McCain Baner

Story of the Day:

PCA – Pubs Code will ‘come into its own in second year’, updated figures to be published on Wednesday

Paul NewbyPubs Code Adjudicator (PCA) Paul Newby (pictured) has said he is convinced the Pubs Code will come into its own in its second year of operation as he prepares to publish updated figures on arbitration cases. The new statistics, which will be published on Wednesday (26 July), will include information on the number of enquiries received by the PCA Enquiry Line during the past year and the number of cases referred to the PCA for arbitration. For the first time it will also indicate the proportion of referrals that relate to each of the six pub-owning businesses – Admiral Taverns, Ei Group, Greene King, Marston’s, Punch, and Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. Newby revealed the details as he published his first annual report. At the end of March, there were 130 cases under consideration – 12 of those cases had been ongoing for more than six months while the majority (79) had been considered for between three and six months. There had been 25 awards made in the first nine months of operation, with 11 of those in relation to the Market Rent Only (MRO) option. The total number of cases accepted by the PCA for arbitration in relation to the offer of an MRO option during the period was 104. The report showed the PCA raised a total levy of £1.5m in 2016/17. The pub-owning businesses were required to pay shares of the total levy ranging between 7% (£105,000) and 40% (£594,000) based on the proportion of tied pubs covered by the code owned by each. HM Treasury rules do not permit the PCA to retain surplus levy payments from one financial year to the next – spent levy in 2016/17 amounted to £692,627 – and the PCA will return this in the same proportions in which it was paid to the pub-owning businesses by offsetting the amount against their levy payment for 2017/18. The PCA received a total of £34,150 in fees income during 2016/17. Of this, £27,300 consisted of fees paid by tied pub tenants to refer their case to the PCA for arbitration and £6,850 was recouped from pub-owning businesses. During the period, Newby received total remuneration of between £160,000 and £165,000, consisting of £115,000 to £120,000 in salary and £46,000 in pension benefits. Newby said: “Over the past 12 months interest in the code has been high and I am pleased that tenants have been exercising their rights. I know there are concerns within the tenant community about the way the code has operated and some frustration over the time arbitrations can take to resolve. But the PCA must deal with all cases in an impartial and lawful manner. To do otherwise would simply increase the risk of legal challenge, with the inevitable consequence of greater delay and cost. But as that new law beds in, cases are completed, and key issues determined, I am confident I will be able to report further progress in the coming year. Year two of the code will be another busy year, but I am convinced it will also be when the Pubs Code comes into its own and demonstrates the tangible benefits and real options it gives to tied tenants.”

Trade bodies unite to issue wage warning

Trade bodies have highlighted increasing costs that threaten to undermine further investment in the sector. The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) urged the Low Pay Commission (LPC) to weight factors such as a rise in beer duty, auto-enrolment pensions, and the Apprenticeship Levy carefully when setting future minimum wage rates. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The eating and drinking out sector has been characterised by record job creation since 2010, with employment up 18%. However, that has slowed markedly over the past year to 18 months, partly as a result of economic and currency pressure but largely due to increased regulatory costs, such as business rates, which are in danger of becoming unsustainable in the current trading environment. The 2017 ALMR Christie & Co Benchmarking Report shows a drop in growth from 3.4% to 1.1% across the entire sector. At the same time, wage costs have jumped by 12% and gross wage costs as a proportion of turnover now stand at 28%. The sector is approaching tipping point. Many businesses do not have a cushion against significant increases and the LPC must understand that large increases in wage rates will threaten future employment and investment.” BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The National Living Wage cost the industry about £34m in 2016, with the increase to £7.50 this year adding a further £52m – an average of £1,600 for every pub. We also face significant costs in other areas, such as a 4% rise in beer duty in the Budget, auto-enrolment pensions, business rates and the Apprenticeship Levy. The LPC needs to weight all these factors carefully when setting rates.” BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: “The BHA has urged the commission to be cautious in setting rates for the National Minimum Wage from April 2018. As there is only one compulsory rate for all regions of the UK, particular attention must be paid to those struggling economically. It is important the industry’s growth – especially in employment – is maintained through a responsible settlement.”

Other News:

CAMRAMinisters must act to deliver a change of approach from the Pubs Code Adjudicator following 12 months of confusion and delay, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has argued, exactly one year on from the introduction of the Pubs Code. CAMRA said that while the Pubs Code was introduced to end unfair practices in the sector, progress so far had been disappointing – while requests for key information had been rejected by the Pubs Code Adjudicator. CAMRA has published a three-point plan calling on the Pubs Code Adjudicator to provide guidance on unclear aspects of the Pubs Code such as Market Rent Only lease terms, stocking requirements and dilapidations; publish a breakdown of arbitration cases by pub company and issue; and publish general principles being identified in cases that will help with interpretation of the Pubs Code. In addition, CAMRA is calling on pub-owning companies and tenants to abide by the spirit of the code and avoid unnecessary delays in the resolution of disputes. CAMRA said that while it recognised the legislation and procedures put in place were not perfect, it believed the arbitration process could be improved with greater co-operation between all parties. CAMRA national chairman Colin Valentine said: “A healthy pub sector that delivers for consumers is dependent on ensuring pub tenants are able to secure a fair deal from their landlords. Too many great pubs have been lost because of sky-high rents and inflated wholesale beer prices. The government demonstrated its understanding of the problem by bringing in the Pubs Code. Now it must act to ensure its will is carried through before we see another year go by with many more pubs lost to their communities forever. We welcomed the introduction of the Pubs Code and have always wanted to give Paul Newby (pictured) a chance to succeed in his role as adjudicator. The chaotic circumstances surrounding the introduction of the Pubs Code a year ago meant the code’s introduction was always going to be challenging, but we are disappointed more progress has not been made. The need for an effective Pubs Code has been clearly demonstrated in the first year, with more than 150 tenants bringing forward arbitration cases, but it is evident the arbitration process is taking too long and costing too much. If the office charged with upholding that new law isn’t able to deliver clarity, speed of action and affordable dispute resolution, the Pubs Code is meaningless. It is vital ministers take action now to ensure the Pubs Code Adjudicator provides detailed guidance, acts transparently, and publishes details of the principles being identified in individual cases.” Data obtained by CAMRA via the Freedom of Information Act showed that in the first ten months following the introduction of the Pubs Code, more than 500 enquires were made to the adjudicator, with more than 150 arbitration cases registered. However, CAMRA’s request for other crucial information, such as the number of arbitration cases per pub company and a breakdown of cases by issue, was refused. An appeal against that ruling is being submitted to Newby.

