Story of the Day:
Pod reports like-for-likes down 1.6%, delivery sales grow 45%
Healthy fast food chain Pod has reported like-for-like sales fell 1.6% for the year ending 25 December 2016. The company saw turnover decrease slightly to £17,041,451 compared with £17,324,966 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. It said 45% growth from deliveries year-on-year had partially offset softer trade in store revenue. Store Ebitda for the period dropped slightly to £2.6m compared with £2.9m the year before. Pre-tax losses increased to £383,964 compared with £260,714 the previous year. Net assets totalled £3.3m (2015: £3.7m), including cash of £1.7m (2015: £2.9m). The company opened two stores during the period taking the total number to 24 along with two delivery hubs. Writing in the accounts, John Postlethwaite, who stepped down as executive chairman earlier this month, said: “Despite headwinds felt both at top line as well as non-controllable cost levels, the business delivered its second highest corporate Ebitda. The performance reflects a challenging year in store sales, which was partially offset by a strong deliveries performance with deliveries hitting record levels and recording 45% growth year-on-year. With the support structure provided by core shareholders and our banking partner NatWest, we opened two new stores within the year. Our Kingsway store was launched in July 2016 and our Covent Garden store launched in September 2016. In addition, to facilitate the growth strategy for our delivery business we opened two delivery hubs. We were able to adjust our operating model and significantly reduce man hours during the year. While a quarter of the estate experienced rent reviews in 2016, almost all stores in the estate traded profitably evidencing the resilience of our business model. Looking ahead, we expect further structural cost changes. Given these challenges, cost control will be crucial in achieving our targets for 2017.” The company stated: “The company has made a loss before tax for the period of £383,964. It had net assets at 25 December 2016 of £3,342,229 including cash at bank of £1,739,209. The company has continued a trading pattern of organic growth in existing stores. Growth as in previous years has been financed by share issues, bank borrowing and hire purchase financing. The current working capital and funding lines are sufficient for current trading requirements and anticipated store openings. These capital injections have placed the company on a sound financial footing, enabling it to open sufficient stores to achieve profitability in the near future. The latest management accounts show continuing store contribution and the latest forecasts indicate an increased store Ebitda for the current year. The company funds its working capital requirements by a combination of bank borrowing, including long-term bank and hire purchase finance, shareholders’ funds and its trading operations. The company is trading within its banking covenants and has a bank loan facility of £600,000.” Earlier this month, Alex Young, who joined the company from Itsu earlier this year, was promoted to chief executive.
Airbnb guests generate £522m for London restaurants
Airbnb guests have spent £522m in London restaurants in the past year, according to new research by the platform. Its report – Airbnb: Generating $6.5bn for restaurants around the world – focuses on 44 cities, including London, and aims to showcase the benefits guests bring when they stay in local neighbourhoods. The city’s eateries have benefited from a dramatic rise in guest spending, increasing by £79m since the same time last year. Across the ten European cities cited in the report, including Paris, Berlin and Barcelona, guests have spent more than €2.5bn – €700m more than in 2016. The report showed the average guest spends between $40 and $100 per night in restaurants. A total of 43% of all guest spending occurs in the neighbourhood in which they are staying, and 56% who saved money by using Airbnb spent more on food and shopping. The report comes as Airbnb began rolling-out restaurant reservations in the US through the booking app Resy, which it acquired it January. After a test run in San Francisco, users can book tables at about 650 restaurants in 16 cities throughout the US. Earlier this month, Airbnb reported 5.9 million people visiting the UK used its platform in the past year – an 81% increase.
The third Boxpark site will open in Wembley Park in late 2018 and have a “real street food focus”. The concept launched in Shoreditch five years ago, with Boxpark Croydon opening in October last year. Boxpark Wembley will feature a bespoke design, with 29 units for established and independent food operators. The venue will also offer a programme of more than 200 events a year, mirroring the framework of community-focused events at Boxpark’s other sites. Boxpark Wembley will work closely with the local community to host live music, events, talks and workshops at a 2,000-capacity events space and separate 300-capacity venue. Boxpark development director Matthew McMillan told Propel: “Boxpark Wembley will have a real street food focus – basically we’re taking the best bits from Croydon and making them better. The whole street food scene is so vibrant across the UK, particularly in London. You’ve got new entrants coming on the scene on a daily basis. We plan to have a mix of up-and-coming street food operators and more established names. We will be going to planning later this year and the aim is to be up and running in 12 months’ time.” Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “Boxpark Wembley is in an iconic location on Olympic Way in Wembley Park. We look forward to working closely with (owner and developer) Quintain, Brent Council and venue operators on the site to develop a world-class food, drink and entertainment destination, and possibly the best fan park in the world!” Gavin Elliott, chairman of architects BDP Manchester, which designed Boxpark Croydon, added: “It’s great to ‘get the band back together’ to design another Boxpark with Roger and his team. The Boxpark Wembley scheme is a significant evolution of the food and beverage model we developed in Croydon, and takes our thinking to a new level.” Quintain chief executive Angus Dodd said: “Boxpark Wembley will open up Wembley Park to a whole new audience.” As well as more than 11 million visitors a year to its shops, restaurants, bars and hotels, Wembley Park is already home to more than 6,000 people with construction to start on another 3,000 homes by the end of the year. Boxpark Wembley will be part of the £2bn investment currently under way at Wembley Park.
Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells will open the fourth site for its Pizza, Pots and Pints concept, in Hitchin next month. The company will reopen The Radcliffe Arms in Walsworth Road on Thursday, 26 October having acquired the site earlier this summer. The concept offers artisan pizza and “one-pot comfort food” such as mac and cheese, and cheesy squash casserole ham hock fricassee, alongside Charles Wells beer. The opening team consists of Sam Adams and Craig Billington, who have worked with Charles Wells from the launch of the Pizza, Pots and Pints concept. Director Craig Mayes said: “We know how important this pub is to local people and having spoken with many of them over the past few weeks we’re inspired by their enthusiasm for our ideas and what we’re bringing to their doorstep. The fact that we’ve secured this popular pub’s future perfectly fits with the community spirit at every Pizza, Pots and Pints and adds something extra special to the reopening of The Radcliffe Arms.” Charles Wells launched the concept at the Salisbury Arms in Cambridge two years ago and has since opened sites in Baldock and Peterborough.
