Star Pubs & Bars

Chilango reveals details of CVA proposal

Chilango has launched its festive menuBond holders in Chilango have been offered the choice to transfer their investments into shares in the company, or to cash out their investments at a rate of 10p per pound, as part of the burrito concept’s Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal.

Under the terms of the CVA, the company’s directors are offering the ‘non-critical creditors’, unsecured loan note and bond holders the options of preferred shares in the company, pending shareholder approval, (at 100% of the value of their debt), which attracts a dividend of 8% per annum, which is accrued until the principal and interest is repaid, either via an exit (sale of the company) or earlier (at the discretion of management); or a payment of 10p/£ in full and final settlement of their debt.

Around 1,500 people became bondholders in the business across two mini-bond offerings in 2014 and 2019, which raised over £5.8m, with a promise of 8% returns. In a copy of the CVA document seen by Propel, which was filed yesterday, the 12-strong company, which was founded in 2007, had built up debts of £6.9m by the end of October.

Although the company like-for-like sales were up by 7.1% year to date to November, it said that in an “ever more challenging market”, several factors had aligned to “significantly weaken the company’s cash position”. These included being unable to assign or sub-let its Bristol and Leeds leases – although it successfully assigned its Glasgow lease to Greggs; Rent increases on four leased properties in central London locations of which three had a material impact (a total increase of £0.1m (23%) per annum); it most recent opening in Birmingham being 25% behind budget following its launch in July; fire safety regulations forcing the business to relocate its head office from above its Islington restaurant to a paid-for office during FY2019; central costs increasing by £0.8m between FY18 and FY20 to help to grow sales, but the challenging trading conditions has meant sales haven’t grown as strongly as expected; sales not being as profitable as in the past due to rising cost challenges in this sector; and key creditors removing credit facilities amidst concerns about the sector.

The proposal states, that as a result of these factors, the company must “now restructure its head office, debt structure and creditor base in order to address significant cashflow challenges, including a sizeable forecast deficit from January 2020 totalling £0.3m”. It also stated that while sales at the new Birmingham site have steadily increased over the past eight weeks, it is not yet profitable. At the same time, three more restaurants are marginally profitable sites but are at risk of becoming lossmaking in the event of sales pressure or continued cost inflation.

As part of the CVA proposal, the company will exit leases for unopened sites in Bristol, Leeds and Brighton, plus its former site in Camden, now sublet to German Doner Kebab. It also proposes to cut rents by 40% at its sites in London’s Leather Lane, Birmingham and Boxpark Croydon. The company states that performance within the casual dining sector began to stagnate in 2016 and ultimately deteriorate. It says: “Consumer retail confidence took a downturn owing to uncertainty around Brexit, a rising cost base and lower high street footfall.”

Given the contraction of the market, the company decided against developing the Leeds and Bristol sites it had leased, choosing to market the leases for assignment or sublease instead. The following year, the company lost an ongoing VAT appeal with HMRC and raised money via shareholder loans of and loan notes to cover the associated £1.3m liability and to support further growth.

At this time, the directors looked to streamline the operation to ensure all sites were profitable. The next year, the company sought to raise £1m via a second mini-bond raise to both refinance debt and support its growth strategy, which included opening additional new restaurants, strengthening the support team and developing its online and delivery presence. The bond was over-subscribed and £3m was raised. The funds raised were used to service existing debts including a mixture of interest (£0.1m) and capital repayments (£0.5m) from the previous bond and loan notes (paid in September 2019), to cover some exceptional costs and pay various aged creditors, to open the company’s restaurant in Birmingham and invest in digital initiatives.

Going forward, the company’s management are planning on reducing central costs by £0.5m per annum and believe the implementation of the CVA proposal will enable the business to “rationalise the leasehold obligations, materially improve the balance sheet, enhance the profitability of the business, permit capital site investment into the sites and thereby maximise the return to creditors and secure the employment of the majority of its workforce”.

In list of non critical creditors, the largest is HMRC with £955,000 outstanding and in the critical creditors list the biggest creditor is Bidfood which is owed £197,000.

Coaching Inn Group seeks additional sites following £22m refinance

Kevin Charity, founder, Coaching Inns GroupCoaching inn and hotel operator The Coaching Inn Group has secured a £22m refinance with current bankers NatWest.

The company, which is led by Kevin Charity (pictured), said the deal – together with the continued support of equity partner the BGF – had put it in a position to push forward with acquisitions to add to the 15 sites in its estate.

Finance director Edward Walsh added: “This new deal provides us with the additional funding capability to increase the size of our estate as we look to acquire a number of sites already identified as part of our pipeline. We would like to get our current bedroom count of 431 over the 500 mark during the next 12 months and this deal should allow us to achieve that.

“This year has seen a 10% rise in bedroom like-for-likes and therefore every additional bedroom allows us to put our central reservations platform to work. In the summer we opened our first independent coffee shop – in disused space at the Feathers Hotel in Ledbury – and this trial has proved very successful, creating a clear fourth revenue stream that maximises the asset fully. Therefore, we will also look for further sites where we can add coffee shops for this additional revenue stream.”

Other News:

Beer GardenThe UK’s pub industry is reversing a decade of decline with a net growth of 320 pubs and bars, according to a new report by startup digital growth service Stampede.

The report, entitled Raising The Bar, features figures from the Office of National Statistics, including data that has yet to be distributed, the company said.

The study found there was a net gain of 320 pubs in 2019, the first time the number of pubs in the UK had increased for a decade. There was a net loss of 5,855 pubs in the UK between 2010 and 2018 at an average of 732 a year.

The growth was led by England, which saw an increase of 345 pubs, followed by Northern Ireland (five). However, Scotland and Wales saw a fall in the number of pubs during the year – by five and 25 sites respectively.

Large pub groups are driving growth in the sector. The biggest increase (205) was from pub companies with a turnover of £500,000 to £1m, while the second-biggest increase (125) was in the £1m to £2m bracket. By contrast, the UK had a net loss of 55 sites for pub enterprises with a turnover of less than £100,000.

By region, the south east has the most pubs (5,340) but only grew by ten venues in 2019. The north east grew the most (85), followed by the West Midlands (80). London lost ten pubs overall but saw a net increase in ten of 33 boroughs.

Licensed clubs remain on the decline, with 7,420 venues recorded in 2019 compared with 7,610 in 2018 and more than 10,000 in 2010, the report stated.

Stampede founder and chief executive Patrick Clover said: “The reduction of pubs in the past decade has been heart-breaking following devastating changes to business taxes and alcohol duties. I hope these figures signpost a reversal of fortune.”

