Testimonals
Beds and Bars promotes key team members to board: Pan-European hostel and bar company Beds and Bars has promoted key team members to its board. Sophie Herbert has been confirmed as group marketing director and has joined the board of Beds and Bars. Herbert, who has been running the company’s marketing capability for the past three years, featured in the recent 2018 Restaurant Marketer & Innovator 30 under 30 list, which recognises 30 talented future leaders in marketing, innovation and strategy roles within the hospitality sector who are under the age of 30. Chief financial officer Mobin Rana will also sit on the board and assume the responsibility of company secretary. A new role of contracts and purchasing manager will also be created, with that member of staff reporting to Rana. Luke Knowles, who is currently operations director, will have a change of role on the board and become development and strategy director of the business, responsible for site acquisition and funding. Development projects and franchise manager Lucie Perin and group finance director Philip Newlyn will report to Knowles and together spearhead the growth of the business. Knowles will also pick up the group sales function and have Michele Kaye Read More
The Restaurant Group boss receives remuneration of more than £1.1m in first full year: The Restaurant Group chief executive Andy McCue received total remuneration of more than £1.1m during his first full year, including a bonus of almost £400,000, the company’s annual report has revealed. McCue, who was appointed in September 2016, was paid a total of £1,116,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017. This consisted of £505,000 salary, £113,000 in taxable benefits, £101,000 pension and £397,000 annual bonus. The annual bonus was based on adjusted profit before tax performance, guest satisfaction improvement targets and a like-for-like covers improvement target. The total bonus amounted to 78.5% of salary, which is 52% of the potential bonus. Half the payment will be deferred for three years and paid as shares. McCue’s salary was increased 2.08% on 1 January 2018 to £515,500, while the average increase for managerial employees across the group was 2.2%. Meanwhile, Kirk Davis joined the company as chief financial officer on 5 February this year on a salary of £355,000. The Restaurant Group has also outlined proposals to rectify administrative errors regarding the level of distributable reserves and payment of interim and final dividends to shareholders during the Read More
Whitbread boss set to open door to Costa sale plan: Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain is expected to open the door to a break-up of the company this week, after mounting pressure from an activist hedge fund. Brittain is not “philosophically opposed” to Whitbread spinning off the Costa Coffee chain from its Premier Inn hotels, said City sources. She will lay out her position at the company’s full-year results on Wednesday (25 April) and is understood to believe a split is a case of “when, not if”, reports The Sunday Times. It revealed last week Elliott Advisors, the US fund with a record of taking aggressive positions in listed companies, had built a stake in Whitbread of more than 6%. That led to a jump in the company’s shares, which ended the week 6% higher at £42.35. Market sources claim Elliott has continued to buy stock since the disclosure, but it is not required to reveal its precise position unless its ownership exceeds 10%. The hedge fund is said to think a break-up could create as much as £3bn of value. Sachem Head, another activist investor, has built a 3.4% stake and is also demanding the company split its two Read More
Vapiano partners with HMSHost International to open restaurants at UK airports and train stations: Vapiano has partnered with HMSHost International to open restaurants at travel hubs in northern Europe. The brand format is being developed by the companies as a franchise model that will launch through subsidiary Vapiano Franchising International. Locations will include airports, railway stations and outlet centres in the UK, Scandinavia, Germany and the Netherlands. The restaurants will be specifically designed and engineered towards the needs and demands of travel locations, offering eat-in and takeaway options. Vapiano chief executive Jochen Halfmann said: “This collaboration will enable us to open more Vapianos in international locations and further increase our profile. After a successful test phase of our pilot, we will make a joint decision about further strategic expansion.” HMSHost International chief executive Walter Seib added: “We are proud to start this new partnership with Vapiano. The brand is an enrichment for our organisation and reflects the need of our guests. Vapiano is known for preparing its food ‘a la minute’ in front of guests. We believe passionately in the power of this brand at high-traffic locations and look forward to building our partnership.” Vapiano has developed a portfolio of Read More
EAT appoints new executive chef: Fresh food-to-go retailer EAT has appointed Arnaud Kaziewicz as executive chef. French-born Kaziewicz was a MasterChef: The Professionals finalist in 2016 and has worked in some of the UK’s most renowned Michelin-starred restaurants. Kaziewicz said: “I am excited to join the EAT team to make our food great again. For me, this is an opportunity to get back to basics – simple, fresh ingredients combined to be eaten and enjoyed and always seasoned perfectly. High-street retail doesn’t have to be about mass production, it should be based on home-cooked food.” EAT marketing director Holly Oades added: “Arnaud brings a wealth of culinary knowledge, global travels and experience in food development to ensure EAT is a serious contender on the high street.” The company will also launch a new salad range on Wednesday, 25 April and has bolstered its baguette offering. The new salads will include Mexican guacamole and quinoa, and sweet pepper chicken. EAT operates more than 100 sites across the UK after launching in London in 1996. HSBC – Whitbread shares now fair value: The two hedge funds that have bought stakes in Whitbread have caused the company share price to lift to fair Read More
Crussh boss – our concessions business gives us stability and security during a difficult time for the high street: Crussh chief executive Shane Kavanagh has told Propel its concessions business is giving the company stability and security during a difficult time for the high street. The London-based healthy food and juice brand, which has partnerships with Sainsbury’s, Everyone Active and Debenhams, has now joined forces with SSP to take the brand into transport hubs across the UK. Kavanagh said the deal also gave Crussh the opportunity to take its products into new markets. He said: "We have a solid core high street business that's been around for 20 years. However, we all know the problems being faced on the high street currently and we have pre-empted that by building the concessions side of our business. I think it gives us that stability and security as well as getting our products and brand into places that we might not otherwise." The first site in partnership with SSP will open at Paddington station in May with a pipeline of additional sites under discussion. He added: "There's plenty of opportunity in the UK and we have had some conversations on international stuff. We Read More
Abokado appoints new head of marketing and finance director: Abokado, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, has appointed Vineeta “Vee” Anuj as head of marketing, while Richard Chee has been promoted to finance director. Anuj was previously marketing manager at Odeon Cinemas and is a specialist in food and beverage branding, with more than ten years’ experience working for global brands including Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee. Chee has been with Abokado for eight years, most recently as financial controller. Abokado chief executive Mark Lilley said: “This is an exciting time for Abokado as we continue to grow and appoint new senior hires. We’re looking forward to Vee’s contribution to building the Abokado brand into London’s number one healthy grab and go chain. She will be working on all elements of our marketing function from local marketing to in-store comms, digital and email campaigns and growing our social media engagement. Richard has been a loyal and passionate member of the Abokado family for many years, during which time he’s been a key part of the leadership team supporting our growth. He continues to be a vital asset to the company.” Lilley and wife Lindsay founded Abokado in 2004. It currently operates Read More
Activist hedge fund takes stake in Whitbread: Activist hedge fund Elliott built a stake of more than 6% in Whitbread on Friday (13 April) in order to force the company to spin-off its Costa Coffee brand. Elliott has a reputation for taking aggressive steps to extract value from its investment – its Whitbread stake cost more than £430m and it is now Whitbread's largest shareholder. The Sunday Times claimed Elliott believed £3bn of value – a 40% rise in its existing market value – could be created by splitting Costa Coffee from Whitbread's Premier Inn business. Another activist fund Sachem Head holds a 3.4% stake in Whitbread. It wants the company to undertake a sale and leasehold of its freehold hotel properties and leverage the balance sheet to return more cash to shareholders. The Sunday Times – Conviviality had been warned to improve its financial controls: The Sunday Times has reported Matthew Clark’s previous owner Conviviality was warned it needed to improve its financial controls a year before it collapsed. Conviviality, whose shareholders have been left with nothing after it collapsed, hired accountancy firm EY to review its cash flow forecasting in January 2017. EY came in at the request Read More
JD Wetherspoon slows Irish expansion as property prices rise: JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin has reported rising property prices in Ireland has led to a more cautious approach to expansion there. Wetherspoon entered the Republic’s market in 2014, but rising property prices put paid to ambitions to open dozens of pubs in the first five years. Five pubs have been opened to date and work is scheduled to begin on three more sites shortly – two in Dublin, including a planned hotel in Camden Street, and one in Waterford. Another site in Carlow is a little further away from opening. “Ireland [before the crash] had become one of the most expensive places probably in the world to buy a property,” Martin told the Sunday Independent. “And then of course prices went down – some people in Ireland thought they were cheap, we thought they were reasonable – so that gave us the impetus to have a look and we bought six or seven sites. But no sooner had we done so then property prices shot up again like a rocket. So it gave us pause as they say. It’s a boring thing to say but what we’re going to do Read More
Wrapchic to open Birmingham airport site as it looks to add at least ten more outlets in 2018: Fusion fast food business Wrapchic is returning to its Birmingham roots with a site at the city’s airport as it aims to add at least ten more venues by the end of the year. Mahesh Raikar, who founded the concept in Birmingham in 2012, is opening the kiosk in departures following a deal brokered by agents Harris Lamb. Raikar tasked Harris Lamb in 2015 with acquiring premises in key locations across the UK to aid the business’ expansion. It now has 15 stores across the UK, and aims to have more than 25 by the end of 2018. Wrapchic has also launched its first international store in Dubai. Head of retail David Walton told The Business Desk: “Transport locations are a pivotal part of the business’ next growth phase, and this is a superb site at an important UK airport.” Raikar said the location was a “landmark achievement” for the business. He added: “With a number of further outlets planned for 2018 and more transport locations already in solicitors’ hands, we’re confident the next 12 months will see the chain expand further Read More
Turkish brand Bunco secures debut site: Property agent Shelley Sandzer has secured a debut London location for bao concept BunCo, in the City of London. The new outlet is due to open later this year. The brand will take a 1,000 square foot unit spread across ground floor and mezzanine levels. Originating in Istanbul the new site, located at 22 Monument Street, will be the brand’s first in the UK. BunCo’s primary offer will be steamed Asian buns known as “bao” made with natural ingredients and combined with non-traditional fillings such as falafel, fried chicken and tuna. Baran Dumanoglu, managing partner at BunCo, said: “BunCo was founded with the intention of bringing a unique interpretation to bao buns. People are bored of eating the same things so, using quality and tasty ingredients, we have revolutionised the street food culture in Istanbul and can’t wait to share this with our new customers in London. Opening our second outlet in a new country is a big step but Shelley Sandzer have been brilliant advisors throughout this process and secured the perfect City of London location.” PizzaExpress reports 112,000 downloads of new app: PizzaExpress has seen its new app downloaded more than 112,000 Read More
CG Restaurants & Bars forecasts 31% rise in site-level Ebitda driven by Dirty Martini brand: CG Restaurants & Bars has forecast a £5.1m (31%) increase in site-level Ebitda in 2018 compared with the previous year, driven by its Dirty Martini brand. The company, which also operates Covent Garden restaurant Tuttons, is also predicting like-for-like site-level Ebitda will grow 5% during the period. It added total sales for 2018 are expected to increase 27% on last year, with like-for-like sales anticipated to be up 3% on 2017. CG Restaurants & Bars chief executive Scott Matthews said: “We’re delighted with how the expansion of Dirty Martini is progressing and extremely encouraged by the strong regional performance of the brand, while our London venues continue to deliver well in a tough trading environment. Manchester in particular has been outstanding and is up 19% against budget in its first 19 weeks of trading.” The next Dirty Martini site will open in Birmingham on Saturday, 21 April and is “already fully booked for its opening weekend”, Matthews said. He added: “We are also evaluating sites in Liverpool and Newcastle as well as an additional site in Manchester.” Dirty Martini operates seven sites in London, with Read More
