Star Pubs & Bars

Story of the Day:

Fuller’s appoints interim finance director

Fuller's Half MoonLondon brewer and retailer Fuller’s has appointed Deborah Stevenson as interim finance director with effect from Monday (19 November). As a result James Douglas, who announced in September he would leave the company, has stepped down as finance director and from the board a few weeks earlier than planned. Fuller’s stated: “Deborah Stevenson is a qualified chartered accountant and corporate treasurer with two decades’ experience in senior financial roles, generally at chief financial officer level. She has worked in a broad array of sectors, including global manufacturing, logistics, publishing, asset management and business services. James Douglas announced his decision to step down in September as he and his family are moving to Germany, where his wife, Dr Anke Hoeffler, has been awarded a prestigious Humboldt Professorship. He leaves a well-established and extremely proficient finance team behind him, which will support Deborah in her interim role. James leaves with the board’s best wishes and thanks for his contribution over the past 11 years. The search for a permanent replacement is under way and progressing well. We look forward to updating shareholders in due course.”

Boxpark Wembley signs nine more brands

CGI of Boxpark WembleyBoxpark Wembley has signed nine more brands ahead of its launch on Saturday, 8 December. The traders are Boki (artisan coffee), TapaVino (tapas), Wolf (Italian street food), Gabagools (New York-style subs), Oatopia (flapjacks), Bombay Burrito (fusion), Hola Guacamole (Mexican street food), Zucla (noodles) and Mama Jacq’s (Caribbean). It will be a sixth venue for Wolf, which has two outlets in Reading, one each in Chiswick and Leeds and a venue opening in Manchester next week. The company also submitted plans in September to launch a restaurant in Nottingham. Boxpark Wembley will be a second venue for Boki, which operates a coffee shop in Covent Garden, and TapaVino, which offers authentic Iberian tapas at Lincoln Plaza, east London. Gabagools and Oatopia both opened debut sites in Boxpark Croydon, while Bombay Burrito offers Indian/Mexican burritos and bowls at its other venue, in Islington. Hola Guacamole, which launched at Camden Lock Market in 2013, will open its first permanent site, while Zucla focuses on Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisine from its restaurant near Fleet Street. Mama Jacq’s, which caters at events and offers Caribbean home cooking, will open its first bricks and mortar site. Boxpark retail director Agee Rose said: “The foodie line-up at Boxpark Wembley is nearly complete, with some of the finest offerings on the street food scene housed under one roof.” Boxpark Wembley will also offer 20,000 square feet of dedicated events space.

Other News:

Innis & Gunn founder and master brewer Dougal Gunn SharpScottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has revealed plans to build a large-scale brewery in Edinburgh. The growth of Innis & Gunn craft lager has doubled in the past two years, and the strong performance of the brand’s portfolio of IPAs and barrel-aged beers contributed in 2017 to the company’s 14th successive year of double-digit volume growth. The proposed site is likely to be in the Edinburgh area, subject to planning applications. Innis & Gunn’s core range would be produced at the new 400,000-hectolitre facility, while its brewery in Perthshire, which Innis & Gunn acquired when it purchased Inveralmond Brewery in 2016, would continue to brew the Inveralmond range of cask and bottled ale, which following a rebrand has seen 7% volume growth in the past 12 months. It would also focus on small-scale experimentation and limited edition, barrel-aged beer. The new brewery would also enable high-speed canning, bottling and kegging, and streamline several outsourced brewing and packaging sites to one location. It would also feature a taproom and visitors’ centre. Founder and master brewer Dougal Gunn Sharp (pictured) said: “Building a brewery will cement our Edinburgh heritage and create a focal point for our beer in the capital. It will provide the brewing, packaging and warehousing capacity we need as we continue to strive to meet the surging demand for our lager. For me, putting the brewery in Edinburgh, where we first brewed Innis & Gunn, feels like we have come home as a business.” Innis & Gunn, which was founded in 2003, saw turnover grow 22% to £22.4m in 2017, while gross profit rose 19% to £10.1m and volumes grew 13%. The company aims to achieve turnover of £40m by 2021.

Liberation Group's new chief executive Jonathan LawsonChannel Islands-based brewer and retailer Liberation Group has appointed Jonathan Lawson as chief executive. Lawson has more than 20 years’ experience in the retail and pub sectors and was managing director of Greene King’s Local Pubs division for four years. He replaces outgoing Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther, and will start his role on 14 January. Lawson joins from Vision Express, part of GrandVision, where he has served as chief executive since 2011. He has also held senior positions at Sainsbury’s after starting his career on Marks & Spencer’s graduate trainee scheme in 1995. Crowther is leaving Liberation Group after 11 years. The company, which was acquired by Caledonia Investments in 2016, operates two breweries, three distribution businesses and 116 pubs in the West Country and Channel Islands. Since its acquisition, Liberation Group has focused on delivering its growth plan through targeted capital expenditure within the pub estate and acquisitions of individual pubs and groups in the south of England. The strategy has seen it acquire Butcombe Brewery and expand in the West Country. Liberation Group executive chairman Richard Grainger said: “Mark Crowther has contributed significantly to the success of the business and I want to extend the thanks of the board and staff to him. Jonathan Lawson’s wide-ranging executive experience across the leisure sector will enable him to drive the business onward and fulfil the board’s expectations for the group. We look forward to welcoming him into the business.” Lawson added: “It’s a great pleasure to return to the pub sector and I am hugely excited to join Liberation Group. The team has built an excellent business and I look forward to meeting the people, our customers and fully immersing myself in the company. This is a great organisation with clear opportunities ahead and I’m delighted to be leading it through its next period of growth.”

