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Story of the Day:

M&B reports profit boost in full year

Phil Urban, Chief Executive, Mitchells & ButlersMitchells & Butlers has reported like-for-like sales rose 3.5% and total sales rose to £2,237m (2018: £2,152m) in the year to 28 September. Profit before tax was up £47m to £177m.

Chief executive Phil Urban (pictured) said: “These strong results reflect the work we have done over the last few years, first to build sustained sales growth and then to convert that into profit growth. It has been extremely encouraging to see an improvement in like-for-like sales growth across the portfolio during the year, fuelled by our Ignite programme of work.

“This puts us in a stronger position as we move forward into the next financial year, in what we expect to remain challenging market conditions. Our estate comprises 1,748 pubs, bars and restaurants, of which more than 80% are freehold or long-leasehold. Our focus in this area is to optimise the balance of brands across the estate in order to create long-term value.

“During the year, we continued to execute our plan focusing on improving the quality of the estate through premiumisation and amenity upgrades. We completed 240 remodels and conversions in FY 2019 (FY 2018 232) and remain on course to deliver a six to seven year cycle of investment, from the 11 to 12 year cycle of previous years. Ordinarily we expect a drag on profit in the year of investment due to lost trade during closure and the cost associated with opening the invested business.

“This year we have been focusing on enhancing the ‘in year’ return of our investment projects and have eliminated profit drag by reducing closure time, more efficient use of resources and setting businesses up for success from the first day of trading. As a result, return on investment for conversion and acquisition projects increased to 21%, the strongest we have seen for many years. Our remodel returns have also improved, increasing to 34% for projects completed in the financial year.

“Our remodel programme is designed to enhance the amenity and appeal of sites which remain within the same brand, giving the opportunity both to delight existing, and attract new, guests. The remodel programme provides a vehicle through which brands can continue to evolve and innovate in the highly competitive market in which we operate.

“We continue to search for new areas to create value. Miller & Carter Frankfurt opened in August and gives us an opportunity to test this successful offer in a new market. During the year we have developed our technology to facilitate an improved online booking experience, have developed an employee app allowing our staff greater flexibility and have continued to work with Just Eat and Deliveroo, with 273 sites now offering delivery.

“In addition to this, we have three delivery only brands in trial, utilising existing kitchens which have additional capacity. The George at Harpenden, a new all-day concept which we opened last year, has been performing well. The offer is a premium suburban concept which aims to appeal across all day parts with flexible space which is appropriate for a range of occasions.”

Of the most recent trading period, the company said: “In the first seven weeks of the new financial year like-for-like sales have grown by 1.4% having continued to outperform the market in a period of adverse weather. A return to profit growth in the last financial year represents significant progress in the face of inflationary cost headwinds impacting the sector. We have now started the new financial year with like-for-like sales remaining consistently ahead of the market and a new wave of initiatives from our Ignite programme of work under development.”

Fever-Tree reports strong trading, especially in the US

Fever-Tree has agreed a deal with Virgin AtlanticFever-Tree, the supplier of premium carbonated mixers, has reported an acceleration in key growth markets of the US and Europe in the second half. The UK On-Trade has continued to perform well despite exceptionally strong comparators in 2018, it said.

Of the UK, it stated: “In the year when the group has lapped exceptional comparators from summer 2018 and more recently seen a wider slowdown in consumer spending, the group expects to deliver circa 2% growth in its most mature market.

In the UK off-trade, our performance has been behind our expectations in the second half as we continued to lap very tough comparators in July and August and more recently seen a slowdown in consumer spending, as reflected in the wider retail data. Despite these short-term headwinds, Fever-Tree remains in a very strong position in the UK off-trade, maintaining our leadership position with 38% value share with little impact from the increasing number of premium competitors who collectively remain at under 5% value share.

“Our On-Trade business, which accounts for half of the group’s UK revenue, has continued to perform well in the second half. We have won new accounts, further strengthened our leadership position, and seen good growth across our major national on-trade accounts. Whilst our tonic range still remains the key focus, we are seeing increasing opportunities and interest from our customers and consumers in our broader range of mixers as we look ahead to 2020.”

Of the USA, it added: “Sales have accelerated in the second half reflecting both the significant distribution expansion across our key off-trade accounts seen in Q2 as well as further distribution gains in our On-Trade channel where our partnership with Southern Glazers Wines & Spirits continues to perform well.

“We are building an increasingly strong platform and the recent signing of a US bottling partner to commence bottling on the West Coast in 2020 is a further significant milestone. Given the considerable progress seen in the second half, we now expect to deliver growth of circa 34% which is ahead of our previous expectations.”

Chief executive Tim Warrillow said: “We continue to see growth across all four regions. Indeed, sales accelerated in our key growth markets of the US and Europe. Fever-Tree’s progress in the US is particularly encouraging and the signing of a US bottling partner is a further step in building our operations in this exciting market.

“Despite challenging comparators, our performance in the UK On-Trade underlines the strength of the brand and while the mixer category in the off-trade is moderating alongside the recent slowdown seen across the wider grocery channel, we continue to maintain our clear UK market leadership position.”

Other News:

SSP Dean & David ~ Bremen AirportSSP Group, the operator of food and beverage outlets in travel locations worldwide, has reported underlying profit of £203.2m: up 10.2% for the year ended 30 September 2019.

Revenue of £2,794.6m was up 7.8% at constant currency, and 9.0% at actual exchange rates. Like-for-like sales were up 1.9%: driven by growth in passenger numbers, both in air and rail.

The company reported an ‘encouraging pipeline’, with significant new contracts underpinning future growth, including in North America at LaGuardia, San Jose and Ottawa Airports and at Brisbane, Shenzhen, and Hongqiao Airports and entry into three new markets next year: Bahrain, Bermuda and Malaysia.

Simon Smith, chief executive of SSP Group, said: “SSP has delivered another strong performance in 2019. Operating profit was up 12% at constant currency, driven by solid like-for-like sales growth despite some external headwinds, significant new contract openings and further operational improvements.

“We continue to grow our business in North America, and have made good progress expanding in Continental Europe. In the Rest of the World, we have grown in India and the Philippines, and have entered Brazil, a new market for us, with further market entries planned in Bermuda, Bahrain and Malaysia.

“The new business pipeline is strong across all our geographies both this year and next, and we’ve announced a £100m share buyback which further demonstrates our confidence in the future of the business. The new financial year has started in line with our expectations and, whilst a degree of uncertainty always exists around passenger numbers in the short-term, we continue to be well placed to benefit from the structural growth opportunities in our markets and to create value for our shareholders.”

Market Halls is launching new concept The Hall, at Intu LakesideAndy Lewis-Pratt, co-founder and chief executive of food hall operator Market Halls, has said the company plans to be a “consolidator” in the fast-growing sector.

Speaking at the latest Propel Multi-club event, which coincided with the launch of the company’s largest site so far, in Oxford Circus, Lewis-Pratt said he expected consolidation in the food hall sector, which could turn out to be a key part of the group’s expansion into the regions.

He said: “The number of food halls has increased considerably over the past few years, meaning there is scope for consolidation – and we expect to be a consolidator. We have explored the regional markets and think a key part of our strategy will be consolidating some of those regional operators.”