SSP to open debut UK Bottega Prosecco Bar, at Birmingham airport: UK transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has partnered with Italian drinks brand Bottega for its debut UK site. The first Bottega Prosecco Bar will open at Birmingham airport this week. Deeply rooted in the Italian tradition of fine wine and food, Bottega Prosecco Bar will offer a selection of wine along with traditional finger food and specialities. The bar at Birmingham will feature a selection of dishes popular with airport passengers and an Italian breakfast menu. SSP UK and Ireland chief executive Simon Smith said: “We are delighted to be working with Bottega, which is a wonderful premium brand and a great addition to our portfolio. This is definitely prosecco’s time, and this new bar is completely on trend.” Sandro Bottega, owner and managing director of Bottega, added: “This concept, which aims to promote and enhance the reputation of our country, reflects the core values of Bottega. We also believe in the pairing of food and drink, which is why we have created our own food and wine combinations. I am particularly delighted to partner with SSP, whose knowledge and experience in the airport market and knowledge of Read More
Veeno reveals plans for up to 12 new UK sites: Italian wine cafe Veeno has revealed plans to expand with up to 12 new sites across the UK. Veeno has appointed Cedar Dean Commercial (CDC), the strategic lease management arm of property advisory firm Cedar Dean Group, to oversee its real estate strategy. CDC will provide lease advice, rent review and business rate services for the company as it looks to expand its presence in prime markets, in particular London. Cedar Dean Group’s CDG Leisure has already been appointed to help develop the business by identifying and acquiring new sites. Veeno was founded in November 2013 in Manchester by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino. It now has 18 sites across the UK and is targeting 80 sites by 2020. Caruso said: “We are delighted by the response from our growing customer base for our unique brand, and will be working with Cedar Dean Commercial to ensure more people will be able to enjoy our Italian aperitivo. We have no doubt that our expansion plans will be an enormous success.” Michael Macpherson, head of strategic lease management at Cedar Dean Commercial, added: “We are very pleased to be involved in Veeno’s Read More
Little Britain Pub Company opens fifth site: Little Britain Pub Company has opened its fifth site – a Leicestershire pub, The Langton Arms in Church Langton, which has been closed for two years. Little Britain Pub Company was established in 2009 by two families, Ben and Katie Moore, and Mike and Lesley Herington, with the intention of creating “well-designed, food-led village pubs with an emphasis on fresh food and service standards that, while not being fine dining, are a good notch ahead of your average boozer". The company also operates The Windmill in Wymeswold, The Curzon Arms in Woodhouse Eaves, The Blue Bell in Rothley and The Crown Inn in Old Dalby. The Langton Arms has been the biggest project to date for the Little Britain Pub Company, which has the mantra: “If the village had a heart it would be the pub.” The menu offers a selection of dishes – from classics such as British mussels, scampi in a basket, fish and chips, or pie of the week, to pan fried scallops, braised ox cheek, or a 35-day aged Chateaubriand for two to share. Caffe Nero posts first Irish profit: Caffe Nero have claimed there are strong growth prospects Read More
Shonhan to open second Flesh & Buns site, in Fitzrovia: Ross Shonhan, founder of Japanese ramen bar concept Bone Daddies, is to open the second site of his bao bun restaurant Flesh & Buns, in Fitzrovia. Shonhan is opening the new venue in the Copyright development in Berners Street in late June. It will differ from the original Flesh & Buns, which was launched in Covent Garden nearly five years ago, in that it will also explore Nikkei Peruvian cuisine and drinks. The menu will feature a new ceviche and tiradito offering, and hot dishes. Flesh & Buns’ signature frozen yuzu margaritas will remain on the menu, with an expansion into the Peruvian Pisco Sour, which guests can push a button at their table to order. The 170-cover restaurant will sit across one floor and will be divided in to three sections. Through the centre of the site, raised booths will divide the bar and the two parts of the restaurant. At the back of the site, there is additional seating leading to an open kitchen, with counter dining. There will also be a secluded semi-private dining room. Shonhan said: “Almost five years ago, we were the first dedicated bao Read More
Coppa Club opens fifth site, in Henley: Sector investor Hugh Osmond has opened a fifth site for his Coppa Club concept, this time in Henley. Coppa Club, which launched in Sonning-on-Thames in Berkshire in 2014, has opened three further sites in London – in Oxford Circus, St Paul’s and Tower Bridge. Now Osmond has invested £1m to convert a Strada restaurant in Bell Street into Coppa Club’s latest venue, creating almost 30 jobs. An internal wall has been demolished to create a large, open-plan dining area and kitchen along with more casual cafe seating, a log fire, sofas and a bookshelf, reports the Henley Standard. Plans for a sixth Coppa Club are in the pipeline, in nearby Maidenhead. Osmond worked with Luke Johnson to launch the flotation of PizzaExpress in 1993. He founded Punch in 1997 and private equity firm Sun Capital Partners in 2001, which acquired Strada in 2014. Trading Post Coffee Roasters opens second site as part of East Sussex expansion plan: Brighton-based Trading Post Coffee Roasters has opened its second site, in Lewes. The company has opened the venue in Cliffe High Street on a site previously occupied by The Real Eating Company. The company has acquired Read More
TRG Concessions takes on three new Edinburgh airport sites: The Restaurant Group (TRG) Concessions has taken on three new airside sites at Edinburgh airport. The company is now operating champagne bar Flutes and Tails, The Gathering and The Gathering Deli at the airport, which is the sixth-largest in the UK. Flutes and Tails offers champagne, wine, beer, spirits and cocktails alongside a wide-ranging food menu. The Gathering has a menu based on local ingredients and traditional dishes, often with a contemporary and creative twist. The Gathering Deli serves filled croissants, baguettes and hoagie rolls, alongside salads and a selection of 100% organic Fairtrade coffee. The openings further strengthen TRG’s presence in the airport with the new sites joining Barburrito, which launched in January, and BrewDog’s recently announced first airport bar in its portfolio as it looks to increase its presence at UK airports. TRG Concessions managing director Nick Ayerst said: “We are delighted to have acquired further sites at Edinburgh airport and look forward to trading them over the summer with a view to developing further award-winning concessions at the airport in 2019 and beyond. We welcome our new team members into the business and will invest in them and Read More
Cambridge-based vegan restaurant Stem + Glory hits £350,000 crowdfunding target in five hours to expand into London: Cambridge-based vegan restaurant Stem + Glory has passed its £350,000 fund-raise target on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open its third site only five hours after launch. The company opened its first site in Cambridge in October 2016 after raising more than £97,000 in a campaign on Crowdfunder. The restaurant has experienced an 84% increase in turnover year-on-year and Stem + Glory opened a second site, in Cambridge city centre, in November 2017. In the new campaign, Louise Palmer-Masterton is offering a 15% stake in return for investment and plans to open a site in Old Street, London, in July before preparing the brand for roll-out. So far, the campaign has raised £352,750 from 307 investors with 29 days remaining and is currently “overfunding”. Stem + Glory offers gourmet vegan food from locally sourced ingredients with all dishes made on-site and available to eat in or take away. Its restaurants also feature a vegan bar offering craft beer, fine wine, cocktails, mocktails and smart drinks. Palmer-Masterton also founded yoga brand Camyoga, while fellow director Jim Masters was part of nightclub Ministry of Sound and Read More
NYC Bar & Grill operator acquired out of administration: NYC Partnership, which operated five New York-themed burger restaurants and bars under the NYC Bar & Grill brand, has been acquired out of administration. Joanne Hammond and Claire Dowson, of Begbies Traynor’s Sheffield office, were appointed joint administrators of the business on 22 February. The company had expanded rapidly in the previous 18 months and obtained funding to support its growth. However, it encountered problems when the opening of its Darlington site was delayed by three months, which had a significant impact on cash flow. Sites in Bawtry, Stocksbridge, Doncaster and Hull, all in Yorkshire, were closed and staff made redundant by the company prior to entering administration. Following the appointment of administrators, a pre-pack sale of the business and assets of NYC Partnership was completed. This enabled the Darlington venue to remain operational with 15 staff transferred to the purchaser, reports Insider Media. Jamie Oliver goes Dutch with Pizzeria concept: Chef Jamie Oliver has opened his first Jamie Oliver’s Pizzeria site in the Netherlands as he continues international expansion. The 142-cover restaurant has opened in Koningstraat in Arnhem city centre. The move follows an opening of the first Jamie’s Pizzeria Read More
Conviviality cancels interim dividend payout as it bids to find cash for unexpected £30m tax bill: Conviviality, the UK alcohol wholesaler serving consumers through the on-trade and its franchise retail estate, has cancelled its interim dividend payment as it bids to make up a cash shortfall to pay an unexpected £30m tax bill by the end of the month. The company suspended its shares on AIM on Wednesday (14 March) and called in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to assist its discussions with HM Revenue & Customs and creditors. PwC is also helping the company to determine the impact of the funding shortfall on its earnings and compliance with its banking covenants. Conviviality stated: “Following the suspension of company shares from trading and pursuant to the steps being taken by the company to address the short-term funding requirement, the board has resolved to cancel the interim dividend of 4.5 pence per share that was due to be paid on Friday (16 March). As a result of the cancellation of the dividend, the company’s cash position is improved by about £8.2m.” Last week, Conviviality warned it expected adjusted Ebitda to come in 20% below market expectations. In a further update on Tuesday (13 March), Read More
Michelin-trained chef launches £555,000 crowdfunding campaign to open central London restaurant: Michelin-trained chef Harvey Trollope has launched a £555,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a restaurant in central London. Trollope is looking to launch a first permanent site for his Harvey’s British Eatery concept following a series of 40-cover pop-ups. Trollope is offering £39.5% equity in return for investment. So far, 54 investors have pledged £137,170 with 30 days remaining. The largest investment has been £50,000. The pledge states: “We will work with the best in-season produce the British Isles has to offer to break the mould of British food on the high street. We want to unearth the recipes of our British heritage. For breakfast, think artisan regional British bread and pastries alongside a range of breakfast specialities. For lunch and in the evening, grilled and roast meat, game, native seafood, vegetables, puddings and, of course, British cheese! We will also adapt forgotten regional recipes to today’s dietary needs, including vegan and gluten-free. We want to properly showcase our fantastic British vegetables and fruit. There will also be a diverse bar menu with British beer, cider, fine liqueurs and classic favourites, as well as a carefully selected Read More
Anglian Country Inns acquires ninth site as it brings Knebworth pub back in the family: Anglian Country Inns, the award-winning operator of gastro-pubs and restaurants led by James Nye, has acquired its ninth site. The company has added The Lytton Arms in Knebworth, Hertfordshire, to its estate. The free-of-tie pub overlooks the Knebworth Park estate and the Nye family has strong ties with the venue – James’ uncle, Steve Nye, built a reputation for real ale while running the site in the 1990s. The pub, which had been closed, is being restored and will reopen with a focus on the quality and range of beer. James Nye said: “When we heard about the opportunity of The Lytton Arms, it was very hard not to be excited. I had my first job scrubbing dishes in the kitchen and it is a pub very close to our family. While wet-led pubs may have been struggling during recent years, we feel there is a great opportunity to make the most of the free-of-tie position to curate an exciting collection of real ale, craft beer and cider, alongside an authentic food offer. We are excited to be writing the next chapter for The Lytton Read More
Be At One like-for-likes up 7%, plans up to seven openings in 2018: Andrew Stones, chief operating officer of cocktail bar specialist Be At One, has told Propel like-for-like sales are currently up 7% and it plans to open up to seven sites in 2018. Stones said the ratio of openings in London and the regions would be “about 50-50” and the company, which is backed by Piper and currently operates 33 venues, was currently looking for a second site in Birmingham. He added: “We have 50 places where we would like to open, which include existing locations. We’re looking to effectively double the estate in the next five years so we’re looking to open six or seven this year as part of that plan. However, we’re under no pressure when it comes to exact numbers. We are in a fortunate place where we have very supportive private equity backers and also banking partners in Santander. We would look at group acquisitions but so far nothing has really come up on that front. Then there’s the expansion on a site-by-site basis. It might take a bit longer but it means we get the exact location we want to be in.” Read More
Tossed founder – Vital Ingredient acquisition gives us chance to get under bonnet of our closest competitor, targets 50-strong estate by end of 2019: Vincent McKevitt, founder of healthy eating brand Tossed, has told Propel its acquisition of Vital Ingredient had given it the chance to “get under the bonnet” of its closest competitor. McKevitt said he would spend the next six months bedding Vital Ingredient into the business while keeping an open mind on whether the two brands would remain separate. He said: “It would be arrogant to go in and turn them all into Tossed. We will spend time learning and looking at the brand. It’s effectively a chance to get under the bonnet of your closest competitor – imagine having all that data and information about a rival company.” Explaining the reasons behind the acquisition, McKevitt said: “Strategically the deal made sense – our core product offer is very similar. We’ve done a lot of work in terms of technology and hot food – we’ve gone cashless and we’re trying to go paperless – while Vital has some great locations across London.” The acquisition of Vital Ingredient has taken Tossed’s portfolio to 38 sites – nine franchised Read More