McDonald’s has approved the company’s 41st consecutive annual dividend increase, raising the quarterly dividend 7% from $0.94 to $1.01 per share. The dividend will be paid on Friday, 15 December to shareholders of record at the close of business on Friday, 1 December. It brings the fourth quarter dividend payout to about $800m. McDonald’s said the increase “reinforced management’s confidence in the company’s long-term strategy and expectation to return between $22bn and $24bn to shareholders for the three-year period ending 2019”. President and chief executive Steve Easterbrook (pictured) said: “We continue to make progress in building a better McDonald’s with our Velocity Growth Plan. The dividend increase reflects our confidence in the strength of the business and our ability to deliver sustained, long-term profitable growth for our system and our shareholders.” McDonald’s will release its third-quarter results next month.
A city-wide banquet held in Manchester in memory of restaurant entrepreneur Tim Bacon (pictured) has raised more than £527,000 for charity. The Living Ventures co-founder, widely credited as the man who transformed the city’s dining scene, passed away from cancer last year. The Tim Bacon Foundation held “Dream the Impossible” last night (Thursday, 21 September) at eight Living Ventures venues across the city, which staged a simultaneous dining experience for more than 1,000 people. Following dinner, all guests were taken to the Albert Hall for a party that included performances from singer Beverley Knight and a DJ set by actor Craig Charles. The event raised money for The Tim Bacon Foundation’s first appeal for Christie’s Proton Beam Therapy project and Maggie’s Centres, which provides cancer patient care. The foundation was set up by Bacon’s business partner Jeremy Roberts in January. He said: “The aim of Dream the Impossible was to celebrate Tim’s life and raise a huge amount of money for the foundation. I am delighted to say we achieved both aims and had an amazing night. I cannot thank everyone who has supported this event enough, from my colleagues at Living Ventures in organising it, our amazing suppliers and sponsors and everyone that attended, it has been humbling to receive such goodwill from so many people in Manchester and from the wider hospitality industry. The money raised will really help make a difference to so many cancer patients.”
Deliveroo has reported revenue increased 611% to £128,564,142 for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared with £18m the prior year, as it expanded around the world. However, losses for the food delivery startup were up 300% year-on-year to £129,076,986, compared with £30,126,726 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Gross profit increased to £1,087,875, compared with a loss of £1,425,457 the year before. There was one exceptional cost of £5.3m, which is how much it cost Deliveroo to rebrand last year. Administrative expenses, such as hiring staff and a new London office, multiplied from £28,786,876 to £142,195,720. Its gross margin percentage stood at just 0.7%, although this was an improvement on 2015, when the firm reported a negative gross profit margin. Deliveroo raised £208.7m in August 2016, selling 29% of the company according to the accounts. It went through £114m last year, leaving it with £157m in cash at the end of 2016. Its net assets increased 87% to £168,732,550 (2015: £90,432,807) largely driven by the group’s capital-raising activities. Most of the growth came from Deliveroo’s international markets, with revenue from countries outside the UK “increasing substantially”. The company stated: “The group expects significant further growth in sales from current and future customers in all markets. It is implementing a number of strategies to generate this growth, including further improvements to its online presence; expansion of its distribution networks; and large-scale, high-impact marketing campaigns.” In 2016, the London-headquartered startup had expanded to 84 cities in 12 countries. It now operates in 140 cities across 12 countries and has 25,000 restaurant partners. Earlier this year the company opened bespoke “dark kitchens”, known as Editions, designed explicitly for deliveries in London.
KFC UK is looking to strengthen its pipeline further as it increases the number of new sites it is targeting from 400 to more than 500. The company is paying £20,000 finders fees for recognised drive-thru introductions and £12,500 for food court and restaurant sites. Its key target is London, where it wants to open 143 sites, followed by the north (97) and the south east (63). It said it is looking for development opportunities in a variety of locations, including retail parks, shopping centres, transport hubs and high streets and will consider freehold, leasehold or long leasehold sites. It currently has 28 sites under contract, including in Ely in Cambridgeshire, Mold in Flintshire, Prescot in Lancashire, and Yate in Gloucestershire. The company said: “KFC UK currently trades from more than 850 locations from Inverness to Penzance and Canterbury to Galway, and there is ample scope to develop further locations thanks to the strength of the brand and the differentiated consumer offer. We’re on the look-out for more than 500 new sites.” In April, the company said it was seeking to open 400 new venues.
Independent healthy eating brand Friska is to open its first venue in the north of England – at Manchester Science Park – on Monday (25 September). The company, founded in 2009 by Griff Holland and Ed Brown (pictured), will launch at the flagship 70,000 square foot unit in the new-build Bright Building. Bristol-headquartered Friska, which operates four restaurants in the city and one in Birmingham, alongside three concessions in Bristol and one at London Luton airport, had been searching for a suitable site to expand into the north for two years. Friska, which means “healthy” in Swedish, will offer breakfast and lunch at the building, which features a 200-capacity events space, fitness studio and communal spaces for co-working and collaboration. Brown said: “We cannot wait to bring our brand of fresh, interesting fast food to Manchester and help (operator Manchester Science Partnerships) fulfil its vision for the space as a collaborative meeting place for ideas and positive change in the north west.” Manchester Science Partnerships managing director Thomas Renn added: “Friska’s philosophy and eclectic menu are a great fit for Manchester Science Park’s academics and sci-tech workers.” In July, Friska sold a minority stake for £3m to private equity firm YFM Equity Partners to allow it to embark on ambitious expansion plans.