Stampede launched recently with £1m in seed funding and offers digital marketing and growth services to the hospitality industry.

Charlie McVeigh, Draft HouseAll-day concept The Breakfast Club has reported record sales in its current financial year while it has appointed Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh (pictured) as chairman, Propel has learned.

The 12-strong company, which was founded in 2005 and is led by Jonathan Arana-Morton, reported sales for the first seven months of its current financial year of £9.7m, an increase of 5.7% on the previous year or up 4.3% on a like-for-like basis. The company operates no delivery services from its sites.

Audited accounts for the year ending March 2019 will be filed imminently and show sales of £15.7m, an increase of 3.3% on the previous year. Group Ebitda for the year was £744,000, up 39%. The company opened no sites in the year. Meanwhile, Propel understands the business has negotiated a new facility with Santander that, together with positive cash flow, should allow further expansion of the business in 2020.

The company opened its 12th cafe – The Breakfast Club on Berwick Street – in Soho in the autumn. It is a short walk from the company’s debut cafe in d’Arblay Street, where queues of up to 90 minutes continue to be a feature 14 years after its launch, the company said. It’s understood the Berwick Street site is now outperforming the original, which itself remains in like-for-like growth.

Given the double-digit growth of the company’s cafes in Oxford and Brighton, it is believed a particular focus for the company is to find similar locations outside London. It’s thought the business is looking to open one or two sites a year and is currently in talks on a site outside the capital. The business also feels there’s significant scope for expansion in London.

McVeigh is a serial hospitality entrepreneur having founded and sold five businesses in the sector since 1998. Most recently he created The Draft House group of pubs with co-investor Luke Johnson, which he sold to BrewDog in 2018. At that stage the group numbered 16 sites with 13 trading under the Draft House name.

Arana-Morton said: “As always we are cautiously optimistic about the future of The Breakfast Club. We have negotiated some fairly choppy waters and I’m delighted with the resilience the team and this business has shown these past few years. We’re no longer the ‘new kid on the block’ but to still have queues across all our 12 cafes on a weekly basis, 14 years after we first opened, shows the huge affection for the brand. We’re delighted by the appointment of Charlie. He brings ‘the plan’, the discipline, a network and years of industry experience and, while we’ll always do things The Breakfast Club way, it’s part of the process of growing up from a cheeky upstart into what we hope will be a classic restaurant brand for many years to come.”

McVeigh said: “I have been working closely with Jonathan over the past six months and I’m immensely excited to join the board of what many regard as one of the strongest brands in the sector. During that time we have seen good improvements in sales and profitability with, I hope, more to come. Jonathan and his team have built one of the deepest company cultures I’ve come across in my 20 years in hospitality, with legendary levels of staff engagement and retention. The group’s strong trading performance in and outside London suggests further expansion is an option.”

Technology, health and well-being are at the heart of trends that will shape the global food, drink and foodservice industries over the next ten years, according to analyst Mintel.

The company predicts consumers will gain a better understanding of their unique dietary needs by using health-testing services, artificial intelligence-enabled apps and increased personal data collection.

Mintel said it also expects to see brands use science and technology to create new products and shorten production time, while new ingredient-growing regions such as Africa and India and agricultural innovations including floating farms would emerge to tackle global food insecurity.

Alex Beckett, associate director of Mintel Food & Drink, said: “The companies which will win in the next ten years will be those that fuel the new era of conscious consumption. Tomorrow’s conscious consumers will be looking for eco-friendly packaging and products while seeking guidance on how to make their diets more sustainable.

“Transparency of information is essential to building trust in a future where scientists will play as integral a role as farmers. Championing the people behind the food – whether it’s grown in a laboratory or field – will remain a timeless way to build trust with consumers.”

TGI Friday's NewcastleTGI Friday’s UK, the Robert Cook-led business, has continued to reshape its management team by appointing a chief marketing officer and people and culture director, Propel has learned.

Dan Staples joins the company as chief marketing officer following a short stint as consumer marketing director at Before that he was director of brand marketing at online sports retailer Wiggle and marketing director UK for Ladbrokes Coral Group.

Meanwhile, Suzanne Peacock has joined the business as people and culture director. She was previously group talent and development director at Merlin Entertainments for more than four and a half years. Propel also understands David Carroll, the brand’s chief strategy officer, is to leave the business after ten years. Carroll was appointed to his current role at the start of this year after spending three years as the company’s strategic development and property director.

Propel revealed last week the company had appointed Gavin Manson as chief financial officer on an interim basis. Manson, who is chief financial and chief operating officer at TGI Friday’s UK parent company Electra, is holding the fort following Stuart Greener’s departure. Greener was one of four senior directors, including chief executive Karen Forrester, who decided to step down in October. Culture and people development director Jacqui McManus and operations director Cain Savazzi also decided to leave.

Forrester will leave TGI Friday’s UK at the end of this week. Her replacement, former Virgin Active chief executive Robert Cook, joined the business last Monday (2 December).

Sam Moss and Michael Brothwell – who founded Leeds Brewery in 2007 – have taken on their first site since selling their pub business to Camerons.

Moss and Brothwell have taken on The Belrose in Belsize Park, north London, as a project separate from their brewery business in Leeds.

The property was sold by Davis Coffer Lyons on behalf of London-based hospitality company MJMK, which is behind piri-piri concept Casa do Frango. Davis Coffer Lyons assigned the leasehold interest of the free-of-tie property, which is held on a 25-year lease from February 2002. The lease includes the ground floor and basement, private function room and trading terrace.

MJMK, led by Marco Mendes and Jake Kasumov, continues to operate Casa do Frango in London Bridge and New Oxford Street. MJMK also owns and operates S11 bar and health food cafe Homegrown, both in Brixton. Mendes and Kasumov will grow Casa do Frango by opening a site in King John Court, Shoreditch, this month. Moss and Brothwell sold their seven-strong pub estate to Camerons Brewery in 2016.

Just EatThe board of Just Eat has rejected a revised offer of 740p per share from Prosus. It stated: “(The board) continues to believe that it significantly undervalues Just Eat and its attractive assets and prospects both on a standalone basis and as part of the proposed recommended all-share combination with N.V.

“Accordingly, the board of Just Eat unanimously recommends that shareholders reject the Prosus offer of 740 pence per share. Just Eat is a leading, strategic asset in the food delivery sector and the board of Just Eat continues to believe that the Prosus offer fails to reflect appropriately the quality of Just Eat and its attractive assets and prospects, the benefits of first mover advantage in a consolidating sector, and, on the basis of its own analysis, the future upside available to Just Eat shareholders through remaining invested in Just Eat and the combination.

