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February boost for pubs but restaurants struggle
Britain’s managed pubs saw a 1.4% increase in collective like-for-like sales in February but restaurant groups declined 1.7%, according to the to latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
Drink led pubs were the strongest performers according to the Tracker with London also outperforming the rest of the country.
“The mini heatwave towards the end of the month certainly boosted pub trading, and also helped restaurant sales, as people enjoyed the unseasonal sunshine, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to move the whole market much. The branded restaurant sector is still suffering from declining sales, and despite a better end to the month, early February was generally poor for restaurants,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
“While people will remember the sun, it was cold at the start of the month and school half-term holidays appear to have given no more of a boost to sales than they did last year,” added Chessell. “Even within the managed pub market food sales are under pressure. The trading uplift in February has essentially come from increased drink sales, which were up 3.5%, against a 0.9% fall in food.”
Mark Sheehan, managing director of Coffer Corporate Leisure said: “There is no quick fix for the restaurant sector. Oversupply in some areas will mean that we may continue to see negative numbers for the foreseeable future, especially within the M25 where competition is fiercest.”
“Whilst there is continued cause for optimism amongst Britain’s managed pubs, the expected pick up for casual dining resulting from the closure of under-performing sites compared to a year ago failed to materialise,” said Paul Newman, partner, head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM. “The fact that sales are continuing to fall is a huge challenge for the eating out sector and underlines the fierce competition for discretionary spend on the High Street, as consumers tighten their purse strings in preparation for Brexit.”
Thatcher’s official Cricket World Cup cider
Thatcher’s Cider will be the official cider of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019, to be held from 30th May to 14th July in England and Wales.
The Somerset cider maker will have exclusive pouring rights for Thatchers Gold and Thatchers Haze brands at what will be the biggest domestic sporting event of the year with 48 matches played across 11 venues. Their cider will also be available in the eight official fan zones that are being organised during the six-week-long tournament and which are expected to attract upwards of 200,000 fans.
Martin Thatcher, managing director of the family-run Thatchers Cider said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to be a part of a major sports occasion that will have the eyes of the global sports community firmly on it. We know sporting events on this scale don’t come around very often, and we’re delighted to be a part of it.
“Cricket has such a long heritage and tradition, something that as a fourth-generation family company we share and are immensely proud of. So, this partnership with the ICC is a real fit with our brand. We are really excited about bringing our ciders to the World Cup so fans from around the world can add to their enjoyment of some brilliant cricket with a refreshing pint of Thatchers.”
Bristol pub gets £500k refurb
A major £500,000 refurbishment of The Langton Court Hotel in St Anne’s, Bristol is to start in March with Star Pubs & Bars.
Leaseholder Paul Frost, who also runs the Colston Arms in Bristol city centre, is planning to reopen the pub in May as The Langton, a family-friendly local serving food and barista style coffee. 15 new jobs will be created on the back of the investment.
Paul said: “I leapt at the chance to take on The Langton Court when we heard it was going to be invested in as St Anne’s is an area that is crying for a good pub where locals can get together. It’s an up and coming central residential area with no pub within half a mile. The pub itself had become tired and didn’t have the facilities that people now want on their doorstep. So, it’s fantastic that with this investment we’ll be able to provide that.”
Neil Convery, regional operations director for Star Pubs & Bars said: “We’re delighted that Paul is taking on The Langton. He’s an experienced operator with a keen understanding of customer service, which is key to running a great community pub. Pubs need to evolve to remain relevant to consumer needs and ensure their long-term sustainability. Our investment, the introduction of food and coffee and a greater selection of top-quality drinks, coupled with Paul and Eva’s community spirit and enthusiasm will create a great local for St Anne’s.”
Rockfish opening in Exeter
Mitch Tonk’s casual seafood dining restaurant Rockfish is opening on March 18th in Exeter’s Quayside area.
The restaurant group’s sixth site will employ 35 people locally in their first purpose-built 2600 sq ft waterfront restaurant which seats over 90 inside and a further 60 outside.
Mitch Tonks said: “Being a seafood restaurant group we had to be in the county town of Devon and the location at the Quay right on the River Exe is just superb, great views, minutes from the city centre, but a hub of water-based activity that feels like you’re at the seaside. We want Exonians and visitors to this great city be able to enjoy the best most sustainable seafood whether it be grilled MSC hake or local Torbay devilled sprats, whilst being just a stone’s throw away from where it was caught.”
South West Tourism Awards open earlier
The 2019/20 South West Tourism Awards are now open for entry. The deadline of 29th March (with a final deadline of 30th April) is earlier than usual following feedback from last year’s entrants.
Award organiser Robin Barker says: “The 2018/19 Awards broke all records, and importantly showed further progress in converting them into a year-round quality development programme, rather than merely ‘an event.’ Like the businesses we serve, we must innovate and change too, hence the very many developments we’re making this year and I’d like to thank entrants, our 50+ sponsors and judges for their active support.”
