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Propel launches Leadership Summit, open for bookings

New Burger King UK chief executive Alasdair MurdochPropel is launching the Leadership Summit, which will see a select group of the sector’s most experienced bosses share their expertise on leadership. The full-day event, in partnership with Elliotts, will take place on Tuesday, 12 February at One Moorgate Place and is open for bookings. Speakers will include Will Stratton-Morris, chief executive of Caffe Nero, who will talk about building high-performance teams. Alasdair Murdoch (pictured), chief executive of Burger King, speaks about the role of leadership in business turnarounds. Elliotts chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Des Gunewardena, chief executive of D&D London, about the lessons of leadership he has picked up in his career in the sector. Duncan Garrood, chief executive of Ten Entertainment, will give his views on leadership and the customer experience, while Jo Fleet, managing director of Flat Iron, will talk about empowering people and trust and getting the team to “buy in” through clear communication and vision. Mark Jones, chief executive of Carluccio’s, will explain how the company is building the quality and skillsets of its general managers to lead the business out of decline. Simon Townsend, chief executive of Ei Group, will give his views on the challenges of leadership during a period of immense change and Zoe Bowley, managing director of PizzaExpress, will give her top ten tips on leadership. Meanwhile, Loungers founder Alex Reilley will talk about the adaptations involved in growing a business from one site to more than 100, celebrating success and the art of succession, while Ann Elliott will give her views on the power of mentoring to grow talent in organisations. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “With the industry facing such challenging times, effective leadership has never been more important. This is an unmissable opportunity to learn from high-profile leaders in our sector.” Prices are £295 plus VAT for Premium members, £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers. To book, email


Electra – we believe TGI Friday’s can provide a strong exit

TGI Friday's NewcastleElectra Private Equity, which is winding down its portfolio, has told shareholders it believes it can achieve a good price for its TGI Friday’s business in due course. The company said difficult conditions in UK casual dining impacted TGI Friday’s (£124.6m), which was also ‘impacted by exceptional weather conditions in 2018 as well as underlying markets’. It added: “Recovery plans are in place intended to increase resilience and value prior to exit in an acceptable timeframe.” Chairman Neil Johnson said: “Given the well documented challenges in both the UK retail and casual dining sectors, it was not appropriate to sell (our) two remaining larger assets TGI Friday’s and Hotter Shoes at this time. These assets represent nearly 90% of the remaining portfolio, after disposals already announced, and are fully controlled. Despite the impact of short-term trading conditions on current valuation, the board is confident that both assets offer good opportunity for growth and can provide strong exits in an acceptable timeframe.” The company added: “In the year to 30th September 2018, the performance and valuation of both TGI Friday’s and Hotter Shoes have been impacted by trading conditions affecting the wider UK consumer, retail and casual dining sectors. This was compounded by extreme weather that impacted TGI over the specific periods involved and had a more profound effect on Hotter in disrupting the launch of the spring/summer season with a resultant impact on the promotional calendar of Hotter and its competitors, leading to lower margin sales throughout the summer. We are working with their management to increase the resilience of both businesses and to achieve profitable growth. A key aim has been to move to full control of both businesses in order to allow focused implementation of their strategies without the constraint imposed by high gearing. In the case of TGI, we had reduced gearing in 2017 in anticipation of challenging trading conditions to come and completed the buyout of a minority shareholder for £6m in early 2018. In the case of Hotter, in 2018 we went ahead with the investment necessary for the achievement of medium-term optimisation despite shorter term pressures that would impact short-term valuation. This investment comprised the buy-out of a significant minority shareholder (£19m) in early 2018 that was necessary to facilitate implementation of our strategy for the business and a reduction in gearing (£14m) to allow focus on value creation. The short-term valuation of both businesses has been impacted by trading and the valuations of comparator companies. However, we remain confident in the opportunity for medium term value creation in each.”

Other News:

Greene King chief executive Rooney AnandCasual Dining Group (CDG), the operator of almost 300 mid-market restaurant brands including Las Iguanas, Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, has appointed Rooney Anand as chairman. Anand will replace Martin Robinson, who steps down in April having been with the business since 2014. Robinson’s departure comes following the successful refinancing of CDG with KKR and Propel understands the decision was amicable between both parties. Anand has been selected for his wealth of experience gained at the highest levels in the hospitality sector and is “uniquely placed to identify growth opportunities while steering the company through the challenges ahead”. Anand has been chief executive of brewer and retailer Greene King for 14 years and is stepping down at the end of April. He is credited with turning Greene King from a small regional brewery and pub business into the UK’s leading pub company. Anand, who was named business leader of the year at the 2016 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, was also recently appointed chairman of WorldSkills UK, the education and skills charity, a position he will take up in January. CDG chief executive Steve Richards said: “We are delighted to welcome Rooney to CDG as our new chairman. Rooney brings with him exceptional sector experience and everyone at CDG is looking forward to working with him. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Martin for his contribution to CDG over the past four years and we wish him well.” Anand added: “I am very much looking forward to supporting Steve and the management team, helping them to build on the solid foundations they’ve established at CDG as they continue to grow and develop the business in the fast moving and competitive casual dining market.” Matthieu Boulanger, member and global head of private credit at KKR, said: “We are very pleased to have Rooney join the CDG leadership team. He brings a wealth of experience and we believe he is uniquely placed to identify growth opportunities while steering the company through the challenges ahead.”

