Star Pubs & Bars

Story of the Day:

Taiwanese fruit tea concept YiFang launches debut permanent UK site, secures second

Taiwanese fruit tea concept YiFangTaiwanese fruit tea concept YiFang has launched its first site in the UK and secured a second, both in London. The brand, which also operates a pop-up in Old Spitalfields Market, has opened a 100 square foot kiosk in Shaftesbury Avenue. A second venue will open in Soho in early summer after agent Shelley Sandzer, which brokered both deals for the company, secured a 300 square foot, ground-floor site in Moor Street. Since its launch in 2016, YiFang has opened more than 600 stores across the globe. Its tea range is made with no preservatives or additives and is harvested from its own mountain plantations, while fruit comes from its own farms or from local markets. Pokai Wang, of YiFang, said: “We are excited to open our first permanent location in the UK and look forward to opening the second site shortly as we introduce the Taiwanese tradition of drinking tea and the culture of our country to the UK.”

Notes passes £600,000 crowdfunding target within two days

Notes, the nine-strong, London-based coffee shop and wine bar concept, has passed its £600,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube within two days of launch. The company is offering 5.66% equity in return for investment as it seeks to expand. So far, 293 investors have pledged £641,100 and the campaign is overfunding with 28 days of the campaign remaining. The largest investment so far has been £50,000. The pitch states: “Notes is a growing coffee shop and wine bar concept, which has established itself as one of the market leaders in London’s quality coffee market with nine central London locations. Starting from a coffee cart in a cobbled street market in 2010, we now source and roast our own single-origin coffee, serving more than 1.4 million cups a year. The coffee market currently stands at 2.3 billion cups per year in the UK and customer tastes are moving towards quality. We believe Notes is perfectly poised to take full advantage of this trend. Since our last Crowdcube raise in 2015, we have opened four locations, doubled our revenue to almost £5m (£0.2m Ebitda), increased site Ebitda by three times and expanded our roastery, which now produces more than one tonne per week for Notes and our wholesale partners. Our points of differentiation are serving high-quality, single-origin speciality coffee in high volumes; roasting coffee at our own roastery in Canning Town; a strong wholesale business with significant capacity to grow; a true all day offer – evening sales account for 25% to 30% of sales in full-offer sites; high-end spaces created with a focus on design and attention to detail; and passionate, friendly, knowledgeable staff trained extensively on our menus.” Notes raised £908,400 on Crowdcube in June 2015 after setting a £600,000 target. Chairman James Horler, who has been involved with brands such as La Tasca, Patisserie Valerie and Leon, is investing in the current round. In March 2017, Notes secured a £600,000 loan from OakNorth, the first deal completed under the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow Programme.

Other News:

The site of the new Hop Stuff Brewery taproom in GreenwichHop Stuff Brewery has secured a site for its fourth taproom, at the River Gardens development in Greenwich, south London. The announcement comes less than a week after the company opened its third taproom – in Ashford, Kent. Hop Stuff, which raised more than £780,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube earlier this year for expansion, has targeted eight sites by the end of 2019. Although the Greenwich taproom will be its smallest so far, at 1,700 square feet, it will offer an attractive Thames-side outdoor area. Hop Stuff Brewery founder James Yeomans said: “We’ve been pursuing this site for a long time and we are thrilled to have agreed terms on the lease. It’s a prime riverside destination and purpose-built for a craft beer bar. The inside is a touch more cosy than other taprooms but the waterfront will make a dream space for nearly 200 beer drinkers. What’s better is Greenwich is home to a lot of our investors so it’s great to secure a local craft spot for them as well as hopefully making a lot of new friends in the neighbourhood.” Subject to licensing, the company hopes to launch the taproom in July.

The team behind Hammersmith-based Persian restaurant Mahdi will launch luxury concept Beluga in Notting Hill Gate. Notting Hill Persia has secured a 2,392 square foot unit at 147-149 Notting Hill Gate through agents CDG Leisure. Beluga will offer a luxury dining experience with a VIP bar and two private rooms set over two floors. The opulently decorated interiors will feature wallpaper by Roberto Cavalli, Swarovski chandeliers and Versace utensils. The menu will specialise in a contemporary and elevated take on traditional Persian cuisine, with signature dishes including mixed grill, caviar and an exclusive cocktail bar – a first venture into the drinks sector for the company. Director Arman Rahiminejad Tafreshi said: “Our new concept will be completely different to our traditional Persian restaurant, Mahdi. It will be larger, with high-end private dining rooms and a top interior, which only felt right to be in an affluent spot like this. We will be serving cocktails for the first time and our new menu will embody the art of plating.” Emma Cousins, of CDG Leisure, added: “The leafy surrounds of Holland Park, Notting Hill and Kensington are the ideal location for this lavish concept by Notting Hill Persia. Beluga is sure to make a wonderful addition to an area rich with residents and tourists.”

PizzaExpress, Welcome Break, OxfordMotorway services operator Welcome Break will open a PizzaExpress restaurant at South Mimms on Junction 23 of the M25 on Friday, 8 June. The move follows the opening of PizzaExpress venues at Welcome Break’s Oxford services in December. A further three PizzaExpress restaurants will open this year – at Fleet, Cobham and Beaconsfield. The South Mimms restaurant will seat 88 guests and open from 11am to 10pm, 364 days a year. Welcome Break chief executive Robbie Bell said: “We are always keen to offer the best facilities on the motorway network to the 85 million visitors to Welcome Break each year. In recent years we have seen a growing trend with our customers, both business and leisure, of spending more time at our service stations to be able to enjoy a dining experience comparable to that on the high street. I am delighted the opening of PizzaExpress restaurants will allow us to offer that experience.”

Consumers are still eating out even though the popularity of delivery is increasing, according to new research by purchase intelligence platform Cardlytics. The study, based on spending insights of three million UK bank customers, revealed spending on eating out grew only 3% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 9% the year before. However, spending on delivery services increased 17% in the first quarter of 2018. Cardlytics said the data showed casual dining “no longer reigned in the restaurant sector” as delivery services gained a bigger slice. Casual dining used to account for almost half of restaurant spend two years ago but now makes up little more than 40%, followed by quick service (39%) and delivery (16%). Casual dining spend fell 1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2018, compared with 5% growth in 2017 and 10% the year before that. The average transaction value in delivery services increased 10% year-on-year in the quarter, compared with restaurants as a whole, which has seen the average transaction value fall 6% since 2015. Steak restaurants saw the highest growth during the period – 12% – followed by coffee shops (9%), quick service lunch restaurants (9%) and burger joints (8%). The average transaction value at steak restaurants increased 17% year-on-year in the quarter, while the value of an average transaction at a pub has dropped 10% since 2015. Burger restaurants remain the most popular cuisine (23%), followed by pub dining (20%) and pizza (10%). Chicken shops saw spending fall 7% compared with the first quarter of 2017, the first dip in the category since 2016. However, the drop may have been driven by nationwide chicken shortages reported by KFC in March. Cardlytics UK commercial director Duncan Smith said: “The cold weather has clearly supported delivery services but, with the seasons changing, there is an opportunity for physical restaurants to entice customers back with new partnerships and diversification of their rewards and offers. With profitability set to be one of the biggest issues for the industry in 2018, restaurant owners will need to take a long hard look at their physical high-street presence and examine whether their strategy is sufficiently different to foster loyalty among increasingly discerning customers.”