Full details of the Awards, including new and changed categories, are at
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
New look & recyclable materials for Mermaid Gin
Isle of Wight Distillery’s Mermaid Gin has had a makeover by introducing a new sculpted bottle, going plastic free and switching to recyclable materials.
The “highly tactile bottle” has sculpted scales that refract the light and ocean-mimicking colours that the producers describe as “better complementing the liquid inside.”
The bottle is now completely recyclable with biodegradable paint and a wooden-topped cork.
Xavier Baker, co-owner and head distiller said: “There’s now real style to our substance – this stunning bottle is the perfect showcase for what is a top quality gin. The investment has ensured that we can really push on – in a way that properly reflects our personally-held environmental concerns.”
The gin is the flagship spirit of the four-year-old distillery and stocked by Marks & Spencer. The Isle of Wight distillery also produces a Navy Strength gin, a rum and a vodka.
For more details visit mermaidspirit.uk.
Granny Gothards launch soft serve ice cream
Artisan ice cream producer Granny Gothards are launching a soft serve ice cream. It will be available in three flavours, Madagascan Vanilla, Real Strawberry and Belgian Chocolate.
Owner Amanda Stansfield said: “I have always been aware there is a place in everyone’s heart for ‘whippy’ ice cream but felt the products on the market often contain ingredients that should not be associated with our favourite treat so we’ve decided to develop a totally natural offering.”
The ice cream is available as a fresh product that can also be frozen.
Call 01823 491591 for details.
Chocolate orange is New Forest’s latest ice cream flavour
New Forest Ice Cream are adding Chocolate Orange to their range of ice cream and sorbets.
Free from artificial colours and flavours they describe it as “a rich, creamy and smooth chocolate orange dairy ice cream base that is interlaced with a vibrant ripple of zesty orange delight.”
Christina Veal, director, New Forest Ice Cream said: “Our new Chocolate Orange ice cream is perfectly balanced to create an ice cream that works equally well as a standalone treat, as it does when used to complement another dessert. The combination of flavours go hand in hand and we are delighted to create our own take on this much-loved flavour pairing.
We carefully curate our recipes from the best quality ingredients, such as fresh double cream and whole milk, and this, coupled with our expertise and production methods which have been fine-tuned over almost 40 years makes it a winning combination. This new flavour is a chocoholics’ dream and we are sure it will be a favourite with all ages!”
The new Chocolate Orange Ice Cream is available in 4.75l catering tubs. Visit www.newforesticecream.com or call 01590 647611 for more details.
New Bath Ales head brewer appointed
St Austell Brewery have announced the appointment of Georgina Young as the head brewer at its Bath Ales Hare Brewery between Bristol and Bath.
She joins them from the same role at Fuller, Smith & Turner and will oversee all aspects of brewery and packaging of Bath Ales’ brands.
Georgina started her career at Bristol brewery Smiles working alongside Richard Dempster, who went on to found Bath Ales. She joined Fuller’s as a production brewer in 1999. She became the first female head brewer at Fuller’s in 2017.
James Staughton, chief executive, St Austell Brewery says: “We couldn’t be more delighted that George is taking the helm as head brewer at our Hare Brewery in Warmley. We look forward to welcoming her and to exciting times ahead, as George helps us to realise the full potential of the Bath Ales beer brands.”
Roger Ryman, brewing director, St Austell Brewery and Bath Ales says: “George and I have known each other for many years, both as brewers and friends. I’m therefore hugely excited that she’ll be joining our brewing and production team at Hare Brewery. I look forward to working and brewing alongside her in the years to come.”
Georgina Young, new head brewer says: “I’m delighted to be heading back to my home town of Bristol – it’s where my parents and sister still live and it’s something I’ve been mulling over for some time. So when a great brewer like St Austell offered me such a fantastic opportunity, I just couldn’t say no. The role at Bath Ales will allow me to take total control of the operation – including brewing and packaging – which gives me a new challenge. It’s sad to be leaving Fuller’s after all these years – but I’ve left a first class brewing team at Chiswick and I know they will flourish in the future.”
Head chef announced for Michael Caines restaurant
James Checkley is the new head chef of the Coach House by Michael Caines, in the grounds of Kentisbury Grange hotel, north Devon.
Checkley previously worked at Caines’ Abode Exeter and joined the Coach House in 2016. He won the Best Dish in the South West Chef of the Year Awards 2018 and has “been crucial to the award-winning restaurant’s success over the last few years, most recently being awarded three AA rosettes.”
James says, “Having worked with Michael Caines for many years, I’m truly humbled to be given the role of Head Chef at The Coach House by Michael Caines. I began working with this team as Chef De Partie and have pushed myself, with the guidance and support of the rest of my team, to achieve this exciting role.
New general manager for Careys Manor
Steve Woodrow is joining Careys Manor Hotel & Senspa in Brockenhurst, Hampshire in the role of general manager.
He comes to the 3 AA Rosette-holding hotel from the Solent Hotel and Spa in Fareham where he was general manager for five years. During that time he opened a new £5m 54-lodge expansion at the Thwaites-owned hotel.