The north of England is leading the UK’s spend on eating and drinking out but the market is “reaching capacity”, according to the first Northern Soul report by Colliers International. The agent said that following a number of buoyant years, the food and beverage (F&B) market in the north of England had entered uncharted waters, with much talk of oversupply in a range of locations. However, despite a broader potential market slowdown, Colliers said good locations in major city centres and affluent suburbs would continue to prosper with further rental growth at the best pitches. The report gives insights into the F&B and leisure landscape in four key northern cities – Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield. The report also reveals people in Yorkshire and Humber spend 14% of their income on recreation, more than any other region in the UK. Consumers nationwide spent an average of £1 in every £5 on leisure in 2016, accounting for £238bn or 20% of all consumer spend. The report also shows leisure categories in Yorkshire and Humber are growing at a faster rate than the north west, where there is already a larger supply of operators and suitable units, with the region experiencing more measured growth. Colliers International head of UK leisure Ross Kirton said: “Some locations that have expanded their offer rapidly are now starting to see signs of oversupply, leaving some schemes with a more challenging outlook. However, the most prosperous and sustainable locations will be those that continue to keep the offer fresh, bring new entrants to the region and carefully curate the offer to meet demands of the local consumer.”
Beer company Asahi UK, formerly Miller Brands UK, has reported continued growth through brand investment and expansion of its Pilsner Urquell tank outlets. It reported turnover of £239,200,000 for the nine months to 31 December 2016, compared with £273,696,000 for the year ending 31 March 2016. The company saw a pre-tax profit of £32,323,000 for the nine months compared with £37,940,000 for the previous period, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The company was sold to Asahi Group on 10 October 2016 following the purchase of SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) and Asahi UK has changed its accounting period from March to December to align with its parent company’s financial year. Dividends of £26m were declared and paid in the period ending 31 December 2016 (March 2016: £31m). Asahi UK also acquired a French business on 31 August 2016, which reported a loss of £1,030,000. The company stated: “As part of the AB InBev-SABMiller transaction, the ownership rights to the Miller Genuine Draft brand were sold to Molson Coors Brewing Company. As a result, the company no longer distributes the brand and the results only contain sales up to 10 October 2016. Through the AB InBev-SABMiller transaction, the company registered a French branch and then acquired a business in France for the purposes of the importation and distribution of Asahi Group brands. The business was acquired in August 2016 and forms part of Asahi UK’s financial statements for the period ending 31 December 2016. No other significant changes occurred as a result from the sale. Asahi UK has net assets of £26,698,000 (2016: £28,611,000). The position of the business has remained consistent year-on-year as earnings are paid out as dividends during the year, this reflects our dividend policy. In the period ended 31 December 2016, Asahi UK’s growth was achieved through continued investment in its brands, continuing to build on the Peroni NA brand image through the House of Peroni and digital marketing campaigns, as well as continuing the expansion of Pilsner Urquell tank outlets.”
Almost three-quarters (74%) of UK drinkers are more likely to buy a new beer at a pub or bar if staff have the right measure of beer knowledge, according to a new study. A report by ZX Ventures, the venture arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev), shows more than one-third (36%) of drinkers are drawn to pubs, bars and certain retailers if they think staff are knowledgeable about the beer they sell. More than half (56%) of drinkers feel they have better beer knowledge than pub staff, with 46% relying on their own research to find out about new tipples, while one-fifth (20%) of beer-lovers shun their local pub if they feel bar staff aren’t savvy enough on products. Regarding female beer-drinkers, the report found one-fifth (20%) feel uncomfortable asking for beer advice, while 18% feel they are “being judged” when drinking beer. However, more than one-quarter (27%) of female respondents said they were interested in increasing their beer knowledge. The top five biggest bugbears for UK beer-lovers were unknowledgeable staff (63%), beer served in a warm glass (59%), short and abrupt service (49%), beer served in the wrong type of glass (23%), and being made to feel silly when asking a question (18%). The report was released to coincide with ZX Ventures’ second round of its Beer Professional And Education Training Level 1 course, which will launch in London and Leeds through an exclusive partnership with Local Wine School.
Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is to open a site in Preston in the spring. In a first for the group, Bistrot Pierre will open the bistrot in a 19th century Baptist church in Fishergate, which has stood in the town centre for almost 160 years. It will be the company’s fourth site in the north west. Rob Beacham, who co-founded the company with John Whitehead in 1994, said: “We’re very excited to be opening in such an incredible space. No two bistrots in France are the same and this is an ethos we endeavour to encapsulate when designing our own bistrots. We ensure each of our restaurants has its own local character and reflects its surroundings. We’ve never opened a bistrot in a church before so I look forward to supporting its restoration and breathing a new lease of life into such a fabulous old building.” The Fishergate bistrot, which will create 50 jobs, will seat more than 200 diners – with space for 164 customers inside and 50 outside. Jenics acted for Bistrot Pierre, which currently operates 22 sites, on the deal. Bistrot Pierre received £9.8m from private equity firm Livingbridge in 2015 to support its expansion plans.
The Chesterford Group has opened the 11th site for its Churchill’s Fish & Chips brand, with two more lined up for launch before Christmas. The company has opened its latest venue in Luton. It is part of a multimillion-pound redevelopment of the Marsh Farm housing estate in the Bedfordshire town. It will be followed by openings in Chelmsford in Essex and Didcot in Oxfordshire. Managing director James Lipscombe said: “We’re really proud to be part of the regeneration of the Marsh Farm housing estate and to be part of such a thriving multicultural community. It’s great to see enthusiastic response to our fish and chip offering and shows there is still great demand for our national dish. With two stores opening before the new year and our strong financial performance, we’re confident about our 2018 openings and maximising all the opportunities available to us.”
Camerons Brewery has launched a site for its Head of Steam brand in Liverpool. The company has opened its 14th Head of Steam venue at a site formerly housing The Abbey pub in Hanover Street. The new pub offers 34 keg lines with a selection of rotating craft beers from UK and world brewers, as well as ten cask ale lines and a selection of premium cocktails, spirits and soft drinks. Food includes a brunch menu and a range of British pub classics with a focus on local ingredients. A Head of Steam venue once stood in the former North Western Hotel in Lime Street, Liverpool, but the venue is now operated by JD Wetherspoon. Camerons Brewery chief executive Chris Soley told Insider Media: “As part of expansion plans to increase our retail pub division, we have been looking at a number of potential opportunities across the UK for our Head of Steam brand. We have been specifically looking at venues in the north west, and Liverpool was a city we were really keen to open a site in. This venue will be a very different proposition to the Head of Steam pub that previously traded in Liverpool and will be modelled on the success we have had at our site in Sheffield.”
