Deliveroo pledges 500,000 free meals for NHS workers: Deliveroo has pledged to give 500,000 free meals to front-line NHS workers. The company has secured donations of 350,000 free meals from restaurants to date, led by Pizza Hut, which has pledged 300,000 meals using its network of 700 UK stores. Other meal donations include a substantial offer from healthy Asian food chain Itsu, while Pizza Hut has also donated funding to help cover the cost of deliveries. Deliveroo said it would initially focus on London and Manchester before expanding the service, with any excess funds donated to the NHS. Pizza Hut is also offering free deliveries to hospitals and 50% discounts to NHS staff, while Deliveroo is changing its app to enable customers to buy a meal for a doctor or a nurse. Deliveroo will also continue to deliver free food to the vulnerable during the crisis via London-based charities. Founder and chief executive Will Shu said: “Those in the NHS working night and day to save lives are the real heroes of this crisis and we want to do our bit to support them and the vulnerable who aren’t able to leave their homes. Thanks to our dedicated riders, the Read More
Leon – keeping business open for NHS workers is right thing to do, no matter the cost: Natural fast food brand Leon has said it is costing the company more to keep the business open but it would continue to serve NHS workers as it was the “right thing to do”. The company also said if it “accidentally” made any profit during the coronavirus outbreak, the money would be spent on feeding hospital teams. Leon stated: “In line with government advice and support, Leon remains open to customers where NHS teams and essential workers need us. In the past week we have served 13,843 takeaway and delivery meals to NHS workers alone. All meals served to the NHS were at 50% discount. We have to do the right thing and continue to serve them. We have once again explained to our team members that no Leon person should work if they don’t wish to. Whatever each team member decides, we support them. If they choose to remain at home, we are helping them to access the government furlough scheme. The decision isn’t financial. In fact, it’s costing our business more to stay open. We have been inundated with requests from Read More
Leon to launch Ocado-style home delivery: Leon is to launch an Ocado-style home delivery site as it reinvents itself to survive the coronavirus crisis. Following the government's order all restaurants must close, Leon will turn its 57 UK sites into shops selling groceries and takeaway meals. Customers will be able to order online or on their phones and either collect in person or order a delivery from UberEats or Deliveroo. The chain's e-commerce site, which will launch on Wednesday (25 March), will initially sell Leon groceries and ready-meals made by two of the chain's biggest suppliers. It plans to widen the net to sell food from other restaurants and suppliers, in a bid to become “the Ocado of the restaurant industry”. Mexican restaurant group Wahaca has already held discussions with Leon about joining the venture in the coming weeks. In a further twist, Hammerson, which is landlord of the Brent Cross in north London, last week offered Leon a free site in the shopping centre. Leon has already started converting the 8,000 square foot site, which was occupied by retailer Mothercare before it went bust, into its flagship shop. John Vincent, Leon's founder and chief executive, has drawn up the Read More
BrewDog has ‘lost 70% of revenue overnight’ and is ‘adapting in fight to survive’:James Watt, co-founder of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, said the company had lost “70% of its revenue overnight”, while the business is adapting as it “fights to survive”. Speaking on the Ian King show on Sky News, Watt said: “It is a very difficult time and our thoughts are with everyone – it’s also a difficult time for our business. We essentially lost 70% of our revenue overnight and we’re doing all we can to adapt and think about our resources differently to try to survive and save as many jobs as we can. We’re also trying to help the country as we do this so we’re using our distillery to make hand sanitiser and giving it away. It’s going to come at a cost to the business but I think it’s the right thing to do at this time, which is a challenging time for everyone. As well as doing our best to survive we want to do what we can to help the country get through this quickly and in the best shape possible. We’ve been using some of our team members to go Read More
Government has given sector ‘breathing space’ with £330m support package but further help needed – and urgently: The chancellor’s £330bn package to help businesses gives the sector “breathing space” but further support for employees is needed – and urgently. That’s the message from UKHospitality and sector operators after Rishi Sunak announced a series of measures to support the economy amid the coronavirus crisis. This included extending the 12-month business rates relief announced in last week’s Budget to all hospitality companies, with the government hinting further support would be made to the industry. Sunak branded coronavirus a “public health emergency but also an economic emergency”. His measures included a package of direct support to businesses that is worth more than £20bn. This includes a new lending facility agreed with the Bank of England for larger businesses and a big extension of the business interruption loan scheme, which was announced last week. There will now be loans of up to £5m available instead of £1.2m, with no interest due for the first six months, and the scheme will be “up and running by next week”. The £3,000 cash grant for 700,000 small businesses in the Budget has been increased to £10,000. Sunak Read More
UKHospitality – catastrophic move means government has shut sector without support: The government has effectively shut the hospitality industry without any support by telling people to avoid pubs, restaurants and hotels in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, UKHospitality has said. Prime minister Boris Johnson announced the move as part of measures to “start avoiding all unnecessary social contact” to try to prevent the rapid spread of the virus. However, he stopped short of ordering hospitality venues to close – leaving the industry “in limbo”. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls called the move “catastrophic” and said it would lead to “thousands of businesses closing for good and hundreds of thousands of job losses”. She said: “Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance. The government must act now to stop them going under and protect jobs. These venues play a unique role as community hubs and it’s in all our interests to protect and preserve them so they are still there once we emerge from this crisis. We need immediate and far-reaching support from Read More
Ei Group warns tenants insurance policies don’t cover for coronavirus: Ei Group, the UK’s biggest pub group with more than 4,000 pubs, has warned its publicans their existing insurance policies will not cover them for loss of business because of coronavirus (covid-19). According to The Guardian, the company has told its managers covid-19 is not included in the group’s policy with the insurer Zurich and has advised them to consider seeking further cover elsewhere. In a letter sent to publicans last week, which has been seen by the Guardian, Ei Group said: “It has been confirmed Zurich is not including covid-19 in its notifiable diseases section. As such, any business affected by covid-19 will not be able to claim for loss of trade.” Earlier this month, the government bowed to pressure by changing its stance on insurance to declare coronavirus as a “notifiable disease” – a formal classification required by many insurance policies. However, many of these existing policies cite specific diseases that businesses can claim for. As coronavirus is so new, it is not included in most of the lists. Giggling Squid opens debut delivery-only kitchen: Giggling Squid, the Thai restaurant brand founded by Andy and Pranee Laurillard, has Read More
Sector pays tribute to Michel Roux Sr as iconic chef passes away aged 79: Tributes to chef Michel Roux Sr have poured in from across the restaurant industry at news he has passed away aged 79. His death was announced by his nephew and fellow chef Michel Roux Jr on his Instagram page. He wrote: “We are deeply saddened to have lost our founding father, Michel Roux OBE. We are grateful to have shared our lives with this extraordinary man and we’re so proud of all he has achieved. A humble genius, legendary chef, popular author and charismatic teacher, Michel leaves the world reeling in his wake. For many he was a father figure inspiring all with his insatiable appetite for life and irresistible enthusiasm. But, above all, we’ll miss his mischievous sense of fun, his huge, bottomless heart and generosity, and kindness that knew no bounds. Michel’s star will shine forever, lighting the way for a generation of chefs to follow.” Michel Roux made his name in the UK with his brother Albert in 1967 when they launched Le Gavroche, which is now run by Michel Roux Jr. He opened The Waterside Inn in Bray in 1972, which remains Read More
Sector like-for-likes fall 3.3% in February as floods and coronavirus take toll:Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw like-for-like sales fall 3.3% in February compared with the previous year as flooding and coronavirus took its toll on the industry, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Managed pub groups saw collective like-for-like sales fall 4.2%, with restaurant groups down 1.8% and bar chains down 2.8%. Regionally, London had a tougher time, seeing like-for-likes down 3.7% compared with a 3.2% decline outside the M25. Pubs saw falls in food and drink sales of 3.9% and 4.6% respectively. While restaurant groups recorded a relatively smaller decline in sales, the number of covers served in the month fell 4.9%. The last week in February, when coronavirus started escalating, saw a 4.4% drop in like-for-like sales across the industry. “The month started with flooding hitting sales in parts of the country, with pubs and restaurants closed in some areas,” said Karl Chessell, business unit director of food and retail at CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker in partnership with The Coffer Group and RSM. “But as the month progressed the impact of the coronavirus emergency began to take its toll Read More
Chilango promotes operations director Richard Franks to MD: Mexican restaurant brand Chilango, which earlier this month had its company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposals approved, has promoted its operations director Richard Franks to managing director, Propel has learned. Franks, who joined the business from Gather & Gather four years ago, was formerly managing director of Apostrophe Cafes. He also spent a year at Harris + Hoole, and before that almost eight years at EAT. Last September, Chilango’s founders Eric Partaker and Dan Houghton, acting as directors, decided to make their co-chief executive roles redundant and the search process for a managing director started in October. Houghton’s co-chief executive role was made redundant on 1 October, with his notice period ending on 31 December. Partaker was to remain chief executive until the new managing director joined the business, at which point his role would also be made redundant. Partaker and Houghton both remain as non-executive directors and major shareholders in the business. Houghton was to explore interim head of data roles going forward, and is currently working with Vita Mojo and City Pantry. As part of the CVA proposal, the company will exit leases for unopened sites in Bristol, Leeds and Brighton, Read More
Pizza Pilgrims secures Camden site for convertible restaurant and training academy: Pizza Pilgrims, founded by brothers Thom and James Elliot, has secured a site in Parkway, Camden, for a convertible restaurant and training academy, Propel has learned. The company, which recently opened its 12th site, in London’s Victoria, has acquired the 40 Zero site from Various Eateries for an opening next month. During the day the site will house a 20-cover restaurant and two training rooms, transforming in the evening to a 100-cover restaurant. As well as training staff, the space will also host talks by experts from inside and outside the sector. The Elliots said they hoped the academy would champion the hospitality industry and provide people with a range of skills to pursue a long-term career. Thom Elliot told Propel: “The academy will offer training to anyone who wants to build a career in the sector, whether that’s someone who is homeless or an ex-offender as well as delivering training for Pizza Pilgrims employees. We also want to put on talks for people in the sector but outside our own business. Moving into a ‘village location’, we know we won’t need to offer a traditional restaurant space during Read More
Stronger disposable income levels continue to drive leisure spending as consumer confidence lifts: Stronger levels of disposable income have continued to drive leisure spending while consumer confidence has lifted. UK consumer confidence rose 0.5% in the final quarter of 2019, according to the latest Deloitte Consumer Tracker. The quarterly survey of more than 3,000 UK adults found consumer spending in the leisure sector, while flat in the final quarter of 2019, was “on par with the exceptional growth seen this time last year”. Deloitte said as consumers continue to favour experiences over goods, the colder weather saw notable growth in in-home leisure such as food delivery services. Confidence in disposable income was up 5% overall at minus 16%. The survey revealed sentiment on job security was three points higher year-on-year, at minus 5%. Confidence around job opportunities and career progression was down 3% compared with the previous year, at minus 6%. Simon Oaten, partner for hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “An increase in spending in the eating and drinking out and culture and entertainment categories indicate that, despite tightening their belts, consumers continue to favour experiences over goods when deciding what to do with their spare cash. Looking ahead, Read More
Chick-fil-A to push ahead with plans for ‘permanent’ UK site: Chick-fil-A, the largest chicken and third-largest US fast food restaurant chain, is pushing ahead with plans to open a “permanent” outlet in the UK – despite a backlash over its funding of anti-LGBT causes. Chick-fil-A closed its only Scottish location, a “pilot” at Macdonald Aviemore, at the weekend while its site at the Oracle shopping centre in Reading won’t run beyond its initial six-month period. Both restaurants opened in October but attracted criticism after it emerged Chick-fil-A pumped millions of dollars into organisations that actively oppose same-sex marriage. The company has since changed its charity-giving policy. Chick-fil-A said the Aviemore outlet didn’t close as a result of public pressure but was “in line” with its plans to trial the franchise. A spokeswoman told Herald Scotland: “These insights will help us immensely as we look to have a permanent location in the UK.” Tootoomoo to explore franchise route for expansion: London-based, pan-Asian tapas concept Tootoomoo is to explore a franchise route for further expansion in the UK. Propel understands the business, which was founded by Philip McGuinness, has started working with Seed Consulting to find suitable franchisees. A Tootoomoo restaurant can Read More