The Grill at Smiths of SmithfieldsPatrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel he expects its newly refurbished Smiths of Smithfield site to turn over up to £250,000 a week. The company reopened the grade II-listed, four-storey City pub earlier this month following an £800,000 refurbishment having acquired it in November. The 800-capacity venue, which is the company’s largest, has an average weekly take of £100,000 but Dardis said: “With the refurbishment, our intentions are to get more from it than that. I would expect up to £250,000 a week. The site is not due to mature until 2020 and we are very excited about its prospects.” Dardis said the company would continue to invest heavily in its estate to ensure it remained “out in front”, including a £1.5m spend on The Park – the 43-bedroom hotel in Teddington it acquired in April. The company has 580 bedrooms in its portfolio and Dardis said another 140 to 150 bedrooms could be added in the next three to five years. Young’s transferred three sites from its tenanted Ram Pub Company business to the managed estate during the year and one of the sites – The King’s Arms in Wandsworth – will reopen on Friday (25 May). Dardis said there were opportunities to transfer further sites, with about eight planned during the next two years. However, he added: “Ram is a good cash-generative business.” Dardis said the 35-strong Burger Shack sister concept Shack In The Box, which pops up in pub gardens on sunny days, had been an “incredible success”, with the company looking to continue its roll-out and add another ten to its estate in the current year. Dardis said the company would continue to look to add to its 225-strong estate but stressed: “It is not about numbers – it’s about quality.” He added: “We have delivered a 21st consecutive year of dividend growth and our managed like-for-like sales continue to increase against tough comparables. I don’t think it’s down to one particular thing – it’s about having great pubs in great places and we’ll continue to innovate in what is a predominately freehold estate. We have the firepower to acquire if we want to – but not for the sake of it.” Dardis also hailed a number of Young’s initiatives, including “cucumber currency” in which customers exchanged a cucumber for a gin and tonic with more than 4,000 cucumbers donated to hungry people in London.

Hawthorn LeisureNewRiver chief financial officer Mark Davies has told Propel the company is open to further sector deals after acquiring Hawthorn Leisure for £106.8m. The deal sees NewRiver almost double its pub portfolio, from 331 to 629, including its first sites in Scotland. The Hawthorn brand will be retained, with both estates transitioning into a single operating platform over time. However, while Davies said the company was focused on working with the Hawthorn management team to review the operational structures of both portfolios, he refused to rule out further deals. He said: “We have assessed 600 individual sites and progress is being made on some of those. If the opportunity presents itself, we will certainly look at it. We have a plan in place where pub assets account for no more than 20% of the total asset value of the company. As the value of the company grows, we can be more flexible with the size of the pub portfolio.” Davies said having the experience of the Hawthorn Leisure team, led by Gerry Carroll, was a real bonus for the company, adding: “This is a fantastic deal for us.” Meanwhile, Carroll said the aim for Hawthorn remained to build a portfolio of between 1,000 and 2,000 pubs. He added: “It’s about doing smart deals. We want to be a major player but we’re not putting a timescale on it. We’re pretty flexible in terms of potential acquisitions – we will look at single sites or packages. Until now, we’ve had no pubs in Devon or Cornwall, for example, while NewRiver didn’t have any in Scotland where we have 97 – so there is very little geographical overlap. It is very much business as usual and the deal provides a strong platform for our ambitious growth plans.”

Whitbread's Premier Inn hotel in BridlingtonWhitbread is to open 1,000 Premier Inn bedrooms in seaside resorts across the country to cater for rising demand driven by the popularity of staycations. In the past year, the business has secured deals for almost 400 Premier Inn bedrooms in seaside resorts across the UK, while another 500 bedrooms will be constructed at new hotel sites within the year. A further 100 bedrooms are being added via extensions to existing Premier Inn sites. Hotels will be built at resorts including Brighton, Holyhead and Newquay, while sites in Paignton, Devon and Southport are among those to be extended. Whitbread will also open its first Premier Inn in the Channel Islands – in Jersey at the end of May – and in Porthmadog. The Great Britain Tourism Survey revealed the number of staycations in England increased 6% in 2017 from the previous year, with the figure continuing to rise. Whitbread director of acquisitions Jo Moon said: “There are significant regeneration and modernisation projects taking place in seaside towns and cities across the UK and we’re excited to be a part of this change. These new Premier Inn bedrooms will help to support seaside economies. We plan to build on this momentum over the next 12 months and are on the lookout for more coastal sites.” Meanwhile, Whitbread will open its fifth Bar + Block steakhouse next month. The 100-cover, 3,861 square foot venue will open in Chapel Quarter in Nottingham city centre on Sunday, 17 June to join sister sites in Birmingham, London, Whiteley and Bath. The concept features steaks hand-cut to order as well as a “butcher’s block”, rotating specials and an extensive drinks list.

Sarah WillinghamFormer Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham (pictured), who has teamed up with Just Eat to launch a business booster initiative, has told Propel the scheme will give small-sized independents the same “head office function” chains have to help them grow. Willingham said Just Eat’s independent partners would now have the chance to gain help in crucial areas such as menu pricing and strategy. She added: “With chains you have a head office that focuses on specific areas with the required expertise and information, but with small businesses no-one does that for you. Just Eat has access to so much information through its systems on what people are ordering and when they are doing it, and we want to share this information. Simply making a small tweak to prices, for example, can make a big difference.” Willingham, who previously held senior management roles at PizzaExpress and is a director of London Cocktail Club, said she believed there was still a place for chains on the high street but the time had come for independents to flourish. She added: “At London Cocktail Club we’ve grown organically and continued to expand very slowly. If you open 20 rapidly you don’t have a chance to get them all right. With customers wanting and having more choice there is more opportunity for independents. Consumers want to support small businesses and that, in turn, helps the high street and economy. I’m keen to do my bit by giving little tips and spending time with businesses to help them grow. I think there are some great opportunities for independents to grow in the current climate and we can help them with some of the tasks required to boost profits.” For more information on the business booster initiative, click here

Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh has told Propel consumers’ growing demand for healthy food is giving the company opportunities it could only dream about previously. The company has agreed a franchise deal with the world’s largest services company, Sodexo, with a commitment to open at least 35 sites in the next five years across the UK and Ireland. The partnership will see Crussh open outlets across all Sodexo’s business – from workplace catering to universities, hospitals and government sites. Kavanagh said the first site to open this summer would be with one of Sodexo’s corporate clients, while there were plans in the pipeline for its debut hospital site. He added: “Healthy food has become part of everyday life. A couple of years ago we wouldn’t have had a shot at getting into those places. We’re going to look at getting a couple open and take it from there. We are excited about the prospect, particularly with hospitals. It’s perfect for us. They’ve been dominated by outlets such as Costa and Subway but with people wanting healthy food choices, it’s giving us an opportunity to make a difference in those sort of environments.” Crussh opened its debut transport hub site on Tuesday (22 May) as part of its partnership with SSP and Kavanagh said it had been a “really good” first couple of days. He added: “There are plenty of opportunities there for us as well as we look to take the brand outside London. Along with our other partnerships, including Everyone Active, we’re now able to attract an even wider audience.”