Lewis-Pratt said the company’s first location outside London, The Hall at Intu Lakeside (pictured) in Essex, which features seven kitchens, two bars and pop-up areas for street food trucks, had undergone teething problems. The company had previously said there could be 15 opportunities in the UK similar to Lakeside but Lewis-Pratt said the business needed time to “get the first one right”.

The company has already secured a fourth London site, at Crossrail Place in Canary Wharf, with an opening scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2020. Lewis-Pratt said the group, which also operates sites in Victoria and Fulham, was close to signing on a site in the City while the concept has also been linked with an opening at the Edinburgh St James development, which will come online next year.

Lewis-Pratt revealed the group’s site in Victoria welcomed 1.2 million people through its doors in its first 12 months. He said the company had received more than 200 enquiries from traders looking to operate at the site, which usually caters for 400 people between midday and 1pm and another 400 between 1pm and 2pm.

Mitchells & Butlers veteran and former Big Easy managing director Noel Darcy recently joined the business as interim chief operating officer. Darcy most recently helped the operational side of health-focused, fast casual concept Farmer J. He was with Mitchells & Butlers for more than 20 years and also had stints at TLC Inns and Drake & Morgan, where he helped integrate the Corney & Barrow business. Bridgepoint Growth made a “significant investment”, thought be circa £20m, in Market Halls earlier this summer to aid its expansion.

Pret Logo – image: Sorbis / Shutterstock.comPret A Manger is in talks with Israel’s largest restaurant group Café Café, which is looking to open as many as 70 franchises in the country. The Café Café group, controlled by Ronen Nimni, wants to open 50 to 70 branches across Israel of about 100 square metres each.

Café Café currently operates 15 brands, including Café Café, Fresh, Ruben, Hasushia, Lehem Erez, Kaspi, Nagisa and Sahbak. In recent months Café Café said it had considered franchising Starbucks but negotiations had been unsuccessful.

The Israeli restaurant sector has become crowded in recent years, while challenges in the coffee and restaurant sector have become even more acute due to regulatory changes such as an increase in the minimum wage, laws on bottle deposits and tips, and a crackdown on foreign workers.

A Café Café spokesman said: “We are Israel’s largest restaurant group, with more than 300 cafes and restaurants nationwide under 15 leading brands. The group assesses business proposals from time to time and neither confirms nor denies reports about its business policy.”

Chick-fil-AChick-fil-A, the largest chicken and third-largest US fast food restaurant chain, has made a major about turn in its charitable policy following protests at its US and UK sites. A boycott of restaurants has taken place since news website ThinkProgress found Chick-fil-A ha

d donated almost $1.8m to alleged anti-LGBTQ groups Fellowship Of Christian Athletes and The Salvation Army. Chick-fil-A was barred from opening venues at airports in San Antonio, Texas and Buffalo in March and April, while there have also been boycotts of the company’s debut UK sites in Reading and the Scottish Highlands.

Chick-fil-A has now announced a $9m (£6.9m) commitment to charity organisations with a focus on education, homelessness and hunger. The company said commitments to The Salvation Army and Fellowship Of Christian Athletes had been “fulfilled” and wouldn’t be renewed.

A Chick-fil-A spokesman told Nation’s Restaurant News: “The Chick-fil-A Foundation will support the three specific initiatives of homelessness, hunger and education. No organisation will be excluded from future consideration – faith-based or non-faith-based.” The groups receiving funds from the foundation include Junior Achievement, Covenant House and local food banks.

Puttshack at Intu LakesidePuttshack, the indoor mini-golf concept, has secured its first site in the US. The company will open the venue in Atlanta after signing a lease to join The Interlock, a $450m mixed-use development in the West Midtown neighbourhood.

Puttshack will occupy more than 25,000 square feet and offer four nine-hole mini-golf courses complemented by its food and drink offer and a private events space. Scheduled for completion in 2020, The Interlock will offer 100,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a boutique hotel, 350 apartments, 70 homes and more than 200,000 square feet of office space.

Puttshack chief executive Joe Vrankin said: “As we expand into the US, Atlanta is a must-have market for Puttshack – and West Midtown is the perfect fit. Our social entertainment experience is unlike any other – we’ve been blown away by the response to the concept in the UK and have no doubt we’ll see the same in Atlanta.”

The business, which completed a £30m equity raise with lead investor Promethean Investment this year, opened its latest site – and third in total – in Bank in the City of London earlier this month. Puttshack has plans for further openings, including at Intu Watford in the summer.

Alan YauWagamama and Hakkasan founder Alan Yau is working with international mozzarella bar chain Obica on a new concept called Mozzasando, Propel understands.

Described as a “homage to katsu sando” with “Italian characteristics, mozzarella DNA and a Milanese core”, Obica is set to convert its site in South Kensington’s Draycott Avenue to the new concept, with a launch scheduled for December.

Obica’s other UK sites are also in London, in Canary Wharf, Poland Street and St Paul’s. In October 2018, the company closed its site Charlotte Street, which remains on the market. The company also has venues in Italy, the US and Japan.

Yau, who also founded Busaba Eathai and is behind fine dining concepts such as Hakkasan and Yauatcha, is to open three sites in London next year – two in Canary Wharf and one at Westfield London in Shepherd’s Bush.

The highest-profile venue will be Chyna, a 120-cover seafood restaurant launching at Wardian London, a 766-apartment high-rise development due to open in Canary Wharf early next year. He will also open 45-cover, Japanese-inspired counter restaurant Yau Grill at Wardian London and a permanent site for Turkish pizza pop-up Yamabahçe in Westfield London in early 2020.

Byron has unveiled its new look featuring a reimagined design and menu and first brunch offerBetter burger brand Byron has unveiled its new look featuring a reimagined design and menu and first brunch offer.

The company’s original High Street Kensington restaurant has been redesigned to feature large communal tables and “social spaces for brunchers” as well as sofas for laptop workers and working lunches.

The site features the brand’s new-look logo and signage ahead of the “new dining experience” being rolled out across Byron’s 53-strong UK estate next year.

The new breakfast and brunch menu, created by food and drink director Sophie Michell, takes inspiration from the US west coast including chicken and waffles (cornflake-coated, buttermilk-fried chicken breast with thick-cut bacon, butter and maple syrup), while for the main menu Michell has reinvented Byron’s signature burger as The New Byron. Other new burgers on the menu include a blue cheese version and one with barbecue bourbon sauce, while new desserts include American vanilla chess pie. Byron has partnered with Paddy & Scott’s for coffee.

Michell said: “It is so exciting to witness a new era for Byron. As a long-term fan, to be able to breathe a new lease of life into the brand is thrilling. Beyond the food, which has had a serious revamp, the new spaces are somewhere guests can be excited about spending time. They’re bright, modern and in line with the creative new food offering.”

Last month Byron, which was founded in 2007, appointed Richard Danks as brand director and promoted Gillian Clements to finance director to “complete” its leadership team.

Chief executive Simon Wilkinson said: “Despite an avalanche of new restaurant brands coming on the scene, I believe Byron has the brand power to stage a remarkable comeback.” Byron underwent a company voluntary arrangement last year.

Jamie OliverJamie Oliver’s international restaurant business is to launch all-day dining concept Jamie Oliver Kitchen this month as the division continues it expansion.

The concept will offer “accessible food from a diverse and exciting menu celebrating Jamie’s journey through food over the past 20 years”.

The first venues to open under the concept will be conversions of Jamie’s Italian sites in Bali Kuta Beach and Bangkok Siam Discovery, both run by franchise partner HPL.