Tim MartinJD Wetherspoon shareholders have re-elected Tim Martin (pictured) as chairman and approved finance director Ben Whitley’s 11% pay rise despite calls from City advisory firms to reject the motions. Investor adviser Pirc previously said Martin should not be re-elected as chairman because, as founder and 32% shareholder, he was not “independent” enough for the job. Meanwhile, Glass Lewis was against Wetherspoon’s pay scheme, under which Whitley was given an 11% pay rise to £192,000. Despite the calls, 96.08% of shareholders agreed to re-elect Martin at Wetherspoon’s annual general meeting on Thursday (15 November). The remuneration report was met with more opposition but was duly passed, with 85.23% agreeing with the motion. Glass Lewis and Pirc had both told investors to vote against non-executive director Sir Richard Beckett’s re-election because, after nine years, they considered he had served enough time on the board. However, he was re-elected after 92% of shareholders voted in favour. The meeting saw 17.63% of shareholders vote against the re-appointment of Debra van Gene as a non-executive director. She has been on the board since 2006 and is chairman of the remuneration committee. Meanwhile, 17.43% voted against the re-election of senior independent director Elizabeth McMeikan, who was appointed to the board in 2005. Wetherspoon stated: “The company notes the number of independent votes received against resolutions eight and nine (re-election of Debra van Gene and Elizabeth McMeikan) of the annual general meeting. The company continues to take its responsibility to engage with shareholders seriously and will assess the feedback these votes provide.”

Flight Club general viewTony Hamlin, managing director of hospitality business lender First Merchant, has said there’s never been a better time to get a great leasehold deal in London as landlords become more “accommodating” on rents. Speaking at the First Merchant Seminar in Marylebone, London, Hamlin said: “There’s never been a time like this to get a fabulous place on a good lease. All of a sudden landlords realise they don’t want to be left with an empty restaurant for three years – there aren’t the takers – so they are being accommodating on rents.” However, Hamlin warned operators needed to offer more than simple food and drink as the consumer taste for experiences continued to grow. He said: “You look at places such as Reign in Piccadilly – it is absolutely packed every night it’s open. It’s not a nightclub where you dance, it has a show. Everybody wants some kind of entertainment now so you’ve got to offer something more than just food when people go out. There are a lot of places such as Flight Club (pictured) with darts and others with ping pong, shuffleboard and even axe-throwing!” Hamlin was speaking as ministers continued to resign over prime minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. However, he said: “I’ve been around a long time and I’ve seen financial ‘crashes’ in 1974, 1981, 1993 and 2007 – and now Brexit. I’ve lived through all these and they’ve all become history. It doesn’t matter which way you swing politically, it’s all going to be history. In three or four years’ time, no-one is going to be able to spell Brexit let alone remember what it was about. We’ve just got to go on, be optimistic and be careful in our deals.” First Merchant has been helping leasehold restaurants, pubs and hotels expand for more than 20 years but also recently launched – “Stop Paying Rent!” – a product that allows leasehold operators to borrow up to 100% of the purchase price of the freehold of their premises as a way out of the spiralling cost of rents that are “putting the businesses we have always financed at risk”. Hamlin told Propel: “This is a facility that not only helps both freeholder and leaseholder, which will energise the market, but indicates our unwavering view that leisure is the greatest sector to be involved in.”

Patrick Dardis, Young'sPatrick Dardis (pictured), chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel the Brexit deal is “far from perfect” but “ticks the right boxes”. He said: “What we need is to have an orderly exit but I fear that is not going to happen. We need politicians on all sides of the spectrum to support this – but I don’t think they will. If MPs vote this down, I don’t think the people of this country will forgive them. It’s far from perfect but it was nigh on impossible to get exactly what we wanted and this deal does tick the boxes businesses need. The alternative is no deal and I’m not sure that’s right for us. I hope common sense prevails.” Dardis said Young’s consistent performance was proof there was no need to change its strategy. He said like-for-like sales had, on average, been up 5.6% over the past seven years, while sales were growing in all areas of the business. Drink sales in the first half of the current financial year were up 10.2%, with sales of Pimms and rosé up 27% and gin 35%. Meanwhile, accommodation revenue increased 18.3% and Burger Shack sales were up 21%. Dardis said: “What these figures confirm is our strategy is right and there’s no need to change what we’re doing – opening premium, individual and differentiated pubs, developing our people and investing in our existing estate. I think the pub is far from dead.” Dardis said the company continued to see pressure on the bottom line as headwind costs increased but top-line growth was helping protect margins. He added: “It is challenging for management but these costs are always going to be there. We try to minimise passing these on to customers through price rises while discounting in the sector has been going on since 2008. We didn’t participate then and we won’t now.” Dardis said the company had the firepower to continue adding to its estate but stressed it was about finding the right sites and “not about the numbers”. He said the preference was to acquire pub freeholds in which the company continued to see “plenty of opportunities”. Meanwhile, Young’s has a number of major refurbishment projects planned for January and February, which Dardis said would bring further benefit to the estate.

East Coast Concepts, which is backed by private equity firm Northedge Capital and operates the Victors and Neighbourhood brands, has reported turnover increased 46% to £11,085,170 for the year ending 30 June 2018, compared with £7,621,875 the year before. Ebitda, excluding opening costs, moved from a negative position of minus £200,000 to a positive position of £200,000. Pre-tax losses rose to £1,707,408 compared with £1,582,760 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Post year-end, East Coast Concepts secured an additional £1.5m from Northedge Capital that is being used to open its third Victor’s site, in Alderley Edge this month. East Coast Concepts acquired the former Alchemist site in the Cheshire village in the summer. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The year to 30 June 2018 was one of growth for the group, with the business growing from three to five sites across both the Neighbourhood and Victors brands. During the year a Neighbourhood was opened in Leeds and a Victors was opened in Oxford. The group now operates locations across Manchester, Hale, Liverpool, Leeds and Oxford. There are a number of locations identified across both brands for openings in the next financial year. The board continues to have great confidence in the strength of both brands and are satisfied with the trading performance in the new financial year.” The company’s headcount at the end of the period increased to 253 from 227 the previous year. NorthEdge Capital began backing East Coast Concepts in June 2016.

Starbucks Drive ThruStarbucks’ first UK franchised business partner, 23.5 Degrees, has prioritised drive-thru locations as it seeks to open 27 sites in a year. 23.5 Degrees opened its first store in February 2013 and now operates 53 across the UK. The company has the rights to open Starbucks sites in East Anglia as well as Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Essex, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire in the south of England, and Lancashire, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Northumberland in the north. The company is midway through a five-year business plan with an “ultimate commitment to expand to 144 stores”. In the year to 31 August 2017, the company grew revenue by 25.1% to £20.4m, with Ebitda up 94.05% to £1.62m. It made an operating loss of £634,491 in the year, down from a loss of £932,021 the year before. Managing director Mark Hepburn has previously run foodservice franchise businesses that include Burger King and KFC sites. Following an initial £5.6m growth capital investment in 2015, Connection Capital invested a further £3.6m into 23.5 Degrees during the summer.

