Coaching Inn Group seeks funding to double size of business: Coaching Inn Group, which has 431 bedrooms across 15 venues in market towns in England and Wales, has told Propel it will seek funds for investment to grow the business in the coming months to “build on the strong platform that has been created”. The company said it had already identified a number of suitable coaching inns to “accelerate its development and double the size of the company”. Coaching Inn Group has appointed Sapient Corporate Finance to assist in finding suitable investors. Last month, Coaching Inn Group reported a 39.1% rise in group Ebitda to £2.1m from turnover up 17.2% to £20m in the year to 31 March 2018. Turnover is forecast to pass £24m this year. Drink sales rose 17% to £5.9m, food was up 19.2% to £8m and room sales rose 17.7% to £5.8m. Profit before interest was £506,000 (2017: loss £146,000). A post year-end debt facility of £16.5m was put in place to secure future growth. Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity said it cost between £3m and £5m to buy and refurbish venues. The company has added nine sites in the past three years, the most Read More
Brunning & Price paid £900,000 for Ribble Valley Inns, newly filed accounts reveal: Brunning & Price, the gastro-pub brand owned by The Restaurant Group, paid a consideration of £900,000 to acquire Ribble Valley Inns from Northcote Leisure Group earlier this year, newly filed accounts have shown. The figure paid for the four pubs in May was undisclosed but accounts for Brunning & Price for the year ending 31 December 2017, filed at Companies House, revealed the amount. They also showed turnover increased to £72,540,000 compared with £64,323,000 the previous year, while pre-tax profit was up to £10,085,000 compared with £5,375,000 the previous year. During the period the company opened three pubs. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Our business is well positioned in the market with a compelling, differentiated food-led offer that consistently outperforms the pub restaurant sector. Strong operational execution, along with locally sourced produce, has attracted a loyal and increasing customer base that rates the offering highly. The business delivers consistently good and growing returns, with recent openings consistently delivering Ebitda returns in excess of 20% (on an assumed leasehold cost base). Our estate is largely freehold asset backed with a book value in excess Read More
The Deltic Group – ‘compelling financial case’ remains for Revolution merger: The Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, has said there remains a “compelling financial case” for a merger with Revolution Bars Group despite the latter ending acquisition talks. The companies were reported to be in early-stage discussions over a potential transaction but yesterday (10 October) Revolution said discussions regarding a transaction involving a possible acquisition of The Deltic Group had been “terminated” as it would “not be in the best interests of the company’s shareholders”. A spokesman for The Deltic Group said: “Deltic still believes there is a compelling financial case for a merger between the companies but respects the decision of Revolution’s board. Deltic remains a shareholder in Revolution Bars Group and will follow developments closely. The board would also like to reiterate Deltic is a well-run business with a strong financial performance over many years. The Revolution merger proposal was only one of several routes the Deltic directors were exploring to take the company forward. It continues to believe the late-night economy is a good investment and the doubling of profits over the past six years, with about the same number Read More
Hall & Woodhouse reports turnover and profit boost: Dorset brewer and retailer Hall & Woodhouse has reported turnover increased 2.2% to £110,110,000 for the year ending 27 January 2018, compared with £107,713,000 the previous year. Ebitda was down 2% to £14.5m, compared with the year before. Pre-tax profit was up 42.9% to £9,286,000, compared with £6,499,000 the previous year. Exceptional items were in surplus by £3,281,000 due to £3,262,000 gained from the sale of its old brewery site. This was against a loss of £639,000 the year before. In his statement accompanying the accounts, chairman Mark Woodhouse said: “The year has delivered a strong performance from our managed houses and business partnerships, despite challenging market conditions. We have continued to invest heavily behind our brands, our teams and our core offering to ensure the future success of our business. The impact all these factors have had on our underlying business performance is that while turnover has increased 2.2% on the previous year to £110.1m, Ebitda fell 2.0% to £14.5m. Once we look at the exceptional items, which include the sale of the old brewery, our profit has increased year-on-year by 42.9% to £9.3m. This has enabled us to reduce our Read More
Pachamama Group to launch third London site, in Shoreditch next month:Restaurant operator Pachamama Group is to launch its third London site, in Shoreditch next month. Pachamama East will open in Great Eastern Street on Thursday, 1 November offering a different experience to Peruvian-style sister sites Chicama and Pachamama. The new venue will focus on fresh seasonal produce and “applying the bold flavours, aromas, textures and spices that make Asian food so tasty”. The 85-cover site will be split over two floors, with the main restaurant featuring plants, pastels, reclaimed wood, exposed concrete walls and an open kitchen providing views of chefs cooking over a coal fire. A staircase will lead to a 16-cover private dining room on the lower ground floor, which will also host a series of chef collaborations. The group’s new executive creative chef Mikkel Gregersen, formerly of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and AOC in Copenhagen, has placed an emphasis on sharing at Pachamama East, with dishes such as grilled hispi cabbage and smoked aubergine, whole jiang-glazed chicken, and ceviche. The snacks menu will include Sichuan fried chicken and pork belly chicharron. Brunch will include Peruvian waffles with a choice of toppings. The main, sunken bar will offer Read More
Glee Club to open fifth site and first in Scotland: Comic Enterprises, which was founded in 1994 by Mark Tughan and operates three Glee Club comedy and music venues in Birmingham, Cardiff and Nottingham alongside a weekly night in Oxford, will open its fifth venue, in Glasgow in February. The Renfrew Street site will be part of the Cineworld complex that also houses a newly refurbished Walkabout and is the location of the 13,000 square foot former Highlight Comedy Club, which closed in 2009. It has a seated capacity of 400 and a standing capacity of 800. Comic Enterprises famously sued 21st Century Fox over the Glee name and trademark, which was registered by Comic in the 1990s, winning in both the High Court and Appeal Court. Tughan said: “With this episode now behind us, we have also benefited from a substantial recovery in sales and profits, with all sites trading profitably and reporting positive like-for-likes. With site availability improving and less competition from other comedy operators, now seems the ideal time to expand. Like the tortoise and the hare, we seem after 24 years to have become the market leader! We are looking for sites in Leeds and Bristol Read More
Pret pledges to ‘drive change’ in industry following allergy death: Pret A Manger is to make changes to its labelling and has committed to work with bodies and industry peers to secure legislative changes to better protect people with allergies. The company has pledged to “drive change” in the industry in the wake of a coroner finding its labelling was “inadequate” in the case of a girl who died after eating one of its baguettes. Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, 15, went into cardiac arrest on a flight after eating an artichoke, olive and tapenade baguette bought at Heathrow airport in 2016. Pret chief executive Clive Schlee said: “We are deeply sorry for the loss of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, who died after eating a Pret baguette containing sesame. I said we would learn from this tragedy and ensure meaningful changes result from it. In the past two years we have been improving our allergen information. We now display declarable allergens for our freshly made products on shelf tickets in front of each item. We also have signs in our fridges, on product packaging and at till points advising customers with allergies to speak to a manager to see our allergen guide. We recognise there Read More
Hawksmoor reports pre-tax losses narrow as turnover rises 14.1%:Hawksmoor operator Underdog Restaurants has reported turnover rose 14.1% to £43,744,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £39,014,000 the previous year. Underlying Ebitda fell slightly to £4,839,000, compared with £4,850,000 the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £7,543,000 compared with £8,981,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Hawksmoor has accumulated losses since incorporation of £33,949,000, up from £26,179,000 the year before, and negative shareholders’ funds of £32,960,000 compared with £25,201,000 the previous year. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Hawksmoor increased turnover by 14.1% in the year, driven by like-for-like sales growth and the opening of a new restaurant in Borough Market, London. Hawksmoor Ebitda increased to £5,549,000 in the year (2016: £5,352,000). The Foxlow restaurants underwent significant brand and operational changes during 2017 and, although they have yet to contribute positively to the group, their like-for-like sales grew strongly in the second half of the year and into the beginning of 2018. The directors are confident about the future prospects of the group.” Hippo Inns to open alpine-themed pub in Blackfriars for 12th site: Hippo Inns, the joint venture between Ei Read More
Robinsons reports turnover boost, managed like-for-likes up 15.6%: North west brewer and retailer Robinsons has reported turnover increased 4.2% to £71.2m during the year ending 31 December 2017. Pre-tax profit fell 19% to £3.1m. The company, which recently celebrated its 180th anniversary, said increased investment in 2017 had an impact on the bottom line but underlying performance remained strong, with like-for-likes in its managed division up 15.6% and tenanted up 3.1%. The company saw “strong” sales during the period, with further managed house openings and full-year trading of recently invested sites. It said this, coupled with higher overall operating costs and record levels of investment in tenanted and managed pub estates, had resulted in operating profits falling to £1.2m (2016: £2.6m). During the year the company underwent “embryonic growth of the managed estate” and a “strategic disposal and investment programme to transform its pub profile”. Robinsons said it planned to continue its “long-term tradition of ploughing profits back into the business”. Robinsons continued to invest heavily in the refurbishment of its tenanted and managed estates, spending about £9.7m in 2017 to improve the “look, feel and longevity” of its pubs. In 2017, Robinsons completed the disposal of 27 pubs and Read More
Government to enact legislation to ensure all tips are passed on Theresa May has pledged to stop foodservice employers deducting money from tips given by customers to waiters and bar staff. The move, which will require legislation, will stop companies deducting up to 10% from employees’ tips, the government stated. Announcing the move, the prime minister said: “The unemployment rate under this government is now the lowest since the 1970s – but we want to ensure that everyone is treated fairly in the workplace. That’s why we will introduce tough new legislation to ensure that workers get to keep all of their tips – banning employers from making any deductions. It’s another way we are building an economy that works for everyone.” The promise comes in the government’s response to a consultation that ended two years ago. The government says the change will be fairer for both workers, who get to keep the tips left for them by customers, and customers, who leave tips specifically for the service they receive. The consultation showed that restaurant customers are overwhelmingly in favour of the tips they pay going to the people that serve them. The government also says it is another example Read More
Itsu expects like-for-likes to be up 3% in 2018, full-year turnover hits £105m: Itsu, the healthy Asian food chain created by Pret A Manger co-founder Julian Metcalfe, has reported the company expects to see like-for-like sales increase between 2% and 3% in 2018 as trading remains “strong”. The progress was revealed as accounts filed at Companies House revealed turnover increased 10% to £105,559,067 for the year ending 28 December 2017, compared with £95,911,995 the previous year. Group Ebitda was up 28% to £2,566,140, compared with £2,001,362 the year before. Like-for-like sales increased 0.4%. Pre-tax losses were down to £8,170,357, compared with £8,497,532 the previous year. In his report accompanying the accounts, Metcalfe stated: “Trading in 2018 is strong, with positive year-to-date like-for-like performance driving UK Ebitda expectations back to more healthier levels. Itsu is starting to see all the benefits from the multiple investments made in 2017. This positive pattern bucks the common trend currently seen in the UK hospitality sector. 2018 margins are up, sales are up, second daypart is up and more is on the way. During 2017, Itsu saw sales grow through increased grocery sales of 5% and through its UK stores by 5%. Revenue growth in Read More
Food and drink sector faces £9.3bn tariffs on EU products under no-deal Brexit: The food and drink sector could face additional tariffs totalling £9.3bn per year for products imported from the EU if a Brexit settlement isn’t reached, according to a new report. The Barclays Corporate Banking report projected that in a no-deal Brexit, food retailers and their supply chain would be affected by an average tariff of 27% on food and drink entering from the EU, significantly more than the 3% to 4% levy that would hit non-food products. Additionally, every consignment of goods from the EU would require a customs declaration costing a minimum of £50. The report stated: “Food and drink tariff rates will be higher than those in any other supply chain. All stages within the food supply chain will experience increased costs, with retailers hit disproportionately as processed goods attract higher duties than raw materials and semi-processed goods. Wholesalers will also experience significant cost increases, but to a lesser degree. The products that will be hardest hit are likely to be meat products, sugar, milk powder and cooked or preserved mushrooms.” Last year, the UK imported £48bn of food and drink from the EU, about Read More
