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Cooler June good for eating out but pubs suffer
June saw restaurant groups collectively up 6.1% but pubs and bars declined 1.6% in like-for-like trading across Britain, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker.
The consultancy that produces the Tracker puts the contrasting performance “all down to football and weather.”
Karl Chessell, director of CGA, said: “Last June, pub and bar groups saw sales jump 2.8%, largely thanks to the mini-heat-wave at home and England’s good showing in the men’s football World Cup, while restaurants suffered a 1.8% decline. This June the roles have been reversed, with more sedate conditions favouring eating rather than drinking out.”
Mark Sheehan, managing director at Coffer Corporate Leisure added: “These are encouraging numbers. Last June, the World Cup gave an overall boost despite restaurants suffering and to beat those numbers on a net basis shows some much-needed positivity. It’s tough out there but the hospitality sector is showing some much need resilience.”
Total sales across the 50 companies in the Tracker, which include the effect of net new openings since this time last year, were ahead 3.7% compared to last June.
“A number of high-profile restaurant closures in recent months has culminated in a net reduction of sites in June, leaving those operators that remain to benefit from reduced competition. We put much of this month’s increase in like for like sales down to supply and demand approaching a more even keel. There are certainly more challenges ahead, but these results will be pleasing news to embattled food-led operators,” said Paul Newman, head of Leisure and Hospitality at RSM.
Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 1.6% for the 12 months to the end of June.
Butcombe to open new Bath bolthole
Butcombe Pub & Inns are opening the Broad Street Townhouse in Bath on July 23rd. The new “boutique city-centre bolthole” will offer 11 bedrooms, a café by day and “speakeasy” bar, The Blind Pig, by night.
Situated next to Butcombe pub The Pig & Fiddle in Broad Street, the grade two listed property dates back to 1885 and has been renovated to restore the building back to its 19th-century origins with Butcombe working in partnership with design and build specialists Concorde BGW.
Guests will arrive via the original shopfront façade, greeted by monochrome Victorian-inspired bordered tiling, high ceilings, sash windows and exposed timber staircases – leading to the eleven en-suite bedrooms set over three floors. The rooms feature statement furniture and artwork as well as rain head showers, mini-fridges, Roberts radios and smart TVs. Breakfast will be delivered in hampers and feature homemade granola, preserves and pastries.
The Townhouse café will welcome guests and non-residents for breakfast, lunch and coffee through the day and showcase local products on its menu. Starting at 7am with a selection of fruit, croissants, yoghurts and locally produced Clifton Coffee, lunch will be a “feast of fresh salads, doorstep sandwiches, quiches, sweet treats and cakes and an everchanging range of seasonal iced drinks – all easily available to take-away.”
In the evening, the café will transform into The Blind Pig and serve Butcombe beers, cocktails, local spirits, wines, charcuterie (including hand-carved Jamon on the bar) and cheeses.
Jayson Perfect, managing director of Pubs and Inns at Liberation Group, said: “Broad Street Townhouse is a passion project of ours and one we’ve long had in mind – since taking over the Pig & Fiddle pub next door back in 2015. It was a shame to see such a beautiful building, filled with original features, sat empty in disrepair – but so rewarding to get stuck into the renovation and bring it all back to life. We’re very much looking forward to welcoming our first overnight guests and inviting in the local people of Bath to experience our new café and bar.”
Standard double rooms will be available from £150 per night, including a breakfast hamper.
South West café chain introduces palm plates
South West café chain, the Venus Company, are the first commercial chain in the UK to adopt fully compostable plates made from palm leaves.
Introduced across their five beachside locations in Devon and Cornwall, the plates are made in India from areca palm that falls naturally from the tree and supports low-income families.
Co-founder of the Venus Company, Michael Smith said, “We are really proud of being the UK’s first café chain to use these sustainable palm plates as an eco-friendly, sustainable alternative to crockery. They are multiuse and home compostable, even with food waste. This means it does not have to go through an industrial process with high heat, it will simply compost in a normal compost heap. We are completely dedicated to increasing the use of the most environmentally friendly products to protect our naturally beautiful setting and this is just one way in which we can do our bit to protect the wonderful environments in which we are lucky enough to live and work”.
Michael continued, “The benefits of our palm plates are multi-fold. They will not need to be washed so we are saving on water and energy usage as well as chemicals. The whole thing is mainly about taking a more environmentally sustainable approach to catering – using plants and sustainable resources and reducing CO2 footprint. Many of our customers are on holiday when they visit us, so we’re ensuring they are responsible while visiting these beautiful beachside locations while enjoying some great food.”
The Venus Company has received numerous awards for its green credentials including a Queen’s Award for Sustainable Development in April 2010, for the second time running. They plan to introduce home compostable hot drinks cups shortly and are opening a new café in Torquay, which joins their existing sites in Blackpool Sands, Watergate Bay, Tolcarne Beach, Bigbury on Sea and East Portlemouth.