Family-run Italian operator Prezzemolo & Vitale (P&V) has opened its second London site, this time in King’s Road, Chelsea. Founded in Italy 30 years ago by husband-and-wife team Giuseppe Prezzemolo and Giusi Vitale, the brand offers Sicilian and Italian delicacies, including takeaway ready-made meals, sandwiches, charcuterie and cheese boards. The King’s Road venue also features a coffee bar and wine cellar, which offers “classics and rarities” as well as Giù Giù, P&V’s own-brand wine. The site also sells artisan products such as pesto, sauces, preserves, jam, honey, biscuits and beer, alongside a range of healthy, organic and gluten-free foods. The venue also offers home delivery, online ordering for collection, and sommelier and personal shopping services for special meals. P&V’s debut London site is at the Mercato Metropolitano market in Southwark.
Wine and spirit merchant Berry Bros & Rudd has reported a turnover boost but exceptional costs have led to an increase in losses. The company saw turnover increase to £148,077,000 for the year ending 31 March 2017 compared with £145,002,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Turnover would have been £170.5m with the inclusion of invoiced sales from En Primeur, a service that allows customers to buy wine before it is bottled and released to market. However, these sales are deferred until the product is made available to the customer. It reported a pre-tax loss of £5,625,000, compared with a loss of £640,000 the year before. In the accounts, the company said an exceptional cost of £2.9m was due to the write-off of an aborted IT investment pre-dating 2016. It also lost £2m after incurring write-off costs associated to a historic project within its Anchor Brewing & Distillers accounts. Berry Bros & Rudd said it had seen “strong underlying sales growth” during the year, which it said was reinforced by En Primeur campaigns in Burgundy and Bordeaux. In April this year, the company sold The Glenrothes whisky brand to Erdington, which it said had “significantly deleveraged the business”. It added: “Following the year-end, we have opened a new shop at 62-63 Pall Mall/2 St James’s Street and a new private wine advisory space at 3 St James’s Street. This allows the company to strengthen its offering, to enhance the retail experience and to continue to provide our customers with the finest customer service.” Berry Bros & Rudd can trace its roots to 1698 and first supplied the royal family with its products during the reign of George III in 1760. It established its operation in Basingstoke in 1967, with its registered trading address now at Houndmills in the Hampshire town.
Goodbody leisure analyst Brian Devitt has said Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has continued to outperform the market despite a meaningful weather impact in the fourth quarter. Devitt said: “Total like-for-like sales were +1.8%, with food sales +1.4% and drink sales +2.1% for the period. Year-to-date total sales have increased 2.9%. For the past eight weeks like-for-like sales were +0.3%, with food sales +1.5% (third quarter: +1.3%) and drink sales -1.2%. The statement notes the weather has been more challenging in August and September, which led to a weaker performance in drink-led venues. However, it is worth noting there have been improving trends in the food-led business in the past eight weeks (despite what we believe were tougher comparables) and overall the group has continued to outperform the market. The group has opened 13 new sites and completed 236 remodels and conversions year-to-date. During the year the group disposed of 79 sites for proceeds of £46m, which the statement noted is marginally above the net book value of the properties. Overall, this appears a decent update from M&B. Like-for-likes are marginally behind our full-year expectation but looking at the mix of trends (food picking up in the fourth quarter, drink sales soft) this does appear to be predominantly driven by worse weather year-on-year. This is further evidence that management’s estate refurbishment plan is steering the group in the right direction. We will leave our forecasts unchanged following the release. The outlook for the sector remains challenging and M&B is not immune to these pressures. However, the fact its underlying trading is generally accelerating leaves it better placed than others to cope with headwinds. However, we continue to see greater upside elsewhere in the sector.”
Ei Group, formerly known as Enterprise Inns, has partnered with Molson Coors to give away 15,000 pints of Sharp’s Doom Bar during Cask Marque’s Cask Ale Week (25 September to 8 October). The nationwide promotion is available at Bermondsey Pub Co sites, part of the group’s Ei managed operations business unit, and at participating Ei Publican Partnerships venues. In the summer, Ei Group launched its National Pub Fortnight campaign, in which it also gave away 15,000 pints of beer. Consumers can redeem their free pint via a web-based app, while participating pubs will receive marketing support across all digital platforms. Ei Group retail concept director Steve de Polo said: “National Pub Fortnight marked a step-change in our approach as we reached out directly to consumers to support our publicans and drive sales. It was a roaring success and we’re confident our Cask Ale Week activity will drive further interest in pubs across the UK.” Paul Nunny, director of Cask Marque, the industry watchdog for quality beer, said: “Cask ale is Britain’s ‘national treasure’ when it comes to drinks, and Cask Ale Week is the chance for pub-goers, pubs and breweries to celebrate it.”
