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Wed 29th Jan 2020 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Adam Breeden – new bingo concept has potential to grow across UK and abroad: Adam Breeden, founder of Social Entertainment Ventures (SEV), has told Propel the company is looking to grow its new bingo concept Hijingo across the UK and eventually internationally. SEV has teamed up with Rebel Bingo co-founder James Gordon for the concept and has worked with design and production studio The Experience Machine, known for its work with global superstars Jay-Z, Beyoncé and Lady Gaga, to “bring bingo to life”. The debut site will open in Worship Street, Shoreditch, on Monday, 16 March. The 8,000 square foot venue, which previously housed L’Anima Café, will also feature two bars serving cocktails, wine and beer alongside Far East-inspired snacks, bites and small plates. Up to 200 players a time will be able to enjoy the experience, which has seen Breeden and Gordon take the traditional game and surround it with high-spec production and theatrical visuals. “What we’re doing is putting on a show,” said Breeden, who co-founded Puttshack and Bounce while overseeing the launch of Flight Club in the US, which SEV operates under licence. “I first looked at bingo about 12 years ago but at the time couldn’t quite see how it could work. Having done Puttshack and Bounce, my mind started to work a bit differently and, having met James and seen several of his pop-up bingo concepts, we realised there was potential to transform the game.” Each Hijingo session consists of two games lasting 30 minutes each, with a 20-minute interval. Each game consists of three levels with a different prize attached to each – players can win up to six times during a session. Breeden said he was in advanced talks on further sites for Hijingo in the UK and had started discussions with potential international partners. He added: “Bingo appeals to all ages so some conversations about sites are going on outside London. I think there’s a great opportunity in the regions. Our Hijingo focus for now for is on the UK but we believe there’s scope to take it international.” Gordon said “I’m hyped to partner with SEV and bring the game of bingo to life with more energy and fun.”
 

Industry News:

Propel Multi Club Conference open for bookings, Bruntwood to present, two free places for operators: The first Propel Multi Club Conference of 2020 is open for bookings. The full-day event takes place on Thursday, 5 March at the Millennium Gloucester hotel in London. Andrea George, head of retail and leisure at developer Bruntwood, which owns and operates more than 100 landmark properties in the UK, will talk about the company’s foodservice incubation space, Hatch, the importance of experiential dining, the rise of food halls, and the role of food and drink in creating a destination. Multi-site operators of pubs, restaurants and foodservice outlets can book up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com
 
CMA sets out issues in Amazon’s Deliveroo investment: The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has laid out plans for the next stage of its investigation into the Amazon and Deliveroo tie-up. The regulator has set out the key areas it plans to assess. These include whether the deal could damage competition in the online restaurant food delivery market and the emerging market for online convenience grocery delivery. A Phase 1 investigation found Amazon’s investment might give it the ability to “exercise material influence over Deliveroo”. The CMA referred the deal to a full investigation in late December. It had previously said a deal between the two companies could cause higher prices and lower quality for consumers. The CMA said it expected to issue its provisional findings into the Amazon and Deliveroo probe in mid-to-late April. The statutory deadline for its final decision is 11 June. On Monday (27 January), Sky News reported Deliveroo and Amazon were set to issue a joint submission to the CMA this week, which will accuse the regulator of misunderstanding the market. Both companies said the probe was “speculative” and “not supported by evidence”. The CMA investigation comes after Amazon led a $575m fund-raise in Deliveroo in May 2019, making what the two parties called a “minority investment”. A Deliveroo spokesman said: “Deliveroo has been working closely with the CMA and will continue to do so. We are confident we will persuade the CMA of the facts this minority investment will add to competition, helping restaurants to grow their businesses, creating more work for riders, and increasing choice for customers. Deliveroo is a British company operating right across the country and this investment will be particularly beneficial to the UK economy.” Last week the CMA said it was opening an investigation into the Just Eat and Takeaway.com merger. It’s expected the two companies will be served with an “enforcement order”, which would prevent the merger getting the green light while the investigation was under way.