Soil Association launches guide for growers
Soil Association Certification has launched a new how-to guide for organic producers interested in selling into foodservice.
The organic certification body is using the guide to highlight the key things organic businesses need to consider to get their products listed and supply this growing sector. The guide sets out what caterers are looking for from suppliers, how foodservice supply chains work and hints and tips for accessing this potentially lucrative market.
Clare Hadway, foodservice business development manager for Soil Association Certification, said: “Organic sales in the foodservice sector have grown by 50% in the past 5 years, so there’s plenty of opportunities for organic fresh produce within foodservice. Caterers and chefs are looking for suppliers to meet this increasing demand and Soil Association Certification have today launched this guide to give companies the knowledge they need to make the most of this exciting opportunity.”
The report is free to download and can be accessed at https://www.soilassociation.org/certification/foodservice/.
For hard copies or further information, suppliers should email FFLsuppliers@soilassociation.org.
Bespoke Hotels adds Plymouth property
Bespoke Hotels has announced the acquisition of a long-term lease to operate the Duke of Cornwall Hotel in Plymouth.
Dating back to 1863, the city’s inaugural luxury hotel has 72 bedrooms and a two-AA-rosette restaurant. Described as one of the finest examples of Victorian-ear architecture in the region, it has been a finalist in the 2018 and 2019 South West Wedding Awards.
Graham Marskell, managing director of operations for Bespoke Hotels said: “The property has long been on our radar as an architectural icon across Plymouth and Devon, so we are excited to continue upholding the high standards established by the hotel team and will be working to ensure there is no disruption to existing customers.”
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
Sharps relaunches limited-edition IPA
Sharp’s Brewery are releasing their limited edition Six Hop IPA for summer 2019. First brewed in 2014, it’s the third of five limited editions this year from the Rock, Cornwall-based brewery and follows Manu Bay, rereleased in May and Rising Tide from March.
Sharp’s describe the beer as a “unique brew…a 4.8% India pale ale with a taste of American style hops.”
Ed Hughes, beer sommelier at Sharp’s Brewery, said: “Six Hop IPA has wonderful and prominent fresh pineapple and mango aromas with a taste that is reminiscent of American style hops; think pine, citrus and stone fruits. With its lovely sweet taste, it pairs really well with salads, fish and chips and fried calamari. I personally cannot wait for this one to be brought back.”
Sharp’s Brewery recently announced the appointment of 30-year-old Aaron McClure as its new head brewer. Promoted from his previous role as a technical brewer, he will oversee the production of Sharp’s core portfolio of beers including the UK’s number one cask ale, Doom Bar.
Six Hop IPA will be available at selected on-trade locations to the end of August. Mini casks (5L) of Six Hop IPA are also available from the online shop, visit https://www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk/sharps/shop.
London restaurant launches Rare Cornish Gin
Award-winning London restaurant Cornerstone is launching Rare Cornish Gin, an exclusive gin created for them by Cornish craft distillers, The Wrecking Coast Distillery.
Cornerstone owner and chef Tom Brown commissioned the gin to have a flavour profile that matched his menu.
Head distiller and partner, Avian Sandercock said: “After meeting Tom and getting to know his approach to produce and ingredients it helped us focus on the type of flavour that would work for him. With his focus only on fresh fish and seafood on the menu, this provided a clear direction for the flavour profile, but we had to make sure it stood alone as a standout gin when served with a tonic.”
The gin features cloudy apple juice from Polgoon’s orchard to “to deliver autumnal apple to the back of the palate and a hint of sweetness in the finish” according to Wrecking Coast partner Craig Penn.
For more information, go to thewreckingcoastdistillery.com.
Clipper Teas goes recyclable
Following the launch of their plastic-free tea bag, Clipper Teas have announced the launch of a fully recyclable tea bag envelope and organic string on its string and tag tea bags.
The tea brand, owned by Wessanen UK, have completed trials of the new envelope material which is made out of paper with a thin heat seal coating. It is 33% lighter and can be put into home paper recycling.
Clipper Teas and Wessanen UK were both recently awarded B Corp certification, recognising their commitment to Fairtrade and organic sourcing.
Rebecca Vercoe, Clipper Teas brand controller at Wessanen UK, said: “With natural, fair and delicious at the heart of what we do, we want to show consumers how they can make every cup count by choosing Clipper. Since we launched our plastic-free, unbleached and non-GM tea bags six months ago, we’ve been determined to keep up the momentum and make our tea even better for the environment. We’re delighted with the new sustainable solution for our enveloped range and can’t wait for it to roll out this year.”