JerkmaicaThe founder of London-based fast-casual Caribbean restaurant concept Jerkmaica has told Propel he is targeting a ten-strong estate in the capital in the next two years. Gary Bailey, who is opening his third site, in Finsbury Park next month, is now looking to east London as he looks to build his portfolio. Bailey launched Jerkmaica in Crouch End in 2004 as a fine dining restaurant but changed the format at the start of this year following customer feedback. He opened a second site, in Chapel Market, in May with Finsbury Park the next to launch. Bailey, who is a second-generation West Indian, wants to open four restaurants a year, building small clusters of sites, and while the focus will remain on London for now, he would like to eventually expand into the regions. He said: “We’ve focused on doing jerk chicken – and doing it well – with sides such as rice or chips along with nice cocktails. Some people might find it slightly one or two-dimensional but I found trying to do fine dining with Caribbean food and lots of options just didn’t work. So following feedback we decided to change the concept this year to a fast-casual format. Now we’ve got that the way we want it, I’m keen to open more sites, focusing on two or three areas of London. I want to head east next – places such as Dalston and Stoke Newington would certainly work. We don’t need big sites – 1,000 square foot maximum – so that helps. I want to get to ten in the next two years and then go from there. I want to create a market just like fish and chips have where people come and eat jerk chicken more frequently.” The new Finsbury Park site in Stroud Green Road is Bailey’s largest to date, with 50 covers. This consists of 20 seats at the bar, seating around the counter and another 20 at tables. Bailey added: “The idea is to eventually establish a concept that is on people’s doorsteps and a familiar face on the high street.”

YO! brings Japanese street food to the heart of WorcesterYO! Sushi has announced new business development director Alison Vickers and property director Kieran Sherlock will leave the company at the end of July. Vickers, who during the past 17 years at YO! has held roles that include head of international, marketing, business development and intellectual property, will continue to support the business as a consultant. Sherlock, who during his 12 years at YO! has helped acquire and develop about 70 new restaurants in both the UK and US, is leaving to pursue other interests in property. Chief executive Robin Rowland said: “Since 2003, YO! has grown into a leading UK casual dining and lifestyle brand. Alison and Kieran have been instrumental in helping to navigate this journey. Their experience and creativity has been indispensable in getting the company to our goal of 100 restaurants by year-end. On a personal note, I’ve loved working with both of them. We’re sad to see them go but both have lots to offer the wider hospitality and business world and are keen to explore new ways to express their phenomenal talents and skills. We wish them well.” Meanwhile, YO! Sushi has opened a restaurant in Worcester at the £20m Cathedral Square redevelopment in High Street. The venue seats almost 100 customers with all plates freshly prepared and served from the brand’s iconic “kaiten” conveyor belt. YO! Sushi, which is backed by Mayfair Private Equity, currently has 76 restaurants in the UK, four in the US and 17 franchised operations in the Middle East and in other international airports around the globe. In the year to 29 November 2015, the company had turnover of £84m with Ebitda of £11m.

The parent company behind Strada plans to convert the estate to its new Coppa Club brand as shareholders’ deficit deepened to £19m. Accounts for Various Eateries filed at Companies House showed the shareholders’ deficit of the group totalled £19,060,000 (2015: £5,051,000). The company saw pre-tax losses jump to £14,761,000 for the year ending 2 October 2016, compared with £5,463,000 the year before. Turnover fell 15.5% to £33,841,000, compared with £40,039,000 the previous year. Ebitda plummeted 309% to minus £4,801,000, compared with £2,297,000 the year before. Since the year-end, Various Eateries has raised additional finance to support new openings, raising £4.4m by issuing new ordinary and preference shares and increasing debt finance under the existing facility of £4.5m. It had 36 restaurants at the end of the period, compared with 41 the year before. The company stated: “During the period the group has continued to operate Strada restaurants and has launched restaurant brand Coppa Club. Coppa Club restaurants are relaxed all-day dining restaurants with bars, offering an Italian-inspired menu with quality dishes at great value for money. During the period the group opened two new restaurants under the Coppa Club brand, disposed of six Strada restaurants, and converted two Strada restaurants to Coppa Club. The new brand is performing well, and the group has invested in the capability of our teams to ensure we can successfully grow this brand. The group plans to convert some or all of its Strada restaurants to Coppa Club over the coming years. The company plans to expand by organic growth by opening new restaurants. The results this year reflect the investment made in both brands including costs of opening four restaurants and improvement in food quality and service in the Strada brand. With the launch of the Coppa Club brand, the group has a new and vibrant brand to drive growth in existing sites and acquire new locations. Most restaurants are based in London and the south east, which is likely to benefit from increased tourist trade in the coming year, and we are well positioned to take advantage of increased visitor numbers.”