Gordon Ramsay flies Plane Food To Go into Hong Kong: Chef Gordon Ramsay has taken his Plane Food To Go concept to Hong Kong. Ramsay has partnered with SSP Group, the UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist, to open the site at Hong Kong International airport. The outlet is in the East Hall on the seventh floor of Terminal 1. The all-day menu integrates British and Asian flavours and features some of Ramsay’s signature dishes such as the short rib burger as well as a full English breakfast. There are also a number of items exclusive to the Hong Kong site, including lobster thermidor mac ‘n’ cheese. The opening follows the launch in 2008 of the debut Plane restaurant at Heathrow airport’s Terminal 5. The restaurant was reconfigured to the Food To Go concept in 2017. Ramsay said: “As someone who spends a lot of time in airports I know how important it is to deliver fresh and tasty food super quick! SSP’s important infrastructure has allowed this launch to happen and I’m delighted the company is our partner in this exciting new adventure.” Three Joes secures fourth site, at Intu Lakeside: Sourdough pizza restaurant Three Joes, co-founded by Tim Hall, Read More
Oakman Inns reports like-for-likes up 7.3%, launches £10m fund-raise: Oakman Inns and Restaurants has reported like-for-like sales increased 7.3% for the 15 months ending 30 June 2019. Turnover for the period was £46.7m, while site Ebitda was £8.6m and group Ebitda was £4.2m. Despite inflationary pressures margins have been maintained, with average sales per core site running at more than £35,000 net of VAT per week. The company, led by Peter Borg-Neal, opened four sites during the period – The Four Alls in Welford-upon-Avon; The Royal Foresters in Ascot; The Beech House in Hampton Hill and The Polecat in Prestwood. Additionally, The Beech House in Beaconsfield was doubled in size while significant investments were made at The Globe in Warwick and The Anchor in Hullbridge. Since the year end, the company has opened its 24th site – The Lost Boy in Farnham. Oakman Inns significantly strengthened its balance sheet during the period via two significant deals with Ei Group and Downing Fund Management, which resulted in bringing the ownership of £25m of freehold assets within the group. Borg-Neal said: “Overall we have maintained our corporate momentum despite an unhelpful environment with the uncertainty around Brexit having an impact on consumer Read More
David Page – we’ve identified 40 towns and cities for Franco Manca openings, most opportunities coming through new-build given landlord incentives: Fulham Shore chairman David Page has told Propel the company has identified 40 towns and cities for Franco Manca openings, which would take the brand to 90 sites in five years. The company opened its 51st Franco Manca on Monday (16 December), off Bishopsgate in London. Speaking following the company’s half-year results in which revenue grew 9.3% to £36.0m, Page said it was also looking to strengthen the management team to gear up for the next stage of growth. He said the openings were planned across the UK, including further growth in London. Page added: “We are looking at places where we already have a restaurant as well as new locations. We want another in Manchester and then there’s Newcastle and York, for example. In some cases we’ve also identified the exact physical location of these restaurants.” Page said most of its opportunities were coming through new-build sites rather than existing restaurants, with landlords providing financial incentives. He added: “We plan to open nine restaurants in the financial year and with two of those we’re getting help from landlords Read More
Drake & Morgan sees ‘challenging market conditions’ affect first half of financial year, full-year adjusted Ebitda up 24.9%: Drake & Morgan, the London-based bar and restaurant group backed by Bowmark Capital, has said “challenging market conditions” have affected the first half of its current financial year. The company said it expects a strong Christmas period, with bookings “well ahead” of last year. It comes as the company announced like-for-like sales rose 2.8% for the year ending 31 March 2019. Turnover increased 12% to £56.0m, compared with £49.7m the previous year. Adjusted Ebitda was up 24.9% to £6.3m compared with £5m the year before, while adjusted pre-tax profit rose to £1.9m from £1.3m the previous year. The company launched The Anthologist at One St Peter’s Square in Manchester in July 2018. Two further conversions from the former Corney & Barrow Bars estate took place, with the Little Fable in November 2018 and The Moniker in April 2019. A new central London site has been secured for 2020, which will take the portfolio to 23 bars in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Propel understands this is the former Cooperage Bar in Tooley Street, which was previously operated by Davy’s Wine Bars. Drake & Read More
Turtle Bay reports turnover and profit drop amid ‘significant headwinds’:Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay, backed by Piper, has reported turnover and profit dropped in the year to 2 March 2019 as the company battled with “significant headwinds”. Sales decreased 2.5% to £66.9m while pre-tax profit was £2.2m, compared with £5.9m the year before. The company stated: “As well as the continued over-supply in the sector and the general weakness of consumer demand, sales were also adversely affected by a number of one-off events such as the FIFA World Cup. In light of the environment we slowed site growth and only opened one site during the year. Our belief is there is still a large number of good potential sites around the UK – however, their cost is likely to fall over the next couple of years. In Germany, sales increased during the year by 31.5% due to the full year impact of the restaurant that opened part-way through the prior year. Adjusted Ebitda of £7.6m (2018: £12m) is down, but we are happy our adjusted Ebitda margin of 11.4% balances the needs of the company and its customers. The company continues to generate cash from operating activities in excess of Read More
Potting Shed acquired out of administration by John Leslie: Potting Shed Trading, the eight-strong bar and restaurant group, has been acquired out of administration by a third party company led by former Intertain chief executive John Leslie, Propel understands. Ormsborough, a company backed by funds managed by Downing, confirmed its wholly owned subsidiary, Potting Shed Trading, was placed into administration on Tuesday (3 December). Alan Coleman and James Fish, of Royce Peeling Green, were appointed joint administrators. Propel understands the entire business has been acquired with Leslie appointed as non-executive chairman and John Creighton leading the company as managing director. All eight sites, which are located across Beverley, Bingley, Guiseley, Halifax, Northallerton and Southport, will continue to trade under the Potting Shed and Firepit brands, securing the jobs of all employees. Burning Night Group was responsible for the management of the Potting Shed and Firepit pubs until the company went into administration in 2018. This caused disruption to the Potting Shed Trading business, which had to deal with a succession of legacy issues relating to the period under Burning Night Group’s management. Downing stepped in and appointed a new management team to assist with the business’ turnaround but were unable Read More
Loungers’ sustained growth being driven by ‘volume rather than price’, evolves regional operating structure: Nick Collins, chief executive of cafe bar brand Loungers, has told Propel the company’s continued growth is being driven by “volume rather than price”. Collins said while the high-street landscape was undoubtedly changing, it had “never really been unstable” from his business’ point of view. Speaking following the company’s interim results in which like-for-like sales increased 5.4%, Collins said: “We haven’t really seen any change in the way consumers are behaving towards us. A lot of the reasons we are able to sustain our like-for-like growth is because we make sure we continue to innovate. We trade through all dayparts so there’s always something we can get better at. Looking to improve has always been the Loungers way and a key part of our success.” Loungers has been evolving its regional operations structure to ensure it is “fit for the future”. Collins said this included increasing the number of operational areas to accommodate the company’s geographical expansion as it continues to open 25 sites a year. He added: “One of the strengths of the business is we’re always looking where we need to be in, say, Read More
New World Trading Company restructures operational team as it views further growth: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company has restructured its operational team as its gears up to open six sites next year, Propel has learned. The Chris Hill-led, 27-strong business has created three regional director roles as part of the restructure filled by Bruce Millington, formerly of Zizzi and Marston’s; Aideen Byrne, formerly of PizzaExpress; and Leane King, who has been with New World Trading Company for the past seven years. The restructure sees the group’s operation director Matt Bamber oversee all the company’s “Unique Brands”, which comprises everything apart from The Botanist brand, including The Florist and House sites. The company opened its 19th Botanist site earlier this week, in Warrington, Cheshire. It launched the 10,000 square foot venue at the £142m Time Square development, which is being delivered by Warrington & Co on behalf of Warrington Borough Council, with Muse Developments appointed development manager. The new Botanist has space for 170 diners across two floors and circa 100 people at the bar. The company is scheduled to open further Botanist sites next year in Cardiff (February), Lincoln (April), and Preston (June). It is Read More
Former ETM operations director and ex-Ivy head chef start expansion of Brucan Pubs venture, plan third site towards end of 2020: Former ETM operations director James Lyon-Shaw and ex-Ivy head chef Jamie Dobbin have started expansion of their Brucan Pubs venture by acquiring a second site – with a third planned towards the end of 2020, Propel has learned. Brucan Pubs, which opened its debut site, The Greene Oak, in Windsor in September 2018, has acquired the lease of The Mayford Arms in the village of Mayford, near Woking in Surrey. Both sites are with brewer and retailer Greene King. The Mayford Arms will reopen in late January as The Drumming Snipe, offering “robust British cooking in a traditional country pub setting”. The Drumming Snipe’s menu will feature “hyper-seasonal specials” including British game, meat and fish. Meat will be butchered, prepared and aged on-site, while fish will come from Brixham day boats. Dishes will include St Mary’s Bay plaice with samphire and shrimps, and a butcher’s plate that will include kid goat, cockerel, Iron Age bacon, beef short rib, lamb, ox liver and kidney, and trencher. The site will undergo a refurbishment to create new kitchens, terraces, dining areas, open Read More
Industry pays tribute to Gary Rhodes: The industry has been paying tribute to Michelin-starred chef Gary Rhodes following the shock news he passed away in Dubai on Tuesday (26 November) at the age of 59. Rhodes, who moved to Dubai in 2011, where he ran two restaurants, died peacefully with wife Jennie by his side. A family statement read: “The Rhodes family are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved husband, father and brother, Gary Rhodes OBE.” Gordon Ramsay tweeted: “We lost a fantastic chef today in Gary Rhodes. He was a chef who put British cuisine on the map. Sending all the love and prayers to your wife and kids. You’ll be missed.” Jamie Oliver posted on Instagram: “Gary was a fantastic chef and incredible ambassador for British cooking. He was a massive inspiration to me as a young chef. He reimagined modern British cuisine with elegance and fun. Rest in peace, chef.” The Michelin Guide called Rhodes an “inspirational chef”, adding: “British gastronomy owes him a huge debt.” Rhodes trained under Brian Turner at the Capital before becoming head chef of the Greenhouse restaurant in Mayfair in 1990, where he gained his second Michelin star six years Read More
Japanese fusion cafe concept Sushi Cupcake to take over Dayrooms Café space in Holborn: Japanese fusion cafe concept Sushi Cupcake is to launch in Holborn, central London, before Christmas. The grab-and-go venue will open in Theobalds Road, catering to the area’s large demographic of office workers. As well as sushi cupcakes, the concept will offer noodle bowls, sides, smoothies, a matcha bar, desserts and Japanese-style breakfast. The 355 square foot venue was formerly occupied by The Dayrooms Café, which will now focus on its venue in Kensington Park Road, Notting Hill. The lease for the unit is on assignment. Danielle Agami and Gabriella Sether, surveyors at Restaurant Property, both acted on the deal. They said: “Sushi Cupcake will open its first site in a beautifully refurbished unit perfect for its innovative concept and in line with its trendy fit-out plans.” No other agents were involved in the deal. Australian boutique lifestyle brand The Dayrooms launched its debut café in Notting Hill in July 2017, expanding to Theobalds Road for a second site a few months later. Zumrud Mammadova and Aytan Mehdiyeva launched The Dayrooms to provide a “UK stage for rising stars and emerging young Australian talent”, opening a womenswear Read More
Turtle Bay boosts executive team as it reports full-year turnover of £66.9m:Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay has made two senior appointments to its executive team – Steve Robinson as chief financial officer and Jo Cole as head of people – as the company reported a significant boost in Ebitda and sales in its financial year. Robinson brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality sector having previously been chief financial officer at Young’s, where he worked for almost a decade. He qualified with Deloitte in 2004 before moving on to The Walt Disney Company, where he held a number of finance roles. Cole also brings a great deal of hospitality experience, starting out as a chef before managing restaurants for Stonegate Pub Company brand Slug & Lettuce and Tootsies. Since 2007 she has worked exclusively in HR and training and development, most recently leading the people function at Gourmet Burger Kitchen. The appointments come as Turtle Bay prepares to file accounts at Companies House for the year ended 28 February 2019. The group posted sales of £66.9m despite the well-documented challenges within the sector”. The company said it had avoided discounting to focus on “great-value Caribbean food and drinks” and Read More
