Story of the Day:
More than three-quarters of Brits buy lunch out every day, weekend brunch on the rise
More than three-quarters (76%) of Brits buy lunch out every day compared with less than two-thirds (64%) in 2016, according to new research by Mintel. Sounding a death knell for the packed lunch, three-quarters (75%) of respondents buy lunch out of home for a leisure occasion, up from 68% in the previous year. More than one-quarter (26%) of respondents are eating out for a leisure occasion once a week or more, compared with 22% in 2016. Almost two in five (39%) of respondents buy lunch to eat out of home once a week or more, up from 35% the previous year, while 41% who bought lunch to eat out of home in the past month said they eat more grab-and-go than sit-down meals, a figure rising to 50% among full-time employees. Of those, more than half (54%) said workday lunches are more “functional than enjoyment-based”. A further one-third (34%) of Brits said brunch had replaced traditional weekend lunches such as Sunday roasts, rising to 48% of those aged 25 to 34 and 45% of Londoners. Of those who buy lunch out of home, more than two in five (41%) are influenced by their state of mind when deciding whether to buy lunch out of home, for instance if they are tired or happy, while almost four in five (79%) agree “food can improve your mood”, rising to 83% among female respondents. Of those who buy lunch to eat out of home, fewer than one-third (32%) look for the cheapest-priced item for a Monday to Wednesday lunch, while 31% do so on Thursdays and Fridays. Only 22% look for the cheapest lunch option on a Saturday or Sunday. Mintel senior leisure analyst Helen Fricker said: “The range of options for lunch on the high street has grown, which means those with dietary needs are far better catered for than in previous years. State of mind is also a key driver behind lunchtime food choice and the increased availability of healthy, mood-boosting and functional foods is tapping into this need. It seems diners cannot get enough of weekend brunch. During the past few years there has been a huge rise in brunch availability and all types of foodservice outlets have entered this space. The range on offer is constantly expanding and the variations available continue to evolve.”
Aaron Mellor – immersive theatre is the future rather than superstar DJs
Entrepreneur Aaron Mellor, who runs the largest private estate of bars and nightclubs in the UK, a portfolio of 36 sites under the Tokyo Industries banner, has told the Bar and Nightclub Conference immersive theatre is the future rather than superstar DJs. Mellor said its Impossible Manchester venue, which got its name because it was “pretty much impossible to develop”, was originally going to be a second site for the company’s Tup Tup Palace, which had proved a success in Newcastle, with a Brewhaus site upstairs. However, while Mellor was involved in setting up Heart in Ibiza, he decided to change its entertainment away from “superstar DJs” towards more “immersive artists”. Speaking alongside Tokyo Industries operations consultant Paul Gourlay, Mellor said: “In Ibiza, we deliberately decided to go against the whole ‘superstar DJ’ mechanic. In the UK, the superstar DJs have got superstar agents and superstar invoices, and you just can’t get that money back. Whilst certain sites remain headlined by the ‘superstar DJ’, that can not longer work in smaller venues, we are leaning to ‘immersive acts and performers’ to deliver the guest experiential that ‘superstar DJs’ previously filled.” Impossible Manchester now consists of what Mellor calls a “trilogy of three different spaces” that trade throughout the day. Dayparts are served by a bar restaurant with its own Impossible Taco Shack and full-service kitchen, while upstairs is a secret “gin nest” – Ginpossible – with 150 gins and a cryogenic freezing chamber. In the basement is a 550-capacity theatre space – Theatre Of Impossible – which launched in September. Mellor said: “It would have been a lot easier to have done a Tup Tup Palace and an RnB bottle service club and we’d probably have smashed it out the park. It’s ten times harder and ten times more expensive but, for me, it’s what we should be doing. We’re really involved in this now, moving away from DJs and into this immersive theatre idea – and that for me is super important.” Impossible Manchester, which launched in the summer, won best new venue at the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ late-night awards – but it nearly did not get off the ground. Mellor added: “It’s called Impossible because it was pretty much impossible to develop – it took almost two-and-a-half years. Almost as soon as we signed a lease on the site, which is in probably Manchester’s coolest street, Peter Street, the freehold was sold to a new developer, which thought the site was empty. The company was looking to build a 30-storey tower block without realising we’d taken a 25-year lease on the site it was going to sit on. We got involved with some interesting discussions about perhaps running a boutique hotel or Shoreditch House-style venue with rooftop terrace. That all fell by the wayside with planning, water penetration and landlord problems so we started calling the site the ‘house of a million possible problems’.” Mellor’s next project will be to open a Los Angeles nightclub in the first quarter of 2018.