D&D London chief financial officer Alan ClarkRestaurant operator D&D London has appointed Alan Clark as chief financial officer. Clark has held a number of board-level financial positions for luxury hotel groups with substantial food and beverage operations. He was finance director for Malmaison and Hotel du Vin and Rocco Forte Hotels in the UK. In his most recent roles, Clark was chief financial officer for The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels and latterly group chief financial officer for Sandals Resorts International. D&D London chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena said: “Alan joins us at a very exciting time. Our business continues to expand. We have opened a number of restaurants in the UK and in New York in the last year and we have a substantial pipeline of UK and overseas projects. Alan’s knowledge and international experience will be a big asset.” Clark added: “I am incredibly excited to join the group and look forward to contributing to expanding the business further.”

LEON New YorkNatural fast food brand Leon has secured its second US site. The company is doubling up in Washington DC after signing a lease to open a venue in New York Avenue. The restaurant is due to open in late spring. The space was originally constructed in 1874 for the George M Barker Company, a lumber, coal and wood distribution warehouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Leon will occupy part of the 768,000 square foot building newly redeveloped by Douglas Development in a joint venture with Brookfield Properties. Leon managing director Glenn Edwards said: “Since our successful opening in L Street earlier this year, we have been searching for our next great location in DC and are thrilled to have found it in Mount Vernon Triangle. We’re excited to expose the beauty of the original building as a second major milestone in bringing the future of fast food to DC.” As with its London restaurants and L Street location, the new restaurant will be powered by sustainable energy, in this case 100% wind power. Leon has also proactively removed plastic straws and cutlery, with all packaging compostable or recyclable. Leon has grown to 61 restaurants since 2004, with locations in the UK, Oslo, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Gran Canaria and plans to grow in other cities across Europe and the US.

The cost of living in San Francisco is leading to a shortage of restaurant staff, forcing outlets to close and new concepts to design their model to cope with the shortfall. With $4,550 the average price for a San Francisco rental, even hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour and requiring health benefits, as San Francisco has done, has failed to maintain a healthy labour market. The fallout has hit restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay area, with wine country restaurant Terra and historic Berkeley fish house Spenger’s among the long list of outlets to have closed, with owners saying it is almost impossible to find staff. The situation is leading restaurants to launch concepts designed with fewer staff in mind and having customers place their orders and pick up their own drinks. Meanwhile, new “fine casual” venues are serving scaled-down menus that can be prepared easily by fewer cooks. Traci Des Jardins, the San Franciscan chef who founded French-influenced Jardinière and helped launched numerous other restaurants, said the labour shortage could seriously limit the scope of offerings in the Bay Area’s dining scene. She told The Guardian: “I think everyone is grappling with these issues and trying new things to figure out what makes sense. I think it will ultimately lead to attrition in the overall scope of the restaurants we see opening.”

Alan YauDuck and Rice, the classic Chinese food in a pub concept set up by Wagamama founder Alan Yau (pictured) in Soho, has said it is in talks over its first overseas licensing deal now the concept has become profitable and ready for growth. Director Ted Kennedy said: “We have a great management team and they have focused on creating the magic and making guests happy. We expect good sales growth, great margins and robust costs and so we are ready to push the button on the licensing opportunities available to us. We see opportunities to grow a licensing platform in London, the Nordics, mainland Europe and the Middle East and are actively assessing potential licensing partners with local geographic knowledge to develop and grow our brand with us. Duck and Rice also appeals to local drinkers and diners making it ideal for hotels and mixed-use developers. We see real value for all stakeholders.”

All-natural meal delivery service Detox Kitchen has hit the target in its £550,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to meet demand. The company is offering 7.28% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £7m. So far, 258 investors have pledged £550,790 and the campaign is currently “overfunding”. 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 in total. Funds raised will 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.”

Jonathon Swaine, managing director of Fuller’s Inns, has said he believes the company has “reinvented the railway station pub” following the opening of its latest site, in Euston. The company has launched The Signal Box upstairs in the station’s terrace featuring a bar and dining space and an outside bar with seating. Swaine said: “We have seen great success in our other transport hub pubs, such as The Parcel Yard at King’s Cross and The Three Guineas at Reading station. We believe we’ve reinvented the railway station pub – from being tired old bars where people begrudgingly went when their train was delayed, to exciting and vibrant pubs that are visited by all. With the transformation of the surrounding area and HS2 opening in the future, we hope The Signal Box becomes a regular spot for one-time and regular visitors. The team has done an excellent job creating a modern but comfortable space. The outside bar and seating area – which is still within the walls of the station – is a fantastic setting. It’s a great achievement from our designers who have managed to create an indoor space that feels alfresco.”

