and Bristol.


New cocktail bar concept opens in Leeds: A new cocktail bar concept has opened in Leeds. Alex and Allison Temprell have launched Thewlis Cocktail Lounge in a grade II-listed property in Park Row. It is named after Leeds-born architect Joseph Thewlis who designed the facade of the bar’s building – Kenneth Hodgson House, which was previously the banking hall of the West Riding Bank building. Thewlis mixologists offer more than 30 cocktails. Alex and Allison Temprell told The Business Desk: “Thewlis is swathed in pure decadence, with hedonistic gold and black decor throughout. A library style, with a floor to ceiling back bar, creates a liquor emporium that is rarely seen outside London. A full-length ladder has also been fitted – leading customers to their very own private drinks cabinet. Park Row is becoming a real hub for those wishing to indulge in upmarket champagne and cocktail offerings, and our discerning audience will be treated to a fantastic champagne list, from Bruno Paillard by the glass, to Cristal and Krug. We fell in love with Kenneth Hodgson House before even entering the building. The architecture – in particular the frieze – blows you away. As this is the first impression our customers receive of the bar we only thought it only fitting that Joseph Thewlis’ name sits alongside it.”


Cereal Killer Cafe to open third site, in Birmingham: London-based Cereal Killer Cafe is to open its third site, this time in Birmingham. The company, owned by Belfast-born twin brothers Alan and Gary Keery, is launching the cafe at the Bullring shopping centre next month. The site, which will be open daily from 8am to 8pm, will be decked with arcade games and memorabilia transporting customers back to the 1990s, reports It will serve more than 100 different cereals from around the world, cereal cocktails and a variety of pop tarts. The Keerys launched the brand in Shoreditch, east London, in 2014 before opening a second site in Camden last year.


New Portuguese-inspired restaurant concept opens in Taunton: A new Portuguese-inspired restaurant concept has opened in Taunton, Somerset. Diogo Rodrigues and Nathan Slate have launched Skewer House in Bridge Street. The restaurant serves the skewer-style dish Espetada, which is a selection of skewered meats/fish/vegetables that are cooked over a chargrill or hot coals. They are traditionally served on a stick from the Bay tree, and served during the festivals in Madeira, which is reflected by the theme and decor of the restaurant. Cooking runs in Rodrigues veins with his family running two restaurants in Essex. He told thisisthewestcountry: “We’ve been wanting to open a restaurant for some time but couldn’t really find the right venue so when this one popped up we were thrilled because it’s such a great building. I don’t think there is a lot of variety around Taunton and Bridgwater, which is why we were keen to open something like this. The meats and fish and vegetables are all marinated and infused with bay leaf to give it a traditional taste.”


New Mediterranean-inspired restaurant concept opens in Southport: A new Mediterranean-inspired restaurant concept has opened in Southport, Merseyside. Frank Dafilva, who has more than 30 years experience in the hospitality industry, has launched La Veranda in Avondale Road. The menu includes a selection of Mediterranean, Portuguese and Spanish cuisine. Dafilva told the Southport Visiter his secret to a successful business was a “fresh, happy and jolly ambience”. He added: “You should look after the little ones and the big ones – everyone! It’s all about looking after people. The team welcomes you, your family and friends for exquisite cuisine, to taste great foods and wines.”


Numis Securities – Whitbread’s first half results in line with expectations but Costa margin a concern: Numis Securities leisure analyst Tim Barrett has said Whitbread’s first half results are in line with expectations but Costa’s margin was a concern. Issuing a ‘Hold’ note on the shares with a target price of 4,400p, Barrett said: “Premier Inn reported -0.2% like-for-like revpar growth versus Numis estimates of 0% and -0.5% in quarter one. The small recovery in quarter two (to +0.1%) is lagging market data (+1.7%), the latter showing strong summer helped by the Farnborough airshow. Hotels & Restaurants sales growth of 6.6% reflects 2.4% like-for-like sales growth and 9.7% increase in room numbers, but only 1% restaurants growth. The Ebit margin grew by 60 basis points, despite wage pressures and system investment, helped by an efficiency programme. Whitbread now plans 3,700 room openings versus previous guidance of 4,000 to 4,500 rooms. At Costa, Ebit fell by 4% with a 6% rise in UK store numbers, 2.3% UK like-for-like sales growth (2% in second quarter). Costa’s margin fell by 180 basis points versus Numis estimates of 30 basis points; it had previously guided to 130 basis points downside but over a much longer (18 month) period. Net debt increased by £78m to £988m; our full-year forecast is £1,110m (1.4 times Ebitda). The outlook statement suggests no change to full-year expectations. Whitbread tends not to quantify trading post-period end, but recent industry data for the UK hotel market (STR Global) has been weak against a demanding comparable (Rugby World Cup). For the seven weeks following the end of the first half in the economy/midscale segment revpar was -1.6% (versus 1.7% in August). Our FY17 assumptions are revpar +1.1%, pub restaurant like-for-likes +1.5% and Costa like-for-likes +2.0%. Whitbread now trades at a CY17E price-to-earnings ratio of 14.6 times, an EV/Ebitda of 8.8 times and a stable free cash flow yield of 5%. We remain positive on Whitbread’s structural growth prospects, however at an uncertain point in the hotel cycle, investors will expect Costa to be delivering strongly whereas the first half performance will raise some doubts. Equally, lower FY17 room openings leave significant ground to make up in FY19 and FY20.”