Sourced Market's new-look site in MaryleboneSourced Market, the hybrid deli and dining brand that hit its £750,000 crowdfunding target this week, is on the verge of securing its fifth London site. The company stated: “We have been offered a number of great opportunities in recent months but the one with the greatest potential for us is at Southbank Place, a new development of offices and apartments located between Waterloo station and the London Eye. The site benefits from high footfall from four key customer types – office workers, tourists, travellers and residents of the apartments in the scheme. The site is therefore likely to be busy seven days a week across the day. Located above a gym, we would also be perfectly placed to offer gym members their pre or post-workout energy fix. At just under 200 square metres, the site will be a little smaller than our Victoria site. It has a long frontage with floor-to-ceiling glass giving the site great street presence supported by outdoor seating. The lease is under negotiation but the proposed terms are favourable due to a relationship we have with the gym and a desire from it for the site to be occupied by a brand that will fit their demographic. We would expect to be able to open the site in late spring 2019. It would be a great, profitable addition to our growing family of markets.” Sourced Market is offering 6.98% equity in return for the £750,000 investment being sought via crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. So far, 338 investors have pledged £769,040 and the campaign is overfunding with 13 days remaining. Sourced Market, which is backed by Pembroke VCT, generated £6.4m of new revenue in its latest financial year and raised £1m of investment through a Crowdcube bond in 2016. (pictured: Sourced Market’s new-look site in Marylebone)

Luke Thomas has launched his first restaurant in London at Tintagel House in VauxhallChef Luke Thomas has opened his first standalone restaurant in London. Thomas has launched the venture on the ground floor of Tintagel House, The Office Group’s 95,000 square foot flagship development at Albert Embankment in Vauxhall. Covering 1,700 square foot, the restaurant is an all-day venue with a grab-and-go offer. Thomas became the youngest head chef in the UK when he headed up a restaurant at Sanctum on the Green hotel in Cookham at the age of 18. Alongside work placements at Michelin star restaurants such as The Fat Duck, Thomas has appeared on various television programme including Junior MasterChef, Great British Menu, and a biographical BBC Three documentary titled Britain’s Youngest Chef. Shelley Sandzer acted on behalf of The Office Group on the deal. Tony Levine, high-street leasing agent at Shelley Sandzer, said: “Securing aspiring chef Luke Thomas for this prime opportunity was driven by The Office Group’s desire to find someone unique for the space, and it’s great to see how well the concept has already been received. Given its great location there were many established operators in the running but choosing a chef with a real point of difference brings added appeal and ensures delivery of the very best dining experience for the people who will be using Tintagel House.”

eagle eye logoEagle Eye, the SaaS technology company that validates and redeems digital promotions in real-time for the grocery, retail and hospitality industries, has secured a contract with Burger King UK, making the company its first quick service restaurant customer. Eagle Eye reported the deal in a trading update ahead of its annual general meeting today (Friday, 16 November), with revenue in the first quarter up 26% compared with the previous year. The company stated: “At the start of the year we set an objective to expand into new sectors. We recently signed a three-year contract with Burger King UK for 74 outlets, our first quick service restaurant customer, demonstrating the attraction of the platform outside our traditional grocery and food and beverage sectors. The AIR platform and Digital Wallet have broad applicability across sectors and we have a growing pipeline of additional opportunities, both in the UK and internationally. The group’s momentum has continued into the current financial year and the first quarter has delivered revenue growth of 26% compared with the previous year, with revenue generated by the AIR platform growing by 36%. The growth has been driven by the impact of wins at the end of the last financial year, transaction growth from activity through brands together with continued deepening of existing customer engagements. Redemption and interaction volumes were 200.5 million for the quarter, a 507% increase compared to the same period last year, driven predominantly by the continued expansion of Loblaw’s PC Optimum loyalty programme and the deepening of the relationship with other Tier 1 retailers. The quarter saw new customer wins, together with the addition of new issuance partners, providing our customers a wider audience to which they can promote. We expect both of these aspects to translate to further volume growth through the platform during the year, in line with expectations. The challenge we have set ourselves this year of running the business ‘Better, Simpler, Cheaper’ is now well under way and the initial impact of these initiatives, supported by the growth in revenue, have meant that the group’s adjusted Ebitda loss has materially reduced compared with the previous year. We remain on track for our move to Ebitda profitability, in line with management expectations. The group’s funding position of cash and its £5m banking facility with Barclays are in line with management expectations and continue to be sufficient to support the group’s existing growth plans. The growth in revenues and volumes is expected to continue into the second quarter, from the annualisation of Tier 1 contracts, the impact of new wins and the strong growth of the issuance network in the first quarter. With our recurring revenue remaining high, at 72% of group revenue, very low levels of customer churn and an expanding addressable market opportunity, the board looks to the remainder of the year and beyond with confidence.” Meanwhile, Eagle Eye has appointed Robert Senior as a non-executive director. Senior’s career in advertising spans 30 years, including most recently having held positions as UK chief executive, chief executive of EMEA and worldwide chief executive at Saatchi and Saatchi where he also chaired the Worldwide Creative Board. Eagle Eye non-executive chairman Malcolm Wall said: “I am pleased to welcome Robert Senior to the board of Eagle Eye. He is well-regarded for his knowledge and expertise in the marketing services and brand industry, which will bolster the group’s opportunity within the brands customer segment. We look forward to Robert’s participation as we continue to execute our strategy to become a global leader in personalised digital marketing.”

Tennent's logoC&C Group brand Tennent’s has ended its brewing and packaging contract with Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn. Tennent’s has had a brewing and packaging relationship with Innis & Gunn since 2014, producing a range of beers for it at Tennent’s Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow. Following extended dialogue with Innis & Gunn on its production contract, Tennent’s has served notice of its intention to terminate the brewing and packaging arrangement with effect from September 2020. Patrick Morrissey, Tennent’s group operations director, said: “We are pleased our world-class facilities and brewers in Glasgow have played a major part in the development of Innis & Gunn beers and we wish it well for the future.”