The UK’s hospitality industry could save at least £242.7m on its energy bills by adopting new energy technologies such as solar panels and battery storage, according to a new report. The Distributed Energy: Powering The Future Of Hospitality And Leisure report, published by energy company Centrica, also said if half the hotels, restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes in the UK adopted new energy technology, it would boost the country’s economic growth by £2.9bn gross value added and support the creation of 39,150 jobs. The hospitality industry spends more than £1.3bn a year on energy and the government has challenged businesses to improve their energy productivity by 20% by 2030 as set out in the Clean Growth Strategy. Alan Barlow, UK and Ireland director at Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Pressures on the industry are intensifying so it’s vital businesses do what they can to bring down the costs they can control – reducing energy consumption is an important part of this. But taking a more strategic approach to energy is more than just a cost-cutting exercise. Solar power, battery storage, combined heat and power units – these types of new energy technology can help fuel business growth by improving cash flow or realising additional revenue streams through selling energy back to the National Grid. Deploying this technology also presents an opportunity to demonstrate green credentials to an increasingly environmentally sensitive customer base.”

Elton MounaRemarkable Pubs, the privately owned east London-focused pub company, has added a site in Forest Gate for its 16th venue. The company has acquired the Holly Tree in Dames Road in an off-market deal. Managing director Elton Mouna (pictured) said: “The Holly Tree is just two miles from our other 2018 freehold acquisition – the Boleyn Tavern – and gives us a strong foothold in an exciting, fast-changing part of London. The Holly Tree is a substantial pub with a conservatory and large garden. A detailed and sympathetic refurbishment will take place in 2019, when the pub will be fully integrated into the Remarkable collection of wonderful London pubs.”

The Cotswolds Distillery is the highest ranked hospitality company in this year’s top 100 fastest growing companies by online investing website SyndicateRoom. The Cotswolds Distillery was sixth on the list with its multiple increase in valuation rising to 41.9 times in the past three years. London-based independent coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee was tenth, with multiples increasing to 38.7 times, while Deliveroo was 13th with a 29.9 times rise in valuation. Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog was 39th, with a 15.7 times increase in valuation, while Old Northampton Group was 53rd with a 12.6 times multiple rise. Other companies to feature in the list were Grind, the independent coffee and cocktail bar (58th, 12.3 times), Truman’s Beer (75th, 10.0 times), natural fast food brand Leon (86th, 9.4 times), Rocco Forte Hotels (97th, 8.8 times) and M Restaurants (98th, 8.7 times).

Joule’s has returned the Cock Hotel in Wellington, near Telford, to its portfolioShropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s, which is headed by Steve Nuttall, has acquired the Cock Hotel in Wellington, near Telford. Joule’s, which owned the pub in Holyhead Road from the 19th century to 1974, has bought it for a second time after landlords Peter and Liz Arden decided to retire. Nuttall said: “We have been keen to have a pub in Telford for years and Wellington was always our first choice. We are thrilled and very proud to take the reins of this historic pub once again. The pub has always had something extraordinary about it – it has a unique warm atmosphere, which comes from such a long history. More than half our pubs are listed so we understand what’s required in managing buildings with such important heritage. We would like to restore the pub to how it was when it was first a Joule’s Taphouse.” Peter Arden added: “It is a great story to turn the clock back and let the pub go back to where it all started. The icing on the cake is it’s a Shropshire pub and a Shropshire brewery, the brewery is just a few miles away.” Joule’s operates almost 40 pubs, with its brewery in Market Drayton.

Rule of Tum BurgerHerefordshire-based steak and burger company A Rule of Tum has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube having raised more than £510,000. Brothers Edwin and Dorian Kirk were aiming to raise £400,000 to launch two concepts and were offering 11.11% equity in return for the investment, which gave the company a pre-money valuation of £3.2m. They have now closed the campaign with 363 investors pledging £510,320. A Rule of Tum operates The Bookshop restaurant in Hereford and two Burger Shop joints – in Hereford and Worcester – as well as a fledgling events division. The company will use the funds to buy both properties in Aubrey Street that house its Hereford venues, refurbish and relaunch all its restaurants, open a butcher’s shop, and launch a small plates concept in an arch next to its Worcester site. The pitch states: “When we started A Rule of Tum in 2013 we had no idea what we set out to do would resonate with so many people. A Rule of Tum has never been about creating a faceless chain – it’s about great food, individuality, building a community and inspiring change. During the past five years we’ve constantly invested back into the business and our community – opening restaurants and our annual food festival – leading to our highest annual turnover of £1.6m to the year ending March 2018 and £96,000 Ebitda. We are now crowdfunding to take the business to the next level. We are generating capital with the aim to purchase and reimagine our Hereford sites. We hope this will allow us to accelerate our plans to launch two more concepts by 2020 – a butcher’s shop and another restaurant space in Worcester.”

