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Tue 3rd Dec 2019 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Big Mamma Group eyes Canary Wharf for food market concept: Big Mamma Group, operator of restaurants Gloria and Circolo Popolare, has lined up an opening in Canary Wharf for a food market concept, Propel understands. The French group is close to taking a site in the new Wood Wharf district that is likely to be based on the group’s La Felicità venue in Paris, which Vogue described as the “biggest restaurant in Europe”. Covering 4,500 square metres, La Felicità is more like a food market than a restaurant and features a trattoria, bakery, seafood bar, Neapolitan-style cafe, barbecue and wood-burning oven. It also houses DJ sets, live concerts, art exhibitions, street art, festivals and film screenings. Speaking at this year’s Global Restaurant Investment Forum in London, Big Mamma Group director of development Jack de Wet said: “We set out with the theory of multiplicity – creating restaurants that aren’t single format but do have a single offer – Italian. We have restaurants ranging from 40 covers to a 1,000-cover food market, which we run exclusively. Within our group we have nine different concepts and see opportunities away from a formula that don’t necessarily have brand guidelines or principles. It makes it infinitely more complicated for us – but we seem to enjoy the pain.” Earlier this year Big Mamma, which was founded by Victor Lugger and Tigrane Seydoux in 2013, submitted plans to open a restaurant in Covent Garden that would take over Mabel’s cocktail bar in Maiden Lane and men’s clothing store The Real McCoy’s in Henrietta Street. Meanwhile, coffee and cocktail brand Grind has signed up to open a site at Wood Wharf in 2021.

Industry News:

Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2020 open for bookings: Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit is returning for its third year, with tickets now on sale. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality and aims to build a community, promote idea sharing, recognise talent, and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference, which is the centrepiece of the January event series and takes place on 21 and 22 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The event will focus on marcomms strategies, proposition and concept development, market insights, technology and digital developments, building strong links between marketing and operations, embedding a brand throughout a hospitality business, and future trends. It is designed for marketing, development and innovation teams as well as senior executives and investors who want to better understand the latest marketing, innovation and development opportunities to build market share and grow. The event will feature more than 60 speakers with a unique blend of senior marketers, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Speakers will include Maya Orr, senior marketing consultant at Lidl, who will talk to Think Hospitality chief executive James Hacon about why entering consumer awards can be a win for your business and reveal Lidl’s success with this strategy. Hilary Ansell, marketing director at Carluccio’s, will talk about the brand’s Fresca transformation from a daytime trading format to one that also succeeds in the evening. Rachael Whittle, PR manager at Dishoom, will talk about creating a strong brand with purpose that delivers its promise. Daniel Bennett, consulting director at Ogilvy Consulting’s behavioural science practice, will share the science behind making your food more craveable in your promotions based on his work with some of the world’s largest brands. Alan Adojaan, chief executive of Robolab, will discuss the rise of robotics in the restaurant industry and the opportunities this creates and moral questions it raises. Meanwhile, Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton will lead a panel featuring Pho marketing director Libby Andrews, Feed It Back operational excellence manager Lisa Campbell, and Bill’s marketing director Lesley McIlroy to discuss the way technology and digital is being leveraged to drive brand growth. For the full agenda, click here. Tickets for operators for the two days are £575 plus VAT and £345 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £795 plus VAT for the two days and £445 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased from Propel by calling Anne Steele on 01444 817691 or emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Propel Premium members to receive ten days of exclusive videos from Multi Club Conference: Propel Premium subscribers will receive a daily video for ten days starting on Wednesday (4 December) featuring sector operators speaking at the final Multi Club Conference of 2019. The videos feature a spectrum of company leaders sharing insights into their strategies and plans, while industry experts look at some of the key trends that are shaping the sector. Videos will include Christie & Co head of valuation Stephen Owens; Andrew Ball, of sector accountancy specialist haysmacintyre; Alison Vickers, owner of Auriac Associates and former business development director for YO!, who is working with Dum Dum Donuts, Island Poke, Barburrito and Black Sheep Coffee; Bibendum chief executive Michael Saunders; Ali Aneizi, founder of Tamweel; Lorraine Copes, head of procurement at Corbin & King; Ed Devenport, co-founder of Incipio Group; Loui Blake, managing director of the UK’s largest vegan restaurant Erpingham House and co-founder of Kalifornia Kitchen; Wagamama and Hakkasan founder Alan Yau; and Andy Lewis-Pratt, who launched Xscape and is now chief executive of Market Halls. Videos will send out each day at 5pm and 2pm on a Friday. Meanwhile, Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular columns from Propel insights editor Mark Wingett. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has grown to 1,500 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Allergen research highlights significant industry challenge ahead of new legislation: More than two thirds (68%) of UK hospitality employees admit they require more information about allergies and almost a quarter (23%) are not confident about advising customers with serious allergies, according to new research. The research, commissioned by hospitality software provider Fourth, was drawn from 500 out-of-home food workers and comes ahead of the implementation of Natasha’s Law, which will make it mandatory to list all ingredients on pre-packaged produce from 2021. The importance of the allergen challenge was further reinforced by the results from CGA’s Business Confidence Survey, with 64% of respondents confirming addressing allergen procedures, protocols and staff training was either a major focus, or the biggest single challenge, for their business. Asked about their employee training frequency on allergens, 19% conducted it daily; 18% weekly; 37% monthly; and 14% bi-annually. Conclusively, 78% of respondents viewed technology as important or fundamental to tackling allergens. Other findings from the food workers survey revealed one in six employees claim not to receive regular training or updates about potential allergy issues; while more than half (58%) said they worry when customers ask if food contains certain ingredients. Probed about their knowledge on allergens, only 40% said they could name the top 14 allergens listed by the Food Standards Agency. The study also polled 1,000 consumers on their thoughts towards allergens. The insight revealed 89% believe operators need to be more aware of allergies. The research also found 73% of people were not asked if they had allergies on their last trip to a restaurant. Furthermore, 36% of people claim ingredients and items not listed on the menu appeared on their plate. While Natasha’s Law is due to come into force in 2021, for packaged foods, there is currently no equivalent legislation for food dishes served direct from a kitchen in hospitality venues, such as hotels, pubs and restaurants. Fourth chief executive Ben Hood, said: “Collectively, these pieces of research show the urgent and pressing nature of the allergens challenge. While there is some evidence of pockets of progress, and some excellent working practices, as an industry we must collaborate to identify the best approach.” 