Cristina Ramsay, technical and CSR director at Wessanen UK, added: “Reducing our packaging weight and increasing our recyclability is a big priority for our brands and the Clipper Teas team in Dorset have worked tirelessly on developing a more sustainable packaging solution for the brand’s enveloped range. We remain firmly committed in our mission as a business to be better connected to nature.”
Baboo Gelato collaborate on rosé sorbet
Dorset-based Baboo Gelato have launched Sea Pink Rosé sorbet for summer. They joined forces with West Country wine producer Furleigh Estate, using their rosé which they describe as “a dry, still wine packed with ripe summer fruits and hints of floral scents.” They say “It shows great depth of flavour and excellent vibrancy on the finish and works beautifully to create a delightfully pink palate-cleansing sorbet.”
Annie Hanbury, founder of Baboo Gelato suggests serving the Sea Pink Rosé Sorbet with summer berries, ripe peaches or melon, or simply on its own with some almond biscotti.
Available from selected farm shops in the South West in 500ml pots, with an RRP of £6 for consumers. 2.25ltr catering size containers are also available for trade clients at a cost of £14 plus VAT. Visit https://baboogelato.com/ for more details.
Dartmoor pub for freehold sale or new lease
Located near Dartmoor National Park, The Rising Sun Inn is on the market with its freehold available at a sale price of £350,000 through agents Charles Darrow. The option of a new commercial lease is also on offer with rental incentives.
Dating back to 1870, this traditional country pub near Ashburton retains many period features including wooden beams, large open fireplaces and original stone walls. The open plan dining room seats 80 covers, the snug seats a further 12 and includes a pool table. The ground floor also has a large and well-equipped commercial kitchen, dry store and ancillary storage, plus office and staff WC.
Outside, the south-east facing, fully lawned beer garden contains 8 picnic tables together with feature water fountain. There’s also plenty of private parking with spaces for 25+ vehicles.
Jon Clyne, director of agents, Charles Darrow, said: “Despite being closed, the property remains in good condition, with the previous tenant’s lease coming to an end. The property had previously traded at robust levels, with our clients happy to consider other business activities at the site, given the nature of the property. We are already experiencing excellent levels of interest, so prospective purchasers are asked to make themselves known”.
Dartmoor hotel on the market for £1.7m
Dartmoor Lodge Hotel near Ashburton has been placed on the market with Colliers International at £1.7 million.
The 23-bedroom hotel sits in 1.65 acres of grounds and features meeting rooms, a 70-cover restaurant and a private five-bedroom flat for the owners. Occupying a roadside position between Exeter, Plymouth and the South West, the business generated sales of circa £1.2 million last year, according to the agents.
Ed Jefferson from Colliers International’s hotels team said: “Situated just off the main A38 main route to the South West, this elegant hotel is within the southern boundary of the Dartmoor National Park. Torbay and the South Hams are within easy driving distance. The hotel makes the perfect base to explore the region.
“The owners have also commissioned drawings for a possible 18-room extension – which would require planning consents.
“Our clients acquired the lodge in 2008 and carried out a thorough refurbishment which has reinvigorated the business. Having decided to pursue other interests they have decided to sell to allow new owners to take this thriving business forward.”
Ellenborough Park appoints exec chef
Andrew Birch is the new executive chef of the five-AA-star Ellenborough Park hotel in Cheltenham. He joins from the same role at Lainston House in Winchester.
He will oversee all the food offerings including fine dining in the Restaurant, afternoon tea in the Great hall and the Horsebox.
Marwan Hemchaoui, general manager, Ellenborough Park said: “Exciting things to come for the hotel’s food offering and is looking forward to revealing more in the forthcoming months.”
Harbour’s GM joins Luxury Family Hotels
The regional general manager at Harbour Hotels, Simon Maguire, has joined Luxury Family Hotels in the newly created role of managing director.
He will oversee an extensive refurbishment programme across the company’s five hotels, starting with the 36-bedroom Fowey Hall Hotel in Cornwall. The plan is to bring the group’s portfolio up to “luxury lifestyle” standard, matching the likes of Harbour Hotels and Hotel du Vin.
The Fowey Hall Hotel will see the bedrooms and public areas refurbished and then the two-AA-rosette restaurant relaunched. They also hope to add extra accommodation in the form of treehouses when the programme is completed in February 2020.
Luxury Family Hotels also operates Woolley Grange in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire; the Ickworth in Bury Saint Edmunds, Suffolk; New Park Manor in Brockenhurst, Hampshire; and Moonfleet Manor in Weymouth, Dorset.
Hampshire Food Festival
1st – 31st July 2019
Locations across Hampshire
“Organised by local food group Hampshire Fare, the festival celebrates food and drink grown, reared and made in the county with over 100 events showcasing local ingredients and products.”