The Naked Deli site in Grey Street, NewcastleNewcastle-based The Naked Deli has turned two empty shops in Newcastle’s city centre into its fifth site. The store has opened in Grey Street next to Central Arcade and is the brand’s second opening since The Naked Deli received £2.5m of growth capital from independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager Foresight Group in June. As part of the investment, John Upton joined The Naked Deli as chairman. He is former managing director of healthy fast food brand Leon and a member of the senior team at McDonald’s UK. The Naked Deli chief executive Chris Jones said: “Being able to cater for those in the centre of town is an important step for us in our mission to bring a balanced and nutritious diet for people in the north east and further afield. Following our successful venture at Newcastle International airport, this is an important step as we expand into the wider UK market.” Foresight Group investment manager John Cordrey added: “This is a huge opportunity, positioning the brand as a true north east success story and is a positive mark for further UK expansion.” The Naked Deli’s other stores are in Gosforth, Heaton, and Fenwick’s Food Hall.

Hotel Chocolat has opened its New York store at 441 Lexington Avenue. Angus Thirlwell, co-founder and chief executive of Hotel Chocolat, said: “As we evolve into international markets, our core “More Cocoa, Less Sweet” mantra gains traction across the globe. In Tokyo our hot chocolate and sculpted chocolate batons were an instant sell-out, whereas New Yorkers went wild for our peanut pralines when we opened here yesterday. This is a hugely exciting time to be at the helm of Hotel Chocolat, as the brand continues to grow and prove popular with locals in overseas markets, making more people happy through the power of chocolate.”

Dairy co-founder Matt Wells has hit his fund-raising target on crowdfunding platform Seedrs to relaunch cafe concept Dandy in Bermondsey, east London. Wells has partnered with chef Dan Wilson for the project. They are offering 5.73% equity in return for the £75,000 investment, which gives the venture a pre-money valuation of £1.2m. So far, 40 investors have pledged £80,383 and the campaign is now “overfunding”. The funds will be used to fit out a site in Maltby Street that was formerly occupied by Monmouth Coffee. Wells founded The Dairy and Counter Culture with Robin and Sarah Gill, created Knife Steakhouse, and recently backed 24 The Oval. Dandy will be the seventh restaurant he has been involved with. Wells said: “Bermondsey is an incredible, lively hub, buzzing with innovation and creativity. It offers established restaurants and new concepts and is the ideal spot for Dan’s seasonally driven, comforting dishes. We’re dedicated to great beer so it seemed the perfect fit and we’ll be making the most of our location on the beer mile – partnering with neighbouring brewers amid plans to open our own in late 2019.” Wilson launched Dandy as a pop-up in London Fields before opening a semi-permanent spot in Newington Green in late 2017. They have both since closed. Wilson said: “The journey to Dandy ‘3.0’ has been an incredible one. I can’t wait to finally open the doors to a permanent site.”

BrewDog's site in Tampere, FinlandScottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has expanded its international presence by launching its second site in Finland. The opening in Tampere is the company’s 15th in 2018, bringing its global estate to 80 bars. The 50-capacity bar offers 18 draught lines of beer including BrewDog’s own brews and those from local and international craft brewers. A deli fridge is stocked with a broad range of bottled and canned craft beer alongside coffee from a local artisan roaster and a menu of local cheese and charcuterie boards. A terrace will open in the spring to more than double total capacity. BrewDog opened its first Finnish bar in Helsinki in 2014.

Ei Group is widening its January free drink giveawayEi Group’s leased and tenanted division Ei Publican Partnerships has widened its January drinks giveaway this year to include gin and tonic, soft drinks and a greater choice of low and no alcohol beers. The company will team up with leading UK brewers and drinks companies in an initiative that will see up to 45,000 free drinks given away during the month. Partners this year include Molson Coors, Heineken, Diageo and Britvic. The promotion will be available in about 1,000 Ei Publican Partnership pubs in the UK from 2 to 20 January and will be accompanied by a “Cheer Up January” social media campaign, online advertising and point-of-sale products for participating pubs. Customers will redeem their free drink via a web-based app. Ei Group launched the initiative last year, with the offer limited to beer. Customer director Helen Cook said: “We know people want to cut down after the indulgences of the festive season so we are delighted to have extended the offer this year to include a broader range of drinks that makes the offer more accessible to more people. Feedback from our publicans last year was incredibly positive, with more than 80% of participants saying they’d like to do it again.”

Independent brewer Siren Craft Brew has closed its fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to aid expansion after raising £1.25m. The company initially aimed to raise £750,000 and offered 6.38% equity in return for investment, which gave it a pre-money valuation of £11m. It has now closed the campaign with 1,546 investors pledging £1.25m. Siren founder Darron Anley said the funding would be used to “accelerate an exciting next stage of growth”, including launching its beer in cans, expanding capacity and improving efficiency. The company said it had already brewed two million pints in 2018 and had seen 28% growth in revenue. The brewer has distribution worldwide and has been profitable every year since 2014. The pitch states: “Siren first landed in 2013 with a flagship range of four brands. Built on the passion, skill and efforts of a dedicated team and the finances of the founders, Siren employs 28 people with turnover of £2.82m last year and Ebitda of £200,000. We are raising finance to accelerate the next phase of our growth. The primary step is to package into cans. We have identified a top-rate canning line that will meet our current bottling quality standards and future-proof our packaging options. Any overfunding will allow us to increase capacity and improve efficiencies. Raise more than £1.5m and we’ll also fast-track plans to bring our taproom experience to new locations.”