Kate NichollsNutrition, healthy eating and sustainability are the driving forces in an increasingly diverse foodservice management (FSM) sector, according to a new report. UKHospitality, in partnership with Bidfood, has launched the latest edition of its foodservice management report, which outlines key challenges and opportunities for the FSM sector. The report states more than 90% of FSM clients see health and nutrition as an important or critically important issue. It also showed more than 90% of businesses surveyed had a workforce that was more than 50% female. The data also reveals FSM employers are concerned about their ability to hire workers and product availability following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls (pictured) said: “The FSM sector is a crucial element of the UK’s hospitality industry. The sector is buzzing with dynamic and talented leaders and we are pleased to represent them. This report underlines the importance and vibrancy of the sector as well as the opportunities and challenges it faces. FSM businesses, like their high-street cousins, innovate and provide much-needed investment around the UK. They are no less important than our pub, bar and hotel sectors, and UKHospitality will be using this report to ensure they are supported by government.”

Gaming MachineTrade bodies UKHospitality and the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) have reiterated under-age gaming in pubs is “wholly unacceptable” while highlighting the sector’s efforts to stamp out illegal play. The statement follows the publication of data by the Gambling Commission that reveals high levels of under-age people playing gaming machines in pubs. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “UKHospitality is already working with its members and other trade bodies to develop a social responsibility charter, with bespoke pub-specific messaging that highlights responsible gaming and the prevention of under-age play.” BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds added: “We are committed to keeping the pub a safe and friendly environment for families so we take these interim findings very seriously.” Both bodies said they were seeking urgent meetings with the Gambling Commission and councils to ensure appropriate action was taken.

The Deltic Group has secured a new late licence as it invests £2m in its Przym site in Kingston, Surrey. Part of the venue will now become a 770-capacity Bar & Beyond, which will trade until 2am and close at 2.30am. The company, represented by Jonathan Smith, partner at Poppleston Allen, has also secured an extended licence for Pryzm to 3am, closing at 3.30am daily, with an increased capacity of 150 to 1,950. Deltic and Poppleston Allen worked with police and the council to ensure the application for the new bar and additional hours at the venue, which is within the borough’s Cumulative Impact Zone, was made in a “considered and collaborative way”. This included meetings with the authorities, visits to Bar & Beyond in Chelmsford, and Deltic sharing its proposal with local residents.

Signature Brew logoSignature Brew, the “music-inspired” brewing operation known for its collaborative beers with musicians, has hit its £400,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open taprooms and treble capacity. The company, which was founded by Tom Bott and Sam McGregor in 2011 and named 2018 UK brewery of the year by the Society of Independent Brewers, is offering 4.26% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £9m. So far, 316 investors have pledged £421,690 and the campaign is “overfunding”. Earlier this month, Signature Brew used a £100,000 invoice finance facility from NatWest to support the opening of Signature Brew Taproom & Venue in Haggerston, east London. The pitch states: “We have grown revenues at an average rate of 78% year-on-year over the past three years – past 12 months’ revenue of £1.13m, Ebitda of £25,000 – with Ebitda for the past six months of £33,000. We expect to brew a million pints this year and our core range, including Roadie IPA and Studio Pilsner, are found at venues, festivals and supermarkets, as well as bars and pubs nationwide. Our current brewery is at capacity so to keep up with demand we’re seeking investment to move to a nearby east London site, which will house a brewhouse, trebling capacity from day one to future-proof the brewery. The site will underpin the next ten years of continued growth, expanding UK distribution and growing exports. We want to bring all production in-house – we’ve recently had to brew some of our pilsner kegs off-site due to capacity constraints. In addition to our new taproom, we plan to open two further taprooms to showcase our beers and host events.”

CGI of the new Soho Residence, which is replacing Roundhouse in SohoSoho’s iconic Roundhouse has undergone a £1m restoration and will reopen as premier bar, club and lounge Soho Residence. The Wardour Street venue, which will reopen on Wednesday, 28 November, will have a capacity of 350 spread across three floors. Built in 1892, the Roundhouse previously hosted blues and skiffle clubs featuring performers from around the world. The restored space, formerly known as The O Bar, offers a lounge and botanical cocktail bar that will open until 3am except on Sundays. The basement club will feature festoon lighting alongside craft beer and cocktails. The first floor-lounge will feature high ceilings, tall windows with sofas.

Bindu Patel, who spent spells in the kitchens of Michelin-starred Gymkhana and Trishna restaurants, is launching plant-based concept Sanctua in LeicesterBindu Patel (pictured), who has worked in the kitchens of Michelin-starred restaurants Gymkhana and Trishna, is to launch a plant-based concept in Leicester in January. Patel will open Sanctua at a site in London Road formerly occupied by Indian restaurant Geetas Krupa. The 40-seat venue will offer a 100% plant-based, regularly changing menu using “wonky” fruit and vegetables, organic where possible, to reduce food waste. Dishes will include wild mushroom, lentil and spinach pie with Guinness and mushrooms, while there will be a platter of the week featuring a selection of eastern, Indian, Mexican or Italian dishes. Drinks will include vegan wine and beer alongside non-alcoholic offerings such as lemon and ginger turmeric sherbet shots. Bindu said: “We’re not here to preach about lifestyles and animal welfare – I want people to eat here because they really love the cooking.”

Gemma Ellis, former chef at Michelin-starred London pub The Harwood Arms, is set to launch a late-night bar at her restaurant, Cliffords, which she opened in June. The bar, offering bespoke kitchen-focused cocktails and seasonal bar snacks, will open at the Fetter Lane venue on Wednesday, 28 November. Each cocktail has been designed to champion local produce by using everything that comes through the kitchen. The bar snacks menu will feature smoked cod’s roe and toast, and goose rilettes and cranberry sauce. Ellis said: “The idea for the bar menu started as a way to use every last bit of the fresh ingredients that came from friends, family and leftovers from the kitchen. I relish the challenge of creating food with ingredients that might otherwise be overlooked, and that is what I want to showcase as much as possible on this new menu.”

Jurys Inn has acquired Midland Hotel in Manchester as an eighth site for its Leonardo Hotels brand. The company said it would draw on the history of the grade II-listed property, which opened in Peter Street in 1903. The four-star hotel offers 312 bedrooms, four AA rosette restaurant Adam Reid At The French and two AA rosette eatery Mr Cooper’s. There is also a tea room and the newly refurbished Midland Bar, which serves food all day. Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels managing director Jason Carruthers said: “We are honoured to have taken over such a prestigious property in the heart of Manchester. The Midland has an abundance of fascinating history I know our guests will be eager to learn more about.”