Sector like-for-likes up 6% in November: Sector like-for-likes rose 6% in November compared with the previous year, according to S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. According to analysis of more than 1,500 restaurants, pubs, bars, hotels and cafes that use S4labour software, there was positive like-for-like growth for food and drink sales alike, with the split relatively equal – food sales grew 5.5% and drinks sales 6.2%. As in previous months there was a geographic skew towards London, with like-for-likes up 7.5% in the capital compared with a 5.6% increase outside. Drinks-focused business saw the greater sales growth in November across the country, with a 6.8% rise in like-for-like sales, while food-led businesses, which have typically had the better like-for-like figures throughout 2019, were up 4.9%.

Delivery platforms boost restaurant profits in London by £189m, according to UberEats survey: Food delivery platforms are helping London’s restaurants boost the sector’s revenue and profit, according to a Deloitte report commissioned by UberEats. Food delivery has grown rapidly across Europe, initially driven by companies such as Just Eat that offered market places for restaurants with their own delivery services. UberEats, Deliveroo and Spain’s Glovo expanded the market by supplying their own delivery services. The share of restaurants that reported an overall increase in sales after joining UberEats was 69% in London, 74% in Paris, 67% in Warsaw and 59% in Madrid, according to the report. The biggest number of extra meals delivered as a result of third-party platforms was seen in London, where 606,000 servings were made by chain restaurants and 305,000 through independents a week, resulting in a £323m increase in annual revenue and £189m of extra profit a year, according to the report. UberEats European head Stephane Ficaja told Reuters the company commissioned the survey to gauge the impact it was having on the 60,000 restaurants that had joined its platform in 250 European cities in the past three years. UberEats, like its parent Uber, is loss-making. Its revenue increased 64% to $645m in the third quarter but its loss on the adjusted earnings level widened 67% to $316m. Ficaja said: “We are still in front of a big business opportunity. We still have a lot of markets where delivery isn’t mature and where we need to invest.”