Migration Advisory Committee outlines immigration system recommendations: The government should introduce a points-based system for skilled workers already with a job offer, when drawing up its post-Brexit immigration system, a new report has recommended. The Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) review said the current Tier 1 visa “does not work well”. Instead, the government should create a system whereby migrants who score highly on a points system are pooled, from which there is a monthly draw, with a cap on the total number admitted each month. The MAC also recommended retaining a salary threshold, expanding the type of jobs that come under the banner of eligible jobs to include “medium skill occupations”. That would result in lowering the general salary threshold by £4,400 to £25,600. Other recommendations include applying the salary thresholds across the UK, rather than lowering them in some regions, with the report concluding a separate visa would help in areas of particular weakness. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “A helpful step forward would be to extend the Youth Mobility Scheme to EU countries and make this a vital part of future trade deals with other countries, thereby providing another route for young workers into the sector. The system needs to be flexible to address labour shortages and not focus solely on higher skills. We need skills routes for all and we are certainly willing to work with the government to ensure the system is responsive, works for the UK and avoids unnecessary bureaucracy and costs for employers.” British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin added: “The MAC has listened to our calls to reduce the £30,000 minimum salary threshold for skilled workers, but the proposed threshold will still present significant challenges for pubs. On this basis we welcome the proposal for temporary worker routes and sector-based schemes and we will be writing to the MAC calling for a hospitality-based scheme.”

Grubhub defends adding restaurants without telling them: Online food delivery service Grubhub has defended the practice of adding restaurants to its platform without asking them. Grubhub adopted this practice a couple of months ago in cities across the US. But some restaurants that don't offer takeaways are angry they're not being consulted beforehand. A Grubhub spokeswoman told the BBC restaurants get more orders when they are on Grubhub. She added: “We'll add restaurants to our market place when we see local diner demand for delivery so the restaurant can receive more orders and revenue from deliveries completed by our drivers. We work to provide accurate menus and hours for these restaurants on our market place based on available information online.” The firm claimed other food delivery companies do the same thing in the US. UberEats told the BBC it did not carry out the practice “in the UK” and neither does Deliveroo. Any restaurant that doesn't wish to be on Grubhub's platform must contact the company and opt out. Grubhub informed its shareholders about the move in a letter in October.

Hospitality workers cite importance of friendships and inclusion in job longevity: People working in hospitality are four times more likely to stay put in a job for friendships than a pay rise, according to new research by employee engagement technology firm Eko. When asked to choose the top three factors that would make them stay in their job for longer, almost one-third (30%) of the more than 1,000 UK respondents put friendships at work at the top of their list, compared with 7% who cited a pay rise. The most popular reason (33%) for hospitality workers remaining in a job was having greater flexibility to work remotely, while in joint second place, 30% of respondents would be more likely to stick with an employer if they invested more in well-being, personal health and inclusion. Investment in better workplace tools that not only support productivity but make people feel part of the wider team was important for one-fifth (20%) of respondents. Other factors included greater access to learning and growth opportunities to help career progression (17%) and regular, two-way feedback with a trusted manager (13%). Eko chief operating officer Robert Darling said: “People want to feel united as part of a team and feel as if they make a difference to those around them. This comes back to the importance of culture. Real culture is natural, it’s part of what makes us human and it’s certainly something hospitality firms should look to invest more in and nurture during the next few years. Hospitality is well known for its predominantly ‘non-desk’ workforce so building meaningful workplace relationships can prove challenging. This is why inclusion and feeling like you’re part of a close-knit team, regardless of where you are based, is significant in boosting a sense of belonging and team culture.”

BT launches enhanced guest Wi-Fi service aimed at multi-site operators: BT has launched enhanced guest Wi-Fi service BT Engagement, which is being initially aimed at multi-site operators. BT Engagement provides a simple social log-in for customers and offers advanced insights and engagement capabilities to enable businesses to better understand their guests’ needs. Operators will also have access to their customers’ in-venue behaviour, including frequency and duration of visit. BT said the new suite of services would enable BT Wi-Fi customers to deliver tailored and targeted communications, enhancing their engagement with customers and increasing satisfaction, loyalty, footfall and spend. BT said the new capabilities provided its business customers with a “true end-to-end Wi-Fi service”.
 
GMB backs trade bodies’ call to end whisky tariffs: The GMB has backed calls by the Scotch Whisky Association and Distilled Spirits Council Of The United States to remove the 25% export tariffs on their products. GMB Scotland organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Trade wars have real consequences. Despite our repeated warnings over the past three years the UK government has been complacent and failed to act to defend the scotch whisky industry. This has left the industry vulnerable and, make no mistake, US tariffs pose a real risk to the tens of thousands of Scottish jobs that rely on it. But the post-Brexit threats to the Scotch whisky industry go far beyond tariffs. With a weak hand in negotiating access to new markets and geographical indicator status as yet insecure, the UK government needs to step up now to defend Scotch whisky workers whose livelihoods are threatened by UK government inaction.”