A new strategy to boost British beer exports by £100m over the next five years has been launched by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA). The strategy is part of the government’s International Action Plan for food and drink to help create opportunities for UK exporters. Export-boosting measures being put in place by the BBPA and British brewers include a major “export hub” on a new BBPA website to bring British brewers and potential overseas buyers together, and a new “best practice guide” to ensure a top-quality British pint is delivered, alongside guidance and intelligence for brewers on how to navigate their way through export markets. The BBPA will work with government on key markets identified by brewers to build a programme of inward/outward missions and liaise closely with government to set priorities for free trade agreements, breaking down trade barriers, frictionless trade with the EU, and an agenda of regulatory reform. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds (pictured) said: “We are launching an ambitious strategy for British beer exports from 2017 to 2022. Beer exports were worth £583m in 2016, third on the list of food exports from the UK. With the right strategy in place, there are real opportunities for growth. This builds on work already carried out through the government’s own food and drink strategy and shows that through working together and sharing best practice, we can boost British beer exports and overcome existing barriers to trade.”
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has said prime minister Theresa May’s reassurances on the future status of EU migrants in the UK was the “kind of commitment the sector needed”. Chief executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said: “This is the first official, public and unconditional confirmation from the prime minister that employers will be able to share with their teams that those EU nationals working in the UK today will be allowed to stay. First and foremost, this will provide peace of mind and stability for EU workers who are making a valuable contribution to the UK. Many of our teams have been uncertain about their futures and this announcement will allow them to begin planning to remain in the UK with a clear and unambiguous offer that, if they are here when Brexit happens, they can stay. This is also exactly the kind of commitment eating and drinking out businesses needed and one the ALMR has been pushing for. It will help provide a stable platform for businesses looking to invest in their team members. The prime minister’s confirmation the process of applying will remain low cost is equally important. It is crucial for EU migrants and employers we have a system in place that is easy to manage, is a notification rather than a complicated application, and is affordable.”
Comptoir Group has sold its central processing unit for £2.69m. The company said the sale, which was made at a property auction, is expected to complete before the end of the year. The sale price was before costs associated with the transaction. The company stated: “The sale of the central processing unit was highlighted to shareholders in the placing announcement released by the company on 28 September. The company will notify shareholders when the sale completes. The company will use funds raised from the sale for general working capital purposes and to assess further new restaurant opportunities.” Comptoir Group raised £4m via the share placing, which will fund four new sites. Last month, Comptoir Group reported trading had “stabilised”. It reported revenue increased 36.1% to £13.1m in the half year to 30 June, compared with £9.6m the year before. Gross profit was up 36.4% to £9.5m, compared with £7m the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was down 81% to £0.2m, compared with £1m the year before. Pictured is Chaker Hanna, chief executive of Comptoir Libanais.
Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported a turnover and profit boost as “sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased”. The company saw turnover increase 1.7% to £41,608,283 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £40,894,270 the year before. Pre-tax profit jumped 41.9% to £2,143,488 compared with £1,469,310 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. During the period, Sharp’s Brewery invested £2.5m in its facilities to further increase capacity at the brewery. It produced the equivalent of about 60 million pints during 2016. The company stated: “Profit levels increased during the year as sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased. Investment continues to be made in increasing the volume capacity of the business to meet consumer demand for the main brand, Doom Bar, while continuing to develop a wider portfolio of brands. During the year, the company continued to fund its expansion programme using a loan from its parent company. The proceeds of a share issue in December 2016 enabled the repayment of that loan. The company has a capital expansion plan to support the continued growth of its production capacity. The net assets at the end of the year amounted to £20,189,852 (2015: £18,034,282).” Sharp’s Brewery was acquired by parent company Molson Coors in 2011.
Greg Bellamy, co-owner of The Jolly Fine Pub Group, which operates three London pubs with rooms, has left the company. Bellamy founded the company with chef Paul Merrett more than nine years ago, with its portfolio currently consisting of The Fox and Grapes in Wimbledon, The Malt House in Fulham, and The Victoria in East Sheen. Merrett will continue to run The Jolly Fine Pub Group, which will operate as normal with his first task being to implement a new menu at the refurbished Victoria. Bellamy said he will pursue new business challenges within the hospitality industry. Merrett said: “After nearly a decade of working together, I am very sad to see Greg go. Our close working relationship has meant we have achieved some great things together and he will be sorely missed. I look forward to hearing about Greg’s next venture in due course and, of course, wish him all the very best.”
Shake Shack is to open a restaurant in Cambridge Circus for its seventh site in the capital and eighth in the UK in total. The new West End site will open at a 4,500 square foot site on Thursday, 26 October and offer two new Shake Shack gin lemonades and an exclusive shake, The Cheeky Monkey, featuring vanilla custard blended with caramel and Monkey Shoulder whisky. Shake Shack has also partnered with Neal’s Yard Dairy to create The Yard Burger – a 100% Aberdeen Angus burger topped with Neal’s Yard Cheddar, free-range Wiltshire smoked bacon, and horseradish and mustard mayo. A local craft beer list will include offerings from Crate Brewery, Howling Hops, and Portobello. Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati said: “It couldn’t be more important that, as Shake Shack grows, we also deepen our culinary roots in this community. I’m delighted to be working with some of the best at Cambridge Circus.” Julia Wilkinson, group restaurant and strategy executive at the property’s landlord Shaftesbury, added: “This is another example of restaurateurs clamouring for sites on streets that will be major beneficiaries of expected footfall growth from the opening of the Elizabeth Line. The axis of the West End is tipping northwards.” Shake Shack’s only UK venue outside London is in Cardiff.