Chick ‘n’ Sours opens Islington restaurant for third London site: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours has opened its third site in the capital, in Islington. The 60-cover venue has launched in Upper Street featuring a bar, open kitchen and outside space. The restaurant offers a number of new dishes trialled at a Brixton pop-up and the concept’s debut site in Haggerston, which reopened last month following a major refurbishment. New dishes include Korean glazed burger the Seoul Destroyer, while the Weekend Treats menu features hot chicken and kimchi cornbread waffles. Chick ‘n’ Sours was founded by Carl Clarke and David Wolanksi. Clarke said: “Islington holds a special place in my heart. There used to be a wicked buzz round here and I spent many a long night at places such as Medicine Bar and The Embassy. I’d like to bring that amazing north London mix of good food and fantastic music back.” Chick ‘n’ Sours launched in Haggerston in 2015, with a sister site opening in Seven Dials the following year. Clarke and Wolanski also operate CHIK’N in Baker Street. Drive-thru Costa Coffee site in Bolton sells for £1.23m: A drive-thru Costa Coffee unit at the entrance Read More
G1 Group reports turnover soars to £125.7m, ‘core’ leisure business performance leads to Ebitda topping £20m: Scotland’s biggest managed operator G1 Group has reported turnover soared to £125.7m for the year ending 31 March 2018, compared with £70.5m the previous year following its acquisition of convenience store operator G101 Off Sales but said its “core” leisure business continued to perform. G1 Group said not only did the core business build turnover but it converted that into a significant uplift in results for the year, with Ebitda rising to £20.8m compared with £17.6m the year before. There has been extensive development activity at the Scotsman Hotel, which has continued into the new financial year. The Grand Cafe was created to complement the Scotsman Hotel and was launched in July. In November 2017, the group acquired a portfolio of 12 tenanted outlets from Heineken, taking the tenanted estate to more than 100 outlets. In the current financial year, the group has expanded its hotel and serviced apartment activities in Edinburgh’s Old Town. The group now has about 2,500 employees. Chairman Brian McGhee said: “We are now two years on from the EU referendum result and the media provides a daily diet of Read More
Castle Rock Brewery sees pre-tax profit more than double as turnover passes £10m, trading ‘very positive’ in current financial year: Tynemill, the Nottingham-based brewer and pub operator that trades as Castle Rock Brewery, has reported turnover increased 8.1% to £10,347,026 for the year ending 31 March 2018, compared with £9,570,631 the previous year. Pre-tax profit more than doubled to £568,482, compared with £280,924 the year before. Gross margin was 55.3% compared with 56.9% the previous year. The group continued to pay down its long-term debt, which stands 5.8% lower than last year, and is operating well within its banking covenants. Managing director Colin Wilde told Propel the company had traded “very positively” in the first part of new financial year. In his report accompanying the accounts, he said: “We were excited during the year to enter into a jointly controlled operation with CGC Events, set up after a successful tender to operate the newly refurbished Theatre Royal & Concert Hall. The directors are more than happy with the initial results. It was an ambitious project, which included the opening of Yarn Bar in the complex in September 2017 and provision of the entire food and beverage service on-site. The operation Read More
Pret food director – Veggie Pret taught us to be more innovative with recipes as vegetarian offer had been ‘lazy’: Pret A Manger food and coffee director Clare Clough has said its Veggie Pret concept taught the company to be more innovative with its recipes as its vegetarian offer had been “lazy” until that point. Clough said the biggest trend the company had seen was the rise in plant-based food – but it had been a real challenge to respond to. The company opened its first Veggie Pret in Soho in June 2016 – initially as a pop-up before becoming permanent. Two further stores have opened in London, with its first site outside the capital – and fourth in total – set to launch in Manchester at the start of next month. Speaking at Lunch! at Excel in London, Clough said: “It was a challenge at the time to have a better offer for vegetarians. Up to that point we had been lazy – it was really a choice of cheese or egg. We had to be more innovative with our recipes and that has also led to an improvement in the range of vegetarian products in the main estate.” Read More
BrewDog substantially reduces losses in bar division: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has substantially narrowed its losses in its bar division as sales continued to rise. Turnover rose to £24,206,000 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £21,724,000 the previous year. Pre-tax loss dropped to £45,000 compared with £1,176,000 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Employee numbers in the bar division rose to 362 from 351 the year before. As previously reported, revenue of the division is up 92%, generating an incremental £10m so far in 2018. Meanwhile, BrewDog has expanded its bar division by opening a debut site in Iceland. The 120-capacity venue in Reykjavik is the company’s 58th bar worldwide. It offers 20 draught lines, BrewDog burgers and wings, and Icelandic dishes. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Reykjavik has long been in our sights. We couldn’t be happier to finally provide an Icelandic outpost for the craft beer community.” Deliveroo relaunches corporate offering to move into hotel and catering sectors: Deliveroo has relaunched its corporate offering. Deliveroo for Business, which has more than 7,000 customers in 12 markets, has been extended to take in hotel room service, events catering and office fruit Read More
Greggs launches breakfast click-and-collect trial: Food-on-the-go retailer Greggs has launched a breakfast click-and-collect trial in Manchester city centre. The service has launched in three stores allowing customers to pre-order and collect breakfast through the new Greggs Collect Manchester app, which is powered by ordering technology provider Preoday. The service enables customers to order breakfast days or even minutes in advance of collection from the Greggs stores in King Street, Parker Street and Manchester Victoria Station. Greggs’ breakfast menu includes pastries, porridge, granola, sandwiches, baguettes, wraps and freshly ground Fairtrade coffee, including a new pumpkin spice latte. Retail and people director Roisin Currie said: “The breakfast click-and-collect trial is the latest initiative we’re looking at to help make life easier for our customers by offering them quick and convenient access to our great-tasting products during the morning rush hour. Our strong customer base in Manchester makes it an ideal place to trial this service, which is designed to make life more convenient for customers in a busy inner city. If the trial is successful, we will look at rolling this service out to other locations.” Preoday chief executive Nick Hucker added: “It has been a pleasure working with Greggs on its Read More
Kerb to launch meat-free market in Devonshire Square with new WeWork partnership: Street food business Kerb is to launch its first meat-free market, in London’s Devonshire Square this month. Kerb’s tenth lunchtime market will be a partnership with collaborative workspace WeWork, which operates a site in the square that already operates a meat-free policy. The venture will launch on Wednesday, 26 September and feature a number of traders from Kerb’s inKERBator programme. Traders to operate in the first month will include Club Mexicana, which has pioneered vegan street food in London; Greedy Khao (home-cooked Thai vegan curries); Little Leaf (vegan sourdough pizza); Palm Greens (vegan salad bar); Biff’s Jack Shack (deep-fried vegan jackfruit burgers and buffalo wings); Vegals (vegan bagels); and Elote (vegetarian Mexican food). Kerb director of markets Ian Dodds said: “We are delighted to begin a relationship with WeWork – looking to push the Kerb market model forward with a focus on meatless dishes and sustainability. There’s been an explosion of great vegetarian and vegan dishes on the streets of London over the past year and we’ll be showcasing the very best here.” WeWork UK and Ireland general manager Leni Zneimer added: “Our vision for Devonshire Square is Read More
Greene King appoints new Pub Partners managing director: Brewer and retailer Greene King has appointed former Pizza Hut chief customer officer Wayne Shurvinton as managing director of its Pub Partners division. He will replace John Forrest, who is leaving the business to take up a new position in the healthcare sector. Shurvinton has extensive hospitality and franchise experience having spent the past nine years at Yum Brands! in a number of roles with KFC and Pizza Hut in the UK, Europe and Middle East. Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand said: “I am delighted to welcome Wayne to lead our Pub Partners business. His experience in building partnerships and developing a growth strategy will translate well to the tenanted and leased sector and be invaluable as we continue to grow the Pub Partners division. I would also like to thank John Forrest for his contribution to our retail and Pub Partners businesses over the last three years. He goes with our very best wishes and sincere thanks.” Shurvinton joins Greene King this week and takes the reins as managing director of Pub Partners on Friday, 5 October.   Pret’s aborted IPO cost £6.65m, continues growth in Hong Kong: Pret A Read More
Bistrot Pierre to open 24th site, in Coventry next month: Private equity-backed restaurant group Bistrot Pierre is to open its 24th site, in Coventry next month. The restaurant will launch on the first floor of the new Cathedral Lanes leisure development on Thursday, 4 October. The city centre venue will feature a terrace overlooking Broadgate Square, a bar and space to seat 124 diners. The site, which has already started taking bookings, will offer the group’s new autumn and winter menu and host a series of special evening events. Bistrot Pierre co-owner Rob Beacham said: “This is our sixth bistro in the West Midlands and I’m confident we will be a popular addition to the thriving development thanks to our excellent value and authentic French-style cooking.” Chief executive Nick White added: “Coventry will be a strong addition to our growing estate and launches weeks after we opened in Preston and the launch of Bistrot Pierre Rooms in Plymouth. We plan to grow our sites further and have more openings planned for 2019.” The company’s other West Midlands sites are in Birmingham, Kidderminster, Leamington Spa, Mere Green and Stratford-upon-Avon. Giraffe and Ed’s Easy Diner enter first retail partnership: Boparan Restaurant Group Read More
Chick ‘n’ Sours to open Islington restaurant this month for third London site: London-based fried chicken restaurant concept Chick ‘n’ Sours is to open its third site in the capital, in Islington. The 60-cover venue will open in Upper Street on Thursday, 27 September featuring a bar, open kitchen and outside space. The restaurant will offer a number of new dishes trialled at the concept’s debut site in Haggerston, which reopened last month following a major refurbishment, and a pop-up in Brixton. New dishes will include Korean glazed burger the Seoul Destroyer, while the Weekend Treats menu will feature hot chicken and kimchi cornbread waffles. Chick ‘n’ Sours was founded by Carl Clarke and David Wolanksi. Clarke said: “Islington holds a special place in my heart. There used to be a wicked buzz round here and I spent many a long night at places such as Medicine Bar and The Embassy. I’d like to bring back that amazing north London mix of good food and fantastic music to our Chick ‘n’ Sours in Upper Street.” Wolanksi added: “There is a lot of negativity surrounding Islington at the moment but there’s a new wave of independent and quality openings happening and, Read More
Carluccio’s to transform 20 restaurants a year under £10m ‘Fresca’ programme, Chester first to reopen: Carluccio’s is planning to transform 20 restaurants a year under its £10m “Fresca” programme, which is aimed at revitalising the brand in the wake of its company voluntary arrangement (CVA). The first restaurant to reopen will be Chester, on Thursday, 27 September, followed by Newcastle. The company revealed the details in a LinkedIn post by chief executive Mark Jones, who said he was looking for more people to join the company. The post stated: “Carluccio’s has launched its ‘Fresca’ transformational plan. This will see the business invest £10,000,000, provided by shareholders, over the next three years in what we believe to be the largest investment of its kind in the UK aimed at upgrading restaurant environments. Carluccio’s Chester will reopen to the public formally on 27 September and Newcastle will follow shortly. Thereafter, 20 restaurants per year will be transformed. We are now looking for more great people to join our ‘famiglia’. We pride ourselves on our strong culture, focus on fresh food and great restaurant environments, which make our brand strong – aided, of course, by Antonio Carluccio’s enduring legacy. So while we are Read More
Stonegate highlights career opportunities by sending 200 managers to parliament: Stonegate Pub Company will send 200 of its general managers to parliament on Wednesday (12 September) to demonstrate to government the huge opportunity the hospitality industry offers young people. The managers have all progressed through the company’s Albert’s Theory Of Progression training scheme, which identifies talented deputy managers and transforms them into future leaders as part of Stonegate’s “bar to boardroom” philosophy. The “accelerator” programme teaches managers how to lead winning teams and devise strong sales strategies and business plans. The programme also covers personal finance, setting personal goals and leading people. Throughout the six-month programme, each participant undertakes a project that has seen more than £300,000 raised for charity. More than 700 employees took part in the Albert’s programme last year, with the top 200 now running their own pub, 15 transitioning from general manager to area manager, and nine moving into operational support roles such as marketing and HR. Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom said: “Many of these young, talented people are on the path that will lead them to a seat on the board as they continue to develop their business acumen and leadership skills. Read More
Coaching Inn Group boss – we’ve no tail in the estate, current like-for-like sales ‘best in years’: Coaching Inn Group founder Kevin Charity has told Propel there is “no tail” in the 15-strong estate, with current like-for-like sales the “best for years”. Charity put the performance down to the company’s strict acquisition criteria and the capital spent on sites, with the business reaping the rewards of repeat visits. He said the group was looking to add three or four sites to the portfolio during the next 12 months. Coaching Inn Group saw turnover increase 17.2% to £20m for the year ending 31 March 2018 – and the company is continuing to build on that performance. “The first five months of this financial year have been great – it’s been the perfect weather for us,” said Charity. “The combination of our premium food offer and accommodation continues to do well and our outside areas have really come into play. We invest a lot of money into these sites and that helps give them longevity – they just grow and grow. The accommodation takes time to get going but once you build the reputation people are happy to pay premium rates because Read More