Hubbox chief reveals expansion plans: Hubbox, which runs neighbourhood restaurants specialising in burgers, hotdogs and beer, has revealed more details of its expansion plans with two new sites and the relocation of its Exeter venue. The Richard Boon-led business currently has sites in St Ives, Bristol, Exeter, Pentewan, Plymouth and Truro and is set to launch a restaurant in Taunton and a second site in Plymouth. Boon said: “Taunton has a thriving high street but limited casual dining. Our research shows we will be well received.” Hubbox’s restaurant in Old Town Street, Plymouth, is limited by size, leading the company to secure a second site at the Royal William Yard development. Boon said: “We’ve got a beautiful building with a great interior to work with. Plymouth is more than man enough to have two Hubbox sites.” Regarding relocating the Exeter site, Boon said: “Exeter was our first bricks-and-mortar site but is limited by its size – people see it’s full and move on. We have a vision for larger sites that enable us to offer more to our customers, with bars and a longer all-day trading including breakfast and a great coffee offering. We have been looking at various sites Read More
Shepherd Neame boss – we’re very much still on the acquisition trail: Shepherd Neame chief executive Jonathan Neame has told Propel the company is “very much still on the acquisition trail” and hopes to have added two new sites in London by the end of 2018. Neame said the company was also making investments in its pubs “for the long term” and would spend £10m on refurbishments this year to help continue to drive footfall. He added: “Although we did not add any pubs to the estate in the first half of the financial year, we are very much still on the acquisition trial. We tend to expand through single-site acquisitions but we would be open to other opportunities on the market. We are looking at unique and special places, particularly in coastal areas and small villages as we continue to develop destination pubs. Saying that, we are looking at two more sites in London but it’s very early stages. We’re currently working on three schemes in the Maidstone area – one in the town centre, one on the riverside and one at Kings Hill. They are three very different offers but I think it highlights the diversity of areas Read More
Brother of late Tim Bacon to launch nightclub in Hale: The brother of the late Tim Bacon, founder of Living Ventures, is to launch a nightclub in Hale, Greater Manchester. Chris Bacon and his wife Laura, along with business partner Steve Smethurst, will launch Club Arvina on Saturday, 17 March. The 250-seat venue – named after the Latin word for “bacon” – will be based in the former Surburbia restaurant in Ashley Road. Among the services on offer to guests will be hair and make-up on arrival and a concierge service for them to book a restaurant or chauffeur. Downstairs will offer a dancing space with music as well as live entertainment such as “explosive dancers and lively percussionists”. The opening is part of a broader launch for the Arvina brand, which also includes Hair Arvina, Club Arvina and Concierge Arvina. Chris Bacon told Altrincham Today: “We aim to provide the ultimate VIP clubbing experience, making sure every customer is looked after to the highest standard. Arvina has 20 tables that can be pre-booked, with hosts to greet you from the door to your table and make your night. Arvina will provide the best service you can ask for from Read More
Gordon Ramsay confirms departure of chief executive: Gordon Ramsay Group has confirmed the departure of chief executive Stuart Gillies. A document filed on Friday (2 March) at Companies House by holding company Kavalake showed Gillies left the company on 8 February. It is understood managing director Andy Wenlock has been promoted into the role. Despite several reports of Gillies departure, there had been no official confirmation from the company. Gillies was himself promoted from managing director to chief executive in March 2016 Last year, Gordon Ramsay Group reported a return to profit following losses of £2m and £6m in the previous two years. Shake Shack – collaborations with artists and designers keeping brand 'fresh and appealing' in challenging UK casual dining market: Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati has told Propel its collaborations with designers and artists are keeping the brand fresh and appealing to consumers in an increasingly challenging UK casual dining market. For its latest collaboration, the company has teamed with Grammy and MOBO-award winning producer Shahid Khan – aka Naughty Boy – to launch limited-edition chicken burger, The Naughty One. And Rosati said it would continue to explore similar "partnerships" in the future. He added: "I think Read More
Grillstock creditors face £1.3m deficiency: Creditors of American-style barbecue restaurant Grillstock, which went into administration last year before being bought by a new company, are facing an estimated total deficiency of £1.3m, a new document has revealed. A statement of affairs notice filed at Companies House by administrators Gareth Roberts and Paul Ellison, of KRE Corporate Recovery, showed a total deficiency of £1,300,633. Five-strong Grillstock went into administration following the issue of a winding-up petition by HM Revenue & Customs. Grillstock owed £258,723 in VAT and £187,107 in PAYE and did not have the necessary funds to pay. Draft accounts for the nine months to 27 August 2017 showed the company made a loss of £186,000 on turnover of £1,846,000. For the year ending 27 November 2016, Grillstock made a loss of £314,000 on turnover of £3,130,000. Secured creditor NatWest is owed £199,932, while 14 employees and former staff are owed £11,800. Grillstock was sold out of administration to a new company, Hedrick, which includes some of the business’ former directors, for a total consideration of £92,000. The sale was for the Bristol, Bath and Leicester restaurants and a market stall in Bristol. It did not include the company’s Walthamstow Read More
Bubbleology heads for Wales with Cardiff opening: Bubbleology, the London bubble tea bar operator, is set to head to Wales by opening a site in Cardiff. Founder Assad Khan has applied to the city council to open the outlet on the ground floor of Elgin House in St Mary’s Street and hopes to open the venue in April, reports Wales Online. Bubble tea is the name given to flavoured fruit tea and milk tea served hot or cold with chewy tapioca balls. Its menu includes salted cream cheese crowns, which blend Philadelphia cheese, cream, organic milk and Himalayan rock salt; along with hot or cold milk teas; fruit tea and coffee mixtures. Bubbleology, which has ten sites in London and one in Leeds, is looking to roll out the brand across the UK. The company said it is growing at a rate of about 20 to 30 new shops per year and has 60 sites worldwide. Khan launched Bubbleology after discovering the drink in New York’s Chinatown while working in the city. On returning to the UK in 2011, he started working on a plan for Bubbleology and now operates in nine countries. Pub Invest Group launches gastro-pub at former Read More
Pret A Manger chief asks for feedback on proposed plastic bottle scheme: Pret A Manger chief executive Clive Schlee has requested customer feedback on whether the company should introduce a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles. Pret would like to trial its own initiative in its Brighton stores in April. Schlee posted on his blog: “The idea is we would add 10p to all plastic bottles and return 10p for each Pret bottle given back to our teams to recycle. The aim is to understand how many bottles are returned and see if it encourages more customers to opt for a re-usable bottle. We will, of course, reinvest any unclaimed deposits in future sustainability work. It will take time to eliminate unnecessary plastic but I hope this sort of initiative will bring that day forward by drawing attention to the issue and stimulating new ideas. We’d like to trial a deposit scheme this April in Brighton. We’ve chosen Brighton because we have three busy shops there and we know the local people are highly attuned to the environment. If it is successful, we could extend the scheme across the country during the autumn.” Deltic Group shuts Stourbridge venue after 3,500 Read More
Casual Dining Group chief blames online booking services for no shows: Casual Dining Group chief operating officer James Spragg has blamed online booking services for a huge rise in restaurant no shows as the company backed the #StopNoShow campaign launched by restaurateur Damian Wawrzyniak. Spragg said no shows once made up only 5% of bookings per night but could now be as high as 15%, adding the issue was fuelled by online booking services that allowed diners to book via smartphone. Spragg told the Guardian: “It’s so much easier for people to book, they are booking two or three restaurants and only turning up at one.” He said the group was considering asking for a small deposit for parties of six or more with an option to cancel up to 48 hours before the reservation date. Casual Dining Group could trial the initiative in the next few months. Wawrzyniak launched the #StopNoShow campaign after missed bookings cost his Peterborough restaurant House of Feasts £3,000 in one weekend. Peter Sánchez-Iglesias, co-owner of Paco Tapas in Bristol, said the restaurant was losing up to 10% of bookings on a Saturday night, amounting to thousands of pounds in sales each week. He said: Read More
Chris Hill – NWTC’s record position on Sunday Times list is validation of staff initiatives: New World Trading Company (NWTC) chief executive Chris Hill has told Propel its record-breaking position on the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list is a validation of how it has approached staff engagement “from the start”. The company placed seventh, moving up from its first appearance on the list – tenth – last year. The annual awards rely solely on the opinions and views of staff in the workplace to generate the top 100. Hill told Propel: “We are over the moon to be the highest placed food and beverage operator since the list began. We’re really proud of the results and it’s the biggest validation from our teams of how we set out from the start.” NWTC operates 20 venues across seven brands and employs 1,100 staff. The Sunday Times invited all NWTC staff to rate the company, its management and working environments. This feedback was then analysed to determine a place on the list. To be placed on the Sunday Times list, 40% of staff have to respond. Hill said: “That means about 500 staff must have responded, and most Read More
Be At One reveals ‘strong pipeline for year’ as it reopens debut Battersea site following £200,000 revamp: Cocktail bar specialist Be At One has revealed it has a “strong pipeline for this year” as it reopens its debut site, in Battersea, following a £200,000 refurbishment. The site in Battersea Rise has undergone a transformation to feature a new exterior, centre-stage gold bar, neon signs, mural artwork and wood-panelled walls. Chief operating officer Andrew Stones said: “We’re really excited about this investment. It’s an important and nostalgic project for the company as Battersea was the first Be At One bar having opened in 1998. We have put a great deal of thought into the look and feel. We want to continue the pace of our current momentum and this includes revamping our existing portfolio of bars as much as it does opening new venues. This project follows a similar recent programme at our Hammersmith bar, with excellent results, so we’re extremely excited to see how the Battersea bar is received by our customers. While the bar has a slightly different look to some of our others, it definitely still holds the classic Be At One feel. Guest experience continues to be Read More
Pesto reports turnover passes £10m mark: Pesto, which focuses on Italian food in a pub setting, has reported turnover increased to £10,186,648 for the year ending 30 June 2017, compared with £9,468,348 the previous year. Pre-tax profit fell to £62,230 compared with £197,151 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In a report filed with the accounts, the directors stated: “During the year the company opened its ninth and tenth sites in Marton in Cheshire and Oakerthorpe in Derbyshire respectively. All sites continue to perform well and the management team is focused on opening more in the coming year. The operating profit for the year was £236,050 (2016: £381,502) with the decrease from the prior year reflecting the costs associated with opening two new sites in the financial year.” At the end of the period, the number of employees increased to 331 from 307 the previous year. Pesto, which is owned by Sara Edwards and Neil Gatt, operates restaurants across the Midlands and north west. Innis & Gunn appoints director of operations for Beer Kitchens business: Scottish brewer and retailer Innis & Gunn has appointed Stephen Drew as its new director of operations for its Beer Kitchen Read More
City District Group teams up with Pep Guardiola and Michelin-starred chef to launch Catalan concept in Manchester: City District Group, which operates Brazilian rodizio restaurant brand Fazenda, is to team up with Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Michelin-starred chef Paco Perez to launch a Catalan concept. Guardiola and Manchester City director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano have invested in Tast Cuina Catalana, which will open in King Street in the summer bringing a taste of their native Catalonia to Manchester. The 120-cover venue will take over a site formerly occupied by Aria Leisure’s Middle Eastern concept Suri, which closed in August. Tast will be set over three floors, with a casual dining and bar area on the ground floor, a first-floor dining room and private rooms on the second floor. Perez has five Michelin stars to his name, including two each at Miramar in Girona and Enoteca in Barcelona – a city where he has six restaurants in total. City District Group co-founder Tomas Maunier told the Manchester Evening News: “We are hugely excited to be working with these amazing creative talents. Paco’s reputation is immense and we will serve some of his and Pep’s Read More
Andreas Karlsson – being surrounded by high-quality operators helps rather than hinders Sticks ‘n’ Sushi: Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Japanese restaurant brand Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, has told Propel he believes being surrounded by high-quality operators is proving helpful rather than a hindrance to the business. Karlsson said the company, which has reported turnover rose to £15.6m in the year to 30 June 2017, was trading ahead of last year in terms of both revenue and customer numbers in what was a difficult time for the casual dining market. He added the company’s latest sites, which opened in Oxford and the Nova development in Victoria in November and December respectively, were doing “well”. “We are not seeing a drop in sales despite the increased competition, particularly in places such as Canary Wharf,” said Karlsson. “I think competition actually helps – if you have neighbours that are doing well then you do well. We need each other. Not everyone wants to eat pizza or sushi every time for example – the places that are doing the best have variety. Trading wise, we are in a solid place. It’s a pretty simple recipe for success – a nicely designed restaurant, Read More