Jamie Oliver Kitchen Bali will launch on Thursday (21 November) followed by the Bangkok restaurant on 28 November. The concept’s key features will include an open kitchen, cafe, flexible seating with “larger tables for sharing and soft areas to lounge in”, and bar dining.

The company said menus could be “easily adapted to local flavours and food trends”, giving each restaurant “flexibility and the ability to evolve alongside changing consumer tastes”. The Bangkok menu will include soft shell crab burger with green papaya salad and sriracha mayo, while the Bali menu will feature summer rolls, Oliver’s insanity burger and beef cheek cooked in Indonesian spices.

Oliver said: “Over the past 20 years I have travelled around the world to discover exciting flavour combinations, picking up incredible influences along the way. The new restaurants will bring those inspirations to life and serve some of my absolute all-time favourites. We have created a beautiful space for everyone to enjoy the food I truly love.”

Jamie Oliver Group chief executive Paul Hunt added: “While diners around the world continue to enjoy our established brands, including Jamie’s Italian, we wanted to add to our portfolio and create a concept that allows us to showcase the best of Jamie Oliver while giving our franchise partners in each market the flexibility to adapt menus to local tastes and trends.”

Jamie Oliver Kitchen will sit alongside the group’s other brands in its international portfolio – Jamie’s Italian, Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria, Jamie’s Deli and Jamie Oliver’s Diner. In total, Jamie Oliver Group operates 70 restaurants in 27 markets, collaborating with 20 franchise partners. A further 19 openings are planned before the end of 2020.

The parent company of Tossed, the London-based healthy eating brand, is to undergo a company voluntary arrangement (CVA), after suffering a slump in trading due in part to the continued underperformance of the Vital Ingredient business it acquired last spring, Propel has learned.

Zest Food, trading as Tossed and Vital Ingredient, is understood to be working with David Rubin & Partners on the CVA proposal, which incorporates 16 Tossed sites and eight Vital Ingredient sites based in London. It is thought under the terms of the proposal up to six Vital sites could be under threat of closure and a small number of Tossed sites.

The deal for Vital Ingredient gave Zest a rare opportunity to acquire a director competitor, and subsequently to convert some to the Tossed brand or to sell to another operator. It also provided an opportunity for increased market penetration, purchasing synergies and a rationalised at head office, all of which were achieved.

However, by last autumn, following a disappointing summer’s trading in the Vital estate, it became apparent the trade of the company in which the Vital sites were in was no longer viable on a standalone basis. Therefore ten of its 11 property interests were disposed of, with eight being transferred at fair value to Zest.

It was the company’s intention to convert all Vital sites to the Tossed brand this year, but it is understood due to insufficient cash flow, arising primarily due to trading difficulties in the Vital estate, this hasn’t happened. Zest has also been unable to invest in the refurbishment of its older Tossed sites, and this has also impacted trade at these sites.

The business has also, like the wider sector, had to contend with increased costs, uncertainty surrounding Brexit and accelerated emergence of delivery sales. In addition, two of the company’s Tossed sites operate within shopping centres, where it said the performance downturn has been notably worse than on the high street. This summer’s trading has also a continued stark disparity in relative performance between the two brands. Tossed reported growth, including delivery, of 6% in the six months to September 2019, while the Vital estate reported an 8% decline in the same period.

December is the company’s lowest sales month with sites quieter and in most cases closed for Christmas. These reduced sales levels, when combined with the timing of the quarterly rent payment near the end of the month, and a significant proportion of its monthly supplier payments, result in a critical pinch point for the company’s cash flow.

The result of the shortfall against anticipated summer trading, particularly in the Vital estate, means that, despite removing all non-essential capital expenditure, insufficient cash has been built up to enable the December month-end creditors and rent quarter to be met. It is thought the company’s situation has been further exacerbated by the recent news credit insurance has been removed by the insurer supporting Zest’s two largest suppliers.

In light of all of the above, the company approached David Rubin & Partners and following advice received, decided the best course of action was to propose to its creditors a CVA. The proposals within the CVA would allow it to navigate around a significant cash flow shortage without the need to place the business into administration; to reduce ongoing operational gearing; move all rents to monthly payments; explore significantly reduced rentals or achieve exits in locations which are no longer viable; and generate sufficient cash flow to enable conversion of retained Vital sites into Tossed branded stores and refurbish the older generation Tossed sites.

The company believes the resultant business would have a streamlined estate with an appropriate level of rent, be able to service its bank debt, pay its creditors on normal commercials terms, and pay a portion of its historic debt. It also believes with the anticipated growth of in-store Tossed trading as the market normalises, supported by delivery and vending, it will be positioned as the leader in technology-led healthy eating in London.

The Restaurant Group - ChiquitoThe Restaurant Group (TRG), the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s operator, has added a further virtual delivery brand to its Chiquito estate, Propel has learned.

Available through Just Eat and Deliveroo through selected Chiquito sites in the UK, Chicken Cartel offers chicken wings, burgers and glazed chicken dishes including a quarter chicken (£4.99), half chicken (£7.49) or a Chicken Cartel Combo (£11.99).

It also offers salads and wraps. Chicken Cartel joins Cornstar Tacos and Kick Ass Burrito as virtual delivery brands available through Chiquito. TRG also offers virtual brands Stacks and Birdbox through its Frankie & Benny’s sites and a number of virtual brands out of the Foodstars unit in Battersea, including Daily Naan, Jumping Pans and Pyjama Hotel.

Mcdonalds logoMcDonald’s is testing an evolved paper straw following a backlash last year. The company said the new straw would be rolled out across Europe soon.

The fix comes after UK customers complained the straws dissolved too quickly or were not fully recyclable.

“Following feedback from customers and as the packaging industry has evolved the paper straws being rolled out are now stronger while still being made of fully recyclable materials,” the company said.

The new paper straws are part of McDonald’s series of green packaging trials in Europe dubbed Scale For Good. As reported last week, the trials also include McFlurry desserts without lids and a toy recycling programme in the UK.

In France, stores will roll out a new recyclable, fibre-based lid for all cold drinks, while in Germany a reusable cup pilot is under way. McDonald’s said once feedback was collected on all Scale For Good tests it would determine which options could be “scaled up or adapted” for broader use.

Greene King has launched an initiative aimed at combating lonelinessBrewer and retailer Greene King has launched an initiative to combat loneliness. No One Alone has launched on the back of research commissioned by the company in which more than three-fifths (63%) of those surveyed admitted they felt lonely, with almost two-fifths (39%) wishing someone would ask them to go out more often.

The research also revealed almost half (48%) believe it’s harder to find people to spend time with as they grow older. The study also found the average age when Brits stop having people to visit the pub with regularly is only 32.

Greene King has also partnered with MeetUpMondays, an initiative created to address loneliness and isolation, to deliver free, weekly get-togethers at Greene King pubs.

Chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “Our research shows loneliness can have an impact on a wide range of people all over the UK and it’s surprising to see how many adults wished they could spend more time socialising and interacting with others. Our pubs are in the heart of communities and can play a vital role in helping to tackle social isolation, becoming a hub for anyone struggling with loneliness or belonging. Many of them already host events and work with community groups to bring people together and our No One Alone initiative will provide more opportunities. We are keen to work with others as we develop this initiative.”