Wimpy reveals plans to grow estate by 15% in next 18 months as refurbishment programme sparks franchisee interest: Wimpy has revealed plans to grow its estate by 15% in the next 18 months. The company, which is owned by South African-based Famous Brands, currently has 78 sites in Britain and plans to expand by converting existing single-site franchisees into multi-siters and by attracting new franchisees. In addition, Wimpy is rolling out a refurbishment plan christened "Shift" for existing units ranging in size from 1,200 square foot to 2,800 square foot. General manager Chris Woolfenden believed the recent increase in franchisee interest has been sparked by the "Shift" programme, which was introduced "to enhance the feeling of the brand moving, or shifting, forwards". The first "Shift" refurbishment took place in February 2017 in Felixstowe, Suffolk, and so far eight have been completed. He told Property Week: “[Now is] the right time to move the business forward. At this immediate point in time, our focus is on the restaurants themselves and continuing to strengthen the brand through great customer service, fabulous food and excellent value for money.” He accepted the casual dining market is going through a tough time, as Wimpy’s owners Read More
Thwaites steps in to save Blackpool bar operator following administration:North west brewer and retailer Daniel Thwaites has stepped in to save five venues in Blackpool including the renowned Funny Girls cabaret show bar after their operator went into administration. Owner Basil Newby, who has run venues in the seaside resort for almost 40 years, said he was taking time out for health reasons. Thwaites has taken over the drinks licence of the five venues, a move it said would protect about 100 jobs while it was “business as usual” at Funny Girls. Blackpool Council confirmed the firm that runs Funny Girls, which opened in 1994, had gone into administration. A Thwaites spokesman told BBC News: “Funny Girls has been an iconic part of Blackpool’s night-time economy for a long time and we will make sure it stays that way. Our licence will allow the Funny Girls outlets to operate without disruption for the next few months and, together with Basil, we will resolve issues. As far as we are concerned it’s business as usual and customers should see no difference.” Newby opened his first club, Flamingo, in Blackpool in 1979. He received an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours Read More
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi to open biggest restaurant as company fulfils King’s Road ambition, eighth UK site: Japanese restaurant brand Sticks ‘n’ Sushi will open its eighth UK site, in Chelsea next month featuring its debut “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining space. The three-storey restaurant in King’s Road will be its largest to date when it launches on Monday, 1 October. It will accommodate 220 guests with the interior playing on the themes of light and dark, with each floor having its own distinctive identity. The focal point of the 90-cover ground floor will be an open kitchen island with counter seating. The kitchen will be visible from the high banquettes and lower table seating around the room. Upstairs on the first floor, counter seating, low banquettes and tables will offer a variety of spaces. There will also be larger booths and a long communal table, a familiar fixture of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi since it was founded in Copenhagen in 1994. The basement of the Chelsea restaurant houses a first for the group – The Kings Room, a 26-seat “restaurant within a restaurant” private dining room equipped with its own kitchen, cocktail bar and dedicated team. Guests booking the room Read More
Sharp’s Brewery reports turnover boost as ‘sales to large pub and restaurant chains increase’: Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, which is owned by Molson Coors, has reported a turnover boost as “sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased”. The company saw turnover increase 0.4% to £41,781,317 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £41,608,283 the year before. Gross profit was up 7.0% to £11,188,389, compared with £10,454,098 the previous year. Pre-tax profit was down 64.1% to £769,804 compared with £2,143,488 the year before, according to accounts filed at Companies House. The fall was a result of Sharp Brewery’s commercial investment, in part, being held by Molson Coors in 2016, being repatriated back into the Sharp Brewery's budget for 2017. During the period, Sharp’s Brewery invested £995,360 in its facilities to further increase capacity at the brewery. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Gross profit levels increased during the year as sales to large pub and restaurant chains increased. Investment continues to be made in increasing the volume capacity of the business to meet consumer demand for the main brand, Doom Bar, while continuing to develop a wider portfolio of brands. The company has a capital expansion Read More
London will see 63 notable restaurant launches this autumn: Sixty-three dining venues “of note” are lined up to launch in London between this month and Christmas, according to the Hot Dinners website. Catherine Hanly, the site’s editor and co-founder, said this year’s line-up was one of the most eclectic on record, with influences from all over the world. Although the “opening season” total is expected to be down on last year’s record of 114, the new ventures come at a time of intense financial pressure on operators. Hanly said: “Even when restaurants are closing down, they are not lying empty for ages.” Mosaic Pub and Dining acquires three Birmingham sites off £1.3m asking price: Mosaic Pub and Dining, formerly known as City Pub EIS Fund, has acquired three sites in Birmingham off an asking price of £1.3m. The company, led by Peter McDonald and James Watson, has bought Edmunds Bar & Brewhouse in Edmund Street, The Queens Arms in Newhall Street and The Rectory Bar in St Paul's Square from James Dunphy, in an off-market deal through agents Christie & Co. Under the previous ownership, the sites were run as traditional pubs, and included a micro-brewery at Edmunds. Already operating Read More
JGourmet Burger Kitchen eyes restructure as Cote seeks merger partner:Gourmet Burger Kitchen (GBK) has hired restructuring advisers, the Sunday Times has reported. The newspaper stated: “GBK, which is owned by South Africa’s Famous Brands, is understood to have appointed Deloitte to thrash out deals with landlords on rent cuts and site closures. The move could result in a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA). GBK, which has more than 100 sites, is the latest chain to suffer because of the casual dining slump that has already wiped out hundreds of restaurants and thousands of jobs. Soaring costs have squeezed profit margins at a time when consumers are spoilt for choice.” Speculation GBK could be forced into a CVA surfaced in July when Famous Brands said it was considering “strategic options relating to a subsidiary”. Like-for-like sales at GBK dropped 10.6% in the 22 weeks to the end of July. Anthony Clark, an analyst at Vunani Securities, described GBK as the “septic wart” that should be “cut out” of Famous Brands. The first GBK was opened in south London in 2001 by three New Zealanders. Famous Brands, which also owns the Wimpy burger chain, bought GBK for £120m two years ago, saying it Read More
Pizza Pilgrims to open two new London sites this autumn: Pizza Pilgrims, founded by brothers Thom and James Elliot, are opening two new sites in London this autumn. The company is opening in the former Jason Atherton-led Temple & Sons premises in the City in October followed by London Bridge in November. The City site will have 135 covers and a large bar downstairs, reports Hot Dinners. The restaurant in Old Broadwick Street will have new pizzas on the menu including the double pepperoni, featuring two types of UK-produced pepperoni with spiced honey, and the pesto Datterini consisting of Datterini tomatoes and buffalo stracciatella. Meanwhile, Pizza Pilgrims will also open at a site in Tooley Street, close to London Bridge station, with a 16-seater terrace under the arches. Pizza Pilgrims’ other London sites are in Soho (two venues), Covent Garden, Shoreditch, West India Quay, Exmouth Market and a space at Swingers crazy golf club in the City. It also has a restaurant at the Westgate Centre in Oxford. Whitbread to kick-off major expansion in Ireland of Premier Inn as it secures Dublin city centre site: Whitbread has secured its first Premier Inn site in Dublin city centre as it kicks Read More
Spanish based hospitality company backed by famous names to open debut UK site: Spanish-based Mabel Hospitality, which is backed by a host of famous stars, is to open its debut UK site. The company is launching Zela at the ME London hotel in The Strand. Mabel Hospitality was founded by Spanish entrepreneurs Manuel Campos Guallar and Abel Matutes. They opened Zela Ibiza last year and they also own the Spanish restaurant Tatel, which has sites in Madrid, Ibiza, and Miami and is just getting ready to open in Beverly Hills. The company's backers include footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, singer Enrique Iglesias and tennis player Rafael Nadal. Zela London is opening next month in the space previously occupied by Cucina Asselina. The restaurant will serve "meppon" cuisine – Japanese techniques and flavours applied to Mediterranean products and traditions, reports Hot Dinners. Fish will be sourced from the Mediterranean and served in tatakis, tartars, sashimi, sushi, gyozas and tiraditos. Dishes will include tiradito of scallops with Ibizan sobrasada and butterfish nigiri with white truffle. The drinks list will have a similar direction, pairing Asian and Mediterranean flavours, such as Santa Maria (sherry wine, homemade spice mix, tomato, basil) and Harakiri (sake, lime, egg Read More
Stonegate to open seven more Popworld sites in 2018, first London venue launches next month: Stonegate Pub Company has revealed it will open seven more Popworld sites in 2018 taking the brand to 35 in total. Popworld features a soundtrack from the nineties and noughties alongside cocktails, bookable booths and cocktail masterclasses. Stonegate will be opening sites in Norwich, Leeds, Bolton, Hartlepool and Morecambe and its first sites in London and Manchester. The first site in the capital will launch in Watling Street on Friday, 7 September. Since its Southampton inception in 2014, Popworld has seen almost five years of consecutive growth in sales, margins and profits. The brand opened its 25th site – in Milton Keynes –at the beginning of the year and Stonegate said it has seen "industry-leading" return on investment on recent openings and has the top net promoter score for atmosphere within the sector. Having launched the Popworld app in 2016, the number of new and active users has continued to grow and there are now more than 15,000 users. Head of marketing Alan Armstrong said: “We are incredibly proud to see the Popworld brand go from strength to strength since our launch in 2014. Not Read More
Chilango reports Ebitda boost as turnover passes £10m, pre-tax losses narrow: Mexican brand Chilango has reported turnover increased 6.2% to £10,282,141 for the year ending 25 March 2018, compared with £9,720,583 the previous year. Group underlying Ebitda came in at a profit of £0.4m, compared with a loss of £1.2m the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £1,412,310, compared with £3,195,322 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Post year-end, Chilango raised £28,994 through selling 483,334 ordinary shares. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The company experienced considerable momentum in both sales and underlying Ebitda growth. Across the restaurant estate, sales grew strongly at 6.2% compared with the previous financial period. A particularly strong performance was seen via the delivery market channel. Food and labour costs were optimised significantly, while also increasing the quality of food and service. The improvements have strengthened the gross profit margin from 63.5% to 66.7%. The company is pleased with the current trading performance of its restaurants with like-for-like growth from both the walk in and delivery channels. The core improvements in the management of direct costs made in the 12-month period have allowed the continued improvement to the Read More
Arc Inspirations founder – minimum and living wage took £700,000 off our bottom line last year: The founder of award-winning Leeds-based bar and restaurant company Arc Inspirations has reported the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage took £700,000 off the company's bottom line last year. Writing in this week's Propel Friday Opinion about the changes the sector has witnessed during his two decades in business, Martin Wolstencroft stated: "The lack of government support for our sector is quite staggering. Escalating business costs have a very real impact on our profitability and the continued ability for us to invest. As a business, last year’s increases to the national minimum and living wages took about £700,000 off our bottom line. Of course, we want to pay our team members a fair wage and are committed to developing them as individuals during their time with us, but these recurrent increases – along with hikes to business rates and other input costs – hamper growth and investment. The government must listen more closely to business." Wolstencroft also said competition was more intense now than he can ever recall in his "many years" in the sector. He added: "The markets we operate in are Read More
McDonald's pledges to offer 43,000 apprenticeships in Europe – including UK – as part of youth unemployment initiative: McDonald's has pledged to offer 43,000 apprenticeships in Europe – including the UK – by 2025 as part of a new initiative to tackle youth employment. The company said the apprenticeships would be offered in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy and Switzerland, with the aim of expanding to other markets in Europe in the future. It is part of its Youth Opportunity initiative that aims to put a dent in the global youth unemployment rate. McDonald's is kicking off the scheme by pledging $2m to projects in his home town of Chicago. Another $1m will be granted to Skills for Chicagoland’s Future to launch a new apprenticeship program with City Colleges of Chicago. If the approach is successful, the company said it would roll out similar plans in other cities in the US. starting from 2019. McDonald’s said it long-term effort is to improve employment prospects for two million young people by 2025. David Fairhurst, McDonald’s executive vice-president and chief people officer, said: “Around the world, too many young people are finding, through no fault of their own, there are barriers Read More