Artist impression of BrewDog's new brewery in BrisbaneScottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has received permission to start work on its brewery in Brisbane, Australia. Construction is likely to commence at the site on the banks of the River Murarrie in “mid-July”. BrewDog stated in its blog: “This is huge for us – having freshly brewed craft beer on hand for our legion of supporters in Australia is going to be amazing. Our facility in eastern Brisbane will have a DogTap and restaurant on-site so the people of the area can enjoy what we do, metres from where the beer is made. With the timeline we are working to, we hope to have everything up and running in the first quarter of next year. Our Australian brewing crew will be dialling in a series of small-batch brews with local ingredients, adding local flavour and a true Aussie spin on classic beer styles. The craft beer scene in Australia is something we are hugely proud to be part of.” Earlier this week, BrewDog passed the £16m point in its Equity for Punks V fund-raise and announced it would launch its latest bar – BrewDog Angel – in Islington, north London, on Friday, 1 June.

Starbucks UK has launched a Grounds For Your Garden campaign that highlights its offer of free coffee grounds for gardenersStarbucks UK has launched a Grounds For Your Garden campaign that highlights its offer of free coffee grounds for gardeners. The company has joined forces with The Allotments & Gardens Council UK (TAGC) to highlight the initiative in which baristas scoop used coffee grounds into reusable bags for customers to pick up. Starbucks UK communications director Clare Walker said: “Thank you to the TAGC for shining a spotlight on this programme, which we have offered in our stores for 20 years. We’re committed to reducing waste from our stores and it’s a great opportunity to support local gardeners and allotment keepers.” TAGC board member Jeff Bond added: “Used coffee grounds are high in nitrogen so they are fantastic for plant growth.”

Food and drink exports grew 5.5% year-on-year to £5.2bn in the first quarter of 2018, according to the latest statistics from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Total exports to EU markets grew faster (8.2%) than those to non-EU markets (1.2%). Each of the top ten product categories saw growth – including whisky, chocolate, cheese, wine and beef – apart from salmon and beer, which were down £40.7m and £16.1m respectively. Whisky was by far the top exported product, worth £955.0m, with volumes increasing 2.9% year-on-year and value rising 6.5%. Wine exports soared 16.3% during the period, with an 8.7% rise in value to £145.0m. The volume of gin exported in the first quarter increased 10.7% year-on year, with a 9.9% rise in value to £119.0m. Beer volumes fell 16.3%, with value decreasing to £109.1m. The top export market for food and drink was Ireland, with sales rising 13.6% to £981.0m, followed by France (minus 0.4% to £518.8m). Exports to the US decreased 9.0% to £461.4m. The biggest rise in exports during the first quarter was to the Czech Republic (up 52.3% to £44.7m), with the country entering the top 20 list for the first time. There were also major increases to Singapore (up 30.9% to £99.9m), and Australia (up 21.9% to £98.0m). FDF is currently working with the government to secure a post-Brexit sector deal for the food and drink industry, with a “hit list” of potential markets. One is Japan, where UK exports rose 5% year-on-year in the first quarter to £56.7m, including a 90% rise in soft drinks sales. There are hopes for further trade ties as the country hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Olympics. FDF chief executive Ian Wright said: “Food and drink exports showed continued growth in January to March 2018. This growth was based on robust demand for the UK’s high-quality products. Much of the demand comes from nearby markets, as demonstrated by strong growth to EU27 countries. There are also significant opportunities further afield. However, these require more specialist in-market support. For example, a recent trip to Japan highlighted the strength of demand that exists for quality UK products and the desire to build trading relationships.”

Independent craft beer retailer Two Heads Beer Co has increased the equity offer in its £350,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open four stores. The company, which is led by former BrewDog head of retail acquisitions James Hickson, is now offering 14.9% equity in return for investment instead of the original 10%. So far, 121 investors have pledged £144,550 with 15 days remaining. Hickson said: “Over the past few days we’ve been in discussion with several potential investors on and off the platform who have told us they love the business and totally ‘get’ our vision of a chain of speciality beer stores across London and the south east. However, they felt the valuation was just a bit too high for them to feel comfortable. Taking this feedback on board, Jon (Kaye) and myself have discussed what is most important to us and agreed that being able to realise our vision in full with a dedicated group of passionate new investors is by far our clearest objective. It is for that reason we have taken the decision to reduce our valuation.” Two Heads Beer Co trades as The Beer Boutique and We Brought Beer brands and currently operates six stores – in Balham, Putney, Clapham, Tooting, Wandsworth and Tunbridge Wells. The company generated revenue of more than £958,000 in 2017. The pitch states: “We believe we are firmly in the right part of a growing market. We are looking to raise investment to expand our concept to more areas in London and the south east, where we believe a beer-thirsty population is underserved. The way people drink beer is changing and we see ourselves at the forefront of this change.” Hickson founded We Brought Beer in 2014. It merged with fellow bottle shop business The Beer Boutique in January, with founder Kaye becoming executive chairman of Two Heads Beer Co.

Former Gleneagles restaurant manager Juan Jose Castillo Castro outside his new site – 83 Hanover StreetFormer Gleneagles restaurant manager Juan Jose Castillo Castro (pictured) is to launch his second site in Edinburgh. Castro, who operates 99 Hanover Street bar, will launch 83 Hanover Street next month with partner Vanessa Alfano. The 50-cover restaurant and bar will blend Scottish produce with Chilean flavours through a small plates menu, which will focus on charcuterie created by East Coast Cured, citrus-cured seafood and grilled meat. Other dishes will include sopaipilla (Chilean pumpkin bread), quinoa salad and empanadas. Former Timberyard restaurant manager Peter Brodie will curate a wine list featuring bottles from Europe and South America. The seven-seat bar next to the open kitchen and charcuterie counter will allow counter-top dining, while interiors will include distressed walls, dark wood, copper lighting and leather banquette seating.