City Pub Group chairman Clive WatsonCity Pub Group, led by Clive Watson (pictured), is to make its first move into the experiential sector by turning a former JD Wetherspoon-owned pub in Cambridge into a venue featuring crazy golf and street food stalls, Propel has learned. City Pub Group bought The Tivoli, which was ravaged by fire in 2015, earlier this year after Cambridge City Council rejected previous plans by a developer to turn it into luxury flats. The new-look venue will feature a rotating line-up of three street food traders on the ground floor. The outlets will be franchises and won’t offer takeaway food but may operate a delivery service. Diners will also be able to order food at the main bar. The first floor will host the crazy golf course, while there will be a shuffleboard deck in the basement. The second floor will feature an 80-seater, multi-purpose events space that will be fully equipped for community groups to hold film screenings and host yoga classes, live music, meetings and parties. The room will open on to a terrace facing the river Cam. The pub will also feature a rooftop terrace, with the company beginning the planning process in the coming weeks, a spokesman told Propel. If the plan is approved, construction and fit-out could begin in April for an opening in the autumn. Meanwhile, City Pub Group has acquired the freehold of Cardiff bar restaurant Chapel 1877 off a guide price of £2.6m in a deal brokered by agent GVA. The venue is a renovated chapel designed by architect Henry C Harris in a gothic style. It has also opened Brighton Beach Club in the old Milkmaid Pavilion in Brighton’s Kings Road, which was formerly an Italian restaurant called Al Fresco. The company has refurbished both bars, now offering more than 40 different craft beers, world wines all sold by the glass and a list of cocktails that refresh every week just to “spice things up”. City Pub Group currently owns 43 sites.

Yorkshire-based Ossett Brewery has sold a 50% stake to a private investor. The deal, for an undisclosed sum, includes Ossett Brewery and its 26 retail sites – 19 traditional pubs and restaurants, four bars trading as The HOP that focus on ale and live music, recently formed new business Salt Beer Factory and its own city centre bars under the Craft Asylum brand. Mark Hunter is the new co-owner of the company and will take a seat on the board but will not form part of the day-to day operational management team. The brewery will continue to be led by co-owner and pub company founder Jamie Lawson. Brewery founder Bob Lawson will remain as non-executive chairman. Hunter is new to the industry of brewing and pubs and is co-founder of Leeds-based software company BJSS. Ossett Brewery said Hunter brings strategic experience at board level after growing BJSS into a global leader in its field with clients including the NHS, government departments, leading FTSE companies as well as platforms for the Paris and Vienna stock exchanges. Employing more than 1,000 people, BJSS has grown organically and operates from offices located across the UK and the US. Jamie Lawson said: “Since my father founded the brewery in 1998 and I founded the pub company in 2003, we have grown beyond all recognition and merged into one group in 2016. Taking on a business partner with Mark’s experience at this time will provide funding and knowledge for the next, really exciting chapter of our growth. Our strategy is to take advantage of our newly developed and modernised brewery in Ossett through increased production while growing our freehold Ossett pub estate. Salt Beer Factory, based in the UNESCO village of Saltaire, will begin canning its own products in 2019 with exciting new IPA and lager products launched in keg and canned format. We also plan to open Craft Asylum sites next year after the success of the first two sites in Leeds city centre.” Licensed property agents Simon Hall, of Fleurets, and James Boshier advised the parties on the transaction.

BookatableMichelin’s reservation service Bookatable has partnered with social network Instagram to allow users to make a reservation directly through a specific Instagram business profile. Bookatable said with more than 200 million people visiting business profiles daily, the move would drive incremental covers and increase opportunities for restaurants on Instagram. Bookatable chief executive Michel Cassius said: “We are delighted to offer this free integration to our tens of thousands of restaurants across Europe. Connecting restaurants and diners to help create great experiences is central to what Bookatable does. In a connected world where diners get their inspiration from many sources, this integration only makes it easier for all to discover and book a table via a few taps within the Instagram app. We are also giving restaurants the chance to turn pictures, posts, shares and tags into diners and monetise this cycle, which is a real plus for the hospitality industry.” Instagram product marketing manager Aishwarya Bhake added: “We look forward to driving even more value for the restaurants on Instagram with this integration. Thanks to this partnership with Bookatable, Instagram users will be able to reserve a table at their favourite restaurants, no matter where they are, while making it even easier for restaurants to connect with current and new customers.” Bookatable’s partners include Google, Apple, TripAdvisor, Timeout and Bing.