Company News:

Electra – TGI Friday’s valuation up £16m in 2019: Electra, which is looking to sell its assets and return cash to shareholders, has reported the valuation of TGI Friday’s increased £16m in the past year. The private equity firm said despite a “difficult market” the value rose to £142m as of 30 September 2019, compared with £126m the previous year. Electra paid £142m for its 99% ownership in TGI Friday’s, having made its initial investment in 2014. In its annual report, Electra said TGI Friday’s remained “strongly cash generative” and provided “increasingly attractive returns on capital despite challenging market conditions and uncertainties around Brexit”. Sales at TGI Friday’s rose to £214.0m for the year ending 30 September 2019, compared with £208.8m the year before. Ebitda was up to £26.9m, compared with £25.3m the previous year. The report stated: “TGI Friday’s achieved growth in revenue and Ebitda on both an overall and a “like-for-like” basis from the prior period. This reflects the sustainable new restaurant roll-out plan maintained by TGI Friday’s and the resilience of maintaining gross margins during the challenging prior year of 2018. While underlying market demand continues to grow modestly, market conditions remain challenging with continued oversupply in the casual dining market being compounded by rising costs across a number of areas. TGI Friday’s consistently performs strongly in UK brand perception surveys, consistently outperforms its market from a financial perspective, and has an enviable reputation in the industry for operating processes and efficiency. We intend to build on this strong base by ensuring the business continues to evolve in meeting changing customer needs and expectations while retaining and building on its strong brand heritage and values. In early December 2019, Robert Cook succeeded Karen Forrester as chief executive. Robert brings experience of leading growth and profitable development within the multi-site food and beverage industry and managing businesses through challenging times in adjacent sectors. We are also strengthening the wider TGI Friday’s leadership team with a blend of sector-specific and adjacent skills and experience in key areas.” A total of £119m was realised during the period and £9m invested across its entire portfolio.
 
Wells & Co reports turnover up to £53m following continued investment: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co has reported turnover increased to £53m for the year ending 29 September 2019, compared with £43m the previous year. The company saw operating profit rise 5.2%, to £5.3m, while profit after tax was £1.4m. During the year, Charles Wells doubled its UK managed portfolio to circa 20 sites, increasing net revenue to £16.1m. It has also expanded its French estate with four new pubs, growing revenue by 12% and bringing its managed portfolio across the UK and France to 37 sites. Its pub partner estate performed strongly despite the political uncertainty of the past 12 months – 2019 profits were 1% ahead of last year and £3.6m was invested in developments across the estate. The company, previously known as Charles Wells, also laid the foundation for the next chapter in its 145-year history. Construction is well under way on its new £14m Bedford home, Brewpoint, with its inaugural beer line-up pouring in Wells & Co pubs across the country from June 2020 onwards. As well a brewery, the new venue will house a pub-restaurant, a retail shop, a coffee roastery, company offices and a visitor centre. Managing director Peter Wells said: “Our progress over the past 12 months is testament to our team’s commitment to operating a quality estate of pubs. Ongoing investment in our pub partner estate, including two new acquisitions and continued development of our award-winning training, has been complemented by a serious expansion of our UK managed house divisions – Pizza, Pots & Pints and Little Gems. We’re also delighted by our growth in France despite the gilet jaune protests and recent strikes. With a low and manageable level of debt, we are in a strong position to embark on what is set to be an exciting year for the business. Brewpoint, paired with our plans for investment across our portfolio, is a statement of confidence about the future direction of our family company.”
 
Press Coffee Roasters founders demerge business: Andy Wells and Davide Pastorino, founders of Press Coffee Roasters, have demerged the London-based business. Wells has retained the Press brand, six sites and the new roastery, while Pastorino takes the St Brides Street outlet, which is to be rebranded Established Coffee. “It has been an interesting few months,” Wells told Propel. “Trade remains steady and my plan is to spend this year consolidating the business while looking to create new wholesale partnerships and ventures.” Press Coffee Roasters opened its roastery in in Herne Hill, south east London, in September. Roasting its own coffee has saved the business 30% to 40% in coffee costs, said Wells.
 