“The Prosus offer of 740 pence per share represents: a premium of only 16% to Just Eat’s undisturbed price of 635.6 pence on 26 July 2019 (being the last business day before the date on which and Just Eat announced a possible all-share combination); a discount of 5% to Just Eat’s closing price of 777 pence on 6 December 2019 (being the last business day before the announcement of the revised terms of the Prosus offer); and a premium of only 4% to the value of the offer by Prosus of 710 pence per share which was announced on 22 October 2019.

“Taking into account all of the above, the board unanimously recommends that shareholders reject the Prosus offer of 740 pence per share and continues to believe that the combination is based on a compelling strategic rationale that allows shareholders to participate in the upside potential of the enlarged group and, based on its own analysis, will deliver greater value creation to Just Eat shareholders than the Prosus offer of 740 pence per share in cash.

“Accordingly, the board unanimously recommends that Just Eat shareholders should take no action in relation to the Prosus offer of 740 pence per share in cash. Instead, the board of Just Eat unanimously recommends that Just Eat shareholders accept the offer.”

Domino'sStephen Hemsley has decided to step down as chairman of Domino’s Pizza UK with effect from 29 December 2019. Ian Bull, senior independent director, will step into the role of interim chairman until a permanent replacement is appointed.

The company stated: “The board would like to place on record its appreciation of Stephen’s exceptional contribution to the development of Domino’s. Since joining in 1998, he has seen the company through its IPO on AIM and has taken it from a market capitalisation of £25m to almost £1.5 billion today, and from nearly 100 UK stores to over 1,250 stores spanning the UK, Irish, and other international markets.”

Stephen Hemsley said: “It has been a privilege to play a part in the growth of Domino’s to the brand it has become today, working alongside our talented colleagues and franchisees.

“After 21 years in the business, now is the right time for me to step back and focus on other interests. Domino’s is well-positioned for future growth, and I wish it every success in the future.”

The search for a new chairman is progressing, and will be followed by the appointment of a new chief executive.

The Folly, which is operated by Drake & MorganDrake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, has said “challenging market conditions” have affected the first half of its current financial year.

The company said it expects a strong Christmas period, with bookings “well ahead” of last year. It comes as the company announced like-for-like sales rose 2.8% for the year ending 31 March 2019. Turnover increased 12% to £56.0m, compared with £49.7m the previous year.

Adjusted Ebitda was up 24.9% to £6.3m compared with £5m the year before, while adjusted pre-tax profit rose to £1.9m from £1.3m the previous year. The company launched The Anthologist at One St Peter’s Square in Manchester in July 2018. Two further conversions from the former Corney & Barrow Bars estate took place, with the Little Fable in November 2018 and The Moniker in April 2019.

A new central London site has been secured for 2020, which will take the portfolio to 23 bars in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Propel understands this is the former Cooperage Bar in Tooley Street, which was previously operated by Davy’s Wine Bars.

Drake & Morgan chief financial officer James Sherrington said: “2018-19 was a good year of progress – like-for-like sales were positive while a strong focus on productivity and efficiency savings delivered margin improvement and profit growth.”

Local ethical foodFood and drink inflation for restaurants and caterers has almost doubled to 6.1% in 2019, up from 3.7% at the end of 2018, with many of the cost challenges related to sustainability, according to the CGA Prestige Foodservice Price Index.

Fish prices soared during the year, with pressure on stocks caused by more than 75% of the world’s fisheries being “fully or over-exploited”, the report stated. Fruit and vegetable prices have also run well ahead of expectations with storms, flooding and drought all having an impact on production in the UK and mainland Europe.

The report calls for foodservice operators to take immediate action on raising sustainability standards in four key areas – deforestation, by insisting on sustainable production of beef, soy, palm oil and coffee; renewables, by adopting a process of rethink, reduce, re-use and recycle for all single-use products; transport, by using more local and seasonal products; and by eliminating avoidable waste.

Prestige Purchasing chairman David Read said: “Urgent reforms are required to create transparent supply chains that protect the environment and the people who create the food we eat. The EU’s food sustainability standards are higher than many other areas of the world and Brexit has the potential to have a negative impact on sustainability. Care must be taken to protect UK farming, which has been built on a foundation of high standards of sustainability, hygiene and animal welfare”

Fiona Speakman, client director of CGA’s food and retail team, said: “Food supply is becoming an ever-more crucial issue for operators and consumers. CGA research reveals more than two-fifths (45%) of consumers rate sourcing environmentally friendly ingredients as important, while almost two-thirds (66%) are trying to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.”

Planet Organic in Muswell HillPlanet Organic is set to enter the food-to-go delivery market via a partnership with London-based premium food delivery service Supper, Propel has learned.

Launching on Thursday (12 December), Planet Organic will start by delivering from two Tottenham Court Road branches and offering a selection of food to go and sushi from the in-store Maido sushi bar.

Caroline Ottoy, foodservice director at Planet Organic, said: “We are excited to launch the service and believe it will be well received. We are all about quality, service and high customer expectations and Supper is perfectly aligned with that ethos.”

Supper founder Peter Georgiou added: “We are delighted to be working with Planet Organic and adding another fantastic operator to the portfolio of restaurants we work with. Supper is going from strength to strength, with quarterly revenue growth throughout 2019 and 2020 forecast to continue that trend.”

Founded by Georgiou in 2015, Supper uses a fleet of specially adapted scooters and directly employed drivers to cater for the premium end of the market, setting it apart from sector heavyweights such as Deliveroo and UberEats. Last month, Supper closed a Series A funding round of circa £1.5m.

Innis & Gunn's new taproom bar in Dundee following the conversion of the Beer & Kitchen siteBritain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw like-for-like sales edge up 0.5% in November compared with last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker.

Restaurant groups saw like-for-likes slip 0.1% year-on-year and, while managed pubs recorded overall like-for-like growth of 0.7%, that included an increase in drink sales of 1.1%. Like-for-like food sales in pubs were down 0.2% in November compared with last year.

“School half-term holidays at the start of the month produced a healthy first week of trading and, without that, we would have been looking at negative sales across the board for the month,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Coffer Peach Tracker in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.

Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations, at Davis Coffer Lyons, added: “The data suggests a lacklustre market in the run-up to the general election and Christmas. In London, operators are hoping and expecting there to be no significant impact on leisure spend as a result of the latest terror incident in the capital. Operators everywhere are hoping the general election will revive consumer confidence generally in the final run-up to Christmas the New Year festivities. This could lead to much-needed favourable December figures.”

Total sales across the 58 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 3.0% compared with November 2018. Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small operators, was running at 1.6% for the 12 months to the end of November, which is just below the 1.7% registered at the end of October.

