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Thu 23rd Nov 2017 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Boxpark submits plans for Wembley venture: Boxpark has submitted plans for its 50,000 square foot venture in Wembley, which will include 27 independent food and beverage operators, 20,000 square feet of dedicated events space, and a 300-capacity venue scheduled to open in late 2018. The plans have been jointly submitted with Quintain, the 85-acre Wembley Park site’s owners and developers, after the parties signed a ten-year joint-venture agreement. The venue on Olympic Way would be larger than Boxpark’s Shoreditch and Croydon sites, with 27 tenant units arranged around a covered events space designed to cater to visitors to Wembley Stadium and The SSE Arena as well as offering a local venue for the 4,000 students and 2,000 people who already live at Wembley Park. Unit sizes would range from 500 to 1,800 square feet, with the dedicated events space hosting events for up to 2,000 people. Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “Boxpark Wembley is the next step in Boxpark design evolution. Our hope is to work closely with the major venues in the area to create an innovative fan experience. But, first and foremost, we want to create a fantastic eat, drink and play experience for the local community.” Earlier this month, Wade told Propel Boxpark Wembley would be the best fanzone Britain had seen. He said: “We’re really trying to incorporate some of the major events at Wembley, which is going to have an estimated 20 million visitors over the next five years, a lot more new homes and residents, more footfall, a lot more jobs, a lot more spend, and a lot more development.”

Industry News:

Nominations open for awards aimed at recognising young marketing talent in the sector: Restaurant Marketer & Innovator, the new event in January run by Propel and Think Hospitality, is calling for nominations for its inaugural “30 Under 30” list, which looks to recognise 30 talented future leaders in marketing, innovation and strategy roles within the sector who are under 30 years of age. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “We are looking for nominations for outstanding young marketing and innovation professionals working within the eating and drinking out sector, whether working for a brand or an agency. Our panel of experts will then draw up a 30-strong list of outstanding your professionals who will be recognised at a special reception in January.” Nominations should highlight (in one page) the name, position and title of the individual; why they believe the individual deserves recognition; how the individual has demonstrated success in their career to date; and relevant achievements and/or career history. Nominations can be made by emailing

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator open for bookings: Restaurant Marketer & Innovator, the most comprehensive marketing conference the sector has seen, is open for bookings. Propel is staging the two-day event in partnership with Think Hospitality on Wednesday, 17 January and Thursday, 18 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The event will bring together marketers, strategists and business leaders from the foodservice sector to understand trends, share success, and define the future of the sector. A total of 40 speakers from four countries, representing more than 30 brands, will provide advice and insight. For full details, click here. Prices for the two days are £525 plus VAT for operators and £795 plus VAT for suppliers. A one-day rate of £345 plus VAT is available to operators only. For more information and to book, contact Jo Charity on 01444 810304 or or Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or

BII reveals 2017 NITAs winners: The British Institute of Innkeepers (BII) has revealed the winners of the National Innovation in Training Awards (NITAs). The NITAs, held in partnership with CPL Training Group and organised by Propel, celebrate the best in training excellence and innovation within the licensed industry. First run in 1991, the NITAs were relaunched last year, with two categories added for 2017. The winners were unveiled at an awards ceremony at Café de Paris in London’s West End. The winners were Best Apprenticeship Programme: St Austell Brewery; Best Managed Training Programme (companies under 50 outlets): 16 Hospitality; Best Managed Training Programme (companies over 50 outlets): Bill’s; Best Casual Dining Training Programme: Oakman Inns and Restaurants; Best Training Programme (leased and tenanted companies under 200 outlets): St Austell Brewery; Best Training Programme (leased and tenanted companies over 200 outlets): Punch; Professional Trainer of the Year: Simon Haslam; and Licensee Trainer of the Year: Mark Holden. Two special awards were also presented at the ceremony. The Franca Knowles Lifetime Achievement Award was chosen by a panel led by Beds and Bars chief executive and founder Keith Knowles. The award recognises an individual working in the on-licensed retail sector who leads by example and demonstrates training and people are at the core of what they do. The award went to David Bruce, co-founder of Firkin Pubs, The Capital Pub Company and The City Pub companies and currently chairman of West Berkshire Brewery. The Innovation Award was decided by a panel led by BII chief executive Mike Clist. It celebrates an individual or company that shows the strongest innovative thinking and delivery and was awarded to Dan Davies and CPL Training Group. Clist said: “The NITAs are a celebration of the most successful individuals and businesses in the licensed retail market today. Our finalists have shown they value, support and champion their people by continuing to invest in and develop their training programmes. It’s vital we recognise, reward and share their successes so we can encourage further innovation in our fantastic industry for years to come. Last year’s winners set an incredibly high standard but we were delighted the 2017 finalists continued to raise the bar, bringing a wealth of new techniques and creativity to their training. The use of new technology and the holistic approach to the way they design their training programmes has benefited their businesses from the ground up and directly impacted on financial performances, growth and staff retention. We congratulate them all.”

