Economic optimism continues to drive overall deal activity in the second...

Latest research from leading business and financial advisory firm Grant Thornton UK LLP confirms that the overall picture for deal activity in the second quarter is a positive one. Total food and beverage deal value rose significantly in Q2 2014, rising by 109% compared with the first quarter, and by 16% compared year on year.

In contrast, overall deal volume was down by 24% in Q2 compared to the previous quarter. Although when comparing the first half of 2014 with same period in 2013, deal volumes were higher by 5% for 2014. Soft drinks and wholesale and distribution were the most active sub-sectors, each accounting for 17% of quarterly deal volume.

Claire Elcock, director at Grant Thornton in Leeds, commented: “Continuing appetite is apparent among both potential acquirers and vendors in the food and beverage sector which is being driven by a more upbeat UK economy. Valuation multiples are rising, with the increase being driven partly by buoyant equity markets and by the availability of debt on borrower-friendly terms.”

Catering firms reinforce gender stereotypes through marketing

The marketing used by cooking and catering businesses plays to traditional gender stereotypes, new research has revealed. A study conducted by PH Media Group has found the typical voice profile used by cater...

Godminster scoops four International Cheese Awards

The International Cheese Awards saw Somerset-based cheese maker Godminster win four awards.

The team from Bruton, Somerset, amassed two gold awards for their Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar, a silver for their renowned Vintage Organic Cheddar and a bronze for their handmade Organic Brie with Garlic & Chives. It is the first time Godminster has entered its Brie into the awards.

Peter Andrew, CEO of Godminster, says:"We’re absolutely delighted with these awards, this is a record haul for Godminster. Winning an International Cheese Award is the stamp of excellence any cheese maker aspires to and we’re proud to be taking home this number of prizes.”

The double gold for the Oak-Smoked Vintage Organic Cheddar comes on the back of a silver award for the same cheese at the British Cheese Awards in June.

Peter Andrew believes this is the start of something special: “Our Oak-Smoked Cheddar has incredibly loyal fans. It is one of only a handful of naturally smoked cheddars in Britain. We’ve had great feedback on it from our customers both face to face and on our social media channels. It’s terrific to see it being recognised on both the British and international stages.”

The success in the prestigious awards comes ahead of the Great Taste Awards next month, where Godminster has historically achieved some impressive results.

Rémy Cointreau promotes Panos Sarantopoulos to CEO of Liqueurs & Spirits...

In a move to accelerate the growth of its Liqueurs & Spirits Division, Rémy Cointreau announces the promotion of Panos Sarantopoulos as the Division’s CEO.

Panos Sarantopoulos has earned his stripes in highly challenging situations in the fields of luxury and of quality wines and spirits.

For sixteen years at LVMH, he held, among other, the responsibilities of Business Development Director for Hennessy, Senior Vice-President Sales for Veuve Clicquot and President & CEO for the House of Krug. With his teams, he contributed to the record growth of these Houses.

He led the deployment of business game-changers that have been noticed in the industry. He joined Rémy Cointreau, in 2011, to take on the challenge of CEO for METAXA. Over the past three years, he led the renaissance of this historic House. With his teams, they have brought about the turnaround of METAXA to international growth, thanks to bold premiumisation and a series of award-winning innovations.

Sarantopoulos’ enlarged responsibilities within Rémy Cointreau, include responsibility for the House of Cointreau, for the N°1 French brandy St. Rémy, for liqueurs Passoa, Izarra and Ponche Kuba, and for whisky Guneagal, as well as for the distribution activity of Rémy Cointreau Gastronomie.

Panos Sarantopoulos says: “I am honored to be taking on the helm of the Liqueurs & Spirits Division of Rémy Cointreau. With the support of talented teams and our Group’s agile distribution network, we will inject fresh energy into the Division’s houses, brands and activities so that they continue to gather the worldwide recognition they deserve.

Renowned chef unveils plans for Culinary Academy

As a restaurateur, TV presenter and Guild for Chefs UK Master Craftsman, Chef Damian Wawrzyniak has a lot on his plate.

His latest venture is the establishment of the brand new City of London Culinary Academy, designed to help attendees develop unrivalled technical skills as well as gain invaluable insight into the art of classic cuisine and its origins. Set to open its doors in 2015, the academy draws on the experience of master chefs boasting over 30 years of culinary experience across the globe.

Overseeing the venture is Chef Wawrzyniak himself, experienced at Copenhagen’s two Michelin Star restaurant, Noma.

All class modules have been personally designed by Wawrzyniak who is now working on sourcing restaurant quality equipment and fine tuning the learning systems. As well as helping students refine tasting palates, sharpen knife skills and master presentation, Culinary Academy will bring a unique history aspect to the classroom. This module will delve into the origins of cooking in order to help students gain an enriched understanding of how modern cuisine has evolved over the centuries.