Ei Group’s leased and tenanted division Ei Publican Partnerships has reinforced the ongoing importance of pubs to consumers and their value to local communities. The in-depth study has been released ahead of the inaugural National Pub Fortnight, a two-week celebration of the Great British pub from Saturday (22 July) to Sunday, 6 August. The initiative, designed to highlight and encourage consumer interest in British pubs, will see 15,000 free pints given away across the UK. Pubs taking part in National Pub Fortnight will be further supported with point-of sale materials such as banners, window vinyls, entertainment ideas and digital assets. Key findings from Ei Publican Partnerships’ research showed more than half of all pub-goers champion their local pub as the place for food and drink, with one-in-five visiting one to three times a week. The pub’s role as a vital community hub was also highlighted, with 18.2 million rating their local pub as a “great place to socialise and meet people”. In total, 12 million people said their local pub was an important aspect of community life. The study highlighted pubs as the venue of choice to host many memorable life events. Top of the list was birthdays but 10.4 million pub-goers have also started a new relationship in a pub, 4.1 million have broken up with a partner, and 2.6 million have been proposed to. The study also reveals generational differences, with more than one-third (35%) of 16 to 24-year-olds saying they include pubs on their “must-visit” list when on holiday or a short break, compared with one-in-five aged 55 or above. More than one-quarter (28%) knew the name of their landlord/landlady at their local pub, 18% visited their pub to watch sport, almost one-third of pub-goers preferred to stay local when choosing a pub, and one-in-ten would travel up to 20 miles to visit a “celebrated” pub.

Peel Hotels has reported turnover decreased 1.3% to £16,790,320 (2016: £17,011,472) in the year ended 29 January 2027. Ebitda before exceptional expense decreased 12.5% to £2,250,328 (2016: £2,570,818). Operating Profit before exceptional expense was down 18.7% to £1,268,734 (2016: £1,559,614). Profit before tax was £575,387 (2016: £993,607). Chairman Robert Peel said: “It is very difficult to forecast the current year’s outcome as so much depends on staycation and increased tourist activity stimulated by the weak pound. However, our refinancing with Allied Irish Bank and repayment of the directors’ loan and loan notes will provide significant savings in the costs of finance and the subsequent benefits of improved cash flow and lessening net debt.”

JD Wetherspoon is set to replace PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) with Grant Thornton as its auditor following a competitive tender process. PwC has been Wetherspoon’s auditor for nearly 35 years having been appointed in 1983. Wetherspoon stated: “Wetherspoon intends to recommend to shareholders, for approval at the 2017 annual general meeting, the appointment of Grant Thornton as its auditor. A competitive tender process, overseen by the company’s audit committee, has been undertaken and has resulted in a recommendation that has been approved by the board. The board looks forward to working with Grant Thornton in the future. PwC, Wetherspoon’s current auditor, will continue in its role and undertake the audit of Wetherspoon for the year ended 30 July 2017, having been reappointed at the 2016 annual general meeting. PwC has been Wetherspoon’s auditor since 1983 and we thank it for its contribution.”

The Alchemist is opening a site at MediaCityUK in SeptemberThe Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, will open a site at MediaCityUK in Salford at the beginning of September. The company has invested £1.2m in the waterside venue, which is based between The Lowry Theatre and MediaCityUK. The venue will have 96 covers in a 4,900 square foot space, and will create up to 60 jobs. The restaurant will feature bold and modernist features such as an angular blackened steel-and-bronze bar, and gold-clad roof and walls. The bar will wrap around from the interior to the enclosed outdoor terrace, offering sweeping views of the water and surrounding area. Managing director Simon Potts said: “This will be our 11th Alchemist in the UK and a significant one for the brand. This particular building has a unique and visionary design aesthetic as befitting our location, and the team are really looking forward to welcoming everyone who works and lives in this vibrant waterside community.” The Alchemist’s other sites are in UK city centres including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. Palatine Private Equity supported the buyout of The Alchemist from Living Ventures in 2015.

Hippo Inns, the joint venture between Enterprise Inns and Geronimo Inns founder Rupert Clevely, has opened its tenth site, in Twickenham, south west London. The pub has reopened following a £400,000 refurbishment under its original name, The Royal Oak, having formerly been called Stokes & Moncrieff. The 2,927 square foot pub features an open plan bar and dining room with a glass kitchen pass allowing diners to see their food being prepared. There are two rooms upstairs – The Roundhead, with a bar and 40-cover dining space, and 12-cover private dining room The Cavalier, which offers a “press for beer” button. Two 500-litre copper beer tanks stand at the centre of the pub dispensing east London-based brewer Truman’s debut tank beer Raw Lager, alongside regularly rotating craft beer, cask ale, draught lager, cocktails and wine. The menu, developed by Hippo Inns executive chef Stan Perry and The Royal Oak’s new head chef Marty West, features gastro-pub dishes such as ale-battered cod with chips, tartar sauce and peas; and steak with bone marrow, herb crumb and fries. Pizza is also served by the foot on paddles. Furniture includes upcycled benches made from gym equipment, a teak-topped bar, antiques, hand-painted ceramics and second-hand books. Hippo Inns was formed in 2015. Its other sites include The Duke of Sussex in Waterloo and The Black Horse in Kingston.