ALMR backs support for the sector in Budget statement: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has welcomed support outlined in the Budget statement on alcohol duty and business rates and urged the government to follow it up with continued reform of business rates to help support the UK’s eating and drinking out sector. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “At a time of rising costs, a freeze in beer duty and continuation of support for pubs on business rates is very welcome. The ALMR has been pushing for a duty freeze across all alcohol types and this positive action will help tackle rising costs, saving the sector about £116m as well as underpinning consumer confidence. An extension of the pub-specific rates relief will save the sector almost £20m, and bringing forward the move from Retail Price Index to Consumer Price Index to calculate bills, something the ALMR has pushed for, will save close to £100m over four years. The promise of more frequent revaluations is also welcome and something the ALMR has lobbied for, although we are concerned that, in practice, there may be some administrative burdens that will need to be addressed. It is also good to see the government accepting the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission on the rate of the National Living Wage, de-politicising the decision. Although this may present a modest financial burden for employers it will also put money in the pockets of our customers. This shows the government has listened to the concerns of the sector, the concerns of ALMR members, and acted to support vital hospitality businesses at a time of economic and political instability. The ALMR has worked hard to communicate the pressures eating and drinking out businesses face and it is good to see the chancellor acknowledging these challenges and listening to what businesses have to say. The next step is for the government to push ahead with its promised package of root-and-branch reform for business rates and the ALMR is looking forward to working closely with the government to deliver change.” Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame told Propel: “Having had an increase in alcohol duty earlier in the year, I think it’s the best we could have hoped for. There is some good stuff on business rates but it doesn’t take away the fact the system is outdated and not fit for purpose. We risk our capital in our attempt to make our businesses successful and then get penalised for doing so. I think the government is kicking the can down the road but the argument will not go away. Businesses such as Shepherd Neame must be encouraged to further invest in new pubs and hotels, especially in this time of uncertainty as we navigate our way through Brexit.”

European hotel industry shows 5.8% revpar growth in October: The European hotel industry saw strong revpar growth in October with increases also recorded in average daily rate and occupancy levels. STR data showed the continent’s revpar rate for the month rose 5.8% to €85.68, while occupancy levels increased 1.7% to 76.0% and the average daily rate rose 4.0% to €112.75. STR’s data focused on three countries – the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Turkey. Occupancy levels in the Czech Republic were the highest for any October on record, increasing 3.6% to 84.3%. The market was driven by Prague, which set an October occupancy record of 89.9%. The city hosted the World Sleep Congress from 7 to 11 October, with occupancy above 90% on 9 and 10 October. Revpar in the country rose 7.8% to CZK1,968.95, while the average daily rate increased 4.1% to CZK2,334.36. In the Netherlands, revpar was up 7.6% to €97.80, with Amsterdam (€134.17), Utrecht (€85.81) and The Hague (€83.26) recording the highest levels. Overall occupancy levels in the Netherlands increased 1.6% to 78.5%, with STR analysts noting the country has shown consistent occupancy growth throughout 2017. The average daily rate rose 5.9% to €124.60. In Turkey, there were large rises in the three key performance metrics as the country continues to recover from an attempted coup in 2016. Turkey saw a fourth consecutive month of double-digit occupancy growth, with an increase of 22.9% to 64.2%, compared with 52.2% in October 2016. Meanwhile, revpar rose 42.5% to TRY174.55 and average daily rate increased 15.9% to TRY272.08.