Yapster partners with Perkbox: Mobile messaging app Yapster has partnered with employee benefits platform Perkbox to make its rewards and benefits system accessible to shared customers. Perkbox can now be hosted on Yapster’s dedicated applications tab. Eligible employees will be able to access their Perkbox accounts within Yapster via a single sign-in. From there they can review and use all their Perkbox services. Joel Tobias, global partnerships director at Perkbox, said: “The state of employee engagement for non-desk employees is disappointing, to put it mildly, with weak internal communication strategies having a major role to play. We’re excited to be working with Yapster, a company designed to help solve this challenge, as we continue on our mission to help employees live better, in life and at work.” Rob Liddiard, co-founder and chief executive of Yapster, added: “Today’s workplace increasingly means access to great additional benefits. We couldn’t be more proud to be partnering with Perkbox and to be able to offer its ‘Yapplication’ to thousands of front-line staff.”

Company News:

BK UK Group acquires eight-strong Burger King business to take company-owned portfolio to 100: BK UK Group, the master franchisee for Burger King in the UK, has purchased an eight-strong business in Oxford and Bristol from the Silver family. In addition to the Silvers’ seven-strong Burger King estate, an eighth restaurant opened this week at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol. The acquisition has increased the Burger King UK company-owned portfolio to 100 restaurants out of a total UK estate of 515 sites. Burger King UK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch told Propel the company had been in double-digit sales growth since April, helped by the launch earlier this year of its first UK Whopper campaign in more than a decade and delivery sales through Deliveroo and Just Eat. Murdoch added: “We are delighted to acquire an excellent portfolio of Burger King restaurants together with a fantastic operating team. I want to thank Andrew Silver for his support along with the enormous contribution he has made to Burger King in the UK over the past 30 years. The restaurants have been run in an exemplary way and we welcome the restaurant teams as they become part of a growing BK UK Group”. BK UK was formed after a joint-venture deal was agreed between Restaurant Brands International and Bridgepoint Capital in November 2017. On its creation, BK UK Group acquired Caspian UK Group, one of the UK’s largest Burger King franchisees with 74 restaurants. During the past two years it has also opened circa 20 company-owned sites.

Former ETM operations director and ex-Ivy head chef start expansion of Brucan Pubs venture, plan third site towards end of 2020: Former ETM operations director James Lyon-Shaw and ex-Ivy head chef Jamie Dobbin have started expansion of their Brucan Pubs venture by acquiring a second site – with a third planned towards the end of 2020, Propel has learned. Brucan Pubs, which opened its debut site, The Greene Oak, in Windsor in September 2018, has acquired the lease of The Mayford Arms in the village of Mayford, near Woking in Surrey. Both sites are with brewer and retailer Greene King. The Mayford Arms will reopen in late January as The Drumming Snipe, offering “robust British cooking in a traditional country pub setting”. The Drumming Snipe’s menu will feature “hyper-seasonal specials” including British game, meat and fish. Meat will be butchered, prepared and aged on-site, while fish will come from Brixham day boats. Dishes will include St Mary’s Bay plaice with samphire and shrimps, and a butcher’s plate that will include kid goat, cockerel, Iron Age bacon, beef short rib, lamb, ox liver and kidney, and trencher. The site will undergo a refurbishment to create new kitchens, terraces, dining areas, open fires and a 24-cover private dining space. Lyon-Shaw told Propel the company was in talks about a couple of possible sites and was looking to open a third pub in September or October next year. He said: “Our initial focus will be on The Drumming Snipe but we’re looking at various opportunities – with Greene King and other companies – for another site. We’re looking at leasehold and freehold options. Again, it will be in Berkshire or north Surrey, where we're capturing people who commute into London and bringing the quality and service they expect when eating and drinking out in the capital to their doorstep.” Lyon-Shaw spent ten years at ETM Group, helping to launch pubs such as The Botanist, The Jugged Hare and Ealing Park Tavern. Dobbin has also worked for Hush and Soho House and at The Connaught, The Berkeley and The Savoy before joining The Ivy Collection. Most recently he was executive chef at The Groucho Club.