Deltic Group has been given until 5pm on 10 October to make an offer for Revolution Bars Group – a week before its shareholders vote on whether to accept a £101.5m takeover bid from Stonegate Pub Company. A statement by the Takeover Panel said: “On 31 July, Revolution announced it had received an approach from Stonegate regarding a possible offer for Revolution. On 15 August, Deltic announced it was considering a possible merger proposal to be effected through an acquisition of Deltic by Revolution using Revolution shares as consideration. On 24 August,, Deltic confirmed that it was also evaluating a possible cash offer as an alternative. On 24 August, the boards of Revolution and Stonegate announced that they had reached agreement on the terms of a recommended firm offer for Revolution, to be implemented by means of a scheme of arrangement. On 20 September, Revolution published a circular to its shareholders convening shareholder meetings in connection with the offer. The Revolution shareholder meetings to approve the scheme of arrangement for the acquisition of Revolution by Stonegate are due to be held on 17 October. The court sanction hearing in respect of the scheme of arrangement is expected to take place on 20 October. Pursuant to rule 2.6 and section 4 of appendix 7 of the Takeover Code, the panel executive has ruled that, unless the executive consents otherwise, Ranimul (Deltic’s parent company) must, by 5pm on 10 October, either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Revolution under rule 2.7 of the code or announce that it does not intend to make an offer for Revolution. In the event that Ranimul announces it does not intend to make an offer for Revolution, Ranimul and any person(s) acting in concert with it will, except with the consent of the executive, be bound by the restrictions contained in rule 2.8 of the code in respect of any offer or merger proposal for six months from the date of such announcement.” Deltic Group said: “Further to the announcement made by Revolution Bars Group on 20 September, in respect of the posting of the scheme document relating to the offer by Stonegate Pub Company for Revolution, the Deltic Group notes no reference was made in the announcement in respect of its discussions with the board of, and due diligence being undertaken on, Revolution. Deltic has found this surprising given it has put forward a proposal to the board of Revolution, which it believes would create a compelling alternative to the Stonegate proposal for Revolution shareholders. Unfortunately, Revolution’s board has rejected Deltic’s merger proposal out of hand and has seen no merit in pursuing merger discussions or conducting any due diligence on Deltic’s business or plans for a combined business. Deltic continues to progress its own due diligence on Revolution and this has confirmed Deltic’s view the Stonegate offer undervalues Revolution. In order to put forward its merger proposal and discuss with shareholders, Deltic will in due course publish its own profit forecast and a quantified financial benefits statement in respect of a merger, the timing of which will be dictated by the publication of Revolution’s full year results, which are expected on 3 October. In parallel it continues to evaluate a possible cash offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of Revolution. Deltic also notes the announcement today by the Takeover Panel under which Deltic must either announce a firm intention to make an offer for Revolution under rule 2.7 of the code or announce it does not intend to make an offer for Revolution by 5pm on 10 October. Deltic will make further announcements in due course. In the meantime, Deltic emphasises there can be no certainty that an offer or other proposal will be made for Revolution nor as to the terms on which any offer may be made.”
BrewDog is eyeing Equity for Punks Five (EFP V), a fifth round of crowdfunding, to fill a £90m funding gap as it aims to become a company worth £5bn, Propel has learned. A blog on the company’s website, believed to have been written by co-founder James Watt, sets out the company’s funding requirements – only so-called Equity Punks have access to the area of the website that carries the blog. The blog states: “Loads of people were asking why we needed an Equity for Punks Five so I thought I would run through some plans and numbers so that you guys are completely in the loop and up to speed on our latest thinking. I am not going to touch on the Unicorn Fund in depth (but) essentially I see this 10% as a very smart investment, which we will get back at least three-fold as well as doing loads of good in the world. I believe we will be more profitable because we are giving an extra 10% of our profits away so the Unicorn Fund will decrease, as opposed to increase our medium and long term cash requirements. As outlined, our plan is to try and turn BrewDog into a £5bn company in five years. This is an insane target. This will require a hell of a lot of hard work, plenty of fair winds, a few crazy gambles and a huge amount of capital investment in big projects. We currently have £90m of the TSG money in the bank which is our entire capital reserve. £10m has already gone into paying off some older, more expensive debt, working capital and our amazing new Krones bottling line.
Here are our current capital requirements through to the end of 2018:
1) Working capital: We need an additional £25m-plus just to get us to the end of 2018. Stock and debtors are currently at £25m, this is our current working capital requirement. However we are forecasting to double sales in 2018, this means we will need at least double the amount of working capital. Potentially more as to grow sales that quickly involves increasing sales to larger customers who generally take longer to pay.
2) Ellon expansion:
Ellon expansion part one: This is to extend our additional fermentation tank deck and fill it with fermentation tanks. Build our new building opposite the site three brewhouse and add an additional seven-vessel 300-hectolitre Zieman Brewhouse in it. This all amounts to £30m.
Ellon expansion part two: This is to exercise our strike option on the recycling building (opposite site one) and build a new building on the site that the recycling centre was located on. This building will then house an amazing new high-speed canning line and two kegging lines. This all amounts to about £25m.
Ellon expansion part three – Overworks and Lone Wolf and miscellaneous: Lone Wolf needs a small bottling line, as does Overworks. We also want to expand Overworks based on the initial pre-orders from all of our customers as well as build the Overworks mezzanine bar. We also have to do various upgrades, utilities such as water connection, gas connection, electricity connection and waste water treatment. All in all, these projects amount to £10m. So, £65m will be spent in Ellon. This year we will ship about 410,000 hectolitre of beer and all of the projects above will take our Ellon capacity to 1.6m hectolitre (or maybe a little bit above that) which is not crazy given our current rate of growth.
3) US expansion: We now have beer flowing into the market in the US which is great. We are continuing to invest in our US brewery with additional fermentation and packaging capacity coming online in 2018. We are also due to start building our hotel and sour beer facility in November and we have two great new bar sites opening over the next few months with more to come.
Capacity expansion – £5m
Hotel and sour facility – £6m
Franklinton and Short North – £2m
4) Asia expansion: I am actually currently en route to China to look at potential locations to build a brewery there. China is now our biggest export market and is going like a train. We would build something on a similar scale to Columbus so this would be a £30m spend.
5) Australian expansion: Zarah is back and now looking for sites in Australia. This would be a smaller brewery just to supply Australia and New Zealand and the investment would be about £10m.
6) International bars and brewpubs: The number here is still quite fluid, but we are looking to open flagship brewpubs in our top ten export markets over the next two years. This will likely cost £15m to £20m. Oh, and we are close to announcing an amazing site in London for one.
Summary: All of this adds up to £163m. It would make sense to add a 10% contingency on to all of these projects too. That puts us at pretty much £180m. This is without considering additional projects such as expanding Lone Wolf, the Ellon hotel, any big marketing initiatives or any other opportunities which may come our way, such as building a brewery in Vegas.