Patisserie Valerie's new larger site at Centre:MK

Patisserie Holdings chief executive Paul May has resigned with immediate effect. May has been replaced by Stephen Francis, who was until recently chief executive of Tulip, the UK’s largest integrated farmer and producer of pork. Patisserie Holdings stated: “Steve is a strong leader and experienced turnaround chief executive with a proven track record of rapid operational performance improvements. Since 2005, Steve has completed four successful operational turnarounds of multi-site, international businesses with revenues ranging from £2bn to £200m. Steve was recently chief executive of Tulip, the UK’s largest integrated farmer and producer of pork, where he led the rapid return from significant losses, rebuilt the management team and completed a major growth acquisition. Prior to that, he led the turnaround of Danwood Group as group chief executive, restoring the credibility with stakeholders, rebuilding the management and transforming the profitability of the company. He has also held turnaround roles at Vion Food Group and Vita Group. Stephen has also held a number of senior roles at Barclays Capital, PricewaterhouseCoopers and McKinsey.” Chairman Luke Johnson said: “I am delighted to welcome Steve Francis as new chief executive at Patisserie Holdings. He has a strong track record of restoring value in turnaround situations, especially in the food industry, and the board looks forward to working with him in the revival of the business.” The resignation of May comes after the company suspended its shares as it announced a shock £40m black hole in its finances last month. Finance director Chris Marsh, who was arrested and released on bail, resigned from the company at the end of October. Johnson scrambled to find emergency funding to keep the company afloat, and admitted at a shareholder meeting this month the business had been within three hours of collapse. Investors voted through a rescue deal at the meeting, where Johnson was accused of spreading himself too thin. He has reportedly agreed to give up some of his other directorships and forego his £60,000 annual salary at Patisserie Holdings.

BrexitUKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has outlined the major points of the Brexit deal agreed by the cabinet yesterday. She told members: “I have just come off a call with No 10 on the detail and the team and I have met with ministers from BEIS and DEFRA. The following is a summary. We will go through this with a fine tooth comb to provide a more detailed briefing in due course. Chancellor described today’s cabinet agreement as a ‘decisive step forward’ in agreeing in principle the terms of our orderly withdrawal from EU and the broad terms of our future trading arrangement. We understand that there was not full cabinet unanimity but there is collective agreement. Full legal text (585 pages) has been agreed with the European Commission and guarantees EU citizens rights for those working in the UK – as per previous briefing any EU citizen entering before the end of the transition period would have a right to remain to gain settled status. There are new right for tourists and visitors between the EU and UK to move without visa or additional checks. Time limited implementation period agreed and confirmed – initially set to end 31 December 2020. This means all existing rights to work and trade will continue after we exit in March 2019. The implementation period will be use to work out the detail of the future trading relationship. The UK has a sole and sovereign right to extend the transitional period if we are not ready to move to the next stage of the new trading relationship – this is new text and is an alternative to entering the backstop. Crucially the UK alone can trigger this. There is a legal commitment in the text that both sides will negotiate in good faith and use their best endeavours to deliver the principles of the future trading agreement which have been agreed today – namely a free trade agreement for goods with zero tariffs or quantitative restrictions; a level of alignment and degree of facilitation to secure as frictionless as possible trade between the EU and UK and ensure in particular the smooth transfer of goods at Dover; a close relationship on services and investment which are specifically named as areas to be covered in the future trading relationship; sectoral cooperation in key areas such as fisheries, energy and security; consensus on a number of other issues to be included in the detailed negotiations. The legal agreement on the future trading relationship can only be established once we have left, but the political declaration gives precise instructions to negotiators on what is to be included and covered and the UK will continue to negotiate further detail on the political declaration text over the next two weeks. Next steps – this is currently a deal between the UK and the European Commission negotiating team. It will now be presented to other EU leaders at a special European Council on 25th November when all 27 heads of state must endorse it and when the final political declaration on the future trading relationship and free trade agreement will be concluded. Negotiations and detail on this will continue right up until 25 November and if the EU Council approves the deal, Article 50 negotiations will be brought to an end and the deal presented to Parliament. Anticipation is that the Parliamentary debate will be held immediately after 25th November and a meaningful vote will take place in early December for MPs to back or reject the proposals. The PM has presented this choice as being this deal or no deal or no Brexit and ministers said they were confident of getting support, but the Parliamentary arithmetic still looks questionable and the deal could still be voted down in December. Should this happen we would be heading to no deal contingency planning. In light of the importance of a deal for securing a transitional period and underpinning business planning and investment as well as securing the supply chain, we will therefore be working with other business groups and stakeholders to support the government’s approach. The summary text of the withdrawal agreement and political declaration seem to address the majority of our immediate concerns and the trajectory towards a smooth and orderly Brexit is very welcome. This is inevitably a compromise but this is a positive and pragmatic set of proposals which protects jobs and the supply chain and as such is better than the alternative of a no deal or disorderly Brexit.”