Artist impression of Hans’ Bar & Grill in ChelseaIconic Luxury Hotels, which operates four hotels in the UK, is to launch neighbourhood restaurant Hans’ Bar & Grill in Chelsea next week. The venue will open in Pavilion Road on Friday, 1 June as part of the company’s 11 Cadogan Gardens hotel. It will offer an all-day seasonal menu by head chef Adam England, formerly of D&D London’s Le Pont de la Tour. Dishes will include confit salmon with goat’s curd cheese and cucumber, and England’s own take on veal carpaccio. The 106-cover restaurant is named after Hans Sloane, who is credited with bringing cocoa to the UK. A breakfast and brunch menu will be available daily from 7am to noon, while there will be a 20-seat bar and 16-cover private dining room called The Curio. General manager Simon Smith, formerly of Hakkasan, will oversee the wine list alongside classic cocktails. England said: “We are thrilled to be joining the Pavilion Road family and proud of the heritage our location inspires.” Iconic Luxury Hotels’ other sites are Chewton Glen in the New Forest, Cliveden in Berkshire, and Cotswolds coaching inn The Lygon Arms.

London-based micro-brewer The Park Brewery has passed the halfway mark in its £175,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to relocate, build a taproom and increase production five-fold. The company is offering 10.45% equity in return for investment. So far, 104 investors have pledged £116,210 with 29 days of the campaign remaining. The pitch states: “The company was founded in autumn 2014 with an initial £5,000 set-up producing just 200 litres a brew. Our aim was to create alternative, thought-provoking beer for our community. Struggling to keep up, we injected £30,000 and expanded capacity mid-2015 to 600 litres, brewing three times a week to keep up with sales. We are a husband-and-wife team (Josh and Frankie Kearns) and take inspiration from nearby Richmond Park to name our beers. We have three in our core range plus seasonal specials throughout the year, ranging from fruit saison, wheat beer, porter and IPA. We sell in bottle, cask, keg and now can. Our beer is sold in more than 100 outlets (bars, pubs, restaurants and hotels) and we feel like we have only just begun. We are in some of the larger chains too including Majestic, Whole Foods, Double Tree (Hilton Hotel Group) and The Holiday Inn. Once again we have hit full capacity and our brewery is at breaking point! It is time for us to invest in new kit, gather an experienced and dynamic team, move into new premises to include a brewery tap, and start spreading The Park ales nationally and internationally.”

More than a quarter of shareholders at Domino’s Pizza Eurasia voted against the re-election of Peter Williams at the company’s annual general meeting. A total of 17,200,806 (27.6%) of votes, excluding the controlling shareholder, were received against the resolution from a total of 62,403,699 cast. The company stated: “All resolutions presented to shareholders at the annual general meeting were passed with a majority of votes. However, the board notes a significant minority of votes were received against the re-election of our chairman Peter Williams. The board seeks to ensure each director has time to meet the requirements of their role and is satisfied all directors, including Peter Williams, have sufficient capacity to meet their commitments to Domino’s Pizza Eurasia, including during periods when Domino’s Pizza Eurasia or other commitments require greater-than-usual involvement. We have interacted with a number of our shareholders and corresponded with proxy advisor bodies over concerns raised about Peter’s time commitments and will continue to engage with shareholders over the course of the year.”

CH&Co logoCH&Co Group has launched a simplified group structure and brand identity that “clearly defines” the markets it operates in. Its 20-plus brands will be replaced by defined operating sectors – CH&Co Workplaces, CH&Co Destinations, CH&Co Venues, CH&Co Events, CH&Co Education and CH&Co Livery. A small group of endorsed brands will continue to operate apart including Principals by CH&Co and Absolutely by CH&Co, which are specialist companies within the state catering sector. The Brookwood Partnership will become CH&Co Independent Education later this year. The changes will come into effect in June, with businesses transitioning to the new branding by October. Chief executive Bill Toner said: “We have been through a period of major change driven by organic growth and significant merger activity, which has taken us to a £300m business. Our new strategic partnerships have inevitably created a group structure that’s more complex with a large portfolio of brands, with some areas of crossover. This restructure and rebrand is an obvious next step.”

Industry members united with The Benevolent, a charity that supports employees in the drinks trade, to discuss mental health issues in the sectorIndustry members united with The Benevolent, a charity that supports employees in the drinks trade, to discuss mental health issues in the sector. Chief executive Chris Porter presented key findings of a report commissioned by The Benevolent that revealed one-third of respondents had experienced high levels of stress, anxiety and fatigue during the past year. Fewer than half (46%) felt on top of their mental health, compared with 59% who rated their physical health as “good” or “very good”. Four out of ten surveyed had never spoken to anyone at work about their mental health issues, while almost half (49%) didn’t know whether their company had a mental health support mechanism. The main barrier (48%) preventing people from disclosing mental health difficulties was “potential harm to career prospects”. Porter said: “This seminar was the result of three months of research aimed at understanding the mental well-being of those working in our drinks industry. It has helped us gain a clearer understanding of when and where those issues may arise, who is affected and what we as the drinks industry charity need to do to help. We were humbled so many spoke so openly about their experiences and that alone proves the need is there and the subject need no longer be taboo.”

A CGI of the Time Square development in Warrington, which will be anchored by CineworldCineworld has agreed a deal to anchor a new leisure-led Time Square development in Warrington, Cheshire. Providing 2,500 seats across 13 screens, the cinema is due to open in 2020. Cineworld will complement a proposed dining line-up consisting of high-street brands and local independents. In addition the scheme, being led by Warrington & Co and Muse Developments, includes a 1,100-space car park, which has recently been completed, and new offices for the borough council. The old market building will be replaced by a European-style market hall featuring a range of operators. Cineworld UK property director Kevin Frost said: “We are delighted to be the multiplex offer at Time Square, a scheme designed to deliver the perfect blend of leisure and dining. Our next-generation cinema will deliver the latest big-screen cinema entertainment.” David Burkinshaw, development director at Muse Developments, added: “Securing Cineworld is an important first step in our leasing plans, one that not only gives real momentum to Time Square but sets a great benchmark in terms of the quality and innovation visitors can expect. We are now focusing on the next stage of the leasing, which will secure a great mix of exciting food and beverage brands.” Metis acted on behalf of Warrington & Co and Muse Developments, while Wareing & Partners represented Cineworld.