Coco Di MamaAzzurri Group, the owner of ASK Italian, Zizzi, Coco di Mama and Radio Alice, has reported a 7% increase in group sales to £299.4m for the year ended 30 June 2019, with like-for-like sales growth across all four brands.

The Bridgepoint-backed business said full-year adjusted Ebitda increased 3% from £37m to £38.1m, but “effective management of cost pressures across the casual dining sector” were reflected in the slightly lower Ebitda margin of 12.7% compared with 13.2% the previous year.

The Steve Holmes-led business said its performance in the year was driven by new openings in the UK, the Republic of Ireland and China, plus continued investment in refurbishments. It opened ten sites in the year and carried out 29 refurbishments.

Internationally, it opened its first site in China, a Zizzi, in Shanghai, and a third site, again under the Zizzi brand, in Ireland. Holmes said it had been a transformational year for its Italian food-to-good concept Coco di Mama, with the acquisition of 13 Pod sites. Of the three Pod sites converted to Coco di Mama since the end of the financial year, he said they were all trading ahead of expectations.

Holmes said: “We built on last year’s momentum as a leading operator in the Italian casual dining sector and expanded our presence in the food-to-go market. I am pleased over the past year all four brands grew like-for-like sales and increased their Ebitda and we have made good progress in rolling-out new restaurants.

“Cost pressures in the UK remain an ongoing challenge for the sector, and although Azzurri is not immune, the group has made adjusted Ebitda improvement and continued to trade well through these difficult conditions. We remain conscious of the current cost environment and continue to take a thoughtful approach to increased operational efficiencies.

“We have invested significantly in our estate both in the UK and internationally, with a further £20m of capital expenditure this year. Our number of sites now totals 311, with further estate expansion of ten openings, including Zizzi’s third site in Ireland and first site opened in Shanghai. We are pleased with early trading and customer feedback has been positive at these new restaurants. We have also completed 29 refurbishments to ensure we continue to appeal to customers and drive footfall to our restaurants.”

Holmes said it was a milestone year for Zizzi, which celebrating its 20th anniversary. He said: “The business delivered growth in both sales and profit and we are pleased the proposition continues to resonate with customers in the UK and now in China too. Our Zizzi restaurants have seen the vast majority of our investment with 17 restaurants undergoing transformation this year. This year was also important as it marked the reopening of our Salisbury restaurant and we have been delighted with the positive response.”

Holmes said ASK Italian made good progress in the year in terms of both sales and profit. He said: “The business continued to attract new customers with a combination of outstanding service and truly authentic Italian dishes. We are constantly evolving our menus to create new customer favourites. Our focus on delighting customers meant in 2019 we were the fastest growing brand in the CGA Brand Tracking Index of the biggest casual dining brands in the UK.” He said it had been “a transformational year for Coco di Mama, with solid profit progression and strong returns on our investment”.

He said: “Customers continue to love our hero products of made-to-order pasta and speciality coffee, as well as new categories such as gelato and ‘black ice’ lattes. We opened two stores in the year and were delighted to acquire 13 Pod sites, which set us up well for accelerated growth in the future. We have a robust pipeline of new stores to convert into Coco di Mama over the next year and are excited about our prospects for this business.” Holmes said the past year had been “all about building brand awareness and increasing footfall” for its three-strong Radio Alice concept.

He said: “We are pleased to have opened a third restaurant in London this year, which is located in the heart of Canary Wharf. Against the continuing challenges in the UK, we have an exciting pipeline of conversions and refurbishments ahead and are focused on expanding our presence, particularly in the food-to-go market.”

Rosa's Thai Cafe and Saiphin MooreAlex and Siphon Moore (pictured), the founders of Rosa’s Thai Cafe, plan on growing Ceviche, the Peruvian-inspired business, they have acquired out of administration.

The Moores, which sold a majority stake in Rosa’s to private equity firm TriSpan last summer, have acquired the original Ceviche site in Frith Street in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch and Casita Andina in Great Windmill Street, also in Soho.

Ceviche Old Street, Ceviche Notting Hill and Andina bakery, also in Notting Hill, closed earlier this month. The Moores bought the Ceviche business out of administration in a management-led buy-out deal through Atomex – the turnaround company they set up by last year.

Alex Moore told Propel the plan was to run the business as was until after the festive period, before looking to engage with previous shareholders, which included Michael Acton Smith, the founder of Moshi Monsters; and Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla; who had their stakes wiped out through the administration process, to see if they wanted to get involved again.

Propel understands the Moores started talking to Ceviche founder Martin Morales last year about where the business needed to go and also about possibly investing in the business. Morales, who founded Ceviche in 2012, will remain an ambassador for the brand, but will have no day-to-day involvement in the business. The company will continue to be led by managing director Raquel Oliveira, who also becomes a shareholder in the business. Her role will be to stabilise and drive the business in its new chapter with the support of the Moores.

She said: “I am incredibly grateful for having the support of Alex and Saiphin in helping save our beautiful restaurants and our team’s employment. I’m looking forward to working alongside them and creating a strong company once again.” Group head chef Daniel Ribeiro and group operations manager Alessio Bascherini also remain with the business.

Alex Moore told Propel: “There is fundamentally a good business there, but it may have lost sight of what made it a success in the first place. We think there is potential to grow the business but first we will run it up to and over the festive period. We will then talk to its previous shareholders about whether they want to re-invest and go from there. It is tough being a founder of a business and we sympathise with what Martin has gone through.”

Moore said Ceviche would be run separate from his other business interests and that they had decided to temporarily close their Hoh Sek Noodles venture, which launched earlier this year in St Katharine’s Dock. Last month, Morales told Propel he was hopeful of securing the business’ future after filing a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

Morales, who used to work alongside Steve Jobs at Apple, was working with advisory firm RSM on an accelerated sale of Ceviche. The move came after what Morales described as an “incredibly tough” past 18 months for the business.

Morales said of the buy-out: “It’s with a heavy heart that I step away from the business I created and love dearly, but know I am leaving it in Raquel’s very capable hands. She’s been with me on this journey from day one, and has so much passion for both Ceviche and Andina brands. I’m excited about what lies ahead and I am sure with Alex and Saiphin’s support, she can help grow the business, despite the challenging and uncertain economic times we are currently in.”

Bistrot Pierre in EastbourneBistrot Pierre, the Livingbridge-backed French restaurant group, has opened its 25th site, which features a new cafe bar concept. The company has opened the venue in Eastbourne, East Sussex – 25 years after launching in Nottingham.

The Wish Tower site in King Edward’s Parade has been redeveloped by Bistrot Pierre to create a restaurant, café bar and outdoor terrace. The new restaurant has created 65 jobs and seats more than 150 diners. The cafe bar area serves a range of brunch dishes, open-grilled sandwiches, baguettes, burgers and small plates.

Co-founder Rob Beacham said: “We wanted to reflect our beautiful new coastal location in our menus and interior design. For the first time, we’ve developed a tailor-made fish menu with a local fish supplier. A cafe bar is a new concept for us. Being by the coast lent itself perfectly to this offering. After 25 years in business, we’ve learnt a lot. We’re continuing to innovate and respond to local markets, opening fantastic sites across the UK. We’re now looking forward to a busy Christmas – and welcoming new diners to our Eastbourne restaurant.”

Last month, the company launched an improved loyalty app – Club Bistrot Pierre.