Dubai-based Turkish restaurant concept Bosporus secures debut UK site: Global Catering Service (GCS), the Middle East-based hospitality company, has secured a debut UK site for its Turkish restaurant concept Bosporus. The brand, which was founded in Dubai in 2010 and goes under the slogan “Your Bridge to Turkey”, has taken the former Angus Steak House site in London’s Leicester Square, for an opening later this year. GCS currently operates six restaurants under the Bosporus brand in Dubai. CDG Leisure acted on the Leicester Square deal.
 
Roseacre Pub Company takes on fourth Star Pubs & Bars site, ninth venue overall: Midlands-based Roseacre Pub Company has taken on its fourth Star Pubs & Bars site, The Beacon Hotel in Burton-on-Trent, bringing its food-led pub estate to nine. The companies will jointly invest £500,000 to upgrade the pub, which will create 40 jobs when it relaunches in April. The interior will be opened up to create a bar and open-plan restaurant with the reconfiguration allowing covers to increase from 86 to 152 inside and from 52 to 142 outside. The Beacon will offer a new menu focusing on traditional pub food and a Sunday carvery and will open in the morning for coffee, pastries and cake. Michael Thomas, who founded Roseacre Pub Company in 2014, formerly held senior operations roles at Chef & Brewer, Premier Inn, Vintage Inns and Fayre & Square. He said: “We are always looking for suburban pubs in the Midlands and want to double the size of the company. A model based on a 60% to 70% food ratio with 130 to 140 covers works well for us.” Star Pubs & Bars regional operations director Alun Johnson added: “We are delighted Michael is taking on another pub with us. He has a wealth of experience, a great track record and a clear vision of where he’s taking his business.” Roseacre Pub Company’s other Star Pubs & Bars sites are The Beeches in Ashby de la Zouch, The Dovecote in Narborough Leicestershire and The Heathcote Inn in Leamington Spa.
 
Rogan promotes Sam Ward to managing director of restaurant group: Chef Simon Rogan has promoted Sam Ward to managing director of his Umbel Restaurant Group. Formerly operations director, Ward has spent nine years at the company and will now oversee every element of Rogan’s eight-strong restaurant portfolio, which operates in The Lake District, London and Hong Kong. Ward grew up a mile from Cartmel, which houses the majority of Rogan’s portfolio, and joined the group as bar manager before moving to London to become a sommelier at The Ritz. Two years later he returned as maitre’d of Rogan’s L’Enclume. The company said as operations director Ward had played an integral part in growing the business, which boasts five Michelin stars and recently opened Roganic and Aulis in Hong Kong and Henrock in Lake Windermere. Rogan said: “Sam has been integral to helping us get where we are today. His energy and passion for the restaurants and our ethos alongside his knowledge of the hospitality landscape and dedication to ensuring the entire team is the best it can be has been amazing to watch. We look forward to seeing where he takes the group next.” Ward added: “Working for a company in the Lake District, the place where I grew up and still have a huge passion for, has been a dream. There’s a buzz in the company at the moment and we’ve carved some strong business partnerships. There’s still so much we want to achieve as a group, with exciting plans for the future.”
 
Sushi Fabrique secures former YO! site in Tottenham Court Road for UK debut: Sushi Fabrique, a sushi operator with about 20 sites in Europe, is launching its debut UK outlet. The outlet will open at the former YO! site in London’s Tottenham Court Road following a deal brokered by agent Restaurant Property. The 90-cover restaurant will serve pan-Asian cuisine with a big focus on sushi. The ground-floor unit measures 1,956 square feet and has an annual rent of £178,000 with a lease that runs until 2034. A Sushi Fabrique spokesman said: “Sushi Fabrique brings a new level of sushi quality and freshness to the heart of London that hasn’t been seen before, combining a superior level of food taste with a cosy and innovative atmosphere that will deliver a unique experience.”

Pomroy steps down from Whitbread Restaurants: Nathalie Pomroy has stepped down as chief marketing officer at Whitbread Restaurants after four years with the business, Propel has learned. Pomroy joined Whitbread Restaurants as its commercial director at the start of 2016, after stepping down as retail marketing director at McDonald’s UK. Pomroy joined Whitbread after almost 15 years with the fast food chain, including two years as retail marketing director and more than three years as the group’s head of marketing. In March 2017, she was appointed chief marketing officer – Premier Inn and Restaurants – food and beverage. She has left Whitbread to become chief marketing officer at McArthurGlen Group. Meanwhile, Whitbread has secured planning permission to build a hub by Premier Inn in Camden High Street. The 80-bedroom hotel will be built on the site of a former Sports Direct and will be Whitbread’s second hub by Premier Inn in the north west London borough of Camden.