Industry welcomes chancellor’s promise to review VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland: Industry figures have welcomed chancellor Philip Hammond’s promise to review VAT on tourism in Northern Ireland. Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said: “We welcome the chancellor’s decision to press ahead with a review into cutting tourism VAT in Northern Ireland. This is the first time tourism VAT has featured in a Budget and is a reflection of the hard work by the BHA and the Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT. We hope the government will recognise the benefits of a cut to tourism VAT and we will continue to urge a nationwide reduction.” Dermot King, chairman of Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT and managing director of Butlins, said: “The Campaign to Cut Tourism VAT has been calling for such a review and we look forward to working with the treasury as its report is produced. This is a clear victory for our campaign. However, across the UK the rate of tourism VAT is one of the highest in Europe and we have long argued that cutting it would be good for jobs, the economy, the treasury, and families wanting to holiday at home. We urge the government to be positive and cut this unfair tax across the country.”

Leftover coffee being used to power London buses: London’s red buses are now being powered by leftover coffee to help slash emissions. The biofuel, created from waste coffee grounds, is being mixed with diesel to run the capital’s buses. Tech firm Bio-bean has teamed up with Shell and UK coffee companies, including Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee and Caffe Nero, to produce 6,000 litres of the green fuel that is created from used beans. It is estimated the UK produces 500,000 tonnes of coffee waste every year. Bosses claim it would take 2.55 million cups of coffee to create enough biofuel to run a London bus for a year, while about 55 million cups are drunk in the UK every day. The project will collect waste from thousands of coffee shops across the UK. Oil is extracted from the used grounds and blended with diesel at the company’s factory in Cambridgeshire. The finished product is then 20% coffee.

Company News:

Krispy Kreme UK chief executive to step down: Krispy Kreme UK chief executive Mike Dowell is to step down after four-and-a half years in the post. Dowell will be succeeded by Richard Cheshire, who is the company’s managing director. Dowell joined Krispy Kreme in June 2013 and presided over revenue and profit growth leading up to a proposed initial public offering before the company was bought by the franchisor, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, in October last year. Prior to joining Krispy Kreme, Dowell ran the Pitcher & Piano brand for a number of years at Marston’s and was managing director of Costa Coffee. In its latest accounts, Krispy Kreme reported sales in the UK rose to £66,689,000 in the 11 months to 1 January 2017, up 8% on 12 months ago. Adjusted Ebitda was £14,620,000 (21.9% of sales), compared with £13,688,000 (22.2% of sales) the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £10,292,000, compared with £11,759,000 the year before.

Cubitt House reports turnover dip as roadworks hamper Motcomb Street site: Four-strong London gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include the Grazing Goat and Thomas Cubitt, has reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December 2016. Pre-tax profit was £476,252, compared with a loss of £1,642,678 the year before when the company had exceptional administrative costs of £2,089,117. The most recent year saw the exceptional administrative expense drop to £122,413. Of its Alfred Tennyson site in Motcomb Street, the company stated: “During the second half of 2016, the venue saw constant disruption as part of planned roadworks that had a significant negative impact on year-on-year sales. During the first half of 2017 roadworks will disrupt the business but, after completion of those works, the venue will regain the business.” Almost two years ago, in December 2015, Cubitt House shareholders secured investment from private investors who acquired a majority stake in the business and provided funding to facilitate expansion. The company will open its fifth site in London next month, The Coach Makers Arms, which will be set over three floors of a building in in Marylebone Lane and feature a ground-floor bar, first-floor restaurant and an underground cocktail bar.

Clive Preston steps down as chairman at Amber Taverns: Clive Preston, long-serving chairman of Amber Taverns, has stepped down. A spokesman told Propel: “At the tender age of 81, Clive is going to take a well-deserved retirement. He will be replaced by Michael George, who was a founder investor of Nectar 15 years ago and who has been a supportive investor, director and follower of Amber since its inception in 2005, apart from the years between 2010 and 2014 when LGV controlled the company.”