Steve said: “I am delighted to be part of the team at Careys Manor. This is a fabulous hotel, with a rich history and in a stunning location. In my few weeks at the property, I already know we have a fantastic group of committed and hardworking people.
“I have had some amazing experiences in my years in hotels, working with many talented and super people. I know that if you have good people around you, who enjoy what they do and thrive on giving our guests a fabulous experience whilst working together as a team, we will achieve great things.
“It’s a very competitive market place but we have a real edge here in the New Forest where you can combine a luxury relaxing spa break within a beautiful country manor house retreat.”
Bath guesthouse on market
Hill House on the Belvedere in Bath is on the market for £1.3 million for the freehold with Colliers International.
A former pub built in 1760, the guesthouse was renovated in 2011 to create a six-bed B&B with a guest breakfast room and courtyard garden linked to the owner’s accommodation.
Co-owner Harry Tedstone said: “Bath is known for its thriving, creative and supportive independent sector. The peer support we received from organisations such as Bath Independent Guest House Association was invaluable to us when we started the business. Any new owner will be able to link into such networks in order to maintain or further develop the business as they would wish.”
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels team said: “This is a highly profitable business with excellent private accommodation with development potential. Bath hotels draw business all year round and we don’t think Hill House will stay on the market very long.”
Characterful country inn for sale
The Earl of Portsmouth pub in rural Devon is on sale for £275,000 for the freehold with Charles Darrow.
Located between Crediton and Barnstaple in the village of Chawleigh, this two-storey inn retains period features throughout and has a dining room suitable for 32 covers. The ground floor lounge bar has seating for almost 50 people with open fireplaces, a central bar server and games room.
Charles Darrow Director, Jon Clyne comments: “The Earl is not your typical, underinvested closed pub and whilst interested parties would need to open the business again, we believe the pub could thrive again, given the past investment. Viewing days will be held, so interested parties are asked to make contact at the earliest opportunity”.
The International Food & Drink Event
17th – 20th March 2019
“The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) is a celebration of 1,350 innovative, global and cutting-edge food & drink manufacturers.”
Pro2Pac – Food & Drink Processing & Packaging Event
18th – 20th March 2019
“Revealing the best of manufacturing innovation, packaging solutions and printing & labelling products”
Professional Development Courses for the Tourism & Hospitality Sector
18th – 22nd March 2019
“Practitioners can develop their skills through a series of half-day courses to develop operational and strategic thinking, delivered through interactive workshops and networking with leading academics.”
For more information, please visit https://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/about/our-faculties/faculty-management/our-departments/department-tourism-hospitality/professional-development-courses
Food Allergy Prosecution – Mock Trial
20th March 2019
Hosted by Food Allergy Aware & Blake Morgan LLP Solicitors
8.30am to 2.30pm
Blake Morgan Offices, Chandler’s Ford, Hampshire
“Practising barristers and solicitors will role-play a fictional scenario involving the prosecution of a food business involved in the supply of produce containing allergens which had not been correctly identified.”
Tickets are priced at £25 per person and include a light lunch. For more information & to book, please visit – https://www.fatc.co.uk/events/food-allergy-prosecution-mock-trial/
Marketing, PR & Branding Training Course
21st March 2019
Hosted by McQueenie Mulholland & Taste of the West
Lifton Farm Shop, Lifton, Devon
“A Marketing, PR and branding training course aimed specifically at food, drink and hospitality businesses. The courses last for one day and will include: Introduction to Marketing and PR, Making your Marketing Plan, Digital Marketing and Branding.
Prices – £65 for Taste of the West members and £80 for non-members.
For more information and to book, please email Eleanor Yeo at McQueenie Mulholland – firstname.lastname@example.org
Food Drink Devon ‘Customers Are Key’ Workshop
22nd March 2019, 9:30am – 13:30pm
Exeter Golf and Country Club, Exeter, EX2 7AE
“This workshop will be an interactive session full of ideas and strategies to help you find the new customers you’re looking for and establish loyal fans who keep coming back for more.” The workshop will include talks from Barbara King (MD of The Shops at Dartington), Hayley Reynolds (RAW PR) and Susie Kevern (Industry Specialist).
Price: Members – £15 | Non-Members – £30 (Plus VAT)
To book, please visit: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/customers-are-key-workshop-tickets-54759041768
Gambero Rosso Wineteca 2019
26th March 2019
Royal Horticultural Halls, London
“UK trade and press professionals will have the opportunity to taste the finest wines featured in Vini d’Italia 2019, one of the most authoritative guides about the complex world of Italian wines.”
Welcome Host Gold
26th March 2019, 10am to 4.30pm
“The leading customer service course for tourism and hospitality businesses. Enhance the customer experience and reap rewards in increased customer loyalty, repeat business and word of mouth sales.”
Price: £90+VAT per person, including lunch
To book and for further information, visit https://purplecloudconsultancy.digitickets.co.uk/tickets