Pho reports 5.4% increase in full-year like-for-like sales: Vietnamese street food restaurant group Pho saw a 12.8% increase in turnover to £34.4m in the year to the end of February 2019, driven by a 5.4% increase in like-for-like sales, Propel has learned. The Gresham House Ventures-backed, 29-strong group has continued to generate a positive sales performance, with like-for-like sales in the nine months of its current financial year understood to be up 6.5%, driven by strong eat-in numbers and continued growth outside London. It is understood the delivery side of the business also continues to perform “very strongly”. Propel understands the business is close to securing a site in Sheffield, while further openings are believed to be in the pipeline in Edinburgh and the Midlands. Stephen Wall, who founded the business with wife Juliette in 2005, told Propel: “During these challenging times it’s good to report Pho’s proposition remains strong and our customer experience is increasingly appealing to the health-conscious and value-driven generation, in London and increasingly across the UK”. Ebitda in the year to the end of February 2019 was positive but stable, which the company said was the result of a “challenging summer period and investment in the Read More
Fuller’s to open pub restaurant at Wembley Park: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s is to open a pub restaurant at Wembley Park. The two-storey, 8,200 square foot venue is due to open in Wembley Park Boulevard in the spring as part of Quintain’s £3bn development of the area surrounding Wembley Stadium. The pub will offer premium beer, wine and spirits alongside seasonal dishes served throughout the day. It will also offer a garden and terrace with views across Wembley Park, while the upper floor will be flexible to provide a large open space on event days or smaller areas that can host work spaces and private dining to appeal to residents and office workers. Fuller’s property director Peter Turner said: “We are under-represented in this part of London and the location will give us a presence in the heart of this great new development.” Quintain retail director Matt Slade added: “Fuller’s pub will be a great addition to our food and beverage mix that already features London’s largest Boxpark, a new food hub at Wembley Park Market and 30 restaurants and bars at London Designer Outlet.” Nash Bond and Cushman & Wakefield are agents for Wembley Park. Live music venue Read More
Pret A Manger in talks over Israeli franchise: Pret A Manger is in talks with Israel’s largest restaurant group Café Café, which is looking to open as many as 70 franchises in the country. The Café Café group, controlled by Ronen Nimni, wants to open 50 to 70 branches across Israel of about 100 square metres each. Café Café currently operates 15 brands, including Café Café, Fresh, Ruben, Hasushia, Lehem Erez, Kaspi, Nagisa and Sahbak. In recent months Café Café said it had considered franchising Starbucks but negotiations had been unsuccessful. The Israeli restaurant sector has become crowded in recent years, while challenges in the coffee and restaurant sector have become even more acute due to regulatory changes such as an increase in the minimum wage, laws on bottle deposits and tips, and a crackdown on foreign workers. A Café Café spokesman said: “We are Israel’s largest restaurant group, with more than 300 cafes and restaurants nationwide under 15 leading brands. The group assesses business proposals from time to time and neither confirms nor denies reports about its business policy.” Chick-fil-A changes charity policy following restaurant protests: Chick-fil-A, the largest chicken and third-largest US fast food restaurant chain, has made Read More
Byron unveils new dining experience ahead of UK-wide roll-out: Better burger brand Byron has unveiled its new look featuring a reimagined design and menu and first brunch offer. The company’s original High Street Kensington restaurant has been redesigned to feature large communal tables and “social spaces for brunchers” as well as sofas for laptop workers and working lunches. The site features the brand’s new-look logo and signage ahead of the “new dining experience” being rolled out across Byron’s 53-strong UK estate next year. The new breakfast and brunch menu, created by food and drink director Sophie Michell, takes inspiration from the US west coast including chicken and waffles (cornflake-coated, buttermilk-fried chicken breast with thick-cut bacon, butter and maple syrup), while for the main menu Michell has reinvented Byron’s signature burger as The New Byron. Other new burgers on the menu include a blue cheese version and one with barbecue bourbon sauce, while new desserts include American vanilla chess pie. Byron has partnered with Paddy & Scott’s for coffee. Michell said: “It is so exciting to witness a new era for Byron. As a long-term fan, to be able to breathe a new lease of life into the brand is thrilling. Read More
Rosa’s Thai founders hope to grow Ceviche after acquiring it out of administration: Alex and Saiphin Moore, the founders of Rosa’s Thai Cafe, plan on growing Ceviche, the Peruvian-inspired business, they have acquired out of administration. The Moores, which sold a majority stake in Rosa’s to private equity firm TriSpan last summer, have acquired the original Ceviche site in Frith Street in Soho, Andina in Shoreditch and Casita Andina in Great Windmill Street, also in Soho. Ceviche Old Street, Ceviche Notting Hill and Andina bakery, also in Notting Hill, closed earlier this month. The Moores bought the Ceviche business out of administration in a management-led buy-out deal through Atomex – the turnaround company they set up by last year. Alex Moore told Propel the plan was to run the business as was until after the festive period, before looking to engage with previous shareholders, which included Michael Acton Smith, the founder of Moshi Monsters; and Alex Chesterman, the founder of Zoopla; who had their stakes wiped out through the administration process, to see if they wanted to get involved again. Propel understands the Moores started talking to Ceviche founder Martin Morales last year about where the business needed to go Read More
Former TRG directors to open third site this weekend as they target 12-strong estate: Former Chiquito managing director Jason Green and Frankie & Benny’s brand director David Salmon are to open their third site, this weekend, and are targeting a 12-strong estate in the next five years. Their company, Green & Salmon, which operates two sites under its bar and kitchen concept CockNBull.Co (CnB), will launch Coal & Cotton in Boothstown, Worsley. They have taken on The Greyhound, which is their first site with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. Following a more than £750,000 joint refurbishment, the former wet-led pub has been transformed to feature a gin distillery incorporated into the bar producing its own Boothstown Gin. Green said: “We are delighted with the look of Coal & Cotton, a new concept we’re developing to sit alongside our CnB brand. It will allow us to grow more quickly. Before we have even opened the doors we’ve had more than 2,000 bookings from people wanting to eat with us.” Charlie Gale, Star Pubs & Bars investment manager, said: “It is a stunning pub now, unlike anything else in the area. With an experienced team such as Jason and David driving it Read More
Tortilla to explore ‘dark kitchens’ as future growth opportunity: Tortilla, the Quilvest-backed, fast-casual Mexican concept, has begun exploring the possibility of opening a “dark kitchen” to tap into areas of the country in which the brand is under-represented. Managing director Richard Morris told Propel that off the back of the growth of the delivery side of its business and the success of a smaller “Baby Tortilla” format the company was to begin the search for a possible dark kitchen site, but had yet to decide which location or approach it would take. Morris said: “Clearly our business has proved itself as a hugely popular delivery item. Whist our in-house sales have remained strong, we have benefited from the extra revenue driven by delivery and take away. Dark kitchens have been on our radar for a while – we just need to be sure these are in the right locations, either as test areas for new sites, or to help in areas where our restaurants are over trading with delivery. There are areas within the London area we currently don’t service, and outside London would also present great opportunities for us. The revenues of dark kitchens are generally lower than restaurants, Read More
Patty & Bun to open Liverpool Street 2.0 next month as brand returns to double figures: Patty & Bun, the better burger concept led by Joe Grossman, will return to Liverpool Street next month but in a larger space. The company’s original Liverpool Street site had to close because of a redevelopment. Patty & Bun Liverpool Street 2.0 will open on Monday, 9 December at twice the size of the original and featuring a 50-cover restaurant and 15-cover takeaway area. The venue will also feature additions to the menu including a stronger vegan presence and the return of the brand’s breakfast menu on Fridays. Grossmann said: “I couldn’t be more excited about re-entering the Liverpool Street fray. It has always been part of the Patty identity.” The Liverpool Street opening and another in Kingly Street, Soho, later this month will bring Patty & Bunn’s portfolio back to double figures. The company also operates concessions in Swingers’ two London sites plus three with Incipio Group. Pizza Hut Restaurants launches virtual delivery brand: Pizza Hut Restaurants has launched its first virtual delivery brand, WingStreet, Propel has learned. The virtual brand is available through Deliveroo and at select restaurants, including sites in Durham Read More
Sbe to make first foray into coffee shop market with London launch: Sbe, the international hospitality group that develops, manages and operates brands, is to make its first foray into the coffee shop market with a launch in London. EllaMia will make its debut at the St Martins Lane hotel in Covent Garden on Monday, 18 November. Further openings in key markets such as New York, Doha and Dubai are in the pipeline, with more than 20 locations expected globally by 2021. Sbe founder and chief executive Sam Nazarian said: “I am proud to launch EllaMia in London – one of the culinary capitals of the world. The style and elevated atmosphere of St Martins Lane hotel is the perfect setting for EllaMia’s debut. At Sbe we constantly strive to provide extraordinary, innovative experiences and can’t wait to see our latest concept grow into a successful brand with locations around the world.” EllaMia is named after Nazarian’s two daughters. It will offer barista coffee, tea, kombucha and freshly made smoothies and protein shakes. A selection of light bites, freshly made sandwiches and savoury dishes will also be on offer. Sbe said EllaMia would be an integral part of the company’s Read More
PizzaExpress lenders order £100m cash injection: PizzaExpress’ lenders are demanding a cash injection of at least £100m despite China-based owner Hony Capital’s attempts to buy back tens of millions of pounds of debt. Hony Capital announced on Wednesday (6 November) it would buy back heavily-discounted debts with a face value of £80m. However, insiders have urged Hony Capital to pour cash directly into the company rather than buying back bonds, The Sunday Telegraph reports. One insider told the newspaper: “This is Hony seeing bonds that are cheap and picking them up. It’s not Hony fixing the balance sheet. It’s not Hony giving comfort it can get over the refinancing wall. We want it to address the balance sheet.” PizzaExpress is struggling to repay £1.1bn of loans amid spiralling losses. Of those, £665m is owed to bondholders, which must start being paid in 2021. The bonds are trading at a heavy discount and being bought by hedge funds. They could seek to wrestle control of the company and cause fresh complications to what are already expected to be difficult restructuring discussions. PizzaExpress has appointed restructuring experts from Holihan Lokey and lawyers from US firm Kirkland & Ellis to assist with restructuring Read More
Crosstown Doughnuts appoints advisers as it eyes investment options:Crosstown, the artisan doughnut and speciality coffee concept, has appointed advisers as it looks at investment options following multiple approaches, Propel has learned. The concept, which was founded by JP Then and Gourmet Burger Kitchen co-founder Adam Wills, is understood to have appointed advisory firm BDO to aide it in securing new growth funding. Crosstown operates 11 stores across London plus nine market stalls and kiosks. It has been one of the fastest-growing concepts in London since its inception in May 2014. The group’s products are also stocked in Harrods, Planet Organic and Whole Foods. It is thought any new investment would be used to further expand the brand’s physical store estate and aide its multi-channel approach with a focus on digital sales, which account for 20% of Crosstown’s business. The company has also developed its own delivery e-commerce solution, Slerp. Crosstown piloted Slerp in its own stores before launching it to market as a separate entity and it is now available to other operators. Last year the company launched its first vegan-only outlet, in Picton Place, Marylebone, while this year it launched a smaller kiosk at Hammersmith Broadway station with hopes Read More
Wagamama strengthens finance leadership team for next stage of growth: The Restaurant Group-owned brand Wagamama has made changes to its finance leadership team ahead of its next wave of growth, Propel has learned. David Di Cello has been appointed chief financial officer. He will join the business at the end of the first quarter of 2020 from Pret A Manger, where he is leading the EAT integration and previously served as finance director and interim chief financial officer. Di Cello has also held senior finance roles at Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and BT. Laura Wood, currently interim finance director, will be promoted to strategy director on Di Cello’s arrival. Her new role will see Wood responsible for growth initiatives and Wagamama’s transformational change agenda. Chief executive Emma Woods said: “We have enjoyed more than five years of market outperformance thanks to the huge contribution of our teams and leaders across every function and a relentless focus on guest-led innovation. As we enter what will be a tough market in 2020, I’m delighted to have such a strong finance team supporting our next wave of growth.” Di Cello added: “I have loved working with the Pret and EAT teams over the Read More
Patty & Bun to open second Soho site after securing former Breddos Tacos venue: Better burger brand Patty & Bun is to open its second Soho site. The company has secured the former Breddos Tacos site in Kingly Street for an opening this month. The restaurant will seat 65 upstairs and offer Patty & Bun’s classic menu of burgers and collaboration dishes. Founder Joe Grossmann said: “We are pumped to open at this iconic London landmark! It’s amazing to be part of the Shaftesbury estate with so many great restaurants and shops. We can’t wait to get open and become part of the community.” Patty & Bun currently operates eight sites in London including its other Soho venue, in Goodge Street, as well as a series of concessions. Erpingham House to proceed with Brighton opening despite unsuccessful £250,000 crowdfunding campaign: Erpingham House, the UK’s largest plant-based restaurant, will push on with plans to launch in Brighton despite failing to raise £250,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube towards the project, Propel has learned. Erpingham House founder Loui Blake said the project would still go ahead after he agreed terms on a site in Duke Street. Blake was offering 15% equity for the Read More