Public Urban Bars takes on fourth Star site for CookHouse brand as it eyes further roll-out: North-west based operator Public Urban Bars has taken on its fourth Star Pubs & Bars site and seventh venue in total. The £840,000 refurbishment, Star Pubs & Bars’ biggest investment, will see the English Rose in Liverpool reopen after an 18-month closure. The site will be transformed to Public Urban Bars’ CookHouse Pub & Carvery brand, building on its site in Prestatyn that opened in May 2015, with the company keen to roll the concept out further. The Liverpool site is scheduled to reopen in March, creating 45 jobs. The rear garden will be landscaped, creating areas for alfresco eating and drinking, an enclosed children’s play area and seating for more than 100 customers. A kitchen will be installed as well as an ice cream parlour, a carvery with rotisserie, and a coffee bar. Public Urban Bars managing director Colin Stuart said: “We’re not driven by gross profit. Our aim is to keep prices reasonable without reducing quality and to exceed customer expectations in everything we provide. We believe it’s a gap in the market in the family sector.” Public Urban Bars said it remained committed to leasing properties. Stuart added: “Freehold sites are not an option. The outlay required for prime sites is too great and we refuse to compromise on quality. Partnering with Star works well for us. Its commitment to bold investment allows us to unlock the maximum potential from previously underperforming sites.” Star Pubs & Bars operations director David Pritchard added: “The English Rose is a huge site and our investment is significant. Public Urban Bars is an ideal partner on a project of this scale – a top-quality professional operator that has its finger on the pulse in terms of what will work and with financial forecasting second to none.”

Camm & Hooper opens sixth site: Imbiba Partnership-backed events and hospitality group Camm & Hooper has opened its sixth venue. Grace Hall has opened in Leadenhall Street in the City of London following the £2m refurbishment of a former Grace and Co bank branch. The new venue comprises four events spaces accommodating 200 people theatre-style, 170 seated and up to 600 standing. Camm & Hooper’s City portfolio includes Banking Hall in Cornhill and Victorian Bath House in Bishopsgate, with Grace Hall offering clients the ability to host a daytime event at one venue and the afterparty at another. Camm & Hooper managing director Claire Lawson said: “This stunning venue neatly fits our portfolio and gives our clients the flexibility of a third iconic Camm & Hooper space in the heart of the City.” Camm & Hooper also operates London venues Tanner and Co, Tanner Warehouse and Six Storeys in Soho.

UK Desserts to open Kaspa’s franchise in Braintree next month, plans 20 further openings: UK Desserts, led by Mark Adams and Deepak Patel, is to open a Kaspa’s franchise next month in Braintree, Essex. The dessert parlour will open in High Street in the second week of December following a five-week, £250,000 conversion of a site that formerly housed Bailey’s Bar. The 111-cover restaurant will offer Kaspa’s usual mix of gelato, waffles, crepes, milkshakes, smoothies, coffees and sundaes – all made from Italian ingredients. The opening will create 24 jobs. Adams told the Braintree and Witham Times: “The Braintree area is the right demographic for a Kaspa’s. The town centre needs a few more restaurants and it can only be a good thing for the town. It will bring a nice destination point to this part of town and hopefully bring people to the high street. We have learnt a lot from this and we will take that into future projects.” Adams said UK Desserts plans to open between ten and 20 Kaspa’s venues in Hertfordshire and Essex. There are currently 46 Kaspa’s sites in the UK, with a further 21 listed as “coming soon” on its website.

Antipodea to open third site next month, in Richmond: Melbourne-inspired all-day restaurant Antipodea will open its third site, in Richmond, south west London, next month. Founded by the team behind independently owned cafe group Brew, the new 2,452 square foot, 50-cover Antipodea will open in Hill Street with interiors inspired by modern Australian design and Richmond’s landscape. The space will be divided into three distinct areas – a dining space with Bali-style bench seating, a central bar area, and a third dining area with a central feature fireplace. The all-day restaurant will offer an informal atmosphere during the day, transforming into a brasserie-style offering in the evening with an a la carte menu drawing inspiration from around the world. A robata grill will serve dishes such as grilled half lobster and 45-day aged Aberdeen Angus steak, while a wood-fired oven will deliver a selection of seasonally changing pizzas. The wine list will focus on new world wine imported directly from Australia and New Zealand. There will also be a selection of craft beer and cocktails. Antipodea currently has sites in Kew and Putney. 