British Beer & Pub Association new chief executive Emma McClarkinThe British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has published its manifesto for beer and pubs, outlining what the next government should do to help the industry thrive ahead of the general election.

It includes urging the new government to back the Long Live The Local campaign by implementing a real-term cut in beer duty during the course of the next parliament.

The manifesto asks the new government to address the unfairness of the business rates system, recognise the growing cost burden on pub businesses, and not add further burdensome regulation to the beer and pub sector.

The manifesto also calls for the new government to provide greater flexibility to promote and market lower-strength beer and enable a trading relationship with the European Union that would allow the seamless movement of beer.

BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin (pictured) said: “Pubs and brewing are not only vital to the UK economy but also to our culture and way of life. The next government must recognise this and work to create an environment in which they can thrive. Our manifesto sets out what the next government can and should do to support our sector. I hope candidates in all parties recognise the importance of brewing and pubs in the communities they seek to serve and help promote these policies our sector urgently needs.”

Chilango has launched its festive menuCity AM has reported that Mexican brand is in talks to secure its long-term future with restructuring firm RSM and is more than six weeks late posting its accounts. City AM added that the firm is considering all options including administration or a company voluntary arrangement. Chilango said it had engaged RSM “to assist on long-term planning, options and strategy” for the company. City AM added: “Accounts for Chilango – which runs 12 restaurants in London, Manchester and Birmingham – were due to be filed with Companies House by 30 September, but are marked as overdue online.

Chilango spokesperson said the company was “currently working” with its auditors to get the accounts “out as soon as possible”. It is understood the company is audited by Grant Thornton. The burrito chain has raised £5.8m from around 1,500 retail investors through two mini-bonds dubbed “Burrito Bonds” – controversial investment products that have come under scrutiny in recent months.

Mini-bonds allow investors to essentially buy company debt for a set period in exchange for regular interest payments. More than 700 investors backed Chilango’s first bond, which was raised in 2014. Its most recent bond – promising an eight per cent return for four years – closed in April last year.

The offering was over-subscribed, and exceeded its initial £1m target to raise £3.7m from almost 800 retail investors. The minimum investment for the bond was £500 but 194 backers invested over £10,000, qualifying them for a free weekly burrito for the duration of the loan.”

 

Fuller's chief executive Simon EmenyFuller’s, the premium pubs and hotels business, has reported total sales in its managed estate grew 5.2% with like for like sales growth of 2.3% for the 32 weeks to nine November 2019, ‘against strong comparatives for the corresponding period last year albeit with some margin erosion due to industry wide cost pressures’.

The company stated: “As previously communicated, 2019 has been an unprecedented year of change for Fuller’s following the disposal of the Brewing Business to Asahi; delivery of the Transitional Services Agreement (TSA) associated with the sale; and migration to a new Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP). As a result of the sale of the brewing business, underlying earnings of the retained business have been aligned accordingly and the vast majority of the central overheads reflecting Fuller’s former integrated structure have been retained by the company until the TSA agreement with Asahi comes to an end by May next year.

“Whilst it was not underestimated that this would be a period of significant transition for the business, the costs associated with carrying the central overhead previously allocated to the beer company have transpired to be materially higher than expected, with additional resource required to assist the business through this complex separation period.

“In part, this has been impacted further by the migration to a new ERP system which has not yet delivered the expected benefits and additional costs have been incurred operating the system as a result. It is anticipated that the current level of overhead will continue until the TSA agreement concludes by May 2020. Thereafter, the company will be able to transition to a structure more appropriate for a focused premium pubs and hotels business.

“As a result of the above, it is anticipated that profit performance for the full year ending 28 March 2020 will be broadly in line with the prior year on a comparable basis, resulting in adjusted profit before tax in the region of £31m. Looking forward our strategy is clear and remains on track as we look to deliver our growth plans for the future as a focused premium pubs and hotels business. This has been evidenced most recently by our acquisition of Cotswold Inns and Hotels, comprising seven high quality, freehold country inns and hotels, together with two vibrant leasehold bars in Birmingham’s city centre.”

Fuller’s chief executive Simon Emeny (pictured) said: “This is a transitional year for the company following the sale of the brewing business and subsequent separation of a highly integrated business. There have been many moving parts to navigate and we have incurred some greater than anticipated costs as a result which have had a short term impact on our financial performance.

“Whilst we are taking the action to address these, the impact of this will not be felt in the current financial year. Trading is good in light of exceptionally strong comparatives last year and the continued challenge of cost inflation facing our sector. Our strategy remains on track and we will continue to execute our growth ambitions and maximise the opportunities open to us as a focused pubs and hotel business.”

Patrick Dardis, Young's Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel he believes there will be more pub sector deals to come – but his company won’t be one of them. With Ei Group and Greene King sold in recent months, Dardis said there were no plans for Young’s to go down the same route. He added the company also planned to increase investment in the estate despite current economic uncertainty – including bringing forward the revamp of its Redcomb sites. Speaking following the company’s first-half results, in which revenue rose 7.3% to £168.2m, Dardis said: “There have been no approaches as far as I’m aware.

The company still has the family backing and a great group of shareholders. Our focus is on continuing to grow and driving the top and bottom line. As we’ve said before, we’ve got the firepower to make acquisitions if the right opportunities come along. I think the sales of Ei Group and Greene King are good for the sector and I believe there will be more activity in the next two to three years – just not us! I think there’s a lot of cash ready to flood into the UK once Brexit is resolved and, given the buoyancy of the pub sector and its freehold property market, there’s bound to be interest.”

Young’s invested £17.3m in the first half of its financial year, including the freehold acquisition of the White Bear in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Investment in the second half will include refurbishing the remainder of the 15-strong Redcomb estate, having revamped two sites in recent weeks. Dardis said the refurbished sites had seen a “significant” uplift in sales. He added: “We were going to do the programme over two or three years but we’ve decided to bring it forward and it will be complete by the end of the financial year. It’s early days but one of the sites saw an uplift of 20% on the weekend after it reopened and the level has been sustained.” Dardis said the company would look to boost the number of bedrooms in its estate, which is currently near 700. One of its strategies is buying neighbouring properties – as it has done at the Dog & Fox in Wimbledon. Having acquired a former Chinese restaurant next door, Young’s is spending £5m to add 12 bedrooms, taking the venue’s total to 29. The Coach House, as it will be called, is due to open in the spring. Dardis said much of the revenue growth in the first half had been driven by premiumisation, while sales of Guinness were up 18% and cask ale was back in growth for the first time in five years.

Reflecting on the company’s first-half performance and looking ahead, Dardis said: “We are feeling pretty upbeat considering the tough comparables of last year. Next summer also sees Euro 2020 so we’re pretty excited about that. We’ve also seen a significant increase in bookings for Christmas so we’re hopeful of a decent festive season.”

Propel and Think Hospitality have unveiled the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator 30 Under 30 finalists for 2020. The programme recognises young talent aged below 30 who carry out marketing, innovation and development roles in the hospitality sector. It is hosted at the European Summit, which also incorporates a two-day conference and awards event. More than 70 professionals were nominated, with a panel of industry and agency leaders judging the applications.

The recipients will be recognised at a special reception held at Google’s headquarters in London on Monday, 20 January and will receive a free ticket to the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit.