Only 54% of independent fast food and takeaway outlets in the UK have a “good” hygiene rating, according to a new report. Research by has revealed the hygiene ratings of 742 independent fast food and takeaway outlets within a one-mile radius of 25 town and city centres across the UK. identified pizza, kebab, chicken, Chinese, Indian, and fish and chips as the most popular options for fast food and takeaway. The hygiene rating for each outlet was verified using the Food Standards Agency’s ratings system. The findings revealed eight of the towns and cities reviewed had at least one independent fast food and takeaway outlet with a hygiene rating of zero (where urgent improvement is required) within a one-mile radius of the city centre. Major cities such as Birmingham, Leicester and Manchester had a high proportion of independent outlets with a hygiene rating of one (where major improvement is necessary) within a one-mile radius of their city centre. Leeds, Northampton and Norwich were only marginally better, with most of the outlets achieving a hygiene rating of three (generally satisfactory). Bristol, Lincoln and Plymouth were the locations where outlets truly excelled in high hygiene standards, with the majority attaining the best possible rating of five (very good). chief executive Tomas Zalatoris said: “While the majority of independent fast food and takeaway outlets are excelling at maintaining hygiene at the heart of their business, there are many others that are failing to do so. With consumers trusting these outlets and hoping they will continue to thrive, hygiene should certainly be a high priority. Independent outlets should repay the faith by ensuring all aspects of their establishment are carefully monitored and thoroughly looked after to constantly achieve high standards. Consumers obviously expect the quality of food and condition of the outlets they eat from to be satisfactory at the very least. The fact some outlets are failing to even meet this basic level should push them to work hard to drastically improve their standards.”

Cider subscription service Crafty Nectar, which supplies cider from independent producers to bars and restaurants, has hit its £100,000 target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its trade division little more than 24 hours after launch. The company, founded by Ed Calvert, is offering a 14.29% equity stake in return for the investment. So far, 111 investors have pledged £106,080 and the camapign is now “overfunding” with 28 days remaining. The pitch states: “Crafty Nectar Trade offers UK-wide distribution and products will be delivered directly from the cider-makers. We aim to provide the UK’s largest list of craft ciders to our trade customers at a cheaper price than buying from national distributors, with no minimum order. Crafty Nectar’s revenue is generated from the sale of monthly subscriptions, encouraging new customers to sign up with a welcome offer. On renewal, we aim to make roughly 30% margin on each box sold. Crafty Nectar Trade charges a commission on all sales. By delivering straight from producers we don’t need a warehouse and the stock doesn’t go out of date, which allows for a large product inventory. Therefore, we aim to provide cheaper prices than other wholesalers. We forecast £85,777 total revenue for year-ending November 2017, and £376,984 for year-ending November 2018. With investment, we aim to develop our trade portal, increase marketing spend, and hire additional staff to accelerate growth on the trade side. With the growth of craft cider in the UK and throughout the world, we envisage another international distributor seeking to purchase us to leverage our position in the market.”

Traces of faecal bacteria have been found in drinks at three of the world’s largest fast food companies in the UK. An investigation by BBC consumer show Watchdog found McDonald’s, Burger King and KFC all served ice contaminated by faecal matter in drinks. Investigators visited ten random outlets operated by each of the companies and tested for traces of “faecal coliform”, a bacterium that carries a number of diseases. Coliforms were found in three samples of McDonald’s drinks, six in Burger King’s and in seven taken at KFC sites. Four of the samples taken at Burger King and five at KFC were described as having “significant” levels. A KFC spokesman said: “We are shocked and extremely disappointed by these results. We have strict procedures for the management and handling of ice, including daily and weekly inspections and cleaning of the ice machine and storage holds, as well as the routine testing of ice quality across our business.” Burger King stated: “Cleanliness and hygiene are a top priority for the Burger King brand. The strict procedures we have in place are designed to ensure all guests have a positive experience each time they visit our restaurants.” A McDonald’s spokesman said: “We have robust procedures in place with regard to the production, storage and handling of ice in our UK restaurants. Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and people, and we will continue to review our procedures and training, working closely with our restaurant teams to ensure those procedures are adhered to at all times.”

East London-based cocktail bar operator Alistair Maddox is to open a casual dining concept at Hackney Walk. Maddox, who owns Every Cloud in Hackney, is launching Silver Lining at the development in Morning Lane. Silver Lining will have seating options including at the bar, window benches and a communal dining table for group bookings. A seasonal menu of rotating small plates will be complemented by a focused drink offering of classic and natural wines, beers and pre-batched or draft aperitifs by Every Cloud. Evening dining will be the focus but Silver Lining will expand to offer brunch at the weekends and coffee in the mornings. Maddox said: “Having grown up in Hackney, it is amazing to have the opportunity to open a bar and restaurant we are really proud of. We are sure it is going to add positively to the growing food and drink offer at Hackney Walk.” Silver Lining adds to the food and drinks offer at Hackney Walk by joining Magnus Reid’s restaurant Legs and brunch spot Farley Macallan.

