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Restaurant closures hit the south
The number of restaurants in Britain fell by 2.8% in the year to March 2019, with high streets in the south of England, excluding London, hit especially hard by closures.
The figures from the Market Growth Monitor from CGA and AlixPartners reveals net closures of 768 restaurants over 12 months, or around 15 a week. It marks a fifth successive quarter of decline in the sector, bringing to an end a boom period that saw restaurants grow in number by more than 15% between 2013 and 2018.
The bulk of closures have been of independents, but group restaurants—managed sites from operators with more than one location—also fell in number, by 1.1%. The pace of closures for these group operators was significantly higher in the south of England (2.8%) than in the north (0.4%)—a sign that restaurant levels have reached saturation point in many southern towns and cities.
The Market Growth Monitor reveals a more positive picture for the drink-led pubs and bars sector. Three years ago the report found that closures in this part of the market were averaging 31 a week—but the rate tumbled to 13 a week in the 12 months to March 2019. With premium and all-day bars performing particularly well, it suggests that Britain’s long-term clear out of unsustainable pubs may be nearing an end.
CGA vice president Peter Martin said: “CGA research has charted a remarkable surge in restaurants over the last decade—but our latest Market Growth Monitor makes it clear that the gold rush is over. Some distinctive and resolutely customer-focused restaurant groups continue to flourish, but for brands that have over-reached themselves or lost sight of their proposition and purpose, there are undoubtedly more tough times ahead. Major challenges on British high streets, like rising costs and declining footfall, are adding another layer of difficulty.”
AlixPartners managing director Graeme Smith added: “The positive take on this clear out is that ambitious and well-resourced operators now have more headroom for growth, and the Market Growth Monitor identifies bright prospects for many groups in the drink-led pub and bar space in particular. Brands that can deliver a compelling premium drinks offer and strike the right balance with food have all to play for in 2019 and beyond. The next 12 to 24 months offer an opportunity for well-funded restaurant groups to expand into prime sites at much-reduced costs—and if you can catch the right consumer wave the returns are impressive.”
St Austell buys pub, seeks tenant
St Austell Brewery has announced the acquisition of the Bridge Inn in Dulverton and are now looking for a new tenant to take on the country pub located in Exmoor National Park.
Steve Worrall, retail director, St Austell Brewery, said: “We’re delighted to add the Bridge Inn to our tenanted pub estate – a fantastic property and our first in Exmoor National Park. Having been managed so well for over twelve years by Kenny and Rachel McDonald, the Bridge Inn is a wonderful opportunity for somebody who wants a new challenge, running a successful pub in a stunning location.
“Our tenancy agreement provides people with the opportunity to take on a successful business that is at the centre of the local community, as well as attracting guests from far and wide. The Bridge Inn also benefits from being in one of the most beautiful locations in the UK – a great place to live & work. Naturally, it can be hard work, but our tenancies are ideal for those with a passion for hospitality and a strong head for business.”
Independent to open at new Bristol venture
The award-winning independent restaurant and bar Bocabar will open at new mixed-use development, Finzels reach in Bristol this September.
Bocabar will be a “busy social, drinking and dining hub”, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner including 25 different stone-baked pizzas, burgers, mezzo plates and daily specials with a seasonal and local focus.
Based on the ground floor of the historic Fermentation Buildings, beneath Channel 4, Bocabar hopes to “offer something for everyone, catering for the growing number of office workers and residents who now work and live in the area, as well as those coming from across the city to relax in this new destination along the Floating Harbour.”
Melissa Eavis, who co-owns and co-runs Bocabar with Paul Eavis having started the business 15 years ago, said: “We are hugely excited about joining the Finzels Reach community, which is fast emerging as a fantastic new quarter for the city. It’s a great fit for our business as we love the combination of historic and new architecture, giving the area its own unique character, combined with the fact it’s in an excellent location right in the heart of the city.
“We’ll be spending lots of time at Bocabar Finzels Reach to ensure we respond to people’s feedback and that the offer is something that appeals to those who live and work in, as well as visit this thriving new area. We are very hands-on, so we are looking forward to getting stuck in and creating something really special at our new site.”
EU confirms ‘final’ £500k for Cornish tourism
Cornish hospitality businesses are being offered what could be the last opportunity of significant EU funding with a pot of over £500,000 available over the next year for the Together for Tourism Futures’ (TFT) programme.