The 2020 list is
Alexandra Goode, public relations and marketing manager for Nobu Restaurants;
Annah McKendry, head of marketing at Vagabond Wines;
Carys Cobley, marketing and communications executive of Black and White Hospitality;
Chantelle Hofland, manager restaurant development Europe, UK & Ireland at Hilton;
Charlotte Price, social media and influencer marketing specialist at Ignite Hospitality;
Connie Goring-Morris, brand manager at Carluccio’s;
Dylan Yelavich, marketing manager at Abokado;
Elli Hornis, marketing and administration manager at Bierschenke;
Esme Tailor, global digital content marketing manager at Pret A Manger;
Ewa Kubianka, marketing manager at Tortilla;
Grace Regan, chief executive and founder of SpiceBox;
Holly Holt, assistant marketing manager at Casual Dining Group;
Jack Jolly, national campaign manager at New World Trading Company;
Jessica Beechey, brand and marketing manager at PubLove;
Jonathan Fone, marketing manager of Be At One;
Joseph Moore, managing director of Crust Bros;
Katarzyna Makowska, marketing manager Burger King CEE at AmRest;
Kate Dell, senior regional marketing manager at Wagamama;
Kate Goodbrand-Dillon, senior account executive at Fleet Street Communications;
Kate Williams, account manager at Fleet Street Communications;
Kieran Corbitt, social media and community manager at The Alchemist;
Laura Vana, head of research and development at Siigur Restaurants;
Lucy Chase-Gardener, group senior marketing manager at Coffeesmiths Collective;
Mary-Kate Shannon-Little, marketing manager at Casual Dining Group;
Mike Trevena, marketing and PR Manager at The Stable;
Mohamed Chahin, co-founder of Eatclever;
Sara Bidabady, senior account manager at Elliotts Agency;
Sarah McDermott, digital marketing manager at Young’s;
Sheniz Ozdemir, senior account executive at Fleet Street Communications;
Susie Clark, digital marketing manager at Bistrot Pierre.

CockNBull.Co, which former Chiquito managing director Jason Green and Frankie & Benny’s brand director David Salmon are behindFormer Chiquito managing director Jason Green and Frankie & Benny’s brand director David Salmon are to open their third site, this weekend, and are targeting a 12-strong estate in the next five years. Their company, Green & Salmon, which operates two sites under its bar and kitchen concept CockNBull.Co (CnB), will launch Coal & Cotton in Boothstown, Worsley. They have taken on The Greyhound, which is their first site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars.

Following a more than £750,000 joint refurbishment, the former wet-led pub has been transformed to feature a gin distillery incorporated into the bar producing its own Boothstown Gin. Green said: “We are delighted with the look of Coal & Cotton, a new concept we’re developing to sit alongside our CnB brand. It will allow us to grow more quickly. Before we have even opened the doors we’ve had more than 2,000 bookings from people wanting to eat with us.” Charlie Gale, Star Pubs & Bars investment manager, said: “It is a stunning pub now, unlike anything else in the area.

With an experienced team such as Jason and David driving it forward, I’m sure it will be a great success. We wish them well and look forward to helping them realise their ambitions.” Green and Salmon left The Restaurant Group to set up CnB in 2017, launching the concept in Stourbridge in September that year. A second CnB opened in Mere Green at the end of April.

Casual Dining Group brand Bella Italia has partnered with global play and entertainment company Hasbro to launch a family games offer at select UK sites. Between 3pm and 5pm daily, classic board games such as Jenga, Connect 4 and Guess Who will be available to play. The initiative forms part of Bella Italia’s ambition to “innovate and encourage quality family time and memorable experiences while dining”.

Head of brand Marc Saunders said: “We are always looking at how we can partner with like-minded businesses to drive engagement and footfall. The allure of gadgets and technology means young children are shunning traditional games for their devices – but a board game is a great way to bond as a family. Combined with the launch of our winter menu, we’re confident the Hasbro partnership will further strengthen Bella Italia’s position as a leading place for families to choose when eating out of home.” Bella Italia’s winter menu includes more than 15 dishes inspired by classic Italian favourites and the continued popularity of vegetarianism and veganism.

BrewDog has opened a mini hotel above its Aberdeen pub BrewDog has opened bookings for its Aberdeen Kennels, the first of a series of “mini-hotels” that will be rolled-out to the Scottish brewer and retailer’s city centre venues in Berlin, London, Paris and Manchester. Prices for the rooms start at £75, with discounts for Equity Punks, and come with a welcome craft beer at check-in, food and beer delivered from BrewDog Castlegate downstairs, shower beer, French-press coffee, a record player with vinyl, a guitar, and dog beds and treats. Rental bikes will also be available to explore Aberdeen.

This week BrewDog hit the minimum £500,000 target in its latest mini-bond raise within 36 hours of launch. The company is looking to raise up to £15m to support expansion. The bond is running alongside the company’s Equity for Punks crowdfunding campaign, which also hit its minimum £7m target this week. Investment plans include opening a hotel, brewery and museum in London after its first hotel, the Doghouse at its brewery in Columbus, Ohio, “exceeded all expectations”. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “We have brought the spirit of Doghouse to a new series of mini-hotels – and what better start for BrewDog Kennels than our home city?”

Patrick Dardis, Young'sLondon pub retailer Young’s has reported strong trading in the most recent 13 weeks of its financial year with managed house revenue up 12.4% and like-for like sales increasing 5.1%.

It comes as the company reported total revenue increased 7.3% to £168.2m for the 26 weeks ending 30 September 2019, compared with £156.8m the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda pre-IRFS 16 rose 7.2% to a first-half record £43.3m, compared with £40.4m the year before.

Adjusted profit before tax pre-IRFS 16 was up 3.4% to £27.0m, compared with £26.1m the previous year. Managed house like-for-like sales in the period were up 1.1%, “reflecting the challenging prior comparatives from the hottest English summer on record and England’s Fifa World Cup performance”.

Ram Pub Company – its tenanted division – saw like-for-like sales fall 1.6% against the “same tough comparable period”. There was investment of £17.3m during the period, including the freehold acquisition of the White Bear in Tunbridge Wells. The Redcomb pubs have been successfully integrated into the existing Young’s estate and, after a build-up period, are performing in line with expectations. Net debt was reduced by £8.6m to £155.0m. It reported a strong balance sheet with financial capacity for further investment.

Chief executive Patrick Dardis (pictured) said: “I am very pleased with the performance of our business during the first half of the year. In what was a challenging period up against tough comparatives, we continued to grow profits, make acquisitions, invest organically and increase the dividend – a reflection of the consistent execution of our strategy and the hard work of our teams throughout those six months.

“The start of the half-year was challenging as the poor and unpredictable weather was a far cry from last year’s exceptional early summer sunshine. However, the summer bank holiday temperatures and late-September sunshine contributed to strong like-for-like sales growth in the second 13 weeks, which helped to balance the first half, with like-for-like sales finishing up 1.1%.

“We have added the White Bear, a freehold pub in Tunbridge Wells, into our managed house estate and continue to seek out the right opportunities in exciting new locations where we believe our premium offer will flourish. Although the upcoming general election prolongs the unpredictability of the political environment, it does not change our approach or confidence in our winning strategy of running high-quality, well-invested premium pubs.

“Our expectations for the full year remain unchanged and we remain confident in our ability to deliver long-term growth and sustainable superior investor returns. Recent trading has been strong, with total sales for the past 13 weeks up 12.4% and up 5.1% on a like-for-like basis demonstrating the strength of our underlying growth.