Turtle BayCaribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay, backed by Piper, has reported turnover and profit dropped in the year to 2 March 2019 as the company battled with “significant headwinds”. Sales decreased 2.5% to £66.9m while pre-tax profit was £2.2m, compared with £5.9m the year before.

The company stated: “As well as the continued over-supply in the sector and the general weakness of consumer demand, sales were also adversely affected by a number of one-off events such as the FIFA World Cup.

“In light of the environment we slowed site growth and only opened one site during the year. Our belief is there is still a large number of good potential sites around the UK – however, their cost is likely to fall over the next couple of years.

“In Germany, sales increased during the year by 31.5% due to the full year impact of the restaurant that opened part-way through the prior year. Adjusted Ebitda of £7.6m (2018: £12m) is down, but we are happy our adjusted Ebitda margin of 11.4% balances the needs of the company and its customers. The company continues to generate cash from operating activities in excess of capital expenditure and make payments to reduce external debt obligations by £3.25m.”

Turnover in Germany for the year was £2.2m while £64.7m of turnover derived from the UK.

Carluccio's enhanced design following a Fresca refurbishmentItalian restaurant group Carluccio’s plans to seek strategic franchise partners for future travel hub openings and also for the Republic of Ireland, as it continues to see sales uplifts from sites refurbished with its “Fresca” design, Propel has learned.

Mark Jones, Carluccio’s chief executive, told Propel: “We are seeking strategic partners in both the Republic of Ireland and also to assist us in growing our travel business at a faster rate. In Ireland we currently operate two successful restaurants in Dublin but we believe the market has room for up to ten sites across the country in key cities including Cork, Limerick and of course further sites in Dublin.

“We also have a successful travel business with scope to grow that faster. We believe that is best done with a partner who specialises in this environment.”

Carluccio’s said it expects to choose its strategic franchise partners early in 2020. The company currently operates eight sites in the Middle East under a franchise agreement. New sites will feature the company’s new “Fresca” style design. The company now has seven Fresca refurbished sites – in Chester, Newcastle, Dawson Street Dublin, Heathrow Terminal 5, Canary Wharf, Bluewater and Richmond. Propel understands sales uplifts from these range from 15% to 35% and the business is “very pleased with sales”.

Jones said: “The model requires enhancing to drive down the costs of the refurbishments. The original seven cost on average £300,000, including additional catch up maintenance required by some landlords. Our target is now sub £100,000, which we believe is possible with a focus on design and decoration rather than structural works seen in the original seven.”

The refurbishment programme has been paused for Christmas, and will start again with the new lower capex version in the first quarter of next year at Waterloo station. At the same time, the company has appointed Claire Dickson, formerly of Tragus Group, who has most recently been consulting at Oakman Inns, as its permanent people director.

Jones said: “Claire has been with us ten months, originally as maternity cover support and then when Leanne Murphy decided not to come back after maternity we appointed her permanently.”

HOP VietnameseReports Gresham House Ventures is “considering a sale” of Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho are understood to be wide of the mark.

The Sunday Telegraph reported Gresham, which bought the fund and investment manager in charge of Pho from Livingbridge last year, was mulling a sale of the 29-strong business. However, Propel understands neither Gresham or Pho is currently investigating a sales process, especially in the current depressed sector mergers and acquisitions market, with all current focus on the continued expansion of the business.

Propel revealed last week Pho will open its 30th restaurant early next year after securing a site in Sheffield. It has taken a site in the Leopold Square mixed-used development, which already houses Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi, New World Trading Company brand The Botanist and The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama.

It’s understood Pho is also working on securing sites in Edinburgh and the Midlands for its 2020 pipeline. The company, which Stephen and Juliette Wall founded in 2005, saw a 12.8% increase in turnover to £34.4m in the year to the end of February 2019, driven by a 5.4% increase in like-for-like sales.

The company continued to generate a positive sales performance, with like-for-like sales in the nine months of its current financial year understood to be up 6.5%, driven by strong eat-in numbers and continued growth outside London.

Wahlburgers, the US chain run by chef Paul Wahlberg in partnership with his brothers Mark and Donnie, is set to place its UK debut site in London’s Covent Garden on the market, just over six months after its launch, Propel has learned.

It is understood Restaurant Property has been lined up to market the site at 8-9 James Street, with a premium of £2m thought to have been placed on it. The site is believed to have a current rent per annum of £1.2m.

Speculation has been growing the brand, which operates more than 20 sites in the US, was struggling to reach break-even levels at the site. The business was understood to be in talks with its landlord Capital & Counties (Capco) about its rent levels, on the back of trade tailing off since its launch. At the time of its opening, the business spoke of planning to open 15 restaurants in five years in London and the wider UK. A second UK opening for the concept was also mooted for Tottenham Court Road.

PizzaExpressHony Capital, the China-based owner of PizzaExpress, has bought back £72m of the company’s debt. Hony has acquired £71.9m of unsecured bonds at a price of 40p in the pound.

The move comes as PizzaExpress struggles to repay £1.1bn of loans amid spiralling losses. Of these, £660m is owed to bondholders. The first tranche of senior bonds – amounting to £460m – is due to be repaid by August 2021, while the junior bonds – amounting to £200m – are due to be repaid by August 2022.

Propel understands that while PizzaExpress sees Hony getting out its chequebook to buy back some of the debt as a positive move, it acknowledges there’s still a long way to go. Last month PizzaExpress reported like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland fell 1.1% for the 13 weeks to 29 September 2019. Ebitda for the UK and Ireland business was £19.9m with margin at 17.9%, down 130 basis points. During the period three company-owned sites opened and one closed, leaving the UK and Ireland estate with 477 company-owned restaurants and five franchise outlets.

PizzaExpress has continued to implement its FutureExpress refurbishment project, which has required £0.5m capital expenditure since 1 July in addition to regular maintenance capex to refurbish a further five sites. In total, the company has refurbished ten sites in 2019 as early results “continue to be positive”.

PizzaExpress stated: “About 95% of our UK and Ireland restaurants are profitable and there are no plans for closures outside the normal course of business.” Hony bought PizzaExpress in 2014 for £900m despite growing concerns about overcrowding in the casual dining market. Last month ratings agency S&P projected PizzaExpress’ enterprise value at £342m, far less than its £1.1bn debt pile.

Stonegate Pub Company’s proposed £3bn acquisition of Ei Group does not raise UK-wide competition concerns but “could damage competition in 51 local areas”, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said.

The CMA has been investigating the deal between the two pub groups. Together, the two groups operate close to 5,000 pubs across the UK, including chains such as Slug and Lettuce and Yates, as well as a large number of unbranded pubs.