Jamie Oliver set for another hit with Barbecoa ‘on brink of collapse’: Jamie Oliver's steak restaurant Barbecoa is on “the brink of collapse”, as the company scrambles to avoid administration. The management is understood to be having one last attempt to save the chain this week, with 160 jobs at stake. Last week, property agent Christie & Co confirmed it was engaged in finding buyers for the leases on the chain's two sites. But sources told City AM the brand was having trouble finding takers for the expensive venues. The restaurants, at One New Change near St Paul's and in Piccadilly, are understood to have a rent of more than £1m per year between them. A third restaurant had been planned for Victoria, but this has now been scrapped. If the rescue attempt is unsuccessful, the brand, which is part of the Oliver's restaurant empire but separate to Jamie's Italian, could enter administration as soon as this week. It is thought that some senior staff at Barbecoa have even begun looking for alternative employment. Jamie Oliver Group confirmed it had instructed real estate experts to ascertain "potential value and market suitability of two of our sites" but declined to comment Read More
Bel & The Dragon targets larger sites for expansion as it aims to capitalise on accommodation: Bel & The Dragon, the Longshot-owned collection of country inns across the south east, is targeting larger sites for expansion as it aims to make the most of accommodation. Hector Ross told Propel the six-strong company, whose five sites with accommodation will each have between five and 18 rooms by the end of 2018, was looking to acquire coaching inns with 20 to 40 bedrooms to add to its portfolio. He said as with its current country inns, sites needed to be within an “hour-and-a-half” of west London in an area spanning the A3 to the M40. Accommodation currently accounts for about £1m of Bel & The Dragon’s turnover and Ross is keen to increase that figure further especially, he said, as 80% of people who stay at its sites also dine. Ross said: “What we want is bums in beds – it’s critical for us because of the impact it has on our dining figures. The staycation market is also growing. We currently have about a 70% occupancy rate, which is growing every month. We’ve worked hard to improve the quality of food Read More
Heavitree Brewery reports turnover boost: Heavitree Brewery, the Exeter-based tenanted pub operator, has reported turnover increased by £144,000 to £7,299,000 for the year ending 31 October 2017. Group operating profit was up by £358,000 to £1,778,000. Adjusted operating profit before tax rose 25.21% to £1,778,000. During the year The Pen And Quill in Taunton was sold, generating a small loss of £5,000. Impairments on this site had been absorbed in the accounts of previous years. Since the accounts were finalised, The King Of Prussia in Bovey Tracey has been sold. It closed in 2009 with a small rental income retained from the letting of a flat – the pub will be converted into a community facility. The Crown & Sceptre in Newton St Cyres, which closed in June 2017, and The Kings Arms in Strete, which shut in September 2016, are on the market with sales agreed, subject to contract. Further improvements to camping facilities and caravan pitches have been made to the Dartmoor Halfway Inn in Bickington. The company said it had no further major developments planned for 2018, while the new year had started “satisfactorily”. Vivino wine app raises $20m in Series C funding for international expansion: Wine Read More
Polpo explores small spaces format: Polpo co-founder Russell Norman has told Propel it is looking at the possibility of developing a new version of the Venetian-inspired restaurant concept that would work in smaller-sized sites. Norman and co-founder Richard Beatty recently closed the company’s regional sites in Bristol and Exeter, which had shown the “limitations of the brand in provincial markets”. However, Norman said they remained “totally committed” to Polpo as a brand and it still had a “lot to offer”. He added: “The regional closures of Polpo have shown us the limitations of the brand in provincial markets but also allowed us to focus where we know it works – high-volume urban locations with strong lunch potential and a dining out culture on weekdays as well as weekends. We are totally committed to Polpo as a brand and all three of us – me, Richard Beatty and managing director Scott Macdonald – believe it still has a lot to offer in its current guise and, possibly, in a diffusion version for smaller locations. Watch this space!” Polpo has five sites in London and one remaining outside the capital – in Brighton. Hop Stuff Brewery to close crowdfunding campaign on Friday Read More
ETM Group reports like-for-likes up 48% at Greenwood as Super Bowl generates record sales: ETM Group, the 13-strong bar and restaurant company, has reported its Greenwood site in Victoria’s Nova development saw like-for-like sales increase 48% for the week ending 11 February. The venue saw revenue more than double on Super Bowl Sunday, which saw the Greenwood team pull almost 3,000 pints and flip more than 1,000 burgers. The company stated: “This clearly demonstrates just one year after opening that Greenwood has established itself as London’s premier sporting destination and the only place to watch some of the world’s biggest fixtures and tournaments.” Co-founder Ed Martin added: “We are thrilled with last week’s performance and, with a fantastic year of sport such as Six Nations, World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup, we are confident Greenwood will continue to thrive along with our other sports-friendly sites in the City, the recently opened Broadleaf and Long Arm Pub & Brewery.” Former Hungryhouse head of sales launches £500,000 crowdfunding campaign to expand Leeds-based food delivery app to major UK cities: Former Hungryhouse head of sales Mandeep Singh has launched a £500,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand his Leeds-based food delivery Read More
Deliveroo considers plans for £1.5bn float: Deliveroo is considering plans for a £1.5bn stock market float. Consultants at PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed to evaluate strategic options, including a listing in the next 12 to18 months. It is understood the company could go public in either London or New York. A float would value Deliveroo, which is yet to make a profit, in excess of $2bn (£1.5bn), reports The Sunday Times. Deliveroo lets users order food for home delivery from thousands of restaurants, including companies such as Nando’s and PizzaExpress. It charges for an order and takes a commission from the restaurants in its network. The business has grown rapidly since it was founded more than five years ago by William Shu, a former investment banker, and now operates in 12 countries. Turnover in 2016 increased by 611% to £128.6m. However, the cost of doing business has meant the company has not come close to making a pre-tax profit. In 2016, its loss widened to £129.1m compared with £30.1m the year before as it spent heavily on promotion and new technology. Last year, Deliveroo raised $385m from investment giants including Fidelity and T Rowe Price. The most recent fund-raising round gave Read More
Sayers the Bakers returns to profit: North west-based independent retail bakery Sayers the Bakers has reported a return to profit, albeit a small one. The company saw turnover of £48,307,000 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £48,520,000 the previous year. It reported a pre-tax profit of £34,000 compared with a loss of £114,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. A report by the directors accompanying the accounts stated: “We plan to continue this upward trend in the coming year by means of investment in fixed assets in the existing estate, opening several new shops and an ongoing focus on cost control.” The number of employees during the period fell to 1,582 from 1,625 the previous year. Sayers the Bakers has more than 150 stores throughout the north west. The company was established by Fred and Lylian Sayer in Liverpool in 1912. Islington building home to D&D London’s Radici restaurant goes on market for £3.6m: The Islington building that is home to D&D London’s Radici restaurant has gone on the market for a guide price of £3.645m, reflecting a net initial yield of 4%. Savills, on behalf of a private vendor, has been instructed Read More
Boparan starts hunt for franchise partners to expand brands into Europe: Boparan Restaurant Group, which owns Giraffe, Ed’s Easy Diner and Harry Ramsden’s, has said it is looking to expand the brands into Europe and is seeking master franchisees or area developers. The company brought the brands together in early 2017 following a series of acquisitions, rebranding and relaunching them with new menus and designs while adding assisted service and quick-service options. Boparan Restaurant Group franchise director Brett Boyers said: “We are delighted with the success of these brands and have decided the time is right to expand further overseas. We are targeting master franchisees or area developers in Europe that have the necessary funds and experience behind them to launch these brands and replicate and build on the UK success. Europe is an exciting, growing market place with huge potential. Investment levels will vary depending on criteria such as seating capacity and range from circa £280,000 to £1.1m per unit plus a master/area developer’s fee and local training provision and marketing development costs. Last month, Boparan Restaurant Group partnered with Slim Chickens USA to bring the fast-casual, fresh chicken brand to the UK market, with a London opening scheduled Read More
Di Maggio’s Group reports turnover boost: Scottish restaurant operator Di Maggio’s Group has reported turnover increased to £34,862,713 for the year ending 30 April 2017, compared with £33,798,490 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down to £5,332,218 compared with £5,768,519 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Gross profit margin fell slightly to 71.6% from 71.7% the previous year. The company stated: “The directors are satisfied with the group’s performance during the period, which saw turnover increase by £1,064,000 to £34,863,000 (2016: £33,798,000). This increase in revenues was achieved through organic growth as well as the opening of new restaurants. At the period end shareholders’ funds totalled £12,238,000 (2016: £11,086,000). The group continues to be a significant employer within the Scottish central belt. The directors continue to look for suitable restaurant sites to expand the group’s business.” The company operates 24 restaurants and is due to open the £8m Anchorline Aparthotel in Glasgow in August. Chilled Pubs takes on site used by Harry Ramsden’s to debut pub format for fourth venue, aims for 15-strong estate: Chilled Pubs, owned by former British Institute of Innkeeping licensees of the year Richard and Loren Pope, has secured its fourth venue. Read More
Upham Group boss – our pubs have moved to the next level: Upham Group chief executive Chris Phillips has told Propel he believes its pubs have “moved to the next level” following a year of consolidating the estate. He said: “We’ve done a lot of work on developing our existing pubs. We get a much better return on investment by working with what we’ve got. We’ve increased the number of bedrooms and restaurant covers at some of our sites and it’s not really affecting operational costs. With our rural pubs, we’re building a corporate offering at the start of the week – we have no problems filling our pubs at the weekend. It’s been a year of consolidation and the pubs have moved to the next level. The White Hart in Overton in Hampshire had its biggest week last week. We’re also putting in new food procurement systems that should help us with our food margins.” Phillips said the company, which operates 16 premium pubs across the south of England, with its own regional brewery, would like to add “a couple” of sites this year and was still targeting a 30-strong estate. He added: “We are looking at our strategy Read More
Soho House eyes stock market float in US: Soho House is eyeing a stock market flotation in New York that would value the company at about $2bn. The company has hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan to review fund-raising options, with the current preference being for an initial public offering later this year. It is also evaluating alternatives, including selling stock to a private investor in Asia. The group has opened 18 clubs around the world, and has plans to open three to four more every year. In 2017, Soho House signed a £275m refinancing agreement with Permira Debt Managers for a secured loan that will mature over five years, with the option of a further £100m of potential financing. The new loan will enable the company to immediately repay £152.5m in existing bonds and £40m in payment-in-kind notes. In December 2015, it failed in an attempt to tap the bond market. Soho House blamed market conditions for the aborted £200m issue, but investors spoke of concerns around debt levels at the company. In the year to January 1, 2017, Soho House said revenues increased 3.4% to £294.6m, while global membership had increased 23.9% to almost 70,000, helping to Read More
Fuller’s promotes Fred Turner to director of operations – tenanted: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has promoted Fred Turner to director of operations – tenanted, with immediate effect. Turner joined the company in 2013 as deputy operations manager before being promoted to operations manager – quality in 2014 and joining tenanted inns as Mike Clist’s understudy in September 2015. Chief executive Simon Emeny said: “Since taking over the running of the tenanted division in November 2015, Fred has introduced a new strategy and several exciting new opportunities around recruitment, food and leveraging our managed experience. The new turnover agreement is just one result of this work and is already proving successful.” Hop Stuff Brewery starts talks over four Jamie’s Italian sites: Hop Stuff Brewery has started conversations over the potential acquisition of four of the 12 Jamie’s Italian sites earmarked for closure and is also in separate negotiations over a property in Greenwich, south east London. Founder James Yeomans told Propel the company, which is currently embarking on a crowdfunding campaign to aid expansion of its taproom estate, was interested in the Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Bristol, Chelmsford, Kingston-upon-Thames and Threadneedle Street in London. The 12 sites are being closed Read More