Programme delivery team, Newquay for Excellence Training, (NfET) is urging Cornish hospitality businesses to act fast so they do not miss out. The fund means up to 60 SME local businesses, with between 1 and 250 employees, can each benefit from over £8,000 of funding support, with a honed, bespoke programme of in-house training, mentoring and development to fit their specific challenges and needs
Ruth Atkinson, director of Newquay for Excellence Training, who is leading the programme, said: “As we approach Brexit, the pressures on our brilliant hospitality businesses are intensifying by the minute. We would hate businesses to miss out on this time-limited opportunity for vital investment in their teams and in their businesses.”
“Our hospitality industry has been extremely fortunate to have received such an impactful level of ongoing support from the EU over the past few decades, this half a million pounds is likely to be one of the last major funding opportunities for establishments of all shapes and sizes up to 250 employees. Time is ticking, so we’re encouraging them to get in touch with us immediately. The sooner they sign-up, the more benefits they’ll get. If they sign-up now, we can be ultimately flexible in how their bespoke support is arranged.”
Contact email@example.com or call 01637 871067 to find out more about Together for Tourism Futures.
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
Wadworth get vegan approval
Wadworth’s gluten-free and vegan beer 6X Gold has received a stamp of approval from The Vegan Society awarding it the Certificate of Registration Vegan trademark.
6X Gold was originally brewed as gluten-free beer and went vegan in 2018. The beer was certified by Coeliac UK in 2017 and has also won the Taste of the West awards and achieved Bronze in the International Beer Challenge.
CEO for Wadworth, Chris Welham said, “we are delighted to receive this recognition for 6X Gold. It’s a fantastic beer that vegans can enjoy too and we are proud to receive this accreditation”.
St Peter’s launches 0% fruit beer
St Peter’s Brewery has unveiled Without Elderberry & Raspberry, a new fruit beer with no alcohol.
Brewed using the same methods as a standard beer only without alcohol, they describe it as “a full-bodied and well-balanced beer with a smooth, subtly sharp bitterness… a pleasant fruitiness of elderberries and the lingering taste of raspberries.”
John Hadingham, managing director at St Peter’s Brewery, said: “There is a huge consumer demand for NPD in the 0.0% alcohol category and these new launches strengthen the Without brand and give our customers something healthy and delicious to enjoy at home or in a pub or bar,”
“Very few brewers have been able to create delicious, rich and full-bodied beers that are truly alcohol-free or that aren’t de-alcoholised. And yet we now produce four bona fide 0.0% alcohol beers that are meeting the demands of consumers who either can’t, or don’t want to, consume any alcohol, but still want to enjoy a real pint. This latest launch reinforces our position within the alcohol-free category and we can reveal we have more NPD to come.”
The new beer takes its place in the Without range with Without Original, Without Gold and Without Organic.
Cider sausage collaboration
The Kernow Sausage Company and Cornish cider makers, Healeys, have come together to create the Pork and Rattler Cyder Sausage.
Launching with a Taste of the West Gold award, the new product will be “truly unique”, according to the producers who promise the “meaty sausage has a distinct cyder flavour with an apple ‘bite’.”
Gavin Roberts, MD at Kernow Sausage Company said: “At Kernow Sausage Company we pride ourselves on our ability to innovate and collaborate. Our brand is all about the ‘Live it with us’ ethos. A celebration of Cornish love, laughter and lifestyle. This collaboration pays homage to just that. Healey’s was our natural choice, as we know and love Rattler cyder. It was a no brainer and we are absolutely delighted with the collaboration and an Award in recognition of the end result.”
Joe Healey, managing director trading at Healeys said “When Gavin first approached us with the idea, it seemed the perfect Cornish collaboration – cyder and sausages! Their recent re-brand aligns well with Rattler; being all about the Cornish lifestyle and enjoying a BBQ with cyder on the beach with friends”
The product is being launched in a 400g six-pack of sausages made with 70% pork and 17% Rattler cider with an RRP of £3.50.
Sharp’s appoint new head brewer
Sharp’s Brewery has announced the appointment of Aaron McClure as its new head brewer.
He replaces Andrew Madden, who takes on a new position as supply chain operations manager.