Supper raises £1.5m: London-based premium food delivery service Supper has closed a Series A funding round of circa £1.5m. Before that, Supper had taken angel investment from a handful of investors including PK Wang, of Yi Fang. Tim Marchant, co-founder of Moscar Capital, which led the round, said the company made the investment because Supper was already showing “great potential upside with a clear path to profitability”. He added: “Delivery can be done better – and Supper has proved it.” Founded by Peter Georgiou in 2015, Supper uses a fleet of specially adapted scooters and directly employed drivers to cater for the premium end of the market, setting it apart from sector heavyweights such as Deliveroo and UberEats. Georgiou told Propel: “Delivery is the fastest-growing area in food and beverage, with differing levels of quality and service that often don’t match the operator. This investment underpins what we’ve set out to achieve at Supper – offer the best of both. We’re in talks with a number of prominent operators that want to enter the ‘on demand’ space but require a service more in keeping with their brands. This funding couldn’t have come at a better time to expand our profile.” Read More
Loungers appoints new property director: Loungers, the operator of 160 neighbourhood cafe-bar restaurants that trade under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has appointed Tom Trenchard as property director, Propel has learned. Trenchard, who replaces Rob Walls, was previously head of acquisitions at The Restaurant Group-owned Wagamama and prior to that head of property development at Sainsbury's. A Loungers spokeswoman said: “Tom is a fantastic hire for Loungers. His blend of roll-out experience in both the leisure and retail sectors is a great fit with our business as we look to maximise the significant opportunity we have with both brands across the UK.” Loungers continued its programme of openings in October by launching Cosy Club in Plymouth and Lounges in Carmarthen and Buxton. The group previously reported like-for-like sales grew 5.4% for the 24 weeks ending 6 October 2019. Total revenue for the period was up 22% over the prior year, to £79.8m. The group said it was on track to open 25 sites in the financial year and the pipeline remains “strong”. Rockfish reports turnover up 15% in year that was ‘real turning point’ for business: Rockfish, the south west-based seafood restaurant group run by Mitch Tonks, has reported Read More
St Austell adds pub on outskirts of Bristol to tenanted portfolio: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has acquired The Rising Sun in Pensford, on the outskirts of Bristol. The pub will become part of St Austell Brewery’s tenanted estate and be run by Lisa Faulkner and Becca Fricker. The Rising Sun has a large riverside garden and is nestled at the foot of Pensford Viaduct by the River Chew. It serves fresh home-cooked food as well as local cask ale and cider. Steve Worrall, retail director at St Austell Brewery, said: “The Rising Sun is a wonderful acquisition for the company and a natural fit with the rest of our tenanted pub portfolio in the Bath and Bristol area, which also includes The Albion in Clifton and The Lamplighters in Shirehampton. As a business, we have an ongoing strategy to strengthen our award-winning estate of pubs and hotels across the south west. With more than 160 years’ experience of championing the pub as the focal point of the community, we look forward to developing the Rising Sun’s offering in partnership with Lisa and Becca.” In total, including its managed houses, St Austell Brewery owns more than 175 pubs, inns and hotels Read More
Healthy bowls concept Beiriso launches £300,000 crowdfunding campaign for expansion: Healthy bowls concept Beiriso has launched a £300,000 fund-raise on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand to “prime London locations”. The company, founded by restaurant designer Roya Andrews, is offering 10.71% equity in return for investment, giving the company a pre-money valuation of £2.5m. Beiriso offers click and collect and delivery services from its kitchen in Holborn, north London. The pitch states: “After opening our London kitchen four years ago, serving food to more than 240 customers a day, we are seeking funding to expand our community by adding retail outlets in other prime locations. We focus on fresh healthy food made fast and know presentation is paramount. We believe packed lunches are old-fashioned and, as income levels stand still while living costs rise, students and office workers want value for money without losing taste. We have managed to fine-tune serving made-to-order breakfast and lunch to two to three minutes. A good-portion size with high-quality ingredients has been accomplished at affordable prices and we intend to maintain this with our streamlined operational processes. We propose to increase opening times to seven days and extend operating hours to include evening meals. We Read More
Soho House secures $100m from US property investors to expand private members’ club empire: Soho House has secured $100m (£78m) of funding from US property investors to expand its private members’ clubs empire. The operator of 26 clubs has sold a circa 5% stake to a group led by New York-based entrepreneur Bippy Siegal’s Raycliff Capital, including a significant investment from malls landlord Simon Property Group. Founder Nick Jones, restaurateur Richard Caring and American billionaire Ron Burkle remain the majority owners of Soho House, which is now valued at $2bn. The new funds will aid growth, with plans to open sites in 2020 and 2021 including in London, Paris and Mykonos. Chief commercial officer Andrew Carnie, who joined this year from US retailer Anthropologie, will also lead Soho House’s push to launch more Soho Works venues, which feature office and events space for entrepreneurs and startups. Soho House recorded a statutory pre-tax loss of £65m million in 2018, widened from a £60m loss a year earlier. That was due to expansion costs. Underlying profits rose to £56.4m from £50.5m. Turnover leapt 20% to £432.5m and comparable sales increased 9%. Jones told the Evening Standard: “2018 was an extremely busy year Read More
Incipio Group appoints Brand as finance director: Incipio Group, which received £5m from entertainment and leisure investor Edition Capital earlier this year to open six venues in 18 months, has appointed Tom Brand, formerly of Jascots Wine Merchants and Amnesty International, as its new finance director. Brand spent more than a year and a half at Jascots as its head of finance. Previous to that, he spent more than three years at Amnesty, including a stint as its head of management accounts and procurement. Incipio will launch its latest site in Kensington next month. The company will open Bloom in Kensington High Street on Friday, 8 November, having acquired the site that was previously occupied by Mahiki. Bloom will have room for 350 people and feature two bars, a restaurant and a “secret dance floor”. Incipio’s estate consists of Lost in Brixton, Pergola On The Roof in White City, Pergola Olympia, Pergola Paddington, The Prince in West Brompton Crossing, Feast in Hammersmith and W12 Studios in White City. In the next 18 months the group will launch sites in Putney, Wimbledon and Birmingham, the latter being its first outside London. The company recently launched Wildcard Kitchen – its first in-house Read More
YO! to launch ‘grab ‘n’ perch’ concept: YO!, the Richard Hodgson-led global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, is to make a return to the grab and go market by launching a standalone YO! To Go site in Manchester’s Piccadilly station early next month. Described by the company as a “grab ‘n’ perch” concept, consumers can take away products or enjoy them in-store. The site will also look to ramp up the group’s sustainability credentials and feature sushi trays that use ground-breaking, water-based technology that means they can be processed by any recycling facility. A second site under the standalone format is expected to launch next year in Brunel Square, Bath. The group previously trialled a standalone YO! To Go unit at London’s Charing Cross station but it closed a few years ago. The company is currently extending its YO! To Go trial with Tesco following a two-store pilot, with plans to open counters in up to 40 stores by the end of February. Hodgson told Propel: “Following the work we did on the YO! To Go offer a few years back the range has seen amazing growth with like-for-like to-go sales up 23% last year. We’re excited about trialling this Read More
Whitbread plans more than 2,000 Premier Plus rooms in next 18 months: Whitbread has said it plans to have more than 2,000 rooms operating under its new Premier Plus format within the next 18 months. The company has introduced the model at two central London hotels, where 38 rooms are operating in total on separate floors to standard rooms. Whitbread said so far it had tested a daily rate uplift of between £10 and £20 and was seeing “very strong demand and high satisfaction scores” from business and leisure customers alike. The company will have more than 500 rooms in trial before the end of 2019 and has identified in excess of 2,000 rooms to be converted to the model. Premier Plus features include an improved workspace, a rainfall shower with luxury toiletries and a Nespresso machine with pods supplied. Whitbread chief executive Alison Brittain told analysts during a presentation of its interim results that not every Premier Inn was suited to the upgraded room format. She said where it was introduced, about 10% to 15% of rooms in the hotel would be Premier Plus. She added: “I wouldn’t encourage anybody to model 76,000 rooms with a £20 uplift and Read More
Crussh expects return to positive Ebitda on back of FY sales growth as diversification strategy starts to deliver, launches honesty kiosk trial: London-based healthy food and juice brand Crussh expects to return to positive Ebitda levels in its current financial year while it has launched a trial of “honesty kiosks”, Propel has learned. Crussh, which has seen full-year sales grow more than 10% as its diversity strategy starts to deliver, has partnered with shared workspace company WeWork to offer unmanned tills and fridges of food and drink at four of its sites in the City of London. Meanwhile Crussh, which has also seen full-year site Ebitda almost double to £1.5m from £822,000 the year before, has further strengthened its partnership with Sodexo and its footprint outside London with a site at the University Of The West Of England in Bristol – their third site together. Crussh also recently raised circa £700,000 from new and existing shareholders to continue the refit of its company-owned stores to the brand’s “new look”, with nine stores revamped so far in its current financial year. Chief executive Shane Kavanagh told Propel he was focusing on growing the partnership and product supply strands of the businesses Read More
Gail’s reports like-for-likes up more than 8%: Gail’s Bakery, which is backed by sector investor Luke Johnson, has seen like-for-like sales grow more than 8% in the first half of this financial year, Propel has learned. The company, which has 53 outlets, is set to open four sites in the next month with further plans to develop a grab-and-go coffee offer within transport hubs as it looks to double its number of premises in three years. Gail’s managing director Marta Pogroszewska told Propel the business, which specialises in freshly baked bread and pastries alongside a premium coffee offer, is feeling “quietly confident current growth is sustainable in the mid to long-term”. She said: “We are operating in a difficult climate and acknowledge things can go wrong but, having looked carefully at our business model, we feel confident we can continue to increase our volumes year on year.” The company is set to be trading from 60 sites by the end of its financial year, March 2020, including Willesden Green in north west London, which will launch on Friday, 1 November. This will be followed in quick succession by Gloucester Road in Kensington, Cambridge and Islington, north London. Pogroszewska said: “We Read More
Barburrito cuts London estate as it refocuses operation: Barburrito, the BGF-backed Mexican chain, has exited two of its three London sites, Propel has learned. The circa 20-strong company has exited its sites in Hammersmith and Farringdon, leaving it with a venue at Paddington station. The company recently opened a site with TRG Concessions in Gatwick airport in Sussex and has signed up to launch a site in the Manchester airport extension. Founder and chief executive Morgan Davies told Propel: “Hammersmith and Farringdon were nice sites but, at the end of the day, weren’t suited to our model. In the end, we received good offers to exit and took the opportunity to refocus our operation. All staff have been given the option to relocate and we have strengthened the team at Paddington, which continues to trade well. We are committed to London and will open stores in the capital in due course. In the meantime, it’s great to be operating in two of the capital’s strongest transport hubs. Overall trade remains strong and ahead of sector benchmarks.” Amber Taverns makes Scottish debut, bulk of acquisitions coming from retail:Community pub operator Amber Taverns has made its debut in Scotland while the bulk Read More
German Doner Kebab brings in former TGI Friday’s International marketing boss as global CMO: German Doner Kebab, the flagship brand of Hero Brands, has appointed Murray Willows as global chief marketing officer to spearhead its growth and development. Willows joins from TGI Friday’s International and will be tasked with continuing to develop consumer awareness of German Doner Kebab and building on its growing profile. The brand is now rolling out aggressively throughout Europe, the Middle East and the US, with more than 700 franchises already signed up to the German Doner Kebab project globally. Willows’ appointment comes as German Doner Kebab forges ahead with plans to open 100 stores in Saudi Arabia in the next ten years. Chief executive Imran Sayeed said: “Murray’s wisdom, experience and know-how speak for themselves and I believe his appointment is a powerful statement about the direction the company is taking.” Willows was chief marketing officer at TGI Friday’s International with responsibility for marketing, food and beverage development, and restaurant design in 52 international markets. Willows’ career also includes a number of roles at Yum! Brands, where he was vice-president and chief marketing officer for Pizza Hut in the UK, vice-president marketing for Pizza Hut Read More