Turtle Bay lodges plans for Southend restaurant: Caribbean restaurant Turtle Bay has lodged plans to open a site in Southend, Essex. The company has applied to Southend Council to convert a former post office in High Street. It plans to invest £1m to transform the building, which has been empty since March when the Post Office moved its counter into WH Smith, reports the Southend Echo. Turtle Bay, which is backed by Piper Private Equity, was formed by Las Iguanas co-founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema and opened its first site in Milton Keynes in 2010. It now operates more than 40 restaurants across the UK and will add to its portfolio in Essex when it opens a site in Colchester next month.

Novus moves third Tank & Paddle opening to early 2018: London bar and restaurant operator Novus is to open a third site for its Tank & Paddle concept early next year. The company originally planned to open the West End venue in the autumn but has now moved the date. Novus launched the concept, which focuses on hand-stretched pizza and craft tank beer, in Mincing Lane in late 2016, opening a second site in the City, in Bishopsgate, in August. Sales at the Mincing Lane site rose more than 30% in its first year, selling 43,460 pizzas and 71,145 pints of Meantime brewery fresh beer, leading Novus to build an extension to accommodate a further 150 people. Novus chief executive Toby Smith said: “We have successfully spread our love of craft beer and everything it stands for.” Novus Leisure was founded in 1999 and operates 43 venues, including ten Balls Brothers sites. It employs more than 2,500 staff.

Damson co-owner chosen to develop new food and drinks hub in Stockport: Damson Restaurant Group co-owner Steve Pilling has been chosen as the preferred tenant for Stockport’s Victorian Produce Hall and 28/29 Market Place, paving the way for the development of a new food and drinks hub. Stockport Council said Pilling’s submissions were built on a “strong financial foundation and wealth of proven success”, giving the authority confidence the plans would be “transformational, successful and financially sustainable for the future”. The Produce Hall has a net internal floor area of 3,300 square feet on the ground floor and 900 square feet on a mezzanine level, while 28-29 Market Place offers 1,400 square feet. The council will work with the three businesses currently in the Produce Hall, including cafe concept Pure, to find alternative premises. Kate Butler, council cabinet member for economy and regeneration, told Insider Media: “We are serious about unlocking the potential of the whole area to see it thrive. Offering long-term leases on the Produce Hall and 28-29 Market Place is central to our ambitions. We look forward to working with Steve Pilling.” Redevelopment of the Produce Hall has long been touted as Stockport’s opportunity to replicate the success of Altrincham’s award-winning Market House food hub, which has played a key role in the regeneration of its town centre. The team behind Market House recently launched a second food hub, Mackie Mayor in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

BrewDog reveals latest Ohio details: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has revealed how its plans are progressing to build a hotel and two bars in Columbus, Ohio. Two weeks ago the company broke ground on the world’s first craft beer hotel and sour beer facility, DogHouse Columbus, with more than 400 people attending the ceremony. The hotel will open by late August 2018, with rooms offering Punk IPA on tap, a minibar curated by BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, and a restaurant offering craft beer and food pairings. BrewDog said construction crews were also working on two bar sites in downtown Columbus. The first bar – BrewDog Short North – is set to open in North High Street in March 2018. The following month will see a second bar, BrewDog Franklinton, open in West Town Street featuring a rooftop beer garden. Regarding work on the company’s brewhouse in Canal Winchester, the company said its brewing kit had been installed while dozens of Speyside whisky casks had been delivered so BrewDog could start work on some “truly epic small-batch and barrel-aged brews”.

McDonald’s to demolish museum commemorating first restaurant: McDonald’s has announced it will demolish a suburban Chicago museum that is a replica of the company’s first restaurant. Ray Kroc built his first restaurant in 1955 in Des Plaines after franchising the brand from the original owners, Richard and Maurice McDonald. The store was demolished in 1984, with the McDonald’s Store No 1 Museum opening the following year featuring the original restaurant’s sign in front. McDonald’s told the New York Post tourist numbers had declined due to repeated flooding of the site since 2008. It said the museum would be demolished next month, with the land donated to Des Plaines.