The CMA stated: “After completing its initial Phase 1 investigation, the CMA has found the purchase does not raise competition concerns on a UK-wide basis. While the merged business will be the largest pub group in the UK, it will continue to face competition at the national level from several other large pub groups.

“The CMA has also investigated the potential impact of the merger in more than 500 local areas across the UK, in which both businesses currently have premises. While sufficient competition will remain after the merger in most cases, the CMA found the deal could reduce choice for pub-goers in 51 local areas where the combined business would face only limited competition.

“The CMA is therefore concerned that, if the businesses were to merge, pub goers in those areas could be faced with price increases or lower quality products and services. The companies now have until 13 December to suggest ways of overcoming these concerns. If proposals are not offered, or do not sufficiently address the issues raised, then the merger will be referred for an in-depth Phase 2 investigation.”

The CMA announcement comes after Propel revealed this morning (Friday, 6 December) Stonegate is to bring circa 40 sites to market to address CMA concerns. Stonegate had already agreed to dispose of up to 100 sites, which it believed would be enough to secure clearance. Propel understands the circa 40 sites would roughly consist of 30 Ei Group pubs and ten operated by Stonegate. The pubs are believed to be spread across England and Wales, with a good proportion in London and the south east.

Agent CBRE is believed to have been lined up to market the sites, which are expected to sell in packages. The proposed £3bn deal would see Stonegate buy circa 4,000-strong Ei Group for 285p a share, a 38.5% premium to the closing price of 205.8p per share the day before the deal was announced in July.

The acquisition values Ei Group’s entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital at about £1.27bn. The terms of the acquisition imply an enterprise value of £2.97bn and a multiple of about 11.4 times Ei Group’s underlying Ebitda of £261m for the financial year ended 30 September 2018, adjusted for the disposal of 370 commercial properties.

The deal is expected to complete in the first quarter of 2020. Stonegate chief executive Simon Longbottom would lead the new-look business, with counterpart Simon Townsend and the entire Ei Group board stepping down.

BeerBritain’s number of licensed premises fell 2.0% in the 12 months to September 2019 but dynamic new restaurant brands and the evolution of food-led pubs provide bright spots in a challenging market, according to the latest Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners.

The quarterly survey recorded about 116,500 pubs, bars, restaurants and other licensed premises in September. The 2.0% fall is the ninth successive quarter of year-on-year decline but the rate of closures is the slowest since mid-2018.

The research revealed Britain’s restaurant numbers fell 2.4% in the year to September to little more than 26,000 – a net closure rate of 12 a week. However the bulk of closures were independents, with group-run restaurants fractionally up 0.3%. Despite several major casual dining chains closing restaurants or entering administration in 2019, CGA’s research revealed many of those sites had been swiftly reopened, often by small and medium-sized restaurant groups.

The report highlights similar contrasts in the pub sector. Britain’s number of leased pubs has fallen by more than 5,000 since September 2014, while managed pub operators have added almost 1,000 sites, partly thanks to a move towards food-oriented offers. While wet-led pubs have tumbled 15.9% in five years, food-led ones have increased 1.5%.

Karl Chessell, business unit director for food and retail at CGA, said: “Our data shows a huge amount of churn in the restaurant market. There’s no doubt some leading casual dining names have had a tough 2019 but one brand’s difficulty is another’s opportunity. With capacity having eased in recent months there’s still a lot of opportunity for growth in casual dining – but only if the offer, execution and price are all spot on.”

AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith said: “There remains high interest in concepts with growth potential that tap into consumer trends. While the overall number of restaurants has dipped further, the situation isn’t as gloomy as it seems, with a number of smaller restaurant groups continuing to expand.

“In addition, many major cities are reporting increases in the number of licensed premises, despite an overall downward trend. While wet-led sites are declining and food-led outlets have grown to have a greater share of overall site numbers, there’s still a place in the market for wet-led operators who deliver a differentiated experience to customers.”

The Potting Shed in GuiseleyPotting Shed Trading, the eight-strong bar and restaurant group, has been acquired out of administration by a third party company led by former Intertain chief executive John Leslie, Propel understands.

Ormsborough, a company backed by funds managed by Downing, confirmed its wholly owned subsidiary, Potting Shed Trading, was placed into administration on Tuesday (3 December).

Alan Coleman and James Fish, of Royce Peeling Green, were appointed joint administrators. Propel understands the entire business has been acquired with Leslie appointed as non-executive chairman and John Creighton leading the company as managing director.

All eight sites, which are located across Beverley, Bingley, Gisele (pictured), Halifax, Northallerton and Southport, will continue to trade under the Potting Shed and Firepit brands, securing the jobs of all employees.

Burning Night Group was responsible for the management of the Potting Shed and Firepit pubs until the company went into administration in 2018. This caused disruption to the Potting Shed Trading business, which had to deal with a succession of legacy issues relating to the period under Burning Night Group’s management. Downing stepped in and appointed a new management team to assist with the business’ turnaround but were unable to because of the resources available and extent of the problems.

Despite a targeted asset sale process undertaken by Christie & Co, the offers received failed to reach the level of debt and, due to a shortage of cash, Potting Shed Trading’s position became untenable and the administrators were appointed.

Junkyard Golf's site in OxfordPrivate equity firm Ignite Growth is leading the race to invest in crazy golf operator Junkyard Golf, Propel understands.

Ignite Growth, which a few years ago came close to investing in Indochinese restaurant operator Banana Tree, is believed to have moved ahead of two other investment firms to acquire a stake in the Mat Lake-led business.

Earlier this year Propel revealed the five-strong company, which was launched by Chris Legh, Bart Murphy, Lyndon Higginson and Lake as a pop-up in Manchester in 2015, appointed Clearwater International to review its options.

The four directors remain sole owners and have so far funded the growth themselves. It’s thought Lake plans to stay on with the business but the other three could look to sell the majority of their stakes. Junkyard Golf’s sites are in London (Worship Street), Manchester (First Street), Oxford (Westgate Shopping Centre), Liverpool (Liverpool ONE) and Leeds (The Light). The Worship Street site occupies a 12,000 square foot unit and replaces Junkyard Golf’s pop-up at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, which opened in 2016 and attracted more than 400,000 visitors a year.

Junkyard Golf aims to “put a unique and immersive spin on the traditional game, complete with cocktail bars and scrapyard decor”. In May the company announced it was seeking venues for expansion as it aimed to “remain at the forefront of the competitive socialising sector”. Lake said Junkyard was “mapping out” its next phase of expansion, with sights set on two more London venues and major UK cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Sheffield.