Fife Arms owners set to take over The Audley in Mayfair: Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the Swiss owners of the Fife Arms, in Braemar, Scotland, are set to take on The Audley pub in Mayfair, which closed last year. Propel understands the Wirths, who are considered to be two of the world’s most powerful art dealers, owning the Hauser + Wirth galleries business, are working with Fortnum & Mason chief executive Ewan Venters on the new venture in Mayfair’s Mount Street. It is thought The Audley will follow a similar template at the Fife Arms – a pub with rooms and be a showcase for contemporary art. The Wirths acquired the Fife Arms, which is situated within the village of Braemar in the Cairngorms National Park, in 2015, before embarking on a multimillion-pound refurbishment of the 19th century property. It reopened in December 2018. The Sunday Times named the Fife Arms its hotel of the year for 2019.

Aiden Byrne to head up new £2m Salford restaurant venture: Chef Aiden Byrne has been brought in to run a new restaurant opening in Salford. Byrne, who previously operated Restaurant MCR in Manchester, will oversee Salboy at the Local Blackfriars scheme. Salboy is the brainchild of Simon Ismail and BetFred's Fred Done. The £2m venture will use all three floors of the restored grade II-listed Black Friar pub on the corner of Blackfriars Road and Trinity Way. It will also incorporate a new single-level glazed building to the side. Ismail told the Manchester Evening News: “We always envisioned a new and exciting use for this historic pub and getting Aiden on board demonstrates our commitment to delivering the very best – whether it's new homes or a new restaurant.” The vision is to create a “traditional pub interior with wood panelling and open fires in the original building”, alongside casual dining and an open kitchen in the linked modern aspect. On the first floor will be a fine dining restaurant of about 20 to 25 covers served by a kitchen on the third floor with the potential for a chef's table. Byrne, who owns the Church Green pub in Lymm, won a Michelin star when he was 22. He said: “I am so excited by this. It will bring a whole new experience to this part of the city with the ground floor providing the hustle and bustle of casual dining and the pub providing the local for Blackfriars.” Plans are due to be submitted early next month with an opening slated for late summer.

Nikkei concept St Clair opens at Clapham’s The Pavement: Nikkei concept St Clair has launched at The Pavement in Clapham, north London, offering a cevicheria and fish boutique. The kitchen is led by Jorge Baumhauer da Silva, a former head chef at Ceviche Restaurant Group. The cevicheria is St Clair’s centrepiece, with customers able to dine at the bar and watch chefs prepare ceviche and oysters. The fish boutique offers seafood to take away alongside a dry store of products and ingredients. St Clair also offers grab-and-go lunch boxes and other takeaway dishes available at lunchtime through the venue’s corner window. The drinks list includes more than 60 bottles of wine alongside sake and cocktails. The restaurant features whitewashed walls adorned with porcelain oyster shells, Aztec-inspired fermentation vessels, marble tables and velvet scalloped dining chairs. Live fish are on display in a glass counter that transforms into a chef’s table in the evening. Nikkei began its evolution in Peru in the late 1800s, when settlers from Japan – known as Nikkei – adapted their home cuisine using local ingredients.
 
Gizzi Erskine to launch three-month residency at central London hotel: Chef, food writer and broadcaster Gizzi Erskine is to launch a three-month residency at St Martins Lane Hotel in central London. The Nitery will take over the St Martins Kitchen space from Thursday, 13 February to Thursday, 30 April offering a “playful take on classic French, American and British dishes”. The concept has been inspired by early 1900s Parisian “niteries” – hedonistic, bohemian restaurants frequented by big thinkers, artists and poets of the time. Small plates will include devilled eggs with roast chicken crackling, while starters will include steak tartar with bone marrow dripping on Marmite toast. Main courses will include goat cutlets and wood-fired shellfish, while The Nitery will also serve Sunday roast and offer dessert and cheese trollies. A brunch menu will be added at a future date. Erskine is also working on opening a permanent site for vegetarian and vegan concept F!LTH with nutritionist Rosemary Ferguson, backed by Handley Amos and Neil Rankin’s The Pepper Collective. Sbe, which owns St Martins Lane Hotel, also operates about 14 restaurants and lounges under subsidiary Disruptive Restaurant Group.