TRG Concessions takes over JD Wetherspoon pub at Aberdeen airport: The Restaurant Group (TRG) Concessions has opened its fifth catering outlet in Aberdeen International Airport and has become its exclusive catering partner. TRG Concessions has worked with the airport since 2009 to develop and operate catering concessions and employs a team of 60 on-site at the summer peak. The Granite City pub has been taken over by TRG Concessions as part of a long-term investment programme at the airport that will see more than £2m spent refurbishing and developing the food and beverage offers over the next 18 months. The pub was previously operated by JD Wetherspoon. The Granite City is located before security control and is named after an affectionate term for Aberdeen. The pub will retain its name but undergo a refurbishment and menu refresh in the coming months. Nick Ayerst, managing director of TRG Concessions, said: “The Granite City is the perfect addition to our portfolio and our refurbishment will enhance the mix of catering available for passengers at Aberdeen International Airport. We look forward to welcoming our new team members into the business and investing in them and the site over the coming months. Being the Read More
Mowgli reports like-for-like sales up 11.5% in December, plans five new sites in 2018: Indian street food restaurant Mowgli has reported like-for-like sales up 11.5% in December, while it has also told Propel it plans to open five sites in 2018. Mowgli, founded by barrister and food writer Nisha Katona in 2014, currently operates two sites in its home city of Liverpool and one each in Manchester and Birmingham. Mowgli said all the restaurants were outperforming expectations, with the Birmingham site already trading above initial projections after opening late last year. The next opening will be at the Westgate development in Oxford in early March. Mowgli said it was also seeking sites in Nottingham, Leeds and another in Manchester, while identifying the right site and opportunity in London was also part of its strategic plan. In July, Mowgli secured £3.45m in expansion funding from independent infrastructure, private equity and investment manager Foresight Group, which brought experienced leisure sector executive Karen Jones on board as chairman. Katona said: “Mowgli is all about the fresh, light zing of an Indian home kitchen. The menu is entirely comprised of dishes from my family’s recipes. I take curry virgin chefs on principle and teach Read More
Ivy Collection acquires Brasserie Blanc site in St Albans following ‘very attractive’ offer: The Ivy Collection, owned by Caprice Holdings, has acquired the site of Raymond Blanc’s French restaurant group Brasserie Blanc in St Albans. The restaurant in Verulam Road is set to close next week. A Brasserie Blanc spokeswoman told The Herts Advertiser: “After over five years of positive trading in St Albans, the decision to close Brasserie Blanc has not been an easy one. We continually evaluate where the most appropriate locations are for our brasseries. This means we have a healthy programme of openings but also leads to us relocating or closing certain sites. The offer made to us by Caprice Holdings (The Ivy) was very attractive and will be invested into the expansion programme. Last year saw the opening of our 19th and 20th sites in Fulham Reach and Bournemouth and we look forward to announcing further openings in the coming year. All staff are being offered the opportunity to relocate to one of our other Brasserie Blancs or our partner White Brasserie Company pubs in the surrounding area. We would like to thank all our wonderful guests for their custom and loyalty during our time Read More
Jon Lake joins Chopstix Group as managing director: Chopstix Group, which owns and operates premium brands Chopstix and Yangtze, has hired Jon Lake as managing director with immediate effect. Lake has held a number of key roles within multinational organisations including Fine Food Capital where he was development director and Deloitte where he was director of mergers and acquisitions specialising in the licensed retail sector. Prior to that, Lake held senior management posts with both Punch and Whitbread. Lake will work closely with Chopstix Group founders, Sam Elia and Menashe Sadik, who in the past two years have tripled Chopstix’s market presence to 75 units, and with the acquisition of Yangtze last year, now have a combined outlet count of 84 stores. Elia said: “We are delighted to have attracted Jon to the business, as he brings with him a first-class reputation for achieving success. We have extremely ambitious growth plans both in the UK and overseas but appreciate there will be challenges along the way so are pleased to have Jon at the helm, as we move forward.” Lake added: “Chopstix Group is undoubtedly becoming a real force within the sector, operating premium brands which offer huge potential both Read More
SSP Group chief executive sees remuneration jump to almost £6.5m: Kate Swann, chief executive of UK transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group, has seen her remuneration rise to nearly £6.5m for the year ending 30 September 2017, the company’s annual report has revealed. Swann received a total of £6,478,000, compared with £2,608,000 the year before. This included an annual bonus of £1,561,000 – 200% of salary – that was based on the company’s underlying group operating profit, which exceeded budget by 7.0%. The remainder of her remuneration consisted of £746,000 salary and fees, £66,000 in benefits, £275,000 pension, £3,829,000 in long-term incentives and £1,000 of “other” pay. Meanwhile, chief financial officer Jonathan Davies saw his total remuneration increase to £2,209,000, compared with £921,000 the previous year. This consisted of £413,000 salary and fees, £15,000 in benefits, £88,000 pension, £416,000 annual bonus, £1,276,000 in long-term incentives and £1,000 in “other” pay. Both Swann and Davies received a 2% salary increase from 1 June 2017, in line with the average salary increases awarded to UK employees who are paid on a monthly basis. This resulted in Swann’s salary increasing to £795,906 and Davies’ to £424,483. Authentic Alehouses extends £5m crowdfunding campaign until Read More
Des McDonald closes £3m Japanese rooftop restaurant at Birmingham hotel: Restaurateur Des McDonald has closed his £3m izakaya-style rooftop restaurant Rofuto at the Park Regis Hotel in Birmingham. The Japanese restaurant, and accompanying cocktail lounge and sake bar Kurabu, opened in April 2016 on the 16th floor of the hotel offering 360-degree views of the city’s skyline at more than 141 feet. However, the restaurant has closed because of “inconsistency in the market and fluctuation in trading”. It said on its website: “For just short of two years we’ve been shaking up Birmingham’s culinary scene but, unfortunately, we have closed our doors for the final time.” A Park Regis Hotel spokesman told the Birmingham Mail: “The rooftop restaurant has proved tremendously popular later in the week and at weekends, while busy periods earlier in the week have only tended to come from less-frequent private and corporate bookings rather than individual groups. Inconsistency and fluctuation in trade at the start of the week makes planning difficult so hotel managers are looking to change the way the restaurant operates within the context of the whole business and its dining and conferencing offer.” Peckham pub operators launch vegan restaurant and live music concept: Read More
K10 explores funding options to develop Beer & Buns as it closes in on concept’s second site: Beer & Buns, the offshoot of London-based sushi brand K10, which is led by Chris Kemper, is exploring funding options to develop its concept as it closes in on a second site, Propel has learned. Beer & Buns, which features brews, soft Asian buns and chicken wings, was launched in 2015 and is now based above the K10 sushi restaurant in Appold Street. Propel understands the company is currently in legals for a second site for Beer & Buns, while a spokesman confirmed it was at the “very early stages” of exploring funding options. Beer & Buns’ website states: “Born out of frustration of not being able to find a decent bar that provided great beer and authentic food, we decided to create it ourselves. Beer & Buns is our take on a Japanese izakaya that offers the UK’s largest range of Japanese craft beer and soft, pillow-like steamed Hirata buns filled with a choice of delicious fillings. Oh, and we also make incredibly crispy Korean-style jumbo chicken wings.” Brunning & Price completes first acquisition of 2018, outlines requirements for further sites: Brunning Read More
Former Salt Yard Group chef director joins City of London hotel with view to launching restaurant projects: Former Salt Yard Group chef director Ben Tish has joined The Stafford London hotel as culinary director with a view to launching new restaurant projects. Tish will oversee the entire food offering at the five-star hotel in St James’s, including The Game Bird restaurant, American Bar, Wine Cellar, private dining, suites and in-room dining. Tish and the hotel will also look to launch restaurant projects in the “near future” that will focus on Tish’s signature style and love of European cuisine. Tish said: “I am delighted to join the team at The Stafford. They had such a great year in 2017 with the launch of The Game Bird.” The Stafford London general manager Stuart Procter added: “We are thrilled to welcome Ben to the hotel. He is an incredible chef and together we look forward to evolving the offering at The Game Bird and across the hotel along with launching exciting projects.” Tish spent his formative years working with Michelin-starred chefs such as Jason Atherton and Stephen Terry. He left Salt Yard Group, where he launched Soho sites Dehesa, Ember Yard and Opera Read More
Investors back call to spin off Costa from Whitbread: Major investors have thrown their weight behind calls to break up Whitbread and spin off Costa Coffee. A top 20 shareholder in the company told the Sunday Telegraph they were supportive of US hedge fund Sachem Head’s proposal to split Whitbread in two. The move would represent Costa and Whitbread’s hotels and restaurants arm going their separate ways and becoming independent businesses. Chief executive Alison Brittain said on Friday (19 January) it did not make sense to sell Costa as it was half way through a reinvigoration plan but confirmed the board regularly reviewed the company’s structure. However, one top investor said: “We think now is the time to consider a de-merger of the Costa business. For many years we’ve seen Whitbread as a good owner of these businesses and resisted calls to break it up. But clearly Costa has not had it as good since. No shareholder would stick with this status quo of keeping these two businesses together forever.” Another leading shareholder said the current share price “doesn’t represent the full value of the assets”. A meeting with new Whitbread chairman Adam Crozier is expected to take place in Read More
UK’s first vegan pizzeria Purezza seeks investment for further expansion after securing Camden Town site for second restaurant: Brighton-based Purezza, the UK’s first vegan pizzeria, is seeking investment for further expansion after securing its second site, in Camden Town, north London. Stefania Evangelisti and Tim Barclay launched the concept in St James’s Street, Brighton, in 2015. Now it will open its second site next month in Camden Town having acquired the former Market restaurant in Parkway in a deal brokered by agents Fleurets. Purezza has signed a new 20-year lease. Evangelisti said: “A London-based Purezza has always been an ambition of ours. We are delighted to have acquired the Camden site, bringing our pioneering food into the capital.” With aggressive expansion plans, Purezza is seeking investment to grow into further cities around the UK. Fleurets divisional director Andy Frisby said: “This acquisition will not only see the operation expand into the capital but also be of huge benefit to growing the Purezza brand due to the substantial footfall and profile of the area. The restaurant will cater for up to 100 covers across two floors.” The menu will largely mirror the Brighton site’s offering, which provides plant-based versions of classic Read More
Delhi street food concept Hankies to launch upmarket restaurant format in Marble Arch: Delhi street food concept Hankies, which operates a cafe in Shaftesbury Avenue, is to launch an upmarket restaurant format this month, in Marble Arch. Hankies offers Indian tapas and specialises in roti – flatbread that is hand-spun until thin enough to read through, cooked on a roomali tawa, which resembles an upside down wok, and folded into “hankies” in front of customers. The concept is the brainchild of Anirudh Arora, whose dishes include bhindi bhel (crispy rice puffs with okra, sweet chutney, onions and fresh coriander). The flagship restaurant will be located in Montcalm Hotel in Berkeley Street and will be much larger than Hankies’ debut site, featuring glassware and china sourced from Indian markets and antique stores. It will also feature the addition of a tandoor oven, producing offerings such as skewers of prawns with chives and garlic, and chilli lamb chops marinated in Kashmiri chillies, paprika and mustard. The drinks list will feature cocktails and lassi. Bea Vo to start expansion of Butterscotch bakery concept with second London site: Bea Vo, who founded the Beas of Bloomsbury chain, is to start expansion of her Butterscotch Read More
McDonald’s to offer recycling in all restaurants: McDonald’s has said it is responding to customers’ number-one request by setting goals for switching to environmentally friendly packaging and offering recycling in all its restaurants by 2025. Currently, the company offers recycling in about 10% of its restaurants and has committed to eliminating foam packaging from its global supply chain by the end of 2018. McDonald’s said it would work with industry experts, local governments and environmental groups to improve packaging designs, create new recycling programmes, set progress benchmarks, and educate its employees and customers. Tom Murray, vice-president of corporate partnerships at the Environmental Defense Fund, one of McDonald’s partners on the waste reduction and recycling initiative, told Reuters: “These goals have the potential to be transformational because no other restaurant has the scope and global supply chain of McDonald’s. When McDonald’s began its waste reduction efforts nearly 30 years ago, the business and environmental benefits were immediate – the company saved an estimated $6m a year.” Nando’s opens music studio at Soho restaurant: Nando’s has launched a music studio at its restaurant in Frith Street, Soho. The move follows the company’s launch of Nando’s Music Exchange, a programme that inspires the Read More
