This week’s exclusive Diary includes the latest on Steve Hill’s replacement at Wagamama, Tim Martin’s spicy payback, a meaty offer for Meat Liquor, and product placement problems in Ukraine. Martin curries favour That David Bruce, eh? Last week Diary revealed the Firkin pub chain founder lost out about £45,000 in tax breaks after failing to submit an application form for a £150,000 investment in City Pub Company, the Enterprise Investment Scheme-funded vehicle, within the allotted time limit. JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin told Diary this week that it’s “not the only example of David Bruce being slow with a cheque”. “I met him for a curry in central London in about 1983 and I picked up the tab. We agreed to arrange to meet again soon and Mr Bruce would be in the chair. However, events have conspired against us and I’m still owed a curry - with compound interest, it will be a very expensive one...” Presumedly that rules out a Curry Club meal at David’s nearest Wetherspoons, then. Martin added: “Glad the M&C Report reminded me of this... every little helps.”  Top noodle The departure last week of Steve Hill as chief executive of Wagamama, the fast-casual noodle chain, after six years came as a bit of a shock, but Diary understands that it may have been on the cards longer than first imagined. It is thought that a short list has already been drawn up of possible replacements for Hill, with plenty of money being placed on a Yum! Brands-style candidate to work under former Yum! Brands executive David Williams, who recently took over as the chain’s chairman. Cash cow Meat Liquor and Pitt Cue Co are both proving that successful pop-up operations can make the successful transition to standalone enterprises. While Pitt Cue Co looks at opening its second site in the capital, Meat Liquor has been followed by Meat Market in Covent Garden, with a further site from Yianni Papoutsis and Scott Collins mooted for Hoxton in the near future. However, Diary hears that it is not just the capital that these guys have their sites on, with tentative moves on an international launch being made. It seems the popularity of the concept - for example Meat Liquor took around £4,000 in its first six hours of trading - has also piqued the interest of one suitor, with whispers circulating that one party had already offered a staggering £10m for the two-strong venture! Eur ‘aving a laugh! Diary’s man in Ukraine has been enjoying the Euro 2012 championship immensely - especially given England’s safe passage to the quarter finals. But as he queued to enter the Olympic Stadium in Kiev for the England v Sweden game last Friday with his friends from Coca Cola, the group - many sporting Coke t-shirts - was stopped by an officious steward, who told them that their tops breached UEFA’s strict dress code. Their branded vestments constituted a guerilla marketing violation, said the jobsworth gatekeeper. A moment of panic ensued, before a calm PR expert pointed out that Coca Cola are a headline event sponsor, and that - to paraphrase the conversation somewhat - “given the sh*t load of money we’ve spent on the Euros, maybe you should let us in”. Sense prevailed, and the group entered the arena without further impediment to enjoy the game and several pints of 0.5% ABV Carlsberg beer. But that’s another story. Back of the net Back in Blighty, and England’s progress on the pitch appears to be proving a boost for the nation’s pubs and bars. Walkabout operator Intertain reports that sales across its 31 Walkabouts are up more than 40% since the start of the tournament, while revenue on days that England played lifted 134% year-on-year. Ireland games also led to big sales increases, the firm says, as did high-profile matches such as German v Holland. Long may it continue. Epic footy fail Meanwhile, Diary was intrigued to hear that the Women 1st Awards in London, which recognised the contribution of women in the leisure and other sectors, was arranged on the evening of England’s crunch match against Ukraine. As an enlightened chap, Diary wouldn’t dare suggest that only a bunch of women would organise an awards ceremony to coincide with the national football team’s finest hour for several years. Diary’s female spy spotted a few token men in the hall, checking their iPhones every few minutes. The value of a good tenant What a difference a year makes. At its annual accounts published in June 2011, Wadworth chairman Charles Bartholomew said: “We still have a number of licensees who either have not the skills to market their pubs or still believe that being an average pub is good enough. This is not the case and we need to change this attitude and jointly build trade.” One year later and things look different. “[Tenanted] volumes were still in decline,” the chairman said, “but that decline is now lessening with some good licensees showing the way and some really excellent new ones who have immediately turned round the trade in their pubs”.