Koh Thai founder Andy LennoxKoh Thai founder Andy Lennox (pictured) has launched a new restaurant concept – Zim Braai, in Poole, Dorset. The new brand offers dishes from South Africa, and also the Seychelles, Malawi, Zanzibar, Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Cape Town. Lennox has adapted the recipes, flair and cooking style of the world’s second largest and second most-populous continent to suit the UK. He said: “On my travels I had one of those light bulb moments and realised the UK restaurant sector was missing a great new opportunity, yet diners are eager and highly receptive when it comes to international cuisine. I’ve explored southern African food and I decided I wanted to deliver it as a new proposition. It’s an exciting cuisine – featuring fish, meat, vegetables and lots of flavours – there is something for everyone and it offers a tantalising new foodie frontier for the taste buds. Specialisms differ widely in one country, let alone the southern half of a massive continent. There’s a first time for discovering new food, often it is memorable and goes on to become a firm favourite.”

Luke JohnsonProfits at Bread Holdings, the parent company of Gail’s Artisan Bakery dropped to £142,000 in the year to February 2018, down from £2m the year before, the Mail on Sunday has reported. The newspaper added: “Revenues at Bread Holdings rose from £79m to £86.4m, accounts filed at Companies House reveal. Bread Holdings cited competition in both the retail bakery and wholesale markets for its fall in profits. Risk Capital Partners, Luke Johnson’s (pictured) private equity firm, backed a management buyout of Bread Holdings in 2011 and owns about half of the firm. He had been eyeing a sale of the company, but the process has been put on hold until after Brexit. Earlier this year, it was rumoured Patisserie Holdings – the parent of cake and cafe chain Patisserie Valerie – considered buying Bread Holdings. Gail’s has 47 sites, mainly in London, but it is now expanding further afield. It grew 25% last year, while the Bread Factory grew by 2%.”

The unsecured creditors of London and Leeds bar operator Leelex are unlikely to receive any payments, the administrator has reported. Unsecured creditors are owed £750,407. Secured creditor HSBC is owed circa £1,196m and “is highly unlikely to recover its indebtedness in full”. The company operated Leeds bars Neon Cactus, Jake’s Bar, Cielo Blanco in Trinity Leeds and The Distillery in London. The administrator’s report states: “A slowdown in the casual dining sector resulted in the company finding it increasingly difficult to service its current debt levels, leading to cash flow issues for the company as a whole. Prior to our appointment, a sale of The Distillery was completed by the directors (for £400,000) to Good Harbour Trading and a separate sale of Neon Cactus, Jake’s Bar and Oporto (for £33,282) was completed by the directors to Akito. Both Good Harbour Trading and Akito are connected parties by virtue of common directors. At the date of our appointment, only Cielo Blanco remained as being operated by the company.”

Dishoom in ManchesterIndian restaurant Dishoom has opened a site in Manchester – its seventh UK venue. The company has opened the restaurant within the grade II-listed Manchester Hall in Bridge Street. It has 230 covers spread between two dining rooms and The Permit Room cocktail bar. There is a familiar aesthetic in part to the other Dishoom restaurants, with frequent references to the Irani cafes of Bombay, as well as antique furniture sourced from India such as an original teak in/out board from a Bombay hospital. Dishoom has five sites in London and one in Edinburgh.

EatalyA new 40,000 square foot Eataly set to open in Last Vegas on Thursday, 27 December at the front of the Park MGM will be the first in the world to open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Another first for the site is a wine counter where customers can samples as many as 50 different varieties to help make a decision. Eataly plans to offer a variety of restaurants, serving Neapolitan pizza, pasta, and regional Italian street food at counter-service and full-service outlets. Shoppers can also take cooking classes at the Las Vegas location at a chef’s table that sits in the middle of the store, as well as watch live demonstrations. Shoppers can also witness the team of bakers, mozzarella makers, pizzaioli, and pasta makers make their dishes.

Cabaret bar brand Ma Kelly’s has reopened one of Blackpool’s oldest pubs for its seventh site in the seaside resort. The No 3, which is located at the junction of Devonshire Road and Whitegate Drive, has operated in the past as a carvery under Mitchells and Butlers’ Crown Carvery brand and Spirit Pub Company’s Flaming Grills. Ma Kelly’s has returned the site to more of a traditional pub, creating a sports bar in one half of the venue and a “chilled-out wine bar” in the other. The sports bar offers 20 screens for live events, while the wine bar hosts acoustic sessions, saxophone nights and DJs, alongside snacks, wine and cocktails. The earliest reference to the pub is by author William Hutton in a description of Blackpool published following his visit in 1788. Ma Kelly’s is headed by entrepreneur Paul Kelly. Its other Blackpool venues are Ma Kelly’s North, Ma Kelly’s Showboat, Ma Kelly’s Station, Ma Kelly’s Foxhall, Ma Kelly’s South and Ma Kelly’s Sports Bar.