Hampshire winery secures £7.5m finance facility to fund growth: Hattingley Valley, the family-owned Hampshire winery that specialises in English sparkling wine, has secured a £7.5m facility from PNC Business Credit to support its growth plans. Hattingley Valley, which has a presence in 16 countries, plans to use the funds to enter new markets in Switzerland, Singapore and Malaysia, while continuing to grow in Australia, Germany, Japan, Scandinavia and the UK and US. Finance director Bruce Green said: “This investment shows great confidence in our business and in the English sparkling wine industry as a whole.” Lower Wield-based Hattingley Valley, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary, said it saw a 45% year-on-year increase in sales in 2019 consistent with “growth levels from previous years”.
 
Bowls concept Mambow to launch in Shoreditch next month: Bowls concept Mambow is to launch in Shoreditch, east London, on Monday, 10 February. Chef Abby Lee will open her venue in Commercial Street serving signature bowls and weekend brunch to eat in or take away. Lee gained her diploma at Le Cordon Bleu, honing her skills in her family’s bakeries in Singapore and Malaysia before moving to Italy to cook at Michelin-starred Pashà Ristorante, near Bari. Featuring abstract prints, burgundy leather stools and handmade cushions, the venue will open early offering seasonal frittatas, breakfast bowls, pastries and buns. Lunchtime bowls will include a build-your-own option with diners picking a base and protein topping. In the colder months, Mambow will offer a daily soup made with yesterday’s vegetables, while leftover fruit and vegetables will also be used to produce winter loaf cakes. Drinks will include kombucha on tap and cans of craft beer, while Lee brews her own iced rooibos tea with lemon peel and agave. Mambow will also host evening supper clubs serving Lee’s family-style dishes. Lee said: “I wanted to open somewhere welcoming and homely, whether you’re stopping for a bowl to go or settling in for weekend brunch.”
 
‘Urban resort’ The Gantry to open in Stratford this summer featuring hotel, food market, restaurant and bars: “Urban resort” The Gantry is to open in Stratford, east London, this summer featuring a hotel, food market, restaurants, bars and events space under one roof. Collaborating with local producers, artists, brands and independent London restaurateurs, The Gantry will feature a silhouette inspired by New York’s Flat Iron building. The design will also be influenced by Victorian east London and Stratford’s role in the city’s train-building industry. Located in Celebration Avenue near Stratford International station, The Gantry will feature a ground-floor food market, a restaurant and cocktail bars with dedicated terraces and a flexible events space. On the 18th floor, The Gantry will also feature the highest rooftop bar in east London with floor-to-ceiling windows and a terrace hosting live music and DJs. The Gantry Hotel will be the fourth property in London for Hilton’s upscale Curio Collection brand. It will offer 291 rooms over 17 floors.

Supper club Supa Ya Ramen to open debut restaurant in Hackney: Supper club Supa Ya Ramen is to open a debut restaurant, in Hackney, east London. The intimate 15-cover site will launch in Hackney Road offering three permanent ramens and a weekly rotating special. Supa Ya founder Luke Findlay developed his concept following spells as development chef at Patty & Bun and head chef at Berber & Q in Spitalfields. He launched the Supa Ya supper club at his Hackney home followed by a number of pop-ups, collaborations and takeovers. In the run-up to the permanent opening this year Supa Ya Ramen will host a pop-up at Dalston cafe Snackbar on Monday, 17 February and a three-week takeover of a space at private members’ club Mortimer House in Fitzrovia. The menu at Mortimer House will offer three ramen bowls – root vegetable olive oil, roast chicken and salt beef.
 
Hofmeister Brewing Company completes latest funding round: Hofmeister Brewing Company has raised a six-figure sum to breathe new life into the brand and expand its facilities in Surrey. Hofmeister was launched in 1976 by Courage and relaunched in 2017, steered by Richard Longhurst and Spencer Chambers. The business has raised £720,000 – £200,000 of which was provided by The FSE Group-managed Enterprise M3 Growth Fund. Longhurst said: “The past few years have been phenomenal at Hofmeister and we are thrilled The FSE Group has joined us on our journey. With this funding round we will be opening up new facilities in Surrey and also expanding our team, so 2020 carries on the momentum we have already built into the company.” Avent Bezuidenhoudt, senior fund manager at The FSE Group, added: “We are delighted to add Hofmeister to our investment portfolio. The company’s high level of success in such a short space of time is incredibly encouraging and can be credited to the team’s expertise and love for its product.” Last year, Hofmeister Brewing Company worked with financial adviser and broker WHIreland to raise an undisclosed amount with multiple investors and existing shareholders.

 
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