Intu is to add a new dining quarter over two levels at its Milton Keynes shopping centre after its redevelopment plans were given the go-ahead by the government. The scheme, which also includes a new five-screen boutique cinema, was called-in in late 2015 but communities secretary Sajid Javid has approved the plans. The redevelopment will add a further 100,000 square feet to the 430,000 square foot shopping centre. Intu’s plans encompass the space in and around Oak Court and Midsummer Boulevard, which will be remodelled. Outside, new landscaped areas and public space will also be added, with The Boulevard used for community events and entertainment. Intu development director Martin Breeden said: “This will allow us to move forward with our plans to provide an outstanding city centre public space for Milton Keynes. The scheme will build on the success of the existing centre, which already attracts 16 million visitors a year. Our plans will make sure it punches its weight in terms of attracting the best brands and maximising its potential for people to spend their free time.” The proposed work at Intu Milton Keynes is part of the company’s £1.5bn development pipeline in the UK over the next ten years.

The Langham Hotel in Regent Street has launched a London tavern next door that features a menu by celebrity chef Michel Roux Jnr. The Wigmore features a daily changing menu focusing on British cuisine, with dishes such as Balvenie whisky-smoked salmon with honey-pickled onions, and paprika-glazed shortrib with bone marrow and thyme crumb. Bar snacks include masala-spiced scotch egg and a stovetop cheese toastie presented with a cast-iron bacon press to ensure cheese remains molten. The former banking hall has been transformed, enhancing original features such as listed panelling. Two separate, bookable semi-private areas have also been incorporated into the space. The drinks menu, created by the team behind The Langham’s Artesian Bar, features the venue’s own beer, Saison, made in partnership with Bermondsey-based craft brewer Brew by Numbers, alongside punch, “hoptails”, and classic cocktails. A spokesman said: “The Wigmore is set to become a new social institution, with a touch of London polish and a place where everyone is welcome.”

The Fox & Hounds in Whittlebury, which has been bought by Silverstone Real AleIndependent craft brewer Silverstone Real Ale has bought its first pub. The company has acquired the Fox & Hounds in Whittlebury, on the border of Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire, through agent Christie & Co. The recently refurbished pub and restaurant, close to Silverstone Circuit, sold for above the asking price following several offers from a range of buyers during a short marketing period. It features a bar and dining area with a beer garden and large car park. It was sold with accommodation that has the potential to be developed into letting rooms. Christie & Co business agent Josh Sullivan said: “We are excited to see what Silverstone Real Ale can bring to the local community ahead of its plans for expansion.”

Milestone 100th Subway store opens in Northern IrelandSubway has opened its 100th store in Northern Ireland. Franchisees Muhammad Aamir and Akhlaq Akhtar have opened the site, which is their third in total, in Upper Lisburn Road, Belfast, with seating for 20 customers. Aamir and Akhtar’s other stores are both in Belfast – in Woodstock Road and the Kings Square Shopping Centre – while they have been Subway franchisees since October 2007. Akhtar said: “It is great to see the Subway brand expanding like this in Northern Ireland and to be part of that momentum. We are so excited to open our third Subway store and knowing it’s the 100th store in Northern Ireland is the icing on the cake!” Subway has undergone significant growth in Northern Ireland since the first store opened in Botanic Avenue, Belfast, about 19 years ago and has created more than 1,500 jobs during that time. The team responsible for its growth in Northern Ireland are development agents Neil Black, Paul Heyes and Adam Heyes. Black said: “We’re thrilled to be opening a milestone 100th store in the region. The future for the Subway brand is certainly exciting and we all look forward to working with our franchisees to help them realise their potential and continue to grow the brand across Northern Ireland.” Lisney acted for Subway on the Upper Lisburn Road site. Subway has more than 44,000 stores in more than 110 countries. Earlier this month, the company revealed it would open 500 more stores in the UK and Ireland by 2020, taking it to 3,000 sites. The move will create 5,000 jobs and take total staff numbers in the region to 24,000.

Adam Breeden, founder of Social Entertainment Ventures, formerly BounceBounce Ping Pong, the parent company of Bounce, has rebranded as Social Entertainment Ventures as part of its global expansion plans. The company, which made its name combining table tennis with a bar and restaurant concept, plans to open 20 venues by 2020, with a key focus on new territories including North America, Hong Kong, China and the Middle East. The company said the rebrand was the cornerstone of an ambitious growth plan with three new concepts and seven new venues to be launched by the end of 2018. Bounce was founded in 2011 and currently has two locations in London and one in Chicago. Founder Adam Breeden (pictured), who also co-founded All Star Lanes and Flight Club, believes the time is “perfect to grow into new territories and new concepts”. He said: “Being at the forefront of the social entertainment industry for many years means we can now encompass a greater range of concepts in different territories. Now is the time to leverage our extensive experience to bring to market more concepts within this fast-growing category as well as embark on a more ambitious roll-out plan.”