Green’s Steakhouse & Grill assesses options: Green’s Steakhouse & Grill, which operates three sites in London, Berkshire and Essex, is assessing its options, Propel understands. It is thought the company is looking to merge or be bought out with founder Brad Green being retained and is believed to have approached a handful of companies about the opportunity. When contacted by Propel, Green said he was targeting specific companies but didn’t wish to comment further. According to Companies House, accounts for Burgermeister, which trades as Green’s Steakhouse & Grill, are overdue, while last month the company was served a first Gazette notice for compulsory strike-off. According to its website, Green – the son of the late Mick Green, guitarist of the 1960s rock ‘n’ roll group Johnny Kidd and the Pirates – dropped out of school when he was 15 and began working in kitchens. By 2009 he was working for Il Bottaccio in Mayfair. In 2012 he decided to sell his home to buy a tiny, derelict pub in north London that became home to the first Green’s Steakhouse the following year. As well as the restaurant in Southgate, the company operates sites in Loughton in Essex and Bracknell in Berkshire.

Five Guys UK to relaunch breakfast trial: US better burger brand Five Guys is to launch a breakfast offer in the UK four years after its first attempt. The company will launch the trial when it opens its 100th site in the UK on Monday, 9 December at the former Coppa Club in St Paul’s. The trial will also take place at Five Guys in New Street, Birmingham, the brand’s debut UK site in Covent Garden, and in Cabots Circus, Bristol. The breakfast menu will be served until 10.30am and feature egg sandwiches, egg and cheese sandwiches, egg and bacon sandwiches, and egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches for £3.95, £4.95, £5.45 and £5.95 respectively. Little egg sandwiches will be available for £3.45, with little versions of the egg and cheese, and egg and bacon sarnies priced at £4.45 and £4.95 respectively. Little egg, bacon and cheese sandwiches will cost £5.45. Drink options will include Smart Water, Innocent orange juice, tea and coffee. Five Guys, which was founded in Virginia in 1986, made its UK debut in Covent Garden in 2013 as a joint venture with Sir Charles Dunstone, British founder of Carphone Warehouse. It has already secured sites in Bath, Swindon and Baker Street, London, for its 2020 pipeline.

Inn Collection Group closes in on two more Lake District sites following Cumbria debut: The Inn Collection Group has made its Lake District debut and is finalising terms on a further two sites that would take its estate in the area to four. The opening of The Ambleside Inn, a 30-bedroom pub with rooms in Ambleside, follows a multimillion-pound renovation of the 300-year-old Lakeland building. The nine-month redevelopment includes a redesign of the 150-capacity dining room and bar. The Inn Collection Group managing director Sean Donkin said: “It has long been a vision for the company to operate in the Lakes. The opening of The Ambleside Inn in one of the best addresses in the Lake District marks the end of a long chapter searching for the right unit in a winning location to add to our estate. The Ambleside Inn has been well worth that wait.” The group’s second Lake District acquisition, The Coniston Inn in Coniston, is set to open in spring 2020 following a major redevelopment, with details yet to be revealed of the further two sites currently being discussed. The Alchemy-backed group’s portfolio includes ten pubs with rooms in Northumberland, County Durham and Yorkshire. Last month it was granted permission for a 40-bedroom new-build pub on Sunderland seafront. The Inn Collection Group strategy is to develop a wholly freehold estate that will see the group more than double its ten-strong portfolio of pubs with rooms by 2022.

Farmer J set for London Bridge launch: All-day market concept Farmer J is set to open a site at London Bridge station. Propel understands the Imbiba-backed company has won a tender to take the last unit in the arches under the station to become a neighbour to Pizza Pilgrims and Honest Burgers. Earlier this year the Jonathan Recanati-led business opened a fourth site, near Liverpool Street station, while it is thought to be in talks regarding another central London opening in 2020. At the end of the summer Imbiba, the specialist investor in the UK leisure and hospitality sector, invested a further £2.5m into Farmer J. The new funds followed the £1.9m Imbiba invested in the business at the start of the year. Imbiba’s latest investment was joined by a further £250,000 cash injection from other existing shareholders to support Farmer J’s expansion across the UK. It’s thought since the initial investment the company, which offers build-your-own grab-and-go “field trays”, has continued to thrive. In the past year Farmer J reported double-digit like-for-like sales growth at its two sites in the City of London and also opened a site in Canary Wharf. Recanati founded Farmer J in 2016. Propel understands the company’s Monument site provided shelter to members of the public during the terrorist attack on London Bridge on Friday (29 November).