Restaurateur Jasper Gorst has revealed details for his fourth site in London. Gorst will head south of the Thames to launch The Oak SW11 in Battersea in January after transforming the former Butcher & Grill in Parkgate Road. The Oak SW11 will serve the group’s signature pizzas alongside an Italian and Mediterranean-focused menu. There will also be a wine list featuring bottles from across Europe, with a heavy emphasis on varieties from France and Italy, while a stripped back cocktail menu will be on offer in the bar. The venue will feature a ground-floor dining room, counter bar, lounge and mezzanine-level dining room. The design will incorporate 3D tiles, banquette seating, artwork by prominent local artists and a long table seating 16. Gorst opened The Oak W2 in Notting Hill in 2001 followed by The Bird In Hand in Brook Green in 2011 and The Oak W12 in Goldhawk Road two years later.

Porta founders Joe and Ben WrightNorth west-based brothers Joe and Ben Wright (pictured) have opened a third site for their tapas bar brand Porta, in Salford, their fourth venue in total. The Wrights launched the concept in Chester as a sister site for their Altrincham bistro Joseph Benjamin, opening a second Porta, in Altrincham, in 2016. The 65-cover Salford venue has opened in Chapel Street at a former bank branch offering the same formula of “laid-back tapas and drinks”. The main dining area is on the ground floor, with a bar upstairs. The menu mirrors that of Chester and Altrincham with dishes and bar snacks such as salted Catalan almonds, patatas bravas, and fried Andalucian-style squid with aioli. Behind the bar, the venue offers a range of Spanish wine, cava, beer and sherry. Ben Wright told Propel: “I think we could open more in the future but there’s no rush. We’ve grown organically so far and our immediate focus is on the new site. The idea of Porta is to embrace the true concept of tapas. It’s a versatile, social experience that differs from having a more formal, sit-down meal at a restaurant.”

PepsiCo’s acquisition of Pipers Crisps is being scrutinised by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). PepsiCo announced last month it planned to buy Pipers, which is stocked by a number of sector operators, for an undisclosed sum. However, the CMA has decided to look at the deal to see if there would be a lessening of competition. It stated: “The CMA is considering whether this transaction, if carried into effect, would result in the creation of a relevant merger situation under the merger provisions of the Enterprise Act 2002 and, if so, whether the creation of that situation may result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the UK for goods or services. To assist it with this assessment, the CMA invites comments on the transaction from any interested party by Friday, 21 December.” PepsiCo said it plans to accelerate the growth of the Pipers business in the UK and continue to develop exports, while Pipers would complement its own savoury snacks portfolio.

The Lowther Hotel in Goole, East Yorkshire, which is the UK's oldest hotelThe UK’s oldest hotel has been put up for sale alongside a neighbouring pub by their East Yorkshire operator. The Lowther Hotel and The Drake Inn, both in Goole, are being marketed by agents Christie & Co. The grade II-listed Lowther Hotel was built in 1824, operating as a hotel since its inception. It was named the oldest in the UK in 2016 after the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter burnt down. Comprising three storeys, the main building features 12 en-suite bedrooms, private function rooms and two licensed venues, Eddie’s Bar & Bistro and Voodoo Chilli nightclub. The cobbled courtyard to the rear of the hotel leads to the Coach House, a bar and events space, the Coco Havana Bar, and the JD Grill diner and takeaway. The additional venues are also accessible via a separate street entrance. The Drake, which is in the same street, operates as a pub and sports bar and features ten bedrooms. The Lowther Hotel and The Drake were purchased in 2008 and 2014 respectively by Julie and Howard Duckworth, who run Julie Howard Partnership, restoring and developing properties. Christie & Co is seeking offers for the freehold interest of The Lowther Hotel and The Drake off an asking price of £1,400,000, also with the option to purchase The Lowther Hotel complex without The Drake.

Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has rated Bibendum as its top wine supplier just months after its acquisition by C&C Group. In M&B’s Supplier Performance, Evaluation & Recognition (SPEAR) results for period one – May to July – Bibendum also came second in the overall drinks category. SPEAR measures factors such as delivery and support, account management, training, drinks quality, support, and ease of doing business. Bibendum chief executive Michael Saunders said: “This review is fantastic coming so soon after C&C’s acquisition of Bibendum in April. The speed in which the Bibendum team has got our business running smoothly for the benefit of our customers and suppliers is the result of huge commitment and talent. I couldn’t be more delighted.”

Restaurant Marketer & InnovatorNew speakers have been added to the line-up for the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its second year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 40 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. The new speaker additions are Ailish O’Brien, industry manager for Google, who will be interviewed by Wisetiger managing director Andy Shaw about the latest developments at Google and technological trends relevant to the restaurant industry. Meanwhile, Estonian multi-site restaurateur Martti Siimann, founder of the Baltic’s best restaurant NOA, will join the concept development panel. Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London, cost £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at or calling her on 01444 817691.