UFC star takes 25% stake in Graffiti Spirits restaurant: Graffiti Spirits, the Liverpool-based independent bar and restaurant group owned by Matt Farrell and John Ennis, has revealed UFC star Darren Till has bought a 25% share in city restaurant Santa Maluco. Along with MMA fighter Mark Scanlon, they will make up 50% of the business. Till has been a regular visitor to rodizio-style Santa Maluco for the past year, while he and Scanlon used to visit a similar concept every week while they trained in Brazil. Till said: “I have known the guys from Graffiti Spirits Group for a while now and have been really impressed by their impact on the Liverpool food and drink scene. John and Matt have been a great support to me over the years, so it’s really great to be able to partner up with them with Santa Maluco. It has been a favourite for me and my friends since it opened so it feels good to finally be a part of it properly.” At Santa Maluco, all pizzas are cooked in a hand-made, wood-fired oven. All pizzas are 18 inches and made from scratch. Till recently headlined UFC Fight Night 130 in front of Read More
Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox to launch brasserie concept in Manchester: Living Ventures co-founder Danny Fox is launching a restaurant concept in Manchester this month. Fox will open School For Scandal in First Street on Monday, 20 August at a site formerly occupied by cafe bar The Laundrette. School For Scandal will be a 100-cover neighbourhood brasserie with outdoor terrace. The concept is based on the “scandal of love", with walls featuring tattoo imagery and decor evoking a sense of Manhattan alongside hints of traditional British interiors and wood panelling reminiscent of an English boarding school. The menu will feature tacos, burgers and steaks off a charcoal grill, pizza from the oven, salads and small plates. The drinks offer will include cocktails, beer and spirits. Fox said: “Every neighbourhood needs a school to enrol in, and this is ours. This concept is fun and mischievous. We really wanted to create somewhere cool but fun where you can enjoy quality food and drink and be sociable. We’re excited to open in First Street and welcome everyone to enjoy or create their own bit of Scandal!” In 2016, Fox launched his eponymous gourmet restaurant in Hale Barns, near Altrincham. Fox is a Read More
Revolution Bars Group appoints social media partner as it targets millennials ahead of expansion: Revolution Bars Group, operator of 74 premium bars trading under the Revolution and Revolución de Cuba brands, has appointed a social media partner ahead of its planned expansion. The company is working with Manchester-based Social Chain to market its plans to open six bars in the next 12 months. The aim is to target millennials as part of its drive to win new customers. As part of the campaign, Social Chain will be responsible for the output of all 74 cross-platform social channels including strategic planning, content strategy and reactivation, social media management, and influencer marketing. Kate Eastwood, Revolution Bars Group sales and marketing director, told The Business Desk: “With our young customer base constantly hunting for the best food, cocktails and party on the high street, it’s essential Revolution Bars Group constantly evolves and improves its social media. As a result, we’re delighted to have appointed Social Chain as our social media partner. We are excited for what we can achieve together over the coming year.” Social Chain business director Oliver Yonchev added: “Our ultimate goal is to ensure Revolution Bars Group is leading the Read More
3Sixty Restaurants plans four further Ego openings this year as it sees losses narrow: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler and backed by Luke Johnson, plans to open four more Ego sites in its current financial year as it prepares to open its 16th site for the brand. The company revealed its plans as it reported turnover increased to £19,458,251 for the year ending 25 March 2018, compared with £18,895,687 the previous year. Ebitda before exceptional one-off costs and pre-opening costs was up to £1,004,965, compared with £955,908 the year before. Pre-tax losses narrowed to £67,576 compared with £1,857,004 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Following the period end, the company has acquired one pub – The Fox at Haslington – which is due to open this month with plans to open a further four sites during 2018-19. In May, the company disposed of Saltwater in Nottingham. An onerous lease provision of £300,000 was made in the period for this site. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The directors are very pleased with the significant progress made throughout the period, opening one site and taking the total number of sites under the Ego Read More
Daisy Green Collection on verge of securing 2019 site pipeline, nears £2m crowdfunding cap: Australia-inspired restaurant group Daisy Green Collection has reported it is on the verge of securing its site pipeline for next year. Co-founder Prue Freeman said: “We are delighted to be close to securing our 2019 pipeline with several prime, off-market sites. Southbank and City are likely to be the first – both provide the desired mix of office, residential and tourism customers and are the result of several years of work and development.” The company is currently fund-raising on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to support its growth. It has set an overfunding cap of £2m having smashed its initial £500,000 target within hours of the campaign publically launching last month while offering 4.70% equity in return for the investment. So far 705 investors have pledged £1,995,230 with one day remaining. Freeman founded the company with husband Tom Onions in 2012. Since then it has grown to a collection of nine sites across central London. The company has a run-rate site Ebitda of £2m. The group is currently achieving run-rate revenues of circa £10m, with site Ebitda margins at about 20%. The company’s business plan forecasts growing to Read More
Benito’s Hat aims to double company estate following £1m investment, opportunity to add ‘significant numbers’ through franchising: Michael Pearson, managing director of Mexican restaurant brand Benito’s Hat, has told Propel he expects to double its eight-strong company-owned estate over the next three years. He added there were opportunities to add “significant numbers” through franchising after the business secured £1m to fuel growth. Pearson said the expansion would be through larger restaurants and its new smaller-format model, which had been tested outside the capital with openings at the Westgate Centre in Oxford and Highcross shopping centre in Leicester. The company has secured a site at the O2 in London, which will open in the first quarter of 2019, while it is in negotiations over another site at an undisclosed location in the Home Counties. Pearson said: “I hope we will open three or four of our own sites next year and would like to double the number of company sites by the end of the period. We are being flooded with offers from landlords. Some are offering reverse premiums for sites that have been empty for a while and are keen to get a decent brand in. I think much of Read More
Aprirose acquires Wear Inns: Real estate investment company Aprirose, which acquired a 73-asset portfolio from Mitchells & Butlers last year, has acquired north east-based managed operator Wear Inns, The Sunday Times reports. Aprirose, which also acquired Leeds-based QHotels for £525m in September 2017, paid £22.4m for Wear Inns, which operates 25 pubs. Hartlepool-headquartered Wear Inns was founded in 2006 but was hit hard by the sudden death of managing director and co-founder John Weir two years ago. The company posted sales of £13,643,322 in the year to 31 March 2018, down from £14,210,461 a year earlier. Losses grew from £45,396 to £82,256, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Ebitda was £2.6m, compared with £2.57m the prior year. Simon Duckworth was appointed managing director in May 2017 on a permanent basis. Duckworth, who was previously finance director, had been interim managing director since Weir’s death. Weir’s business partner and co-founder John Sands also passed away, last August. Aprirose chief executive Manish Gudka said the Wear Inns deal was part of a “clear vision” to build a “pub group of scale”. Veeno to open Norwich wine cafe for 21st site: Italian wine cafe Veeno is to open its 21st site, in Read More
Caledonian Heritable reports turnover and profit boost: Entrepreneur Kevin Doyle’s group of companies, Caledonian Heritable, has reported sales grew to £46.1m in the year to 31 October 2017, up from £38.9m in the prior year. Pre-tax profit increased to £10.2m from £7.3m in the prior year. The group of companies includes the Archerfield golf resort, a ten-strong Edinburgh pub group that includes The Dome, The City Cafe and The Peartree, as well as haulage, plant hire and property interests. Focus Brands to buy Jamba Juice for $200m: Focus Brands is to buy Jamba Juice for $13.00 per share in cash in a transaction valued at about $200m. Jamba Juice has 800 sites worldwide. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018. “Benefiting from an extremely loyal customer base and strong franchise operators, Jamba Juice is one of the category leaders in the fast-growing smoothie and juice category,” said Steve DeSutter, chief executive of Focus Brands. “We are excited to welcome Jamba Juice with such an iconic heritage into our family of well-known and highly loved ‘fan favourite’ brands.” Atlanta-based Focus Brands is the parent company of Carvel, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McAlister’s Deli, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and Read More
Pizza Punks to move into former Cafe Rouge site in Newcastle for third restaurant, plans 20 sites by 2022: Pizza Punks chief executive Brad Stevens has told Propel the company has completed on its third site, and first in England, while it is planning to operate 20 sites by 2022. On Tuesday (31 July), Propel reported Cafe Rouge had vacated its site in Grey Street, Newcastle, the brand’s only presence in the city. Stevens revealed Pizza Punks has already started fit-out work on the site ahead of a scheduled opening in early September. The company has seen 26% like-for-like sales growth in the past six months at its debut Glasgow site, which launched in September 2016, while the second Pizza Punks, which opened in Belfast in April, is “absolutely flying and trading 15% ahead of projections”. Stevens said: “Newcastle will work well for us, it’s full of like-minded people as in Glasgow and Belfast.” The Newcastle site will have about 105 covers internally, with a further 20 outside, “on a par with Belfast”. Stevens said Pizza Punks is looking to build a pipeline of four sites for 2019. Regarding what the company is looking for, he added: “We are looking Read More
Talks under way over possible sale of Hakkasan: Hakkasan Group’s Abu Dhabi owner is in talks to sell the restaurant and nightclub operator, according to Bloomberg. The business, which operates restaurant and nightclubs around the world, has drawn interest from Spanish dance-club operator Pacha Group and boutique investment firm Certares. Hakkasan is owned by Alliance International Investment, which is now part of Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co. No final decisions have been made and the talks may not lead to a sale. A March 2017 plan to bring Hakkasan into Sam Nazarian’s SBE Entertainment Group – expected to close within 60 days of SBE disclosing it was in advanced talks – fell through this year. France’s Accor SA has since entered into exclusive talks to acquire a 50% stake in SBE, which owns hotel brands including Redbury and Mondrian and restaurant chains such as Umami Burger. Meanwhile, private equity fund Trilantic, MCH Private Equity and GPF Capital agreed in February 2017 to buy a stake for an undisclosed amount in closely held Pacha Group, which runs clubs on the Spanish island of Ibiza, as well as Germany, Australia and Brazil, among others. Certares, founded in 2012, is Read More
Star Pubs & Bars doubles outdoor investment to £6m: Star Pubs & Bars is investing £6m this year in revamping the exteriors of its pubs to enhance their kerb appeal and increase external covers. The investment is double that of 2017 and will benefit 260 pubs. More than 60% of the funds are being allocated to transforming pub exteriors through redecoration, new lighting, signage, cladding and other finishes for less attractive buildings. A key focus this year will be on creating strong statement entrances by adding structures such as pergolas, dropping adjacent windows and, where possible, relocating side entrances to the front. New outdoor areas will be created at 120 pubs, adding more covers for alfresco eating and drinking and better space for licensees to hold events. Features such as retractable awnings, pods, lighting and artificial grass will enable all-weather, year-round use. The trend for “bringing the inside out” will be maximised using outside rugs, interior-style furniture, artwork and mood lighting to make stunning outdoor areas. The number of outside bars and cooking facilities – such as pizza ovens – is expected to rise as licensees look to capitalise on the investment and reduce pressure on main bars and kitchens Read More
Tony Macaroni blames liquidation threat on ‘clerical error’: Scottish restaurant company Tony Macaroni has blamed a “clerical error” for creditors moving to place the firm into liquidation. A liquidation petition for Tony Macaroni was presented to Glasgow Sheriff Court by unidentified creditors of the company, which has 14 eponymous restaurants and 300 full-time staff. The petition asked that the company be wound up by Glasgow Sheriff Court and for the appointment of a liquidator. However, the 11-year-old company, which sponsors Livingston Football Club, said the move was down to a “clerical error” and the situation had now been resolved. Lawyers acting for the creditors confirmed the dispute had now been resolved and the petition would be “withdrawn shortly”. Tony Macaroni area manager Chris Bryce told the Evening Times: “This issue arose due to a clerical error and, once highlighted, was resolved immediately. Unfortunately the notice could not be cancelled in time.” Despite Tony Macaroni’s sales increasing 10% to £14m in the year to January 2017, its pre-tax profits slumped to £70,936. Tony Macaroni also operates three sites – in Dundee, Glasgow and St Andrews – for its Neapolitan pizza concept Mozza, with a fourth due to launch in Aberdeen this Read More