Oakman Inns founder and chief executive Peter Borg-NealOakman Inns & Restaurants has reported like-for-like sales are up 5.2% in the first seven weeks of the new financial year and updated on its pipeline. The company saw like-for-like sales grow 6.8% for the year ending 1 April 2018. Total sales increased 22.8% to £28.3m with similar rises across all three revenue streams – drinks, food and rooms. Site Ebitda has exceeded £5m for the year while the company said there was an “excellent performance” from the new sites and major developments, all of which are exceeding their investment targets. Chief executive and company founder Peter Borg-Neal (pictured) said: “We have had an excellent year with significant progress on many fronts. We were delighted with our 6.8% like-for-like growth, but it is perhaps even more pleasing that our comparables are, at 5.4%, showing the strength of our core estate. This excellent like-for-like sales growth has continued into the new financial year, and we are 5.2% up over the first seven weeks despite rolling over Easter 2017. We opened two new sites towards the end of the last financial year, The Beech House in Amersham and The Cherry Tree in Olney, and they have both substantially overperformed against their investment target averaging, respectively, more than £49,000 net and £45,000 net since opening. We also acquired The Anchor in Hullbridge in August of last year and the company intends investing in the site in the coming months. Even without that investment, The Anchor is already averaging more than £36,000 net per week for the year to date. During the year, we also made substantial investments in the refurbishment and extension of two existing sites – The Betsey Wynne in Swanbourne and The Akeman in Tring, both of which are operating at sales levels well in excess of their respective investment targets. Our trading split is now 40% drinks, 52% food and 8% rooms. We are very happy with that and we believe it is likely to remain broadly the same as the estate grows. We believe that this year, Oakman can grow its sales to exceed £37m. This sales increase will derive from the existing portfolio and three main areas of business growth. Firstly, the gradual accumulation of quality sites for the core Oakman Inns business with a preference for freeholds. Secondly, an increased focus on developing and growing the Beech House brand in leasehold sites and finally the operation of management contracts for premium pubs and hotels owned by others. Our current estate development activity amply illustrates these three growth sectors. We are opening the Four Alls, our second Hunky Dory development, in Welford-on-Avon on 1 June and this will be followed on 12 July by our opening of The Royal Foresters in Ascot, our most substantial freehold investment to date. The Royal Foresters opening was delayed by the cold, wet weather in late winter and early spring, meaning we missed the Royal Ascot meeting, but we will be open in plenty of time to benefit from the other major summer racing events. Our property pipeline remains strong, and we have agreed on deals for sites in Epsom, Prestwood, Hatfield and Hampton Hill. A further four sites are currently under negotiation, and we are hopeful of successful conclusions to those negotiations. We have also acquired the units next door to our highly successful Beech House in Beaconsfield and will be extending and upgrading the site later in the year. Additionally, we are seeking planning permission to add substantial hotel blocks to the White Hart in Ampthill and The Akeman Inn in Kingswood enabling us to maximise use of the substantial land surrounding these two freehold sites. We are still disturbed by the government’s inflexibility on the matter of business rates, the ongoing disparities of VAT and the inept mismanagement and financial impact of the government’s apprentice scheme. We do, however, welcome the government’s eventual support for our campaign to ban straws and our aspiration to ban the consumption of single-use plastics throughout Oakman Inns. These little differences, if made by every company, will help make a world of difference.”

London-based healthy food and juice brand Crussh has announced a landmark franchise deal with the world’s largest services company Sodexo, with a commitment to open at least 35 sites over the next five years across the UK and Ireland. The partnership will see Crussh opening outlets across all the Sodexo business – from workplace catering to universities, hospitals and government locations. Crussh will take a “creative approach” to the requirements of each location, covering traditional cafe formats, as well as larger scale sites, food trucks and pop-ups. The first site will be opening in the summer and there is a pipeline of sites under review. Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh said: “This is a really significant partnership for us and provides an incredible opportunity to bring our brand of healthy food and juice to a new audience in locations where we think we can make a real difference. Our goal at Crussh is to improve the wellbeing of our people and our customers, and since we began this process we have felt a great alignment with Sodexo’s aim to promote quality of life services. We have been working on this for some time, and we can’t wait to get the first site opened.” Dan Corlett, Sodexo service operations head of food platform, added: “We’re delighted to partner with Crussh and bring this innovative and healthy brand to our clients and customers and complement our sustainability strategy Better Tomorrow 2025. Crussh will be taking a creative approach to the requirements of each location, so customers could see food trucks and pop-ups as well as traditional cafe formats.”

Hawthorn Leisure chief executive Gerry Carroll (left) and finance director Matt WardNewRiver, which owns a portfolio of about 330 pubs, has acquired Hawthorn Leisure from an affiliate of Avenue Capital Group for an enterprise value of £106.8m. This represents a net initial yield based on the value of the pub portfolio of 13.6% and will be satisfied using NewRiver’s existing resources. NewRiver stated: “As well as a portfolio of 298 community pubs, the acquisition includes an established brand and pub management platform, which could be applied across the company’s existing pub portfolio, generating significant scale-based synergies. NewRiver has identified the pub sector as an attractive investment to deliver on its business strategy. The sector generates high levels of low-risk, diversified cash returns and contains a number of in-built value creating asset management and development opportunities, including the potential to build convenience stores or residential units on surplus land adjacent to pubs.” Having acquired its first portfolio of 202 pubs from Marston’s in November 2013, NewRiver acquired its second portfolio of 158 pubs from Punch in 2015. NewRiver said the Hawthorn Leisure portfolio “provides attractive scale” for the company, increasing the size of its estate to 629 pubs. The combined NewRiver and Hawthorn Leisure estate will target scale-based synergies and other improvements in purchasing and logistics, and the company expects to realise synergies of at least £3m per annum. NewRiver chief executive Allan Lockhart said: “The acquisition of Hawthorn Leisure is absolutely aligned with our strategy of investing in retail and leisure assets at the heart of the communities across the UK. The portfolio is highly complementary to our existing pub portfolio and the combined portfolio remains below 20% of our total assets. We now look forward to applying our active asset management and risk-controlled development expertise to produce profitable opportunities for our occupiers, and growing and sustainable cash returns for our shareholders.” Chief financial officer Mark Davies added: “We are delighted to announce the acquisition of this high-quality portfolio of community pubs and a well established platform which will contribute significant funds from operations and be accretive to our net asset value. Having acquired our first portfolio from Marston’s in 2013, we are well aware of the attractiveness of the high cash returns generated by pubs, as well as their inherent active asset management and risk-controlled development opportunities. Importantly, we have also retained cost discipline on this transaction that we have tracked for some time, acquiring the portfolio at an attractive net initial yield of 13.6% and inheriting a strong brand and management platform. Having taken over executive responsibility for our pub portfolio, I look forward to working with our experienced management teams to establish a market leading business which will deliver synergies and drive highly accretive cash returns.” Hawthorn Leisure chief executive Gerry Carroll (left of picture) said: “The NewRiver acquisition is the best possible outcome for our people and 298 leased and managed pubs across England, Scotland and Wales. The deal provides a strong platform for our ambitious growth plans and ensures we not only retain all staff and our head office, in Marston Green, but the Hawthorn Leisure brand and values that we live by. NewRiver has bought into the Hawthorn Leisure team, as much as the pubs, so for us it’s business as usual. As such, we will continue to support our partners to achieve the best possible results and be famous for great people, great pubs and great propositions.” NewRiver also updated on its pub portfolio as it announced its full-year results. The company stated: “In November 2013, we acquired a portfolio of 202 pubs from (the ‘Trent’ portfolio). Each pub in the portfolio was hand-picked by management for its high roadside visibility, high passing footfall and prominent location, with the intention of converting a significant number for retail/residential use. The pubs had high occupancy and strong income returns, and consequently in September 2015 we acquired a second portfolio of 158 pubs from Punch (the ‘Mantle’ portfolio). As part of our active management of this portfolio, to date we have sold 20 pubs, including 11 in the current year, closed 11 for c-store conversion, including four in the current year, and acquired a further two pubs, both in the current year, and as a result we had 331 pubs remaining in our portfolio at year end. At the time of the Trent portfolio acquisition, we signed a four-year leaseback agreement with Marston’s, which came to an end in December 2017. We put in place a structured programme to transfer the management of the Trent pubs from Marston’s to NewRiver, and, through a detailed estate review involving all relevant stakeholders, we split the transfer into small batches in order to manage the programme effectively. Throughout the programme, which concluded in December 2017, our high-quality in-house team of pub specialists visited each site and worked with the publicans to ensure a smooth transition. Pleasingly, the majority of publicans chose to remain in their pubs following the transfer, and our operations managers and instructed solicitors have ensured that new leases and tenancies have been implemented seamlessly. For the minority of pubs where the publican intends to vacate, we are utilising our tried and tested lettings programme to recruit high -quality publicans who will continue to grow the business. Across the Mantle portfolio we have continued our programme of targeted capital investment in order to drive trade and increase values. During the period, we invested £1.1m in projects including external redecoration and improved signage to enhance curb appeal, internal refurbishment to enhance the customer experience and extensive works to improve kitchens, amenities and tenant accommodation. At the 47 pubs in the Mantle portfolio where we have completed refurbishment works, we have seen significant improvements to both rental income and sales volumes.”