Moor Beer owner Justin HawkeBristol-based craft brewer Moor Beer has reported a 74% rise in turnover in its latest financial results, while production has increased 54% from the same period a year ago. Moor Beer, celebrating its tenth anniversary, exports its beers to 20 countries as well as distributing them across the UK. To support further growth, the brewer is looking for additional premises in both Bristol and London, where it hopes to “expand the team in all areas of the business”. The company said it had already invested heavily in new equipment to enhance production of its “modern real ale” brews. Moor Beer owner Justin Hawke (pictured), recently elected vice-chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers, said: “Over the past decade we set many of the trends by having the vision and quality to kick-start what was a flagging British beer market. We continue to remain desirable to a growing audience by staying true to our values and being fiercely independent. In these days of ‘crafty’ buyouts by the big brewers and the crowdfunding of questionable propositions, both of which compromise the integrity and choices a brewer can make, we are one of the few that is truly independent. All shares are owned by my wife and I, who both work full-time for the brewery and believe passionately in its future. The progress we’ve made in the past ten years is testament to an ever-vibrant beer scene, and we are looking forward to what the next six months, year and even ten years brings for us.”

Deltic Group has launched a pilot project to make sure artists are paid fair royaltiesThe Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs with 58 venues across the UK, is taking part in a pilot project that ensures artists receive their fair share of royalties for the music they create. Led by music industry licensing bodies PPL and PRS for Music, the pilot has been designed to evaluate the use of Music Recognition Technology (MRT) in identifying music publicly performed by DJs in clubs, bars, pubs and hotels licensed by PPL and PRS. It is hoped the pilot will result in the accurate identification of music performance information, which when collected from a wide variety of licensed premises can be incorporated into a “best practice” policy for distributing royalties to PPL and PRS members. Six Deltic venues – PRYZM Watford and PRYZM Leeds, Institute in Aberdeen, Stevenage’s Bar & Beyond, Stoke’s Fiction and Exeter’s Unit 1 – will be fitted with a small, discreet MRT device in the DJ booth. The device will monitor music played and send information to a secure database to be matched, analysed and reported back to PPL and PRS. The pilot, which launched in late 2016 in London nightclubs Ministry of Sound and Fabric, has been rolled out in venues across the UK and will run throughout 2017 with potential to be extended further. Deltic Group chief executive Peter Marks said: “Music is the very heartbeat of our business and it’s in our interest to see that talented artists are rewarded for their creations. With online streaming and other digital technology, it’s increasingly difficult for songwriters and musicians to make a living from their creations, so anything we can do to help and attract and support the latest local talent has to be a good thing.” Karen Buse, PRS for Music executive director, membership and international, added: “We look forward to working with the clubs to gain insight into how technology could help ensure the right people are paid for the music that keeps clubbers coming in.”

Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has acquired its first Welsh site. The company is opening a venue in central Cardiff after acquiring the freehold of Y Mochyn Du pub in Sofia Gardens. The deal not only marks Brewhouse & Kitchen’s Wales debut but it is also a return home for Cardiff-born chief executive Gumbrell. Brewhouse and Kitchen’s new site is next door to Glamorgan’s cricket stadium and the Sport Wales National Centre. Gumbrell said: “I am over the moon to have been able to buy this amazing business, especially as a born and bred Cardiff boy. We have been looking in Cardiff for a number of years and high-quality freeholds are difficult to find in this great city. As a Welshman, I am looking forward to bringing what we do to this vibrant and unique market. As well as brewing more unique beers, we will be looking to work with some of the great craft brewers in the South Wales area. Apart from its location, one of the other very special features of this business is it is a bilingual pub. Brewhouse & Kitchen is committed to maintaining this important cultural link – our signage, printed media and website will all be bilingual.” Brewhouse & Kitchen currently operates 18 sites in the UK.

The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, is encouraging its teams to donate more than 300 hours a month to support local communities by taking time off from work to volunteer – while still getting paid. The “Currency of Kindness” initiative will involve The Alchemist’s partner charities across the UK, supporting causes ranging from youth projects to helping the homeless. The company said the initiative would be all about “sharing skills, experience and, most importantly, giving something more precious than gold – time”. Managing director Simon Potts added: “We’re investing in our neighbourhoods. We are giving our teams the freedom to donate their time to support the local community by paying them to take time off work to volunteer for partner charities in all our locations. We already have seven local charity partnerships we’re committed to, and this will inevitably grow as the company does.” Founded in 2009, The Alchemist currently has ten sites in UK city centres including London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds and Newcastle. Palatine Private Equity supported the buyout of The Alchemist from Living Ventures in 2015.

Cider subscription service Crafty Nectar, which supplies ciders from independent producers to bars and restaurants, has launched a £100,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its trade division. The company, founded by Ed Calvert, is offering a 14.29% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Crafty Nectar Trade offers UK-wide distribution and products will be delivered directly from the cider-makers. We will aim to provide the UK’s largest list of craft ciders to our trade customers at a cheaper price than buying from national distributors, with no minimum orders. Crafty Nectar’s revenue is generated from the sale of monthly subscriptions, encouraging new customers to sign up with a welcome offer. On renewal, we aim to make roughly 30% margin on each box sold. Crafty Nectar Trade charges a commission on all sales. By delivering straight from producers we don’t need a warehouse and the stock doesn’t go out of date, which allows for a large product inventory. Therefore, we aim to provide cheaper prices than other wholesalers. We forecast £85,777 total revenue for year-ending November 2017, and £376,984 for year-ending November 2018. With investment, we aim to develop our trade portal, increase marketing spend, and hire additional staff to accelerate growth on the trade side. With the growth of craft cider in the UK and throughout the world, we envisage another international distributor seeking to purchase us to leverage our position in the market.”