Better burger brand Smashburger has opened its first Scottish site, in Glasgow. The restaurant, which is the brand’s sixth UK site, has opened in Sauchiehall Street. It is split over two floors and features a bold industrial look with exposed brick, hanging pendant lights, and urban typography. Smashburger is known for its “smash”, in which hand-formed beef meatballs are smashed on to a hot buttered grill. Other menu options include chicken breast sandwiches, an avocado-and-garlic grilled vegetarian burger, salads and sides. The restaurant also offers takeaway options and a touchscreen soda fountain with more than 100 combinations, alongside craft beer, wine, and “hand-spun” shakes. Smashburger’s other UK sites are in Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Milton Keynes and Newcastle. In May, the group said it planned to reach 35 restaurants in the UK by the end of 2020. Smashburger was founded by Tom Ryan in Denver in 2007. The brand now operates more than 370 sites in ten countries.
The owner of Camden Town gay bar the Black Cap has said anyone looking to reopen the venue will need to spend more than £1m. For the first time since it was abruptly closed in April 2015, the Camden High Street venue is being marketed as an opportunity for somebody to return the nightspot to its role as a “premier LGBTQ+ cabaret and public house entertainment venue”. It marks a change of tack for owner Kicking Horse, which had previously sought to lease the property to bar operator Albion and East Group. Kicking Horse said the new leaseholder would have to pay £300,000-a-year rent and estimated repair costs of £900,000. A description of the venue states: “The building has been closed for two-and-a-half years so will require a significant amount of capital investment.” Paul Tallentyre, director of pubs and bars at Davis Coffer Lyons, which is marketing the Black Cap, told the Camden New Journal: “We have got some good people who have come forward who we are now speaking to regarding business plans. We are running a process to see who is there to take the property as is, to continue the history of the Black Cap.”
London-based Caravan, the restaurant, bar and coffee-roasting concept, has opened its fourth site in the capital, this time as part of the new Bloomberg Arcade in the City of London. Caravan City is spread across three levels with plenty of terrace seating and offers additional dishes to the brand’s other sites – in Exmouth Market, King’s Cross and Bankside – as well as a new brunch menu. The new menu section features dishes such as fermented daikon, black salt and pickled ginger, and whipped morcilla with house roti and herbs, Hot Dinners reports. As well as the customary pizzas and larger plates such as wagyu steak with popped capers and anchovy, there is also a “shrub station” where customers can create their own drinks. Caravan City, which is also set to open a site in Fitzrovia, joins other operators at Bloomberg Arcade that include Brigadiers, a new concept by JKS Restaurants; Hawaiian poké specialist Ahi Poké; Bleecker Burger; and wine bar, restaurant and wine shop Vinoteca. Caravan was founded in 2010 by New Zealanders Miles Kirby, Laura Harper-Hinton and Chris Ammermann.
Gavin Lucas, the burger blogger known as Burgerac, is returning to Marylebone to relaunch his Burgershack. The concept will return to its old haunt, the Royal Oak in York Street, on Tuesday (24 October) for a residency that will run until Christmas. The menu will retain favourites such as the Hubba Hubba and Chickenshack, with new additions including a vegetarian cheeseburger featuring a Portobello mushroom instead of a beef patty topped with American cheese, ketchup, onions and mustard. There will also be a fish finger bun inspired by the best-selling item at Sonic Sandwich, Lucas’ latest venture – but in a glazed bun rather than toasted white bread. Burgerac’s Burgershack will pair its food with a Camden Town Brewery beer every week. Lucas launched his Burgershack at the Royal Oak in 2014, going on to open a second site in Fitzrovia. Both sites closed at the end of 2016 with Lucas launching sandwiches and soundtracks concept Sonic Sandwich in Fitzrovia in March this year.
Nightclub brand Sankeys, which was forced to close its original site at the grade II-listed Beehive Mill in Manchester in January, will launch in Stoke-on-Trent this weekend. Following the Manchester closure, Sankeys launched a competition asking fans which city it should launch in and Sankeys Stoke will now open at the former JJ’s nightclub. Ed Davis, head of marketing and online for the brand, told The Sentinel he thought Sankeys Stoke was inevitable. He said: “I know the people of Stoke-on-Trent and knew this would be the place to come to. We have a team from Stoke-on-Trent who have taken over the Sankeys brand here and they 100% know what the audience wants. They are local promoters who grew up on the scene with other brands such as Golden and Shelley’s Laserdome. They have brought these classic brands back to Stoke-on-Trent. This is only going to get bigger and it’s only going to make the city better.” Darren Harvey, Nigel Jackson and Andy Dyer, of DNA Event Management, will run the 900-capacity club. Harvey said: “The age of people attending the opening party mostly ranges from 18 to 35 but there are some older people like me who went to Sankeys originally. I was a regular. The brand carries the event. It’s known all over the world.” Sankeys also operates franchises in London, Ibiza, Tokyo, Birmingham and Essex.
Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group has appointed Ping Pong’s Michael Pearson as managing director from Wednesday, 1 November. After more than nine years at the helm, founder and chief executive of Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group, Ben Fordham, has decided it is time to fulfill his long-term promise to his Texan wife to move with the family to the US and pursue some exciting opportunities. The company stated: “Fordham leaves Benito’s Hat in a strong position, having recently announced the first site outside of London – opening in Oxford on the 24 October 2017 – and returning the highest profit for several years – more than £200k positive swing in Ebitda from the previous 12 months. Ben and Michael will work together throughout November and December, before Michael takes the reins at the beginning of 2018. Ben will remain involved at board level as well as providing support to Michael and his team. Michael will be joining a brilliant, home-grown team that was bolstered earlier this year with the addition of finance director, Georgina Stevens. In his previous role as operations director at Ping Pong, Michael Pearson has delivered the most financially successful period in their history over the last three years and leaves the group in a much stronger position for his tenure. Michael will oversee the rapid expansion of the Benito’s Hat Restaurant Group, with further high street and smaller format venues planned for 2018. Benito’s Hat currently operates restaurants in Covent Garden, Oxford Circus, Goodge Street, Farringdon, King’s Cross, Bromley and, as of 24 October, Oxford Westgate.”
Domino’s Pizza Group UK (DPG) has announced that Daytona JV Limited, which operates the Domino’s master franchise in Germany, and in which DPG owns a one third stake, is to acquire Hallo Pizza, for a consideration of €32m on a cash and debt free basis. The company stated: “Hallo Pizza is the largest independent pizza chain in Germany with a comprehensive national footprint of 170 franchise stores throughout Germany. Hallo Pizza generated network sales of €80.2 million and normalised Ebitda of €3.5m for FY16,. The acquisition will strengthen the German joint venture’s market leading position and increase the store count in Germany from 209 to approximately 300 to 340 following brand conversions, accelerating progress towards its 1,000 store target. Existing Hallo Pizza stores will be operated on a transitional basis until franchisee contracts are converted to Domino’s. The transaction is also expected to improve the profitability of former Hallo Pizza stores and existing Domino’s stores for both franchisor and franchisees as stores are converted to Domino’s and national advertising campaigns, social media initiatives and IT innovations are leveraged over the larger store network. The transaction is scheduled to complete in the first quarter of 2018. Following completion, the German Joint Venture will work with the vendor and Hallo Pizza management to convert franchise contracts to the Domino’s brand over the next two to three years. The purchase price for Hallo Pizza of €32m will be payable on completion of the transaction. An additional €20m to £30m of costs are estimated to be incurred over the next two to three years to finance store conversions and other transaction costs. The consideration and related costs are to be funded by the German Joint Venture’s shareholders, Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Limited (DPE) and DPG, in proportion to their current shareholdings. Accordingly, DPG will fund one third of the purchase price on closing of the transaction (€11m) and one third of the conversion and other transaction costs over the next two to three years. In respect of the German Joint Venture, DPG and DPE have agreed to extend the put and call option agreements over DPG’s interest in the German Joint Venture by one year. DPG’s put option will now be exercisable at any time on or after 1 January 2021, and DPE’s call option will be exercisable at any time on or after 1 January 2023.”
Peter Marks, chief executive of The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, has told the Bar and Nightclub Conference one of the biggest conundrums the UK’s night-time industry faces is that of balancing entertainment costs against sales. He said consumers wanted “more and more and more” but companies “couldn’t pass on costs”. Quoting analyst Mark Brumby, who said the fundamental thing about experience was “it’s all well and good to spend money on experience but you’re making your money out of food, drinks and admission charges”, Marks said: “The conundrum for me is the consumer wants more and more and more – I get it – and there are competitive pressures around consumers wanting more and more and more. The Deltic Group is spending £2m on entertainment this year (up from £1.4m the previous year). We can’t pass that cost on so somewhere we’ve got to get that balance right. I always like to look for 20p in every £1 being profit. The reason? I then need to spend another 5p on my head office, another 5p on reinvestment and a further 5p on paying for finance. As a sector, 15 years ago we would have been making probably 30p in the pound but we’d be doing a lot more refurbishments. The Deltic Group at the end of this year will probably end up around 17p or 18p and that’s quite common these days, but we’re at that equilibrium now where we can’t keep throwing entertainment in. We can’t put prices up because it would appear consumers are going to be put off. Yes, experience is important but you can’t be ‘betting the farm’ and end up slowly sinking without trace because you haven’t got money to pay for a refurbishment or pay the bank back.” Propel managing director Paul Charity asked Marks that with Deltic’s predicted spend on entertainment this year rising 50% and with like-for-likes up 3.8% during the period, where had the company found the extra money? Marks replied: “In simple terms, more sales. We’re a very different business to the guys running the US businesses (large Las Vegas nightclubs) – that’s in another league. We’re up against bars and private operators in this country and we’ve got deeper pockets than most. Our business doesn’t rely on entertainment but we think it’s an important part of making us stand aside from the bars and gives us the USP.” Earlier this week, The Deltic Group told Revolution Bars Group it was still willing to talk about a proposed merger after the latter’s shareholders rejected a £101.5m takeover bid by Stonegate Pub Company.