Des Gunewardena – D&D London remains focused on expansion with number of ‘good opportunities’ being looked at for second half of 2018 and beyond: D&D London chairman Des Gunewardena has told Propel the company remains focused on expansion with a number of “good opportunities” being looked at for the second half of 2018 and beyond. The company, which saw UK like-for-like sales increase 4% for the four weeks to 31 December 2017, currently has three sites set to open this year – Bluebird restaurants in New York and London’s White City development, and 20 Stories, a 300-cover venue at the top of the newly built 1 Spinningfields in Manchester. Further launches are planned in 2019, including a new modern brasserie concept at Hudson Yards in New York. Gunewardena said the company was working on further deals. He said: “Our strategy is to continue to grow the business. We are looking at a number of good potential opportunities for the second half of this year. Our business is 90% UK-based and 80% of that is in London. With the openings we’ve got coming up in New York we will do more overseas but our focus will remain on the UK.” Gunewardena Read More
Charles Wells to open 14th French pub next month: Charles Wells is to open its 14th pub in France next month. The latest opening will be the Queen Victoria in Lille (population: 228,000), the company’s first pub in the city. Charles Wells is also understood to be in negotiations to open a site in the French seaside city of La Rochelle (population: 80,000). The French expansion is part of Charles Wells’ development of its pub estate in the wake of the sale of its Bedford brewery to Marston’s last year. The company told Propel its French portfolio of pubs were €147,000 up on budget in December, while its four-strong Pizza, Pots and Pints managed estate beat budget by £86,000. The company plans to invest £2.5m in its 186-strong tenanted division in the current year. It will also open its fourth Apostrophe premium pub next month, The Bull In Olney. The company is also expected to unveil plans for a new micro-brewery in Bedford in the coming weeks. Chef director Yogesh Datta to convert Chelsea restaurant into new sustainability concept: Indian chef Yogesh Datta is putting sustainability at the heart of a new concept he is launching at the former site Read More
The Alchemist aims to open five or six sites in the next year following £16m finance deal, Christmas like-for-likes up 5%: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, is aiming to open five or six sites in the next year having secured a £16m finance package from existing debt-funders Santander. Finance director Victoria Stewart told Propel the company, which currently operates 12 venues, was looking at a “bit of a bumper year”. It will open a site in Nottingham next month – its first in the East Midlands – followed by venues in Cardiff and Bristol and the company is now looking at further acquisitions. Stewart said: “A lot of our sites are new or have been recently refurbished so we are focused on using the additional capital for expansion. The rental market seems to be softening a bit so we think there will be some good opportunities. I’m expecting we will open five or six sites in the next year, focusing particularly on London. There are a number of cities where we have dual sites that work really well. Our site just off Liverpool Street is performing brilliantly so we are really keen to add to that Read More
Loungers looking at 40 sites as it continues to build pipeline for 2018 and beyond: Loungers chief executive Nick Collins has told Propel the company is currently looking at about 40 sites as it continues to build its pipeline for 2018 and beyond. Collins said he also believed there would be further opportunities for the Lion Capital-backed group, which operates the Lounges and Cosy Club brands, as other operators looked to dispose of sites. The company, which currently operates 114 venues, is looking to add 25 further outlets this year as its roll-out intentions remain unchanged. A further seven or eight openings are scheduled for the final quarter of its financial year, including a Cosy Club in Lincoln and Lounge sites in Solihull, Ormskirk and recently acquired sites from Wildwood and Prezzo in Abingdon and Moseley respectively. Collins said: “We are in various stages of negotiations on about 40 sites that will take us into 2019. Of course, some of them will fall by the wayside because we have always been very strict with our rent parameters. On the property side, it’s important to be fleet of foot and I think further opportunities are likely to arise with a number Read More
Amber Taverns planning up to 12 openings in 2018: Community pub operator Amber Taverns is planning to open between ten and 12 sites this year. Operations director Gary Roberts told Propel: “Six of these have already been identified and are in various stages of legal and planning. Hopefully another couple of Hogarths Gin Palaces will also be added to the estate.” Amber Taverns has acquired its first two sites of 2018 – the Thre3 bar in Ripley, Derbyshire, and has taken on the Commercial Hotel in the village of Rainhill in Merseyside from Greene King. Roberts said the company planned to invest about £450,000 to transform the Thre3 bar into a community pub with a “premium sports offer”. He added: “We will start work in the next few months once licensing and planning has been received. We will be recruiting a local operator and envisage we will create about 12 full and part-time positions.” Mudman to bring Greyhound Cafe brand to UK this week with Fitzrovia opening: Mudman, the master franchise operator of Au Bon Pain, Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ Donuts in Thailand, is to bring its Bangkok-style Greyhound Cafe concept to the UK. The company will open the site in Read More
India-based fine-dining restaurant Chokhi Dhani to make UK debut next month, in Battersea: India-based fine-dining restaurant Chokhi Dhani is to make its UK debut next month, in London. The restaurant in Riverside Walk, Battersea, is the brainchild of chef, hotelier and entrepreneur Kriti Vaswani who is following in the footsteps of her father, Gul Vaswani, who launched the first Chokhi Dhani venue in Jaipur, Rajasthan, in 1990. As well as highlighting dishes from the state, Chokhi Dhani London will feature dishes from across the subcontinent. Overseeing this menu will be Vishnu Natarajan, former executive head chef at Carom in Soho, who will work alongside Bhagwan Singh, an expert on Rajasthani cuisine, senior sous chef Mohammed Naseem Qureshi and pastry chef Rakesh Sharma. The venue will feature a street food concept on the ground floor with a luxury dining room upstairs. Among the handmade bespoke artwork will be a life-size bronze elephant. Polpo closes Bristol site: London-based restaurant company Polpo has closed its Bristol site. The company has shut the venue in Whiteladies Road fewer than 18 months after it opened. Since the Bristol launch in August 2016 an Exeter site opened last year, although a planned Oxford opening has been Read More
Molson Coors acquires Aspall: Molson Coors has acquired Suffolk-based cider-maker Aspall for an undisclosed sum. The deal comes after a year of what Aspall chairman Barry Chevallier Guild described as “close discussions”. Other bidders had expressed interest in the company, according to previous reports. “Molson Coors is known for respecting the provenance of local brands it has acquired in the past, and has the scale and expertise to accelerate our growth in the premium cider category in the UK and beyond,” he said. Molson Coors bought Cornwall brewery Sharps, maker of cask ale Doombar, in a deal worth £20m in 2011. Molson Coors UK and Ireland managing director Phil Whitehead said: “Both companies share a similar history that is deeply rooted in family, dedication to customers and a commitment to excellence. The Chevalliers have been producing cider for almost 300 years and their range of brands enhances our existing portfolio. We’re now looking forward to helping Aspall become the number one premium cider in the UK and building on the huge potential of the Aspall vinegars, as part of a need to premiumise our portfolio.” Aspall’s cider and its range of vinegars will continue to be made in Suffolk where Read More
Oakman Inns on track to have raised almost £12m through Downing bonds: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has now raised almost £12m through a series of five bonds issued through Downing Crowd, the Crowd platform managed by investment firm Downing LLP. Steve Kenee, of Downing, stated: “The latest bond officially went live on 2 January and has already raised £1.7m out of the £1.8m target. This has come from 184 investors who have, on average, been investing £9,000 each. Once this bond closes we will have raised almost £12m for pubs managed by Oakman, which is testament to both the faith our investor base has in the way we present and manage risk and the strength of Oakman as an operator of high-quality pub restaurants.” The current bond offers investors a 7% fixed-rate return over 23-month terms for a minimum investment of £100, secured against the freehold of the White Hart in Ampthill, Bedfordshire. Peter Borg-Neal, founder and chief executive of Oakman Inns, said: “Crowdfunding investors have provided invaluable debt funding support for a number of our freehold pubs. We’re delighted to be working with Downing Crowd again on this latest project. The White Hart is a superb property that boasts Read More
Pret A Manger launches new range of vegan options: Pret A Manger is to launch a new range of vegan options today (4 January) – to meet growing customer demand. A company spokesperson said: “Customers have been asking for more vegan options and Pret chefs have been experimenting with plant-based ingredients and flavours to meet the challenge. The new dishes will sit alongside existing vegan favourites in regular Pret shops.” These options will be available until 5 March. The new vegan dishes include Cauli & Sweet Potato Dhal Tip-Top Hot Pot, Apple & Almond Butter Snack Bowl, and Falafel, Avo & Chipotle Flat Bread. The hot pot (£6.25) is described as a “warming, mildly spicy, coconut dhal with chunks of roasted sweet potato, roasted turmeric cauliflower and baby plum tomatoes”. The Apple & Almond Butter Bowl, which costs £1.99, features “green apple wedges with a generous dollop of almond butter”, while the Falafel, Avo & Chipotle Flat Bread (£3.99) includes sweet potato falafel and sliced avocado with chipotle ketchup. It is topped with pickled onions, crunchy red peppers, fresh coriander and charred corn and black bean salsa. Pret A Manger started offering more vegetarian and vegan options when it opened Read More
Iqbal Wahhab plans Atticus opening in February: Cinnamon Club founder plans new opening on February: Iqbal Wahhab, founder of the Cinnamon Club and Roast, is to open a Southern US-style eatery called Atticus in February, which he hopes to expand into a nationwide chain. Atticus will specialise in “soul food”, Southern US staples such as barbecued meats, fried chicken, pork ribs, stews and macaroni. The food will be sourced from sustainable British farms. It is thought that customers on average will spend £10 for breakfast, £25 for lunch and £35 for dinner. Wahhab and his backers expect to spend £1.5 million on the development and opening Atticus. The bar and restaurant, which is named after Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird, will be based in Angel, north London. Wahhab said that if it proves to be successful, he will look to expand Atticus into a chain of restaurants. Wahhab added that he wants the restaurant to provide opportunities for disadvantaged people such as ex-offenders. To that end, he has partnered with Bounce Back, which helps ex-offenders with training and finding work. The charity supplied people to paint and decorate the new restaurant. Michelin-starred chef scraps Salford Read More
3Sixty Restaurants reports 32% turnover rise for Ego brand as group revenue nears £19m, secures £2.5m banking facility for further growth: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, has reported turnover within its Ego division increased 32% to £14.4m in a “transitional and transformational” year for the group. Since the period end, the company has secured a banking facility of £2.5m to continue its growth. It also revealed it took the decision to sell its three Rocket venues in London in January this year to Novus because of the “likely increase in rental values and business rates” at the sites. 3Sixty saw group turnover increase 8.6% to £18,895,687 for the year ending 31 March 2017, compared with £17,398,572 the year before. It saw a pre-tax loss of £1,857,004 compared with a profit of £327,388 the previous year following the disposal of Rocket Restaurants and Rocket (Canary Wharf). The company invested £2.8m in the opening of five new Ego sites during the period, taking the number to 14. The company stated: “The year to 31 March 2017 was a transitional and transformational year for the group. The directors decided to exit the London sites that traded as Read More
Subway to have 200-plus stores at Euro Garages sites by end of 2018 as it strengthens partnership with Bristol launch: Subway has revealed it is set to have more than 200 stores at Euro Garages sites by the end of next year having further strengthened its partnership with the forecourt and roadside operator. Subway has opened its 161st UK and Ireland outlet with Euro Garages, at Eastville Park in Bristol. It is the first non-traditional site in the UK to carry the new Subway Fresh Forward branding, which was launched in August. The new-look store design features digital menu boards, free charging points, and special displays for the brand’s freshly prepared salads, veggies and subs. It has seating for 24 customers. Two more Subway stores are scheduled to open at Euro Garages sites by the end of the year, with the forecourt operator planning a further 40 Subways by the end of 2018. Euro Garages has also opened two Subway franchises in the Netherlands and is working on a plan to roll out additional stores across the Netherlands, Belgium and France. Justin Goes, Subway International regional director Europe, said: “Non-traditional development has been an area of growth for Subway in Read More
Veeno to launch ten franchise sites in 2018 before eyeing international openings: Italian wine cafe Veeno is to open ten sites under franchise next year as the company steps up expansion. The company, founded by Nino Caruso and Andrea Zecchino in 2013, will open its fourth franchised site on Thursday (14 December) in Eccelesall Road, Sheffield. Caruso told Propel the company, which now operates 18 sites in total, would accelerate expansion of the franchise business in 2018 and then consider a move abroad if it can find the right partners. It will open a site in Brighton in the first quarter of 2018, with the pipeline including Birmingham, Glasgow and Newcastle. The company has just opened its first two London sites – in Kingston and St Paul’s – and Caruso said the company was keen to add further sites in the capital as well in the regions. He added: “We are now looking to develop the business in London as well as cities smaller than where we’ve opened previously. We don’t know some of these areas as well as franchise partners. We have come a long way since we opened our first site in 2013 and have a platform in Read More