Patrick Dardis, Young'sLondon pub retailer Young’s has reported total revenue up 8.8% to £156.8 million in the 2 weeks ended 1 October, along with a 4.7% increase in adjusted Ebitda to a half-year record of £40.4 million. Profit before tax was 19.5% to £26.4m. The combination of a ‘well-invested, premium estate and the hottest English summer on record’ delivered 5.2% like-for-like sales increase in managed houses. It also reported strong trading in the first six weeks of the second half, with managed house revenue up 7.2% and up 3.9% on a like-for-like basis. The company stated: “Ram Pub Company (tenanted division) delivered an equally strong performance with like-for-like sales up 4.8% despite the hot summer having less impact due to a smaller proportion of outdoor space.” There was investment of £13.5 million during the period, a slight decrease on 2017 due to fewer acquisitions. Net debt was reduced by £15.1 million to £125.4 million. It reported a strong balance sheet with gearing of only 22.1% provides the financial capacity for further investment. Patrick Dardis (pictured), chief executive of Young’s, said: “I am very pleased to report another strong period of trading, driven by our well-invested managed house estate which has once again outperformed the wider market. Propelled by the hottest English summer on record, our beautiful riverside locations, stunning gardens and growing number of roof terraces helped to deliver 5.2% like-for-like sales growth in our managed houses, continuing our trend of exceptional summer performances with average like-for-like sales growth of 5.6% over the past seven years. Drink sales enjoyed a particularly strong summer with double digit growth of just over 10% in total and 7.4% on a like-for-like basis while recent investment in our hotel business saw accommodation sales rise by just over 18% during the period. Despite severe cost headwinds and ongoing political uncertainty, our expectations for the full year remain unchanged and, thanks to one of the lowest levels of gearing in the sector, we have significant financial capacity for future investment with a strong pipeline of acquisition opportunities.” Dardis added: “In the second half of the year, we will see further benefit from ‘SMITHS’ of Smithfield (Smithfield Market) and the Candlemaker (Cannon Street) as they continue to ramp up following their refurbishments although this will be partly offset by the closure of the Park (Teddington) and the Bridge (Chertsey) due to their planned redevelopments. We will soon be on site at Kidbrooke Village, where we will be opening a brand-new pub next spring, and we recently exchanged contracts on another freehold, the People’s Park Tavern (Victoria Park). Acquisitions remain an integral part of our strategy and our pipeline remains strong. Economic and political uncertainty remains unhelpful and recent statements from the Government have been contradictory in declaring support for businesses but at the same time promising to impose restrictions on immigration. Being based in London and Southern England, it is more than our cocktails that are cosmopolitan; 38% of our workforce are EU nationals and we will remain an inclusive business. Exceptional customer service is not something people are born with; it takes hundreds of hours of training and dedication, so I would never consider any of our employees to be “low-skilled”. The decision to freeze duty on beer, cider and spirits in the Chancellor’s recent budget announcement has been a timely relief to support our industry and our customers. Although we acknowledge the first positive steps taken by the Chancellor in modernising the business rates mechanism, our hope was for a complete overhaul. These are challenging times for the hospitality sector and the 3.2 million people employed within it. Our sector and the wider retail industry merit a rebalancing of the uneven playing field which sees property-based companies paying business rates which represent an additional tax burden not faced by the global online tech giants. The minor reduction in business rates for smaller operators and the proposed introduction of a digital services tax do not go far enough to redress the imbalance in the burden of taxation. In summary, we believe in long-term growth and the ability to deliver sustainable superior investor returns. We have a winning strategy of running a high-quality managed house estate with a small and profitable tenanted division, and we will continue to ensure that our offer taps in to current and future consumer trends.”

Costa Coffee has extended its loyalty programme to Costa ExpressCosta Coffee has extended its Coffee Club loyalty programme to Costa Express machines across the UK following a trial. Now available at Costa Express’ 7,000-plus machines nationwide, the introduction of the digital loyalty scheme to self-serve machines is a first for the UK’s high-street coffee industry. The integration of Costa’s Coffee Club scheme enables customers to collect points on each Costa Express order and redeem them in Costa Coffee stores. Customers will be notified of the Costa Express addition through the Costa Coffee Club app. To claim points, customers scan a QR code on the machine screen using the app. Points are issued in real time and customers can spend their earnings in Costa Coffee stores. The scheme has been designed and built by Costa Coffee’s digital team, led by global digital and loyalty director Arslan Sharif. He said: “We understand the importance of delivering innovations to ensure our customers get the best experience from our brand. This extension of our loyalty programme enables customers to collect points at even more Costa Coffee locations on the go through Costa Express machines – an exciting move for our Coffee Club members who will be able to earn rewards faster.” The move comes as Costa Express launches recyclable Christmas cups and an exclusive range of festive drinks for its self-serve machines. The extension of the loyalty scheme follows the launch of a new Costa Express brand identity earlier this year that uses “bold language to showcase freshness credentials” under the banner “Real milk. Real beans. Real quick”.

BigDish, the food technology company that operates a yield management platform for restaurants, has provided a strategy update for both its UK and Asian operations. It stated: “Since the IPO the Asian business has grown, seating three times more diners than 12 months ago. Furthermore, the directors have been approached by more than one Asian technology company on an informal basis regarding the potential acquisition of the Asian business. As such, the directors have decided to conduct a strategic review of BigDish’s Asian business to determine the path to achieving the most value for shareholders. The result of this review is expected in January. The company announced on 1 October 2018 the appointment of Sanj Naha. Mr Naha has made an immediate positive impact on the company. At present, both BigDish in beta and TablePouncer are operating. The initial beta phase has produced a variety of operational and technology recommendations, which are currently being implemented. One of the recommendations was to upgrade the branding for the UK market. Based on feedback it was decided to alter the branding within the UK app. This branding process has started with a change of logo in the UK and will be implemented over the next couple of months. Sanj Naha has developed a model for growing the UK business on a per territory basis, in accordance with his previous experience in restaurant reservation and yield management applications. The company has added a new territory manager to cover the south west and new restaurants are being added to both the TablePouncer and BigDish businesses. The initial focus is to sign up restaurants in Bristol. The UK business is expected to be fully rebranded and TablePouncer will be completely absorbed into BigDish by January, at which point the company plans to end the beta phase. As announced on 17 September 2018, the company is confident that there are a potential 6,000 restaurant partners in the UK. The prime focus of Q4 2018 is building a launch pad for growth in the UK in 2019 which will be the prime focus next year. The company expects to announce in early January its specific targets for the UK business in 2019 including various metric targets. Depending on the outcomes of the Asian business strategic review, BigDish may require substantially less capital for growth than previously anticipated, which the directors believe will benefit shareholder value. The company has increased the size of its technology team from seven to nine persons. The company intends to continue to grow this team, to 15, over the next year. This will improve product development and the speed at which new features and updates can be completed. Basing BigDish’s technology development team in the Philippines represents a significant cost saving compared to having it based in the UK.” Joost Boer, chief executive, said: “The addition of Sanj Naha has had a very positive impact on the company. Sanj’s experience in the restaurant tech space gained at tech giants such as TripAdvisor and The Fork is proving invaluable as we build the launch pad for aggressive growth in 2019. The UK business will continue to be the prime focus going into next year and will be the value driver for the share price. Given that the UK’s largest dining discount card, Tastecard, was acquired for over £100m a couple of years ago, it is clearly evident that the UK alone has the potential to deliver significant value for shareholders.”