“During October, key weekend trading days were dominated by heavy rain. Although we saw an uplift from the knockout stages of the Rugby World Cup with England’s successful run to the final, there will be an impact on the coming weeks in our heartland due to the lack of autumn rugby internationals at Twickenham Stadium.

“In the second half of the year we will see further benefit from the Redcomb pubs through Christmas until the acquisition annualises at the end of January. Investment is planned in the final quarter at the Bickley (Chislehurst), Carnarvon Arms (Newbury) and Worplesdon Place (Guildford), setting them up perfectly for the new financial year. The New Inn (Ealing), which we transferred from the Ram Pub Company earlier this year, will also undergo major investment, opening in spring 2020.”

Tortilla

Tortilla, the Quilvest-backed, fast-casual Mexican concept, has begun exploring the possibility of opening a “dark kitchen” to tap into areas of the country in which the brand is under-represented.

Managing director Richard Morris told Propel that off the back of the growth of the delivery side of its business and the success of a smaller “Baby Tortilla” format the company was to begin the search for a possible dark kitchen site, but had yet to decide which location or approach it would take.

Morris said: “Clearly our business has proved itself as a hugely popular delivery item. Whist our in-house sales have remained strong, we have benefited from the extra revenue driven by delivery and take away. Dark kitchens have been on our radar for a while – we just need to be sure these are in the right locations, either as test areas for new sites, or to help in areas where our restaurants are over trading with delivery.

“There are areas within the London area we currently don’t service, and outside London would also present great opportunities for us. The revenues of dark kitchens are generally lower than restaurants, so we have to consider manpower, and ensure we can operate them efficiently and to the same standards as our restaurants.”

Morris said the group’s smaller format sites in Putney, Southwark and Soho, already operate, up to a point, like dark kitchens. Last month, the company announced it would make its transport debut, after signing a development agreement with food travel company SSP.

The agreement will see Tortilla open its 43rd UK restaurant in London’s Euston station, with a further four openings planned in key travel hubs next year. Propel understands Tortilla will replace SSP’s own Mi Casa Burritos brand in some locations, including Euston. SSP also operates Mi Casa sites in stations including Waterloo, Victoria and Birmingham New Street.

Tim MartinJD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has told Propel it does not plan to put any more pubs on the market for at least two years. Martin said the recent work to consolidate the portfolio was now effectively complete and even the tail end of the estate was performing well.

Speaking following the company’s first-quarter results, Martin said: “We’re more or less there with the reorganisation. We are not planning to put any pubs on the market in this financial year or the next. After that there might be one of two we look to dispose of, but it won’t be the packages there’s been in recent years. Our average sales per pub are up 60% in the past ten years.”

The company added to its portfolio this week with the acquisition of HQ Bar and Restaurant in Dublin and Martin said he believed there was still scope for up to 30 sites in Ireland. He said he was particularly keen to open a pub in the Temple Bar area of the city.

Martin said the company’s continued like-for-like sales growth – up 5.3% in the first quarter – was being driven by increased sales across the board. He added: “We are continuing to see good growth, although it has dropped off a bit in the past six weeks. Coffee, Pepsi, non-alcoholic beer, gin and real ale are particularly popular and we have also seen a bit of a surge in sales of guest beers from micro-breweries.”

Martin also took another swipe at the rules over corporate governance, saying it’s “throwing experience in the dustbin”. Asked whether he was confident of getting approval for Wetherspoon’s annual report at its annual general meeting next week given shareholder unrest, Martin said: “We will just have to wait and see.” Looking ahead to the rest of the financial year, he added: “We are cautiously optimistic about the outlook.”

Goodbody leisure analyst Paul Ruddy said: “The secret to Wetherspoon’s success is not in one single programme, but a myriad of successful initiatives. While its point of differentiation in the market has always been their lower prices, improvements to venues, better food offering and the addition of coffee and pizza to menus have all contributed to strong like-for-like sales.

“Tim Martin’s commentary on the corporate governance code makes a disappointing addition to the trading update. Some of the points he raises appear to have some validity but the question arises as to whether or not he is acting in the best interest of the other Wetherspoon shareholders?”

Dan Warne, who stepped down as managing director of Deliveroo earlier this year, is to launch an immersive food hall concept, backed by sector investors Imbiba. Shelter Hall will open next summer in Brighton’s rebuilt Victorian Shelter Hall on the city’s seafront as an ethically-driven, immersive food hall concept, delivered by Sessions.

Sessions is a new business led by Warne, with former Tragus chief executive Graham Turner as its non-executive chairman. The business is financed by Imbiba, the specialist leisure and hospitality investor. Sessions said Shelter Hall would be its landmark food hall, with the company planning to “redefine urban areas through harnessing modern consumer trends”.

Warne, who left Deliveroo in the summer to pursue this concept, said: “We’re excited to win the contract to deliver our ethically-driven, immersive, food hall concept to the much-anticipated Shelter Hall seafront development. Sessions’ world-class vision combines the best food, drink and entertainment from the top and emerging food destinations across Brighton and Hove. And we already have a number of the city’s favourite independent restaurants supporting our plans and ready to join us.

“Sustainability, community and local philanthropy are at the centre of our business model. With a local team on board, community partnerships already in place and a financial model set to give back to the community, we say roll on 2020!”

Warne said Sessions was a “mission-driven urban regeneration concept, with the goal of redefining town centres to reflect modern consumer trends”. He added: “The business will begin in Brighton and bring together independent restaurateurs in large-scale, community-orientated food halls to provide expansive choice under one roof at competitive prices.

“Eco-friendly and focused on delivering high quality, sustainably sourced products, Sessions will reinvigorate locations and galvanise communities by providing dynamic, flexible places in which to meet, dine, socialise and enjoy engaging experiences. These places will constantly evolve with the local environment by adapting their varied offerings to changing tastes.”

Kieran Sherlock, property director for Imbiba, which also backs companies such as Vagabond, Farmer J and Darwin & Wallace, said: “We’re delighted to be backing the new food hall for Sessions on Brighton seafront. Shelter Hall is an iconic venue that will showcase the very best of Brighton and Hove’s exciting food scene all under one roof, while reflecting the diverse culture and history of a city famous for good times and merriment. It’s a new dining concept for the city that meets the demands from modern diners to have great experiences in beautiful places.”

Greene King LogoGreene King, the brewer and pub operator, which has been taken private by CK Asset Holdings in a £4.6bn deal, has begun a trial of a delivery offer with Deliveroo out of some of its pubs in London.

The delivery offer – Pub Classics from Greene King – is now available across about ten of the company’s London-based sites, including The Prince of Wales in Covent Garden and the Hope & Anchor in Islington.

The offer includes meal deals such as fish and chips with beer for two at £32.99, rising to £65.99 for four people. People can also order a sports food and beer offer for four, which features four bacon and cheese burgers or chicken burgers with chips, 20 chicken wings and eight bottles of Peroni.

There are also classic pub dishes such as steak and ale pie; fish and chips; and Hunter’s chicken, plus sharing dishes. Burgers available include a chicken burger, a salt beef burger and a chickpea, red pepper and hoisin burger. Earlier this summer, The Actress in Dulwich became the first under Greene King’s Metropolitan Pub Company arm to offer some of its menu through Deliveroo, which focuses on the wood-fire ovens pizza the pub already offers, plus a selection of burgers.