Patrick Dardis, Young'sLondon pub retailer Young’s has reported a 7.5% increase in like-for-likes and sales up 11% in total in its managed estate in the first seven weeks since the year-end. For the year ending 2 April 2018 managed like-for-likes grew 4.2% with revenue up 6.9% to £266.4m. Total company sales rose 3.9% to £279.3m and adjusted operating profit was up 1.7% to £46.9m. Profit before tax was up 1.6% to £37.6m. Operating cash flow was £61.4m with the net debt to adjusted Ebitda ratio one of the lowest in the sector at 2.0 times. The Ram Pub Company (its tenanted business) saw like-for-like sales up 1.6%. There was total investment of £53.0m, in acquisitions, transformational developments and estate upgrades. Chief executive Patrick Dardis (pictured) said: “I am delighted with this strong set of results, delivered against a challenging market backdrop, as they demonstrate the benefit of our strategy of running a differentiated, premium and well-invested pub estate in superb locations and with a highly customer-centric approach. We have continued to invest in our future growth through a combination of exciting acquisitions and investment in our existing estate while also upgrading our technology to enhance the customer experience and realise productivity gains. We’ve started the year well and, despite being up against very strong comparatives in the previous year, managed houses revenue in the first seven weeks was up 11.0% in total and up 7.5% on a like-for-like basis. Although uncertainty prevails in both the political and economic environment, we are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver superior shareholder returns. I am a firm believer that the traditional British pub will never go out of fashion and, as a result, I’m both excited and optimistic about the year ahead.” The company stated: “Our estate now has 255 pubs, predominantly across London and southern England. Last November we acquired the iconic Smiths of Smithfield and its smaller sister site in Cannon Street, which has just reopened having been rebranded as the Candlemaker. Smiths, a four-storey, grade II-listed building situated in the vibrant Smithfield Market, offers a unique experience on each level and has already achieved the highest weekly sales of any property within our estate. Having recently completed a major refurbishment project, we look forward to seeing the results. Just before the financial year-end we increased the total number of bedrooms in our hotel portfolio by 19.3% to 580 rooms through the freehold acquisitions of the Park (Teddington) with 43 bedrooms and the Bridge (Chertsey) with 51 rooms. The Park is a stunning Victorian building dating back to 1866 and occupies a prominent position in an affluent area within our own backyard. The Bridge, anchored on the Thames riverbank, has strong business and leisure guest appeal. We added two further freehold pubs through our purchase of the Chequers (Hanham Mills, near Bristol) and the Old Bear (Cobham), and one additional leasehold, the Bull (Bracknell). Following completion of its acquisition in May 2018, we are on site at the Naturalist (Woodberry Down), our 11th Berkeley Group pub. We are also poised to start fitting out our 12th in Kidbrooke Village. Within the existing estate, many opportunities remain. This coming year’s most exciting plan is a transformational development at the King’s Head (Islington) with its new dining room, events space and a stunning roof terrace. We also continue to invest in technology. By the end of this summer all our pubs will have new till software that will allow us to capitalise on greater sales opportunities and provide our general managers and teams with enhanced tools to continue to surprise and delight our customers. The new software will allow us to interact with multiple third party providers; our own app, ‘Young’s On Tap’, will also evolve to allow our customers to order in advance and receive tailored rewards based on their unique habits and preferences. Through our carefully selected growth opportunities and freehold-backed balance sheet, we are confident our strategy will continue to deliver. The ongoing development of our people and helping them achieve their full potential will create an even more vibrant experience for our customers who are at the forefront of everything we do. Once again, our managed houses have performed at the top of the pub sector, with strong revenue growth, up 6.9% to £266.4m, underpinned by industry-leading like-for-like sales growth of 4.2% (2017: 4.7%). Managed houses represent the vast majority of our business and our managed estate now comprises 181 pubs (including 25 hotels), an increase of eight pubs (including two hotels) during the year, making up 95.4% of our total revenue. Continuing to drive and challenge the pubs and their teams to outperform the market is a relentless pursuit, but it’s one that we embrace wholeheartedly. Our longstanding record of consistently raising the bar creates its own challenges, but our ambition and work ethic gives us that extra spring in our step to continue to excel. During the year we transferred three (leased) high turnover pubs to managed houses to maximise their potential – the Hope and Anchor (Brixton), the King’s Arms (Wandsworth) and the Lord Palmerston (Tufnell Park). Further transfer opportunities exist within the Ram Pub Company, which we will look to harvest when the time is right for both us and our tenants. We sold three pubs at the tail of the estate for combined proceeds of £2.1m – the Bell (Illminster), Court House (Dartford) and the King’s Arms (Epsom). In February 2018, we acquired the Old Bear (Cobham), an attractive 16th century pub situated in the heart of an affluent Surrey town. As a result of the above movements, the Ram Pub Company ended the year with 74 pubs, down from 79 in the previous year. We welcomed the Old Bear (Cobham) and its tenant into the Ram Pub Company flock following the purchase of this freehold pub. Within our existing estate, we follow a structured and viable investment programme to ensure that each tenanted pub is maintained at an attractive standard to appeal to customers, current tenants and future business partners. In the past year we’ve completed major developments at the Bristol Ram, Gardeners (Wandsworth), Grand Junction Arms (Harlesden), Grove House (Camberwell), Heartbreakers (Southampton), Prince William Henry (Southwark), Red Cow (Richmond) and the Robin Hood (Sutton). We have certainly enjoyed a couple of very warm and sunny weeks recently. The first May Day bank holiday was a record breaker for many of our garden and riverside pubs. A welcome boost at the start of the new financial year, when we are up against very strong comparatives in the previous year. Our pub individuality, alongside our ability to give our talented general managers the freedom and flexibility to continue to innovate, is paramount to our continued success. This coming year, we face the second consecutive business rates increase, this time circa £1.6m (2018: £1.8m). Although we welcomed the chancellor’s announcement in the spring statement to bring forward the next rates valuation, we were disappointed that it didn’t go far enough to modernise the method of calculating business rates in this growing digital age. Against cost pressures, we’re confident that the investments we’ve made during the past year will continue to propel us forward. We still have plenty of opportunities to invest in our existing estate and we will also start to see a good return from the recently acquired Park (Teddington) and Bridge (Chertsey). Our new pub the Naturalist (Woodberry Down) also opens its doors later in the year. We are active in the acquisition market. Whilst we have the necessary firepower thanks to our robust balance sheet, our strict internal investment criteria remain – for us it’s about quality. We believe plenty of opportunities exist in our sector. Although uncertainty prevails in both the political and economic environment, we are confident that our strategy of running differentiated well-invested, individual, premium pubs in high-demand locations will continue to deliver superior shareholder returns. By remaining flexible in our offer and investing in our people and technology, we will also continue to deliver outstanding customer service. Together, these create a recipe where the traditional British pub will never go out of fashion. As a result, we’re both excited and optimistic about the year ahead.”