Marston’s boss – finding good people has got tougher, Pitcher & Piano off the market: Marston’s chief executive Ralph Findlay told Propel it has become tougher to find and retain chefs and general managers. The company is increasing investment in training in the coming year to strengthen its pipeline of internal general managers. Speaking following the company’s full-year trading update, Findlay said: “Cost pressure has remained pretty relentless for a number of years. One area were it has got tougher is in relation to people – the sector has a real challenge in finding good labour. We are operating in an environment where we pretty much have full employment – people have got choices.” Findlay told Propel the company has been working to ensure continuity of supply ahead of Brexit, with a focus on identifying alternative suppliers in the event of problems. Meanwhile, Findlay reported he was seeing strong market demand for assets the company was lining up for sale, with sales proceeds expected to be £70m rather than the £40m previously targeted. However, Findlay indicated he didn’t expect to sell Pitcher & Piano, which has been on the market and operates circa 20 sites in England and Wales. Reflecting Read More
Tipping law changes would add ‘another unwanted burden’ on sector businesses: The government’s proposed changes to tipping legislation threaten to add “another unwanted burden” on businesses, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls has said. The proposed new law, outlined in the Queen’s Speech, would require employers to pass on all tips to staff in full. Nicholls said: “Legislation on tipping threatens to add another unwanted burden on businesses at an already hectic time. Any new measures need to have full input from businesses that will be affected. We already have a transparent and fair voluntary code of practice regarding the collection and sharing of tips. The code makes it clear to businesses, employees and customers how tips can be fairly shared so all team members get what they deserve and customers can be confident the money they tip is going to the correct place. Deductions are sometimes made to service charges as hospitality businesses are charged by banks to process payments. If the full amount is to be passed on, hospitality businesses are going to be forced to foot the bill. If there’s a new legal obligation to pass on the full amount of a service charge, there needs to be Read More
PizzaExpress refutes report on site closure numbers: PizzaExpress has moved quickly to refute a report over the weekend it could be forced to close about 40% of its circa 470 sites in the UK. The Sunday Telegraph reported the Hony Capital-backed chain could be forced to close two-fifths of its restaurants, putting thousands of jobs at risk. One source told the newspaper bondholders were considering entering into a company voluntary arrangement, which would see more than 150 restaurants and about 3,300 jobs under threat. However, a PizzaExpress spokesman told Propel: “95% of our UK and Ireland restaurants are profitable and there are no plans for closures outside the normal course of business.” Earlier this month PizzaExpress hired adviser Houlihan Lokey ahead of debt talks with creditors. Separately, a group of secured bondholders started working with Perella Weinberg Partners after appointing law firm Latham & Watkins in July. The restaurant group has £465m of secured bonds due in August 2021 and £200m of unsecured notes due a year later, indicated at 84p and 23p in the pound respectively. Earlier this summer it was thought PizzaExpress and China-based Hony were reviewing its capital structure, with a restructuring of the business likely. Sector Read More
Patty & Bun to open two sites before year-end: Patty & Bun, the better burger concept led by Joe Grossman, plans to open two sites in London by the end of the year. The group, which operates eight venues under its core brand, is set to take over the Breddos Tacos site in Kingly Street, Soho, with an opening planned for late November. The move will be followed by a return to Liverpool Street. The company opened its second site in Liverpool Street but had to close it for more than a year because of a redevelopment. It now plans to reopen at a larger site in Liverpool Street in December. The company also operates concessions in the two London-based Swingers sites, plus three with Incipio Group. The sale of the Kingly Street site would leave Ennismore-backed Breddos Tacos with one venue – in Goswell Road, Clerkenwell. Stack & Still opens third site as it marks first anniversary: Glasgow-based operators Paul Reynolds and Graham Swankie have opened a third site for their pancake house concept Stack & Still. The venue has opened at the Glasgow Fort shopping centre – a year after the debut site launched. Having opened the inaugural Read More
Imbiba invests £2.5m more in Farmer J: Imbiba, the specialist investor in the UK leisure and hospitality sector, has invested a further £2.5m into London-based, all-day market concept Farmer J, Propel has learned. The new funds follow the £1.9m Imbiba invested in the Jonathan Recanati-led business at the start of the year. Imbiba’s latest investment is joined by a further £250,000 cash injection from other existing shareholders to support Farmer J’s expansion across the UK. It’s thought Farmer J has a strong pipeline of sites coming to market, with an immediate focus on central London areas with a high density of workers. Propel understands since the initial investment the company, which features build-your-own grab-and-go “field trays”, has continued to thrive. In the past year Farmer J reported double-digit like-for-like sales growth at its two sites in the City and opened a site in Canary Wharf. The company recently opened a fourth site, near Liverpool Street station. Recanati founded Farmer J in 2016 and is joined by creative chef Nick Sandler, former development chef at Pret A Manger; operations director Noel D’Arcy; marketing director Ali Recanati; and Kevin Todd, non-executive director and former group managing director of Mitchells & Butlers. Shareholders Read More
Gusto to resume expansion after rise in FY sales: Italian casual dining group Gusto, which has been backed by Palatine Private Equity since 2014, is to resume its roll out and explore non-traditional locations for the brand after reporting a slight rise in full-year sales. Managing director Matt Snell told Propel that as the 18-strong group entered the second year of its three-year strategic plan, expansion was back on the table, with the company already in discussions on several potential sites. He told Propel: “We would hope to open two to three sites in the next year. We are looking at opportunities in the south and want to develop hubs. Gusto has traditionally been in high streets but we want to start exploring new types of location and look at shopping centres, new schemes and transport hubs.” For the year to 31 March 2019, turnover climbed from £32.2m to £32.35m, while Ebitda was maintained at £3.2m. Pre-tax losses at the group narrowed from £2.4m to £2.06m, while operating losses narrowed from £759,000 to £11,000. The company labelled the results a “very good performance in a pressurised market”. Snell said: “We are one year into our three-year strategic plan and it’s Read More
Burger & Lobster plans US openings, group Ebitda up 13%: Burger & Lobster is planning up to ten openings globally as the company reported an increase in group Ebitda and turnover. The 17-strong company saw group Ebitda climb 13% in the year to the end of 2018 to £7.16m, with total group turnover rising 28% to £53.6m. In the UK, full-year turnover fell 10% to £37.9m, with Ebitda down from £6.17m to £5.68m. In the US, where the group operates two sites in New York, turnover climbed 15% to £11.9m. The company told Propel the focus of its openings would be in Europe, Asia and the US. In the latter, it is looking at Dallas, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia. Regarding its UK business, chief financial officer Dasha Ovchenkova told Propel: “Gross profit margin increased to 65% from 61%. The success is attributable to better labour and food and beverage cost controls. Group turnover decreased 10% due primarily to the sale of our Manchester site but our obligations relating to all closed property has come to an end. Overall Ebitda is £5.7m versus £6.2m in 2017 due to a challenging operational environment in London for casual dining.” Regarding the US business, Read More
CG Restaurants & Bars reports turnover boost: CG Restaurants & Bars, which operates the Dirty Martini brand, has reported turnover increased 18.5% to £26,414,561 for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £22,296,624 the year before. Ebitda was down 5.6% to £889,664, compared with £940,000 the previous year. Operating losses rose to £538,733 compared with £273,579 the year before, while pre-tax losses were up to £903,889 compared with £579,702 the previous year, when the group sold one of its sites. Gross profit margin was up slightly to 56.4% from 56.3%, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “The group’s turnover rose as a result of a bar acquired in the year in Birmingham and there was a full year of trading at the Manchester and Leeds sites. On an underlying basis, the group results improved this year as last year’s results include a gain of about £736,000 for the sale of one of its bars. Comparing like-for-like, last year’s group loss, excluding the gain from this sale, would have been £1,174,000 compared with this year’s loss of £903,000.” CG Restaurants & Bars operates 11 Dirty Martini sites – seven in Read More
Rick Stein sees sales rise 4.3% at restaurant business in first half of 2019 as it reports full-year profit drop, agrees new £7m banking facility: Chef Rick Stein has seen sales at his restaurant business rise 4.3% in the first half of 2019 and agreed a new £7.0m banking facility. The announcement comes as the company reported a dip in full-year profits, with increased regulatory costs taking their toll. Turnover was down 0.6% to £16,784,000 for the year ending 30 December 2018, compared with £16,879,000 the year before. Ebitda fell to £1,032,000, compared with £1,447,000 the previous year. Operating profit dropped to £381,000 compared with £986,000 the year before, while pre-tax profit was down more than half to £489,000 compared with £1,008,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Capital expenditure reduced to £497,000, compared with £1,418,000 the year before. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Turnover was down last year and profitability was down largely due to increased regulatory costs – the Living Wage, business rates, Apprenticeship Levy and pension audit enrolment. Wage costs were up 5% to £7,564,000 (2017: £7,234,000) with a wages to sales ratio of 45.1% (2017: 42.9%). Sales for Read More
Hakkasan Group plans ten openings in Mexico through new partnership: UK-based restaurant and nightclub company Hakkasan Group plans to open ten venues throughout Mexico as part of a new partnership with hospitality and development company Dinar. The openings, which follow Hakkasan’s launch of Omnia dayclub in Los Cabos last year, will be in Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey between 2020 and 2026. The partnership will begin with the opening of Hakkasan’s Cantonese dining concept Ling Ling in Mexico City in the latter part of 2020. Ling Ling Mexico City will be on the top floor of Chapultepec Uno, a mixed-use, 58-storey skyscraper that will be Mexico City’s third-tallest building on completion. “We have had great success with our openings in Los Cabos and have been eager to continue the momentum throughout the country,” said Michael Ryan-Southern, chief financial officer of Hakkasan Group. “As an international hub that attracts epicurean and discerning travellers, Mexico City has been on Hakkasan Group’s radar for quite a while. We’re thrilled to work with the visionaries at Dinar to bring Ling Ling to the city next year and introduce further restaurants in the coming years.” Javier Romo, managing partner and owner of Dinar, added: “We Read More
M&B sites converted to Ego restaurants under joint venture seeing 80% sales uplift: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) sites that have been converted to Ego venues under its joint venture with 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler, are seeing an 80% uplift in sales on average, Propel has learned. Seven sites have opened since M&B formed the partnership in August last year when it bought sector investor Luke Johnson’s minority share in 3Sixty. The eighth venue since the joint venture – Manor Farm in Worcester – will launch next month. Work is currently under way to transform the former Stonehouse Pizza & Carvery to the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and bar concept, taking it to 20 venues in total. Horler told Propel: “We are seeing a considerable sales uplift from the new M&B sites – 80% in fact. We’ve seen strong like-for-like performance this year and we’re running ahead of budget. For example, total sales in August were up 39% on last year. We’ve got 67 staff with more than five years’ service and 30 have been with us more than ten years. We’re also working on developing our offering further and we’ve got 241,000 Ego Club members.” Horler said following the Worcester Read More
Shepherd Neame boss – sector corporate activity sparks more opportunity not sales talk: Jonathan Neame, chief executive of Kent brewer and retailer Shepherd Neame, has told Propel he believes recent corporate activity in the sector will lead to even more opportunities for the business. Ei Group and Greene King have both been bought in multibillion-pound deals in recent months, while Fuller’s sold its beer business to Asahi earlier this year. Speaking following Shepherd Neame’s full-year results, Neame said he had “no intention” of going down the same path and, while he admitted he had been “surprised” by the level of activity, he believes it will prove advantageous to his business in a “number of ways”. He said: “I think it makes our position in the market more distinct, unique and will lead to more opportunities for our beer and pubs businesses. Consumers are looking for independent, community-focused businesses that are authentic and run by people they can associate with. That’s why our model works and will continue to work. We see continued growth in all three areas of the business – beer, pubs and accommodation – and we only see those opportunities getting bigger as a result of those deals. Read More
Premium Indian restaurant concept Copper Chimney to make UK debut: Copper Chimney, a premium Indian restaurant concept, is to make its UK debut this autumn at Westfield London. Propel understands the concept, which was founded by JK Kapur in Bombay in 1972, is taking a space at the scheme’s extension, joining Puttshack, All Star Lanes and ETM Group. Davis Coffer Lyons is acting on behalf of Westfield London on its F&B lettings. In a job spec for the new sites, the concept states: “Copper Chimney is an award-winning, internationally renowned restaurant brand coming to Westfield London this autumn. Copper Chimney is an ode to secret recipes and cooking techniques from across undivided North India. Copper Chimney serves a flavourful melange of its signature Indian dishes, flavours and ingredients to deliver an unforgettable dining experience.” The company operates 16 restaurants across India. Le Cordon Bleu to launch flagship London restaurant after acquiring Prescott & Conran site in Fleet Street: Le Cordon Bleu is to open a flagship London restaurant after acquiring the lease of the site in Fleet Street that housed Prescott & Conrans’ Lutyens. Davis Coffer Lyons, acting for administrators Stephen Clancy and Benjamin Wiles, of Duff & Phelps, completed Read More