Bar group Darwin & Wallace, which is backed by Imbiba, has secured its sixth site, in Wimbledon, south west London. The company will open the venue in The Broadway, adjacent to the tube and railway station, in the spring. The new site will feature an all-day casual bar dining experience with a menu of cocktails and drinks plus locally sourced food. The site’s design will celebrate its locality and residential neighbourhood and feature a terrace for year-round alfresco dining. The space will take inspiration from the Danish “hygge” phenomenon. Managing director Mel Marriott said: “After a long hunt for the perfect spot for Darwin & Wallace in Wimbledon, I am delighted to have finally found this wonderful space, centrally located and adjacent to the station in the midst of Wimbledon’s vibrant town centre. The large external terrace will be an excellent year-round feature and we are extremely excited to bring our passion for great food and drink and unique interiors to this gorgeous leafy London village.” In its sixth year, the group first opened No 11 Pimlico Road in 2012, followed by No 32 The Old Town in 2014, No 1a Duke Street in Richmond in late 2015, and fourth site No 197 Chiswick Fire Station, which opened in April 2016. Its fifth venue, No 29 Power Station West, launched in July this year next to Battersea Power Station.
The portfolio of luxury hotels owned by businessman Andrew Brownsword has reported “satisfactory” results despite a fire that destroyed the historic Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter. The hotel, thought to be the oldest in the UK, partially collapsed following a fire that broke out in an adjacent building in Cathedral Green in October 2016. Plans have been submitted to rebuild the hotel, which include accommodation and a food and beverage offering similar to that provided before the blaze. Accounts filed at Companies House for Andrew Brownsword Hotels showed turnover fell to £17,909,655 for the year ending 1 January 2017, compared with £18,808,229 the previous year. Exceptional costs of £5,747,759 were incurred following the fire, while £22,315,000 has so far been received through the insurance settlement. As a result, pre-tax profit was £15,433,512 compared with £302,443 the year before. The company stated: “The board of directors are pleased with sales for the period, with accommodation sales performing particularly well. Overall the results for the period as a whole are satisfactory.” Andrew Brownsword Hotels operates Gidleigh Park in Devon, The Bath Priory, Lower Slaughter Manor, The Slaughters Country Inn and Buckland Manor in the Cotswolds, Sydney House in Chelsea, and Amberley Castle in West Sussex. It also runs venues in Chester, Manchester, Glasgow and Canterbury city centres under the Abode Hotels brand. The Royal Clarence Hotel had traded as Abode Exeter. In 2016, the group acquired The Old Swan & Minster Mill in Oxfordshire, which became the 13th property in its portfolio.
Street food restaurant The Good Egg has extended its £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube by a fortnight as it seeks to open a second site, in Soho. Founder Joel Abraham opened his first venue in 2015 in Stoke Newington after raising £182,000 from investors via Crowdcube. He has returned to the crowdfunding platform to raise £500,000 in return for an 18.18% equity stake as he aims to bring the all-day neighbourhood “Montreal deli meets Israeli street food offer” to Soho’s Kingly Court. So far, 248 investors have pledged £398,530 with 16 days remaining. Abraham said: “We’re currently speaking with a number of investors to get our campaign over the finish line and into overfunding so, on careful consideration, we’ve decided to extend our campaign beyond our original deadline of Friday this week (20 October). The new deadline is 11.59pm on Friday, 3 November. The more money we crowdfund, the bigger the reserve we’ll have to open the third outlet in 2019, ultimately accelerating growth and increasing long-term profitability and valuation.” The pitch states: “We’ve now secured a 100-plus-seater site in the West End to feature a bakery and retail area that serves Israeli-inspired baked goods and extended brunch and dinner menus for eat-in, takeaway and delivery. Funds raised will be used for capex and pre-opening costs for our second restaurant site. We plan an exit in three years, when the group has three restaurants.”
British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds has backed the tough approach from the government in naming councils that are failing to distribute much-needed business rates relief to pubs and other small businesses. The Department for Communities and Local Government initiative is a response to many local authorities not making enough progress in distributing business rates reliefs announced in the Budget in March. The BBPA has also produced a template letter for pubs to send to local councils to make sure they are receiving the reliefs to which they are entitled. Simmonds said: “Delays from local councils are inexcusable. If some councils can get their rates relief fully up and running, all should be able to do the same. For those that have begun rebilling, the process of getting the reliefs to pubs needs to be sorted out as quickly as possible.”
Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts has been forced to change the name of its new restaurant venture. The company, which brought Michelin-starred Jamavar to Mount Street in Mayfair in December, is launching its venue in Mount Street next month. It was due to be called Dabbawala, taking its name from the dabbawalas of Mumbai, men who traditionally used the city’s railway network to deliver home-cooked meals across the city. However, it will now be called Bombay Bustle because there is an existing restaurant with a similar name. Bombay Bustle will still take its design lead from the trains on Mumbai’s network, being long and thin in shape with seating inspired by an old first-class railway coach. Jamavar’s executive chef Rohit Ghai will lead the kitchen, offering food inspired by Mumbai and its surrounding areas with a focus on family recipes passed down by his mother, as well as the lunch boxes co-founder Samyukta Nair enjoyed during her time at school in Mumbai. Much of the food will be sharing dishes based on Indian dabbas – tiered, tiffin-style lunchboxes used to carry the food during delivery, which in turn leant dabbawalas their name. Ghai said: “Bombay Bustle will capture the essence of Mumbai, our love of home comforts and our rapid pace of life existing side by side.”
Smith & Sinclair, the edible cocktail retailer, is to launch a multisensory experience next month that combines art and alcohol. The company will bring The Flavour Gallery to the Hoxton Basement in Hoxton Street from Thursday, 9 November to Sunday, 17 September. It will invite the public to “tickle a taste and suck a scent by consuming art in ways they never imagined”. The Flavour Gallery will feature artists that include Terry Pastor, London Loom and Anja Predojevic, each commissioned to create interactive artwork that will change colour, diffuse smells and react to its audience. The Flavour Gallery will showcase a range of bespoke cocktails in partnership with liqueur experts Lanique and a range of non-alcoholic cocktails using soft drinks from Firefly. Smith & Sinclair co-founder Melanie Goldsmith said: “We’ve been wanting to play with the ‘gallery construct’ since we started producing our own activations. Art is supposed to be something you consume individually and it’s frustrating when you go to an amazing installation and go to touch the piece – as you want it to react to you – and you can’t because it’s ‘art’. Well times are changing and we’ve curated a space for guests to play and engage in a multitude of ways.” Smith & Sinclair will also launch an edible cocktail bar at John Lewis’ Oxford Street store in London from Friday, 27 October until January.
Hospitality data and software specialists Fourth, CGA and Prestige Purchasing have joined forces to provide unique insights into the sector’s food and drink inflation and sales performance. The companies will compare inflationary goods while revealing how a customer’s business is performing against the overall market. The partnership will integrate data from the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index into Fourth Analytics along with market data from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. It will enable businesses to see how they are performing against the market across a number of variables, while allowing them to cross-reference prices they have paid for different products. For example, a business could see if it has been purchasing meat during the past 12 months in line with the market price. If not, the Fourth Analytics dashboard can also determine how much money they could have saved and how this affected their bottom line. Fourth chief operating officer Simon Bocca said: “Times are tough for operators with a perfect storm of rising costs, such as the National Living Wage, business rates and Brexit battering the industry. This partnership will give operators complete transparency of performance, allowing them to understand the impact these factors are having on their bottom line.” CGA vice-president Peter Martin added: “Tracking, analysing and benchmarking personal business performance against the markets you operate in is imperative to overcoming the troublesome climate all hospitality operators currently face. This partnership not only makes that easier but takes it to the next level.” Prestige Purchasing chief executive David Read said: “The upward leap in food and drink inflation in 2017 has shone a light on the performance of procurement teams and peaked the interest of boardrooms throughout our sector. Fourth’s ability to match CGA Prestige FPI to each client’s live data is a really exciting development, enabling transparency of every client’s performance against the market.”
Three Cheers Pub Co, led by Tom Peake, Mark Reynolds and Nick Fox, is to open its ninth pub – The Princess Victoria in Shepherd’s Bush – next month. The venue is the second acquisition for Six Cheers, its managed expert partnership with Ei Managed Investments, and the company’s first venue in west London. The early 19th century pub, which was once owned by Richard Branson, is being transformed inside and out, with a new front terrace added to the courtyard garden. The site in Uxbridge Road, which opens on Wednesday, 8 November, will accommodate 150 covers downstairs with 96 outside and a first-floor function room seating 70. The menu will concentrate on British produce with a focus on Scotch eggs, British charcuterie, puff-pastry pies, artisan pizza and flatbread. The drinks menu will reflect the pub’s history as a gin palace by stocking more than 100 gins and 40 beers. Three Cheers Pub Co was formerly known as Renaissance Pubs.
Experienced London-based restaurant and bar manager David Stock has acquired Brighton-based burger restaurant Coggings & Co. Stock has bought the leasehold of the property from Kitchen Restaurants in a deal brokered by agent Fleurets. The restaurant, which is in the Seven Dials area of Brighton and Hove, focuses on locally and ethically sourced produce and has accumulated a number of awards since its inception in 2014. It also has a large garden patio for alfresco dining. Stock said: “I aim to add some new energy and diversity into the restaurant while keeping true to the brand’s ethos of using local suppliers, offering dietary alternatives, and remaining part of the ‘Food Made Good’ awards from the Sustainable Restaurant Association.” Kitchenware Restaurants added: “We are delighted to have sold to Dave, who loves the brand we have created and wants to take it to the next level.”