Bristol-based Middle Eastern and Caribbean restaurant Biblos opens third site in city: Bristol-based Middle Eastern and Caribbean restaurant Biblos has opened its third site in the city. The company, which operates restaurants in Bristol suburbs Stokes Croft and St Werburghs, has launched a more central site at a kiosk opposite the entrance to the Cabot Circus shopping centre. The venue offers salad boxes and wraps filled with jerk chicken, halloumi, falafel, homemade sauces and salad. Biblos co-founder William Clarke told the Bristol Post: “We are smack bang in the middle of an area where a lot of changes will take place in the next five or so years, so it’s very different and exciting for us. We don’t usually go to the main ‘high street-type’ places but we thought it would be perfect.” The company, owned by Clarke and Ariel Czackers, also launched Caribbean concept Calypso Kitchen at the Wapping Wharf development in Bristol in April.

Alma team opens rock ‘n’ roll pub in Stoke Newington: The team behind award-winning north London pub The Alma have launched a rock ‘n’ roll pub in Stoke Newington. Be-Bop-A-Lula is a 1950s-themed pub that has opened in Green Lanes offering American-style diner food and decor featuring guitars and other rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia. The menu features burgers such as the Chick Berry, little bites such as Jailhouse Bait, and rock ‘n’ roast dinners including roast rib eye cut of beef. The menu also offers stone-baked pizza, the Famous Elvis Sandwich, and desserts such as American Pie. The drinks list features US and UK craft beer including offerings from Islington-based Hammerton Brewery, Hot Dinners reports.

Jamie Oliver-trained chef heads kitchen at new Italian tapas restaurant in Wirral: Terry Williams, who trained under Jamie Oliver, is heading the kitchen of a new Italian tapas restaurant that has opened in Wirral. La Luce Del Sole offers pizza and small plates alongside an extensive cocktail menu. It also features a private function room available for hire. The owners originally opened the venue in Bebington in April as a bar but Williams has transformed the place to bring the “best of Napoli, Venice and Messina to the north west”. La Luce Del Sole is a sister restaurant to Sunlight, which is located nearby. Williams told the Liverpool Echo: “Everything is sourced from Italian suppliers and we believe we have what it takes to bring Venice, Napoli and Messina to Wirral.”

Heeton Holdings submits plans for 101-bedroom boutique hotel in Manchester at former Dry Bar site: Hospitality and property developer Heeton Holdings has submitted plans for a 101-bedroom Luma boutique hotel in Manchester. The Singapore-based company has applied to the city council to convert an Oldham Street building that housed Factory Records’ Dry Bar having acquired the site in September off a guide price of £4m. Dry Bar, which occupied the basement and ground floor of the property, was opened by Factory Records in 1989, sparking regeneration of the Northern Quarter. The three upper floors are also vacant. A new bar is expected to take the place of Dry Bar while 101 bedrooms would be built across the upper floors, including the creation of a fifth floor and the introduction of a three-storey rooftop extension, reports Insider Media. The planning statement said: “The proposal will result in the overall regeneration of the site and the occupation of the upper floors, which is the key public benefit.” Heeton launched its first Luma boutique hotel in London.

LWC investing £3m to move Northampton depot to larger site: Licensed drinks company LWC is to invest £3m to move its Northampton depot to larger premises. The company is leaving its 13,500 square foot warehouse on the Weedon Road Industrial Estate in January for Imperial House in Spencer Bridge Road. The new 60,000 square foot site will have warehouse space of 38,000 square feet and a purpose-built cold store to hold up to 800 casks at one time – four times as many as its current one. There will also be new facilities to host in-house and external training.

Russ Ward crowned TGI Friday’s UK Bartender Champion for fifth year running: Russ Ward has been crowned champion for the fifth year running after winning the 2017 TGI Friday’s UK Bartender Championship grand final. He will now represent the UK and challenge the world’s best bartenders in TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championships, which will take place in the US early next year. In total, 8,000 bartenders from 60 countries entered the competition. Ward has finished as high as second in the World Championships and will shortly head to the US where TGI Friday’s has arranged a training camp ahead of the world final. For the first time, Ward will learn the lay of the land in an American Friday’s and practise his cocktail-making skills using the US menu.

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