Benugo reports turnover up to £116m: Benugo, the operator of deli cafes and catering in high-profile venues such as the Natural History Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum, has reported turnover rose 3% to £116,096,000 for the year ending 28 December 2018, compared with £112,738,000 the previous year. The company said the increase was due to the full-year impact of contracts won in 2017 offset by the strategically exiting of some poor performing sites. Operating profit and profit before tax dropped to £3,878,000, compared with £4,670,000 the year before. Capital expenditure during the period was £5.2m, compared with £4.7m the previous year. At the end of the period net assets stood at £32.1m, compared with £29.2m the year before. Cash and cash equivalent was up to £6.8m from £6.1m the previous year. The company reported a total of £23,854,000 in tax borne or collected by Benugo, compared with £23,775,000 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “As an employer with a significant number of employees but operating in a relatively low-margin sector, corporation tax alone is not a balanced reflection of total tax contribution made by Benugo.” Read More
Wells & Co trials sales sharing tenancy agreement: Bedford-based brewer and retailer Wells & Co is trialling a new sales sharing tenancy agreement, Propel has learned. With no payable rent, a “low” security deposit and all utilities paid for by Wells & Co, the company said the agreement allowed “newcomers to the industry to gain a foothold in the world of hospitality”. The first pub to operate under the agreement is the Rose & Crown in Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire. The pub has reopened after being closed for eight months and is being run by Robin Smith and Lynn Reeves. A Wells & Co spokesman told Propel: “We have decreased the personal investment and risks typically associated with opening a new pub venture. By removing barriers to entry, we aim to attract talented entrepreneurial individuals who otherwise wouldn’t have had the opportunity. Once on board, all pub partners taking up the agreement will also benefit from a comprehensive support package from Wells & Co including a full retail induction programme as well as marketing, financial and licensing support, leaving our partners free to focus on growing their business. The sales sharing agreement will allow our pub partners to be their own Read More
Deliveroo strengthens management team with former Restaurant Brands hire:Deliveroo has moved to strengthen its management team by appointing a senior executive from Burger King and Tim Hortons owner Restaurant Brands International (RBI). Propel understands the company has appointed Stephen Goldstein, former senior vice-president – head of business development/mergers and acquisitions, RBI EMEA, as head of global business development and strategic partnerships. Goldstein spent more than four years at RBI including a stint as senior vice-president – president at Tim Hortons USA. He follows the appointment earlier this year of Cengiz Rahmioglu, former strategy director at Leon, as Deliveroo’s new head of restaurant strategy. Propel revealed last week that Dan Warne, Deliveroo managing director for UK and Ireland, had unexpectedly left the business. Warne had led the UK and Ireland business since August 2014 and was also vice-president for global strategic partnerships. Warne is understood to have played a key role in the growth of the business in the UK and building key operator relationships. Deliveroo is believed to be searching for a successor for Warne. Connection Capital takes stake in Rosa’s Thai Cafe as brand targets 45-strong UK portfolio in next five years: Private equity firm Connection Capital has acquired Read More
Sticks ‘n’ Sushi promotes Andreas Karlsson to chief executive: Denmark-based Sticks ‘n’ Sushi has promoted group chief operating officer Andreas Karlsson, who has overseen the company’s expansion in the UK, to chief executive and hired former TDC Group vice-president Jens Aalose as chairman of the board. Aalose will replace Erik Holm, managing partner of Danish private equity firm Maj Invest, while Rod McKie’s place will be taken by Karlsson. McKie told Propel: “After many years of leading the UK successfully it’s time for Andreas to take the helm. Taking the challenge to lead the business and coming off the board, after 15 months it is time for me to step back on to the board and Andreas’ considerable international experience will ensure the business continues to expand in all three countries.” Karlsson told Propel: “I am delighted to be given the trust and support from the board to continue to lead our teams on this exciting journey and further develop Sticks ‘n’ Sushi.” Maj Invest took a 49% stake in Sticks ‘n’ Sushi in 2013, while the founders remained the majority shareholders with a 51% stake. At the time, Maj Invest’s aim was to expand the chain’s presence internationally. Earlier Read More
  Pret A Manger chooses Canary Wharf EAT for first Veggie Pret conversion: Pret A Manger, the JAB Holdings-backed chain, has chosen the EAT store in London’s Canary Wharf as the first to become a Veggie Pret since it acquired its 90-strong fresh food-to-go rival in June, Propel understands. At the time the deal was agreed, Pret said it planned to convert as many of EAT’s stores as possible to Veggie Prets – 75% of EAT’s estate is in London with many close to an existing Pret. It has since placed circa 15 EAT sites on the market, including 13 in London. A Pret spokesman said: “Yes, the Canary Wharf EAT site will be the first one to become a Veggie Pret. We continue to want to convert as many as we can and are currently finalising a review of the EAT estate to assess which ones can be converted.” The first permanent Veggie Pret launched in September 2016 and the concept has expanded to three further locations in London and Manchester. Pret’s then-chief executive Clive Schlee said at the time of the EAT acquisition: “The purpose of this deal is to serve a growing demand of vegetarian and vegan Read More
Wagamama appoints director to oversee international expansion, Hornby acquires shares: Wagamama, The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned brand, has appointed Daniel Blasco Fernandez to oversee its international expansion. Blasco Fernandez joins Wagamama as director of international franchise. He previously worked for franchise operator Grupo Vips, which operates Wagamama in Spain and Portugal, for 15 years. He takes over from Brian Johnston, who stepped down as Wagamama’s international managing director earlier this summer. Johnston oversaw the expansion of Wagamama outside the US. During the past few years he has put franchise deals in place for the brand to make its debut in Italy, France and Spain. It currently operates 57 franchises sites around the world. Meanwhile, new TRG chief executive Andy Hornby has acquired shares worth circa £300,000 in the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s operator. Hornby bought 232,471 shares at a price of 128.40p each, totalling £298,493. His stake following the purchase was not given. Hornby took over as chief executive of TRG at the beginning of last month. Last week TRG reported like-for-like sales rose 4% in the 26 weeks to 30 June 2019. Group like-for-like sales were up 3.7% for the first 34 weeks of the financial year, benefiting from Read More
Azzurri Group to open first Pod conversion site: Azzurri Group, which acquired 13 sites of the 22-strong Pod business out of administration earlier this year, is set to open the first to be converted to its Coco di Mama brand. Propel understands the company is on-site at the Pod in More London for what will become its 24th Coco di Mama site in the capital when it reopens early next month. It’s thought Azzurri will look to complete a few more Pod to Coco di Mama conversions before the end of the year. The majority of the Pod estate was sold to Azzurri Group, owner of the ASK Italian, Zizzi and Radio Alice brands, in a pre-pack administration for a total consideration of £1.6m – more than £1m below its original offer that failed to gain shareholder approval. The pre-pack sale of sites came four days after Pod’s shareholders failed to approve a £2.7m sale to Azzurri Group in a deal that was worth 5p a share. Azzurri has subsequently continued to operate the sites it acquired as Pod, with the intention of converting a number to Coco di Mama during the next 12 months. Azzurri Group chief executive Steve Read More
Childs steps down as YO! people director, brand changes name to highlight menu diversity: Jo Childs has stepped down as people director at YO!, the global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group, after three years with the Richard Hodgson-led business, Propel has learned. Childs joined YO! from Tesco Hospitality, where she spent more than three years as head of people and talent. Before that she had stints at Spirit Group and Living Ventures. For part of her time at YO!, Childs also oversaw the operational side of the business. On her departure, Alyson Hancock has been promoted from head of people to HR director, while Emma Deabill has stepped up from head of operations to director of operations restaurants. A YO! spokeswoman said: “Jo has contributed a large amount during her time at YO! and will be sorely missed. However, we respect her decision to take a break and wish her the best in her future endeavours.” Meanwhile, YO! has changed its name for a limited time from three characters to 121 to highlight the scale of its menu. Visitors to the brand’s Richmond branch are confronted by a sign extending more than 12 feet, with the name combining 17 menu Read More
Warrington-based multiple operator eyes wider north west expansion after acquiring tenth site: Warrington-based multiple operator Priory Inns North West is eyeing wider expansion across the region after growing its portfolio to ten sites. The company has taken its second property with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars – The Gardeners in the village of Timperley. With the pubs located in or around Warrington, Priory Inns North West is now looking to broaden its geographical spread. Director Neil Sparkes said: “We have got no finite number for the size of our business. Our expansion plans will be determined by getting the right team to work for us. Finding pubs for our expansion plans shouldn’t be a problem as there are a lot of good pubs such as The Gardeners and we’ve got a strong record so pub companies like working with us.” The Gardeners has reopened following a £380,000 joint refurbishment and the introduction of food. The interior has been opened up to create an open-plan space seating 120 with an island bar. A new garden has been created at the back with seating for 80 people. David Pritchard, Star Pubs & Bars regional operations director, said: “We are delighted Neil and Read More
TRG bringing Barburrito and Shake Shack to Gatwick, launches new concept in Aberdeen: The Restaurant Group (TRG) is to add US better burger brand Shake Shack to its portfolio with an opening at Gatwick’s North Terminal this autumn. The burger concept will open its debut UK airport site with TRG Concessions at the former EAT venue. It will be Shake Shack’s 11th UK site overall and second outside London. At the same time, Barburrito will replace the Shake-A-Hula unit at North Terminal. The Barburrito site will be the brand’s third partnership with TRG Concessions following venues in Bristol and Edinburgh airports. Meanwhile, TRG Concessions has launched new concept Bocco Italian Kitchen & Bar at Aberdeen airport specialising in “pasta, sourdough pizza and spritz”. On Tuesday (3 September), TRG reported sales through its Concessions business continued to trade ahead of passenger growth to maintain its “strong track record of retaining sites with at least 85% having received contract renewals beyond the term of the initial contract”. TRG Concessions expects to open at least five sites in 2019, with two having already launched including its Sonoma site at Gatwick, which is the company’s largest Concessions restaurant at circa 7,000 square feet and Read More
Trio of south London operators sign for Elephant Park: Three south London-based operators have signed to open at the new Elephant Park development. Ethiopian restaurant Beza, founded by Beza Ethio, is evolving its existing concept to become a 100 % vegan eatery. It will serve a range of dishes, including the national food “teff injera” – 100% gluten-free sourdough flatbread – alongside coffee sourced from Ethiopia. Tasty Jerk, founded by Rayon and Linda Johnson, will offer classic Caribbean dishes such as jerk chicken, curry goat, and ackee and saltfish. Meanwhile, pan-Asian cuisine operator Pot & Rice will be serving rice pot selections, rice pastry (cheung fun) mochi, yuzu cheesecake, fruit tea, and milk tea. The trio will open in Sayer Street at Elephant Park, the £2.3bn regeneration project being delivered by Lendlease and Southwark Council. Beza and Tasty Jerk were previously tenants at Artworks Elephant, Lendlease's pop-up retail park at Elephant Park. The signings follow the launch of the leasing of the next phase of Elephant Park, which comprises 16 food and beverage units totalling 37,000 square feet clustered in two distinct districts – Ash Avenue and New Kent Road, and Chatteris Quarter. Guy Thomas, head of retail at Lendlease, Read More
Incipio Group to take over former Mahiki site in Kensington: Incipio Group, which received £5m from entertainment and leisure investor Edition Capital earlier this year to open six venues in 18 months, has secured a further central London site, after acquiring the former Mahiki site in Kensington. Davis Coffer Lyons (DCL) completed the deal on behalf of the outgoing tenant, David Phelps and Piers Adam, who took on the site in 2012 when it was the former Casino at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington. Since then they reopened the space as the high-end restaurant bar and nightclub, Bodo’s Schloss, and later rebranded it as the west London outpost of their infamous Mahiki brand. Upon signing a new 20-year lease for their flagship site Mahiki in Dover Street, Mayfair, they decided to sell the site in Kensington. The leasehold interest was assigned with the lease expiring July 2037. A premium was paid for the 6,000 square foot site on the ground floor of the property, which has a late licence until 3.30am. Jonathan Moradoff, senior director, at DCL, said: “There has been much chatter in the market about the tough trading conditions in the branded restaurant sector and waning consumer Read More