Plans for the £50m redevelopment of Bircherley Green Shopping Centre in Hertford, which will feature riverside cafes and restaurants, have been given the go-ahead. Owner Diageo Pension Trust has been granted permission by East Herts District Council for the 2.5-acre mixed-use scheme by the River Lea. The 1980s shopping centre will be replaced with a development anchored by an 86-bedroom Whitbread-owned Premier Inn hotel alongside 4,800 square metres of retail, cafes and restaurants; 70 new apartments; and refurbishment of a car park and bus station. The new shopping centre will create larger, flexible retail floor space, including riverfront cafe and restaurant units. Construction is scheduled to begin next year.
A self-service wine bar concept based on the format of Vagabond is to launch in Nottingham this month with its owner already planning further expansion. Another? Wine Bar is the brainchild of Sam Benjamin (pictured), who has spent the past decade working on brand and product development in the food and drink industry. The bar, which is based in a former office building in the Trinity Square area, will span 1,000 feet and seat 60 people. A roof terrace and outdoor garden are planned to be added in the spring. The concept, which launches on Friday, 27 October, echoes the format of Vagabond in London, with customers serving themselves from specialist tasting machines. Another? Wine Bar will offer a choice of 32 reds, whites, rosés, sparkling wines, prosecco and vintage champagnes in 25ml, 125ml and 175ml measures. Customers will use their own personal tab card to activate one of the three machines. The total amount spent is clearly visible each time a glass is poured and the ‘tab’ is paid at the end of the visit. Benjamin said: “Nottingham has one of the most supported independent leisure scenes in the country so it’s the ideal location to start what I believe is a hugely scalable brand. Plans are already in place for more venues.”
Stonegate Pub Company is transforming the Green Dragon in Croydon High Street to focus on the area’s musical talent. The pub, part of the company’s Town, Pub & Kitchen division, will reopen on Thursday, 9 November following a £300,000 refurbishment. The new design will include a craft beer wall, industrial finishes, neon lights, gaming consoles, and a Magic Eye Visual Display. The new first-floor stage has been designed to attract the next generation of Croydon musicians, with performances live-streamed around the pub. Open-mic evenings on Thursdays will lead to the most impressive artists getting paid weekend slots in a bid to support emerging artists and anchor the pub in the local music scene. The pub, which has been in the Good Beer Guide since 2012, has extended its choice of ale and craft beer and added six Lilly ciders. The new food menu will feature 11 varieties of sourdough pizza, wagyu beef burgers wrapped in paper to continue the steaming process, and a mix of British and Mediterranean tapas. General manager Susan Quinn said: “We’re bringing the pub into the modern day, adding a real Croydon focus with an independence that enables us to have relevance locally.”
British Hospitality Association vice-chairman and Butlins boss Dermot King has called for tourism to have its own separate ministry and portfolio. Speaking at Hospitality Exchange, a summit of industry leaders in Northern Ireland, King also said the UK-wide industry had taken its “eye off the ball” to allow a tourism VAT differential with other EU countries, including the Republic of Ireland. King, who is also chairman of the Cut Tourism VAT campaign, said tourism spend per head in the Republic was three times that of Northern Ireland, largely driven by the VAT difference – 9% versus 20%. On his call for a tourism department, King said the word was not even in the title of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, even though it was such an important part of the UK economy, providing millions of jobs. Tourism was “too low-level a portfolio”, he said.
Conviviality, the UK alcohol wholesaler serving consumers through the on-trade and through its franchise retail estate, has reported chief financial officer Andrew Humphreys is to leave the company. Humphreys, who has been with the company for three years, will step down on Monday, 30 October and will depart after a period of handover to his successor. He will be replaced by Mark Moran, who was previously chief financial officer of private equity-owned Priory Healthcare Group before its acquisition by Acadia Healthcare in 2016. Conviviality chief executive Diana Hunter said: “We are hugely grateful for Andrew’s contribution to Conviviality, having played a key role in the company’s significant growth, including his pivotal roles in the Matthew Clark and Bibendum PLB acquisitions. We are delighted to welcome Mark to the company and look forward to him supporting and contributing to the company’s further development as the UK’s leading independent wholesaler and distributor of alcohol.”
Glendola Leisure, which is led by Alex Salussolia, has scooped four accolades in the Irish Pubs Global Awards. The company’s Waxy O’Connor’s concept took the title of Irish Pub of the Year in the UK, while its London site won best Irish whiskey experience and its Glasgow venue was named best food experience. Meanwhile, Waxy’s Little Sister London won best cocktail experience for its Irish coffee. Salussolia said: “These awards are a real opportunity to shine a light on the very best operators in Irish hospitality from around the world, while recognising the best products, service and individuals responsible for ensuring the delivery of these is second to none. Waxy O’Connor’s is an iconic business that was actually the pioneer of ‘superpubs’ in the mid-1990s and has led the way since, delivering the best of Irish hospitality for more than 22 years. When you’re inside, you’ve got the warmth, the welcome and the music – and that’s all you need.” The Irish Pubs Global Awards ceremony was hosted by the Irish Pubs Global Federation at Mansion House in Dublin. Regarding the original Waxy O’Connor site in Leicester Square, which saw an investment of £720,000 to open, Salussolia said: “It has been a fabulous business for us. It returned its investment in cash within ten months of opening.”