Dishoom confirms Birmingham site: Indian restaurant Dishoom has confirmed it will open a restaurant in Birmingham next year. The site will open in the spring at One Chamberlain Square, part of Paradise Birmingham, creating more than 100 jobs. The restaurant will pay homage to the Irani cafes that were once part of Bombay but will feature its own distinct story that will explore the parallels between Bombay and Birmingham. Executive chef Naved Nasir’s menu of Bombay comfort food will be served all day alongside a new chef’s special created especially for Dishoom Birmingham. The restaurant will also have a Permit Room bar, serving Dishoom’s cocktails, teetotal tipples, chai and coolers. Dishoom operates five London restaurants and one each in Edinburgh and Manchester.

Twisted London launches delivery-only pizza brand: Twisted London, the virtual restaurant brand from social media group Jungle Creations, has launched delivery-only pizza brand Twisted Slice. Twisted, renowned for its recipe videos on social media, has launched a menu that includes a limited edition Christmas pizza – Santa’s Little Dunker. The pizza is topped with pigs in blankets, pork stuffing balls, chargrilled sprouts, cranberry sauce and a Yorkshire pudding in the middle. The pizza comes with a pot of turkey gravy. The rest of the menu includes Spicy Pig ‘N’ Mix (chorizo, nduja and roasted peppers), Tikka All The Boxes (turmeric-infused dough, chicken tikka, jalapeños and red onions), and I Lost My Tempeh (tempeh, gorgonzola and fried panko). There are also “dip and crunch” pizzas paired with sauce and crispy onion pots, while sides include buffalo wings and a cheese and Marmite pizza bread called Love ‘N’ Hate. The brand is available through UberEats within a three-mile radius of Twisted Slice’s Bethnal Green kitchen. Twisted London also offers an eponymous delivery-only burger brand from 42 sites in the UK. Last month the company launched a studio at Market Hall West End that allows people to see how its cooking shows are created as well as offering a 50-cover private dining space suitable for events, supper clubs and workshops. 

Vagabond set for Shoreditch: Imbiba-backed wine bar business Vagabond has lined up a site in Shoreditch, east London, for an opening next year, Propel has learned. The Stephen Finch-led business is understood to have secured a site at the marketing pavilion in Principal Place, Worship Street, with an opening scheduled for spring next year. As previously revealed by Propel, the company is currently on site at the former Santander Bank in Monument for an opening in January. The group opened its seventh site in the capital last month – in Cabot Square, Canary Wharf. It is also understood to be in talks on a site in Bankside. Founded by Finch in 2010 as a relaxed bar with informal wine tasting, Vagabond is looking to expand quickly during the next 18 months. In August 2018 the company secured £3.5m of growth capital investment from Imbiba. Subsequently, Karen Forrester, the outgoing chief executive of TGI Friday’s, became chairman. Nick Garston, of Bruce Gillingham Pollard, is understood to have acted on the Principal Place deal.

Taco Bell to open 40th UK site, in Sutton this month: Mexican restaurant brand Taco Bell is to open its 40th UK site – in Sutton, Surrey, this month. The company will launch the 40-seater outlet in High Street on Thursday, 12 December. To mark the launch, Taco Bell will offer an exclusive gift-wrapping service between midday and 2pm on the opening date. Customers will be able to have their Christmas gifts wrapped in limited-edition paper inspired by the individual layers of the brand’s Crunchwrap Supreme. Taco Bell UK marketing lead Lucy Dee said: “We are pleased to open a Taco Bell in Sutton – it’s a place we’ve had our eye on for a while. Sutton has a high footfall of those looking for entertainment and a bite to eat, providing us with the perfect spot to expand our portfolio in the area.” There are more than 425 Taco Bell restaurants across 27 markets outside the US, with the goal to expand the brand’s international presence to 9,000 restaurants by 2022.