At the weekend the business was ranked second in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100, with a 204.2% rise in annual sales growth during the past three years.

Mowgli founder Nisha KatonaIndian street food concept Mowgli, which is backed by Foresight Group, has reported revenues in the past three years have grown more than 66% on average every year to hit £12m in the 12 months to the end of July.

Nisha Katona (pictured) founded Mowgli in Liverpool in 2014 and has grown the brand to ten restaurants. Revealing expansion plans, Katona said a site would open in Bristol in the next few weeks, followed by Leeds, Edinburgh and Glasgow in 2020. In the longer term, Bath, Brighton, Coventry, Newcastle and Preston are also on the radar.

Katona said: “Despite uncertainty in the wider economy, I have never been more passionate and positive for the future. I can’t believe in four years we have come so far, so fast, and we now have more than 400 people working in the business. My challenge as we continue to grow is to retain the culture throughout the business.”

The company has opened restaurants in Manchester, Cardiff and Leicester this year and Katona, who was awarded an MBE this year, stressed expansion would be “measured”. She added: “As a former lawyer I handle all the lease negotiations on our sites and I will never do something that’s too risky or onerous financially, which is part of the reason we haven’t gone to London yet. However, I’m always on the lookout for the right site at the right price.”

Foresight Group director Claire Alvarez said: “We are proud and delighted to see Mowgli’s continued growth in the face of some tough market conditions.”

Keith Knowles, Beds and BarsKeith Knowles, founder and chief executive of pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars, is to stand down as chairman of Yummy Pub Co.

Knowles will focus on his five-year expansion plan for Beds and Bars. Knowles became Yummy chairman in 2016 to provide a “further layer of experience to a young management team”. During his tenure he has advised and guided the founders on restructuring the business and strategic direction and helped finance the business to buy its first freehold site, The Wiremill Lakeside Pub & Inn in Surrey.

A Yummy spokesman said: “Keith brought the ‘Live Your Life’ mantra he built with late wife Franca Knowles into Yummy, which has become an emblem of what the business stands for across the length and breadth of the team. He leaves the business in a position where it will continue the strategy to transition from a tied lease-operating business to a freehold management and property company. A process that will come to fruition with leased sites now on the market and actively seeking freeholds for pipeline growth in 2020.

“Over the entirety of Keith’s tenure he has donated his salary to the Team Margot Initiative and Yummy will continue to support the charity. Yummy has found a life-long supporter and friend in Keith and everyone wishes him every success with the impressive growth of Beds and Bars and his ongoing work for good causes.”

Red's True BarbecueRed’s True Barbecue, the Tokyo Industries-owned smokehouse brand, has converted its Newcastle site to a new entertainment bar concept called Louie’s Liquor Store.

Opening on Friday (6 December), the site at Intu Eldon Square in the Greys Quarter will offer “wings, sports and entertainment”. The company said the venue would take inspiration from bars in the American Deep South and feature “spacious booths, a distressed wooden interior and a huge stage fit for an ambitious entertainment programme”.

Events during the week will include quiz nights, food challenges, live comedy and music, and Sing for Wings – an open-mic night where the audience decides who is good enough to win free chicken wings.

Live sport will be screened, while live bands will play on Friday and Saturday nights with free entry and bar food including beef jerky, burgers and wings. The bar will offer its own line of craft beer, while there will be free pool and fusball tables.

Red’s co-founder James Douglas said: “We wanted to create a space where it’s just as fun to visit midweek as it is at the weekend. We can’t wait to see what people think of the bar and we’ve got some exciting plans in the pipeline.”

Propel understands the company isn’t looking to roll out the bar concept to the other five Red’s sites. Tokyo Industries, the bar and nightclub operator led by Aaron Mellor, acquired Red’s out of administration in the summer and is set to expand the brand into the UK festival and international markets.

Full-year turnover at Bread Holdings, the parent company of Gail’s Bakery, has passed the £100m mark as the company saw a boost in Ebitda and pre-tax profit.

Revenue rose 14% to £100.8m for the year ending 28 February 2019, compared with £86.4m the previous year. Turnover at Gail’s Bakery was up 23% with wholesale revenue up 11%. Group adjusted Ebitda rose to £11.5m, compared with £8.8m the previous year while pre-tax profit rose to £2.3m, compared with £1.0m the year before.

In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The increase in wholesale sales has been driven by the successful integration of previous acquisitions, along with some new wholesale customers. Retail growth has been delivered by a combination of new store openings and like-for-like growth within the estate.

“We continue to invest in our business with the opening of ten Gail’s bakeries in the year to February 2019, with a similar number of new openings expected this year, and through the establishment of the Bertinet bakery, which was acquired in late 2017 and our recently expanded main Hendon bakery on the wholesale side.

“The year ended February 2019 has been a challenging year on costs. Additionally, it has been a relatively uncertain time in the restaurant and hospitality sector but our diverse customer base helps us to mitigate this risk. It has been a year where we have seen encouraging sales growth on both the wholesale and retail sides of the group.”

Risk Capital Partners, Luke Johnson’s private equity firm, backed a management buyout of Bread Holdings in 2011 and owns about half of the firm. Last month, it was reported Johnson has appointed Nomura to oversee a review of strategic options for Bread Holdings. Gail’s has 53 sites, mainly in London, but it is now expanding further afield, with sites in Guildford, King’s Cross and Windsor thought to be in the pipeline. In October, Propel revealed like-for-like sales in the first half of the current financial year at Gail’s were up more than 8%.

Propel Multi Club 2019

Propel Premium subscribers will receive a daily video for ten days starting on Wednesday (4 December) featuring sector operators speaking at the final Multi Club Conference of 2019.

The videos feature a spectrum of company leaders sharing insights into their strategies and plans, while industry experts look at some of the key trends that are shaping the sector.

Videos will include Christie & Co head of valuation Stephen Owens; Andrew Ball, of sector accountancy specialist haysmacintyre; Alison Vickers, owner of Auriac Associates and former business development director for YO!, who is working with Dum Dum Donuts, Island Poke, Barburrito and Black Sheep Coffee; Bibendum chief executive Michael Saunders; Ali Aneizi, founder of Tamweel; Lorraine Copes, head of procurement at Corbin & King; Ed Devenport, co-founder of Incipio Group; Loui Blake, managing director of the UK’s largest vegan restaurant Erpingham House and co-founder of Kalifornia Kitchen; Wagamama and Hakkasan founder Alan Yau (pictured); and Andy Lewis-Pratt, who launched Xscape and is now chief executive of Market Halls.