PizzaExpress makes motorway services debut via Welcome Break partnership: PizzaExpress has opened its first motorway services site via a partnership with Welcome Break. The restaurant has launched in Oxford Services at Junction 8A of the M40, creating 40 jobs. The 88-seater venue offers table service to hotel guests and motorway service visitors. PizzaExpress chief executive JinLong Wang said: “This new opening represents a key part of the company’s expansion, extending our brand footprint into new locations and formats. We are delighted to work with Welcome Break and bring PizzaExpress to Oxford Services. Excellence in everything we do is what we aspire to and Welcome Break is the ideal partner to ensure we continue to deliver exactly what our customers expect and love while making our brand even more accessible.” Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie added: “We are confident our customers will welcome the addition of one of the UK’s most popular and much-loved restaurant brands. In recent years we have seen a growing trend of customers wanting to spend more time at our service stations across the UK and enjoy a dining experience comparable to the high street. I am delighted PizzaExpress will allow us to offer that experience. Read More
Pret A Manger to double reusable cup discount and launch own version, rejects idea of charging customers for paper cups: Pret A Manger is doubling the discount from 25p to 50p to encourage more customers to bring reusable coffee cups into its stores. The company said it had also considered charging customers for using paper cups but felt the move would go “against its instincts”. It also plans to explore offering more china cups in its sit-down stores and launching its own reusable cup next year. The move follows chief executive Clive Schlee’s tweet last week that the company was considering increasing the reusable cup discount and asking customers for their thoughts. Writing in his blog, he said: “I was inundated with suggestions, ideas and feedback. Here are five highlights – 96% of the 5,000 respondents to an Instagram Stories poll voted ‘yes’ to the 50p idea. A great many customers recommended we sell a branded reusable cup as well as launching the new discount. Lots suggested we turn the discount on its head and charge for cups instead. The economic theory of loss aversion was mentioned – this says people respond to loss or fear of a penalty much Read More
Luke Johnson – we’ve been looking at mini-golf segment for well over a year: Brighton Pier Group executive chairman Luke Johnson has told Propel it has had its eye on the mini-golf segment for “well over a year”. The company has agreed to buy Lethington Leisure, which operates Paradise Island Adventure Golf, for a consideration of £10.5m. Paradise Island Adventure Golf has six sites with two more set to open, while it is in talks over another. Johnson said Brighton Pier Group plans to take the concept nationwide and would look to open at least one site a year. He added Paradise Island Adventure Golf would retain its family focus but the company could consider opening licensed sites that were more suited to adults. Johnson said: “We think there’s plenty of growth in the mini-golf sector – it’s highly fragmented. We’ve been looking at mini-golf for well over a year. There are about 700 mini-golf sites on the whole but about 650 of those are traditional and mostly outdoor. This business operates indoor sites that are family focused and it’s going to stay that way. We would like to go national. We are going to be opportunistic when it comes Read More
Brunning & Price acquires former New Moon Pub Company site in Cheshire: Brunning & Price, the Restaurant Group’s gastro-pub arm, has acquired former New Moon Pub Company site the Lord Binning in Kelsall, Cheshire. Brunning & Price plans to reopen the Chester Road site next summer under its former name of the Morris Dancer, creating 40 jobs. It plans to transform the building to create a traditionally furnished pub with open fires and wooden floors, a bar serving malt, gin and local ale and a kitchen offering classic British dishes. There will also be an outside dining area. Brunning & Price managing director Mary Willcock said: “We are thrilled we finally have the keys. It sits within Brunning & Price’s Cheshire heartland, close to what will be its sister pub, the Dysart in Bunbury. Luckily we got wind it was becoming available early on and since then many Brunning & Price customers have been in touch to let us know it’s on the market, which reassures us that our first instincts were indeed correct. We think this will make a super Brunning & Price pub.” New Moon Pub Company, founded by Dave Mooney and Paul Newman, opened the site in Read More
Cubitt House launches fifth London gastro-pub, in Marylebone: London-based gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include The Grazing Goat and The Thomas Cubitt, has launched The Coach Makers Arms in Marylebone for its fifth site in the capital. The three-story venue in Marylebone Lane had been closed since September but has now opened following a major refurbishment and features a ground-floor bar, first-floor restaurant and an underground cocktail bar. The gastro-pub offers seasonal food alongside beer on tap and in bottles, an “eclectic wine list” and cocktails. Executive chef Leigh Hartnett has created an all-day menu with an emphasis on daily specials, while the venue can be booked for private functions. Last month, Cubitt House reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December 2016. Pre-tax profit was £476,252, compared with a loss of £1,642,678 the year before when the company had exceptional administrative costs of £2,089,117. The most recent year saw the exceptional administrative expense drop to £122,413. Cubitt House’s other gastro-pubs are The Orange and The Alfred Tennyson. Julian Metcalfe – rising fast food prices can help Itsu crack US market: Julian Metcalfe has said the rising costs that are forcing Read More
Marston’s boss reveals co-located lodges add £250,000 per annum to pub sales: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay has told Propel the company’s 20 lodges, typically offering 40 to 60 bedrooms, add circa £250,000 per annum in sales to the pubs they are co-located with. Findlay said the company would open its biggest lodge so far in Ebbsfleet, Kent, in January or February, offering 105 bedrooms. Marston’s will open 15 new-build pubs and six lodges in the current financial year, an opening plan Findlay described as “modest trim” on previous annual opening schedules, while the company stressed the increasing importance of accommodation. Accommodation like-for-likes rose 4.5% and revpar was 4.4% to £38 – occupancy rate rose 0.8% to 74%, with new lodges enhancing metrics with a revpar of £47, for example. Between five and ten lodges will be opened per annum, while the company is working on a new design that will integrate a pub and lodge. It stated: “Accommodation acts as a highly complementary income stream to an existing pub. Organic room income has been consistently strong with growth in both sales and revpar for each of the past four years and we anticipate similar trends in the future with Read More
Tokyo Industries to open ‘gentlemen’s club’ in Leeds this weekend: Tokyo Industries, led by Aaron Mellor, is to open a “gentlemen’s club” in Leeds this weekend. Leeds licensing panel has approved a name change and signage for new venue Whiskey Down, which will open this weekend in the former Townhouse building near the Corn Exchange. Mellor told the panel the firm had decided to change the name from Black Orchid to Whiskey Down to reflect a “higher-end” club with a “gentleman’s whiskey club” vibe. However, the panel vetoed the inclusion of the words “superluxe playground” on the building’s branding, with councillor Mary Harland saying she had “concerns” over implications of the phrase. A plan to offer free taxis for performers and clientele was also dropped. Leeds City Council’s licensing sub committee gave the green light for Liberte and Purple Door, both based in York Place, to carry on trading for another year, despite objections from a charity that supports women affected by sexual violence. The decision-making panel was told neither application had received any complaints or objections from the police or public and the objection from the charity was “lodged every year against every application of the kind”. Burning Night Read More
London-based Indian street wrap concept Pilau aims to raise £350,000 as it looks to build nine-strong estate by 2019: London-based Indian street wrap concept Pilau is aiming to raise £350,000 from angel investors as it plans a nine-strong estate by the end of 2019. The company currently has two sites in the capital – in Fitzrovia and Soho – which are both independently profitable. Each outlet was opened for less than £50,000. Pilau is aiming to raise the funds through the Angel Investment Network platform, which connects startups with angel investors, to help spearhead its growth across the capital. A total of £100,000 has already been committed. Founded by George Pitkeathley in 2015, Pilau opened its first site in Fitzrovia in November last year followed by the Soho restaurant a month later. Its non-executive directors include Polpo founders Russell Norman and Richard Beatty and Pod founder Oliver Rudland. Customers choose from a wrap, rice bowl or salad bowl then add butter chicken, lamb and bone marrow or paneer, and toppings. The menu also includes items such as the butter chicken burger and the cardamom custard tart. The company stated: “Due to the ready availability of A1 high-street sites we believe Read More
East London Pub Company buys Clapham freehold as start of roll-out of new concept, targets 20 sites: The owner of well-known Spitalfields pub The Ten Bells has secured a site in Clapham as part of a London-wide roll-out of its new concept. East London Pub Company has bought the freehold for 50 Clapham High Street. The company has submitted a planning application to extensively refurbish the lower-ground, ground and upper floors to create a night-time venue during the week, with all-day dining at the weekend. The acquisition is the first in a wider expansion strategy led by East London Pub Company owner Patrick Frawley – who also has a string of restaurants in Ireland – and his operations director Bradley Lomas. Frawley said: “We are also looking for up to 20 units in core high street London locations. We were attracted to Clapham because of the prime south London location – there is an opportunity to create something more interesting required on the bar front to match the current restaurant offering in the area. We want to do something that will still be steeped in old-fashioned values in terms of it being a good boozer, like The Ten Bells, but Read More
Fuller’s to make multimillion-pound investment in first new-build stand-alone hotel: Fuller’s is to make a multimillion-pound investment in its first stand-alone hotel, subject to planning permission, at a waterfront venue, offering 40 to 50 bedrooms, in Portsmouth – the site will also offer a Fuller’s pub. The new site signals Fuller’s growing ambitions to develop its bedroom stock – it has 724 bedrooms and plans to ramp up expansion with as many as 100 new bedrooms in the next two years. Accommodation was described as being its “star performer” in the first six months of its financial year, growing at 8.2% on a like-for-like basis. The company stated: “Our accommodation offer continues to develop and take advantage of the opportunities provided through staycations and inbound tourism. We have launched an overarching marketing programme for our hotels and pubs with bedrooms under the banner Beautiful Bedrooms by Fuller’s and added four bedrooms to the estate during the half-year at The Swan in Staines. Since the period end, we have acquired The Manor, an outstanding freehold site just outside Christchurch on the edge of the New Forest, with ten bedrooms, and added four more bedrooms to The White Buck in Burley. We Read More
TD4 receives £4m from BGF to roll out The Shake Lab: Leisure company TD4 Brands is embarking on a rapid and strategic nationwide store roll-out programme, which is creating about 100 jobs. TD4 will open another six stores during the next four months as it expands its milkshake concept The Shake Lab – it also operates Boost Juice. The company is led by experienced food and beverage operators Richard and Dawn O’Sullivan and backed by the Business Growth Fund (BGF), a long-term investor in growing businesses. To support the roll-out, BGF has invested more than £4m in the Cheshire-headquartered business since its initial investment in 2013. Banking partner Barclays has provided £650,000 of funding to support the expansion. Co-founder and chief executive Richard O’Sullivan said: “Over the past ten years our team has worked tirelessly to deliver a fantastic product and brilliant service to our customers, who we never take for granted and who have made our brands Boost and The Shake Lab what they are today. It’s tremendously exciting to be rolling out The Shake Lab into so many new locations. We operate in a really competitive market sector and are proud The Shake Lab has been so well Read More
Krispy Kreme UK chief executive to step down: Krispy Kreme UK chief executive Mike Dowell is to step down after four-and-a half years in the post. Dowell will be succeeded by Richard Cheshire, who is the company’s managing director. Dowell joined Krispy Kreme in June 2013 and presided over revenue and profit growth leading up to a proposed initial public offering before the company was bought by the franchisor, Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation, in October last year. Prior to joining Krispy Kreme, Dowell ran the Pitcher & Piano brand for a number of years at Marston’s and was managing director of Costa Coffee. In its latest accounts, Krispy Kreme reported sales in the UK rose to £66,689,000 in the 11 months to 1 January 2017, up 8% on 12 months ago. Adjusted Ebitda was £14,620,000 (21.9% of sales), compared with £13,688,000 (22.2% of sales) the previous year. Pre-tax profit was £10,292,000, compared with £11,759,000 the year before. Cubitt House reports turnover dip as roadworks hamper Motcomb Street site: Four-strong London gastro-pub operator Cubitt House, whose sites include the Grazing Goat and Thomas Cubitt, has reported turnover down 4.2% on a like-for-like basis to £10,621,481 for the year to 31 December Read More
Tower Bridge site ‘one of a number’ Temakinho is looking at in London as it rolls out expansion plans: The unit Brazilian-Japanese fusion chain Temakinho has secured at One Tower Bridge is “one of a number” the brand is looking at across London as it looks to roll-out international expansion plans. The company has taken a 2,777 square foot unit on a 20-year lease for its second site in the capital, with the restaurant due to open in mid-2018. Temakinho made its UK debut in Soho last year and specialises in fresh, sustainable seafood, temakis and caipirinhas. The company was founded in 2012 by the Maroli family and operates six restaurants in Italy and one in Ibiza. Sammy Weinbaum, head of acquisitions at CDG Leisure, which brokered the deal, said: “Diners at the One Tower Bridge branch will enjoy a meal against a spectacular backdrop of some of London’s most iconic sites. This expansion is the first in a number of sites the restaurant is looking at in the city.” Temakinho will join other restaurant brands at the One Tower Bridge scheme, including Gunpowder, Ivy Cafe and Rosa’s Thai Cafe. Prosecco House, London’s first bar dedicated to prosecco, will also Read More