CineworldCineworld has reported revenue grew by 11.6%, or 10.2% on a constant currency basis, in the period between 1 January 2018 and 1 November 2018. In a trading update confirming the company is in line to meet its curt profit expectations, the company stated: “On a pro-forma basis, group admissions increased by 5.9% compared to the same period in the prior year. The growth was driven by a strong film slate in the US for the year to date, improved performance in Europe in the second half of the year and development of the estate through refurbishments and additional premium offerings. The strength in the US market was supported by the success of “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” in the first half and “Mission: Impossible Fallout”, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and “Venom” in the second half. The growth in admissions in the US compared with the prior year has benefitted each of the group’s revenue streams. Our European markets saw an uplift in performance in the second half of the year. This was driven by “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”, “Incredibles 2” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” in the UK. Locally produced films performed well across the ROW, particularly in Poland where “Kler” became the highest grossing film of all time. During the second half of the year the group continued to expand with four new sites (31 screens) opened (two in the US and two in the UK), in addition to the six sites opened in the first half of the year. Five further new sites are expected to open before the year-end (three in the US and two in the UK). The total number of sites in the group at 11 November 2018 is 789 with 9,526 screens. Investment in the latest technology continues to be a key pillar of the group’s strategy. During the period, the group announced an agreement to install 100 ScreenX auditoriums. ScreenX is the world’s first multi-projection immersive cinema auditorium, which provides a panoramic 270-degree viewing experience. So far in 2018, ten ScreenX and seven 4DX screens have been opened across the estate. Our refurbishment programme in the US is underway and number of major refurbishments are currently on-going in the UK. The expected plans for Regal are progressing well with management continuing to review further opportunities for integration benefits. The group recently announced the rebranding of Regal and the launch of its new logo. As previously announced, Regal’s new brand is part of the wider strategy to commit significant investment to the group’s estate and operations in the US to ensure that Regal is ‘The Best Place to Watch a Movie!’.There are a number of exciting releases scheduled for the remainder of the year including, “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” opening tomorrow, as well as “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” in December. The group remains on track to deliver a performance for the year in line with our current expectations.”

All-natural meal delivery service Detox Kitchen has launched a £550,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to meet growing demand. The company is offering 7.28% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £7m. Private equity-backed Detox Kitchen has delivered more than one million meals to thousands of customers in the capital and also operates two central London delis, which serve more than 2,500 customers a week between them. Funds raised would be used to increase kitchen capacity, invest in a technology platform for delivery services, and grow its marketing team. The pitch states: “Detox Kitchen aims to be one of the most disruptive brands in the diet and healthy food markets in the UK. From humble beginnings, founder Lily Simpson and her team have built a globally recognised, profitable and forward-thinking brand. We passionately believe healthy food should be as delicious as it is nutritious so we create real food from real ingredients. We conveniently deliver meals directly to our customers’ doors as well as serving an array of fresh salads at our two central London delis and in selected retail outlets. Since our launch in 2012 we have built a business that has delivered average monthly revenue of £243,000 in the current financial year, showing 32% year-on-year sales growth and positive Ebitda of £42,000 (April to August 2018); a thriving home delivery business that accounts for nearly 50% of revenue and has grown 70% year-on-year in the past six months; and published two best-selling cookbooks.”

CGI of Kerb's new indoor market – Seven Dials MarketStreet food business Kerb is to launch its debut indoor food hall, in Seven Dials. The company has agreed a deal with landlord Shaftesbury for the venture in Thomas Neal’s Warehouse. Opening next summer, the 22,000 square foot Seven Dials Market will span two floors of the former banana warehouse, which was built in the 1800s. Seven Dials Market will also host regular community workshops run by food entrepreneurs. Kerb managing director Simon Mitchell said: “We had been seeking a special space in which to launch a destination, world-beating food hall for some time, and there is nowhere better than Thomas Neal’s Warehouse. The iconic building in the Borough of Camden – where Kerb was founded – is the ideal stage to showcase many of the great food talents London has to offer. We’ve worked closely with upwards of 150 brilliant independent food entrepreneurs over the past six years and we see Seven Dials Market as the next step.” Shaftesbury executive director Tom Welton added: “We have worked closely with Kerb to help evolve its highly successful offer and approach to create Seven Dials Market. The team has impressed us with its commitment to quality and ensuring Seven Dials Market reflects the needs of the community, not just visitors. Thomas Neal’s Warehouse is a significant building in Seven Dials that required something special to give it renewed purpose. Kerb has exceeded our expectations on every level.”

The bar area at the Four Alls pub in Caernarfon, which Robinsons has reopened following a reurbishmentNorth west brewer and retailer Robinsons has said it will continue to eye acquisitions for its tenanted business following the relaunch of a pub in Caernarfon, North Wales. The company has relaunched the Four Alls following a two-month refurbishment. The pub is within the medieval walls of old Caernarfon, opposite the castle. Original stone walls have been exposed and restored to enhance the Welsh heritage feel, together with the installation of solid oak floorboards and flagged floors. There is an improved range of gin, wine and beer on offer alongside a menu of pub classics such as pie of the day, homemade burgers and hot and cold sandwiches. William Robinson, managing director of Robinsons’ pubs division, said: “We remain dedicated to our tenanted pub estate, supporting and developing our tenants’ businesses, and we will continue to look for further pub acquisitions. The Four Alls sits in an ideal location and, with this significant investment, we can see it performing very well.”

Douglas Jack, Peel Hunt leisure analystPeel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has raised his price target for Ei Group shares to 120p ahead of the company’s results on Tuesday (20 November). He said: “We expect continued positive trading and deleveraging. The 20 November prelims should confirm like-for-like net income has stayed positive (for 21 consecutive quarters), helping net debt fall by circa £85m after £20m of share buybacks, by our estimate. The debt reduction investment case is intact. The next two catalysts should be disposal of the commercial lease estate and a return to Ebitda growth, of which at least one (mostly likely the former) should emerge in 2019E in our view. Pub Partnership’s like-for-like net income was up 1.3% after 47 weeks, having risen circa 2.0% in the second half. Consequently, full-year profit before tax should at least match consensus expectations. In the managed estate, like-for-like sales were up 6.6% during the same period, with the sites benefiting from a strong conversion programme. As at 6 September, the commercial lease estate had 376 properties, which generated 6.7% like-for-like net income growth in the first 47 weeks. These sites, all of which are on Retail Price Index-linked leases, are likely to be sold in 2019E, generating material debt reduction and equity value creation. We forecast £29m of Ebitda in 2019E from the commercial lease estate. If it is sold for circa £400m (13.8 times Ebitda), we believe Ei Group could use the proceeds to buy back £198m in unique A3 notes (6.54% coupon) and the 2022 corporate bond (£250m; 6.375%), potentially taking 1.0 times off net debt/Ebitda, creating almost 30p per share of equity value.”