Starbucks rolls out 5p paper cup charge across its 950 UK stores: Starbucks is rolling out its 5p paper cup charge across all 950 stores in the UK following a trial in 35 London sites. All stores will add 5p to the cost of any drink purchased in a paper cup in a bid to reduce waste and encourage customers to bring in a reusable cup. Customers who bring in reusable cups will continue to receive a long-standing 25p discount off any Starbucks drink. The national roll-out comes after the London trial saw a 126% increase in reusable cup use. The three-month trial was evaluated by environmental charity and behavioural change expert Hubbub and resulted in an increase in customers bringing their own cup or tumbler to trial stores from 2.2% before the trial to 5.8%. The results indicated a nationwide 5p charge supported by in-store communications and staff training could have a positive impact on cutting paper cup use. Starbucks continues to roll out paper cup recycling in all stores nationwide and serve all in-store customers with ceramic cups. As part of its pledge to find alternatives to single-use paper cups, Starbucks committed $10m earlier this year to develop Read More
Cambscuisine launches £550,000 crowdfunding campaign, James Spragg joins board: Pub and restaurant operator Cambscuisine, led by Oliver Thain and Max Freeman, has launched a £550,000 crowdfunding campaign on online investing website SyndicateRoom to open two pub restaurants. Investors can receive 30% income tax relief on their investment in addition to a number of other tax reliefs that are part of the government-backed Enterprise Investment Scheme. Cambscuisine owns and operates nine pubs and restaurants across Cambridgeshire. Thain said: “We are a Cambridge-centric restaurant business working with local suppliers and businesses and, of course, our loyal customers and employees. We love the idea of local people joining our journey and helping us grow and develop the business, as they have since our purchase of The Cock in Hemingford in 2001. It therefore made sense to raise with SyndicateRoom, a crowdfunding platform just ten doors from the Cambridge Chop House. This opportunity to raise funds will enable us to realise many potential opportunities and accelerate growth. We have a strong platform from which to develop sites. The focus will be freehold and leasehold pubs and restaurants in Cambridgeshire and the surrounding area.” Meanwhile, Casual Dining Group chief operating officer James Spragg has joined Read More
Albion and East Group secures fourth site and second in Brixton: Albion and East Group, which is supported by The Imbiba Partnership, has secured its fourth site and second in Brixton, south London. The company has taken over a site in Ferndale Road formerly occupied by Brazilian barbecue brand Cabana. Located next to sister site Canova Hall, Albion and East will launch new concept Cattivo in October, comprising a laid-back Italian-style cafe with a cocktail bar in the basement. The venue will focus on southern Italian small plates, including home-cooked ragu, meatballs and filled pasta, and offer gin-blending and cocktail masterclasses. Cattivo will also cater for private dining and events and host experiential activities such as a “dinner and show” package featuring cabaret, jazz, circus performers and magic, and a show-time weekend brunch. Albion and East managing director Sarah Weir said: “We are super excited to introduce Cattivo to the vibrant Brixton neighbourhood. It complements our sister bar Canova Hall but offers something different and continues to add to the energetic Brixton nightlife and restaurant scene.” Albion and East launched Martello Hall in Hackney in 2016, followed by Canova Hall in May 2017. Its third project, Serata Hall, will open Read More
Arc Inspirations reports turnover and Ebitda growth: Arc Inspirations, the Leeds-based operator of a number of fast-growing brands including Manahatta, Banyan Bar & Kitchen and The Box, has reported turnover increased £2.0m (8.6%) from £22.2m to £24.2m in the year to 1 April 2018. Like-for-like sales were up 1.0%, while Ebitda increased 33% from £2.4m to £3.2m. Group Ebitda as a percentage of sales has grown from 10.8% to 13.3%. Arc will open a Box in Leeds city centre in September, and a Manahatta in Deansgate, Manchester, and a Banyan in Spinningfields, Manchester, the following month. It also has a strong pipeline of sites for openings in 2020. Chief executive Martin Wolstencroft said: “We have enjoyed an exceptional year given prevailing market conditions, which puts us in a sound financial position to open more sites and continue to develop and grow the business in 2019 and beyond. Our three key brands continue to perform well. We have a simple philosophy and believe growth is derived by continually investing in our people, brands and guest experience. Many of our competitors have resorted to discounting, which we don’t believe in, and we remain confident in our ability to continually innovate across people, Read More
Andreas Karlsson – restaurants should avoid ‘sumo effect’ when it comes to growing a business: Andreas Karlsson, group chief operating officer of Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, has said restaurants should avoid the “sumo effect” when it comes to growing a business. Speaking at the Propel summer conference, he told delegates: “You don’t want to be a sumo wrestler eating 20,000 calories a day, having a short career and then dying 20 years earlier than the average age in Japan. I think we in the industry should think about a healthy way of maintaining our business so we can hand over what we do to the next generation. Performance-wise you need to look at your business over a longer period of time regarding a strategic decision to open restaurants. You must plant a lot of seeds many years before they are going to give you anything.” Propel managing director Paul Charity asked Karlsson about some of the bold moves Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has made, such as taking on a Walkabout site in Covent Garden with its corresponding high rent. Karlsson said: “How stupid can you be to take a restaurant in Covent Garden that’s six metres wide by 45 metres long, on two Read More
HUMANS do not celebrate the anniversary of getting their job, the world has told LinkedIn. Despite the site sending out millions of emails every day urging its users to congratulate each other on reaching another year of – usually miserable – employment, the planet has unanimously agreed that it has got to stop. A representative for the human race said: “Seriously LinkedIn, you can cut out that bullshit. I have never once been congratulated on a work anniversary, either in the real world or on your weirdly clingy website. “And just so you know, most of us have had bowel movements that we remember more fondly than starting our jobs.” The representative added that no humans are remotely fucked about who is looking at their LinkedIn profiles either, so they can lay off the daily missives about that too. LinkedIn responded immediately with 25 billion jargon-filled emails from which it is impossible to unsubscribe. Read More
Jerry Brunning opens first pub since return to trade: Brunning & Price founder Jerry Brunning has opened his first pub since his return to the trade, ten years after selling the then 16-strong company to The Restaurant Group. Brunning, who has formed Pubs Limited, has reopened The Swan in the village of Marbury, near Nantwich in Cheshire. The pub dates to the 1700s with some outbuildings listed with National Heritage. The reopened pub now includes a sun terrace, large garden room, traditional bar with seating, real fires and wooden floors. The team has used reclaimed materials, wood panelling, beams and solid wooden and tiled floors in the restoration. The pub also features antique furniture, colourful rugs and a library with 2,000 books. The new menu features locally sourced pub classics alongside more “adventurous” dishes and stocks local ale with five hand-pulled beers on tap. The pub is run by Darren Snell, who managed The Dysart Arms for Brunning and his business partner at the time Graham Price. Brunning told the Nantwich News: “We have spent a lot of time, money and effort to resurrect this gem of a pub and we’re delighted with the results. The pub is a country Read More
Charles Wells acquires second Oxford venue for Pizza, Pots & Pints as it plans 25-site portfolio: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Charles Wells has acquired a second site in Oxford as part of a rapid expansion programme for its Pizza, Pots & Pints managed pub concept. Following the launch of The Oxford Blue last month, The Holly Bush in west Oxford will be number seven in the portfolio, which the company plans to increase to 25 during the next three years. The latest Oxford purchase is part of a strategic move by Charles Wells to develop a strong branded offering as part of its managed pub portfolio to complement its 186 leased and tenanted pubs across the UK. Pizza, Pots & Pints offers smaller, community-based pubs with informal dining. “The Pizza, Pots & Pints format is a key part of the Charles Wells growth strategy over the next three years,” said chief executive Justin Phillimore. “We are actively looking for individual sites as well as smaller, regionally based multiples to expand this portfolio.” The Pizza, Pots & Pints concept was first introduced by Charles Wells in 2015 with the opening of The Salisbury Arms in Cambridge. Since then it has been Read More
Pret A Manger to introduce compostable cutlery: Pret A Manger is to introduce compostable cutlery to all its UK sites next year. In the meantime, the company is also testing keeping cutlery behind its tills to see if that will lead to a cut in the use of plastic items. Announcing the move on Twitter, it stated: “First we trialled wooden cutlery, and you told us it wasn’t up to scratch. The good news is we will introduce compostable cutlery to all our UK shops next year.” Pret A Manager is on a crusade to reduce its plastic usage. The company has extended its water bottle deposit scheme trial to Birmingham having launched a pilot in Brighton. Last month, chief executive Clive Schlee revealed reusable cup usage at its stores had increased by ten times since the company doubled the discount to 50p.   Signature Living explores new long-term funding streams as it reports turnover and pre-tax profit surge: Aparthotel developer and operator Signature Living has revealed it is exploring new long-term funding streams as it reported a surge in turnover and pre-tax profit. The company, founded by Lawrence Kenwright, saw turnover jump to £14,117,021 for the year ending 31 Read More
Comptoir Group announces board changes: Comptoir Group, the operator of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has announced changes to its board. The company stated: “The company announces the appointment to the board of Mark Carrick as chief financial officer with immediate effect. Mark joined the group in April as chief financial officer and was formerly director of operational finance with Ten Entertainment Group. Mark started his career in hospitality at JD Wetherspoon in 1999, where he qualified as an accountant and has since held several senior roles within a diverse range of multi-site leisure businesses over the past 19 years providing finance, commercial and operational expertise. In addition, Jonathan Kaye has notified the board of his resignation as a non-executive director to focus on his other business interests, with his resignation to take immediate effect. The company has commenced the search for a suitably qualified independent non-executive director and will make a further announcement in due course.” Non-executive chairman Richard Kleiner said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Jonathan for his valuable support and contributions to the company over the past couple of years and we wish him well for the future.” Liberation Group reports managed Read More
Red’s True Barbecue directors in advanced talks to restructure debt after breaching banking facility, losses increase to £2.5m:The directors of American smokehouse chain Red’s True Barbecue are in advanced discussions with Santander to restructure the company’s debt after breaching its banking facility. Despite the breaches, Santander issued a letter of support indicating it would continue to make funds available to the business. The details were revealed in a report accompanying the accounts for Red’s True Barbecue filed at Companies House for the year ending 26 March 2017, which showed losses increased to £2.5m. The report stated: “During the year the business suffered breaches of the facility. However, the bank remains supportive of the business and the group is in discussions with the bank to refinance its current facilities. In addition the bank has issued a letter of support indicating it intends to continue to make funding available to the business. The business will need to renegotiate current debt facilities to ensure the repayment profile for the current borrowings match the future cash generation of the business. The directors are in advanced discussions with their bank with a view to restructuring their current debt facility and amortisation of existing debt. These Read More
7Bone eyes Derby city centre for expansion into the Midlands: 7Bone Burger Co, which is backed by Kings Park Capital, plans to open a restaurant in Derby city centre for its first site in the Midlands. The company has applied to Derby City Council to convert a former Boots store in Victoria Street. The building has been vacant for a number of years after Boots relocated elsewhere in the city. The main dining area would be on the ground floor, with external seating to the front of the property, Derbyshire Live reports. Planning documents submitted by Paul Ashton Building Surveying and Project Management on behalf of 7Bone stated: “The applicant is proposing to bring its highly successful chain of premium burger restaurants to Derby. 7Bone currently operates from a number of sites across the south of England and has plans to expand its offering into the Midlands. Currently, the restaurants extend from Eastbourne, along the south coast and up to Weston-super-Mare in the west.” If approved, the restaurant would create 18 jobs and open from 10am to 11pm, Sunday to Thursday, and 10am to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. 7Bone currently has nine restaurants across the southern counties, including Berkshire, Read More
JD Wetherspoon expects to add dozen pubs a year as it has ‘colonised most of the country’: JD Wetherspoon chairman Tim Martin has told Propel the company expects to add about a dozen pubs a year to its portfolio as the company had now “colonised most of the country so there was less to choose from”. The rate of openings has slowed in recent years – the company has launched six pubs this financial year. Martin said the Fifa World Cup had added about 1% to like-for-like sales growth, with the recent hot weather also helping to drive revenues. Drinks including pink gin and Pimms had seen notable sales increases while Martin said the CO2 shortage had no impact on trade with its pubs still having “plenty of beer stocks”. Meanwhile, Martin said the company would continue to increase the number of UK products in its pubs as it seeks non-EU alternatives – and he urged other foodservice businesses to follow suit. Wetherspoon has already exchanged French Champagne for sparkling wine from the UK and Australia, and German wheat beer for UK and US alternatives. Of the company’s third-quarter results, Martin said: “We continue to do well, helped by the Read More