Videos will send out each day at 5pm and 2pm on a Friday. Meanwhile, 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 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. However, in a Propel “Black Friday” offer, anyone subscribing on Monday (2 December) before 5pm can choose two colleagues to receive the service for free. Email

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its third year, with tickets now on sale. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality and aims to build a community, promote idea sharing, recognise talent, and define the future of eating out.

Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, which is the centrepiece of the January event series and takes place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The event will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, market insights, technology and digital developments, building strong links between marketing and operations, embedding a brand throughout a hospitality business, and future trends.

It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams as well as senior executives and investors who want to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. The event will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Speakers will include Maya Orr, senior marketing consultant at Lidl, who will talk to Think Hospitality chief executive James Hacon about why entering consumer awards can be a win for your business and reveal Lidl’s success with this strategy. Hilary Ansell, marketing director at Carluccio’s, will talk about the brand’s Fresca transformation from a daytime trading format to one that also succeeds in the evening. Rachael Whittle, PR manager at Dishoom, will talk about creating a strong brand with purpose that delivers its promise. Daniel Bennett, consulting director at Ogilvy Consulting’s behavioural science practice, will share the science behind making your food more craveable in your promotions based on his work with some of the world’s largest brands.

Alan Adojaan, chief executive of Robolab, will discuss the rise of robotics in the restaurant industry and the opportunities this creates and moral questions it raises. Meanwhile, Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will lead a panel featuring Pho marketing director Libby Andrews, Feed It Back operational excellence manager Lisa Campbell, and Bill’s marketing director Lesley McIlroy to discuss the way technology and digital is being leveraged to drive brand growth.

Tickets for operators for the two days are £575 plus VAT and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing

Finalists have been announced for the third Restaurant Marketer & Innovator Awards, staged by Propel and Think Hospitality to recognise success in marketing and innovation in the foodservice sector.

A panel consisting of 20 industry leaders and previous winners judged more than 150 entries at Inception Group’s Cahoots Ticket Hall in Soho.

The finalists are Best New Website: Beast Restaurant (with CAB Hospitality); Petersham Nurseries (with Wisetiger); D&D London (with Ignite Hospitality and Ten Kites); Bierschenke (with Propeller and Elliotts); Carluccio’s (with Ignite Hospitality and Ten Kites); Bistrot Pierre (with Propeller); Park Chinois (with Verb); Revolution Bars Group (with Cube3); Sushi Samba (with Propeller); Young’s (with Propeller); and Zelman Meat (with CAB Hospitality).

Best New/Improved Visual Identity: All Bar One (with WE ARE Spectacular); Carluccio’s Fresca Project (with Irving & Co); Frankie & Benny’s Welcome Back To Frankie’s; Concept 22 – Koffmann & Mr White’s (with Black and White Hospitality); and YO! rebrand (with W Communications).

Best Use of Research/Insight/Data: Bistrot Pierre (with Linney, Zonal and Feed It Back); ETM Group’s Game Of Thrones campaign (with Wireless Social); Queens (with Wisetiger); Mitchells & Butlers’ Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery; Revolution Bars Group (with Egremont); Vita Mojo; Wadworth (with Wisetiger); YO! (with W Communications and Pablo); and Las Iguanas (with Feed It Back).

Best Use of Social Media: Bistrot Pierre’s Bring Beaujolais Back (with Ergo Film); The Doyle Collection’s Dalloway Terrace; Frankie & Benny’s; ETM Group’s Game Of Thrones (with Wireless Social); Mitchells & Butlers’ Harvester Eatwear; Inception Group’s Mr Fogg’s; Revolution Bars Group (with Social Chain Agency); Duck and Rice (with Cavalier Communications); and Mitchells & Butlers’ Toby Carvery – Veganuary (with OneFifty Consultancy).

Best Use of Technology: The Alchemist’s Allergies Made Easier (with We Are Vapour); Fifty Cheyne (with Wisetiger); The Fox At Peasemore’s CRM and reward platform; Fishnchickn (with Preoday); Flight Club (with Kate Hempsall PR & Communications); ETM Group (with Wireless Social); Vita Mojo; and Wadworth (with Wisetiger).

Best Use of Video: Bistrot Pierre’s Best Of Bistrot Pierre (with Ergo Film); Cahoots; I am Doner’s I Am Doner & Blitzen (with Fleet Street Communications); Dirty Martini (with Spirited Media); Natural Selection’s The Rebel Chef (with Luya and Thoroughly Modern Media) and Mitchells & Butlers’ Toby Carvery Royal Navy.

Digital Campaign of the Year: Café Murano’s Elements Of Summer (with Ignite Hospitality); Inception Group’s Cahoots; Carluccio’s Summer’s On Us (with Ignite Marketing); and Greene King’s Hungry Horse: More Merry For Your Money (with WPR Agency).

Innovation Of The Year: Cafe Rouge’s A Very Rouge Christmas; All Bar One’s Blossom Birdcage; Casual Dining Group’s Bombay Sapphire augmented reality campaign (with Shazam); Carluccio’s for Carluccio’s Goes Vegan; Graffiti Spirits Group’s GSG Lab; Island Poké’s click and collect app (with 5Loyalty and Propeller); The Conjurer’s augmented reality cocktails (with William Grant & Sons, X Design and Vapour); SpiceBox’s The SpiceBox Tiffin Club; and Tipjar (with Saved By Robots).

Integrated Campaign of the Year: All Bar One’s All The Better With Beer (with WE ARE Spectacular) Carluccio’s Summer’s On Us (with Ignite Hospitality and Cedar Group); Cafe Rouge’s Celebrating 30 Years Young; Bistrot Pierre’s Dine Out For £10; Dirty Martini’s House Of Pink v House Of Orange (with Eight & Four); Greene King’s Farmhouse Inns: The Road To The Ultimate Summer (with WPR Agency); Frankie & Benny’s #MeatballBattle (with Idea Farm PR); Mitchells & Butlers’ Harvester And Odeon Shake Your Body; Masala Zone’s Mango Mania (with Ignite Hospitality); Marriott International’s Secret Gin Society (with Ignite Hospitality); Stonegate Pub Company’s Jägermeister Ice-Cold Tour (with Leisure PR, SF Leisure Europe and Elevate Staffing); The Alchemist for The Alchemist x Praise The Rays; ETM Group’s Call Of The Wild At The Jugged Hare (with Wildfire Creative); The Stable’s Cider Of The Year Awards; and Vapiano’s World Pasta Day. Launch Campaign of the Year: Tortilla’s Brooklyn Barbacoa; Inception Group’s Cahoots; Signature Pubs’ Cold Town House; Concept 22 – Koffmann & Mr White’s (with Black and White Hospitality); Mission Mars’ Rudy’s Birmingham – Pizza For All; Elite Bistros’ The Rebel Chef – Pinion Bistro (with Natural Selection, Luya and Thoroughly Modern Media) and Wingstop (with Exposure).