The launch in The Actress is believed to be part of a plan to launch Deliveroo in specified pubs in north, south and central London. Greene King has been offering a delivery option with Deliveroo through its Loch Fyne restaurants for a couple of years.

A Greene King spokesman told Propel: “Ten of our central London pubs are offering customers the chance to enjoy a range of our pub classics at home along with some great drink deals, delivered by Deliveroo. We are testing it to ensure we get the offer and experience right for customers.”

Richard Hodgson has been appointed chief executive of YO! SushiPropel Premium subscribers will receive a daily video for ten days starting next Monday (18 November) featuring some of the sector’s top casual dining operators talking about their progress in the current challenging market.

The videos feature a wide spectrum of company leaders and entrepreneurs from across the industry talking about the strategies they have put in place to make sure their businesses have been able to survive, thrive, evolve or pivot.

Videos will include YO! chief executive Richard Hodgson (pictured); Marta Pogroszewska, managing director of Gail’s; Shereen Ritchie, UK managing director of Leon; Byron chief executive Simon Wilkinson, Giggling Squid co-founder Andy Laurillard; Red’s True Barbecue co-founder James Douglas; Brasserie Bar Co chairman Mark Derry, Prue Freeman, founder of fledgling group Daisy Green; Phil Eeles, co-founder of Honest Burgers; and The NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport.

There will also be video of a panel session featuring Thom Elliot, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims, Dan Houghton, co-founder of Chilango, and Gavin Adair, managing director of Rosa’s Thai, who will explore the benefits and challenges that come with offering a delivery option, its impact on business models, staff and expansion opportunities.

Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,500 businesses.

An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Videos will send out each day at 5pm and 2pm on a Friday.

Restaurant Marketer & innovator HeadingPropel and Think Hospitality are staging a Technology Masterclass, which will launch the 2020 Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit. The event, which is open for bookings, will take place on Monday, 20 January at Google’s headquarters in King’s Cross and is for operators only.

The event will provide insights into the way technology is driving the future of the foodservice sector and how operators can harness the opportunity. Google will talk about the current and future trends that will deliver an impact through the Google Cloud platform and other key technologies.

Victoria Searl, founder of We Are Data Hawks and former marketing director of various respected restaurant brands, will look at the importance of data and how to instil a culture where data becomes central to decision-making in operations-centric organisations. Consultant Paul Willis will introduce the principles of Japan’s “omotenashi” customer experience. He will get beyond the Japanese buzzwords to analyse what it means in easy-to-understand language and how omotenashi can bridge the service culture gap. Peter Critchley, chief executive of Beaver Trison, will talk about the opportunity and evolution of digital relevance, dynamic pricing, contextual promotions, and how machine learning and analytics are transforming the customer journey. Dan Houghton, co-founder of Chilango, will tell the story of how he left Skype and founded the Mexican brand, talking about the motivation for a data-driven approach while giving the audience a peek under the bonnet of its analytical stack. Chris Fung, non-executive director and investor in a number of disruptive high-growth food and food technology businesses, will give an insight into the latest developments in the world of food technology and highlight the tech that will help shape the foodservice sector’s future. Ian Ohan, chief executive of Krush Brands, will reveal how he has built a world-class food and beverage operating and franchising company with proprietary food technology, with multiple consumer-facing brands including Freedom Pizza, Coco Yogo, Wildflower Poke and The Salad Jar. Meanwhile, Sam Brown, sales director at Wireless Social, will lead a panel featuring Nick Smith, commercial director at Boparan Restaurant Group; Bebe Oladipo, head of IT at Azzurri Group; Bharti Radix, group finance director at Coffeesmiths Collective; and Simon Iddon, chief information officer at Le Pain Quotidien, who will discuss their approach to technology in enhancing customer experience and driving commercial returns. Tickets, which cost £195 plus VAT for operators who are Propel Premium subscribers and £245 plus VAT for other operators, can be purchased by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

BII NITAs 2019The British Institute of Innkeepers (BII) has announced the finalists for the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs), while bookings for the event are open. The winners will be revealed at an awards ceremony at Cafe de Paris in London on Tuesday, 26 November.

The NITAs, in association with and organised by Propel, recognise those companies and individuals for whom people and training are at the heart of their business.

The finalists are Most Innovative Recruitment Strategy: Brewhouse & Kitchen, Loving Hospitality and Only A Pavement Away; HR Manager of the Year: Mark Vaughan (Beds and Bars) and Lee Woolley (Stonegate Pub Company); Professional Trainer of the Year: Alex Double (Brewhouse & Kitchen), Jeremy Scorer (HIT Training) and Kerry Raworth (Marston’s); Best Managed Training Programme over 50 outlets: BrewDog, Fuller’s and Stonegate Pub Company; Best Managed Training Programme under 50 outlets: Brewhouse & Kitchen, Brasserie Bar Co, University of Surrey Students’ Union and Wells & Co; Best Casual Dining Training Programme: Brasserie Bar Co and The Grey Mare; Best Leased and Tenanted Training Programme: Greene King and Marston’s; and Best Apprenticeship Training Programme: Fuller’s, Greene King and St Austell Brewery.

The Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Sky, will be chosen by a panel led by Keith Knowles, chief executive and founder of Beds and Bars. This award will identify and recognise an individual working in the on-trade sector who leads by example and demonstrates training and people are at the core of what they do. This is an industry recognition award rather than a category open for entries and is in memory of the late Franca Knowles, who herself was a multiple winner of NITA awards.

Tickets for the NITAs are £150 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

People and Training ConferenceAdditional speakers have joined the line-up for next month’s People and Training Conference. The event, organised by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) in association with Propel, will take place on Tuesday, 26 November at Bafta Piccadilly and is open for bookings.

Added to the speaker list is CPL Online chief commercial officer Jamie Campbell, who will explores how learning and development that delivers growth, opportunities and resilience is vital to inspire performance of your most valuable and ever evolving asset – your people. Meanwhile, Jill Whittaker, managing director at HIT Training, will be joined by Graham Briggs, head of apprenticeships and employability programmes at Greene King, and James Nye, managing director at Anglian Country Inns, to review the evolution of the apprenticeship levy over the past two years. Other speakers include Yapster co-founder Rob Liddiard; Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media; Charlotte Kemp, head of people and culture at Mission Mars; Royal Marine Major Scotty Mills; Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron; Kevin Charity, founder and chief executive of Coaching Inn Group; Conor Shaw, chief executive of Bizimply; and David Smith, former HR director for Asda. Meanwhile, Ralph Findlay, chief executive of Marston’s, talks to Propel insights editor Mark Wingett about the company’s approach to recruitment and retention. There will also be an HR directors’ panel, where Krishnan Doyle, founder of COREcruitment, will talk to Janene Pretorius, people director at The Ivy Collection; Claire Clark, HR director at Casual Dining Group; Tim Painter, HR director at Stonegate Pub Company; Dawn Browne, people and talent director at Fuller’s; and Cheryl Horn, talent director at OYO; about the challenges of recruitment and retention in the sector.

Tickets are £65 plus VAT for operators who are BII members and BIIAB members and £200 plus VAT for operators who are non-BII members. Supplier tickets are £95 plus VAT for BII members and BIIAB members and £245 plus VAT for all other organisations. To book, email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

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Propel Multi Club November 19

Propel Multi Club November 2019

15th November 2019

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Propel Quarterly - Aut19 Cover

Propel Quarterly

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