Pret A Manger to open store run exclusively by Rising Stars: Pret A Manger is to open a store run exclusively by graduates of its Rising Stars programme. Writing in his blog, chief executive Clive Schlee said enough people had come through the programme at management level to make the idea possible. He said: “We have been running our Rising Stars programme for ten years and have given jobs to more than 400 ex-homeless people since we started. Every summer I take a group of Rising Stars to Austria to hike up a mountain. Two years ago, one of the Stars came up with the idea of a Pret shop run exclusively by Rising Stars. My fellow hikers were enthusiastic. Our shop idea lost momentum when we returned home. People pointed out we didn’t have enough Rising Stars at management level to actually run the shop. Others felt we might be leaving them too exposed. I’m pleased to say the situation has changed. Enough Rising Stars have now developed through the ranks to become managers, team leaders, baristas and hot chefs. This means we can now build what we like to call a ‘family tree’ – the ideal team structure Read More
Timothy Taylor reports turnover boost: Keighley-based brewer Timothy Taylor has reported a turnover boost helped by a beer launch and the acquisition of a hotel and restaurant in Harrogate. Turnover increased 2% to £22,187,485 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £21,637,292 the year before. Pre-tax profit fell 1.5% to £2,742,083 compared with £2,782,510 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Demand for our beers remains strong, with draught sales showing a like-for-like increase over last year of 2.8% boosted by the successful introduction of the first new permanent beer since Landlord – Knowle Spring Blonde. Boltmaker remains in high demand, selling more than in the year following its success as Champion Beer of Britain in 2014, and sales of Landlord remain strong, with customers prepared to pay the price premium the beer warrants. During the year we acquired the Harrogate Brasserie, a family-owned restaurant and hotel business that has successfully traded from its Cheltenham Parade address for the past 27 years. We believe our beer and an enhanced drinks offer will be the perfect accompaniment to the high-quality food and entertainment for which the venue Read More
Novus put up for sale: Novus, the London bar and restaurant operator, has been put up for sale by its private equity owner. HayFin Capital Management has hired Sapient to find a buyer for Novus, which has 41 bars and nightclubs — including the flagship Tiger Tiger in London’s West End, reports The Sunday Times. The sale follows a turbulent few years for Novus, which counted David Cameron as a non-executive director when it was briefly listed on the London Stock Exchange under the name Urbium. The business was taken private in 2005 in a £113m management buyout. Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland took control through a debt-for-equity swap in 2009, after the deal turned sour. In 2012, the private equity firms LGV Capital and Hutton Collins bought the group for £100m. Three years' later, the business was again seized by its lender – this time HayFin, which had provided the debt for LGV and Hutton Collins. Novus, which owns brands such as Balls Brothers and Tank and Paddle, which serves pizza and craft beer, has been shifting its focus towards restaurants. The company, which is led by Toby Smith, has just six Tiger Tiger clubs left. EAT founders Read More
Shake Shack has room for a ‘few more’ London sites as it makes City debut: Shake Shack culinary director Mark Rosati has said the company has room for a “few more” sites in the capital as it launched its first restaurant in the City of London. The company has opened a venue in Cannon Street targeting City workers’ lunch needs. Shake Shack agreed a new 15-year lease with landlord Morgan Capital on the 3,608 square foot restaurant at 45 Cannon Street. Rosati told City AM that regional expansion was also on the cards. He said: “I get excited to think about all the UK – there are a lot of cool cities. As we keep growing, if a neighbourhood says we want our own Shake Shack, we’ll take a look.” Despite the well-publicised headwinds suffered by a number of restaurant chains, Rosati said Shake Shack hoped to keep its prices accessible by sourcing British produce. He said: “We try to keep our prices low. If we didn’t localise the menu, this would be a lot harder.” Shake Shack joins other operators at 45 Cannon Street including London-based independent coffee shop Black Sheep Coffee, Indian grab-and-go concept Pali’s Kitchen and Canada-based Read More
Greene King plans 100 redundancies, 25 jobs created: Brewer and retailer Greene King has announced a proposed restructure of its office teams based in Bury St Edmunds and Burton-upon-Trent. It is understood about 100 roles in total are at risk across the two locations, although 25 roles will be created as part of the proposal in addition to vacancies available. A Greene King spokesman said: “The industry in which we operate is facing considerable cost pressures – and we are not immune. We need to focus on supporting our pubs and believe the proposed structure will deliver a simpler, more effective way of working and at the same time reduce costs. We are working hard to minimise the number of redundancies and are supporting any colleague who is at risk of redundancy by trying to find an alternative role in the business. This decision has not been taken lightly but is critical to ensure Greene King is sustainable and fit for the future.”   Easycoffee secures £10m investment to roll out vending machines:Easycoffee has secured £10m investment from Stellar Asset Management to roll out 800 vending machines nationally in the next year. Easycoffee has grown rapidly since it launched in Read More
Investigation opens into Conviviality collapse: An investigation has been launched into the collapse of Conviviality. The company went into administration in April after two profit warnings, which it said stemmed from accounting errors and a £30m tax bill. The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said it had launched an investigation into the audit by KPMG of the financial statements of Conviviality for the 52 weeks ended 30 April 2017. The investigation will be conducted under the audit enforcement procedure. A KPMG spokesman said: “We note the announcement by the FRC of its investigation of the preparation, approval and audit of the financial statements of Conviviality for the year ended 30 April 2017. We believe we conducted our audit appropriately and will co-operate fully with the investigation. As reported by the company, it experienced margin weakness at the start of 2018 and also a significant payment to HMRC that had not been included within its short-term cash flow projections, creating a short-term funding requirement. Our audit of the company’s financial statements for the year ended 30 April 2018 had not yet commenced at the point administrators were appointed.” Conviviality’s first profit warning was due to an error in its accounts, while the Read More
Mash Inns reports £1m sales in first full year: Mash Inns, the joint venture between Laine Pub Company and Enterprise Inns’ Managed Investments segment, has reported sales of £997,000 in the year to 24 September 2017 – the company was incorporated on 17 February 2016. It made an operating loss of £52,000 and a loss before tax of £110,000, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Mash Inns opened its first site – the Ladywell Tavern in Lewisham, south London – in December 2016 followed by its second – The Albion in Hove – in early 2017. In February this year, the company added The Branch Tavern in Brighton to its portfolio after signing a 25-year lease and then the St George’s Inn in Brighton under a 25-year operating lease in April. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The loss before tax for the year amounted to £110,000 (32-week period ended 30 September 2016: £11,000) primarily due to administrative costs incurred establishing the business operations. The directors do not recommend the payment of a dividend.” Ei Group currently has ten managed joint-venture partnerships. Pret launches apprenticeship scheme that offers fully funded undergraduate degree: Pret A Manger has Read More
Emily Roux to open Caractère restaurant in London: Emily Roux is to become the third generation of the Roux family to operate a restaurant in the UK when she launches a venture this year in Notting Hill. Acting on behalf of a private landlord, agents AG&G let the leasehold interest of the unit, which formerly traded as Bumpkin and the Good Leaf restaurants, at the junction of Ledbury Road and Westbourne Park Road to Emily Roux, the daughter of Michel Roux Jr and granddaughter of Albert Roux Sr. The London venture will be called Caractère. The circa 2,500 square foot corner site has some notable neighbourhood operators including the Ledbury, Granger & Co and Beach Blanket Babylon. Emily Roux said she would open the restaurant with husband Diego Ferrari, who is head chef at Le Gavroche, so Caractère would offer a “mix of French-Italian food”. AG&G director James Grimes said: “Our client is delighted to have secured such a prestigious family name and reputation. The attention to detail of Emily and her advisors as far as the planned fit-out is concerned bodes well for the business focus they will have when it opens. I am sure it will be a Read More
Greene King pubs seeing 100% like-for-like growth during England World Cup games, ‘significant’ funds available for acquisitions: Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand has told Propel the World Cup is proving a shot in the arm for the business, with some of its pubs reporting 100% like-for-like sales growth during England games. The company said it also had “significant undrawn revolving bank facilities” available to finance pub acquisitions. Anand said of the World Cup boost: “We do outperform when there’s good sport on because we have geared up for it. We’ve invested £1.5m in televisions for example. We also have our Season Ticket app that is helping push people into our pubs with personalised offers and loyalty points. That is live in 750 pubs and we have more than 100,000 subscribers. Our pubs are performing very well during most World Cup games but obviously when England play we are seeing a bigger impact. We sold 500,000 pints on Sunday (24 June) during the Panama game. In fact, during the first two England matches pubs have reported like-for-like sales up between 50% and 100%. The noticeable thing from the World Cup four years ago is the broader range of drinks being Read More
CDG Leisure instructed to sell five Hummus Bros sites: CDG Leisure has been instructed to sell five Hummus Bros sites after the company fell into administration. The sites are in the City, St Paul’s, Holborn, Soho and Exmouth Market. They are available either as a group or individually. To request further information, email tom@cdgleisure.com. Hummus Bros said “rising costs, reduced demand and oversupply in the market” had affected the restaurants. PizzaExpress becomes first UK restaurant to use augmented reality gaming in own app: PizzaExpress has become the first UK restaurant to use augmented reality gaming in its own app. The company has launched an update that allows customers to play a virtual game of football while dining. The first of many augmented reality updates planned for the app, the game enables users to place computer-generated objects into the real world by using the phone’s camera. In this case, it’s playing football with PizzaExpress’ dough balls. In “Doughball”, players place a set of small football goalposts on the table and have 60 seconds to score as many goals as possible. The player must move their phone to aim and swipe upwards to shoot while avoiding the Doughball keeper. PizzaExpress senior marketing Read More
Industry leaders launch quick service chicken brand Chiktopia: Industry leaders have joined forces with Dan Einzig, founder and chief executive of sector design agency Mystery, to launch fast-food firm Chiktopia. Investors who form the advisory board include Ashton Crosby, former investment director of True Capital and City Pantry; James Hacon, managing director of Think Hospitality; and Mark Lilley, chief executive of Abokado. Einzig, who is also a founding investor in a portfolio of brands in the sector, including bubble tea bar operator Bubbleology, said: “The idea for Chiktopia was hatched on a quest to find the nirvana of chicken, which took us as far as New Orleans. For us, Chiktopia is not a destination it’s an ongoing mission, not only to create the tastiest chicken and satisfy our guests’ cravings for chicken paradise but also to have a demonstrable social impact by helping people in need. It’s flattering to have attracted investment from such senior industry figures. Their guidance and support will be invaluable as we pursue our strategy to position Chiktopia as a leading UK restaurant brand.” Roadchef sees pre-tax losses significantly narrow driven by foodservice investment: Motorway services operator Roadchef has seen its pre-tax losses significantly narrow driven Read More
Retail rather than restaurant struggles providing opportunity for Loungers to build pipeline: Nick Collins, chief executive of cafe bar brand Loungers, has told Propel the struggles of retailers rather than restaurants are providing opportunities to build its pipeline. Collins said because the company, which is backed by Lion Capital, targets secondary suburban high street and market towns Loungers has been on a different strategy to most other casual dining operators, which meant there was little on the restaurant property side that was providing real interest. He said: “We are certainly having a lot more properties presented to us including opportunities from other operators but, to be honest, there’s little that has really excited us. But there are certainly more retail opportunities coming on the market as a result of those businesses contracting. The majority of our sites are A1 locations converted to A3. We are very much a neighbourhood cafe bar brand that is a community business and not a casual dining operator.” The company, which currently operates 126 venues under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, revealed on Monday (25 June) it is on track to reach 140 sites by the end of 2018. The pipeline is building for Read More
Yummy Pub Company site suffers fire: The Somers Town Coffee House, operated by Yummy Pub Company suffered a large fire on Friday (22 June). The London Fire Brigade said it was called to a blaze in Chalton Street, a few hundred metres from Euston, King's Cross and St Pancras, at 8.06pm. Witnesses reported seeing flames and plumes of smoke coming from the pub. There were at least 72 firefighters tackling the blaze at one stage, the brigade said. Authentic Alehouses passes £6m mark in £10m crowdfunding campaign:Leeds-based Authentic Alehouses, led by Burning Night Group boss Allan Harper, has passed the £6m mark in its £10m fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdstacker. The company launched its funding bid in July last year to revive the fortunes of underperforming pubs by attracting a new generation of customers with a menu of “quality artisan food and drink, updated decor and a variety of entertainment”. It opened its first venue in November by relaunching The Albert Hotel in Hull following a £1m refurbishment. Its other venues are The Fountain Inn in Barnoldswick, Lancashire; The Countess Of Rosse, near Bradford; and the Albert Hotel in Southport. Authentic Alehouses is offering investors a 6.5% per annum interest Read More