North west-based multiple operator Blind Tiger Inns has reopened The Cross Keys in Barnoldswick, Lancashire, following a £245,000 investment, its 12th site with Star Pubs & Bars and 13th in total. An 80-cover, all-weather garden has been added, alongside new seating and a real fire. One of the lounges has been converted into a games room, with a pool table, dartboards and large screens showing live sports. Blind Tiger Inns is looking to further expand its estate in the north west to 20 sites. It said its acquisition requirements were for leased pubs in high street and estate locations “suitable for trading as quality community locals offering value, entertainment and sports”. Blind Tiger Inns managing director Chris Tulloch said: “Leasing pubs, either on full repairing and insuring or shorter-term agreements, works for us and, with a good pub company partner, provides valuable support with training, marketing and business development. The community market is sometimes overlooked by leased operators but in our experience this sector has real potential to deliver strong returns and profits. The key is to give people what they want from their local – an attractive and stylish comfortable environment, quality across the board, and a great place to socialise and have fun.” Star Pubs & Bars operations director David Pritchard added: “Blind Tiger Inns has a real understanding of its target customers and what they want. It is proof the Great British local continues to thrive when it adapts in line with changing demands.”

A joint letter has been sent to MPs by trade bodies in the UK food and drinks supply chain outlining ten key priorities for Brexit negotiations they say would help protect Britain’s foodservice and farming sectors. The 26 signatories, including Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Kate Nicholls and British Hospitality Association chief executive Ufi Ibrahim, claim abrupt change would have “enormous consequences for our industry, its employees and for the choice and availability of food in this country”. The trade bodies are requesting ten key outcomes from negotiations, including securing an adequate transitional period to help the sector prepare for a new relationship with the EU, negotiating the right to remain for EU staff and their families, agreeing special solutions on workforce, regulation and borders with Ireland, and delivering continued zero-tariff and frictionless trade across borders in both directions. The letter also requests that the government works with the industry to develop home-grown talent, supports an industrial strategy sector deal to harness growth potential and improve productivity, and boosts exports to help smaller food and drinks companies take advantage of new opportunities. The letter states: “Between us we employ four million people throughout the ‘farm to fork’ food chain and we do so in every constituency across the UK. The products, services and brands we export around the globe showcase our reputation for quality and provenance. The opportunities for our industry are huge but uncertainty around the shape of our exit from the EU, the future of our domestic farming and fisheries production, and a looming skills and workforce shortage threaten the viability of our businesses. Abrupt change would have enormous consequences for our industry, its employees and for the choice and availability of food in this country.”

The Stable, the 17-strong pizza, pie and cider brand that is 76% owned by Fuller’s, has signed a multi-year agreement with Feed It Back, the EPOS-linked guest feedback service, to provide dish-specific insight as well as support operational improvement. Feed It Back is the only guest feedback system that integrates in real time with Zonal’s Aztec EPOS system, among others, enabling feedback questions to be personalised to the guest’s visit. The result is a brief, engaging feedback experience for guests. The Stable operations director David Gough said: “Our previous approach to the collection of guest feedback has worked well but we were keen to find a solution that allowed us to access detailed insight for each dish and drink on our menu. Feed It Back has an integrated case management system for managing positive and negative feedback, which will enable us to see common causes of complaints, communicate with staff and guests, and take recovery actions. We also feel Feed It Back fits our culture and ethos, as we are both challenging convention and bringing something fresh and exciting to our customers. Feed It Back has been proven to increase staff motivation and provide high volumes of detailed insight. It also provides the best user experience for guests and staff alike, making it easy to use and adopt.” Feed It Back chief executive Carlo Platia added: “The Stable is challenging industry preconceptions by sourcing ingredients locally for each venue, serving British-inspired pizzas and leading the British craft cider movement. We are looking forward to helping The Stable win the hearts of customers in many other communities as it expands.”

Pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars will hold its annual charity event Live Your Life at the end of the month, with the event falling across a weekend for the first time. The event, in partnership with charity The Team Margot Foundation, will take place from Friday, 28 July to Sunday, 30 July. Beds and Bars venues across Europe, including Belushi’s and St Christopher’s Inns, will host events such as beer pong, full-moon parties and live music during the Live Your Life Weekend. A major aspect of the campaign this year will be a competition for the best photograph shared on the day from one of the events. To submit a photo, people should email them to or post them on Instagram using the hashtag #LiveYourLife17. First prize will be an all-inclusive trip to Amsterdam/Barcelona, with all photos displayed at an exhibition later this year. Beds and Bars chief executive Keith Knowles said: “The prime aim of the Live Your Life campaign is to drive more sign-ups of potential marrow/stem cell donors in a fun, engaging way. The Team Margot Foundation aims to increase the number of potential bone marrow donors in the UK by encouraging 2.2 million people to sign up by this time next year. They need 900,000 more to achieve this, so let’s help make this happen.” For more details, click here or email 

Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has said its commercial performance has been boosted by the introduction of Rotaready rota management software across its estate. The software, used at the company’s brewery as well as all its UK bars, gives BrewDog access to instant online reporting tools for making commercial, people and service quality decisions. Rotaready presents forecasted-against-actual sales and wage figures, allows staff to clock in and out, produces timesheets for payroll, automates holiday accrual and time-off requests, and keeps staff informed of upcoming shifts. BrewDog retail operations director James Brown said: “We are already reaping benefits on staff engagement and service quality improvements, all of which drives our commercial performance.” Meanwhile, BrewDog has secured a site in Oxford. The company will open a bar in Cowley Road that will have a “multitude of beer taps and a full food menu”. BrewDog is advertising for staff, including a general manager, for the site on its LinkedIn page. Oxford was on the company’s hit list of regional cities it targeted in March, when it also increased its bar finder’s fee to a minimum of £5,000, with the fee rising to £10,000 if the site is large enough to house a brewpub.