Restaurant Marketer & InnovatorDetails have been revealed of the day one line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its second year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 40 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Day one will feature Think Hospitality managing director James Hacon, who will share campaigns and innovations raised from the past year. KAM Media insight director Blake Gladman will present an exclusive report on how customers are making decisions on where to eat or drink out. Kamila Sitwell, founder of Divine Eating Out, will share the key takeout of her new book – Bespoke – the importance of creating a personal experience in hospitality. Richard Dickson, head of partnerships at Carbon Free Dining, will reveal the sector’s impact on the planet and some of the great initiatives being developed to overcome this. Jon Knight, chief executive of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, will share his top tips on how to drive sales at site level from his career managing and franchising major brands. Chris Miller, founder of the White Rabbit Fund, will talk to four concept founders – James Hennebry (Rosslyn Coffee), Yasmine Larizadeh (The Good Life Eatery), Rik Campbell (Kricket) and Loui Blake (Kalifornia Kitchen) – about their entrepreneurial journey. Inception Group head of marketing Simon Allison will reveal the creative marketing and roll-out of its Mr Fogg’s concept, while Lunar Lemon founder Craig Melvin will share tips on how to get past security boots at big corporates to form relationships. Anders Houmann, of Victor Group (Denmark); John Rigos, chief executive of Aurify Brands (the US); Martti Siimann, chief executive of NOA Restaurant Group (Estonia); and Jonathan Sharp, of Hilton (UK), will reveal how to create concepts that customers love. Abokado head of marketing Vineeta Anuj will share results of the company’s rebrand project, while Feya founder Zahra Khan and Hannah Clark, Me:Mo Interactive account director, will discuss creating and launching a restaurant with Instagramability in mind. UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls will host a panel featuring Elliotts managing director Anthony Knight, SSP senior commercial manager Claire Small, Be At One brand manager Giles Denning, and Stacey Plaine, senior F&B marketing manager of Marriott International, to discuss the future for marketing in the sector. Ben Calleja, co-founder of Fast Fine Restaurant Group, will introduce its 1889 Fast Fine Pizza, a Swedish concept developed to be disruptive. A new industry think-tank – Restaurant Of The Future – will define the future of eating and drinking out. The panel will feature Angela Malik, strategy director of Think Hospitality; Russell Danks, Punch marketing and strategy director; Storm Fagan, Just Eat head of product; AllDay Industry (New York) founder David Helbraun; The TMRW Project partner Emma Underwood, and Kamilla Seidler, of The Expedition (Bolivia). Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London, cost £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at or calling her on 01444 817691.

Restaurant Marketer & InnovatorDetails have been revealed of the day two line-up of Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit, which is returning for its second year. The two-day event, a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, will feature more than 40 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Day two will begin with Wagamama UK marketing director Andre Johnstone, YO Sushi! marketing director Luisa Fernandez and Tim Foster, head of being awesome at Yummy Pubs, who will reveal how to effectively lead a market-driven proposition and product development process. Just Eat UK marketing director Ben Carter will share the company’s latest marketing efforts and changes to the takeaway and delivery market in the past year. Martin Morales, chief executive and founder of Ceviche Family, will reveal how skills he learned as a DJ helped him succeed when running restaurants. Celia Pronto, chief customer officer at Casual Dining Group, will explain how the company has embedded Workplace to engage its frontline team in the brand and business, making them part of its growth and success. Zonal chief operating officer Peter Edwards will talk to Novus head of marketing Michelle Farrell, Wadworth retail and digital marketing manager Mark Daniels, and Gusto marketing director James Newman about digital developments and how hospitality businesses can better leverage digital marketing. Wireless Social chief executive Julian Ross and Stephanie Lloyd, head of marketing at The New World Trading Company, will reveal the results of tests that used technology to track customers’ real-life actions in an exclusive report for Restaurant Marketer & Innovator. WE ARE Spectacular chief executive Mark McCulloch will give his much-awaited views on what needs to change within marketing strategies for the year ahead. Elliotts Agency chief executive Ann Elliott will talk to Abokado operations director Kara Alderin; Dorte Juhl Østergaard, director of Claus Meyer Restaurants (Copenhagen); and Arc Inspirations chief executive Martin Wolstencroft about what they look for from a marketing team and how to create a great link between the functions. Sophie Herbert, marketing director of Beds and Bars, will reveal how the company has transformed its concept by focusing on enhancing the customer journey and has driven pre-bookings around match days to increase average spend. The Stable operations director David Gough will talk about how the brand is enhancing guest journeys, driving repeat visitation, and optimising operations through better guest feedback collection and analysis. TGI Friday’s UK chief marketing officer Steve Flanagan will reveal how the company instils a sense of brand and pride in its team of thousands and uses this as its biggest marketing resource. Australian entrepreneur Sarah Holloway, who co-founded Matcha Mylkbar, will reveal how her Melbourne cafe attracted international attention and queues around the block following one Instagram post. Lynne Parker, chief executive and founder of Funny Women, will reveal how to add a touch of humour to your marketing to drive engagement. Tickets for the two-day conference, which will take place on 16 and 17 January at One Moorgate Place, London, cost £575 for operators and £845 for suppliers. Group ticket packages are available when purchasing three tickets or more. Tickets can be purchased by emailing Anne Steele, of Propel, at or calling her on 01444 817691.


BII NITAs 2018

BII NITAs Awards

20th November 2018

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