Cooplands appoints chief executive: South Yorkshire-based bakery chain Cooplands, which is backed by the BGF, has appointed Belinda Youngs as chief executive as it continues to drive growth by opening sites. Youngs has previously held positions at Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Sobeys, the second-largest food retailer in Canada. Cooplands has also appointed David Salkeld as non-executive chairman. He has held high-profile roles across the food industry at businesses including Upfield – formerly Unilever Spreads – the Ainsley Harriott Food Company and Wensleydale Dairy Products. Founded in 1885, Cooplands has been led by fourth-generation managing director Paul Coopland since 1985. In the past 30 years he and his team have grown the business from five stores to 160 through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions. Cooplands is now the UK’s third-largest bakery chain, with a turnover of £46m. Coopland told Business Live: “These are exciting times for the business as we continue to scale up and expand across the north of England. Belinda’s combination of big brand retail experience and entrepreneurial mind-set, having founded and run her own businesses, made her the ideal candidate to take Cooplands into the next chapter of its growth story.” Youngs said: “Cooplands is a business with a rich heritage and culture, and with a significant opportunity to grow its shareholder value even further.” In December 2017, the BGF injected £8.5m in Cooplands to support the business’ growth strategy and roll out its shops across the north of England. Barry Jackson, an investor at the BGF, said: “Almost two years on from our initial investment, Cooplands is going from strength to strength. Belinda’s appointment is the next step on that exciting growth journey and we’re pleased to support the business as a long-term investment partner.”

Bun House team to launch bar and community hub in Shoreditch next month: Alex Peffly and Z He, the husband-and-wife team behind Bun House, Wun’s and Pleasant Lady, are to launch bar and community hub Glass House in Shoreditch, east London, next month. The 1,000 square foot site in Brick Lane will act as a hub for freelance workers during the day and those looking to socialise in the evening. The venue will offer sweet pastries and hot breakfast butties in the morning, with lunch featuring freshly made sandwiches – one British, one vegetarian/vegan, and one halal. At night, the drinks list will focus on London-only craft beer and spirits from local breweries and distilleries plus locally roasted coffee. Peffly said: “We want Glass House to be a place for everyone, locals and visitors alike, and we’ve worked hard to make sure we’re using as much London produce as we can, from cocktails to croissants. I felt there was a need for a collaborative, inclusive and safe space for the community and I hope Glass House can be exactly that.” Etai Page, leasing agent at Shelley Sandzer, which secured the site for the couple, added: “Alex and Z have been hugely successful with their other ventures and this concept picks up on the rise in London of shared workspaces with a social element. This site at the corner of Brick Lane and Bethnal Green Road is perfectly placed.”

Atlas closes Wellington Pizza Pub in Leeds city centre: Leeds-based Atlas Pub Co has closed its Wellington Pizza Pub site in the city centre. In August 2018 the company closed the sites for Wellington Pizza Pub, formerly Buca di Pizza, in Chapel Allerton, Leeds, and Lloyd Street, Manchester. In May this year Wellington Pizza Pub in Hull also closed. The remaining Wellington Pizza Pub is in Beverley but the venue could not be contacted for comment and its Facebook page has been deleted. However the company’s sister bar, DOC, which occupies the upper floor of the Wellington Street premises in Leeds city centre, has undergone a refit and will now serve pizza alongside its drinks and bottomless brunch. Atlas opened champagne bar Epernay in Leeds in 2005 before selling the venue in 2017. In the same year it sold The Pour House in Canal Wharf, Leeds, to local pub operator Rose Thirteen and German-inspired beerhouse Atlas Brauhaus to cocktail bar chain Dirty Martini. Atlas dropped the name Buca di Pizza following the threat of a legal challenge by an American company of the same name. 

Loungers and Be At One founders and former Diageo chief executive invest in liqueur brand: Loungers founders Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop, Be At One co-founder Rhys Oldfield, and former Diageo chief executive Paul Walsh have invested in liqueur brand Moose, Propel has learned. Moose, which was launched by former Diageo marketer Harry Meakin in St Anton, Austria, in December 2016, has just closed its first major fund-raising round, raising €2.5m (£2.13m) from a group of strategic investors and venture partners based in Europe and North America. Alongside Reilley, Bishop, Oldfield and Walsh, investors in the fund-raising round included Cyril Camus, president of Camus Wines & Spirits, the world’s largest private cognac business; and Andrew Higginson, chairman of supermarket chain Morrisons. Moose said it had grown sales significantly in four countries since it was launched. In the UK it is on offer at sites operated by Loungers and The New World Trading Company as well as London venues such as The Clapham Grand and Mnky Hse in Mayfair. Meakin said: “I am delighted such an experienced group of investors have chosen to join our exciting journey with Moose. With this fund-raising round closed I’m confident we can deliver our plan to triple Moose sales each year and pursue a positive plan for international expansion.” Walsh said: “Moose is a once in a generation opportunity to disrupt the dusty liqueur category, a genuinely impressive new challenger with global appeal. I’m proud to be backing and advising an ex-Diageo man on this exciting journey!” Bishop, who has also become a director of the business, said: “I was struck by the quality and uniqueness of Moose. On that basis, along with Harry’s energy and passion to build a successful drinks company, my co-founder Alex Reilley and I have decided to invest. I’m excited to join the company’s board.” Meakin said Moose was an all-natural drink made in the Alps with no added sugar. Its main flavours are maple syrup, chilli and mint. 