30-year-old Aaron has worked at the Cornish brewer for eight years and is being promoted from his role as technical brewer.
Dai Griffiths, Sharp’s general manager, said: “At Sharp’s, our commitment to developing our people to be the best they can be is one of the most important and rewarding parts of the job. I’m delighted to see these talented individuals progress their careers with us here in Cornwall. Aaron and Andrew’s passion and genuine enthusiasm for beer is part of the magic that makes working here so special.”
New head brewer, Aaron McClure, said: “Having grown up down the coast in Newquay and having received my brewing diploma in 2015, this is a dream come true. Brewing beer is my passion and it’s a pleasure to have been given the opportunity to lead such a dynamic and enthusiastic young brewing team. I look forward to supporting them on their own journey brewing quality cask year over the coming years.”
Cotswold Water Park gets new GM
De Vere Cotswold Water Park has announced the appointment of Michael Lavizani as general manager.
He has more than 28 years’ of experience in the hospitality industry. Starting his career at Bovery Castle, he was also general manager at Shrigley Hall Hotel Golf and Country Club and at the helm of the Double Tree by Hilton Forest Pines Spa & Golf Resort.
Michael said: “It’s a pleasure to become part of the De Vere Cotswold Water Park family, as well as the wider De Vere team. The hotel has an excellent reputation and I’m looking forward to working with the team to build on that success and to ensuring that all guests have the best possible experience.”
Laurie Nicol, chief operating officer at De Vere commented: “We’re delighted to welcome Michael onboard with us at De Vere. Michael has exceptional credentials and knowledge within the hospitality sector, and we know that he will provide strong and effective leadership to enable De Vere Cotswold Water Park to continue to deliver remarkable results. We’re looking forward to working alongside him in his new role.”
Highest inn in Cornwall for sale
The Wheal Tor hotel near Liskeard is on the market at £790,000 for the freehold with Colliers International.
Sitting 996ft above sea level on Caradon Hill overlooking Bodmin Moor, it features eight letting rooms, eight glamping pods, two lodges, function room, bar and restaurant. A large first floor flat for the owners has two double bedrooms, living area and kitchenette.
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels agency team said: “Wheal Tor draws year-round trade for holidaymakers, walkers and locals. The glamping pods – called Hobbit Houses – offer a double bed, single bed and a camp bed and are ideal for family adventure holidays without all the inconveniences of a tent… Our clients report the hotel’s sales average £210,000 net of VAT pa.
“Hotels catering for such a wide range of family holidays are rare indeed. Wheal Tor is a well-established business offering a unique range of experiences.”
Stroud pub for £300,000 “needs work”
A historic Cotswold inn dating to 1782 is on the market for offers above £300,000, with agents Colliers International saying “the price reflects the work to be completed by the purchaser following completion” but they believe “the business has plenty of potential.”
The Star Inn in Whitehall near Stroud is a strong community pub with 60 covers, a beer garden and three letting rooms.
Peter Brunt of Colliers International said: “This is a superb business opportunity for people thinking of entering the hospitality industry or for retiring publicans seeking a smaller property.
“The property has been significantly upgraded since our client purchased it in 2009, investing in the infrastructure including electrics, plumbing and heating.”
“The Star Inn certainly requires some work, but it’s a project with excellent potential.”
Cotswold Fayre Christmas Launch Events – South West
4th June 2019
The Players Golf Club, Chipping Sodbury. BS37 6RZ
See and taste the full Christmas 2019 product range and meet some of their suppliers.
Commercial Kitchen Show
4th- 5th June 2019
“The essential industry event for kitchen innovations.”
Food Drink Devon Summer Party
17th June 2019
6.30pm – 9.30pm
Dartington Hall Gardens, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EL
“You are invited to join Food Drink Devon for our Summer Party. This is a fabulous excuse to celebrate the wonderful Devon food and drink businesses in this region.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit –
Abel & Imray Food & Drink Brand Event
25th June 2019
4pm – 6.30pm
Yurt Lush, Bristol. BS1 6QH
“Come along and hear a panel discussion from experts in the food & drink sector, ask questions and network over a drink and nibbles with the panel and other food & drink businesses.”
To attend this free event, please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/how-do-you-build-a-food-and-drink-brand-that-makes-an-impact-bristol-tickets-60520977874