MEATLiquor reports strong quarter of growth: MEATLiquor, the Scott Collins-led concept, has seen a strong quarter of growth, partly driven by a successful first three months of trading from its new West End site. Opened at the start of June, the 11-strong company’s new W1 site in Margaret Street near Oxford Circus, which replaced its original site in Welbeck Street, is believed to have seen consistent growth from £33,000 net sales a week up to more than £79,000 a week. At the same time, its Queensway-based site also managed to top more than £70,000 for a couple of weeks during the same 12-week period and was 50% up on a like-for-like basis against the same period last year. For the past six months, the company, as a whole, is understood to have generated a 10% increase in like-for-like sales. The uptick in sales has also been attributed to the group’s vegan menu options, which it has had in place for more than three years, continuing to gain traction. The company stated: “Despite a difficult economic and political backdrop, it is now a great time to expand. Landlords are being very helpful with rents and cash contributions towards fit-outs. Following the Read More
Old Rope Walks acquires fourth Liverpool site: Liverpool-based pub group Old Rope Walks has acquired its fourth site in the city. The company has taken on the Roscoe Arms, which belongs to Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. The Oldham Street property is set to undergo a £750,000 refurbishment during the next 11 weeks, which will see the venue renamed The Butterfly & The Grasshopper and reopen in mid-November. The investment will transform the building, expanding the pub across three floors to include a ground-floor bar and dining area, and a top-floor gin and cocktail bar. The new name is inspired by William Roscoe’s poem The Butterfly’s Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast. Old Rope Walks director Mike Girling told the Liverpool Echo: “I discovered the poem many years ago. It’s beautiful and I’ve wanted to celebrate it in a pub or bar since. This is the perfect opportunity because of the connection with William Roscoe. The renaissance of this part of the city is not before time, and it’s fantastic to be able to contribute to it.” Phil McWilliam, area manager for Star Pubs & Bars, said: “Mike is well-known in the city for his brilliant pubs and bars and we’re Read More
Deltic seeks sites in Cambridge, Plymouth and Southampton: Deltic Group, the UK’s largest operator of premium late-night bars and clubs, is looking to source venues in Cambridge, Plymouth and Southampton, Propel has learned. Deltic Group has appointed agent Fleurets to find sites in the three cities. Deltic Group is seeking sites within city centres, near a student population with a target demographic of 18 to 30 years old. The company will consider new leases, assignments or freehold purchases. Sites must be part of an existing food and beverage circuit and a minimum of 12,000 square feet with a 3am licence. They must have D2 planning status or the possibility of achieving that. A spokesman for The Deltic Group said: “We are always looking for great venues that allow us to bring our exciting offer to customers across the UK.” Tom Cormie, of Fleurets, who is seeking the sites on behalf of Deltic Group, said: “Deltic Group is a dynamic, innovative and highly competent nationwide operator. It provides excellent covenant strength for landlords and helps to drive footfall.” Deltic Group already operates Ballare and Vinyl in Cambridge, Pryzm and its Bar & Beyond and Steinbeck & Shaw concept in Plymouth, and Read More
Busaba Eathai restructures finances, tackles legacy issues: Busaba Eathai, which operates 13 sites, restructured its finances in May in the wake of its acquisition by Muzinich Private Debt, which resulted in a reduction in loan note debt and additional facilities of £1.4m to support the ongoing development of the business and restructuring costs. The company reported it had sub-let a closed site in Manchester and assigned the lease of a closed site in St Albans – a leasehold site in Liverpool was previously assigned. The company said the business has refocused on London operations. The company reported turnover decreased 3% to £28.4m in the year to 26 May 2018, but management action saw adjusted Ebitda increase 342% to £897,000. Losses increased by 12% to £11.2m after an impairment of £3.7m on the book value of assets, a £600,000 write-down in the value of stock and £3m of onerous lease provisions. Speaking exclusively to Propel, managing director Terry Harrison, said: “Our FY18 results, which we were late in publishing due to the change in ownership, refinancing and the restructuring of our balance sheet, are a clear indication our decision to focus on our core London business was the correct one. The Read More
200 Degrees doubles up in Birmingham to hit double-figure estate: Nottingham-based coffee roaster and retailer 200 Degrees has opened its second site in Birmingham and tenth in total. The 65-seater coffee shop has launched in Lower Temple Street, close to Birmingham New Street station, creating 20 jobs. Located in the former Midland Hotel, the 1,830 square foot shop retains many period features as well as a split bar for takeaway services. The move follows the brand’s coffee shop and barista school, which opened in Colmore Row in Birmingham’s business district in 2016. Tom Vincent, co-founder and director of 200 Degrees, said: “The decision to open a second coffee shop in Birmingham was an easy one. Its location near Birmingham New Street is ideal. Birmingham is only the second location in which we’ve opened a second coffee shop and we’ve installed a split service area to serve busy commuters and time-starved workers quickly.” Vincent and Rob Darby founded 200 Degrees in 2012. It also operates coffee shops in Nottingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Leicester, Cardiff, Lincoln and Liverpool, and a roast house in Nottingham. The company plans further openings this year. Tonkotsu to hit 11 sites with Peckham Market opening next month: Tonkotsu, Read More
Vanessa Hall appointed interim Vapiano chief executive, in running for role full time: Vanessa Hall is in the running to become chief executive of restaurant group Vapiano after Cornelius Everke announced he would resign for personal reasons on Saturday, 31 August. Everke’s employment has been terminated by mutual consent and the company’s supervisory board intends to appoint current chairman Hall in the interim to replace him. Hall’s new position relies on her being reappointed to the supervisory board in the company’s annual general meeting but she has declared she is prepared to run the company until at least the end of April 2020. The supervisory board said it would immediately initiate a structured process for the appointment of a new chief executive in which Hall would “also be considered as a candidate for long-term succession”. The board said it would also extend Lutz Scharpe’s term as chief financial offer to June 2023. Everke became chief operating officer in May 2018 to manage the rapid growth of the fast casual restaurant concept in international markets. Following the resignation of Jochen Halfmann, he assumed responsibility as chief executive in December 2018, where he contributed to the company’s completion of its refinancing and strategic Read More
Inception Group to launch Soho site: Inception Group, which operates an eclectic collection of London bars and restaurants including Mr Fogg’s, Bunga Bunga and Cahoots, will open its latest site in London, in Soho’s Kingly Street in October. The Ticket Hall & Control Room will be spread across two floors and open opposite the original Cahoots. The company has been operating a pop-up – Casa Bonita – on the former Cinnamon Soho site since the start of the year. The original Cahoots, designed to resemble a 1940s underground station, launched in Kingly Court in 2015. Earlier this year Propel revealed Inception Group had appointed advisers as it looks to assess its growth options. The 11-strong, London-based business, which was founded in 2009 by Charlie Gilkes and Duncan Stirling, appointed advisory firm Tamweel Capital to aid the process, although it is understood the company is in “no rush” to make a decision on its growth plans. Whittard of Chelsea promotes Smith to chief executive: Hot drinks retailer Whittard of Chelsea has promoted chief financial offer Nathan Smith to replace Mark Dunhill, who stepped down as chief executive last month following five years in the role. Smith has worked for the company Read More
Incipio Group to launch first in-house restaurant at The Prince: Incipio Group, which received £5m from entertainment and leisure investor Edition Capital earlier this year to open six sites in 18 months, is to launch its first in-house restaurant at The Prince in West Brompton. Wildcard Kitchen will open at the venue in Lillie Road, which Incipio launched in November 2017. Until now, The Prince’s four restaurants have been concessions. Incipio describes Wildcard Kitchen as sourcing the “best British produce to create the most flavour-packed dishes inspired from around the world”. An advert for chef positions states: “With an adaptable menu and one-off specials, Wildcard goes all-in for taste.” Earlier this month Incipio launched Lost In Brixton, a 440-capacity bar in a hidden corner of Brixton Village. Using technology from the Tablesnapper platform, guests can order food from restaurant traders in Brixton Village and Market Row. Customers scan a QR code on their table, order food from the restaurant listed, pay online and receive their food from a runner – making Lost the world’s first kitchen-less restaurant. Since 2015, Incipio Group has specialised in creating large social venues focusing on food and drink, transforming sites to provide “fashionable and out-of-the Read More
Monty’s Deli signs for Kerb’s Seven Dials Market: Jewish soul food trader Monty’s Deli has signed to open a site at Kerb’s Seven Dials Market, which will launch in London’s West End next month. Monty’s Deli started as a market stall at Kerb’s King’s Cross site in 2012 and the Seven Dials opening will be its third permanent venue following the recent closure of its much-loved Hoxton restaurant. Founded by Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt, Monty’s Deli is renowned for Jewish comfort food such as its reuben salt beef or pastrami sandwiches, with meat produced in-house alongside freshly baked bagels and homemade mustard. Ogus said: “After the heartbreak of closing our restaurant in Hoxton, it’s really great to announce we are reuniting with Kerb at Seven Dials Market. The area has an incredible heritage for some of London’s finest salt beef and we want to bring some of those wonderful flavours and Jewish deli traditions to a whole new generation.” Seven Dials Market is Kerb’s first bricks-and-mortar site and will “occupy the space between street food and the full-service restaurant experience”. The 22,000 square foot market is housed in a 19th century banana warehouse. Monty’s Deli, which has sites in Read More
TRG launches exam results offers for Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s: The Restaurant Group (TRG) has launched offers for students celebrating their exam results for its Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s brands. A-level students will receive their results on Thursday (15 August) and GCSE students a week later. On those days they can claim a free tortilla dish from Chiquito, regardless of their grades. Students can choose chimichanga, tacos, enchilada or a burrito by showing their results and student ID between 15 and 17 August and 22 and 24 August. Chiquito managing director Angelo Gabrilatsou said: “For 30 years we’ve supported students with our ‘always on’ 25% off for students. This year we wanted to give something back so all Higher, A-level and GCSE students will receive free food on results day.” Meanwhile, Frankie & Benny’s will give away free main courses to A-level students when they order a bottle of Coca-Cola or pint of Budweiser. TRG is also encouraging students to discuss job opportunities at its Frankie & Benny’s sites. Frankie & Benny’s senior brand and partnerships manager Gabriele Barysaite said: “Commiserate with friends, family and treat yourself to your Frankie’s favourites. While you sink your teeth into your Read More
Boxpark hires advisers to help with expansion: Boxpark has hired KPMG Corporate Finance to find an investment partner to support its expansion. The company has sites in Shoreditch, Croydon and Wembley. Boxpark has previously unveiled plans to expand nationwide with a further ten sites during the next five years. The expansion will also see the launch of two new concepts – BoxOffice and BoxHall. BoxOffice is a co-working space that will be incorporated into new Boxpark sites. The Boxpark and BoxOffice schemes will be between 50,000 and 150,000 square feet. The developments will feature the traditional Boxpark street food and bars on the ground floor with leisure operators such as virtual reality, cinemas, crazy golf and karaoke on the first floor and between two to four floors of co-working space above. Boxpark will work alongside existing co-working companies on the launch and operation of the new BoxOffice concept. In addition, Boxpark will roll out new food hall concept BoxHall. The smaller, 10,000 to 20,000 square foot food and beverage destinations will be based on existing sites within city centres across the UK, featuring between six and 12 street food vendors at each site. Laine makes two key hires for brewing Read More
Tossed promotes Neil Sebba to managing director: Tossed, the London-based healthy eating brand, has promoted Neil Sebba to managing director, Propel has learned. Sebba joined in 2010, when Tossed had just five sites, and worked for eight years as finance director. He became business development director of the now 35-strong Tossed at the start of this year. Vincent McKevitt, who remains in situ as founder, said: “The board and I are delighted to promote Neil to the role of managing director to lead the next stage of the business’ development. Our recent innovations in hot food, technology, vending and delivery have laid the foundations for the next few years of growth. I’m immensely proud of where Neil and the senior team are taking the business; on average they have been with Tossed for more than six years, and ultimately it’s their hard work that has got us to where we are.” Sebba added: “This wonderful business sits at the forefront of health and technology in food-to-go. Working with Vincent, Angelina Harrison (commercial director) and the senior leadership team to bring healthy, customisable, made-to-order food to more people is an honour, and I am excited about us delivering on its next Read More
Award-winning multiple operator eyes growth to five sites: Award-winning multiple operator Dianne Irving is eyeing growth to five sites after taking on her third venue – and second with Heineken-owned Star Pubs & Bars. Irving has co-invested £330,000 with the pub company in The Howard Arms in Carlisle. The pub now commemorates the period from 1916 to 1972 when the government took Carlisle’s pubs into state management in a bid to curb excessive drinking in the city. Everything in the pub from the menu to the furniture harks back to the early days of that time and has a 1920s feel. The idea was the brainchild of Irving, who has two other pubs in the area, including the White Mare at Beckermet, which is also with Star Pubs & Bars. She said: “It’s a fascinating and little known part of pub history that changed the face of Carlisle’s pubs. Civil servants ran all pubs following strict rules; beer’s alcoholic content was reduced, food and activities introduced, coffee and cakes stocked and women encouraged to visit. As one of the last remaining traditional pubs in the city centre I thought it would be fun to recreate those days and give The Read More