Future Marketer of the Year: Alexandra Goode, of Nobu Restaurants; Jack Jolly, of New World Trading Company; Katarzyna Makowska, of Burger King CEE, AmRest; and Sarah McDermott, of Young’s.

Winners of the Innovator of the Year and Marketer of the Year awards will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday, 22 January at Cafe de Paris in London, which will be the grand finale of the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit.

Tickets for the awards, which are £160 plus VAT each and can be bought individually or as a table, are available by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing

Details have been revealed of the day one line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its third year.

The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Day one will feature Think Hospitality managing director James Hacon, who will highlight some of the key trends and happenings in the sector in the past year. Suzanne Robinson, managing director at Happen UK, will share her tips on where you should look for innovation and, more importantly, how to do it. Alan Adojaan, chief executive of Robolab, will discuss the rise of robotics in the restaurant industry, the opportunities this creates and moral questions it raises.

Peter Critchley, chief executive of Beaver Trison, will examine the growing consumer expectation of seamless and valuable experiences in intelligent retail spaces and how these can be delivered through digital platforms. Katy Moses, managing director of KAM Media, will share how hyper-connectivity and busy lifestyles are influencing consumer buying decisions and how hospitality brands are adapting, evolving and enhancing their proposition accordingly.

James Coldrey-Mobbs, head of marketing at Ego Restaurants, will chair a panel featuring Loui Blake, founder of Erpingham House and Kalifornia Kitchen, Emmy van Beek, head of sustainability at Hawksmoor Group, and Harry Boglione, owner of Haye Farm, to discuss how plant-based diets are changing the consumer landscape, how operators are responding and what the future might look like. Elise Craft, global planning partner at Ogilvy Health & Wellness, will tackle what brands need to know about the impact of complainers, campaigners and haters on social media and test the limits of individual influence.

Rachael Whittle, PR manager at Dishoom, will talk about creating a strong brand with purpose that delivers its promise. Elise Ash, strategy and brand director at The Restaurant Group, will discuss the tools and techniques that are moving the needle on Frankie & Benny’s reinvigoration. Phil Leather, head of digital at Gusto Italian, will present a case study from the launch and roll-out of the brand’s Gold Rewards programme.

Hilary Ansell, marketing director at Carluccio’s, will talk about the Fresca transformation of the brand. Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will lead a panel featuring Pho marketing director Libby Andrews, Feed It Back operational excellence manager Lisa Campbell, and Bill’s marketing director Lesley McIlroy to discuss the way technology and digital is being leveraged to drive brand growth. James Hacon will interview Maya Orr, senior marketing consultant at Lidl, about why entering consumer awards can be a real win for business.

Claire Scullion, account director at MVAD, will share how menu design tricks can change the way customers order and encourage upsells. Meg Ellis, commercial director at Honest Burgers, will reveal how the brand takes a local approach to roll out beyond London with initiatives that cross the customer experience. Dan Burns, managing director of Natural Selection Design, will share his experience of helping brands and personalities share stories through video. Daniel Bennett, consulting director, behavioural science practice at Ogilvy Consulting, will share the science behind making food more craveable within your promotions.

Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place, London, are £575 plus VAT for operators for the two days and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing

Details have been revealed of the day two line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its third year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Day two will feature Supersonic’s Mark McCulloch, who will reveal the change marketers need to make in 2020 to be successful. Moreton Reynolds director Mimi Moreton will ask Emine Mehmet, senior group digital manager at Inception Group, and Rosie Prior, digital and brand manager at Petersham Nurseries, how they develop digital strategies that build audiences, engage their community and deliver for their brands. Sam Bourke, director of sales and marketing at ETM Group, and Wireless Social chief executive Julian Ross will share how ETM Group has leveraged technology to capture and segment data to deliver real-time personalised guest engagement, targeted loyalty and sponsored promotions.

Typhoon Hospitality general manager Rachel Persoon will chair a panel featuring consultant Emily Chambers; Virginia Anne Newton, director of media relations and special events at Restaurant Geranium; and Josh Craddock, food and beverage marketing director at The Doyle Collection; who will share tips on promoting premium experiences. Daniel Davies, group chief executive of Rockpoint Leisure, will reveal how he is engaging local creatives across startup businesses in his New Brighton regeneration scheme.

Puttshack marketing director Sophie Evans will talk about taking on a new challenge in the experiential leisure sector and how she gains buy-in and delivers a strategy that drives real commercial results. Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will interview Be At One co-founder Rhys Oldfield about his journey from bartender to building and exiting the 32-strong cocktail bar group. Olive & Key founder Callan Price will lead a panel featuring Hayley Simpson, of Lucky Pineapple; Josh Jarvis, of Wingshack; Andy Young, of Black Milk; and Ragnar Eiríksson, of Vínstúkan Tíu Wine Bar; who will discuss their concepts and share their entrepreneurial journey.

SpiceBox founder Grace Regan will reveal why she left Silicon Valley to start a restaurant concept in London. Think Hospitality partner Heleri Rande will lead a panel featuring London Union founder Jonathan Downey and Graffiti Spirits Group co-founder Matt Farrell to discuss the evolution of food halls. City Pantry chief operating officer Sharon Lee will host a panel featuring Wagamama business development director Andre Johnstone, Eatclever co-founder Robin Himmels, and Pizza Hut Restaurants UK head of marketing Priten Mistry to discuss the formats and opportunities being fuelled by the growth of delivery and take out.

Matthew Bushby, UK marketing director of Just Eat, will share insights into the evolving delivery market and advise how brands can increase their visibility and order volumes. Emma Causer, group sales and marketing director at Zonal, will lead a panel featuring Tortilla managing director Richard Morris, Sushi Shop chief executive Christopher Jones and Marco Pierre White Restaurants managing director Brandie Deignan on how to create a culture that embraces and encourages innovation.

Laura Vana, head of research and development at Siigur Restaurants, will explain why it’s important to let children enjoy their food in a creatively messy way and how restaurants can develop their relationship with food. Meanwhile, Adam Handling Restaurants chief executive Adam Handling; Villa Mama founder and chief executive Roaya Saleh; Bistrot Pierre marketing director Arpita Anstey; Remarkable Pubs managing director Elton Mouna; and Think Hospitality chairman Michael Ingemann will determine the biggest challenges the industry faces for the next 20 years and suggest how to overcome them.

Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place, London, are £575 plus VAT for operators for the two days and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing

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.

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

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