Now EFP V won’t get us an additional £90m. But if we raise a decent amount then I can bridge the gap with various forms of bank financing. Our plans are full on, but we have amazing momentum, a brilliant team and an outstanding Equity Punk community. We want to build a brilliant and enduring business. We want to redefine beer and we want to create a whole new blueprint for a socially responsible 21st century business. And we want to enjoy being on a journey to try and achieve something truly remarkable hand in hand with our team and our equity punks. Becoming a £5bn company is a pretty crazy target. But we have a habit of hitting crazy targets.”
Britain’s over-50s accounted for one billion lunch visits for the year ending June 2017, spending £6bn over the period, according to new research by insights firm NPD Group. The data suggested Britain’s older consumers could support growth in the eat-out lunch business in future years. Compared with the year ending June 2008, visits are up 6% while total spend is up some 12%. NPD Group said consumers over 50 can be expected to contribute to the growth of Britain’s food delivery revolution, and could be a catalyst to the development of new food choices that are better suited to the needs of people as they grow elder. Cyril Lavenant (pictured), foodservice director UK at the NPD Group, said: “The over-50s demographic in Britain will grow in size and become wealthier, more active and more experimental than previous generations. For anybody running a business in Britain’s £54bn foodservice industry, there’s a distinct ‘over-50s opportunity’. People in late middle age and older will respond well to the innovative approach we see on Britain’s high streets to lunchtime eating. The over-50s represent an excellent target for the foodservice industry and will definitely play a bigger role in the growing popularity of eating lunch out of home.” The wider lunch occasion is already growing faster than the overall eat-out market. The four billion overall lunch visits (both on-premise and off-premise) for year ending June 2017 were up 3% on the same period a year earlier. This compares well with the resilient 1% visit growth seen in the total British out-of-home foodservice market in year ending June 2017. But the lunch to go segment (food consumed off the premises) is doing even better with 4% growth. NPD Group said the growing popularity of eating lunch on the go could generate nearly 2.2bn visits annually to foodservice operators by the end of 2019, an increase of 11% over the nearly two billion visits recorded for year ending June 2017. Lunch to go could soon account for 53% of overall lunch visits and 19% of all out-of-home visits in Britain each year. Lavenant added: “Modest or zero wage growth coupled with rising inflation has prompted many consumers to trade down from dinner where we now see declining visits. Lunch meanwhile has strong appeal because it is affordable, and offers high quality and an enormous choice of formats and cuisines whether it is consumed on or off the premises. There’s absolutely no doubt that lunch is an increasingly relevant offer for consumers. Foodservice operators have also made their lunch products more attractive through time-saving technology such as contactless payment and click-and-collect apps.” The research also showed the click-and-collect market is small but growing quickly, accounting for 56 million quick-service restaurant (QSR) visits for year ending June 2017, up 25% on the same period a year earlier. NPD Group said click-and-collect at lunchtime appeals to consumers because it avoids the extra charge for delivery. The average bill for an out-of-home lunch in Britain is £3.56 (year ending June 2017) but delivery can increase this significantly. NPD Group said foodservice operators have shown they fully understand the intense competition in Britain’s foodservice industry and are disrupting and innovating to win business. It said in the lunch market, top retailers and QSR chains, as well as smaller independents, are increasingly responding well to the demand for balanced eating by offering vegetarian and vegan choices, superfoods, organic products, reduced calories and sugar, as well as meat substitutes. They are also meeting consumer expectations for new tastes and experiences by using foods high in protein, antioxidants and omega 3. NPD Group added Britain’s over-50s are welcoming these new opportunities to enjoy balanced eating during lunch away from home.
Mitchells & Butlers has reported the market has turned ‘more challenging’ in recent weeks. In a trading statement covering the 51 weeks ended 16 September, the company said: “Following a strong sales performance in early summer the market has been more challenging in recent weeks, particularly given poor weather this year up against a sunny period last year which has specifically impacted drink sales. Encouragingly like-for-like sales growth continues to be ahead of the market. Total sales have increased by 2.9% in the year-to-date.” The company reported like-for-like sales are up 0.8% in the eight weeks to 16 September with food up 1.5% but drink down 1.2%. The company added: “As previously advised, margins for the full year will be below last year due to inflationary cost pressures. We have opened 13 new sites and completed 236 conversions and remodels in the financial year to date. During the year we have disposed of 79 sites which did not fit into our long-term estate plan, 73 of which were sold as a package which completed in July with the remainder sold individually. The proceeds from disposals total £46m which is marginally above the net book value of the properties.” Phil Urban (pictured), chief executive, said: “Whilst the weather in August and September has adversely affected the market we remain encouraged that our like-for-like sales performance continues to outperform the market. This performance reflects the progress we have made towards our strategic priorities. We continue to work hard to mitigate the cost headwinds faced by the industry and expect to deliver a full year performance in line with the board’s expectations. We will enter the new financial year with the momentum of solid sales growth, enhanced clarity on pension contributions and a clear strategy which we believe positions the company well to deliver long term shareholder value.”
Small casual dining brands are expanding six times faster than bigger names in the sector, the latest Market Growth Monitor from AlixPartners and CGA Peach has revealed. Amid a broadly flat market for new openings and sales, restaurant groups with fewer than 25 sites achieved a 32% increase in premises in the past three years, compared with 7.6% for companies with more than 100 sites. Groups with between 25 and 99 sites increased their numbers by 47.7% during the period, more than six times the rate of large operators. The report said the figures were proof of the number of fresh and dynamic brands hitting the mainstream casual dining sector, naming Wahaca, Honest Burgers and Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho among companies expanding rapidly in the small-operator category, and Fulham Shore’s Franco Manca and Casual Dining Group brand Las Iguanas in the medium-sized sector. The report added that while some big operators such as Nando’s and Wagamama had continued to roll out venues, others had been scaling back openings. The disparity between new and established brands is particularly apparent in London, where medium-sized operators increased their number of licensed premises by 67.8% in the past three years, while large operators have seen a 4.3% fall. Overall, Britain had 122,916 licensed premises at June – 0.3% fewer than in June 2016. The bulk of net closures have been drink-led pubs and restaurants with only one site. There was a 1.8% net increase in restaurant openings in the past 12 months. CGA vice-president Peter Martin said: “Our latest Market Growth Monitor reveals a casual dining sector in flux. Britain has a better and wider range of eating-out options than ever before, and dynamic new entrants to the market are simultaneously adding to the diversity and making life tougher for longer-established operators. Consumers still enjoy their big brands but the emergence of so many disruptive concepts is making it harder to secure their loyalty.” AlixPartners managing director Paul Hemming added: “The last 12 months have left the industry battling unprecedented levels of competition, unrelenting price pressures and an evolving retail market. As a result, casual dining chains have seen relatively little new investment activity, with many operators focusing on trimming tail sites from their estates instead. But despite these negative headwinds, small and growing innovative businesses continue to thrive across the country. Tired offerings that fail to evolve will have a limited shelf life but for emerging operators with a differentiated, consistent product, there will still be ample room to blossom.”