Mentor Inns puts nine sites on market: Mentor Inns has put nine of its 12 freehold sites on the market. The pubs, located across the south and east of England, are being marketed by agent Christie & Co. Christie & Co is seeking offers in excess of £3.8m for the entire portfolio, with opportunities to purchase as sub-groups or as individual assets. The pubs are Claytons & The Glasshouse in Barnstaple, Devon; First & Last in Herne Common, Kent; The Arcade in Exeter, Devon; The Fox Inn in Ellisfield, Hampshire; The Lounge in Trowbridge, Wiltshire; The Quarryman’s Rest in Bampton, Devon; The Rusty Axe in Stembridge, Somerset; The Wheatsheaf in Drayton, Oxfordshire; and The White Hart in North Tawton, Devon. Christie & Co stated: “This opportunity represents an attractive, low-maintenance investment with experienced tenants in situ at each site. Further opportunities to invest for capital and rental growth are available for those with the appetite to do so.” Neil Morgan, managing director – pubs and restaurants, who is handling the sale, added: “The Mentor Inns group is a fantastic opportunity at a perfect time as the UK licensed sector is seeing excellent-value growth, which is fuelling considerable appetite for desirable Read More
Pod to launch £200,000 mini-bond as it plans 11 new sites: London-based healthy eating brand Pod is set to launch a £200,000 fund-raise on peer-to-peer lending platform Code Investing as it plans 11 new sites during the next three years, Propel has learned. The company will offer a mini-bond that will pay 8.5% annual (gross) interest rolled up and paid as a single lump sum on the maturity date after two years. Pod, which has 24 sites in central London, said it had created a solid base for expansion and was issuing the mini-bond to support organic growth, enhance the existing estate and open new sites that adhered to a “demanding new site-opening model”. The pitch states: “Pod is planning 11 further openings over the next three years. Its delivery business is currently growing at circa 27% per annum and sales growth was 11% in the last quarter of 2017. The fourth quarter of 2017’s sales figures meant the best fourth-quarter performance in Pod’s history. Pod has also achieved positive store Ebitda for every month in 2018 and corporate Ebitda of £86,700 for the first quarter of 2018. Pod believes it has the ability to outperform the market, with an Read More
Bourgee creditors left with estimated deficiency of almost £1m: Creditors of steak-lobster lounge concept Bourgee will be left with an estimated total deficiency of almost £1m, newly filed documents have revealed. In their statement of proposals filed at Companies House, joint administrators Mark Upton and David Scrivener, of Ensors, said the expected total deficiency would be £962,848. The report also showed Bourgee owed Colchester Zoo Holdings, which held a legal charge in respect of the company’s leasehold property and a fixed and floating charge debenture in respect of the company’s assets, about £1m at the date of the administration. Colchester Zoo Holdings’ shortfall is estimated to be £536,132 with unsecured creditors, excluding Colchester Zoo Holdings, having an estimated shortfall of £426,716. The report stated: “Based on present information, we estimate the value of the company’s net floating charge property to be circa £16,000. Arising from this, the value of the unsecured creditors’ fund is estimated to be about £5,600. Please be aware the value of this fund is likely to fluctuate during the course of the administration and further updates will be provided in our progress reports in due course.” Colchester Zoo Holdings called in Ensors in October last year Read More
The Alchemist secures two new central London sites: The Alchemist, which is backed by Palatine Private Equity, has secured two new central London sites. The company will add to its Bevis Marks venue in the capital with openings in Covent Garden and Shoreditch. The first venue is set to open in St Martins Lane, Covent Garden, in November. The bar and restaurant will undergo a £1.6m investment and extend over 6,966 square feet, accommodating 72 covers. Following a £1.3m investment, the second venue will open in Old Street, Shoreditch, in March 2019. The new bar and restaurant will span 4,456 square feet and accommodate 76 covers with an outdoor area hosting an additional 28. The sites’ interior design will follow The Alchemist’s trademark “copper-cased wonderland” look, with interiors featuring a palette of amber, copper and red accompanied by unique and gothic artwork. Meanwhile, in keeping with the evolved style of The Alchemist, its Bevis Marks venue will undergo a £280,000 refurbishment, closing on Monday, 6 August before reopening a fortnight later. Managing director Simon Potts said: “We are delighted to finally announce these London venues. It has been a long time coming but we feel incredibly lucky to have secured Read More
Austin Whelan takes on fifth Star site for third Whelans venue, two more pubs with company to follow: Multiple operator Austin Whelan has taken on his fifth site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars – and is taking on another two south London pubs with the company this year. Whelan has acquired the lease of Acorn 20 in Kingston, which together with the two other sites will take his pub portfolio to eight. Whelan is investing £500,000 with Star Pubs & Bars to transform Acorn 20 into the third site for his top-end Irish pub brand Whelans, joining its Neasden and Uxbridge venues. Propel has learned one of the two new sites will also be a Whelans. Work began on the Kingston site on Monday (11 June) and will take five weeks to complete. The site had been closed for 18 months prior to the investment. Whelans will have an emerald green exterior with black and gold signage and a courtyard garden with seating for 30 people. As at the other Whelans pubs, the interior will resemble a traditional Irish street scene with shopfront cabinets as a backdrop plus colourful tiles and wood panelling. There will be plenty of snugs Read More
Tattu co-founder – 15% like-for-like sales growth giving confidence to forge ahead with expansion: Adam Jones, co-founder of contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu, has told Propel its like-for-like sales are up 15% so far in 2018, which is giving him the confidence to forge ahead with expansion. Tattu, which has venues in Manchester and Leeds, is to double its portfolio after acquiring sites in Birmingham and Edinburgh. Jones, who founded the company with brother Drew in 2015, said the company’s immediate focus had been to offer a quality product and dining experience rather than growth. However, he admitted demand and support from customers was now driving a period of growth for the company. He said: “We had 23% sales growth in 2017 and Leeds, which opened in June last year, has traded 30% above budget in the first 12 months. We’re currently operating at an increase of 15% on a like-for-like basis in 2018 and we’re still attracting new customers, which is great. Between 87% and 91% are first-time diners.” Jones said the company had been actively looking for a third site “after the fantastic reception in Leeds”, with Birmingham the “logical next step”. The restaurant will open in the Read More
Caffe Concerto plans to consolidate operations as it reports turnover and profit boost: Caffe Concerto, which operates 22 sites, mostly in London, has said it plans to consolidate its existing operations as it reported a turnover and profit boost. The company saw turnover rise 4% to £22,747,306 for the year ending 31 August 2017, compared with £21,852,756 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £210,940 compared with £194,276 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The directors expect to consolidate their existing operations and only open additional branches once exceptional locations have been identified.” The number of staff increased to 484 at the end of the period from 474 the year before. Investment firm to acquire Cotswolds-based gastro-pub brand: Investment firm Sovereign Mines of Africa is to acquire Cotswolds-based hospitality group Turf To Table in a deal comprising three gastro-pubs that also offer 38 bedrooms in total. Turf To Table was founded in 2008 by chef Sebastian Snow, who formerly worked under Antony Worrall Thompson and ran restaurants such as Snows On The Green in west London. Snow acquired the lease for his first gastro-pub – The Read More
Pret A Manger’s brand perception rises after staff bonus announcement: Pret A Manger’s decision to give staff a £1,000 bonus following the company’s £1.5bn sale to JAB Holdings has given its brand perception a shot in the arm. YouGov figures showed the move has led to Pret’s attention score, which measures whether people have heard anything about the brand, rising from three to 12 in the past week. Pret’s impression score (whether a member of the public has a positive impression of the brand) jumped from 17 during the week the news was announced to a peak of 26 on Friday (1 June). Meanwhile, its reputation score (whether someone would be proud to work for a brand) increased from ten to 15 and its consideration score (whether someone would consider purchasing from a brand) rose from 14 to 23. YouGov data showed Pret’s current customers are more likely than the average (46% versus 37%) to say they only buy from companies who have ethics and values they agree with. YouGov co-founder Stephan Shakespeare told City AM: “YouGov data has often recorded how brands being known for positive staff relations can contribute to a jump in perception and purchase consideration.” Provenance Read More
Former Intertain chief operating officer Simon Kaye joins pasta and grappa concept Morso to aid growth plans: Former Intertain chief operating officer Simon Kaye has been appointed non-executive director of pasta and grappa concept Morso to help with the company’s growth plans. Morso is the brainchild of Paolo Vernetti, a former chef at Jamie’s Italian and Carluccio’s. Alongside Vanessa Vaz, commercial director Barak Peled and Barry McCaughley, he has created an all-day restaurant and bar concept that combines fresh pasta and small Italian bites with grappa-based cocktails. Morso launched as a pop-up last year and will open its debut permanent restaurant in St John’s Wood, north London, on Wednesday, 13 June with plans to open a number of “community-centred” sites in key London neighbourhoods by 2020. The menu includes signature creations such as egg yolk raviolo and grappa-cured salmon gravadlax. The bar will offer more than 20 grappa bottles and a dozen grappa-based cocktails. Peled said: “We’re really excited to have Simon on board. We have ambitious growth plans and it is vital to have somebody with us on this exciting journey who has done this several times over.” Las Iguanas launches bespoke experiences on Airbnb: Las Iguanas, the South Read More
Pizza Hut and Costa Coffee franchise businesses sold in separate deals: London-based independent pizza delivery business KMP Taste, one of the UK’s largest Pizza Hut franchises with almost 30 stores, has been sold to private investors. The sellers were three brothers from the London-based Patel family, who are private shareholders with a variety of business interests. The buyer was Zaf Holdings, a new company set up by Arif Jivraj, a private investor with wide-ranging expertise in franchised food retail. The deal was managed by Midlands-based accountancy and business advisory firm Smith Cooper, which provided full deal management services, including buyer identification. Corporate finance partner John Farnsworth said: “This transaction, involving nearly 30 stores and more than 500 employees, breaks size records for a UK Pizza Hut deal, certainly in recent history. We are privileged to have worked with the seller for some years before the sale process began, during which time it built a large, market-leading and profitable business.” David Crump, senior corporate finance manager, added: “We are delighted to have placed the business with a leading retail franchise expert, Arif Jivraj, whom we have known for some years and who owns Zaf Holdings. He has ambitious plans and is Read More
Rosa’s Thai Cafe to sell majority stake to US private equity firm: Thai restaurant group Rosa’s Thai Cafe, set up by husband- and-wife team Saiphin and Alex Moore, is poised to sell a majority stake to the US private equity firm TriSpan. The couple, who opened their first restaurant in east London 12 years ago, have grown Rosa’s Thai Cafe into a 13-strong chain in the capital. New York-based TriSpan, which counts former YO! Sushi boss Robin Rowland as a partner, is expected to take a majority stake this week, as Rosa Thai Cafe looks to expand outside London, with its first regional site opening this summer, in Liverpool. The couple, who met in Hong Kong 17 years ago, will remain involved in the company part-time and as minority shareholders, reports The Sunday Times. Rosa’s Thai Cafe began when the Moores moved to the UK and discovered an old greasy spoon in Spitalfields called Rosa’s, which they snapped up using credit cards and money borrowed from friends and family. They sold their home in Hong Kong to fund the second site, in Soho, before it gradually expanded across London. Saiphin Moore secured a recipe book deal with Octopus Publishing. The Read More
D&D London to open new City rooftop restaurant: Restaurant operator D&D London has signed an agreement with Generali Real Estate to launch a 9,257 square foot venue on the 14th floor of new development 120 Fenchurch Street in the City. The restaurant, which is set to open in spring 2019, will operate on the floor below a public sky garden and will boast views of the capital. The building, which is adjacent to Leadenhall Market, will in addition provide some 420,000 square foot of new Grade A office accommodation over 13 storeys, and about 27,000 square foot of retail space at ground level. D&D London chairman and chief executive Des Gunewardena said: “After a series of regional UK openings, including our recently launched rooftop restaurant 20 Stories in Manchester, and the announcement of our international expansion with Bluebird opening in New York later this year, 120 Fenchurch Street represents a return to London for what will be our largest new venture here since Aster in Victoria. London continues to be a significant part of D&D’s growth strategy and the project also reflects our continuing commitment to the City. 120 Fenchurch is a remarkable building and I hope we can create Read More