JKS Restaurants to reopen Gymkhana in February: JKS Restaurants, led by Karam, Jyotin and Sunaina Sethi, is set to relaunch Michelin-starred restaurant Gymkhana in February. The venue in Albemarle Street, Mayfair, is undergoing a major refurbishment following a blaze in June. Revealing the relaunch on Twitter and the Gymkhana website, the company said the refreshed interiors would be “spearheaded by our newly appointed JKS design director Samuel Hosker”. The ground floor will retain its 47-cover restaurant and feature dining room-style and booth seating leading to the bar, which will take inspiration from an “Edwardian drawing room”. The basement will be remodelled to create a “convivial club feel”, with a “Kashmiri chilli colour palette, bold carpeting and Indian art”. The repositioned lower ground-floor bar will offer an “ornate jewellery box-shaped area” alongside a 23-cover restaurant. Both 12-cover private dining vaults will be refurbished in keeping with the lower ground-floor’s “vibrant design identity”. JKS Restaurants also backs Michelin-starred Indian restaurant Trishna in Marylebone, Indian restaurant and bar concept Brigadiers in the City of London, and leading concepts such as Hoppers and Bao. Its portfolio also includes delivery brand Motu and Iranian-influenced restaurant Berenjak.

Stonegate and Greene King to screen Amazon’s Premier League games: Stonegate Pub Company and Greene King are to screen all Amazon Prime Video’s Premier League fixtures thanks to BT Sport, which is giving licensees access to the channel. More than 400 of Stonegate’s sports pubs will show the games, starting on Tuesday (3 December). Sports fans will be able to use Stonegate’s We Love Sport app to find out where the matches are being shown and book tables. Greene King, meanwhile, will show all the Amazon fixtures in more than 900 of its pubs, including nine games on Boxing Day. Elliott Cantor, digital marketing manager for sports at Stonegate, said: “Football is most certainly one of our more popular sports and the investment we are making in the Amazon Premier League Pass is worth it. The amount of fixtures during what would normally be quieter trading days will give us a fantastic return.” Greene King chief commercial officer Phil Thomas said: “Boxing Day fixtures are a huge part of the football calendar. This year we will have nine games available to view throughout the day, kicking off at 12.30pm and finishing with a final match at 8pm. BT Sport connectivity and commercial sport director Bruce Cuthbert said: “Amazon’s games will present pubs with a unique opportunity to show live football at key trading times over the festive period.”

HIT Training launches management academy: HIT Training, the apprenticeship provider to the hospitality industry, has launched a management academy. It is for those undergoing supervisory (level 3) and management (level 4 and level 5) apprenticeships and has been designed for managers or those aspiring to become managers. Via an experiential learning programme, a range of chosen topics will be covered in the academy, including legislation, managing teams, finance management, coaching and mentoring, problem-solving and decision-making. The academy tailors learning programmes to specific business needs via workshops that can be delivered face to face or online via webinars or masterclasses. HIT Training managing director Jill Whittaker said: “We recognise the importance of supporting and upskilling at management level to build communication within teams, nurture relationships and enhance effective problem solving.”

Greene King sells Nottingham pub to investment company: Brewer and retailer Greene King has sold The Rose in Strelley, Nottingham. The two-storey community pub is at the junction of Moor Road and Strelley Road and comprises an entrance hall leading to a bar, lounge bar, “middle” bar, and public bar. The property also features accommodation on the upper floor, a 34-space car park, patio with picnic bench seating for 16 people, lawns, a yard and a separate detached outbuilding housing a skittle alley. Jon Heald, director of agent Everard Cole, which brokered the deal, said: “The sale of the pub generated a tremendous amount of interest. The Rose is a large detached pub that has served the community for many years and will continue to do so for many more years to come.”

 
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