C&C Group, the manufacturer, marketer and distributor of branded cider, beer, wine and soft drinks, has announced Sir Brian Stewart will retire as chairman after eight years in the role at the annual general meeting on Thursday, 5 July. The company stated: “Following a thorough selection process, Stewart Gilliland, who joined the board as a non-executive director in 2012, has agreed to succeed Sir Brian as chairman. He has extensive experience of the drinks industry and has been a non-executive director of C&C since April 2012. He was chairman of Booker Group from 2015 until its acquisition by Tesco in March 2018, following which, he was appointed to the board of Tesco as a non-executive director. He is also a senior independent director of Mitchells & Butlers.”

Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has said Ei Group is nearing a turning point due to its segmentation strategy. Issuing a ‘Buy’ note on the shares with a target price of 165p, Jack said: “Ebitda has stabilised, despite like-for-like net income growing by just 0.6% in Pub Partnerships in the first half. This reflects investment and critical mass in the managed estate helping Ebitda to start growing in the converted assets, net of incremental central costs (which have now stabilised). Our forecasts assume no improvement in like-for-like net income, but, in 2018E, they do anticipate an increase in profits from conversion as a consequence of more stable central costs, and strong like-for-like growth in both managed and commercial leases. This also reflects managed and commercial leases reaching critical mass; lack of scale should no longer hold back margins. The return on investment on managed investments and operations was 16% and 21% respectively in the first half of 2018 for 186 pubs that had traded more than six months as at 31 March 2018, implying £7m of annualised Ebitda uplift. However, the net benefit in the first half from 319 managed pubs was less than £2m, reflecting the short-term impact of transitions and refurbishment downtime. Returns are slowing in the conversion programme, possibly as the best conversion opportunities have already been completed. Within Pub Partnerships, 90% of the like-for-like net income growth is due to drink margins. Although the estate’s quality continues to improve, the ability to grow like-for-like net income may diminish in line with marginal growth in buying terms. We remain very positive on Ei Group due to the company’s segmentation strategy, which is raising asset quality, enabling debt to be paid down, and putting the company in a position to return to total Ebitda growth. We estimate every 1% of debt reduction enhances equity value by 3.7% versus a 3.5% boost from every 1% of Ebitda growth. We believe stable central costs and growing managed profitability (managed margins are 400 basis points below that of larger peers) can result in Ebitda growth joining debt reduction in driving up equity value, as well as the price-to-earnings ratio rating.”

Just Eat has teamed up with investor and former Dragons’ Den star Sarah Willingham to launch a growth initiative for the company’s restaurant partners. The Business Booster programme aims to “realise the £1.1bn growth potential of UK independent restaurants and takeaways”. Just Eat research revealed almost three-fifths (59%) of independent restaurant owners believe they will grow their business in the next five years despite the current economic climate. Just Eat said if independent restaurants achieved a 5% increase in annual turnover, the UK economy would benefit by £1.1bn, while the sector would create 55,000 jobs by 2023. Despite optimism regarding growth, however, almost two-thirds (65%) of independent restaurant owners are concerned they will be unable to maintain current profitability levels, while 63% would value advice on how to grow their business. The Business Booster programme will see Willingham, who previously held senior management roles at PizzaExpress and helped grow Indian restaurant chain Bombay Bicycle Club, provide one-on-one business mentoring for restaurant owners. She will also advise businesses through a series of regional events and via blogs and advice shared through the platform’s communication channels. Advice will centre on findings from Just Eat’s research such as 30% of restaurant owners have failed to check income and costs to see how their margins are changing, while almost a quarter (24%) have failed to review their pricing. The most important areas of opportunity identified by restaurant owners were increasing the number of new customers (85%), promoting their business to more potential customers (80%), and increasing margins (67%). Willingham said: “When you run a small business so much time is spent on day-to-day management it’s hard to focus on growth – but there are still many opportunities for independent food outlets. As someone who knows what it takes to build, grow and run successful restaurants, I know a small change can go a long way.” Just Eat UK managing director Graham Corfield added: “The restaurants we partner with are important pillars of high streets up and down the UK. If we can help them improve profitability and efficiencies, the combined impact on the economy could be huge.”

People 1st, the sector skills organisation for the hospitality industry, has been sold in a pre-packaged administration sale to Workforce Development Trust (WDT). FRP Advisory was appointed administrators of East Finchley-based People 1st, whose customers include McDonald’s, JD Wetherspoon, Center Parcs and Merlin Entertainments. In his notice of proposals, administrator Gareth Rutt said: “The only offer received was from WDT for certain business divisions. An attempt to increase the value of the consideration offered was refused. However, we managed to agree a reduction on the proposed debt collection fee from 10% to 5%. To provide continuity of services to customers, WDT recognised approximately £160,000 will need to be paid to certain key suppliers for the continued use of their goods/services, being a direct reduction of claims to be made against the company’s estate. All 17 of the employees associated with the areas of the business that was purchased were transferred to WDT.” The report showed People 1st had been loss-making since 2014. It had exhausted its reserves of circa £3m since that time, while government funding for sector skills councils had ended. Accounts for the company showed in March 2014 the company turned over £9,782,000, with a net loss of £272,000. Turnover continued to fall and by March 2016 it was down to £4,002,000, with a net loss of £1,028,000. Around that time People 1st positioned itself as an “insight-driven performance and talent management expert, providing tailored solutions and advice for UK and global clients”. For the year ending March 2017, the company turned over £4,272,000 with a net loss of £701,000. As of December 2017, turnover stood at £2,572,000 with a net loss of £525,000. On 26 March 2018, the company’s membership of The ITB Pension Funds was terminated leaving it with a deficit of £6.4m, which the company was unable to pay. People 1st had been in dialogue with ITB but, following losses, ITB was not confident People 1st was viable and consequently took steps to terminate the company from the scheme. Following the company’s termination from the IBT pension fund, FRP Advisory was retained to provide insolvency advice and be involved in negotiations with potential purchasers of the business. The report showed there were no secured creditors. Estimated preferential creditors in the shape of employees’ pay arrears and unpaid pension fees will total about £25,000 and is expected to be paid in full. There are also expected to be sufficient funds to make a distribution to unsecured creditors. People 1st was once the employer-led sector skills council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism in the UK, responsible for developing and managing apprenticeship standards. Among its other duties the organisation acted as the external quality-assurance body for apprenticeship standards for chefs de partie, commis chefs, hospitality supervisors, managers and team members.