Grillstock goes into administration: American-style barbecue restaurant Grillstock has gone into administration. Administrators Gareth Roberts and Paul Ellison, of KRE Corporate Recovery, are looking to sell the business and its assets as a going concern. Grillstock has been trading for seven years and has restaurants in Bristol, Bath, Leicester and Walthamstow in east London, plus a market stall in Bristol. All the restaurants remain open and there have so far been no redundancies, according to reports. The administrators said they were looking to complete a sale in the next two to three weeks. Last month, co-founders Jonathan Finch and Ben Merrington stepped down from the business as directors while Turtle Bay founder Ajith Jaya-Wickrema also resigned as a director. Warrens Bakery targets 1,000 stores in next ten years, Greggs bids for first Cornish site: Cornwall-based baker Warrens Bakery has targeted a total of 1,000 shops in the next ten years. Mark Sullivan, chief executive of owner Provenance Brands, said openings would focus on the “Great British Bake Off end of the market” rather than taking on rival baker Greggs head to head. Sullivan said Cornwall’s oldest pasty company had become “lacklustre” until Provenance Brands acquired it a few years ago. Read More
Soho House eyes San Francisco outpost: Soho House is set to take over the San Francisco Armory, a roughly 200,000 square foot building in the Mission. The historic property was built as an arsenal for the United States National Guard in 1912, later becoming a sports venue in the 1940s. It later provided interior shots in The Empire Strikes Back. The building was registered as a historical landmark in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. “The Moorish castle-inspired building is zoned for urban mixed-use, which is a perfect fit for Soho House's typical potpourri of restaurants, workspaces, spas and bedrooms,” reports the San Francisco Business Times. ”If approved, San Francisco would be Soho's eighth North American outpost.” Bridgepoint delays Pret A Manger New York float: Private equity firm Bridgepoint looks to be waiting for an improvement to market conditions before floating Pret A Manger on the New York stock market. Bridgepoint, which bought Pret in 2008, hired advisers back in May to explore a listing this year. It was suggested the sandwich chain’s valuation could hit £1.5bn on Wall Street. But it now looks unlikely that it will list before the new year. A spokesman for Bridgepoint however Read More
Patrick Dardis – Young’s has ‘no intention’ of rolling-out Smiths of Smithfield, will ‘invest up to £800,000 in site’: Young’s chief executive Patrick Dardis has told Propel the company’s new acquisition, Smiths of Smithfield, will “slot in its estate perfectly” as a high-quality standalone site with “no intention of rolling the brand out”. He said: “It’s like our Guinea of Mayfair site on steroids.” Dardis added that wet sales made up 50% of sales at the flagship site and the company had experience of selling high-quality steak. The company stated: “Smiths of Smithfield is a perfect fit with our premium food and drink offering and will immediately become our largest venue with an average weekly take of more than £100,000. Smiths of Smithfield and the Cannon Street site are both leasehold properties, with 32 years and 24 years tenure remaining respectively, and we are confident their focus on world-class steak, breakfast and craft beer will perfectly complement our existing estate.” Smiths of Smithfield opened 17 years ago and Dardis, who reported the sites were acquired in an off-market deal, said the site was ready for investment over its five floors with up to £800,000 earmarked for the work. Dardis said Read More
MeatLiquor to convert chicken-focused Brixton restaurant into main brand: MeatLiquor has started to convert its chicken-focused site in Brixton into its main brand. ChickenLiquor, which is located in Brixton Market, will reopen on Thursday, 23 November following a refurbishment to convert it into a MeatLiquor venue offering the brand’s full menu. MeatLiquor co-founder and managing director Scott Collins said: “We are constantly updating our venues and offering to make sure they never get tired – now it’s ChickenLiquor’s turn. With art created by I Love Dust and shiny new grills, the venue will be given a loving facelift. Once reopened, the venue will be a fully functioning MeatLiquor.” Collins founded MeatLiquor with Yianni Papoutsis in 2011, initially operating from a burger van. It opened its first permanent site shortly after and there are now 14 sites across the UK, including two Deliveroo-only venues, in Canary Wharf and Battersea. Pergola team reopens west London pub as 800-capacity venue with bar, ‘woodland garden’ and four restaurants: Incipio Group, the company behind street food pop-up Pergola, has launched an 800-capacity venture in West Brompton, west London, which features two bars, four restaurants and a “woodland garden”. The Prince, formerly Victorian pub The Prince Read More
Moody Burgers to launch £250,000 crowdfunding campaign as it looks to expand across UK: Burger restaurant and delivery concept Moody Burgers is set to launch a £250,000 crowdfunding campaign as it seeks to expand across the UK. The company, which currently operates two sites – in Swindon and Worcester – is preparing to raise the funds on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and will offer 25% equity in return for the investment. Moody Burgers was launched last year after spotting a gap in the market to deliver Californian-inspired burgers. The funds will be used to build sites and invest in marketing activity to help grow its brand and sales a “lot quicker”. The company opened its first site in Swindon in September 2016, followed by the Worcester outlet in March this year. It quickly outgrew its Swindon site and moved to a new 80-cover venue in the Wiltshire town in September that also offers a range of almost 50 cocktails and craft beers. Moody Burgers said that since relocating, deliveries had risen 20%. Moody Burgers has generated sales to date through its website of £200,000 and delivered more than 25,000 burgers. Operations manager Rich Leftwich said: “Our new, larger site in Swindon Read More
Pret signs US and Europe transport hub deal with Autogrill Autogrill has signed an agreement with Pret A Manger that will Pret sites opened in major airports in North America and in airports and railway stations in Europe, including The Netherlands and Denmark. Under the agreement, Autogrill Group will manage the new North American openings through its subsidiary HMSHost, while operations in Europe will be run by HMSHost International. The first two Pret shops will be opened in the Copenhagen Airport at the beginning of 2018, followed by the opening of another in The Netherlands. “This agreement with Pret enables us to bring one of the world’s most successful brands into more airports and train stations. This will contribute to enriching our portfolio of over 300 brands with a one-of-a kind offering,” said Autogrill chief marketing officer Ezio Balarini. “We’re happy with this important, new partnership with Pret, a brand which shares our vision of the business in terms of sustainable approach, food quality, freshness and innovation.” Pret partnership director Michael Haley added: “Pret’s menu of freshly-made nutritious food to go is perfect for busy travellers. We’re already present in numerous transport hubs in the UK, France, Hong Kong, Dubai Read More
Loungers to take over Prezzo site in Moseley: Cafe brand Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, is set to take over a Prezzo site in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley. Prezzo is leaving the site in Alcester Road only 16 months after arriving due to competition from PizzaExpress, which opened next door but one in September 2016. Prezzo, which launched two months beforehand following the conversion of a former Halfords Autocentre, is scheduled to close early in the new year. The site is set to be taken over by Loungers, which has submitted a licensing application to Birmingham City Council. A Prezzo source told the Birmingham Mail the site had been sold and it was likely it would close in February with staff dispersed to other sites, including Harborne and Shirley, where the company is also in direct competition with PizzaExpress. Loungers, which operates the Lounges and Cosy Club brands, has a number of sites in the area, in Mere Green, Harborne, Kings Heath, Shirley and Wylde Green. Graffiti Spirits Group outlines expansion plans outside Liverpool as it reveals further details of new city food market: Graffiti Spirits Group has outlined plans for further expansion outside its Liverpool heartland Read More
Wok&Go to open 25th site next week as it adds third Liverpool outlet: UK noodle bar brand Wok&Go, which is undertaking a £500,000 crowdfunding campaign, will open its 25th site next week as it adds to its Liverpool footprint. The company will open the outlet on Wednesday (15 November) at the Liverpool ONE complex – its third venue in the city. Its other two sites in the city, which Wok&Go said were among its busiest branches, are in Bold Street and next to Liverpool Central station. Wok&Go is aiming to raise £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to open a flagship store in London and plans to open another 13 sites in the next year. The company, founded by Des Pheby, is offering a 5.26% equity stake in return for the investment. The pitch states: “Since opening in Chester in 2008, we have grown into a distinct brand-led fusion food chain, blending the best from Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. We are now raising funds to open a London flagship store, which will not only provide a new source of revenue but support expansion of the concept locally and internationally by increasing brand awareness. Revenue in FY17 was £7.4m, Read More
Hard Rock Cafe UK reports turnover and profit, plans new Piccadilly Circus site: Hard Rock Cafe UK has reported a dip in turnover and profit but plans to open a new London cafe, in Piccadilly Circus, next year. The company, which operates three sites – in London, Manchester and Glasgow – saw turnover fall to £21,776,000 for the year ending 25 December 2016 compared with £22,325,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Pre-tax profit dropped to £3,461,000, compared with £4,779,000 the year before. Food and beverage sales were down to £13,764,000, compared with £14,059,000 the previous year, while merchandise revenue fell to £8,012,000 compared with £8,266,000 the year before. Restaurant average spend increased to £25.56 from £24.51, while retail average spend rose to £31.10 from £29.05. Restaurant transactions fell to 548,286 from 594,211 and retail transactions were down to 266,226 from 293,848, which the company said was mainly driven by a drop in the number of visitors following the Paris (November 2015) and Brussels (March 2016) terrorist attacks. The company declared and paid a dividend during the year to its immediate parent, Hard Rock International, of £14,000,000 on 29 April 2016 (£5.60 per share). The company Read More
Liberation Group buys eight SA Brain pubs in England: Liberation Group, the owner of Butcombe Brewery, has bought eight English pubs owned and operated by Cardiff-based brewer and retailer SA Brain to add to the Butcombe estate for an undisclosed sum. The pubs make up most of the pubs that SA Brain has owned and operated in England. The eight pubs are six managed sites – consisting of the Smoking Dog in Malmesbury, Bear in Cirencester, Bowl in Almondsbury (includes 11 bedrooms), Ostrich in Bristol, Jubilee in Flax Bourton and White Horse in Buckover – and two tenanted pubs – Langford in Lower Langford and Old Station in Hallatrow. Seven are freehold and one is leasehold. Butcombe has more than doubled its pub estate over the last year and Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther told Propel the company was keen to make further group acquisitions. He added Butcombe would be adding three more managed pubs to its portfolio, which were all individual acquisitions, which would take the total number of pubs to 46. Butcombe is also investing in the Butcombe Brewery, expanding its range of beers, and upgrading infrastructure with a new distribution depot and kegging & bottling line. Read More
Refurbishment of Corney & Barrow sites has led to 25% sales uplift, says Bowmark Capital boss: Ron Pearson, partner at Bowmark Capital, which backs premium bar and restaurant operator Drake & Morgan, has said there has been a 25% uplift in sales since refurbishment of the Corney & Barrow Wine Bars estate began. Drake & Morgan bought out the 11-strong company last year, disposing of two sites and rebranding as C&B Bars. Pearson told the Propel Multi Club Conference the acquisition had “transformed” the Drake & Morgan estate. He said: “The thing that attracted us to C&B was the sites were very well located and well invested, it’s just C&B had dropped behind the competition. Some of the sites we didn’t consider highly attractive so we are still in the process of transforming them and so far we’re in excess of 25% uplift in sales following those refurbishments.” Asked what the future held for the combined estate, Pearson said: “We have further to go in the redevelopment of the C&B Bars estate, we’ve currently done five, there are a couple that are going to be invested in, in early 2018, and we’re continuing the roll-out – focusing certainly in the Read More
Yum! Brands reports strong sales growth for KFC and Pizza Hut in the UK: Yum! Brands has reported strong sales growth for its KFC and Pizza Hut brands in the UK for the third quarter to 30 September 2017. Pizza Hut system sales in the UK grew 14% in the quarter and have increased 7% so far this year. The UK accounts for 5% of Pizza Hut’s system sales globally. Meanwhile, KFC system sales in the UK grew 9% in the quarter and have grown 7% so far this year. The UK accounts for 6% of KFC’s system sales worldwide. Globally, KFC like-for-like sales increased 4%, with US like-for-like sales flat – system sales worldwide increased 7%. Operating profit increased 14% to $260m, driven by refranchising and like-for-like sales growth. KFC opened 291 international restaurants in 51 countries, including 249 units in emerging markets during the period. Pizza Hut sales were up 3% globally, with like-for-likes increasing 1%. US system sales, which account for 48% of global sales, were down 1%. Pizza Hut opened 192 international restaurants in 47 countries during the period, including 144 units in emerging markets. Operating margin increased 7.2% driven by refranchising, partially offset by higher Read More