Street food restaurant The Good Egg has returned to crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to raise £500,000 as it seeks to open a second site, in Soho. Founder Joel Abraham opened his first venue in 2015 in Stoke Newington after raising £182,000 from investors. The restaurant serves more than 1,200 customers a week. Now he has returned to the crowdfunding platform to raise £500,000 in return for an 18.18% equity stake as he aims to bring the all-day neighbourhood “Montreal deli meets Israeli street food offer” to Soho’s Kingly Court. The pitch states: “We serve up colourful Jewish deli and Israeli-inspired brunches, bagels, pitas and small plates, with a dinner menu designed to get guests sharing, all alongside a drinks menu of classic American cocktails, craft beer and natural wine. We carefully source ingredients from sustainable producers whose ethos is in line with our own. From serving our brunch favourite shakshuka at sell-out markets, pop-ups and residencies all over London, we felt London was crying out for an all-day neighbourhood Montreal deli meets Israeli street food offer. We’ve cooked for the prime minister, catered weekly for Twitter’s London headquarters, and crowdfunded on Crowdcube to finance the fit-out of our first restaurant, with a plan to open two more within five years. We’ve now secured a 100-plus-seater site in the West End to feature a bakery and retail area that serves Israeli-inspired baked goods and extended brunch and dinner menus for eat-in, takeaway and delivery. Funds raised will be used for capex and pre-opening costs for our second restaurant site. This represents the realisation of a dream, fulfilling many aspects of the business we have had on hold in site one, such as our extended bakery offer. Commercial finance facilities are also in place. We know the industry has recently attracted, and is capable of attracting, exits and our own exit-strategy modelling is based on medium-to-long-term opportunities accordingly. We plan an exit in three years when the group has three restaurants.”
Compass Group has announced that Richard Cousins has decided to step down from his role as group chief executive officer on 31 March 2018 and to retire from the group on 30 September 2018. He will be succeeded by Dominic Blakemore, currently chief operating officer Europe. Blakemore will become deputy chief executive officer on 1 October 2017 and will work closely with Richard during the next six months to ensure a smooth transition and will take over as group chief executive officer on 1 April 2018, Paul Walsh, Compass Group’s chairman, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Richard and on behalf of the board I want to thank him for his extraordinary contribution to the group. In the past 11 years Richard has transformed Compass into an industry leading organisation that delivers excellent food services to our clients, attracts and develops great people and generates significant returns for our shareholders. Dominic’s appointment is the result of a rigorous succession process. Dominic joined Compass Group in 2012 and has already contributed significantly to the group as chief financial officer for four years and for the past two years as chief operating officer Europe. Dominic has the leadership skills combined with the industry and operational experience to build on the group’s strong track record, and as chief executive officer to lead Compass to continued future success.” Cousins said: “It has been a privilege to work with the many talented people that make up the Compass team. I am grateful to have enjoyed their support in building a world class business that has enormous potential to prosper further. I look forward to working closely with Dominic in the next six months to ensure a smooth handover and I am confident that he will lead the group to even greater success in the future.” Blakemore said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Compass’ next chief executive officer. I am fortunate to be supported by a very strong senior management team and together we will continue to build on the success achieved under Richard’s leadership.”
Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame (pictured) has told Propel the company is “very much alive” to further acquisitions as it enters a period of natural consolidation. The company acquired 14 pubs in the past year and has a 327-strong estate. Neame said: “I think we are in a period of natural consolidation because acquiring 14 pubs takes a lot of doing. We are very much alive to acquisition opportunities but we are not the sort of business to take on high leverage. We are very cash generative. Two-thirds of our pub estate is in Kent, while we have more than 100 outside the county such as in London, Surrey and West Sussex. We will look to continue investing in our existing pubs in our Kent heartland while adding to our estate outside the county, where many of our acquisitions are being made.” The company has sold 49 sites in the past five years and while Neame said he expected there to be further disposals he did not see them continuing at that rate. He added: “We’ve markedly improved the quality of the estate and gone from having pubs in small, outlying villages to making sure we have sites in unique locations with high footfall.” Neame said the company would continue to invest and improve its current estate and three pubs in Kent were lined up for £1m-plus refurbishments this year – The Spitfire in West Malling, The Anchor in Yalding and the Earls in Maidstone. He added: “We invested £8.3m of capital and £2.4m of revenue in the estate in the financial year and I certainly see us sustaining that level this year. Five years ago that figure was £6.1m in total so you’re looking at nearly double the amount.” Neame added that while it was “inevitable” the company would have fewer tenanted sites over time, it would continue investing in that side of the business. This week it opened the Dover Castle in the village of Teynham, near Faversham, having invested £450,000. The company now has roughly 500 bedrooms across the estate and Neame said it would continue to add accommodation where the opportunity arose, although he pointed out it was often difficult to do so in many of the historic buildings the company occupied. He added: “We’ve made some great acquisitions and worked hard to upgrade the quality and profile of the business, on the managed and tenanted side, and made record levels of investment. It’s been a very pleasing year but we are not complacent. We are very proud of what the team has achieved but we are always looking to improve the experience for our customers.”