Notes, the nine-strong, London-based coffee shop and wine bar concept, has launched a £600,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fund expansion. The company is offering 5.66% equity in return for investment. So far, 158 investors have already pledged £560,380 with 30 days of the campaign remaining. The largest investment so far has been £50,000. The pitch states: “Notes is a growing coffee shop and wine bar concept, which has established itself as one of the market leaders in London’s quality coffee market with nine central London locations. Starting from a coffee cart in a cobbled street market in 2010, we now source and roast our own single-origin coffee, serving more than 1.4 million cups a year. The coffee market currently stands at 2.3 billion cups per year in the UK and customer tastes are moving towards quality. We believe Notes is perfectly poised to take full advantage of this trend. Since our last Crowdcube raise in 2015, we have opened four locations, doubled our revenue to almost £5m (£0.2m Ebitda), increased site Ebitda by three times and expanded our roastery, which now produces more than one tonne per week for Notes and our wholesale partners. Our points of differentiation are serving high-quality, single-origin speciality coffee in high volumes; roasting coffee at our own roastery in Canning Town; a strong wholesale business with significant capacity to grow; a true all day offer – evening sales account for 25% to 30% of sales in full-offer sites; high-end spaces created with a focus on design and attention to detail; and passionate, friendly, knowledgeable staff trained extensively on our menus.” Notes raised £908,400 on Crowdcube in June 2015 after setting a £600,000 target. The company said chairman James Horler, who has been involved with brands such as La Tasca, Patisserie Valerie and Leon, would invest in the current round. In March 2017, Notes secured a £600,000 loan from OakNorth, the first deal completed under the British Business Bank’s Help to Grow Programme.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) and arts charity Culture24, which produces the Museums At Night festival, are to unite the museum and gallery world with clubs, bars and venues to promote and develop the culture and nightlife offer. They stated: “Over the next few months we will announce a series of initiatives designed to boost the contribution that ‘lates’ (museum and gallery night-time events) make towards the UK’s night-time economy and support developing connections between visual and performing art sectors of the night-time economy. This is the first time industry-level connections have been forged between two organisations that have so much in common and are derived from a deeply-held belief the UK night-time cultural offer is capable of simultaneously lifting the nation’s spirits, generating wealth and jobs, and contributing to a cultural renaissance on the high street. NTIA chairman Alan Miller will be one of the speakers at Culture24’s conference – A Culture of Lates – at The National Gallery on Friday, 1 June. He said: “It is in the night-time that we are often at our most creative. Bringing together Britain’s world-class museums and galleries to collaborate with our night-time industries is game-changing news for the UK.” Culture24 campaigns manager Nicholas Stockman added: “When people go out for a great night they don’t make a distinction between performance or visual arts spaces, they just want to be entertained. This is about helping them do that more often and in a diverse range of spaces.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has added a site in Hoxton, east London, to its portfolio. It has acquired the leasehold interest of The Beagle, set in the railway arches next to Hoxton overground station. The company stated: “This is a unique opportunity and a great fit with our brewpubs at Highbury and Angel. It is expected to be open and brewing in mid-July.” The Hoxton deal is the company’s second this week. As Propel previously reported, Brewhouse & Kitchen has exchanged contracts to buy the freehold of Wabi restaurant in Horsham – its first site in West Sussex. The acquisition is expected to complete in the next 14 days. The two deals take Brewhouse & Kitchen’s portfolio to 21 sites, while the company is in legals on two further venues.

The full speaker schedule for this year’s Propel summer conference and party has been revealed. The event takes place on Thursday, 5 July at The Oxford Belfry and is open for bookings. This year we have the usual great conference followed by crazy golf at Junkyard Golf in Oxford plus a barbecue and live band karaoke back at the hotel. The speaker line-up is Matt Coles, of Morar HPI’s food and drinks team; Peter Edwards, chief operating officer of Zonal; sector consultant James Hacon; Martin Morales, restaurateur, chef and entrepreneur known as the pioneer of Peruvian food; Angela Malik, board member of the London Food Board; Gavin George, chief executive of Laine Pub Company; Matthew Kirby, chief executive of Chozen Noodle; David Abrahamovitch, founder of genre-busting Grind; Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi; Simon Mitchell, managing director of Kerb; James Baer, managing director of Amber Taverns; and HGEM insight manager Rich New and lead client manager Jason HornOperators can claim up to two free places by emailing or calling her on 01444 817691.

A new masterclass launched by Professor Chris Edger and Propel is now open for bookings. The Inspirational Leadership In Tough Times Masterclass will take place at Chartered Accountants Hall in Moorgate Place, London, on Thursday, 21 June. With our industry buffeted by five major headwinds – higher costs, labour shortages, low consumer confidence, too much capacity and concept fatigue – the businesses that win through will be led by inspirational leaders who galvanise their people to achieve extraordinary feats. The masterclass will provide insights and tips into how you can perfect being an inspirational leader. Drawing on material from his nine books on leadership, Prof Edger will outline how inspirational leaders mobilise their teams and businesses to outperform the market in challenging circumstances. Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity will outline ten critical ways to inspire people to achieve great performance in adverse conditions. Leading brands consultant Ian Dunstall will outline how inspirational leaders set up and evolve a brand that is loved by employees and guests alike. Leading HR hospitality consultant Liz Phillips has recruited, trained and developed teams that have been coveted by competitors. She will outline how she instilled the desire to join, the confidence to perform and the aspiration to develop. Mark Sheasby was formerly chief superintendent of the West Midlands Police firearms unit, specialising in hostage negotiations. A qualified psychologist he has also worked with high-profile athletes, including England Rugby, and high-performing business people. He will outline his philosophy of getting organisations to leverage their permanent internal qualities to overcome temporary external interference. Gary Harris has been deputy chairman of British Rowing for almost 20 years – a period of unprecedented success – and will outline the ten key insights into coaching outstanding performances from teams and individuals. Writer and lecturer Dr Nollaig Heffernan, co-designer of the ILM72 psychometric test, will outline the key components that underpin mental toughness for inspirational leaders and how to incorporate them to overcome everyday stress and challenges. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers, while tickets for Propel Premium subscribers are £245 plus VAT. To book, email or call 01444 817691.

New York Study Tour 2018

New York Study Tour

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Propel Quarterly Spring 2018
Propel Quarterly

The must read sector business analysis and intelligence magazine

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