Hospitality recruitment app passes 50% mark in crowdfunding campaign to help develop product: Placed App, which matches candidates with hospitality venues, has passed the 50% mark in its £85,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to help develop the product. The company, founded in July by Jennifer Johansson and Natalie Chasaay, is offering a 7.82% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 35 investors have pledged £43,392 with 47 days remaining. The largest investment to date is £9,997. The pitch states: “The turnover of hospitality staff in junior to mid-level positions is staggeringly high, meaning venues are constantly recruiting new staff but with current methods being either expensive, ineffective or both. Placed aims to solve this issue and relieve these pain points by using advanced technology to immediately match suitable candidates to venues in one centralised, easy-to-use platform inclusive of interview scheduling, direct messaging, rating systems and shortlists. We have removed CVs by ensuring candidates create profiles including previous positions held as well as personality information, education and a profile picture. Having already proven the concept and signed up 131 venues, we now require funding to attract quality, eager jobseekers in creative and innovative ways. We also need to continuously improve our product and service to prepare for national and international scaling of the business. The proceeds from our Seedrs campaign will be used on marketing, developing the app and back office, and additional team members to grow the company accordingly.”


Orderswift and Comtrex partnership hits £1m in sales: An integration partnership between Orderswift, the provider of desktop and mobile ordering for branded independent and group restaurant operators, and casual dining point of sale (POS) company Comtrex has reached £1m in sales. The collaboration allows participating restaurants to receive and process orders placed online seamlessly at site level. The two hospitality companies first linked up in late 2014, with Orderswift replacing US suppliers OrderTalk as Comtrex’s preferred online ordering partner in early 2015. Since then, the integration has been implemented successfully by several restaurant groups, including Rosa’s Thai Cafe, Bodeans and Kua ‘Aina. Orderswift co-founder Matt Gilbert said: “Orderswift was less than a year old when we first partnered with Comtrex, so we were privileged and thrilled that one of the UK’s most respected POS companies had the belief in our product to offer it to its clients. We’ve enjoyed playing our part in reaching this milestone and repaying that faith. We’re now firmly focused on helping generate the next million, as we prepare to launch with one of the UK’s most popular restaurant groups later this month.” Comtrex managing director Steven Roberts added: “We’d been offering online ordering through another supplier for a couple of years, but Orderswift came to us with a slick product and an innovative approach that we felt would be a better fit for our clients and its customers. We’ve seen the demand for online ordering grow significantly since then and Orderswift has helped us meet our clients’ needs and exceed their expectations.”


Drake & Morgan set to convert first two Corney & Barrow sites: Drake & Morgan has announced the rebranding of two of its recently acquired Corney & Barrow sites with two new concepts – The Otherist and The Pagination, opening late November and early December respectively. The Otherist in Old Broad Street in the City, Drake & Morgan’s heartland, will occupy a space of just over 3,700 square foot, accommodating up to 120 covers and will open Monday through to Friday. The Pagination will occupy a 4,400 square foot space in Cabot Square. The bar and restaurant is divided into internal and external space, seating 84 and 60 covers respectively, trading Monday to Saturday. Both sites are being designed by Fusion, responsible for all Drake & Morgan bars and restaurants, and will feature the brand’s signature design features, which include an expansive bar, mix of seating to including traditional dining, banquettes, booth and lounge seating as well as an open plan kitchen and distinctive dining area. The all-day dining destinations will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offering a choice of seasonal dishes. An extensive wine list, which includes a wide range of Corney & Barrow bins, sits alongside premium spirits, beers and innovative cocktails. As previously announced, Drake & Morgan will also open The Refinery Spinningfields and The Refinery St Andrew Square (Edinburgh) in late November.