The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has launched the People and Training Conference, which will showcase outstanding people culture among companies within the sector. The event, organised in association with Propel Info, will take place at Bafta Piccadilly on Tuesday, 21 November. BII chairman Anthony Pender will talk about the training landscape and how it needs to change. Gareth Phillips, commercial director of the BIIAB, will set out current apprenticeship standards and the requirements of end-point assessments for employers. Daniel Davies, chief executive of CPL Training Group, will explore the competition for superior employees and the need to accumulate an arsenal to win the war for talent. Martin Dinkele, managing director of Cardinal Research, will present the highlights of exclusive research into millennials’ perceptions of working in the sector – what is attractive and what needs to change. Liz Phillips, former director of resourcing and employee relations at Mitchells & Butlers, will outline how organisations can succeed by differentiating themselves through their people. Chef Luke Thomas will give his views on creating a positive cultural experience for staff, and spotting and developing talent, based on his experience across multiple businesses and working in restaurants such as the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai. Jill Scratchard, head of human resources at Oakman Inns and Restaurants, will set out the company’s approach to staff development and the development of its training academy, Oakmanology. Marco Reick, people director at healthy eating brand Leon, will set out the company’s unique approach to promoting staff well-being and personal development. Tim Painter, human resources director at Stonegate Pub Company, will set out the company’s commitment to building a culture of internal development. Graham Briggs, apprenticeships manager at Greene King, will set out the company’s approach to recruiting and developing its apprentices. Rear admiral Simon Williams will set out the core values of the Royal Navy and how its people are trained to live them. Tickets for the conference are £50 plus VAT for operators who are BII members and BIIAB members and £150 plus VAT for operators who are non-BII members. Supplier tickets are £95 plus VAT for BII members and BIIAB members and £195 plus VAT for all other organisations. To book, email email@example.com. The conference will be followed in the evening by the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs) at Cafe De Paris, which will recognise companies and individuals that are undertaking the best training in the sector. Tickets for the NITAs are £150 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Propel is partnering Think Hospitality to launch a new awards scheme to recognise marketing excellence and innovation within the sector – and the awards are now open for entries. The Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards inaugural awards evening is to be held on 18 January at Firmdale’s Ham Yard Hotel in London. A total of 14 categories have been created to recognise excellence in different disciplines of marketing and innovation, and the awards are open to multi-site restaurant, bar and foodservice operators. The categories are Restaurant Launch of the Year, Best Use of Social Media, Best New or Improved Visual Identity, Integrated Campaign of the Year, Digital Campaign of the Year, Best Video, PR Campaign of the Year, Best Use of Research/Insight, Innovator of the Year, Marketer of the Year, Best New Website, Best Use of Technology, Best Direct/Loyalty Programme and Young Marketer of the Year. A panel of ten senior business leaders has been assembled to judge the awards. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “With the advent of new and exciting social media channels, in particular, marketing has become a key differentiator within the sector. Successful marketing strategies are no longer merely about weight of money – it’s an area where clear strategic thinking can deliver outstanding results.” Awards co-founder James Hacon added: “As the number of multi-site brands continues to grow and the sector professionalises, marketing, strategy and innovation roles are becoming increasingly important to the leadership mix. We have founded these awards and event series to create a platform for greater recognition of success and innovation.” The awards will be delivered alongside a new three-day conference, Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Summit. Categories, entry information and judges can be found by visiting www.restaurantinnovator.com
The final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2017 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Wednesday, 1 November at the Millennium Gloucester hotel in London. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele on email@example.com. The speaker line-up for the morning session will be Christie & Co head of restaurants Simon Chaplin; Andrew Ball and Gareth Ogden, of sector accountant haysmacintyre; Darrel Connell, of investment fund Imbiba; and Jeremy Simmonds and Matt Grech-Smith, founders of the Institute of Competitive Socialising brand Swingers. Speaking after lunch will be Chilango co-founder Eric Partaker, Hubbox founder Richard Boon, Lucky Voice founder and executive chairman Nick Thistleton, and elite sports “mind coach” Mark Sheasby. The final session will feature Bowmark Capital partner Ron Pearson, Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathan Swaine, and Boxpark founder Roger Wade.
Subscribers to Propel Premium now receive a £50 discount on tickets to Propel’s Masterclass series of events in 2017. The series includes The Advanced Social Media Masterclass, The Leadership Masterclass, the Finance and Investment Masterclass, and the Multi-site Management Masterclass. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers also receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. On 1 March, Propel Premium subscribers will also receive an updated version of the Propel database of multi-site companies, which will add another 200 companies to the existing database of 700 to hit the 900 mark. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dusk ’til Dawn
9th October 2017
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