Notes reports like-for-likes up 5% in May: Notes, the nine-strong, London-based coffee shop and wine bar concept, has reported like-for-like sales were up about 5% in May. The company is currently embarking on a second round of fund-raising on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube and passed its initial £600,000 target within two days of launch. Notes said: “Now we have reached our target we have already started to implement the business plan. We have hired a head of bookings. Along with the above momentum, trade has been positive throughout the month of May – we have delivered like-for-like sales growth of circa 5%. It is definitely an exciting time for Notes and we look forward to having more of you on-board!” Notes has so far raised £713,850 from 418 investors in its latest round and is offering 6.60% equity in return for investment as it seeks to expand. The pitch stated: “Since our last Crowdcube raise in 2015, we have opened four locations, doubled our revenue to almost £5m (£0.2m Ebitda), increased site Ebitda by three times and expanded our roastery, which now produces more than one tonne per week for Notes and our wholesale partners.” Notes raised £908,400 on Crowdcube in Read More
KFC launches first campaign since chicken delivery crisis: KFC has relaunched its Colonel Sanders mascot in a bid to refresh its brand following a disastrous delivery failure earlier this year. In February, the company was forced to close more than two thirds of its 900 UK stores after it ran out of chicken, with some restaurants shut for weeks. KFC said the shortage was due to “teething problems” with a new delivery partner – DHL in partnership with QSL – and eventually went back to previous supplier Bidvest Logistics for about a third of its restaurants. In its announcement of the new television advert, the company made a tongue in cheek reference to its problems earlier this year: “February was supposed to be the month of love. But not this year…instead, a dark, swirling wind of sadness and heartbreak descended. A sorrowful shadow was cast across our nation. With such desolation and desperation, many wondered whether it was the beginning of the end. Some even considered going to Burger King.” However, KFC added the colonel’s return “in a glorious blaze of herbs and spices” was a symbol of “a return to full strength after the nation’s favourite chicken restaurant ran Read More
FT – JAB Holdings set to buy Pret A Manger: Luxembourg-based JAB Holdings is set to buy British sandwich chain Pret A Manger for 1.5 billion pounds ($2.0 billion), including debt, from its private equity owners, the Financial Times has reported. Pret’s private equity owner, Bridgepoint, bought the chain at the height of the buyout boom in 2008 for 500 million euros. JAB, the family office of Europe’s billionaire Reimann clan, has built up the world’s second-largest coffee business over the past five years. It controls packaged brands such as Kenco and Douwe Egberts; retail chains like Peet’s and Espresso House; and Keurig, the leading at-home single-serve brewer system in the United States. Reuters reported last year that Philippines fast food chain Jollibee Foods Corp was exploring a bid worth over $1 billion for Pret Read More
Cake Box set to float: Two cousins from London’s east End are on course to realise a £50m fortune when they float their cake shop business next month. The Sunday Times stated: "Sukh Chamdal and Pardip Dass opened the first Cake Box store in Green Street, Upton Park, a decade ago and now have more than 90 franchises across the UK. They aim to open two or three new stores each month, with a goal of 250 in total. Cake Box has appointed the broker Shore Capital to advise on the listing, which will see the business float on the junior AIM market. It is expected to value the company at between £40m and £50m, and Chamdal, 56, and Dass, 46, will sell 40% of their shares. The cousins will retain control of the remaining 60%. Chamdal, a former chef, had the idea for the business when his daughter asked for a cake that didn’t have eggs in it. All the company’s products are egg-free and suitable for vegetarians. Customers can choose to have a personalised message iced on to a fresh cream cake while they wait. Cake Box was named last week on The Sunday Times Fast Track 100 Read More
Patrick Dardis – we expect Smiths of Smithfield to turn over up to £250,000 a week: Patrick Dardis, chief executive of London pub retailer Young’s, has told Propel he expects its newly refurbished Smiths of Smithfield site to turn over up to £250,000 a week. The company reopened the grade II-listed, four-storey City pub earlier this month following an £800,000 refurbishment having acquired it in November. The 800-capacity venue, which is the company’s largest, has an average weekly take of £100,000 but Dardis said: “With the refurbishment, our intentions are to get more from it than that. I would expect up to £250,000 a week. The site is not due to mature until 2020 and we are very excited about its prospects.” Dardis said the company would continue to invest heavily in its estate to ensure it remained “out in front”, including a £1.5m spend on The Park – the 43-bedroom hotel in Teddington it acquired in April. The company has 580 bedrooms in its portfolio and Dardis said another 140 to 150 bedrooms could be added in the next three to five years. Young’s transferred three sites from its tenanted Ram Pub Company business to the managed estate during Read More
Notes launches £600,000 crowdfunding campaign to fund further expansion: Notes, the nine-strong, London-based coffee shop and wine bar concept, has launched a £600,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to fund expansion. The company is offering 5.66% equity in return for investment. So far, 158 investors have already pledged £560,380 with 30 days of the campaign remaining. The largest investment so far has been £50,000. The pitch states: “Notes is a growing coffee shop and wine bar concept, which has established itself as one of the market leaders in London’s quality coffee market with nine central London locations. Starting from a coffee cart in a cobbled street market in 2010, we now source and roast our own single-origin coffee, serving more than 1.4 million cups a year. The coffee market currently stands at 2.3 billion cups per year in the UK and customer tastes are moving towards quality. We believe Notes is perfectly poised to take full advantage of this trend. Since our last Crowdcube raise in 2015, we have opened four locations, doubled our revenue to almost £5m (£0.2m Ebitda), increased site Ebitda by three times and expanded our roastery, which now produces more than one tonne per week for Read More
Brewhouse & Kitchen acquires Horsham site: Brewhouse & Kitchen, the brewpub business led by Kris Gumbrell and Simon Bunn, has acquired a site in Horsham, West Sussex, Propel has learned. The company has bought the freehold of contemporary Japanese restaurant Wabi in East Street from owners Paul and Verity Craig. The Craigs acquired Wabi in early 2014 from receivers for more than £1m. The venue was opened by former Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth about nine years ago. The Craigs will continue to operate Bohemia bar in Brighton and their nightclub lighting, sound and installation company Showtec. Verity Craig said: “It was an offer we simply could not refuse. We continue to enjoy successfully trading Bohemia in The Lanes in Brighton as well as Showtec and have no future plans to sell Bohemia as it is our core trading business. We have enjoyed owning Wabi and meeting so many lovely people in Horsham who have supported Wabi immensely over the years. We thank every one of them, along with the wonderful teams of people we have employed over the years. We would like to wish every success to the new owners and wish our team (who they are taking with them) Read More
Barons Pub Company reports turnover and profit boost: Surrey-based Barons Pub Company has reported turnover rose to £11,524,544 for the year ending 30 September 2017, compared with £9,666,464 the year before. Pre-tax profit increased to £432,269 compared with £269,046 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Barons Pub Company had 340 employees at the end of the period compared with 270 the year before. It operates seven sites – six in Surrey and The Black Boy in Reading. REL Capital buys Union Bars site, seeks further acquisitions with two more in legals: REL Capital, led by leisure property entrepreneur Andy Scott, is seeking further opportunities having bought one of Chelsea’s oldest pubs – The Pig’s Ear – from Union Bars. REL exited the pubs and bars sector after its 1 Leicester Square “super club” was developed for hotel use in 2015. It also sold regional sites in Guildford, Watford and Crawley to focus on other portfolio businesses, including the development of ten Hawthorn freehold development sites, and growing its central London entertainments business Contraband Events. REL has taken on Ian Newman, former head of property at Carluccio’s and Ivy Group, to spearhead its acquisitions. It has two Read More
NewRiver set to buy Hawthorn Leisure estate: NewRiver, which owns about 300 community pubs, is set to double the size of its estate by buying Hawthorn Leisure in a deal worth more than £100m, The Times has reported. Hawthorn, which is owned by its management and Avenue Capital, an American private equity firm, was put up for sale recently via Sapient Corporate Finance with a price tag of more than £115m. It was formed four years ago when it acquired 275 Greene King pubs for £75.6m. It quickly followed that deal with the purchase of 88 pubs from R&L Properties. The company has since taken over two small packages of managed pubs from Nectar Taverns and JD Wetherspoon, and has sold off about 100 non-core sites. Meanwhile, Hawthorn has opened two pubs in partnership with PG Taverns. The move is part of Hawthorn’s “ongoing commitment to Scotland”, with plans to invest £1.8m in its 106 pubs in the country during 2018. The Jolly Gin And Craft in Falkirk has reopened after a £300,000 internal refurbishment to feature a redesigned bar and an indoor gin garden with its own wisteria tree. The only pub in East Calder – The Grapes – Read More
Wadworth will strategically add to managed estate: Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth has said it plans to strategically add to its managed estate this year. The company reported managed like-for-like sales increased 3.65% for the year ending 30 September 2017 and said this area would be its “engine for growth”. Group turnover increased 8% to £67,963,000, compared with £62,650,000 the year before. Pre-tax profit was up to £5,440,000, compared with £3,607,000 the previous year. Operating profit before exceptional items rose to £6,873,000, compared with £6,600,000 the year before. Ebitda increased 13% to £10,809,000, compared with £9,515,000 the previous year. During the period the managed estate grew from 48 to 54 pubs, while the company spent £7m on three acquisitions – the Bird in Hand in Maidenhead, The Stag in Alcester and The Dolphin in Botley. There were also three transfers from tenancy during the year – the Plough Inn in Sparsholt, The Inn In The Park in Poole and The Three Crowns in Devizes. The company stated: “This has been a second year of solid progress for Wadworth as we have continued to develop the company for the long term. This year we have established a firm foundation for the Read More
Wagamama makes Sharjah debut as part of UAE expansion: Wagamama has opened its first restaurant in Sharjah, the company’s first site in the United Arab Emirates outside Dubai, as part of continued expansion in the country. The 110-cover, 180 square metre restaurant has launched at the newly opened Zero 6 shopping centre in Al Juraina District, which houses the largest IMAX theatre in the UAE. The Wagamama restaurant also offers a terraced area, with the venue opening in time for Ramadan. The launch brings the number of Wagamama sites in the UAE to six, with wider expansion to take place this year in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Wagamama launched in the UAE in 2004, opening its largest venue to date in the country in Dubai earlier this year. Wagamama international managing director Brian Johnston said: “With an established and growing presence in Dubai, we are excited to launch in another emirate, bringing fresh Japanese-inspired cuisine to diners in Sharjah for the first time. The opening signifies the wider expansion plan of our franchise partner RMAL Hospitality to deliver world-class restaurant experiences to UAE residents and visitors.” Kensington-based Indian restaurant Chakra to expand across London via delivery kitchens and restaurant roll-out: Read More
Boxpark appoints non-executive directors: Boxpark has appointed John Leslie and Scott Murdoch as non-executive directors to help guide the company’s strategic development amid continued expansion. The appointments follow the addition of Simon Champion (chief financial officer) and Ben McLaughlin (operations manager) to Boxpark’s executive management team earlier this year. Leslie has more than 30 years’ experience in the sector, having previously held chief financial officer and chief executive roles at companies including Intertain, Scottish & Newcastle, Allied Domecq and Regent Inns, with a proven track record in developing and executing expansion strategies. Scott Murdoch is founder and managing partner of independent retail property advisor CWM, working with Boxpark on projects such as its Wembley site, which will launch later this year. Boxpark founder and chief executive Roger Wade said: “I’m delighted to announce the addition of John and Scott as non-executive directors to our board. We have been working closely with John and Scott over the past year and, with over five decades of experience in this sector between them, I know we’ve got a robust set of strategic advisors in place to help Boxpark expand into Wembley later this year and beyond.” Last week, the company announced Boxpark Wembley Read More
MJR Group to reopen Birmingham nightclub closed following drugs deaths after licence reinstated: Paddy Whur, of solicitors Woods Whur, has succeeded in getting the licence reinstated for the former Rainbow Venues nightclub in Birmingham for live music venue operator The MJR Group. MJR, which operates Dingwalls in Camden as well as live music venues in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leamington Spa, Sheffield and Leeds, will now reopen the site in Lower Trinity Street as The Mill. The previous operator had its licence revoked by Birmingham City Council in November after a 19-year-old student died after taking ecstasy in the club the night before. It was the second death at the premises. Bristol-based MJR will bring its own management team and controls to the venue. The company recently took over the licence of nearby venue The Arena. The Mill will offer live music and DJs. Whur said: “I am pleased with the approach the authorities have taken towards us and with the extra effort my client has put into the application process. It is a live example of a partnership approach that has worked in bringing a quality operator into premises that previously had issues. Operators can only go so far and face Read More