Wawrzyniak says: “Incorporated into the curriculum is a fascinating History of Cuisine module which delves into the origins of cooking and the techniques that were used thousands of years ago. Students will gain an enhanced knowledge of gastronomic history, learn about the historical significance of certain ingredients and explore the ways in which the culinary past has shaped the face of contemporary cuisine.”

Attendees of the Culinary Academy will enjoy state of the art facilities including a polyvalent room, food laboratory, multifunctional theory rooms and multimedia demonstration room where celebrity chefs will carry out professional demonstrations and master classes. The academy will also boast the highest quality equipment designed to simulate a five star commercial kitchen environment.

Lecturers hail from leading schools across the globe, handpicked for their exceptional teaching skills and great approach to student learning. Damian Wawrzyniak will assume the role of Head of the Academy, bringing a wealth of experience, expertise and unparalleled passion to the table.

The Culinary Academy will run short and long term courses, open to students across the UK. The highest performing chefs will be offered the chance to complete their training at a prestigious British restaurant where they can gain first hand industry experience with the country’s finest chefs.

With its cutting edge facilities, diverse curriculum and dedicated team of cookery connoisseurs, Culinary Academy is set to emerge as London’s premier institution for industry standard chef training.

East London pub scene star rises with crowd loan

A fast-growing East London pub chain is set to open its fourth pub after receiving a £43,000 refurbishment loan from peer-to-business lender, rebuildingsociety.

Electric Star Ltd, which operates The Star of Bethnal Green, The Star of Kings and The Star by Hackney Downs, is opening the doors of The Jackdaw and Star in Homerton later this summer, following a bespoke refurbishment.

rebuildingsociety works by allowing hundreds of individual lenders to pledge varying amounts towards a loan request posted on its website. It administers monthly capital and interest repayments on behalf of its borrowers.

So far over 60 loans, totalling more than £3m, have been created by rebuildingsociety for firms in a variety of industries across the UK.

Rob Star, owner of Electric Star, explains: “I’ve always had a strong relationship with my bank, but the last time I went for a loan, it took them five months to turn me down. With rebuildingsociety it was less than four weeks from our initial application to receiving the cash in the bank, and I’ve raised awareness of our business to hundreds of potential customers.”

Throughout the loan process, Rob interacted with members of rebuildingsociety’s lending community, who wanted to find out more about Rob’s business plans and financial projections.

“I enjoyed answering questions about the business. It made me think hard about certain aspects and was a valuable exercise. We believe we’re doing the right thing in a changing market. People want an experience now, not just a pint.

“We’ve embraced this by franchising our kitchens to chefs who are passionate about their food, which combined with our penchant for craft beers and a packed events schedule is really appealing to people in East London”, says Rob.

Nick Moules, Marketing Manager at rebuildingsociety adds: “Our lenders could see the clear growth trends in Rob’s business. He now has hundreds of new stakeholders with an interest in the success of his business. When Rob expands again, he will probably have a crowd of lenders ready to help him achieve his plans. We believe there is true value in raising loans from individuals ahead of the banks, and by that we don’t just mean the faster turnaround, competitive rates and waived repayment charge that we offer.”

New domain name ‘.bar’ launched for the bar and club industry

.BAR recently launched to provide the Bar & Club industry with a bespoke digital platform, as part of the recent roll-out of new internet domain names, otherwise known as Top-Level Domains.

The international industry, worth $24 billion in the US (Bars and Nightclubs in the US, IBISWorld, 2014), continues to expand, with the global spirits alone seeing a rise of 10% in sales last year (Ipsos Market Research, 2014). This development now allows public houses, bars, nightclubs, manufacturers, and consumers within the industry to engage, and celebrate everything that nightlife has to offer in a secure online environment.

Now, alcohol-related corporates, businesses, SMEs, communities and consumers will have the ability to differentiate themselves through improved internet marketing capabilities, boosted Search Engine Optimization, and recognition from elite peers. Global Corporates seeking to guard against cyber-squatting will also benefit from buying into .BAR; the .BAR URL ending serves as stamp of integrity for Bar & Alcohol businesses.

The Internet address has already attracted world renowned players on the bar and nightlife scene such Wynn Resorts and Harry’s Bar.

The domain, which launched to the general public yesterday and celebrated in style at London’s Sanderson Hotel, sponsored by luxury vodka brand, Beluga.

“.BAR will connect the bar and club industry with customers online,” says Aaron Grego, CEO of Punto 2012.

“This is a perfect opportunity for businesses to grab a simple and easy-to-use domain name that describes their bar or club with a descriptive name. Our industry needs to stand out online and be found — with .BAR they can.”

Ben Crawford, CEO of CentralNic and domains.bar, says: "After meetings with our partner Punto 2012 in bars in New York City, Mexico City, Denver, Las Vegas, Munich, Singapore and the Bar municipality in Montenegro, it is a long-awaited pleasure to launch the .bar domain name in London's Long Bar in the company of many leading lights of the adult beverage profession as well as renowned bar flies from the domain name industry."

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