Propel’s fourth annual Operators and Investors Dinner is to be held on Monday, 11 September at the Banking Hall in the City of London and is open for bookings. The event is a chance for expanding operators of multi-site foodservice companies to mix with attendees from the banking, private equity and investment community to expand their network of contacts. Tickets are £120 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing or calling 01444 817691.  

BII NITAs 2017The British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) has partnered with Propel and CPL Training Group for the industry’s premier awards night for training achievement in the pub and restaurant sector. Entries are now open for the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs), with the ceremony taking place on Tuesday, 21 November at Café de Paris in central London. The NITAs recognise those companies and individuals that really care about their employees, helping them to achieve improvements in training and standards. The categories are as follows: best training programme (leased and tenanted companies under 200 outlets), best training programme (leased and tenanted companies more than 200 outlets), best managed training programme (companies under 50 outlets), best managed training programme (companies more than 50 outlets), trainer of the year, best apprenticeship training programme, and best casual dining training programme. To enter, candidates should visit and select NITAs, register their details, and pick their category or categories. Candidates can enter more than one category. The deadline for entries is Friday, 1 September. Each category will have a judging panel consisting of industry experts to decide who has shown the best knowledge, understanding and enthusiasm for their respective category. Finalists will be announced before the end of September and will need to be available on Thursday, 19 October to attend the NITAs finals judging day. In addition, The Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement will be chosen by a panel led by Keith Knowles, chief executive and founder of Beds and Bars. This award will identify and recognise an individual who leads by example and demonstrates that training and people are at the core of what they do. This is an industry recognition award rather than a category open for entries and is in memory of the late Franca Knowles, Keith Knowles’ wife, who herself was a multiple winner of NITAs awards and was passionate about people and training. BII chief executive Mike Clist said: “We’re very excited to launch the 2017 competition. The NITAs are a key platform that not only help us highlight how vital the training and development of staff is to our industry, but crucially demonstrate that hospitality can offer individuals a rewarding and varied career – it’s so much more than just a job.” CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies added: “It’s a pleasure to be working alongside the BII and Propel to launch this year’s NITAs. Hospitality has always been a trailblazer of learning and development – an industry that equips employees with the skills they need to progress and realise their career potential. The NITAs is the ultimate benchmark for training ingenuity in the industry – rewarding individuals and businesses who deliver outstanding mentorship and development for their people.”

The fourth annual haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index benchmarking survey for multi-site pub, restaurant and foodservice operators in association with Propel has launched. The foremost financial benchmarking study for pubs, restaurants and bars – covering trading, staffing, capital and funding, and property – the survey report will deliver quality financial data and benchmarking intelligence to help hospitality businesses understand their sector better and improve operations. If you would like to complete the survey and receive the final report, please click here. The survey closes on Wednesday, 26 July. Information provided will be reproduced anonymously within this year’s haysmacintyre UK Hospitality Index report, which will be published in September. Data and comments will not be attributed to respondents.

Propel has partnered with WE ARE Spectacular founder and group chief executive Mark McCulloch to launch the Social Media for Profit masterclass. This social media “boot camp” will give attendees the knowledge to go toe-to-toe with their marketing department, team and social media agency while helping them add value to their social media strategy. The half-day event takes place on Thursday, 14 September at One Moorgate Place in London and will give delegates insights into how to build their sales and brand using social media. McCulloch will explain how the social media game has changed as well as providing an in-depth introduction to the different channels, their purpose and the new social media landscape. The event will also include sessions on each of the main social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and how they should be used to drive sales as well as target potential customers with the right message. The boot camp will also include a session on how to tackle a social media disaster, from tiny blips to a national crisis. Tickets are £345 + VAT for operators, £445 + VAT for suppliers and £295 + VAT for Propel Premium subscribers. To book a place, email or call 01444 817691.

Subscribers to Propel Premium are receiving a new benefit – 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

Star Pubs & Bars

Job of the Week

Social Media For Profits

Social Media For Profits 2017

Friday, 14 September 2017
1 Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA

Mark McCulloch welcomes you to a social media boot camp that will give you the knowledge to go toe-to-toe with your marketing department, team and social media agency helping you add value to your social media strategy.

To find out more CLICK HERE

Chris Muller

Multi-Site Management Masterclass

Thursday, 29 September 2017
1 Moorgate Place, London EC2R 6EA

The Leader of Managers – Masterclass
Leading in a Multi-Unit, Multi-Site & Multi-Concept World. A full day conference led by Christopher C. Muller, Ph.D.

To find out more CLICK HERE

Propel Multi Club July 2017

Propel Multi Club Conference & Summer Party

6th July 2017

To view the pictures CLICK HERE


Upgrade Propel Premium and receive:

 The Morning Briefing 12 hours earlier

• Discount on tickets to Masterclass events

• Propel database of 900 multi-site companies

• Digital version of our Propel Quarterly early

• Audio recordings of leading sector executives

• Turnover & Profits Bluebook

To find out more CLICK HERE

Propel Quarterly Summer 2017


The must read sector business analysis and intelligence magazine

To read our latest magazine CLICK HERE