UK loyalty scheme ‘impossible’ for Domino's Pizza because customers don't order frequently enough, incremental opportunity around collection in London:Domino's Pizza Group chief executive David Wild has said having a loyalty scheme in the UK like the company does in the US is “impossible” because customers do not order frequently enough. In a presentation to analysts following the company's interim results, Wild said the frequency in the UK was about a third of that in the US. He added: “The average customer in the US orders 18 times a year. In the UK, it is five or six times. With the US scheme it effectively works as a free pizza after someone has ordered six times, so in the US that would take about three months. Over here, that would take about a year, which makes it impossible. That's why we have taken the approach of using single customer view marketing rather than a loyalty scheme. We have made further customer segmentation to allow us to deliver more appropriate marketing messages and hopefully drive sales that way.” Wild said there was an incremental opportunity in London around collection and the company was trialling various offers around the capital in a bid Read More
Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee reports profit boost as turnover passes £25m: Nottingham-based McDonald’s franchisee Blades Restaurants has reported turnover increased 24% to £26,556,162 for the year ending 31 December 2018, compared with £21,453,150 the previous year. Operating profit was up to £653,639, compared with £397,968 the year before while pre-tax profit rose to £564,424, compared with £340,163, the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Blades Restaurants, which is owned by Jerry Nicholls, operates nine McDonald’s sites across Nottingham having added two outlets to its portfolio during the period. In his report accompanying the accounts, Nicholls said: “We believe the trading environment in which we operate is challenging. However, the company remains optimistic and has continued its reinvestment with two additional store purchases during the year.” Bell to leave Red’s for The Apartment Group: Craig Bell is to step down as finance director at Red’s True Barbecue to join north east-based bar operator The Apartment Group in the same role, Propel has learned. Bell joined Red’s at the start of 2015, and played a key role in the group’s subsequent growth, including securing new equity and bank funding. His departure comes after the eight-strong group underwent a restructure and Read More
TGI Friday's reports like-for-like sales down 6.7% in 2018: TGI Friday's has reported like-for-like sales dropped 6.7% in the year to 30 December 2018. Total sales were down 3.3% to £208.8m after four sites opened in the year. Ebitda was £24.7m, compared with £33m the year before. Exceptional items, including one onerous lease unwind and a number of lease impairments, cost £8,927,000, compared with £1,172,000 the year before. Operating profit before exceptional items was £85,000, compared with £8,564,000 the year before. Spudulike shuts all 37 sites after buyer withdraws from pre-package administration deal at last minute: Baked potato specialist Spudulike has shut all 37 of its sites after a prospective buyer withdrew from a pre-packaged administration deal at the last minute. Joint administrators Neil Bennett and Alex Cadwallader, of Leonard Curtis, said they were “very disappointed” with the outcome after working for several weeks firstly preparing a company voluntary arrangement, which was rejected by Spudulike’s creditors, and subsequently pursuing the sale of all or part of the group’s business and assets with a number of prospective purchasers. The situation has resulted in all the group’s outlets, plus its head office, being closed and all 298 employees made redundant with immediate Read More
Mackay to step down as Benihana MD: Richard Mackay, formerly of Wagamama and Nozomi, is to step down as managing director of Benihana, the worldwide Japanese teppanyaki restaurant chain, Propel has learned. Mackay joined Benihana last year on the back of new investment from Minor International, which acquired a 75% stake in the company, to spearhead the business and oversee its expansion programme. He is leaving the company to head up Matal Eatery in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Earlier this year, Benihana, which operates three sites in London, launched a 100-cover restaurant at the former Carluccio’s site in Glasgow’s West Nile Street. It was the first new Benihana restaurant in the UK for more than 20 years. In April, Benihana signed a host of international franchise deals, which will see it open five restaurants in Egypt, three in Pakistan, and one in in Mexico, creating a total of 29 across its global portfolio. Founder Hiroki Aoki opened the first Benihana in 1964. Benihana’s London restaurants are in Chelsea, Piccadilly and at The Grange hotel in St Paul’s. Upham Pub Company reduces debt levels after completing sale and leaseback deal on 14 pubs: Upham Pub Company has completed the sale and Read More
Comptoir Group chief financial officer resigns: Comptoir Group, the owner and/or operator of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean restaurants, has announced chief financial officer Mark Carrick has resigned. Carrick will remain with the company until the end of October “to ensure an orderly handover of his role and responsibilities”. Comptoir Group said the board has begun a process to identify a successor and a further announcement would be made in due course. Last week, the company announced trading for the 26-weeks to 30 June 2019 “was in line with management expectations and ahead of the same period in 2018”. It operates 25 managed restaurants and four franchise sites. Koh Thai appoints Sykes as group COO: Koh Thai, the tapas chain, has appointed Jeremy Sykes, formerly of Wagamama and Boston Tea Party, as its new group chief operating officer, Propel has learned. Sykes, who has been a business consultant for the past three years, spent almost 15 years at Wagamama as a regional director. He also spent just under 18 months as director of operations at Boston Tea Party. He joins up again with former Wagamama chief executive Steve Hill at Koh Thai. Established in 2009 in Bournemouth, Koh Thai currently operates Read More
Corbin & King to close Bellanger, secures Notting Hill Gate site: London-based restaurant group Corbin & King is to close its Bellanger site in Islington next month, after more than three years of trading. Co-founder Jeremy King said although the company had “loved being in Islington, we just couldn’t make it the success we aspired to”. He said: “Much as it had been a great critical success this wasn’t matched financially. And although we continued to trade for much longer than less patient operators might have persevered there came a point where we had to be pragmatic and move on to concentrate on new projects – the birth of Manzi’s in Soho, Notting Hill and indeed another rather interesting opportunity on the horizon.” King confirmed the company had acquired a new site in Notting Hill Gate but wouldn’t divulge any further information on where and what it would be. One possible location is the former RBS bank site at 78 Notting Hill Gate. Corbin & King’s new Soho seafood restaurant Manzi’s is set to open next year in the Bateman’s Buildings, just off Soho Square. The proposed Manzi’s takes its monikor from the previously popular, but long-time closed, Leicester Square Read More
Jamie Oliver – I spent £25m trying to save restaurant business: Jamie Oliver has revealed he ploughed £25m of his own money into his restaurant group in a failed attempt to save the business from collapse. Oliver admitted there had been no “plan B in case it goes down the toilet” as he described the devastating experience, which he said he took full responsibility for. He called rental costs, business rates and the cost of labour “our worst enemies”, adding the business had not responded quickly enough to changes in the industry. Speaking for the first time about the collapse in an interview with The Times magazine, Oliver said poor advice meant the “wool had been pulled over his eyes” over the extent of the crisis that began in 2017. The group, which included Jamie’s Italian, Barbecoa and Fifteen, collapsed into administration in May, making about 1,000 staff redundant. At the time it was believed Oliver spent £12.7m of his own money trying to save the business, but he revealed it was twice that amount. He said: “When it was all going wrong it felt like a colander – the business was full of holes and there was nothing we Read More
Open House and Brewhouse & Kitchen receive Puma VCT investment: Open House, the London-based restaurant and bar operator, has secured new growth funds from investment house Puma VCT, Propel has learned. Puma has invested £1.8m in the business, which operates The Lighterman and Percy & Founders in the capital, as part of a £5m transaction, investing alongside its Puma Alpha EIS fund. The business was launched by the team behind Cubitt House in 2015 and the new investment will support plans for growth though further flagship units across London. Earlier this year, Puma invested a further £847,000 in Knott End Pub Company, which last year entered into a franchise agreement with Brewhouse & Kitchen to roll out a portfolio of pubs offering “on-site craft micro-brewing activities and good-quality food”. Knott End opened its first two pubs, in Milton Keynes and Horsham, West Sussex, last year. Puma said both were trading well. Puma had previously invested £2.4m in Knott End Pub Company. Ole & Steen appoints Ward-Nicholson as managing director: Danish baker Ole & Steen has appointed SSP operations director Simon Ward-Nicholson as managing director, Propel has learned. Ward-Nicholson spent the past four years at the travel concessions company, with stints Read More
Red Oak takes lead on Wadworth pubs package: Red Oak Taverns is believed to be in advanced talks to acquire the majority of sites placed on the market earlier this year by Devizes-based brewer and retailer Wadworth, Propel has learned. In May, Propel revealed Wadworth had put 24 of its tenanted pubs on the market through agent Christie & Co – nine pubs on an individual basis and 15 as part of a package. It’s thought Red Oak, which operates circa 160 pubs, has agreed to acquire the majority of those pubs with a deal expected to complete during the next month. Wadworth said in May the sites no longer fitted its “long-term plans” following a review of its estate. The nine individual sites, which were being marketed under the name Project Swordfish, are located in the south and west of England. The package of 15 pubs consists of Beckets Inn in Glastonbury, Somerset; The Boot Inn in Berwick St James, Wiltshire; The Cricketers Inn in Longparish, Hampshire; The Crown Inn in Bishop Cannings, Wiltshire; England’s Glory in Gloucester; the New Inn in Bath; The Oak in Andover, Hampshire; The Plough in Shalbourne, Wiltshire; The Princes Motto in Barrow Gurney, Somerset; Read More
TRG launches south east Asian delivery concept: The Restaurant Group (TRG), the Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s operator, has further ramped up its portfolio of delivery brands by launching south east Asian concept Jumping Pans, Propel has learned. The concept joins the group’s other delivery brand – Pyjama Hotel – in being made available through UberEats and Just Eat out of the Foodstars unit in Battersea, south London. A TRG spokesman said research for Jumping Pans had seen its team venture across south east Asia “cherry-picking the best, most flavourful recipes”. He added: “Inspired from real insights, local culture and pan-Asian energetic cooking methods, our dishes allow you to travel through taste within one order, enjoyed in the comfort of your own home.” Chinese mains include, beef and black bean, and kung pao beef (both £9.95); Thai and Malaysian mains include pad kra pao chicken (£9.95) and Massaman duck curry (£10.95); while vegetarian and vegan mains include chow mein (£7.50) and vegan coconut jungle curry (£7.95). Last week, Propel revealed TRG had added a further burger delivery concept through its Frankie & Benny’s brand. The group has started to roll out Stacks, which comes with the slogan: “Stack it up, Read More
Starbucks thought to have closed 35 sites in London: The Mail on Sunday has reported Starbucks has closed dozens of outlets in London, marking a retreat from a city where it once dominated the coffee shop scene – as many as 35 stores across the capital have closed in the past 18 months. The newspaper stated: "The closures appear to be continuing and a number have been directing customers to other stores in recent weeks. The emergence of the rout in London follows a recent financial statement that it had set aside £20m for 'lease provisions' in Britain. It complained of 'ongoing pressures' and 'the changing consumer landscape, high rents and political uncertainty'. London has also been hit hard by a rapid rise in business rates. Starbucks UK, which has repeatedly come under fire for its tax planning, plunged to a £17.2m loss for the year to September 2018 as a result of provisions for renegotiating leases and store closures. Despite the closures in London, Starbucks is understood to have increased overall coffee shop numbers in the UK by around 50 since 2017. It has opened smaller shops and drive-thru outlets outside central London to adapt to changing consumer habits. Read More
Tattu appoints advisors for growth plans: Contemporary Chinese restaurant group Tattu has started working with advisors to map plans for growth, Propel has learned. The company, which was founded in 2015 by brothers Adam and Drew Jones, is understood to be working with advisor Clearwater International on options that could include bringing in a strategic partner to help it with plans for expansion in the UK and overseas, with the US a possible destination. The group operates sites in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, with the latter 160-cover restaurant opening earlier this year. It is currently on-site on a fourth restaurant, in Edinburgh. After the success of its initial three openings, it is understood the business has received a number of enquiries from landlords to join and anchor schemes across the UK. Tattu launched in Manchester in 2015 with a second site opening in Leeds city centre in June 2017. The Birmingham restaurant opened in The Grand development in Barwick Street. The ground-floor space hosts a bar and private dining rooms while there is a main restaurant downstairs. Speaking to Propel last year, Jones said: “Every restaurant we open is unique and at this stage we are keeping growth in-house – Read More