Peel Hunt leisure analyst Douglas Jack has described Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) as “on the right track” ahead of its results next Thursday (22 November). He said: “We expect margins to have grown slightly in the second half, aided by 2% growth in like-for-like sales and cost mitigation. Although like-for-like sales have recently moved ahead of the sector, we believe this is a time for caution ahead of Brexit and higher increases in the National Living Wage – holding forecasts and continuing to pay down debt should do just fine. In 2018E, like-for-like sales rose 1.8% (first half 1.6%; second half 2.0%), having risen 2.2% during the eight weeks to 22 September, ahead of the sector. The drivers behind the company’s like-for-like sales include Ignite 2, which consists of 43 workstreams (improving product, service and digital marketing as well as reducing costs), investing in the estate (now on a six to seven-year cycle) and gradual improvements in the company’s market positioning. The first-half trend of drink outperforming food, driven by spend per head, should have repeated in the second half in our view. This scenario, partly reflecting greater premiumisation in the estate, should have also supported margins. Combined with no change in cost guidance (circa £60m inflation; £26m of mitigation), we expect Ebit margins to have risen in the second half. Given the pace of wage inflation another challenge will be to maintain the pace of cost mitigation in 2019E. M&B opened seven sites and completed 232 conversions/remodels in 2018E. The resultant minimal change in capex and ceasing the interim dividend should have resulted in debt falling by circa £35m, by our estimates, despite minimal disposal activity. From 2019E, we forecast deleveraging being driven by recovering Ebitda as well as falling net debt. The EV/Ebitda rating is 7.6 times despite more than 80% of the estate being freehold or long leasehold. We expect the key catalysts for the shares to be like-for-like sales (for which the right things are being done), reductions in the pension deficit (which might not exist if base rates rise to 1.5%) and deleveraging. The latter two are interconnected – the next tri-annual pension review, which must complete by the end of June 2020, could result in a material reduction in the £45m of extra annual pension cash contributions.”

Food safety business Navitas Group has appointed Dan Hawkie to the newly created position of commercial director as it looks to expand after securing £745,000 of equity funding. Hawkie brings more than 15 years of hospitality industry experience to the business, most recently as head of business development with operations management company Trail. In his new role heading up the Navitas sales team, Hawkie will oversee the recruitment of ten new sales staff as the company seeks to secure enterprise partnerships, enhance its reseller network and develop new channels – particularly for its digital food safety management system, Navitas Food Safety. Hawkie said: “I am excited to join Navitas at such a pivotal stage in its development and help maximise the fantastic market opportunity we have. It’s a business with an unrivalled set of products and services to support hospitality operators – from environmental health consultancy and training to compliance and digital food safety management – combined with a great reputation and pedigree.” Navitas chief executive Ben Gardner added: “Dan is a proven performer in the food and hospitality sector and will play a key role in helping us meet our ambitious growth targets. He joins us from another innovative company and, through Dan, we hope to be able to develop a closer relationship with Trail in the coming months.” Earlier this year, Navitas secured £745,000 of equity investment in its digital food safety management business from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. Foresight Group made the investment that will allow Navitas to roll out its automated digital food safety technology to food and hospitality outlets across the UK and overseas. In addition to increasing headcount, Navitas plans to use the finance to bring its manufacturing in-house.

Restaurant Marketer & InnovatorRestaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its second year, after a bumper inaugural year. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, aiming to build a community, promote the sharing of ideas, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, as the centrepiece of the January event series, taking place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The event will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, the latest 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 wanting to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. The event will feature more than 40 speakers, with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs, from companies including TGI Friday’s, YO! Sushi, Hakkasan Group, Casual Dining Group, Claus Meyer Restaurant Group, New World Trading Company, Wagamama, Hilton, Inception Group, Coca-Cola, Just Eat, Arc Inspirations, Novus, SSP, Be At One, Marriott International and Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group. As well as sharing successes from across the UK, the event brings international speakers to add to the conversation. The 2019 edition will feature speakers from five countries. These include Anders Houman, partner at the multi-award winning Victor Restaurant Group in Copenhagen; John Rigos, chief executive of New York-based Aurify Brands; and Australian entrepreneur Sarah Holloway, co-founder of Matcha Mylkbar, which became an overnight hit after posting one incredible shot to social media. Special guest speakers include Chris Miller, founder of the White Rabbit Fund and investor from the BBC’s Million Pound Menu; Martin Morales, Ceviche Family founder and winner of Innovator of the Year 2018; and Zahra Kahn, founder of Feya, a concept designed with Instagram in mind. Early bird tickets are available until Monday, 12 November at the special rate of £525 for operators and £795 for suppliers for the two days. Full price tickets, after this date, will be £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Anne Steele at Propel on or calling her on 01444 817691.

People & Training ConferenceThe People and Training Conference, organised by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) in association with Propel, is open for bookings. The event, which will showcase outstanding people culture among companies in the sector takes place at Bafta Piccadilly on Tuesday, 20 November. Speakers will feature BII chairman Anthony Pender; Susan Martindale, human resources director of Mitchells & Butlers; Charley O’Toole, head of HR at Bill’s; Edward Barlow, managing director of 16 Hospitality; Kenny Blair, managing director of Buzzworks Holdings; Jamie Campbell, chief commercial officer of online training and staff engagement business CPL Online, which is now part of CGA; Rob Liddiard, founder of hospitality chat app Yapster; Joe Cripps, managing director and founder of Trail; Colonel Mike Tanner, commandant of the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre; and Linda Moir, who created the customer services strategy at the London Olympics and was director of customer services at Virgin Atlantic. Propel managing director Paul Charity will also talk to JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin about his “people philosophy”, touching on rewards, longevity, inclusiveness, training and applying his time to the front end of retail. Tickets are £65 plus VAT for operators who are BII members and BIIAB members and £200 plus VAT for operators who are non-BII members. Supplier tickets are £95 plus VAT for BII members and BIIAB members and £245 plus VAT for all other organisations. To book, email

Propel Multi Club November 2018

Propel Multi Club

1st November 2018

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Propel Quarterly Autumn 2018

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