TRG Concessions, part of The Restaurant Group, has partnered with US-based mobile ordering app Grab to launch a restaurant pre-order service at Heathrow. TRG Concessions has launched the service across seven of its brands at the airport – Giraffe, Giraffe STOP, Wondertree, Comptoir Libanais, the Prince of Wales, The Market Gardener and The Curator – allowing users to pre-order, check turnaround time and collect from their chosen restaurant. By downloading the Heathrow Airport Guide app, passengers can select and pay for their dish before collecting ahead of their flight. Each restaurant features a dedicated point for orders via a tablet, which allows staff to communicate directly with the customer. Grab serves 20 airports in the US, with Heathrow the first UK airport to trial the app. TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst said: “Partnering with Grab and Heathrow allows us to incorporate industry-leading technology and innovation into our foodservice operations.” Heathrow head of food and beverage Ben Crowley added: “This enhances the takeaway offer our restaurants provide and allows passengers to enjoy a range of dining options at 30,000 feet.” Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay recently reopened his Heathrow restaurant Plane Food and launched Plane Food Grab & Go, a pre-prepared offering passengers can take away to enjoy on their flight.
All Our Bars, led by Paul Wigham, has reopened Greene King pub The Boot in Bracknell, Berkshire, following a £500,000 refurbishment. The pub in Park Road had been closed since the end of April. Wigham said: “The designers have come up with some amazing ideas that really show what a beautiful building this is. It’s looking superb. Once again it has been a brilliant experience working with our partners Greene King, who have been hugely supportive throughout a long renovation process. This is a true retail/pubco partnership that transcends many of the industry issues that are making headlines for the wrong reasons. We look forward to continuing our partnership into the future.” Customers can use new beach huts for alfresco dining during warm weather, while a more formal area is available to hire for functions and private meetings.
Urban Pubs and Bars, led by Nick Pring and Malcolm Heap, will open its 13th site – and first in central London – next week. The company will launch The Punch Tavern in Fleet Street on Thursday, 28 September. The grade II-listed building was previously a 19th century “gin palace” and the site is full of period features and nods to its Victorian heritage. The venue will focus on classic cocktails and a selection of gin, whiskey and wine, while retaining its “traditional London boozer feel” and offering a gastro-pub menu. The Punch Tavern is the latest acquisition in as many months for Urban Pubs & Bars following bar restaurant Neighbour and basement cocktail bar Jukes in Kentish Town and Paradise By Way Of Kensal Green. Meanwhile, two of its current estate – The Whippet Inn in Kensal Rise and Wheatsheaf in Tooting Bec – have undergone extensive refurbishments. Pring and Heap sold Realpubs to Greene King in 2011 for £53.1m.
The final Propel Multi Club Conference of 2017 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Wednesday, 1 November at the Millennium Gloucester hotel in London. Eric Partaker, co-founder of Chilango, will talk about the highs and lows of creating and expanding an innovative Mexican brand in the UK market during the past decade. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele on firstname.lastname@example.org
Former Wagamama chief executive David Campbell, who stepped down earlier this year, will be a guest speaker at the Multi Site Management Masterclass on Friday, 29 September. Campbell will chat with Professor Chris Muller, the leading thinker, teacher and author on multi-site foodservice management in the US, giving his thoughts on leading a team through a turnaround, talking about his past successes across industries, and the way he repositioned the team at Wagamama for growth and revitalisation. The event takes place at One Moorgate Place in London and is open for bookings. Leading UK businesses such as Mitchells & Butlers and TGI Friday’s have sent staff to be taught by Professor Muller at Boston University’s School of Hospitality – now Professor Muller (pictured) is returning to the UK to lead this bespoke day. The event will provide valuable insights for founders and area managers of small and medium-sized multi-site companies and area managers of large companies. The sessions will include building the case for strategic growth, developing multi-unit managers from players to coaches and a discussion on the importance transition plays in the practice of management and leadership. Mastering Multi-Units founder Lee Sheldon will also talk about how to successfully drive profitable growth for your business. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book tickets, email Anne Steele at email@example.com
This year’s Bar and Nightclub Conference, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) and Propel, is open for bookings. It takes place on Monday, 9 October at Bafta, Piccadilly. It will be followed by the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards for bar and nightclub operators at Cafe de Paris in the evening. Speakers at the conference will include Dan Davies, chairman of the Institute of Licensing and CPL Training chief executive, who will talk to Peter Stringfellow about his career operating late-night venues. Stephen Thomas, godfather of the UK nightclub and bar scene, will offer reflections on the evolving bar and nightclub scene and predict how things will change in the next decade. Meanwhile, Peter Marks, chief executive of Deltic Group, will talk about evolving the company’s estate, the growing importance of social media and entertainment to drive footfall, and the results of Deltic’s own research into the late-night market. For the full schedule click here. Tickets for the Bar and Nightclub Conference are £89 plus VAT for operators who are ALMR members and £129 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. Supplier tickets are £165 plus VAT for ALMR members and £225 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. For the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards, tickets are £150 plus VAT for ALMR members and £195 plus VAT for non-ALMR members. Tickets for both events can be booked by emailing Jo Charity at firstname.lastname@example.org. Nominations are still open for the Dusk ’til Dawn Awards. For details, click here
Subscribers to Propel Premium now receive a £50 discount on tickets to Propel’s Masterclass series of events in 2017. The series includes The Advanced Social Media Masterclass, The Leadership Masterclass, the Finance and Investment Masterclass, and the Multi-site Management Masterclass. The current free service to all existing readers remains the same but readers can opt to upgrade to receive the Propel Premium service. Propel Premium subscribers also receive the Morning Newsletter, which is sent at 6.30am each weekday, 12 hours earlier at 6.30pm the day before. On 1 March, Propel Premium subscribers will also receive an updated version of the Propel database of multi-site companies, which will add another 200 companies to the existing database of 700 to hit the 900 mark. For operators, annual subscription costs £345 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. For suppliers, annual subscription costs £445 plus VAT, with an extra £50 per additional subscriber at each company. To subscribe to the Propel Premium service, email email@example.com
Multi-Site Management Masterclass
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Propel Multi Club Conference & Summer Party
6th July 2017
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